Careening To Season End with Supernatural ‘We Happy Few’
My perspective on this week’s episode was shaped by the context of watching it, let me say that up front. I’m in Rome, without much internet, and didn’t get to see the episode until Thursday evening (thanks to the generosity of fandom and a download link—thank you @mywaywardsonsuk!). We watched huddled over my iPad in our hotel room, but the download stopped and started and I confess I held my breath the entire time, not for the usual reasons, but because I was rather terrified that I’d get to see half of the episode and then I wouldn’t get the rest. What kind of torture would that be?? Luckily it all played, so here’s my quick-before-my-internet-craps-out mini review!
The reaction to ‘We Happy Few’, from the little I’ve seen since I’m not online as much as usual, was mixed. Some people enjoyed it and liked where the story seems to be going. Others hated it and hated that same trajectory. We knew it was a ballsy move to make God a character—this is Supernatural, after all, which means as soon as you’re a character you also have a likely expiration date. Apparently even if you’re God! I was prepared for that, so it didn’t shock me as much as it shocked some people, but I did still whisper, “They’re actually gonna kill God??” Apparently I’m not as unshockable as I thought.
I always enjoy Robert Berens’ writing, and that held true in this episode. I think perhaps the problem is that I wasn’t sure if I SHOULD be enjoying this episode. It’s the penultimate episode of the season, after all, and things are always dire at this point. The episode’s cast included many characters we’ve come to have strong feelings about, many of them very negative. Rowena, who has double-crossed just about everyone (though I unabashedly love her anyway and cheer every time she’s spared). Crowley—the Big Bad of several seasons—who has gone back to being the King of Hell and seems to finally be over his bromance with Dean. And Lucifer, who was the Biggest Bad to ever bad for quite a while, who used to inspire fear as recently as mid-season. Lucifer who tortured Sam so horribly that it left him with constant flashbacks and borderline psychosis. Who Sam was so terrified of earlier this season that we could SEE it in every expression, every involuntary flinch.
It was hard to make the leap to having all these former Big Bads in a room with God and the Winchesters, making the transition from hating each other to working together in the space of A SINGLE EPISODE. Whoa. I imagine Berens getting the word of what he had to accomplish in this episode and having a panic attack. I would have.
Somehow he pulls it off, but it just felt like too far to travel in 42 minutes. I would have felt better if we’d at least gotten some acknowledgement of Sam’s former terror and hatred, instead of his (seemingly) abrupt being on board with Lucifer and God reconciling. The Winchesters make amusing relationship counselors for sure, but again, I felt a bit guilty about my amusement. Was now really the time for jokes, boys?
But given what had to be accomplished in this episode, there was no time for Sam working through his very understandable trauma and deciding to be the Big Damn Hero he is and put it aside so they can do what they have to do to defeat Amara. I get why he felt he had to do it, but I would have loved to see some of his struggle. Dean’s, too—he HATES Lucifer for what he did to Sam. I find it hard to believe that he was able to put that aside, protective big brother that he is.
Misha did a great job as petulant Lucifer, and both he and Rob sold the depth of emotion in God and Lucifer’s father-and-son talk—the dialogue there was solid and helped sell the genuine feeling—but again, I kept wondering if this SHOULD be feeling okay. Should I really allow myself to see Lucifer as the hurt little boy, acting out all over the place because his father abandoned him?
That has certainly been the setup for this season, but applying it to Lucifer is a real stretch. All the quick evolutions were making my head spin. I think this episode could easily have been about four episodes, and then the changes might have felt more organic.
I thoroughly enjoyed some of the confrontations and convincing that we did get to see—Rowena and Clea were awesome together, and I will never not be amused by Rowena’s 101 terms for Sam’s height. I also liked the cheekiness of Crowley and Dean’s confrontation with its mention of their former bromance and the “that ship has sailed” comment. Hehehe.
The final confrontation with Amara was a rather complicated plan, which I confess I wasn’t entirely down with—as in, I wasn’t sure who was supposed to be doing what. Good thing I wasn’t one of the players, huh? I got stuck on Sam being willing to take on the Mark, which I somehow wasn’t expecting—mostly because I get fuzzy about exactly what the Mark is there for and how it works. Probably my favorite part of the episode was Dean and Sam’s conversation/argument about Sam taking on the Mark. I wanted a lot MORE of that!
Dean was understandably horrified and NO WAY, and Sam was all, “We talked about this, Dean, I have to be the one who does it,” and I was all on board with that discussion. That’s Sam and Dean. But then Dean agrees, and it felt once again a bit too soon. I know they’re facing the end of all things, but Dean agreeing to let his little brother take on the Mark of Cain??? I don’t know. That’s a tough one for me to swallow. I guess it’s supposed to show some character evolution? Dean letting Sam be a grown-up and take one for the team? I don’t like it, though.
So they each do their thing and try to weaken Amara, and she looks pretty damn weak when she finally confronts her brother. I’m assuming we were supposed to feel for her there, beat up and bloodied as she was, when she accuses God of just wanting a boost for his ego by creating a bunch of lesser beings. Ouch. I did feel for her, though once again I wasn’t sure I should be. God/Chuck doesn’t really deny it; it seems that was a part of his motivation, but he insists it wasn’t all of it. That creation had to happen, that all that potential had to be tapped. (Not sure if this is some sort of philosophical argument about the merits and inevitability of creative expression, or if the conversation is really about whether two people can be enough for each other, or if there needs to be more… which, come to think of it, is a very Winchester argument indeed.)
At some points in their conversation, Amara seemed to be making more sense than God, which was confusing for me. I like my villains pretty dark, otherwise I don’t know who to root for… but then again, Supernatural has never liked to draw the lines thickly, that’s part of what makes it interesting. Amara just wanted to be God’s equal, she just wanted to love him and be loved by him, but it seems God didn’t feel the same way. She couldn’t approve of his creation, expanding the universe outside of the two of them, and so she tried to destroy all that he created… until he locked her away. We finally found out in this episode that it was the Mark, given to Lucifer to keep Amara locked away, that turned him from God’s favorite to the dark rebel he became—much as it also changed Dean. Which made me even more upset that Sam was taking it on!
It seems that’s what’s happening, and then there’s a last-minute change of plans. Seems Amara, faced with the prospect of being locked away in solitary confinement again, gets a burst of strength no one expected. Next thing we know, God is suspended (an effect I never like, since it always throws me out of the action wondering if it’s wires or what) and being choked to death. What??!!
So here we are, facing the last episode. Things have all gone to shit, the big unholy (and holy) alliance didn’t work, the Winchesters are on the floor, God is dying. Lucifer may be dead, and where does that leave Cas? Rowena is alive for now; Crowley was tossed around but is probably alive, too. And Sam? Does he still have the Mark or is it back on Amara? I think it’s back on Amara, but I’m not sure. I hope it is, because I don’t want it on poor Sam!
I’m going into the finale, as is usually the case, with a lot of trepidation. I’m unspoiled mostly, but nervous that the theme of sacrifice that has been woven through this season means my heart is going to be broken. The one spoilery picture I’ve seen makes me a billion times more anxious. Though I guess if I didn’t feel that way, I might have to wonder if my love of this Show was finally dimming. Clearly, as I sit here biting my fingernails in anticipation, that is not the case.
Finale, here we come!
(In the meantime, I’m on vacation in Rome and being a tourist and without much data so not live-tweeting much for the first time in many many cons. Which means I actually get to look up and watch!!! Stay tuned for photos and reports once I’m back in the land of available data – and hopefully a few tweets from JIB here and there).
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