This Supernatural review contains spoilers.
Supernatural: Season 12, Episodes 22-23
In order to wrap up two completely different season arcs – one for the Men of Letters vs American Hunters and one for Lucifer’s progeny, we got a special two-hour season finale.
Although I appreciate the occasional special episode in a show, I don’t feel the two-parter season finale was necessary. Mostly because it was hardly a two-parter.
“Who We Are” and “All Along the Watchtower” were standalone episodes crammed together to gain that “all night” status. Really, I wouldn’t have minded waiting a week in between these episodes. Or even a summer. This season could have ended on the Men of Letters conclusion (maybe a little flashier than what we had, but we did get an explosion and lots of gunfire). It was almost like watching the finales of two different seasons.
“Who We Are”
In the first half, we got two trapped scenarios that the boys had to deal with. One was being trapped in the bunker, which was resolved in a relatively short time and was even light enough in tone for the occasional quip. The other scenario was within Mary’s mind, where she retreated into happy domestic dreams instead of fighting the brainwashing.
Dean confronting Mary in her head was a truly touching scene, because he finally loosened up on the pining after his mother and pieced things together. He told her of some of the major hurdles Sam and he had to face, all directly resulting from her fateful deal with Azazel before they were born.
Dean becomes emotional in that scene: vacillating between angry and heartbroken. “I hate you…but I love you.” It encapsulates the complicated relationships everyone in the Supernatural-verse seem to have with their parents. The Winchesters, Bobby Singer, Jo and Ellen Harvelle, Crowley and Rowena, the angels and God… everyone in this show has issues with their parents.
“All Along the Watchtower”
It was so satisfying to see Mark Pellegrino back in his role as a favorite Supernatural villain. Back in his glory, so to speak, after being imprisoned by Crowley and nearly re-caged by Rowena. Lucifer had the pizzazz and spunk we like to see in our fallen archangel, still bitter over that spat with his dad (we knew that couldn’t be permanently resolved) and wanting to wreck all his toys.
This alternate reality that they visit in the finale is very Mad Max/Phantom Zone-y. The colors of this world are drab, but kind of beautiful in their simplicity. Just from that color change, you can immediately tell we’ve traveled from the “normal” world the Winchesters inhabit to this new realm. If you didn’t see the pointy spike things and bodies strewn everywhere, the color would tell you all you needed to know.
Missed opportunity to not have John Winchester make an appearance, though. I love Bobby, don’t get me wrong, but I immediately got my hopes up for a Mary/John alternate-universe reunion when Cass met the mysterious friend on the other side.
Several of our recurring greats met a sticky end this episode, and I’m still trying to process it. First off, I’m surprised Rowena was dealt with so flippantly. We didn’t get to see her death scene, just her charred corpse, a blood-splattered home and a lock of red hair held in Lucifer’s hand. The staging of this scene was brilliant, revealing only just the details you needed to piece together what happened off screen. Goodbye Rowena, we’ll miss your witchy sass.
Next off, Cass (whom I didn’t mention first to avoid spoilation). Is…is this real life? Did my beloved angel really just get ventilated by Lucifer? I’m hoping there’s a loophole when we return in Season 13, but it better be a good one. I’m getting tired of death scenes that don’t meant anything anymore. What in Chuck’s name are we going to do with that problem?
Lastly, Crowley. The King of Hell has been a mainstay of Supernatural since he first appeared in Season 5’s “Abandon All Hope.” He took one for the team. It was downright heroic. Who would have thought Crowley would become so disillusioned by his station in life that he’d do that?
Although the timing of this two-parter seemed odd, and the Men of Letters and Lucifer storylines a little too removed from each other, this was still a fine pair of episodes. We got to see character growth, impossible situations and nostalgia galore. Plus, we’ve got that creepy image of Lucifer Junior to haunt us until next season. That’s really the gift that keeps on giving.
Looking forward to lucky number Season 13 (thirteen!) for an insane continuation of Sam and Dean’s wacky adventures.