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Supernatural: Making the Apocalypse Look Good

September 11, 2009


(Watch out, it’s going to get spoilery up in here.)

It must be a sign of the times – in advance of the Devil’s debut, Supernatural fans managed to turn #luciferiscoming into a trending topic on Twitter, only to infuriate the legions of God-fearing folk who weren’t in on the joke. I’m not sure how many people have to use a hashtag on their tweets in order for it to trend, but it’s a lot. Yet, the fifth season premiere of this CW show only managed a 1.5 rating.  So what happened to all the Twits?

You don’t know what you’re missing. As hoped, Season 5 came out strong; Supernatural is one of the few shows that actually benefits from making their characters miserable. “Sympathy for the Devil” opens right where Season 4’s “Lucifer Rising” leaves off – with Lucifer rising. Despite Satan going nuclear and taking out that little church and its little town, Sam and Dean are somehow magically transported to ‘safety’ aboard an airplane, just before it makes an emergency landing due to the aforementioned explosion. (I’m sure this didn’t help Dean’s fear of flying.)  The plane doesn’t seem to crash, though, as next we know the boys are driving a rental car back to the home of the Prophet Chuck in order to find Castiel. Shell-shocked Chuck delivers the bad news: Cas was blown to bits by the archangels. Dean is severely pissed, so when Cas’s former angelic superior Zachariah shows up with a couple of his minions, and tells Dean it’s time to fulfill his destiny by stopping Lucifer before he puts on his human overcoat (’cause them’s the rules), Dean blasts them away with the bloody anti-angel seal he learned from Cas and Anna.

After the boys leave, Chuck contacts Becky, the moderator of a Wincest fansite based on his books of prophecy, and asks her to deliver a message to the Winchesters because he’s being watched. Fan girls with a sense of humor everywhere die laughing over Becky’s Sam/Dean fan fiction and her high-pitched squeals.

Sam and Dean wind up in yet another motel room of dubious decor where Sam keeps trying to apologize for going Dark Side, but Dean’s not having it. The passive-agressive routine is interrupted by Becky’s arrival, and while she gropes Sam she recites Chuck’s most recent vision: the Sword of Michael is on Earth, in a castle on a hill made of 42 dogs. Yeah, a hill made of dogs.  Since the Archangel Michael kicked Lucifer’s butt downstairs in the last big battle, the sword is V. Important.

Then Bobby shows up at their door, and in the space of a few minutes seems to forget everything he told Dean about family last season, just because Sam confesses to starting the Apocalypse by killing Lillith and breaking the final seal. (Even though technically Dean started it by breaking the first seal.) Bobby tells Sam that if they happen to survive this, Sam should, “Forget my number.”

Teary-eyed, Sam decides to get a little air by checking the local church for information on Michael’s sword. Bobby continues to act un-Bobby-like when he tells Dean that maybe John was right when he said Sam might have to be killed. Dean says nothing, but the mention of his father triggers a memory of a business card – one for a storage unit with a castle-theme on 42 Rover street.

“Thanks for that,” says the demon possessing Bobby, and the door bursts open and three more demons stroll in, including one not-so-familiar face. Ta-da, it’s Meg, last “seen” possessing Sam and torturing Jo in Season 2. She’s got herself a brand new body and a desire to gut Dean like a fish. Fortunately she decides to let the demon in Bobby do the honors with Ruby’s magic knife, and the real Bobby surfaces just long enough to stick that blade in himself, killing the demon but good. Bobby proceeds to bleed all over the motel room.

Sam returns to the room in time to get reacquainted with Meg, but she ditches her meat suit before either Sam or Dean can touch her. The boys rush Bobby to the hospital, but can’t stay since the demons know where the sword is. They run to their dad’s storage unit, only to find a number of dead demons and Zachariah waiting for them.

“You’re the sword,” he tells Dean, which makes little to no sense. Apparently, ‘sword’ is angel code for ‘very powerful vessel’ much like ‘grail’ in The DaVinci Code is code for ‘Jesus’s babymama.’ Or, in Dean-speak, the Glourious Basterds want him to spend his days as an “angel condom.” The angels need General Michael to take down Lucifer, and Michael needs to be invited into Dean’s body, or it’s no go. Dean refuses, even after Zach breaks Sam’s legs, gives Dean stomach cancer, and removes Sam’s lungs. Angels, in case we didn’t realize it before, are total dicks.

Fortunately, before Sam can suffocate or Dean can cough his stomach onto the floor, the room is filled with a bright light, and – ta-da! – Castiel returns to kick some righteous ass. With a long metal spike, he slaughters the minion angels, and, insinuating both his return and Sam and Dean’s miraculous escape from Lucifer were acts of God, he demands that Zachariah return the Winchester boys to their rightful prettiness, then get the hell out. Zach reluctantly complies.

At the hospital we find Bobby alive, but unlikely to walk again, and just to twist the knife in our guts, the boys finally have it out in the parking lot. Dean tells him it’s over, that they can never be what they once were. Sam chose a demon over his own brother, and even though Dean knows he’s sorry, the trust between them is broken.

Ouch. Dean can be so judgmental.

So where do we go from here? Well it seems the writers are bringing back all the reoccurring characters who haven’t bitten the dust (and a few who have), Dean and Cas are going to bond over strippers, and Sam will likely have many more episodes of self-loathing and massive guilt to look forward to.

Now, I trust the writers – they’ve taken some pretty big risks, and actually saw them through with great dramatic results. I just hope they aren’t going to make Sam suffer for too long – hasn’t the poor boy suffered enough? He’s definitely the show’s whipping boy. I do love Dean, but it occasionally irks me how even when he does something stupid or wrong (selling his soul, breaking the first seal) he comes out looking like the suffering hero rather than the bad guy. And as much as I love Castiel and what the writers have done with the place, the core of this show, and one of the reasons it’s so consistently strong, is that it’s about the fucked up relationship of these brothers. They better keep it that way.


Dean: I got no idea. But what I got is a G.E.D. and a “give ’em hell” attitude and I’ll figure it out.

– Episode 5×01 “Sympathy for the Devil”

One Comment leave one →
  1. galveston permalink
    September 13, 2009 2:56 am

    Judgmental? I think you’re forgetting the strangling incident, which is still very fresh in Dean’s mind. It happened what? 2 days ago? 3 or 4? Is everything supposed to magically reset? Dean would be judgmental if he were angry about Sam breaking the seal. That’s *not* why Dean’s angry. Sam needs to fully grasp this. I love my Sammy, but he messed up so bad. He had it coming. He’s going to have to grovel for a while before things can get better.

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