Season finale: Supernatural

Finding the divine

Supernatural‘s a bizarre aberration for The CW. While most of the shows on the network are aimed at girls and young women, Supernatural – although clearly having some appeal for that demographic in the form of the two leads – is very much a horror show with a clear(ish) target of young men and boys.

Now despite this fact, and the fact it’s not exactly the most trumpeted of shows, Supernatural is probably the second-best if not the best show on the network (Gossip Girl being perhaps the best despite a disappointing second season). And this fourth season has, despite the odds, probably been the best so far.

The fourth season has been the season of angels. After years without an angel in sight – and insistence by brother Dean that there’s no such thing as angels – they arrived in scary force at the start of the season to herald the start of the apocalypse.

Since then, the show has managed to stay reasonably on track with this arc, playing around with its new mythology and asking deeper questions than normal: "What are angels like?", "What is the nature of their faith?" and "Maybe there are angels after all, but where’s God in all this? Has he ‘left the building’?"

Which isn’t to say Supernatural has become all po-faced. The show has had some classic comedy pieces, including a very odd one involving a prophet who’s been predicting every episode of the show before it happened and selling them as novels and a classic horror movie episode. There have been a couple of duff episodes, but it’s still been of admirably high quality for most of the year, frequently serving up more creativity, humour and interesting ideas that the majority of mainstream shows.

Unfortunately, the finale, with so much building towards it, felt like something of a letdown, with its anticipated payoffs being shunted into the next season. While the advent of Lucifer presumably means Hell on Earth for season five, unless the brothers stop him in episode one and take up stamp collecting for the remaining episodes, it felt like so much tease and not enough to really grab: no big fight between the brothers, since that was in the penultimate episode; no exciting masterplan to stop the final seal being opened; no big angelic duels to fill you with shock and awe.

Instead, some reveals – the angels’ plans for the apocalypse, the revelation of the long-ranging plans the demons have had for the brothers – did rationalise much of the show’s continuity and avert real disappointment. But it still felt less impressive than previous years’ finales.

Nevertheless, season five looks like it’s going to be a cracker, particularly since it’s probably going to be the final one. Let’s hope they go for broke and really show us what they can do.




  • I agree, the finale was a MAJOR let down. I wrote a little piece about it, would be interested in what you think…
    http://rogueindies.blogspot.com/2009/05/lucifer-rising-supernatural-falling.html

  • Kelly

    Are you kidding? Supernatural is so much better than that crap Gossip Girl.

  • galveston

    I’ll have to respectfully disagree that the finale was a letdown with the reveal that the angels have wanted the apocalypse to happen all along because they believe they can defeat Lucifer with Dean on their side. That threw me for a loop. The question of “where is God?” is what draws me to this show–at some point, you must follow your own conscience and be good for the sake of being good and not out of fear of retribution or punishment. You have to make up your own mind and *think.* That’s the lesson and it’s a worthy one.
    Gossip Girl better than Supernatural? Have you *seen* Gossip Girl. I, unfortunately, have. It’s wretched teen trash glorifying slutty behavior. It’s not the best show on any network.

  • MediumRob

    “I’ll have to respectfully disagree that the finale was a letdown with the reveal that the angels have wanted the apocalypse to happen all along because they believe they can defeat Lucifer with Dean on their side. That threw me for a loop. ”
    I wasn’t totally expecting it, but the general demeanour of the angels has been, shall we say, less than angelic so I was expecting something not too good from them. I’d have been more surprised if they’d simply turned round and said “God would like you to do the following good and definitely not evil things”.
    “Have you *seen* Gossip Girl. I, unfortunately, have. It’s wretched teen trash glorifying slutty behavior. It’s not the best show on any network.”
    That is what we in the business call a “value-laden, judgmental opinion”. Putting that to one side, it’s not even particularly true. I’ve seen every episode and for the most part, while it to a certain extent revels in the Upper East Side lifestyle, it does favour ‘moral’ behaviour – those who behave badly get ostracised and live unhappy lives, while those who behave well tend to be rewarded in the long run. Gossip Girl herself is almost a voice of God, shaming those who transgress with revelation of their secrets as punishment.
    As for whether it’s any good, while the writing’s definitely poorer this season, with too many character flip-flops and silly situations, there’s not many a show that will base an entire plot round Edith Wharton’s “The Age of Innocence”. I still think Gossip Girl season one is arguably as good as Supernatural season four, if not better, and addresses more everyday questions as well. Season two – not so much.

  • galveston

    Mr. Buckley, I’m going to have to respectfully disagree about the quality of Gossip Girl. My 17 year old niece is a big fan, though. Maybe I’m too old to appreciate it, but being subjected to this season was more than enough for me. I’ve read Edith Wharton’s “The Age of Innocence.” Gossip Girl, IMO, is no “Age of Innocence.” Not in the same ballpark, the same stadium, or the same sport. I must admit, I did a double take at the comparison. All I see is a bunch of shallow kids who can’t act. The last quality show centered on teens that I can recall was ABC’s “My So Called Life,” from back in the ’90s. I respect that you like it, but I cannot agree.
    As for SPN, I agree that Zachariah never quite seemed on the up and up. There was something a little too smarmy about him for my tastes, but I suppose I never expected the angels to be *quite* so guilty. It’s shocking but refreshing as well. Their culpability begs the question, “Why doesn’t God help?” Why *doesn’t* God help in our everyday world where horrible things happen every day? It’s a legitimate question asked by many. For that alone, I appreciate the Supernatural finale even if it came across as a big tease that prolonged the real meat of the story until next autumn. I both liked it and was terribly frustrated by it at the same time.

  • MediumRob

    “I’ve read Edith Wharton’s “The Age of Innocence.” Gossip Girl, IMO, is no “Age of Innocence.” Not in the same ballpark, the same stadium, or the same sport. I must admit, I did a double take at the comparison.”
    I said the show based an entire plot around The Age of Innocence, not that the show was based on The Age of Innocence. I refer the reader to The Age of Dissonance.
    As for decent teen shows, you could argue that both Skins and The InBetweeners are worthy new entries as well.
    Angels being mean in a war against demons is kind of old hat (cf The Prophecy) so I was surprised that went with that.