SPN 12.01 “Keep Calm and Carry On”

Note: This is my first official review for my new-ish blog.  I expect to fumble a bit with the format. I’m not a professional reviewer and no one is ever going to pay me for this blog.

Bottom Line Upfront: Excellent start with a vastly different pace than S11.  

Initial impressions: 

Samantha Smith is an EXCELLENT add to the show.  She was perfect IMO as Mary.  So much was expressed in her body language and facials.  I will be watching Dean and her multiple times this week.  Highlights for me:
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Supernatural EP20 Rewatch Review

Knowing this was Robbie Thompson’s last episode really makes this harder for me to enjoy right now. And I totally understand and approve of him announcing his departure on the one year anniversary of Charlie’s death. Screw you very much Jeremy Carver and Bob Singer. No way was that coincidence, given Felicia Day’s immediate “thank you” after Robbie’s non-announcement announcement.
But I DO think this was a fitting little opus for Robbie to finish on. It had his trademark style that I personally love. He wrote FOR the fans and did it so very very well IMO. As a parting episode he established:
– The personality of God in the Supernatural universe. As Metatron stated – “You are light and beauty. Creation. Wrath. Damnation and salvation.” I get it may not be everyone’s cup of tea but for this fictional universe, that’s a pretty damn elegant way of describing a God who is “all”. Someone above complained it’s anti-Christian. Personally, I don’t think so. I think it is part of the Supernatural Universe and perfectly fits everything that the characters in that universe have experienced. And even if he’s kind of a dick, that doesn’t make him “evil” or “bad”. Dean is kind of a dick sometimes and he’s a Big Damn Hero in this universe. And in using the framework of this episode to answer so many, many questions about Supernatural’s God, Robbie was able to provide a nearly fully-realized personality in a short time. It’s been clear all season that it’s going to be Light vs Dark. You can’t introduce the big guy and then slowly develop his character. He HAS to (IMO of course) arrive well developed in one episode or else the ‘revelations’ (sorry, couldn’t resist) would be more of a distraction in the remaining S11 episodes that he appears. It’s pretty clear, he’s at least in the next episode with the way the episode ended. Which says a lot, BTW, for Andrew Dabb. As the de-facto show runner, he’s deliberately placed a game-changing episode with a specific construct; exposition heavy A-story with a world-class almost Apocalypse as the B-story. I don’t know where we are heading, but this episode DID establish (IMO)how Amara’s going to “end” humanity. She’s going to have God’s creations kill each other. Ouch. Kinda brilliantly brutal.

– That even an evil douchbag like Metatron can still have redemptive moments. I’m not expecting everyone to say “it’s all good now”. No more than I think many would say killing Emperor Palpatine completely redeemed Anakin Skywalker. But in that moment, and in this episode, that which was good inside Metatron was able to make a difference. And that’s probably the most redemption most evil dirtbags are going to get. At a minimum, it makes them more interesting villains IMO. Who wants a cardboard Nazis Thule as someone who spends more than one episode on screen? And the meta was strong with Metatron this episode. Robbie was able to recall Metratron’s appreciation for the narrative as an observer/editor while acknowledging he was a crappy faux-creator. Old saws like “the hero is only as good as the villain” applied to Metatron here as well as both Lucifer and Amara. Nicely layered IMO. Note to English Major’s: perhaps, as Chuck/God indicated, it’s constructive writing but I’m not sophisticated enough to notice or care. I thought it was freakin’ brilliant and it worked for me. Ultimately, Metatron was able to tap into some raw and truthful (to me) arguments that swayed Chuck/God to stop wallowing. Perfect character, who began literally and figuratively in the garbage dumpster, to rise up and get the big guy’s attention. WELL PLAYED. 

– That Sam and Dean are Big Damn Heroes who will go out fighting. If it hadn’t been for God’s reset amulet, we saw those two fighting until what the characters believed was literally the bitter world’s end. I loved the visual of a nearly incapacitated Sam attempting, and failing, to put a bulletin board over the broken window. And I think having Dean desperately fight to save people up until his personal Prime Directive kicked in was exactly right. Whether it was because a seasoned vet like Dean knew it was “over” or his own instinct was to die comforting Sam, I think Dean acted perfectly in character. He couldn’t save those people, but he could be there for Sammy while he breathed his last. And yes, I think Dean drew a deep breath of what he believed was poison to ‘finish it’. Not like suicide. But more like choosing how he made his stand. Which was always going to be right next to his brother. Come what may. I don’t think it’s some weak co-dependence, I think it’s … solidarity. I’m sure others don’t see it that way, but it was a Butch & Sundance moment for me. Not Romeo and Juliet.   

– That hope and surprise still exist in Supernatural. When hope was failing in Hope Springs, we had a literal deus ex machina which had Sam and Dean gobsmacked in a way I could totally believe. Neither said a word during that beautiful montage. And Robbie knew that he had the actors who could pull off everything that needed to be ‘said’ without dialog. Dean’s shock and dawning understanding. Sam’s wonder and awe. It was a silent Winsynch moment, as they moved through the street towards what was clearly God. Robbie plumbed the rich history of eleven seasons with a continuity-porn macguffin; the Samulet. I left the episode in tears and yet uplifted. Like, ‘why the hell am I crying?’ Except that I was deeply moved by what the characters were experiencing. And it doesn’t get much better than that for me.
So, WELL DONE Robbie Thompson. Thank you for giving a little Charlie shout-out with a canon bisexual God – again, screw you very much Carver & Singer (you tone-deaf fools). Thanks for the little “Breakfast Club” fist-bump to the shoulder. Thanks for the recognition of the wonders of music. Thanks for weaving in so much show history while moving the series mythology forward in a major way. Thanks for the dog, and the bar. Thanks for showing value in even the most despicable human/ex-angle. Thanks for a complex and delightful (for me) old-yet-new character, Supernatural’s Chuck/God. Thanks for an episode that’s going to be permanently etched into my brain.

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