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Hello suspense, my old friend...

Used my first "free" day to finally catch up on the last few eps of Fringe. I started watching in real time Season 4, then had to stop quickly because it made me hurt for the characters and I can only really take that when I know it gets better (and soon). So I waited out the Season and have been marathoning properly. Now, I can even take the beginning without breaking a sweat. :D

I dreaded ep 19 "Letters in transit" somewhat, given what I had read about it but my fears were unfounded. I was thouroughly entertained and loved the characters.
I would not want to forego our original Fringe team but I'd love a merge with Etta and Simon in the year 2036. For people only introduced in that episode, they managed to really build a connection with those characters. Kudos writers.

Also, and that was not only brought on by Fringe but several things I watched recently: suspense-building in either a breaking/entering/storming the fortress or a getaway scenario. You know, the good guys either try to get the bad guys or trying to make a run for it. And you know what? I think it's actually not that hard to generate suspense during scenes like that. Working on the assumption that your audience cares about the well-being of the good guys, all you need to do is make it a bit hard for them, have the bad guys nearly catch them, have someone trip and fall for godssakes.

I'm not talking about every show doing it as thrill-rid-y and masterfully as the Person of Interest Finale but watching Fringe today, I kinda had a weird retroactive "okay, that's fucking it" moment re: the SPN Finale. And it's all mareen's fault because she totally put the thought in my head and it grew and grew there. :-P Now, I still am deliriously happy over some stuff in the SPN Finale, mainly the very end, but while it didn't bother me while watching I'm no longer sanguine about: the "raid on Dick".

If I bloody compare that to Etta, Simon and Walter trying to make it out of Massive Dynamic, hunted by an evil Observer Overlord and his evil minions where I KNEW they would make it but still wibbled DURING the scene? I can't even...I mean, how can you write the big fight in a Season Finale with an entire lack of suspense? How is that even possible? It shouldn't be.

Dean and Cas creep down one corridor and find Dick, Sam creeps down another and finds Kevin, Meg crashes the car into something, sprays a few Levis and is captured. Then Dean kills Dick. Which don't get me wrong, I'm glad he was the one who got to do it.

But still, what the hell?

Like I said, it didn't particularly bother me during watching but now even thinking back on it makes me kind of livid. I kinda want to go back in time and kick the middle of this episode's ass. Urgh.

Comments

( 13 have dazzled me — Dazzle me )
rheasilvia
Jul. 2nd, 2012 08:16 pm (UTC)
SPN was always, *always* so friggin' awful at building suspense. Gah. I remember so many times when I was sitting incredulously in front of the TV because it would have been so easy to improve the ep by 200%, and the flaws were so. damn. obvious.

*headdesk*
astri13
Jul. 2nd, 2012 08:37 pm (UTC)
SPN was always, *always* so friggin' awful at building suspense.

I know, they've never been particularly good at it but I think this was the least inspired "storming of the gates" I have seen in my entire life. As a director, I would have called up the writer and told them I wouldn't be shooting that crap. Or, I would have changed it to make it feel and look more dynamic.

It's ironic, considering the last few years, I didn't expect much (or anything) out of this episode so I mostly sleep-watched through it and was so pleasantly surprised at the ending, it put me in a totally giddy and enthusiastic mood. Now that cloud has buzzed off, I can't believe how uninspired that main part was.

I didn't think how they went about trapping the Yellow Eyed Demon in that semetary in the Season 2 Finale was particularly well done but at least that scene had some energy in it. This was...mindboggling.

I remember so many times when I was sitting incredulously in front of the TV because it would have been so easy to improve the ep by 200%, and the flaws were so. damn. obvious.

Lots of people have been saying what a great writer Gamble was, just a bad showrunner but I posit she sucked donkey balls even as a writer. Most her best efforts were with Raelle Tucker and if she had one or two good solo hunting? Well, a blind chicken and all. But what does one expect if you make that blind chicken the leader of the henhouse. *headdesk*

rheasilvia
Jul. 2nd, 2012 08:44 pm (UTC)
I don't think it's fair to blame Sera Gamble for everything that's ever been wrong with SPN - the writing was horrible before she ever came along.

The quality of the plot was never the reason why I watched the show; at it's best, the show had some charm because of its unintentional cheesiness, but mostly because, by some good fortune, it happened on a very interesting character dynamic with the Winchester family (including Dad), and had one (and sometimes two) actors who were able to lift a mediocre script into excellent characterization moments. But whenever anyone attempted ambitious plot... major ouch and headdesk time.
astri13
Jul. 2nd, 2012 09:04 pm (UTC)
I don't think it's fair to blame Sera Gamble for everything that's ever been wrong with SPN - the writing was horrible before she ever came along.

Oh, I agree the writing failures were always there but I do blame her for the extra level of suck in Seasons 6 and 7 (and to be frank, to some point for the ultra-stink of Suck Song because I believe it was retro-fitted for her "ideas" for Season 6.) I had my misgvings when she was announced and she managed to surpass even my worst expectations.

But totally, plot, pacing, suspense - never this show's strong point. It was, as you said, a certain goofy charme and the character dynamics giving it a lot of heart, grounding it.

And I don't hold Kripke in a particularly high esteem. I attribute the best influence to the late Kim Manners here.

Though actually character work is another aspect where I believe Season 6 and 7 fell down even more. The characters and relationships were a relentless, repetitive emo mess without rhyme, reason or joy to it. And the plot still sucked. So the glass was basically full empty.
rheasilvia
Jul. 2nd, 2012 09:14 pm (UTC)
Absolutely. I suspect Kim Manners was this show's saving grace in the beginning; IMO, Kripke frankly doesn't seem to know his hands from his feet when it comes to plot and characterization.

And I agree, thje characterization got worse and worse and WORSE. That's the main reason why I just couldn't bear to watch anymore after a certain point. All of the original charm was gone, and the show seemed determined to dwell lovingly on things I thought were not only uninteresting, but actively repelling - while destroying everything I ever actually liked about the show.

I have to say, I can't believe the show lasted this long. I'm actually rather sorry in some ways, because Jensen is way too good an actor for this trainwreck, and ought to be on a far better show.
astri13
Jul. 2nd, 2012 10:07 pm (UTC)
IMO, Kripke frankly doesn't seem to know his hands from his feet when it comes to plot and characterization.

I think he is rather childish in a way, plotwise, he doesn't have a big attention span - I wasn't a fan of the psy-kids storyline in the least but "eh, they got boring so I dropped them" is not exactly inspired writing - and character-wise, I found some of his interviews and views espoused in the show downright disturbing. The culmination of his five-year "plan"? Could have been an angry diary entry from a moody teenager, reading "I'll show them all." Geeze, grow up.

and the show seemed determined to dwell lovingly on things I thought were not only uninteresting, but actively repelling

It was like a certain brand of fanfiction that makes me hit the back button immediately.

I have to say, I can't believe the show lasted this long. I'm actually rather sorry in some ways, because Jensen is way too good an actor for this trainwreck, and ought to be on a far better show.

It also makes me mad. They only get by because they have tolerable ratings for the shitty, shitty network they're on. Where the other shows do even worse. So the producers see no reason to put any effort in it but rest in complacency. Urgh.

Meanwhile, other shows have to really struggle for survival. I was lucky this year as the ones I truly liked and would have been disappointed to lose, new and old, were renewed.

And totally agreed on Jensen. I guess having to play the same emo scene and making it seem different for about 100 episodes in a row is its own acting challenge but I'd LOVE to see him in a quality project. Or at least one that is fun.
leelust
Jul. 2nd, 2012 08:36 pm (UTC)
haha i'm not saying s7 finale was all that good but i kind of slept through s4 fringe finale so there was no suspense for me :)
astri13
Jul. 2nd, 2012 08:39 pm (UTC)
I liked the Fringe Finale. It wasn't as good for me as my favourite, the Season 2 final episodes but I enjoyed it.

The SPN Finale gets a lot of goodwill but only for the potential set up in the last thirty seconds. Otherwise, what a snoozefest. Then again, I expected nothing less from one of their worst writers. Good riddance, Samble.
mareen
Jul. 3rd, 2012 03:57 am (UTC)
I think for me it was the direct comparison that broke it to me, because they aired so close together.
PoI and SPN basically did the same thing, just that one show was breaking in, the other was breaking out. Both group of heroes had a whole army against them, and still SPN was written like freaking Augsburger Puppenkiste, while PoI was written like a multimillion dollar movie.

The thing is, SPN was never good at those scenes, but they saved themselves through their character interaction, at least somewhat. But if that turns meaningless, too, there's nothing left.
astri13
Jul. 3rd, 2012 09:25 am (UTC)
and still SPN was written like freaking Augsburger Puppenkiste, while PoI was written like a multimillion dollar movie.

Take that back, that is an insult to the Augsburger Puppenkiste. :-p

But I know what you mean. And, like I said, I don't expect everything to be as well-written as the PoI scenario but even smaller, much cheaper shows with mediocre writing at best manage to bring energy and suspense to those scenes.

The thing is, SPN was never good at those scenes, but they saved themselves through their character interaction, at least somewhat. But if that turns meaningless, too, there's nothing left.

That's very true. They have systematically written their one good area into the ground in the last few years. Which I believe was due to a mixture of incompetence and not taking any risks. Just because something worked well for character(s) in a Season 1 and 2 doesn't mean it will continue to do so, repeated ad nauseum and made ever more prominent five years later.

Fringe hurt me in the beginning but at least they had guts to so some place.

I'm hoping Carver manages to make at least one thing work, plot or characters, ideally both.
katikat
Jul. 3rd, 2012 08:32 am (UTC)
I still haven't seen Fringe and SPN till the end. And I haven't even tried PoI yet. I kinda don't like the main actors so I'm not sure if it's worth it...
astri13
Jul. 3rd, 2012 09:17 am (UTC)
I saw you had the same troubles with the beginning of Season 4 Fringe I did but starting with ep 12, it's the turning point. So I say don't give up just yet.

On PoI, I didn't have much of an opinion on the main actors before, it was more that the subject matter didn't sound interesting at all but somehow they turned me around.
mareen
Jul. 3rd, 2012 03:43 pm (UTC)
I didn't want to watch PoI at first either, mostly because of Jim Caviezel. But he is such a great actor, and he grows on you. You should give it a try.
( 13 have dazzled me — Dazzle me )