Let’s get some humor out of the way:
Loved the style and framing device of this episode. Also enjoyed the car love. Well done. I was sad to see Chuck alone again but at least he seems happier and better adjusted than before.
I also liked the call backs to previous season finales. Here’s a quick tally.
Season 1: Member of the family gets possessed by something evil and beats up on Dean until love gives him the power to fight back and take control.
Season 2: Climax takes place in a graveyard.
Season 3: Son of John Winchester gets dragged to hell.
Season 4: Sam kills a bunch of demons with his mind. Ok ok, technically it was the fact that Michael & Lucifer closely repeated the same exchange that Dean & Sam had in When the Levee Breaks, but whether that counts as “part 1” of the finale is debatable (I say it does).
On my twitter page, I initially said this finale was as good as All Hell Breaks Loose 2 and I still say it’s pretty good, but some plot holes opened up that soured me a little. It’s still a solid 5 shells but the season 2 finale (and episode 2.20) still remain the pinnacle of SPN.
In depth discussion and major spoilers here.
Let me get the negative out of the way first: Why the hell (pun intended) can’t the writers ever get Michael ‘right’? They do one of the best jobs on Lucifer I’ve ever seen but nobody can get Michael even decent? Yet again I’m going to have to sit down and do a “fix fic” for how the scene between those two should have gone.
Also, the line “you’re not the vessel anymore” had to be one of the dumbest ever. Why? Because it gives us the plot hole of probably the biggest solution we’ve all missed all season: Why didn’t Sam become Michael’s vessel? Michael said that it was a bloodline that was important, which is why Adam and John Winchester could be vessels for him besides Dean. Yet Sam is also of the same bloodline. Was it the demon blood dripped into him as a baby? It’s said it’s needed to “strengthen the vessel” for Lucifer but why doesn’t Michael or Raphael or Gabriel need their vessels strengthened? And couldn’t they cleanse Sam with the Eucharist or angel blood or something? Think about it: Sam becomes Michael’s vessel and what is Satan going to do about it?
This brings up another point: since season 4, the roles have been kind of reversed. Yes there was a bit about the “loyal” and “rebellious” son back in the earlier seasons but there had been a lot of character growth since then. How was Sam in season 4? Doing what he thought was right the best he could with what he was given. He wouldn’t have to think twice about letting Michael “ride” him, he could redeem himself, fix his mistake for letting Lucifer free, heck he was even the bigger angels fan of the two brothers. Dean? He’s been running a rebellious streak since close to the beginning of season 4. Have Satan show up and give him a chance to stick it to the angels? How could Dean so no to that? If you ask me, the season might have been more gripping if the brothers were struggling against the opposite deals.
Onto the positive. Loved how everything with the Impala played out. It’s especially important when you think about what Castiel said about God. Earlier in the episode, we’re given a brief scene where Lucifer “takes revenge” on those who pulled the puppet strings of Sam’s life on Azazel’s orders. At first glance, this seems kind of pointless, why bother? Ah, because it was a contrast. While the demons and angels were working hard to steer the “big moments” of the boys’ life, God was giving them the tiniest ones. Simple pleasures and joys that make family… family. Allow me to reference 1 Kings 19:11-13 a moment: the Angels steered with a mighty wind, the Demons steered with fire, but the Lord steered with a small voice. In the end, He was victorious. At least, that’s what I got out of it.
Chuck was right, endings are the hardest part of a book. But this was a good one (I’d even accept it as an ending to the show all together), one that lets people draw their own… inspiration from. And so we closed this 5 year story arc with Castiel giving the answer to the question of evil:
“What would you rather have? Peace? Or freedom?”