Episodes Reviewed – 12.22 & 12.23

So how will season 12 end?  With a whimper or a bang?

As always, I’ll write up one episode before the next.

12.22 – Who We Are

Well, I guess I was just a bit early on my hope for the hunters to unite and take on the BMoL.  Gotta admit, I’m VERY impressed that the show runners remembered the hunters from back in S5 that shot the boys.  I just wish Eileen had been around and maybe fell in this battle instead of by trained Hellhound (which is not an idea I approve of for non demons).

So what about Dean’s journey into the mindscape?  Alright, I must be fair.  Yes, it bugs me to see sci-fi tech used in this show when it has mystical ways of doing things already established.  (At least this time Castiel was established as out of the way to avoid helping with the mind trip.)  But way back earlier in the season I joked about the show paying tribute to a bad movie.  So while I really want to hate it, the bit with Dean & Mary is so obviously another tribute to another infamously bad movie, it’s kind of hard to.  Oh for those wondering, that movie would be Exorcist 2: The Heretic.  Heck Linda Blair was actually on the show once so this is like a double tribute.

Anyway, not a lot to say because this is the resolution to the BMoL plot, which I spent so much time last review dissecting why it flopped based upon bad decisions from the beginning.  The episode itself is done well enough and competent, it just has a poor foundation to stand on, meaning the episode isn’t as strong as it could have been.  The arc with the grenade launcher is better done and has a more satisfying payoff than anything else this episode.  What should have been a powerful finish, is just ‘meh.’

12.23 – All Along the Watchtower

Well, time for the storyline I was least interested in this season.

Oh gee, Crowley escaped into the rat, exactly as I predicted.  Is Rowena dead for certain?  Well…

*watches to end of episode* Oh.  Yeah I guess Rowena is completely dead for certain.  If Cas & Crow are definitely dead, she’s definitely dead.  I wish I was more upset about it, but unfortunately few of the writers ever gave Rowena much of a character, so it feels less like losing a friend and more like the show lost a prop.

So to talk about the OTHER deaths…

Crowley I’m actually cool with.  The poor guy has felt like Sisyphus as far as character arcs go.  He would push that boulder up and get so very close to the top only to have it roll back down and reset him.  Well this time it felt like his character arc FINALLY made it over that hill and concluded.  Could it have been done better?  Sure, but at last now it is done.  Plus the characters all acted logically with the boys this time at least voicing a reason for why they’re not immediately killing him.  Though I don’t know why everybody is so surprised he escaped Ruby’s knife in his hand.  Demons can handle the knife all the time, there was nothing stopping him from pulling it out.

Castiel really felt like the show makers tacked it on at the last minute.  Sad part is, he often had the same problem as Crowley but this time didn’t have any kind of resolution to his character.  I’ll talk about him more in the S12 analysis.

Mary at least went out like Sam in S5 – fighting Satan and trapping him away from Earth.  She ended up with more of a meta-arc than character arc. Last episode we had Dean talking about how she ruined the family and all their lives, then this episode we see what would apparently happen had Mary not made that deal and ruined the family – the entire world would have been worse off.  Ultimately we the audience are shown that Mary did matter and did right by her boys.

I really did like the alternate Earth (let’s call it Earth-2 or e2).  The show told us just enough to have a handle on what is happening, but it left questions open.  “But Nate, aren’t you always bitching about unanswered questions?”  No, astute reader (though I understand why you have that impression).  I don’t like unanswered questions that are necessary for the plot.  Was Lucifer ever released on e2?  Did he and Michael have their war without the brothers?  Is what we’re seeing that war?  Is it a hint of what if Sam & Dean both said yes?  We can have fun speculating about it, but the point is we don’t know and we don’t need to know. An exceptional and rare event (Nephilim being born) made the portal and Sam & Dean make a difference to the world, that’s all we absolutely have to know to get the plot and we’re told that much.

I got to admit I’m really shocked the writers didn’t have e2 Bobby come back to our world to get Jim Beaver back on the show.  I would bet they wanted to but I think he has other commitments.  They could also have had some of the demons & angels escape from that earth onto ours for a hook next season but so far seem not to have done that (though the possibility remains open).  Instead the hook is Lucifer Jr.  I’ll admit, for a moment I thought maybe he would be sent to e2 and that world would be the one he brought peace to.  Instead they seem to want to keep him around.  This episode reminded me of some episodes from Joss Whedon’s show, Angel.  In that show a being born from a pregnancy that killed the mother brainwashed people into loving her when they saw or heard her.  At the moment, it seems like good odds that’s the direction they might go with Lucifer Jr. next season.  If they follow the same storyline, the boys will be his first acolytes, eventually break free, and then have to fight against world peace itself.  But the writers could do something different, maybe see about adding this character to the regular cast (though I feel sorry for him since it will be hard for the fans not interpret it as a Castiel replacement).  So place your bets now!  Will it last for two episodes?  Half a season?  The entire season?

All in all this episode was… meh.  Which is a step up from some of the trainwreck finales we had in other seasons but still not as epic as some earlier finales.

Still, it takes guts to clear the deck and thin out the cast.  I guess we’ll see if next season it pays off for them or not.

Anyway, next time I’ll post a review of the season as a whole.  Then I’ll finish out the anime and add some entries to the retrospective as well as take suggestions for hiatus activities.  See y’all around.

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