Andrew Dabb changes the expectations of a season finale by presenting the end of s11 and the beginning of s 12 in a tight script. In fact, it is the last installment of 4 episodes that serve as the finale of season 11. 11.23 is not action packed or full of visually stunning scenes of angels falling, eyes turning black, or black fog encompassing Baby. It does close the s 11 arc and manages to turn the page effortlessly.to season 12 It is after all the Alpha and the Omega. Definitely the mark of a new show-runners Dabb and Singer.
The attention to detail in props, fx,and dialogue stand out as well as the director’s choice of camera angles. The opening montage takes us through the season as we remember that season 11 has been a solid entry into the Winchester lore. The center themes of family, revenge, loyalty,redemption, and bravery exude in quick paced dialogue with all players present.There is a new beginning with Lady Blackwell as she leaves her child under orders of the MOL UK chapter to bring in the Winchesters,as she says to Sam,you are”jumped up hunters playing with things you don’t understand…” Leaving a child behind to “hunt” feel familiar to anyone?(Rowena?Fergus John?two young sons)
Season 12 appears to have a different focus. Are the Winchesters the “bad guys”? Can they truly become Men of Letters or convince the other MOL that they are worthy. If this episode is anti-climactic with action aside from the ghost busting scenes, it certainly contains many memorable moments and pieces of dialogue that will go into the permanent fandom memory. Admit it, you know those lines already!
Delightful details:(not in any order) Check out the label of the beer as I believe it is Jerry Wanak’s mom’s name-MargieKeugal.(He is set director).
Cas back to his not getting metaphors- “I didn’t know dogs had breakfast” in response to Crowley’s comparison to how plan A failed so badly. A return to the original Cas?
Dean: “No reason to die sober” Sam: “No”. So Winchester. The last call.
Beer run in Baby. Great camera work inside the car. Dean’s knee hardly fits. Dean tells Cas he is the best friend they ever had and that Cas is a brother. 180 degree turn when Sam calls with plan B. Baby is truly a character of her own….still.
Rowena to Dean,”so that is a gun you have in your pocket?” Rowena’s other memorable line is a description of Fergus running around without pants as a child”his sweet banger flapping in the breeze.” And her magic crystal to catch souls with a spell from the book of the damned leads Dean to speak in a Scottish accent as he imitates Rowena on their quest to collect souls. Can you hear Rowena’s voice? Sam’s glance of disbelief at Dean.
Of course, Crowley has a great line in response to his Mom’s detailed description of Fergus,”Thank God the world is ending!”
Dean’s cynicism at Rowena’s spell,”Give the magic word a shot because we’re six” brings us back to the innocence lost of two young motherless boys. Sam goes to “piss of the ghosts” as Dean prepares the room: salt, iron, shot gun, crystal. I’s a hunt that is now so routine for us. Of course, the magic word is “haggis” which is a Scottish meal consisting of sheep intestines stuffed with oatmeal. The ghost busting scene-thank you makeup and fx – reminds us of Winchester bravery as Sam up against a wall shouts for Dean to say the magic word. What a team!
There are 3 centers to this work. One is the scene at Mary’s grave. Dean forever the protective brother, gives Cas the job of watching over Sam, “Sam’s gonna be a mess. Look out for him. Don’t let him do anything stupid.” Cas-Dean hug building up to the Dean/Sam hug with Dean admitting he likes chick flicks. The quiet emotion is so powerful on screen and then it gets a dose of flavor from Dean about his funeral”open bar, Sabbath cover band, Busey to read the eulogy.” Quiet acting instead of physical, but J2 do it so, so, well. They are brothers. The glassy eyes and the hug tell the story.
The last round of drinks is on Sam at the “Lazy Shag” tavern-insert your own joke here, as the “don’t let the sun catch you crying” vintage 1960’s song plays on.Gorgeous camera shots of a dying sun punctuate the seriousness andt he non-choice the Winchesters have to make. Sacrifice.
The beautiful change to the Amara/Dean scene in a garden that was built on a sound stage is impressive as serves as another center for the piece. The beauty of the naural world is overwhelming for Amara and the viewer. Amara’s revelation that her brother’s creations are things of beauty. She suddenly appreciates it all and Dean has been an agent of change for her. Her discussion of hate/love of family with a grandmotherly character change Amara into a more vulnerable character…at last. Dean’s approach toward Amara, still optimistic that he can convince her to tap into her human part and forgive Chuck, is central to the themes of “Supernatural.” All the while a squeeze of his fingers can end it all- Dramatic, tense, quiet and so effective.
The third center is the restoration of balance in the universe as Chuck and Amara unite into a beautiful whirl of white and dark smoke to have that family meeting. Chuck takes away the soul bomb. Dean: “What about the Earth?” It will be okay as it has Dean. And Sam. says Chuck. Amara has what she needs most-Chuck- who restores to his glory. Amara repays Dean with what “he needs the most” The characters are staring at a bright , restored sun while Sam’s face reflects the cost of this salvation. Quiet and beautiful shot. Sam returns to the bunker- distraught.He ignores Cas’ offer of being there for him, when Cas is sigiled away. It echos the end of season 7 when Sam thought he truly lost Dean. Sam and Lady Blackmore confront each other. Is Sam being reckless when he dares her to shoot or does he deflect her bullet- she shoots but does she aim a him as we hear the bullet casing drop to the floor- dramatic.
Honorable mention: Billie’s entrance and exchanges glance with Crowley. Rowena flirting with Chuck. Crowley- anything he says is so pointed and his facial expressions are just so spot on.
And we close out with Dean emerging from greenery unable to get a signal as he hears someone asking for help. Last word of the script,”Mom” as Mary Winchester appears. Is this what Dean wants? Family, yes, but hasn’t it always been Sam? Is this Earth or another realm somewhere between? End of “Mom”- where it all began. The Alpha and the Omega.
How long will show let Sam think Dean is dead?
So, yes a quieter end from past seasons in terms of action but just as full of impact on the direction of the show. Some think that the writers boxed themselves into a corner by tackling the God/Amara story. Perhaps it could have been a series finale, but lucky for us, it is just a change in direction. The change in show-runners is evident. Which direction “Supernatural” goes will be answered in October. Until then, I’ll just stay here..
I got a lot more from the episode on second watch. Recently watched 11.1. In retrospect, I heard Amara say to Dean that he doesn’t want to kill her not that he cannot. Makes for an interesting interpretation of the season.