#SPN300: The ‘Winchester’ Surprise

Well, fam, I didn’t expect to be here again, writing about Supernatural, again…ever. It’s been a while since my last rantblog about the finale of season 12, and well, I took a season-long break from the show because I didn’t know if I could love it anymore. I recently caught up on the show, just in time for its 300th episode, “Lebanon.”

Supernatural celebrates turning 300 by reminding fans why they fell in love with the show in the first place. For me, it was a surprising dosage of Winchester feels, followed by a jolt of nostalgia. *spoilers below*

The episode, to its merit, separates itself from the rest of the season by being neither Monster-of-the-Week or Heavy-On-The-Overarching-Plot. Instead, its a hybrid of many things: it’s got a good old-fashioned salt n’ burn, it’s got stupid teenagers messing with occult objects and causing weird shit to happen, it’s got Angel Douchebags, and, of course, it’s got enough Winchester moments to have us clasping at our hearts and crying, “My poor babes!” (No? Just me? Okay…awkward).

an impromptu plan that doesn’t work

The boys end a hunt by clearing out a thrift store full of occult, haunted, and mystical objects. The aforementioned stupid teenagers steal Baby, mess with the wrong cursed object, and cause a weird psycho ghost clown to manifest. The teens then learn The Truth About Monsters from the boys, and after returning to the bunker, Sam tells Dean that there is an item in the loot that may help him get the Angelic Douchebag, Michael, out of his mental prison cell. The item, a pearl, is supposed to make the holder’s greatest desire come true.

Dean doesn’t really think it through when he accepts the item from Sam, and, of course, the plan, doesn’t work. The pearl, however, does. We all know that Dean’s biggest desire is to have his family together, and the pearl pulls John Winchester out of 2003 and into 2019.

surprised by feels

While the 200th episode of SPN, “Fan Fiction“, was a big celebration of the fandom and the overreaching influence of the show, the 300th is wish-fulfillment. Since Mary Winchester’s return to the show, the fans have long speculated if there would be a reunion, even temporary, for the entire Winchester family, and SPN delivered. With feels.

I’ve never been a big fan of John Winchester, but the look on his face when he hears Mary’s voice for the first time in decades will make me emotional for probably the next 15 seasons. If anything, this episode redeemed the oft-neglectful Winchester patriarch in a few small ways, not by forgetting some of the shitty things he did, but by allowing the characters to forgive him.

Supernatural — “Lebanon” — Image Number: SN1413D_0028b.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Samantha Smith as Mary Winchester and Jeffrey Dean Morgan as John Winchester — Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW — © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

In fact, I would argue that the entire purpose of the 300th episode is to give the Winchesters–and thereby the audience–emotional closure. Each member of the immediate Winchester family has a ‘moment’ with each other, and some of it, like Sam’s conversation with John, really allowed for character development. If you remember season 1, and you remember how bitter Sam was toward his dad…well, for this John Winchester that’s his present. He’s currently existing in a time when Sam won’t speak to him, so giving him and Sam the chance to make peace? To let Sam forgive his father?

Excuse me, I’ve got something in my eye.

Supernatural — “Lebanon” — Image Number: SN1413C_0283b.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Jeffrey Dean Morgan as John Winchester and Jared Padalecki as Sam — Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW — © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Dean too, gets his moment with his dad, in which he acknowledges that he does have what he’s always wanted: a family. Because family don’t end with blood. (*throws self into the abyss of Team Free Will 2.0 feels*)

Anyone who has watched Doctor Who knows that John can’t stay. An AU Zachariah and Castiel arrive in Lebanon to make sure of it….and can I just say how MUCH I’ve missed Castiel’s season 4 outfit? Like, a lot. But, I digress.

There is a moment, a brief moment, in which the boys consider altering their previous timeline, and changing the world so the family could always be together. In a moment of really profound wisdom, Dean acknowledges to Sam that he’s ‘good’ with who he is now, and he doesn’t need to change it. He doesn’t need to have a perfect childhood, because what happened has led him to who he is now.

Y’all, my boys are growing up and getting so damn self-aware…excuse me, I’ve got something in my eye again.

In the end, the boys have to send their dad back to 2003, because keeping him will change the world–notably because they’ll never have saved it. One family dinner and final group hug later, and John is gone. For good.

Supernatural — “Lebanon” — Image Number: SN1413D_0114b.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Jensen Ackles as Dean, Jared Padalecki as Sam, Samantha Smith as Mary Winchester and Jeffrey Dean Morgan as John Winchester — Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW — © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

The episode was far quieter than most, and far more steeped in sentimentality than the boys usually portray. It was a surprise, because as a longtime fan of the show, I’ve come to expect a certain formula for each episode. “Lebanon” surpasses the formula–and my expectations–by giving these characters, who are as familiar to us as friends, something truly new to experience.

It’s beautiful in the most Winchester-y way, and, maybe, just maybe, it’s made me fall back in love with the show.

I, um, have something in my eye again. And I have a sudden intense need for pie.

-TC

P.S. Our angel, Castiel? Still got it. 😉


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