A Sashurai’s Review: Supernatural – Season 11×23 (Sorry Dean, The Flash beat you to it and saved his mother last night)

SN 11x23

 

SUMMARY

Sam and Dean recover from Amara’s attack but find that Chuck (God) is slowly dying. The sun’s light begins to dissolve as the brothers, Rowena, Crowley, Castiel (sans Lucifer) and Chuck return to HQ. Dean accepts their predicament but Sam refuses to give in, leading to a plan to kill Amara by detonating a soul-bomb in her presence. Sam and Dean go to an abandoned asylum and collect the souls there as Billie, the reaper follows them. Amara, meanwhile, ponders what her vengeance is costing her while listening to an elderly woman speak about her family situation. Billie shows up at HQ and offers the souls they need to fill the bomb which Rowena fuses into Dean, who has to confront Amara and sacrifice himself to destroy her. He says his goodbyes and confronts Amara but finds she’s remorseful over her actions. He convinces her to summon God and together they forgive each other. She heals God and the two reconcile making plans to leave Earth for the time being. Amara thanks Dean and offers to give him something he’s wanted. Meanwhile, a woman of letters from England, Lady Antonia Bevell is sent by a regal group of Men of Letters to apprehend the Winchesters. Sam returns home believing Dean is dead and is confronted by Antonia who banishes Castiel with a warding spell. Sam approaches her believing she won’t him, but is wrong as Antonia fires her gun. Elsewhere, Dean attempts to find where he is within a forest clearing and finds his mother, Mary alive.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

This is not the reboot I was looking for. In some astute yet cliché manners, Supernatural closes its chapter on the biggest possible story it could have told and leaves us with interesting yet bland cliffhangers that will set the stage for the inevitable 12th season later this fall. The sacred nature of dead characters finds a small loophole here as Sam and Dean’s mother has been brought back as a thank you from the Darkness. It hangs on Dean’s ghastly confusion as he wraps his mind on the prospect of seeing his mother again while we understandably eye roll at Sam’s fate, because clearly, she shot him either in the shoulder or around him to make a point. This finale gave us a bit of the fairytale approach by sticking to their explanation that if God had died, creation would have went with him. While I wanted more risk and sacrifice to own this episode, I understand the need to maintain the balance and allow for everyone to survive because any major deaths would have had a horrific effect in the following season. At least we know Lucifer is somewhere out there, hopefully recreating the horsemen as we speak.

 

THE GOOD

Supernatural knows how to hit homeruns with their themes. Family, obligation, reconciliation, and most of all understanding play their parts here tonight and followed through with a fashionable design that showed human qualities are an extension of all beings light or dark. Dean nailed the truth when he told her that revenge feels good for about 5 minutes. He’s the go to when the truth needs to be rushed and heard in that short amount of time because he’s the master of summing up eternity’s irrational behavior and humanity’s on-going hiccups with its contradictory existence. The message of enduring and forgiving remain the same and no one spells it out better than Dean Winchester.

 

THE BAD

There was something awkward and rushed about this ending, almost as though the writers had built a rock-solid foundation for the season but weren’t sure if ending the existence of the two more powerful beings would sell well enough to be topped by a future season. The answer was no, and thus God and Amara held hands and returned to the stars to work out their wondrous sibling relationship. Chuck’s fallible nature suggests that he never really had to lock Amara away to begin with, he just made a bad call by not explaining creation well enough to his sister so that she wouldn’t flip out and destroy it. What we got was the same exact conversation God had with Lucifer prior to the finale. And the same result was applied making this finale feel like a bit of a rerun.

 

Antonia (Valerie from TVD) also was shoe-horned in to make some semblance of a plot for season 12 giving us some “Watcher’s Council” in England that head up a different chapter of the Men of Letters, who have seen fit to send what I can only guess is their top performer to apprehend the brothers and I assume brought before them. The Men of Letters had an interesting history but most of their storylines have been told now that I don’t need to nor want to see how they’ve been operating in present day conditions. The idea that they’d send one of their own in conceivably the end times is absolutely ridiculous but in the off-chance the world didn’t survive what would it have mattered? They could have presented this episode without her presence and I think it would have been better off.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

I really enjoyed Amara’s reactions in this episode as she tried hard to understand the feelings that were plaguing her after the fact. Dean scenes with her really capitalized on that front and I think she sold her feelings rather well given her state of mind. From her perspective, omnipotent as she may be, human-like qualities can effect them just the same. She understands beauty and is able to build on that remorse she felt to allow creation to continue. Maybe it was an easy fix, but I just liked her reactions to Dean summary of what she was doing would cost her. Bravo, Emily.

 

CHARACTER MVP

As per usual, Dean was very much the central figure in staving off the apocalypse, but is willingness to once again put himself on the path of certain death gives him the golden ticket to the MVP slot. It can’t be easy to come up with reasons not to let God die while a soul-bomb is emanating from inside him, something that I wish was more unstable than it turned out to be. But nevertheless, he accomplished the alternate goal that helped save humanity and furthermore, his goodbyes to Sam was every bit as emotional as any other time they’re forced to do a scene like that. “You know the drill” indeed.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

While the theories will skyrocket over what Amara actually did, we can see that Mary is wearing the same nightgown that she had on in the pilot episode right before old Yellow Eyes killed her, which means it’s entirely plausible she was taken out of time and brought to the present. But since that would really mess the timeline up, I’m guessing she somehow manifested Mary back to life and that included the last thing she was wearing. God-like characters have no respect for the timeline it seems. But in all fairness, the continuity is appreciated if mind-boggling at the moment.

 

This also makes for some seriously awkward and hilarious segments for season 12 because if Mary knew half of the things Dean was into, well let’s hope Dean learns a new shade of red on his face.

 

I was particularly sad that Crowley and Rowena had no resolution, even if it was fake, I would have been fine with it. The two operate on an understanding of hate and loatheness, but while Rowena can be charming when needed, Crowley acts more bored and ego-centric, thus his nature to dispel with any family forgiveness is simply out of the question.

 

Something else which irks me about writers is why wouldn’t Amara sensibly bring back both of Sam and Dean’s parents? I understand JDM has more than moved on from the show and becoming more movie-centric, but ideally, wouldn’t it make more sense if both their mother and father were returned, unharmed? Or is it more psycho-analytical as Amara could have peered deep into Dean’s psyche earlier on and understood that Dean made his peace with his dad dying but never with his mother? Who knows.

 

Will Lucifer return as a villain, or has he moved on from destroying the world? This is a tough question to answer as Lucifer should by all rights become his own man, for lack of a better term. I could see him actually helping Sam and Dean in a pinch, but at the end of the day, he’s still the embodiment of the human need to be sinful and evil. There should be some resolution with his character next season, not immediate, but something. I refuse to believe that Amara simply wiped him from existence.

 

OVERALL SCORE

7 out of 10. I’m not as impressed as I thought I would be as the storyline became less and less personable. Amara too easily gave into the human qualities of remorse, and more than certainly retracted her destructive ways all from understanding what Chuck was trying to do. The soul bomb was a good enough idea but I couldn’t help but remember my escapades in Skyrim, filling soul crystals from monsters I vanquished. Billie is and remains a boring and underdeveloped minor character who apparently is the only reaper left in the world since no one else came to their aid toward the end. The cliffhangers were hit and miss with the English Antonia the latter, making us groan into thinking Sam is in any real danger. Mary’s return may or may not be permanent depending on how they want to formulate season 12, but I do like the idea of her interacting with her sons as they are now. What’s important to take away from this is that the show goes on and it will continue to endure and embrace its multi-faceted stories while keeping its core themes forever intact and alive. Overall, not a bad season. It shined much brighter than season 7 and 9 for certain and without the doubt, there is certainly enough gas to push the Impala into the next state of being, whatever that may be. Just don’t turn their car into a Transformer, that will definitely be jumping the shark. Until then, thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: Supernatural – Season 11×22 (The Devil locked himself in Sam’s room to defy God. Yeah, let that one sink in)

SN 11x22

 

SUMMARY

Sam and Dean convince Lucifer and God to sit down and talk their differences out leading to an honest conversation with how God treated the situation and inevitably apologizes to his son. With Lucifer on board, the team form a plan that includes the combined power of the angels, Crowley, his demons, Rowena, and a team of witches to combat Amara. Meanwhile, Amara finds Donatello and swallows his soul to gain the location of HQ. Rowena leads Amara from HQ to an abandoned facility as the fight begins. Rowena and the witches use their magic to shock Amara as the angels cast another pillar of light, followed by a maelstrom of demons led by Crowley. Weakened but still on her feet, Amara bursts through the doors and confronts God but is stabbed in the back by a spear artifact from Lucifer. Amara, unable to reconcile explains that God needed to feel powerful by creating lesser beings as he and Amara had no basis for comparison at the beginning of time. God explains the need for creation but laments that he must put Amara away again. He begins transferring the mark from Amara to Sam who volunteered to take it against Dean’s wishes. Unwilling to return, Amara breaks the transfer and uses her darkness to fatally injure God and Lucifer. Sam and Dean watch as Amara tells them God is dying and will watch his world turn to ash. Rowena wakes to a dawn but fears the worst is yet to come.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

Yeah, that’s probably how it really would go down. Points for effort as the Winchesters almost took down the Darkness but fell short due to her absolute hatred for going back to the cage. Though a mixed bag of therapy, wickedness, and a sense of desperation, Supernatural does pull out all the stops and produced a quintessential penultimate episode pitting the lord of light and his worldly creations against a sister who couldn’t make sense of a primordial’s process for making things. There are inescapable moments where one just has to accept how far the show has come with it’s storytelling but the results do speak for themselves. Never too cheap to make fun of itself, “We Happy Few” targets the fight into a all for one plight to save existence that’s very effects heavy, but somehow drapes over the Winchester’s brotherly concern of self-sacrifice and leaves it to the drama that God, his son, and his sister bring to the forefront.

 

THE GOOD

The show really does know how to keep the themes of family and holding through the hard time over the last 11 years, now we see that relationship extend to the very fabric of god-like characters, far beyond how any Greek or Roman style would do it. Some of it based on misunderstanding, a lot on not communicating, and certainly a bit of blame-shifting and self-torturing, but here we get the best and worst of what Supernatural’s drama really boils down to and that’s you have to love your flaws. Sometimes those flaws are in ourselves and sometimes it’s what we recognize in other people, but in the case of Lucifer, God, and Amara, there’s little to no acceptance of those flaws within the family and everything is torn asunder because of it. Whether it’s ego, a danger to one’s self, or simply a case of disappointment, all the same earth-like choices are made and humankind suffers immensely for it. The point is, they focused on all the right details to get God, Amara, and Lucifer in a position to speak about what they went through and how they felt and how God is at the center of their problems one way or another. How they deal with them makes Sam and Dean reminisce like the old days when their father led them through a life of hunting. Still, they are telling the right story here, and that’s what’s important.

 

THE BAD

Notwithstanding the great scenes that he was involved in, it’s been entirely too difficult seeing Lucifer run around as a team player. The writers had to come down on one side of the fence or the other and in the end they chose to give Lucifer a genuine moment with his father which led to a new understanding the acceptance of the situation. It’s bold because the devil isn’t supposed to do the right thing, he’s not supposed to get on board with team good-guys and be part of the solution, the architecture of the devil just isn’t designed that way. So while I respect the decision, I find myself wishing he crossed his fingers and chose a different path because generally Lucifer represents the embodiment of free will, a collection of chaos that rebels against what’s “supposed” to happen with existence. Anyone can argue that he plays his part and in the grand scheme of things this Lucifer has daddy issues like so many other types of characters big or small, but it’s also hard to see the Lucifer we essentially feared from season 5 reduced to this snarky entity who just wanted an apology from the World’s Greatest Dad. It’s a personal gripe, but I liked Lucifer when he was more menacing, not to discredit Misha for continually playing the part because he’s excellent at it.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

The entire showdown with all the main players. Amara took the brunt hits from everyone and still managed to come out ontop. Granted, if Lucifer had struck that second blow, it might have been truly over for her, but that’s not the story here. The Archangels were the stuff of legends and witches, demons, and angels simply weren’t enough to stop her completely. Great show of effort through especially when Crowley through his essence into her. Though she hit a car. Granted she’s nearly invulnerable, but for some reason when you get knocked into a car, something always translates to “Damn, that hurt” no matter who you are.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Chuck and Lucifer played a real dual purpose here and both deserve a lot of credit for having “that talk” especially without the presence of Sam and Dean. That was the important element was these two old characters got to have an honest conversation about their choices and Chuck gave Lucifer that apology he needed to hear. Amazing how a few words can go a long way even when it involves the Lord of Lies. It should stand out as an epic moment because of the meaning behind it. Great scene by both actors.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

My first thought when Rowena stood up at dawn was that it was Lucifer in her body, shortly after he was expelled from Castiel. I doubt that’s what really happened, but it’s a twisted thought and a means to keep Lucifer on the show unless he really was snuffed out by Amara’s power. Shame.

 

The only thing wrong with the fight against Amara was how little God actually took part in it. She’s still on a surface level in the form of a human and forms can be disrupted by any number of elements namely crazy physics and mental distractions. God did nothing but stand there and watch his “free will” army battle his sister. Just seemed off that he wasn’t willing or possibly capable of lending a hand to the fight itself. Not even an epic beam battle? Come on!

 

And wouldn’t you know, they glossed right over the “Michael can’t handle it in his current condition” excuse. I mean really, they’ve pulled out all the other stops that they just refuse to bring Adam back in any capacity? It’s strange that the half-brother dynamic was so ill-received that they just won’t touch that character ever again.

 

Too bad Donatello had but a few fleeting moments before he was taken out. Makes you wonder why bother with a prophet to begin with. Not much of a prophet if he didn’t see Amara coming. At least he refused to give in to the end, which was within 20 seconds.

 

Playing Dean up with his reluctance to kill her was a good seed to plant for the finale as it was always meant to be about him and Amara. He’ll be given that one golden chance to take her out or succumb to her will. Either way, it’s painfully obvious God and Amara will be inextricably removed from the creation equation by next week’s end. I’m still hoping for that soft reboot to the series, but who knows how it will go down. There have been some stories (comic related) that have done this, ironically, a comic called “The Darkness” and “Spawn” where the world was more or less rewritten by the main character as sort of a new-god type scenario after several years of plots that led to epic worldly disaster. Supernatural is in a really good position to do the same thing. I’d buy into it.

 

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. Family drama was a key factor in joining the most powerful beings in existence. Some found common ground while the other remained resistant and came out the stronger entity. What stood out in this episode was a structure of therapy and diversion coupled with a rough and rugged attempt to ally and be rid of the stronger threat. There’s a soft symmetry in how the Winchesters can relate to the problems of these unearthly characters which gives them the unique perspective of being able to discuss and give advice on the problems they’re intimately familiar with. That’s always been the heart of the show for these two regardless of the squabbles they go through each season. The power of Amara has proven to be too great and she still wishes the destruction of mankind and creation as a whole. Dean will do what he has to, but for his sake, it better be a choice he understands and not one he makes for the betterment of the planet. If only he had one more conversation with Death himself, but that’d be asking for too much. Very fun episode to watch and I look forward to how the finale will shape the rest of this universe. Thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: Supernatural – Season 11×21 (You just brought the devil home to roost)

SN 11x21

 

SUMMARY

Chuck (God) returns with the Winchesters back to HQ to discuss his involvement and absence as of late. Meanwhile, Amara’s fog consumes another city with the only survivor an atheist named Donatello who became activated as the next prophet. Sam and Dean recover the new prophet as Metatron seeks an audience with the brothers. At a bar, Metatron tells them that in God’s autobiography, he writes that he’ll give himself up as a sacrifice to Amara to spare his creations. Dean tries to persuade God otherwise while the team attempt to find Amara to break Lucifer from her grasp. Dean lures Amara out of hiding after receiving numerous messages to see him as Sam, Metatron, and Donatello find Amara’s hideout. They free Lucifer just when Amara uncovers the diversion. Metatron stays behind to distract Amara but loses his life in the process. When Amara is about to destroy Sam, Lucifer, and Donatello, God transports them back to HQ. God then heals Lucifer’s wounds and Donatello returns home, knowing he’ll likely be called on again. Dean reveals to Sam that Amara intends to make Dean a part of her in literal fashion.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

In a coming stages of a grand scope war with only the kings and knights remaining, the countdown to the rewritten word has begun. And though the clues may not be crazy visible, it appears one way or another, God and Amara will probably either stalemate each other into oblivion, or find a way to undo both entities leaving the world alone once more yet for all time. The theme does rival a few other stories that deal with what it means to detach from parental coverage. One particular comes to mind in which characters from the Babylon 5 series dealt with similar circumstances where beings of immense power wanted to control the fate of all mortal entities, yet here it’s much more closer to home as God himself is subject to the same case of being “over it” as any human would be when they’re simply done. In a way, God is like a programmer, he’s set up the gaming server and the MMO has reached levels of untold craziness and now the server is either going to EA or getting shutdown. Analogies are fun. Great follow up to last week’s discover of God’s whereabouts, but let’s dive into the thick of it.

 

THE GOOD

Once more we’re given very humanizing concepts that God is portraying, the doubt, the parent that’s through enabling his children and of course, the odd case of the munchies. It gives something for Sam and Dean to work with, mostly Dean because he’s the one person who will face Chuck without feeling too intimidated after the initial introduction wore off. Again, this Chuck isn’t omniscient or he’s really good at hiding it and he’s fallible enough that when Dean called him out on justifying his actions, there’s still emotional baggage with that. They’re sticking with Chuck as an inherently good person even though he’s willing to let humans die under Amara’s dark influence, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to shut down completely. In fact, the most interesting moment was when he and Lucifer finally saw each other and had a very candid moment on expressing how changed they look. Good times.

 

Metatron’s sacrifice to help Sam and the others was utterly futile, but the point was to showcase that even though Metatron had a villainous role in the past, he more than made up for it even so far as to tell Amara that he “God” meant well, but now he’s little more than evaporation. I wasn’t expecting his departure this soon, but it was a fitting end to give Sam and Lucifer those extra few seconds of driving time.

 

THE BAD

The inclusion of a new prophet seemed oddly out of place. I’m fine with the actor they chose, Mr. Keith Szarabajka who has been in such roles as Holtz in Angel, the voice of the Crowfather in Darksiders II, and many other roles. I think it was necessary to show how powerful Amara was at staying hidden from even God though a character like a prophet could find her hidden location. Again, it wasn’t necessarily lazy writing, just a tool they didn’t really need to insert to get the point across that Amara was equal in God’s power. For a moment, I thought his calling through Amara’s fog was some plan to create an anti-prophet or an anti-scribe that Amara could use like God did with Metatron. That would have been interesting.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

When Chuck, Sam and Dean had their first sit down at HQ. It was important that they get this seen out of the way first since the million questions would come rolling out, most importantly, why weren’t you there for the others and why did you leave, kind of stuff. What impressed me was how simple Chuck made it sound from his perspective that helping didn’t change anything, and that’s such a great point add in this particular universe and more when he chose to stop enabling by helping and being the parent who let the kids grow up. Sometimes that’s not the best analogy, but it works in this case, because free will may still come with the option of being saved when you’re in a pinch, but they don’t dabble in the object of servitude which is gets more into the territory of historical violent acts and freedom of choice in general. Sam, Dean, and Chuck kept it simple and it was fine how they chatted about it.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Chuck is still owning his scenes and rightly so. He’s not overdoing it with a sense of macho attitude and only stepping in when the moment gets desperate. He’s letting the players still work out their move sets but isn’t offering real guidance that they might have expected. Still, Sam and Dean do what they have to and Chuck is there as very much a wildcard in this mess. He’s willing to let himself be taken by Amara, but hopefully it won’t come to that. Now he gets to interact with Lucifer which could be an episode all by itself, something I’m hoping they entertain the possibility of even though there’s only two episodes left.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

They still make mention of Lucifer playing a part in Amara’s capture, yet God initially denies it because of either disappointment or resentment toward his “son.” I wonder if there’s anything more to pull from this because clearly Lucifer had power back then but what exactly did he do to help? What could an angel have done that would have put Amara in that cage so long ago? It’d be nice to find that little specific point out.

 

I can’t help but remember Death’s comment once more that he said “God will die too” when speaking to Dean. It’s times like this I wish he’d return to insert his position into this sibling fight. I wanted Death to have such a monumental role as the one being who could slew anyone in existence, but it’s more about the message now than anything and that alone is what’s convincing me that this season will end in Chuck’s true death.

 

The cameo with Kevin was very out of nowhere. I’m glad he got the chance to ascend like Bobbi did a few seasons ago, but that was still strange. Was his ghost just hanging out HQ the entire time? Did he need to be let go that way in order for Donatello to be called as a prophet? And he didn’t even ask about his mom.

 

Of course Chuck has to make the porn joke on behalf of Dean and his computer that seems to be full of it. Logistically, either Chuck sat down and snooped through the laptop before deciding on watching shuffleboard or it was clearly the only thing running when he took it over. Either way, God knows Dean, God knows.

 

I’m hoping Crowley gets to come back and have one last dance in this battle between good and evil, he deserves to be a part of it, so does Rowena.

 

 

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. Season 11 is keeping up a great pace, something that keeps you guessing on how it’s all going to end, and with Lucifer back on the side of the Winchesters, there’s no telling how trustworthy he can be, but a lot will likely depend on how he and Chuck interact moving forward. This episode was about getting to know Chuck a little more this time for the Winchesters to understand. Sam accepts everything as it’s presented to him and Dean of course questions everything especially when he sees Chuck is willing to give up everything. This is the kind of writing we’re finally getting to after all these years of filler seasons and that pesky civil war between angels and demons. It circumvents everything before, but that’s kind of the point. An ending is coming and hopefully a reboot that shows this show still has gas in the tank. Many stories have rebooted the universe in their arcs, I don’t see why this should be any different. Thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: Supernatural – Season 11×20 (Funny, he doesn’t look like Alanis Morissette, but he does sing)

SN 11x20

 

SUMMARY

At the end of his rope, Metatron is summoned to a bar where he finds Chuck who reveals to him that he’s God. Elated at first, Metatron helps God proofread an autobiography which goes through a massive edit after several criticisms. During that time, Metatron confronts God on why he abandoned everyone and even calls him a coward for doing so. God lashes out but soon comes to a conclusion as he finishes his new draft. Meanwhile, Sam and Dean follow Amara’s destructive path to Idaho where the darkness fog inhabits the townsfolk there. As Sam becomes infected, Dean is immune but refuses to leave his brother’s side. As they are surrounded by the infected, the fog suddenly clears and everyone who was infected or died by Amara’s influence is returned to normal. Sam and Dean discover the amulet that activates in God’s presence is shining bright. They find Chuck outside as he announces they need to “talk.”

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

When creating a human version of the most powerful character in the existence of human-kind, a writer has to tone down one of two things, Omniscience, or Omnipotence. In the case of Chuck, it’s Omniscience with a hint of Omnipotence and that makes Supernatural’s God a fallible mess. That’s good though as it humanizes the concept and makes him undoubtedly relatable, but what’s important to the story is that after 11 years, Sam and Dean now will understand who they’ve been trying to find and what he’s all about. This episode is very much part meta and part mist with no direct connection between the two until the end when God finally decides to intervene against Amara’s destructive wave. It pokes fun at the show’s concept multiple times but finds itself cornered on every default cliché topic when someone confronts the Almighty. Luckily, they chose the right guy because Dean would have come out the gate by calling God a coward, but we’ll get to that down the line. As unpopular as it may sound, I’d want the show to end on this season considering there’s no more up to go, unless you tackle the paradox of where did these ungodly siblings come from?

 

THE GOOD

The interaction between Metatron and Chuck was spot on. The laid-back humorous Chuck prances back and forth between non-chalant, and “choose-your-words-carefully” that makes him rather unpredictable in his “not-quite-all-knowing” personality. Is it all rib though? Is he still method acting the part of how a human would if it “believed” it was god? Who knows. What stands out is Metatron’s focus on the “why’s” and Chuck’s avoidance through many topics including his sister and what he really wants to discuss. Finally past the desperation, Metatron serves of much more surgical purpose in helping God redraft his autobiography which he feels needs truth rather than fluff. While the ending is hidden from us, one can possibly extrapolate many scenarios that deal with God permanently leaving humanity by this season’s end, something I think is required in a show where humanity needs to evolve on its own.

 

THE BAD

Sam and Dean’s cookie-cutter run through the Idaho fog of zombie-ness was too distracting from the juicer bits between Chuck and Metatron. I would have fancied the entire plot take place in that bar with snippets of Sam and Dean played out through the broadcasts that Chuck summoned. I don’t think we would have lost a step on Earth and the plight that was taking place. But that would have removed us too far from the brothers and I can somewhat understand why they needed to stay front and center. Still, every cut back to the Winchesters what when I felt like tuning out. Luckily those scenes didn’t last long.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

From the moment Chuck started singing to the final line of the episode. It was very poetic and engaging how Metraton’s face understood what God was trying to write and how that interpreted into the lyrics of his “farewell” which transferred into his appearance in front of the brothers as he saved the city within a flash. Now we’re dealing with beyond creation and while Sam and Dean will probably grill Chuck with all the “what the hell’s” and “do something you dick” comments, it’s setting up a great start into the final episodes of the season.

 

CHARACTER MVP

You’d think Chuck, but honestly, though his part was very malleable and fun to see, Metatron kept the situation real to our expectations and spoke through us in the frustration of figuring this show’s “God” out. He never wavered in his inquisitive nature, and didn’t seek to gain anything more than just a simple understanding of the nature of why. I have to give him credit for being very stand-up with humanity and being that voice for them while God surmised his experiments were failures and was ready to let Amara clean the slate for him.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

One thing they either purposefully cheapened out on or wanted to tone down the omnipotence was Chuck’s reaction to being called a coward. Out of all the simple and crass things to do, he simply force-pushes Metatron through the bar doors to the outside. Oh, come on, put some more effort into that. Metatron should have been pushed through a billion realities with the cosmos crashing down on his brain, but maybe that’s too much for the guy to handle. The fact that God can be fazed by such words is interesting, though he is method acting for the most part, so the scenes say.

 

Easter Egg reference. Chuck mentions “Revolution” as another title alongside of “Supernatural” which was a show on NBC created by Eric Kripke that lasted only two seasons unfortunately. Bonus points for Metatron mentioning Supernatural needing a reboot. I believe it.

 

I’m actually surprised Sam didn’t mention anything about needing to be cleansed by fire when he was infected. Maybe he just didn’t have time to think on it, but I feel it’s a bit of a plot inconsistency. I know the goal was to sell the desperate moment that Dean was feeling, but he chose not to leave his brother regardless of the consequences, which is always endearing but I wasn’t feeling the impending loss because by this point in the show, these two characters are impervious to anything evil has to offer. Stop trying to make me feel like one of them is going to perish. Just do it if you’re going to do it already.

 

One aspect they’re not diving into just yet is Chuck’s ability to exist in all points of time as probably a complete overlord of the cosmos is capable of doing. His nature thus far has been to avoid dealing with Amara’s choice to end humankind because he just doesn’t want to deal with it. Words are thrown around like “responsibility” and “disappointment” to further instill in us how Chuck reacted and a little bit on how selfish he was acting like when he declared the story was about him. The second an almighty character starts talking, he can be proven wrong by the wit and perseverance of the human brain and since Metatron has had that going for him lately, he’s the voice of reason here and if anything, they’re really painting us a picture that no being is perfect by any stretch even when you have absolute creation at the palm of your hand.

 

Also, it’s good to know that the fan service continued as Chuck was always the odds on favorite to be labeled as this show’s primordial creator. To pull some weird twist on us with someone else likely wouldn’t have been received as well, and it made sense to give it to Chuck, he’s been fantastic in his few appearances so far and he’ll likely steal some scenes before we’re done with season 11.

 

OVERALL SCORE

9 out of 10. It’s always a sigh of relief when the show finally tackles burning questions and year-long debates on how certain plot elements will go down. Giving “God” a face and an attitude to match is risky because writing a character of that magnitude means making things around that character very simple whether its the pleasures of music which Chuck proclaims is the best trait of humanity while Metatron once said it was stories. I think the two go hand in hand, but what’s important to the show is a seemingly benevolent being is finally getting into the ring with the stars of the show, and the looks on their faces when they saw him were priceless. Now things are going to get interesting. This should be a fan-favorite across the seasons as it answers questions and reveals what we’ve always known. Thanks for reading.

 

 

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A Sashurai’s Review: Supernatural – Season 11×19 (Return of the living filler episode)

SN 11x19

 

SUMMARY

Sam and Dean travel to Colorado where they investigate a series of missing persons in a small town. In the forest, they encounter a pair of the missing people and are attacked and then saved by another pair of hunters, Cesar and Jessy who have returned to put an end to the creatures known as Bisaan, of Malaysian origin. Jessy lost his brother 27 years ago when the creatures last resurfaced. Dean and Cesar return to the woods to track the creatures while Sam and Jessy drive to the old Sheriff who eventually breaks down and tells them he knew about the creatures and killed his daughter who had become one. Meanwhile, Dean and Cesar track the creatures to a mine and dispatch the males who attack them. When Sam and Jessy arrive, they find Jessy’s brother and bury him after setting the mine on fire destroying the incubating eggs. Afterward, Jessy and Cesar, who are also a couple, decide to return to New Mexico and retire while Sam and Dean return home.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

When introducing new creatures to this show, it’s important to make them unique and different from other incarnations of supernatural entities otherwise the theme must outweigh the creatures in question, such as creating a similar and relatable event the brothers view from a different perspective while ignoring their reoccurring sibling rivalry. This episode did neither of those things and instead opted to give us a very watered down look at familial loss that had the makings of a decent plot, but gave no creative twist of climax to wrap up this one-off plot. With the exception of the charismatic and loyal Cesar, not much stood out tonight as the brothers basically ran through their checklist of one-liners and machete swinging tropes. We learn nothing more about Amara and Lucifer and the creatures themselves were hardly interesting and the blandest form of forest dwelling things that I’ve seen in many seasons.

 

THE GOOD

I’ll start by saying Cesar saved this episode from being a complete waste of an hour. Every now and then, the Winchesters get to see the lives of hunters from a different lens and though Jessy and Cesar didn’t seem to be interested in the grand scheme of creature-hunting, Jessy had his vengeance card to play and Cesar backed him up as someone who really understood what Jessy was going through even if he didn’t lose people like other hunters have. Dean recognized their connection and made the right call by not including them in the bigger fight. Hunters don’t get to have a happy ending, and even though Sam and Dean only just met them, they knew it was the sensible thing to do by letting them retire. In that light this episode did show us that not every hunter has to die.

 

THE BAD

This creature feature attempted to legitimize another “legend” in a small town scenario, but it just came off as creatively weak. We never got to see the Bisaan in its native form and instead had to deal with growling humans who bite you as any animal would to destroy you and copulate in random places as any animal would to survive its species. But fundamentally there was nothing being served that felt original. This is a classic case of scraping the bottom of the barrel for ideas on how to incorporate monsters that the Winchesters haven’t dealt with before. Sure they ask questions and seem interested, but once they understand how to kill them, it’s business as usual with little to no payoff. The only thing mildly interesting was when (Libby?) was standing in the woods and made those “chitter” noises before reacting. That was an interesting little idea they had, but everything else surrounding their legend and actions barely held any interest.

 

This deserves its own paragraph, but the trip to Cochrane’s house was the biggest waste of time out of the entire episode. The only thing it served was Jessy being validated on what he went through. No new information was discovered that essentially helped them at all since Dean already found the mine when Sam and Jessy returned. Cochrane’s story was certainly tragic and the way it was told and acted was perfectly fine, it just didn’t serve to push any semblance of the plot forward except to separate the group for some reason. If anything it should have been Dean who went with Jessy and Sam who searched the forest with Cesar. Dean is more the warrior and I get that, but in this case I think he would have had a better conversation with Jessy about what happened and possibly how to cope with 27 years of vengeance and heartache.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

Didn’t really have one. Every scene followed a predictable beat with a standard outcome and nothing really stood out with the exception of the MVP.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Again, Cesar had more character than anyone else on that line up including either Sheriff and the victims who weren’t interesting either. Sometimes accents help flesh out a personality but even more so, he had that reserved but stoic sense of loyalty that I think hunters are should be generally known for but are usually blocked by the bickering and squabbles of different view points. Some characters nail their performance in one shot and Cesar was one of them.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

If Dean told Cesar it was a hike to get to the mine then why did he say he was going to bring the car around to gas up the place? Why didn’t they just drive the car there to begin with?

 

Jessy got to see his brother’s body but he didn’t get to destroy any of the creatures which felt like missing closure. He had the signs of deep-rooted anger as he made a few comments about saving the Winchesters and being bothered with being in the town itself. He should have been the one in the mine slaying the creatures and yelling to find his brother.

 

Not to mention, Jessy seemed entirely too over it once his brother was burned. After 27 years of being in probably the worst emotional turmoil of his adult life, he just seemed fine at the end, like what he went through was no big deal. That just seemed off.

 

I wonder what the count is on how many times Sam and Dean decide to randomly research a case when they can’t do anything about the major plot at hand. How many lives have they saved when they’re stuck at HQ with no leads to turn to an article that briefly sounds like a case for them? Can’t save the world just now? That’s okay, just find a case and solve it then get back to it. At least they’re willing to see everything through, which is good.

 

OVERALL SCORE

5 out of 10. A very mediocre plot that removed the character who should have been interacting the most with the creatures at hand and gave him a side quest with hearing another victim’s similar tell that offered no insight into how to beat the creatures because they were easily killable. This kind of plot usually focuses more on the guest stars and though Cesar had the makings of a mainstay character, nothing else came into view that told a story that anyone will ever remember. Jessy and Cesar weren’t going through a scenario that mirrored the Winchester’s current plight and the Bisaan weren’t any real threat and existed simply as creatures do in order to propagate their species. But worst of all was the lack of momentum on the previous episode that ended with a crazy cliffhanger on Lucifer being tortured by God’s sister which isn’t something you can just write about all the time. Let’s get back on track, we’ve only a few more episodes to go before the end. Thanks for reading.

 

 

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A Sashurai’s Review: Supernatural – Season 11×18 (Why didn’t the devil lobby for a Metal-off? He could have played the best song in the world)

SN 11x18

 

SUMMARY

Crowley retrieves another hand of god, the Horn of Joshua and meets with the Winchesters, offering them the artifact if they return Lucifer to his cage first. Meanwhile, Rowena is seen still alive and aiding Amara who is recovering from the angel smiting several days ago. Lucifer returns to the angel sanctuary and boasts his plan to destroy Amara and rule as their new god. As Amara begins affecting the world with dark clouds and lightning, Rowena contacts the Winchesters and they meet up to trap Lucifer. Once ensnared, Crowley enters Castiel’s body and attempts to flush Castiel out, but Lucifer easily stops him, forcing him to return to his own body. As Lucifer recovers, he escapes the trap, retrieves the hand of god and slowly begins to dismantle the brothers from the inside of their bodies. Crowley and Rowena flee as Amara arrives and confronts Lucifer. The devil uses the artifact but Amara is unhurt by it and captures Lucifer, leaving Sam and Dean empty-handed. They return home as Amara begins torturing Lucifer in hopes it will summon God, whom she believes still cares for him.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

Even with five episodes remaining in the 11th season, this felt very much like a penultimate chapter which finally brought our two antagonists together for the first time. As far as expectations are concerned, the build up was written well, but the result was much to be desired. With as many lies and deceits as the devil has brought to the cast, I thought there would be more secrets to unveil between him and the Darkness, but sadly that wasn’t the case. His one and only shot to defeat her fizzled, and rightly so considering a hand of god artifact is no more powerful than a pellet gun is to the ocean. Rowena’s survival and subsequent return was unexpected and somewhat of an interesting predicament considering most cast members who are killed tend to stay dead, but she’s resourceful that one, and I accept that. The true puzzle we’re faced with now is whether God will in fact appear and be known both as a tangible character and as the theory goes that he’s Chuck and always has been. We shall see.

 

THE GOOD

This was the furthest development we’ve received regarding the ancient battle between God’s angels and The Darkness who harbors a grudge with being locked away. Her power is strangely absolute, but also intricately significant in that Lucifer was nearly dead wrong with thinking he could effectively stop her. Tragic but necessary to really sell her power level, now we’re beginning to understand how omnipotent she really is, especially if she can torture the devil and that’s saying a lot. And props for Mark making a small cameo as the original Lucifer, I really want to see him having a scene with Amar, no offense to Misha, because he’s been doing great so far.

 

THE BAD

There’s a couple of spots here I need to take count of, starting with Castiel’s frame of mind. Dean is convinced Cas needs to be saved and is essentially his voice on the outside, but when we actually see Castiel within his mind, he’s very much retreating into television land, ignorant of the happenings outside. He isn’t shown to be stressed and barely bats an eyelash when Lucifer and Crowley tackle within Castiel’s body. In this instance, Sam seems correct that Castiel is willing to let things ride out and doesn’t want to be saved if it will clench a victory against Amara. I just expected more from the resident angel who tends to endure more than most characters on this show.

 

Lucifer and Amara didn’t share the kind of epic scene I was hoping for. I didn’t need it to be effects heavy with rains of fire and ethereal blasts being dragonballz’d back and forth, I know the devil is in the details, but they were seemingly left out. This Lucifer tried a very simple method to convince the sister of God to trust him, which she flat out denied, and instead wants to use him for bait to pull God back into the universe. Her method is fine, but Lucifer’s just seemed bland and very effortless. His ability to follow through with his guarantee makes him seem more incompetent than entertaining. I get the whole point is to sell Amara’s true power, but Lucifer should always have an ace in the hole for every occasion, whether that means the Winchesters being in on it or not is up to the writer’s but he should still have a game plan and not be throwing these pointless hail-mary’s around.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

When Amara arrives to confront Lucifer. Until the failed attempt at taking her out, I was excited to see how they would interact. The “nephew” was a good little throw in as being the first angel makes him in a strange way related to this sibling pair. Amara is shaping up to be a visually elegant character that’s beyond anyone’s control. That’s been the case for a while, but even more dominantly stated here. Her exact entrance was for me a great highlight.

 

CHARACTER MVP

I want to give it to Crowley for trying his hardest to remain a king in his own little world and even going so far as to confront Lucifer in Castiel’s body. It wasn’t something I would have thought him capable of doing, but the king of hell tried and was expelled for the effort. When he’s desperate he’ll cling to the Winchesters for support and that always makes him the most endearing of the bunch.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

With three hands of God now empty and useless I’m certain a 4th will appear as the brothers surmised a chosen one would have better luck utilizing it than someone like Lucifer. They should just call these the Limbs of God, but the left leg of God doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.

 

I’m slightly confused as to why any kind of witch power would have the capability of healing an entity like Amara. Maybe if she’s in “human” form she’s susceptible to that kind of influence, but if that’s the case, than I’d expect Rowena to find something that can harm her, after all, if she can heal, why can’t she hurt her?

 

At this point, I’d expect Amara to get tired of wounding Lucifer when God doesn’t show up, which will give the devil enough time to collect his thoughts and retry with Amara to find an alternate method to return god to physical reality. What no one realizes there is Death should have been the one to be that instrument, but Dean slew him and that’s just bad form.

 

And I think I’m about done wanting to see any more scenes involving those 5th tier angels who have no names, no significant stories, no gusto, and certainly no idea how to solve the problem of Amara except smiting from a distance which had an affect but clearly not big enough for them to try it again. These angels are burned out and frankly so am I, with them that is.

 

I’d speculate what the next hand of God artifact will be, but there’s a lot of biblical history from Sampson’s strength, to a piece of Babel, to something Christ related or even some chunk of the ten commandments. They could get creative, but it’ll likely be something a bit more obscure since after 11 seasons we still haven’t heard of these things yet.

 

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. If this were the episode prior to the finale, I’d say they were on a good pace, but we still have some one-shot stories to tell it seems as I doubt we’re in for a 5 episode Darkness arc, but I wouldn’t mind that either. Tonight’s episode accelerated the rage of Amara and the meeting between her and Lucifer, who, as always, stole the show as best he could while ultimately not living up to the hype he declared, but to his credit, he really wanted out of that prison and probably would have said anything. Truth is, he really thought he could beat her and that’s the part where the Winchesters should be fearful. This should point to Dean being the key to stopping her as a chosen one and considering how many ways he’s fit into the plot, it would be insane not to have him be the one to take her down. Rowena’s return is fine, I always liked her character but let’s make sure not to waste her talents with running away too much. From here on out, I’m hoping the world becomes more unstable as we finally address the one and only mystery left on this show…where did Ruby’s knife come from?? Kidding, I mean the God thing, is it really Chuck and if so, what’s he doing? Thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: Supernatural – Season 11×17 (Still waiting for the payoff that’s sure to never arrive)

SN 11x17

 

SUMMARY

During a search for missing campers, Sam and Dean tackle with a group of werewolves and Sam is wounded by a gun shot to the stomach. Making their way to an empty cabin with two survivors, Dean attempts to gather branches to make a bed for Sam. The male survivor, fearing for his significant other’s safety, and believing Sam will slow them down, suffocates Sam forcing Dean to believe his brother is dead. Swearing to return, Dean and the others avoid more werewolves and are taken in by a local office in the morning. Dean attempts to return, grows angry and is tasered by the officer. In the hospital, Dean convinces Michelle, the survivor to watch over him while he commits suicide in an effort to convince the reaper, Billie to return Sam to him. Unbenknownst to Dean, Sam recovers and makes his way back to the hospital. While nearly dead after ingesting many pills, Billie arrives but is unwilling to help Dean in any way. As she tells him that Sam isn’t dead, Dean revives and is held in custody. Corbin however, having been affected by the werewolves earlier, changes into one and kills the officer in the hospital and hunts after Dean. Sam arrives to kill him and is later treated for his wound. The two leave with Dean omitting that he summoned the reaper by nearly dying.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

While this wasn’t a train wreck, there were many missed opportunities that could have catapulted this episode into another glorious one-shot. Something was blatantly absent in this episode and I think it’s centered around a lack of outcome based on the character depictions we’ve been introduced to here. What appeared as a run of the mill adventure for the Winchesters turned out to be a run of the mill adventure that tried to be something more, but couldn’t quite reach the height for it. I’m in no way satisfied by Dean’s interaction with Billie the reaper and even less thrilled that Sam’s “mostly dead” state was simply a miscue on Dean’s behalf. The flashback segments held nothing either and were more distracting to the explosive opening than anything else. Very poor episode through my lens, but it did start with a heck of a try.

 

THE GOOD

The opening act showed promise. Everything detailing the fight and the low-light slow-mo shot of Sam getting a bullet in the gut had the right formula to propel the episode into a nail-biting arc with Dean struggling to save his brother in the middle of the wilderness. And for the next few moments it delivered on mostly that concept. Unfortunately that’s about as far as I can take what I thought worked out well tonight.

 

THE BAD

I go back to the payoff aspect of this theme. We were told many episodes ago that the next time Billie ran into any dead Winchester, she’d reap them without question. What was completely glossed over is that Dean was never actually dead, so why did Billie show up at all? Maybe in the past, reapers arrived pre-death, but it made no sense in the context with what Dean was trying to do. It was just an illusion of struggle, painted in desperation, which we’ve seen plenty of Dean in the past in trying to save his brother. But nothing worked, not only was Billie unconvinced, she was incredibly unhelpful too, selling the impression that Dean is on his own against The Darkness. Maybe that’s what we needed to see, but I would have though something more significant would have happened except what actually did happen.

 

There’s nothing new or interesting detailing the werewolves here tonight. Usually with ghosts or new monsters, there’s a lure of new ideas, or an attempt to make the old pattern new with some fresh concept, but there’s realistically nothing new to learn from werewolves on this show, and there was no attempt to infuse the formula with new ingredients. Essentially the werewolves were nothing more than the product of getting Sam injured so that Dean could have a pointless discussion with Billie and make no headway on the big struggle against the Darkness.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

It’s not very medically accurate considering the wound and subsequent act of being comatose after being suffocated, but I’ll give Sam credit, he was very resilient in this week’s episode and given how weak he was, he still managed to make it all the way back to the hospital and kill Corbin to save Dean. I suppose if the bullet can be removed by some tweezers, it can’t be all that bad.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Sam. Again, it was a trek for him to go through what he did from top to bottom. Dean will always do what he has to save his brother or beat the evil, so him committing suicide isn’t anything terribly new or inventive. But Sam pushing through that kind of pain isn’t normal for him, and he was a trooper through and through.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

Billie needs to go. She’s a very uninteresting character who has no redeeming qualities and maintains this passive obsession with pulling the Winchesters to the other side. She represents lazy opposition and resembles the living embodiment of the human shrug.

 

I would have suggested that the bulk of the episode be about Dean countering Billie to save Sam, who actually died from the gunshot wound. There are so many scenarios that could have come from this, but none of them were realized in the slightest. Shame. We could have learned so much more about the reapers that maybe we hadn’t learned yet.

 

At this point, the brothers should be able to tell each other anything that happened to them. Dean should have told him that he tried to kill himself and Sam should have done the worried face but laughed it off as crazy, believing him anyway. They’ve both been dead before, this isn’t something so grandiose that Dean would have to keep it from Sam. Sure, maybe he’s embarrassed, but it’s still a token of passion and plight that makes these two work so well together in their hardships.

 

OVERALL SCORE

5 out of 10. This felt like the weakest episode of the season by far. The storytelling had a hook, but took a very bland direction and didn’t give us any new insight into the arc of the Darkness, the reaper beings, or the werewolves as a whole. There was too strong a sense in Dean’s momentum to save Sam that every other idea that could have been utilized was cast aside to show how serious Dean can get when his brother’s life is at stake. Maybe the goal was to show the brothers truly are alone against a higher power, but we didn’t need a full episode to downplay it. And all the kudos to Sam for surviving a hellish experience, but realistically, he should have died, twice. Here’s hoping next week picks back up. Thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words