In the fourth episode of the tenth season of Supernatural, Sam and Dean examine their own culpabilities when faced with someone from their past. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Supernatural.
I have no problem admitting that I kept thinking that something else would happen here. The entire structure of and plot thread throughout “Paper Moon” is deeply familiar to me and probably was to any of y’all who have been watching the show since the beginning. It wasn’t surprising, really, except for perhaps the reveal of Tasha’s identity and her newly-made pack. But at the heart of this episode, you’ve still got Sam and Dean struggling with whether or not to kill a “monster” who might not be a threat to anyone. Currently. But they might be some time in the future. So they spare a life. Someone dies. There’s a lot of angst. I feel like I’ve just described a good quarter of this entire show, you know?
I wasn’t exactly bored watching “Paper Moon,” and I do like Kate as a character. But did anyone else feel like she was too much like Amy Pond in “The Girl Next Door”? Wasn’t this whole episode covering exactly the same ground?
So, while I’ll admit to being surprised that Kate survived the end of this episode, I thought the most memorable part of “Paper Moon” was the Winchester angst. THAT IS JUST AS SHOCKING TO ME, TOO. I know from reading the comments that plenty of y’all have gotten tired of the circular development (if we can even call it development at this point) between these brothers. Actually, it’s more cyclical than anything else, right? It never feels like any of the growth we’ve seen in the past ever carries over. It’s been ten years now, and Dean Winchester still shirks away from feelings.
I am not going to suggest that this is a clear and obvious example of how the show is changing, but I felt like the conversations Dean and Sam had during this episode were some of the most honest and productive ones they’ve had in a decade. Of course, I’d prefer to experience this shit without having to worry if it’ll actually matter to future stories. But watching these two approach their current issues more openly than usual? It’s refreshing. Which… lord, that’s kind of a frustrating thing to say at this point. Ten years, y’all, and I’m momentarily thrilled because the two main characters are honest with each other.
That’s… not good.
Yet I still like picking this shit apart. It’s fascinating to me that I saw how Dean shifted the uncomfortable nature of that conversation in the car so that Sam would be forced to think about what he’d done instead. It was surreal to watch the Winchesters relax, lakeside, with beers in their hands. It was even more bizarre to hear Dean admit that he was sick of making the wrong choice. Sam was clearly doing his best to make Dean confront his own moral issues in the wake of his time as a demon. And unsurprisingly, Dean was resistant to that. Entirely. But what makes him change his mind? What inspires him to finally reveal his own sadness and despair?
At least “Paper Moon” gives us a parallel storyline in Kate that reflects on the journey the Winchesters are on. That’s something I’ve generally enjoyed from the show, you know? I think Dean saw something in Kate he admired. She went out of her way to do the right thing for herself even when it meant killing her own sister. She wanted to clean up the mess she’d made, and she did. So perhaps that’s Dean’s motivation, too. He wants to clean up the mess left behind him.
But how the hell do you do that? I don’t know, and the show doesn’t give us an answer. I suppose that’s what the future holds. Can Dean find a way to work towards some sort of redemption? Or will the Mark of Cain stop him from achieving that?
The video for “Paper Moon” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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