Yet again, this season dials up the epic yet another notch. At the end of the last season, Lucifer was released (have they ever had a season finale where they’ve actually achieved what they set out to achieve?) and the apocalypse was on. The angel’s plan is to have the Archangel Michael take down Lucifer to put an end to him once and for all and allow them to reshape Earth as they please, a plan that will probably have a whole lot of collateral damage to the human population – not that angels care.
But Archangels – including Lucifer and Michael – need a vessel, a human, to run around Earth in and Archangels can’t just take any vessel, they need ones that can take the strain. Specifically, Lucifer needs Sam and Michael needs Dean. And they both need consent from the brothers to make that a reality.
This is a season of dodging angels and demons trying to make them say yes, while at the same time trying to find a new way to stop the apocalypse even as disasters and omens mount up, the death toll gets ever higher and the angels resort to more and more extreme methods to extract that yes.
Castiel’s (Castiel fan squee!) plan to find god and have him tell everyone to cut it out was the original pl;an which is diffiucult because no-one knows where god is. Even Raphael the archangel thinks god is dead otherwise he would have intervened. But when they do get in touch, the plan fails when it becomes clear that god’s willing to let everyone get on with it with only a few tweaks here and there. Plan B is to find the Colt – the colt that kills everything which finally works out when they track it down to Crowley (who is awesome and would be my favourite character in any show that doesn’t have Castiel) get it and finally confront Lucifer – to find the colt doesn’t work. Plan C, in between lots of desperation, involves putting Lucifer back in his prison – which means finding the keys which are carried by the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse and Sam finally saying yes to Lucifer – and them both being locked away (and Michael at that)
That’s a whole lot of epic. Finding god, tracking the colt that has long been lost and sold by Bela and finally finding and defeating 3 of the 4 horsemen (and speaking carefully to Death who is not amused by all these shenanigans and who spares Chicago because he likes the pizza) as well as the showdown between Michael and Lucifer was all epic and then some. I thought the last season managed to really maintain the impact and the sheer scale of what was going on, but this season took it to the next level, and I didn’t even think there could be a next level. The theme was maintained throughout the season, the desperation, the panic, the true sense of just what was at stake was a constant presence. It made the series tense, exciting and extremely compelling. I think this was especially well done when you consider the number of times Sam and Dean die in the series and either god or the Angels or who knows what bring them back to ensure they’re available to be vessels – to maintain that tension while, at the same time, making the characters functionally immortal is pretty hard and impressive to do.
Most of the episodes stayed on message to make sure that sense of epic was maintained, we did have some fun, semi-side concepts raised to both add new aspects and to add to the epic: The Trickster, that long joking pain in everyone’s backside, turning out to be the Archangel Gabriel (and Nightrider Sam made me laugh), for example. Or Dean seeing the future and the true extent of what happens if he doesn’t say “yes” (President Palin! Ye gods what a hell on earth!). The town that succumbed to fundamentalism in a demonic ploy to pull them to hell, the tour of heaven and so many characters who have been dead for so long – there were so many golden moments here. There were a few that missed the mark – the many gods in episode 19 and the body swap in episode 12 and the half-demon in episode 6 were all low points to me. But in general the quality kept coming.
It wouldn’t be Supernatural if it didn’t have awesome emotional scenes and development with some excellently portrayed soul searching. In particular I liked Castiel (fanboy squee), him developing more humanity, his utterly awful attempts to investigate by telling everyone the truth (hello police officer, I am an angel of the lord, tell me things) and his continued issue with rebellion and fighting his brothers are all excellently well done and fun to watch. Even more dramatic is his loss of faith, when god turns them down, his feeling of rejection by his father and the hopelessness that comes with it – including drinking and entire liquor store (and future Castiel the drunken stoner – hey if it gets more drunken orgy Castiel I’m happy for the apocalypse to go ahead).