Renée (rogueslayer452) wrote,

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SPN: "Swan Song" Episode Review + Meta

So, I've finally written it.

I've prolonged this since the finale aired, mostly because I needed to cool off and refrain from keyboardsmashing like crazy, and also to recollect and formulate rational thoughts based on what occurred in the said finale. Be warned there may still be some opinionated thoughts under here which may appear a bit snarkier than usual, since I am still very meh about the finale in general, but mostly I try to rationalize what happened along with my own opinions on everything as a whole. I'm sure I've already repeated what many fans have said and felt about the finale in general. I just needed to write this out because it's been nagging at my brain for a while now.

Supernatural 5.22 "Swan Song"

In the fifth season finale of Supernatural, in their final hours in trying to avert the end of days, it is decided that Sam will say "yes" to Lucifer to become his vessel and in doing so Dean will use the Horsemen's rings to open the portal which will send Lucifer back into his eternal cage. Right along with Sam. Unfortunately, their plan backfires when Lucifer seems to overpower Sam and then disappears along with the rings and goes the the battlefield to fight Michael. Their luck seems to have run out as Bobby and Castiel have lost all hope in ending this war, however Dean is adamant in going where Lucifer and Michael are going to be fighting so he contacts Chuck to know precisely where it'll be located and goes there to at least get to Sam. This doesn't do anything, until Castiel and Bobby show up to vanquish Michael temporarily to give Dean more time. However, this upsets Lucifer so he kills both Castiel and Bobby, and then attacks Dean and brutally starts beating him up. But in the last second, something catches his eye (the Impala reflection, toy soldier) and this brings back memories for Sam and then he finally takes over, holding Lucifer down, and decides to stop this once and for all and using the rings to open the portal. Michael reappears to say that they have to fight, and they both fall into the giant portal and then it closes up. Leaving Dean alone, beaten and still broken.

The ending of the finale is very sketchy at best. Castiel reappears before Dean, new and improved, heals him and then brings Bobby back to life, only to disappear to reorganize Heaven without a goodbye. Dean leaves Bobby, his only family left in the world now, for some chick he's only known briefly, and apparently Chuck isn't really a prophet, but that's up for debate. Oh, and Sam returns, but we're not sure as what.

This finale was underwhelming, to say the least. Very anticlimactic and not at all what was advertised or anticipated for it to be, especially in terms of the Apocalypse.

The Finale Ending: Anticlimactic and Total Deus Ex Machina

This is something that I feared and dreaded because let's face it, the show hadn't really taken the Apocalypse that seriously this season, and quite frankly when they started doing random placements in the last three episodes of the season about how to defeat Lucifer you know that whatever they were planning on doing wasn't going to fulfill the anticipations for a huge apocalyptic showdown. The finale left me feeling rather cold and indifferent, because there were parts that I liked both other parts that I hated because it didn't make any sense and it was just a quick way of wrapping up the apocalyptic storyline in order to make way for the sixth season.

Which, I reiterate, they should have dealt with this season like it was going to be their last even with the announcement of them having another year.

Now don't get me wrong, I did like having the emotional points between the brothers and whatnot and how Dean wasn't going to leave Sam alone after everything, and the flashbacks through the narration was touching as well. I understood the intention of showing that. However, I think what bothered me most about the ending itself was how deus ex machina it really was. This is the Apocalypse for goodness sakes, having some random reflection into the freaking Impala and seeing a little toy soldier thus bringing back all the memories is not going to lighten Lucifer up or make Sam finally realize ~his brotherly love~ for Dean and all they've been through. I mean, come on, Lucifer was punching Dean right there and Dean was saying that he wasn't going anywhere and he was there for Sam, that should have been a subtle clue, don't you know? Having the Impala/toy solider add-in was completely random and was, overall, very lame to have that be the indicating factor for Sam to "grow stronger." Yes, it was supposed to have been meaningful and touching and moving and all of that, but when you really think about it yeah, it's pretty underwhelming and lame.

Also, whatever happened to all the angelic aspects? The Heaven versus Hell, demons versus angels part of the whole equation? Raphael, Joshua, Crowley, Meg? This is a biblical Apocalypse after all. Even if this battle was between Michael and Lucifer/Sam and Dean there should have been more epic stuff happening in the background. Like, say, if Bobby and Castiel were to fend off both angels and demons in order to get Dean into the battlefield to confront Sam/Lucifer or something, that would have been more climactic than what we had. It just seemed like the show had all this mythology setup but decided to place it all on the back-burner, which is a huge letdown over these last two seasons of heavy mytharc and important information being placed into the story. It's like, I don't mind that they use these points to deal with the brothers and their relationship, but there's more to this entire story than that! There's mythology, there's a grander arc here that should have been taken seriously and dealt with better.

The finale did have the feel of a series ending, from the way it was structured and the narrations throughout giving an overview of what the boys had gone through, detailing their relationship as brothers and where it has all led towards. But it wasn't conclusive or as satisfactory as a finale should have been. There were too many plot holes, too many things left unexplained and things that just made little to no sense given everything we had learned.

Special Destinies: One That Is Nonexistent and One That Was Overused

Another thing I was disappointed in was the nonexistence of Dean's particular involvement in everything concerning the the Apocalypse. Since the beginning of the fourth season Dean underwent major changes which surrounded Dean having a destiny, and yet in the latter half of season five they just decided to drop that and resurrect Adam to be Michael's vessel instead, and the finale mostly being all about Sam and his redemption storyline. Which is basically suggesting that everything Dean had endured and gone through over the last two seasons had been kicked under the rug and been for absolutely nothing. Or, at least, didn't have such greater significance as we thought. This, I have major issues with for obvious reasons.

I mean, whatever happened to the prophecy about Dean being the righteous man? Remember that, about how "the righteous man who started it is the only one who must finish it" since he broke the First Seal that started the chain of events towards the Apocalypse? Also, what about the very significant moments this season with Dean killing the Whore of Babylon who could only be killed by a servant of Heaven, or when Dean killed Zachariah with the angel sword and stared directly into his burning Grace? I felt those were compelling clues for Dean to suddenly realize his calling, and that may or may not have been to become Michael's vessel but to find a way to defeat Lucifer by the strength and determination of humanity, showing that he wasn't empty inside that he knew what he was fighting for, which would have been a huge payoff considering everything he had gone through after his time in Hell. That kind of involvement with his particular destiny, whether going by prophecy or not, would have been a nice way of his development from a wounded and worn out soldier to a man who understood where he was, understood that he wasn't empty or worthless and gave him something to believe in again. But they didn't give him that, at all.

Granted while I do prefer Dean's character storyline, I would have loved to see both Dean and Sam carry out their particular destinies and fight in this war together rather it just being Dean giving Sam the "yellow crayon" speech thing, which was a huge cop-out in my opinion to what could have occurred in the finale. And I feel cheated in that sense, because it's not "all about Sam" and they really just overused that whole thing too much in this show, which this thing of "it always had to be you" and yaddy-yadda. It shouldn't be all about one particular character or the other. It should be about them both, dammit. Why can't the show do that instead of focusing on one of them? It worked better when they were apart then when they are together, I will say that.

So even though it's been about the brothers since the beginning I hated how they treated the separate character storylines; Sam's was hardly present this season, at least to me, and when it was it was exposition about his anger issues but nothing was done about it until these last few episodes of the season. There was building up of Dean's particular storyline but that was dropped immediately when they brought Adam back. It makes you really wonder if they actually had a plan of action of what was going to happen in the finale, of how to wrap up the Apocalypse or with the confirmation of a sixth season really changed and shifted things around and screwed everything up with the continuity of what they had going.

I just felt dissatisfied with how they handled Dean's storyline, or the lack thereof, in the finale. He should have played a bigger role rather than playing the Yellow Crayon part. It should have been bigger, better, more grander between the brothers instead of having some lame toy soldier.

Castiel's Character Arc in the Finale

I've already discussed my feelings about Castiel's involvement in the season finale at length, and my opinions really haven't changed from that, so I'm not going to repeat myself. I just want to mention something that I've thought about for a long while since the finale had aired, because I felt completely and utterly angered with how they handled Castiel and his journey and I thought about my initial reaction to my thoughts after the fact.

I honestly wouldn't have minded Castiel having been resurrected once again, new and improved, had there been more explanation and further into his downward spiral into humanity, and only when his storyline would have been completed. That had been my wish for his entire arc for a long while now, because I felt after all his dedication and staying faithful while his own siblings weren't, he deserved to have some kind of reward and I felt like upgrading his stature would have been the best thing to come out from his entire journey. But only after having gone through more than what had happened. Since I felt like they were just going to get into him adjusting to being something close-to-human, only to have him being powered up again. I know I had previously stated before that I didn't like the idea of human!Castiel but, thinking about it more, I would have liked that idea much better than what happened in the finale. Because Castiel was definitely adjusting just fine, and with him handling guns and being more productive and resourceful with such limitations, I felt like had he been left limited in the finale it would have been awesome for more developments going into the next season before any of that ever happened.

Of course, had this actually been the series finale and still went the route they did with him, there should have been further explanation with such development, and possibly having more scene exploring his character or, hell, having the more Castiel-centric episodes this season than just randomly placing him in some and excluding him from others. Because Castiel, being now a regular alongside the boys, should have had more development time. I mean, there were two dedicated episodes last season for him than this season where he actually had a mission that the writers completely abandoned. That's absolute mistreatment of such arcs, and that's what angers me the most about the season as a whole. When you have a character that's been announced as a regular, treat them like you would your main characters. Don't introduce an arc only to abandon it or not do anything with it.

Out of everything this season I am disappointed and upset about the treatment of Castiel's storyline the most, because it could have been great. It could have been absolutely fascinating to see that kind of growth and development of his character, but this finale just completely failed at providing any kind of payoff of anything that went on with his character through these last two seasons, and his relationship with Dean too, for goodness sakes.

Thank goodness he's returning as a regular for next season, otherwise I would have been writing angry letters to Kripke and Co., with the use of huge words that were underlined and bolded, and many exclamation points.

Memorable Moments of the Finale:

++ Believe it or not, there are memorable moments from the finale that I did enjoy. Like I said, I liked some parts, just not everything.

++ I did enjoy seeing Dean and Sam being brothers again, because in the premiere they were at odds ends after what had happened between them from the previous season (and rightfully so); especially when Dean tried to accept Sam's decision even if he didn't feel like it was the right one. Him mentioning that they both needed to grow up sometime, I felt needed to be said. It's huge for Dean to say something like that which, even if I hated the ending, he followed through with it. Even though I predict that next season will start with Sam going "WTF DEAN WHY DIDN'T YOU GET ME OUTTA THE PIT?" and starting the cycle all over again.


However, I feel like Marksha was completely underused this season, Lucifer should have been featured more frequently than in the few episodes he was in. And the fact that we had Marksha!Lucifer only for a couple of minutes in the entire finale is just bullshit. I mean, no offense to Jared because I think he did a great job, but I prefer Marksha!Lucifer than Jared!Lucifer because Marksha kind of established the character in this kind of calm, yet very terrifying kind of manner. It's just sad that Marksha will be no more in Supernatural. :( There really should have been more Marksha!Lucifer being a BAMF this season, okay.

++ I loved Dean speaking Enochian. It's the Batman!voices, I can't get enough of them.

++ Castiel softly snoring in the backseat of the Impala = too cute for words. Which makes me wonder if Castiel is aware of his new sleeping habits and if he dreams. Another thing they should have touched on, but didn't, with his newly acquired human traits.

++ <----- 'Nuff said.

I mean, even with my disappointment of the outcome of the finale for his arc, Misha pretty much delivers these lines just perfectly. Showing us that Castiel is still Castiel even when he's kind of hopeless and almost-human. <3 I mean, look at that face! Plus, I love how Dean is looking at him in the background, that entire scene really was about Dean trying to find an alternative way but everyone else around him is on that path of being without hope. Which is kind of a turnaround from when Dean was without hope just episodes ago.

++ I'm still dubious about the whole Chuck reveal to be honest, and that'll be in an upcoming post, but having the entire episode be about him writing/narrating about the backstory involving the Impala and how it was acquired by the Winchesters in the first place. With the montages of the brothers and flashbacks and such. That was pretty neat.

++ I'm kind of disappointed that "All Along The Watchtower" didn't play when Dean rode up to meet with Michael and Lucifer. I was really pining for that. It would have been so cool, because hey, it fits.



LUCIFER: Did you just Molotov my brother with holy fire?

Even though I wished this was more of a Marksha scene, this exchange made me laugh and nervous at the same time because, well. We all know what happens next. But still, it's just Castiel's nervous backing away and speaking like he was being scolded for having his hand caught in the cookie jar. It's all sorts of adorable, even if the next scene made me go WHUT?! Also, why the hell is Bobby always just standing in the background? That's all he did in the finale. Standing around. Way to misuse another vital character, show. :(

++ Which I have to say, they made such huge noise about the finale being big and stuff, effects wise. The only special effects they used were for the hole for Lucifer to go down into and for Castiel exploding. That's generally about it, which kind of sucks because I felt like they had more action and tension in "Abandon All Hope" and "Point Of No Return" than in the finale, but yeah everyone knows that.

++ Brotherly flashbacks in that silent montage was great, even if the reason behind it was lame.

++ This Dean and Castiel scene though, I thought was lovely.

DEAN: Cas, are you God?
CASTIEL: *smiles slightly* That's a nice compliment, but no.

If anything, that entire moment is perfect because of Dean's astonished and awed expression after Castiel was resurrected yet again and heals him. THIS IS WHERE THE DEAN/CASTIEL HUG SHOULD HAVE BEEN. IT'S THE PERFECT SETUP, DAMMIT! But I just love how awed Dean was in asking that question, because hey after everything, of Castiel having been resurrected twice by now and having the abilities to heal again, that is a valid question to ask. It makes my shipper heart beat with joy when I heard this exchange, and Castiel's face lightening up a bit from that.

Finale and Season Overview: For the finale, I'm deeply disappointed in how it turned out, mainly because I was expecting something more from it. Since you know, biblical Apocalypse, angels and demons, should have had more action and less with the random inserts of toy soldiers and pointless "endings" that served little to no purpose in explaining how things happened the way they did. It was just a deus ex machina of a finale to wrap this entire plot up before the next season, which if this truly was Kripke's departure you'd think he would have at least ended it on the high note he wanted instead of giving us this watered down version of what we were expecting. As for the season as a whole, it was completely disorganized. There should have been more focus on the plot and less time with episodes like "Fallen Idols", "Sam Interrupted" and "Swap Meat". Because come on, APOCALYPSE PEOPLE! The boys need to take it seriously, and most of the time they seemed to not really. Only mention it here and there, but there wasn't much focus on them dealing with it as a whole until these last three episodes. There were plenty of plot holes and things that didn't make sense, storylines and characters arcs that were introduced only to be abandoned (ex: Castiel's search for God, which should have had at least ONE EPISODE centered around that quest) and bringing back characters only to kill them.

As a whole, this season leaves me very indifferent. There were handfuls of episodes I loved and enjoyed definitely, but overall it just didn't feel right. Nothing clicked well with how it was dealt with, either with the writing or how they mapped it out. It didn't have the same structure that seemed fulfilling like the fourth season had, when they understood clearly on where they were heading with that seasonal arc instead of this season. Which leaves me feeling very cold because they failed at bringing forth many things in the writing and the plot structure.

There are certain things that I didn't mention in this review, and that's because I want to discuss them in separate posts than in my regular formatting. So yeah, if there's something I didn't address here I will address in a later meta post, for sure.
Tags: meta: supernatural, show reviews: supernatural
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