Supernatural Season 10 Post Finale Roundtable

Supernatural

Now that Season 10 has aired, five members of the Geekiary writing staff have come together to lay out their thoughts on the overall plot, characterization, and themes from the past year and what we hope to see over the summer and next season.

Angel is the admin of The Geekiary, a proud Minion of Misha Collins, Cas girl, and GISHer (go Team Subtext! Top 10 team 3 years in a row!). She dabbles in Destiel fanfic and considers it one of the larger ships in her overcrowded harbor. She’s been a main reviewer for the show since The Geekiary was founded and has attended numerous Supernatural focused and general geek conventions in the United States and Canada.

Erin is a little boy crazy, so of course, she loves Supernatural. You can find her lost in Dean’s dreamy eyes most of the time, or cheering on memorable minor characters (Donna!). Feeding Jared Padalecki a drink while he was recovering from shoulder surgery is one of her proudest moments. Although pretty neutral in the shipping department, she loves all the guys and how they give us all insight into the minds of men. She live tweets the show for The Geekiary.

Jessica has been a Dean fan since she started watching Supernatural in early season four. She was attracted to the horror element but stuck around for the characters. A huge fan of Jensen and Misha and the Dean and Cas friendship, she is not a shipper but is cool with any ship or lack of ship people choose to love. Robbie Thompson is her Senpai. Team Free Will is her favorite thing to see on the show.  Massive plot holes make her feel jaded.

Emily is the Captain of the USS Destiel, and has embraced her reputation within the fandom as an unashamed ‘Destiheller.’ A fan of urban legends, myth and horror, she got sucked in for the mytharc and stayed for the characters. A devout supporter of Team Free Will, you can usually find her recommending angsty fan videos about Dean’s lack of self worth, Sam’s struggle to fight fate and find hope, and Castiel’s conflicting motives.

Bandit has watched Supernatural since day one back in 2005, when her love of Halloween drew her to the show, but it was Dean that made her stay, though Cas has earned himself a well deserved place in her heart right next to Dean since Season 4. She is also a Misha Minion, as well as a GISHer, and faithful servant to all things Random Acts oriented. And, yeah, she ships Destiel and is damn proud of it. She also shares reviewing duties of Supernatural with Angel for The Geekiary.

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Q1)  Reflecting back on the season, did you see this cliffhanger coming or did it surprise you?

supernatural1Emily: Unfortunately much of the finale was spoiled for us: with the images from the gag reel, we saw Castiel’s eyes haloed in blood from Rowena’s spell, so we knew she would be freed at some point and he would be enspelled, most likely (given her season focus) in order to attack Crowley. From social media and previews, we knew Death would be back and that the scythe that can kill him would be in play. We knew that Dean would be seeking out Death, and that Sam would tell Castiel to keep going on the Book of the Damned, and we knew (how could we not, they’ve been announcing it since introducing the book) that doing the spell would lead to negative consequences.  We knew that the Winchesters most likely wouldn’t kill each other, because we’ve been watching this show for ten years. The only real surprise to this episode was that they fabricated a new big bad in the final half of a finale without defining it, or even giving it name or form. Essentially, everything there was to spoil about this episode was spoiled long before it aired, and what wasn’t spoiled wasn’t even resolved: cliffhangers all around, and the writers are just now figuring out how to continue it.

Angel: “Surprise” isn’t really the right word.  It seemed to come out of nowhere with no build up.  Death’s death was a surprise, though.  People had been speculating for weeks that Death would make an appearance and what that’d entail, but I didn’t think they’d go that route.  We all picked Crowley as the finale death, but his fate is uncertain.  The Winchesters and Castiel are alive.  Death is dead.  Another big dark colored blob of bad has been released on the world and another red head is about to wreck havoc (though, honestly, I dig Rowena).  “Confused” may be a better word.  Or perhaps “disappointed.”  I’m used to Supernatural finales causing excitement or, hell, even anger or deep sadness, but this one just left be going “really? That was it?”

Bandit: I agree with Angel, surprise is a strong word. Confused is a better one. The entire season was building up to a very interesting and exciting climax. It was becoming one of my favorite seasons, then the last three episodes happened, and I finished the finale saying “What?” a lot. Honestly, the last episode seemed to come out of nowhere. There are elements I liked, there are elements I didn’t like, but that’s par for the course at this point. Ultimately, I’d like to see what they are going to do from this point onward because I sure as heck don’t know. Regardless of the turn the season took, which, let’s be honest, the whole season was flooded with so many misdirections, I’m surprised we even got anywhere, I’m interested in seeing where Season 11 is going to go.

Jessica: I knew Death was going to show up. I was just hoping for something different than what we got.  I know it wasn’t popular, but I would have loved Dean having to become Death or a reaper for a while.  He could have brought Charlie back, maybe Kevin. The finale kind of negated itself with a lot of build-up, especially in Dabb’s previous episode.  Then, the finale just fell flat.  Not to mention, it made it even more obvious that it was not necessary to kill Charlie.  It felt more like a midseason finale rather than a season finale. I was hoping for something great, but it was more like ideas were flung at a wall, and Carver took the ones that stuck.  I’ve never felt so “Meh” or confused by a season finale before.  I’m disappointed.

Erin: This particular cliffhanger? I don’t think ANYONE saw it coming because this was the first time we had heard about The Darkness. I felt like some of the aspects of the finale were extremely predictable: killing Death, everyone making it out alive. I was surprised that Crowley and Rowena both survived, but that was really about it for the surprise part. I figured the MoC would be gone by the end.

Q2)  Fandom tends to latch onto the cliffhangers and have massive amounts of fic and art during the summer to help ease the pain.  What do you think the trend in Supernatural fanworks will be this summer?  Are you looking forward to it or dreading it?

Bandit: Ahhh, the sweet season of Hellatus. I honestly didn’t start reading fanfic or paying attention to fanart before last year’s season finale, and wow was I stupid. I have since then read way too much, and have bought some spectacular fan designed swag (I even created a piece myself). I always look forward to see what intrepid fans can come up with, a lot of it is damn impressive. There is no shortage of talent in the SPN Family. You guys are awesome, but please remember to spell check. Trend wise? I think there is going to be a lot of canon divergence from “Angel Heart” onwards. Otherwise, I think there will be a lot of interpretations of The Darkness, which will include a lot of jokes and songs from the British band itself. I like to think Dean would dig their music, though – I readily admit that I do.

Jessica: I’m hoping the fanworks will be mostly be Sam, Dean, and Cas fighting the band, The Darkness.  Maybe some bubonic plague or some Michael Jackson, Thriller music video type things with a Vincent Price voice-over. (Darkness falls across the land…) Okay, that’s the Hellatus joke type stuff.  I will read nearly any kind of fanfic if written well and it appeals to me. Honestly I’m hoping for more Dadstiel fics with Cas taking care of Claire.  That storyline probably appealed to me more than many of the others. It was certainly treated with more respect than Dean’s MOL storyline.  Hopefully some “fix-it” type fics rewriting the finale and onward will pop up.  I just don’t know how interested people upset with the finale would be in creating their own stories anymore.   Maybe I’ll write a fic about how Robbie Thompson could fix it.

11150544_685890384726_6131019378807536084_nAngel: I tend to be drawn to Destiel fic, but there was hardly any Dean and Cas interaction in the finale. I am, however, excited for the momentum to get Donna, Jody, Claire, and Alex on their own spin off.  I’m looking forward to that more than I am any fan works.  Especially fanwork based on the finale.

Emily: It’s the first time I can remember being generally apathetic towards post-finale creations. I hope someone will grab hold of the dangling storylines left to us during this hiatus and weave an incredible tale out of it, but unfortunately I expect it to almost immediately be Jossed by the show’s writing team next season. Like Angel, much of my focus is on the Wayward Daughters fanworks now. I still love the world of Supernatural, the cast and crew we’ve grown attached to, the characters we’ve seen for ten years, but they’ve dug themselves into a hole by seemingly letting the story drift without a definite direction. The story of Team Free Will is stalled, and it moves only in fits and starts when a writer gets a brainstorm idea. In the episodes where the story finds its feet and gains some solid ground, it’s mired again by the next episode without gaining any traction. The season finale ended on the perfect visual metaphor for how it feels like the writing has gone this season: our heroes spinning their wheels.

Erin: I think that there will be a lot of focus on The Darkness and Lucifer. It was hard to dismiss the parallels between The Darkness and the dementors from Harry Potter or the Smoke Monster from Lost as well, so I am sure that we will see an increase in billows of black in fan art. I agree with Jessica that there will be (and should be) a strong focus on the band The Darkness. I was a big fan of theirs years ago, and whenever it was mentioned in the episode, the band was all I could think about! It made me giggle which is probably not what the show runners were looking for.

Q3) Knowing that Mark Sheppard is signed on for season 11, Do you think Crowley will survive his battle with Castiel? Or do you think they may have killed him anyway, despite the actor’s contract?

Emily: I hope they don’t resort to that. If for no other reason than they’ve already left Castiel unwillingly holding the bag on what is apparently another world-devastating spell gone awry, and once again have him mind-controlled to serve the whims of a female villain. If Crowley and Castiel were to go to battle with both in their right mind, I would probably cheer: the two of them were, since Season 6, set in motion to duke it out. But there is a big difference between two major characters, the devil and angel of the show’s primary cast, finally throwing down in a long-delayed battle, and Castiel being used as someone’s puppet (again), unknowingly caught as a tool of someone acting out their own grudge (again).

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 23.35.44Angel: I have a sneaking suspicion they will.  They’ve done fake outs with contracts before, so I don’t trust the news.  Now that it’s left ambiguous, I’m inclined to believe he’s gone.

Bandit: I have no clue. Now that Crowley has finally grown a backbone and become interesting, I hope they don’t get rid of him. But that has never stopped TPTB before.

Jessica: I’m going to go with Crowley probably dying, unless Castiel is able to overcome being mind-controlled for the umpteenth time.  But lets face it, Castiel has no love for Crowley to resist killing him.

Erin: Crowley will be back. To me, this seemed like classic baiting. It would be brave of the writers to kill him off, but I don’t think they will do it. I hope they keep him around because I love evil Crowley.

Q4) What are your thoughts on Rowena and “The Darkness” being the primary antagonists of next season?

Emily: I really, really hope they define “The Darkness” and do it well? I hope they aren’t just doing another Leviathan plotline? My hope is that The Darkness is along the lines of The First Evil in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but it’s hard to become excited over a prospect that you know they haven’t even really thought out yet. I enjoy Rowena, and I expect we’ll see Metatron as well next season, but ending on a “WTF” is hard to get past, in order to consider what we might see from the others.

The issue, for me, is that Supernatural is relying too much on a “wham!” ending to try and patch over shaky storytelling. They seem to believe if you end an episode, or a season, on gore or an uncertain battle or big special effects, how you get to that point doesn’t matter. And to an extent, that works. It certainly brings people back to figure out how the hell they’re going to fix it. But once it’s overused, it stops really being a source of excitement, and the distraction stops working. I can’t look at the big finish ending and not see the shaky plotting that put them there. My focus, in ten seasons of Supernatural, has been on the characters: so sacrificing characters, character motivation, character consistency, character agency, character integrity, for the big finish just isn’t doing it for me any more.

So whatever they do for The Darkness and Rowena, my primary hope is they handle it in a way that is compelling storytelling, not a gimmicky, razzle-dazzle finish.

SPN1Jessica: They can leave the glitter to me.

Angel: I have a lot of faith in Rowena, but no so much with The Darkness.  They remind me too much of the Leviathans and that was my least favorite season.  Despite Rowena being caught in a boring plot with no momentum, she was still an absolute gem this season.

Bandit: I love Rowena. I want to hug her and marvel at the glory of her hair. She is amazing. I’ve always found it interesting that there are a lot of redheads on Supernatural, and both Abaddon and Charlie have special places in my heart, but Rowena is awesome. I want her to last the whole next season. And if Crowley does die, I want her as Queen of Hell and to get into a battle with Lucifer. That would be awesome. As for The Darkness, let’s just hope it isn’t a repeat of the Leviathans. I’m getting a bit tired of well dressed bad guys. I want it to just be creepy weird things, Book of Revelation kind of stuff. No actual central bad figure, just an amorphous bad. It’s harder to fight, harder to kill, and hopefully will bring back God, I mean Chuck, and all the archangels. So everyone lives just to fight, but they all survive. Then they all go for pie.

Jessica: Rowena is much better away from Crowley, and Ruthie is amazing. As far as The Darkness goes?  I just hope they come up with something that doesn’t righteously suck. It’s not defined – not really.  TPTB basically admitted they have no idea where they’re going with this. To be honest, it doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence in me.  It was also quite similar to the ending of Once Upon a Time’s season finale, but the viewers had a better idea what was going on and it didn’t come out of nowhere.  The writers could do something interesting with this, I just wish some of the better ones had more power in the writers’ room. It’s sad because other than some episodes toward the end of the season, Season 10 was shaping up to be a great one.  It just… fizzled out.

Erin: More Rowena with Sam, please! I think that Rowena has a lot of potential to be the over-the-top, mustache-twirling villain that the show needs right now. And Ruth Connell has really great chemistry onscreen with both Jared Padalecki and Misha Collins. I think that if the writers were smart, they would use that chemistry to their advantage. But we will see. The finale was very underwhelming to me; predictable and confusing. The Darkness also has a lot of potential, but only if it is overarching and nothing something that gets very specifically detailed with every episode like the Mark of Cain was. The writers need to spend hiatus really determining how they want to proceed, otherwise I don’t see how the series will thrive after Season 11.

Angel: Yes, more Rowena with Sam!  As much as I dislike Sam trusting bad guys all the time (see: Ruby), I really enjoyed the dynamic.

So what are your thoughts on the finale?  Did it live up to expectations? What are you looking forward to over the summer? What about for Season 11?  Join the conversation in the comments!

Author: Angel Wilson

Stephanie “Angel” Wilson is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. She earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. She’s contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. She’s written for Friends of Comic Con and has essays published in Fandom Frontlines.



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