Thursday, 24 September 2009

Ooops… I did it again!

Last week I made some generalisations about one of my favourite shows of the moment; Supernatural. Now with Season 4 sitting on snapshot(5) my shelf, watched cover to cover, I feel the need to make a statement.
Please note, the following will contain spoilers from the first 4 seasons of the show and the opening of the fifth. Do not read on if you intend to watch this from the beginning, you wont thank me for it!
Several of the points I made in my 10 reasons to watch were invalidated by watching season 4. For a start, the idea that you could just tune in and watch one episode is a thing of the past. Season 4 is building towards the end of the world, a war between snapshot(1)Angels and Demons and more so than any previous season it is mythology driven.
The addition of the Angels to the show is a drastic change, in some ways for the better, but in other ways for the worse. For example, Dean and Sam are now no longer just another pair of hunters, instead they are the very instruments of heaven and hell. In fact, as is revealed at the start of season 5, Dean is supposed to be a vessel for Michael, the Archangel. This drastically ups their level of importance, after all, between them they brought on the apocalypse, and that changes the feel of the show, too much!
No longer are they happy go lucky hunters, they have the weight of the world on their shoulders, a massive death toll on their conscience. The story becomes about which side will Sam and snapshotDean eventually come down on, the side of good or of evil?
Another change for season 4 is the appearance of “good guy demon” Ruby. Originally played by the beautiful Katie Cassidy she is replaced in season 4 by Genevieve Cortese, not as pretty and not as good an actress which causes the character to fall flat; which considering she turns out to have been playing the Winchesters all along, weakens the story and the show. I fully understand why Katie was not asked to return to play Ruby (not only because they killed her off) however Kripke should have brought in someone with a little snapshot(4)more attitude, someone who could really bring out Ruby’s “out for herself” attitude. 
Running throughout the season was the threat of Sam turning to the darkside. His psychic powers, completely absent since the demise of the yellowed eyed demon, make a return after Dean is sent to Hell at the end of season 3 and Sam has to get by on his own. Later on in season 4 it is revealed that Sam is drinking demon blood to boost his powers. When I wrote my 10 reasons list, I said that the show manages to walk the fine line of the darker side of these characters, without alienating the audience. snapshot(0)However Sam’s fall and Dean’s agonising over the things he did in hell, do alienate us!
I completely understand why it had to be done and it makes sense with the story of the show, but I can’t help feeling that maybe it was a little over done, that maybe we needed a few more light hearted episodes. I was reminded of season 6 of Buffy, where her nihilistic attitude made for some very depressing Tv.
There are further X-files nods this season, in particular the inclusion of staff writers names as character names. X-files writers John Shiban, Frank Spotnitz and Vince Gilligan often killed off a character called John Gilnitz over the shows 9 year run, this time Jeremy Carver and Ben Edlund manage to slip their names into the show as the prophet Carver Edlund. Also the entire season was dedicated to Kim Manners, who sadly passes away in January this year.
Season 4 however was not all bad, there were some excellent episodes, Wishful Thinking for example had me in tears I was snapshot(2)laughing so hard.  The Monster at the End of this Book, took a potentially very corny idea for an episode and worked itself almost seamlessly into the mythology. The Angel Castiel (MIsha Collins) is a great addition to the supporting cast. Even the fall of Sam and Dean, although not happy and upbeat is done well.
My only major complaint would be the predictability of the season finale, in that Lucifer would rise, however the show manages to add a twist… the Angels were the ones letting it happen and that God is no where to be found.
With the devil set free we enter season 5 and Kripke manages to pull the show out of its dark depressing hole almost instantly. God, as it is revealed in the second episode of the season, pulled snapshot(3)Sam and Dean from the convent and prevented them from being annihilated by Lucifer as he rose from the pit. At the same time God cleanses  Sam of his thirst for demon blood and sets him back down firmly on the side of good. Sam and Dean agree that the past is the past and everything looks hunky dory.
Jo and Ellen return to the show (Alone Tal is hot!), along with X-files star Steven Williams. However Sam quickly learns that he is not completely cured and Dean learns that he cannot forgive Sam for ending the world and trusting Ruby the demon over him. The episode concludes with Sam and Dean going their snapshot(6)separate ways, while Castiel goes in search of God.
It certainly seems like season 5 aims to be lighter than 4 as the entire world joins forces to fight Lucifer and destroy evil once and for all. With such an obvious evil to fight, there are going to be fewer shades of grey. However I am interested to know how the separation of the Winchester brothers is going to pan out. If handled well, this season could be a return to the Supernatural we know and love, with all the epic story-telling-ness of season 4, but if it is allowed to wallow in darkness for too much longer it could be a down beat ending to one of the best shows going.
Whatever the case Eric Kripke has said that this is the last season he will be doing, but that others are free to pick up where he left off. Personally, I’d rather have Kripke at the wheel and how can you really top killing Satan? Cos lets face it, that’s where season 5 is going…
This has been My Two Cents, don’t forget Supernatural airs on Thursday on CW. This week has also seen the return of Heroes on Monday, Flash Forward on Thursday and Dollhouse on Friday.

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