I gave up writing reviews of “Supernatural” a couple of seasons ago. I was feeling too negative about the direction it had taken and didn’t see the point in sharing that with fans, who clearly, still loved it. Makes sense, Right? I never wanted to be one of ‘those’ people. You know the ones; they make inflammatory statements to drive up the hits on the Web Pages.
I think I had fallen out of love with the show. If I’m to be honest, it was when Kripke’s original five year story ended. I will admit to being a member of ‘that’ club. I would have been thrilled if “Swan Song”, in its original incarnation, had been the series finale.
Season 8 was pretty good. I had my concerns like many viewers. Sam (Jared Padalecki) didn’t look for Dean (Jensen Ackles) while he was in Purgatory? What? Amelia? Dean and a vampire hanging out? At times, it was a little too out-of-character for my taste.
“Sacrifice”, the finale of Season 8, was amazing. I actually would have to rate it in my top five episodes. Why?
Well, I felt, for a lot of the season, that Dean was directionless. I know there’s been a lot of consternation from some Dean fans. He was part of the plot but I just couldn’t find a destination. He’s been through the wars. During season 8, I felt like Dean was a satellite with a degrading orbit. The target was there and as he spiraled down he got closer and closer.
And then, Sam became the one who had to undertake the trials. I know a lot of people were frustrated by that; I was intrigued. Once the trials began Dean had a task; he was going to keep his brother alive.
For some people, I get that ‘taking care of Sam‘ wasn’t enough. But I saw Dean’s role as far more complex than that.
Dean is now the key stone in the Men Of Letters plot. It is where he belongs. It’s a place for him to feel like he fits. He always seems to have struggled with that. At least, until he embraced his killer hunting instincts in Purgatory.
Dean has grown. Throughout the course of the 8th season he has struggled and adjusted. At first, he seemed ready to accept a one-way trip back to purgatory. He fought his urges and didn’t fit into his old life. He befriended a monster, he lost trust in his brother, and he felt like he was nothing more than a grunt.
Ultimately though, Dean came to the conclusion that he was happiest when he was behind the wheel of his car with his little brother at his side.
Then Dean’s world began to unravel, yet again. And a remarkable thing happened. After 8 years of dying for each other – Dean had to convince Sam to live for him. This is a novel concept for Winchesters. It took some convincing. Sam knows better than anyone the mistakes he’s made over the seasons and didn’t want to let his older brother down again.
And what of Castiel (Misha Collins)? The angel that seems to divide fandom, graceless, is now human. I don’t want Castiel to become a third wheel at the bat cave. Why? A couple of reasons. It doesn’t do his character justice if all he becomes is comic fodder for the black-humored show. The angelic friend of the Winchesters has earned more than that.
Nor do I want Castiel to become the “fourth” Winchester. Sam, Dean and Baby make three in my book. Dean has never been more clear than he was in “Sacrifice”, that nothing comes before his brother.
“Don’t you dare think that there is anything, past or present, that I would put in front of you!” – Dean Winchester
Their greatest strength is their greatest weakness: Family. But these two characters keep each other grounded. They’ve gone from being young men – Dean reckless and cocky, Sam insolent and compassionate – to sharp, efficient hunters. After 8 seasons, they still rely on each other.
They’re not ordinary people anymore. Their edges are rough, their moral compass is pointing in an entirely different direction. But this time, they’re starting from a different spot. They’ve decided to live.
Heading into the summer hiatus what does that leave us with?
Crowley (Mark Sheppard), The King of Hell is tainted with a bit of humanity and captive. Sheriff Mills (Kim Rhodes) may be dead or alive (I believe! I believe! I believe!). Castiel is human. Our dear Charlie (Felicia Day) is alive and well somewhere. Kevin (Osric Chau) isn’t going back to Advanced Placement any time soon because he’s still the living prophet.
I haven’t had enough time to ponder the fallen army of angels. Does it mean they are all dead or will there be an increase in the population of socially inept, blunt humans with poor fashion sense?
The Winchester brothers are still in a bit of a bind. Dean may have convinced Sam to abort his attempt to complete the trials but the youngest hunter did not look well.
Hell is still open for business and Crowley is going to be on more of a rampage than ever before.
I can’t go without mentioning the acting. As usual Kim Rhodes gave us a lovable and realistic woman to love. “It’s not a date until I cry.”
Mark Sheppard surprised me a little with his subtle character changes as he waffled between human emotions and demonic anger.
But the final scenes, primarily between Jared and Jensen really blew me away. Jensen has a remarkable ability to convey a thousand emotions with his face. He hardly needs lines.
Jared Padalecki stunned me. Sam’s heart-wrenching confession about all the times he has let his brother down was so raw it was painful to watch. Padalecki is not a master of the ‘one manly tear’ like his co-star. Jared cried like he felt it. He looked haggard and scared and determined and I believed every single moment of it. Every moment. Bravo!
For a while I was worried Sam wouldn’t give up his task. But Dean is right. They’ll figure it out, like they always do.
Bring on season 9. Is it September yet?
|| C. Kinzie, Kamloops