2009-10 season wrap: Supernatural

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be summarizing my thoughts on many of the series that ended just as the “official” television season came to a close recently.

Overview: After turning in one of the most impressive seasons of genre television in recent memory during its fourth season, Supernatural tried to top that with the apocalypse. And even though the writers never quite figured out how to match such a grand-scale story on their small-scale CW budget, there were certainly a number of fantastic moments that will go down as high points in the series. The writing wasn’t as consistently good as it was in S4, but again, it all came together in the end to create a wonderful conclusion to the series. Ugh, I mean season. Thanks, CW!

Pros: Sure, we didn’t spend enough time with him, but Mark Pellegrino’s Lucifer was damn fantastic in spot appearances. He wasn’t mustache-twirling evil, but still held command of a room with his intensity. His vile and jealousy towards the human race and frustrations with his father and archangel brothers was always well-written and well-played. And in traditional Supernatural fashion, he was sometimes even funny.

Despite their ongoing issues, it was nice to have Sam and Dean back together for the most part. They might have been exploring the inner bowels of their emotions and psyches a little too much and mining the same damn territory over and over, but at least we finally were able to see them trust one another again. The plot device of having the two of them serve as vessels for Michael and Lucifer allowed them to worry about which one of them would pull the classic Winchester move and sacrifice themselves OR how they’d band together and ignore any of that destiny talk. Good stuff.

And much like season four, season five did a damn good job of balancing the procedural and mythological elements of the story. Basic plots would quickly become not so basic and suddenly be tied to the apocalypse, making even the most rote of episodes more important, if only in fleeting moments. The story might not have leaned toward the apocalypse in the right ways, but it wasn’t because the writers didn’t try.

Cons: Again, the end of season four laid out a massive endeavor for season five to tackle and for the most part, the story went there. But if there’s anything to complain about, it’s that we didn’t see enough. There’s an obvious need to make the apocalypse relevant to the brothers and their relationship, but there wasn’t enough examination of how it influenced the rest of the world. We’d see things on the TV or through a line from Bobby or Castiel, but it just wasn’t quite enough to convince us that THE WORLD IS LITERALLY ENDING. The stakes didn’t seem as high as they should have.

The same rule can be applied to Lucifer, the archangels, the Horseman, all of that — just not enough. It was good in almost every occasion that it was presented, just needed to be there more.

Quick hitters

Best storyline: Sam and Dean trying to stop their destinies from becoming realities.

Worst storyline: Not really a storyline, but the constant parallels between Lucifer/Michael/God and Sam/Dean/John. I get it, dysfunctional family.

Best performer: Jared Padalecki — For whatever reason, the writers have given Dean more meaty material in recent years and Jensen Ackles has killed it every time. However, I liked what Jared did over the season, slowly growing more confident in his abilities and more trusting in himself. Plus, he played Lucifer pretty damn well too.

Best single moment: Dean breaking up the Michael-Lucifer throwdown and letting Lucifer pound him to a pulp just so he could say, “Sammy, I’m here.” Heartbreaking stuff there, folks.

Three best episodes: “Swan Song,” “Point of No Return,” “Changing Channels”

Worst episode: “Fallen Idols” (Sorry, Paris)

Where does this season fit in the context of the whole series: Season five is still one enjoyable ride with a number of stellar moments of character analysis and mythological expansion, but it doesn’t quite reach the levels of greatness that season four did. It is, however, a wonderful cap to a five-year arc that was originally intended to be the end of the series. The sixth — and hopefully final — season is almost like a bonus, epilogue-like season, but hopefully it doesn’t ruin the legacy that this criminally underrated series has built up for itself over the past five years.

Final grade: B+

Past days of the wrap

How I Met Your Mother

The Office



19 responses to “2009-10 season wrap: Supernatural”

  1. It wasn’t for no reason Sam was neglected. Kripke was doing fanservice by reading TWOP like the Bible in regards of what fans wanted, Hence the show was made the Dean show and the ratings started falling. The End was supposed to forever alter the course of the show and it flunked in the ratings which made the Warner relieve Kripke from his duties. He will now be adapting a British show for American TV. Talk about demotion! That is also why this season felt so very uneven. Kripke wanted one thing, ratings spoke another language and Kripke was forced to adapt.

    Padalecki was the stronger actor from the beginning; you just need to see what he was given to act when it mattered. Ackles is good but he’s good at doing one type of character only, the perfect male Mary Sue like he’s done in every show he’s been in. Which is why Dean was all over the map most of the time. He’s either overly dramatic, and very repetitive, in his crying scenes by the Impala or dropping his pants in juvenile humor scenes. The middle road is not Ackles’ forte. The writers even said that they were giving the actors what they did best – that’s why Ackles wasn’t doing Micheal in the end and the fans are spitting fire by now.

    And when the rabid Ackles fans find this blog, you will be salted and burned!


  2. Hello, rabid Padalecki (Sam) fan! Your comment’s so funny. Can you calm down, take care of your nerve cells, they are not restored.

    Thanks to Jensen, this series still exists.


  3. Well, 4X22 killed my interest in SPN. I didn’t stop watching as many fans did, but since then, it was not the same. I didn’t like the angel plot, it was original, but Michael vs. Lucifer, two brothers fighting for the love of their daddy, was too cheesy for me.

    Paladecki is a great actor; he gave Sam emotions and reasons that made many people impossible to hate Sam or to abandon him. It’s very easy to gain the sympathy of the audience when you have great lines and you are always the hero who is always crying and is always right. That was not the case of Sam. Sam never cried, Sam was never the hero and he was always wrong; it was difficult to love Sam, and the people that love him, love him because of the layers Jared gave to the character with his acting.

    He also has a very interesting face, perfect for comedy and evil characters. It was a pleasure to see him as Lucifer; he did a very clean, nice job.

    Ps. Are you a kamikaze or what? Don’t you know dean’s fans are organized to neutralize opinions like yours?


  4. Lisa — I’m not trying to accuse you of fan-group warfare, but what exactly happened in “The End” that was later changed? I’ll be the first to say that Dean may have been given more of the meatier material, but I can’t imagine Kripke’s vision any different than what we saw happen. It’s not as if the series drastically changed in direction or tone, right?


  5. Cory – Lisa is making it up. She goes around making the same claims all the time. She did it in Season 4 too, where she claimed the ratings were down when in fact they were clearly UP and that was why they got a fast renewal and everyone was so surprised. Season 4, the season that focused for the first time on Dean having a role of his own in the mytharc and brought us Castiel, is the second highest rated season after Season 1. Season 5’s ratings are down from Season 4, yet this season was more focused on building Sam’s role up again because of their planned ending than it did on Dean.

    In other words, Lisa knows nothing you don’t know Cory.

    Kripke was not relieved of showrunner duties. The End was never supposed to change television history. The ratings for The End were well within the average for the show. They do not relieve showrunners for having an average rated episode. They don’t even usually relieve showrunners when ratings tank.


  6. Oops, I mean to add, The End was never meant to alter the course of the show, that is why it was caused by an angel. It was an AU of a probably future IF things did not change. The whole point of the episode was to cause what we saw happen, to happen. As well, they were filming episode 8 when the first episode of this season aired, they would have been filming episode I think 10 when The End aired. It’s quite clear nothing changed based on audience response or anything else.


  7. Lisa I am accusing you of trying to start a fan-group warfare. There’s no need to put down Jensen or Dean in your response. It’s fine if you agree with Cory about Jared giving the best performance but why insult Jensen? I think Jensen’s been outstanding throughout the whole series and yes he’s been given meaty material because the writers have faith in him to sell it aswell as the comedy aspects. Ratings usually suffer from a poor episode the week before and vary for many reasons (how would you explain route 666 being the highest rated episode in the entire series?) The CW have been extremely pleased with the demographics for season 4 and 5 which is where the money is in their eyes so there’s no way they’d change what Kripkes been doing, plus it’s played a big part in getting a season 6 so stop making stuff up to suit what you’re trying to sell. If it was the Dean show like you claim then we should be thankful Dean’s carried the show to a sixth season and made the network and fans so happy. Thanks Dean. Personally I still think it’s the brothers show.


  8. Thanks everyone for the comments and keeping it cordial. I know this is a touchy subject for a lot of folks. I just wanted to add that I don’t think that either actor is better than the other and appreciate what they both bring to the table. I still believe Dean was given “more” to do in S4 and S5, but no one can say what the reasoning for that is. Sam was given his fair share of stuff to do in those seasons and I’d probably argue that Jared had more to work with in S1 and S2. Either way, keep the discussion going!


  9. I see the rabid Jared fans are here to bash Jensen. Lovely.

    I think both actors do a great job, although season 4 was by far the better season, in my opinion.

    I really don’t understand why “fans” like Lisa don’t just stick to the Limp Sam forum where hating on Jensen and Dean is encouraged? Yeah, we get it, Jensen is a no-talent mediocre actor who doesn’t even deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence as Jared. Whatever. I think both actors are great and they work well together, which is the key to the show.

    Okay, I’ll leave you all to your Jensen-bashing. Go for it.


  10. Lisa, could you praise Jared without disparaging Jensen? I am a Sam girl and it bugs the hell out of me when Sam (or Dean) fans can’t just say something nice about their guy and leave the other one alone. Also you are talking complete rubbish about The End and kripke getting demoted. Its embarrassing to be lumped in with fans like you.

    Cory I really enjoyed reading your review, it was lovely to see Jared get some recognition for his work, it needs to happen more. Both guys do a wonderful job overall (neither of them is perfect) and all fans should remember that BOTH are why this show is still on air. There is no Dean without Sam and no Sam without Dean.

    About The End, I think that TE wasn’t a fake future set up by Zach but what the future would have been if Sam and Dean didn’t get back together. They never told us why Sam said yes but I think it was because he tried his plan by himself and failed. Sam couldn’t stop Lucifer by himself, he needed Dean there to pull him back the way he did in the finale, and Dean had no hope of stopping Lucifer by himself – that was the whole point of this season, the brothers are stronger together.


  11. Cool read until Lisa coment. I think this season suffered because the budget. To big for the the money they had.


  12. I think Lisa is wrong. Jared and Jensen performed wonderfully this year. The reason the show dipped in the ratings is because of the ongoing angel apocalypse and the fact that the ruined the brothers relationship and haven’t bothered to fix it. This show is about the brothers and their relationship and it seems like the show doesn’t give a crap abou that anymore.


  13. […] for both the long-running primary and secondary arguments. For example, on a June 2010 post that I wrote on my new site summing up the series’ fifth season, one commenter named Lisa had this to say about the last few seasons: “It wasn’t for no reason […]


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