Supernatural Caps Lame Season With Tremendous Conclusion

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Supernatural finished its eleventh season with a bang—though ironically no actual bangs occurred during the finale. In a season that has been bogged down with a boring Big Bad and a mostly forgettable arc, Supernatural elevated itself back to the lofty heights of season five by defying expectations and becoming a more mature and thoughtful version of itself.

This season’s ongoing arc about Amara—the Darkness—and God’s sister has been all over the place. From the moment Amara arrived in the Supernatural universe her plans have been poorly thought out and contradictory. What does she want from humanity? In the beginning it seemed like she was going to try making humans a thrall race under her control. She stole souls and could bring people under her sway. But that thread was abandoned fairly quick. Was she going to have some dark plans for Dean Winchester who seemed to be somewhat charmed by her (through their Mark of Cain connection)? Nope. Another mostly ignored thread. The fact is that the creative team mishandled Amara from the word go. It would have made more thematic sense if Amara were trying to charm all of humanity to strike back at her brother instead of threatening to destroy the world…like every other Big Bad since season 5.

There were some good moments with Amara, but they came early and mostly focused on the relationship she had with Crowley as she rapidly aged from a child to a full grown woman by consuming souls. Mostly good stuff, again, abandoned before it could really be explored. Crowley would be almost completely wasted for most of the season.

Then there was the lame return of Lucifer. Once shown to be an evil, calculating, supremely ruthless, but compelling character, Lucifer returned to the show with Mark Pellegrino guesting only for the character to get bonded with Castiel (because THAT’S what the show needed after the disastrous Leviathan arc where Cas was briefly evil). It’s not that I don’t like Misha Collins, the guy is a whiz when it comes to emulating other performers. But reducing Lucifer to a impersonation while also losing the character of Castiel was one of many missteps.

I was so bored with this season that I started referring to it as Stupidnatural.

But things changed with the episode Don’t Call Me Shurley with the return of Chuck Shurley erstwhile Prophet of the Lord who disappeared under strange circumstances at the end of season 5 and who hadn’t been seen since his strange appearance in the 200th episode. Fans had long speculated that Chuck was actually God because of how he exited the show in season 5. But, series creator and show runner through season 5, Eric Kripke, would never confirm Chuck’s holy status. And for years I assumed that Chuck would remain a dangling thread to ponder. Don’t Call Me Shurley brought Chuck back into the fray by having him confront the de-angeled Metatron. Almost immediately we’re told the truth, that Chuck is God. He was pretending to be his own Prophet and now he’s back because Amara threatens all of existence. Okay, now we’re talking.

The episodes with Chuck were among some of the best episodes of Supernatural. With the creative team for once being forthright with the audience instead of cheekily hinting at Chuck, the series had created a new paradigm. This was God! This was the guy responsible either directly or indirectly for the entire first five season arc!

Now the question was not “is Chuck God” it was “will Stupidnatural stick the landing?” A fair question considering the difficulty the creative team has had since Kripke’s departure. Supernatural has had a tendency to go big and bigger with each subsequent season. It’s a problem with television series’ that go on for a long time. My pessimism with Supernatural made me believe that we were headed towards an epic showdown—which is something the show has constantly struggled with due to its budget.

The return of Chuck afforded the series some really good moments, like when Lucifer and Chuck hashed out their relationship at the behest of the Winchesters. Because it’s Supernatural, almost everyone has daddy issues and Lucifer was no different. Watching these two characters reconcile (most) of their differences was a highlight of the series with it being both funny and serious as hell (pardon the pun).

Even before the Lucifer/Chuck detente I said that the only way that this season could or should end is with God and Amara reconciling their differences and leaving the Earth for good. Settle their differences with words, not spectacle. But, I’m a glass half full of shit kind of person. Supremely pessimistic is how I’d describe myself, so I never thought in a million years that Supernatural would end this season the right way. And after a build up of a plan to secure souls to create a light bomb to kill Amara, it looked like spectacle was the way Supernatural was going to end. But it didn’t. As it turned out, the earlier Lucifer/Chuck scene was a clever bit of foreshadowing, and the light bomb was a complete fake out. Supernatural found, in it’s old age, a way to be refreshing and new—by acting like a mature show. Solving it’s problem with heart and brains. It was an ending that paid off loose threads from like six years ago. Maybe this season didn’t start tremendously, but this finale certainly ended on a high note.

The script for Alpha and Omega (written by one of next season’s show runners Andrew Dabb) smartly concluded a problematic season while also leaving us a couple cliffhangers to chew on. The biggest for longtime fans is probably the return of Mary Winchester. A “gift” from a departing Amara, the return of Mary is neat, but might leave fans screaming for John Winchester to return next–which is not happening in this lifetime thanks to Jeffery Dean Morgan’s commitment to Walking Dead.

The second cliffhanger, the reveal that the Men of Letters are not extinct, but instead have been working in England for several decades is the thing I’m most excited about. When we first meet Lady Antonia Bevell (Elizabeth Blackmore) in the early parts of the episode, I worried that the Men of Letters would be used as deus ex machina used to solve the God/Amara issue. But the revelation that the Men of Letters not only still exist but are on the hunt for the Brothers Winchester is exactly the direction I’ve wanted the show to move in from the moment the Men were introduced. Now, with the Men kidnapping (possibly shooting) Sam, we’ll start the next season with the brothers separated (a Supernatural cliche that this season THANKFULLY avoided), but with the Men of Letters story advancing from this cliche, I’ll forgive it.

It’s hard for a television show of Supernatural’s age to wow audiences. But thankfully, the Supernatural creative team found a way to maturely conclude this narrative in a way that I never thought they would, while hooking me with some clever cliffhangers. I’m excited for Supernatural again.

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