Maybe I am remembering this wrong, but didn’t Dean cut the vamp’s head off with the sharp side facing towards himself?
No, he turned the blade over so that the serrated edge was facing him.
Yep. I’m just going to reblog this again because many people seem to be drawing all kinds of conclusions from Dean using the “dull” side of the blade to chop the vamps head off, or are just shocked by the force he must have used to be able to do that. It’s an understandable misreading, because most everyday blades and knives are only sharp on one side. But what Dean is using is a double edged Machete. So there’s a serrated edge and a smooth, very sharp edge (and you can see where it’s beveled. I’m not making this up!). Dean turns it around so that the smooth edge is facing the vamp. It’s actually the more practical side to use for chopping a head off.
Aaaah, see not one to have elaborate knowledge on blades other than my kitchen knifes here. Actually though, I think this makes the whole thing even better? For one, it doesn’t actually negate the fact that - since it’s a double edged Machete - either way he could get hurt pretty easily and therefore no matter how he would have turned the blade the notion of a blade turned towards himself remains (though of course I agree that reading would be clearer, if there weren’t two sides with which you can cut), plus it also nicely adds to Dean’s kamikaze modus operandi. But what I actually find the more interesting aspect to keep in mind here is the symbolic meaning - and yes of course this can be seen as stretching things again, but shhhh I personally find it fitting :P - of a double edged machete or as the saying goes a double edged sword. Because isn’t that exactly what the mark and/or the blade is (just like the demon blood was for Sam or the souls were for Cas)? The decision itself being a double edged sword and therfore having favorable and very unfavourable consequences? Because yes, as far as we know the mark and the balde supposedly are able to kill a knight of hell, but there are consequences (consequences Dean didn’t want to hear about, but that start showing). I can’t help but mention Nietzsche here again, because the quote sums it up quite nicely: “He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.”
This is all making me think of Dean playing with the sword right when they moved into the bunker. He thought it was safe and kinda cool, and then was surprised when he cut his finger on it.
"Vampiric Stockholm Syndrome" Dr Silverfish reviews “Alex, Annie, Alexis, Ann” (Spoilers for SPN 9x19)
Berens’ third episode for Supernatural, after “Heaven Can’t Wait” and “Captives”, brought us a dark psychodrama about grief and what it does to you and the people around you, when you bury it deep, let it fester and can’t move on.
Owing much to the horror genre, the episode played with the hearts of Jody Mills fans, offering us suspense scene after suspense scene in which Jody, alone in a cabin in the woods, nearly got slaughtered by the killers. But Sheriff Mills was the “final girl”, just like Jaime Lee Curtis in Halloween (1978). She survived, and more than that, she found the psycho-dramatic key to freedom for herself and Alex…
This episode also did an excellent job of showing how fear and love can exist within the same relationship — Alex/Annie/Alexis/Ann* both genuinely loves her family and is genuinely scared of them. I know one of the arguments I’ve often seen against identifying John as an abuser is “but his kids love him!” and this episode did an effective job of illustrating how children loving their parents can co-exist with abusive and damaging parenting**.
* I default to ‘Anne’ because of Anne Shirley, but I just checked out the title card and it’s spelled without an ‘e’, so I’ll try to remember to spell it that way.
** Another effective example is the movie “Tangled”, I think.
What Jody represented in 9x19 was a person devastated by grief and loss coming to terms with the fact that sometimes you can not fill the hole in your life with outside forces, or with other people. She knows she has things she needs to deal with, but she’s not hiding from them anymore. She’s not going to depend on someone else to be the thing that dulls the ache. She’s going to feel the ache because sometimes that’s all you can do. But she is going to live because she is strong, and so is Dean. What she realized in the end is something he will come to know as well.
While Jody represented this grief-stricken but hopeful future, Mama vamp represented the dark co-dependency that lives inside Dean. She also represented John and all of the things he placed on his boys. She is the thing inside his head telling him he can’t change, that this is all there is, that duty and family are everything. She manipulated Alex in to doing what she wanted, convinced her it was all there was, that she had to stay. Alex was terrified of letting her Mama down, and I was reminded of Sam’s confession to Dean in that church. That his greatest sin was all the times he felt he let Dean down.
Dean is co-dependent, but so is Sam, and he wants out. He wants out, but the hope manifested by Jody that lives inside Dean wants out as well. He just doesn’t know how to do it yet. When Jody killed Mama vamp that said to me that no matter how dark things are about to get, in the end Dean will claw his way out of the darkness. Dean will let go. He has to let go. He wants to let go, he just doesn’t know how to yet.
What Jody and Alex had in the end wasn’t a bond that was dependent on one another for survival, but one that acknowledged they can still lean on each other for love and support. This is what Sam and Dean need. Neither of them are ever going to be okay in the traditional sense, not with what they have come to know, and all the grief they have suffered. But what they can have is hope, and a relationship built on shared grief and love that isn’t toxic or suffocating. There is a light at the end of that tunnel, for both Sam and Dean, but in the end they will not choose each other. They will choose themselves, and then the healing can begin.
To make it harder for the poor girl to differentiate!
Change Annie to Jennifer (or whatever) and that suggests a clean divide between human identity and vamp identity, which could make it easier for her to renounce ‘Jennifer’ one day and decide/realise ‘no I am Annie and henceforth ‘Jennifer’ is dead to me.’
But Alex/Annie… oh, it’s a bit blurrier isn’t it? Where exactly DOES one end and the other begin? And if ‘Annie’ is not so different from ‘Alex’ then, hey, might as well just stick with being ‘Alex,’ right? It’s what she knows best, so sticking to that is easier, is the path of less resistance. Because trying to pick out the parts that are ‘Annie,’ trying to sift through herself and figure out which aspects of the ‘Annie’ identity really are different and which parts overlap with ‘Alex’ would be time consuming and probably messy and generally daunting.
(as it is for Dean trying to figure out which parts of ‘Dean’ are John!Dean and which parts are Dean!Dean and which parts overlap… easier just to be all John!Dean, then at least he knows exactly who he is, even if it’s not completely who he wants to be…)
Of all the things said in Alex Annie Alexis Anne, in the context of this episode and Dean’s current character arc, this little sentence is the one that really got to me.
In religious practice, a cilice, or hair shirt is worn as a sign of atonement and penance for ones sins with the basic idea behind it that if a human repents now, they will go to Heaven rather than Hell. Commonly made of burlap or goat’s hair, it was worn underneath regular clothing. The effect of it was raw-rubbed skin, soreness, or even in extreme cases open wounds.
So, when referencing it, it’s not just that Dean blithely brushes aside the idea of being sorry for enjoying the vampire kill. It’s that by doing so he brushes aside the idea that he could ever be able to atone for his sins and basically sentences himself to Hell. Which is exactly where he believes he has to go again.
Kevin’s blood is on my hands, and that ain’t ever getting clean. I’ll burn for that. I will. (9x10 Road Trip)
I would argue that taking on the Mark of Cain was an act of of penance, of self-flagellation with an angry read scar to prove it, but rather than doing this to rid himself of sin, it was to condemn himself to Hell. Dean’s not stupid. While he may have underestimated some of the side-effects of the Mark, taking on the Curse of a Knight of Hell was not just a means to an end to defeat Abaddon. It is a means to send himself back to the Pit.
When it comes to those side-effects, Dean is in fact doing the very opposite of atoning for sins, the very opposite of what a cilice is made for. The act of contrition made by wearing a hair shirt is called “mortification of the flesh”; essentially meaning denying oneself earthly pleasures. Mortification of the flesh can entail anything ranging from a fast to the self-flagellation I mentioned above. Basically the very antithesis of what Dean is currently doing. He is downing liquor by the bucket-load. He is indulging in murder (indulging because he is enjoying it). And not just that, by demanding the vampire looked at him at the moment of death, he is watching the life drain out of him. Not that it was needed, but to emphasise just how awful that was, Jodie had Alex turn away from someone’s life ending. It’s what I imagine psychopaths do…
And Dean, he just doesn’t care, because - as Jensen mentioned - his emotions have become dulled under the Mark’s curse and it is allowing his dark side to come out in full force. So, what we have is a Dean who is much more like Endverse’s 2014!Dean who believes that killing a human suffering from Croatoan is normal.
Plugging some Croat, it’s called commonplace
A Dean who is
all too well schooled in the art of getting to the truth
A Dean that 2009!Dean abhorred.
The closer we get to the finale, the more apparent it is becoming that we are going to leave Dean in a very dark place for summer hiatus. Because something is truly broken inside and it will take more than three episodes to mend it. God, it’s is going to hurt.