I know it’s not Saturday, but, as long time readers will remember, we did actually have a column called Supernatural Saturdays for a little while!
Last night, the fifth season finale of Supernatural aired and as reports have stated, for all intents and purposes, was originally written in mind as a series finale, until the CW decided to pick the show up for another season.
I’m trying to avoid saying too much here on the main page, to avoid spoilers for anyone who watches the show on DVD, or may not have seen the finale yet. For those who have, or those curious, let’s talk after the jump, shall we?
Warning: MAJOR SPOILERS within!
Wow…it’s been a while since I wrote one of these. I think my lack of dedication to the Supernatural Saturday column has been, honestly, because this season of Supernatural has kind of dragged on for me. I like seeing angels and demons in fiction, but this storyline, which really started in the third season of the show, has kind of overstayed its welcome with me. For a while this season, I felt no rush to see the episodes while they aired on Thursday nights, instead just watching them whenever I got to them.
Since season three of the show, after the conclusion of the whole “Yellow-Eyed Demon” storyline from the first two seasons, the series has been focused on a whole “war in heaven, Armageddon is coming” storyline that was pretty interesting at first, but has hit some real bumps along the way and, like I said, just went on way too long. Episodes that seemingly had nothing to do with the mythology that were otherwise enjoyable ended up getting looped in and it seemed, really, as if there weren’t any “one off” episodes – everything had to do with the mythology, which, honestly, became tiring for me.
Then there were the budget cuts. As everyone knows, the CW cut the budgets of pretty much all its shows and a show focused on the Apocalypse really, well…doesn’t work without a budget. Some episodes would show abandoned towns, ruined by the Apocalypse, or converted into forts, while others would show cities just fine, as if nothing was happening. It’s as if the Apocalypse was only happening certain places, which had been decimated, while others weren’t even aware. For a good road map of the events leading up to last night’s season finale, read here.
So as last night’s finale begins, Sam has agreed to let Lucifer possess him, with the thinking that he can overpower the Devil’s control and, with Dean’s help, send ye’ ole Belzebub back to Hell. Not entirely a great plan since, the instant Lucifer possesses Sam, he’s instantly in control, leaving Dean, Castiel, and Bobby with nothing to do but prepare for the inevitable Apocalypse. Dean walks around angry, and Bobby and Castiel have, essentially, just decided that there’s nothing they can do at this point.
While this is happening, we get insight into the Winchester’s past by Chuck the Prophet, who’s writing his final Supernatural novel. He tells us the history of the Impala, and how the boys made it there own, lodging a toy soldier into an ashtray, carving their initials into the dashboard, etc.
The Angel Michael, meanwhile, has given up on Dean and taken possession of the third Winchester brother. He meets Lucifer on the appointed battlefield, and the two get ready to fight and destroy the world. Except that, as it’s about to begin, Dean shows up in the Impala to give it one last go, and have a chat with Sammy to appeal to him and see if he can take control. Michael’s pissed off, but is sent back to Heaven, temporarily, by Castiel and Bobby, who show up to help Dean out. Lucifer, annoyed at the interruption, makes Castiel explode and snaps Bobby’s neck before beating the hell out of Dean.
As he’s ready to deal the killing blow, however, he pauses. A lone toy soldier, lodged in the ashtray of the Impala, catches his eye, giving Sam the opportunity he needs to take control and send Lucifer back to Hell, dragging Michael along for the ride. Of course, this means Sam’s gone too, leaving Dean alone and bloodied.
God revives Castiel (back as an angel again), who heals both Dean and Bobby, before deciding to go back to Heaven to fill Michael’s void as kind of the “angel sheriff.” Dean and Bobby go their separate ways (for now) and, keeping a promise to Sam, Dean finds ex-girlfriend Lucy (who he once thought had his son) to try and live a happy, normal life. Chuck the prophet finished writing his final tale before disappearing into a cloud of smoke. As Dean and his new family sit down to dinner, a streetlight flickers outside, and Sam stands in the street.
Until its end, “Swan Song” absolutely feels like the series finale of Supernatural. We get flashbacks a-plenty, and almost all threads are tied up. As a series finale, it works fantastically – there are still some lingering questions (I’ll get to those in a minute), but the main plot thread is concluded satisfactorily, which most shows can’t really say. While I admit, I expected a little more whizz-bang from the finale, rather than the promise of a fight that never really happens, a couple of punches thrown, and it’s over, it really does make sense to focus on the relationship of the brothers, rather than trying to make something spectacular happen just because people expect something to explode in their ending.
Speaking of exploding, the deaths of Castiel and Bobby were well done and, though short-lived, effective. I hate to say that I wish they had kind of stayed dead for the impact, but it’s true. God reviving them felt a little forced.
Then there’s Chuck the prophet. With him concluding his tale, and disappearing, it’s hinted that, perhaps, ol’ Chuck was actually God. Doesn’t really make sense, if you think about it too much, except that every reason that Chuck shouldn’t be God can be explained away with “well, since he’s God, he just changed the rules.” I hate to say that, even though the twist doesn’t make sense to me, I do think that the implication of Chuck’s holiness is sound – there were too many hints about God throughout the season to end the show without knowing what he was doing – writing Supernatural fiction, apparently.
And Sam’s return? Not explained, and though the flicker of the streetlight I thought was some kind of hint, it appears that it really wasn’t. I would venture to guess that Sam wasn’t supposed to return in the original designs of making this the series finale, but when they got renewed, they added that scene to the script in order to pave the way for season six. My guess? God brought Sam back, and seeing Dean is happy now, he’ll venture out on his own, and the two brothers will somehow meet up early in season six to continue their adventures. Unless a lot of stuff happens in that one city to allow Dean to come home every night to his family.
I feel like a douche saying that I wish characters has stayed dead, but knowing there was a season six coming, a lot of suspense was lost while watching the episode. I knew Sam had to come back and, though Castiel and Bobby could have died, they didn’t ultimately, so, really, the Apocalypse, fighting angels and the Devil and all that, didn’t result in a ton of death for the Winchesters (except for the mother and daughter hunter team that died earlier in the season). Still, guess I shouldn’t complain about a somewhat happy ending.
As for the unanswered questions? Even the show says that there would be, and really, there aren’t a TON, but there is a biggie left unaddressed – what about Dean’s soul? It was stated earlier in the season that he didn’t have one – is that still true? Was that resolved and I missed it?
While Supernatural’s fifth season was a bit bumpy for me, I have to admit that the last five or so episodes of the show really were some of the show’s strongest, and I was ultimately satisfied with the way it went out. I’m sure curious to see how they follow up the finality of this season with the sixth season. For all intents and purposes, the story has reached its end – if season six is a new story, will stands still get an ending worthy of six seasons of dedication?
What did you guys think?