Supernatural: All Along the Watchtower

"We beat the Brits, we kicked their psycho tea-swilling asses, and instead of popping champagne and heading to Vegas, we get Lucifer."

I'm trying not to get mad about this episode. Because this is Supernatural, and characters die all the time, often not permanently.

Before I plunge into discussing the character deaths and how I feel about them (I'll give you a clue: not good), I have to praise the introduction of the Gleaming Yellow Crack that led to Mad Max World. Alternate universe stories are faves of mine because of the story-telling possibilities, and colorless, scary Mad Max World, with its decorative dead bodies impaled on futuristic spikes, didn't disappoint. Mostly because of...

Bobby! In a beret instead of a trucker cap. Who has never met the boys because they don't exist in Mad Max World. And that's because John Winchester died forty years ago before he and Mary could have children, with a by-the-way that Mary was killed by Azazel ten years ago. Seeing Bobby again just plucked at my heartstrings. It was so nice, and so unexpected.

And of course alternate universe Bobby is still a badass, and he uses bullets made from angel blades to kill angels with his gun, which he named 'Rufus.' A gun that Dean used to zero effect on Lucifer later in the episode, so the bullets don't work on archangels. While Kelly was in labor, the boys and Cas made several trips through the Gleaming Yellow Crack until... Crowley sacrificed his life to kill Lucifer, which was the first confusing death.

No, wait. It was the second confusing death. Let's not forget Rowena, whose Scottish accent we didn't even get to hear for one last time. She was just a smoldering corpse, glowing embers, because Lucifer took her out before she could dump him in the Cage again. I'll admit that was a smart move on his part, but it was surprisingly painful. I didn't think I cared about Rowena, but clearly I do.

Did Crowley ever care about his mother? Did her death have something to do with his ultimate decision to take himself out? His last words were a goodbye to Dean and Sam; did he care about them, too? Crowley told them that being a rat made him see his job in Hell a whole new way (as a rat race, perhaps?) and he thought keeping Lucifer on a leash would stop the assaults on his power, but it didn't. It was Crowley's fault that Lucifer got free. I don't know. Maybe Crowley just got tired of the paperwork.

What I do know is that I wasn't ready to lose Crowley. The matter-of-fact way he killed himself upset me because it felt final, as if Crowley's long character arc had finally come to a natural end.

Moving on to the reverse nativity, Kelly Kline seemed to find peace as childbirth and death approached. After her battle with IKEA, she recorded a message of love for her baby. Castiel retained his belief in the beautiful future baby Jack would bring to the world until the end, when he was freaking killed by a freaking angel blade, and Chuck wasn't around to resurrect him. Dean's face as he looked down at Castiel's body was devastating.

The thing is, the Gleaming Yellow Crack was created by Jack through Kelly. Is Mad Max World what Jack is planning for our earth, what Bobby called the "peaches and cream" side? Because I cannot believe the Kool-aid that Kelly and Castiel were drinking about Jack.

This leaves us with a ton of set-up for season (gasp) thirteen. I thought Mary would be toast by the end of the season, but instead she's in Mad Max World with an angry Lucifer. (Loved the way she whaled on him with her sigiled brass knuckles, like she was expressing her personal feelings about what Lucifer did to Sam.) Crowley and Castiel are dead, but we now have the possibility that there are doubles for nearly everyone but the Winchesters on the other side. Which is now inaccessible because the Crack has vanished, but come on. This is Supernatural. If I were a smart writer of this series, I'd take the opportunity to bring back beloved characters that have left us, either temporarily or permanently. Wouldn't you?

Bits:

-- Our beloved "Carry On" sequence was a bit wackier than usual. And yes, it still gets to me.

-- Loved the triple laptop scene. It was so nice to see Dean and Sam working so easily with Mary. It's what it should have been like all along and finally was, and now she's gone. It's like they're teasing us.

-- Crowley's early on emergence from his grave was an homage to Carrie.

-- "All Along the Watchtower" is a famous song by Bob Dylan that begins with "There must be some kind of way out of here, said the joker to the thief." The song was important in an apocalyptic way in the final season of Battlestar Galactica, a show that also featured Mark Sheppard.

-- Sam mentioned that Lucifer was back in his old vessel. I'm assuming that it's a situation much like Castiel's and Jimmy's, and the guy is really gone? Geez, I hope he's gone.

-- Mark Pellegrino is still so good. He gives everything Lucifer says a sexual twist. Either that, or a juvenile twist. I hate the idea that Mary is now at his mercy, just like Sam once was.

-- Courtney Ford did a good job as Kelly Kline. She gave off such a mother-of-god vibe that I kept calling her "Mary" as I was writing these reviews. Lots of moms this season, weren't there?

-- This week: North Cove, Washington. That lake is just so familiar. And that lovely little Craftsman cottage with the moss all over the roof: where do they find these locations?

Quotes:

Kelly: (on the phone) "If you ask me if I have the quarter inch Allen wrench one more time, I am going to come down there and burn your giant, Viking junkyard of a store to the ground, do you understand?"
The second time through I was thinking, he's never going to need that crib. He's too big already.

Lucifer: "If you're looking for Rowena, she is presently indisposed. Which is a delicate way of saying I stomped on her face 'til the white meat showed, and then set her on fire just in case. Ah, gingers. It was messy and screamy, but it had to be done."

Castiel: "I have read 74 books on childrearing and there is one thing that they all agree on: everybody poops."
Jack won't need the diapers, either. At least I hope not. Those won't fit.

Mary: "I kind of always wanted to punch the Devil in the face."

Sam: "Whatever this thing is going to be, it's going to be big and bad..."
Crowley: (appearing at the end of the table) "You rang?"

Crowley: "All those whining demons, the endless moan of damned souls, the paperwork. I mean, who wants that?"
Sam: "You?"

Crowley: "Whenever there's a world ending crisis at hand, I know where to place my bets. It's on you, you big beautiful lumbering piles of flannel.”

Castiel: "It's an alternate reality."
Sam: "So it's a Bizarro world? Or like the place we got zapped to where we were actors on a TV show?"
Dean: "Where the supernatural wasn't real?"
Sam: "Yeah."
Dean: "And you were Polish?"

Dean: "I have faith in us. You, me, Mom, Cas. And Crowley, sometimes."

Dean: "Say hello to my little friend."

I'm not saying this episode wasn't cool, because it most certainly was. Again, it's hard to tell what's permanent and what's not, and I usually enjoy Supernatural finales in spite of it. But this one... eh, I'm not sure. So no rating from me. What did you guys think?

Billie
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Billie Doux has been reviewing Supernatural for so long that Dean and Sam Winchester feel like old friends. Courageous, adventurous, gorgeous old friends.

14 comments:

yane said...

As much as I liked Crowley, I loved his sacrifice... or would've loved it if it hadn't turned out to be completely pointless two seconds later. I'm not sure how it was supposed to work but it didn't seem to work at all, seeing that Lucifer could still move back and forth through that crack.
Killing Rowena off-screen also seemed lousy to me.
I won't (or wouldn't? we shall see) be sorry to see Cass gone though; the character had bored me for a while now.
I also thought Mary would be gone till the end of the season, yet instead she got stuck in the other world. Well, someone was bound to; it was obvious from the very first second we saw it. I'm just glad it's not Sam/Dean again.
The show has its ups and downs (which is inevitable for such a long one) but I still enjoy it nonetheless. I'm amazed by how they keep coming up with new storylines (even if sometimes they feel repetitive - there's only so much you can do with so few characters... I wish they would bring back Jo; I still haven't recovered from that loss).

Anonymous said...

Personally, I really liked this one. The deaths were surprising, (or at least as surprising as they can get on Supernatural) and the characters reactions were really well done.
I think my favorite part of the episode was the look Cas gave Sam and Dean after the "Where you were Polish?" comment.

A Parker said...

I was okay with it until they killed Crowley and Cas. Their deaths were pointless and served no purpose. That seems to be becoming a trend.

Watching Crowley die seemed like watching Wash die in Serenity. No real reason, the writers just killed him for shock value, and because they COULD. I don't think it was a fitting end, or that it ultimately did the character justice. Its ultimate result seemed...disrespectful...on the part of the writers. If it had actually accomplished anything, it wouldn't have been so insulting.

Cas's death shocked me, but I know Misha's signed for next season, so it didn't shock me as much as it had the potential to.

I dunno. I'm going to give next season a chance because I'm loyal, but I can't say I'm excited, and that's a first after twelve years.

Mallena said...

I'm not mourning Rowena, Crowley, or Cas. Either they are coming back or some version of them are. We have an alternate universe now. If we never see those characters again, or their alt-selves, I would be very surprised. I really hope that next season Sam and Dean go over there to find Mary. We could get new monsters and different versions of departed favorites...I'm excited at that possibility. Some people want Sam and Dean to just go back to fighting monsters every week, stay in cheap motels, and drink beer. After the first 5 wonderful seasons, the apocalypse,missing souls,angel & demon possessions,Mark of Cain,God & Sis battles, boring British Men of Letters...I'm ready for something new and exciting.

topher darling said...

"as a rat race, perhaps?" Thanks for alleviating some of the pain, Billie and thanks for your 12 (!) seasons of reviews!

Personally, I'm fine with Crowley's death. His storyline this season was weak and he was always there for an easy-out for the boys. His tiredness of being king mirrored by tiredness of the storyline very aptly.

I was a lot more upset about Cas and Mary although Mary just warped to an environment where Bobby is and knows her so I'm thinking she might be okay.

As upsetting as all of the deaths were, I'm really glad that Supernatural can still bring the shock after 12 seasons. Well done!

Billie Doux said...

yane, I thought that Crowley's sacrifice did close the crack between worlds, but not right away. Maybe it took a couple of minutes for the sacrifice to kick in?

topher darling, you're very welcome. I still find it weird that I've been reviewing a show that has lasted this long.

Anonymous said...

All right. First of all, I loved this finale. I think it was definitely one of the best shows of this season. (Although I agree with everyone, I would have loved more on Rowena's fate, but it felt like a rushed time-issue to me. The writers couldn't waste time on Rowena when they needed it to rush-resolve the larger issue they created. It showed a lack of respect for the prior storyline and the fans' feelings regarding the character. Being a fan who really liked Rowena, I felt that was a pity.) I wish that they had really worked Crowley's death better, because it left a LOT of unresolved feelings for me. I believe that they will bring him back, because he is now too integral to the saga. Maybe he will return as a mortal, or some kind of angel. (Y'all got to admit, that was one helluva sacrifice he made, in the attempt to permanently trap Lucifer.) And Cas. Well, they better not make that a permanent death, because I expect Billie to rally the fans and we will storm the gates of the writers. (Hopefully not Butch and Sundance style.) Mary's sacrifice is terrifying -- I'm looking forward to next season, although I was far more worried when it was Sam trapped with Lucifer. However, most important to me -- even more important than Jensen's beautiful job throughout the episode, was the magnificent job Jarad did, coming face to face with Lucifer. Jarad has improved so much throughout this series, and this episode was managed magnificently! The raw fear masked by Sam trying to keep a lid on his panic was palpable. Brilliant, Jarad! And kudos to the directors, also. The scene as Sam followed the footsteps was amazing -- the tension built with every step, and when a yellow-eye Lucifer (Jr.) looked up at Sam, *I* felt like turning and bolting the room. Thank you, thank you, thank you, writers, directors, crew and actors for such a wonderful finale. And thank you, Billie, for this site. I always love reading what everyone has to say, and engaging in their insights!

Billie Doux said...

Well, I probably won't have to storm the gates, because it does look like...

casting spoilers below, so bail out if you don't want to know...

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...

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Misha Collins is returning for season 13, but Mark Sheppard is not.

http://tvline.com/2017/05/24/supernatural-season-13-mark-sheppard-leaving-crowley/


Anonymous said...

Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.....

Thanks, Billie. (I did appreciate the warning. The above is in reference to Mark Sheppard.)

Patryk said...

Wow that was a lot of deaths. What I don't like is killing off-screen like they did with Rowena. Such major recurring characters should be given a porper send-off so I suspect she cheated death again somehow.

I laughed at how Castiel was not genre savvy enough to understand that children in fantasy TV shows always age very rapidly. Those diapers will stay unused. :P

Patryk said...

We can finally stop worrying about Jody dying in any episode of Supernatural she appears. The CW is planning a spin-off centered around her and her adoptive daughters that will begin with a backdoor pilot next season on Supernatural.

http://www.tv.com/news/supernatural-spin-off-wayward-daughters-set-as-backdoor-pilot-14979806070020296/

Anonymous said...

Meh... not that big a fan of Claire. She has always been a little too tough to be so eternally whiney. Hopefully they will put a lid on some of the idiotic childish angst. Seems to me that she had enough valid reasons for angst that I didn't want to listen to whine about her adopted family. Thumbs up for Jody, though!

Panda said...

Finally finished my binge of this season and I have to say, I'm a little annoyed.

Because this is supernatural it's hard to say which of the deaths we saw are permanent but I do think we'll see some of these reversed. Out of all of these Im really hoping Rowena comes back. She was such a bright spark since she arrived and I felt really disappointed and cheated by her off screen death. But I guess the fact that's it was off screen means she's more than likely coming back? I really hope so.

Crowleys death felt final and a good enough end to his arc over the last few seasons. I was pretty tired of the cat and mouse games with Lucifer so I'm kinda happy he had the last laugh in the end.

As for Cas, I'm not concerned in the slightest for him. He'll be back, no doubt raised by Jack.

Great reviews and always Billie. I enjoyed reading them as I watched the season.

Panda said...

Also I'm pleasantly surprised Mary survived. I assumed she'd be a one season addition and I'm glad I was wrong.