Jeremy Carver said this season would be more personal and he has been true to his word. Dean, Sam, Castiel and Crowley are all fighting the demons within themselves rather than waging larger-than-life battles. The conflict is internal, while they all examine the age-old philosophical question of “Who am I”. Do I have the strength to prevail over an ancient evil trying to win my soul (Dean)? Have I gone too far and lost myself in trying to save my brother (Sam)? Have I done more damage than good, and can I gain forgiveness and redemption before I die (Castiel)? How do I deal with human feelings of loneliness and boredom when I’m supposed to be a callous force of evil (Crowley)?
The issue for many fans, though, is that watching these internal conflicts is not exciting. Season 10 has presented a few exceptionally good episodes, and some exceptionally good scenes. The brothers are getting along and there is peace in the supernatural world. Overall, though, the season is having diffuculty gaining traction. The WFB poll that is open right now asks what fans think of season 10. With 241 votes, 42% rate the season A, A- or B while 39% rate it as B-, C, or C- (16% give it a D or F). That's a very even split between love it and kinda like it. This is absolutely positive...but not overwhelmingly so. Reflecting more on ratings and fan reactions to the 1st half of season 10, I had a bit of an epiphany, which I expressed in comments to my “Bottom Line” article:
“Why does s10 feel different? What about it is throwing off the momentum? Why are so many people not excited about the season? I am NOT saying I think it is bad; I'm just saying the season as a whole so far hasn’t been exciting. I haven’t had the heart pounding, fall of the couch reaction to anything since episode 3.
...It may be [partially] due to the Castiel and Crowley plot lines. I love both actors and characters, and don't at all mind them getting more screen time, but their stories have been milk toast. They've wandered about aimlessly with no excitement, no real compelling story, drama or challenge. The characters themselves have been castrated (if you'll excuse the expression). Both were powerful beings who waged wars. They were strong and opinionated, they had purpose and they posed a threat or were a strong ally. Now one is pining for a lost .....something...friendship? companionship?...and they introduce his mom?? The other goes to find his "daughter"? They gave them families, so now instead of being larger than life, they are dealing with all the same family issues we all have. … they have been reduced to dealing with family drama! …I think each episode's momentum is being sucked into the passiveness and doldrums that Castiel and Crowley are feeling, every time they appear in the story. We leave the hour feeling the same way they are being portrayed, lackluster and blah.For a while, Cas even slept a portion of his time on screen! That really kills momentum!”
So far in season 10, I have felt like the writers have been stalling for time, waiting for something to happen. The season has felt tentative. The stories have been small and self-contained. Even the larger arcs of the Mark of Cain and Castiel’s missing grace have received only a few minutes of time between the one-off monster-of-the-week plots.
Is the fact that Jared and Jensen have been unsure how much longer they will do the show affecting the storyline? Their 3 year contracts expire at the end of season 10. Have the writers been walking a fine line, not knowing if they have to end the show this year (or now next year), or whether they can position the show for a longer run? Maybe with season 11 signed, the writers have the stability they need to commit to bigger stories? Tiny seeds of a much larger story have been sown into the weekly hunts. Do we just need to be patient as the board gets reset for a much larger drama?
So what does season 10 need to do to be great?
Sam and Dean: put some urgency into looking for the “cure” for the Mark of Cain! Dean has killed people, not monsters, now. Stop watching “The Three Stooges” while the ticking time-bomb is raging inside of Dean and get moving!
…and get real with each other! Stop walking on egg shells wondering if your relationship will break again if you raise the tough issues! Talk about what is happening with the urgency and seriousness you both deserve. You can handle the no-win situations – you’ve done it before. Find that inner strength that makes you Winchesters, talk, bond and work together!
Castiel: You are a celestial being who has had immense power and lived millennia. You have faced death countless times (well, in fact you have actually died several times). All of a sudden, you are acting like a terminal patient reflecting on his life and trying to make amends before he dies. I love that you are seeking personal redemption, but how about fighting for life instead of accepting death? You can right your wrongs along the way to saving yourself!
Crowley: Really? How long are you going to pine like a teenager who isn’t included in the “cool group”? Get over your adolescent stage of blaming your mum for how you turned out. You are the King of Hell. Quit pouting and find your voice and your spine again!
What do you think? What does the next part of season 10 need to deliver to make it one of the best in Supernatural’s long, distinguished history? What do you want to see?