Some miscellaneous stuff to push us into S9.
So Metatron and Abaddon were introduced this season. Let’s come back to them later.
Episode 8.12 – Like episode 5.19, this is one I’ll admit I liked on a visceral level, but must admit that it ultimately made the show worse off. While there is an implied contradiction between “Henry” here and a line from episode 4.03, that can at least be explained by the “John got adopted” extrapolation. Still, it removes the remaining auras of “ordinariness” to Sam & Dean. Though I have to wonder, what if it was their paternal grandmother who was the letterman that time traveled? I think there was far more story possibilities (though had Abaddon been possessing their grandmother, the Winchesters would have a running theme of possessed grandparents). Regardless, I think the show missed a huge opportunity by killing off Henry in the same episode. Letting him guest star for a few episodes before dying off (he would have fit in great with 8.13 and 8.14) would have really added something new and let the show make up for the missed grandfatherly opportunities in S6.
Episode 8.17 – As much as I just bashed 8.19, this episode had probably THE biggest crime against canon & common sense in it (yes, even counting the greek gods episode). The revelation that Lucifer held the angel tablet just… why? Considering how powerful both Castiel & Metatron demonstrate it is, why wouldn’t Lucifer ever bother to use it in S5? Plus if you excised all the bits about Naomi ordering Cas to kill Dean, it not only barely affects the episode, but makes some of her actions throughout the entire season just a BIT more sensical. If things are improved by the removal of an episode/plot/character/etc, that part of the story has failed.
Episode 8.23 – Not a lot to add to what I said in Alice & mine’s discussion about finales. I do get it, there are some decent parts to this and emotionally powerful moments, that are ultimately meaningless in the wider context of the Supernatural universe. I do want to repaste my point about how this finale DIDN’T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY*: Just shuffling events around would have made it work so much better. Have Naomi and the angels promise to revive Sam. Afterwards have Abaddon crash the ritual with Dean there and the brothers fight her off together (or even have Dean protecting Sam since he’s weakened). During this delay, Metatron concludes his plot and the angels fall, THEN Dean tries to stop Sam because he thinks the angels won’t be able to hold up their end of the deal. If you have a debate, shorten it between them: “We should close Hell anyway.” “and leave me to clean up Heaven by myself? I can’t do it without you, man.” THEN you have Dean holding his brother while the angels fall around them.
What drives it all to failure besides the lack of death consequences, is that NOTHING is outlined in the trials except in the broadest possible terms. Why does Sam have to finish curing Crowley right then? What if they took a break and then resume the next day? The next week? Are the trials on some kind of timer? But parts 1 and 2 are 5 episodes apart while parts 2 and 3 are only 4 apart. Why does it all have to be completed on the first try? If say, Crowley was killed or got loose, could they get another demon and try again on trial 3? Why is Sam’s death a concern for boys that know Death on a first name basis? I’ve had another fan post some extrapolations on why (she’s even a regular reader here, hello! *wave*) but the critical point is that we’re never told. Will Sam’s soul be the “lock” on the Gates of Hell? Will it be oblivion? Can he come back? And to top it all off, the revelation that “Sam will die” is delivered by a LYING character, the show even comments on that:
Hey, right now, talk to me. Is she lying?
I don’t know.
Well, find out!
When canon is delivered by a lying character and nothing contradicts it later on, where the canon fact lands on the explicit spectrum can be calculated by “what reason does this character have to lie/tell the truth?” With Naomi, there’s no way to tell. If she’s lying about that, then she’s lying about wanting the trials complete, which makes her actions in e8.19 even more inconsistent. Likewise, if she’s telling the truth, then she would have to be lying about wanting the trials complete, again putting into question e8.19. If she was telling the truth about both OR telling the truth about her desire but lying about the consequence, it makes no sense as she just made it less likely the trial will be complete. So what the hell? This isn’t a character, it’s a plot device.
THEN to top it ALLLLLLL off. After the crutch of it all…
Sammy dies (sort of) anyway.
So what was the point of it all? What did Dean ultimately accomplished? The show just flat out tell us “that heart-wrenching speech was a waste of time.” ANY basically competent storyteller should know that if you hinge an outcome on a dramatic act, you don’t then have the outcome happen regardless of the act. That’s a fundamental betrayal of the reader’s trust.
Which made what followed in season 9 not terribly surprising.
It wasn’t the angels that fell to earth in burning flames, it was storytelling.
*Everyone took a drink, right?