Supernatural: Maybe Dark Side Superman Has a Point
|Written by April Yorke|
|Friday, 13 May 2011 16:37|
Some of our dear readers have been asking me why I haven’t returned to recapping Supernatural since . . . oh, 2010. That is a long time, isn’t it? So, it looks like I haven’t recapped since Sam came back. Real Sam instead of my beloved Soulless Sammy. Part of is the obvious: recapping takes a long time, and I’s be busy. Part of it, and maybe the bigger part of it, is the same thing I’ve been struggling with all season: I’m just not loving Season 6. There have been good episodes here and there (stand out: “Weekend at Bobby’s”), but nothing that much seems to happen anymore. I don’t feel like we’re building anywhere (plus, Season 7?!), and “The Man Who Would Be King” just furthers my point.
I’m going to have to go way off topic here to illustrate my point, so please hang in there, because there is one.
Okay, do you remember “I am God,” Season 2, Episode 18 of Veronica Mars? It directly followed “Plan B,” which was flat out one of the best episodes of Veronica Mars ever (it might just be my favourite). “Plan B” wrapped up the mystery that had carried over from the Season 1 finale (Felix’s murder), whereas “I am God” focused on the mystery that began Season 2 (bus crash). Here’s the difference: Felix’s murder was a huge deal. Solving it was important to multiple main characters (Logan and Weevil primarily), and they all put a lot of effort into it. The bus crash, despite being a mass murder of which Veronica mistakenly initially believed she was the target, just wasn’t. It wasn’t addressed for episodes at a time, Veronica never seemed to put that much thought into it, and, aside from Meg, we didn’t really know any of the victims. Yet suddenly, five episodes from the end of the season, we’re expected to believe that not only has this unsolved mystery been on Veronica’s mind all along but also that she’s being HAUNTED by the victims. Yeah, in her dreams, but still. Haunted. It felt like the writers realized too late that they had broken the arc incorrectly over the season and jammed an episode in to correct the pacing.
“The Man Who Would Be King” feels like exactly the same thing. I missed recapping the entire Mother arc, but apparently it doesn’t matter anyway since it was a distraction from the real deal: the souls. Which, okay, I will give the show props in that the souls kept popping up over the season, as did the civil war in Heaven. Additionally, I think what Castiel has been doing (or at least some of it) is in keeping with his character. But why the exposition dump?
At episode 20, Castiel VOs practically the entire thing, bearing his soul conscious to God, praying for some of kind sign that he’s on the right path. We need all this explained to us because, quite frankly, it comes out of nowhere, it’s kind of a retcon, and it’s too late now to fix the fact that we haven’t been pointing in this direction all along.
Castiel, you see, didn’t burn Crowley’s bones way back in “Caged Heat.” He probably didn’t even kill all the beasties inside, as Sam and Dean sent him off to do. No, Castiel and Crowley had a deal: they were going to find Purgatory and divide the souls therein equally. Crowley would use the boost to shore up his power in Hell, and Castiel would get what he needed to defeat Raphael. Given that Crowley’s not a megalomaniacal lunatic AND the world wouldn’t end, it’s a win-win, right?
And that’s where we are: the Brothers Winchester and Bobby have found out and are mad as hell, so Castiel’s on his own. They're just so shocked that Castiel would even do this like they didn’t make a deal with Crowley for Sam’s soul earlier this season or another one with him last season. They pay lip-service to that, but they don’t actually give Castiel the benefit of the doubt. They don’t give Castiel the benefit of the anything, really. (Hold on, I will come back to this, too).
Because this is how Castiel laid it out for us: up in Heaven, Raphael had assumed control and planned to kickstart the apocalypse. Some of the angels weren’t into that (especially Castiel, given that he had died twice to stop it), but none of them knew how to exert the free will Castiel had oh-so-recently won, so they looked to him for guidance. Knowing that he didn’t have the juice to stand up Raphael on his own, Castiel went to Dean. Seeing Dean at home in his domesticity and perhaps sensing that 1) he (!) didn’t bring Sam back right (!!) and 2) Bobby would surely want to involve Dean, Castiel instead struck a kiss-free deal with Crowley, mistakenly believing that he could handle the situation on his own.
I suppose, in a way, Dean is right to compare Castiel to a child. It was short-sighted of him not to get the help he needed. But it’s also childish of Dean to demand that Castiel stop just because Dean said so. “Stop and then I’ll maybe find another way” is equally childish. “Stop because I found another way” is what Castiel needs to hear. “You’re cut off” isn’t going to get the job done.
Overall, I buy that Castiel would do this, even pour his heart out. Three things we know about him are how much he loves God (remember that fervent look on his face when he wanted to find Him? Or he betrayed he felt when God didn’t want to be found?), how much he loves the Winchesters (too many examples to count), and how he’s a bigger picture guy (just last episode he wanted to put those kids on hold instead of ferrying them to their uncle, and he was right). Doing whatever it takes to save the world, when the Winchesters did that very same last season, fits.
But Castiel is the season’s big bad? And we’re just learning that NOW? Ugh. Maybe I’m wrong to point fingers at the show and maybe the whole thing is just one big network note wreaking havoc on the season arc. Sigh.
Coming back to it now: one thing that the boys did say, and I should give them credit for, is that they have the benefit of experience when it comes to making deals with the devil, so to speak, so Castiel should defer to their authority in this area. Castiel tells them no and fucking blows their minds in the process, but I’m with him on this one. If making deals is such a bad idea, WHY do you keep doing it? Going right back to the end of season two, when Dean sold his soul, the three of them do it all the time and rarely for so lofty a purpose as saving the world. It’s usually about each other. To be honest, Crowley coming for Bobby’s legs and his soul/not producing Sam’s soul are the only times I can think of that someone welched, and BOTH happened THIS season. Don’t get me wrong – I didn’t want Dean to go to Hell (on a character level; on a show level, it was a brilliant development), but that’s the deal he made. Bobby’s deal got them the intel they needed AND his legs. Dean’s deal with Death got them Sam’s soul. Working with Crowley certainly didn’t hinder them re: Lucifer. I can’t remember Sam ever successfully making any deals (getting turned down, yes, and making spectacularly bad plans, yes), so what terrible experience are they referring to? Maybe sometimes the ends really do justify the means.
In other news:
Friday, May 20: Who knows? The CW no longer lets Canadians watch their previews. We can still read, though! A demon kidnaps Ben and Lisa to get to Dean. Really, we’re going back to that well? Double sigh.
|Last Updated on Sunday, 15 May 2011 10:52|