Where? Where do I even begin with EVERYTHING that is wrong about this season?
Do I discuss it episode by episode? But some of them are worse off when you look at the overall picture. On the other hand, looking at the overall picture can cause us to miss when some of the individual episodes just plain fail. How do you even begin?
Let’s begin at the crossroads.
No not the episode, the podcast. Pretty good, even if I disagree with them sometimes, it’s always in good fun (honest disagreement can often be more entertaining) and recommended if you’re looking for an SPN podcast..
One episode – I forget which at the moment – had the show hosts discussing the arcs & villains the boys have faced over the years. You might not notice it at first, but if you listen for it, you’ll notice that whenever they reach S9 in the discussion, there’s a bit of a hiccup in the dialog.
Because let’s be honest. If I was to survey the SPN fandom and ask, “what is the arc of season _” they will all agree well over 90% on every season, except S9. With that season, I’ll probably have several different answers. So let’s go over them in these posts!
The most popular answer will probably be “fixing the veil.” Why? Well for one reason it seems very fitting for the boys. But also because of what we went over before, it is the most clearly defined task even though it’s only 1 line in 1 episode proving just how important telling in addition to showing is in speculative fiction.
The problem with this? 1 obvious, 1 subtle.
First, the obvious problem. Let’s look an exchange of dialog in episode 9.04.
I had the weirdest dream when I was out. It was Christmas, and my parents were still alive, and —
Dream? Charlie, you died. Don’t worry about it, though. You’re not a real hunter until you’ve died and come back again.
Slow down. Why would you think I died?
Heaven — it’s your dream life. And if you were zapped by the Wicked Witch Instant death. I would know.
She killed me, too.
And Kevin’s line from episode 9.14 again?
I couldn’t. I can’t. No one can. Heaven’s closed for business. Everyone who’s died since the angels fell are just stuck inside the Veil, waiting. And it’s bad in here. Like DMV-line-times-infinity bad.
This is without a doubt, the single WORST retcon I have ever come across, and I’ve read comics.
First, e9.04 is not a one-off monster of the week story that we could lightly jettison from the canon to to make the season work. It later turns into a part of the mini-arc with later implications directly tied into S10’s arc. So you have two arcs from two different seasons literally contradicting each other. It would be like if book 2 of the Harry Potter series suddenly revealed that Harry wasn’t a wizard at all but just a muggle now stuck at wizarding school. (it would pretty much invalidate the first book, but without the first book, he can’t be at the school for the second book…)
Second, all characters involved are ones established as truthful with no motive or indication that they would be lying. This makes both bits are as explicit as you can get on a canon fact without the writer himself walking into frame and telling us exactly what is happening.
That’s the obvious problem with “the Veil” being S9’s plot. What’s the more subtle one?
Well let me just ask you, dear reader: When was the Veil fixed?
What concrete steps did Sam and Dean take to repair the Veil?
Any answer you provide, will have to be invented whole cloth by you because Supernatural never tells nor shows us. No really, look at how often the Veil has come up in the show. Other than one other explicit mention this season, this aspect to the lore never has relevance.
Given all this and the contradiction, it seems like “fix the Veil” is not the S9 arc – or at least, things work better if we jettison it and pretend it never came up.
So what is the arc of season 9? Come back next week, we’ll investigate another possibility.