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Season 11 Episode Review 11.19-11.23

The season comes to an end...

11.19 The Chitters written by Nancy Won

I don’t want to say this is a bad episode…it just doesn’t do anything for me. I couldn’t relate to the new hunters, Cesar and Jesse, and they were the focus of the episode. I think all the other hunters we’ve met except Garth have been bitter and angry, looking for revenge—just like Jesse. Cesar didn’t fit the image of hunter—he was more like a teddy bear kinda guy, so how did a mellow guy like Cesar connect with an emotionally damaged man like Jesse? I couldn’t see the connection between the two of them—I didn’t believe in their relationship.

I was absorbed in the scene with the retired sheriff, I believed his character and why he made those choices, and Jesse’s anger going back to when Maddy was taken and Jesse wasn’t believed was painful and felt real.

Couple of ‘duh?’ moments—when Dean and Cesar get to the mine that the chitters have been using as their burrow, Dean has to pull the wood off the entrance. So how were the chitters getting in and out? Why, why, why did Cesar and Dean split up in the mine? And in the poignant little speech from Sam at the end, he says how he used to worry when Dean and Dad went off to hunt ‘vamps and rugarus’—but in 1.20 Dead Man’s Blood John says hunters thought vampires were extinct so he wouldn’t have been hunting vamps. Sam wouldn’t have to have worried about them!

My favorite part of the episode? When Sam confesses to having used weed in college—except ‘it was probably oregano’—and Dean’s reaction. Just a little more backstory to cherish…

11.20 Don’t Call Me Shurley written by Robbie Thompson

This ranks as one of my top 5 SPN episodes, it was practically perfect—oh, Robbie, why did you have to go?

The reveal that Chuck was God could have gone so terribly, terribly wrong…but Robbie anticipated all the logic gaps fans would have and addressed them—where he’s been, why he’d left, what he had done behind-the-scenes for the Winchesters, the explanation of the Samulet’s failure to find him before…The care which with Robbie addressed the potential plotholes showed his true devotion to both the show and the fans!

 Robbie wrote Chuck’s character as both believably nebbishy and simultaneously Godly powerful—and Rob Benedict gave an amazing performance conveying both aspects of the character, approaching the line of making the character a joke but never crossing it, and switching to fearsome deity with a mere facial expression!

And Metatron—I have hated him passionately since his duplicity was first revealed, furious at his ability to twist words and gaslight Cas and taunt the boys! I have wanted payback on him for a long time—and halfway through the episode I was rooting for him so hard for calling God out on his attempts to gloss over the fallacies in his autobiography and the self-serving deceptions in his actions! How did Robbie change Metatron from the worst villain into a hero while keeping him completely in character?!?

That’s not all—Robbie had to address the anvil in the mytharc—how to reconcile Amara’s version of God with the loveable Chuck version of God and keep the story moving…and he did that, too!

Oh yeah, and he wrote a case connected to Amara and put the boys in a no-win solution which showed us again how far they will go for each other—Dean inhaling the fog to try and infect himself as he kneels beside dying Sam—

And then, to Rob Benedict’s haunting acoustic singing, it stops—and the amulet glows in Sam’s pocket and Dean is stunned and they go outside to a saved town and ‘We have to talk.’

I cannot express just how perfectly satisfying this episode was for me!!!

11.21 All in the Family written by Ross-Leming and Buckner

It was too good to last…

I will say, however, that watching the final 3 episodes back-to-back, they were actually stronger than I remembered from watching them air live. While there are some noticeable WTFs moments, there actually is a reasonably coherent storyline that arcs through them.

Although we start with a ‘uh…why?’ interaction with Kevin being remarkably cheerful…

There is some really good stuff in this episode: Chuck and the boys sitting in the bunker and Dean asking God why he’d left. Significantly Dean doesn’t ask why God let awful stuff happen to the Winchesters, he reproaches God for abandoning humanity—which really is in character for Dean—not angrily, but showing his hurt. (I assume everyone has heard Jensen talk about how the scene was written to be angry but he felt it differently and so we got Dean in pain—great awareness of his character!)

Unfortunately Amara is written as a whiny brat in her scenes with Lucifer, no nuances like other writers have given her…Donatello—while he is interestingly written (I can't be a prophet. I'm an atheist and a chemist! I-I believe in molecules, not God!) his character’s role ends up badly truncated in the next episode, leaving me scratching my head about why we needed him…

Gaping logic hole: Chuck says he can’t find Amara because she’s warded against him. She’s spent the entire season trying to get him to come to her, so why would she be warded against him? While she makes the same argument that God is warded against her, that makes sense.

Interesting flash of how, despite seeming human, Chuck isn’t—his reaction to hearing that thousands have died as Amara fogged another town is bluntly dismissive of the difficulties the boys are having: So find her.  (lso Crowley-like—Chuck can’t solve the problem so pass it on to the underlings and deny that there is any problem with expecting them to do what he can’t.

I do think it was harsh, both in this episode and the previous one, for Chuck to make comments that blame Sam for the current mess: … the world would still be spinning with demon Dean in it. But Sam couldn't have that, though, could he? from the last ep and thank you for springing him (Lucifer) in this one. I’m taking them as deliberately intended to show us that Chuck is not an uncritical fanboy of the Winchesters and to make us (especially Samgirls) see that he might be God but Chuck is definitely not perfect!

Another plothole: they state the rescue plan is for the 3 of them to find and free Lucifer and then for Lucifer to whammy them back to the bunker. Notice there is no provision for the vehicle they drive to Lucifer’s prison to be returned so why would they drive the Impala??? If ever a plan called for hotwiring a POS car, this would be it! Of course the point is to set up the joke of Chuck teleporting the car to a room inside the bunker—another ‘wouldn’t it be funny’ someone proposed so they wrote the scene to be able to do it. Gah! (They drive the Impala to the cemetery in the final episode—how did they get it out of the bunker and when did Dean have time to fix it back up? Or was Chuck persuaded to do that because he could appreciate Baby’s iconic stature? Sigh.)

The Dean/Amara scene at least had enough realistic tension to keep that tangle mess of emotions believable, thankfully…

And then they put the new prophet in a cab and send him on his way. He’s going to take a cab from Lebanon, Kansas, all the way to Lewis, Oklahoma. Seriously?!? Overlooking cost of the cab ride, why would they let their new prophet wander off alone right now?!? We’ll get the answer to why that was a bad decision pretty quickly…

11.22 We Happy Few written by Robert Berens

I guess even the best writers have an off episode…

The whole petulant Lucifer wanting an apology/Sam and Dean playing therapists was so off I could hardly watch it. Plus it was a repeat of what they tried between the husband and wife witches back in season 7, and they weren’t believable as relationship counselors then, either! The real Dean would have told them to suck it up, you don’t have to like each other but you’re still family so focus on the big picture of taking out Amara! Also what was missing was Sam’s reaction to being back with Lucifer running around. Where was his reaction to Casifer being in such close physical proximity??? (Jared said he tried to throw in some physical bits to show Sam was affected but that they were mostly cut out. Boo.) This wasn’t the time for a comedy interlude!

There was one throwaway line that made me do a double-take for what it implied—Chuck is trying to justify caging Lucifer and Lucifer says his behavior was because of the Mark. Chuck responds with ‘The Mark didn’t change you. It just made you more of what you already were.’ What does that say about demon!Dean, then?

The editing of the recruitment for the plan was nicely done, with the voiceovers leading into the scenes with Dean, Sam, Lucifer, and Crowley making their respective pitches…

Lucifer letting Cas out to talk to the angels in order to get them on board with the plan—why would the angels listen to Cas any more than they’d listen to Lucifer? One of the angels even says that—and Cas’ response that he’d do it again to help fight the Darkness sure wouldn’t have inspired me. Also, that was Cas’ first reappearance since the fight in his head between Lucifer and Crowley, where Cas was deliberately not paying attention to what was actually happening ‘outside’—and he sure wasn’t impassioned about the upcoming fight back then. This could have been handled so much more effectively…

Told you it was a bad idea to send the prophet off alone…it was nice knowing you, Donatello…

One nice touch whose significance didn’t become clear until the end of the finale was when Amara is stalking through the bunker and she stops in Dean’s room to study a photo of him as a little boy with his mother…

Chuck is explaining the battle plan and drops the little bombshell that Sam is going to end up bearing the Mark:

CHUCK: Once she's been weakened, I will take the Mark back from Amara and use it to seal her away. (Looks at Sam) You ready?
SAM: Yeah.
DEAN: Wait, what?
SAM: God and I talked about this. Someone needs to bear the Mark.
DEAN: Well, that should be me. I-I've had it before. I'm damaged goods.
CHUCK: Exactly. You've already been tainted. I can't transfer it to you. Sam volunteered.
(DEAN glances at SAM then yanks on his arm to talk with him some feet away.)
DEAN: First Cas is making kamikaze side plans, and now you? You couldn't have talked to me?
SAM: We did talk.
DEAN: And what happens when the Mark turns you psycho, then what?
SAM: You lock me up where I can't hurt anyone and you throw away the key.
DEAN: Sam, no.
SAM: Dean, you told me you couldn't beat Amara, that it would have to be me. Well, this is it – me. We talked about this. It's time to do the smart thing.
DEAN: So, what am I supposed to do, just sit by and watch?
SAM: No. We're both in this fight. You're leading this army.
DEAN: Oh, you mean babysitting the bad guys?
(SAM huffs out a laugh.)
DEAN: Okay, Sam. Okay. God's plan.

Did anybody else go WTF? This is basically a repeat of the ending of Swan Song, Sam throwing himself on the grenade to atone for his sins again and that went so well last time? And Dean is okay with this?
Nononono…This isn’t right! I get the theme of the season has been for the boys to stop doing stupid stuff to save each other, but Dean’s acquiescence is too easy! Where’s his angst about realizing maybe Sam has to do this but he’s losing his brother again?!? (I want someone to write the scene where Chuck and Sam talk about him taking the Mark!)

And then we get to the big battle…how come the remote witches supporting Rowena were fried but Rowena gets off? Did Amara spare her out of a sense of owing her one? But it looks like the good guys are winning until Amara realizes she’s going back in her cage, and somehow that juices her back up to not only take out God but to heal all her physical damage so she can warp out back in perfect shape…

It pains me to say it, but the previous Ross-Leming/Buckner episode was actually more cohesive and written in character than this episode…

11.23 Alpha and Omega written by Andrew Dabb

In the aftermath of the disastrous battle everyone is ready to give up…except Sam. And seriously, you have to admire his refusal to give up—but then again, that has always been the core of Sam’s character, the determination to always keep fighting! And he does manage to elicit hopelessly offered ideas from the rest of the group and assemble them into one last-ditch plan!

I’m just going to say that throwing the British Men of Letters plot in at the last episode of the season felt very much last-minute shoehorned into the show, and I’m going to let it go because it probably was a last minute decision on how to set up the start of season 12 during the disorganization of the switching showrunners. And because leaving us with the sound of a gunshot from Lady Toni coupled with Sam thinking Dean is dead is a deliciously devastating place to spend hiatus…

Cas’ apology for his dumb ploy of hosting Lucifer and Dean’s hand-waving acceptance felt out of character for both of them…Guess this is the new, mature version of Dean Winchester that surfaced when Sam said he was taking the Mark, who is suddenly okay with his loved ones deciding to do bone-headed moves because he has to honor their autonomy… No, this is not my Dean Winchester…

The trip to Waverly Sanatorium to collect ghost souls could have been awesome…the visuals didn’t match what they were attempting, however…they came back with a thousand souls but it looked like about 20 actually showed up for the party? And what was the plan, anyway, with the room being salted? When Dean shot the rolled-up sheet to lay a salt line across the doorway, yes, it trapped the ghosts who were already in the room—but no way were all the ghosts in the room right then and the salt meant the ones outside couldn’t get in to be captured in the stone. I spent that entire scene trying to figure out the logic of it.

Though it did end with that magnificent shot of the boys walking in sync to the door…Also Dean’s mimicking or Rowena’s instructions in a bad Scottish accent was priceless. I’d love to know if that was scripted or an ad lib?

And we’re back in the bunker but still without enough souls to power the plan when everyone’s new favorite reaper shows up to save the day. Billie’s kind of awesome. And what is going on between her and Crowley? Dying to know if that will go somewhere in season 12, or if it’s just something that got thrown in and nothing more will come of it, like the hint that there was something personal between Crowley and the angel Naomi in season 8…

Dean’s farewell in the cemetery made me cry both times I watched it…there was an underlying feeling of whiplash in that Dean was sacrificing himself when just in the last episode Sam was the one giving himself up to the Mark for the greater good! Dean’s stoic acceptance that he was going to have to take Amara out, fight the undesired but undeniable connection between them—you could see him doubting whether he could do it but he was going to try because that’s what he needed to do…Sam’s ‘you love chick flick moments’ and that hug…my heart…

And the big showdown between Dean and Amara becomes a ‘yellow crayon’ moment—Buffy fans will understand what I mean—Dean talks Amara through her feelings and gets her to see what she really has been trying to get all along, her brother’s love…and while some fans found it a letdown, I thought it was a perfect end to Amara’s arc, which was not a case of offing a monster, but of redemption through family. And for anything to do with the Winchesters, well, it’s kind of perfect, right?

Sam’s face when the sun brightens and he realizes Dean succeeded—which he interprets as his brother is dead…oh Sam!

Then we end with Sam getting shot and Dean finding Mary and I am sooo glad it’s only one more week to find out what happens next!





















 

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
madebyme_x
Oct. 5th, 2016 11:37 am (UTC)
The last few episodes were a bit hit and miss for me; I enjoyed The Chitters, and Don’t Call Me Shurley, and while I enjoyed parts of the last three eps, I really struggled watching 4 myth arcs eps in a row.

But I'm looking forward to seeing what they do with the MoL threat as well as Mary (Is she real? Is she staying? Is it temporary?) I've stayed pretty much spoiler free (apart from a screen cap that I accidentally saw) so I'm looking forward to new eps!!!
borgmama1of5
Oct. 5th, 2016 12:26 pm (UTC)
I definitely wonder how long Mary with be with the boys--are they going to add her as another character? Or, what would be really tragic, will they let the boys have her for a little while only to lose her again? That would really hurt!

When I got to the end of Don't Call Me Shurley, my immediate reactions was they could have ended the season there and it would have been perfect...

Thanks for taking time to read!
amberdreams
Oct. 5th, 2016 03:57 pm (UTC)
I thought the same about that episode! They could almost have ended SPN as a whole on that one and it could have worked.
borgmama1of5
Oct. 5th, 2016 09:47 pm (UTC)
We'll never know what direction the Amara story could have gone if they'd had all summer to plan it out...but I was okay with Dean rehabilitating her...
firesign10
Oct. 5th, 2016 12:36 pm (UTC)
Perfect analogy with the yellow crayon moment!!!

I've realy enjoyed reading your recap/analyses of the season!
borgmama1of5
Oct. 5th, 2016 12:43 pm (UTC)
Going into the second half of the season, as the connection between Dean and Amara became more complex, I was really hoping that her weakness for Dean would be Amara's undoing...what I got instead was her connection to Dean 'un-eviling' her, which was a surprising--and moving--twist. And why SPN is still awesome after 11 years!

Thanks for reading my rambles!
amberdreams
Oct. 5th, 2016 03:56 pm (UTC)
They really were a mixed bunch those final four episodes, weren't they? I shared your disappointment over 21 and 22 particularly, there were far to many hand wave moments, I thought I was going to get repetitive strain in my wrist! But the finale was strong, and I loved the resolution being redemption for both God and Amara (or the potential for it at least). I've warmed to the British MoL shoehorning over the hiatus though my jury's out about them until I see where they go with it in Season 12 ---- which is NEXT WEEK! Eek!
borgmama1of5
Oct. 5th, 2016 09:48 pm (UTC)
Can't wait--just one more week!

And there have been some tantalizing pictures so far...
amberdreams
Oct. 5th, 2016 09:56 pm (UTC)
There have... I'm trying not to read spoilers but I did succumb and watch one short trailer and I've seen the stills. Can't wait!
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )