That was no epic love story. That was an epic act of payback. I love it.
Seeing what we’ve seen, the title of this episode is suddenly freaking brilliant, isn’t it? Dean’s demise in the original series didn’t go over very well with many fans, and possibly Jensen himself. The fact that he used this finale to give Dean one more adventure, one more chance to fulfill his life mission of making his entire family happy and safe, one more chance to stick it to Chuck, he earned this moment to craft a more satisfying goodbye. It’s one that excites the audience yet still assures that he and Sam will meet on the bridge in Heaven in the future. Win-win.
Think about it. Jensen, in his first TV production project, used all his resources to give his long time character a farewell to remember. It takes a lot of balls as a first time producer to even dare attempt this. Start a production company, sell this spinoff idea to the network, get a series order, hand pick a former Supernatural writer to pull off the whole thing and then show up for a few scenes in the finale that glorify his character in every possible way. I’m certain it wasn’t his sole motivation to get into TV producing, but talk about going all in with an opportunity to set things right. It’s wickedly brilliant.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this finale. It did have a lot riding on it. After all, it had to wrap up 12 episodes of mediocre story telling, all going in a direction that confused the crap out the audience (or maybe just me). In the end, it delivered a conclusion that could be considered fitting and poignant should the series not return. It’s not enough to make me crave for more, but it was satisfying.
Nightsky and I took the Supernatural finale very differently. She was gutted over the end, while I absolutely loved it. The doesn’t mean though I didn’t want to see a better ending for Dean. I was very happy to see him get this moment and it’s so in character what he did. He didn’t obey the rules while he was alive, why would he while he was dead? Breaking the rules to protect Sam makes total sense as well. As a matter of fact, we would be totally outraged if his actions weren’t about Sam! But it was also for himself too. Seeing John and Mary happy and having a chance at a better life was an unfulfilled dream of his. He finally got to live that dream, even it if was AU.
At least the clues we got that Dean was trapped somewhere proved to be true, and we knew this was AU from day one since John and Mary were hunting together and John found out about the Men of Letters. But alas, it’s the Multiverse. This is not the Earth we grew to know and love. You know, the tired plot from the later Supernatural seasons. But hey, in order for this concept to work, I guess they had to go there. I hear you all, what about Chuck destroying all the other Earths at the end of Supernatural? How in the world was there a Multiverse for Dean to explore? I’m not 100% sure he destroyed all of them, but let’s say he did. We have no reason to believe that Jack didn’t restore them. He brought back all the people from the Earth we know and redid Heaven, so why not restore those other worlds as well? It may be implied, but it’s not far fetched either.
I LOVED seeing Bobby and Jack again. Bobby being there made total sense, and now Jim Beaver gets to be in the season finale of the spinoff series as well. It figures that he’d be Dean’s partner in crime even if it meant that he had to go running to Jack to fix things. As for Jack, he’s looking really godly these days isn’t he? That was definitely something sorely missed in the Supernatural series finale (Castiel being the other). He delivered not only one of the best lines in this series, but perhaps the later seasons of Supernatural as well. I’m sure Andrew Dabb was kicking himself over not coming up with this line:
“After this, it’s time to get around to the ‘they’ll be peace when you are done’ part of the song.”
It is fitting that Robbie Thompson wrote this ending for Dean, isn’t it? He, after all, was the more sentimental one, the one I felt was more true to the characters of Sam and Dean. You don’t get more evidence of this than “Don’t Call Me Shurley.” I can see now why Jensen tapped him for this project. He was always so good with memorable lines as well. Lines like this:
“There’s always another case with you hunters, even in Death.”
“You always said if I was gonna be stupid, I might as well be smart about it.”
“Detroit steel makes a hell of a weapon.”
Amen sister. Ah, all those little nuggets that we haven’t seen in so long. Unfortunately, they were missing in this season as well, but better late than never I always say.
I can see now why the budget was so low all season, so they could blow it all on the classic rock budget for the finale. What a lineup of songs! The Who, The Doors, Nick Drake, and Jensen also used his status to do the one thing that Eric Kripke was never able to do, HE GOT THE FREAKING LED ZEPPELIN SONG! You know how expensive that is? I’m sure Master Kripke was watching and cackling over his protege delivering that big moment for this franchise. It was truly the perfect goodbye to Dean.
Now that I’ve gone round and round about the ending, how about we look at the episode itself? This one I did enjoy. For one, I loved the Akrida queen and her backstory. The actress, Kelly Sullivan, had that delightful evil quality and I didn’t catch her mustache twirling once. She was pretty damned chilling with her charismatic delivery despite being misguided as hell. A true sociopathic performance for sure. Her scenes with Lata were particularly spooky, but I also loved her in the bar revealing her identity. Oh heck, I loved all her scenes.
I bought the mythology too, and that’s where Robbie Thompson shines. He laid out a fluid plot that when I look at it sideways, it still makes sense. Joan Hopkins was a hunter who had been around since 1673. I’ve often wondered how far back hunting goes, especially after we saw Samuel Colt in the 1800’s in Supernatural. It had to go back farther! She’s definitely not the first unhinged hunter to surface, but stumbling upon this bug race, created by angry God Chuck, and giving them purpose was a nice twist.
(What an angelic shot of Mary!)
This time it was Mary who found the answer, not Lata. I can’t believe they had books in the Campbell attic and never used them before! See what happens when they rely on Lata for all the answers? Even the whole Ostium thing made sense. It works if you give it something not of this world, but reverse the spell and bring something back? Cool. Carlos needs to take more recreational drugs to come up with things. He’s quite brilliant that way. His thinking ultimately saved Dean, so the dude has proved his worth!
I did have to hand wave a bit though at Ada’s plot. She used her one shot to save Lata and that’s sweet, but that was her freaking soul! We learned from the original series that once a part of your soul is gone, it’s gone! Yet Lata found an earth spell to restore that missing part of her soul? Where was that when Donatello needed it? I get we wanted to give Ada a happy ending, but wow, talk about twisting the lore a bit too far. How is this earth magic different than the other earths? Is the polarity different or something? Yeah, I’ve never been one that could wrap my head around the multiverse. Maybe that’s why I flamed out on watching The Flash.
One thing I did notice about the ending, and this series in general, is there weren’t many stunt deaths. That was one of my biggest criticisms of Supernatural, how they were too blasé over killing characters. It got so frequent the deaths lost meaning. Sure a guy like Kyle was sacrificed, but I wasn’t exactly shedding a tear. If that’s the worst that happened, I’m good. I do wonder if that was also Robbie and Jensen sending a message that the deaths in Supernatural got a bit ridiculous. You think?
(I had Ada in the Stunt Death Pool)
Sure, I was a little disappointed to find out the Akrida Queen wiped out the Men of Letters instead of Abandon, but I guess in this universe it made sense. As did all those little differences, like vampires burning with holy water, Henry and family settling in Lawrence instead of Normal, Illinois, and the Trickster just being a regular old Loki. Did this new flexibility in the canon truly service the plots, though? I question that. Maybe because while it makes sense now, it caused too much confusion at the time where it took away from the enjoyment of the episodes itself.
Welcome back John Showalter! The visuals in this episode were amazing. Here’s a great one:
I LOVE that Bobby noticed Samuel’s full head of hair. He got to say what we’ve been thinking (and commenting on) all season! That should have been one of the biggest clues this was the multi-verse. This is also the best place to throw in my gratuitous Tom Welling shot…
Is that the best Chuck can come up with…bug villains? What a hack. At least they spared us the bug crap this episode. Just possessing normal people.
(Another great shot from director Showalter)
Just like in “Swan Song,” Baby got to be the hero again. This time, she saved Dean and Mary.
My favorite character all season was Millie. She was practical, level headed, and took crap from no one. She also appreciates the beauty of Detroit steel. What an amazing woman. She is a Winchester for sure.
James Hetfield was a perfect alias for Dean since Metallica wasn’t formed until the 80’s so John and Mary wouldn’t get the name (since they were using rock star aliases also). Besides, Baby is the Metallicar!
This did feel like a series finale, although this episode paved the way for the new adventures of John and Mary Winchester, AU style. The question is, would you want to watch it? I’m not entirely sold. Dean has changed this universe forever. It opens up new possibilities, but shouldn’t his actions also have repercussions? He technically played God here. Or is that another theme, consequences of actions, from Supernatural that was discarded? Why wasn’t Dean happy with John and Mary having their happily ever after in Heaven? Why was their time on Earth so important? Dean has always been about the reality aspects I guess. No fire, no yellow-eyed demon, just John and Mary living on their terms. To him, that’s the ideal life.
I suppose that’s fine, but doesn’t that then totally change the Sam and Dean story? That tragedy defined them. Will they become hunters in this universe? Will Mary and John choose to raise them like Samuel raised Mary? I suppose all of that wasn’t at the forefront of Dean’s mind when he gave them that “little nudge.” Did Jack hand Dean the journal and colt to finish what he started because he thought the damage was already done, or did he see the potential?
AU was the only way to go here. After all, you can’t alienate the mother ship. But I’m going to need a lot more to openly embrace this series. They need to pick up the pace, tell richer stories, improve the character interactions and boost the production value by a lot. I also think that if The Winchesters gets another season, we won’t be seeing Dean again. His time on this earth is done. I can’t imagine he would even carry on as narrator. But of course, they could also get other guest narrators.
Now that I know for sure this was a Multiverse John and Mary, I’m disappointed. The one thing I didn’t like about the series was that constant feeling that something was off. I don’t particularly want to experience that going forward. I’m certain Robbie has really good ideas, but, how can that work? Everything we watch doesn’t pertain to the universe we grew to love. What can they do in this new setting to capture imaginations? I didn’t want an alternate Kirk and Spock in a world full of parallels either, but creatives are eager to twist franchises any way they can to keep them alive. It was bound to happen here. We’ll see how it all pans out.
Overall grade, A. Easily the best episode of the season. However, when watching a series, one has to focus on the journey, not the destination. In that case, it was a bumpy ride. There will be more post mortem coming, but for now, I’ll just celebrate this win.
Screencaps by Raloria@livejournal.
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