By The Collectress
The Road So Far
Last season saw the brothers in a battle with their biggest foe yet: the Darkness. Upon reuniting the Darkness with her brother, AKA God, the brothers were able to take a long relaxing vacation…oh wait, nope. The boys never catch a break. Dean and Sam are reunited with their mother…who’s been dead for thirty-three years. Oh and Lucifer is footloose and fancy-free (with a baby on the way!) Spoilers ahead, so many spoilers.
Supernatural had its first two-part finale since season 6, and to the surprise of none, this season left viewers awash in feels. Again, warning: this will have spoilers. Turn away if you don’t want to know who survives/doesn’t survive the merciless pens of the SPN writers. Now, I’m gonna be honest, I didn’t watch the two episodes preceding the finale because, well, I didn’t want to. I read synopses, and that was good enough for me. Unfortunately I went into the finale having the biggest plot twist spoiles for me, so it took me a few minutes to catch on to what was going on in the first part of the finale, but let’s see if I can shortly summarize it for you:
The International House of Douchebaggery brainwashed Mary into murdering all American hunters, and she goes after Jody Mills. Dean and Sam escape the sealed-off bunker with the help of sociopathic Brit lady whats-her-name…oh right, I named her Camilla. Well, for whatever reason Camilla seems willing to help the Winchesters get their mother back, and helps Dean enter his mind in an attempt to reach through to her subconscious and break the brainwashing’s hold. Meanwhile Sam proves that he’s watched Gladiator too many times and gives a rousing speech and leads the other American hunters into battle to wipe out the International House of Douchebaggery once and for all.
Mary is restored; Ketch dies; I.H.O.D. falls; and thus ends the storyline we never wanted.
The second part of the finale brings us back to Castiel and Kelly (is that her name?) preparing for the birth of the Satan-Spawn. Lucifer’s broken his bonds and attempts to kill Crowley; but, as Dean accurately describes it, Crowley is like a cockroach and never dies. Lucifer is looking for his son, but to ensure he doesn’t get sent back to the Cage, he kills Rowena off-screen (more on that in a minute), since she’s the only one powerful enough to kill him.
When Kelly goes into labor, the power of the Nephilim tears reality, opening a portal to another dimension in which Sam and Dean were never born. (If you’ve watch BtVS, I imagine that this is what a hell dimension would look like.) Dean, Sam, Castiel, and Crowley team up to shove Lucifer into this other dimension with the help of Other-Bobby, who the writers seem to include just to shove some nostalgia on us. There’s a ritual, because there always is, but it requires a sacrifice—one that Crowley is willing to make. What? What? What? Crowley is sacrificing himself for someone else? What? Mary helps Kelly through her labor, and Lucifer’s baby mama is given the most peaceful death of the episode, which is heavy on the irony considering most viewers didn’t have much emotional connection to the character.
I’m not bitter. I’m not.
Crowley’s sacrifice will seal the portal, but first Lucifer comes back through and stabs Castiel with an angel blade, and in the end, it’s Mary who sucker-punches the Devil back into the alternate universe, trapping herself there in the process.
Now, forgive me, readers, because it’s about to get rant-y.
Dear Supernatural, it’s not me. It’s you.
When Supernatural created the Godstiel storyline and killed Castiel, I kept watching.
When Supernatural killed Bobby Singer, I kept watching.
When Supernatural effectively built an entire season around dick jokes, I kept watching.
When Supernatural killed Kevin Tran, I kept watching.
When Supernatural killed Charlie Bradbury, I kept watching.
That’s the important one: I kept watching after Charlie. I didn’t watch what they did to Eileen, because I’m still hurting for Charlie, but after Rowena’s pathetic off-screen death, Crowley’s out-of-character sacrifice, Mary’s typical Winchestery self-sacrifice, and the ratings-grab plot twist of Castiel’s death, I’m sorry, Supernatural, but it’s not me. It’s you. And I’ll tell you why.
There is a difference between logical narrative progression and a ratings-grab.
I know why you did it, Supernatural. You killed four characters for the ratings. You want us to keep talking about this finale, and the show, all the way through the hellatus, to prove to the network that us fans are just as invested after 12 seasons as we were after two. The problem is that you’ve forgotten why we watch the show: for the characters, not the plot. If I had only been watching SPN for the plot, I’d have quit back in season one when you gave us the racist truck episode. I kept watching because Dean and Sam remind me of my brothers, and characters like Castiel, Bobby, and Charlie became like good friends for me.
Actually, let’s talk about Charlie, and how important it is to note that I kept watching after you killed an intelligent, strong, queer, nerdy woman who is the character I’m most similar to (truth be told, your audience is probably a lot more like Charlie than any of the Winchesters). Watching Charlie die was a bit like watching myself die onscreen, but I kept watching because there were other characters I cared about. Which brings me to:
Deaths of major recurring characters should always have significant emotional repercussions for the other characters and the audience.
It’s a writer’s job to make a character death hurt. Well, unless the character is Joffrey Baratheon. However, I felt little-to-none angst/hurt/sadness over Rowena, Crowley, Kelly, Mary, or Castiel. Instead, I felt rage, rage like I haven’t felt since Charlie’s death. These deaths (yes, I know Mary isn’t dead but she may as well be since she’s trapped with the Devil in another dimension) served as little more than plot devices and none of these characters—except Kelly, who we’ve only known for a handful of episodes–were given deaths that carried any narrative or emotional weight.
Think about Bobby’s death. The Winchesters, and the viewers, were given an entire episode to mourn the character and to realize the importance of Bobby to Dean and Sam. The last five minutes of that episode will always make me cry, because it’s the show really proving how much of a father Bobby was to the boys. The character didn’t need to die to continue the plot, but Bobby’s death had huge narrative impact on the Winchesters. They were pushed to become more self-sufficient, more independent, and without Bobby’s fatherly guidance, we have seen them flounder on occasion.
Rowena died off-screen because the writers chose to use her death to illustrate that Lucifer couldn’t be trapped again. The most powerful witch in the world wasn’t even given the chance to die in battle.
Crowley sacrificed himself so he could one-up Lucifer. Crowley who has wanted nothing more than to be the reigning King of Hell, gave up his reign for petty vengeance.
Mary, who finally forgave herself for the demon-deal she made so many decades ago, traps herself in another dimension with the Devil in the biggest demonstration of Winchester self-sacrifice since “Swan Song.”
And Castiel? Well, I still can’t figure out why the writers killed Castiel other than to isolate the Winchesters next season, so that they have no one to rely on but themselves.
After four very hollow, empty deaths that seemed to serve no purpose other than to place the Winchesters where they were in season one—the two of them against the world—I find myself asking what’s left on Supernatural that I want to watch? What’s left that I want to write about? Do I like the Winchesters? Of course I do, but I like them even more when they have interesting, complicated characters surrounding them, challenging them. What’s left for the Winchesters? I don’t know, and for the first time since I started watching the show in 2007, I don’t care.
If apathy is what you wanted, SPN writers, congratulations. You got it.