I am of the opinion that a TV show’s season is only as good as its premiere episode and season finale. If the beginning doesn’t suck you in then you won’t watch the season anyway, and if the end isn’t satisfying then the rest of the season seems like a failure. Which is why I reviewed the season premiere of Supernatural season seven first and why I will also review the finale separately. So for now let’s look at episodes that take place after the mid-season finale and before the finale.
I have to say I have been holding out hope for this season of Supernatural, but I have been finding this season pretty lackluster compared to its other seasons. Maybe the season finale will prove me wrong and make the whole season awesome and make sense, but so far that seems unlikely. And that’s just really disappointing.
One of the main reasons I’m disappointed with this season is the sheer amount of filler episodes. “Adventures in Babysitting,” “Time After Time,” “Plucky Pennywhistle’s Magical Menagerie,” and “Slice Girls” are all filler episodes that have little or nothing to do with the main plot.
“Adventures in Babysitting,” “Time After Time,” and “Plucky Pennywhistle’s Magical Menagerie” are at least all entertaining episodes despite the lack of plot. Supernatural has always had its fill of entertaining filler episodes, but I think it annoyed me this season because it seemed like I wasn’t learning or caring about the actual plot. For example, there were filler episodes in season four and five, but there was still the looming apocalypse, the issues between Sam, Dean, and Cas, and information about Lucifer that kept you interested and caring about the main plot. I didn’t care about the Leviathans or Dick until the last couple episodes. And that just shouldn’t be, but we’ll talk more about that in a bit.
You may have noticed that when I listed good filler episodes from this half of the season I left one out. “Slice Girls” is an atrocity of an episode and employs my least favorite trope: “the mystical pregnancy” trope. This trope is when a woman is magically impregnated or has a magical baby. This usually portrays women and their reproductive systems as evil and scary. If you want more information about this trope you can watch this video from Feminist Frequency.
This was probably the lowest point of season seven. “Slice Girls” is about Amazon warriors, who are obviously all women. They sleep with men and have children that grow up really fast in order for their race to survive, and oh yeah, they kill their father’s too as a rite of passage. Of course all of these women are evil and kill men, because you can’t be a strong woman and not hate men. This episode is also another episode that tries to justify Dean killing Amy Pond from episode three, which I just can’t agree with. Dean killing her was in character but, I assumed, showed his paranoia and lack of faith in Sam. The fact that show is trying to pass it off as something righteous is just ridiculous. In a show that already has problems with how it treats it’s female characters, this episode is just a slap in the face of to its female viewers.
As far as female characters go, however, I have to give Supernatural some credit this season. “Time After Time” brought back Sheriff Mills, who appeared briefly earlier in the season and is awesome. She appears to be doing some hunting if she’s not already a full fledged-hunter. I certainly hope that Supernatural‘s writers explore that more. The episode “Adventures in Babysitting” has a strong independent young woman who is the daughter of another hunter. She is unique, funny, interesting, and capable. Though it’s implied at the end of the episode that her father is going to stop hunting and take her out of the life, I kind of hope that doesn’t happen. I think it would be extremely interesting for Sam and Dean to run into this young woman again and see how she develops as she gets older. Then there was my favorite episode this season, at least so far, “The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo.” Felicia Day is gold in this episode. She was such a great and well developed character that was extremely relatable and dynamic. It seems to me that despite the sheer amount of fail that was “Slice Girls” Supernatural is finally starting to learn their lesson with female characters, at least in individual episodes. Now if only we could have more recurring female characters of the same quality. But wait! Sheriff Mills isn’t the only recurring female character to appear this season. The demon Meg made her return. And while I still don’t appreciate all the evil demon women in the show I have to say, I love Meg. I adore her, as a matter of fact. She is an extremely interesting character. On the one hand, she is clearly only out for herself and has her own agenda that is probably nefarious, but on the other hand, she also seems to genuinely like Castiel, aside from merely wanting to use him for his power (and potentially his body). Meg is funny, likable, and the longest surviving female character on Supernatural. I do hope we see more of her.
It was also nice to see the writers develop the Hallucifer (Sam’s hallucination of Lucifer) story line. If you remember from my mid-season review, I heavily criticized the fact that Sam’s madness from being in the cage was so quickly resolved and rarely mentioned again. Apparently though, I spoke too soon as this issue does come up again. “Repo Man” shows much more about how Sam deals with Lucifer’s constant taunts. Mark Pellegrino is amazing in this episode. It’s a complete delight to watch his performance of Lucifer, and his interactions with Sam is pure gold throughout the episode. Sam opening up to Lucifer allows him much more control over Sam and starts to slowly wear him down throughout the course of the season.
(Side note: Did anyone else think that Jeffery and the Demon from “Repo Man” were supposed to be a dark and disturbing foil for Dean and Castiel? Just a thought.)
“Out with the Old” further developed the Hallucifer story line as we see Sam slowly start to break because of sleep deprivation. This finally comes to a head in “The Born-Again Identity” where Sam breaks completely and is only saved by the return of Castiel. It’s nice to see that Sam’s trip to hell finally has real consequences on his life. I have two problems with this plot line:
- Lucifer seems too powerful for just a hallucination at times. Not that Sam wouldn’t suffer the way he did, but especially when Castiel took Sam’s madness onto himself and even he was effected by Lucifer I was confused. Castiel never seemed truly afraid of Lucifer and Lucifer’s way of driving Sam mad was keeping him from sleeping. Castiel doesn’t sleep. Lucifer stopped Sam from eating. Castiel doesn’t have to eat. Castiel later reveals that he stopped seeing Lucifer and the madness took a different sort of form for him, but it seems confusing to me that Castiel would go crazy from this at all. He’s an angel. Can he really go mad? Even Lucifer didn’t seem crazy in season five, just pissed. Even when Castiel absorbed the souls he wasn’t really an angel then. The souls changed him in a real way, so it makes since that he would go insane with power, but I didn’t really buy Castiel to be driven crazy by this.
- Despite Sam’s trip to the pit finally having real consequences for him it also kind of didn’t… Sam’s madness is only really delved into for three episodes and then Castiel fixes everything.
The mid season finale of Supernatural was “Death’s Door,” which killed Bobby Singer. While I was sad to see Bobby go I thought the episode was well written and Bobby was given a good death befitting to a great character. I don’t think bringing Bobby back as a ghost was a great idea. Mostly I just hate when shows kill characters twice. Heroes did this with their character Nathan.
For those of you that didn’t suffer through all of Heroes, Nathan was a character marked by death. Since season one the writers threatened to kill Nathan, they killed him in three separate alternate universes, and finally actually killed him at the end of season three. This, however, was not enough for the writers of Heroes. They thought it would be more dramatic to kill Nathan just once more after his death. Sylar, a serial killer played by the now well-known Zachary Quinto, is tricked into thinking he is Nathan and mimics him via a shapeshifting ability. Nathan’s consciousness is still inside Sylar, however, and fans were forced to sit through an episode where Nathan’s consciousness dies leaving only Sylar.
Ever since Bobby’s return in “Party on, Garth” and “Of Grave Importance” (I mean actual return as his presence as a ghost was implied much earlier), the show has been alluding to the fact that Bobby is becoming a vengeful spirit and that soon Sam and Dean will go through the traumatic experience of having to exorcise him. So now because killing Bobby was dramatic/traumatic enough, Supernatural fans will now have to watch him die for a second time–again, because once just isn’t enough.
The lack of Castiel this season is the source of much annoyance and anger for many fans who consider Castiel just as important as Sam or Dean. Including the upcoming season finale, Castiel has only been in four episodes this season. I have yet to meet one fan that thinks this was a good idea.
“The Born-Again Identity” marked the return of Castiel. For most of this episode Castiel had amnesia… let me say that again. He had freaking amnesia! Why? There was no reason or relevance to this particular bit of writing other than to find a way for Castiel not to be present for most of the season. Let me explain why I hate amnesia story lines. They never have any consequence to anything. Castiel loses his memory and apparently nothing he was doing while he thought he was someone else has any impact on him. I doubt the woman that found Castiel and was apparently in love with him will ever turn up again. I further doubt that we will find out about meaningful friendships or enemies Castiel made during this time either. You could replace amnesia with almost anything else and the plot of this episode and the plot for the entire season would barely change. Below is the plot summary from “The Born-Again Identity” from Wikipedia:
Lucifer has driven Sam to the point of mental breakdown, because of which he is now committed to a mental institution. Dean promises Sam to find a cure to this illness and calls every hunter in the diary. However, no hunter is able to help him. When he gets up, and moves to get a beer, the diary is thrown onto the floor and a card falls from it, with a number of the hunter that can help him. The hunter eventually leads Dean to a faith healer named Emanuel, who fixed his injuries and encourages Dean to get in touch with him. When Dean goes to meet with Emanuel, he finds that the Demons are also interested in this healer, and are searching for him. Eventually, when Dean does find Emanuel, it leads him to Castiel, who now is living under the name Emanuel and works as a faith healer, and has no memory of his past life as an angel. Dean convinces him to come with him to heal Sam of his mental break down. However, along the way, Meg shows up and asks to be a part of the trip. Once they reach the hospital, they find it covered by demons. Castiel banishes the demons, and along the way, gains back his memories. However, the guilt of his action makes him leave. Dean stops him and convinces him to try and save Sam. While in the hospital, Sam meets with a woman, who is haunted by the ghost of her dead brother. Her brother is stuck on Earth and cannot move to his after life. Sam asks this woman if she has any of her brother’s objects. She tells him about her bracelet, which has his blood on it. Sam asks the woman to create a circle of salt. While they are in it and about to burn the bracelet, her brother shows up and is about to harm them. Sam then burns the bracelet, giving the girl freedom from her brother’s ghost. However, his actions lead to him being taken for electroshock therapy where the orderly turns out to be a demon who tortures him. Castiel finds him in time to save him, but fails to heal him. He does the next best thing: transfers Sam’s madness and experience in Hell, to himself. So while Sam is released, Castiel stays in the hospital plagued with the visions of Lucifer. Meg takes up a job in the hospital, to support Castiel, and look after him.
Now let’s have some fun:
Lucifer has driven Sam to the point of mental breakdown, because of which he is now committed to a mental institution. Dean promises Sam to find a cure to this illness and calls every hunter in the diary. However, no hunter is able to help him. It is then that Castiel returns having just escaped from heaven’s prisons where he was locked away for his crimes against the angels he killed while acting as god. Dean convinces him to come with him to heal Sam of his mental break down. However, along the way, Meg shows up and asks to be a part of the trip. Once they reach the hospital, they find it covered by demons. Castiel banishes the demons…
Lucifer has driven Sam to the point of mental breakdown, because of which he is now committed to a mental institution. Dean promises Sam to find a cure to this illness and calls every hunter in the diary. However, no hunter is able to help him. It is then that Castiel returns having just escaped from being held captive by the Leviathans. Dean convinces him to come with him to heal Sam of his mental break down. However, along the way, Meg shows up and asks to be a part of the trip. Once they reach the hospital, they find it covered by demons. Castiel banishes the demons…
Lucifer has driven Sam to the point of mental breakdown, because of which he is now committed to a mental institution. Dean promises Sam to find a cure to this illness and calls every hunter in the diary. However, no hunter is able to help him. It is then that Castiel returns having recently been resurrected by the real God. Dean convinces him to come with him to heal Sam of his mental break down. However, along the way, Meg shows up and asks to be a part of the trip. Once they reach the hospital, they find it covered by demons. Castiel banishes the demons…
One more time:
Lucifer has driven Sam to the point of mental breakdown, because of which he is now committed to a mental institution. Dean promises Sam to find a cure to this illness and calls every hunter in the diary. However, no hunter is able to help him. When he gets up, and moves to get a beer, the diary is thrown onto the floor and a card falls from it, that has the name of a strip club. On the off chance that this might be at all helpful Dean goes to the strip club and finds Castiel who has changed his name to Dmitri Tippens Krushnic and now leads a secret underworld life of crime and striping. Dean convinces him to come with him to heal Sam of his mental break down… (Credit for the bolded portion of this paragraph goes to Misha Collins who described this as his desired ending for Castiel. Find it here.)
Whether or not you think anything I have inserted here is good or not is irrelevant. All I’m trying to show is how you can insert anything here and the story does not change. It affects and it changes nothing. This is just poor and lazy writing.
I did enjoy Cas in “Reading is Fundamental” who wakes up from a coma (a coma and amnesia, really?) and is a bit… well, loopy. Crazy Cas is enjoyable, humorous, and more passive aggressive towards Dean than ever before. I loved when he held up the Sorry board game and asked Dean if he wanted to go first and later after giving Sam and Dean a vial of his blood says, “Always happy to bleed for the Winchesters.” Though I’m not sure if I’d like Cas to stay loopy, I feel his current case of the crazies makes sense. Cas now takes pleasure in simple things, doesn’t like conflict, and even seems to have gone so far as becoming a pacifist. Castiel comes off like… well, God. This is purely speculation, but it would not surprise me if Cas finally got some insight into his Father’s (Chuck’s) head. The God of Supernatural stays out of all the conflict, doesn’t seem to hurt anyone, and sees/saw the beauty in humanity though no one else did/does. It’s an interesting parallel. I hope Castiel is around more in season eight so that his character can be explored and developed further.
And finally let’s talk about the Leviathans and their leader the big bad Dick—Dick Roman that is. If you read my mid-season review you’ll remember that I was very unimpressed with Dick Roman and the Leviathans. They weren’t bad. I just didn’t care about them. I can happily say now that I like Dick’s character. I started liking him the episode “The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo.” This is a problem. Why? Starting to like the main villain is a good thing right? “The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo” is the twentieth episode—the twentieth. That’s only three episodes from the season finale and I’m just now giving a shit about the series’ main villain. The Leviathans were just so boring and uninteresting until this point, I didn’t like them, I didn’t hate them, I just did not care about them at all. I almost wish that Sam and Dean would fail to kill them at the end of the season just so I could actually grow to love them/love to hate them, but nothing about them was interesting until right now.
Here’s hoping that the season finale makes everything better… but I have to say I’m skeptical.