The pilot of Supernatural, aptly named “Pilot,” is a grand example of storytelling genius – straight from the mind of our beloved writer/producer Eric Kripke. To end this first extraordinary season of television, is “Devil’s Trap.” This finale’s a masterpiece of fear, dread, family love, and explosive moments. I have to confess that I wasn’t a live viewer back then…but if I was, I would have been going crazy waiting to see a new season come back to my screen.
Season two opens with “In my Time of Dying” and it would’ve been definitely worth the wait. Reaper Tessa makes her first appearance and she’s the one that I’d want to help me to the afterlife. Forget Billie - at this point in the series, Tessa’s the sweetest Reaper around. I also love Ghost Dean and Sammy being so worried about his family and trying to connect with Dean using an Ouija Board. Azazel makes an appearance and John makes a decision that Sam and Dean are not going to like. Then, the season ends with a more up-lifting finale, "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part Two," that concludes a devastating continued episode. Dean’s hurting because Sammy’s dead and Bobby can’t do anything but watch and offer food that Dean doesn’t want to eat. The hug that ensues after Sam’s resurrection is awesome, but there are still demons and their helper to fight, a gate to Hell to close, and a surprise visit from dearly departed Dad. This one’s very good, but I prefer the first part of this story, as the cemetery scene’s a little cheesy for my taste.
Season three’s premiere episode is “The Magnificent Seven.” I’m not a fan of Isaac, Tamara, or most of the Seven Deadly Sins. The only things I really like about this opening are all the brotherly moments discussing Dean’s deal. However, the finale - "No Rest For the Wicked," has many incredible moments leading up to one of the most horrible deaths in all of Supernatural’s long history. Little Lilith is a truly creepy tot and I enjoy being reminded of Twilight Zone’s Anthony and his cornfield. Nothing prepared me for that awful conclusion, though. I was literally screaming, behind my clenched fists, as Dean was screaming. Poor Sammy (and we) had to watch the whole, awful scene. Hellishly good.
Season four’s in the running for the best opener, ever. Not to waste any time, in “Lazarus Rising,” Dean pops back up and has to find his way back to his brother. There’s Ruby, Bobby, and Sam to deal with, but also a grand entrance of a trench-coated angel. More tears, fighting, hugging, and holy water splashing than anyone could hope for. Of course, since this seems to be fan-favorite season, it’s to end with the most terrifying prospect of all: “Lucifer Rising.” Angel Zach makes a glorious appearance in a glorious room and Dean has a heart-stopping scene with him. Castiel finally stops being a numbskull and helps out, but even though Lilith and Ruby are vanquished – the worst’s yet to come.
For me, this is the height of Supernatual’s power to awe and amaze. “Sympathy for the Devil,” starts off with a head-scratching opening for season five that quickly evolves into one of the most mesmerizing openers, ever. Once again, Zachariah brings the pain to our boys in the most horribly wonderful way, while a large cast of characters are also involved in the story to amuse us. Chuck, Becky, Meg - played by that cutie Rachel Miner - Bobby, Castiel, and the future Lucifer are all in the house. Magic, I tell you. Not to be outdone, “Swan Song” is an extravaganza of love and pain. I don’t think that there’s a minute of wasted screen time as our favorite brothers fight to stay together. Powerful and emotional storytelling comes to an almost perfect conclusion. If Eric Kripte had stayed, and not have abandoned his baby (and Baby), who knows how much more awesome this show would have become?
Season six starts with a real disadvantage. After Kripte’s departure, Sera Gamble had massive shoes to fill. She’s very talented; just watch The Magicians if you don’t believe me. Sera had contact with Kripte and she dealt with The Powers That Be as best she could – but I can’t help thinking that she made a few mistakes right off the bat. “Exile On Main Street” is an odd episode. After all the emotion of the previous season, we are treated to a cold and off-putting resurrected Sam, and family-man Dean. Add in some ice-cold Campbells and you have (almost) my least favorite season opener. By the end of the year, though, everything has become so much better for the viewers. “The Man Who Knew Too Much” is a bravura performance by Jared and also a great story for Big Bro Dean. Castiel accompanies Dean to Crowley’s while Sam’s fighting with himself to live, or to die. In a superb ending, Castiel finds himself assuming the title of God after Sam finally stumbles in. This ending has so much potential, yet sadly, not everyone’s happy about the story arc to come.
Season seven’s “Meet the New Boss” continues right where the previous season left off, which’s pretty amazing. I adore that first part of the episode that has Dean, Bobby, Sam (swaying and trying to stay on his feet), and Castiel having a face-off. Such a tense and wonderful scene that peaks with Sammy’s poor, torn palm. Since I love Sam-pain and Dean’s brother-worry most of all, I’m loving this whole episode. Death shows up and Castiel realizes the error of his ways, as this tale concludes. I think that season six’s ender and season seven’s opener are the best examples of how to connect two seasons together to tell the perfect story. Unfortunately, “Survival of the Fittest,” left many viewers feeling bereft and lost. It’s not going to get any better, sorry.
Season eight has the worst premiere episode that I could have ever imagined. If the writing staff had taken everything about Supernatural that I love and smushed it into a big ball of garbage – you would have “We Need To Talk About Kevin.” I dislike this episode so much, I don’t even want to talk about Kevin. The bro-hug and the even better hugging in the behind-the-scenes footage are the only bright spots. Luckily, the writer’s room got the hint that they were ruining Supernatural, and we receive the finale episode, “Sacrifice.” I, once again, love every minute. We have many great characters - Jody, Abaddon, Kevin, Metatron, Angel Naomi, and Castiel are all here to make this one for the ages. Sam dealing with Crowley (you’re my Marnie, Moose), Dean’s speech to Sam, and the angels falling spectacularly - this makes me unable to take my eyes off the screen for an instant. I just love it.
Season nine’s also very good. I’m not disappointed in “I Think I’m Going to Like it Here,” at all. I love Tahmoh Penikett and his portrayal of Zeke/Gadreel. The angels and Cas that are all struggling to converge on the Winchesters make for some marvelous scenes. Dean’s in fine form as he battles his way to saving Sam. The scenes that are set in Sam’s mind are also amazing. All in all, a very fluid continuation of a great story, for me. Then, “Do you Believe in Miracles” ties the season together and mostly, anyway, makes for a satisfying finale. I love the scenes in Metatron’s office and Castiel working with Gadreel to finally expose Metatron for the bad little egomaniac that he truly was. Sam’s “I lied,” and Dean’s “I’m proud of us,” made up for the season-long brotherly conflict, for me. Sam crying over Dean’s body, and what preceded that scene, are some of the most powerful scenes, ever. I also like Crowley’s speech to dead Dean, even though it didn’t turn out too well.
Season ten starts with “Black,” and a really big disadvantage. Jared hurt himself quite badly while wrestling with Osric Chau, so whatever big action scenes we might have been treated to were now gone. This episode’s a big let-down after the powerful finale, but I give it some leeway because of Jared’s injury. Demon Dean is something, though, I can’t fathom. Was he toned down to make it easier for Sam to capture him? Adding a new character, Cole, didn’t help. Neither did the subplot with Castiel and Hannah. Pretty much a big missed opportunity. By the time we get to “Brother’s Keeper,” many fans have become disillusioned with the show and aren’t in a forgiving mood. It would have been better if Death’s and Dean’s actions made more sense, there at the end. The best part of the whole thing is Sam’s pleas for Dean to remember his family bonds and to stop pounding his face in.
Season eleven starts out very promising. Once again, the premiere, “Out of the Darkness, Into the Fire,” starts out where the finale left off. There’s brotherly cohesion and spooky deaths to examine. The Darkness seems to be very promising as a big bad. However, by the time that “Alpha and Omega” airs, most fans are tired of Amara and are not pleased with her. I did like this episode on first viewing, but I think it was mostly relief that Amara’s gone and the surprise visitor at the end - that brought up some great new possibilities. If I only knew what was to come.
“Keep Calm and Carry On” is almost is the season twelve premiere that I was hoping for. There’s some good moments, mostly with Sam, but Mary and Dean’s interactions leave me chilled. Mary doesn’t do anything like I thought she would, awkward banter is used, and Sam’s left alone to be tortured. Sure, Mary and Dean spend time being weird over Baby, but don’t worry about what Sam’s going through. Sheesh. Later, when “All Along the Watchtower” is aired – mostly I’m thoroughly upset with Mary, bored with Kelly, feel badly for Crowley’s botched exit, shrugging at Castiel’s death, and glad that Lucifer took Mary with him. Jack’s born, so not all’s lost, yet.
Now, I’m up to Season thirteen’s “Lost and Found.” It’s not a bad opener; it’s just nowhere near the top of the list. Jack and Sam are adorable together, and some good guest casting livens up the proceedings. The problem’s that this is the beginning of Dean being cranky, nasty, and down-right rude. It’s not a hopeful episode at all. Ooh, I wonder what I’ll think of this season, by the end? Can’t wait to find out.
New Year's Musings
These are the shows that I’m looking forward to viewing this year, in no particular order:
The Handmaid’s Tale – The novel by Margaret Atwood is really scant on the details that this adaptation elaborates on so well. Season two’s going to go into mostly uncharted territory and Elisabeth Moss is definitely up to the task.
The Man in the High Castle – The third season’s coming out this year and boy, I’m excited to see it. The first season of this alternate reality thriller’s a little slow, but if you watch the brilliant and fast-paced season two, it becomes a phenomenal show. Many actors from Supernatural are also featured, so I highly recommend it.
The Magicians – This show from Sera Gamble is truly a knock-out. The cast’s wonderful, the plots are magical, and even though this is very much a rated R program, I still can’t keep away. Season three premieres very soon.
Legion – I am now devoted to Noah Hawley. He’s crafted a perfect tale for our modern age. It’s old-timey trippy, yet futuristic at the same time. Visually stunning and emotionally gripping; this also features a marvelous cast. Noah, do you have time to visit Andrew Dabb and share some pointers for awesomeness, please?
A Series of Unfortunate Events – Neil Patrick Harris has had many roles in his exceptional career, but this one’s his best, I think. I’m bedazzled by this production and every scene and actor in it. The scene-stealer, though, is a moppet named Sunny. This precious little girl is boosted by CGI into the brightest star on the screen, and one whose every adorable action has me mesmerized.
Santa Clarita Diet – Drew Barrymore’s brilliant in this zombie comedy, but Timothy Oliphant (Justified) almost steals the show away from her. He’s hilarious and his character is the husband that I would want backing me up, if I ever should turn into a zombie. The funniest thing I saw on television last year. It’s coming back for season two, soon…yay!
Okay, I’m going to have to stop here; I’ve got a million and one things to do and I if don’t get on with them, I’m going to be too buried under too much clutter to type, anyway. So, here’s a list of some more great shows to watch in the coming year:
Humans, Travelers, The A Word, Timeless, Mr. Robot, Mary Kills People, 12 Monkeys, The Orville, Wynonna Earp, Jessica Jones and Killjoys. Don’t know about any of these? Look them up, they’re all great. I love this age of streaming, don’t you? What shows are you watching this year and what are you looking forward to - Supernatural or otherwise?
Sorry to end on a note of sadness, but Dirk Gently's Holisitic Detective Agency isn't going to be given a third season. That's too bad, because this is a fun show and poor Osric has been very quiet on Twitter, lately. Hopefully, some other network or streaming will see it's value.
Thanks for reading!