DAMN YOU, KRIPKE!!!!!
There, I feel better. No actually... hold on... *rubs ears gently while humming to self in attempts to calm down*... Nope, it ain't working. This is the OMFG that the CW should have been promoting.
For the record, this is my first Supernatural live season finale. I didn't get into the show until the beginning of season three, so I was able to watch the past two cliffhangers back to back via DVD. This is my first summer of agony, and dammit, the pain is deep.
Dean died and went to Hell!!! Sam is more powerful than Lilith!!! Ruby is banished somewhere!!! Bobby is just plain awesome!!! You're all sick of the exclamation points!!! Okay, now that I'm calmer (breathe, breathe) I must take time to do the proverbial drop at the feet of the Kripster himself, the writer of this masterpiece, and bow down in his glory. This was better than his other scripts like "Devil's Trap", "In My Time of Dying", "All Hell Breaks Loose Part II", and "The Magnificent Seven" (okay, any script was better than that one).
All season, this show harped on the "Dean's going to Hell" story line, and we fans just assumed they would come up with a way to get him out of it. So, imagine our surprise when it actually happened. Kripke went there! You magnificent bastard. Sam didn't go darkside either and even the expected shot of Sam weeping over Dean's mangled corpse blew us away. Sure, there's that whole "˜Dean-hanging-on-a-hook-in-Hell-screaming-in-agony-Sam's-name' plot twist, but you wanted us to curse at you all summer, didn't you Mr. Kripke?
Season finales are the toughest sells to fans. Expectations are usually sky high, so many leave disappointed. I was not one of those people. This makes up for all the crappy finales I've had to endure in recent times (yes, Heroes, I'm talking to you). Great finales can be done on a low budget. All you need is a well-paced script with great lines, two actors who can pull off the heavy emotional angst in a believable yet heartbreaking way, and a director who knows the perfect angle to capture the devastation of losing someone that you love. Bravo!
Let's Start From The Beginning
"Carry On Wayward Son". All is right with the universe. I love consistency, since that song appeared in the montage opening the last two season finales. It was great to see a complete season three reel for once, reminding us that this was a pretty awesome season, all nitpicks aside. The season three DVD set is available for pre-order on Amazon and my name in on that list.
Now, the fun begins. Dean is being chased through the woods by the hellhounds. Of course we all caught on that this had to be a dream, since they weren't going to off Dean in the first scene, but that still made for a great setup. I do remember from "Crossroads Blues" how the woman in the motel was seeing distorted and dead faces, so Dean seeing Sam like that was great continuity, but, could it be there's more to that? Is Dean seeing something else in Sam that he can only see now? All questions will be held until after the tour.
A grinning Sam announces Lilith can be found, and I'm wondering how Bobby didn't come up with that cool demon-finding device years ago. That certainly could have helped them out of a lot of trouble. Where does he find all these books telling him this stuff? They're certainly better resources than Sam's computer. Anyway, they've found Lilith in Indiana, which sends my mind drifting, since they were in Pennsylvania last week. A '67 Impala gets what, 8 miles to the gallon? Driving from Pennsylvania, to South Dakota, back to Indiana with almost $4 a gallon gas? Ouch.
Anyway, Ruby arrives and tells a not so shocked Sam what he and all of us have suspected all along, those goofy psychic and other freak powers are alive and, well, just dormant. By seeing Katie Cassidy in the opening credits we knew that Sam was going to ignore Dean's wishes and summon Ruby. Did anyone hear that Katie's Uncle Shaun has a pilot in development for FOX? Yes, he was a pinup on my wall in the late '70s, so what? Sorry, I'm drifting again.
I got excited over the beginning of this scene, because nobody "latinates" better than Sam. There's just something in Jared's voice, his timber, who knows, but I'd like to see a whole episode of that. "Because of a curse, Sam can only speak Latin." Imagine all the fan girls thudding to the floor.
After some stirring action in which Ruby kicks some serious Winchester ass but gets caught in a devil's trap anyway, we get the best line of the night. "Well I wish you'd shut your pie hole but we don't always get what we want." Oh Dean, you can't die. Who will say all those clever lines? Sam thinks Ruby might be right, which triggers the "I'm dying so hear my wisdom" talk. Dean wants to set things right, do it his way, go down swinging. I liked the fact that he was keeping the same attitude from "Jus In Bello" and not losing his resolve as his end drew near. Raise your hand if you knew when push came to shove though, Sam would crack and try to become that martyr. Remember Sam, your weakness for your brother will be the death of you (in the Trickster's words anyway).
"What do demons do for fun?" I'm not going to comment much on the creepy little girl terrorizing an everyday suburban family in Indiana, except to say, once again Kripke, you're a sick bastard. I love it. Everyone knew Grandpa was going to bite it, especially since Grandma was rotting on the floor. At least they can go on in the afterlife together.
I must take a pause here to pay homage to the awesomeness of Bobby Singer, just because of "Family don't end with blood." (Bites lip, tries to maintain composure). Jim Beaver has done nothing but rock ever since he first appeared in season one's "Devil's Trap". Bobby is the lone rock of stability that's been missing in these boys' lives, and I so wanted to see him standing behind Sam, weeping along with him in the end. That's certainly going to be depicted enough times in fanfic this summer. I do have one HUGE nitpick though. Bobby is driving a 1969 Chevy Chevelle SS. Come on, that car is a bigger classic than the Impala. Doesn't it deserve an awesome paint job or something? I know Bobby lives like a slob, but shouldn't he at least have a kick ass car? I'll even drive to Vancouver and do the paint job myself. Consider that an offer, Kripke!
On to what will be the most talked about scene for years to come. A few months ago, in one of the fan threads asking what song you'd most like to see on this show, I put down Bon Jovi's "Wanted Dead or Alive". Am I a Bon Jovi fan? No, but I do love that song. I swear I said the exact same thing as Dean, they do "rock on occasion." Dean singing loud and bad was expected, but Sam? Whoa, that was priceless. He's terrible! Most important though, I got the moment that I lamented about last week; one last memorable show of brotherly bonding in the Impala. My life feels complete again, except for the Dean dying part.
Speaking of Dean dying, he sees dead people! I loved how he could look at someone gorgeous like Katie and wretch at her ugliness. I hope his ability to spot demons stays with him. Throw that together with Sam's freakish powers and they won't be stopped, all while looking pretty doing it. When confronted by the demons, the entire time I was waiting for the boys to take out the whole neighborhood. That would have been hard for "New Harmony" to explain when vying to be one of "America's Best Places to Live". Thanks to the genius of Bobby Singer, they dodged that bullet.
Oh Sam, you aren't too far gone. You couldn't kill an innocent little girl. Despite all hints this season that he was going dark, he still could draw a line at killing children. Of course he would have if Dean hadn't stopped him, but it was good to see that hesitation again.
One minute to midnight, and I couldn't stop fidgeting like a baby duck on a hot plate (WKRP reference), watching with bated breath as Dean's time was up. Sam wanted to give in to his dark side, but Dean accepted it was his time. We got a very satisfying goodbye scene of no hugs, no sappy moments, just tears and resignation. "Take care of my wheels". Oh crap, I wanted to hold out on weeping until this was over. Too late. How did this show turn me into such a wimp?
More continuity, this time using goofer dust to hold back the hounds. So they did learn something from that episode. Nope, I didn't catch on that Ruby was Lilith and Dean was able to wisecrack all the way to the end. "You all look the same to me." No time for laughter though because Lilith opens the door and, oh no, DEEEEEAAAAANNNNNN!!!! I'm screaming louder than Sam, yelling at the TV, begging for his life as his blood spurts everywhere, hellhounds ripping into him like he was tissue paper. Dean gasps his last breath and Lilith goes for Sam, and then... it's an outrageously long commercial?!? Damn you, CW!
Actually, the commercials weren't too bad, because I hit the rewind on the TiVo about six times. Each viewing of Dean's graphic and horrible death was equally disturbing. I was too overcome by grief to even contemplate how Sam was getting out of this. I'm glad I didn't either, because whoa. Lilith was powerless against Sam! Ruby was right, he can defeat her. Who didn't sit with mouth hung open as the almighty Lilith pleaded for mercy while one very pissed off Sam Winchester came after her? Of course she escaped in time before Sam could use the "demon killing Ginsu" on her, but we don't care because it's time to cue the sad music and give us the heartbreaking shot of Ruby and a carved up Dean sprawled on the floor right when reality hits Sam hard. Jared nailed this scene, and he should to be very, very proud of how much his acting abilities have grown this season. This was a perfect parallel to Dean weeping over Sam's body in last year's finale, and every bit as emotional. To see Jensen's turn as a corpse, it was bittersweet and far bloodier. Sam got off easy with his death.
Ah, but we're not done! Kripke must deliver the big "muhahaha" to fans, knowing that he now has to watch his back at all times while in public for the next several months. I never thought we would get a glimpse of Hell (or as many have speculated, not quite Hell) because I didn't think the budget allowed it. Dean, in chains, in peril, for all eternity, or at least for all summer. I feel it coming on again.
DAMN YOU, KRIPKE!
I'm Left With Incoherent Thoughts
Did I mention that this episode was directed by the always fantastic Kim Manners? I noticed in the very first scene with the close-up shots of those pretty faces. What's great about his episodes is that they are consistent and each scene flows seamlessly. He manages to bring out the most emotion and tell the story effectively by just taking the right angle and bringing out the best these two actors have to offer (which is a lot). Emotional episodes are his forte and once again, he delivered in a spectacular way.
I noticed one more piece of continuity, this time coming from often forgotten "Nightmare" from season one. Sam got out of the closet in that episode because he saw Dean die in a vision and "a freak adrenaline thing" took over, aka telekinesis. The same thing happened here. He saw Dean die (this time sadly for real) and those abilities kicked in, saving him from Lilith. Someday, I'd like to see what could happen if he actually controlled those powers. I suspect that control is going to be the key to getting Dean back.
Ruby told Sam, "You don't like being different. You hate the way Dean looks at you sometimes, like you're some sort of sideshow freak." Notice how Sam didn't protest, not even with those brooding eyes. Dean tells him not to buy into what's she's saying, but he is. He's desperate, and imagine what's going to happen when Dean's not there to keep him in check. Kripke made it known that ever since John made the deal for Dean, it's been a bad chain of events that keeps getting them into deeper trouble. Dean wants to put an end to this madness but we know Sam is too obsessed and stubborn. He'll forget everything his brother told him once grief tears him apart. The possibilities for character tests in season four are now wide open.
Here's a burning question for debate all summer. Is Sam Winchester the anti-Christ? Dean saw what Bobby calls "hell's bitches". Since he saw Sam as one, could we argue that he really saw demon Sam and not a hallucination? I'm sure a few of you are going "uh duh!" considering he was able to overcome Lilith, but what got me was how Dean didn't deny or ignore Sam's power this time, especially when Ruby brought them up. He instead warned Sam not to give into it. I'm sure this is not the last we've heard of the anti-Christ thing.
Is Dean really in Hell, or some sort of purgatory? I think that answer will be resolved pretty quickly in season four, but for now, speculation is rampant. He's dead, that's enough for me. How's this going to affect Dean in the future? Easy, he's going to be one messed up dude. How will Sam get him out? Since speculation is running wild, I'm theorizing that the unleashing of Sam's abilities means they'll stay at the surface and get stronger, and his obsessed nature will come up with a way to use them. He won't give up on Dean.
I think some therapy is in order this summer. My nerves are officially shot. Thank you, Mr. Kripke, and the entire cast and crew for delivering a season that while shortened by a senseless strike, still gave us the same caliber of excitement and brotherly angst that awed us from season two. But remember, expectations for season four now are even higher. It's your fault.
A grade of an A+ is obvious on this one. I have a request. If you were happy with the finale, happy with season three, or just trust in Kripke in general, go the comment box below and type in those three little words, "Damn you, Kripke!!!", and hit submit, just to let him know our appreciation and love for his genius. He's earned it in spades this time.
(It should be noted that after this was published on blogcritics.org, I got 121 "Damn You Kripke!" messages. I love this fandom.)
Damn, it's going to be a long summer. Happy hiatus everybody!