I've lamented repeatedly that Dabb's MO is to go wide and shallow instead of deep and narrow. That hasn't changed. I will be eternally resentful of the current administrations' tactic of turning Supernatural, The Little Show That Could—a personal, tragic, heroic story of the Winchester family—into this broad, diluted repeat-variation on the same thematic buzzword (“You're family”, “found family”, “But we're family!”, “family family family...”) and struggling artlessly to expand into an ensemble production with storylines in Heaven, Hell, our Earth, a spin-off, and multiple parallel universes.
The magic and heart that was the original SPN is dead and gone. Salt and burn that puppy. There are still characters I care deeply about, and I will stick with them to the bitter end, but I think this finale really capped it for me. This is not my show anymore. SPN is still my only fandom, and I love my fandom buds with every fiber of my being! I'm not going anywhere anytime soon, but whatever Dabb (and Singer, I suppose) has turned Supernatural into, it's a big, gloppy mess that only superficially resembles its former self. There is nothing beneath the surface anymore. It's all platitudes and spitballs of fanservice. Good thing J2 are still damned pretty to watch, s'all I gotta say.
I've long held that Dean Winchester is our POV character. The opening montage pretty much confirmed that. BUT! I adore Dean, and his voice is fun as hell to write in, so I can't blame the show for going there. For as much as he rebukes “chickflick moments”, he feels deeply and wears his heart on his sleeve. He's funny, bad-ass, roguish, gets all the good lines, etc. He's a damned treat!
However, it'll be interesting to see what the show does, now that Dean is stuffed inside an angel, his autonomy and “self” subjugated. Will the show actually let Sam's POV take the reins? Will it make that leap and give Sam driving, bemusing, smart dialogue? Dare I hope? * insert sad laughter here * (Actual prediction: they'll spend their energy developing Michael—because Jensen—and Sam will continue to be the show's Straight Man.)
But I'm getting ahead of myself...
Apparently, the Bunker is now Hunter Central. Guess there's no sense in keeping it a secret anymore, since every damned angel, monster and demon can get into it. They should hire a housemother, a chef, advertise on AirBnB.
Time has clearly passed, because Sam, Dean, Cas and Jack have been tackling routine hunts. Dean makes the mistake of dreaming of retirement. Alt!Bobby wants to stay, and it looks like Mary Winchester is the reason. Now, I've seen a lot of fans “ew, gross”-ing about the idea that Mary and Bobby could be an item. Why? This Bobby didn't raise Sam and Dean. Is it the supposed age difference? They're both grown-ass adults. Hey, if they want to share funtimes and swap hunt stories? Why not?
From show dialogue, marketing I've seen plugging S14 and personal appearances, looks like Jared, Jensen and Misha are indeed the “three leads”. (Anyone know if Misha has been picked up for official lead status? Or are they simply including him on junkets to make fans happy?) Kinda weird, though, that Cas did next to nothing this episode. He was little more than an omni-directional bug to listen in on angels and monsters. I hope they have actual plans for the character next year. Likely, it will be the storyline concerning re-propagating Heaven. Which, okay now that Jack is de-powered, how the Hell are they going to make new angels?? Make more archangel nephilim? OH, WAIT. This would be right up Michael!Dean's alley, yeah? LOL
Still getting ahead of myself...
Enjoyed Dean's fatherly talk to Jack about nightmares. Sam's hair is glorious this episode. The retro gas station where they find unfortunate Nate is a great location. But so much of the direction this episode … yikes.
Dean shooting Jack to rescue unfortunate Nate? Dude, what if the bullet had gone through Jack? OR YOU MISSED. I know you're a crack shot, but please. And did anyone else think setting a big fire (albeit holy) by gas pumps was a good idea? Eh, maybe Nate was already dead by then, anyways. Unfortunately.
The repeated use of flashbacks this episode felt unnecessary and sort of insulting to the audience. But I dunno; maybe that's standard operating procedure for basic TV these days. (I'm used to the savvier production on Netflix, I guess.) Additionally, there were so many awkward, pregnant reaction shots that made the characters seem like they were just standing there gawking when seasoned hunters would be jumping into action. Clumsy editing.
Mike shows up at the Bunker. Sam, Dean and Cas stand there … why again? (You cannot tell me there is only one way in and out of the Bunker, and they were buying time. Run, you fools!) Then we begin the stunts on wires. Oh, why must we have begun the stunts on wires? They were Not Good™.
Lucifer did a bang-up job of suckering Jack into buying his bullshit, I'll give him that. And Dean's stricken face when Luci, Jack and Sam blipped away was DELICIOUS. That's the stuff RIGHT THERE. Sorry, Cas, Dean listened to you once when you convinced him Sam was gone (in the Tunnel of Feral Vamps); you won't do it again. Saving Sam is the one thing that'll make Dean agree to an angel possession. We've seen it before. It's Dean, through and through. (Straight up? Fuck the fans who campaign for the “healing” of the “toxic co-dependency”. I call it “loyalty”. It's wet and warm and I like it, to paraphrase Lucifer... >:-) )
We get a stellar overhead shot of Sam landing in a church where Lucifer has teleported him and Jack. (Shoulders, hello!) Confirmation that Sam is Jack's favorite father figure … priceless. But then the staging of the scene where Luci drops the archangel blade and wants Jack or Sam to pick it up and fight was silly.
But no. (Now, I'm not getting ahead of myself, heh!)
Michael!Dean makes a spectacular entrance that quickly devolves into a ridiculous mid-air combat. I laughed, I cried, I laughed some more. It completely threw me out of the scene.
I didn't avoid spoilers prior to this episode, but Dabb and Singer themselves made it pretty clear Dean was going to say yes to Michael. No stretch there. (Which is definitely something Jensen will sink his teeth into. I'm am excite!) But I wanted ONE THING from the finale for Sam. One. Damned. Thing. And it was Sam killing Lucifer. This thing did not happen.
Most fans were happy with Sam helping Dean kill Lucifer. After all, teamwork makes the dream work, and Sam killed Alastair, right?
I was not. From a character- and emotional-arc perspective (and in my not-so-humble opinion), the only right way to do it was to let Sam land the killing blow on Lucifer. Re. Sam killing Alastair, it was important to show Dean that Sam could conceivably control his demonblood-fueled power, to add emotional complications, and they needed Dean to be in a certain mind-space for the following episode.
Here's the thing: the story isn't the events themselves, IT'S THE WHY. Of course Sam was stupid happy Lucifer was dead. No more snide taunts of rape and torture. No more fears that Lucifer would hurt anyone else. But from a full-circle, everything-is-the-story point of view, it blew chunks that Sam didn't get to have the last say. That the entity who traumatized him for almost two centuries (as best we can guess by the way time runs in Hell) was killed by someone else.
I think Dabb knew this. It's why when Sam breathlessly said to Dean, “You did it!”, Dean clarified that “We did it.” Dabb knew it would be a sticking point, so he plopped a lampshade on it. (I half-wonder if the actors changed the dialogue on the day of filming. Wouldn't shock me one bit.)
Unsurprisingly, Michael takes back the wheel and skinrides Dean outta there, leaving a bloodied Jack and a miserable Sam, alone in the church. Fabulous ending scene!
Coulda been. But because Dabb and Singer have the combined taste level somewhere between “low-hanging fruit” and “Dude, dude, this is the coolest shit ever, I swear. It'll be awesome!”, we get Michael!Dean … who has decided that a costume change is in order, something Cas has been incapable of doing for umpteen seasons now. Which, in itself isn't awful! Quite attractive, in fact. But then they have to zoom in on his glowing blue eyes (duh, like we didn't know it was an angel) AND A FREEZE FRAME. Seriously, what. Didn't they make fun of that in 'The French Mistake'?
It just boils down to taste. That was some tacky, C-list movie junk right there. Completely unnecessary. All it told us—in a thoroughly cheeseball way—was that Mikey had changed clothes.
This, coupled with Sam being robbed of his character's due, left me sighing and kinda meh inside. I'm happy for my Dean-ward leaning buds—they got some good shit right there—and I know, I know, Sam has a wonderful support system to lean on, he's not alone, blah blah blah.
It's just so … tame. Banal. Riskless.
We know Dean is safe inside Michael. And because the show hardly ever makes Dean seem the villain, Michael will probably go around killing people who deserve it. (Demon!Dean and MoC Dean, anyone?) All the while, we'll get Dean wailing inside of his vessel's mind and self-loathing what he's being made to do, because that's what Dean does and the show is usually told from Dean's POV. Roadtripping with Rowena and Charlie might make for a fun one-off episode. Heaven and Hell can wither and die, for all I care.
So as I see it, the quandary becomes: how is this going to be any different than Sam going after demon!Dean, apart from the fact it'll be easier because he has a crap-ton of resources now? They know how to eject angels. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt. The only thing I can see … the only thing I can picture being any sort of personal risk for the characters and a logical move for Michael … is he needs to kill Jack, Mary, Cas and Sam before Dean figures out a way to eject Michael. I will eat my shoe if Michael!Dean kills, say, Mary or Jack or alt!Bobby the way they had Gadreel!Sam kill Kevin.
I'm looking forward to all the awesome events fandom has going over the summer hiatus! But I'm honestly struggling to give many shits about the show coming back this fall. Sorry, gang.