Since 2005, the CW (formerly the WB) has been entertaining viewers with one of their most successful hits, Supernatural. The show follows the lives of Sam and Dean Winchester (played by Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, respectively) a pair of brothers who fight monsters, demons, angels, and everything in between. Eric Kripke’s creation refuses to end, with a fast-paced plot that combines comic relief with intense drama plot. I would typically praise a show that has managed to push through ten seasons with an eleventh set to premiere on October seventh, but I am here to open a vein, to publicly beg the writers, actors, producers… the entire production staff to please stop. Your monstrosity has flown off the rails.
At this point, Supernatural fans are begging for a reasonable ending to the series. Season ten was interesting, watching Dean descend back into uncontrollable, murderous rage left fans with a pit in their stomachs for a perpetual cliffhanger of when his mental/emotional levy would break. The season premiere was welcome; Dean awakening as a demon at the season nine finale was shocking, and the early episode “Soul Survivor” was a terrifying Shining-esque experience. It was such a refreshing episode, until its ending. The show chooses to wrap up the “Deanmon” arc with an annoyingly convenient ending that utilizes a Deus-Ex-Machina that converts Dean back into human form. One of the most promising storylines the show has ever had is resolved in three quick episodes, and the season quickly goes into decline. The remainder is a series of pointless filler episodes with a rare gem thrown into the mix (the 200th episode is a great fan tribute and the Cain storyline is very intense). . However, I believe that the season ten finale is what sparked this rant inside me. I was forced to sit by and watch sheer nonsense, as all of Sam and Dean’s problems get miraculously solved at the cost of introducing some new, fatuous force of the evil called “the Darkness” that is undoubtedly going to be wasted in season eleven through a painful series of episodes that bring the show no closer to a conclusion.
The season ten finale should remind viewers of the steady downfall of the show since the end of season five. As some viewers of the series may know, the season five finale, “Swan Song,” was supposed to be the series finale. Narrated by Chuck, a modern day biblical prophet who helps the brothers, it provided an incredible final ending to the boys’ tale as they defeat Satan and Michael the Archangel. A massive spike in viewership made the show runners change their original plans and dive into a sixth season. The perfect finale was extended an extra 30 seconds to essentially undo all that had been carried out.
I see this as a case of greed over artistry. The show had a very strong, cohesive story, throughout seasons one through five, but now what? “Swan Song” saw the destruction of the devil; every following attempt at a plot was doomed from its beginning. I can appreciate the attempts: Castiel’s hubris-driven rise and fall, Bobby’s demise, and Dean’s scenes of rage and sacrifice were extremely powerful, but each season still feels like a mini-plot with a single problem piggybacking off of the botched resolution to the problem that occurred before it.
I fear that Supernatural has hit a point of no return. Seasons nine and ten seemed to get the plot a bit more on track and offer the potential for an ending that fans could appreciate, but instead the showrunners decided to press forward. Now the opportunity is lost and the cycle must start all over again.
The only buzz around season eleven at the moment promotes it as an epic with the worst enemy yet. I do not even think the creators know what that means. In early interviews they prided themselves off of biblical/folkloric accuracy, even in the many “filler” episodes of the show that are more creative than plot sensitive. The show is now locked in an endless cycle of another “worst enemy yet” after another with each coming season in some rote drama that even Padalecki and Ackles know is turning into a tired disappointment. I think that Supernatural should stand as a testament to all television programs; the best shows are certainly not the ones that run the longest.