Review: Supernatural: “Let the Good Times Roll” (13.23 – Season Finale)

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[lots o’ spoilers ahead]

You can find the recap thread for the episode here.

So, it finally happened. Dean Winchester said yes to the Archangel Michael. Well, more accurately, he said yes to an alternate version of Michael from another timeline. Sort of. With conditions. Which alt-Michael totally ignored after agreeing to them. But more on that in a bit. As well as some (hopeful?) predictions for season 14.

There was a lot of crashing-and-burning in this episode, by several characters. The biggest, of course, was Lucifer, whose crash-and-burn couldn’t have been more literal after Dean stabbed him with an archangel blade in the middle of being mega-smote (we always knew Dean was tough, but jeez). Lucifer had been on an extended storyline the past two seasons (post his sorta-reconciliation with Big Daddy) of having his power reduced, being unable to kill either Sam or Dean, being downgraded almost to human, and fathering a Naphil child. The implication from various bits of dialogue between him and the Brothers was that Chuck wanted Lucifer to learn something about the humans he had always so despised.

Well, Lucifer didn’t learn a thing. Or if he did, he threw it all away at the end and chose power. Personally, I was okay with this because I didn’t care much for Lucifer’s redemption tour in the first place. The way he tried to discredit and gaslight Sam, a human being he had cold-bloodedly twisted and tried to destroy for his own purposes since before birth, was just nasty.

Sure, ideally, a character should be dynamic and change and grow, but some characters are defined by their inability to grow, their flat and static nature. If Lucifer, a 14-billion-year-old archangel, hadn’t learned to be selfless and loving by now, it realistically wasn’t going to happen in a few months or a few years, or even a few centuries. As an extremely powerful and protean creature who was older than this universe, Lucifer arguably could change if he wanted to, but he never wanted to. Whenever he claimed to be turning over a new leaf, he was so clearly lying that he could only have fooled someone as young and naïve as his own son, Jack.

It was time for him to go. Permanently.


Jack, too, had a crash-and-burn, and he, too, fell due to hubris. But unlike his father, who was hubris embodied, Jack had good intentions and found his power a great burden. The road to Hell, as they say, is paved with good intentions. The more he tried to help people, the more he made mistakes that seemed to make things worse, at least to him.

In reality, it was more that the results were mixed. Jack was discovering that it’s much easier to break than to build and that raw power can only do so much, especially if one lacks wisdom. We saw Jack become more and more frustrated in the episode, culminating in his realization that everyone else was right about his bio daddy. Jack then made a critical error and lost all his raw Naphil power to Lucifer in one terrible, game-changing slash of an archangel blade.

But in the tossing back and forth of Jack’s power like a soccer ball, we got to see Lucifer and Jack’s responses to it, and they contrasted sharply. Whereas Lucifer became drunk with power, rose to a great height, and then crashed to his doom, Jack seemed relieved to be shorn of his power.

Jack then made the decision Lucifer should have made, which was to sacrifice himself out of love in hopes of saving Sam and the rest of the world. That he was saved at the last minute (since the writers clearly want to keep him as a regular now) doesn’t change the magnitude of his choice and sacrifice.


I’m sure that the writers will waffle and drag out the question of whether or not Jack ever gets his power back, but the usual pattern for any recurring-character-not-named-Dean-Winchester (or Sam pre-season six) is that they are never as naturally powerful again as they were early on. They might get some temporary upgrades by stealing someone else’s power, but their own, personal power does not come back. And Dean’s gradual upgrades have been balanced with an expansion of the heavy burden of his Family Business.

I was relieved to see the writers didn’t go the cheap, Kripke-approved route of upgrading Sam for the umpteenth time. Jared Padalecki got some nice opportunities to act this season as Sam slowly (and finally) opened up about how much the mere existence of Lucifer topside again terrified him. Never mind that Sam and his own chronic battles with hubris were the reason for both of Lucifer’s escapes from the Cage. Sam still gets to be afraid of Lucifer and Padalecki ran with it.

Fortunately, the writers forced Sam to be fully human in his final confrontation with Lucifer. That somehow made Sam’s vindication when Lucifer turned out be – yup – evil, after all, that much sweeter.

Sam willingly chose to go with Jack (however impulsive the gesture) when Lucifer kidnapped his kid. Sam then faced off against his former torturer and lifelong nemesis without even the certainty that the immunity Chuck had given him and Dean against Lucifer was still in effect. That, my droogs, takes guts. Sam pretty literally had to face his (almost) worst fear, knowing full well that he didn’t have any power to oppose Lucifer, to save either himself or Jack.

Sam didn’t even think about finding a way to regain his old powers, perhaps knowing they were too corrupting to oppose Lucifer effectively. For once, Sam made it all about the person he was trying to save and not about himself, which actually made Dean’s penultimate insistence on Lucifer’s defeat being a group effort sound fair this time round. That was a huge step forward for Sam. After over a decade of self-absorption and self-pity, Sam became a truly self-sacrificial Hero.

Weirdly enough, not too many fans noticed.


Dean also fell (both literally and figuratively) into darkness, but Dean’s fall was qualitatively different from that of Lucifer and Jack, which made it even more tragic, if not in the Classical Greek sense that was for Lucifer and Jack. Lucifer and Jack sinned through hubris, with different results. Lucifer flew to a great height and then crashed to earth. Jack was fooled, lost his temper, and lost his powers. Once humbled, he then chose to die for family – his adopted family, not his creepy bio-dad.

Dean’s fall was the saddest because it occurred without hubris. Dean, motivated by desperation and his chronic low self-esteem, finally embraced his destiny and his doom. Some fans fault Dean for this choice, as Dean’s choices always get picked apart and slammed by various quarters of fandom. This is likely fostered by the illusion that Dean had some better choice. Dean is a character who may rail against fate, but in the end, he always plays the hand he’s dealt, the best way he can. But the writers invariably give him the worst possible cards, which invariably forces him into some horrifically self-destructive choice he never in a billion years would have made on his own, if he had any better options.

Of course this is fun to watch, and makes for great drama, which is why the writers keep doing it, but come on, people. Give the guy a break because the writers never do. The only reason he said yes to alt-Michael was because there were no other options at that point except to wait to die along with the rest of the world, knowing Sam and Jack would die (mostly likely horribly) first.

Dean’s self-esteem is low, but it ain’t that low. If he could have found another way (as he did in the red-herring gas station scene early in the episode where he temporarily saved everyone from alt-Michael via a cunning plan and some holy fire), he’d have done so. Having Castiel stand by, wringing his hands over the decision (a one-angel Greek Chorus was basically all Misha Collins got to do this week), didn’t make that decision any less necessary. In the end, Dean made the best bargain he could. That Dean always puts others first, without thinking, is the true superpower he uses to save the world. But that doesn’t mean he loves making those choices. Or that they don’t hurt.


Though there were a lot of directorial problems with that climactic fight with Lucifer (Bob Singer’s really losing his touch), Jensen Ackles’ acting wasn’t one of those problems. He acted the hell out of it all, from Dean’s bargaining with alt-Michael all the way up through his final scene as alt-Michael. There’s a reason why fans on social media have been screen-capping and giffing the hell out of Dean’s entrance as an archangel (sans the silly Ten Commandments-style music), alt-Michael’s takeover, and alt-Michael at the very end.

But in between the big moments, Ackles keeps it going. After Dean falls to the church floor, he immediately forces himself to get up, jaw set. If you look at Dean in the background as Sam and Jack are investigating to see if Lucifer is really dead, Dean’s shoulders are heaving and he is clearly in distress.

This leads directly into Dean’s valiant effort to make everything okay one last time for his family before he becomes locked in a deadly struggle for control with alt-Michael and has his body taken over. Even the lines of strain as he fights smooth out in that transitional moment when he straightens up, blank-faced, after losing this second, internal battle. This moment is one of the most heartbreaking in 13 seasons of a show that regularly deals in tragedy. Ackles’ portrayal of Dean being taken over by alt-Michael is chilling, a moment of true horror. Even without the gruesome, Leviathan-like sound effects.


Some fans have asked why Dean didn’t have an exit plan for dealing with alt-Michael after dealing with Lucifer. There’s the point that Dean didn’t have any other “good” choices besides making a deal with alt-Michael at the moment he said yes. But also, if you watch, Dean is still clutching alt-Michael’s archangel blade the entire time after he kills Lucifer. The logical fallback plan would be to stab himself with the archangel blade once he knew Lucifer was truly dead. Since he had an archangel inside him, suicide ought to have done the trick. It takes an archangel to kill an archangel. Nobody said it couldn’t be the same archangel.

So, why didn’t Dean do this? Well, remember that Lucifer had just smote him. No, Lucifer didn’t get the chance to finish the job, but we saw Dean screaming in pain before he stabbed Lucifer, following Sam’s “Wind beneath My Wings” moment of tossing him the archangel blade. Lucifer scrambled his brains pretty good. Lucifer had also just been beating on him and Dean was dazed.

While it’s true that Dean had an archangel inside him, so he could take more damage than usual, he was up against a charged-up fellow archangel, and he was in the driver’s seat. Dean probably took more of a beating than alt-Michael did and was still dazed afterward. That, and reassuring Sam and Jack, distracted him from immediate suicide, and alt-Michael took advantage of that distraction.

But one might ask, why would alt-Michael need Dean to be distracted in the first place in order to take over? Isn’t the archangel, not his vessel, usually the one in charge? Well … not necessarily. And probably not in this case.

Here we are getting into projections and predictions for next season. It’s really important to remember that Dean’s “yes” was conditional, that the dire consequences of breaking deals has been reiterated time and again the past couple of seasons, and that alt-Michael himself used exactly the same words Dean did later in the same episode (“We had a deal!”) to protest Lucifer’s breaking of their pact. Shortly thereafter, Lucifer ended up karmic toast.

It’s not exactly rocket science to think that might be some foreshadowing for how things pan out for alt-Michael’s betrayal of Dean. These writers are not subtle. They also tend to leave big plotholes. We may never find out, for example, why alt-Michael was so enthusiastically determined to beat Dean to death when he already knew Dean was the Michael Sword. That seems counterintuitive, but never mind.


So, what deal, exactly, did Dean make? It was pretty simple – he would let alt-Michael in and be his “sword” if, and only if, alt-Michael took an extreme backseat and let Dean be in charge. Alt-Michael might be able to advise, but Dean would make all of the decisions.

We know that Dean is under direct watch by a Reaper, Jessica. She can’t interfere, but she can report back to her boss that an interloper from another timeline is curb-stomping Billie’s (and Chuck’s) designated caretaker in this timeline and trying to take it over. We already know that Billie wants to “fix” that kind of bleed and is unlikely to take kindly to alt-Michael’s crossing over to conquer a world not his own.

We also know that Billie!Death firmly believes in honoring deals (on top of rigidly maintaining the Natural Order). She’d be the first to point out to alt-Michael that he had a deal with Dean and the deal means that as long as they share Dean’s body, Dean is the one in charge. It’s a way for the storyline to continue after Dean has regained control over his body, and possibly for Dean keeping alt-Michael as a prisoner inside. Dean could effectively continue being an archangel (the Michael Sword is sentient and runs the show), while being unable to manifest or use those powers most times because then he’d risk losing control to alt-Michael again.

What makes this storyline more possible is that there is the awkward wrinkle that Billie’s not liable to feel very kindly toward the refugees from alt-Michael’s timeline, either. Or Jack. So, that sets up a dilemma for Team Free Will and even Dean (as he fights back against alt-Michael’s possession), because they won’t be quite as eager to accept any help Billie offers – or even contact her – as they might, otherwise.

In addition, the presence of the refugees is likely to complicate any rescue efforts for Dean (and it’s really unlikely that Dean will not survive this storyline. Really). TFW 2.0 will be anxious to save Dean from alt-Michael and expel alt-Michael from Dean’s body without harming Dean (or, at least, I certainly hope they will, but more on that in a moment). The refugees who’ve already suffered under alt-Michael are going to be a lot more sanguine about Dean’s fate. As long as they can take out alt-Michael permanently, they’re liable to see Dean’s death as tragic, but necessary. He made a decision (however much under duress). He alone faces the consequences.


This will set up direct conflicts between Sam and them, of course, but also Jack and them, and between Mary and alt-Bobby, between whom a romance of sorts has been brewing, especially in this episode. Even Rowena, seeking redemption, is going to want to help save Dean, but alt-Charlie? Not so much.

Let’s say the writers don’t take the obvious and stupid way out, that they really want to drag this storyline on a bit (which, Bob Singer’s past ohgodohgodohgoddeanhasamytharcstorykillitwithfire kneejerk reactions aside, they really should want to do rather than wrap it up quickly and scramble to fill up the rest of the season with … something). A Saving Dean storyline has plenty of inherent conflict. The people who can mostly likely deal with alt-Michael are going to be divided on at least three fronts (TFW 2.0, Billie and her Reapers, and the alt-SPNverse refugees), so there will be some natural infighting there.

Dean himself can be portrayed pretty easily (and inexpensively) in his interior struggle to regain control as trapped in a nightmare version of a concentration camp in the alt-SPNverse. Regardless of whatever happened to alt-Michael’s previous vessel, Christian Keyes could return and play alt-Michael inside Dean’s head, taunting and tormenting him (one possible reason Keyes has suddenly joined the Creation con circuit). That would leave Jensen Ackles off the hook for playing against himself all the time, while also giving him a chance to play alt-Michael in the external SPNverse scenes.


Dean could, for example, initially “wake” in the season premiere in a grotty cell with his hands cuffed behind his back, dazed and trying to piece things together, while alt-Michael makes plots and comes into conflict with TFW. I’ve seen fans argue that alt-Michael would put Dean in a paradisiacal fantasy world, but that would probably be more expensive to film (when they’ve still got that alt-SPNverse set to use) and wouldn’t fit the horror theme of the show. It’s more likely alt-Michael will torture Dean, however much that might be stupid in light of its giving Dean a reason and a way to fight back. Alt-Michael is sufficiently arrogant that he’d go that route, anyway, so it’s at least in character.

Once Dean remembered what happened, he would have a dilemma – does he try to expel alt-Michael, only for alt-Michael to find another vessel (or return to his old one if the poor guy isn’t already dust) and continue with his plans for multiverse domination? Or does he try to regain control and hold alt-Michael prisoner inside his own body? Or is there a way to toss alt-Michael into the Cage (though that’s been damaged, so it might not work) or even kill him in a way that won’t kill Dean permanently?

Yes, killing himself to kill alt-Michael would certainly occur to Dean, but folks, the show is just not going to let Dean kill himself permanently. So, a Harvey (yep, that’s both a James Stewart/giant pooka/rabbit and a Farscape reference) storyline seems pretty likely after the first few episodes, or maybe even half a season, if we’re lucky.


The thing I dearly hope will not occur, though, is the writers continuing with their gratuitous Dean abuse. I’m thinking of stuff like “Soul Survivor” in season ten, where we see Sam strap down a very psychotic, demonized Dean in a dungeon, drug him up with consecrated blood against his will, and force him into a semblance of what Sam feels is “appropriate” sanity – and this ugly assault is apparently rewarded and condoned by the writers (the Nepotism Duo in this case. Shocker) by the end of the episode. I’m also thinking of Dean’s lifelong struggle with suicidal ideation. Remember how he outright committed suicide early last season and no one, not even Death, was surprised?

Dean is a popular fantasy character who has struggled for 13 seasons with severe mental illness. Suicidal levels of depression and low self-esteem, occasional bouts of psychosis, alcoholism, self-medicating, self-harm, social and separation anxiety, a total inability to fit in with “normal” society, and (of course) rampant PTSD, he’s got ’em all. Many people in this world look at a fictional character like Dean, who feels their same pain and despair, and take hope from the way he keeps soldiering on and being a Hero, even when he stumbles, even when he just wants to lie down and die.


But writing a character like that involves taking responsibility for the message one sends. Too often, the show has generated some pretty ugly subtext through the way characters treat Dean and take advantage of him. Just as the writers have not done a particularly stellar job of portraying Sam’s own issues (Sam’s mental illness and addiction storylines seem to exist, going all the way back to Kripke, solely to prop Sam up as the woobiest woobie Hero ever), the way they have portrayed the responses of people around Dean to his mental health issues has been … kinda gross.

This needs to change.

It’s not just that it’s problematical for your lead actors to have launched a mental health charity (Always Keep Fighting) while your show writers continue to treat mental illness as a character flaw when it comes to Dean (talk about undermining your cast).

It’s not even that some fans agree.

It’s bad enough to hear people refer to Dean’s sacrificial act in this episode as a mistake or a flaw, that Dean “gave in” and “let” alt-Michael trick him, that that’s just Dean. That he’s always looking for ways to be self-destructive and that this isn’t heroic at all. An act that would be seen in any other character as putting the needs of literally everyone else over their own selfish survival is perceived in Dean as just another Thursday. As weakness, as not fighting his own darkness hard enough. “Sloppy, needy Dean,” as a demon once put it.

What is worse is to do it now, in the middle of a national debate about suicide, especially in the wake of the recent suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. Over and over, plaintively and sometimes angrily, friends and families of loved ones who have committed suicide, as well as survivors, point out that depression is not a mistake or a lack of moral character. It doesn’t make you weak if you feel despair and cannot see your way out of it.


Supernatural desperately needs to change its tack on how the characters around Dean respond to his illness. It’s unrealistic for Dean to recover magically from something he’s suffered from all his life. That would be like expecting Tyrion on Game of Thrones to grow six feet tall.

But the writers can certainly change how they have characters respond to it and put Dean on a slow road to some kind of recovery. No more mean-spirited rants like Sam’s at the end of “Metamorphosis” or “The Purge.” No more of characters incessantly choosing anyone else over the needs of their own, clearly traumatized child standing right in front of them (Mary in season 12 and just a few episodes ago, lookin’ at you). No more “beating some sense” into Dean, or expressing how disappointed the character is in Dean for something that is really that character’s fault, the way Castiel has done over and over again.

Look, I get it. Trauma is drama and bad guys are gonna bad-guy. Angels and demons and monsters who resent Sam and Dean getting in the way of their smashing up the joint will always trash-talk the Brothers. No one expects either Lucifer or Michael (any version) to treat Dean (or Sam) well or do anything but tear away at his self-esteem. They’re the villains.

But it’s way past time for Sam and Mary and Castiel to stop disappearing up their own backsides whenever the black water threatens to pull Dean under. And while I appreciate that Jody wants to help and Claire thinks Dean is awesome, damage and all, it’s not helpful to keep ragging on Dean that he needs to treat himself better. He knows that. He just doesn’t have the first clue how to do it.


Yes, it’s uncomfortable when someone you love seems locked in a death spiral, but the writers could be improving all of their recurring good-guy characters by having them stop projecting all their own crap onto Dean. Look at Jack – he doesn’t do that. He worships Dean. Yet, the show still managed to establish a relationship with interesting conflict between the two of them.

In fact, a Saving Dean storyline, where Dean is absent for a while (unlike Demon!Dean or MoC!Dean, who was basically just Dean with his anger and bloodlust externalized as a magical metaphor), could conceivably give the characters the story space needed to deal with that without trashing Dean even more. Ackles would still be in the story (he’s not going anywhere; he gets to play alt-Michael now), but Dean the character would be elsewhere, fighting a new battle. The other characters would get a chance to truly miss him and fight to get him back in a way that heals him rather than tears him down.

I think this is a really important thing for the writers to put at the top of their checklist this summer. This is a chance for them to change up a tangle of character arcs that has become toxic and unhealthy even to watch. It’s a way for them to truly represent and join the debate on mental illness (a debate in which their cast already has a voice) in a productive way. It’s time to grow up, Supernatural writers. Do it now.


Fun lines:

Castiel [listening in on a pack of redneck werewolves]: They’re talking about whether Kylie Jenner would make a good mother. The consensus is “no.”
Dean: Yeah, well, that’s why I’m a  Khloé man.

Alt-Michael [being tortured by Jack]: Lucifer, we had a deal!

Lucifer [to everybody]: I’m not currently the bad guy here.

Lucifer [compelled by Jack to tell about Maggie’s murder]: She saw me when I was scouting out the Bunker. She saw me and she screamed. So, I crushed her skull with my bare hands. And it was warm and wet, and I liked it.

Alt-Michael: This is the end … of everything.
Dean: No. What if … what if you had your Sword?
Castiel: Dean, no!
Dean: I am your Sword, your perfect vessel. With me, you’d be stronger than you’ve ever been.
Alt-Michael: Oh, I know what you are.
Dean: If we work together, can we beat Lucifer?
Castiel: Dean!
Dean: Can we?
Alt-Michael: We have a chance.
Castiel: You can’t!
Dean [to Castiel]: Lucifer has Sam. He has Jack! Cas, I don’t have a choice! [to alt-Michael] If we do this, it’s a one-time deal. I’m in charge. You’re the engine, but I’m behind the wheel. Understand?

Jack [to Sam as he’s about to kill himself]: I love you. I love all of you.

Lucifer [to DeanMichael]: You let my brother in.
DeanMichael: Turns out we have something in common. We both want to gut your ass.

Dean [to alt-Michael inside him]: We had a deal!
Alt-Michael [to Dean after taking over]: Thanks for the suit.

Next: I’ll be finishing my live recap of “Funeralia” this week. I’ll try to catch up with the recaps of the rest of the season and do reviews over the rest of the summer.

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40 thoughts on “Review: Supernatural: “Let the Good Times Roll” (13.23 – Season Finale)”

  1. Paula, I ‘know’ you have been busy (PLUS getting thru a great big STORM); I am just curious if you are going to be putting up weekly discussions of Supernatural this year.

    1. Yeah, I’m going to try to catch up with the ones I’m still behind on before the season starts. The only thing is that CW are still being jackasses about live TV for Hulu or Netflix, so I still don’t have that.

      1. I got my new TV guide and team FW was on the cover. They looked so good. There are supposed to be two different covers of Sam and Dean and Castiel and I will buy the other one. I had no idea and was SO GLAD to see it.

        1. Yeah, I got mine in the mail, too. I got the serious cover. Will need to get the goofy one, too. There was a huge spoiler in there about Michael’s plan.

            1. About what? Oh, you mean Michael’s plan? It was basically what they revealed in the last scene of last night’s episode. Yep. TV Guide totally spoiled that.

    1. We did, thanks! Mostly lost work hours and some salty house elves for the duration of the storm. We lost power but not for very long. Even my ferals seem to have come through all right.

      Many people to the south and east of me were far less lucky, so I’m counting my blessings.

        1. I saw it in my emails last night, but I’d just gotten off a 16 hour work day since my PM nurse called in sick and I couldn’t replace her. So I just went to bed. I plan to read it this evening. It looks interesting.

  2. I got my ComicCon TV Guide (Supernatural of course for the cover).

    Does anybody know how the four covers sell? When I used to go to Hastings to buy it the salesperson always told me the SPN cover sold best. Is that still the case?

    1. The Supernatural one has been on for years, despite a change-up in the other show covers, so I’m guessing it’s a major bestseller. Curiously, when they came in last week to my store, they were all the Superheroes cover, which was annoying.

  3. Does the CW have actors on contract to them? I notice they have used the same actors over and over again (I am thinking of Kristin Kreuk in particular). (I am watching some old SPN episodes and they keep showing previews for other CW shows and I noticed this.)

    1. They can, but the contracts differ. Usually, they’re for one show. Some actors (like Katie Cassidy or Wentworth Miller) might get contracts to appear in crossovers between shows in the same universe. And then there are some, like Kristin Kreuk, who are just plain on the network casting directors’ speed dial.

  4. This is INSANE. I am watching Garage Sale Mysteries. I started recognizing cast member for being on Supernatural.

    ELEVEN out of 15 listed cast members have been on Supernatural. I mean, REALLY.

    Steve Bacic (Dr Sexy) Changing Channels
    David Paetkau (Mark Campbell) Season 6
    Kevin O’Grady (Orderly) Sam, Interrupted
    Jay Brazeau (nice coroner) My Bloody Valentine
    Ben Cotton (Pride) Magnificent Seven
    Chiara Zanin (Tracy — lady who owned restaurant) Simon Said
    Mike Teigen (Shadow King) LARP and the Real Girl
    Chad Rook (AU Zachariah) Good Intentions
    Catherine Lough Hayes (Det Glass) Hunter Heroici
    Peter Bryant (Det Framingham) Free To Be You and Me
    Yasmeene Ball (Tween Amara) Our Little World

    I mean REALLY? This is wild. I especially like Yasmeene Ball she is a beautiful young girl and quite a good actress. And Chad Rook (AU Zach) looked like he was in his 30s to me on SPN and here he was playing a surfer-dude, mid-20s at the latest.

    Some of the actors of course have appeared in more than one episode, I just picked the most notable TO ME.

    1. Most of the Da Vinci’s Inquest cast have been on the show, too, some more than once (notably, Venus Terzo, Donnelly Rhodes and Ian Tracey). I think the only major cast member who hasn’t is Nicholas Campbell.

      But that’s nothing–remember the younger brother in “Wendigo”? He’s Young Han Solo now!

  5. I liked the finale a lot; I also liked the Sam/Jack scenes in which they were both offering to die to save the other.

    I will be totally pissed if they bring back Lucifer next year. Just totally.

    When he described how much he ENJOYED killing that poor girl it was so HIM (glad they wrote him FULL ON rather than wishy-washy). He is not ‘complicated’ he is just a selfish POS.

    Michael’s alt-universe vessel was a good character. Michael came off as so strong and self-assured and so deeply malevolent towards humans (was he punishing humans because daddy did not come back after the Prize Fight? I got that ‘our’ Michael was trying to fulfill what he thought was God’s will; I did not read specific malevolence from him, he was PISSED at Dean in Swan Song not pissed at humanity) that I do get what you are suggesting about the alt-humans. Kill him, kill him NOW. IF they try to go there it will be believable.

    1. My main problem with alt-Michael is that they haven’t done much to flesh out his motivation or *why* he’s so malevolent toward humans. I just don’t quite get how this version of Michael went from winning his fight against Lucifer to genocide against humans. Is it simply that Chuck had no interest in visiting a world with no Sam and Dean in it?

      “Our” Michael’s rationale was that all the “good” people would end up in Heaven, but alt-Michael just seems totally malevolent and the environmental degradation has never been explained.

      1. “Our” Michael’s motivation always seemed a little sinister to me when factored into the larger SPN world in which souls provided the energy source for heaven. Sure, the thinking is that the heaven bound souls didn’t suffer, and the hell bound souls deserved what they got, but the souls seemed to maintain at least some measure of sentience and were basically imprisoned as a food source. (It reminded me of a show I saw when I was 10 or so, in which living humans were impressed into sentient bolts in a living machine – it scared the crap out of me.) I thought the showdown with Lucifer was partly to see that Lucifer didn’t lead all the living souls to hell, making them unavailable for heaven.

        Alt Verse Michael had already defeated Alt Verse Lucifer so there is no reason for continuing the apocalypse, based on that. After all, humans eventually die anyway. Did his apocalypse split his universe in such a way that it was necessary to take as many souls as quickly as possible to regenerate it? But then the vermin had the gall to fight back? Honestly, the angels didn’t look like they were doing that much better than the humans in the Alt Verse.

        I don’t know. It would have been interesting to see Alt Verse Michael interact with his brothers. It might have revealed more about him.

        1. The angels always claimed that they didn’t use human souls for their power–at least, not the ones in Heaven (per Alfie in the soul auction episode). Raphael seemed to be more after the heavenly weapons, and Castiel had gone rogue when he and Crowley were looking for Purgatory and hoovering up souls. Ditto the Grigori guy.

          Raphael did go after the Purgatory souls, but that seemed to confirm that Raphael couldn’t actually access the Heaven souls for power. After all, if the archangels could simply access human soul power from Heaven, Lucifer would happily have drained the place.

          I think I was the one who speculated that Heaven was so powerful because it was sitting on over a hundred billion souls, but Chuck claimed the archangels were something more primeval that wasn’t actually part of Creation and Naomi claimed that Heaven was being kept together by angels, not human souls.

          So, either someone is lying, or alt-Michael can’t actually feed on human souls from Heaven. Not individual ones, anyway.

          I don’t think we really know, yet, what went wrong with the alt-SPNverse, besides that alt-Michael won his war with alt-Lucifer and then started attacking humans for some reason.

  6. Also, the reference to Dean’s stint in Hell as the Righteous Man in the episode with the heist was certainly a foreshadowing of the coming storyline. (Not an earth shattering insight, I know. )
    Only now the world is standing in for Sam, and Chuck for John. Dean has now sacrificed himself through making a deal and is stuck in a figurative Hell. I suspect they’ll use his escape as an excuse to pile on more responsibility.

    1. Yeah, it’s pretty obvious at this point that was foreshadowing. The showrunners have said over and over again that when they break down the season, they always determine first where they’re starting and where they’re ending, and then they figure out how to get from A to B as they go along. So, rewatching the season should yield quite a lot of foreshadowing a-has at this point.

  7. One of the things I loved about season eleven was Sam’s prayer when he asked to be purified. Even though he was praying specifically to be purified from Amara’s plague, Sam’s story arc during that season seemed to be an extended answer to that prayer. Only he was being purified of deeper darkness within himself. Even though it was sometimes a two steps forward, one step back process, everything from apologizing to Sully, to Dean, to recognizing that he was unable to bear the mark, to stepping back and let Dean save the day was designed to conquer his pride. This season, and especially this episode seemed like the culmination of that arc.

    Its funny how it was only by accepting that he is human and nothing more, or at least not trying to be superhuman, that he was able to show his greatest heroism.

    1. I hope in Season Fourteen with Sams search to find and rescue Dean from Michaels possession that Show doesn’t make it a matter of three ingredients, Rowena’s mojo and poof, he’s back. I want it be something formidable, intricate, problematic. Just shy of Herculean for poor Sammy. ;). No easy spell, no miracle cure pulled out of the NepDuos collective asses. No TeamFreeEverybody swooping in to save the day. No Claire. Cas maybe. At a minimum. I wonder if we will get an inside look at Deans mind where Michael has him tucked away like Gadreel did with Sam. Or wherever Dean is. Sam knows the stakes of giving up oneself as a perfect vessel. I can’t wait to see what Sam does.

      1. I would like to get an extended storyline of Dean trying to break free of alt-Michael’s control, The Prisoner-style.

    2. It is kind of funny, but it’s also true. I think it goes all the way back to Kripke’s mixed feelings about what he wanted to do with Sam. Remember that Kripke’s original idea didn’t involve family at all. And certainly not in a positive way. Kripke originally wanted two reporters investigating urban legends. Then Sam and Dean were cousins. Then they were brothers, but Dean was evil. And so on.

      Kripke waffled back and forth in the earlier seasons between saying the Brothers were just a couple of ordinary, blue collar humans who were completely human (which always seemed to mean Dean) or superheroes (Sam, of course). The weird thing is that he kept banging away at how Sam was “different” and felt like a “freak,” even as the Show of the story indicated that Dean was the outsider when it came to humans and Sam was the one seeking human “normal.”

      So, I feel that now the writers have fully switched, it makes more sense. Sam was always the more “human” of the characters in-verse, so seeing him embrace that and reject Lucifer completely felt really satisfying. I finally felt I could completely get behind Sam on this. And Dean embracing his Otherness was both heartbreaking (because it finally took him over completely) and right (because seeing him struggle to be something he wasn’t was painful to watch).

    3. I remember when Chuck began to transfer MOC from Amara to Sam that Sam really did buckle under the pain; I went back to watch First Born (the first Cain episode) and Dean grunted but just ‘took it’ when Cain gave Dean the Mark. Now was it more painful going from Amara to Sam than Can to Dean, I don’t know.

      But the difference in pain response stood out to me. Glad you saw it too (I did not see anybody else comment on it.) and I like the insight, Dean literally WILL accept any pain to get thru to the end.

      1. Dean nearly buckled, too, but he was literally surrounded by demons at the time rather than having his brother at his back (as Sam did), and…well…it’s Dean. He’s stubborn.

        Yeah, the stiff way Dean rolls over and gets up after falling to the floor during the Lucifer fight, it’s clear he’s in a lot of pain. That seemed significant to me, but we’ll have to see. Dabb is unfortunately rather notorious for leaving unresolved plotholes large enough to drive a truck through (Kripke did that, too), so that may end up just being an acting thing Ackles added on.

        It just occurred to me that Dean, with his flight phobia, must have been a tiny bit freaked out by getting wings.

        Ackles said at a recent con (Pittsburg, I think) that he wasn’t overly happy with the results of the wirework, especially after all the pain and effort he and Mark Pellegrino went through to film those scenes. He didn’t think they’d be doing that again for angel fights.

        He also mentioned that the CW really liked Scooby-Doo (it did very well in the Live+7 results–better even than “Wayward Sisters”) and would like to do more episodes. I’ll bet that if the studio can swing it, we’ll be seeing a Scooby-Doo spin-off pretty soon. Might explain why the show is getting only 20 episodes in season 14.

      2. I’m so glad they didn’t carry through with the direction of that possible storyline. You know that Sam would experience the worst MOC that anyone had ever experienced. Especially Dean. Much like they made Purgatory a walk in the park for him even down th him using a Purgatory weapon. I’m still pissed about that one.

        1. I am, too. It’s one thing for the Brothers to trade storylines and arcs. For example, I think being the brother who had to support the other one let in a supernatural being helped Sam grow as a character. But it’s quite another to botch the second version of a really good storyline. It risks cheapening the previous storyline. That’s what Sam’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-them MoC and Purgatory arcs did, and that horrendous Hallucifer storyline, just as the Princes of Hell (especially Asmodeus, whose name I actually had to look up because I forgot it!) story arc did with Azazel.

          Nowadays, when someone still goes on and on about how the show should have ended at season five because that’s when the show was its bestest ever, I just roll my eyes. Kripke (and Bob Singer) made plenty of mistakes early on and giving Sam all of Dean’s truly iconic, road-tested mytharc plots while dropping them like hot rocks for Dean was a pattern that was among their worst.

          1. I saw that Timeless was cancelled for ‘good’ this time. I liked the show because I am a history NUT but it just did not perform in the time slot (should’ve been earlier in the evening, 9/10pm was too late.

            We’ve discussed this, Kripke’s ideas are interesting (for Revolution and Timeless) but maybe don’t work in the long-term. You have said because of Supernatural actors have extraordinary charisma and ‘brotherliness’ of the two leads and that they were the reason, not the writing or the plotting or anything else for the show’s longevity.

            I agree. The actors for instance were ‘fine’ in Timeless (except for Wyatt) and were all first-class. The plot was ok by me. But it was not extraordinary.

            Do you feel Singer (who directed the finale) never having done the kind of fight scene on the show did not KNOW how to film the kind of fight scene at the end of the episode here? For instance, the fight between Dean and Rowena’s ‘fellow’ was SUPERIOR. There were good fights this year. But in going for ‘more’ I think they went for ‘too much.’

            I loved the Dean With Wings shot but everything after that, not so much. (BUT I did like the episode in the whole, I have said that.)

            1. Yes, I saw that about Timeless, as well. Not a huge surprise. It was only saved the first time by a deal in which the studio basically paid the network to air a second season. The airing of that season was then pushed way back. And when it did return, the ratings predictably continued to fall because it’s rare for a show to remain stable, let alone rise (and the rise, as with a show like Riverdale, is usually short-lived and accomplished by a ton of expensive promotion).

              As far as the story issues, I think the biggest problem was changing the “base” timeline they returned to each week, right off the bat, so that there were literally no other recurring characters. That worked in Supernatural, but it tanked in Timeless. I wasn’t thrilled, either, by the way they made Rufus a fifth wheel or how preachy Kripke could get while doing the same tone-deaf things he was professing to be irate about. Didn’t help that Kripke’s grasp of history was about as bad as his grasp of science in Revolution. But I think the failure to have a stable storyline the leads could return to, or just keeping them hopping through time and in the capsule together, lost audience interest right off the bat.

              The lead actors definitely have a lot to do with Supernatural‘s longevity. Their bromance chemistry and their mutual willingness not to step on each other’s toes is a major reason why the show has lasted so long.

              But it is true that the main idea had a lot to do with it, too. While the idea Kripke came up with was hardly original (his first idea was a take on The Night Stalker, which was awkward because FOX launched a remake the same year), the spin the writing team assembled around him and the two leads was, and was engaging for the audience. Kripke hasn’t been able to make that lightning strike twice, partly because it’s hard to do that and partly, I think, because his own ego hasn’t allowed him to recreate those conditions.

              I don’t think Singer has ever been very good with fight scenes and they have a new stunt coordinator. But I think a large part of it was they violated Ackles’ own rule that you don’t do fancy wirework when just having the actor walk across the stage does just as well. Also, I think Singer is getting tired.

              I loved Dean with wings (though not the music) and all of Ackles’ acting. I also think Padalecki did a really good job, though Calvert seemed to fade from view a bit toward the end. They also have some great legs in the storyline, though the current writing team is not likely to rise to the occasion of milking its full potential.

              Incidentally, the SDCC schedule is now out and it turns out Calvert’s been upgraded to a co-lead, as he is coming to the panel. Sadly, so are the Nepotism Duo, which means they’re now officially part of the showrunning/lead writer team (barf). I’m cheerful about Jack getting to stick around, though, especially if he never recovers his full powers. It’s okay if he has some, but he works far better as an apprentice Hunter and Little Brother than as a deus ex machina:


              1. Jezbus. I guess we will never be rid of the Nep Duo.

                Didn’t Jensen say that the harnesses were really uncomfortable and they shot the wire work scenes in one day? I thought I read where they had little practice time too? Or I may be confusing that with some other actors comment regarding working with wires. I also read that ordinarily it takes weeks if not months to be able to carry it off. Sounds like they were expecting a lot out of Mark and Jensen. While it could have come across better I do appreciate that the show took the leap creatively.

                I wonder if Jensen couldn’t help but flashback to the fiasco that was the slipping buckle?

                I’m watching a show The Box where AJ Buckley -Ed from Supernatural – is playing a bloodied, bad ass? character who’s sporting under eye liner. Interesting switch from comedic to dramatic. Pretty decent actor.

                1. Yep, that was Jensen. He had a lot of nice things to say about Mark Pellegrino and Pellegrino’s stage-fighting skills, too. The wirework the showrunners had them do was pretty complex and I don’t think the ten hours or so they had to do it was enough to pull it off. It sounded painful.

                  I am so over the Nep Duo.

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