Season 5: Characters Welcome
I’ll start with those that are other than our boys.
The Four Horsemen: They were scary, amusing, chilling, and downright distressing. I’m not sure which was more disgusting: Famine (man diving face-first into boiling vat of fat and Castiel eating handfuls of raw meat) or Pestilence (snot factory in convenience store and people bleeding from the mouth and vomiting green…something). But I think Death was hands-down the creepiest. His calm reserve and quiet irritation with all things stinking of humanity had me wanting to hide behind my couch.
Rogue Angels: There were three pivotal to Season 5. Anna, whose story was a bit sad, I thought. No longer wishing to be an angel, she ‘fell’ and lived the life of a human until the ruckus started on Earth. As a human, she shared a Very Hot Love Scene with Dean in the back of the Impala (Season 4, Heaven and Hell, Bad Company and Dean’s scuffed-up knuckles on Anna’s bare thigh…that’s all I’m saying), but then in another moment of self-sacrifice, she ‘got her grace back’ and became an angel again. Anna as an angel was nothing like Anna as a human. And it was her crazy idea to kill Mary before Sam could be born that led both boys back in time. Anna was ultimately smoked (literally) by Michael.
There was also the Archangel Gabriel—whom we’d known for a few seasons as the Trickster, or the pagan god, Loki. He trapped Sam and Dean in TVLand in what was probably the most disturbingly funny episode of the season. After parodying several shows and sitcoms (no way I’m forgetting Sam-As-KITT anytime soon), they managed to rattle the angel enough to break free of his hold and trap him with holy fire. He returns when a group of pagan gods disgruntled because of the Christian war that is wreaking havoc on their reality snatch the boys. Unfortunately, that is Gabriel’s final trickery: he’s killed by his brother Lucifer in an attempt to save at least one of the pagan gods from Lucifer’s wrath. However, he is also able to give the boys the key to their ultimate success: trapping Lucifer in his cage by use of the Rings of the Four Horsemen. How very Tolkien of them.
And let’s not forget Zach, the slimy two-faced bastard. I thought we’d seen the worst of the angels with Uriel in Season 4, but his ire and disgust for humanity was nothing compared to Zach’s conniving deceit and mercenary ways. He altered time and reality to give the boys a glimpse of what life without hunting might have been like in Season 4; he brought their half-brother back from the dead in Season 5. He manipulated and tortured them—physically and mentally—and he did it all for his own personal gain. When Dean shoved the shiny angel spike up through his chin and finally—permanently—stopped his incessant yammering, I cheered.
Castiel: His story was multi-seasonal. Though he never lost his dry, accidental humor (I’m still cackling over his, “I don’t understand your definition of good news”), he did lose his angelic powers and connection to Heaven because he became too attached to his human charges, too invested in their definitions of right and wrong. He began to question, to doubt back in Season 4. He started to fight on the side of the humans when the boys trapped Gabriel. He’d almost gone their way once before, but was yanked Heavenward for some “Bible Camp,” as Dean called it. The other angels jerked a knot in his tail and he began this season very reserved. By the time he was done, however, he’d literally beaten Dean bloody and unconscious for even contemplating saying ‘yes’ to Michael.
“I rebelled so you could say yes to them?! … I gave up everything for you and this is what you give me?!”
It took Dean’s resilience against Zach’s treachery for Cas to find a resurgence of faith. He never stopped fighting the good fight; and he died—twice—protecting and supporting humans…who became his friends. He wasn’t extremely forthcoming with news—operating much like John Winchester did with his need to know basis. But in the end he was there to give Dean the five minutes he needed to pull Sam forward and allow his brother to take control of Satan. Castiel was rewarded for his faith by being returned to full angel status. And I feel certain his story will continue in Season 6.
Bobby: What can be said about Uncle Bobby that would be enough to encompass the man who gave up his life for his surrogate sons? Bobby’s story could be a sad one. He killed his possessed wife; burned her body to give her peace. They had no children that we know of, so he cemented his reputation as the Sioux Falls, SD, “Town Drunk.” He also established himself as the Winchester sage and the One Person the boys could always turn to when they had nothing else. Even before Lucifer was freed. He declared that family don’t end with blood, and he lived that credo to his very last breath…and beyond.
He searched endlessly for something to save Dean from Hell. He mourned Dean’s death and the subsequent loss of Sam as he would his own son(s). He fought next to the boys and he dragged Dean up by his shirt front when Dean was ready to give up on Sam. He epitomized tough love. When he became possessed and was ordered to kill Dean, he struggled to regain control long enough to stab (and paralyze) himself instead of Dean. He struggled with a somewhat ‘reduced status’ as he tried to learn to live in a wheelchair.
He was forced to kill his wife again—this time in zombie form—and broke my heart all to pieces with his quiet grief. He, too, never stopped fighting—even when we thought he’d given up, given in, he showed up on that battlefield next to Cas, ready to fight until the fight was well and truly done. He shot Lucifer to try to save Dean. He died doing the only things he knew how to do: fight evil and protect the ones he loved. He was granted another chance when Cas (restored by God) healed him, and now his story can continue. It has to; we don’t yet know the fate of his soul.
Friends: Ellen and Jo returned long enough to remind us a couple of times that not only were they full-on hunters (huntresses?) they were mother and daughter. These two exemplified loyalty, ferocity, beauty and grace. They went out of the world as true heroes and their deaths were the only ones to make me sob. Ellen’s mama-tiger protectiveness of her wounded daughter, her pride at Jo’s sacrifice, and her call to action to the boys as they left them to the Hellhounds in order to attempt to kill the Devil was magnificent. Jo was able to show her love for Dean, but by the time she died, that love had shifted from a crush on the image to respect for the man.
Ash’s cameo appearance was a fantastic way to walk us through Kripke’s version of Heaven—or Heaven’s waiting room. Through him we learned that the boys had actually been there several times, but had never been allowed to remember (until Season 5). When they were shot to death by hunters who blamed them for starting the Apocalypse, Ash guided Dean and Sam through the journey to The Garden to find Joshua, who spoke to and for God. Without Ash, they may never have found their way through the maze of memories—or avoided Zach long enough to reach their destination. It was reassuring to hear that, except for when a deal was made, the Winchesters were Heaven-bound for all their work to defeat evil. Ash was still Ash, even in Heaven. Business up front; party in the back.
And then there’s Chuck. The Prophet who could be God. The writer and Creator. Was he always God? Was he ever God? Would God indulge in alcohol to numb the pain of precognitive visions slamming through his dreams? Would God use the word ‘moist’ to describe a decadent encounter with a…woman of the night? Who knows. I doubt it, but hey, if God was hanging out on Earth, there had to be a reason, right? Perhaps Chuck wasn’t God until the Archangel came for him and killed Cas (the first time, in Season 4). Perhaps he wasn’t God until he started writing Swan Song. Perhaps he was always Chuck. Or…perhaps he was always God. Even when we first met him all scruffy and bathrobed and confused. All I know is, Chuck’s narrative carried us across the finale and held onto us as we rocked through the emotional upheaval. And thank God for that.
Sam: Can you fight evil without becoming evil? That’s the question that surrounds Sam on his journey. His story was told above, but I would be remiss to not mention how much Sam changed over the years. Not just physically—though, that was impressive in and of itself. (Hello, Biceps Of Doom. Sam is just seriously a ginormous physical force to be reckoned with.) But also mentally and emotionally. He went from being a semi-spoiled, rebellious kid to being a man who embraced his purpose and willingly sacrificed himself for the sake of others.
Sam had been manipulated by powers greater than him his entire life—from before he was born, in fact. He’d been unknowingly herded and toyed with. It’s conceivable that the ideas that germinated in his head that the only way he could really live was if he escaped his father and brother were planted there by some of the demonic influences that Lucifer killed as a gift to him. Sam struggled his whole life to be unique, to be better than how he perceived this life of hunting evil.
What he learned with this Season was that the life of hunting evil was what made him unique. Without that background, he’d never have had the strength to write his own destiny. He’d never have been able to resist the pull of the power offered to him. He’d always thought he had faith, but with the culmination of this Five Year Plan, Sam learned what faith really was. He learned that it came with sacrifice. He found a way to use that faith. He looked into his own darkness and he didn’t succumb. He went to the edge and he didn’t slip over. He made it back.
He didn’t do it on his own, and it’s the fact that he acknowledged and accepted that reality that illustrates his true growth. In The Magnificent Seven (Season 3), the sin of Pride (in human form) recognized Sam by name. Sam’s pride had triggered his anger (and it was the anger that everyone easily recognized); but understanding what his family (namely his brother) had given up for him, seeing the struggle around him to maintain good in the world, and working to forgive himself for the chaos his actions had brought upon the world ultimately humbled him.
It reminded us that even with the demonically-influenced powers and with Satan trapped inside of him, Sam was truly human and had a great capacity to love. It was that love that saved him, enabling him to save the world.
Dean: I saved him for last because he had me at easy tiger. He has personified my own version of what a hero should be for five years. And in The Five Year Plan, he never had a purpose larger than his One Job. Or so it would seem. The fact that he was able to kill the Whore of Babylon (when only a servant of Heaven could do so), and able to kill Zach (when only another angel could do so) had me thinking that perhaps there was more to Dean than we realized. Maybe he had some kind of angelic powers deep within much like Sam had demonic powers.
But whether or not that might’ve been the case, the only power he ultimately needed was the strength of his very human spirit. That and some bitchin’ classic rock. And, of course, his baby. I said in the finale ramble that I just wanted a hero who is real and who is broken and who never stops fighting and who loves and who hates and who lives and bleeds and despairs and rejoices and gets dirty and cleans up and looks good doing every single one of those things. I want the escape and I want to fall in love each week and I want to be inspired.
Dean Winchester brought me that.
He was broken, tired, almost-but-not-quite defeated. He bled from the heart (sometimes literally). But he rallied. Every time. Sometimes all we got was a wink, but with Dean, that was all we needed to know that he might’ve been against the ropes, but he just needed a breather and that still, small voice telling him, you can do this…you have to do this before he came out swinging once more.
He was there in the very beginning for his brother, pulling him out of the fire of their youth. He was there for Sam over the years. He gave up his life for Sam in more ways than one, and he offered his strength through simple words and the power of his presence so that Sam was able to return the favor. To quote one of the peeps that comment on my ramble, “[Dean] couldn't carry the burden of being Lucifer's vessel for Sam, but he could carry Sam. He was Sam's anchor, his rock. […] His whole purpose in life had been to protect his brother, but then he had to let him go, to let Sam make his sacrifice. And that is Dean's sacrifice. Heroes don't come any better than that.” – bagginsdvm
In five years, Dean went from thinking that he had no faith to realizing that it was faith that carried him through the darkness: faith in his brother, faith in himself, faith in his family. He may have learned to believe in God and His angels, but it wasn’t a belief in a higher power that saved him and gave him strength to save Sam.
It was Dean finally realizing that he was worthy of someone’s faith—namely his own.
And? He’s damn easy on the eyes. He may not have the physical mrrrowww that his brother possesses, but Lordy, those evocative eyes complete with thought-scattering lashes, that toe-curling grin, and that killer jaw muscle that twitches and bounces of its own accord…. Add to that the leather jacket and bow-legged walk and you have yourself a complete package.
Okay, sorry. I’m done. Until next Season. *ahem*
I know this has summarized many points and skimmed over others, but hopefully these highlights have entertained you and yielded love for this amazing show.
Let’s explore the possibilities of Season 6, shall we?
Season 6 Speculations
As is my usual M.O., I’ve not read any of the spoilers I’ve seen floating around about Season 6. I can’t guarantee I’ll remain strong throughout the looooong summer, but for now, I want to go in prepared to be surprised. So, with that, if any of you have read those spoilers and I’m so far off the map I’m in a different country, feel free to point and laugh.
It’s not like I’m gonna know you’re doing it. *wink*
As I think about where they go from here, I am taking into account where they’ve been and who they are, and I’m hoping that the writers are inclined to proceed with as much continuity as possible. So, first, let’s take the state of the world. Yes, the Apocalypse was averted. Armageddon (aka the grudge match of the millennia) didn’t go down. However, two Archangels fell into Hell, trapped in the cage that had held Lucifer prisoner for centuries.
That’s gotta wreak havoc on a cosmic level.
We know Sam got out, but we don’t know how, and we don’t know if he left Adam/Michael back in there and we don’t know what happened to Lucifer. The sheer weight of what we don’t know is enough to squish my paltry little speculations.
But, I’m gonna give it a go anyway.
Here’s where I’m starting: God pulled Sam (our Sam—not Demon!Sam, not Ghost!Sam, flesh-and-blood Sam Winchester) out of the pit (as a reward, perhaps, or maybe just one of His Mysterious Ways). Lucifer and Michael are still in the cage. I’m not really sure about Adam, and right now can’t really be bothered to worry about him. He either got saved, too, and is in Heaven with his mom like he wanted to be (which, yay!) or he didn’t and it will be a S6 plot point to rescue him in some fashion.
But I’m also saying that God left Michael and Lucifer to spend some quality time together in that cage—perhaps as punishment for not behaving in the first place and for playing all of the chess pieces they could to almost bring His world to an end. Who knows?
The point is, if they’re both trapped down there, then the bad guys and are free to run amuck here on Earth and, as Cas told Dean before he boffed out of the Impala, there’s anarchy in Heaven, so there’s no one to really keep the bad guys in check. Cosmically speaking, anyway.
Evil doesn’t end, really. But! Neither does good. Which brings me first to Dean.
I couldn’t tell how much time might’ve passed between Dean allowing himself to be held and comforted by Lisa in her doorway and Dean at the dinner table with Ben and Lisa while Sam stood under the streetlight. We know that when Dean went to Hell, it was four months for Sam on Earth, but 40 years for him in Hell. So, even if the dinner scene was the day after Dean got to Lisa’s, Sam had been in Hell for a bit. Long enough for Dean to get from Lawrence to South Dakota and say goodbye to Bobby, and then go from South Dakota back to Cicero, IN, and find Lisa.
Regardless, when we last saw Dean, he had been without his brother for awhile. Promise or no promise, working out how to live the “apple pie” life that Sam asked him to live, and that he might secretly want to live—and I contend that Dean does want a life like this, as evidenced by his DOLDOM dream, his djinn reality, his instinct to go to Lisa before he prepared to say ‘yes’ to Michael…he does want this, he just doesn’t want this without Sam…specifically with Sam, as he thinks, residing in Hell—is not going to be easy.
Let’s look at it briefly from Lisa’s point of view.
She’s been raising a boy on her own for, what, eight years now? I can’t remember how old Ben is, but he’s around there. For whatever reason, she has room in her life for Dean when he comes back to her the second time. Perhaps it’s because he showed up unexpectedly over Ben’s birthday and rattled her enough that the possibility for all else stopped. Perhaps because she always felt he was The One. Perhaps it was just simply convenient between-relationships timing. The point is she has a rhythm, a system, and certain commitments in her life and to her son that until this moment haven’t involved a damaged drifter with Hell-related PTSD who is in mourning and in shock.
No matter how attracted she is to him, or how much she might build an “I loved him once” feeling into a true “I love him now” feeling, working around his tendency to lay down salt lines when he gets nervous, or spend hours in and around his car, or his classic rock, or his drinking, or his nightmares, or the cache of weapons in the trunk that he may or may not show to Ben—depending on how far ‘out’ of hunting he tries to get—will be a scary struggle for her.
Realistically speaking, this should not be a seamless transition for either of them.
When I think of Dean with Lisa during this ‘rest stop,’ I can’t get Foreigner out of my head: In my life there´s been heartache and pain…I don´t know if I can face it again…Can´t stop now, I´ve travelled so far to change this lonely life…I wanna know what love is, I want you to show me. I wanna feel what love is, I know you can show me….
Though technically with Lisa and away from hunting, Dean will be wracked with guilt and haunted by his own memories. He’ll twist those memories into imaginings of what he thinks Sam must be going through and trying to figure out a way both to put that in a place of honor inside him for the sake of his brother and also not think about it at the same time.
Because he knows what the alternative to living out this promise could be. He knows that dark path that Sam followed while Dean had been in Hell. Dean doesn’t want to repeat that; not for his sake and not for the sake of his brother’s memory and sacrifice.
So, he’ll try to put the weapons down. He’ll try to breathe through the nightmares. He’ll try to deal with the intermittent pangs of loss and loneliness for his family that will sometimes be so sharp they nearly bring him to his knees. He’ll try to drink less. He’ll try to focus on a task or a job—something regular, something normal. He’ll try to become a mechanic or something and he’ll go to Ben’s little league games and he’ll wrap himself around Lisa at night until he just can’t sleep anymore because his skin is crawling with a need to do something.
He’ll call Bobby. He’ll think about Cas. And he’ll mourn Sam. Every day.
Bringing me to Sam.
He’s a bit of an unknown in the speculation department. His growth over the last year of this saga has shown us that yes, Sam has anger issues, and yes, Sam was “groomed” to be the Devil’s Advocate for the Final Battle That Wasn’t, but at the same time, Sam was in charge of Sam and Sam was strong enough to choose family over all else. We saw that despite what everything and everyone else thought, Sam carried on and saved us all. He didn’t do it alone, though, and that’s part of his growth curve as well: realizing that he needed help and support to do what only he could ultimately do.
So, with that, I think it would be a true shame if they did something like make him part demon or anything less than the hero he was. What I think could happen with Sam, since I’m going with the whole “Sam is our Sam returned from Hell by God” theory, is that he will take in the sight of Dean trying to live the life he made him promise to live, he’ll wrap that into himself, and he’ll move on.
I would imagine that he might have some inside knowledge as to Demonkind’s antics from his stint in their world and would know that with the Archangels trapped…the world is actually a much scarier place. The battle is far from over. And Sam’s journey took him from a childhood of bitter resistance to a youth of reluctant acquiescence and then into a period of what was basically make-believe peace. He carried that period of peace with him inside as an imagined solace, but that was shattered when he found out that even that “normal” was tainted. So, while Dean has always been the perfect soldier, it turns out that it’s Sam who has been groomed to live the life of a hunter.
And he’s also been allowed elements in his life that his brother has never tasted. And he knows this. So I think Sam will pull a Kung Fu (the TV show, not the martial arts) and head off into the world to fight evil. He won’t not contact Dean out of bitterness or anger or spite. He’ll leave his brother alone because he will think that this is what Dean needs to heal and be allowed the chance to actually live for the first time in his life. He will think that Dean will have found a way to make peace with what happened to Sam—I mean, after all, they discussed it before hand—and if he intrudes, it would only be to pull Dean back in. And he won’t want to do that.
So I think we’ll begin the season after some time has passed. I’m not sure how much time. Hopefully not more than a few months, but enough for Dean to be restless in his soul and to have to face the fact that the Sam-shaped hole inside of him is not going to be filled by what he’s been surrounding himself with. And enough that Sam’s going to have to either figure out that he’s in over his head—OR—what he’s hunting is 1) related to their past or 2) coming for Dean.
Sam will return to Dean. And they will reconnect. Hopefully no later than Episode 2.
And I think that’s going to be interesting. Because we have two Veterans of Hell. Both who served tours there for very different reasons and through very different means of travel. And, much like WWII Vets who fought in different theaters—Europe vs Pacific—the brother’s Hells were both the same and very, very different.
Not only that, but Sam’s perception of “not bothering Dean” will not jive with Dean’s attempt to deal with Sam in Hell.
They will have to somehow either face these differences or accept that their individual experiences in Hell and while they were apart have changed them—as individuals and as who they are to each other. Dean was tortured until he shattered inside and became the torturer. Guilt from that still hangs on him visibly, even to the finale. And he never really dealt with his PTSD. Sam will have spent however long he was there with Satan himself trapped inside him. Don’t tell me that won’t leave scars.
These changes won’t alter the fact that at the end of all things, they’re family. They won’t alter the fact that both have sacrificed all they had for each other. They won’t alter the fact that Sam believed in Dean when Dean didn’t believe in himself, and Dean held onto Sam—even when Lucifer was beating him beyond recognition—when Sam was in danger of losing himself.
They are who they are: hunters and brothers.
But they’ve also been impacted by a series of emotional barrages that will take a bit of adjustment. And? Dean has threads now. He has connections. He has people. He’s never had that before. Not outside of hunter-family-members like Bobby. Sam had his Stanford friends for a short time. He had Jess. Dean’s never had someone like that, and having Lisa and Ben is going to be a big consideration for him when his brother comes calling.
So, does he go out with Sam and fight the good fight, then come back home to her? Does he leave her for good and go with his brother? Does he deny his brother and stay with Lisa? Only one of those can be true—and I know which one I want it to be. I hope Sera Gamble doesn’t let me down.
Some other things I’d like to see settled and/or explained include:
1) The fate of Bobby’s soul. Does Crowley still own it? Does the fact that he did, in fact, die and was brought back to life by an angel negate the contract? If not, will he get it back as Crowley promised?
2) Also, what of the amulet? I truly refuse to believe they would loose-end it like that. Make it so meaningful in its sentimentality, then turn it into a God Beacon and then have it not work and be thrown into a plastic motel trash can…. Really? I mean…really?
3) And Castiel. What of his future, his fate? He’s “new and improved,” what sort of responsibility is tied to all of that power?
As for MotW episodes I’d like to see? If you know me, you know I’m all about the Celtic lore. Bring us a banshee. Or scare the bejeezus out of me by a shadow-like baddie…that only one of them can see and/or fight because the other one was blinded by it. Give us a western! Maybe show us that there are such things as unicorns. Werewolves, vamps, ghosts, poltergeists…shoot, throw in that wendigo Sam missed hunting.
Just give me the mix of angst and humor, classic rock and that gorgeous Impala, and brothers flashing their, um, guns, and you’ve got yourself a happy Gaelic.
I wasn’t ready for the series to end at the close of Season 5. They’d put us against the ropes with the storyline and I was too desperate for some kind of light to just walk away from these characters. But, if they use this season wisely, and have both us and the boys heal up from the post apocalyptic fall-out, have them find a new rhythm to be the brothers and hunters we love, and leave them with a future—both of them with a future, regardless of what it is…a there’ll be peace when you are done kind of future—then I’d be okay with this being the final season.
So, with that, I say follow an awesome six-season run with Supernatural: The Movie. They did it with Sex & the City (twice, if you can believe it). They did it with The X-files. Firefly begat Serenity after only 13 episodes! I say it’s possible.
That’s all I’ve got folks. Have a happy hiatus and I hope I see some familiar faces (figuratively speaking, of course) commenting next season. Slainte!