I’ve been noodling over “What’s Up, Tiger Mommy?” for a couple days now, and I think I’ve finally settled on what’s been bothering me about it. Because as great as the Dean/Cas reunion scene was, the rest of 8x02 itself was… well, kinda not.
This is true. I thought she was more of a character than she was at first, but the elements I took to be character traits - her badass ‘interrogation’ of the pawn shop owner, her past tatoo etc. - were actually all fairly predictable stereotypes and more than that they were obvious ‘look, this is a woman and she is being strong, isn’t it impressive girls, aren’t you proud of us?’ elements, you know?
But honestly? I don’t care :/ Despite the episode title, I don’t consider that the episode WAS about her, it was about the auction and the tablet and the gods and Dean and Cas etc. etc… and so I didn’t mind her being something of a plot device to further the rest. I didn’t feel a need to care about her. I think to make too much of her character might have detracted from the rest of the story?
But then… IDK, Jodi has a pretty decent character even though we see her in an episode for basically the same length of time as we saw Mama Tran, so I suppose why NOT make more of a character out of Mama Tran…?
I’m sorry. I know this is a problem. But a lot of the time it’s a problem that doesn’t bother me. And most of the time I don’t notice it as problematic as it’s happening.
And I just - I still like her, as she is, she’s fun. And I like the episode A LOT, not just the Dean/Cas moments. The whole thing feels great to me.
I agree Sera was great at female characters… but that’s not enough of a good influence of hers on the show for me to miss her loss… :/
(this probably says more about me and my personal internalisations than anything else I guess - but I’m just not willing to make myself unhappy and destroy my enjoyment of this show by exploring that too deeply so, again, apologies!)
I’m with Holly on this one - I really enjoyed the whole episode and didn’t find Linda Tran’s role in the plot, nor her characterisation, in any way problematic
For one, maybe stereotypes for Asian mothers are different where I am, but the ‘hellcat’ stereotype has only ever applied to Thai women rather than Asians as a whole, and if anything the stereotype I’ve come across for the mothers of overachievers is to be strict and unforgiving of mistakes (naggers) and simultaneously proud of achievements and implying that they could do/should have done better.
For another, why does having a tattoo in any way implicate a ‘hellcat’ stereotype? To me it implies either a rebellious side or… well, I dunno. Tattoos are REALLY common in Scotland, and people get them for all sorts of reasons. Isn’t it stereotypical to imply that the only reason she might have gotten a tattoo is to fit into the ‘hellcat’ stereotype?
To me, mama Tran was portrayed as being an intelligent, independent thinker, someone fiercely protective and incredibly proud of her son and his achievements, and as a flexible person - perfectly willing to completely uproot her life in order to face unimaginable terrors.
To imply that she took away Kevin’s agency by selling her soul is, to me, an insult to her character. It would have been taking away his agency to, having just got him back in her life after not knowing what happened to him, refuse to let him leave again with two hunters in order to retrieve the Word of God. Instead, she supported him in a way that also served to put his mid at ease about her own well-being, by going with them. And what mother would not sell her soul in those circumstances? Kevin couldn’t sell his - he’s the prophet - and the Winchesters are, to her, virtual strangers. Why should they make the sacrifice for her flesh and blood? That’s not taking away his agency. That is making a decision to make a selfless sacrifice in order to obtain an object not only for her son, but for protection the entire world. This object that would allow someone - her son - to close the gates of hellforever.
Did Sam take away Dean’s agency by deciding to jump into the pit with Lucifer inside of him to stop the apocalypse?
Ooooh, all of this :) Nicely put basicandmundane. Thanks. And this makes me think there’s more to Mama Tran than I gave her credit for.
Especially like the importance of her going along with Kevin as support, because that really WAS a role in the episode wasn’t it? As a supporting character. And THAT’S OKAY, it doesn’t have to lessen your individuality.
Thinking about it now I also think we’re doing her and Kevin’s relationship a disservice. Surely the overprotective mother trope is a character the child will naturally shy away from and not want around? This is not true of Kevin, who was clearly OVER THE MOON when his mother decided to join the party, he really really appreciated having her there. Yet at the same time he wasn’t submissive with her, they felt very much like a TEAM to me. In fact, wasn’t the point of the ending that they ran off TOGETHER, as equals?
So yeah, I will continue to like her and like her and Kevin together :) I think there’s every chance we will see more of her and see her grow and develop as the season goes on. I know this wasn’t her first episode, but I don’t really think less than 5 mins in each of the 2 she was in before really count. This was her FIRST episode really, so of course she’s gonna be a little unformed. Even CAS was fairly flat in his first couple of episodes.
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