27 May 2017

SUPERNATURAL s12 + Finale Review


MAJOR spoiler alert. Please don't read this unless you are 100% up-to-date with SPN!
I do not own any of these images.

The last two episodes wrapped up the British Men Of Letters plot & dealt with the birth of a Nephilim, Lucifer's very own son.

Season 12 was primarily focused on characters - with the return of Mary Winchester at the end of season 11, season 12 saw Sam & Dean getting to know their mother as they've never seen her - Sam for the very first time, and Dean since he was a child. We see the obstacles the newly reunited Winchesters are faced with: seeing a parental figure as they truly are, dealing with expectations and disappointments. We see Mary trying to adjust in a world she simply can't relate to. Her eldest son, now a grown man - and her youngest, whom she last saw as a 6 month old baby - having to meet him properly for the first time. Her children now men, her husband long dead, Mary buries herself in hunting, eventually joining the British Men Of Letter's. The BMOL plot, although opening a whole new level of international demon-fighting, only scratched the surface - leaving more to the imagination. We know Crowley had a deal with the British Men Of Letter's concerning demon soul-selling, leaving us to believe that it is highly possible other such organisations may exist elsewhere.
The other main plot of season 12 was Lucifer - now back in his original vessel (the incredible Mark Pellegrino), albeit an 'altered' vessel, it didn't stop his plans from succeeding, only delaying them. With an heir on his way, we see Lucifer attempting to claim the throne of hell, and reach his unborn son so he can raise him.



Sadly, season 12 didn't include as much Team Free Will as we would have liked - although the first few episodes of the season included lots of Castiel, we had very little Rowena or Crowley this season. The plots and subplots, although game-changing, took a back-seat and allowed us instead to see some heart-wrenching personal, intimate moments - character driven episodes.

Episode 12.22Who We Are, saw Sam & Dean, trapped in their bunker with Lady Bevell. With only 3 days until the oxygen runs out, they come up with various plans to escape (one which includes Dean finally being able to use that grenade launcher) This episode focuses on Sam & Dean muscle and brawn, magic isn't an option in their situation so instead they rely on their strategic and soldier skills. Who We Are sees Sam, once known as The Boy King in apocalyptic-era spn, finally come into (or accept?) his leadership role. No one ever believed that Sam would beat the devil in season 5, Dean didn't want him to close the gates of Hell in season 8. The re-introduction of hunters Roy & Holt had a huge significance in this finale: people who once refused to believe Sam Winchester, Lucifer's Vessel, could win against the devil (not to mention the demons & angels who didn't believe he could possible be worthy of leading Hell's army) now look up to him and believe in him. Sam, who decided to work with the Men Of Letter's for a short period of time, is betrayed and let down by them - a recurrence throughout the past few seasons. Sam realizes how tired he is of believing in others, that he takes matters into his own hands. He doesn't want to be a leader, to make awful decisions, but he realizes now that to achieve what he wants to achieve, he'll have to lead the way himself.
Continuing on this topic, Who We Are sees Dean admit (to himself & Mary) that he has been the one who raised Sam. "I wasn't just a brother. I had to be a father. I had to be a mother"  As he watched his little brother give that speech to the hunters, he is proud of him. He did his job. He knows, and has for a while I suspect, that Sam is fully capable of doing this on his own. Sam is incredibly smart, tactical, cunning - and a little scary when necessary - that Dean has no doubt that his brother can lead a group of hunters, infiltrate a secure facility and successfully take down the British Men Of Letters.

An injured Dean, incapable of helping his brother, stays behind to deal with his brainwashed mother, Mary. This episode sees Dean admit his feelings, disappointment, anger towards his mother. We've seen Dean's frustration towards Mary throughout the season. He grew up remembering her as a perfect, loving parent - incapable of doing any wrong (just as any child would). This episode finally saw Dean snap emotionally. During a dream sequence in which he is in his mother's mind, he finally comes to terms that the mother he saw as a child was not as picture perfect as he believed. So he comes clean. "I hate you", he repeats to her. He blames the hardships Sam has lived through on her - she made a deal with Azazel, kicking off a tragic chain of events that led to all of Sam's suffering. Yet here she is, her dream state reflecting her dream life - Sammy, a newborn, Dean a toddler, her husband John still alive. "But I love you, because you're my mum".
Without a doubt, one of the most emotional scenes we have seen in Supernatural - showing a lead character at his most vulnerable, a rawness that reminds us just how much we love him. After bringing his mum back, Dean tells his Mum that despite everything that has happened to them because of a deal she made years ago, it has made him and Sam who they are today: ass-kicking heroes. All that pain, all that suffering - yet, all it did was make them kind. The end of the episode sees Dean & Mary finally take down the British villain Ketch, with Dean & Mary accepting that are both alike, that they are both killers - an acceptance that surprises Ketch in his final moments.

*MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD* 

With the British Men Of Letter's plot wrapped up - Sam and Dean learn that Lucifer is back.
Ep 12.23, All Along The Watchtower, sees Team Free Will reunite (yes, all of them) to take down the devil once more, and to prevent him from reuniting from his unborn Nephilim son. The final episode sees the effects that a Nephilim being brought into the world can bring - a tear in the fabric of reality: an almost meta concept, which Sam & Dean kindly remind us of by mentioning the iconic Changing Channels episode. This episode was heavy in losses. One off-screen (if we didn't see it, did it really happen?) and two, very traumatizing on screen deaths that I hoped never to see. Needless to say, death in Supernatural is rarely a true farewell - there is a good chance our beloved character's will be bought back in some way or another, yet that isn't what the episode was about. It was the fact that we saw it happen, the cosmic energy within the vessels light up, a final burst of light, the wings scorching the earth - an image that we are no stranger to, yet one that shocked us to the core because of the identity of the victims. The finale also bore some strong parallels with previous episodes, such as when Sam was dragged away from the sight of Jess on the ceiling in the pilot, or him falling into the pit and pulling Michael/Adam along with him. The finale of season 12 returned us to the biblical plots of season 5, only this time, the Winchesters well and truly lost. For once, it was not them who suffer physically - but they see people die for them, and have to deal their loss.

With the introduction of yet another new cosmic realm, season 13 will no doubt answer some burning questions about the final moments of the episode. We will meet a new character, the Nephilim himself, carrying an inconceivable amount of power. We will learn more about this other realm, the residents and the people now trapped within it. And of course, hopefully the return of some familiar faces. Why else would Lucifer keep a lock of his victims hair? Spoils of war, or a back-up plan?

Overall, Season 12 of Supernatural was very enjoyable - although the overall plots were highly significant, it was the characters, the interactions between them that stood out the most. I have personally loved the past 3 seasons of this show - having watched it since I was about 12 or 13, I'm so happy with the directions it's taking. I do sometimes wish we had some demon centric episodes - there was a time where they were truly scary, whereas now they are a mere inconvenience. With the introduction of the alternate reality in this finale, perhaps we'll see this once more.


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