All Along The Watchtower – Supernatural’s Season 12 Finale

I was so exuberant over Supernatural’s penultimate episode of the season that I went into the finale episode already an emotional wreck – in the very best of ways. I honestly sort of wanted a while to just savor all those wonderful warm feelings, but of course Show just couldn’t let me do that. I barely had time to grab another glass of wine before the familiar notes of Carry On Wayward Son were making me even MORE emotional. There are so many things that happen that are special when a television show has been on this long and had this much impact – even the band Kansas, who recorded that classic, tweeted about the season finale, knowing that every single fan was going to go nuts when Supernatural’s unofficial theme song was played.

The recap took us through a season of ups and downs, through a lot of episodes that were painful to watch and a few story lines that didn’t work for me like I think the show intended, and ultimately ended up where the last episode left off – a Winchester family hug.

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Wait, Is That Eileen?? Supernatural 12.21

The past week has been a whirlwind, much of it Supernatural-related, and now I’m writing this from family vacation, so my review of last week’s episode is influenced by the context in which I watched the show and the fact that right now my feet are up and it’s a sunny spring day in San Francisco. And that’s probably a good thing, because – like the majority of Supernatural fans – I had a lot of issues with last week’s episode.

I did, however, have a good time the night I watched it anyway. That’s because the book release party for my new book, Family Don’t End With Blood: Cast and Fans on How Supernatural Has Changed Lives, happened the night before at The Study Hollywood in LA. It was an amazing, inspiring, emotional night, where actors and writers and producers and fans all came together to celebrate this amazing show that we all love. The next night, a group of us gathered in our hotel room to watch the episode together. It was the first time most of us had watched together an episode of the show that made us friends, so it felt very special. We ordered Grub Hub, shared some delicious nachos, and waited with a mix of anticipation and trepidation for the show to begin. Literally sitting on the edge of our seats (on the hotel beds…)

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Dean Winchester and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day – Supernatural ‘The Future’

It has taken me another 24 hours to figure out why I had such a strong emotional reaction to this episode – and to give the episode more props for where it intended to take me even if I didn’t enjoy the ride. The thing is, I loved the last major Cas-centric episode, as my reviews loudly proclaimed. I’ve empathized with Castiel’s painful sense of not belonging anywhere, because there’s nothing in the world more painful for humans and sometimes Cas is just as human as the rest of us (thanks to Misha’s ability to invest the character with emotional nuances). I was moved by Castiel’s near death and his need, in what he thought were his last seconds, to make his feelings clear to Sam and Dean; I was moved by their reaction too, that powerful moment when they each clasped a hand and pulled him up. I had to gush to Misha about his performance in that episode repeatedly (sorry, Misha) and to Richard about his directing (sorry, Richard) but that scene really worked. That scene was Team Free Will re-established.

And it wasn’t one way. Sam and Dean also took down their barriers and made themselves vulnerable in their relationship with Cas; not as explicitly perhaps, but Jared and Jensen are so good at what they do that we could clearly feel it and see it. Castiel was accepted as family. So that’s the lens with which I viewed ‘The Future’. That the bond between the three of them was close and tight and important. That made the things that happened in this episode very painful.

I’ve felt the same way when one of the Winchesters lies to the other(s). It’s such an extraordinarily painful thing when someone you love and trust is deceitful, so it hurts to see it. As much as Dean is repeatedly angry in this episode, it’s clear that underneath that anger is hurt. He allowed himself to love and trust Cas, so perceived betrayal hurts like hell. Hence my frequent use of OUCH in this review. It HURT.

That said, perhaps that’s exactly what Show wanted me to feel. That last episode did such a good job of setting up the emotional connection between Cas and the Winchesters, and sometimes that is exactly what this Show does when it’s getting ready to punch you right in the heart. It’s a bit of a Supernatural tradition dating back to Kripke, and it’s most definitely been the cause of entire lost days of my life railing and screaming and generally shaking my fist. That’s because I care – a lot. I care about Cas and Sam and Dean and I care about how they care about each other.

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The British Invasion Indeed – Supernatural 12.17

Here’s one thing you cannot say about last week’s Supernatural episode: “Eh, not much happened…” A lot happened, that’s for sure. Some of it was a shock, some of it wasn’t; some of it I liked; some of it I most definitely did not. It’s a beautiful spring day on the East coast, so let’s start with the good stuff.

1. The return of hunter Eileen Leahy (and actress Shoshannah Stern). I loved the character in her debut episode, as did just about everyone in the fandom, and miracle of miracles, Eileen actually survived the episode, so I was hopeful she’d be back. Eileen is seamlessly integrated back into the narrative, giving the boys some intel that intersects with their current search for Kelly Kline. I loved watching Sam and Dean’s frank appreciation of Eileen and her hunting skills – the genuine pride on their faces as they both said ‘Nice work, Eileen’. I also loved the care they both took to be sure she could see them when they were talking with her via iPad or in person – it’s those little touches that only happen on a show when someone cares. I interviewed Shoshannah after her first episode, and she talked about her choice to have the character read lips as well as she does.

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Salute to Supernatural Nashville – Saturday Night Special Featuring Louden Swain

I cannot say this plainly enough: The Saturday Night Special is Special because of Louden Swain.

Yes, I enjoy the special guests. Yes, I miss it when guests aren’t at the convention and therefore not at the concert. So, yes, I missed Gil and Briana and Kim and Ruth and Osric.

But let’s not forget that this is Louden Swain, live, on stage, pouring out their hearts and their souls for us. It is Billy Moran and Michael Borja on guitar. It is Stephen Norton on drums. It is Rob Benedict playing guitar and singing with so much passion you can actually, tangibly, feel it in the air. This is a raw, unfiltered show of energy and passion and love pouring out to us through guitars and drums and lyrics.

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