Posted in Reviews

Supernatural Season 10 Review

Spoilers for all seasons abound, so don’t read if you don’t want to be spoiled.

Season 10 has some really excellent episodes throughout, and overall I really enjoyed all of them with a few exceptions.  The first few episodes deal with Dean having become not only a demon but a friend of Crowley’s.  He’s ditched the bunker so Sam has been searching for him for several months.

They introduce Cole as this seeming badass who is after Dean and while he could certainly kick my ass, he’s not that impressive when compared to the Winchesters.  Anyway, he nabs Sam easily enough (to be fair, Sam’s injured so only has one arm working), he’s simply no match for Dean.  Demon Dean shows coldness throughout the beginning episodes, but nothing too dark, although he and Crowley have a disturbing conversation about “what they did to those triplets” and I just hope to Goddess they are talking kinky sex and not, as Kevin would say, “sex torture dungeon” types of things.  With demons, so many things seem to overlap hideously.  Dean ordering for Crowley is pretty funny.

Dean: Two shots here, and he’ll have something fancy with your tiniest umbrella.

The scene where a basically one-armed Sam is in the bar with handcuffs to bring Dean back, Dean who has mostly always kicked Sam’s ass (except for that one time when Sam was on demon blood) when Sam wasn’t injured and Dean wasn’t a demon.  This shows that Sam isn’t really thinking clearly about this issue.  I know they make a big deal about Sam going all “dark side” to find Dean, but honestly, they’ve caught and tortured demons for way less, so him doing so to find Dean and Crowley didn’t seem out of character.

Also, no pity for Lester – that dude not only jumped at the idea of killing his wife, he wanted to watch.  That sicko can go to Crowley’s hell, the sooner the better. (Also, for anyone keeping track of Stargate bingo – Lester is portrayed by David Nykl, aka Dr. Radek Zelenka from Stargate Atlantis.)  Anyway, none of this struck me as really out of character for Sam (“Mystery Spot” for example) as he’s proven without Dean he’s a bit of a wild card, which is really dramatic when the person in question happens to be a Taurus.

Anyway, right before Sam gets Dean back, Demon Dean kicks Cole’s ass.  Kind of a lot.  Cole says that he learned “everything” but can’t even land a blow.  Jensen Ackles, as always, rocks as Demon Dean, even joking about Cole’s threat to shoot Sam. “Did you miss?” Demon Dean says jovially.  Very good fight scene, but I’m not that impressed with Cole.  Like, good job for dedication to your vengeance cause and all, but maybe next time just shoot first instead of talking so much.  Wallowing in your revenge only snatches it away from you.

Meanwhile, Sam and Crowley are fun to watch – Sam tries to threaten Crowley’s life, but it doesn’t really take..

Sam: This doesn’t make us square. If I see you again…
Crowley: Oh stop it Samantha, nobody likes a tease.

Sam taking Demon Dean home is a great relief even if Demon Dean is chilling.  This leads to Sam using the demon cure to restore Dean.  This episode has a lot of back and forth between Demon Dean and Sam, but what’s fun is Crowley saving Castiel.  Castiel won’t steal the grace of another angel, so Crowley does it for him, because he figures Castiel will help the Winchesters make Dean no longer a demon.

Crowley: Why can’t you people just sit on clouds and play harps like you’re supposed to?

Castiel with renewed grace is always an excellent visual as he glows angel white.  Him rescuing Sam from an escaped Demon Dean (Jared Padalecki is great here, especially the relief on Sam’s face at seeing Castiel has arrived) has the visual of Castiel with blue angel eyes and Dean with black demon eyes, and that has become a gif I’ve seen pretty much every where – no surprise there, it is a really well-done scene.  This ends the demon Dean portion of things, and gets us on to the meat of the season, including the 200th episode of the show.

Dean: Ugh, theater kids. Great.

Sam: What? I was a theater kid.

Dean: Barely. You did Our Town, which was cool. But then you did that crappy musical.

Sam: Oklahoma? Hugh Jackman got cast off of Oklahoma.

Dean: You ran tech, Wolverine.

Sam: Shut up.

“Fan Fiction” is the 200th episode of the series and I cannot gush about it enough.  I was dubious about it when I first heard the premise, but it really worked (if you forget entirely that they are dealing with teenagers at a school who would probably be way more supervised than that, but I am not going to nitpick a fucking fantastic episode.)  First of all, the music really is great.  Some of it funny, mostly sweet.  And these singers simply break your heart when they sing “Carry On My Wayward Son.”  I’ve said a few times that I originally thought of “Supernatural” as “pretty boys hunt monsters on the WB” until I was channel surfing and caught the song playing as the “road so far” from season two’s finale – I stopped for the song and stayed for the show.  The song starts off with “Mary Winchester” singing and by the time “Bobby” is getting up from his wheelchair, I’m in tears.

By 200 episodes, fans of the show are pretty invested in the characters, their backstories, and the mythology.  “Fan Fiction” plays on that in a fun way in the beginning that has you laughing, but by the end has you in tears for the loss they’ve had on their journey.  The music was excellent, and “A Single Man Tear” is both funny in a self mocking way and touching.  Well-done episode all around and a great gift to long time fans.  The expressions on Sam and Dean’s faces when they walk in and see a production of their life is priceless.   Dean blurting out, “There’s no singing in Supernatural” is hilarious.    Maeve (portrayed by Joy Regullano) was particularly fun.

Maeve is what Daria would be if she really cared about things.  When people are being taken by Calliope during the show, she calls for the understudies to get into hair and make-up.  She’s pretty unflappable, in that monotone, non-impressed way.  It was a great 200th episode, but I’ve gushed enough about it.  (Although, seriously, where are the parents???)

This season introduces one of my personal favorite villains of all time, Rowena.  Rowena is evil to the core and completely self-interested, manipulative, and all around bad.  She is also hilarious and crazy powerful.  She rescues two prostitutes who were forced into working for demons and simply kills the demon with a hex bag.  Meanwhile, Dean hooks up with someone from a dating site (Sam mocks Dean for his screen name, Impala67) and it turns out that she is working for a demon.  Sex for souls, basically.  It turns out that Dean isn’t really the ideal customer for that type of trade.  Just as the Winchesters have their sites on Rowena, Cole shows up and she gets away.

Dean and Cole fight again, and Dean who is not a demon still easily kicks Cole’s butt.  The fight scene is as good as the last one, but has a lot more heart to it.  Cole talking about his father begging for his life and Dean replying “It’s a monster’s trick,” was just horrifying and sad to me, because it means lots of monsters have begged Dean for their life.  His childhood must have been pretty scarring.  Anyway, Cole moves on with renewed perspective.

Season 10 has plot arcs that serve as book ends for episodes, but there are many stand alone episodes, something the series does really well.  I actually prefer the monster of the week episodes, and there are plenty of them this season.  One of my favorites is “Ask Jeeves” where throughout the course of the episode, Dean manages to pick up every weapon in the game/movie Clue.  It’s a fun and funny episode with excellent guest characters.  They do weave in a bit about the Mark of Cain as the episode’s bookends, but the rest of the episode is primarily funny.

Dean encountering Hansel and a witch that turns him into young Dean is another fun episode that has the return of Dylan Everett as a young Dean.  “About a Boy” is somewhat fun, simply because of the interaction between adult Sam and teenage Dean.  Also, bench seats are a real problem – I have short legs and I’ve put people’s knees around their ears before.  This is a good monster of the week episode even though there is Mark of Cain angst.

One of my favorite episodes, naturally, is “Hibbing 911” where Sheriff Jody Mills and Sheriff Donna Hanscum meet.  I love this episode so much and wanted immediately a spin-off with these two women.  #Wayward #WaywardAF  I clearly wasn’t alone.  One of the nice things about this episode is it shows the dynamic of female friendship really well.  Jody gets tired of Donna’s ex bringing up her weight, “You are SO not fat, by the way” is one of those moments.  These two work so well off of each other, and Jody needs someone who calls her Jodio.

Just Kim Rhodes body language alone in this episode is praise worthy, but what really shines through to me is that finally there is a heroic, kick-ass, adult woman who is a complicated and complex character.  Jody enjoys church but didn’t join their chastity group because she doesn’t make promises she can’t keep.  Jody lost both her son and husband in one night, but still manages to be sheriff, an elected position.  That alone is heroically impressive, but then she takes in Alex and later Claire.  Her life has tragedy, but where the Winchesters tend to become more closed off, Jody just opens her arms wider and her home even more in the wake of tragedy.

Jody Mills is great in this episode, where she is at a Sheriff’s retreat and pretty irked about having to go.  She calls Sam and Dean in to check out what might be a case and they ask after Alex.  She first tells them that Alex is captain of the cheerleading squad as a joke, but when Sam says, “Really?”  Jody replies that Alex is smoking pot under the bleachers but at least she isn’t luring men to their death anymore.  Jody is realistic about Alex’s reaction to 8 years of trauma and is prepared to grade on a curve.

Jody and Donna start off as a sort of odd couple, but by the end they are friends and it really does happen organically in the story in a really nice way.  By the end, Jody has offered to answer any questions about the supernatural Donna has, which is cool.  Also, I just love their exchanges, such as this one:

Jody: You okay?

Donna: Yeah, other than feeling like I wanna hurl. I just chopped off a vampire’s head.

Jody: You were great at that. [Kim Rhodes says this line in a such a wonderful, supportive, happy way that it’s a lot better than it looks]

Donna: Thanks.

Now as much as I love Jody and Donna, I really have to work to like Claire, because as written, she’s been pretty awful.  I know we are all supposed to freak out that Dean killed everyone at the end of her return episode, but these men were just hanging out downstairs while one of them tried to rape Claire.  I’m good with Dean killing all of them.  Randy, who has been “like a father” to Claire is willing to pay off his debts with her, as if he owned her or she were a commodity.  That dude can die and I won’t cry.  Sam and Castiel really overreact here.

Claire is just unpleasant, pretty much all around.  Finding out later in the season that her mom’s been kidnapped gives her some sympathy, but mostly she is just attitude and anger and bad hair and it’s annoying to watch her.  I’m hoping that they make her less of an intolerable jerk in the future.  The interaction between Castiel and the Winchesters is excellent in these episodes, but Claire’s dialogue is just sullen and hateful and bleh.

The return of Charlie Bradbury from Oz happens early on in the season, and it’s great episode.  I love Felicia Day as Charlie, and we get more of her than usual this season which is so great but then she dies and it’s awful.  Her death seems to be used as motivation for Dean to go dark side and kill all of the Steins, but honestly, I think he’d have done that regardless.  Anyway, Charlie died off camera, and while many hated that, I don’t think I could have handled her death scene.  She was too likable and too fun and too much of a straight shooter with the brothers for it to be anything other than a huge loss.  She could call them on their crap in a way no other character has ever been able to.

That said, Charlie died the way she lived, by choosing her direction.  She chooses to save Dean.  Dean tells her to give the Steins whatever they want, but having just figured out the Book of the Damned code she says, “I can’t do that, Dean.”  Her smashing her keyboard in the sink is devastating because it’s Charlie’s suicide, metaphorically speaking, and removes any bargaining chip she may have had for her life.  Charlie chose a heroes death, but I don’t have to like it.  She was a great character that deserved better than to die so Dean’s character could go dark side.  [Getting a little bit ‘women in refrigerators’ here, writers, so quit it]

And all of my favorite lines go to Rowena.  She’s an awful, evil, manipulative witch, but she is just so good at being awful.  Oh, and also a bad mother.

Crowley: You said, you’d be back in a flash and then you disappeared, I was eight-years-old, eight!

Rowena: Oh now, you’re being dramatic.

Crowley: I didn’t even have a father!

Rowena: Of course you had a father. You were just conceived during a winter solstice orgy, and it’s not like I was taking names.

She also has no problem with being evil.  She takes pride in it.

Dean: Rowena, what’s a nice girl like you doing in a place like this? I’m sorry did I say nice girl? I meant evil skank.

Rowena: You say that like it’s an insult. Nice girls, they’re pathetic. Here’s to ‘evil skanks.’

“Inside Man” sees the return of Bobby Singer in one of the more fun episodes of the season.  Bobby breaks out of his heaven and to distract the angels, opens the backdoors to all of the other Bobby Singers’ heavens creating one of my favorite lines EVER:

Angel: The Bobbys are fighting back. All hands, we need all hands. They’re surly, I repeat the Bobbys are surly.

“The Bobby’s are surly” has to be one of the best lines and this episode is full of that type of clever writing.  We have a throwaway character, Oliver, a psychic that Castiel and Sam go to in order to communicate with Bobby in heaven.

Castiel: I’m an angel.

Oliver: That-no, you can’t be.

Castiel: Why not?

Oliver: Because I’m an atheist.

Sam: Not anymore.

There was so much fun stuff in this episode but one of the visuals I always rewind when watching the episode is Castiel jumping through heaven’s gateway – the special effects are marvelous and Castiel really is so unbelievably cool sometimes – this is certainly one of those times.  A team-up between Sam and Castiel isn’t unheard of, but tends to be rarer that the Destiel team-ups (clearly) but this was a really fun one.

Although, I have to say that sometimes it bothers me that they steal cars.  Sam tends to steal kind of crappy cars and I always think that someone with a crappy car probably doesn’t have a whole lot of ways to replace the crappy car or get to work, so I hope they return the cars sometimes with a full tank of gas and maybe a better working carburetor (since they tend to steal older cars) or demon-proofing or something like that to offset what must be a really bad day for someone who is probably struggling to get by.  Sam stole a truck this season that reminded me of my own, but this isn’t the first time I’ve noticed this car thievery as being somewhat problematic.

While Charlie’s death was awful, the other death I hated this season was the death of Death.  First of all, never in a million years EVEN WITH THE STUPID MARK OF CAIN do I believe Dean Winchester will agree to a deal if it involves killing Sam.  He’s completely incapable of doing it.  Famously incapable of doing it.  He can’t even deal with it when someone else kills Sam, so it is incomprehensibly unbelievable to me that any writer of this show thought this was a good idea.  Were they high?  Or just wanted to get home early?

Death saying that if Dean doesn’t kill Sam that he will, probably wasn’t smart on Death’s part because of course that means Dean has to kill him.  I liked this Death a lot.  This episode just had my mouth hanging open at the stupidity of it.  It was very melodramatic and all, but completely unbelievable.  The best part about the season finale was that they played the “Fan Fiction” version of the “Carry On My Wayward Son” for the first bit, before they rolled into the classic rock edition.  Like seriously, the best thing about this episode was “the road so far.”

Season finale episodes are important, and this season’s finale was stupid.  It destroyed any suspension of disbelief I might have had completely.  I thought it meant the entire season sucked, but honestly, this was a really good season, with tons of stand alone stories that were fun.  The Mark of Cain histrionics got really tiresome really quickly, but I did enjoy seeing Sam working to save Dean for a change of pace.  Overall I’d like to give the season an A, but the season finale and the tiresomeness of the Mark of Cain and Claire Novak make it a B.

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