Attempting to make sense of this past season of Supernatural is no easy task – one that the season 7 finale unfortunately fails to achieve.
With a string of episodic storylines that transformed the series’ typically narrative storytelling into a poor copy of television’s overused procedurals, the glimmer of hope that briefly showed itself in this season’s penultimate episode was all but lost to the disjointed, awkward presentation of the Supernatural season 7 finale.
Bringing together all available (read: not dead) fan-favorite characters to help ground many of this season’s awkward elemental inclusions, there is a strong sense that the producers are attempting to not only acknowledge the downfall of this past season, but that they are also trying to make the unfortunate position the series finds itself in as enjoyable as possible for longtime fans.
Succeeding to some degree (it’s better than nothing), the somewhat forced repetition of Crowley, Castiel, Bobby (maid-Bobby), Meg and Dick Roman throughout the finale provides an artificial sense that the presented season storyline is more grand in scale than what it actually is.
Presenting intriguing story elements, such as Bobby’s description of becoming a vengeful spirit and the finer points of demon contractual negotiations, these supplemental scenes would typically be a welcomed inclusion to the series mythos. Unfortunately, with what feels to be too-few episodes actually progressing the overall series storyline, the demand for actual linear storytelling, combined with the lack of actual time to provide a competent conclusion to the Leviathans conquest, results in one continuously checking to see how much time is left in the episode.
When it comes to the actual Leviathan storyline, longtime fans are more prone to pretend this season never existed, rather than trying to make sense of what’s presented. While generally shying away from attaching personal feelings towards implemented story-arcs reflecting societal issues, it’s impossible not to think about Supernatural season 7 without feeling like we were witnessing a parable on the dangers of high fructose corn syrup.
Perhaps even more unfortunate is the fact that one can completely make that connection without having any specific feelings towards the matter, one way or the other. When dialogue such as “Dick’s got creamer in the lab; he’s going to kill all the thin people” is used in any type of earnest statement, the ability to even take this season as a poor parody is quickly topped by an unfortunate feeling about the direction this series has taken.
While there’s nothing inherently wrong with providing some explanation of how a species of monsters would feed off the human race, the decision to include such a dense corporate environment as the center of storytelling removes almost every strength the series has going for it. Known for championing fantastical tales of the preternatural, one should never have to wonder when a series titled Supernatural is going to actually delve into something tangible relating to the subject the series is named for.
Making attempts to satisfy fan requests for some definitive conclusion to Bobby’s story-arc, the melting of the flask proved to be one of the more enjoyable moments in the finale. While not as emotionally profound as Bobby’s original death, it was still strong enough to make viewers momentarily forget the unfortunate place the series finds itself in as it ends another season.
Though like a perfect reminder that this isn’t the Supernatural we once knew, the emotional scene is cut short by an awkward off-camera exit for Bobby. Having “dusted” many a ghosts in series past, the visual of seeing Bobby fall to the same fate that so many spirits before him have would have certainly been the emotional punch that the audience hopes to feel when a beloved character is gone. Of course, with Bobby referring to seeing Sam and Dean again, though not too soon, we could say that perhaps the producers where not only trying to cut back on their effects budget, while also providing some sort of loophole for him to perhaps return in the future.
Hoping to find some semblance of a potential story that will help drive Supernatural season 8, fans were met with a familiar scenario that feels like it will be resolved as quickly (and perhaps as poorly) as the mere moments it took to end the Leviathan strength of Dick Roman.
With Dean stuck in purgatory and Sam left to his own devices, there’s a certain level of intrigue relating to what exactly may occur when Supernatural returns next season. That being said, no potential storyline for what fans may look forward to was ever presented – and following the challenges that Supernatural faced during season 7, a division in The Winchester brother’s locale is hardly the hook the series needs at this point.
In many ways, the Supernatural season 7 finale was a noticeable attempt at providing some logic to the nonsense presented over the course of this past year. Though not at all succeeding to the level anyone had hoped, Supernatural (as a series) has had a generally positive track record in its seven year history.
For longtime fans of the series, there may be just enough good will to carry intrigue over into next season. Unfortunately, when it comes to Supernatural season 8, the series will be making the move to Wednesday nights. So while fans of the series may be forgiving enough of its faults to survive Friday night, when the series makes its move next season, there’s going to be more potential viewers who, unfortunately, may not be as much so.
Supernatural season 8 premieres Wednesday @9pm on The CW this fall.
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