I was all prepared to write "this will be my last ever reaction post and I'm done with the whole thing" (well, not the last bit. I'll never be done with it, but I really thought it was going to signal the end of me being an active fan).
But it looks like that's not the case. Damn you Show!! (But also YAY because I don't like being utterly pissed at you).
Ok. So let me get this off my chest first. The mytharc this season was batshit crazy. And Big. It was incredibly ambitious and even though I admire them for that ambition, I feel it was ultimately bigger than they could handle. But they tried and maybe I should give them kudos for that.
I'm not going to dwell on the negative in this review. If you've read any of my past reaction posts you'll know what's annoyed me.
Though I will say I was shaking my head A LOT during the episode. Especially Rowena's ability to do just about anything. And Dean's vessel being able to hold that many souls. And Sam not having some important reaction shots when they were needed. There's just so much to hand wave that I'm really just not going to bother (let alone why the hell Lucifer was let out of the cage in the first place and then Dean THANKING Cas for it. Yeah - probably best not to dwell on that too much either grrrrrr).
I'm also reluctant to read too much into it all. I am convinced They don't so I'm not too keen to get myself twisted up looking for deeper meanings.
Though there were some things that worked for me:
1. Breaking the mould.
I watch the show for the brothers and their crazy, die-for each other relationship. But I will openly confess I'm not always happy that they end seasons with them being prepared to destroy the world for each other. Ok. I know that's appealing in the greater scheme of their amazing bond, but I have been desperate to see them acknowledge that there will be a time when a death sacrifice will have to be made for the "good" of the world rather than destroy it (or worse, destroy the other). This episode felt like it delivered for me on this.
I suspect this episode was to be a kind of companion to Swan Song. Instead of Sam sacrificing himself, it was Dean. And in many ways it did work like that. Only, the writing wasn't nearly as strong and we didn't get Sam by Dean's side as he went off to die.
I accept that no one could go with Dean (for what ever story telling and "dramatic" ending purposes it had), but it is hard to accept that Sam wasn't allowed to at least protest a little bit.
That said though, I TOTALLY felt Sam's pain at the thought of losing his brother. I felt this 100x more than I did when Dean died in S9 (probably because I was very bitter by the end of S9). I also actually believed that words weren't said because there was literally nothing Sam could say. When Cas suggested Dean could take the "bomb" to Amara there was an inevitability in Sam's face that just said "this is going to happen and no matter what I say it won't change a thing". I also believed that Sam knew it was the best solution and protesting would only make it harder for Dean to go. Sam has been there - been the one to offer himself as a sacrifice. He knew that if he broke down Dean might not go. And, for once, this was a sacrifice for the great good of the world. Not for each other. And I know many fans hate that, but I was actually relieved to see them take a different route. At no point did I think Sam was uncaring for Dean's fate. No did I doubt Sam's utter love for him. It was much more moving to me than platitudes (like "I'm proud of us").
I also felt both Sam and Dean had grown up (don't hit me!). The end matched the statement Sam made in the beginning - we have to do the "saving people" part as well as the hunting things. And they did. It hurt, but it was the right thing to do (stop hitting me!). I was satisfied with it - for reasons that I have been finding hard to explain elsewhere. Let's just say I was moved and therefore it worked for me.
2. The Amara/God arc concluded.
Thank goodness! I was so worried they were going to keep this open (I was convinced Dean would go off into the empty with Amara), so it was with utter relief that they resolved it in a way that puts it completely to bed (well, until they decide to bring the characters back). And I actually liked the way it concluded (I hear you - who are you and what have you done with Ash!). I liked that Dean was a diplomat and it was resolved peacefully. Again, it broke the mould and actually tied up the entire myth arc. This doesn't excuse it for being ridiculous, but at least it die tie it up.
And all I thought at the end, when I saw Amara and God intertwined souls going upward was that it represented Sam and Dean. The whole arc was one big love fest for showing how entwined Sam and Dean are. I'll even go so far as they are a mix of light (Dean) and dark (Sam). Ok, I went too far - but it's my head canon now. ;)
3. Sam and Dean hunting ghosts together.
The scene was pretty useless really, but it was there to remind us of the "hunting things" part of the bumper sticker. I loved the location too!
4. Sam being the one to snap everyone out of their "we can't do anything" stupor.
Ok, Sam was pretty much sidelined at the end (surprise!), but at least he played a part in the beginning. They really had no idea what direction to take Sam by the end of the season, but at least he came across as competent and willing to fight for the world. That's a Sam I recognise.
5. Dean doing Rowena's accent (and the Js enjoying that).
6. The most epic bro-hug of the series (well, maybe second to the one in Lazarus Rising).
It's extremely hard to convince us that either one of them is ever really in danger of death. So all we have is seeing how they react when they think one of them dying or dead. It's what made Red Meat so amazing. I felt Sam's devastation. The hug was so damn heartfelt.
And that's about it really. Much of the rest irked me, but the things that I liked worked enough to save the finale for me. I felt the bro love ooze of the screen and as that's what I'm here for I was at least happy with that.
As for the ending. Purely cliff hanger material. Toni (?) was introduced as a set up for next season and Mary was there to provide the shock. I'm not reading too much into it all. I'm certainly not judging the new character until I've seen more. As for Mary? Who knows. I am tired of all the returning characters, but I'll see what they do. I keep thinking "nothing can be as bad as previous arcs" but that just tempts fate so I won't say that!
Instead I'll reflect back on the great stand-alones we had this season. Aside from the previous 3 eps (and them completely ignoring Sam's Lucifer trauma and, er Casifer - which ended up being for completely nothing it seems), this has been my fave Carver era season. So there is that. :)
Happy for the hiatus now. Hoping my vid muse will eventually kick in and I can finish the two vids I've been trying to finish.
*hugs* We made it!