MidSeason Finale Time for Supernatural with The Spear!

 

After watching the previous week’s Supernatural episode at a Supernatural convention with some fellow fangirls, I missed this week’s episode entirely due to family obligations and watched it on the CW app on my phone a few days later once everyone had gone to bed. A very different experience, to say the least! That also meant I was somewhat spoiled thanks to a few twitter forays in the interim, which always makes my viewing experience muted. It’s hard to say how much more I would have liked this episode if I was 100% unspoiled, but I don’t think it would have been night and day.

The THEN segment was about ten minutes long, which usually means there’s going to be way too much going on in the upcoming episode. Uh oh.

But then I hear Rockin’ Around the Christmas tree, one of my favorites, and there’s lots of pretty Christmas décor, so that’s nice….and then, in true Supernatural fashion, broken things and lots of blood and a hapless guy screaming “No please no!”  One of the crazy-toothed werewolf guys (in a Santa hat) confronts him and grabs him by the throat. Cut to mistletoe above them, so werewolf guy leans in for a kiss – and snaps the guy’s neck. Ah, Supernatural.

I enjoyed that irreverent beginning – nice touches by writer Robert Berens.

Even if I hadn’t been spoiled, it wouldn’t have been a shock to see Michael in a new vessel in the next scene – this one a beautiful woman. Michael sure has good taste in vessels! I thought Felisha Terrell did a good job of channeling Michael’s low key but confident mannerisms. I was happy to see Melanie (Andrea Drepaul) return, and I was also spoiled for the return of D J Qualls as Garth, so no surprises yet for me.

Michael recognizes Garth too, since he was in Dean’s head. Garth says he’s still a friend to Dean, though he has a family now which means he has to be on the winning side. Hmmm. Not sure I believe you Garth, but hopefully Michael does.

After the opening wings, we return to the bunker. Jack eats cookie crisp cereal in the middle of the night and tells Castiel not to tell Dad – I mean, Sam — which I find endearing. Cas reassures Jack that of course he’s having trouble sleeping, since he was just brought back to life.

Cas: We’ve all been there. Sort of a rite of passage around here.

Me: He’s not wrong.

Sometimes watching a show that’s been on the air fourteen years is an unusual experience, because a lot of really odd things have happened to the main characters – repeatedly. I kinda like that they acknowledge it outright, so thanks for that Robert Berens.

Jack wants to know why Sam and Dean can’t know about the deal Cas made, but Cas says he doesn’t want them to have that burden. Besides, he reasons, this hunting life they live is a lot of things, but happy is rarely one of them, so maybe he’ll be safe for a long time.

Again, he’s not wrong.

Meanwhile, my suspicions about Garth are proved right – he’s checking in with Sam. Sam feels guilty already, worried that Garth will have to drink Michael’s super-charged blood since he’s undercover – and Sam’s the one who pulled him out of retirement. Dean does a little exposition to make sure viewers understand what’s going on (yes yes we’re following) and tries to reassure Sam, since they have some intel and possibly some weapons too.

Dean: I like our odds.

Me: Oh no, don’t say that, never say that…

 

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I didn’t realize at the time that this was the only scene we’d get with just Sam and Dean, and it was a tiny one at that.

Sam and Dean join Cas and Jack for a skype call with Ketch, sounding very posh indeed, much to Jack’s amusement and Sam and Dean’s annoyance. He got the magic archangel-catching egg, then apparently dropped the egg, and… then put the egg in the mail. Priority mail though, so no worries. What could go wrong?

David Haydn-Jones is very good at comedy, and his apologetic shrug and “Sorry chaps” made me smile. So did Dean’s facepalm and exasperated expression, because Jensen Ackles is very good at comedy too. In fact, they all are, luckily for us.

 

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Back at Michael headquarters overlooking the soon-to-be-doomed Kansas City, second-in-command Melanie reassures Garth that he can safely (sort of) drink the supercharged archangel blood potion, which of course he’s trying to avoid doing.

Melanie: Don’t worry, only about one in 7 volunteers explodes.

Garth tries not to swallow (snicker), but Michael makes sure he does. Garth seems okay, and he pointedly does not tell Sam what he’s done when he calls to report in. That can’t be good. Michael, Garth tells Sam, is after Dark Kaia, determined to destroy her spear, and he has an army of turned monsters ready to eat up Kansas City – on Christmas!

Dean: All nogged up, waiting for Santa – Merry Freakin’ Christmas!

Dean Winchester really does have a way with words.

For once, the Winchesters have a few aces up their sleeve – the egg, which they plan to steal from the postal facility where it got snagged (don’t you hate when that happens right at the holidays?), some bespelled cuffs that may hold Michael, and Kaia’s spear still in play too. Of course, just when the Winchesters think they have a few aces is when all hell tends to break loose.

Unfortunately that means Sam and Dean splitting up, which always makes me unhappy and happens every other second on the show these days. Sam and Jack go to the post office and Dean and Cas head for the deserted warehouse to find the spear and Michael’s monsters.

Cas notes that Dean seems happy (which strikes me as not exactly the correct emotion, but this is Cas after all). Dean says he’s fired up, because when was the last time they had a no strings attached win?

Of course, Cas knows there are strings attached, so ouch.

Dean tells Cas something I’ve been really wanting him to say out loud, and especially to tell Sam – that he thought he understood what it meant to be possessed, but really he didn’t. He has always had sympathy for Sam, and in fact his hatred for Lucifer is fueled by his rage that the possession was agonizing for his brother, but he didn’t have empathy – because he didn’t know how devastating it is to be powerless against it, to have to watch your body do things you loathe, to be traumatized and used and entirely helpless and impotent. Now he does.

And now? All he wants is to kill Michael for that violation.

I’m glad Dean got to say that, and I was glad that he opened up to Sam in a previous episode and described what his own possession and violation was like, and Sam was clearly empathic and moved by it. But Sam also needs to hear that Dean understands now how unspeakably horrific Sam’s possession was. Cas was, of course, possessed too, but Sam’s, Dean’s and Castiel’s experience of being possessed by Lucifer were very different. Cas has said that he was asleep most of the time, so while in retrospect he is of course feeling a similar sense of impotence and rage, it wasn’t the extended trauma that Sam’s possession was – or the constant being drowned and suffocated sensation that Dean’s was. I’m glad Dean told Cas, but please Show, can he tell his brother who really needs to hear it?

They find the warehouse empty, though it looks like Kaia has been there.

Meanwhile, Sam lets Jack try his hand at lock picking, since he’s eager to prove himself and be useful. Jack is adorably proud of himself when he succeeds and gets a ‘nice work’ from Dad Sam. He even manages a “happy holidays” as they leave, as the place is amusingly and incongruously decorated for Christmas. Incongruous because there’s nothing light and cheery about this episode!

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Just as Sam notices a shady looking black van and gets suspicious, he gets whacked on the back of the head while some shady guys grab Jack. Poor Sam, one more concussion!

And then – here’s Michael!

Michael: Hey Sam, happy holidays.

(Michael is developing more and more personality as the season goes on, it seems).

He tosses Sam into a van (more concussion) but I love Sam’s bravery here as he rushes the archangel to try to save Jack even as he must know it’s fruitless and could be his own death sentence. I love me some fierce and fearless and protective Sam – but alas, Michael destroys the egg and knocks Sam out. One possible weapon gone.

Dean keeps calling Sam’s phone and getting no answer, and now he’s upset. (See, Dean? Stop splitting up, for godsakes!) Of course, Michael was in fact not fooled by Garth, and yes Dean, this is in fact a set up.  Kaia is there in the warehouse though, and this time Dean asks her for the spear instead of trying to forcibly take it from her.

He tells her the truth, that Michael has his family, and he’s going to torture them just like he tortured Dean. Just like he tortured Kaia. And Dean can’t stand for that to happen.

Dean: So if you’re not going to give it to me, kill me.

I think he means it, and Cas looks ready to jump out of his skin, but Dean stands his ground, the tip of the spear at his chest.  And Kaia agrees. She says that all she wants is to go back to the Bad Place. There are monsters here chasing her too, and at least there she understood how to deal with that. She wants Jack to send her back – because she too has people she is bound to protect.

Kaia hands Dean the spear….

And Dean’s phone rings.

Sam: He’s got Jack.

They all head to Kansas City, Sam from one direction and Dean and Cas from the other. (I’m not sure why they didn’t bring Kaia with them, since she’s got as much beef with  Michael as they do. And why was Kaia not caught by Michael before now? Hmm). For that matter, why didn’t they call Mary and Bobby and whoever else for backup? They have all these AU hunters around, but they go after the Big Bad alone, just the four of them?

Cas says what Dean is clearly thinking too: Sam, don’t you go in there alone.

Me: Uh oh.

Meanwhile, Michael tells a bound Jack his plan, to turn all of Kansas City into his loyal monsters. When Jack says “I hate you”, Michael comes back with “Jack, we’re family, we’re the only kin each of us has left in this world.”

Interesting commentary on family, a core theme of this show.

Jack: You’re not family.

Michael is convinced, however, that in time – over eons – Jack’s loyalty to the Winchesters, to Cas, to humans, will fade.  I’m not entirely sure why  Michael wants to convince Jack to be on his side. I get that if Jack’s powers come back, he would be a threat, so Michael would want to either kill him or keep him close, but recruit him? Hmm.

Jack: Sam, Dean and Castiel – they’ll come for me.

Michael just smiles.

Felisha makes it look very scary.

Outside, the turned vampire and werewolf prepare for the takeover, but they haven’t counted on Sam Winchester – who did not listen to Castiel’s very good advice and arrives well before Dean and Cas.

Whack, he beheads the vamp.

Love me some Sam Fucking Winchester!

He didn’t even stay out of the building, in fact – he goes right in and beheads Melanie in the elevator. RIP Melanie!

Sam frees Jack and oh dear, that was way too easy!

Sure enough, Garth finds them and uh oh, that can’t be right, why is Garth still alive and kicking when we know that Michael caught him on the phone with Sam….  And it isn’t. Garth clearly tries to fight it, but he eventually succumbs to the monster potion he ingested and attacks them.

“He’s in my head, Sam, he won’t let me stop,” Garth sobs as he rushes Sam. “I’m sorry!”

Sam, because he’s Sam, tries to talk Garth out of it, and gets beat up in the process. Jack also leaps in and tries to help. Eventually Sam knocks Garth out and they put him in the trunk just as Dean and Cas arrive.

Dean (sarcastic): Thanks for waiting for us.

Me: Yeah, Sam!

Dean’s feeling confident now because he has the spear – cue some Ackles improv juggling the spear in the parking lot where they meet up and almost whacking Sam in the head with it.  (Stunt wizard Rob Hayter confirmed that was “all Jensen” – and that he’s a very quick study, but we already knew that, didn’t we?)

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Sam’s face though. lol

Meanwhile, Cas heals Jack (hey, some of his powers are back! I am forever confused as to whether Cas has powers or doesn’t, since it seems at the whim of whoever is writing the particular episode)

Dean: Impossible odds, feels like home.

Ode to Joy then starts to play because this is a) a Christmas themed episode and b) apparently an homage to Die Hard. The foursome walk slowly and dramatically across the parking lot. I have to say, that didn’t entirely work for me. First, that dramatic slow-mo walk has already been used to good effect in the Tarantino-esque episode, and second, with the super dramatic music and the super dramatic slow-mo it was just….too dramatic! I couldn’t quite take it seriously, yet it felt like we were supposed to take it seriously. Maybe it’s one of those things you can’t over use if you want it to be effective.

It also looked really odd to have Dean and Cas in the front instead of Sam and Dean, who are usually  – pretty much always – the ones leading. Was that a ship offering? I honestly don’t know, but it struck me as odd and threw me out of that scene even more.

We’re now in the final five minutes and I know something dramatic is going to happen, but luckily I wasn’t sure exactly what that was going to be. They all know that Michael will be able to sense Castiel, and that’s what happens first, Cas going in ahead and trying to attack with what I’m assuming is an archangel blade? Misha gets to do some fight scene sequences, trench coat flying as he spars with Michael. Michael, of course, beats the crap out of him, dragging him into the penthouse apartment that has a beautiful view of the impending havoc. Cas has had his share of being beaten and bloodied this season, that’s for sure. Ouch.

I’m not sure if they expected Cas to prevail, or why they didn’t go in all together, but Cas had a chance to show his own determination to take down Michael and his own bravery, even if it didn’t go so well.

Next Michael dispatches Sam and Jack, though I am once again impressed with Sam Winchester’s bravery. Finally Dean attacks with Kaia’s spear. Ackles is a lot more adept at wielding the spear now than he was in the garage, but Michael soon overpowers Dean, lifting him up off the ground and choking him.

Michael: I’m so glad you could make it tonight. I know you hate me, Dean, but just remember – you let me in. And now you get to see it, everything your mistake made possible. All the bloodshed, all the death, all on you.

Oh no, poor Dean, way to stoke his guilt!

But Michael didn’t count on Sam, who reaches the spear and calls out for his brother.

Sam: Dean!

That means we get a lovely moment of Winchesters working in sync as Sam tosses the spear to Dean (I take these little moments when I can get them).

He grabs the spear and gashes Michael, then backs him up menacingly.

Jack: Kill him!

Dean hesitates, his time as Michael flashing before his eyes.

Sam: (instinctively realizing something’s wrong)  Dean?

Everyone watching: Uh oh. That’s not…

Then the new vessel falls over, and… Dean cracks the spear in two and slowly turns around, blue eyes glowing.

Sam: No.

Michael (menacingly): Yeah.

He goes on, taunting Sam.

Michael: When I gave up Dean, you didn’t think to question, to ask why?

All of fandom: YES WE DID, WE HAD A LOT OF THEORIES!

Michael: Dean was resisting me. He was too attached to you. To all of you. He wouldn’t stop squirming, to get out, to get back.

Unfortunately, as most of us suspected, Michael left a crack – a way to get back in.

Cas: Why wait?

Michael: To break him. To crush and disappoint him completely. So he’ll be nice and quiet this time. Buried. And he is. He’s gone.

Michael points out that he now has a whole army out there.

Michael: Ready. For this.

Thanos-esque snap and the screen goes black.

I wasn’t bowled over by the ending since it’s more or less what I expected. I figured that Michael left some sort of portal behind so he could both spy when he wanted to and so he could get back in.  I am a little confused about what Michael said though. What has he done to break and crush Dean in the time since he left? If he’d been in his head tormenting him more, or if we’d seen more aftermath of Dean’s possession trauma, that would have made more sense. After talking with the cast and the showrunner and writers at Comic Con, I was very hopeful that we’d get to see a lot of the psychological effects of Dean’s possession and see him struggle with some PTSD. If he had, then what Michael said would make perfect sense – but we haven’t really seen that, much to my disappointment. There was that one scene where Dean opened up to Sam and told him what it was like, like being constantly drowned, but that was it. Other than that, Dean has seemed to be coping well enough – well enough that his own mother up and left because I’m assuming she didn’t think Dean was having any post trauma issues.

So what is Michael referring to, that he thinks will keep Dean quiet this time?  Is it just that Dean got his hopes up with finding some of the weapons that might have worked, only to be crushed? Was that supposed to crush him? Not the Dean Winchester I know, Michael!

It almost seems like a more horrible thing to do to Sam and Cas and Jack – they all thought they had Dean back for good and then whoosh, he was taken from them again. (They are clearly more trusting  – or optimistic – than fandom). I would imagine this is very hard for Sam, Cas and Jack to cope with, because they did get their hopes up a bit, and they were all so relieved to have Dean back. I think they just wanted to believe it and not look at it too deeply, because he’s so important to all of them.

Sam looks devastated, and I appreciate Jared’s acting here a great deal. I know Sam and Dean still care about each other, but I need to SEE it. They spend less time together this season onscreen, so their relationship doesn’t feel like the compelling emotional focus that drew me into the show and has kept me here for fourteen seasons. Sometimes it’s only one of the actors’ expressions that gives me a clue that the emotional focus that was always there still exists, even if it’s disappointingly under the surface some of the time.

I actually forgot that this was the mid season finale until the very end – it didn’t feel like it, didn’t feel like there had been enough of a lead up to build the tension and angst and anticipation. I think that’s partly because it’s a shorter season, but mostly because a fair number of this season’s episodes haven’t hooked me in the way I’m accustomed to with this show. This was a solid well-written episode with little canon fail and good acting all around, but it didn’t leave me holding my breath and exclaiming that I can’t stand to have to wait through the mid season mini hellatus. I complain about that, but I secretly love it – and miss it.

The last scene was the strongest in the episode, partly because Jensen Ackles absolutely slayed as Michael. I almost wish they didn’t do the glowing blue eyes thing, because it is crystal clear the moment that Dean becomes Michael. We don’t need to see the glowy eyes. Ackles can change so many subtle nonverbal and verbal characteristics that you can SEE the transformation, which is truly incredible.

It looks like when we do come back from the break, Sam and Cas will be inside Dean’s head trying to rescue him. I don’t want to get too hopeful, but that sounds pretty intriguing, so I’m looking forward to that episode. (Also, I think I’ve read way too many interesting would-never-be-canon fan fics about what either Sam or Cas would find in Dean’s head, depending on what you ship or if you ship… it won’t be any of those, but I wonder what it will be!)

So here’s a cautiously optimistic wish for the second half of Season 14 to hook me back in with those emotional arcs that have kept me watching for all these years. In order to do that, I need at least some focus on Sam and Dean’s relationship, because that has always been the heart of what the show is about. (Mr. Berens, I know you can do that, because you co-wrote one of my favorite episodes of all time, Red Meat).  It’s fine to show me their relationships with others important to them too, those relationships enrich the characters and the story, but I need that central relationship between the brothers to anchor the show and make me care about what happens to the Winchesters, and by extension to the others they care about. It’s that relationship that makes this show unique and compelling, and if I don’t get to see it at all, the emotional pull goes with it.

Fingers crossed.

Caps by kayb625

–Lynn

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46 thoughts on “MidSeason Finale Time for Supernatural with The Spear!

  • I don’t know, Lynn. I feel like I’m in the very small minority that loves every episode. I tend to just take it as it comes, without nitpicking each little thing. I just enjoy the show, no matter what.

    • I enjoy it too, and I absolutely let little things slide by with just a shrug or a handwave. It’s the larger, more pervasive things that start to detract from my enjoyment – though it’s still my favorite show, hands down 🙂

    • I agree, and some of that has to do with the show winding down. we know that most likely we will get a S15 but I don’t think it will go further than that. and so I want to enjoy every moment we get with the boys. of course, there is the early seasons we can re-watch, but I don’t want it to end. so I try to support them in every way possible.

  • Thanks for sharing your thoughts Lynn! I agree that the episode did not feel “big” enough for a mid-season finale but I know that this shortened season has made everything feel a little different. I just hope the Boys are enjoying the extra time with their families as a result! I am anxious to see the what Sam and Cas will find in Dean’s mind…and what the writers might finally let them learn about the many secrets of Dean. There are a LOT of cats that could be let out of that bag!! Well, off to find a craft project or a good book to carry me through the hellatus. I hope your holidays are filled with love and laughter and lots of good SPN fan fics!

    • I am so looking forward to catching up on fic reading, which I never have time for anymore! I’m also excited about that episode and that prospect (which sounds just like a fic, seriously…) Happy holidays to you and yours!

  • Pretty much everyone assumed that Michael had left some kind of back door to get back and take Dean over. Him leaving was way too easy. I’m a bit disappointed that Sam & Co. hadn’t figured that out. But did they??🤔
    I wonder what’s going to happen to Garth. He might want himself killed so he doesn’t become more of a monster, or he might escape. I hope he sticks around, Garth is cool. I have to admit when you wrote “Sam, because he’s Sam, tries to talk Garth out of it, and gets beat up in the process”, my mind immediately went to the gag reel about getting bit in the process (where’s that?) sorry. 😆
    Certainly not the most exciting mid season hellatus episode I’ve seen but I’m hoping that maybe Smart Sam had a plan B in case Michael did show up and take Dean. A girl can dream.

    • I love me some Smart!Sam, so I’ll join you in hoping! It’s feasible that Sam and Cas also entertained the possibility that Michael left too easily and was probably not gone for good, though we never saw any evidence of that in canon. But if all of fandom figured it out, I’m assuming they did too. Or maybe they just didn’t want to believe it?

      • Sam and Cas were so joyful to have Dean back that they over looked the obvious and Dean covered the after effects as well. Seems to be a theme: over joy just in time to have it dashed to the ground. Of course joy could send Cas into the Empty. That deal is still out there and if Jack uses any of his power other than for his own survival….oops!

  • I agree wih you on so many things. I thought the ending was very powerful because of Dean’s transformation, thanks to wonderful (and apparently very sick at the time) Jensen and the utter despair of Sam, thanks to wonderful Jared. The photo you provided above of Dean’s calm face after just turning into Michael shows exactly how Jensen can shrug off Dean’s weight of the world expression as the ever calm, the ever confident Michael takes over.

    What I am NOT understanding this season is the splitting up of Sam and Dean in several scenes and car rides.Or having a busload of folk in the scenes with them. I am naievely hoping that this separation is on purpose, hand in hand with the possession of Michael to emphasize how utterly horrible it would be if anything truly kept these beloved brothers apart forever. Episode 12 from what Jensen hinted at at Jaxcon, as you know, sounds like a doozy and I hope that once Michael is gone for good then the brothers will be back together.

    • I’m going to be on pins and needles for episode 12, that’s for sure! I’m cautiously optimistic that less separation will be necessary in the second half of the season for practical reasons, but I guess we’ll see. It’s been almost an in joke from the start that viewers don’t like having the brothers separated too much – this season has pushed that envelope more than ever before, and it feels different because of that. Fingers crossed!

      • Fingers crossed for sure! 🙂 Just one little thing that nags at me again and again: Why do angels and demons fist-fight? Years ago, all Crowley had to do was flick his wrist and a neck would be broken. I would think that all “Ol’ Blue Eyes” would have to do is look at someone and they’re toast.

    • If the Michael issue resolves then we have the Cas/Jack/Kaiya dilemna. Wonder what Mary and Bobby are up to in all of this hub bub.

  • Hi, Great review as always,
    This episode was in some ways quieter, less explosive than I’d have anticipated, as good as it was to have Garth back, it was not TFW’s best play, Garth was just too close to them and they ought to have realised Michael would expect something like that, after all he’d occupied Dean’s head too long not to know, well, everything.

    I’m really hoping that Sam, who so often advocates plan B, has one this time, it would show what a smart leader he has become. I think he let Dean make his play because a) Dean needed the win and b) When Dean Winchester makes up his mind to do something, you stand beside, not in front of him! c) Sam understands Dean need’s to regain control of his life and that the only way he will ever feel completely safe and be himself again, is to dispatch him nemesis himself.

    AU Kaia should have come along, but I think Dean didn’t ask because he knew her fear, he felt it too. Noticeably over the years Dean has started to listen to his better self and when people get squirmy, he doesn’t force the issue as much as he would have at age 26.Not saying that he always gets it right, Our World Kaia being a classic example. I think he went to get the Spear mindful of his actions earlier this season and his actions towards Our World Kaia. Perhaps Dean was also mindful he didn’t want the Spear to end up in his back, as there really wasn’t any quick fix to redeem himself in AU Kaia’s eyes. I totally believe Dean told the truth about being willing to help AU Kaia, I think he was sorry for his actions previously and he’s not a bad person, his whole life has centred on helping people. In fact I believe the whole “Saving People, Hunting Things, Family Business ” thing were actually his words, not John’s (although often perceived as John’s teachings) and I think its the code he has tried to adhere to because it is means a lot to him.

    I think Michael is kidding himself in his conceit and arrogance, Dean Winchester is damaged in many ways, he can be manipulated and taunted, but I think Michael only read the “Quick Start” guide to his vessel instead of the full user manual. Dean has had his life levelled so many times, his own Father suppressed his right to autonomy, he was tortured and brutalised in Hell, repeatedly had the people he loved tortured and killed in front of him. Each and every time Dean has rebuilt and re-oriented, made a new life for himself. Dean Winchester has the Heart of a Teddy Bear Doctor with an inner core of steel, he will not remain down for long and frankly, taking the fight for control into Deans head is the very last place Michael should be, he will regret ever messing with the Winchesters!

    Dean, being who he is, will no doubt, carry the guilt for letting Michael back in, even though this time he had no say in the matter. Dean is going to need his brother more than ever and Sam will need to make sure he does not allow Dean to push him away, or shut him out. Hopefully when Dean comes back, he and his brother will have more bonding time and we will get to see them re-build their relationship.

    Please someone, these guys deserve Emmy’s or Oscars or something, Jensen’s performance was so good he was terrifying, the sublime way his whole face just emptied of Dean and Jared’s response to that, it was heart breaking!!!
    Happy 2019 y’all !

    • Sam did look a little doubtful about Dean’s plan of walking in the front door with the spear, so maybe he does have a Plan B – perhaps it’s the trip into Dean’s head that I’m so anticipating. I also agree that Michael is underestimating Dean Winchester, who has been to hell and back (literally) and will not stay quiet forever when his friends and family are out there in peril. It’s just not in him to do that. And oh yes, where are the awards??? Happy holidays and 2019!

  • I wondered why they didn’t bring Dark Kaia with them. She really knows how to use that spear!
    I too miss all the brother scenes…

    Lynn, do you know if some of TPTB are reading this blog? They could get things straight if they did! Also, why won’t they use SupernaturalWiki? Has *all* the canon!

    • Occasionally some of them read the reviews, including this one. But I recognize there are alot of conflicting pressures on the writers and showrunners and network, so it’s a complicated thing to make changes or ever change course mid-season even if they wanted to. But if there’s a Season 15? Fingers crossed…

  • I knew Jensen ad libbed that scene with the spear. One of my favorite games. Loved the episode. Loved the whole season so far. Your pics were perfect. I don’t need the brothers together as much as you do I know they have a deep, abiding, codependent relationship with each other. Where did all the other au hunters go? And does anyone care? Jensen’s Michael is amazing. His acting is so underrated. I’m surprised it doesn’t frustrate the heck out of him. Great review as usual. See you on the other side. Peace out and happy holidays!

    • I laughed out loud at ‘Where did all the other au hunters go? And does anyone care?’ Pretty much nope. And yes, I totally agree about Jensen’s amazing acting as Michael. A high point of this episode (along with his always hysterical improv) 🙂 Happy holidays!

  • I feel very conflicted about the mid-season finale. On the one hand, yay, Sam got to do stuff again! Like, real, actual stuff! Even if some of the stuff was getting knocked out, which is so tired at this point, though perhaps a good reason for the writers to keep writing things for him that don’t make sense – lasting brain trauma from too many concussions, but I digress.

    Sam got to do actual stuff and things and that was good. Sam and Dean spent a millisecond together and that was not good.

    There were no tremendous holes in the plot and the pacing was solid (except for the slow-mo walking – I don’t know why they’ve decided that’s effective), so that was good. They’re still calling Dark Kaia “Dark Kaia” like this is one of the CW’s superhero shows, so that is not good.

    They seem to have fleshed out Michael’s character a little better, so that’s good. The idea that somehow this “crushed” Dean when, honestly, TFW is at the strongest it’s ever been doesn’t make any sense, so that’s not good.

    Garth was back and didn’t die – waaaaaaaay good. It being utterly predictable that Garth was a mole is not good.

    Jensen’s switch from Dean to Michael *literally* by relaxing his facial muscle and speaking in an ever so slightly higher register – knock-it-out-of-the-park good. The dollar store werewolf teeth at the beginning – not good.

    A huge part of the problem with this season so far (and yes, I am hyper critical and will hammer it until the end of time) is that there’s just too much going on. Every single episode has had a “THEN” before it. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. Except maybe “Mint Condition,” but I don’t think so. Not only is there a “THEN” before every single episode, but they’re getting longer. This is not the way the show used to be. I know, because I have rewatched it *multiple* times thanks to the miracle that is Netflix. When you have to remind viewers before each episode of the plot points that are going to play out in that episode because you think they may have forgotten something you mentioned five episodes ago (or heck, last season) and haven’t mentioned since, that’s a PROBLEM.

    Not only that, but this being the mid-season finale with a whiplash-inducing shift from Jack dying back to Michael and his monsters – which has only been the focus for three episodes so far (Gods & Monsters, The Scar, and Nightmare Logic, though in all but Gods & Monsters it was kind of a side plot to the main plot) – really highlights how scattered this season has been so far, and how terrible a job they’ve done at getting from point A to point B. They’re more getting from point A to point W to point G to point K to point R to point B.

    Why is Nick off killing people? I don’t know. Feels like filler because they can’t connect Nick to the Michael plot aside from “archangel blades don’t kill the host.” But…since there are no more archangels to *use* an archangel blade…yeah, definitely filler.

    Why did Jack die? I don’t know. Feels like filler because they can’t tie Jack into the Michael arc other than him hating Michael and not caring if they have to kill Dean to kill Michael (more on that below).

    Why do we need to know that Not-Bobby had a son who died and he and Mary have grown closer and are off having a fling? I don’t know. Feels like filler because they can’t tie it to the Michael arc in any way, shape, or form, other than to highlight how Mary would rather be *anywhere* other than with Sam and Dean, which – yeah, we got that loud and clear.

    Why did we need to find out Not-Charlie wants to leave hunting if Sam is just going to convince her *in the same episode* not to leave hunting by ignoring the fact that she’s NOT CHARLIE and projecting his guilt onto her?

    You see where I’m going with this.

    For *this* to be the mid-season finale they needed to build to it, and instead they ended up inadvertently highlighting how *not important* the Michael and his monsters plot has been this season. It can’t be very important if they keep dropping it in favor of OTHER plot lines. It’s like they don’t know how to do monster-of-the-week episodes anymore while keeping the main through-plot going, and the only way they can think of to give the Js more time off is to give *everyone else under the sun* their own little side plot, but all that accomplishes is to dilute the overall story and make something that should leave us at the edge of our seat kind of land with a dull thud.

    And it would be *fine* if they had more than one plot going so long as they limited it, but they *don’t.* If they’re trying to keep the Js working a three or four day workweek, then have the second plot be Nick, or Heaven going offline, or Jack dying, or SOMETHING, but pick ONE and then CONTAIN IT. Even if it is resolved in the first half of the season and a second sub-plot opens up in the second half of the season, they will at *least* not have been introducing something *huge* just to handle it in two episodes. Make Michael and his monsters the over-arcing plot for the *whole* season, pick a second sub plot (JUST ONE) for the first half of the season and then a third sub plot (JUST ONE MORE) for the second half of the season. Don’t have all these little spindly offshoots going in a million different directions *all the time.* Careful pruning helps all kinds of things grow, including a story with this many years under its belt.

    I also couldn’t help feeling like, because of the way this season has been written so far, that the idea of TFW is suffering terribly. I know many people run around going, “Aw, Jack is their son!” but when exactly did they have a chance to form these deep meaningful bonds with him? Was it for the couple of months last year before Jack ran off and then ended up in *another dimension*? Was it the three weeks that Dean was gone? Was it when Sam was so completely distracted by playing Scout Master to all of the AU people clogging up the bunker that he had Bobby training Jack in the season opener? Was it when Jack was telling Cas straight up that if Dean had to die in order to kill Michael, then oh well, Dean had to die (no, I have not forgotten that – if you want me to care that the new kid on the block is dying, MAYBE don’t have him openly threaten the character I’ve been ride-or-die for since the pilot)? WHEN did these deep and meaningful bonds form??? Am I as a viewer just supposed to take it on face value because it’s been “said” but not “shown”? Could they maybe, POSSIBLY have used some of the time they’ve wasted on side plots that aren’t going to go anywhere (no offense to Daneel, but why was Sister Jo in the premiere exactly?) to develop the idea that Sam, Dean, and Cas have a reason to be so emotionally invested in Jack and vice versa? They did a great job last season of showing Sam and Jack bonding. Then in a blip they *all* see him as their son and are willing to barter away bits of his soul to bring him back from the dead. And I’m supposed to believe that now that Michael is back Jack isn’t going to think, “Well, if we gotta kill Dean, we gotta kill Dean” like he did just a handful of episodes ago??? I mean honestly, when Jack was picking the lock and saying he wanted to be useful, I didn’t think, “Aw, so sweet!” I thought, “Gees, the poor kid still thinks the only reason Sam is keeping him around is because he thinks he’s ‘useful’ after that whole blow-up last year with Sam wanting Jack to use his powers to open the rift…”

    I mean, to me that really wasn’t cute. And I doubt the writers meant it to come across as that *at all,* but they’ve given us just about zero Sam and Jack this season so what else do I have to go on at this point than poor Jack is still trying to prove he’s worthy to Sam without the powers that Sam so clearly coveted last season??? I’m sure I’m supposed to just assume that Sam and Jack have talked and they’re copacetic, but I would have found that scene to be much more interesting and worth my time as a viewer than Mary and Bobby hooking up, because I *care about Sam.* If they’re going to split up Sam and Dean as much as they’re splitting up Sam and Dean, make those splits *meaningful.* They managed it with Optimism with Jack and Dean! It’s not that hard if you aren’t trying to flesh out a million little mini arcs because you don’t know how to keep an over-arcing plot in your sights!!!

    I just…am so sad. I really, REALLY liked this episode as a stand-alone episode, and I’m getting *tired* of liking all the episodes this season (or most of them) as stand-alone episodes because they don’t TIE INTO anything! I really am beginning to lose hope that this season is going to get any better, because Dabb & Singer & Co. just can’t seem to keep their eyes on the prize and FOCUS.

    • Oh, but there are threads that tie them all together as we go along. Re watch and you will see them. I hold off judgement until the full season is complete because the episodes fit better into the puzzle. We shall see.

      • I see the threads. They’re weak, underdeveloped, and snap under the slightest scrutiny. Because there are too many of them to build ANY of the threads strongly. If the threads were strong they wouldn’t have to do a “THEN” at the beginning of every single episode because people would remember what had already happened (which I do, because I have a photographic memory – there is very little about this series that I’ve simply forgotten, unlike the writers). This is not a strong season, not any more than last season was. Dabb and Singer are not confident enough in their over-arcing plot to just stick to it, or confident enough in their ability to sustain the over-arcing plot for 20 episodes without throwing in all kinds of little tiny side things that have nothing whatsoever to do with the main point.

        At this point if they can’t sustain a plot for 20 episodes, or the Js want extra time off (which, they’re my age and their children are my daughter’s age, so trust me, I get it) then they need to cut back to 13 or 16 episodes and really give them half a year off, then write the hell out of the 13 or 16 episodes and cut away the filler. The whole “The Empty is taking over Heaven!” has NOTHING whatsoever to do with Michael, except getting Naomi to tell Cas where Michael is. Not enough of a reason to bring in an entirely new plot line right before the mid-season finale, where we’re meant to be left clutching our hearts at Dean being taken over by Michael again.

        Which, I’m calling it now, is going to be resolved in a maximum of two episodes next season. MAXIMUM.

    • Well said. I agree with every single thing (and have to admit I laughed out loud repeatedly because your capslock game is ON POINT) 🙂 I said in this review that I cringed when the ‘Then’ segment was so long and complex, because you’re exactly right, we’ve had sub-plots that star everything but the kitchen sink (and maybe there was that one sub plot for a hot minute…) and humans are just not capable of caring about a million different people at once. That’s not how compelling story telling happens. We’ve got these characters that viewers truly care about – now show them feeling and engaging and relating and, I don’t know, being in the same room and having a conversation every now and then! There was nothing wrong with this episode per se – writing, pacing, directing, acting, all good – and yet it didn’t hook me in emotionally, and that makes all the difference.

      • Oh, I’m sure we’ll see a kitchen sink sub plot at some point. They’ve had a whole bunch of scenes set in the kitchen this season (feels like every other episode). I’m expecting the second half of the season when Jack gets his powers back and “Dark Kaia” demands to go back to her universe (which I’m thinking is Arrow? Maybe The Flash?) Jack will use the kitchen sink to open the portal and they’ll get sucked down the drain. And then they’ll manage to get SPN in pn all the crossover stuff they’re doing. I’m calling it now.

  • I heard Jensen had the flu and a high fever when they filmed the transformation into Michael, but that being said, his body stance and face just change- he is a solid actor. Jared’s pained expression is superb as Sam realizes Dean is gone. Now, Cas came in on the attack first so that the Winchesters could sneak in the door to the office for the confrontation. Strategically, Michael knew Cas was there because he could sense his grace, but as a distraction to enable Jack and the Winchesters to enter because Michael cannot apparently sense humans. And the writers will probably show Dean suffering as I heard at Jaxcon there is an emotional scene for Dean, which Jensen kills and also a scene for Jared which will show some comedic beats. I’ve been watching since season one, so when the attainment of the spear came without resistance, I knew it was a trick to get the spear and Dean at the same time. Revenge, family, sacrifice-all sill apparent after 14 years. And Jeffrey Dean Morgan confirmed he filmed a few scenes of Supernatural for the second half of the season. Maybe Heaven drops a few souls down to help Dean?

    • That would be nice! I’m looking forward to JDM reprising his role and am trying to stay as unspoiled as someone who already knows John Winchester is coming back can be. Ah, and okay, that makes sense I guess why Castiel went in first alone. It’s a testament to how not biting my nails I was that I sort of lost the thread of that – not like me when I’m watching this show.

  • Guess that I am in a minority here, but I REALLY enjoyed this ep. TFW 2.0, I loved seeing them do their thing: together and apart. (OK, so maybe I was excited to see Dean and Cas hunting alone together because of my Destiel feels…I will just leave it at that!). And I love Sam and Jack’s relationship so I didn’t mind the separation. I have no doubt that the brothers will always come first with each other.
    Having only seen Die Hard once when it first came out and remembering very little of it, I gotta say the Ode to Joy scene made me squee! It was really cool.
    Lastly, the ending was SO well done. As much as I missed Dean in the first 2 episodes of the season (and frankly didn’t like Michael, although after hearing interviews with Jensen, I now understand why it was so difficult it for him to find his footing in the portrayal at first), I actually got excited when I realized what was happening…I yelled “I KNEW IT I KNEW IT!” I think it was just so vindicating to realize, as you pointed out Lynn, that our fan instincts were right on target. The whole scene was thrilling to me, and Jensen was AMAZING. At the very end I was actually clapping and cheering for his incredible acting (yes I am an incredible nerd).
    I know that this season has been really uneven, but I guess I’m just the eternal optimist and I’m looking forward to seeing how the rest of season 14 will go. As long as we have the brothers and some TFW now and then (versions 1 AND 2.0) I will hang in there till the bitter end with our Show!

    • I’m with you, hanging in there til the bitter end! And I totally agree about the last scene, it was incredibly well acted by all involved, especially Jensen. The things he can convey without words never cease to amaze me! I can understand that Dean and Cas having some screen time alone together feels good from a shipping perspective, I just wish Sam and Dean had more screen time together too, which they have for every season until this one. The close brother bond they have in canon is no impediment to shipping Destiel or anything else, and it’s such a defining feature of the show, that I don’t understand why sometimes it’s set up as antithetical to Dean and Castiel’s relationship, however you choose to see it.

  • I don’t think it’s nitpicking to say out loud that the show is changing, and that many of us don’t like the direction it appears to be taking – a move towards some sort of ensemble affair with less and less of the brother interaction that is what got most if us hooked on SPN in the first place. That doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy each episode but it does mean we are left feeling the lack of the ‘good stuff’ (and, maybe, mourning it? That’s kind of how I feel about it, anyway).

    I actually laughed out loud and was totally thrown out of it by the Ode to Joy slo-mo walk section – that was just ridiculous. If this had been a comedic episode then maybe it would have been okay, but this was supposed to be a serious, game changer, and that was just not the right moment to insert comedy walking. *sigh*

    Your review pretty much summed up my reaction, anyhow. I keep hoping they won’t persist and will give us more of that intensive brotherly bond but they keep disappointing me. I guess I’ll just have to sit it out since I’m here till the bitter end! LOL

    • I hope it’s not nitpicking – I think not including critique in a review is probably not the way to do a review, though I always have some squee in there too, fangirl that I am. It may be that this does turn out to be a protracted mourning process for the show as it was for the first decade or so, but I’m not ready to give up on it yet (oh, who am I kidding? I’ll never be ready to give up on it!)

  • TPTB say the fans don’t like Sam and Dean split up so they keep don’t get demon!Dean and Michael!Dean for a long period of time, but then they STILL split up Sam and Dean for the majority of the season. I feel they should have just let Jensen play Michael!Dean for these first 10 episodes or even 5. I don’t know anyone who was surprised by Michael’s return to Dean. There were so many missed opportunities with exploring Dean’s psyche. It bums me out that character development/exploration hasn’t been happening much these past few seasons.

    I may complain and nit pick but I will stick with the show until the very end because I love Jared and Jensen and Sam and Dean. I just hope we get more of the Sam and Dean I fell in love with soon!

    • Omg THIS!!!! SO much this!!!!! At least back with Demon!Dean they had Sam and Dean back together afterwards for nearly all of the season and barely split them up, but this season? There is absolutely no reason that Jensen couldn’t have been playing Michael for a substantial portion of these episodes. None. It would have fleshed out the super powered monster arc and Sam could have had some really good scenes with the other characters while trying to figure out how to get Dean back. Get rid of the AU hunters entirely, invest the money for all of those extras in signing someone on to be Michael’s minion, and make the first half of the season a chase of Sam *almost* catching up to Michael on each of the monster-of-the-week hunts that he’s having to take on with other people besides Dean. Jared could shoot for half the week with all the *other* people, Jensen could shoot for the other half of the week with Michael’s growing army. We would have lost Mint Condition, but *surely* there would be a way to work Mint Condition into the second half of the season! Make it a Valentine’s Day episode instead of a Halloween episode after they’ve actually managed to get Dean back. SOMETHING. I’m a lifer with this show and will never give up on it either but it’s becoming increasingly painful to get dragged around from one meaningless plot to the next.

      • I like your ideas. Also, we know that our Dean will be back for the 300th episode so that only leaves 3 episodes for Michael!Dean.

      • They’ll have Michael!Dean resolved in two on the back half. I guarantee it. They don’t seem capable at this point of sustaining a plot past two episodes. At least with Demon!Dean I could understand it because yes, they legitimately did need Dean back for the 200th episode and that fell very early in season 10. But this season? There was absolutely no reason for Jensen to have only played Michael for all of 40 minutes total in the first half of the season (I’m guessing at how much screen time Michael!Dean has had and I’m probably way overestimating, actually).

    • Excellent points. And kind of infuriating! I prefer to see it as critique, and I hope it’s always balanced out by the good things that this show still brings us, because I am well aware of them and appreciative of them!

  • Dabb and some of the current writers are killing the show by trying to push this ensemble cast nonsense on us. Sam & Dean have always been the heart of the show and without that core relationship driving the story the whole thing falls apart. The declining ratings are a clear indication that the general audience (who is oblivious to fandom shipping and wouldn’t welcome it) is unsatisfied with this season’s mytharc and the storytelling choices that have been made so far. Sam & Dean’s struggles and intense emotional bond, supported by J2’s unparalleled chemistry, are the things that keep the viewers happy. Everyone else is secondary and should remain that way. The spin-offs failed because they didn’t rely on Sam & Dean and J2, so giving us this dilluted thing that barely resembles SPN and expecting us to like it is both idiotic and crazy.

    • I don’t know why everyone isn’t on board with the core relationship that the show was formed around continuing to be a focus – it doesn’t preclude other characters and other relationships (even ships) as long as that core one is explored and obvious. It’s been that way for over a decade, so it really does feel off when that falls by the wayside.

      • Dabb is simply not show runner material. He is a short story writer, not a novelist. VERY good at one-off episodes when he has a co-writer (hello, Yellow Fever, Sam, Interrupted, Hammer of the Gods, Plucky Pennywhistle’s Magic Menagerie) but he does not have the BIG vision, focus, or creativity it takes to write long-form drama. Where Supernatural a mini-series of six completely contained episodes he’d probably be great, but you get him into mytharc and having to come up with a plot to weave through 20-23 episodes and he really just cannot do it. Some people can write both short stories and long stories. Some people can write short stories but not long stories. Some people can write long stories but not short stories. It grows increasingly, painfully clear with each season Dabb is in charge of that he is ONLY capable of writing short stories.

        And there’s nothing wrong with that. You simply don’t ask a short story writer to pen you a novel, especially when he’s tried twice and proved he can’t do it (Seasons 12 & 13).

      • Your comments hurt my heart. I love J2 and I’m in love with Sam. Dean intimidates me, if I’m honest. I think Andrew Dabb is a big nerd and I adore his writing. I like the fact that your analysis runs deep. It says to me that you care deeply about this Show. But it also sounds like you would like to be a show runner. What would your story/vision of SPN be?

      • At this point the only way to fix the last three episodes is to pull a Dallas and have the boys wake up at the start of Season 15 from a three year coma after stopping Amara and have everything Dabb has written be a fever dream. Barring that, I’d have to go back to season 12 to start fixing things in order to make any kind of sense out of this season, because a lot of the issues bleeding all the way through to now stem from the reintroduction of Mary, how badly that was botched, and how they tried to use her to shoehorn in plots that were weak and didn’t work but were centered around “mom.”

        In season 12 I would not have completely retconned Mary into someone unrecognizable to the Mary the audience had known for a dozen years. I would not have written the story as if the ONLY way for a woman to be strong AND a mother is if she shows absolutely no maternal instinct nor feeling towards her children just because they’re “all grown up.” Prior to season 12 the Mary we saw was one who loved being a mother, so I would have returned her from Heaven hurt and confused and had her latch onto the only thing she possibly could, which was being a mom. And then I’d have had her mom the *hell* out of both of the boys, like they were still four and six months old. Pick up their stuff. Make them food. Do their laundry. And harp *endlessly* on how she doesn’t want them to be hunters. Because it’s the only thing she could do to try to feel sane and okay with suddenly not being in Heaven with her two little boys and the love of her life. Instead of running from them I’d have her cling to them until they felt suffocated.

        I wouldn’t have had the major split be between her and Dean, but her and Sam, because Dean is the one who remembers his mom, and Amara is a flipping GODDESS – if she thought Dean needed Mary back it was for a REASON, and that reason cannot POSSIBLY be “You need to realize your mother cares even less for your well being than your father did.” So I’d have Dean soak up all that mom-ming he could, even if it was annoying, and even if he didn’t need it, and even if he tried to subtly get her to back off, and I’d have Sam just not be able to take it, because he’s NEVER had a mom and he doesn’t know what it’s like to get the crusts cut off his sandwiches and it would all be too much.

        Think of it this way: You Dean, and you’re four years old when you develop a deadly allergy to chocolate. You love chocolate. It is your favorite thing. You love everything about it – the flavor, the texture, the way it rolls around in your mouth, it makes you happier than anything on the planet, and you suddenly can’t have it, ever again. Then all of a sudden right before you turn 40 you’re not allergic anymore. You’re going to indulge in chocolate and enjoy chocolate and do everything you can to make up for all the time you lost eating chocolate, until you feel like you’ve had enough and can gradually cut back to a reasonable amount of chocolate each day.

        This is very different than if you’re Sam and an infant when you develop a deadly allergy to chocolate. You have no memory of chocolate. You have no idea what’s so great about it. You see other people eating chocolate and you think, “Wow, chocolate looks like it’s a really good thing,” but you’ll never have an idea of what chocolate was like, so you just learn to live without it. Then all of a sudden you’re almost 35 and you can eat chocolate, and it’s good, it really is, you don’t necessarily get what the big deal of it is because you’ve managed without it since you’re six months old, but now there is chocolate *everywhere.* It’s on *everything* you eat. You order pasta? It comes with chocolate sauce. That salad you wanted? It doesn’t come with balsamic but a side of fudge. You get a coffee? It’s a mocha with chocolate sprinkles. Every. Damn. Time. It’s completely overwhelming to the point where you finally snap and declare that you never want chocolate again.

        If Mary had left because she felt like her children didn’t *want* her – which would *never* have come from Dean, because that wound he carries from when he was four had never been given a chance to properly heal, it would have had to come from Sam – then it would make sense that she might turn to the BMOL to end all monsters, because she would have been so overcome with guilt over what she did to her boys that the LEAST she could do is give them a world where they don’t have to hunt and can retire and live normal lives (they wouldn’t have been able to, of course, but it would have made her motivations more real).

        With the Lucifer’s son arc…I think I just wouldn’t have done it, quite honestly. Lucifer was stale well before last season and if they bring him back again this season it will be the worst mistake they ever made, but if I had to keep him in season 12 I wouldn’t change *much,* except I wouldn’t have him body hop as often as he did, I’d have Kelly become pregnant much earlier so we actually spent *time* with her character and got to know who she really was as a person (she was only in five episodes in season 12 – that’s not a lot when her character is pivotal), and I sure as hell wouldn’t invent a WHOLE NEW PRESIDENT just to drop him in season 13 for a political joke (and they didn’t just call Jefferson Rooney “President,” they *specifically* said he was the 45th President of the United States). The whole LOTUS story was the very first sign of things to come where a major plot line was picked up (Sam and Dean need to get Lucifer out of the freakin’ POTUS and end up shoved in a government hole) only to be resolved in the very next episode.

        Also, I wouldn’t have killed Crowley. That is one of the biggest mistakes this show has EVER made.

        Season 13 was a mess in the first half because they were trying to set up Wayward Sisters and wasted a *lot* of time on the new “super smart, super tough” teenage girls who were just totes better than those old white men who have been the core of this show since 2005, so I would have kept what seemed to be the original premise and had Wayward Sisters be about Jody and Donna and found a way to bring the girls in through Jody and Donna, not in their own stand-alone episodes that took time away from the brothers and the story. If set up properly in Season 12, Mary being stuck in the AU and Sam feeling like he REALLY needed to get his mom back no matter what the costs because he pushed her away in Season 12 would have made a lot more sense, including why he so readily accepted Jack despite him being Lucifer’s son, and would have allowed for Jack to become a more nuanced character instead of just a sweet little nougat loving baby. The conflict between Sam and Dean then could have stayed centered around Jack as opposed to Sam coming at Dean and accusing Dean of somehow having a relationship with Mary. They played “Words with Friends” and she didn’t answer his phone calls (a trend that continues), and she is just…too terrible of a mother for Sam wanting to get her back to ring anything other than hollow (yeah, I know, not wanting to repeat the mistakes of leaving Dean in Purgatory, but last I checked Mary never sold her soul for Sam – though she did essentially sell Sam’s soul, but I digress). I definitely wouldn’t have made the core arc for the last season trying to get mom and Jack back, because it was stupid and boring and the AUs were just ridiculous, and when Death says, “Don’t go poking with alternate universes – they’re like a house of cards” you should probably *listen.*

        The main conflict I would have set up is that I wouldn’t have had Cas come back from the Empty. I would have had it be the Empty creature pretending to be Cas the entire time, trying to figure out what woke Cas up, because the whole reason the Empty woke up is because CAS woke up, and Cas woke up because Jack woke him up. You then have the potential for Sam and Dean to spend a healthy portion of the season essentially raising Jack so he could stop the Empty, which could have been threatening the entire planet with an endless nothing, and it could have ratcheted up an amazing amount of tension waiting to see whether they’d figure out Cas wasn’t Cas first, or the Empty to figure out Jack is what woke the real Cas up. Jack could still end up in the AU, just WAY later in the season, when we would find out that, OMG, Lucifer AND Mary are still alive and both Mary and Jack are being tortured, and now they really super duper need to get Jack back because they’ve got to stop the Empty from destroying the world as they know it, only the fight between Jack and the Empty saps all of his powers, but at least with the Empty foiled the earth is safe, except oops! They weren’t real careful when they got back from the AU because they don’t know how the AUs work and Lucifer and Michael both get over to our world and Lucifer takes Sam and Dean – not knowing enough about this new Michael to realize just how *big* of a bad he is – says “Yes” to save his brother because he’s desperate and figures, hell, he can’t be *worse* than Lucifer, can he, except oh crap, he is and now we’re in this season.

        Where I would have made the mid-season finale Dean’s return instead of him getting taken again, and spent the first half of this season with Michael!Dean juicing up all kinds of different monsters to fling at Sam, and had Sam working with all Mary and Jack (which does not include people from the AU – NO ONE FROM THE AU GETS TO COME BACK, not even Not-Bobby and Not-Charlie because they’re NOT BOBBY and NOT CHARLIE), and if they really, DESPERATELY feel like they need to keep Mark Pelligrino around when Lucifer has long lived out his welcome, have Michael!Dean cross paths with Nick and have Nick become Michael’s minion because he’s so bereft and empty without Lucifer that he’ll do anything as long as it fills him with a feeling of purpose. Heck, have Michael promise to find and kill the people that butchered Nick’s family (since THAT has also been set up as *another* side plot with whoever the demon was that got mentioned by the cop) if Nick is a good little yes man. Also, with the Empty destroyed in the previous season, all of the angels and demons who have previously died are suddenly back on the playing field (so Cas is back) and Michael can start building an army again (since no one seems to want to get away from angels vs. demons). This would allow me to get Crowley back on the show after I went groveling to him *on my knees* carrying a fruit basket every day for months if that’s what it took, as well as Gabriel, who was again a victim of a truncated plot arc, and the latter half of this season would be Sam and Dean trying to stave off the apocalypse *for real* with Michael trying to get back into Dean and Lucifer trying to get back into Sam.

        That’s just me spit-balling off the top of my head, though, and being stuck with elements of the past three seasons that would need to be fixed before this season had any hope, and I can’t fix things that have already happened, so…yeah, basically at this point I’d have the boys wake up from a coma next season having shared a terrible hallucination while they were out that didn’t make any sense, they weren’t even acting like themselves, and mom was back but she was *terrible* so thank Chuck it was only a dream.

      • Wow. If that’s off the top of your head, I can’t imagine what you’d do after giving it some thought. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I just go with the flow and enjoy the terrific acting skills of both J2’s. I don’t think too deeply about it. I suspend my disbelief and call it a day

      • Honestly, I wish I could suspend disbelief and call it a day. But when I am able to sit on my couch and think up this stuff in 15 minutes, *for free*, I expect a helluva lot more creativity and attention to detail and character consistency from people who are *paid* to write for this show.

      • If J2 aren’t objecting, why should you? I mean all due respect but at the end of the day it’s their show. Both J2 have said that they have a great relationship with the writers and they trust the boys to know their characters . Anyway this has been great. I really like listening to your views. Who knows maybe if you tweet some of this stuff to Andrew Dabb, he might listen

      • I get to objet because I’m the consumer. 🙂 I also don’t expect either of the boys to openly diss their co-workers and bosses at conventions or in interviews. Their job is to sell the show, after all. As for Dsbb, I don’t do Twitter, and one of his biggest problems serms to be looking at his Twitter feed and making decisions for the show based on what a loud minority of fans want
        Most people who watch SPN aren’t on Twitter ot Tumblr. Plus, if he wants my ideas he can hire me. 😉

    • Feel free to start an online petition. 🙂 I’d save them a ton of money on my salary. Plus, after thinking about it for a hot minute, I’d only have Dean be the one having the terrible dream in the Empty, which Sam has spent the last three years trying to get him back from. Since Sam has dormant demon blood and he and Dean are soulmates, Dean’s been getting snippets of things happening on earth, but they’re coming through all messed up. That way you can keep elements that have the potential to work well (Jack, Rowena, Crowley being dead if Mark S. doesn’t like fruit baskets and groveling) and ignore things that didn’t work (Mary, the AU people, Lucifer). A three year separation would allow both characters tremendous potential for growth in new ways, especially Sam, who has been stagnant for a while. Bring back desperate, stone cold killer Sam from Mystery Spot and a bewildered Dean wondering what the hell happened while he was dead.

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