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A Somewhat Pragmatic Argument

A Somewhat Pragmatic Argument

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There has been a lot of outcry over the torture scene in Caged Heat, that I agree with -- I'm always happy to raise the feminist hackles in the name of female exploitation (who else hates the phrase "rape shower" ?) but honestly, while Meg's scene was terrible for so many reasons, I have to admit that I was not bothered by the original scene with Ruby in S4. In my opinion, there are a LOT of crucial differences that need to be addressed.

The scene with Ruby was shot with close camera angles in a very tight space that was mostly shadowy and dark. We only ever got partial shots of her nude body, and they were things like close ups on a clenching fist or her feet straining against the bonds or the blade of the knife. It was claustrophobic and psychologically charged, and of course Alastair is AWESOME. We also got a shot of Ruby's bloody gash, too. 

But with Meg, we start off with a full body pan that includes her lower body (we never saw Ruby's) and lots of gratuitous flesh shots. It's a *very* well lit open space and the focus of all the shots is pretty clear: her exposed body, period. We didn't even get a shot of any wounds -- so that's seriously the whole point, torture has like nothing to do with it! Also, Christian is boring and flat and brought nothing to the scene; he *so* does not have the dramatic flair of Alastair. And the dialogue was just a bunch of super insensitive rape innuendo. LIKE WTF?

I guess what I'm saying is that Ruby's torture scene was done as artistically as possible, where Meg's was much cheaper and showy. Neither scene really contributes to the plot anyway; but they're two different brands for sure.

This is just another instance where Sera Gamble tries to pull off something that Kripke had already done earlier, but misses the mark and that certain je ne sais quoi, and whatever she's trying to do becomes the less awesome, unepic b-side ripoff. In this case, it also becomes inappropriate and insensitive. In conclusion, I love Pizza!Cas.

Right now I'm sitting in an ugly break room with aching feet. Very late tonight, I will go home to enormous amounts of homework. I hope you all are in happier places than I.

Ruby's scene ---

Note the awesome establishment shots of various body parts.

This is the only shot where we see the lower half of her body.

Ruby's eyes are black because Season 4 was epic and hardcore. Meg's were not because Sera can't keep track of important niche details like this. High King and High Queen Edmund and Lucy, everyone.

Alastair is actually *interrogating* Ruby -- he stays near her upper body so he can talk to her in his creepy way. His torturing style is paternal and methodical; during this scene Alastair also mentions that he was a Nazi. Note the close angles, shadows on Alastair's face, and the highlighted sheen of sweat on Ruby. This is like the cinematic equivalent of Caravaggio.

The one, brief wide shot of this scene. Note the dark room with detective-style interrogation light.

The shot of Ruby's wound (Alastair's work, evidence that he actually accomplished something and the torture scene wasn't a complete waste of screentime).

Meg's scene ---

Establishment shot is a wide full-body pan of her strapped in.

She has no wounds yet, and it's sort of like a pristine presentation of her exposed flesh on a silver platter. Literally.

Camera lingers on this image in a slow zoom, unlike Ruby's scene that (besides the establishment shots) was done with a shifting close cam. And like, HOW WELL-LIT is this scene?! It's screaming LOOK AT HER THERE.

A skeevy *very* objectified shot where Christian strokes Meg with the knife (between the breasts). It is interesting to note that Alastair also does this (he strokes Ruby's cheek with the knife blade while they are at the crossroads) but it doesn't have the creepy sexual overtones that Christian's gestures do. Actually, the dynamic between Ruby and Alastair is NOTHING like Meg and Christian's. Except for the fact that Ruby is strapped down naked, there's nothing sexual or rape suggestive in their dialogue/interaction.

A shot of Meg looking *down* indicating the attention on the lower half of her body. You can seem some shallow wounds now, randomly placed because Christian is a totally incompetent torturer, and anyway his big focus is not on Meg or any information she might have to tell him. Otherwise he'd be close up like Alastair was.

A close up of Christian popping up from (presumably) between Meg's legs like a psycho gynecologist. They trade barbs with rape innuendo -- it comes from both of them, and is REALLY UNCOOL. WTF SHOW.

Even when Dean comes to rescue her, they make sure to include as much of Meg as they can fit in there. Like really?

I also want to point out that what we saw in Ruby's brief scene was her breaking point -- Alastair had presumably been torturing her for a considerable amount of time, and their dialogue is some torture, some concession. Things are *accomplished*, sort of. There is drama and conflict. But Meg's scene is half Christian contemplating her body, half her screaming/giving snarky attitude implying she's being knife-raped. (read: WTF ANGER.) The upper body-lower body distinction is absolutely crucial here. In conclusion, S4 will be forever epic and S6 continues to make me angry. 

And okay, I wasn't going to include this because it's seriously Hebe all over again, a mark of my utter visual nerdiness, but. I noticed it when I was capping and I know Meto will get a kick out of it.

This is the only full-body image we have of Ruby being tortured. Tilt your laptop screen down and look closely -- see in the knife? There's a refection of Ruby laid out/strapped in. You can *just* see the wide bottom strap at the base of the hilt, the boob strap in the middle of the knife teeth, and near the top, the chin strap. They look like dark stripes going across the surface of the blade. [/nerdness]
  • One word: MERLIN
    • LOLOLZ clearly I am behind the times! Hopefully I'll get a bit of free time in which to watch. The tweets are VERY intriguing!

      Sigh sigh. When Merlin is more exciting than SPN, something is wrong with the universe.
  • Agreed. So much agreement. I was thinking about this while rewatching last night, and you've perfectly said my reason for hating it with Meg whereas I was oookay with it with Ruby.

    I of course don't notice as much stuff to do with lighting and angles and such <333 but Ruby's torture scene was done as artistically as possible, where Meg's was much cheaper and showy. That.
    When they did it with Ruby, I was super uncomfortable and creeped out and I didn't like it, but I didn't feel that it was *completely* gratuitous (which, I mean, obviously it was, but no more than Show normally is, and there wasn't all the implied rape. It was straight torture, with a hefty side of exploiting women), whereas here I was just straight appalled.

    <333 hang in there with the homework!!! I will be on skype tonight while I finish prepping for finals if you need to squee/complain.
    • Yes yes yes! The strength of that scene is the psychological creep-out!! Alastair, how I love thee. Meg's just made me MAD because it was so BAD.

      If we were to look at it away from what we know about Show and its treatment of women... it gets kind of funny to think of. Maybe only super-professional torturers get to bring on the naked. Maybe that's why Dean kept Alastair's shirt on? He's an amateur? And Christian sucked and was trying way too hard, so he stripped Meg down because that's what he mentor Alastair would do. But he totally faaaaailed. I have no idea where I am going with this lolz.

      Actually, they probably kept Alastair's clothes on in Cas' Enochian devil's trap because they way he was strung up would have been waaaay too much crucifixion imagery if he'd been stripped down.
      • LOLOLOLOL and that's why Meg's laughing! Because she knows he's so terrible and is just trying to imitate Alistair, and Meg knows he's got nothing on Alistair! lol

        and w0rd on the crucifixion imagery. it's already rife with it - giving him what is basically to devils vinegar to drink. knife in the side is sort of like the spear in the side. even just the way his head tilts over unsupported at times is such classic crucifixion posing. loooove it
        • HEY REMEMBER WHEN SPN WAS AWESOME AND AMAZING AND DID COOL STUFF LIKE CRUCIFIXION IMAGERY?! Doing all those caps actually made me sad, because I miss season 4. A lot. REMEMBER URIEL?! SRSLY. If Tessa's reappearance sucks, I'm gonna cry.

            anywho. oh man do I remember. You know that I am loving this season, and I know that you are not, but we both agree that Four was the pinnacle of awesome. OH SHOW, BRING BACK THE AWESOME.
  • Basically Meg's torture scene was like...like someone wanted to have some porn in their spn and decided to go for it. UGH.
    • (so basically I agree with you and WTF GAMBLE.)
      • Heee, so it was like... Adorable porn happened with Team Free Will in the motel room, and ridiculous offensive porn happens with annoying Campbells. No surprise there!

        And when Cas and Meg liaise, amazing things happen. Angels do porn RIGHT. Uriel probably owned an XXX production company.
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