So… damn… angry..
No, I should focus on the positive. What did this episode do right? Well it had “Carry on Wayward Son” playing during the recap. The sequence inside the base was really well done. Mark Sheppard got to stretch his acting muscles, demonstrating just how much he’s underutilized in Hollywood. (seriously, wouldn’t you love to see him play a comic book villain? I’m thinking… Lex Luthor, with accent) Demonic handcuffs were actually a brilliant move by the boys. And…
That’s it. The rest of the episode was SHIT! Really, the myriad problems with this episode can be summed up in one line:
Metatron: Who, God? Pretty much like you’d expect. Larger than life, gruff, a bit of a sexist. But fair. Eminently fair.
Think about that a moment. In this universe, God is the confirmed creator of everything. Including sex. The creator of sex, is “a bit of a sexist”. That’s like saying Bill Gates or Steve Jobs were “a bit nerdy”. What was the point of it? To complain that humanity isn’t an asexual species reproducing by mitosis? (maybe budding?) Seriously, that line is one of those that while it doesn’t really ruin anything lore-wise or mess up the show, is just really bad writing.
This was just… disappointing. Historically, the show ALWAYS had awesome season closers. Seasons 3 and 6 may have been the lowest points of the series, but their finales still knocked socks off to the point they almost made up for all the crap earlier. Without a doubt, this was the worst finale put out yet.
And what makes it worse is that this was a season of some consistent quality. Here’s all the scores the season had earned from me:
4 4 3 4 5 3 4 4 2 3 3 5 3 3 3 2 2 3 2 4 3 3
Mostly 2-4, with a couple of fives. Guess it was inevitable that a 1 had to show up.
[warning: A nerd rant approacheth]
[Children, pregnant women, and muggles should leave now]
The biggest problem with this finale is more one of structure and writing than anything else. In no particular order…
- We largely have a repeat of S4 finale with Dean bursting into a church where Sam is about to do something. Only this time he is successful whereas before he failed thanks to Ruby’s interference. They then have a conversation that would fit fine in season 4 or early 5, but doesn’t fit at the end of 8 here where both should have undergone character growth. Really, Sam’s sin is “disappointing his brother”? 1) that isn’t a sin and 2) this is relevant any more. Dean didn’t believe Sam couldn’t do it this season as much as Sam was physically being affected by the trials. This isn’t an issue of lack of faith, but genuine health concerns. We didn’t need a rehash over an old issue!
- Dean’s whole “don’t die Sammy”! Repeat of S2 finale. Which… was powerful back then, meaningless now because death has been cheapened in the SPN universe. You close Hell, so ya know Sammy isn’t going to go there, he would have to go to heaven. With both Bobby and Ash up there (as well as Castiel as far as Dean knew), it was highly unlikely Sam would stay dead for long.
- Speaking of which, Naomi! Did you even try? Here’s how the scene should have gone down:
“Dean, Sam is going to die.” -Naomi”Oh no! Every time it gives me a PTSD flashback.” -Dean
“Tell you what. We want Hell closed. So you let Sam finish the ritual, and I promise we will bring him back to life immediately.” -Naomi
“Let’s make a deal.” -Dean who then proceeds to make out with Amanda Tapping.
Then, you could have SOME suspense at the end of the episode that Sam might have trouble getting back from death this time.
- Why Metatron? You know what was the biggest twist of the season? Benny. Because at this point, EVERY Winchester ally has ended up betraying them to the point that as soon as they get help, we assume the helper is holding a metaphorical knife (or literal in many cases). Even better? Metatron DIDN’T NEED TO LIE! He & Castiel agreed: Angels need some sense knocked into them, one way or another. What’s wrong with Metatron’s solution? Spending time on earth, “in the field” as they say, did wonders for Castiel’s and Anna’s empathy. Heck, from what little we know about how angels weaponize souls, it might have been BETTER that the angels were cast out rather than locked up with a lot of good, innocent people.
- Which ultimately leads to the worst failing of the episode: the ending! The music playing over the “angels fall” sequence sounds like it is supposed to be tragic and ominous. But the show has spent the last 4 years demonstrating that if the angel ain’t Castiel, they are an antagonist like any other non-human. Any time we saw an angel be fairly helpful or another potential ally, they ended up dead (*sniff* poor Anna). If anything that ending was the first REAL victory the Winchesters have had since finales 2, 5 & 7. If the show wanted to show us the angels falling as a bad thing, then they should have spent the last 3 seasons showing them as growing allies, not more enemies. Metatron has done the boys a huge favor, that’s not what you should end a season finale on.
- Since we also saw a close up of wings peeling off of a falling angel, and wings are the representation of an angel’s power in the show (why do you think we see them turn to ash imprints when they die?) it’s reasonable to assume that all the angels are falling as mortals so….. no real threat from them.
Every season ended with a question (or two) that burned in our minds as we waited out the summer:
- Did anybody live?
- Can Dean get out of his deal?
- How will Dean get out of Hell?
- Does the world live?
- How did Sam return?
- What will Castiel do next?
- How will Dean get out of Purgatory?
What is the question this season? “So?”
That is why this finale is the worst they’ve ever done. They should have let Sam seal the gates of Hell and then had Metatron bring him back next season, letting us know that all the angel/demon stuff has been put to rest. Now, I don’t care how long it takes for the show to return.