Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Supernatural Season 10 Review (SPOILERS)

Over the past several months, I've been slowly rolling out my reviews of the most recent seasons of the TV shows that I've been watching. My initial goal was to get them all out within a week or two of the finales which took place in May. That didn't happen. Instead I ended up releasing them about a month or so apart, which I actually kinda liked. Instead of getting an explosion of TV show reviews within a week or two and then none for the next year, you get my TV show reviews spread out. Whether or not I do the same thing next Summer is to be determined. We'll see what my schedule is like and how I'm feeling. This review of Supernatural is my final review from this past season. From network TV that is. I might get a review of Daredevil out around the time Jessica Jones gets released if I can finish that season in time. Long story there that I don't need to talk about here. Nevertheless, with this review of Supernatural season 10, my goal was to get it out right around the time season 11 started. The season 11 premier was last week, so now that you have that on your mind, I figure it's a good time to dive into what I thought of the previous season. As I've been doing with these recent TV show reviews, I will be talking about spoilers. If you haven't finished season 10 yet, go finish that then come back and read this review.

For a long time now, Supernatural has been by favorite TV show. I wasn't with them at the very beginning, but my younger brother introduced me to the show back in 2010, around the time that season 5 was finishing up. It didn't take me long at all to get hooked and since I didn't have much going on that Summer, before season 6 started I binge-watched the entire show. I've been following the brothers live on TV ever since. No, seasons 6-10 haven't been as good as season 1-5. But it's still watchable television. The series as a whole is still my favorite current TV show. When comparing the most recent seasons only, I will admit that season 10 of Supernatural wasn't my go to show. Season 1 of The Flash took that title. In fact, Supernatural got pretty far down the list of shows I was excited for each week. But it's far from the point of giving up on the show. In fact, I will be with them to the end. Whenever that comes. The initial plan was a five season show. When season 5 rolled around, they decided to continue instead of ending. For some reason I was under the impression that their new goal was ten seasons. Nope. Who knows how long they will be going now. They haven't said. Some wonder if the CW is going to ask them to stop. That's also not the case. CW is going to let them go as long as they want to go. I'll come back to this thought a bit later, but now let's dive into season 10.

Despite the issues that I've had with the most recent seasons of Supernatural, there's been a few things that have always remained consistently good. Two of those consistencies is that each season has begun well and ended well. This season is no different. The initial premise was especially interesting. Season 9 wasn't the best, but it ended in a rather shocking way. Dean had become a demon. That cliffhanger nearly killed me. How in the world were they going to solve this and where was it going to go? This is where we started off season 10 and I was really stoked. Each season has always had it's own big baddie. What if this season's big baddie was Dean? That would make for quite the epic season as Sam tries to figure out what in the heck he needs to do. Does he try to save Dean? Does he kill Dean? What if Dean starts killing a whole bunch other people and becomes an even worse monster? Wouldn't that mean Sam would be forced to think of the greater good and stop Dean for good instead of selfishly trying to find out a way to save him? This could also lead up to an amazing finale after a crazy, wild ride for the whole season. I was excited. This season was going to be good.

But no. That's not what happened. It only took us a few episodes before Demon Dean had been cured and sadly this season went south pretty fast. Instead of a story line where Dean was the main villain and Sam needed to figure out what in the heck to do, the season instead became about Sam and Dean trying to find a way to get rid of the Mark of Cain. Back in season 9, Dean had accepted the Mark of Cain from Cain himself with the intention of using it to kill Abaddon once and for all. This goal was accomplished towards the end of the season as he used the First Blade to kill Abaddon, but then the Mark of Cain started to completely mess him up and after he was killed by Metatron, the Mark of Cain, with the help of the First Blade and Crowly, resurrected him and turned him into Demon Dean. That's how season 9 ends. I wanted more Demon Dean in season 10, but instead we cured him pretty fast and now the brothers need to figure out how to get rid of the Mark of Cain before it completely messes Dean up in a more permanent way.

See this is actually another example of the brilliance of Supernatural. Throughout the whole series, they are always taking ideas from various lore and implementing them in their own creative way. This lore comes straight from the Bible. In the Bible, Cain was a friend of Satan. He loved Satan more than he loved God. Satan told Cain to kill his brother Abel, who was a righteous, God-fearing man. God wasn't too happy with Cain when this happened, to say the least. Because of this, God cursed Cain and gave him a mark. Those are two different things, the curse and the mark. I don't need to dive into what the curse and the mark actually are in the Bible, but Supernatural uses this story in their own creative way. Cain is actually a character that we meet. Part of his curse has been to not suffer death. Thus he's still around when Sam and Dean are on the earth and in fact we learn that he is a demon. This mark he has on his arm has done a lot of awful things to him. Of course this isn't quite the way the Bible actually tells the story, but it's a fun twist that had the potential to make things really interesting. You have Cain. You have the Mark of Cain. You have the First Blade that Cain used to kill his brother. But potential is the big word here and in my personal opinion, potential with this story was wasted.

First off, like I've said several times now, keeping Demon Dean around longer is what needed to happen. The Mark of Cain turned him into this awful thing and that should've been at least slightly more permanent than it was. They can cure him in the finale if they want and deal with the after effects in the next season, but they didn't. Instead we got a season that was mostly comprised of them trying to get rid of the mark and honestly I found it a little boring. A good storyline weaved into the season is the most important thing for Supernatural and when this storyline was boring, it made the whole season pretty boring. I liked their attempt to go back and use the formula from the first few seasons, that of a lot of monster-of-the-week episodes with a brilliant and intriguing story weaved in. But when the story just doesn't work out, it really negatively effects the whole season. Yes, there were some pretty good monster-of-the-week episodes in this season. But they weren't good enough to hold this whole season together.

The other missed opportunity with this came with the villain. Yes, Dean would've made a great villain, but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about Cain. In season 5 our main villain was Lucifer. When it comes to Supernatural, Lucifer is a villain that simply cannot be topped. That's the part of the problem with these later seasons. In deciding to go forward with the show, they haven't been able to find a main villain as good as Lucifer. But here they finally had a great opportunity. When you've already done Lucifer, isn't Lucifer's biggest follower the perfect option for the next best villain? Cain would've been an amazing villain. But the actual character of Cain only shows up in two episodes. He's mentioned in several more, but actor Timothy Omundson only shows up once in season 9 and once in season 10 and then he is killed by Dean. What a waste. Sure, perhaps Omundson had a really busy schedule and couldn't do more than he did, but if that was the case, they really should've found someone who could've committed to a larger role and written him in more. Instead our main villain is probably Rowena. She's an extremely manipulative witch and is also the mother of Crowley. However, one episode of her was all I could handle, yet we got a whole lot more of her and we aren't done yet.

So yes, this season lost me rather quickly. There were plenty good monster-of-the-week episodes. Episode 200 was especially fantastic. That was episode 5 of the season and was titled "Fan Fiction." It was the episode where Sam and Dean run into a Supernatural play being put on at this small school. It was also the episode where Chuck showed up once again for a brief moment. He was the prophet from season 5 that was initially intended to be God. That wasn't actually stated during the show, but it was revealed behind the scenes that this was the initial goal for Chuck's character. But that didn't happen and Chuck was gone for several seasons and thus God is still a mystery. But having Chuck showing up makes me wonder of they are going to use him as God after all. I was expecting him to show up again in a bigger role towards the end of the season, but that didn't happen either. I'm not too upset with that. In fact that makes me excited for when they finally decide to bring him back. Instead we have to deal with what we've got and that is a lot of Rowena and Metatron. I haven't talked about Metatron yet. He was a season 9 baddie and was really interesting for that season. But I'm kinda done with him as well. I want something big. I want something epic. Cain could've been epic. But he was underused. Demon Dean could've been epic. But that was wrapped up way too quickly.

Now I said that two consistencies of Supernatural is that the seasons always start well and end well. I spoke about how things started well. I touched on how the middle of the season lost me. There's more I could've said like the annoying brother drama and the recycled storylines that involve that drama. But I think I've said enough for now. Before signing off, I do need to mention that the show once again remained consistent with the endings as this finale was pretty good. Was it as epic or shocking of a finale like some of the previous seasons? No. But it was still pretty good. Sam has forced Rowena into figuring out the spell that gets rid of the mark. Dean has made the decision that he is a lost cause and summons Death to kill him. Death says that he can't do this and tells Dean that the mark is a key that keeps the darkness locked in. Death offers to send Dean to a place far away where he won't disturb anyone. Dean calls Sam to come to him so he can say goodbye, but then Death says that Sam needs to die because Sam won't stop until he finds Dean. This leads to a rather intense final scene that has you on the edge of your chair as you are watching. It ends with Dean killing Death instead of Sam (which kinda doesn't make sense if you think of it, but oh well), and Rowena completes the spell that removes the mark. And just like Death said, the darkness is released. Things happen with Rowena, Crowley, and Castiel, but I don't need to discuss that. The season ends with Sam and Dean being submersed in the darkness.

Bam! That's was a great ending. What is this darkness and what happens to everyone because of it? That's a question for season 11 to answer, which has already started off pretty good. Overall, this season did what the last several seasons have done. Start well, lose me in the middle, and end with a bang. The main actors are great as always. I'm talking about Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Mark A. Sheppard, and Misha Collins. A few of the side characters were great as well while a few more bothered me a bit. But it's the writing at this point that needs to improve. I've been waiting for them to get back to their former glory that they experienced with seasons 1-5. But they haven't yet. Seasons 7 and 8 got close, but the last two seasons have dipped down. I really hope this ends on a high note, but that's the big issue that I will end this review on. What's their goal with the show? How long are they going to go? I know I will be sad when the show ends, but at this point I have no idea what their end game is. Quite frankly, I'm not sure if they have an end game. It feels like they are just wandering through and that worries me. They need to come up with an end game. If they have one, they need to tell us what it is. Season 11 isn't the end. Is it season 12? 13? 14? 15? At this point, I honestly hope it's 12, but we'll see.

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