Okay! Hold onto your lugnuts! This review is gonna be a long one, combining the last three episodes of the season.
All in the Family
Beginning with All in the Family, (which is a callback to a 70’s TV show about a racist father named Archie Bunker, and the family that has to put up with him), the finale for season 11 was a little underwhelming for me. Its not that I didn’t like it. It had its moments, but those moments were not enough to elevate it to the level of the season five finale, against which all other seasons will be compared. It wasn’t t a bad finale, but I wasn’t really feeling it until the last episode, which I also had a few problems with.
Sam and Dean are understandably flamboozled at the idea that Chuck is God, and after that wears off, in about thirty seconds, they’re both angry and excited. Of course, Dean would be mad because that’s his first stop when he feels betrayed by anyone, and Sam is excited because as, literally the world’s biggest nerd…he would be! During Sam’s conversation, I’m struck by the thought that its not Dean who seems to be Chuck’s favorite, but Sam, because he graces Sam with the loveliest and gentlest of smiles when Sam is gushing at him. Or maybe he’s just happy Sam is one of the few people who seems glad to see him. Now, contrast Chuck’s sweet manner with the crappy way the Angels treated Sam, when Sam first met them. Guess who wins?
Okay, why does Kevin Tran have to be a part of this discussion, and why does his inclusion in the discussion convince the brothers that Chuck and God are one and the same. It’s a mystery to me. It was very nice seeing Kevin again, but not really necessary. I am glad that Kevin got to go to Heaven, though, and Osric Chau looks really good, even though he only gets, maybe two lines.
While all of this is going on, one of Amara’s demon fogs attacks several small towns and all of the inhabitants are killed, except for an atheist named Donatello, who is activated as a Prophet. I thought this was one of the more delightful events in this episode because I’m an atheist, and thought his meeting with Chuck was handled very well. Also, Chuck was really cool about the fact that his own Prophet didn’t believe in him, which is how that’s supposed to work. If God gave man free will, he’s certainly not going to be smiting the people who exercise that will. (Of course, its kind of pointless because in the next episode Donnie’s soul gets eaten by Amara. I wish they could’ve done more with him. Does this mean there will be more Prophets again?)
Lucifer gets rescued by Sam and Metatron, who actually gives his life, so that Sam and Lucifer can make their getaway. I like that Metatron has actually redeemed himself for the horrible mistakes he made in the last two seasons. (Okay, I’m still not good about him killing Dean, but I can be magnanimous, because he’s dead, and Dean’s alright.)
In the meantime, Dean is trying to distract Amara from her torturing of Lucifer, by having a love-meeting, I guess. I don’t hate Amara. I actually like her, but on occasion she does say some seriously terrifyin’ shit, like wanting Dean to be a part of her forever. I got chills from that because I can’t think of anything more disturbing than saying that to someone. If someone said that to me, I’d run far, far away from them. It sounds so Jeffrey Dahmer-ish. Okay, I’m still not buying that Dean is enamored of Amara. The actors are trying really hard to sell it but I’m just not feeling it. But I’ll accept it for the purposes of the story. Anyway, Amara figures out that Dean has been in her brother’s presence and that his meeting with her is a ploy to save Lucifer. She returns to stop the rescue, but before she smites Baby, with everyone inside, Chuck whisks all of them back to the Bunker. Its great to have God on your side.
We Happy Few
Sam and Dean have to convince God and Lucifer to reconcile. I actually liked the dynamic that was set up of Lucy being a recalcitrant, angry teenager, and God thinking his children are unreasonable. (Probably because I also have a parent who definitely loves me, but never apologizes for anything. I still say that a lot of the ways people respond to the narratives on this show are informed by their own personal family dynamics. As the oldest of five siblings from a single parent household, I see things very differently than someone who is, for example, the youngest of two siblings, w/ both parents.)
Some people have expressed dismay at Sam’s reaction to Lucy invading in his house, and his room, but I wasn’t too bothered by it. I just thought Sam was still brain-dazzled at meeting God. He still seemed a little excitable to me, as if he simply couldn’t believe all of this was happening. (It has since come to my attention that some scenes dealing with Lucy and him in the same space, were cut from the episode.) I didn’t like how Lucifer tried to snap the brothers, though. I kept wondering when he was going to turn on them, because hey! it’s Lucy, so I wasn’t surprised, but I still wanted to smack him for it. They saved his life! Well, okay, they saved Cas, but still…
Sam and Dean manage to get God and Lucifer to work together and we spend the rest of the episode watching them all come up with a plan to defeat Amara, that involves getting the cooperation of people they hate, like Rowena and Crowley. Chuck is very reluctant to kill his sister and this is something that will be reiterated throughout the episodes. If you can grok Dean never wanting to kill Sam, then you can grok Chuck’s feelings about his sister. Chuck still loves Amara and doesn’t want to hurt her. Its just that she keeps breaking his toys and he feels she needs a timeout.
They somehow manage to get all these disparate, interesting, groups of warriors together to fight Amara. The demons under Crowley, the Angels under Lucy and Chuck, and the witches under Rowena, who is already sucking up to Chuck. I don’t think she can help herself. Crowley says that’s what she does, attach herself to powerful people. (Rowena is one of those people who is just powerful enough to realize how little power she actually has and is always seeking more. I love her.)
At one point, while everyone is planning strategy, Amara eats Donatello, to find God’s location and then goes to the Bunker and looks around for a while. She finds Dean’s pictures of his family, and this is when I really start to feel for Amara. I think her connection to Dean is working to humanize her, because she seems oddly reflective when she’s looking at his photos, and I wonder what, exactly, she’s thinking about.
The team all decide to weaken Amara by attacking her in groups, and then Chuck will trap her back in her prison, by re-introducing the Mark of Cain and giving it to Sam. It turns out that ex-bearers of the Mark can’t carry it again, which is awfully convenient because Lucy is the strongest body there, but okay. I don’t like that Dean is okay with Sam taking the Mark after about thirty seconds of arguing. It really should have taken an entire episode to argue about that, but I guess we don’t got time for that, and this show does love to confound me whenever I expect certain things to happen.
For the record, I was all for Sam getting the Mark, not because I hate Sam, but because I’m intensely curious as to what would have happened, how he would’ve handled it, how that story would have played out now that Cain is dead, and what this peaceful version of Sam would be like as a demon, without the First Blade.
What?! 😳Just because I like a person doesn’t mean I won’t experiment on them. I’m just curious!
Their plan works but is not enough. The cadre of witches that Rowena managed to find, all get killed, including her new friend Lea, who she planned to run off to Ancient Greece with. I liked Lea, even if her “Jamaican Voodoo Queen” accent was pretty dodgy, because she liked Sam right away.
Rowena’s slippery, blue bottom gets to live though, for which I have much gratitude. Next, the Angels take their shot at Amara, and then the demons, and we got to see some red smoke when Crowley joins in. That was kind of bad-ass. We rarely get to see Crowley kick booty in demon form. So yeah, writers! we want to let you know that we, do indeed, appreciate that image. I was surprised they all managed to open a serious can of whoop-ass on Amara, which only made me feel worse for her. I don’t know. I just like her. Like Dean, I can’t seem to help it. What kind of sorcery is that?
Amara gets inside the lair and zaps Chuck, but not before she kills Lucifer and extracts a confession from Chuck about why he started creating things. This episode was a real revelatory one for God, who, in a bizarre reversal, has to confess his sins to be forgiven, instead of the other way around. Amara drains his energy so that he starts dying and then she just leaves. Off to destroy the world , I guess..
Alpha and Omega
As a result of Chuck’s injuries he’s now dying. Everyone can tell the world is about to end because the sun is acting strange. I thought it was interesting how Sam was trying not to touch Chuck while he was lying on the ground, but after a few minutes, Sam seemed to calm down and helped carry him. Entirely in keeping with their characters, Sam is still pretty in awe of Chuck, while Dean is never one to stand on ceremony.
Cas is back to his normal self. Dean doesn’t seem particularly angry about what Cas did, and he should be, but apparently the writers have bigger concerns than whether or not Cas messed up. During the finale, everyone’s emotions about things are being given short shrift in favor of moving the narrative along. So we don’t get to deal with any of the more emotional stuff that we’d normally get to see between the brothers. One of the drawbacks of having a story move at such a fast pace.
I was loving the Bro-sync moment when they pulled their weapons, though. I always like when they do stuff on unison. That’s just hilarious to me, (and it makes me wonder if me and my closest brother look like that to other people.)
Amara goes off to wander through a park somewhere. She discovers that she is dying too. I kind of figured out that she wasn’t the one who smote the sun, as she seemed confused when she looked up at it. I sort of figured she was dying too and that when the siblings are gone, so would be everything else. I kinda figured that they both needed each other. Without light, there can be no darkness, either.
Chuck and the others need to come up with another plan to attack Amara, but I knew at that point, they were going about all of it the wrong way. They keep attacking her and that’s not what’s going to work. Amara needs to be appealed to, not forced.
They come up with the idea of a soul-bomb, and there’s a completely unnecessary scene where Sam and Dean go ghost-hunting, to fill it up. I know we had to get Billie the Reaper involved somehow, but the whole scene wasted precious time, which could have been used for the emotional stuff we’d been missing. Find another way to get Billie’s help.
Okay, is it just me or did anyone else get this weird vibe between Crowley and Billie?She completely ignored the presence of God, as far as I could tell, and mentioned Crowley by name. Twice! And Crowley seemed more than a little smitten with her, too. What’s up with that? Are those two our Big-Bads for next season? (Incidentally, count how many Buffy-isms have managed to make their way into our discussions about other TV shows? Words like Big Bad, for example, are totally from Buffy.)
Billie, being nosy, decides to visit the Bunker to see what the Winchesters are up to, with them stealing ghosts. When they convince her they’re trying to save the world, and need more ghosts, she raids the Veil where all the ghosts are being held, (because Heaven has been closed to them), to give them the energy they need to fuel the ghost-bomb. They place the bomb inside Dean, who is the only one who can get close to Amara.
Wait a minute , so its wrong for Sam to take the Mark of Cain to save the world, but its okay to blow up Dean to kill God’s sister? I’m going to wager that just about anybody else could probably get close enough to Amara, too. Incidentally why not just feed all those souls to Chuck and power him up a bit, because I’m not sure where Amara got the energy to cure Chuck, if both of them are dying.
Dean and Sam go to visit Mary’s grave. I guess, since they figure Dean will be with her soon. Mary’s presence has been felt all over this season, in mentions and photos, so I’m not surprised when she actually turns up at the finale. Dean says goodbye to everybody and I’m delighted and surprised to see Cas initiate a hug with Dean. (I’m pretty sure Destiel shippers pooped their drawers when that happened. I’m not a Destiel fan but even I get giddy when I see Cas and Dean show love.)
Dean and Sam do the bro-hug thing, and I keep expecting Sam to make some declaration about finding Dean and bringing him back, because that’s what they do, despite all sense. But neither of them mentions this and I wonder if this is still an agreement they have. The most touching moment for me is when Dean tells Cas to keep an eye on Sam for him, but its not too touching, as I don’t consider Dean’s death to be at all necessary to the plot.
Another thing I liked about this episode is the handling of Amara and Chuck. I knew she still loved her brother, and was starting to regret her actions, especially after her convo’ with the pigeon-lady, which I felt was a little heavy handed, but got the point across, that its okay to be mad at your family sometimes. I totally understood Amara though. I get that she was simply jealous of Chuck and his creations, and why she felt that way.
Chuck made Amara’s anger worst when he imprisoned her, because she thought he didn’t love her anymore, didn’t understand what she’d done to deserve his hatred, and for some reason, that just got to me. (I did need some tissues.) I totally understood why she was mad at him. This scene was well written and the actress just sold it. Just like with Lucifer, Chuck messed up and has to explain himself to her. You’d think all of this could’ve been avoided, if they had all sat down and spoken honestly to each other. But no! They couldn’t have, because they didn’t know how. This is something they all had to be taught to do by the humans they should’ve been paying closer attention to. Sam and Dean do save the world, just not the way we usually see it. Nobody’s life, or soul, had to be sacrificed. This time, it was their example of how family is supposed to work, that does the trick.
At every step of the way Chuck made some horrible mistakes, and then compounded the problems, by making more mistakes. I don’t hate Chuck, but whew! he really messed up, and it almost cost him his existence.
The only tears this episode produced was in the conversation between Amara and Chuck, when she confessed why she was jealous of Chuck’s need to create worlds. You can tell that Dean sat down and explained all this to her earlier, by drawing a parallel between him and Sam, and her and Chuck, which I think was a lovely narrative flourish. I think Amara’s emotional connection to Dean allowed this to happen. The longer the two of them remained connected, the more human she became, and Dean used that connection to him, to help her explore what it was she really wanted. She wanted her little brother back. The con to that approach is that the season pretty much shot its wad, in the second to last episode, which made this final episode seem kind of anti-climactic.
Now, while all of this is happening we keep getting flashes of a young, wealthy, British woman making plans to travel to America, after viewing her Wall o’ Winchester. Most fans of the show, I’m certain, have such walls in their homes, but somehow, I don’t think its because she’s a fan of the Bro-mance. It turns out she’s from the English Chapter House of the Men of Letters. What a surprise! 😮 She manages to make her way to the Bunker, where she threatens to shoot Sam, and probably has, although what I’d like to see happen next season, is Sam kicking her in her snooty butt.
I really wish the show had given us more of a heads up, instead of springing this woman on us, in the middle of the last episode. And of course, its just like the Men of Letters to watch from afar, provide absolutely no f***ing guidance to two fledgling Men of Letters themselves, and then have the nerve to pass judgement on them for making mistakes, via bullets. Really, people?!!!
To me, that was the most infuriating part of this episode, (especially after crying tears for Amara). Not that Sam might die, but that he’s dying because a group of utterly worthless librarians, who should have intervened much, much earlier in the brother’s lives, instead of leaving them all alone to fend for themselves, (like maybe season six, seven or eight), decided that the way to solve the problem of Sam and Dean, is not to teach them how to be better Men of Letters, but to murder them. Also, Sam doesn’t know Dean is still alive and he just looks heartbroken, while he has to deal with this strange woman’s bullcrap.
And this is why that woman deserves a complete and thorough ass whoopin’, followed by Sam and Dean finding the MoL Chapterhouse that she came from, killing it with fire, (with or without everyone inside, doesn’t matter to me), and then, salting the Earth. (At the very least she should be thrown out on her bee-hind, like Buffy did to the Watcher’s Council, in one of my favorite Buffy episodes, season five’s “Checkpoint”.)
So, thanks to that ending, the finale trilogy gets a 8/10 out of me, even though I thoroughly enjoyed many individual moments. The characterization took a back seat to the story, instead of being evenly balanced, and instead of getting more personal time with the characters, we got an action scene. The action scene was fine. It was good to watch the brothers hunting together one more time, but it was not really necessary. People didn’t get many chances to react to what was happening around them, and I kind of missed that. The story moved too fast, and all the most exciting stuff happened in “We Happy Few”, which is where the season should have ended, with more feels.
Things I loved:
Amara’s reconciliation with Chuck, illustrating how we always seem to bring the worse pain to people we love, even when we don’t mean to, was the highlight for me. Chuck wasn’t trying to hurt her by creating all of Creation, and then compounding that problem by locking her away, instead of talking it over with her. I like how it was the creations themselves, that taught Chuck how to talk to his family, and how to make amends.
I loved when Amara was talking to Chuck, she kept glancing over to Dean, as if to ask if she was getting it right, and his soft encouragement to her that she was. For some reason, that affected me more than anything else.
I loved seeing Billy again. She’s so “kuwell”, it hurts to watch her. (That’s it! I know its wrong, but I’m nicknaming her Foxy Mama. It’s the leather jacket.)
I liked the attack on Amara. It was feckin’ awesome. And I mean that in an “I met God” kind of awesome.
I loved Dean mocking Rowena’s accent, not quite getting it right, and Sam giving him the side eye. Sam should be well used to Dean’s little peculiarities, by now.
Dean assuming that Donatello was talking about the Ninja Turtle, because that was my first thought, too.
I liked Rowena threatening to turn Sam into an actual moose, but not really meaning it, becuz she’s just frustrated, and Sam’s douchey little smirk at her. Sam is so noble all the time, we rarely get to see Sam act like moose jerky to anyone except Dean, and occasionally Crowley. It’s been interesting watching Sam develop as a personality throughout the season, which I kind of figured might happen, now that he’s not sick, possessed, or anguished all the time.
I liked the pigeon lady, who says Amara had a nice dress, but she looked a little overdone for the park.
When everyone looks at Dean as if to say what to do next to save the world, and his answer is to drink more beer. Of course!
Lucy’s bratty behavior. I just thought it was hilarious how he locked himself in Sam’s room. There are rooms all over that Bunker, but he inconveniently chooses Sam’s. Yeah, I know its violating and all but really, I couldn’t stop laughing at it. That’s so like him.
I lked Lea’s and Rowena’s plan to escape the end the world by going back in time to Ancient Greece. That’s a novel solution.
So, the finale wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t AWESOME.