I admit I came late to the Supernatural party. In fact, I pretty much did everything I could to resist giving in at all. I made the mistake of judging the show early on from a distance, lumping it in which a lot of the other WB/CW-created shows that seem only to exist to give us yet another group of ridiculously attractive teenagers/early-twenty-somethings whose asinine, histrionic behavior would be better relegated to reality television than scripted series. This prejudice was further compounded by the linking of it with two other narratives I love (Doctor Who and Sherlock) and one that I have always felt meh about (Harry Potter) as a result of their overlapping fan communities. The idea that an American show about a couple of Midwest muscle-car-driving Night Stalker pretty-boys could even be mentioned in the same breath as such Brit gems made me want to hate it. But eventually I gave in and, during its ninth season, began marathoning Supernatural. I finished all nine seasons in three weeks, blown away by how wrong I could be. Coming to love the show, for me, meant embracing the fan community, and so I started following some Supernatural forums and other fan spaces only to find that much of the community felt that the show’s halcyon days were already behind it, the narrative having supposedly reached its peak around the fifth season. I myself could not agree, loving the angel-on-angel clusterfuck of later years just as much as the epic war between heaven and hell. That said, this season has been, for me, a very mixed bag and unfortunately, these last two episodes, “Halt and Catch Fire” and “The Executioner’s Song” have been among the lower points in a season that has also included some of the very best that the show has given us. “Halt and Catch Fire” suffers from two primary symptoms of the same condition: lazy writing. The first is that it’s a not even thinly veiled rehash of I Know What You Did Last Summer. This is not, in itself an issue: the show has very consciously done riffs on a variety of other well-known stories. But the key there is “conscious.” It’s one thing for a writer to use the work of another and give proper credit—whether it’s in the form of a sly wink or an outright acknowledgement. It’s something else entirely to pretend you don’t know what you’re doing. And there’s certainly little evidence here that writers Eric C. Charmelo and Nicole Snyder are doing either of the former, rather than the latter. But when you pair that weakness with poorly drawn characters and underwritten gags, it becomes a real problem. None of the four college students in the truck that eventually kills one of them off is interesting in the slightest. Which is a real problem since we are supposed to sympathize with Delilah (Ali Milner). But it seems that the writers expect us to like her simply because she’s not quite as horrible and one-dimensional as the others, which is a fairly low bar here. Both of the boys seem entirely unconcerned that they had/have a hand in killing someone (or at least letting him die), and Delilah’s roommate is the poster-child for slutty horror-film chum. Yes, I know they are supposed to represent the shiftless, moral-less, social-media-obsessed members of Gen Y, but such a sledgehammer approach reeks of an encroaching writing deadline. And the only thing worse than themselves is the ridiculous ways in which they die (death by stereo volume? really?). Bringing the Winchester boys to campus had some real potential, as suggested by Dean’s line to Sam “Sorry I ever made you leave.” It’s been a long time since Sam’s pre-hunting life has been brought up, and certainly being on a college campus is a good opportunity to do so. But when Dean’s remorse simply refers to taking Sam away from the alluring co-eds, there’s really no reason to remind us of that part of the past at all. Instead, this is reduced to an ultimately unfunny set of gags about how much Dean likes the buffet approach college offers both when it some to food and women. “The Executioner’s Song“ is, however, far more disappointing. Dean’s reunion with Cain is something we’ve known was going to happen since the Mark was transferred to the elder Winchester, and the show’s writers have been building up to this confrontation on and off for most of this season. And it’s great to see Timothy Omundson back in that role. Unfortunately, they give him little to do in Cain’s last outing on the show, and even less motivation to do it. He is apparently on a rampage, having decided to abandon his more carefree life as a bee-keeper in order to wipe out all of his progeny (which could theoretically, though this is never acknowledged, be half the human race). It seems that he has suddenly decided that his blood is “tainted” by the murderous Mark and must be eradicated, even if it means killing those he easily admits have never and will never do anything to indicate that they share in his curse. Dean, Sam, and Castiel rightly decide that they must stop him and to do so, they must retrieve the First Blade from Crowley. Crowley has his own hands full with the petty manipulations of his mother, something he suddenly and, in an almost complete reverse of character, recognizes (with the unsupported implication that he always did). Rowena continues to try to play him, telling him that she isn’t trying to hide those manipulations since messing with each other is the completely natural way for the two of them to communicate. The four of them set Cain up for the final confrontation in a barn, and Dean goes in alone, telling them to “take care” of whoever walks out. The actual fight between the two is underwhelming in the extreme (just taking Castiel and Crowley out of it substantially lowers the potential for an epic throw-down) with Cain goading Dean making it clear that the elder Winchester is far out of his weight-class. But of course, Dean gains the upper hand by removing Cain’s with a convenient turn of events. One would think that the loss of a limb would barely slow such a legend, but instead, it causes Cain to sink to his knees as though utterly vanquished and wait patiently for Dean to kill him. Had this been a choice, Cain’s end would have made some sense. After all, Adam’s eldest son has been through a lot and had wished for death, explicitly requiring Dean to kill him (once Abaddon was vanquished) in exchange for the Mark. Cain’s killing spree and beatdown of Dean makes it clear that that was no longer the plan. And Omundson certainly has the acting chops to make it clear that his character’s ultimate submission was a bit of last-minute penitence. The fact that there is nothing in the scene that reads this way indicates this was a directorial decision and thus both Philip Sgriccia and writer Robert Berens must accept the blame for this inexplicable finale. Not to mention the even larger error that occurs moments later when Dean exits the barn and is not killed (or even questioned or confronted) by the three waiting outside. Were they just not paying attention earlier? The only interesting thing, really about the entire episode (other than the standard Winchester heart-to-heart at the end) is Dean’s decision both to admit to Crowley that he lied to him to secure the Blade and that he will not, his promise notwithstanding, be giving it back to him. Crowley disappears without a word, something we’ve never really seen before, and which suggests that Dean may finally have exhausted whatever appeal he had for the King of Hell. There is no doubt that the ex-crossroads demon will eventually pay the Winchesters back for this bit of betrayal. We can only hope that it will be a far more exciting confrontation than the one we saw in “The Executioner’s Song.” Supernatural 10.13 & 10.143.3Overall ScoreReader Rating: (2 Votes)Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related One Response Punk Faye March 7, 2015 I also think it should have stopped with S 5 Log in to Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.