This episode was a quiet, subtle finale. It was full of emotion - mostly the heart breaking kind through until the end - and moved slowly without much in the way or flash or high drama. In spite of this, the episode was rich in material, as all of season eleven has been, referencing the earliest days of Supernatural and the Winchester family: everything that made us fall in love with show back in day one.
Friendships and Fraternities
Castiel was back for the final inning. Lucifer has been fun to watch in so many ways: the confidence, the manipulation, the silver tongue. In spite of all this - Castiel's misunderstanding of colloquialisms and quiet solidarity with Sam and Dean is irreplaceable and a welcome sight.
The conversation between Dean and Cas in the car was the perfect temperature to address any lingering issues about Cas' actions with Lucifer and his place among Sam and Dean:
"You're the best friend we've ever had. You're our brother, Cas. I want you to know that."
The Lucifer storyline was fun to watch in the moment - and even Mark Pelligrino was a treat to see again all those weeks ago. The unfortunate reality, of course, is that Castiel's actions were entirely futile; Lucifer was of no benefit in the battle against the Darkness. Of course, now that he's out in the world somewhere - who knows just what that means?
The soul bomb was interesting if only for the means of gathering the souls: an old fashioned ghost hunt in a haunted sanitarium. Sam and Dean's trip to collect the spirits is a visual treat, full of interesting angles and light. Of course, the best shot being as they're exiting, shoulder to shoulder: brothers and hunters.
Of course, a bomb needs a carrier and because of his connection with Amara it's not really a doubt that it will be Dean. At Mary's grave the brother's say goodbye and Dean asks Cas to promise to look out for Sam after he's gone. Dean asks for his ashes to be at the graveyard with his mother and then gets out his keys. This is always the hallmark of a Winchester goodbye - a quiet but heavy scene. Both Jared and Jensen are superb, as always; Sam's grief reading loudly as he tries to refuse the keys and Dean starts classic season one line:
"Come on, you know the drill. No chick flick moments."
"You love chick flicks"
"Yeah I do. Come here."
We've seen goodbyes between these two before - and if the show continues as long as some of us might like, we probably will again. But no matter how many times it happens, it is a potent and emotional exchange that reminds us of the bond in which the show finds it's roots.
Sure as family was the reason the world was broken, family is how the Winchesters can fix it again: the human solution. The entire eleventh season has been a slow sell of Amara gaining understanding of the human world and of a rediscovery of the family connections on many levels, in many relationships because whether you're a god, an angel, a demon or a man - family means something.
The Human Solution
The Human Solution
Though not an entirely unexpected solution, it was more satisfying to see Dean, and then Chuck, talk with Amara (finally!) than to have her be destroyed/blown up. Dean knows a thing or two about disputing siblings, after all, as he explains:
"I need him. He needs me. When everything goes to crap, that's all you've got....you need your brother. You don't want to be alone."
Amara has been one of the most intelligent threats the boys have faced and truly her issue was on a human level that everyone could relate to: betrayal by family. Amara was a passionate, intelligent being and it makes sense that she, eventually, have the opportunity to understand and vocalize her feelings as well as gain perspective on the world her brother created.
I even applaud the swift and smooth address of the "bond" between Amara and Dean. Dean states outright that Amara wanted him so as to not be so alone. Sure, they have a connection of some sort because of the Mark, but otherwise this is not spoken of again. Amara has been gaining an understanding of Earth and all encompassed therein - recognizing that while her brother is creation she is destruction - and she is sorry about this fact. The moments on the bench with the pigeons, a little pointed in conversation, but some of the best character development we've seen in Amara as an adult - the realization that you might hate your family, but they're still your family.
Ultimately, as much as I was cheering for Amara's demise in my last review, this was the best possible outcome in so many ways. For one thing, that whole natural balance is a bonus and without anyone running around all "Mark of Cain" this time either. Presumably neither Winchester died and needed to be resurrected in this finale. The Amara/Chuck storyline has been about Supernatural and the Winchesters in one way or another: about family who hurt each other deeply, who allow choices, anger, secrets, relationships with other people to come between their bond and how they find their way back through forgiveness and trust because...they are family and that's what they do. Season eleven has seen Sam and Dean healing after many of these choices, mistakes, hurts over the years - and finally back together without secrets, anger, hurt or otherwise.
It may not have been the finale cliffhanger we were expecting - but there were two women who certainly managed to catch the Winchester boys off guard. Let's talk about Toni of the UK first and foremost. Where the hell have they been through all the trouble times?! Just sitting in London shaking their heads and thinking "Oh, those Winchesters!" And now it's time to arrest them? All I can think is that when Cas gets his wits about him - or Dean gets back with Mama bear (the hunter!)- or both - Lady, you and London will be in so much trouble, you can't even fathom. Hands up if you're eagerly awaiting this new (forgive the pun) chapter in Supernatural with a human problem for a change?
And how about Mama Winchester? This was less unexpected, given the visit to Mary's grave and Amara's look through Dean's pictures in the last episode. Now that we know the history of Mary as a hunter - this is going to be such a long hiatus! My question? What memories will Mary have? What about Dean visiting her back in time? So much potential here!
Season eleven was all about the family unity and from the first episode promised us Sam and Dean together sans lies, secrets or others – and delivered very well over all. The new addition of the London MoL and Mary opens broad new potential for season twelve. It’s going to be a long, long summer.