Seven Things About (Rewatching) Supernatural: 5x13-5x22
So you know that thing people say: “Hey, I love Supernatural! Shame it only went on for five seasons…” blah, blah, etc? Yeah, no. Nooooo. Kripke’s original ending is at best a gut-wrenching Pyrrhic victory that could only have been worse if Bobby had stayed dead. Yeah, Dean got out of a life that he hated, but at the cost of literally everything he cares about. Cas is gone back to Heaven, and Sam is trapped in Hell for eternity in a cage with two thwarted archangels. Yeah, there is a reason Dean’s rocking the Hunter’s Helper with his potato salad, and it’s because Suburbs Aren’t Magic.And because he’s Dean, he’s going to go through the motions until he is dead because he promised Sam he would. (This is not to say that he cannot find some genuine happiness with Lisa – I think he does – but that’s a discussion for S6.)
While we’re being hideously depressed, let’s go ahead and address how three out of our four protagonists are rocking actual symptoms of depression, with two of them rocking suicidal ideation. Dean makes a plan and begins carrying it out – making final visits, collecting his property, writing a note, etc. – while Bobby stops at simply having the round in his desk to reflect on daily. Sam’s feelings are more diffuse, and he doesn’t really clock suicidal to me per se in the way Bobby and Dean do, but his struggle with his own self-loathing peaks in S5. Hardly surprising, given his guilt about Mary and Jess’ deaths, his lifelong sense of isolation – being a ‘freak’ – got confirmed in the worst possible way with Azazel, Ruby, and Lucifer, his struggle with addiction, etc. are all in play. Dean being critical of his Heaven in 5x16 probably didn’t help either. Like, I can see where Dean was coming from there – the things Sam remembers fondly line up perfectly with things that are a source of pain for Dean – but way to further alienate your brother, you dick. But hey, there’s one silver lining: nothing like crippling fucking depression to eliminate all desire, right? That’s the one good thing: it lets you kick Famine’s ass.
And while we’re in people’s heads, Lucifer in Sam’s? Kind of makes me look at the MoC storyline and think, “Right. This is why Sam is super wigged out right now.” Because he’s had someone in the driver’s seat who sees the worst things in his head – the things that human beings are like, “Yeah, probably not the best way to handle these emotions, let’s not” – and knows what it’s like for those things to suddenly get priority. Lucifer tries to frame it as fulfillment of desire, exhilaration, justice, etc., and considering that Sam Winchester is the Moral Injury Poster Boy that’s not entirely ineffective, but it’s not really what Sam wants. It’s just giving the id and fear and anger priority.
Here’s another an uncomfortable thought: does the fact of Detroit being the location where Sam consents to be Lucifer’s vessel prove that Endverse was a real timeline before the Winchesters wrecked it? Detroit is mentioned three times: 5x04 (being where Sam said yes in Dean’s absence), 5x10 (being where Lucifer predicts Sam will say yes), and 5x22 (where Lucifer says to Dean, “I told you: this would always happen in Detroit”). There are other options – that Lucifer reads Dean’s mind, or knows what Dean told Sam, or that Lucifer was somehow looped in on the story Zachariah fabricated – but ouch. I am happier in my “Zachariah made the whole thing up” bubble.
JODY. JODY JODY JODY. I feel morbid and awful being excited that she’s here now, what with her showing up in a particularly tragic episode – her dead son comes back for a few days and then murders her husband – but I love her character. Also, 5x15 does this really interesting thing with how the application and enforcement of law – and the relationship of law enforcement with the community – can have odd results. A handful of dead people rise from the grave, and the Sheriff’s department decides to roll with it, probably in no small part because Sheriff Mills has her own miracle zombie. It probably also did a lot to get her and Bobby on the same page in a more meaningful way. Yeah, law enforcement may build an affectionate-ish relationship with the “town drunk,” but having dead people show up? Yeah, Jody got her talk from the man himself.
Chuck as God starts making sense with Swan Song. Like, okay, it looks weird early on, but as things progress, the picture kind of comes together: the Apocalypse, etc. was the outline, but the characters God-as-Chuck is working with are living, conscious beings. Humanity, angels, demons, they’ve all got their own motives. If it’s tricky as a writer of imaginary people to keep folks on task (and it is), keeping conscious beings who are at least semi-aware of and hostile to what’s been/being written on the path goes well beyond herding cats. Also, he’s committed himself to a particular character that suits him – he’s kind of a coward, doesn’t want a position of real importance, probably even regrets that earlier work or feels trapped by it because he’s God and he Said That Thing Once and now it’s happening and has to just ride it out – and curiously that puts him in a really good position to both subvert and watch what happens when a little bit of insider knowledge gets dished out. It’s like Cas helping Dean in 4x18 on a bigger scale. Chuck can’t visibly intercede in the action, but he can tweak things around the edges. Couple of resurrections here, stage an introduction there by writing himself into the action, etc.
Nearly-human Cas. I think he gets overshadowed by human!Cas – and I wonder sometimes if the show wants us to forget about late S5′s forays into what a de-powered Cas would actually be like – but watching him keep trying, even unto the Great Holy Oil Molotov of 2010 is incredibly satisfying. You know the Angel of the Lord from the barn in Pontiac, IL is would look at this whole thing and…I don’t know. Poof off to some mountain top to hyperventilate, probably. Also, Cas sure does seem to have a penchant for appearing out of nowhere naked, doesn’t he?
Bonus Thing: Crowley, you slick bastard. Just watching him work in the latter half of S5 – the Brady thing, details on the Horsemen, Bobby’s deal, etc. is – well, no question he’s a bastard, but he’s fun to watch. .