So another season with our favourite Winchesters will soon be behind us, as we approach Season 7′s finale this Friday.
We have been through a lot this season: losing two of our favourite characters, only to have them return in an entirely different capacity; we have been subjected to a series of beaters that the boys have been forced to drive since the Impala has been in hiding; the fandom nearly imploded when Sam got married to SuperFan99, and rejoiced when we were once again graced with our Alpha Vamp.
Season 7 has been Supernatural’s darkest season yet, in my opinion. Season 2, after the loss of John Winchester, and having Dean and Sam trying to figure out life without him was a close second, but left room for happiness in that both boys were finally out of their father’s shadow and able to live their lives as they are. Season 7 seems to be all about loss: losing their ability to work in the open, losing Bobby, losing (and regaining and losing and regaining again) Castiel (more on that later), losing their capacity for happiness, even in the small things.
The light-heartedness is more and more fleeting with each episode, though I could hear the squeals from around the world when we were blessed with Dean’s “So, what…just keep calm and carry on?” and Alpha Vamp’s delicious “See you next season” in episode 22, There Will Be Blood.
On the other hand, though, had Dean and Sam simply ‘carried on’ in the vein we are used to, we would have accused the writers of making Dean and Sam unsympathetic to their recent losses. I am not accusing anyone of shoddy writing, I fully understand they are writing the characters as they should be written for what is occurring around them. I think all of the episodes were wonderfully written, and the character development has been exemplary: I am only lamenting how dark it all seems to be.
Now, before we’re fighting, I too laughed my ass off when Sam had clown glitter all over him, and also when Dean arrived at Becky’s door with a waffle iron (that I believe she also used to knock Sam out with the love potion was wearing off). I was delighted when Dean went back to the 1940′s to help fight Chronos (every girl’s crazy about a sharp-dressed man, after all!), and even more so when I thought we would be subjected to Dean in ballet slippers. Don’t even get me started on Dean’s over-the-wire flirting coach in The Girl With The Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo. There were definitely more than a few light-hearted moments with our dear Winchesters, but also definitely fewer and fewer as we head towards the climactic end of Season 7.
A few of our favourites came back, and a few of our not-so-favourites: we saw the return of Meg, which was met with mixed reviews (which is a gross understatement – my Twitter feed went mental with fandom infighting. Can’t we all just get along?). I personally am not a fan of the Meg character, but I am not sure how much of that is the way she is portrayed or the actor that portrays her. Our Alpha Vamp made a (not so) surprise appearance in There Will Be Blood. We were also introduced to a new Prophet, Kevin Tran, and though there has been some allusion to a continued role, I don’t know in what capacity. As a replacement prophet? Perhaps – that would be a neat combined replacement of Castiel (angelic knowledge) and Bobby (timely imparting of that knowledge).
Garth was a welcome return to the show, as this deluded and endearing character drags Dean and Sam into a hunt. “Of course I’m drunk, I drank a whole beer!” And I will never forget Mr. Fizzles.
We also lost a few of our favourites. When Bobby died early in the season, actor Jim Beaver kept us all informed on his work on what we all believed was a movie about an abominable snowman. We mourned his loss, only to have him return in ghost form. The online communities went nuts, mostly about Dean’s apparent lack of enthusiasm over his return. Can’t say I blame him – knowing what they know about ghosts, I wouldn’t be too happy either, knowing my friend was going to slowly and painfully lose his mind. Even though he was given a hunter’s wake, as long as Dean has his flask – well, we all know the rules. I was absolutely delighted to see Bobby back, but I know he can’t stay forever.
Here’s where I might lose you – I wasn’t overjoyed to see Castiel return. I adored him, all the way through, as a naively bumbling yet powerful angel. As he took the throne as god, I became less enamored, as I sure a lot of the fandom did. I have other, outside-the-character reasons for my growing dislike for the character, and though it was a struggle I think I managed to keep that separate. When he re-emerged as Emmanuel, I thought it was an absolutely brilliant way to bring back the Castiel of old but the writers had other plans for him. It doesn’t appear that he will be able to shake Sam’s inherited psychosis any time soon, though perhaps a season finale cure is in order?? Yes, please.
The fans are breathlessly awaiting the return of the Impala, which has been in hiding since early in the season due to the Winchesters being endlessly hunted by leviathans. Producer Jim Michaels took great pains to tease the live-tweeters every week by posting pictures of the car on set, as well as pictures of all the beaters the boys were forced to drive. Man, they drove some seriously ugly cars. Some nice, but mostly seriously horrid.
I have never seen more dissention among a fan base than when Sam married Beck Rosen. I personally thought the episode was a brilliantly meta one rife with inside jokes and a serious nod to fans, like they did the The Real Ghostbusters. Not the case for a lot of people. At the time, I was writing an article on the fandom itself, and the responses I received regarding how people felt about Season 7, Time for a Wedding were overwhelmingly negative. I felt it was one of the lighter episodes of season 7, and thought it was hilarious and considerate of fan feelings, especially considering that, like it or not, fans like Becky Rosen do exist.
Dick friggin’ Roman. Do you think they’ll finally get him in this Friday’s season finale? I hope so. I don’t think I can do leviathans for a whole season again. I miss the monster-of-the-week theme, and those of you who read my articles know that I loved the continuous story theme at the beginning of this season – now, not so much. It became cumbersome, and a bit of a bummer to feel like the leviathan threat was always hanging over their heads – perhaps that’s where the feeling of darkness comes from.
Couple of notables:
Dean’s daughter, his uncaring and relentless mirror image. In the short time she was alive, she was him to a ‘T’: focussed on one mission to the exclusion of all others, because that is destiny. Ironic, no?
Defending Your Life. Dean’s sadness with Jo was overwhelming. She’s right, he really needs to let go of all that he hangs on to. But if he did, he wouldn’t be the angst-filled Dean we all have come to love.
Lucifer. Jared Padalecki really displayed his acting ability with this plot line. In the beginning of the season, when Sam finally reveals to Dean and Bobby that he is seeing Lucifer all over the place, and Dean saves him in the warehouse, I was relieved to see the old dynamic back. I admit that I don’t like to see Sam looking after Dean in a serious manner, it throws me off. Now, if we’re talking Mystery Spot and Yellow Fever I am all over it.
I am really looking forward to ‘getting back to normal’. I feel like I have been in mourning for Seasons 1-6, and I am hoping we get back to that theme in Season 8. Don’t get me wrong, I love Supernatural of any theme, but this seemed like I had to wait to see if I enjoyed it from episode to episode. One of the things I have always loved about this show is the writing, and not being able to guess what’s going to happen because, well – it’s Supernatural, nobody REALLY dies. And individually, I think each episode was wonderfully written and stood out, on its own. Taken together as a whole season, I feel a little disjointed.
Predictions for the season finale? The final demise of Bobby the ghost, Castiel’s magical psychosis cure, the return of Baby, and the Winchesters will finally get Dick.