Thursday, May 22, 2014

Ole Black Eyes: Review, Supernatural 9x23 "Do You Believe In Miracles"

Despite expectations, Tuesday's finale did not leave me a sobbing wreck. It left me with my stomach hurting, looking into the darkness, with the urge to cry deep in my heart.  And slightly disappointed that Dean didn't turn into an anime schoolgirl with weird sparkly eyes. I called that one wrong!

“Do You Believe in Miracles,” written by show runner Jeremy Carver and directed by Thomas P. Wright, had to fight not only with the memories of other finales, but also the repeated tropes of the show. Particularly when it comes to death, the brothers’ relationship, etc. There were quite a few derivative scenes and plotlines. But you know something? I didn’t give a damn, even as I was watching and thinking, “Yeah, we’ve seen this before.” And the ending turned a basic “Supernatural” trope on its head.

THEN: Obligatory "Carry On My Wayward Son" montage. This song gets more depressing every year. There will never be any peace for the Winchesters, they will never be done. I'd rather hear "Rock me, Amadeus."

This joke caused me to get blocked on Twitter by Jim Michaels.  Trufax. 

NOW: The episode picks up where we left off, Gadreel falling to the ground, stabbed, bloodthirsty!Dean being held back by Cas and Sam.  Cas holds him as Sam wrestles away the blade.  They lock Dean in the bunker dungeon (that place proves to be endlessly useful!).  Sam and Castiel put the blade in a metal box...on a table?  WTF?  Are you guys that dumb?

spn_923 Cas Sam blade  
"He'll never find it here."  "Yeah."

Metatron has a techie hook up an intercom that blocks out all other signals from Angel Radio. "Metatron?" the techie asks. "Metatron?" Nothing.  "God?" Metatron looks up. "I'm writing a story about love," he says. "Like The Notebook?" asks the techie, adding eagerly, "I love The Notebook!"  Metatron takes the mike and announces to the angels that he is temporarily leaving the heavenly gates closed while he goes on a special trip.  The angels look up from their typewriters and filing, which begs the question: what the fuck are the angels doing, typing and on the phone?  Or all of those angel command centers?  WHAT? WHAT? TELL ME, GODDAMN IT, IT BUGS THE CRAP OUT OF ME EACH EPISODE!

 Metatron has been a great Big Bad.  He's a nerd who wants revenge, the classic "disgruntled employee" who had to listen to God.  He's slimy and funny, going to from ew to holy shit! in the blink of an eye.  Sometimes Curtis Armstrong's mugging gets a bit much.  He sulks and pouts, assumes an authority he's not comfortable with, and overplays his hand.  Also, he monologues about writing, which only got boring by the end.  I like having a Big Bad who doesn't come with a big sign blinking over his head: EVIL!

Following a bloody trail from the bunker, Sam and Cas drive the pimpmobile to find Baby parked with blood all over the seat.Gadreel lays in the grass.  Cas heals him, which burns out a little more of Cas's rapidly decreasing grace.  There's a new, if short-lived Team Free Will. After (literally) puking his guts out, Dean wastes no time summoning Crowley, who is enjoying his reinstatement.

spn_923 Crowley Hell
It's good to be the King.

 "I really, really need to kill!" Dean tells everyone's favorite demon.  "What's happening to me?" Crowley: “It’s the Mark. It wants you to kill. The more you kill, the better you feel. The less you kill, the less better you feel." Dean: “How much less better?" Crowley: “One would imagine the least best better."   i.e. dead.

I love Crowley. No wonder he made such a lousy Big Bad last season. As we learned earlier, Cain was the first demon.  Dean's human body can't handle that sort of power.  Dean demands Crowley bust him out of there and get the First Blade.  When Sam, Castiel and Gadreel return to the bunkers--dun dun DUN--they find the Blade and Dean gone.  Seriously, how could they expect anything else? Jeez.

A woman talking on her cell is hit by a car and dies in the street.  But--a pathetic, shuffling figure raises her from the dead!  "Call me...Marv," he tells his flock.

At a watering hole, Dean does research and generally acts like an asshole.  Crowley has fallen hard for Dean.  He asks Dean, "Is this all there is?  Don't you want to howl at the moon (naked with me)?" Next season, Crowley and Cas won't be battling for Dean's soul, they'll be battling for Dean.  "I've loved you for seven seasons!"  "He's grown tired of you, Castiel.  Bugger off." A video of Marv raising the woman from the dead has gone viral.  There have been some complaints about how fast it happened, but I'm guessing those critics are above the age of fifteen.  Kids be having madskillz these days.  Dean leaves to go to Sam, leaving his cheeseburger untouched.  Never a good sign.

spn_923 Crowley in love
"The look of love, is in your eyes..."

Sam awaits at a trailer park for his brother.  He is seriously pissed, so he and Dean have the fight they should have had six episodes ago.  Dean says something defensive about Gadreel.  Sam spits out: "Who you let in the front door in the first place? You tricked me Dean, and now I’m the one who wakes up in the middle of the night seeing my hands killing Kevin, not you.”  You go, Sam!  Stand up for yourself!  We've been waiting for this all season!  It's short-lived, but at this point...

spn_923 Sam angry
 "It's about goddamn time I got some decent dialogue, beeyotch!"

Nevertheless, they agree to go find Metatron together.  “I’m gonna take my best shot, no matter the consequences,” Dean says. Which might get them killed. “I know,” says Sam. Meaning, I'm not going to try to stop you.  Dean kicks Crowley to the curb.

Miracle woman told Sam Marv's next stop: a homeless encampment. Meanwhile, Cas and Gad in the pimpmobile, pull up in front of a child's playground. The entrance to Metatron's office is through the sandbox! Gadreel pretends that he has captured Castiel (Cas makes a movie reference but I didn't get it either) and they are let in. A whirlwind rises up, the angels disappear office building elevator opens into Metatron's office.  Hee.

spn_923 Cas Gadreel whoa
 The walls come atumblin'...up?

That is a really cool effect.  Way to go, VFX department!  Cas and Gadreel are locked in Heaven's jail, where Gadreel has spent centuries since letting the serpent into the garden.  And there's Hannah, with her strange pants (seriously, what's with the rolled up cuffs? ), glaring at them.

spn_23 Hannah in jail  
Was her vessel wading at the time?

 Gadreel freaks for obvious reasons.  Cas begs Hannah to listen to him, and she's "I've had enough of your bullshit kthanks".  Gadreel monologues, and after three rewatches I still couldn't figure out what he was saying.  Cas is like, you're redeemed, okay? Gadreel has used a piece of broken concrete to cut the suicide bomber rune into his chest.

spn_923 Gadreel suicide

 "You're gonna miss my bitchface next season!"


spn_923 Jail explosion  
It's epic when shit blows up!!!

Metatron rolls a shopping cart into the homeless encampment-cum-this week's abandoned warehouse.  He cures a hobo's diabetes.  Another man, an angel, denounces Metatron, trying to tell everyone what a scumbag he is.  "Marv" starts to take out an angel blade, but the crowd goes crazy (great visual of the little schlub inching the blade clumsily up his sleeve), throws a tarp on him and beats the other angel to death.  Metatron kicks the angel blade toward the mob to help finish him off.  He is the happiest little killer angel.

spn_923 Mob kill
 First day out, and you've turned them into Ukrainians

That night, Sam takes the First Blade out of the impala's trunk (after Dean has had a fast orgasm after touching it) and they agree to go in, Blade blazing.  But then Dean knocks Sam out and off goes the First Blade, Dean tagging after it. The homeless folk know Dean Winchester because Metatron told them he was coming.  Dean walks through an atmospheric red and yellow lit set--why aren't the homeless people living in there?  In my neighborhood, the "tunnel people" live in the train tracks underground.  But I digress.

Dean finds Metatron in the lotus position. I should tell you that my husband came in and laughed during this part, especially when Dean asked if there would be shirts saying "What Would Metatron Do?"  Heh. Until the fight started, and he left but fast.

“The problem with you, Dean, is the cynicism. Always with the cynicism, But most people, even the real belly crawlers living in filth, or Brentwood, they don’t want to be cynical. They just want something to believe in.”  Metatron tells Dean that humanity prays to God when they feel they've "failed" Him, and God "didn't even know their names!"

spn_923 Metatron humanity  
For once, I agree with Metatron. 

“I’m blaming you for Kevin. I’m blaming you for taking Cas’ grace. Hell, I’m blaming you for the Cubs not winning the World Series in the last hundred freaking years. Whatever it is, I’m blaming you.” Dean goes at Metatron--and proceeds to get the ever-living shit beat out of him.  "You've got some superjuice," Metatron says with a grin.  "You have the jawbone of an ass, and it is awesome!" He pauses. "Try being powered by the Word of God."  And resumes beating the shit out of Dean.  Sam arrives in time to see Metatron skewer his brother with an angel blade.

 spn_923 Dean being killed
 spn_923 Sam close up

Dean looks at his brother, and he knows that he's failed at everything, he knows he's going to die and oh god oh jesus Jensen Ackles is just so GOOD...

spn_923 Dean dying

Upstairs, Hannah leads Castiel to Metatron's office.  Castiel finds the word of God inside the manual typewriter.  Which all writers desperately wish we had.  The tablet, not the typewriter.  Cas drops the tablet at the same moment that Dean falls to the ground.  Metatron poofs out of there to his office.

Metatron has Cas handcuffed to a chair. He gleefully informs Cas that Dean is dead.  He says that Castiel’s purpose wasn’t to "save Heaven or mankind, but to save Dean."  In a scene right out of "A Face In The Crowd," (look it up--it was Andy Griffith's first starring part as the folksy hypocrite Lonesome Rhodes) Metatron monologues about how stupid angels are and that humanity is a pile of bleecch.  "Your problem," Metatron says, preparing to also skewer Cas, "is that you don't know how to tell a story."  "No, but you did."  Cas hitches his head at the live microphone.  The other angels bust in and take Metatron into custody.

Down on earth, Sam is determined to get Dean to a hospital. In a scene that mirrors the beginning of the season, Dean is ready to die. Dean: “It’s better this way. The mark, it’s making me into something I don’t want to be.” Dean: “What happened to you being OK with this?" Sam: “I lied." Dean: “Ain’t 
that a bitch." 
spn_923 Dean dying Sam

 Dean stops Sam, looks at his brother and I'm starting to cry just typing this.  "I'm proud of us," he says, and dies.

 spn_923 Dean Im proud of us

Sam cups Dean's head, in direct reference to S2 "All Hell Breaks Loose Part One" and starts crying.  Shoot me, but I didn't quite buy Jared's acting.  There was only one tear, not tears and snot and messiness like all of the other times his brother died.  That is one of the strangest sentences I have ever written.

Blind Faith's "Can't Find My Way Home" starts and oh god I'm just staring, not crying, just staring.  Sam brings Dean's body to the bunker, places it on a bed, and leaves to drink himself  into oblivion.

spn_923 Sam mourning

Sam goes into the dungeon, prepared to summon Crowley and get Dean back.  We've been here before. But we haven't.  Crowley is already in the bedroom, staring down at Dean's dead body.  Dean looks SO DEAD. His limbs and face are yellow, his lips are blue, he looks DEAD.  It gives me chills.

 spn_923 Dean dead

Crowley sits by Dean's body, gazing at it sadly.  "Your brother's summoning me," he says.  Side note: hasn't Crowley had to come immediately when summoned, unless he's in a devil's trap?  This scene's too good to quibble.  Crowley didn't expect Dean to die.  He talks about...something.  Then tells Dean he's not dead, that he's entering into a "new kind of life."  Crowley puts the Blade in Dean's hand and places it over his heart.  "See what I see.  Feel what I feel.  Now let's go howl at the moon."

 spn_923 Dean dead CU spn_923 Dean demon eyes  

So, Crowley got Dean after all.  "I win, Cas!"  We leave Sam a basket case, Castiel's grace burning out, Gadreel dead, Metatron sulking in Angel Jail and the Gates of Heaven still closed.   That's all, folks!

I need to go lie down.

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