Supernatural Retrospective – part 10 (S6 and the rest)

Part 9 (S6 and Dean)

So let’s cover the rest of the storylines in S6 in one post less this series ends up being 50 parts as well.

Eve, Grandpa Campbell, and the Heavenly Armory.  Three plots from this season which ultimately, when you boil it down, mean absolutely nothing and went nowhere.  Yes, I know this is supposed to be a “noir” season with “red herrings” – I’ve heard that more than a few times.  The problem is, red herrings, while they may not be relevant to the goal are still relevant to the story.  We should still learn things which are plot relevant while dealing with a red herring and/or develop and learn more about characters.  Furthermore, red herrings should spawn organically from the story.

What do I mean?  Imagine for a moment you were watching a standard murder mystery fare.  It could be CSI, Murder She Wrote, Perry Mason, or whatever.  The body is found, the detective main character examines it, then suddenly proclaims that he thinks Godzilla did it!  We then spend the better part of ten minutes with the character running down this lead.  In a world where Godzilla isn’t real, but a fictional work which all the characters are aware of.  Was it a red herring?  Technically yes, but it was a bad, nonsensical one that wasted the audience’s time.

This is what annoys me about Grandpa Campbell and the Weapons.  Why are the Weapons from the Armory of Heaven so important?  They make Raphael run away in episode 6.15, but by the end of the season Castiel is still desperate enough to engage god-mode.  If the Weapons are so useful, why were they never utilized or mentioned during the previous season?  Why didn’t Lucifer and the forces of Hell try and get any of these weapons or use them?  Why didn’t the forces of Heaven wield them?  Ultimately it goes nowhere and becomes so forgotten that nobody notices when things go against this element during Carver’s years (coming soon).

Likewise Grandpa.  He seemingly shows up in the show, because he’s important to us, the audience, but think about it a moment, why did Castiel (or Crowley) summon him up?  No really, why?  Because he was an exceptional hunter?  Really?  Out of the whole of possible history that either of those two had access to, the boys’ Grandfather is the best that ever was?  Better than Elliot Ness? (another Xfile alumn)  Or just better than any other still living hunters?  We can’t really say because no reason is ever given except either 1) he has an impact on we the audience or 2) a tautology.  Then the show goes on through the season and fails to demonstrate that Grandpa has any particular skill or experience that makes him more adept at the task of “catching alphas” than any other random hunter.  One could excise Grandpa from the entire season and plug a random actor in there from anywhere else and few lines (and no episodes) would have to be changed (more on this kind of thing in the next part).

The S6 companion guide says that the writers wanted Dean to have to “make a choice between families” the only problem is that there’s never a “choice” given between the blood family and “picked” family.  There’s never a moment in the story where Dean has to choose who’s instruction he’s going to follow or who he’s going to try and save because the season never bothers building up any possibility for Dean to make the choice the writers & audience don’t want him to.  There is never a compelling reason for Dean to ever “choose” Grandpa.  Going back to the most important episode of the series, Grandpa Campbell could have been a representation of the other side of the Winchesters’ debate, the side that does “anything for family, regardless of the consequence” all in the name of saving his grandson’s soul.  He should have been the one to make Dean question some of his choices and ponder the costs of actions.  It shouldn’t have been Sam beating up the cop in episode 6.13, but Grandpa for Sam’s sake.

Eve is at least the example of a good red herring this season.  Her arc grows organically from the events seen and even though it ultimately goes no where, we learn things relevant to the actual plot and characters.  She also helps foreshadow the Leviathan (though poorly) and the dangers of purgatory.

But she is not enough to save S6 from what is ultimately a mess.  Ultimately the problem with S6 is that they changed too much, and tried to do too much, without a proper grounding for the audience and stories.  While it had some entertaining moments and episodes, on a fundamental story and character level, nothing about S6 works.

Part 11 (S7 and forward)

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