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SPN 8x23

This is probably the rantiest post I’ve ever written.  Ever.  Do not read if you don’t want your Show squee to be harshed.


I hate to say it, but the writers have lost a tremendous amount of storytelling credibility this season.  I feel like S8 was snippets of 3 different incomplete seasons with different emotional stories; it’s the Frankenstein of SPN.  It literally was all over the map, instead of formulating a well thought-out cohesive story that was paced evenly where 1+1=2, it’s like the writers just threw what sounded like good ideas against the wall and ran with whatever happened to stick.  And when the story stagnated and started sliding sideways (hehem, the first 10 episodes), they redirected and started throwing new ideas against the wall and ran with whatever stuck for the next 10 episodes.  And then they said, “Oh, crap, we have to come up with an ENDING because we’re getting renewed for another season” and then puked out the last 3 episodes.  I feel like the three different sections of the season weren’t strongly cohesive with each other, and it gave the impression that there wasn’t a clear vision.  There’s nothing more annoying and unsatisfying to me than being dicked around by the first-draft of a story that’s being sold as a final product.  Do not waste my time.  Argh.  :(

Let me elaborate: the first 10 episodes of the season are this beheaded version of SPN where it feels like they somewhat walk and talk and resemble Show, but they’re weirdly separated in what feels like a dramafied facsimile of itself until we wrap up Amelia and largely Benny and Sam and Dean chose each other and drink beer in a very unhappy, unsatisfying, unconvincing way.  Then we get ~10 episodes building up the demon tablet storyline and the trials to shut the gates of Hell.  Then in the last 3 episodes in swoops Metatron and the trials to shut the gates of Heaven.  Then in the last 10 minutes of a 23 episode season that spanned 8 months, the whole shut-the-gates-of-Hell trial gets snatched away in a giant JUST KIDDING and were redirected to a storyline that is ~3 episodes old, nullifying the season-long build up and robbing the story of a good portion of its significance up to that point.  It’s like the writers thought a great way to end a story is to have the Sam and Dean work on shutting the gates of Hell as the main story arc for an entire season and then have Dean suddenly believe Naomi based on her word and then waltz in and tell Sam, “Oops, we’re not going to shut the gates of Hell.”  And did anybody else wonder what the heck Dean was doing leisurely drinking beer with Cas and waiting for Cupid to show up (only to just talk to her) when he just left Sam, who looks like walking death, to SHUT THE GATES OF HELL BY HIMSELF?!!?!  But what has me really upset is the very real possibility that there may not be any consequences to the Hell trials and Sam “almost dying”.  So he and Dean went though all of that for an entire season only to just literally walk away, and whatever crazy supernatural power was making Sam deathly sick and his arm glow just conveniently disappears?   Um, no.

And why did Naomi have to die?  She was becoming so interesting.  Show, do you not do complex, multifaceted characters anymore?  Or did you simply kill her because she was a woman or because she wasn’t Mark Sheppard or Misha Collins (see next paragraphs)?

Somehow I don’t think Show has the guts to kill Crowley because I feel like it would’ve happened in the last minutes of this episode (Sam and Dean don’t cure him, so they kill him instead).  I feel like that decision isn’t driven by the plot because, to me, it makes sense to dispatch of Crowley as his story has become long-legged (Show seems to kill off everybody else in order to conveniently tie up storylines), but driven by Mark Sheppard and his popularity as an actor.  I’m not too hot on the idea of Crowley running around in consort with Team Free Will, and it doesn’t make sense to me that Sam and Dean would just let him go after all the trouble he’s caused, how untrustworthy he’s proven to be, and the fact that he’s still the King of Hell (unless the half completed last trial somehow robbed him mostly of his demon powers or something equally as weird).  So it’ll be interesting to see where S9 takes Crowley.

I do like the fact Abbadon is still a force to reckon with.  And it would seem Show may be keeping Crowley on the board in order to have a Hell-side scuffle between him and Abbadon.  But then again, I have to wonder how that power struggle will play into where Sam and Dean sit now that they’re seemingly no longer interested in closing the gates of Hell.  Will they just go back to hunting/exorcising/curing demons again?  Them standing down permanently doesn’t fit with their M.O.

The Men of Letters bunker lighting up was exciting.  I’m tentatively hopeful that something interesting and surprising will spring from that.  I also like that Kevin finally got stuck in the ubersafe Batcave and that he’s still around and kicking (and still pissed off that his life got hijacked because he has every right to be angry and resentful).

I like the idea of a whole-scale, forced evacuation of Heaven, but degraced!Cas could either be played in a really interesting way or it could reek of fan service in a stinky, gross way that would get in the way of the story similar to manufacturing ways to keep Crowley around when it makes no logical sense.  Only S9 will tell.  I guess.

And I'm sure I missed this because my TV was on the fritz (argh!), but but are we to believe that Metatron really just shut out all angels from Heaven but himself?  No minion angels?  By his own admission, he's not a warrior.  And what's his "evil plan"?  Hang out on an empty cloud and read books?   Obviously I need to rewatch this episode ASAP.

Although I didn’t have high hopes for the season finale solving all the issues I had with the rest of the season, I certainly didn’t anticipate having a “What?!?!  You’re kidding me!” moment at 9:56 pm tonight.  Maybe after a re-watch of the entire season will mellow me out about the unevenness of S8, but until then (if ever) I’ll still be in my corner muttering about lost potential, my general disappointment with Carver, and my misgivings about S9.  Here’s to hoping to be proven very wrong next season.

ETA:  I think this post is really a reaction to S8 and how it didn't come together for me as a whole rather than a 8x23 episode reaction.  To be fair, the last ~10 minutes of this episode were great, beautifully shot, and epic.  In the larger context, however, their amazingness couldn't erase my sense of ughblahno!what?pphhbbttt when thinking about S8 in general, which is unfortunate because I want to be flailing around, freaking out in a good way.  So to sum up: good finish but an overall not so good aftertaste.  :(

Comments

hugemind
May. 17th, 2013 08:28 pm (UTC)
I feel like the three different sections of the season weren’t strongly cohesive with each other, and it gave the impression that there wasn’t a clear vision.

For me, the relief of not having to watch the wahwahdrama is enough to buy the arc/story/plot twists in the later episodes. :) I'm not sure if I completely buy the introduction of Metatron (but at least he was referred to in earlier eps because he made some author's notes in the tablets), but it's not a frustrating, unnecessary love triangle so it's cool. I clearly have ridiculously high standards. :P

--the whole shut-the-gates-of-Hell trial gets snatched away in a giant JUST KIDDING--

I get where you're coming from and I don't know if I'm giving Show too much credit, but I didn't feel like the boys were sure to succeed in their task (especially since it was a proactive move on their part and not a 'must save the world from monsters' move). The halved demon tablet could've said anything in fine print in Crowley's half, so I was taking the trials with a small grain of salt.

I’m not too hot on the idea of Crowley running around in consort with Team Free Will, and it doesn’t make sense to me that Sam and Dean would just let him go after all the trouble he’s caused, how untrustworthy he’s proven to be, and the fact that he’s still the King of Hell (unless the half completed last trial somehow robbed him mostly of his demon powers or something equally as weird).

I'd like to know what Crowley's status now actually is. Is he practically cured? Semi-cured? Will he regress back into a demon over time? Him possibly helping the boys occurred to me, but also it'd be possible for Dean to confess and then complete the ritual.

When it comes to Abaddon, I'm wondering if she'll try to let Lucifer out of his cage. She didn't like Crowley and she was hand-picked by Lucy to be a knight of hell. And that leads me to hoping that we'd get some kind of a 2014-ish!verse ep now that Cas is a mortal too.

Hang out on an empty cloud and read books?

Well, there are a lot of people/heavens for Metatron to visit, so that could keep him busy. I don't know. He got his revenge for being driven out of heaven, I guess, maybe that's enough for him. And because he did seem to be angry at the way the archangels ran things, he might just be happy looking after things by himself and not have any minions.

I have to admit that I'm excited for S9. Whether that is because the uneven S8 is over and the slate's been wiped or because we were left with clear (non-frustrating) questions/situations which I know will direct S9 right from the beginning, I don't know. Or it could be just the epic looking angel rain and super-exciting Batcave. ;)
bowtrunckle
May. 18th, 2013 07:34 pm (UTC)
the relief of not having to watch the wahwahdrama is enough to buy the arc/story/plot twists in the later episodes. :)

Heh. Your "wahwahdrama" still makes me laugh. XD

The halved demon tablet could've said anything in fine print in Crowley's half, so I was taking the trials with a small grain of salt.

I guess it the part that whoever completes the trials dies was on Crowley's part of the tablet. The consequences of shutting the gates of hell was "the grain of salt" for me. I hope we do get to see the consequences of their attempt next season.

it'd be possible for Dean to confess and then complete the ritual.

That's an interesting thought (obviously I haven't read your episode reaction yet bec. it's probably full of things like this that haven't occurred to me). I just assumed that Sam would have to be the one to finish it as he started the spell and was the one earmarked to complete all the trials. But I guess if they just wanted to cure Crowley and not shut Hell, Dean could redo the spell as it's clear from the demon-cure back story anyone who follows the spell can cure a demon. That seems sort of redundant, convoluted, and anti-climatic, though. Oh, Show. :(

I'm wondering if she'll try to let Lucifer out of his cage.

Even though we've done Lucifer running around on Earth, somehow I like this idea even though letting one or both of the archangels out would just reboot the Apocalypse story, and that's not likely to happen.

He got his revenge for being driven out of heaven, I guess, maybe that's enough for him.

And that's the thing. Now that he's fulfilled his "mission" (as we were told), Metatron's got no motivation (as far as we know) and he's just a dangle-y bit flapping around. I hope we get him involved in the mytharc for next season. If he disappears after 9x01 it'll be apparent he was only brought in to manipulate the weird plot contortions.

we were left with clear (non-frustrating) questions/situations which I know will direct S9 right from the beginning

I'm glad you're excited for S9! I'm curious to see where things fall because I feel like we were left in an unclear place with a lot of befuddling questions. For example, details of fallen/de-graced angels, Cas' status, Sam's illness and effects of the trials, Metatron's motivation, Crowley, and how the boys are going to deal or not deal with demons from here on out. I feel like what we do know is that Abaddon is out there in a new meat suit and will be vying for the title "Queen of Hell" and that Dean is still Dean.

Or it could be just the epic looking angel rain and super-exciting Batcave. ;)

The falling angels were spectacular. And I LOVE the MoL story and the Batcave/Hobbit Hole. Let's hope S9 delivers on all these counts. :)

Edited at 2013-05-18 07:38 pm (UTC)
hugemind
May. 19th, 2013 09:14 pm (UTC)
I hope we do get to see the consequences of their attempt next season.

Yes. Both it's effects on Sam because the trials really took their toll and on the hell situation because Crowley's currently not king of anything and there's a power vacuum in hell. I guess the boys could find a spell or a ritual or something in the demon tablet to heal Sam, but it has to be acknowledged somehow.

it's clear from the demon-cure back story anyone who follows the spell can cure a demon

I'm kinda disappointed that the trials purifying Sam weren't mentioned anywhere when talking about purifying the blood used in the demon cure. I mean why talk about Sam being purified and the purifying blood for a demon curing ritual if the two are not connected.

even though letting one or both of the archangels out would just reboot the Apocalypse sto

You know, if the angels in heaven fell, I wonder what happened to the angels in the cage?

Metatron's got no motivation (as far as we know)

Hmm, maybe he'll see the error of his ways and starts working up to a redemption storyline. He's also the only angel with powers, so. Unless the caged angels have powers and Metatron has to face them. Possibilities!

I feel like what we do know is that Abaddon is out there in a new meat suit and will be vying for the title "Queen of Hell" and that Dean is still Dean.

My head's kind of brimming with possible ideas for S9 and there are a lot of possibilities where to take the story. It's not the black hole of Sam alone and Dean in Purgatory but a busy crossroads with a lot of destinations. I like possibilities! :D
bowtrunckle
May. 22nd, 2013 10:30 pm (UTC)
I mean why talk about Sam being purified and the purifying blood for a demon curing ritual if the two are not connected.

So weird that it wasn't touched on! Maybe it's a plot point brewing for next season bec. both were so pointedly (is that even a work?) made that it's hard to believe that they were just a coincidence.

The more I think about this finale, the more I'm realizing that it really wasn't a "finale", but a "beginning" that just happened to be stuck at the end of a season.

what happened to the angels in the cage?

Are they considered fallen already? Lucifer is already for sure, but I don't think Michael is (is he?). I'd be interested in seeing if there are any ramification with the cage. A resolution for poor Adam would be nice, but I'm not counting on it.

but a busy crossroads with a lot of destinations.

!!! This is a good thing!

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