Supernatural: Who We Are/All Along the Watchtower

Filed under: Recaps & Reviews

From good to bad, from bad to worse.

After taking the life of another hunter, Mary Winchester's next target is none other than Sheriff Jody Mills. Meanwhile in the bunker, time is running out for Sam, Dean and Tony after being sealed in by Ketch. At the rate they are going, they might have three days of air before they die. After attempting a spell with no success, Dean suggests the brawn approach. The first attempt is two pick axes but that won't do so Dean decides to use the last option they have left: the grenade launcher. The affects of the grenade almost tear the bunker apart but Dean manages to reset the system and save the day but badly hurts his leg in the process. As soon as they escape the bunker, they call Jody but there is no answer. After arriving at her home, they find jody with an ice pack on her head and Mary tied to a chair. With Paige's help, Jody managed to get the best of Mary and tie her up. Now that they have Mary, Sam calls all of the hunters to Jody's for the big speech. He rallies them all against the British Men of Letters, saying that hunting is not just about killing but rather doing what is right and the Brits have lost sight of that. Sam and Jody prepare to move on the Men of Letters but Dean is staying back; he's hurt and wants to attempt to save Mary with Tony's help. After heading out with the rest of the hunters, Sam and Jody manage to take the fight to Men of Letters and in dramatic fashion, Jody kills Dr. Hess after Sam refuses a deal to work with them again to stop Lucifer. Back at the bunker, Dean has entered a connected dream with Mary. When he realizes that she can see and hear him but continues to ignore his please to her, Dean confesses his true feelings towards his mother of love, hate and ultimately forgiveness. But it's all cut short when he's ripped from the dream and sees none other than Ketch standing over him. Tony's lifeless body is there next to him as Dean is in the fight for his life. The Winchester manages to get the upper hand until Ketch pulls a gun from inside his jacket. Just before he pulls the trigger a shot fires through his shoulder, Mary is standing behind him and eventually fires again to put the final nail in the coffin for the British Men of Letters attempt to take over the west.

Meanwhile, Castiel stands on the shore of a lake in front of the home where he and Kelly Kline have been staying. Back at the bunker, Sam, Dean and Mary are trying to come up with a plan to stop Lucifer and the one person that comes to mind is Rowena. Sam makes the call and none other than the devil himself answers. Lucifer knew they would try to get a hold of Rowena so he went the proactive route and killed her first. Just as it seems the Winchesters are running out of options, none other than Crowley appears. After transferring his essence into a rat, he managed to save himself from certain death at the hands of Lucifer. Dean almost kills him out of anger for what he did but Crowley admits that his motivations were selfish and only because he wanted to win. Unfortunately, they are playing a waiting game as Sam mentions that the only signs of the Nephilim birth will be biblically weird things happening but when they do, be ready to move. Back at the lake house, Kelly is getting closer and closer to child birth as the Nephilim begins to leak its power into the world, creating a tear into the very fabric of space and time. Castiel investigates the occurrence later on but somehow manages to escape unscathed when he returns to Kelly but now she thinks the time has come. Shortly after that, the Winchesters show up at Castiel's home after reports of a major power outage in the area. They tell Castiel that Lucifer is free and on his way so they need to get some kind of plan together, and then they see the tear. Trapped between Lucifer and a tear in space reality, this may be the last stand for the Winchesters.

Apologies for the extra-long summary but it was a double episode night and it's just better if the two episodes are done in one review. This review will be longer as a result and will also include some thoughts on the season as a whole.

Overall, both episodes didn't appear to hold back on the motional stories that they had been building over the season. To start, Sam's speech Who We Are actually turned out well and didn't feel forced in the moment. It was a time when they all had to revaluate why they were hunters and what set them apart from the British Men of Letters and how extermination isn't their ultimate goal as hunters. After that, it was Dean that reached out to his mother when they were psychically connected though Tony's machine. It was Dean's moment with Mary here that was the heart or linchpin of the entire episode. Dean's hate, love and ultimately forgiveness was able to overcome Tony's programming over Mary. All Along the Watchtower dealt with its emotional arcs very differently and chose to use that in the deaths of several characters like Castiel, Crowley and Rowena. Overall, the two episodes were able to effectively tie up their plots in entertaining ways that leave a number of doors open to explore in season thirteen. Were there missteps in the episodes, sure but the British Men of Letters (quite a few of them anyways) are dead and now the show has introduced alternate realities.

Speaking of deaths on the show, some of them were handled very well while others...not so much. To start with the good news, Castiel and Crowley both had memorable deaths in All Along the Watchtower. Crowley's sacrifice was very surprising given that he had just been cast from his throne the night before so I personally found it a bit quick for the character to turn around like that but he did it to finally have one over on Lucifer knowing that he could never beat him in a fight so why not trap him away from his son instead. While Castiel's death definitely had an emotional impact, it was very sudden and it made his efforts to walk into bizarre land and stab the death seem pointless. On the other side of the spectrum were the deaths of Lady Tony Bevell and Rowena. To start, Tony's death was just bad. It left many questions open about why she came to America and attacked the Winchesters in the first place and was incredibly anticlimactic after everything that had happened in the episode. Supernatural could have left the door open for Tony to take over in Dr. Hess's role in the future but that was just thrown right out with a poor send off for Elizabeth Blackmore. On the topic of poor deaths and send offs, nothing will compare to how lame it was for Rowena to die like that. For whatever reason, Ruth Connell wasn't in the episode and Rowena died as a prop. It felt lazy and pretty terrible to see a major character die in such an insignificant. Its' easily one of the weakest deaths in the history of Supernatural. By the way, I do not believe for a second that we have seen the last of either Castiel or Crowley. This isn't Game of Thrones and there is no way that the show would just kill off half of its cast like that. Supernatural used to take risks in the past but it's been pretty safe for years now.

In a strange twist, both Who We Are and All Along the Watchtower had cameos that can be described as little more than fan service. Reprising their roles as Walt and Roy, Nels Lennarson and Kerry van der Griend returned for one scene in Who We Are. For characters that needed a reminder in the intro flashback of the show, I have no idea why they were there. Sam and Dean were well past the fact that they were killed by them and simply moved on. If the characters didn't care, why should we? Whereas Who We Are had Roy and Walt, All Along the Watchtower had Bobby. Again, while it was good to see Jim Beaver again in the role for old time's sake, he didn't do anything. He even said that he killed angels for fun and he wasn't there to even shoot Lucifer so why was he even there? It felt like an incredible waste of a beloved character, even if it was the bizarre reality version of him.

Overall, season twelve was kind of a mess. The problem was how Supernatural attempted to throw in two seasons worth of story, along with the usual monster of the week fare, all within one season. The result was that some plots suffered while others felts rushed. For the first quarter of the season, Lucifer was in the vessel of an aging rocker. For half of the season, Lucifer sat in a chair and then was only freed two episodes before the season finale. That didn't give the story a great chance to develop so instead we were given Dagon, a prince of hell who was only an obstacle for everyone else that tried to get to Kelly Kline. After Lucifer left the aging rocker, he moved onto the president and slept with Kelly Kline, thus getting her pregnant with the Nephilim. Point being, the plot continued to make huge leaps that were getting too absurd for a show about two brothers hunting monsters. When Lucifer was placed back into his old vessel, it was good but it also felt like a complete rehash of season eleven and how Crowley was the servant to the master. While Crowley discussed his motivations very openly in All Along the Watchtower, it still felt stale and like we had seen it all before. What we hadn't seen before were the British Men of Letters. This was an opportunity for Supernatural to build out the lore even further and challenge the views that Sam and Dean had about the way they had been hunting monsters for most of their lives. That didn't happen. Instead, we got the speech that same made in Who We Are. It was a good speech but there were several opportunities to show that besides Arthur Ketch. Ketch was immediately introduced as a handler and then later shown to be more of a psychopath than anything else which only further cemented that the Men of Letters were not to be trusted. On the other hand, some characters managed to find more of a footing than others. Without a doubt, the biggest gamble that Supernatural took this season was bringing back Mary Winchester. At times, Mary could be an interesting character but I feel that she was more on the side of too little too late. Being confronted by Dean in her dream was a great scene but she wasn't as developed as she could have been and Samantha Smith didn't always bring this deep seeded regret to the surface enough for the audience to see that there was something underneath all of the selfish behavior. It's unlikely that we have seen the last of her now that we know that alternate realities are a thing. One character that surprised me the most was Mick Davies. Played by Adam Fergus, Mick was a character in the truest sense this season and went from loyal company man abiding by the code to someone that wanted to do the right thing. He was compelling and I still firmly believe that he was killed off far too soon in the season just as he was getting good. Supernatural can always conjure up a new villain but its track record for new allies hasn't been great.

Well, that's it. That's the enormous review of the season finale...finales? Who knows. Season twelve is done and while it was one of the weaker seasons of Supernatural, it did have some memorable moments. It also set up the Nephilim which might be super saiyan devil kid for all we know. I hope you've enjoyed my reviews this season and I'll be back when Supernatural returns for season thirteen. Which is basically Law and Order territory at this point.

Tags: Supernatural, Dean Winchester, Sam Winchester, Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki

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