Let it Bleed
Lots of nice moments in this, but their sudden turn to Lovecraft seems like a sweeps rating ploy pulled out a few weeks too late.
I admit that a lot of this episode did appeal to me as a writer. The subtle joke about the episode starting on a “dark and stormy night” and the deconstruction in the quote of the episode:
“To see what’s out there.”
“See if it’s friendly?”
The bit at the end of Lisa & Ben getting mind scrubbed…
On the one hand, this is pretty much an admission by the writers that nothing will be done with these two. They are permanently dead to the show.
Do I have a problem with their fate? Well yes and no…
The move was a very stupid one on Dean’s part. A fundamental premise of Supernatural is “Knowledge is power” (that they show this rather than tell us is one of the reasons I love the show). In removing their knowledge about the supernatural, Dean has made Lisa & Ben powerless to an extent. After all, the two of them were attacked once regardless of their innocence or connection to Dean. But then again, doing things without thinking is a part of Dean’s character [flaw] so it does fit on a verisimilitude level.
On the writing level I’m disappointed. Originally I hoped that the show might take actual risks and explore new horizons with a more settled family. As I’ve written about before, the tension between responsibilities is a theme that I can’t recall seeing in many works and I’d like to see how the SPN writers would tackle that debate. We live in a world of hard choices, but by episode end, the writers told us that they weren’t interested in hard choices.
Still it was neither horrible nor glorious so a big mediocre score of 3.
Also, on the TV Tropes board, some of us where talking about why Ben wasn’t possessed by a demon. Two theories I invented:
- Demons are not allowed to possess children. How often have we seen demons possess children when it would be a pretty good idea? Remember back when Jimmy Novak’s family was in danger. A demon took over Jimmy’s wife, not his daughter. But there is 1 exception: Lilith. So maybe demons don’t possess kids unless they are of sufficient power.
- Going back to Jimmy Novak’s episode: why didn’t a demon ever try to possess Jimmy? We know that demons seems to have access to their hosts’ minds when possessing (and visa versa per antichrist episode) so why not take him over and pull out the info they want? Answer: Demons can’t possess angel vessels. Exception: First: Meg possessing Sammy. But explained away by Sam having drunk demon blood and perhaps the vessel of Lucifer isn’t afforded the same protections as other angel vessels. OR It might have to do with the magical tattoo which seemed to give demons a lot of leeway around the normal rules (remember Meg was able to do more while in a devil’s trap than before). Second (the big one): John possessed by Azazel (when we know now that John had been possessed by Micheal in the past). No real explanation here except (perhaps) that a demon must be of a sufficient power level to take over an angel vessel (remember even holy water didn’t affect Azazel). I actually like theory 2 the most. Why? Because it means that Ben is actually Dean Jr and he is – that’s right – a potential vessel for Michael. Which gives me a hilarious scene about Michael taking Ben in season 7 and proceeding to kick all kinds of ass.
the Man Who Knew too Much
Without a doubt, the weakest SPN finale of all the seasons. Which is kind of appropriate for season 6. However, if we judge this on the scale of season six episodes, then this episode was pretty awesome.
Like Chuck from SF Debris, I prefer to grade these things in context of their series as a whole so…
Mediocre – which is a damn shame for a finale.
Some random thoughts on this episode while I prepare for a larger, overall season review post.
- I didn’t mind the Inception trip inside Sam’s head but it really felt like it dragged this episode down. Should it have had more time? Perhaps an entire episode to itself? (hey, they did “dream sharing” once before) Well the last two finales (or in the case of season 4: lead up to finale) have both had “psychoanalyzing Sam” as a major component/feature of the episode. Do we need more?
- I like what they did with Castiel. Why? Well first, the idea of the Winchesters going after and attempting to “kill” God is just a huge minefield fraught with peril that would probably destroy the show. By transforming Castiel, they writers can now do that plot without offending a large section of their fan base. Also, “where is God” is a frequent question in art, it was even asked in season 5. “Why isn’t He more active?” Is a variation on this question. Now, as someone with a loving – but at times overbearing – family, this was one aspect of God’s character that was never much of a theological conundrum for me. I’ve frequently thought that one of the worst ways God could punish us would to be more active in our lives. (Go on – think of your own family. You know I’m right.) Castiel may be a demonstration of this principle in season 7. Hopefully by season end, the brothers might appreciate the more distant “absentee” God.
- Did Crowley actually lose?
This point will take a bit more explanation, but I think Crowley just pulled off one of the most brilliant Batman Gambits ever seen. Consider that 2 episodes ago, he described Castiel as “the new God” and himself as “the new Devil”. By finale’s end, we see that 1 half of that plan is fulfilled. “But doesn’t this screw Crowley?” some of you are saying. Follow along here…
- Hell seems a bit harder to get into in the SPN universe than as described in most theologies. The episode where the brothers went to heaven all but says that most people end up in Heaven.
- When making his deal with Castiel, Crowley “loaned” him 50k souls for a demonstration. At the end of the finale, we’re told that Castiel has absorbed “millions upon millions” of souls. Again, accounting for the more restricted nature of Hell in the SPN universe but factoring in that humans always greatly outnumber monsters, there are probably close to that many souls waiting in Hell for Crowley to tap. But not quite enough…
- The most common principle of Hell in theology is that one is condemned to it for defying God. Thanks to Crowley, a new, possibly “less pleasant” god has been set up. A god that a lot of people (including the brothers) are going to defy. And when that happens? Souls start ending up in Hell. More souls than would have ended up there previously (I’m guessing).
Thus what can we conclude? Crowley just set himself up with a power buffet, and by the end will be more powerful than even Castiel is now.
At least, that’s what he’s thinking (I’m guessing). The real question is: how will the brothers stop he and Castiel next season?