I’m feeling like Chuck these days. I’m tired of the alternate realities, the subplots, the failed spin-offs, etc. I just want a focused, somewhat interesting freaking story to play out in a satisfactory manner. Episode 12 out of 20 and that is not happening at all. Unfortunately, instead of going out with a bang, “Supernatural” is going out with a tired, unspectacular whimper. The creative team has run out of gas and is now pushing an empty Impala with a slow, agonizing pace toward the finish line.
Forgetting the Basics
What I’ve been seeing irks me in so many ways. This is the Sam and Dean Winchester story. Even Chuck said so. Then why, oh why, are Sam and Dean here at the very crucial end still being relegated to supporting players? The time for forewarning and foreshadowing is done. They should be neck deep in the action, driving the team forward in their final conflict against the creator of the freaking world. Instead we get a milk run to the Bad Place then Billie shows up at the end with a scythe offing rogue reapers and citing prophecies without any real context.
Am I happy that Jody and Castiel finally met? Yes. Am I happy that Castiel and Jody spent a lot of their time talking about Claire? Strangely, yes. Claire is not my favorite character by any means but it’s some damn good continuity. Castiel should still be feeling guilt about what he did to Claire and her family and I adore he trusts Jody to provide her the emotional support she desperately needs. I’m glad he still cares.
Heck, I didn’t even mind the Dark Kaia/Kaia resolution. I was not a big fan of the whole Wayward Sisters story but it was important to others so some happy closure is good. I'm also glad that it played out this way. I cannot imagine that the whole Dark Kaia/Kaia thing was supposed to be the premise of the whole Wayward Sisters spinoff. No wonder it didn't go to series. I would have lost interest fast. I did love this shot though. It shows how isolated she is in this world. I'm glad she didn't become a villain.
Then there’s Jack. Once again, all we are getting cagey verbal debates about whether Jack is okay or not. Oh no, he doesn’t have a soul, he’s been in the empty, he’s taking instructions from Billie, he could be bad. That is all that’s happened with Jack over the last two seasons. A lot of hand wringing and very little action. I’m again lamenting over the waste of a damn good character. If anyone thinks that Jack is truly soulless, look at him and Kaia at the end. It certainly looked like Jack was an empathetic powerful being, smiling as she said goodbye. Then there's him playing Castiel at Connect Four too. Nope, I'm not buying the soulless thing one bit.
That all ended up being the meat of the story though! All of that should have been the subplot. All of that could have been easily serviced in half of the time, while Sam and Dean went out fighting the much larger, intense battle against Chuck. Nope, we got a wimpy, time wasting story that moved at a snails pace. There were no high stakes, no jeopardy, Sam and Dean just got to hang out in the bunker and help when they were needed, watching the events unfold much like we were at home. Remember when “Supernatural” used to be a heavily layered, multi-faceted show running multiple plots at the same time? Remember when Sam and Dean were driving those plots?
"Honestly? Feels like we're taking a big, probably stupid risk. Feels good. Disobeying cosmic entities, doing the, uh... dumb right thing? Feels like we're back."
Oh Sammy, if that was only true. I get it, episode 12 is not typically a barn burning episode in the scheme of things. BUT THIS IS THE FREAKING END OF THE SHOW!!! It’s not like they slowed down episode 12 to catch our breath after this very intense season. This is the first episode back from a long mid season hiatus. It needs to jump start the action. Instead it felt like watching someone pulling out charging cables to get the battery going but the results came up empty. After an hour no motor running and we’re now stuck with what seems like a dead battery.
What the Chuck?
Okay, let me attempt some sort of an analysis here about Chuck and Billie, because that seems to be the only part that we can salvage from this mess. So, Chuck, our God, is bored and ending his other worlds. Chuck is distant and aloof and used his worlds just for entertainment. Kids like the Radio Shed guy were just pawns and don’t matter in the whole scheme of things. The creator can create, the creator can destroy. He’s going to keep Earth 1 (or is it Earth Prime now?) intact now and focus on that.
On the other side there’s Billie, aka Death, saying something we’ve known since season 5, God can die. Sam and Dean are the messengers of God’s destruction. Again, nothing too shocking there either. I think it was obvious they had a big role in it. At this point, it’s the how they’re going to do it. Or, should I say, how they’re going to help Jack do it.
Billie obviously has the knowledge of what will happen, but I’m assuming there’s lots of different scenarios out there. She doesn’t know which book. Bottom line, she’s trying to keep team freewill on track, maybe because one wrong move and things go sideways. The Winchesters have a knack for throwing things off track. No wonder Jack was assigned a babysitter. I’m also assuming that “Death” has been waiting a few millennia to dispose of this cruel and fickle God and now that chance has finally come. What’s new here is this. Quite a humdinger:
“The books write themselves. After God made the world, He couldn't stop. He wanted more. But He needed to create a perfect harmony -- a Swiss watch so that this world could keep tick-tick-ticking in His absence. He had no choice but to build Himself into the framework. It's His only weakness.”
What does this mean? It could be interpreted that by inserting himself into the story, Chuck has assured his own destruction. Characters die, especially in “Supernatural.” It might also mean that by destroying the other worlds, he’s stuck in this one, meaning he’s no longer absent, and suddenly the whole light and darkness thing doesn’t amount to a hill of beans. God can die, and the world can live. Or, we can channel the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, the guy behind the whole “God is dead” concept. He was an atheist that believed the universe ticked because of physical laws and not from a divine being. So, it can be theorized that once God created the world, it could go on without him. He is not an essential being.
If Nietzsche was right, then what about all that world destruction garbage that happened at the end of season 11 when Chuck was dying? Not sure really. None of that holds up. This was Chuck’s words to Amara in “We Happy Few” that seems to support Nietzsche’s beliefs: “There's a value, a glory in creation... that's greater and truer than my pride or my ego. Call it grace, call it being! Whatever it is, it didn't come from my hands. It was there... waiting to be born. It just is, as you and I just were. Since you've been freed, I know that you've seen it. Felt it.”
I can only assume that season 11 was Amara having a temper tantrum at the time and destroying Chuck’s creation in retaliation. If Chuck goes natural laws will take over. We’ll have “The French Mistake” universe. Jack is the destroyer, Sam and Dean are the messengers, whatever that means.
I still don’t like it. I don’t like that the ideas of Nietzsche are playing out in this series. It’s too cynical. Nietzsche is the one that popularized the whole concept of Nihilism. But part of his philosophical argument was the death of God could be a bad thing too. Without God, we as a society lose that hope. We become pessimists, and fall for false prophets and charlatans (cough *Trump* cough). If we truly believe God is dead, is that an idea society can live with? We need meaning in our lives. The idea of God in our society brings us meaning. But then again, our society believes in a merciful God. One that doesn’t destroy worlds and off innocent lives in the Radio Shed. I'm still trying to figure out where they are going with this very bad turn for Chuck. He's just doing this for the sake of the Sam and Dean story? It doesn't add up.
That could also be where Sam, Dean, Jack and Castiel come in. As "messengers," they need to help restore goodness in this world, help people find their faith again if Chuck is destroyed. I think the words of Father Lucca from season thirteen’s “A Most Holy Man” has much greater meaning now. “It's not about luck, son. It's about effort. All the time, I hear people saying the world's not perfect. And they're right. It's not. But do you use that as an excuse? Do you use it to excuse your own sins? Your failings and your laziness? Do you use it to give a bad man power, because the world's not perfect? Or do you work? Do you try and improve things in whatever way you can? Guys, the world will never be perfect, but if good men do good things, it can be better. Every day can get better.”
(Our hope for humanity)
But yeah, that’s probably way too much a fairy tale ending. Sam and Dean think Chuck is evil, Chuck must be killed. It’s too black and white. I’m sure they’re not wondering what happens when Chuck is gone. They think they can go on with their lives peacefully, but as Sam’s little ordeal with Chuck foreshadowed, evil will rise. The question is, what does Billie see? There’s our TBD. I’ve always wondered how invested Death is with humanity. There seems to be a lot of indifference. Maybe that’s why humans need to be the center of this story. Oh wait…
See, that whole analysis was way more thoughtful and deeper than the actual episode, wasn’t it? When I have to dig that deep, I know the episode will never make my rewatch list.
Overall grade, a D. Come on “Supernatural.” This show deserves better than going out with a whimper.
A big thanks to Raloria@livejournal for the screen caps!
Here's a bonus thanks to Raloria. The Sam Winchester windstorm hair.
Read more of Alice's insights on Supernatural! Reviews on every episode of the series are on Alice's Writer's Page and in WFB's Episode Guides!