Bottom line, this wasn’t the show she avidly watched and followed all those years. That show was about two brothers against the world with nothing but each other. They were heroes. How could she fondly look back on this series knowing that was the ending? She was very, very hurt by it all. I had never thought of it that way, but with season six on the horizon, the story would go on. The writers would surely remedy that situation, right?
After watching “We Happy Few,” as well as watching this whole mytharc unfold all season, I’m feeling exactly like that fan. Utterly betrayed and despondent. What has happened? Why aren’t the glaring flaws in the story that obvious? Considering this utter train wreck came from one of the best writers on the team, Robert Berens, suddenly I’m realizing these awful and inexplicable plot turns are coming from misguided producers, not the individual episode writer. Whoever plotted this mytharc and passed on specific directions to writers has only set them and all viewers up for miserable failure. All is forgiven Brad and Eugenie, the poor plotting I have accused you of might not be your fault. Something here has gone very, very wrong.
I was very skeptical of the whole Amara/The Darkness arc at first and my fears have come true. The whole premise is too big for these writers to handle, it’s too big for the SPN universe to handle, it’s too big for anyone to handle. They have bitten off way more than they can chew. By making God and his sister a big part of the story, this story of two flawed brothers doing the best they can under impossible circumstances to make the world a better place, they’ve ended up reducing these all knowing and all powerful beings to the level of humans. They’re more powerful, but their behavior is every bit as petulant, childish, and ill-tempered as the worst humans. That’s dangerous territory when asking audiences to deem these twists plausible. It’s not illuminating. It’s freaking depressing. These are not ordinary people no matter what the show tries to tell us and I don’t want them to be.
So little from the mytharc adds up. How is Amara more powerful than Chuck? They should be the same. Yin and Yang are concepts of equal balance of opposite sides. Why did it take the power of four archangels and God to defeat Amara before? It does seem now that the whole story was made up just because they wanted to bring Lucifer back. What was wrong with leaving him in the cage with Michael? Why didn’t they bring back all the archangels if they chose to go there?
The whole Chuck/God and Lucifer saga has been way too painful to watch. It puts them on the level of a human father and son. Their problems are not the same of average humans no matter how much Dr. Phil Dean watches. Long, very deep, very painful personal issues cannot be addressed in one conversation. It defies common sense. Speaking of lack of common sense, why was Chuck/God filling in the gaps on cosmic mysteries that have plagued the whole series with just a few throw away lines? Why did he have to explain that he can’t fix Michael or bring back Gabriel and Raphael because it takes too much energy? This all should be revealed by clever plot exposition, not because God said so in a strategy meeting. Remember the sacred rule of TV writing, “Show, don’t tell.”
The problem with characterization isn’t just God, Amara and Lucifer. The writing is ruining everyone, even Sam and Dean. They’ve already shattered the once powerful Crowley into a nobody and now Lucifer has been ruined forever. The most evil and truly fearsome villain ever to grace his presence on this show and he’s now storming off to his room (fine, Sam’s room) and playing loud music like a whiny teenage brat. Why are Sam and Dean even entertaining the idea of Lucifer being there? I know the brothers make compromises to save the world, but does anyone remember Lucifer is the guy that mentally and physically tormented Sam into insanity, putting him into a horrible psychotic state that almost killed him? Then Sam shows faith toward God, gets duped into visiting Lucifer in the cage, Lucifer tries to kill him twice since then and Sam is trying to pacify this guy? Why, because he’s wearing a Castiel suit? HE’S STILL LUCIFER. Sam still shows loads of contempt toward Crowley who hasn’t done a fraction of the atrocities to him that Lucifer has and Luci is getting none of that.
It’s no different than dealing with Metatron last week. Was it forgotten that Metatron did actually kill Dean? Sam worked with him to free…wait for it…Lucifer! His tormentor? Remember when Dean just earlier this season read Castiel the riot act for letting Metatron go? Why has he changed his mind?
Why re-invent the wheel?
All that had to be done was to look at the show’s history for the proper approach toward alliances and character interaction. Throwing together a rag tag band of characters to take on evil only works if there is a compelling character based story underneath it all. Remember “Two Minutes to Midnight?” That was a warm up to a big showdown and showed us how team work is done. There was Crowley, Castiel and Bobby, Team Freewill at the time, but they were only supporting players to Sam and Dean. The whole saga of the episode, the whole emotional center, focused on a very big decision that the brothers had to make, aka, Sam saying yes to Lucifer. The guys split up and each came up with some big wins in their stories. It gave them something to take into the final battle. This is what we call proper plotting. Sure events happened, but there was a deep emotional saga as well as a physical one. That emotional connection is what kept us engaged, not the fights and the explosions and “let’s see how much plot we can cram into one hour.” “Two Minutes ’Til Midnight” got us so excited for “Swan Song.” It was a nice build up to the angst, not the slam you in the face approach we got with “We Happy Few.”
It’s obvious where the emotional center of the story could be right now, the issue of Sam and Dean’s faith. I love that they went there with Chuck surfacing, but the potential with that story has been totally squandered because they have avoided faith. Where is Sam’s side of his faith issues? Why aren’t Sam and Dean butting heads more on the issue and whether they can trust Chuck? Or if Sam can trust Dean because of Amara’s hold on him? Why they are even dealing with Lucifer? Why hasn’t the amulet been addressed? Faith should be the underlying theme driving everything they do right now. The conclusion is pretty simple, in the end, the brothers have faith in each other. That’s all that matters. That’s a tagline Chuck can support.
I want Sam and Dean to stop being puppets to these jerks. Remember season three? They were tired of being martyrs. Remember season five? They would fight their way. They would stop Lucifer their way or die trying. Did it work? Hell yes! That could very well be what this is all leading up to, but if that’s true, why wait until the freaking finale? Where is team free will? I’m with Dean, they hunt things like vampires. God and God’s sister is well beyond their pay grade. Ordinary heroes stepped to fight an evil foe and all got blasted for it. Innocents died for no damn good reason. Oh boy, that just restores my faith in the whole creative process. It sucks the fun and inspiration out of the story.
Maybe I’m just weary of the unconquerable foe theme that has been dominating a lot of the shows I watch. Zoom on “The Flash,” Damian Darhk on “Arrow,” Samaritan on “Person of Interest,” and now Amara. Even God can’t beat her. Honestly, I come out of each episode with more and more hopelessness and little to no investment in this story. How is this escapism and entertainment? It all is depression and outrage. You know what show I have enjoyed the most this TV viewing season? Strangely, it’s turned out to be “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” I’d rather watch a bunch of queens laughing and trashing each other than all of this frustrating crap.
How about I use another analogy? Once upon a time, Arthur Fonzarelli on “Happy Days” jumped over a shark…For the first time since S7, I’m seeing a lot of sharks swimming around and Sam and Dean on water skis. This was not just a weak episode, it was a damaging blow to whatever credibility is left of this show. I may never recover from seeing my show trashed this badly.
The Red Headed Monster
Oh for Chuck’s sake writers, would you please give Sam Winchester a freaking voice? He is one of the two main characters you know. Yeah, this is truly troubling. So Sam is blindly following God and Lucifer. There was that touching scene where Sam and God had a conversation about Sam taking on the MOC…oh wait…
Did you know that the monster likes to dabble a bit as a fan fiction writer?
Chuck approaches Sam, who’s in the MOL library reading a book.
Sam (looking up from his reading): Hey, what’s up?
Chuck: (he pulls up the chair across from Sam and takes a seat). I was listening Sam.
Sam: Excuse me?
Chuck: When you prayed in the chapel at the hospital. I was listening. I’m sorry I didn’t answer. I don’t exactly answer a lot of prayers. I didn’t know that Lucifer contacted you.
Sam: Thanks for that, I do appreciate it, but…I’m curious. Would you have let me die?
Chuck: I knew you wouldn’t. I knew you would find a way.
(Sam drops his eyes, unsure if he finds comfort in that answer).
Chuck: I heard you all those times you prayed Sam through the years. You never stopped, just like you couldn’t let the amulet go. I knew it was in your pocket the whole time. You are a true man of faith. Faith in God, faith in your brother. That means everything to me, just like it means everything to Dean.
Sam: I thought I was the jerk that let Amara out.
Chuck: You are, but me just being here means that you are forgiven. No one has been better at being accountable for their actions than you Sam. I’ve never forgotten that your act of sacrifice saved this world. That was you standing up. That’s why you and Dean are chosen.
Sam (feeling somewhat humbled): Thanks, but, you came here to give me a pep talk?
Chuck: No, I’m afraid I have something difficult to ask. I told you that I couldn’t kill Amara. I need to lock her away. I can’t do that without someone bearing the Mark. Dean cannot be the one this time. His connection to Amara won’t hold her.
Sam: I’ll do it.
Chuck: This will be a terrible burden. You saw what it’s done to both Lucifer and Dean. Are you sure you’re up for the task?
Sam: If it saves the world and takes that away from Dean, I’m in.
Chuck (nodding): Okay. Thank you Sam.
Sam: You’ve got to promise to lock me away when it gets to be too much. I know Dean won’t be able to do it. He’ll do something stupid like I did. You’ve got to promise to intervene this time.
Chuck: You got it.
Chuck flashes Sam a sympathetic glance and gets up to leave.
Sam: Don’t say anything to Dean. He’ll try to stop me.
Chuck: Sure thing Sam. Chuck walks away. Shot fades out to a troubled Sam alone in the big library, emotionally shaken by the conversation.
There, was that so hard? No, I’m not saying it should exactly play out like that, but that is what’s in my head. Remember when scenes like this used to happen instead of cramming too much story into one sensationalized episode? TPTB had all year to gradually build to this and they didn’t. That’s what irks me the most. I’m especially irked that after Robbie fought to finally return the amulet, NOTHING has been said or done about it since. Why did Sam keep it all these years? Has it always been in his pocket? THROW US A BONE! (Monster goes into a raging fit, then eats some chocolate and everything seems to get better).
Better yet, how about this conversation with Dean?
Dean: Why do you trust him?
Sam: Um, he's God.
Dean: That should be the exact reason not to trust him. You want to know how many people he's screwed over in this world?
Sam: He came back, didn't he? That's got to mean something.
Dean: It means jack squat. Where was he during all the other times when the world tried to do us in?
Sam: Look, I know, he's not perfect. He's definitely not the guy I pictured myself praying to all those years. But he created the world. He made us. Sometimes you have to let go of those doubts and show a little faith.
Dean: You want to put faith in that guy? He's lounging around in my bathrobe refusing to get out there and do anything. What proof do you have that he'll deliver?
Sam: Faith isn't about proof Dean. It's believing that in the end, he'll do the right thing. I believe in him because I have to. The alternative is so much worse.
Dean: (Dean looks at Sam weirdly). Could it be you're putting all your faith in him because you don't have any in me?
Sam: I don't know Dean, do you believe in you?
Oh yeah, that needs more work, but you get my point. These conversations should be happening on screen, not off.
I can’t give a letter grade to this individual episode since I haven’t seen the finale, but so far the Amara/God mytharc, removing the brilliant and apparently wasted “Don’t Call Me Shurley,” is getting a big huge “F” as in “Fail.” Anything that depresses me this much and obliterates my faith in characters, this show, and my entire life for the last eight years just isn't worthy of my time. They’re trying to pack too much senseless events into one episode instead of trying to properly form a real story with a driving emotional arc. If this is the plan for season 12, I’m out.