Posted in Reviews

Supernatural Season 9

Supernatural season 9 – spoilers for season 1-12 might be included below, so you’ve been warned.

Season 9 of Supernatural starts off with Dean compounding his bad decision making of the season 8 finale by making a slew of bad decisions.  Why?  To save Sam, of course.  ::sigh::

Normally, I’m almost totally on Dean’s side of things.  This show has always done an excellent job of showing that both brothers have valid arguments, but this season Dean makes a few bad decisions that fuck up Sam’s life, and then Sam pretty much is pissed for the rest of the season.  Kind of justifiably so.  Most of the early episodes, Sam is possessed by an angel – Dean tricked Sam into saying yes to the possession so Sam wouldn’t die.

Most of the episodes this season are entirely enjoyable.  “Slumber Party” features a return of Charlie Bradbury, introduces a really bitchy Dorothy from Oz in an episode that  introduces Sam and Dean to the garage in the bunker.  This was a fun episode, complete with a Becky reference.

Yes, I’m ignoring Castiel’s struggles right now because it’s so depressing.  He struggles all the way to the bunker and then Dean kicks him out.  I’ve never been so pissed at Dean and a show in my entire life.  Dean says they are family, but when push comes to shove, he’ll feed Cas to the sharks?  Dick move.  Then the episode where Castiel is working at the gas station, with the horrible boss woman who doesn’t know how to say the word babysit?  Just awful.  The entire time Sam is possessed by the angel, Dean is a dick to Castiel for the most part, and it is soul crushing to watch.

Props to Misha Collins for breaking my heart this season as he tries to navigate life as a human.  He does a wonderful job of trying to simply live as a human being, and then as trying to navigate life among the fallen angels.  Castiel’s arc this season is a wonderful arc of redemption – although, man, angels are fickle as hell.  I prefer Castiel and the Winchesters to be working together, from the bunker, preferably, but this season does provide a wider context for Castiel.  However, during the first part of the season it’s heartbreaking to watch, and it really makes me want to kick Dean.

“Dog Dean Afternoon” has the brothers trying to solve a murder but the only witness is a dog.  What do to do?  Drink a potion to mind meld with a dog, of course.  As Dean starts exhibiting dog traits, hilarity ensues.  This is a pretty fun episode and a good monster of the week story.  I thoroughly enjoy Dean barking at the mailman and playing fetch, unwittingly, with Sam.

“Bad Boys” gives us a glimpse into Dean’s past and is a good solid episode that shows that Dean maybe didn’t always want to be a hunter.  The flashbacks to Dean’s life away from hunting, even if it is only for a few short months, shows that he could have found a decent place for himself outside of the world of hunting, if he’d been given the choice.

The actor who plays the young Dean in this episode, Dylan Everett, is simply phenomenal.  He has the mannerisms and complexity of Dean down.  Also, the end of the episode, where Dean wants to go to this dance with a girl he likes, but he chooses to leave with his dad because of Sam, the emotions that play over his face – bitterness, resignation, brotherly love for Sam, and a flash of humor – this kid breaks your heart.  He was/is a wonderful Dean and I kind of hope they keep doing flashbacks with him – he was a great Dean.

“Rock and a Hard Place” has the return of Jodi Mills.  Sam and Dean join a chastity group – need I say more?  This was a great episode all around, but one of my favorite parts (aside from Dean explaining why he has chosen chastity) is Jodi Mills punching the virgin in the nose to get her blood for the weapon.  “Wipe your nose, dear.”  Just pitch perfect.

As we near the end of the first half, lots of story arc things happen, but mostly the angel possessing Sam kills Kevin, causing Dean to fall into a self pity spiral.  He goes off to hunt by himself, and Sam basically says don’t let the door hit you on your way out, dude.  Sam’s anger is justified, Kevin’s dead and Dean’s gone.  While I normally do not like episodes where the brothers are at odds and not working together, “First Born” shows Crowley and Dean teaming up to find the first blade.  This pairing is always fun to watch and what makes this even better is Timothy Omundson, an actor I adore, playing Cain.

Omundson is believable as a retired monster and is unnervingly scary in more than a few instances.  I only wish Cain could have been around as a villain for a little bit longer – he was an interesting character with a great actor portraying him.  This is a pivotal episode as it brings on the Mark of Cain story arc, one that grows tiresome pretty quickly.

Sam and Dean eventually pair up again as they both look into a case involving Garth.  Dean tries to shake Sam a couple of times, but Sam doesn’t fall for it.  Resolving Garth’s storyline with what seems to be a pretty happy ending was nice.  They agree to keep working together, but Sam points out that everything that has gone wrong between them has been because they are family.  He doesn’t really say “We aren’t brothers anymore” but it amounts to being the same.  He also tells Dean that he wouldn’t have done the same thing in return if their roles had been reversed.  This comes into play in a few episodes after the fact.  Dean does throw this back at Sam a few times, showing that it did hurt him.

I’ve over analyzed this show, and  in season 10 Charlie basically says Sam got pissed and said something he didn’t mean and Sam agrees that yep, that’s what happened.  During season 9 Dean betrays Sam pretty horrifically, but even when Sam points out that he has nightmares of killing Kevin, Dean is not very apologetic.  Have a legitimate complaint and being told it doesn’t matter would piss anyone off, so I can see things playing out this way as a realistic reaction, but that conversation between Charlie and Sam helped clarify a lot of what seemed to be a pretty cold hearted Sam.  We also see that Sam not only lied, but is more than willing to go to the same extreme measures to save Dean that Dean has gone through to save Sam.

Crowley addicted to human blood is somewhat entertaining if only for lines like “You don’t know what it’s like to be human!”  Crowley being on the same side as the boys creates a fun dynamic through the season.  Dean killing Abaddon is pretty violently horrific, but since she was an almost unkillable demon, probably needed to be.  Having one of the big bad guys dead is nice, but it does seem to make Dean more easily controlled by the Mark, which kind of makes him a bit of a controlling jerkwad.

Another episode that is heartbreaking and yet somehow inspiring is “Captives” where they find out Linda Tran, the always fantastic Lauren Tom, is still alive.  They set about rescuing her and what stands out to me about this episode is how strong a character Linda Tran is.  She has this fierce resilience that puts both Winchesters to shame.  Sam finds her and manages to get locked up with her.  She is working on unlocking the electronic door and she gives two deliveries of the same line “you will take me to my son.”

The first delivery of this line is full of hope and the beautiful joy that suffuses her face as she says it tells the story of how she’s survived this long.  She’s survived this long for Kevin.  To see him again.  When Sam stops her and without telling her, he communicates that Kevin isn’t alive, she gives this choked sound of grief, and her face changes to angry and determined for the second delivery of “you will take me to my son,” this second one bitten out defiantly.  If all that’s left of her son is a box of ashes, she’s taking it.

How badass is she?  She’s lost her husband, then her son, AFTER being held captive by demons, and still she is going to get out of there.  Also, we should remember that last season this woman single handedly bagged a demon on her own.  I’d watch “Mrs. Tran, Demon Killer” as a television show, because this woman is mother fucking heroic as all get-out and Lauren Tom knocks each performance out of the ball park.

Speaking of heroic as all get-out, Jodi Mills shows up again in “Alex Annie Alexis Ann” as she kills a vampire in her police station.  There is a young human that the vampires kidnapped and adopted, and then used as a lure to make hunting easier.  This episode alone could have been a great back door pilot for a Jodi Mills series, although I am glad that they waited until later and are including a lot more characters.  #Wayward  She is such a fully realized character, one that is willing to call Sam and Dean for help, but is completely unwilling to allow them to kill a young woman who has “vampire Stockholm syndrome.”  Two towering experts are telling her she is wrong and she basically tells them that they will have to go through her to hurt Alex.  She’s just great.

Jodi’s power is her empathy.  Damage recognizes damage, and through losing both her son and husband, Jodi is damaged.  Even while being beaten up by the mama vamp, she is empathizing with the woman.  They both have lost children, and Jodi recognizes that the reason Alex was kidnapped was because of this loss.  Jodi proves that she was right about Alex not being evil when Alex saves her life, and she ends up taking her in.  The scene at the end of this episode with Jodi and Alex is amazingly touching.  Jodi tells Alex that whatever she wants from her, she’ll give it, in such a simple offer to help that it’s amazing.  Alex shows that she isn’t really the angry, sullen girl, but actually rather sweet when not in constant fear for her life.  Perfect episode, with such well drawn characters – exactly what a backdoor pilot should be.

But no.  We get “Bloodlines” as a backdoor pilot.  It’s awful, and I hated it.  The end.  I could fill up an entire blog post with why this episode as a back door pilot sucked, but we’ll sum up with this – I didn’t care about any of the characters.  At all.  It was a hot mess of an episode.

The ending of this season is a good one, with a lot of rough moments that show the tenderness and caring between our friends and allies.  Dean telling Cas that he believes that Castiel had nothing to do with the angel suicides because Castiel just gave up his angel army for one man is a great moment.  Considering the brotherly moment between Sam and Dean seconds before this was Dean telling Sam that it was a dictatorship, Dean needed to be nice to someone to offset the dickhead balance some.

Also, by simply broadcasting Metatron’s words so that the other angels heard that Metatron was indeed an evil plotter, Castiel didn’t have to fight anyone, AND the angels get to be back up in heaven.  Dean dying wasn’t so great, but it did allow for Sam to say that he lied when he said he’d be ok with it prompting a typical Dean line of “Well, ain’t that a bitch.”  Sam shows this is more than true as he tries to conjure up Crowley.  Meanwhile, Crowley is while reviving Dean, but because of the Mark of Cain he wakes up all demon-eyed and evil.  Not bad at all.

Unlike season 8, this was a solidly good season.  While I think that Dean’s arrogance and self-absorption this season are a little difficult to take, it was within his character.  Other than the backdoor pilot, this season doesn’t have any episodes that are god-awful or that should be skipped, so I’m giving it a A-/B+

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