Season Six -  Hits & Misses: Part One

Season six - what a year it was. So much was left to clean up, emotionally and plotwise after Swan Song it was impossible to know what direction the sixth year of our beloved saga would take us. And on reflection, it's still kind of interesting to see exactly how Supernatural fell down the season six rabbit hole such as it did. Never the less, while it certainly had some lows - it also brought us some incredible moments of joy. So let's look back at that oh, so second-look worthy, season six.

 Miss: Generalized Overcomplicating & Lacking of Flow with Attention to Detail *Major Nitpick Alert*

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Coming down from the phenomenal rush of season four and five, and trying a new direction and new elements, a bit of an adrenaline rush crash was to be expected. Even on its worst day, Supernatural is still an incredible show with great writing and exceptional acting, to say the least. The problem with season six (to generalize) is that it was too complicated when it didn’t need to be (for example – Samuel and the Campbell’s collecting Alphas – unneeded extras who played no role). The story juggled too many plotlines and tried hard to tie them together in a tangled web.

Hit: Lovely Lisa

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We knew she was destined to end sadly, but the character was well-rounded, understanding without being a pushover and wanted desperately to give Dean a family. Lisa Braeden was a classy chick from start to finish, even when she didn’t know who Dean was anymore – she sent him off with forgiveness and a smile.

Miss: The Phoenix

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Granted, this may be a nit-pick, but I wanted the Phoenix to be a little more….something. He wasn’t terrible, but he wasn’t phenomenal enough for all the hype.

Hit: Sam vs. Sam vs. Sam

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Jared does incredible work, no doubt. In particular, season six demonstrated his powerful abilities when three versions of Sam showdown in Sam’s mind. Each version is so distinct and the process of bringing the Broken Sam, the Regular Sam and the Soulless Sam back together is portrayed remarkably.  

Miss: Samuel Campbell

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As season six went on, Samuel became too obsessively single-minded to develop into a well-rounded character. And since his mission didn’t feel legitimate or developed enough either – bringing Mary back from the dead after all these years? There were too many holes – what would Mary have thought after all these years? What would her reaction have been to her father sacrificing her children? And so on. SC was more a caricature than anything else by the end.

Hit: Dean the Vampire

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Sure, there were issues overall here, but as far as executing this transformation and the struggles – not to mention the witness of our typically Black-and-White hero on the other side of bloodlust for a change -  No doubt this was a favourite of mine for the season.

Miss: Brotherly Reunion

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I don’t know about everyone else, but this felt shortchanged, since it wasn’t really Sam and then Sam was injured by his returning soul, etc. Bottom line, it wasn’t quite as powerful as the season four reunion.

Hit: Replacing Death

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A new perspective on the natural order is always a trip – it was a hard-learned lesson, full of tragedy, questions and heartache. And, hurt though it did, it was well delivered and beautifully illustrated by all parties.

Miss: Soulless Sam Storyline

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Simply put: too many gaps and it went on too long: what was SS motivation to hunt? To stay with the Campbells? To leave Dean be the way he did for as long as he did? This wasn’t as smoothly handled as it could have been, though it was very well acted.

Hit: Death Rides to the Rescue

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Few characters can match Death for the chill of his presence or the unsettling feeling he leaves behind, no matter how calm, even and demure he appears. And I can’t help loving it, especially the calm way he presses Sam’s soul back into Soulless Sam, ignore the screams and telling him not to “scratch” – brilliant.

 


 

And there we have it - the first look back at a mix bag of emotions, characters and plotlines that season six brought us. Thoughts so far? Stay tuned for part two!

 

Comments  

eilf
# eilf 2015-01-03 20:56
Huge fan of Season 6 here - and am vastly outnumbered I know.

I don't agree with your take on the misses but only because for me there is very little to 'miss' in the entire season (since canon has been shot all to hell by this stage I don't even feel the need to apologise for the number of times I have watched (and totally loved every second of) Caged Heat :D

Honestly I think there are only 2 dud episodes in it (the shapeshifter dog and the mannequin) and even they have good points.. well not mannequin ... however I loved Soulless Sam and him teasing the dog guy is worth the price of admission all on it's own. Mind you I had the advantage of watching the episodes all together and I had absolutely no idea of anything to do with that season, I didn't know why he was behaving the way he did. Jared is so excellent as Soulless Sam and he is sexy as hell (sorry (not sorry)). I have been saying for a while now that my version of the show may have to finish with the hug (which is the best one in the series for me) in Like a Virgin and I can happily live with that, with The French Mistake as a coda. though I DO like the rest of the episodes too, it's just they lead into the next storyline and not one single thing that has happened since then to any character has been solved in anything resembling a satisfying way ... In LaV however there is a very nice wrap-up to the show with Sam waking up having saved the world AND not being lost to Dean, so they both get what they wanted! Sam has regained his self worth and atoned for what he sees as his fault, and Dean has kept the promise to his father to do 'one job' - keep Sam alive.

I love Dean as a vampire, he is so eerie and dark (also sexy as hell, hmm I see a trend here (continuing to be not sorry)), I am glad he got to have the family life he craved even if only for one year. Lisa was a very believable character and well played, and I love the episode where Dean tricks the Mother of All with the ash, nice bait and switch!

And Season 6 is where they give Jared comedy to do and he knocks it out of the park by being freaking hilarious (the X-files ep in particular) and so they agree never to write comedy for him ever again....

One of the best things about it is practically every episode is about both characters. - unless they are about Bobby or Castiel - Dean's storyline predominates in Let it Bleed, Appointment in Samarra, Live Free or Twi Hard, Exile on Main Street, Mannequin (sorry Dean) and You Can't Handle the Truth. And Sam in Unforgiven and the Man who Knew too Much and all the rest are about both of them - it was great.

Season 6 is supposed to be Noir, it succeeds pretty well. I am sorry Sera and Ben Edlund didn't do with season 7 what apparently they intended to do - they made a pretty good job of season 6! Never mind seasons 1-5 I would have the show go back to this quality of writing in a heartbeat!
Bevie
# Bevie 2015-01-04 13:59
My -- I do agree with everything you say eilf, except for me I really liked Lucky the dog, so sue me guys!

Season 6 is one of my favourites following 1, 2 and 3. I was confused at first with Sam's attitude but when I found out he missed his soul I really enjoyed those soulless episodes a lot, especially Live Free and TwiHard and Clap if You Believe. He was a hoot in that one, and he creeped me out in TwiHard.

I loved Lisa very much as she was so understanding and welcomed poor desolated Dean into her home. Not bitchy or naggy, and "it was the best year of her life". Sob! I felt so bad for her when Dean had Cas make her forget him because she not only forgot her best year but also her best night. I'm still hoping somehow he will end up with her just before the show ends.(Perish the thought it will end)!:(

I too loved Caged Heat and it was too bad that Samuel just sorta petered out as I loved the actor from way back in X-Files. Oh yes! There is one episode I really don't care for at all and that is
And Then There Were None. The one where Dean kills poor Gwen, Bobby kills Rufus (ugh!) and Sammy kills his Grandpa! (double ugh!). I wish that one had never seen the light of day!!:p


Season Six? I'm extremely fond of you!;)
sugarhi15
# sugarhi15 2015-01-03 21:17
I too am a huge fan of s6. I loved most all of it. I could've done without ben, but other than that....loved every minute of it...and it did give me my all time favorite episode...the French mistake.
jared did an incredible job portraying soulless sam and then transforming back to our Sammy.
I even enjoyed cas's storyline. him and Crowley...what a concept:)
the mother of all wasn't as scary as I would've liked..but she was never really the big bad anyway.
loved seeing sam on the small horse and dean donning a cowboy hat and serape...seriou sly a poncho? hysterical.
Jared's performance in the finale was absolute perfection....a nd it had the most memorable sam line...i'm not leaving my brother alone up there....oh how these boys love ea. other. :)
I agree, even the two weakest eps that eilf mentioned had it's good parts....
and clap your hands if you believe ....sam made me laugh through the entire episode...I always thought it ironic that soulless sam was actually funnier than real sam. :D too bad too because jared excels at comedy. ;)
s6 is among my top three seasons, with s2 coming in first....and i'm debating which is third. :D
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2015-01-03 21:43
Season 6 was a hit for me. I loved Souless Sam. For me it started to lose it's way a little after Sam was re-souled although Jared did an amazing job and having Sammy back almost made me cry. Dean's confusion at the hug was so well acted. He just didn't know what to do. The last time he and Sam interacted Sam was basically an animal. I thought (as Jared does too) that Souless Sam was great (and incredibly...uh ...well you know). I loved Jared's description of SS. He looked at everyone like a tiger would, he may play with you, have sex or just kill you. You just could never tell what he was going to do. It was fun. I didn't care for Lisa and was glad that storyline ended although it really wasn't a logical ending. Vampire Dean was incredible, Castiel going rogue was an interesting twist and TMWWBK was a fantastic episode. I was disappointed that Samuel Campbell's story kind of didn't go anywhere but that is on the same level as the Road House and the Psychic kids. It was a storyline that didn't really work after Caged Heat. Dean should have let Sam kill grandpa right then. All in all the only episodes that I can't really watch without squirming a little is ADGTH and M. I was glad after the oppressively heavy S5 to get a lighter story that had more of a sense of mystery instead of dread.
LEAH
# LEAH 2015-01-03 22:30
To be honest I wasn't crazy about S6 at the time. But at the same time I recognized the uphill battle Sera G had to continue a show that has reached a seeming end. In retrospect it was a pretty good season and they did a good job of picking up where season 5 ended. I loved SS and Jared's portrayal of him. Awesome. It bothered me when he stood by and watched Dean get turned into a vampire. But I always cut the brothers slack when there are supernatural influences involved. In SS's mind it made perfect sense. It WAS fun to see Dean as a vamp though. I am in the minority but I loved the whole Lisa/Ben storyline. As for the hug "miss". I don't feel the same. I thought it was great. Sam was back! The look on Dean's face in the above photo says it all he is SO relieved to have his brother back and seemingly alright. Thanks Elle for the look back!:)
Sharon
# Sharon 2015-01-04 03:24
I would of had SS gone on longer apart from the fact ironically it has turned out to be the best writing Sam has had over the last 4 yrs apart from 2 episodes in season 8 ( The Great Escapist and Sacrifice) it also afforded Jared to act a interesting idea , the only thing I would say is I would like to of seen more exploration of what it meant to be Soulless.
jane
# jane 2015-01-04 05:47
I also love season 6 (except for Ben and Lisa, I could do without), even some low episodes at the time seems masterpieces compared to what we get nowadays. I really miss Sera, she truly did a good job. I just wish they would have kept Eve longer, she could have made more jeffersonstarsh ips. Monsters now are so boring.
suenash19
# suenash19 2015-01-04 08:38
I am currently getting to the end of season 7 on a full rewatch and am feeling a great appreciation for the fact that although seasons 6 and 7 were not for me the best seasons they are still great telly and better by far than most other programmes.

In particular there was some gorgeous writing by Sera Gamble. (Appointment in Samarra, Let it Bleed), hits like The French Mistake and FrontierLand. I saw way more layers in Appt in Samarra re the importance of souls this time round, and possible my favourite moment of the season was in the finale, "The Man Who Knew Too Much", written by Eric Kripke no less:

(Heart of) Sam, who has absorbed Soulless Sam, says this to Hell Sam because he is going to have to absorb him too so he can regain consciousness, with a broken hell-wall:

"You know me. You know why. I'm not leaving my brother alone out there"

Result: Hell starts crashing in on Sam, but Dean is not alone...
njspnfan
# njspnfan 2015-01-04 10:18
Count me as a fan of S6, though it was not without the problems you mentioned - too complicated at times, story flow, etc.

Soulless Sam - Jared was great and looks like he had a lot of fun with this, though it did go on a little too long. To me, it did make sense that Soulless Sam would hunt, both from the standpoint that it was base instinct (i.e. had done it most of his adult life), and the fact that he was also a predator. However, after Dean figures it out, there was a sudden change in the portrayal of Soulless Sam - for laughs in All Dogs Go To Heaven/Clap Your Hands if You Believe, to the all business/border line sociopath in Caged Heat and Appointment in Samarra.

Dean/Lisa/Ben - never quick clicked for me but I don't think it was supposed to; Dean wasn't at home in that world, no matter how hard he tried.

Dean as a vampire - great work by Jensen, especially when, during his cure, he realized that Soulless Sam intentionally let him be turned.

Sam putting all of his "pieces" back together again - outstanding work.

Monster-verse - always gave Sera a lot of credit for expanding the Supernatural monster universe in a way that made sense and was canon-friendly, at least to me. On the downside, the Alpha Monster concept was great but could have been better developed and used.

The Campbells - a big miss, and a wasted opportunity. Samuel's motivation for being Crowley's bitch never made sense to me. And, the fact that they never crossed paths with any of the Campbell cousins before then, especially with Bobby, Rufus, the network of hunters they knew, and the fact that John Winchester knew nothing of them, never made much sense to me

Eve - another miss. A lot of potential but it kind of fizzled out and was rather anti-climactic. I understand that it was a misdirect from the real big-bad for the season, but thought there was potential there if she were introduced a little earlier in the season.

Castiel - The Man Would Would Be King was some of Misha's best work on the show.

And finally, the meta episode by which all other meta episodes are measured against - The French Mistake.
st50
# st50 2015-01-04 13:28
*raises hand*
Season 6 fan here, too. It wasn't perfect (Alphas? Campbells? Eve?), but at least they found a direction to go after Swan Song. There were a lot of interesting concepts introduced - such as the exploration of what a soul is, some great acting all around, and not much canon-trashing.
I disagree that the brother reunion and soulless Sam were "misses", Elle. Big hits for me.
Pam
# Pam 2015-01-04 18:47
I also enjoyed S6 and never understood the persistent criticism of Sera for her show running. Some of my favourite episodes are in S6. That said, there are a few storyline inconsistencies that I would like to bring up. First of all, the main premise of S6 was the search for purgatory...but according to S8 all Crowley had to do is contact Ajay, the rogue reaper and get the goods on how to enter purgatory. This is kind of a big blooper if you ask me.

Also, Lisa did not send Dean on his way, as you mentioned, but rather had her memory washed by Cas. In order for this plan to work all physical evidences of Dean's existence would have to be erased. What about the many photographs they had taken together and common acquaintances asking about Dean......how confusing would it be for Lisa and Ben to be repeatedly confronted with inquiries of this Dean character. Very unrealistic to have us believe that Cas can erase all traces of Dean from their lives just by washing their memories.

I think this season has as many hits and misses as any other season. My favs are: Clap Your Hands if You Believe; Appointment in Samarra; Frontierland; Live Free or Twihard and the French Mistake. My least favorites are: All Dogs Go To Heaven; Let It Bleed; Mannequin 3: The Reckoning and The Third Man.

Jared was brilliant as Soulless Sam and Jensen really knocked it out of the park with Vampire Dean. I don't think Jensen gets enough attention for his ability to play different personas. He has shown great range as Dreamscape Dean, Yellow Fever Dean, Future Dean, Vampire Dean, Ghost possessed Dean and Demon Dean. They are both great and especially excel as a team. I love this series because of them.

Thanks for getting the S6 conversation going.
sylvia37
# sylvia37 2015-01-04 19:09
I loved season 6, especially in retrospect. I think most Sam girls probably do because Jared did such a good job and both boys had a
decent storyline. I didn't really enjoy Lisa and Ben or Grandpa Campbell but I found SS very entertaining, castiel was still interesting and Crowley was still menacing. It really was some of the last really good utilization of the J's talents except for bits and pieces here and there. And of course, it had the French Mistake, which I don't think will ever be topped.
ThisOldBag
# ThisOldBag 2015-01-04 19:11
S6 is still my favorite! I agree the opening brother reunion bothered me when it happened, but there ended up being a good reason for that. The real reunion when Sam wakes after getting his soul back, that was great!! I loved Eve, and Death, and Crowley and I don't discount the purgatory in this season just because later seasons made the search somewhat moot. About the only Ep I didn't like was "unforgiven" because, spider people. Lisa was good for Dean and the mechanism to get rid of her was silly, the real miss for me was that Dean actually not only retired, tarpped the Impala and lost his ability to hunt? What? But I enjoyed it very much, I love soulless Sam!
YellowEyedSam
# YellowEyedSam 2015-01-11 19:45
After I finished S5 I was hesitent about starting S6 since Erik had left as showrunner. But I soon warmed up to S6 when I saw Azazel! Oh wow what a treat to see him again. How I miss that villain..

Moving on I was glad to See Sam back, but constantly wondering if that really was Sam. But I watched with excitement as Dean reacted to Sam's behaviour, even better when Dean mentioned to Bobby his skin crawled whenever he was near Sam. But I feel something was wasted here. If souless Sam really didn't care about anything why didn't he use his demon powers? If he did so he could of possibly turned out corrupted like Ava and Jake, making a different storyline for S6. I agree with others in that when Dean figured it out Soulless Sam seemed to loose a little appeal.

One of the greatest moments of the series had to be The French mistake. How I laughed as I constantly rewinded some parts to relish it again and again.

Eve I felt was a wasted oppertunity. Introduced so fast and died so quickly.

I thought overall this was a good season :)