Careening To Season End with Supernatural ‘We Happy Few’

Warner Bros/The CW
Warner Bros/The CW

My perspective on this week’s episode was shaped by the context of watching it, let me say that up front. I’m in Rome, without much internet, and didn’t get to see the episode until Thursday evening (thanks to the generosity of fandom and a download link—thank you @mywaywardsonsuk!). We watched huddled over my iPad in our hotel room, but the download stopped and started and I confess I held my breath the entire time, not for the usual reasons, but because I was rather terrified that I’d get to see half of the episode and then I wouldn’t get the rest. What kind of torture would that be?? Luckily it all played, so here’s my quick-before-my-internet-craps-out mini review!

The reaction to ‘We Happy Few’, from the little I’ve seen since I’m not online as much as usual, was mixed. Some people enjoyed it and liked where the story seems to be going. Others hated it and hated that same trajectory. We knew it was a ballsy move to make God a character—this is Supernatural, after all, which means as soon as you’re a character you also have a likely expiration date. Apparently even if you’re God! I was prepared for that, so it didn’t shock me as much as it shocked some people, but I did still whisper, “They’re actually gonna kill God??” Apparently I’m not as unshockable as I thought.

I always enjoy Robert Berens’ writing, and that held true in this episode. I think perhaps the problem is that I wasn’t sure if I SHOULD be enjoying this episode. It’s the penultimate episode of the season, after all, and things are always dire at this point. The episode’s cast included many characters we’ve come to have strong feelings about, many of them very negative. Rowena, who has double-crossed just about everyone (though I unabashedly love her anyway and cheer every time she’s spared). Crowley—the Big Bad of several seasons—who has gone back to being the King of Hell and seems to finally be over his bromance with Dean. And Lucifer, who was the Biggest Bad to ever bad for quite a while, who used to inspire fear as recently as mid-season. Lucifer who tortured Sam so horribly that it left him with constant flashbacks and borderline psychosis. Who Sam was so terrified of earlier this season that we could SEE it in every expression, every involuntary flinch.

It was hard to make the leap to having all these former Big Bads in a room with God and the Winchesters, making the transition from hating each other to working together in the space of A SINGLE EPISODE. Whoa. I imagine Berens getting the word of what he had to accomplish in this episode and having a panic attack. I would have.

Somehow he pulls it off, but it just felt like too far to travel in 42 minutes. I would have felt better if we’d at least gotten some acknowledgement of Sam’s former terror and hatred, instead of his (seemingly) abrupt being on board with Lucifer and God reconciling. The Winchesters make amusing relationship counselors for sure, but again, I felt a bit guilty about my amusement. Was now really the time for jokes, boys?

Warner Bros/the CW
Warner Bros/the CW

But given what had to be accomplished in this episode, there was no time for Sam working through his very understandable trauma and deciding to be the Big Damn Hero he is and put it aside so they can do what they have to do to defeat Amara. I get why he felt he had to do it, but I would have loved to see some of his struggle. Dean’s, too—he HATES Lucifer for what he did to Sam. I find it hard to believe that he was able to put that aside, protective big brother that he is.

Misha did a great job as petulant Lucifer, and both he and Rob sold the depth of emotion in God and Lucifer’s father-and-son talk—the dialogue there was solid and helped sell the genuine feeling—but again, I kept wondering if this SHOULD be feeling okay. Should I really allow myself to see Lucifer as the hurt little boy, acting out all over the place because his father abandoned him?

Warner Bros/the CW
Warner Bros/the CW
Warner Bros/the CW
Warner Bros/the CW

That has certainly been the setup for this season, but applying it to Lucifer is a real stretch. All the quick evolutions were making my head spin. I think this episode could easily have been about four episodes, and then the changes might have felt more organic.

I thoroughly enjoyed some of the confrontations and convincing that we did get to see—Rowena and Clea were awesome together, and I will never not be amused by Rowena’s 101 terms for Sam’s height. I also liked the cheekiness of Crowley and Dean’s confrontation with its mention of their former bromance and the “that ship has sailed” comment. Hehehe.

Warner Bros/the CW
Warner Bros/the CW

The final confrontation with Amara was a rather complicated plan, which I confess I wasn’t entirely down with—as in, I wasn’t sure who was supposed to be doing what. Good thing I wasn’t one of the players, huh? I got stuck on Sam being willing to take on the Mark, which I somehow wasn’t expecting—mostly because I get fuzzy about exactly what the Mark is there for and how it works. Probably my favorite part of the episode was Dean and Sam’s conversation/argument about Sam taking on the Mark. I wanted a lot MORE of that!

Dean was understandably horrified and NO WAY, and Sam was all, “We talked about this, Dean, I have to be the one who does it,” and I was all on board with that discussion. That’s Sam and Dean. But then Dean agrees, and it felt once again a bit too soon. I know they’re facing the end of all things, but Dean agreeing to let his little brother take on the Mark of Cain??? I don’t know. That’s a tough one for me to swallow. I guess it’s supposed to show some character evolution? Dean letting Sam be a grown-up and take one for the team? I don’t like it, though.

Warner Bros/the CW
Warner Bros/the CW

So they each do their thing and try to weaken Amara, and she looks pretty damn weak when she finally confronts her brother. I’m assuming we were supposed to feel for her there, beat up and bloodied as she was, when she accuses God of just wanting a boost for his ego by creating a bunch of lesser beings. Ouch. I did feel for her, though once again I wasn’t sure I should be. God/Chuck doesn’t really deny it; it seems that was a part of his motivation, but he insists it wasn’t all of it. That creation had to happen, that all that potential had to be tapped. (Not sure if this is some sort of philosophical argument about the merits and inevitability of creative expression, or if the conversation is really about whether two people can be enough for each other, or if there needs to be more… which, come to think of it, is a very Winchester argument indeed.)

At some points in their conversation, Amara seemed to be making more sense than God, which was confusing for me. I like my villains pretty dark, otherwise I don’t know who to root for… but then again, Supernatural has never liked to draw the lines thickly, that’s part of what makes it interesting. Amara just wanted to be God’s equal, she just wanted to love him and be loved by him, but it seems God didn’t feel the same way. She couldn’t approve of his creation, expanding the universe outside of the two of them, and so she tried to destroy all that he created… until he locked her away. We finally found out in this episode that it was the Mark, given to Lucifer to keep Amara locked away, that turned him from God’s favorite to the dark rebel he became—much as it also changed Dean. Which made me even more upset that Sam was taking it on!

God wanting to be looked up to?
God wanting to be looked up to?

It seems that’s what’s happening, and then there’s a last-minute change of plans. Seems Amara, faced with the prospect of being locked away in solitary confinement again, gets a burst of strength no one expected. Next thing we know, God is suspended (an effect I never like, since it always throws me out of the action wondering if it’s wires or what) and being choked to death. What??!!

So here we are, facing the last episode. Things have all gone to shit, the big unholy (and holy) alliance didn’t work, the Winchesters are on the floor, God is dying. Lucifer may be dead, and where does that leave Cas? Rowena is alive for now; Crowley was tossed around but is probably alive, too. And Sam? Does he still have the Mark or is it back on Amara? I think it’s back on Amara, but I’m not sure. I hope it is, because I don’t want it on poor Sam!

I’m going into the finale, as is usually the case, with a lot of trepidation. I’m unspoiled mostly, but nervous that the theme of sacrifice that has been woven through this season means my heart is going to be broken. The one spoilery picture I’ve seen makes me a billion times more anxious. Though I guess if I didn’t feel that way, I might have to wonder if my love of this Show was finally dimming. Clearly, as I sit here biting my fingernails in anticipation, that is not the case.

Finale, here we come!

(In the meantime, I’m on vacation in Rome and being a tourist and without much data so not live-tweeting much for the first time in many many cons. Which means I actually get to look up and watch!!! Stay tuned for photos and reports once I’m back in the land of available data – and hopefully a few tweets from JIB here and there).

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19 thoughts on “Careening To Season End with Supernatural ‘We Happy Few’

  • You nailed the feeling of should I feel good during this episode? Intensity crammed into 42 minutes. How does BoboBerens do it? Good editor.

  • Lynn, you’re such a trooper getting a review in through technical troubles.

    I completely agree that the rush to position the characters and story for the finale seems far too rushed, the resolution of Sam’s trauma far too casual/non-existent for any kind of catharsis for us or Sam, and the idea that Dean would let Sam take on the Mark is far too sudden to be believable–that could not have been a short conversation, and we only got the “we’ve talked about this” glimmer of explanation? Hmmmm….seems like they tried to do too much with too little.

    Knowing they had a twelfth season in the bag, they could have been a bit more leisurely with the exposition and still managed a good cliffhanger, which we know will be coming next week and a summer to endure as we wonder, worry, and wait.

    I do like the layering of context and conflict with the bad guys not always being evil for evil’s sake–there is always a backstory of trauma behind every villain, but I am not at all satisfied with Sam’s even being able to be in the same room with Lucifer without at least some acknowledgment of the horrors Lucifer put him through. I know they think they had a lot of accomplish in one episode but it seems to me with the twelfth season a given, they could have found the time to give us some satisfaction.

    Don’t get me wrong, I did not hate the episode–there are gems that I can’t wait to go back and re-experience, but I am left wanting the explication they did not give me. Looking forward to next week with both anxiety and anticipation.

  • Thanks for sharing your insights and confusions with us! I too feel some trepidation about the Finale, I fear there is going to be another sacrificial moment for the brothers. And judging by the teaser they dropped after the episode I think it’s gonna be Dean’s sacrifice. Oh Dean, oh writers, oh gawd get me some tissues!!

    Enjoy JIBcon and know that back here in Ohio, USA someone is enviously wishing you a great time and safe journeys!

  • Giggled like a schoolgirl when Lucifer refused to leave his room, stereo music cranked. It’s going to come down to Sam and Dean, mankind versus the Darkness. Really…have Sam and Dean been messed up enough for it to end so easily? Not by Supernatural standards! LOL Looking forward to the next episode.

  • I’d say that as Amara wasn’t locked away the lock/mark didn’t stay on Sam. But part of that is that I don’t want it on my poor Sam!
    Love your reviews!

  • I totally agree that this episode could have easily been about two more episodes instead of everything crowded into one. Dean saying ok about Sam taking the mark was also out of character but with God, Lucifer etc., he probably felt a bit overwhelmed. I would. The main problems I had with this episode were that I think Amara was supposed to come across as a wounded being, hurt and pissed at her brother. We were supposed to sympathize with her ( like with Lucifer) and for some reason, I didn’t. At all. The other problem I had, was with the music. Normally, I don’t have a problem with it-but I did this time. Especially the final scene with Sam, Dean and Chuck on the floor. It was annoying. Next week is going to be the one I usually love and dread at the same time. It’s coming.

    • I have to agree about the music. I usually don’t notice either, and my friend watching with me didn’t seem to notice, but that final scene music was jarring!

  • Sam’s trauma is not resolved, he’s just doing what he has to, just like when he went to face Lucifer the first time around this season. He also knows that 1. Cas is still in there so he has some level of protection and 2. God isn’t going to let Lucifer hurt him as was shown in this ep.

    I think people keep forgetting the fact, even though Sam made the statement in the show, that they FINALLY have God right there, on their side, helping them. This gives Sam faith and hope that he is truly doing the right thing. Sure, he’s scared of Lucifer but God’s right there, that gives him a sense of safety which allows him to face his fears of Lucifer.

    As far as Dean being on board with Sam taking the Mark. What are their other options? That and he’s pretty much outvoted, Sam and God are on board, Lucifer is right there. Dean knows that he can’t convince Sam that his way is better than God’s for two reasons. One, he his no other way, two, he promised Sam that they would be smarter this time around and three, he’s fully aware that his plans never seem to help much in the end either and he knows that it is his choice to take the Mark on, lying to Sam about it, not to mention the whole Gadreel betrayal and running from Sam in S9 that led to this whole mess anyway.

    Yes, a lot of exposition went unsaid but if you look at the series of actions Dean made since end of Season 8, the amount of guilt he’s carrying plus the fact that he’s powerless against Amara, there’s no other path for him to take. It truly does all make sense.

    Lucifer as a petulant pissed off kid. That has been hinted and talked about since the Kripke era. Lucifer’s always felt God betrayed him, the other angels talked about him being a whiner and selfish and he’s always been written as hurt and angered by God. In this ep it wasn’t about all powerful beings, it was about millions of years of hurt and pain finally getting to come out into the open.

    Amara, since her arrival, has made it very clear that she felt betrayed by God as well. What Supernatural had to do when they decided to bring God into the story was to make the God/Lucifer/Amara arc fit into the true ethos of the show which has always been about familial relationships. That’s what this ep did.

    I went from being really not all that impressed with God being in the show to loving it, and this ep was one that sealed the deal for me. Look at the entire history of any mythology, Greek, Roman, Hawaiian, Norse, etc. etc. etc. There is always family drama at the core of it, and the writers are pulling from that heritage in this retelling of the Bible story of God and Lucifer, which is pretty damn awesome 🙂

  • Yes, the Mark is back with Amara. You could see how the burning on Sam’s arm receded and the Mark glowed on Amaras chest again.

    I’m melancholic. Next week is the last episode. Sigh. I bet we will see how Dean will sacrifice himself to be with Amara to save the World. I dont want to see something like that..and wait sooo long until Season 12.

    There is a word for the feeling you have after you end a really good book. I feel like now. If I had anything to say, there would be every week a new episode. Poor guys. 😉

  • Just the kind of episode for which Supernatural is noted! We all will be scratching our heads, gazing at our navels, and arguing over “what it all means” as Forever-Fans — well, forever! It’s my kind of don’t-judge-me episode; I take it as it comes, enjoy the story’s writing and chaos, its humour, its confusion, the characters, magnificent production values, directing genius, and the incredible acting talent of the cast. At the end of all things, it makes sense to me. Will never die of boredom; quite the contrary! Bring it, boys and girls!

  • Another review where you read my mind. I didn’t dislike the episode but I didn’t overly love it. Like you I found way too many messages/mirrors and a lot of unexplained emotions. So you’re review saying it should have been more than one show helps me justify my own opinions. I guess the show would become a little to soap opera-like so there needo to be more action and Dean is all about taking action. One hidden message I got from banning all the enemies together to fight a common cause was a ah-ha moment and made me laugh. The message was get a grip. Agree to disagree. Funny how this episode created another divide within the fandom. One thing I will say everyone on screen brought their best performances. The verbal show down between Amara and Chuck spoke volumes (Good job Berens). I am nervous for the finale because I am hoping a return to much simpler times.

  • Enjoy Rome. It’s a beautiful city so be sure to get outside the convention hall. I was there last June for two days. You can’t do Rome in a day. 🙂

  • Just a note, Lynn: We found out about the effects of the Mark, how it corrupted Lucifer, in the season ten finale. Death tells both Sam and Dean about it, stressing that somebody has to wear the mark in order to keep the darkness boarded up. So again, somebody has to wear it, again. Another question for the finale, and it’s a fairly important one.

  • i agree with you so much! i would have loved more of sam and dean especially sam reacting to the fact that his tormentor was LIVING IN HIS HOUSE. it just seems like a big jump from the mid season finale and premier when he was terrified of him. i would have rather a few scenes that acknowledged this rather than time spent on the ‘dream team’

  • This episode didn’t sit well with me. Sam and Dean trying to be mediators with God and Lucifer? It was clunky and awkward and painful to watch. I thought the dialogue terrible, and out of character. Lucifer being portrayed as a petulant child hiding in his room with loud music I thought ridiculous. This is LUCIFER! The evilist evil that ever eviled! He’s been locked away for millions of years, he would be more likely to rant and rave and scream at his father, not just lock himself away again. The same for Crowley. He is still obviously the most powerful demon by far, if God agreed to include him in their gathering against Amara, but here he is allowing some minion demons to mock him and belittle him publicly, then just walk out. What the?? The episode did have its redeeming parts (I love Rowena and her creative way of saving herself while the world burns, lol) and I thought the actors did amazingly. Pity they killed off Clea, I think she would have made an interesting addition for next year!

  • I’ve got to admit I’m going against the trend here, but I thought it was the worst show they’ve ever done. Worse than ‘Man’s Best Friend with Benefits’ or ‘Season 7, Time for a Wedding’. Dire, in fact. I’ve been with Show since day 1, as you know, but I came away wondering if I can even watch next week – or ever again.

    Please tell me this as a psychologist, would Dean give up his room to Alastair and greet him calmly? So how come Sam, who was tormented by Lucifer for even longer than Dean was in Hell, is suddenly calm and actively trying to – jeez, I don’t even know what! – Dr. Phil him? Sam should have been terrified. There should have been something from both Sam and Dean indicating that this was merely a marriage of convenience. Instead we got a sitcom with Pouty God and pouty Lucifer. There was a throwaway line from God about, “Michael’s in no fit state to face Amara.” So how come dear mortal Sammy is? How come he has to take one for the team? Let God take that Mark on, or give it to Crowley. He’s already bad, so who’s going to notice. BAD writing, from a team who has painted themselves into a corner and once again want to throw the brothers to the wolves and yet again are going to sacrifice the brothers to get out of the tight spot they’ve created, and that was only the beginning. It got worse, but I won’t go on about it, because you know what you saw.

    As I watched the clunky dialogue, the silly story line and the whole trainwreck, I began to feel upset. Then I got angry. By the end of it I was so furious there were tears. The only
    part I enjoyed was Clea bargaining with Rowena, and so OF COURSE they destroyed her.

    Death told us that one day he would reap God. I say bring Death back. Have him reap God, Amara, Lucifer and the whole bunch of them. I’d like to see my Winchesters back in character and an end to angels and demons. At the end of the day, it’s the brothers against the bad things that go bump in the night.

    I love this Show. Please tell me it’s going to be good again.

    Finally, just a thought, but if they had to cram all this into one ep, couldn’t they have sacrificed a MOW one and had it a little more filled in?

  • I’m in the middle on this one – I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t like it either. My issues were mostly with tone (we’re on the edge of destruction and the boys are playing Dr. Phil? Eh.) and with the lack of cohesion. I understand the “enemy of my enemy” logic, and to borrow a line from a friend, I like that we have enough history with these characters that we remember the backstories of how much everyone really hates each other. But just throwing everything together with cutaways from character to character? It felt rushed and like it was setting up some big twist – and unless the twist was that there wasn’t a twist, it failed to deliver on that level.

    Really, what bothers me the most is that we are hurtling to the season finale and I don’t want one of the most spectacular seasons to end on a whimper, even when we know we’re coming back for season 12.

    The interesting thing about that Dr. Phil scene is that as I watched it, there was an odd disconnect with the show for me. Once it was down to Lucifer and Chuck in two chairs hashing it out it was absolutely mesmerizing. It felt like this incredibly intimate piece of theater; I would have watched that production separate from the show. It did fit in with the overall story, but I still selfishly want a more quietly terrifying and less petulant Lucifer.

    Like a lot of people, I had issues with the nonchalant way it was announced that Sam would bear the mark. But I suppose that is consistent with the way Sam is not the least bit bothered by hanging out with Lucifer despite that horrible history. I’ll borrow this line from my husband, “Well, God is there. If he isn’t just fixing that because God can do that, at the very least he probably is a very calming presence.” I can buy that – but if we are going to work with that, I would have liked a scene where Chuck heals/calms/fixes Sam. Not only would that have served as a nice fixit for this problem, but it would likely have been a beautiful scene.

    One line in particular stood out to me: “The Mark didn’t change you. It just made you more of what you already were.” This is pretty huge. Lucifer became an enraged egomaniac determined to destroy the humans he hated so much. Cain became The Father of Murder. Dean… well, Demon Dean was really good at killing, was cocky as hell, was back to putting what he learned on his laptop into use with waitresses … and tried to kill Sam with a hammer. Could Sam bear the Mark better than the rest of them somehow? I don’t really see that as Sam has certainly had his dark moments. The Mark has to be accepted – God can’t just force it onto Crowley or Rowena – so maybe the hope is that if Sam took it on without an ulterior motive he could hold out longer before being banished from humanity. Nonetheless, I don’t care for that turn and the quick turnaround on it seemed to be treated with much less importance than it should have had. Of course, it didn’t happen so maybe it comes down to lazy writing – they didn’t need to go into the details, so they didn’t. Next scene.

    I’ll end on, well, the end … of possibly everything. As God is crumpled on the floor, presumably dying, we are left wondering if this is the countdown to Amara returning us to the void. Except, we know from season five that “In the end [Death] will reap God.” Demon Dean took out Death and we haven’t seen him since then. (Maybe he’s another entity potentially in the empty.) If Death is out of the picture, can God be reaped? Is this how we stave off the destruction brought forth by Amara? Is Death the check and balance between the duality (which the show acknowledged!) – to make sure that there is always light and dark?

  • I think the problem with this episode, which I did actually enjoy, was that really the Winchesters were bit players, not the main characters. I also don’t like the suspend from the air sequence, as it always looks artificial to me, no matter how clever they are in deleting the wires. And yes it seemed a bit rushed

    But I have really enjoyed the last few episodes, and the entire season has been excellent with the story telling first class. I thought this one had the parallels of father son relationships, John/Sam & Dean, God/Lucifer and also siblings. I also have enjoyed the petulance, vengeful character moments that our deities have all shown, as , without getting into religion, if God created man in his own image, shouldn’t both reflect the good and bad traits of each other. Free will was mentioned, and by chance I heard an interview with a philosopher on free will, so it’s role in this saga over the years has still not diminished

    Meanwhile, Rowena the great survivor is still there, Crowley MIA, Cas (OMG), and did I miss it, but I’m not sure the angels actually got involved

    Finally if the end of the world is coming, it will hit the USA first, then days later arrive in Australia, as that is how far behind we are !

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