Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Top 9 Things That Were Actually Okay In Supernatural Season 9

 Some time ago I ranted into the wee hours of the night about everything I thought was bad about season nine of Supernatural. But in the spirit of fairness (and because I try to be an optimist) I thought about what things that happened in season 9 that actually, well, worked in my opinion. So, here it is: the top nine things that were okay in season nine.

Second Verse, same as the first.

9. Cas understanding pop culture actually working

 Hold up, people who will no doubt call this blasphemy! I, too, was doubtful and annoyed when Meta Sue uploaded Cas's brain with every story ever so he'd get his references. (Seriously, even I try to not overdo it with references I know people won't get, or force them to get them.) But, the few times we've seen him use this new ability, it's worked. They haven't overdone or beaten us over the head with Cas getting story references now.

 Plus, it leads to this wonderful exchange where he and Gadreel are trying to sneak their way back to Heaven. Cas's suggestion? "Wookie!"

"Where did you find the handcuffs, Castiel?" "It's best not to ask questions, Gadreel..."

Gadreel's confusion at the reference just sells it. Cas gets to see what it was like for Dean when he didn't get his references.

 I know it's still soon to say they got this right (they still have season 10 to run the joke into the ground and ruin it), but for now, they got it pretty good. Gold star sticker! ...Bronze.

8. Richard Speight Jr/Gabriel's appearance and dialogue in "Meta Fiction"

 I know, I know. I put the Gabriel fakeout on my worst list, BUT. But. Before that horrible thing happened, it was really awesome to see Gabriel again. His dialogue was some of the best, helped out immensely by Richard Speight Jr.'s delivery. Seriously, he got some of the funniest lines of the season, some can be seen here and here.

 Seriously, they way he bounced off Castiel and just stole the entire episode was awesome. It made me miss the character even more, and hope he'll pop up next season or real, in all his trickster archangel glory. (And if he does, that he'll interact with Crowley. The sheer sass of that meeting would be glorious.)

7. Decent treatment of Charlie, Garth, The Trans, and Jodie

 Between fake-outs, destroying characters, and killing them, it's almost easy to forget that they treated some reoccurring characters pretty decently in their appearances, and didn't kill them off (well, in Charlie's case, not very long).

 Charlie, while having a fake-out death in her one episode of the season, "Slumber Party", still got some really decent treatment. Heck, in the end, after killing The Wicked Witch, she ends up going to Oz to have the adventure she always dreamed of with Dorothy. (And who knows, maybe they hooked up afterwards. It could happen.) Yeah, there's a good chance we may never see Charlie again, at least anytime soon (Felicia Day is starring her own TV series soon, so her availability may go down). But if we do end up never seeing her again, it's still a great send-off. And compared to Tessa's unceremonious departure, one of the better ones. Period.

 Garth was another one who was treated well in his episode, "Sharp Tooth". I was terrified when I saw the promos for that episode, with Garth admitting he was a werewolf now. If anything, reoccurring character on Supernatural + Becoming something supernatural seemed to spell death for the beloved guy who I swear is probably Supernatural's Jesus (I WILL STAND BY THIS HEADCANON UNTIL I DIE!). Then they revealed he had a wife and was generally really happy with his new life with werewolves. Naturally, I was already prepared to mourn and flip tables. But no, they let Garth live, and let him be happy. Which is really awesome.

 Now, it might be weird to include The Trans under "decent treatment", since, you know, Kevin died and Mama Tran, while not being dead like Crowley said, was still locked up in a storage unit for the better part of a year and most likely tortured, so... But, still, Mama Tran's not dead, so her awesomeness can still show up in the future. And Kevin's spirit got to go be with his mom until they figure out how to fix Heaven and such (or revive him? Maybe?), so they get to be reunited! And Kevin doesn't have to listen to another Winchester self-pity party. ;P

 And as for Jodie, not only does she not die (making her now among the quickly dwindling number of Kripke Era characters who've survived the Post-Kripke series, AND surviving reoccurring female characters for that matter), but she gets to be shown as a competent hunter. And in "Alex Annie Alexis Ann", she gets to bond with and possibly take in a young girl at the end. Plus, Jodie is just awesome. That is all.

6. Castiel Post-"Holy Terror"/"First Born"/Cas and Sam Actually Interacting One-On-One More

 This one, I decided to mesh the two things together, since they were in a similar vein.

 Castiel, after the tragic waste that was his human arc, was pretty awesome this season. Not only did he get a moment of awesome in "Holy Terror" when he stole another angel's grace to get some of his mojo back, but he stayed awesome after that. Like I said in the Bad Things List, while he didn't get to show him getting his development of "caring more for humans" and such, he does keep up said development. He even gets a lot of the angels to follow him simply because he doesn't want to fight anymore. He probably could've gotten it all done peacefully if it weren't for Meta Sue.

 And he does so many awesome things and moves along half the plot so much more than The Boys do, in my opinion. He's the one to kill Bartholomew and get most of the angels in-line. AND he's the one who ultimately stops Metatron in an admittedly satisfying (but sadly Meta Sue-gankingless) way. He breaks the angel tablet and hoists him by his own petard, ending the conflict without violence and getting Metatron locked up. (On a side note, I like to think of "Cas Vs. Meta-Sue" on a meta level being a well-written character triumphing over a poorly-written one.)

 But the other thing I liked with Cas was that he ACTUALLY INTERACTS WITH SAM ONE-ON-ONE THIS SEASON. One of the things I really wanted to see was Sam and Cas getting to interact more. They rarely ever seem to interact with each other by themselves: either Cas is having "profound bondtime" with Dean or when they do interact, Dean or some other character is there. The few times I do recall them talking one on one is in season 6, when he tells him "you can stay soulless if you do something terrible like kill Bobby", or when he pretty much tells him "hey, your soul was in The Cage with Lucifer for months while your soulless body ran around being terrible! Oops, I shouldn't have said that. K bye!" And he kinda had ulterior motives with those actions.

  But here, they do get to talk and interact one-on-one more, mainly in "First Born" and... "Stairway To Heaven"... *sighs* ... And it's great. I like seeing them interact more. Don't get me wrong, I love brotherly banter and hunter/angel bromance as much as the next fan, but its nice to see this, too. And given what the storyline's supposedly supposed to be next season, I'm sure we'll get more of it in the future.

5. Gavin MacLeod
 Speaking of future, here's a character who gets sent to the future! Well, the future for him, anyway. It's just present day for us... I am the best at transitions...

 Anyway, in "King Of The Damned", Abaddon decides to take advantage of Crowley's status as an Emotionally Compromised King Of Hell. She figures by taking his son (from his human life), Gavin, from his time period (1723) to theirs as leverage, the more emotional Crowley will decide to go along with her in killing The Winchesters.

 Oh my gosh, I love this character and all he presents.

 First, there's his whole "fish out of water" status in the present day. It's just hilarious.
Gavin: [upon realizing he's in a skyscraper] We're among the heavens! Oh, you must be angels!

 Crowley and Abaddon: Seriously?

And I love his interactions and banter with Crowley, as well. It's one of the highlights of the episode, seeing the two bond. Needless to say, they hate each other a bit less, now.

(Though I could've swore his ghost looked older in "Weekend At Bobby's".... Eh, I'll let it slide. Besides, it could just be timey-wimey stuff)

 Plus, there's hisstatus at the end of the episode. Crowley decides when all is said and done, and Abaddon dead (alas), to keep Gavin around rather than send him back in time to die. Hopefully this means he'll appear again. And maybe we'll see what happens to the timeline when Gavin's largely gone. Is that why Bobby was stuck in hell in "Taxi Driver"? Is Gavin being free what causes Dean's death or any of the boys' issues? Will he be Crowley's undoing? C'mon!

 So, yeah, I like Gavin. Though I must admit, Crowley should know better than to mess with the timeline, given certain things...

C'mon, Canton's like one of my favorite companions, I can't NOT make a reference.

4. The Mark of Cain Story Arc
  Let's face it, a lot of story arcs weren't handled well this season, and were generally lackluster. But I thought The Mark of Cain arc went well. And mostly, I like what it gave us. It presented a lot of world-building: it gave this universe's version of Cain and Abel (though, I admit, Cain's motivations here for killing Abel  made me roll my eyes a bit, and wonder if next Judas would be revealed to have taken the pieces of silver for an orphan puppy's operation.), more information on The Knights of Hell, and introduced, you guessed it, The Mark of Cain and what it does to its bearer.

 I liked it, most of the episodes in this arc were solid. And because at the end of the season, it left us with the awesome story possibility. At the end, The Mark turns Dean into a demon. The story potential here is awesome (if they don't end it unceremoniously soon like I hear they might). The only other downside is that Abaddon dies in this arc. I liked her as a villain and honestly wouldn't have been disappointed if she'd won (unless Crowley died to do so). (And yet Metatron's story "isn't done yet". *flips table*). But overall, it was solid, and the best arc of the season.

3. "Mother's Little Helper"

 Hey, here's an episode I adore for reasons you may not expect! Okay, so this was the episode Misha Collins (Castiel) directed. And while it was well-directed (but I'm admittedly not skilled enough to fully critique such things), that's not why I love this episode. Heck, despite the world-building through flashback and clever call backs, it's not those that sell this episode for me. No.

 It's that Sam gets to be awesome here.

 Yes, an episode featuring Crowley, and Sam's the one who steals the show. You see, half the episode is Sam going solo on a hunt, while he and the audience learn more about Henry Winchester and Abaddon's vessel, Josie. But boy, does he get to show off his great traits:
  • He sticks up for and protects a woman in the diner from a soulless man
  • He's freaking clever against a demon, using a pre-recorded exorcism on his phone to distract her
  • He ultimately manages to hunt and kill the demon all on his own
 With the Post-Kripke Eras, it's pretty easy to forget that Sam is not only a capable hunter on his own, but a freakin' bad mutha-jumpa. It feels like he spends most of the recent seasons as the troubled ill-boy little brother Dean has to self-destructively protect. It's nice to see Sam be capable again. And I'm hoping season 10 keeps this up.

2. "Blade Runners"

 This is probably my favorite episode of the season. For multiple reasons. Much like I plan to review "I'm No Angel" and "Bloodlines", I want to review this on its own. It's funny, it builds on the world, it's enjoyable, it's Crowley-centric, it's Mooseley fuel, I just really like it, and I'll preobably review it someday... Along with recap the other seasons... And review Sherlock season 3... And the rest of the X-Men movies I have... :/

 And what I felt was the best thing about season 9, to the surprise of no one, is...

1. Crowley

 Gee, the character I wrote a whole post about liking the most is the best thing? Who'd have thunk? Well, it's true. Crowley was the best thing this season. His storylines were great. His lines were the best (convincing me the writers give most of the good dialogue to Crowley). He stole the show almost every episode he starred in. Whenever Crowley showed up this season, I felt joy. He even got the best monologue of the season, topping his "I deserve to be loved" one from season 8 (starts at about 0:36):

 Also, Mark Sheppard does some great acting this season, too, given Crowley's situation. Besides his perfect delivery of his one-liners, Sheppard gets to show Crowley as vulnerable. And he does it really well. I know a good chunk of the fans were clamoring for Jensen Ackles to get a Emmy nomination, but HOLY CRAP MARK DESERVES ONE, TOO! His character was the one I was rooting for. I mean, Cas was gone a lot, Sam was either possessed or ticked at Dean most of the season, and Dean made a lo of questionable decisions. Plus, his best line:

 It sums up everything. I'm glad his promoted to regular for season ten, and I hope this means he won't be dying anytime soon.


 Well, I've said my peace. What did you think of season 9, if you watched it. What did you like? Dislike? Do you agree with me or want to launch a war with me on our opinions? Let me know! Meanwhile, time to move on.

(...And yes I'll still watch season 10. I'm still going down with the ship, m'lads.)