Supernatural - Ghostfacers
The Grand Canyon. Geologic emptiness hollowed by water and time. Its beauty is the beauty of negative space, of red rocks, of lonely cliffs. Splits. Echoes. Looping trails that branch and you’re lost. Burning heat. Freezing water. River abundance. Desert scarcity.
Perspective. It shapes every moment.
“Tall Tales” played with Point of View. “Ghostfacers” flits with its mirror opposite. The “really real” of reality t.v. Never mind editing, bleeping, and pixilated life, the episode presents an idea of some realer than real version of an episode.
It plays an outsider’s perspective, and yet, and yet… Ed and Harry aren’t our characters. We, the viewer, spend the building moments in anticipation, not of the ghost, but of “our” boys. Six minutes in and there’s a rumble. A blast of the mother road engine and “We’re an American Band” and a bit of light. Blurry faces and they drive by.
Perspective makes the Ghostfacers funny, because they are the reflection to the Winchesters. Image inverted, rippling and seeming banal.
I was most struck by the comment about lone wolves wanting over wolves. Pack animals longing for connection. Because the Ghostfacers are swimming in connections. Family. Work. Home. Resources. History.
Ghost facers, with their Ghost buster’s last names. This is their night job. Their day jobs are firmly rooted not only in the mundane, but in the copying of the original. Kinkos. They seem to exist permanent childhood. Their headquarters are Ed’s family home. In the garage. The door lifts and in the dark, we see the pale image of some hatted long suffering father, who let’s his children take his parking space for their dabbling.
The characters present their little one on one interviews, intended to position them. Present them. Root them in the narrative that they are creating.
Spruce tell us that he is 1/16th Cherokee. Hmmm… family legend has it that I’m 1/16th Cherokee. I know quite a few other people with family stories that have a Cherokee great grand in the tree. No proof, just family stories. Many years ago, a board I was on had a discussion of the statistical improbability of all that Cherokee decent.
I can’t really say for other countries, but it’s often struck me as a peculiarly American thing to desire to be some sliver of the Othered. Some justification of the nibbled appropriation of culture, even as we’ve devoured the space. Spruce both makes claim to that othered culture and disparages it as he rides around in his golf cart over strange landscaped space for his one-on-one perspective moment. He is in his day job, clearing golf balls. And the thing he chooses to share about himself is a 1/16th of possible/improbable inheritance. With 15/16ths Jewish, he could lay claim to Cabalistic tradition or some sort of equally unlikely vague Prague connection, but that’s not how he chooses to present himself.
And in a “really-real” scenario, what a person chooses to reveal says as much about them as the thing itself.
The act of revealing. Of attempting to define the most interesting, be impressed by me sort of connection and yet… it’s a connection less real than even this post. You can read and then comment. The connection Spruce is making is one way. He presents himself and there is no space for dialog. It simply is.
And so easily erased. A magnet’s zap and the memory is melted gone to not even 1s and 0s.
Lone wolves and Eagle’s nest. Base camp. Climbing Mount Everest, not because it’s sacred, or it has significance, but because it’s there.
The use of cameras provides both distance for the characters from the event that they are experiencing, and immediacy for the viewing audience. Nausea from the camera movement. Rattling run.
Ed begins blind to Harry and Maggie’s relationship, Corbett’s feelings, and after all of that, he still doesn’t get it. Still busy at the end trying to make some connection with the camera, with us, the distant one-way viewer.
There are simpler ways to cash in. Implicit within what they’re trying to do is to talk to someone who stands on the other side of the great divide. Not an undiscovered country, from whose bourne none return, but a cliff. Far away. The wind whips at words, but the image is there. Flickering on the edge of what the eye can see.
Adopted sister. Best-sister. Maggie’s hurt over the implicit rejection of not being a “real” sister. But when Ed walks over the salt line to comfort Corbett, she goes with him. She doesn’t have to. There’s no expectation, but a desire to connect.
Corbett, his first name fading away, in full bloom crush, love. He was so pleased to look like Robocop (A man brutally murdered in the line of duty, revived by a soulless entity [well, corporations don’t have souls, ask Profit], and slotted into some half alive robotic servitude.) and so full of hope for what was to come. Post facto. We see his moment of connection. He’s dead. He has already been killed, already become Robocop as we see him tell the camera of his hesitant almosts hopes for the future.
It’s a fine line between honoring and exploiting.
The story is from an outsider’s point of view, but we know Sam & Dean. We understand the underlying thread when Dean rejects the spurious connection of spilling his guts over the deal to Spruce. This isn’t his night job. Nor even merely his job. He not only will never cash in, but will pay the ultimate price.
Two months before the divide opens up. Sam alone. Dean alone. In the pit that is about emptiness. That wears at the stone of soul until even the stalwart becomes other. Black eyes. Empty. Splash the rocks red and cliffs.
As they come to this, their Grand Canyon, he has been preparing for this climb the last year. And even so, Dean can yell at the echo all he wants. He can’t be heard. The dead have to care from their wind chilled side. Not just canyon walls, but mesas, each isolated from the others.
And then there’s the other character.
Daggett. The house isn't even named after him.
Ghostly lock down. Stay. Don’t leave. Only connect.
He knows that he’s dead. He told Sam, but we don’t see it. He threw a birthday party, but nobody came. Just the empty bodies that he stole.
It was going to destroy the world. He feared that cold. Filled his bunker with food and “friends”, but it didn’t warm him. He left their dusty comfort to go into the echoing home above to kill himself. In such loneliness, in fear of the mundane end of the world, he died. Nuclear War. Cancer. When what happened to him was above the natural.
He brought those dead into his house, but they don’t see him. Leap the years, and they’re trapped in some echo of their own deaths.
Someone or something killed them and that’s the endless loop of what they see. Shot. Train. Even Corbett, he rises to the floor above and bleeds in his confusion.
Consider all those that died in that house, and these are Morton’s only companions. He is surrounded by people who don’t see him. He made them attend his party and he killed them to keep them, and with the exception of Corbett, they would all seem to have left the party. Even if they had remained, lost in the echo, they’d offer no companionship.
Of the three corpses, he stole, we see two of them. But we don’t see the suicide. The person so lost in some internal depression, empty deep dark down, that they took their own life. Unless you want to count Daggett.
And he’s no re-echo, repeating endlessly the death not understood. Again remember, he told Sam how he died. Corbett’s camera was still running, but we don’t see it. That reality was edited out.
Hicks, not cops. Assholes from Texas. Only first names. No mention of brothers. Just name and gesture. They might seem harsh, abrupt, run, run, run. But we know them.
And for all of that, they don’t save the day. Dean saves Sam, and then it’s Thursday and Sam is smashed and Dean is flung and the outsider to even the Ghostfacer’s little group. The intern. Longing. Hopeful. Crushing.
On one hand, I find his death problematic, and yet oddly, he was the most real character in the episode. Which would seem to be an underlying theme of the show. All the great and interesting, they don the red shirt. Red as the rocks of canyons and blood.
Able to save the world when he's reminded of love. Ghosts have a history of both killing and saving things on this show. Sometimes, the burning figure is a mother saving the day. The dripping children take away the woman in white. Sometimes, the summoned brother takes his brother in a watery embrace. Splash. Dissolve. Light. Corbett was made of light.
The Grand Canyon is justly named. Wide and deep and full of smaller canyons. Smaller stories. Blurred photos. A friend of mine got lost there once. Three days and he almost died. On a hiking trip that I went on. So, when they called Morton House the Grand Canyon, I did think about how beautiful the Grand Canyon is. How easy, if you’re not paying attention, to get into trouble.
Lonely spaces and only connect.
It's the river that runs through that makes the canyon and wears away to the beauty below the dust. We'll see how the river wears on.