Archive for May, 2011

This post has **SPOILERS** in case you haven’t seen the season finale of Supernatural. You’ve been warned.

In short, I was very pleased with the season six finale of Supernatural last Friday. Of course, I don’t just do “in short”, as most people who know me will attest to, so allow me to rant and rave on everything Dean and Sam-related that we’ve enjoyed these past eight months.

First off, aside from the actual episode itself, I liked what The CW network did with the schedule. Smallville was having its series finale be a two-hour event, so they delayed the pre-finale episode of Supernatural and gave the show its own two-hour send-off with back to back episodes. With that formula, I thought it was a satisfying one-two punch that held nothing back and kept moving forward to the final knockout.

Second, I liked that I was watching the episode in real time on its home network along with its legions of other fans. I only first got into the show a little over a year ago by finally doing what I had always meant to do and pick up the first four seasons on DVD. I blazed through each set in what had to be record time and by that stage, season five had just ended on TV. I was left with the entire summer to go by without anything new to watch on the Winchester front until the fifth season hit stores. Again, on the day of its release I picked it up and burned through it (watching the finale, Swan Song, twice) and was right there in my living room to see the season six premiere.

So now, onto the last pair of episodes themselves…

I’ll admit that in all we heard, and didn’t see, about the war in Heaven going on from Castiel, Balthazar and Raphael, it turned me off and I wasn’t a fan of it. I know that Supernatural has always had just the smallest air of religion and issues about Heaven and Hell surrounding it at times, but nothing really excited me about this supposed battle going on above our heads and in the skies. Add to that the fact that nothing about any war was ever SHOWN on our TV screens, and it just added to my indifference about the whole thing. Of course, that can be attributed to the show having a more limited budget than others, but the production team has found ways around that before to give us some incredible imagery in the past.

Moving on…

I was very impressed with the first hour of the finale and it showed that age-old problem that Dean and Sam have run into in the past, and that’s having to sacrifice something even if it emotionally rips you apart. It’s a rather obvious issue that would come with their careers – these are guys that hunt monsters, demons and every other thing on the list, after all – but that doesn’t make the pain go away or hurt any less.

Dean, Sam and Bobby are trying to locate a guide to Purgatory that horror author H.P. Lovecraft used to possess, but the episode takes a swerve when Lisa and Ben (Dean’s former attempt at a normal family life) are kidnapped by Crowley (suave-speaking British demon in charge of Hell, for you noobs). Castiel is no help since he’s at odds with the trio about the whole Purgatory thing (Cas making a deal with Crowley and wanting to open it to ingest 50,000 souls to try and end the war in Heaven, the gang arguing that it’ll just unleash a shitload of monsters on Earth), so they get his angel bro Balthazar to help them out.

In the ensuing battle to get Lisa and Ben back, a twist comes where she turns out to have a demon inside her. Then, under the bastard’s power, Lisa stabs herself and things don’t look good. Dean exorcises the demon and carries her out of there, getting Sam to speed to a hospital. In the room, Castiel shows up and even though he and Dean are still at odds with each other, he heals Lisa to the point where her injuries aren’t life-threatening. Before Cas leaves, Dean gets him to do one last favor, and that turns out to be wiping Lisa and Ben’s memories of him.

This was a surprising move, I thought, but not unlike Dean to try and protect people he loves at all costs. Watching him stand in the doorway of Lisa’s hospital room and having Ben look up at Dean and ask ‘Who are you?’ probably raised more than a few eyebrows. Dean making up a story of accidentally running his car into Lisa and landing her in the hospital is really powerful stuff, especially when he starts to break down and is pretty much biting his lips to stop himself. It’s scenes like this that really show the talent that Jensen Ackles has as an actor. In the six years Supernatural has been on the air he’s progressed so much, even though he was very good to begin with.

The season finale itself in hour two started off suspenseful as it looked like Sam was on the run from the cops and then it was realized that he had no memory. Of course, this turns out to all be in his head, as Castiel has opened up Sam’s mental wall that was blocking out his memories of Hell in the hopes that it would distract Dean and Bobby from trying to stop the opening of Purgatory. Inside his head, Sam is running into different versions of himself; the soulless, cold-blooded asshole that slayed more than just monsters for nearly half of season six, and then the version that remembers being in Hell. To move forward in this mystery, he has to kill these clones and therefore, he gains all these memories back.

No doubt, in season seven there’s gonna be some real fucked up psychological issues that Sam will have to face.

Meanwhile, Dean and Bobby have no choice but to leave Sam out cold on a bed since they’re still at war with Castiel and Crowley and again enlist Balthazar as backup. When Cas realizes his brother has been helping the pair, he kills him. Later, dude. And when it comes to his business partner Crowley, Cas decides to pull out of their deal and that obviously pisses the King of Hell off to no end.

Dean and Bobby show up to the building where Cas is going to perform the ritual to open Purgatory, but they’re not alone as Crowley and new partner Raphael arrive in style, creating a black whirlwind that ends up flipping the Impala over onto its side with Dean and Bobby inside. Christ, seems Dean does nothing but do fix-ups on that thing every season.

Inside, Cas realizes his arch-angel nemesis is Crowley’s new investor and seems somewhat complacent by this fact. Dean and Bobby crawl out of the car wreckage and make it into the building just to hear Cas confess that he’d already performed the ritual.

I thought this was a cool revelation and it reminded me of the conclusion of Alan Moore’s graphic novel ‘Watchmen’ when the antagonist tells the good guys that he already pulled the switch on his diabolical master plan. Some baddies are just plain smarter.

So anyway, just like how Lucifer did to him at the end of last season, Cas simply snaps his fingers and Raphael literally explodes. He allows Crowley to live as Cas “has plans for him”. Sam shows up in time and tries sticking a blade through Cas in a last-ditch effort to…..well, try anything, I guess, but that doesn’t do shit. The episode ends with Castiel telling Sam, Dean and Bobby to kneel before him or be wiped out, for he is their New God.

Of course, I’m really just giving you the basics on what happened. It’s some pretty heavy stuff if you haven’t been watching this whole season.

Overall, I really liked the finale and my earlier indifference on the whole Heavenly War stuff was really chipped away by the time the credits rolled. It made me care much more about the overall big picture of what I was seeing. Season seven is gonna be interesting, and I’m sure there are a lot of heartbroken Castiel fans now that he’s somewhat of a main villain, at least for now.

So how would I classify the entire past season? In a word – dark. It was more suspenseful, more violent, more bloody and more unforgiving than probably anything we’ve seen on the show, period. And I liked it. To me, it fits Supernatural to a T, especially since these characters are older and they’ve seen and encountered virtually everything there is. The show itself is also getting up there in age and it can’t all just be Dean and Sam hunting down the Monster of the Week. There were obviously a few lighter episodes than most in season six, but overall it just seemed like the show was painted over in jet black, and I’m not saying that was a bad thing.

It’s always darkest before the dawn, there’s a silver lining at the end of the tunnel, all that jazz.

It wasn’t all good, though. I didn’t think it was a perfect season by any means. (Truth be told, I think the first three seasons were the show’s best, though four and five were certainly memorable.) I wasn’t particularly impressed with season six’s premiere episode, and I outright hated the entire “inside joke” episode that actually cast Dean and Sam as their real-life selves, Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki, and didn’t really go anywhere.

Still, even though I have to say season six was the show’s weakest, there was more good than bad and as I said, I liked the darkness that it had at most times. The show sometimes does one too many jokes for my tastes, and luckily by the time season six rolled around, I think the writers felt the same way and did away with a lot of it.

I’m looking forward to the seventh season of Supernatural, and I’m also curious to see if this will be the show’s last. There’s talk online that Jensen and Jared are actually signed up for a possible season eight, but that isn’t confirmed. If it comes to an end a year from now, I wouldn’t be disappointed because I’d hate to see Supernatural become redundant and just going through the motions. The key to a great send-off will be whether the producers announce their intentions of ending the show so that they have enough time to finish the story of the Winchester brothers.

Either way, I’ll be along for the ride.