26 May 2011

The Watcher: 05/20/11 - 05/26/11

SUPERNATURAL S06E20 - "The Man Who Would Be King" (6 May 2011) - With the Mother of All subplot done and over with, it's time for the series to enter its final storybeat: the tragedy of Castiel. The Angel who represented the Word of God, who believed in everything God stood for and equally believed in the Winchesters just as much. Together, they were a family. Together, they changed destiny and created a free world outside of a orderly world. Together, they stopped the Apocalypse. The exact mechanics of the whole War in Heaven storybeat is interesting in some respects, and lacking in others since the season overall has been rather strong with so many engaging plotpoints, but by concentrating the action with Castiel's story - his plead to his Father - the whole season becomes one giant tragic, sad story. In Heaven, Raphael wants to re-jumpstart the Apocalypse and free Lucifer and Michael out of the cage, and Castiel is understandably opposed to this, saying that they have a blank slate: freedom. Lacking in the power to fight and defeat Raphael, Castiel makes a literally pact with the new Devil in charge which leads into the Purgatory arc of season 6. Good, if not great, material here. The writing and performances from Misha Collins and Mark Sheppard are superb, making "The Man Who Would Be King" entertaining and gripping from start to finish. The multiple diverse interpretations of Heaven, the moral quandary Castiel finds himself in, Crowley's new and improved operating system in Hell, and the notion of Castiel's downfall and subsequent inevitable fight against the Winchesters make this a solid hour of SUPERNATURAL, and thankfully sheds some light on what exactly is going on with our dear - corrupted! - Cas. Score: 9.4/10

SUPERNATURAL S06E21 - "Let It Bleed" (20 May 2011) - In continuing with tragedy, the Ben/Lisa storyline is wrapped up appropriately - but simultaneously with some loose ends - and the run towards the finale continues. Thanks to the SMALLVILLE series finale last week, "Let It Bleed" was bumped up for the following Friday, making a two-part finale evening. Totally down with 'dat! At the end of "Swan Sang", I was more than happy for Dean to find some peace, some happiness with Lisa and Ben, being a loving boyfriend and happy father figure. In "Exile on Main St.", I didn't entirely buy Dean's subconscious want and need to get back into Hunting. Far too often we heard in the earlier seasons his desire to leave the gig behind and have a real family. Well, he had it. And even with the knowledge his brother was alive and 'safe', his leaving them didn't entirely gel with me. Honestly, I want them together, I want that family unit to stick. Unfortunately, it's not meant to be. Their memory of Dean Wincehster is wiped, and they continue on with their lives like nothing ever happened. Indeed, it's a tragic conclusion to their arc - although I sincerely hope they appear again at some point in this series - but it doesn't guarantee those two freedom from monster or demon attacks. The beasties will still know them, will still recognize the stench of Winchester on 'em, so they are still quite in danger. But, I'll let this one slide - just barely. One of the final scenes, where Cas heals Lisa, I loved the exchange between Dean and Cas as Dean wishes the act changed something, and Cas acknowledges he wishes this, too. Solid writing - but truth be told, that has never been difficult for the SUPERNATURAL team. Also, random note: loved Dean yelling at Ben to shoot whatever comes out to attack them as he carries Lisa out of danger. Great emotion, there. "Let It Bleed" ties up one loose end, leaving one big giant one for the finale. Score: 9.0/10

SUPERNATURAL S06E22 - "The Man Who Knew Too Much" (20 May 2011) - A whole season about Soulless Sam, about all the evil things he did for a whole year back from the cage, about how mutilated and crispy his battered and bruised soul must be after being a punching bag for Lucifer. With such a outstanding, magnificent, utterly brilliant storyline, I wager the payoff couldn't be better than what I really wanted, but "The Man Who Knew Too Much" is a fine enough quasi-resolution to that story. I say quasi-resolution, because the two threads - Sam fighting to remember everything he's done and Castiel's power play - battle for screentime to the point that I hope the ramifications of remembering everything in the cage will still play out big time in season 7. After all, as Death said, having that part of Sam inside him will undoubtedly kill him. There better be consequences. Even with everything involving Purgatory and the Mother of All and Castiel's fall, something about this Soulless Sam business is utterly compelling.

Now, in regards to Castiel, his power play succeeds. The ritual is said, and the force and power of millions of souls now reside inside Castiel, making him, as Dean described, a walking nuclear bomb. Perhaps as the biggest shocker, "The Man Who Knew Too Much" concludes at a rather OMG note: Castiel proclaims himself the new God, and demands their love or will be destroyed. This is a far cry from his original goal - to stop Raphael (which he does in gorgeous fashion) and bring order to Heaven. Where did this sudden desire to be loved and worshiped as a new God come in? Regardless of feeling rather odd and out of character with what has been established thus far, this storyline opens up one hell of an amazing arc for next season: the Winchesters vs. Castiel. But, this being SUPERNATURAL, it's probably not going to be as simple as that. Perhaps next year will be about Castiel's complete fall and then rise. Most of all, I really, really hope God becomes a true flesh-and-blood character in season seven; however, I do understand the logical and creative benefits of not having God around - means the stories are resolved by the actions of the characters, shows that even in circumstances like these God still doesn't intervene, etc. At the end of the day, this new dynamic shift is very interesting, and kudos Sera Gamble and Eric Kripke for going there.

Overall, season six began rather shaky. The first three episodes aren't the series' best, but as the Soulless Sam plotline began picking up speed, so did the show. There's still the unforgivably bad "All Dogs Go to Heaven", but out of 22 episodes, one and a half "meh" episodes is a applaud-worthy achievement. With all these great story ideas, and simultaneously being the same brilliant show it always has been even after Kripke's five-year outline, season six is definitely one of my favorite. The good definitely outweigh the bad, and I am excited to see where these new developments take the Winchesters. From "Exile on Main St." to "The Man Who Knew Too Much", the SUPERNATURAL writing and producing team have made a stellar season with some bloody brilliant ideas and episodes (see: "The French Mistake"). They all deserve major props for this year. Awesome job, guys. Season six was a great ride - I never knew what direction they were gonna take, and Hell if I could tell you how this would all end up. Six seasons in, SUPERNATURAL feels just as fresh and original as it began. Score: 8.7/10 | Season Score: 8.9/10

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