So in my memory, I have listed season 3 as my least favorite, but honestly season 4 is much harder to watch. Spoilers to follow, so don’t read if you don’t want to be spoiled.
Season four has many great things about it. Dean comes back from hell and we are introduced to Castiel, probably one of my favorite moments of the entire show is the introduction of Castiel. “I’m the one who gripped you tight and raised you from perdition,” has to be one of the best introductory lines ever written or delivered. Castiel is the source of much humor, but in season 4 he’s an angelic badass much more than the brother’s friend. Season 4 gets a whole letter grade raised for it simply because everything they did with Castiel was just wonderful.
Like many other seasons, this season has it’s fair share of episodes to skip. For example, “Jump the Shark” is one of my least favorites. First of all, by the end of the episode we realize Adam’s been dead all along. So there is another Winchester brother and all this angst and pathos, but they aren’t even dealing with the brother, but rather the thing that killed him. Ugh, it’s so pointless and I don’t care. I know we have to have another Michael sword and all that, but it was a stupid concept and all it really does is highlight the utter dickishness of John Winchester. I’ve been re-watching even the bad episodes, but I simply couldn’t force myself to rewatch this one. There is so much wasted potential that it is too difficult to even watch.
I also hate the episode “Metamorphosis” but that is more because a lot of it is gross – a rabid man eating raw meat is always visually upsetting. “Family Remains” is another episode I usually skip, but I rewatched it again. I think the reason I don’t normally watch this episode is because Sam and Dean are just completely inept in it. I also don’t buy a little girl with 0 superpowers kicking the asses of men who are trained fighters and about a foot-foot and a half taller than her. It’s stupid and it makes the Winchesters seem incompetent in pretty much every way.
These episodes loosely relate to plot as Dean tries to rid himself of his hell-guilt and Sam struggles with whether or not he should be drinking demon blood and using his evil powers. Hint: he shouldn’t be. You know the first clue? Drinking blood. That’s never a good thing.
I tried really hard this season to be sympathetic to Sam and give him excuses for his utter douchebaggery this season. His anger at Dean going to hell, the rush from being powerful, being young and stupid, but even with all of that, the only excuse I have left for his utter assholery this season is that he was possessed by demon blood. Which is a lame cop-out excuse.
The show works best for me when the brothers are working together. I know writers love conflict, but with all of the external enemies to deal with, you’d think they’d at least let the brothers work together against the external conflict, but no. This season is tedious as hell with the Sam and Dean fighting angst. It’s exhausting. It’s also pretty much every episode in the latter half of the season. Even the monster of the week episodes have their fair share of Winchester angst and argument wedged in between every thing else.
Highlights of the season are “Yellow Fever,” “Monster Movie,” “It’s a Terrible Life,” “The Monster at the End of This Book,” and oh my Chuck, how I love “The Monster at the End of This Book.” Chuck is one of the best characters for many reasons and while I know you can’t have god on every episode, I wish they had more of him. “I Know What You Did Last Summer” was also a good addition to overall storyline, and holy hot sex scene, too.
This season, Dean is very much broken. Sam is mainly a dick about it towards the second half of the season, but during the beginning of the season, he’s pretty sympathetic. Sam’s belief in God could have been used by the angels to prevent the rise of Lucifer, but instead, they are rabid dicks to Sam, which makes him a lot less likely to bow to their edicts. Knowing the angels were in on releasing Lucifer from the cage helps make this make sense, but mostly it just seems like a wasted opportunity. Sam was still looking for guidance and willing to follow whatever god laid out, but instead the angels were pretty much dicks to him and not very helpful, which helped push him down the road to hell. After all, why listen to the other side if they are just assholes who call you a monkey?
This season is mainly about breaking the seals and releasing Lucifer and most of the stories flow into that very well. This season is a difficult season to watch, as there aren’t many episodes that are light and funny, and normally Supernatural does a good job of mixing the dark, broody, and scary with humor and wit. The color saturation from season 3 is gone, too, so it goes back to being visually a very dark show as well.
Season 4 is difficult to watch because it’s depressing. The boys lose a lot, they are played by both sides, and Lucifer is ultimately released. They are fucked from the get-go and the game is rigged and they still get blamed for Lucifer rising. It’s a long, slow slide to the apocalypse and it’s difficult to watch. It’s well written (for the most part) and the acting and storytelling is solid, but it’s super hard to watch and it’s incredibly depressing to me.
All of that said, the last two final episodes are pretty epic, and the hatred you feel towards the evil demon Ruby becomes so intense that when they finally kill her, it’s incredibly joyous. Dean twisting HER OWN KNIFE to kill her is so fabulous and happy and awesome. Now if only they’d kill off Lucifer already (Lucifer is so fucking boring I can’t even) so we could feel the joy from that.
I will say that while I hated Ruby by the end of the season, especially in the last two episodes for how much she divides the brothers, she was a terrific bad guy. She manages to keep you guessing through most of her interactions with Sam and it really isn’t until the very end that you realize she’s been on the side of Lucifer all along. Like all good bad guys, you want her dead, but she was really terrific at being evil.
Because I have depression, I am giving this two grades – B+ for storytelling acting and everything along those lines, but C- for depressing the fuck out of me. You need to break up the depressing episodes with some that aren’t so heinous and this season has a string of 6 episodes in a row that are super depressing.