Inexplicably, a show that struggled for years with ratings has stumbled into its 9th season. The Winchesters find themselves in another predicament where its Sam’s turn to have something wrong with him. While Supernatural has undoubtedly lasted longer than it should have, is there still life left in the property? Yes, but barely.
Season 9 picked up the ball from 8 with the Angels exiled from Heaven, the gates sealed by Metatron (Curtis Armstrong), and Sam (Jared Padalecki) half dead. On the demon side, with Crowley (Mark Shepard) in captivity, Abaddon (Alaina Huffman), a knight of hell, is vying to take his crown. Castiel (Misha Collins) is now human, with half the fallen angels hunting him, blaming him for their fall. Meanwhile, Metatron is building an army, and all Dean (Jensen Ackles) wants to do is save his brother.
The premise was strong with the world in dire straights and the Winchesters caught in the middle. Armstrong continued to deliver as Metatron, exuding confidence despite his meager size, while Tahmoh Penikett was great as Gadreel. His portrayal of the misguided angel was fantastic, as was Padalecki’s impersonation of him. Having Sam broken on the inside and wanting to die is nothing new, but the new spin helped.
The season is essentially two halves in terms of quality, with the first half exceeding the latter. The cases of the week, along with the looming threat, were both handled well, as was the Gadreel secret (his identity and location). Continuing to recycle content, Castiel was wayward for a while, not sure of his place in the world. I think this is a metaphor for the writers not knowing what to do with him either. I appreciate seeing Collins, as he’s fantastic, but there comes a point, which was nearly reached here. Still, Castiel’s realization and palpable anger at the revelation of Gadreel’s true identity was astounding.
Hands down the best episode of the season was “First Born.” This is what makes Supernatural a great show, taking any and every lore, myth, and story, and making it a reality while adding a few bits of their own. Cain and his back story was bone chilling (pun!). Sadly, this also marked a turning point for the season. Nearly every episode following was boring, particularly the cases of the week. “#THINMAN,” featuring the return of the Ghostfacers was decent, but still lacking. Everything else ranged from bland to boring. Taking the cake for worst episode of the season was “Bloodlines,” the backdoor pilot for spinoff, Supernatural: Bloodlines, which was not picked up. I could see why.
Two elements weakened the later half of the season for me. First, the portrayal of the angels. They have been everything from anger, to fearful, conniving, to out right stupid. Particularly stupid. Are they sheep? Are they that lost? Why would any of them follow Castiel after what he did to them is season 7 when he played God? Or even the first half of this season? Whatever. The other weak link was the final conflict. Abaddon was a little anticlimactic, as was Dean’s use of the First Blade. I didn’t feel like it was changing him, only that they told us it was. And the fight with Metatron? What the hell was that? What was his plan exactly? And seeing Heaven’s jail was completely underwhelming. Hell looked way better. My list of complaints goes on.
As for the funny, that was lacking too. “Dog Dean Afternoon” was good for a few laughs, but beyond that, nothing stood out. Despite how poor the season was, “Wayward Son” has brought me around for the finale, as it did with 7. Here, I didn’t care, I just wanted it to be over. I will admit, the last minute reveal was fantastic, and will have me return for next season, which will hopefully be the last.
Season 9 wasn’t the worst the show’s had, that crown belongs to 7, but this was a close second. This could have a been a better story if there was less room to fill, dropping from 22 to 13 episodes. But alas, too much space to fill along with a lack of energy during the last half killed the momentum built by a strong first half. Honestly though, if you’ve come this far, why stop?
Find the ending anticlimactic? Did the Cain give you chills? Comment below!
Why not give Cain a spinoff?