The Supernatural season 12 mid-year hiatus is nearly over! If you’ve loyally stayed with The WFB the past six weeks, we’ve rewatched the first eight episodes of the season and posted new articles every day on each story, including their most "Memorable Moments", "Fan Video Reflections", and even "Rewatch Refreshment Recipes" inspired by each show (you can catch up on anything you missed by visiting the Article Page link in the header).
Rewatching the entire first half of the season also enabled us to gain a new perspective on what the writers have shown us so far. At this point, before we see the next chapters in the Winchester saga, it might be interesting to analyze our Threads list to determine if we can draw any conclusions about foreshadowing and outcomes, probable direction or priority of myth arcs. Was 12.08 “LOTUS” the mid-season finale we predicted, or hoped for?
Six Weeks Later
“LOTUS” was a very inconsistent episode for me. There were outstanding segments that met the high standards I expect from a show that has delivered some truly exceptional dramatic storytelling. Three scenes in particular deserve recognition.
First, the scene when Castiel’s existence was physically shaken by the creation of a Nephilim. The gravity of that event was conveyed through Cas’ portrayal. Sam’s immediate understanding that only Lucifer’s power could cause such a disruption in the universe was gratifying and real. Then Dean’s reaction “I didn’t know he was dating” was humorous relief that was consistent with his deflection defenses.
The second worthy segment was Mr. Ketch’s entrance and introduction via a grenade launcher. Again, Castiel was integral to the power of that scene. Him standing next to the exploding car, unflinching and unaffected by the fiery chaos, was one of the best depictions of him being a celestial entity of great power and NOT a human that I’ve seen in a long time.
Lastly, Lucifer’s exorcism was very well done. I loved that Sam was the one holding the “hyperbolic pulse generator”, i.e. powerful weapon, unleashing its spell with a new Latin incantation. I loved that he was able to withstand Lucifer’s wind storm and that Lucifer directed all his hate, rage and threats personally at Sam.
Lucifer: This isn’t over Sam!
Sam: Go to Hell!
Dean was the general, advancing each wave of the attack at the appropriate time,
Rowena was a powerful woman who righted her wrong, and Crowley observed and recorded each movement as a good strategist would. I even loved that he saved his mum instead of just thinking of himself at the end (although having her as an ally is in his best long-term interest). Castiel’s role was unclear to me, though. He stood around waiting for the retreat order? That was weak, and began the downward spiral of the episode. I wish the episode could have ended with Dean saying,
We got Him. We got Lucifer.
Yeah! Roll credits! Instead, there was an epilogue where everything fell apart.
Admittedly, I’m not completely convinced that Dean was right. Lucifer’s white essence going down a vent was either purposely ambiguous or extraordinarily poor writing or editing.
Lucifer’s cage is opened via fiery holes in walls, floors or ground. There is a gale force vacuum that sucks him into Hell, not a convenient aluminum vent that leads only to the HVAC system for the motel. In that moment, the episode switched from engaging and dramatic to idiotically stupid, and lost all its momentum. The idea that Cas would leave with Kelly, and the brothers would stand around to revive a President who wouldn’t remember that they just SAVED his life is inane. Why didn’t Team Free Will go out the back door, or hide in Castiel’s magical “These are not the droids you’re looking for” closet? Kelly could then have called out to the secret service to say that the President blacked out. His protection detail would have taken him to the hospital and Sam, Dean and Cas could all have escorted Kelly to wherever they wanted to take her.
She wouldn’t have escaped because of a blundering move by Castiel (that he HAS to be way too smart to allow again. Remember Claire?), Cas wouldn’t have yet another guilt-ridden “It’s my fault. I have to find him/her” mission, and the brothers wouldn’t have been caught in what had to be the stupidest move of their action-packed lives.
The last 5 minutes of the show were insulting to the characters and the audience. Yes, the plots for the second half of the season were set up in those 5 minutes, but not in an interesting, compelling way. Why would Kelly decide that she wants to keep the child of Satan, whom she can unnaturally feel inside of her only 1 day after conception? Give me something more than a two-second, “Oops, I’ve changed my mind.” Should we have predicted that outcome from the earlier events of the season, though? The answer lies in this, and all the other plotline threads, of Season 12.
Moms and their Sons/ Parents & their Kids
Every episode this season has studied relationships between mothers and their sons, and parents and their children. It was only a few minutes into “LOTUS” before the “mom” thread was mentioned:
Sam: This is the Archbishop of St. Louis with Wallace Parker… This was him three days ago. Notice anything missing?
Dean: Yeah, the big mother of a cross around his neck.
Lucifer emphasized fatherhood with his “presidential” prayer:
Lucifer: Babies. That’s what we are….we need our Father to be there when we fall. Today we lost a brother…
Aide: You always know the right thing to say.
Of course, this season's family thread started with the pivotal study of Mary trying to work through her grief to establish a relationship with Sam and Dean (12.1-3). The thread has been relentless, as we’ve also been shown:
- a ghost dad who went insane with grief, then coveted children to replace his lost daughter, and a grieving mom reminiscing about her beautiful, lost Lucas (12.3);
- an insane mom and worthless dad who abused their daughter (12.4);
- an adopted Ellie who learned the truth about her parents, and a disillusioned Arian son who rejected his insane, manipulating father (12.05);
- a grieving Lorraine who, despite protecting Asa his whole life, lost him to a senseless accident (12.6);
- a super powerful archangel who was driven “insane” because (as we were reminded yet again) he is disappointed in his dad’s lack of attention (12.7); and lastly
- Crowley and Rowena’s growth toward “That’s the sweetest thing you’ve ever done for me” moment (12.8).
Out of all those examples, the key to understanding Kelly’s decision to protect her child may have been in “Foundry”. Acting on her motherly instincts, Mary uncovered that Lucas was not trying to harm her but instead seeking protection. She alone went against what the men thought needed to be done. Kelly may be reprising this motherly instinct. The “men” (Cas, Dean, Sam and Crowley) all think she should destroy Satan’s child. She is moved to protect him/her, though.
Kelly: Castiel, I can’t do it. I can feel it inside me. I’m its mother. It’s my child.
Castiel: Kelly, you listen to me. This is not a baby. This is the spawn of Lucifer.
If this offspring ends up being another Spawn, or Damien core-of-evil child, I will be enraged at being duped into The Omen sequel. If, however, in the best tradition of Battlestar Galactica’s starchild, or Twilight’s Renesmee, the mother brings into the world a child that redeems the parents and ends ages of hate, bigotry, being lost or relentless evil, I’m all in. Since Mary’s instincts were right in “Foundry”, maybe there’s hope that the Nephilim storyline is leading us to the “We conquered all evil, and goodness prevailed” happy ending I envision for the series. This is a make-or-break moment for the show, in my opinion. Will it go the route of intelligent, creative triumph of the family or mindless, overdone horror?
Possession, or the assumption of possession, has also been a core theme of every episode after the season 12 premiere. If we apply the essence of possession to LadyB being “inside Sam’s head” and taking away his will, the season-long plot line began with Sam’s dream in 12.2 “Mamma Mia”. Since then, we’ve watched moms (Mary 12.3 “Foundry”); daughters (in both Magda and her victims in 12.4 “Nightmare”, and Alicia 12.6 “Fox”); fathers (12.5 “The One”); and numerous unnamed, disposable victims, then famous leaders (12.7 “Rock” & 8 “LOTUS”) all surrender their identity to a force of some kind. The theme has been so consistent we could easily dub season 12 “the season that was possessed” (for more reasons than the obvious one).
Was the unyielding use of this singular, supernatural malevolence simply to accentuate Lucifer’s storyline? If so, did it deepen understanding or heighten interest in his character for you? I, for one, didn’t need that reinforcement. We get it. Angels and demons possess people. One or the other dies – sometimes both. Maybe we haven’t yet seen the end-game yet, though. Are the writers going to up the ante in the possession game in the second half of the season? I haven’t yet sensed a deeply hidden, overall plan. The possession thread seems to be fairly transparent. Upon reflection, though, several episodes emphasized that things are not always what they seem to be. Isn’t possession, after all, about something deeper, more sinister lurking beneath the surface; that you can’t tell what’s really happening simply by looking at it superficially?
…is Just a Secret Hidden from View
Let's look at the progression of "secrets" or imaginary worlds that we've seen in season 12:
- Sam’s triste with Lady Bevell was a dream world created to deceive (12.2);
- Mary’s happiness wasn’t real, and Sam and Dean were wrong in accepting the obvious answer about the monster and its motivation in “Foundry”. Sam didn’t discover the true nature of the case until he looked into a secret space behind a wall (12.3);
- Magda’s death was a falsehood and her life kept a secret (12.4);
- Ellie’s lineage had been hidden from her and the Nazi shopkeeper kept his collection in a secret room behind a secret passageway (12.5);
- Asa’s children were kept a secret, and Mary’s identity remained a mystery to Asa for his entire life (12.6); and
- Hollywood’s glamour was all an illusion, with success bought with souls instead of earned with talent and hard work. The location of Lucifer/Vince’s final concert was a well-guarded secret, and with all their supernatural powers and hunting skills, our four “heroes” were still in the dark until someone broke ranks (12.7).
Even in LOTUS (12.8), the Archbishop's and the President’s true natures were both hidden from view:
Priest: We knew something was wrong.
LuciPrez: People need to believe that I am in fact the President of the United States.
Later Sam said to Castiel:
So we were on the right trail. Where do we go now?
Dean: I don’t know. Who won the Nobel Peace Prize? Why don’t we start there? [Superb shout out to President Obama, who in fact won the Nobel Peace Prize when he had just started his presidency!]
Lucifer and Kelly’s relationship was also a secret, a situation that reiterated deception:
Kelly: It makes things kind of exciting keeping this a secret. I just wish we could make how we feel about each other… well… public.
Lucifer: I know [but] people might not like it
Kelly: I know your feelings for me are real, because everything you do is real. I just love to that that someday we could be a real couple. Maybe do the wedding thing. Maybe the baby thing. I just know you’d make an amazing father.
When Sam asked Crowley to investigate if there was a clandestine fling going on, Sam said:
Find out from your government mole if there’s a girlfriend or a mistress or a favorite hooker. Someone we don’t know about.
We need to get a hold of this, uh, secret girlfriend Crowley found out about.
The head of the secret service, who lives in a very fact-based reality, challenged make-believe worlds:
LuciPrez: They think I’m Satan.
Rick (Secret Service guy): Not metaphorically? Satan’s not real.
LuciPrez: We need to handle this in the family. Secret Service only.
Rowena was crushed to learn that her world was an illusion, with her latest mark not at all who he pretended to be, and Castiel used his Jedi mind trick on the President’s guard to create a false reality for them. All of these situations in “LOTUS” emphasized things not being what they seemed.
At the beginning of the season, Mary said “Everything has changed”. We tracked that thread initially, then let it drop. I’m beginning to think, however, that it might be the most important thread of all. Kelly said to LuciPrez:
In some way I can’t describe, it feel like something’s changed.
LuciPrez: Maybe something has.
Is everything going to change when we finally learn “the secret hidden from view”? I have a hunch that something we are watching is not what it seems. A sting operation? An imagined reality? What could possibly be just below the surface?
In the analysis of “Asa Fox”, we detected a single episode thread of “Rules”. Physical rules define our universe. Social rules define our behavior. One of the psychological rules we use to live our lives is that we are operating in a certain reality. Maybe that episode’s message was that rules can be broken. For example, Billie got Dean inside a warded house and she left without reaping Mary even though Mary’s existence defies the laws of nature. Maybe this season is breaking the rule of operating in reality? It’s an interesting theory to ponder.
Saving People, Hunting Things
The most explicit contradiction of truths for me so far this season has been the nature and intention of the British Men of Letters. For the past several years, we’ve believed that the Men of Letters were the good guys, but this season Lady Bevell et al were definitely the bad guys (just ask Sam). Just when we decided we should hate MoL for all time, Mick shows up and says, “So sorry, all a mistake.” He and Lady Bevell then led us to believe that Mr. Ketch was a psychopath, and indeed we agreed with them when he killed Magda in cold blood. Yet, in “LOTUS”, Mr. Ketch saved the day. I’m getting whiplash trying to figure out the purpose and place of these characters! Even Dean is confused and Cas acknowledges a possible deception:
Dean: Why should we believe anything that you have to say?
Mr. Ketch: You, Halo. Do you sense I’m lying?
Cas: My name is Castiel. And no. But the truth can be situational.
This is either incredibly bad writing (which is what it seems like now) or incredibly good writing and we’re all being led down the yellow brick road to the make believe land of Oz. Guesses?
Again, branding or burning human beings occurred in every episode so far this season. I’ll let you go back to our prior reviews (or do another rewatch!) to find all the references. “LOTUS” obediently continued the pattern. In it, Lucifer was frequently framed by a fireplace or burning flame. His hand was burned by a Bible and once Kelly had been “touched” by Lucifer, she set a Bible on fire. I tend to believe this thread is an artistic expression or duplication of the Lucifer character. At the moment, I’m not perceiving a deeper implication, but maybe you do? Please share your theories!
Humans and Animals
I found only one mention of an animal in "LOTUS", when Mr. Ketch said,
We're good dogs. We only come when called.
Again, I don't have a clue why this thread is important, but it is persistent. Our only theory so far has been pointing out the animalistic side of human behavior. I'm open to other ideas. Otherwise, we'll just keep listening and watching.
It’s no secret that I’ve been upset or disappointed by certain components of nearly every episode in Season 12 thus far. There have been fabulous scenes, but then some of the episodes have clearly missed emotional opportunities, or put our friends into annoyingly inane situations. I have to wonder, though, if a few of my concerns aren’t traps being carefully laid by the writers. I’m curious about your predictions. What did you think of LOTUS and what do you think of the obvious, or covert, directions of the plots when season 12 resumes?
Transcripts courtesy of: http://transcripts.foreverdreaming.org/
Some names confirmed with Supernaturalwiki.com
Some pictures courtesy of: http://www.homeofthenutty.com/