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.
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