I’ve often mentioned that my relationship with “Supernatural” can be a bit of a love hate relationship. This season was no exception, except maybe in that by the end of it, the season was just purely a hate relationship. “Supernatural” is a show that’s had a long run, nine seasons, so it’s not exactly unexpected that by now the show would be losing steam(even if this has been going on for a while now). However with a tenth season on the horizon, a possible eleventh, and whispers of another attempt at a spin-off(after the failure of “Supernatural: Tribes”), I just don’t see much life left in the show.
I know a lot of folks believe these last two seasons have been a step up in quality in comparison to the seventh season, but having re-watched Season Seven a few times I feel like it’s definitely my favorite of the post-Kripke seasons. Season Seven received a lot of mixed reactions, mostly due to the Leviathans being sort of lackluster enemies, but Season Seven took a lot of risks. They killed off Bobby and brought him back as a vengeful spirit, they wiped Castiel’s memories clean, they introduced a new group of Big Bads with farther influence, they brought on Meg and Kevin, the season completely rebooted the show while keeping the essentials and bringing back a lot of fan favorites.
This season has just felt…so old. Here are the angels, they’re evil but also angelic forces of power so moral ambiguity, and there are demons, and hey sometimes there are monsters, and the brothers fight and keep secrets from each other(a lot). The show has also stretched the realm of believability, like how is there a full on Angel war going on here on Earth and no one has figured it out yet? Season Nine is the show really showing it’s age.
The beginning of the season presented a lot of really interesting angles for the show to go in with Human Castiel getting hunted down by his own kind, Kevin being full integrated within the team, the whole Ezekiel storyline, the Men of Letters, Crowley changing(which to be fair was actually touched upon quite a bit and was one of the most positive aspects of the season for me), Abaddon as the Big Bad, and even the Angel stuff was pretty interesting. Early Season Nine was great, it had some of the best monster of the week episodes in years(that talking dog episode was hilarious, admit it!), and the plot seemed to be going somewhere. Then things started to slow down a bit, and then they had that really good episode with Cain, and then bam everything went wrong.
The Monster of the Week episodes became pretty bland and useless(I feel like the MOTW episodes are at their best when they A) have great guest stars like recurring characters or notable genre actors like the episode with James Marsters and Charisma Carpenter B) are just funny little episodes that embrace the show’s comedic elements or C) really experimental and meta. There were some episodes with some of these qualities(guest stars, experimental episodes like “Meta Fiction” which was just kind of a mess, though not many comedic episodes) but they just kind of fell flat. That’s not to say there aren’t some really good episodes in the second half(Cain episode, Ghostfacers episode, and the Misha Collins directed Men of Letters episode).
Let’s talk about “Tribes” for a second. There were some really cool aspects of the “Tribes” episode, but they never really went all in on the whole “Mobsters meets Monsters” described premise. Another issue was that it just wasn’t really a spin-off anyone was dying to see happen, I’d long hoped for a spin-off due to my clingy nostalgic need for things to not end, but this wasn’t really so much as spin-off so much as some vaguely changed unused script of “The Originals” with Sam and Dean thrown into spin it off. A spin-off should stand on it’s own, but it’s a spin-off because there are some actual connections to the predecessor, not just vague well it’s got monsters and hunters so let’s call it “Supernatural” except with Tribes at the end. The cast was there, and so was the premise, but the show itself just didn’t really do much to get you hooked, so I can’t say I’m going to sob too much that the spin-off wasn’t picked up(Abaddon and Henry spin-off anyone?).
One big issue this season was the angels, who quite frankly my dear, haven’t been interesting since like Season Six(Castiel aside, because we all love Castiel). Also Metatron, motherfucking Metatron, so fucking much. Sorry for the incoherence that was that sentence, but gosh do I not like Metatron. He’s just like a poor man’s Crowley, except not nearly as interesting. He also doesn’t make for a particularly interesting big bad, I really miss Amanda Tapping as Naomi . I wish they would have just gone all out and made Ezekiel the big bad(Tahmoh Penikett was pretty much wasted here).
The cast did their best with the work given, Jensen is still a genius at comedic timing, and Jared is still great at getting angry, and Misha kills it with the awkward puppy angel routine. Mark Shepard was fucking fantastic, and a real highlight this year(good news is he’s been upped to regular next year, though considering that Cas is regular and still appears in about the same number of episodes it might just be a credit thing). They had some great guest stars as well.
I’m interested in where this whole demon Dean thing will go, though let’s be real it’ll be abandoned by the mid-season finale. Another note is that I was super pissed they brought back Tessa for no reason(that was nothing like the Tessa we knew) and killed her off as soon as the brought her back. I really hope that next season will take more risks and change up the status quo a bit in terms of Big Bads. Less angels please, more Charlie, more Kevin, bring back Meg, show some ghost Bobby from time to time, and maybe make the stories more personal and less epic. Overall, this season had great promise, but by the end of the season a lot of that promise had been squandered.
GRADE: B- 80%