I had to take some time to process the finale, because the first time through, despite the stellar acting, I was emotionally distanced and underwhelmed. I wasn’t surprised at the final five seconds, having thought Dean as demon had been telegraphed since Cain told his story and several times since. But I wasn’t comfortable with my negative reaction, either, and had to wrestle with what was going on with my viewing.

And what I finally realized was I was hearing fandom voices in my head as I watched the show, instead of having my own reaction. I decided to put those voices on mute and watch the show again, just me and the story. And I loved it.

So, I’ve decided to reclaim my read and keep fandom muted. I prefer a more intimate relationship with a story. The reason I love this show is not because it has a reciprocal relationship with fans. It’s not because writers are on twitter. It’s not because the actors are cute at cons. It’s because I love this story about two brothers whose relationship gives them the strength to take on cosmic events, to really define both what is a hero and what is family and the inevitable tensions and surprising connections between the two concepts. I love that this is a show where I do not need to choose between enjoying it emotionally (well, enjoying the PAIN! Sob), and enjoying it intellectually. This is a show with something on its mind—about relationships, about purpose, about faith, about love.

What spurred me to examine my own initial reaction to the finale was a tweet by writer Robert Berens. He pointed to an article about what powers long running shows, Supernatural being given as one example. In a nutshell, every show should have a clearly defined operational principle which organically motivates the actions of all its characters. Each character should also have an operational principle derived from the main principle which guides actions and choices.

With that in mind, I realized the finale beautifully fulfilled the operational principles of the show as a whole and each character. Jeremy Carver knit together the disjointed pieces of season nine’s narrative and touched both heart and mind in the process.

Sam and Dean’s story has always been about the way together they are greater than the sum of their parts. They are different very specific characters with many reasons why they should not fit together. “What Was and What Should Never Be” explored those differences, but the overall message of the episode, as we also hear in “It’s a Terrible Life” and “The End,” is despite all the differences in temperament and poor choices along the way, Sam and Dean are better together. When they look at each other, they see each other’s best self, allowing each brother to believe in that vision, despite the fear each harbours inside himself. Unfortunately, each brother also has some hurtful perceptions about what the other believes.

SamandDeanTable

Being flawed people under terrible pressures, the brothers haven’t always communicated well and they haven’t always made the best choices. But every time they allow those negative emotions to damage the bond they share, bad things happen. Season nine shone a spotlight on the bond, first examining the ways love has its selfish side, allowing manipulation, and then showing how much anger can be unleashed when love hurts.

Sam and Dean spent the first half of the season operating under the shadow of Dean’s lie and the second half of the season operating under the shadow of Sam’s anger. In both cases, communication lines between the boys were severed, as Sam tried desperately to force Dean to engage verbally with him over the possession and the lies, while Dean looked to Sam to show him in actions they were still brothers. Sam and Dean communicate differently, which makes them prone to misunderstanding each other at the best of times, never mind the worst. This season, Dean’s inability to use words to explain his position led to Sam raising the stakes on what he was angry about in every encounter.

The silver lining in the increasing space between the boys is that between Dean’s words in season eight and Sam’s words this season, all their buried resentments were brought to the surface. Choosing Ruby, choosing Benny, overriding autonomy, running away – everything got a good stir.

CrowleyAndDean

The down side is there are always dark forces ready to fill that space, working on the weaknesses of the brothers when they are no longer grounding each other. Crowley oozes into that space, all bromance with a plan, providing Dean with a target and willing ear.

And Sam slowly realized there was a worse thing than a brother who loved him so much he couldn’t imagine surviving him. “Do You Believe in Miracles” showed Sam deciding the possession was terrible, but losing Dean is worse. The finale showed Sam that when the chips are down and he faces a similar choice to let his brother go, he actually can understand what led Dean to make the choice he did. Without each other, Sam and Dean are adrift.

Crowley monologue

Being who they are, that is a very dangerous state. Crowley understands how to play the long con. He also knows the boys well, spotting the possibilities immediately when Dean felt he had, through his own actions, lost Sam. I think it’s clear Crowley has a plan in mind for Demon Dean. But I wonder if he wasn’t also motivated just a smidge by envy of Sam and Dean’s bond. This is the demon, after all, whose reaction to humanity’s touch was to say he just wanted to be loved. He was able to send his son off into the world to have a new start. Perhaps at some level, he’s hoping he gets a new family with Dean. It would suit Crowley’s ambiguous nature to have these kinds of ambiguous motivations.

At any rate, Crowley has Dean’s number when he asks him about the blade, “Do you want to get rid of it?” Dean’s been ensnared by the lure of power, running from the pain of his broken relationship with Sam toward the nearest goal he can use to distract himself. Jensen Ackles has done an amazing job this season, slowly transforming Dean emotionally and physically into something that resembles Dean Winchester but in crucial ways, isn’t. Even though I expected Dean to awake in the final moments as a black eyed demon, I was still devastated, because I will miss Dean so much.

Sam has been missing Dean for some time, though he’s not been able to voice that. Despite his harsh words earlier in the season telling Dean they were no more than partners and that Dean’s selfish motivations have done more harm than good in the world, he’s not happy with the way Dean has pulled back from him. He never wanted space; he wanted a fight so he could make Dean listen. He wanted Dean to engage. Instead, Dean has pulled away, changing in ways that worry the younger Winchester—and leaving Sam in no doubt Dean was always, is now, and always will be his brother.

Sam Dean trailer

Carver finally allows Sam to specifically define why he is hurt to Dean. And it’s the deception—the idea that Dean’s inability to trust him led to his body killing Kevin. The manipulation to Sam feels emblematic of the doubts he’s always worried Dean harbours about him. Given his own doubts about himself, the lies are the deepest cut.

But under the pressure of losing Dean, Sam recognizes doubt is not at the centre of Dean’s relationship with him. The protective shape of Dean’s love was forged in the fire when they lost their mother. Sam may be hurt and angry at Dean overriding his autonomy, but he’s also realizing he’s equally unwilling to lose Dean. And that’s an issue, because like Dean had to face in “Swan Song,” Sam has to support Dean’s plan to stop Metatron, even though he knows the blade is damaging Dean profoundly.

The parallel to “Swan Song” is just one of the many calls back to previous seasons. Carver brings in elements of previous finales, like “All Hell Breaks Loose,” in another thematic illustration the boys are airing old wounds to drain them of power.

The airing works. Dean’s first response to Sam’s outpouring of hurt is to say he won’t explain himself. But later in the episode, he haltingly tries to put into words his apology. Sam stops him, just saying, “I know.” His anger cooled, Sam recognizes Dean will never be verbal the way he is.  He shows his love through actions.

The punch that greets Sam’s decision they will face Metatron together is another manifestation of that love, distorted by the influence of the blade. Dean is being changed into something primal and violent, but there is still something at his core that needs to protect his brother. I think that core will be inside Demon Dean, giving Sam something to call to when he tries to save his brother next season.

Sam cry

The end of “Do You Believe in Miracles” places Sam back in “Mystery Spot”, holding his dying brother in a paroxysm of grief beautifully portrayed by Jared Padalecki. But this time, Sam needs to learn not to repeat old mistakes. “It’s all so expected,” says Crowley when Sam starts the summoning ritual for the demon. I think the point of airing all the grievances over past mistakes this season was to help the boys recognize the value of their bond, while avoiding the pitfalls. Love is always a double edged sword.

Sam will need to drop the single minded obsession of “Mystery Spot” and instead reach past the demon to find Dean the way Dean reached past Lucifer to find Sam. In this story, love is stronger than hate.

Cas’s story intersects with the Winchesters as he and Gadreel join forces to infiltrate heaven to break Metatron’s connection with the Angel Tablet. I’ve not enjoyed a lot of the angel war narrative this season. The angels for the most part are unlikeable two dimensional boring characters, and I don’t really care whether they get back to heaven or not.

Cas Gadreel car

But I do care about Castiel and to my surprise, I do care about Gadreel. I was leery about his redemption arc, because I wanted Sam to be able to express his anger about the possession. However, allowing Gadreel to show why he made the seemingly unforgiveable decisions he did thematically echoed Sam and Dean’s arc and played beautifully into Cas’s.

In Jeremy Carver’s hands, the heaven story was interesting and moving. Metatron has misappropriated the Word of God to tell a story with himself as a self-insert character, a Gary Stu in fandom parlance. He has all the weaknesses of that kind of story telling. He sees himself as the hero, but doesn’t show any qualities of heroism. The Scribe is trying to fill the hole carved out by his lack of esteem by forcing angels to obey him and humans to worship him.

Metatron typewriter

What he doesn’t realize is he is going against the spirit of the Word of God, even if he has the tangible manifestation of it. Castiel is the angel who has always felt the love and care for humanity God charged the angels to hold. This principle guided his actions through human history as he was reprogrammed again and again, only to continue to disobey orders when he saw humans being harmed. Castiel embodies the angelic Word of God, which gives him a power Metatron cannot understand.

Cas has made his share of mistakes, including allowing hubris to blind him to his guiding principle. In season six, he tried to become God to return heaven to the military society the arch angels had run. Learning from that experience, he was very reluctant this year to take on the leadership role thrust on him – and indeed, he did have more to learn. Cas fell back into a militaristic mindset, even though the attraction he presents to other angels is the alternative he offers. Last episode, Metatron forced Cas to decide where his loyalties truly lie when he manipulated Cas’s followers into demanding Cas kill Dean.

Cas refused, and Metatron successfully used that choice to nudge the angels into turning against their reluctant leader. This episode, as Metatron and Cas fight over the angels’ loyalty, Metatron says, “To save Dean Winchester. That was your goal, right? I mean, you draped yourself in the flag of heaven, but ultimately, it was all about saving one human, right.”

He’s sure the angels will see Cas priorizing a human over leading the angels home as a betrayal. His own vision of being a good leader is to return angels to the top of the food chain. He tells Cas, “When that happens, trust me, they’re not going to care how they got there.”

Gadreel stab

What he doesn’t know is Gadreel has just proved otherwise. Ginger-haired angel has just proved otherwise. The real essence of Cas’s leadership does not draw on a military model. He leads by example. Cas’s commitment to what he sees as the Word of God--caring for humanity—inspires Gadreel to re-examine what reclaiming his good name really means. Taking his cue from Castiel’s willingness to heal Gadreel despite his waning grace, Gadreel sacrifices himself to protect humanity from Metatron. He cares very much how he got there.

Castiel successfully breaks Metatron’s misappropriation of the Word of God and he successfully delivers on his promise to stop the killing when he lets the angel live. He’s still sure he’s no leader, not yet understanding his own love for humanity is re-awakening that sense of mission in other angels. Heaven needs healing, but not at sword point. The angels’ internal healing will point them in a new direction, one that Cas, for all his reluctance, has been crucial in revealing. There’s a reason God keeps bringing Cas back to the story.

I can’t end this review without mentioning the many outstanding performances. Jared Padalecki’s desperation and emotional breakdown at losing Dean was heartrending. Jensen Ackles’ dying scene was equally poignant and painful, as was Misha Collins’ face when Cas hears of Dean’s death. Mark Sheppard shows again he’s as comfortable delivering a dramatic monologue as a tongue in cheek joke. The finale proved this show is going strong in its ninth season. I fell in love with Supernatural again, for which I am very happy through the tears.

Screencaps courtesy of homeofthenutty.com

Comments  

BookLady
# BookLady 2014-05-23 21:47
Gerry, thanks for your review!

I, too, sometimes have trouble with filtering comments of fellow fans when watching the show. I was a bit surprised by Bookdal's and Alice's ability to not let their misgivings about the season and earlier episodes color their appreciation of the finale. I admire their strength of mind and their love of of the show. I figured out that I need to look at the show like any book series by a favorite author. Most times I love the books she writes, but sometimes she explores a different angle or character or a character develops in a way I'm not crazy about and I'm a little disappointed. That does not mean I'm going to stop reading her books or stop following her characters on their journeys. It does mean I have to be patient. It's her vision and her stories to tell. I read her because I love her writing, her world-building, and her characters and I feel I'd miss out if I didn't travel back to her world whenever I can.

I feel the same way about Supernatural. I don't watch a ton of drama tv shows, but I do watch some. Compared to other shows, Supernatural is compelling television. The writing causes me to think, not just view. The acting of Jared, Jensen, and their guest stars is so nuanced and skillful that I cannot look away from the screen for fear of missing some subtle change in expression or body language that conveys volumes. The camera shots, the framing, the lighting, the sets, the locations, and the special effects are all a visual feast that never gets stale. Simply put, I just don't find this level of excellence in other shows and I would miss it if I stopped watching. Yes, sometimes I'm frustrated or disappointed, but my patience is always rewarded. I'm so interested in seeing what will happen next that I can't stop watching. Gerry, I'm happy that you were able to get back to your love of the show, too. Thanks again for your review!
LEAH
# LEAH 2014-05-23 21:47
Thank you Gerry for the lovely review. I agree with your observations about the brothers journey this season and their relationship in general. Dean did try and instigate a conversation or two but the thing that always happens is that when one might be receptive, the other is angry or defensive and Dean in particular filters everything he hears through his low self-worth. I just felt so awful for both of them in the finale. They can tear out your heart. These actors are so amazing. Mark Sheppard just outstanding as usual. So glad he will be a regular. I guess I don't need to worry about him getting offed in the first few episodes now. :-) I, against my better judgement, came to like and sympathize with Gadreel. Kevin was a tough pill to swallow, though. I wasn't happy with Dean not warning or better protecting Kevin either. This season and last has been a roller coaster ride. The finale did what it was supposed to do. It pulled many of the elements of the season together in an entertaining way and set us up brilliantly for next year.
bjxmas
# bjxmas 2014-05-23 22:43
So happy to hear you are again in love with our show! Sam and Dean are men of few words and yet, their actions and their choice to work together, to forge ahead even though it was clear the cost would be great, brought the reconciliation we all longed for. They don't need to apologize or explain, they know and they understand and it is enough, for them and ultimately for us. Dean's simple, "I'm proud of us," conveys so much as does their short but sweet exchange of "I lied" and "Ain't that a bitch!". I loved the finale and love that next season is poised to take us in a new direction while never forgetting their roots. I have no doubt that LOVE will determine Dean's fate. I am going to love seeing Sam and Cas working to save their brother and friend. However demonic Dean becomes, Dean's humanity will be there, maybe just beneath the surface or possibly buried deep and needing reawakening, but we will get our Dean back however distressing the journey there is! It is a great opportunity for all the actors, to again be re-energized by their characters' changes, and for Jensen to show us yet another side of Dean. I can't wait!
novemberschild
# novemberschild 2014-05-23 22:44
Gerry, Thank you for your review, I enjoyed the way you looked at it before and after.
I had kind of the same problem, I really liked most of but there was one thing I was disappointed in and of course the show ripped out my heart with the ending, so I had to take a few days away from fandom and I watched it several more times.
Everyone watches for different things and I know not everyone will be happy with what is shown at times, but overall I can enjoy SPN for what it is, a show that is about family.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-05-23 22:55
Thank you Gerry. That was a lovely review of a beautifully written finale. For me Dean becoming a demon was as you said telegraphed. What was shocking is how it happened. I certainly didn't see that coming. I thought he would have to try and kill Sam or an innocent or something like that to turn into a demon. We always knew that Crowley had a plan. He meant for this to happen. What was heartbreaking was his speech (beautifully written, masterfully performed) over dead Dean's body. He seems to really feel he has gained a partner, an ally in his rule of hell. Dean is someone I think Crowley has always admired even though they were foes. And now he believes that Dean is his.
I don't think when Sam said that "everything that has gone wrong between us is because we are brothers' he meant that every thing that Dean has done has caused problems in the world. It kind of has but I don't think that is what he meant.
When we first met Gadreel he professed his devotion to Dean who was humanity and Castiel who was his brother. I think he meant that. What started to confuse him is that he always wanted redemption for his crime and the only way he saw to be the hero was to follow Metatron and lead his people home. In the end Gadreel understood what it really meant to be a hero. It was a sad and fitting end to a very conflicted angel.
I never thought that Sam had as much issue with Gadreel as he did with Dean for the possession. It was Dean's lies (no matter how good his intentions) that Sam couldn't accept. I was glad that there wasn't a whole lot of dialogue about what Sam was angry about. The lessons haven't been learned yet. That is still to come.
The performances for this episode still haunt me 3 days later. Dean as he lay dying trying to still be Sam's big brother "I'm proud of us" just did me in. Sam gently placing Dean on his bed (that remembers him) that lost little brother look on his face. Crowleys speech, Castiels heartbreak when he heard that Dean was dead, Gadreel's sacrifice, even Metatron's misguided power trip, it all was portrayed perfectly. I am so excited for next season. This show affects me like no other I am so grateful that we still have it to enjoy.
sylvia37
# sylvia37 2014-05-23 23:35
I like your review and like you, I have decided that I need to start watching without hearing the words of others in my ears.

I will say however, that I will never be okay with Dean punching Sam to keep him out of the fight. It just shows me that he still hasn't learned and if he had allowed his brother to help him rather then once again making an executive decision for both of them, he might not have died AGAIN. It really infuriates me. But other than that, I can agree with you and I especially want to say that despite my initial negative reaction to the first viewing, Sam beating Dean and Crowley to the place and him saying how he really felt, and yet sticking by Dean (even though Dean didn't let him) makes my heart feel good. I'm trying to shore up my hope for next season now.
percysowner
# percysowner 2014-05-24 01:09
I have to second this, both for in universe and general philosophical reasons. On the general philosophical reasons I'm disquieted that violence is equated with love. Hitting someone until they lose consciousness is NOT love or loving. I know Sam and Dean are men who live violent lives but I'm really uncomfortable with saying that punching Sam until he loses consciousness is Dean demonstrating love.

In universe this is even harder for me to accept. Just last year Sam tells Dean that his inability to trust that Sam is a good enough partner leads Sam to decide that there is no real reason to live. Dean's actions this year have pretty well confirmed Sam's feelings there. From refusing to trust Sam about Gadreel's possession, to telling Sam that Dean is the dictator and Sam has no say in their battles. Dean may have said this wasn't Sam's fight, but he didn't say that until Sam couldn't hear it. The action is pretty clear, he considers Sam being with him to be a liability. He would rather leave Sam unconscious, on the street, in reach of Metatron and his followers than let Sam accompany him on his fight. His actions say Sam being with him would screw things up, just has he told Sam when he sent him away from the fight with Abaddon. This isn't a case of Sam misunderstandin g Dean's intent. Sam told Dean how he felt last year. But Dean continues to say Sam isn't necessary and is in fact a liability and to act as if Sam is a liability. That's how I see it, anyway.
NOLANOLA
# NOLANOLA 2014-05-24 02:28
I too, am the oldest. Sam is a liability because DEAN LOVES HIM SO MUCH.
Dean does not want him hurt nor bargained. He already thinks he wont make
it out of this tunnel. Wants his BABY [brother] to LIVE and Thrive.
That's how I see it.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2014-05-24 03:23
But Dean hurts him
NOLANOLA
# NOLANOLA 2014-05-24 03:30
'You can always hurt the one's you love.'
sad but true. If fact it hurts more coming
from a loved on. IMO
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2014-05-24 03:45
Sorry,I don't believe in 'You can always hurt the one's you love.'I believe in 'take special care to not hurt the ones you love'.
and I say If you have hurt anyone and you know (or in this case knew) what you have done wrong don't delay in apologizing.
NOLANOLA
# NOLANOLA 2014-05-24 03:49
I agree with you, but KNOWING what's right and DOING what's
right is very different. CHERISH is the word we want our loved
one's to aspire. Cherish and DO NOT HARM. jmo:)
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2014-05-24 04:11
In this case It was an apology or the realization of the mistake and the mind to verbalize..whic h I believe Dean did but very late.I had no doubt about what sam wanted.Atleast the writers did not disappoint me that account.
tvmonkey
# tvmonkey 2014-05-24 17:35
Sam is a liability because Dean loves him? The people we love are liabilities? That shows a massive lack of trust and respect for the loved ones. Thats confirms Deans utter lack of trust and respect for Sam.

Interesting that Dean wouldnt want Sam to make a deal/bargain for him because he already thinks he's not going to make it out the tunnel isnt that exactly what Sam felt when he wasnt going to make it out of the tunnel at the beginning of the season? Didnt Dean make a bargain to bring Sam back anyway? Didnt he not apologize and completely dismiss Sam's feelings? Also id Dean wants Sam to LIVE and Thrive so much why does he keep bitching at Sam when he expresses a desire for or even goes after a life outside of hunting?
njspnfan
# njspnfan 2014-05-25 15:48
It's an interesting conundrum, isn't it? Dean is happiest with Sam at his side, hunting things, saving people, the family business. But, at the same time, he wants Sam to be safe. But, hunting isn't exactly a safe occupation. And round and round it goes.
NOLANOLA
# NOLANOLA 2014-05-26 06:39
Thanks for understanding me. :)
Amyh
# Amyh 2014-05-24 08:41
I agree with Percysowner. Its just 9 gooing on ten years of Dean telling Sam through words AND actions that Sam is less then.....less of a hunter, less of a brother...just less. Part of me wishes Sam would simply remind Dean how he beleives none of this is Sams fight. Which means deep down Dean doesn't see Sam as family. He sees others as more worthy then Sam. Castiel...Benny ...Charlie....a nd now apparently Crowley. They are better then Sam ever will be and ever was.

Maybe Dean would see Sam as worthy if he foudn a way to tap into his phychic powers again. Because that seems to be what Dean respects and trusts.
E
# E 2014-05-24 18:02
Unless the psychic powers are Sam's then it's not OK to be using them or trust them; it's only when the powers belong to Dean that it's OK to use them? Hmmm… :(
Sharon
# Sharon 2014-05-25 03:35
Well that is the old one rule for Sam and one rule for Dean law .
kaj
# kaj 2014-05-30 03:51
Quote:
But Dean continues to say Sam isn't necessary and is in fact a liability and to act as if Sam is a liability.
Perhaps it's not Sam that's a liability but it's Dean's feeling towards Sam that he considers a liability.
Priceless doesn't mean that it has no price (no worth) at all but instead it worth too high that it can't be measure up. Sam is too important to Dean that Sam become priceless. I will never understand the extend of violence in Sam and Dean's life because I don't live their life and none of us would understand because none of us are hunters and none of our mother died on a ceiling. Perhaps we can take the most violent moment in our life and multiply it by a hundred. That's the Winchesters life.
One thing that I agree with Jensen every time he was asked 'what is the similarity between him and Dean', his answer is always loyalty. And based on that I always believe that Dean's love to Sam has and will never waver. There's loyalty in that love. Perhaps the way he shows it is too violent to us women. :-D
My dad has never one for hugs. I can count in one hand the number he hugged me. He's a stoic guy and never said love and don't do chick flick moment. Yet, he didn't live the life of Sam and Dean. :-D So, yes, I believe that there's a guy like Dean Winchester who thinks the only way he knows how to show love to a man (because Dean acts differently around women) is by punching him to get him out of danger. I'm a girl, I think more in the line of anti-violence but I get Dean.

:-D just my two cents.
Jo1027
# Jo1027 2014-05-30 13:31
"I'm a girl, I think more in the line of anti-violence but I get Dean."

Well I don't I have brothers who don't treat each other this way. Love should never equal violence. Would you feel the same way if Dean was punching out the women he met? Would it have been okay for him to punch Lisa? Would that mean he loves them? Sorry, but that just doesn't make any sense to me.
NOLANOLA
# NOLANOLA 2014-05-23 23:59
Well you 6 have done me in. I am crying like I am at a funeral shit. I love this show.
I think I need a break from WFB or I will be in hospital AGAIN.
Ginger
# Ginger 2014-05-24 00:48
I'm just going to pop in and say I had the same reaction as you did when I first watched the episode, Gerry. Actually, I was mad as hell, but not because I pay attention to what fandom is saying or thinking. I have a bucket full of issues with the show, and in this episode, I thought a very unique opportunity was missed by all the writers -- but I don't want to discuss that here. I haven't re-watched the episode yet, but after mulling the episode over for a few days, I will say that it has set better with me. I can now think of some intriguing thematic possibilities for S10, but I also have major doubts any of them will be explored.

I did appreciate; first of all, the tremendous acting talent brought to this episode. Wow! Even Curtis Armstrong overcame my pure hatred of Metatron's slimy character. Secondly, the direction and the entire production crew brought their game to the episode. I loved the "I lied," and "Ain't that a bitch" lines. That's the way the Winchesters say "I love you."
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2014-05-24 03:37
Quote:
And Sam slowly realized there was a worse thing than a brother who loved him so much he couldn’t imagine surviving him. “Do You Believe in Miracles” showed Sam deciding the possession was terrible, but losing Dean is worse.
But the problem was The imbalance the show showed in giving Dean's POV and Sam's (there was no Sam's POV until this episode)Quote:
The finale showed Sam that when the chips are down and he faces a similar choice to let his brother go, he actually can understand what led Dean to make the choice he did.
He knew this even before this episode.It was Dean's adamant refusal to apologize which hurt Sam.Quote:
In Jeremy Carver’s hands, the heaven story was interesting and moving. Metatron has misappropriated the Word of God to tell a story with himself as a self-insert character,
until this episode Metatron was mostlywhiny.
Quote:
Castiel is the angel who has always felt the love and care for humanity God charged the angels to hold.
I think,Castiel is an angel who has not always felt the love and care for humanity God charged the angels to hold.Quote:
What he doesn’t know is Gadreel has just proved otherwise. Ginger-haired angel has just proved otherwise. The real essence of Cas’s leadership does not draw on a military model. He leads by example. Cas’s commitment to what he sees as the Word of God--caring for humanity—inspires Gadreel to re-examine what reclaiming his good name really means. Taking his cue from Castiel’s willingness to heal Gadreel despite his waning grace, Gadreel sacrifices himself to protect humanity from Metatron. He cares very much how he got there.
I do not believe it was Cas's leadership..but Gadreel's need to atone for his sins.If it was Castiel's leadershio he would have left Metatron earlier.I think it was Metatron's actions which made Gadreel rethink his position and put him in the right path.So I will credit Gadreel and his need to do good for that.Quote:
The punch that greets Sam’s decision they will face Metatron together is another manifestation of that love, distorted by the influence of the blade.
Dean does not need the mark to show his "love".
E
# E 2014-05-24 18:30
Quote:
The punch that greets Sam’s decision they will face Metatron together is another manifestation of that love, distorted by the influence of the blade.
Dean does not need the mark to show his "love".
I agree anonymousN, Dean has shown this brand of "love" many, many times before and without the influence of the blade to cause him to lash out. As a matter of fact it's impossible for me to blame the blade entirely for that punch given Dean's violent outbursts on his brother in previous episodes although I think it did contribute. The punch, coupled with the "dictatorship" line from the previous episode essentially shows Dean's actions in a quite different light IMO - it was the same hubris that brought down Sam in season 4 and Castiel in season 6; labeling it "love" does not change it's colors, nor does it change the outcome of Dean's actions. IMO, Dean's apologetic look to Sam at the end of the episode too seemed to show his realization that he'd really screwed-up by taking Sam out of the mix and deciding to go it alone. Wasn't the whole lesson of season 5 that the brothers were better off working together? They defeated Lucifer by working together. Going it alone is what caused Sam to raise Lucifer in the first place…going it alone is what caused Cas to become the "new God"... has Dean learned nothing at all?? Apparently so; I guess it needed to happen TO him rather than around him to get the message across. And now that he's a demon he won't be learning anything for a while. Hopefully the culmination of all his actions recently will allow for Dean to have SOME growth as a character; it's a pretty severe learning curve is you ask me. Sorry Gerry, I agree with the others here; a brand of "love" that includes physical violence for any reason whatsoever, even in the jacked-up world of supernatural is NOT something that I can condone or champion, and I really don't think the PTB are condoning it either; that was a sucker punch and a very cheap shot. I did not take that punch to be a good, decent, honorable or loving act at all… I took it to be the start of the end for Dean and that is exactly what it was.
Sharon
# Sharon 2014-05-24 04:54
Dean's love seems to be a dangerous thing for Sam . I would of believed more in what I saw if there had been genuine balance in the storytelling this season rather than 'Dean hurt you Sam but lets concentrate on Dean' mode of writing and that Sam's pain had not been trivialzed, and a two minute scene at the end with Sam's 'I lied' really seemed patronizing because the writers could not be bothered to give him proper exploration to begin with.

I will give Jared kudos he can half cry though .
Gwen
# Gwen 2014-05-24 05:33
What a lovely review. Thank you so much. My initial reaction to the finale was also one of feeling underwhelmed. Parts of it I loved. As in really really loved. They were the brother scenes, the broments. But for me there was simply way, way too much angel storyline stuff to keep me interested. The angel storylines this year have, if I am brutally honest, bored me senseless. By the time of the finale I could not summon up one shred of enthusiasm for their story any more. Curtis Armstrong was absolutely fabulous in the finale but Metatron just rambled on and on so much...

I was surprised to find myself caring for Gadreel. I haven't liked the way the possession storyline has been handled at all and I wish we had heard a lot more from Sam on the subject (but THANK YOU Jeremy carver for finally getting Sam to say something on the subject) but I was sorry to see Gadreel die. I would have liked to see Tahmoh back in S10.

I loved Crowley as much as ever. I'm looking forward to seeing where they go with the Demon Dean storyline and to see Crowley's role in it too.

But to go back to Sam and Dean. Their moments were pure gold. I loved that we got some Sam POV regarding the possession at long, long last and the 'I lied...ain't that a bitch' conveyed so much. I would have liked more of the boys talking seeings as we've gotten so little of that this year but I'll take what we got gratefully. Dean's 'I'm proud of us' and his hand on the side of Sam's face ripped my heart to shreds, Sam's desperate grief then pulverised those shreds to dust. Jared can certainly cry good. Jared and Jensen were brilliant.

I am very interested to see the route Sam takes next season. Will he go all Mystery Spot Sam? There was a definite Mystery Spot look on his face when he sat drinking in the bunker before going to summon Crowley. All I hope is that he does save Dean. It's time Sam got this save. He failed to stop Dean going to Hell, he 'ran' after Dean disappeared at the end of S7 - Sam is tortured by these failures to save his brother. He needs this save. And, as a Sam girl, I need this save. :P Carver was writing in S3, he gave us Mystery Spot Sam and S3 was supposed to end with Sam saving Dean. I have everything crossed that S10 will finally give us the ending we were denied there by the writers strike...and this time maybe in a way that doesn't repeat the mistakes of the past.

I haven't enjoyed S9 so much and I'm kind of quite relieved to be getting this break from Show for a short while. I need some time to recharge my Show loving batteries. But the set up for S10 is intriguing so roll on October. :)

Sorry for rambling on so much, for a finale that I didn't completely love (unlike Sacrifice last year) I still seem to not be able to stop writing loads about it.
tvmonkey
# tvmonkey 2014-05-24 08:15
So for Sam to show Dean how much he loves him he simply needs to beat the shit out Dean every now and again.

Dean again learned nothing but apparently he wasn't supposed to because Sam was the one who was in the wrong.

Not sure what Sam's role on the show will be next season but I have no interest in seeing Dean and Crowley running around together being the friendliest demons ever (because they will never have Dean go so far down the path of evil that he cant be brought back and forgiven) while Sam sits around and frets while having to listen to Cas drone on and on. With Dean having the mytharc and the POV I'm not sure what they can do with Sam. I suspect Jared may have even more time of next season.
Bluepony
# Bluepony 2014-05-24 22:07
Gerry thank you for the wonderful review. I have to agree about fandom voices interfering with the pleasure of the supernatural story. I adored the finale because each brother basically got to walk in the others shoes. Sam learned that yes he would go to extremes to save his brother. Dean learned how hurt his brother is and he really heard this time. These two love each other and every exchange in the episode showed that love. Both Jensen and Jerod are such wonderful actors that I'm still surprised at the depth of my feelings days later.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2014-05-25 03:38
Quote:
Sam learned that yes he would go to extremes to save his brother.
No,He has not yet gone to any extreme.He is redy to summon Crowly.That is not an extreme.If in season 10 he does go to any extreme I will agree with you.But as of now he is still only summoning a demon, a demon who he knows.
LEAH
# LEAH 2014-05-25 11:09
True anonymousN but they did leave it ambiguous. We don't really know from what was shown what he had in mind. He might have been just going to force Crowley (if he could) to help Dean or more, who knows? This is a case of his 'dead' brother being right there under his nose instead of disappearing in an explosion of leviathan goo. Maybe they will explore it more in the S10 premiere. Or just jump ahead to demonDean.
njspnfan
# njspnfan 2014-05-25 15:44
I'm with anonymousN on this but you're right, it was left somewhat ambiguous. But, if that's the direction they're going (i.e. Sam willing to make a deal), so much for a more mature relationship between Sam and Dean that Jeremy Carver has discussed. And, it would go counter to everything Sam has done since coming back from the cage in S6; yes, he'd risk his life to save his brother, but Sam has learned his lesson about deals and consequences, and taking our 1/2 the planet in the process of trying to save his brother. That being said, given that they've whitewashed the entire possession issue, they probably won't explore this and will jump right in to the demon Dean arc.

I just finished my third viewing of the episode and am still very disappointed; the only season finale I liked less was S7.
LEAH
# LEAH 2014-05-25 15:54
Yep, it appears it was only a summons but I wished they had made it a little more clear cut. I swear they do that on purpose! S7 not my favorite, followed closely by S8. This show has had some outstanding season finales. Some of the best I have ever seen.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2014-05-26 04:13
Quote:
Yep, it appears it was only a summons but I wished they had made it a little more clear cut.
It is Sam's action.The explanation to that will be tacked in a 15 sec sequence in the 22nd episode of the next season.
NOLANOLA
# NOLANOLA 2014-05-26 06:54
OMG, I thought I was the only one who did not like the season 8 finale.
Wheww, I loved the angels falling but that's it.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2014-05-26 04:14
Exactly. I am also 95% sure they will jump ahead with demon dean.
Bluepony
# Bluepony 2014-05-25 17:04
I believe summoning a demon to bring your dead brother back to life is going to extremes. Sam stated that Crowley would get his brother " out of this or so help me god". To me that is where Sam's head and heart are right now. He needs to get his brother back. Now Crowley may be a demon he knows but he is still the King of Hell. To me that is another indication of where Sam is emotionally. He has not trusted Crowley all season in fact he has been quite hostile to Crowley. But he is trying anything right now.

But we can agree to disagree. I love the story we are getting right now.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2014-05-26 04:12
Quote:
I believe summoning a demon to bring your dead brother back to life is going to extremes.
I do not believe so.If Sam has Crowley possess Dean so that Dean may live that is an extreme.Summoning a demon or an angel is par for the course.It is what Sam or Dean decide is the way to save their brother's life after summoning which decides whether it is extreme or not.Quote:
He has not trusted Crowley all season in fact he has been quite hostile to Crowley. But he is trying anything right now.
The thing is even when he is ready to summon crowley he looks resolute and not desperate.He is still angry and not snivelling and desperate.
As Leah has said below Quote:
Yep, it appears it was only a summons but I wished they had made it a little more clear cut.
It is not yet clear as we do not know what Sam is going to do after he summons Crowley.So I think it will be prudent to attach the act of going to extreme after he goes to that extreme and not before that and by that I mean after the actions are furthered in s 10.Till then it will be speculation nothing more.
Gerry
# Gerry 2014-05-24 23:00
Thanks everyone, for reading and commenting!
debbab
# debbab 2014-05-25 11:47
Well stated. I too had a non reaction with the first view. The second view left me emotionally spent for all the reasons you list above. Angel war was a distraction by design and proves that angels are not as interesting as humans. Ask Cas. The new SPN anthem has been played with (Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton's )Blind Faith's "Can't Find My way Home". Big theme set for season10, perhaps. This melody continues to play in my head. Prescription for summer:Take a look at the lyrics. Apply gently to Supernatural. Stir from time to time with a repeat episode. See how the clues are scattered in the recipe of the season.Wait until October 14th for best results.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-05-25 11:49
:)
Aih
# Aih 2014-05-29 00:13
Does anyone know why they are refusing to give more Sam POV? I mean Sam had to TELL us and Dean that he would wake up in the middle of the night with nightmares of killing Kevin. Nobody knew that, not even Dean. The poor boy was just quietly suffering. Why couldn't the writers have just shown in say Ep 15 or 16 Sam having a nightmare about Gadreel killing Kevin and then waking up drenched in sweat and breathin hard and badly shaken? Y could they not have SHOWN it instead of letting Sam TELL it, and worse, they had to waith till the very LAST episode! Aih. I'm excited for Demon Dean, but I need the writers to treat Sam with more respect and empathy. Season 10 should be be all about Dean carrying the arc, but from Sam's POV. And, pls ENOUGH with the angels. Castiel can join the boys down on earth with their fight for Dean, but to the rest of the angels, pls read the following memo:

Dear Angels,
Kindly be informed that you suck. Hence, do not pass go, do not collect $200, go directly to heaven and for goodness sake, STAY THERE!!!!!
Alice
# Alice 2014-05-29 01:24
I don't think it's an issue that they are refusing to give Sam POV. It's just that most of these writers aren't skilled at "show, don't tell." Also, they're not interested in giving up any time for character development during their "awesome" MOTW stories. They'll try during a sorry flashback story like Bad Boys, because fans love Weechester stories. Even ones that have no relevance to the current arc. Sadly, they aren't working together to create a fluid seasons with stories that blend together and progress things logically. So, don't think it's a slight against Sam. It's just a pure lack of skill thing.
Aih
# Aih 2014-05-29 04:59
I guess you're right. I like Dean and am not complaining bout his MOC arc, but it's like all of a sudden I realise that I find Sam missing the 2nd half of Season 9. I know that he's in every episode and doing stuff, but that's about it, just doing stuff. It started of nicely with his glorious angel possession then became....furni ture :( But, ya, I am soooo guilty of being a sucker for the weechesters. I would watch a whole 9 seasons about the weechesters (with a balance divide between mini Sam and Dean :))
amyh
# amyh 2014-05-29 11:30
Alice, i sort of think you are wrong - but as i typed all this I realized it should go in the unhappiness thread. So I'm putting it there.
Are You Kidding?
# Are You Kidding? 2014-05-29 06:58
Finally, an erudite explanation of the major problem with the last two years. The writers can't write. The showrunner is either not interested or can't provide a specific enough framework to create a coherent arc between the seasons, between the characters and between the things that must be learned and developed over the course of the season for both story and characters. And the reason behind the lack of ability of the writers is simple enough - they don't care. Not enough to have watched the series from the Pilot to the last episode of Season 7 before they started, objectively, carefully, learning the characters in the way that anyone connected with the show should have done on commencing work with it. There are fan-fiction writers who write incredible character tales with vastly more skill - and a million times more interest and care and thought than that which is provided by the writers hired to do the job. Any fan, in fact, who has rewatched the seasons can tell you that Dean, for example, does think things through, in fact, it is his endless worry about the consequences of his actions, which he sees all too clearly, that drives him to do the things he does. Any fan can tell you that Sam would be head-down-bum-u p in books on encountering something like the Mark of Cain on his brother. Any fan could also tell you that Sam, no matter how distressed and lost, would never convince himself he was in love with someone and then when the chance is offered, turn it down with a glib "I... need to think about this. You need to think about this." Of course, the same writers managed to forget that in fact it was NOT Sam's first big love, and NOT "something I never had before" ... yes indeedy, they somehow managed to forget about Sam's time with Jessica and the fact that he was going to ask her to marry him, "looking at rings and everything" as Azazel told Dean whilst possessing John. But that's a case in point. Once the writers mangle a character that badly, how can you trust them to not to do the same with everything? And they've shown that they will and they have.

They don't know Sam so they can't write him, either from his POV or even from a supporting character's POV, which the episodes with Garth, Jody and Kevin would at least have had some use in doing. The Winchesters both stand around like ill-placed furniture in most of the scenes in this and the last season, with all sorts of people saving them when they can't manage to save themselves. For some reason. The so-called "conflict" between the brothers, both in Season 8 and in Season 9 was manufactured from nothing and went nowhere. Rather than "maturing" the characters, it regressed both of them for no apparent reason and was dropped without a murmur of explanation when it all got too difficult (or the fans complained too loudly that they were sick of the brothers fighting each through the series of manufactured misunderstandings).

What has been truly lacking (aside from badly re-written past season storylines, inattention to canon and character detail, horrendous dialogue et al) has been imagination in the writers room. Actually, even that's not quite true ... there were some great ideas. They were dropped. There were some extremely interesting and plausible story possibilities. They were also dropped instantly. None of the writers, and very few of the fans, appear to be at all interested in the actual supernatural nature of the show. Which is interesting in and of itself, but a digression. They couldn't care less if what they write matches up with the Supernatural world as created by Kripke and the season 1 writers, and markedly by Kim Manners. To them it's a sandbox where they get to make up the rules. We all saw how well that went with the abortive "Bloodlines". Not only did the episode veer 180 degrees from the original concept of the show into "Being Human" territory, but it trashed the canon that was already established on Supernatural to that point. I won't go into the stupidity of attempting to gangsterise monsters. The writer was carried away by his pitch "It'll be like the Godfather - only with monsters - and there'll be a lone cop - a kind of a black Donnie Brasco - and uptight, incredibly wealthy white women - just like Dynasty ..." and that was about the extent of it. And that is about the extent of the last 2 years of Supernatural. There have been more stolen movie plots, tv show plots, reworks of the show's early season plots, events, dramas and outcomes in the last 2 years than in any other show I've seen and all of shrieks - no imagination! No imagination! What happened to hunting? Oh, it's a terrible, horrible thing to do, that saving people business, it turns the men who do it into psychopaths who just want to shoot things ... uh, what about the saving people part? Oh, well, most of the monsters are kind of okay, and they're just misunderstood.

Right.

Did the writers, even once, give Sam a say in the fact that it was not the first time he'd been (a) possessed or (b) possessed by an angel. The last time he was possessed by an angel it was Lucifer. Is it not possible that he might have some goddamned flack from that experience? Was it subtext? No, it really wasn't. What it was, was ignored. Sam and Dean should have had the conversation about Sam's feelings about it. They didn't. Instead, Kevin's death got the big dramatic violin-music-in -the-background ta-dah, and frankly, Kevin, as a character, didn't deserve it. His relationship with the brothers was never developed strongly enough to justify Dean's reaction. I certainly didn't feel bupkis when Gadreel killed him. I was devastated when Rufus died. And Ellen. And even Ash, god bless his mullet.

I'm rambling as usual. I just wanted to say, Alice, you hit the nail on the head. Not skilled. Not writers. Not likely that they will magically improve over the hiatus.
Jo1027
# Jo1027 2014-05-29 12:56
Not picking on you, Gerry, but I have to take exception to "all you need is love". What good is love without basic respect for another person's rights? That would mean that making decisions for others in okay? I'm sorry, but I don't think so. Sam is an adult who should have been allowed to make that decision. Dean could have presented that choice to him rather than tricking him, but he took Gad's word that there wasn't time. Who's to say that was the truth. Gad lied about who he was so I don't think he can be trusted to be telling the truth. Dean's biggest problem is he thinks he know best and he doesn't always.