Saturday, May 19, 2018

Supernatural, Season 13, Episode 23: Let the Good Times Roll


This song now creates a pavlovian response in me. It also makes watching the finale hard since I keep rewinding every 5 seconds to hear the opening scene.

Anyway, opening scene aside, everyone is enjoying the new world. Sam gives everyone an update on the state of the world and Bobby sums it up with “Damn fool idjit from the apprentice is president”. Bobby is a wise man.

Dean and Sam call in Castiel and Jack to kill some werewolves arguing about the Kardassians which seems a little overkill. But it’s filling Dean with something alien and new: hope. Our super angsty boy is talking retirement - retirement they’ve earned, retirement they can take because with Jack’s power they can probably commit utter genocide against creatures which while inclined to do evil have plenty of outliers and capacity for good.

Sorry, Supernatural, you can’t have several episodes expanding the humanity and morality of monsters and then casually consider killing them all as a morally neutral or good act. Hey those werewolves weren’t even doing anything expressly evil beyond enjoying reality TV. Ok… maybe they did deserve it.

Jack has some nightmares about the terrible things he’s seen and the people he’s been unable to save - but Dean is awesome in comforting him here. He mentions his own nightmares casually as something everyone has all the time (I imagine with what he’s been through, nightmares are pretty normal for him which again is one of the ways this show subtly reinforces how traumatised and mentally ill Dean actually is - nightmares every night is his normal).

Dean is a perfect father to Jack at this moment

Bobby and Mary are taking a totally platonic and not romantic honest walk summing up everyone else - apparently Charlie and Rowena have gone on a road trip and WOULD WATCH THIS SHOW. Ketch is off doing Ketch things.

And then they find of a body of Maggie, an apocalyptic world person - apparently murdered by mundane means. Well that puts a damper on things

They try to figure out who killed her and learned she had a crush on a local shop assistant so Jack charges off to do some murdering, only stopped by Sam, Dean and Castiel - Dean actually shooting Jack to get his attention. The point out the obviously innocence of the man in front of him and Jack goes on another spiral of self hate and rage because he always hurts people

Points to Castiel claiming they’re Agents Knowles, Williams and Rowland. Because shout out to Destiny’s Child

He’s found in his self-flagellation by Lucifer who is there to offer him a new path. Staying with humans is bad, humans are bad, things always go wrong and you end up hurting them - instead let’s explore and remake the galaxy like Star Wars and leave the humans to it!

It’s not exactly a well thought out plan but let’s remember Jack is like, 2, at the moment so has no real grounding in maturity to see the glaring holes in this plan and he is also all torn up about the fact he does have a habit of hurting all those squishy squishy humans.

Jack asks him for something in exchange: Maggie to be resurrected. Lucifer warns that this can often go wrong and often does (Sam is a special case on account of him being awfully weird anyway) but goes ahead to keep Sam on side

Meanwhile Michael drops in on Sam, Dean and Castiel - thankfully Dean keeps a big vat of holy oil in the boot of his car for just such emergencies and it buys them some time to escape to the Winchester cave. When they arrive they find that Lucifer and Jack are gone and Maggie is back and everything is screwed

They do take time to ask Maggie who killed her - unsurprisingly it’s a man with glowing red eyes. That would be Lucifer.

They have more pressing business though because Michael attacks the bunker. The wards fail. And fighting him just fails completely and utterly on account of Archangel Michael being a Big Deal. Thankfully he’s read the villain playbook and doesn’t just kill Dean in a second like he can because villains have to slowly kill the protagonists so they can be rescued

Which happens - Sam prays to Jack who can actually hear prayers now and he buzzes in to throw Michael across the room. Michael doesn’t even have chance to fight - Jack glares at him and Michael bleeds from his eyes and ears, utterly defeated in the face of Jack’s completely unassailable power. This episode makes a point of just how impossibly powerful Jack is - he doesn’t even struggle fighting the Archangel Michael. He’s that powerful. All Michael can do is gasp “we had a deal”

Oh Lucifer you’re rumbled. Lucifer is exposed for selling the whole planet to Michael in exchange for him getting Jack. Oh and murdering Maggie who is only human so who cares… and loJack is Not amused by Lucifer. Lucifer has now shown just how terrible he is and Jack wants nothing to do with him any more, rejecting him as his father. To which Lucifer responds that he doesn’t actually need the kid - just his power, and slashes Jacks throat to steal his grace

Y’know I’m pretty sure stealing grace used to be much harder than this? How have the angels and archangels actually managed to have existed as long as they have? How was Lucifer not killed several times over?

He teleports the now weakened Jack away, with Sam clinging on because teleportation hijacking is a thing. There they have a super powered Lucifer declaring that he’s the most powerful thing ever, that family is awful and his family hates him and making a big thing of the fact that Jack clearly sees Sam as more of a father than him (there’s some definite jealousy there). And he decides rather than killing them he wants them to kill each other with the Archangel blade

Why? See above. Villains have to kill their protagonists slowly so we can have the rescue

Dean, we need a rescue. Dean turns to Michael and asks why he can’t just fry Lucifer since he did it in his world - but Michael can’t he’s too powerful. Besides, his meat suit he’s possessing has been fried by Jack…

So Dean asks if he could win if he had “his sword”

For those not remembering the last thirteen seasons of apocalypses the Winchesters have almost called: Archangels like Michael and Lucifer can’t possess any normal person as they tend to vaporise their vessels. Not only do they need special strong vessels but there are people expressly created to be their uber vessels. Lucifer’s special vessel is Sam. And Michael’s vessel, his sword, is Dean.

Dean is offering himself for possession. But with dean in charge, Michael just provides the power

Uh-huh… this is totally not going to backfire. But it does give us Dean with big dramatic wings and admit it, you’ve always wanted to see Dean with Angel wings and Angel eyes

So we have a confrontation between Michael/Dean and Lucifer… and it is almost awesome. I mean as far as two archangels fighting, two blokes smacking each other while hovering is still a bit dull. But hovering I guess

Dean loses… because Jack powered Lucifer is incredibly powerful - but Sam manages to throw Dean the Archangel Blade and he manages to give Lucifer a good stabbing.

And finally, finally it appears Lucifer is dead. Lucifer dies, complete with charred black dramatic wings. He’s had a long run but he has finally been defeated.

Shocking no-one, Michael doesn’t leave Dean’s body - and takes over. We have next season’s big bad guys! And let’s see if Jensen Ackles can pull off Michael or if he’s just wearing that daft hat

Ok…. so that was the end of season 13 and I’m kind of… meh about the whole thing? I mean it wasn’t objectively terrible and I can’t point to any one thing that was awful but the whole thing felt a little bland

There were great moments - I think the show has continued to do some excellent exploration of Dean, his pathologies and the sheer brokenness of him are really well laid out - though in a way that continues to make Sam feel more sidekick than co-protagonist. And Rowena and her role was just perfect when she appeared and I’ve kind of gone from liking her to loving this character

But bland. Jack is supposed to be the whole woo-woo of the world thing. We’ve had battles between three archangels, Lucifer running amok, Heaven nearing sheer collapse, an apocalypse world. I mean, all of these storylines should have been epic: there’s no excuse, the ideas were THERE. You had a couple of seasons of epic storylines. But the delivery just feels… again… bland. The archangels fighting was severely underplayed. The apocalypse world pulled out some nice weather effects but didn’t even touch on the horror there. Bland bland bland bland. It’s like being given the most beautiful piece of beef to cook and then just boiling it without seasoning (or covering it with mayonnaise and canned soup and calling it cooking). You could have done a lot more with this Supernatural and I’m confused why you didn’t.

I am intrigued where we go from here, especially with all these characters - because they can’t all stand without either dying or being dropped in the plot box. I’m especially interested in Charlie and Bobby because both need more. And her and Mary means more female representation who hopefully won’t be fridge occupying. But it doesn’t make the season less white - and this has been a very very white season and with Michael ditching his Black host for Jack and Kevin Tran not surviving this season means it continues to be so.

I am curious as to Michael as a big bad mainly because of Jack. Yes he’s had his grace drained - but we’ve already established that grace is a rejuvenating resource. So it’s only a matter of time before Jack is all powerful again.