Filed under: Recaps & Reviews
Everything ends; even heaven.
Knowing how dire their straits have become, the Winchesters give Rowena a call for help. She tells them that she might be willing to help with the end of the world and all but she's awfully busy with her own things right now and just can't spare the time. In another desperate attempt, Castiel suggests that he talk with the angels of Heaven to try and get their help to find Gabriel. Dean doesn't like the plan but lets him go due to their limited options. Shortly after, Sam has found Rowena. After the spontaneous combustion of a pharmaceutical executive at a party in Portland, they know they have found their witch. During the drive their, the reaper Jessica decides to appear in the back of the impala. She lets them know that she has been watching them since the last time that Dean died and will help in any way that she can if it means stopping Rowena. It's a puzzling offer but one that Sam doesn't consider. After they get to the crime scene and investigate the charred remains, they see the silhouette of another figure that was burned; which Sam recalls as being the remains of a dead reaper. After calling Jessica, she appears and gives them the full story. Since Sam helped her, Rowena has the power of killing people before their time and is killing reapers in the process. If this continues, the machine of fate will need to be reset and that only means death on a mass scale to correct fate. If Sam and Dean don't stop Rowena soon, Death will have to take matters into her own hands.
In the final stretch of season thirteen, Funeralia was a solid episode that accomplished the two important goals of foreshadowing the finale and telling a good story in its own right. Whereas a lot of Supernatural stories, especially in the past few years, lack a clear focus – Funeralia was centered squarely on Rowena and that only worked out for the best. I wrongly assumed that Rowena had gone as far as she could go for her character but Funeralia just shows that with the proper motivation, characters can change quite a bit on Supernatural. Though her actions were less than righteous, Rowena actions were based on the love for her son and the guilt she felt for the path that his life eventually took. Crowley became the king of hell and died alone; Rowena blames herself as a parent and can't live with the loss of her child. All in all, Funeralia took an established character and gave us something new as Rowena has never been an evil character, just one that had made it this far because of self-preservation. Her new path of redemption will make for an interesting story going forward.
While the latest development that Heaven is dying might turn out to be an interesting bit towards the finale, it feels like a premature foreshadow for Jack's inevitable fate. This reason could have been held onto until a few episodes later when Jack is told how much he is needed and why it might be the best thing for everyone for him to be in heaven. Also, the glaring lack of Lucifer in this episode with no explanation was a missed opportunity. How can Supernatural takethe time to show how bored he was last week but not where he is now? Even with the return of Amanda Tapping as Naomi, the way the stakes of Heaven running out of power are presented can't really be taken seriously. Having the modern exposed concrete aesthetic of heaven with flickering lights is unimpressive to say the least even if the rationale behind it is quite good. The revelation that only a precious few angels still exist is a big shift for Supernatural and maybe if so many of them hadn't thrown their lives away fighting Sam and Dean, things might be different. Still, the limited angels should have been told as Heaven will collapse and eventually crumble into the dust. This could have easily been shown with the set being damaged and starting to look as if it was in disrepair and cracked walls with the angels being the beings that bind it all together rather than the battery. Having someone adjust the dimmer for each shot did look terrible.
Funeralia wasn't perfect but the good far outweighs the bad here. Rowena's return and character shift was probably one of the best things this season and just goes to show that Ruth Connell can win over anyone, especially me. We'll see if this momentum keeps up in the final four episodes of season thirteen – starting with next week's Unfinished Business.