Supernatural --"All Along the Watchtower" -- SN1223b_0231.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Jared Padalecki as Sam, Misha Collins as Castiel and Jensen Ackles as Dean -- Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW -- © 2017 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved
ReviewsTelevision & Film

Dazed and Confused by SUPERNATURAL’s Season Finale

Season 12, Episode 22 “Who We Are”
Written by Robert Berens
Directed by John F. Showalter

Supernatural’s been clicking along all season. The storylines of the boys’ problems with their mom, the introduction of the British Men of Letters and the question of whether they’re good or bad, and Lucifer expecting a son were all coming along quite nicely when suddenly the train derails and we’ve gone over the cliff.

For the two-episode season finale the boys and Lady Toni (Elizabeth Blackmore) have to escape the bunker before the air runs out. Toni cooperates, as I predicted. They try several methods but Dean (Jensen Ackles) realizes that he finally has a chance to use his grenade launcher. That part is pretty cool.

Their mom (Samantha Smith) is still out there killing hunters so they call Garth to warn him and drive to Jody Mill’s (Kim Rhodes) house. They find their mom, tied up. Jody and Alex (Katherine Ramdeen) got the best of her.

Sam (Jared Padalecki) comes to the conclusion that he had wanted to follow the BMoL because following was easier than leading. I think there’s a lot of truth to that for a lot of people. So when they call in the other hunters Sam makes an effort to lead and to not deflect responsibility to Dean. He does a great job of convincing the others to take the fight to the BMoL. It’s Sam’s St. Crispin’s Day speech. Dean tells him he is ready and stays behind to deprogram mom. Besides, he hurt his leg during the blast. This is great interaction between the brothers but ignores the times that Sam has taken the initiative and led before.

This is going to hurt. And if I had any way of making it hurt more, I would. (Photo: Diyah Pera/The CW)

Lady Toni agrees to hook Dean and Mary’s minds together so that he can try to find where she is hiding in her own mind. Mary is in the house in Lawrence with four year old Dean (Anthony Bolognese) and baby Sam, in the time period right before her death. I don’t know why they keep portraying Dean as having dark hair as a kid when Jensen Ackles was probably a towhead, but the kid is cute. She ignores Dean at first, but eventually acknowledges him. He tells her that her decision to save their father, John Winchester, by making a deal with Azazel, was responsible for their being hunters and losing both parents since Dad was shattered by her death. But he also says he forgives her. This gets her to see him.

This part is fine, too. It is what we know about Mary, that when she was in heaven she was living perpetually in that time with her happy family. We know she feels guilty about what she put her sons through. And that over developed sense of responsibility-that little boy who was handed a six month old baby to run with out of a burning house-is what I love best about Dean. Even though he feels that he failed to protect Sam from the fate the demon (and even more powerful beings) had for him, he is at his most heroic and most nurturing when it comes to Sam.

But here’s where things get seriously wonky. I’m okay with the hunters winning the fight against the men of letters, even though the elite team they brought in to kill the hunters had automatic weapons and bulletproof vests. The hunters did have the element of surprise, knew the layout of the BMoL facility, and Ketch (David Haydn-Jones) wasn’t there because he was looking for Mary. They are mostly middle aged hunters, which means they’re good, because they’ve survived that long. They lost the one that looked like McCloud. It seems unlikely that they would win, but possible. What’s really weird is that the headmistress (Gillian Barber) is turned down by the home office for an extraction. They said they didn’t have the resources for one. Did they want her dead or did they really lack the resources for a presumably magical extraction, and why?

Hess then tries to talk the hunters into letting her live because they need the BMoL to tackle Lucifer (Mark Pellegrino). This is mostly for Sam, so he can realize that they can do it on their own and have confidence in themselves. He turns her down. She then goes for a gun and it’s Jody that kills her. This whole conversation may have been to illustrate his growth but it also brings up how terribly stupid they are to kill the American hunters when Lucifer is on the loose and about to have a son. Unless there is someone in the BMoL who wants Lucifer to win.

Oh, and the voice on the radio from the home office:”Listen to her, boy.” BOY?

Dean wakes up to find Ketch in the room and Lady Toni with her throat slit. Ketch then proceeds to beat the crap out of him. Dean is still hampered by his injured leg. Ketch taunts him about how his mom never talked about him the entire time they hunted together. There’s real jealousy there. It’s not normal, having that kind of jealousy about your object of desire’s kid. Dean says he knew when Ketch left him alive in the bunker that he was sick, but didn’t know he was stupid. Ketch says he is a lot of things, but not stupid, and draws a gun to prove it. He then gets shot from behind. By Mary. Kudos to her for shooting him through the shoulder so it didn’t hit Dean.

He calls them killers. Both of them. And Mary shoots him in the head. Ding Dong, the evil would-be stepfather is dead. Good for her.

I’m sneaking up on Lady Bevell with a quiet weapon so as not to waken the hypnotic subjects, but then I’m going to take the sensors off and wake them up. (Photo: Diyah Pera/The CW)

I really have to differ with Ketch. He was stupid! He practically ensured Mary, Dean and Sam’s survival. Leaving them alive to die slowly was stupid. Taking them out of action when the BMoL had gotten an army to hunt hunters was stupid. Calling someone a killer when they have a gun on you and want to kill you is stupid. Far better to persuade them that while you are a psychopath they are merciful and don’t want to kill you, unless you want to die. Most stupid was slitting Toni’s throat and beating the crap out of Dean instead of killing him when he was under. Lady Toni could have taken them out when they were hypnotized. She didn’t, but she could have. He removed a possible danger to himself, yes, but also a danger to them. He acted like someone who really was furious with someone he didn’t want to kill. I suppose that’s supposed to be due to his sadism, but it really looked like out of control anger because Dean was trying to take Mary away. This character is a mess. His actions make no sense. They should do a post-mortem on him but that seems unlikely.

The BMoL facility blows up, as these things must. I suppose it was triggered by the home office in London. Two cars drive away, so it appears that only Sam and Jody survived.

Mary explains to Dean that she was trying to set things right. Sam comes in and there’s a group hug. Aww.

On to the second part of the finale, where things get even more confusing.

Season 12, Episode 23 “All Along the Watchtower”
Written by Andrew Dabb
Directed by Robert Singer

First, I have a bone to pick with actor Jim Beaver. At Planet Comicon, he said that Bobby was NOT in this season of Supernatural. We were running out of time for an appearance, whether ghostly or flashback. And I reported it that way! So, he shows up. Very last episode. I think that there are only a few possible explanations for this discrepancy.

  1. It was a deep, dark secret and he wasn’t supposed to tell anyone.
  2. Maybe it was filmed after Planet Comicon.
  3. He was splitting hairs because while there was a Bobby Singer it was not THE Bobby Singer. It was alternate universe Bobby Singer.
  4. He broke into the set and selfied himself in, like he threatened to. Members of the audience offered to help him film himself and insert the footage into the show. The alternate universe is very smoky and grey and he’s wandering around wearing a cowl, so he could have substituted himself for someone else.

I’m going to assume it’s the last one, because it’s the most reasonable explanation.

Cas (Misha Collins) and Kelly (Courtney Ford) are planning for Lucifer’s child. I don’t know why they think it’s going to be a baby but they do. They buy diapers and a crib. Haven’t they ever seen a movie with an alien/human or Satan/human hybrid? They grow faster than a kid on a soap opera.

The Winchesters start looking for Cas and Kelly in earnest to protect them from Lucifer. Crowley (Mark Sheppard) pops up in the bunker (now why couldn’t he have done that when they were trapped there?). He doesn’t get a warm reception because he is the reason Lucifer’s free. They have to tell him that Lucifer killed Rowena (Ruth Connell). He takes it well. Crowley tells them he got away by hiding in a rat. While he was there, he discovered that he didn’t really like his job.

I could have told him he hated his job a long time ago.

A seat at the table. (Photo: Jack Rowand/The CW)

The nephilim’s presence causes a rift in the space/time continuum which Cas explores. He meets alternate universe Bobby. When the boys find them, they find the rift and meet alternate universe Bobby. This is a universe where Mary didn’t make the deal and John died. Sam and Dean were never born and earth has become a battleground for angels and demons. I’m thinking this is something Mary needs to see, not them.

Crowley follows even though Dean stuck a knife through his hand in the bunker and fixed him to the table, so he is with them all.

Contractions won’t kill you. (Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW)

Mary stays with Kelly while they fight Lucifer. This is a little bit sexist, but Mary is the only one among them who has any experience with having a baby. Castiel gets knocked aside immediately. The boys run away from Lucifer and lead him right into the rift.

Crowley is waiting on the other side with a spell. The idea is to trap Lucifer in the alternate universe by closing the rift. This doesn’t seem fair to alternate universe Bobby and whatever other survivors there are but they are probably screwed anyway. Unfortunately the spell requires a sacrifice. Crowley approaches Lucifer with an angel blade, but then uses it on himself.

Castiel bursts through the rift and attacks Lucifer. My first thought is, didn’t they tell Cas the plan? He wakes up and decides to go attack Lucifer? Then I thought, maybe he’s trying to delay the devil so that the rift can close. But it still risks his being stuck in the alternate universe.

Kelly is suffused with a bright light, says “I love you,” and dies. The light blast knocks Mary out.

Dean and Sam make it back to their world. Cas follows. Lucifer follows him and stabs Cas in the back with an angel blade. Light streams out of Castiel’s eyes, everything. He’s dead. Mary comes downstairs, leaving the nephilim with the dead mom, we assume, and attacks Lucifer with the brass knuckles that work against angels. This turns out to be very effective because it knocks Lucifer into the rift and it closes. Success. Unfortunately he grabs Mary as he falls and she goes with him.

Dean stares in shock at the place his mom disappeared at, and then down at the dead body of his best friend. Sam comes to his senses first and runs upstairs. They find Kelly’s body. She looks very peaceful. There are footprints leading from the bed and you can see an adult face in the darkness but not the rest of it. It smiles, which would seem to be a good sign, but it is a creepy, glowing eye smile.

So what, they decided that they would kill them all and let Chuck sort them out? How do we know who’s coming back and who isn’t? Why can’t characters have their own, properly mourned deaths?

They killed the entire Men of Letters, London Chapter, that were in America. They killed Eileen, Kelly, Rowena, Crowley, Castiel, and an unknown number of hunters. They trapped Mary in the alternate universe. TVLine gives the show the highest death toll of any show for this finale season. They could literally start out the next season with just Sam and Dean and the nephilim.

How much for hair extensions? (Photo: Jack Rowand/The CW)

Rowena didn’t even get to be onscreen. All we saw is a burned up body and a lock of red hair. This is usually a sign that someone is coming back, but since Crowley died, maybe not. But it also means that the actress didn’t even get a death scene. It was an ignominious ending. Kelly, who was only in a few eps, got a better death scene than Rowena did.

Crowley got a death scene, and got to sacrifice himself. Whether he did that for the greater good or because he had nothing to live for is debatable. He had just discovered that he hated his job and his mother was dead. However, it wasn’t so great because the spell wasn’t fast enough to save either Mary or Castiel. Mark Sheppard has said on social media that he is definitely not coming back.

As a weird thought, because Crowley made the ultimate sacrifice he might go to Heaven. Wouldn’t that piss the angels off!

Castiel is my best bet for coming back. I’m not sure how, but he is important to the series. He also promised to raise that “baby” after Kelly’s death, and now Dean and Sam have to do it. I hope it potty trains fast.

I also wouldn’t put it past Ketch. He could turn out to be a Frankenstein monster or something.

The boys will have to try and find their mum. I don’t suppose that the nephilim, Jack, will be able to produce another rift right away. I would like to see Mary and AU Bobby Singer team up. That would be great.

What I would like to see next season is properly written characters. The BMoL storyline was good. However, they didn’t make logical decisions. Ketch didn’t make logical decisions. They took pains to show us that Lady Bevell had a child and that she and Ketch were together in the past, but didn’t go anywhere with it. Now she’s dead so we are unlikely to find out anything more about her. How did Hess get to be headmistress and one of the head operators? Did they have only one class of psycho killers at Kendricks? Only Mick got a complete storyline.

A big thanks to Mark Sheppard for playing Crowley in such a wonderful droll way all of these years. I will miss his wit, poignancy, brutal honesty, and moments of pure evil. I first noticed Mark Sheppard in Firefly, so whenever I saw him in Doctor Who, or Battlestar Galactica, or Leverage, I would think, “Look! There’s Badger”. It took a long time for him to become Crowley to me. The roles are very similar. Crowley was a sad little king of a sad little Hell.

Goodbye, Crowley and Rowena. I hope you’ve gone onto a better place. (Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW)

The way Crowley died is appropriate for him. He got to choose his own end. He was such a ratty little survivor it’s impossible to imagine someone else killing him off. He liked to win. It may have been a Pyrrhic victory, or at least one he personally didn’t survive, but it was a victory.

Supernatural returns in the fall for a thirteenth season on the CW.


Teresa Wickersham

Teresa Wickersham has dabbled in fanfic, gone to a few conventions, created some award-winning (and not so award winning) masquerade costumes, worked on the Save Farscape campaign, and occasionally presents herself as a fluffy bunny or a Krampus.

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