Supernatural 10×23 Review: Brother’s Keeper

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Carry on my wayward sons.  There’ll be peace when you are done. Lay your weary head to rest.  Don’t you cry no more.

The callback to the cover song from the epic 200th episode in place of the usual Kansas tune reminded me of better times, when the season was exciting, different, and made it clear they were listening to their fans.  Then the score shifted to the familiar song and reminded me of all the finales that left me crying, either out of sadness or anger, as I took my first steps into another long summer Hellatus.  The season finales of Supernatural are known for being tear-inducing, dramatic, and full of emotion, so I expected this week to be much of the same.  This finale, though?  It was lackluster to say the least.  I don’t know if I prefer this empty boring reaction or the finales that left me legitimately angry.  If I think about it, the finales that left me angry were almost better because at least I was feeling something.  Right now?  I’ve got a whole lot of nothing.

None of us can deny that the brothers care a great deal about each other, but that love can be displayed in much better ways besides going down paths that get other people hurt, killed, or nearly destroy the entire world.  “Swan Song” was a wonderful example of their love for each other actually doing something amazing for the world they live in.  This finale was much like the time when they made a bad decision instead of locking the gates to Hell or that one time when Lucifer walked free.  This year they killed Death himself, thus removing their chance at isolating Dean and keeping the Darkness from the world.  It’s obvious that we can’t move forward if a Winchester is permanently dead, but this was still a poor decision that led to even more evil unleashed on humanity.  This has happened so many times that I can’t even muster up enough energy to be angry about it.  It’s just a thing that happens.  I guess after a decade of writing, it’s hard to come up with something new.

SupernaturalIn a way, Dean’s speech about how evil they’ve become and how they’ve poisoned everything around them makes sense.  I don’t think they are truly evil, but they do have a habit of killing everyone around them whether it’s due to carelessness or merely a byproduct of bringing people into the world of hunting.  Hearing him recall the recent deaths from the recent episodes hurt, especially Charlie, but this history of senseless deaths goes back to the beginning of the show.  Death and Supernatural go hand in hand, but people dying permanently while the Winchesters keep chugging along is becoming a recycled plot point that’s run its course.  Jo and Ellen died. Bobby died. Kevin died. Charlie died.  The list goes on.  Here’s an idea; let the Winchesters have the found family that they deserve instead of shoving every last friend in the refrigerator to further their pain?  I know some fans want the show to be nothing but the Winchesters, but I feel it’s better with a strong supporting cast.

This season did do something different, though, when it comes to the utilization of Castiel.  While I definitely miss all of Team Free Will fighting together, especially Dean and Castiel, I’m happy to see Sam and Cas be able to bond in their own unique way.  It’s been a stressful friendship as they’ve spend most of their time trying to save Dean and arguing about the best way to do it, but it was still good to see them be able to relate to one another separately from Dean.  Hopefully next season all of them can be together, though, because I really miss that dynamic and if we’re going to repeat something, can it be something awesome like Team Free Will?  Instead we just get bad mistakes, more evil unleashed on the world due to those bad mistakes, and the brothers’ love for each other being framed as something that is causing them destroy the world.  I want it to be more than that.

Maybe the fandom can rejuvenate my feelings for the show over the summer.  The fandom is what’s kept me coming back season after season.  The fiction, the art, the conventions, meet ups, cosplay, and intense discussions make it worth it.  I hope that when season 11 returns, it blows us out of the water.  Hopefully Rowena will prove to be a season long villain who brings excitement next year.  I’ve enjoyed her immensely, even when the Crowley plot was stale, so she’s giving me hope.

Author: Angel Wilson

Angel 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 is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. She identifies as queer.


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About the author

Angel 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 is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. She identifies as queer.

Comments

  1. No matter what, I always enjoy your reviews. I have agreed and disagreed with your take, but thank you for presenting it in such a way that gives respect to the show in its original premise and the Fandom. This is the main reason I followed you on Twitter – I like to see a different opinion that isn’t rude or snarky, it just states what you think. Thank you.

  2. I have, since the beginning scored each episode on IMDb, so it ‘s actually easy for me to grade & rank seasons. This season had great episodes and some I graded the lowest of any season. Overall average, I gave it a 7.2, making it the third lowest rating of my seasons. (I realize each person makes their own decisions and do not expect everyone agrees with me.) I had hoped for better and am concerned that the massive amount of gender slurs this episode are indicative of the writer’s room. If I graded finales only – this was worst of all seasons.

    1. I agree entirely. The season overall might be tied as second worst for me along with season 9 (7 is the worst for me). As far as finales go it was the absolute worst. Season 5 is both my favorite overall season and favorite finale. Season 5 was perfection.

  3. The Good:

    Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki performance on the scythe scene … Just wow. Jared, especially, he really sold it. I’m convinced that the man could have made a living as a mime. Amazing.

    The ending death and the darkness.. I was giggling in glee at the carnage and my everlasting love for The Neverending Story.

    The Bad:

    This season finale is like the two before it: very high, catastrophic levels of drama, damage, and recovery promised.

    But the angels falling looked like a potential revisit of The End and the world waltzed on without noticing.

    And, Dean, the world’s best hunter who also had working knowledge of Purgatory becoming not only a demon but The Knight Of Hell?

    That had the potential to set Dean up as a contender as the new King of Hell with only Sam, Cas, or Crowley able to stop him. Instead we got a demon who drank, slept around, sang badly, and went away in three episodes.

    And the last, that wouldn’t have been so bad. In fact it looked to be an incredibly mature and surprising journey of growth and self-discovery that led to Dean to confess in 10.16 that there are “things, there’s…people, feelings that I-I-I want to experience differently than I have before, or maybe even for the first time.”

    While I happily admit that Destiel is the biggest undocked ship in my seas, that confession had me thinking that I would be happy if Dean had romantic, platonic, mentoring, or paternal relationships with anyone at all IN ADDITION to his relationship with Sam. (Their love for one another is too toxic and catastrophically so when they are threatened. It needs to be balanced with love for other people too!)

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    All said, Brother’s Keeper could have worked as a mid-season finale followed by a news anchor claiming Nebraska had a weird mini volcanic eruption that left no one injured.

    But as the finale of a season mostly filled with repetitious parallels about Dean needing his own Colette?

    Well, season 10 now feels like The Bunker Season. (The Bunker is an awesome “batcave” but ultimately it is a Checkov’s gun promising that Sam and Dean can have a slice of normality and domesticity while still hunting. Further, it hints that one day they’ll be surrounded by other people: students, hunters, researchers, friends, and family.)

    And episodes 21-23 at the end of this season? They feel a bit like a mockery of the showrunners own broken promise.

    Of course, the show isn’t over. And I’ll likely keep watching because the cast is phenomenal but I have to hope that the showrunners actually deliver on their promise of carnage this time. Either that or quickly break out the big guns (Gabriel, Lucifer, & Michael).

    Regardless, the showrunners need to realize that they can sketch out two potential endings: 1 renewed, 2 canceled. This business of not having a plan to fix the season finale cliffhanger is disappointing.

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