Nerd Homework: Supernatural: Season 15

“I know how you see yourself Dean. You see yourself the same way our enemies see you. You’re destructive and you’re angry and you’re broken. You’re Daddy’s blunt instrument. And you think that hate and anger that’s what drives you, that’s who you are. It’s not. And everyone who knows you, sees it. Everything you have ever done, the good and the bad, is for love. You raise your little brother for love, you fought for this whole world for love. That is who you are. You’re the most caring man on earth. You are the most selfless, loving human being, I will ever know.” – The Angel Castiel to Dean Winchester, Supernatural Season 15

After letting a steady exhale out this past week, plus a few neatly timed Pinterest hits, I realized it was probably time for me to finish something I’d started well over two years ago. It was time to finish Supernatural.

I started watching the show two years ago mostly out of boredom and curiosity. I’d tried it before and it had never taken, but I do have a tendency to latch onto things here on this blog. Or at least I did in the before times. When I decided to watch over a decade of this show in a six month period, I did not expect to love it how I did.

I didn’t expect to love it so much that I had to wait until I’d unclenched about a whole bunch of other things before I felt comfortable releasing the emotions I knew were going to come, and, I have to admit for a while I was worried. About the way the show was going and about myself. I hadn’t cried at all.

Well that changed.

The final three episodes of Supernatural are charged for tears, from Castiel’s tearfilled, love confessing good bye to Dean. (Quoted above) to Jack’s decision to leave the boys and humanity behind to become a more compassionate and loving God than Chuck ever could have been, to Dean’s death and ascension to a heaven designed for him, and the long drive and happy life for Sam, before they can be reunited.

When Dean enters heaven and Bobby describes it as a place where everyone is satisfied and together, and Dean sees Baby and switches on the radio and hears, “Carry On Wayward Son,” I was a puddle.

My own personal conception of heaven, as my human brain can fathom the perfection of existence as united with God (what I theologically and philosophically conceive of heaven as, though that’s a little heavy for a blog post about the show where the pretty boys fight monsters.) is a place of comfort and joy where everyone is satisfied and together. My version is actually the bar that my Uncles used to own, settled on a corner bar stool. “Carry On Wayward Son” would probably still be in the mix in my version, to be honest, though it would be coming from the juke box, not a car stereo.

I was wrecked, and it just highlighted what it is about Supernatural that connected with me in a way that even the other nerd homework projects that I enjoyed never really did. This is a show about family, and faith and finding comfort in those things while the world around you spins in chaos. It’s about two brothers who love each other, and the people that come to love them.

And it is about pretty boys who hunt monsters and fight God, and love angels, and drink beer and eat pie and it’s about how Dean Winchester is a hero even if, and especially because, he’ll never admit it to himself. That loving his brother, his angel boyfriend and their adopted son was enough. (Misha and Jensen can “it’s platonic love,” all they want WE KNOW THE TRUTH.) And more than that, that he was loved, and appreciated. Every sacrifice mattered. It saved the world and remade heaven and hell. And those sacrifices were not for his anger or desire for vengeance but for love, and that is not a final theme I’m ever going to get sick of.

Now your life’s no longer empty

Surely heaven waits for you.

Nerd Homework: Supernatural Seasons 13 & 14

Well, reader, we’re finished.

For the moment. I’m nervous and excited for season 15. But first let’s talk about seasons 13 and 14.

We need to talk about Jack. My god, I love Jack. I love the whole whacky “My 3 (4) Dads” dynamic. He’s a precious baby who needs to be protected from everything. Especially himself. And his biological father, who is the literal devil, but you know…mostly himself and his powers.

And then there’s the shipping. While it should never, even for a second, be denied that I am shiptastic garbage, I was surprised by the depth and intensity that I fell for Destiel. Slash has never particularly been my thing,. (Save StormPilot, OBVIOUSLY.) And in fact, I often found Slash Shippers frustrating. Not because I didn’t also thirst for representation,(There’s a reason why Sara Lance and Rosa Diaz jumped to the top of the fave list, y’all.) but because it often felt like something of a reach.

But here’s the about seasons 13 & 14 of Supernatural. If Dean and Castiel aren’t a couple, the seasons don’t really make a lot of sense. They act like a couple, fight like a couple, co parent like a couple…it’s just, there. But never said outloud. It’s frustrating, but also, like so so so obvious.

I’m also shipping Rowena and Sam, but that’s more because my brain has a pathological need to pair people off, and also because I love a good doomed love story. Remember, Sam is fated to kill her. IT’S JON AND DANY ALL OVER AGAIN EXCEPT WITHOUT THE INCEST AND DRAGONS. (Also not shitty) (I would not be surprised if Rowena did have a dragon though…tbh…)

Gabriel’s return was a welcome surprise, as was Nick (Lucifer’s Vessel) turning serial killer as revenge. And then there’s the 300th episode which is mostly just an excuse to sit rocking back and forth while sobbing saying, “Why Chuck? WHYYYY?????”

From John’s return, to Mary’s devestation as they realize they can’t keep him with them, to John and Sam making peace, finally, to Dean having to kill Cas, there’s just so much that’s happening and I love it very much, but also, well, it hurts, you know, the feelings?

Mary’s death is the worst, and I hate it, and I’m in denial. But I’m sure she’ll come back next season. (I’m hoping for Crowley to, to be honest.)

And speaking of “Why, Chuck? Why?” Guess who’s going to be the biggest of the big bads? I mean it makes sense. Dean and Sam have killed just about everything else, so they might as well kill God too. Like in His Dark Materials! Only with more feelings. Somehow. Those books also have a lot of feelings. And gayer. Definitely, definitely gayer.

I’m excited for the final season, which I will do my level best to watch in real time, but will probably end up like all of the DC CW shows where I watch until the first hiatus, forget to check when it’s coming back and then decide to just wait until the end of the season to binge the whole thing. (See also, Girlfriend, Crazy Ex) But I am going to try. Because damnit, over the past six months I’ve grown to love this dumb monster show and it’s stupid pretty boys, and their insufferable feelings.

I didn’t even talk about the Scooby Doo episode which is delightful, but that’s about all there is to say about that.

So what’s next? I’ve got about 20 episodes of Clone Wars left, so we’ve got that to push through. Then I’m going to invest in some anime. Aless and I started My Hero Academia, so I’ll go with that. I’ve got Rebels on the horizon as well, plus the aformentioned CW DC shows.

There’s stuff coming is the point. So crank some tunes, and shut your cakehole. This one’s done.

 

Nerd Homework Supernatural Seasons 11 & 12

God. This show has a lot of feelings.

Just like, all the feelings.

Season 12 might be my favorite season of the show? Certainly since Eric Kripke quit, although season 11 is also good.

So, let’s start with the fact that God has a sister. (Sure,.) Her name is Amara, she’s the Darkness. She and Dean have a bond. Crowley tries to raise her to be ya know, loyal to him. It doesn’t work.

Meanwhile, Dean and Sam are mostly on the same side these days. I don’t recall any secrets. Castiel is doing well too. And Rowena pops up a few times. (I’m very meh on Rowena.) Anyway, in order to defeat his sister, God shows up to talk to Metatron. And SURPRISE turns out that God is Chuck.

You know, the guy who wrote The Supernatural books. No one believes him until he proves it, which he does. In a moment that made me burst right into tears, by making Kevin Tran appear in the Bunker and tell the boys to trust him.

The only way this could have hurt more would have been if Kevin were immediately backed up by Bobby and Jo. (Well, maybe not Bobby, who’s back like three times a season, so his appearances don’t quite pack the emotional punch they once did.) So they defeat Amara with God and Lucifer’s help, and also they get Cas back.

Oh also, Castiel becomes Lucifer’s new vessel, which is fun, because it gives Misha Collins a whole other character to play around with and it’s wonderful. (There’s an episode where he’s playing Lucifer pretending to be Cas, and it’s different from what he does when he’s just playing Cas and it’s amazing. And I love him.)

And as a reward for reuniting them, God and his sister (I mean, sure…show, whatever.) they reunite the Winchesters.

Not John. God no. They bring Mary back to life.

Enter Season 12. Enter the wonderfulness. Sam and Dean are so excited to have their Mommy around, especially Sam. The problem is Mary is kinda weirded out by being alive again. Also Lucifer is running around in a hair metal frontman, so they’ve got to get that under control. Oh, and The British Arm of The Men Of Letters who are basically The Initiative from Buffy without the boring Frankenstein riff, are trying to take over the loose association that is American Hunter Culture. Mary joins them.

Cas and Crawley are hunting Lucifer. And that’s amazing. Sam and Dean are popping in and out of both of these storylines. Oh, also Lucifer possesses the president and gets a girl pregnant and Cas decides it’s his job to protect her and the baby. And then Lucifer goes back to his original vessel. (Jacob, from Lost.) 

Meanwhile, Sam and Dean run around a lot, not getting a lot accomplished, Mary gets brainwasheded, Claire turns into a wearwolf (maybe?), I shout at my TV because The British Men Of Letters order her to kill Jodie and Alex. (Jodie, of course, just punches Mary in the face and ties her to a chair. Bless her.)

So Lucifer’s son. (Jack) He opens a thinny, which takes Dean and Sam and Castiel to a world where the boys weren’t born and Bobby’s there. Then Cas sacrifices himself and I guess it was his turn. (I’ve lost track of who’s turn it is…) It’s very sad, and Lucifer and Mary get stuck in the alternate dimension, and the baby is a teenager now.

Look, a lot of stuff happens in this season but I loved it a lot and I watched it pretty quickly and I’m also almost done with season 13 now too, and I’m going to miss this show a lot and I’m not ready to be done and I want it to go on forever and I’m going to watch it over and over again.

Nerd Homework: Supernatural Seasons 9 & 10

I don’t have a lot to say about these seasons. As I said when I talked about 7 and 8, the show is in such a comfy easy to watch hang out space at this point, it’s hard to talk about.

Characters come in and out, storylines intersect. Rowena is an OK big bad, but she’s a come down from Crowley at his peak and Dick Roman and Metatron.

The wonderful musical episode is in this run and I think it’s pretty perfect. From the way the girl’s act, to the weird Rushmore tributes in it, to Dean’s indignation that someone is telling his story with showtunes.

Season 9 has way too many backdoor pilots, it feels like almost every other episode. Season 10 settles in a little bit more, and frankly, I think the best thing the show’s done in it’s second half is give the boys the Men Of Letters bunker. The home base was such an injection of joy to the series, it really restarted things.

Dean’s story of grappling with the mark of Cain is the better spine of season 10 than the Rowena and Crowley stuff. And not only because the great Timothy Olmundson (and his wonderful hair and beard) plays Cain. Although it is always great to see Olmundson, and he’s able to modulate his performance to Supernatural’s particularly odd frequency, somewhere between melodrama and utter silliness. (Of the main cast, I’d say Misha Collins manages it best. Jensen Ackles right behind him.)

I’m disappointed in how Charlie came to her end, although I wish we’d gotten more time with Styne clan. The very idea of Sam and Dean fighting Frankenstein’s is wonderful and they were so quickly checked in and out.

I realized that I actually picked an auspscious year for watching this show. Between Good Omens and His Dark Materials there’s a lot of angel shit in the air and I am a big fan of that sort of thing.

Nerd Homework: Supernatural Seasons 7 & 8

This took longer, as I mentioned yesterday, I’ve just been moving slowly. My projects have been neglected. I’m sorry.

Season 7 of Supernatural is a lot of fun. The Leviathans are a neat villain, and Dick Roman a cool big bad. It’s Dean turn to die in the end and he heads to purgatory. But in between there’s some good fun, some heartwrenching deaths (RIP Bobby) and well, just so much excellent, excellent Destiel material. (I will go down with this ship)

We also meet Charlie, and good lord, isn’t Felicia Day just the adorablest? She’s so funny, and bubbly and great. Charlie’s great too, the first realistic nerd the show ever gave us. The first five seasons gave us the Supernatural fanbase that didn’t match up with the actual Supernatural fanbase at all. It was all traditionally nerdy dudes, and not a single socially weird young woman who tried to convince the boys to bone.

Season 8 might be my favorite season of the show so far? Like, I really like it a lot. Crowley is definitely my favorite villain. I think the quest of finding the angel and demon tablets is super good McGuffin wise. I always prefer Sam when he’s got a secret because it makes him interesting, and Dean and Cas at odds is also pretty fun. Kevin Tran and his Mom add some much needed color to this very white show, and Charlie’s two appearances are top notch.

I like it a lot.

I also like that it brings in Metatron, a character from Angel shit that I like pretty much everywhere he pops up. (Dogma’s my favorite version.) And he’s played by Booger from Revenge Of The Nerds!

My overall opinion of the show moving forward though, is that it’s just so easy to watch. It reminds me so much of Law And Order or Bones that way, I can get totally lost in it but also it’s not work.

I’d missed this kind of show. The only things I watch casually these days are the sitcoms I’ve seen a hundred times that I watch as I fall asleep, and having a show that’s easy and casual to watch is actually pretty great right now. (Since most of brain is being taken up by Game of Thrones and Fosse/Verdon.)

I’m already committed to season 9, it’s Sam’s turn to be dead, and he seems to want it to be permanent. Castiel is human. (I LOVE WHEN A MAGIC CHARACTER DOESN’T GET TO BE MAGIC ANYMORE!)

Nerd Homework: Supernatural Seasons 5 & 6

AKA – In Which We Reach a Logical Conclusion But Then Go On To Make Dean Miserable Forever (also we’re super gay now, but we don’t say it out loud)

After Season 5 of Supernatural, which made me realize a few things, namely, I consume way too many stories about angels, and binging these kind of long running shows cannot be good for my brain, I was ready to take a deep breath and dive into the beyond. I understood from my extensive research before diving into this project (Wikipedia, and one episode of This Is Rad.) that after Season 5, creator Eric Kripke walked away from the show, not in bad blood, just you know, because he’d told his story.

And what a story it was. About brothers, and family, and sacrifice. When Sam makes Dean promise to go live a normal life as he plunges himself and Adam into the pit to imprison Lucifer and Michael forever, my heart burst. What a lovely ending.

However, as someone who does consume a lot of fiction involving angels, there were some well worn tropes being used here that the show seemed to think they were pioneering. “God created the angels, and they were subservient. Then God created humans, and they were rebellious, and God liked them better. Lucifer decided to rebel, and then he got expelled. There’s hell now. Angels still jealous that God loves humans more than them. Also, God is missing or dead.”

Seriously, I have read a bunch of books. (His Dark Materials, The Mortal Instruments, Memnoch The Devil) seen quite a few movies (Dogma) and one masterpiece of American Theater (Angels In America) that told this story in some fashion. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love all those things, just, it didn’t strike me as particularly interesting or exciting.

Kripke gave it his personal touches though, and the relationships at play, particularly between Dean and Sam make it worth it.

Then Season 6. Oh, Season 6. Whether it’s Castiel fighting to literally rule heaven, but still answering Dean’s prayers at every possible chance, Dean attempting to be a hunter while having a relationship with Lisa and be a good step dad to Ben, or Sam coming back from hell without a soul, and becoming an interesting character for a change, there’s just so much goodness here, I can’t help but be overjoyed by it.

Oh, and did I mention, the gay? It’s all subtext. (Again, I get it, we never get the text.) But oh boy, there’s literally a scene where Castiel ties Sam to a chair and shoves a belt in his mouth, and I’m sorry, that’s just really really gay. Also, you know, Dean and Cas speak to each other like a dysfunctional couple all the time. And when it turns out Cas is working with Crowley and they break up, it’s more heartbreaking than the could have been with Jo (who deserved better) or Lisa’s rational dismissal of the love of her life. (ERASE HER MEMORIES THOUGH??? WHY????)

Maybe someday I’ll be a really important writer who’s life gets completely taken apart, and some student somewhere will write a paper on this time in my life, taking apart the tweets and text messages I sent to Aless freaking out, and they’ll conclude, “at this juncture, Nayden was deeply concerned that everyone understand how delightful it is when the character of Dean Winchester demands the character of Castiel ‘get out of his ass,’ a reference, one can assume to sodomy, common sexual practice among gay men.” (I don’t know why this student feels the need to explain butt sex, maybe they have a word count to meet.)

I also appreciated that Samuel, the guy’s grandfather was hanging around being vaguely antagonistic and helpful. Which is only amusing because he’s played by Mitch Pelleggi, and that’s basically Skinner’s whole deal throughout The X-Files. 

Anyway, I’ll probably get through seasons 7 & 8 soonish – taking a break this week to rewatch Game Of Thrones, but we’ll get back on the horse.

Nerd Homework: Supernatural: Seasons 1 & 2

Sometimes, I think that all of the nerd homework I’ve done in the past few years was leading to this very moment. (Even before I called it that.)

Rewatching Buffy and Angel, pushing through Sailor Moon and The X-Files and Star Trek: The Next Generation. Trying Supernatural in the past, never making it past episode 12, I knew this weekend as I passed that point, that this would be my breaking point on the project. If I got through Season 1, I would commit, and I would watch the thirteen seasons that followed.

I’m just that kind of nerd.

So I snuggled under my electric blanket, I put my Gilmore Girls mandated distaste for Jared Padelecki aside, and I pushed straight through season 1. I was rewarded by an excellent twist on a formula I already liked quite a bit. (The X-Files, aside from being the original is still the best execution of it, at least in it’s early days.) A monster of the week show with an overarching story that drips out slowly is going to rise and fall on it’s cast. And luckily, this is a very good cast. (Again, not as good as The X-Files.)

So, I’ll be checking in each week on Supernatural, as I move through it. Frankly, it shouldn’t take too long. I can get through something like seven episodes a day. Seven divided by 300 is 42. By next month, I will have watched this show, barring disaster.

(Well, it will be shorter, because, ya know, Season 14 isn’t on Netflix yet, I’ll watch that this summer.)

So, here we go. I like the show, some episodes are better than others. I appreciate that there’s no puberty metaphor. (The WB versions of these shows were addicted to puberty metaphors.) I really really like Jensen Ackles, who I also really really liked on Smallville. (Even if it was totally weird that he was both Clark’s football coach and dating Lana…) I hope that everyone enjoys this ride with me. (Check out my twitter, where I’ll likely be freaking out as I move through things.)

Season 1 has a good arc. And as much as I like the boys, (Well Jensen, and I no longer scowl reflexively when Jared comes on screen. I mean, Sam kinda sucks in the same way that Dean from GG sucked. But with less adultery and Rory ruining.) and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, (Here’s a weird thought, while Morgan was playing John Winchester, the dad on a show about adult men, his future wife, Hilarie Burton was playing Peyton Sawyer, a fifteen year old girl on the same network, often on the same night. That’s kinda weird.) (It should be noted though that most of the cast of One Tree Hill, barring James Lafferty, were pushing 30 in season 1) I’m wondering when the sarcastic angel in a trench coat that girls always cosplay is going to show up. (I know his name is Castiel, I have been attending Comic Con for eight years.) (Castiel is not the Tenth Doctor is not Constantine, and a cosplayer will get on your shit for misidentify which one they’re dressed as.)

Then Season 2 hit. Season 2 turns the volume up to 11, it sets the boys on the run from The FBI, trying to avenge their fathers death and puts Sam’s dark destiny as a champion of The Yellow Eyed Demon in place. And it’s just a really really strong season of TV with several episodes that genuinely terrified me, others that made me laugh, the show lands into it’s own space, and stops being, “The X-Files but with cute boys and little bit of Buffy thrown in.” I also watched Season 2 in two days, because it’s that good.

This is the show that I’ve heard about all these years, with the classic rock soundtrack, and the snappy wise cracks and everyone selling their souls to demons right and left. I’ve got no problem with a show taking it’s time to find it’s feet, and this one found it beautifully. AND IT HAS A WHOLE EPISODE ABOUT CROSSROADS DEMONS THAT IS FRAMED AROUND ROBERT JOHNSON. I have trouble keeping my cool when anything involving Johnson comes up, because “Crossroads,” is one of my favorite songs ever, and “Before You Accuse Me,” is not far behind.

Anyway, next week we’ll likely talk about Seasons 3 & 4, and then probably slow down, although who knows, ya know?