In the twenty-second and final episode of the fourth season of Supernatural, I was so wrong. I WAS SO WRONG. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Supernatural.
I don’t want my comment at the end of the video for this – that I found the season three finale more devastating – to suggest that this isn’t heartbreaking. For Sam in particular, this is a deeply upsetting episode, and Jared Padalecki does a fine job portraying Sam’s emotional response to his own betrayal. But that betrayal is multi-faceted, especially since Ruby makes it clear that while she and others manipulated him, he still chose this path. In this, she squarely lays responsibility on Sam, even if she’s trying to do it in order to guarantee to him that Lucifer will reward him for what he’s done.
It’s clear that this episode not only answers some longstanding questions, but it signifies a huge shift in the narrative for Supernatural. The dual cons pulled off by both angels and demons here will have unknown ramifications for Sam and Dean, but now both men will have to deal with the fact that they were tricked by those they trusted. (Well, sort of trusted, I suppose. It would be unfair to characterize either Winchester as being wholly trusting of either the angels or Ruby.) All of this is hinted at through the construction of “Lucifer Rising,” which constantly parallels Dean and Sam. Both characters are introduced in this episode with an out-of-focus camera; both characters wrestle with their moral guilt and terror while talking to supernatural creatures; both characters come to realize that they’ve been pawns at the hands of said supernatural beings. And both characters placed the importance of completing a mission over supporting one another, and this is where it led them.
It would be hard to speculate a “what if” scenario if Dean and Sam had not split up, though I imagine Bobby is back at his house, shaking his head and saying “I TOLD YOU SO” very loudly to his walls, which are the only things in his place that ever listen to him without arguing. But Bobby’s impassioned plea to Dean – to not be a coward like his father oh shit SICK BURN – is an important part of “Lucifer Rising.” Even if Sam has strayed from the path, Dean shouldn’t be giving up on him so easily. That’s related to Dean’s ego, of course, and it’s one of many factors that influence the brawl at the end of “When the Levee Breaks.” And now, the Winchesters are in two different parts of the country, neither one is certain that what they’re doing is right, and the Apocalypse might just be one day away.
While Sam’s possible betrayal had been playing out over season four (since we were always made to question Ruby), I was most shocked by the angels. I still think that the inclusion of angels in Supernatural‘s canon could have been an utter disaster, but the way the writers have used them this season has been incredible. The angels are jerks, plain and simple, because they see humanity and existence with a much larger scope. Lacking humanity themselves, most cannot fathom the day-to-day struggles of what it means to be a human.
There’s been one exception, though, and that’s Castiel. Initially, of course, we watch as he aligns with Zachariah and refuses to disobey his orders, which made NO SENSE in the previous episode. When Dean is whisked off to the Green Room, we’re still just as much in the dark as he is. I appreciated it, then, that Dean was so hostile and rebellious in his refusal to accept the ambiguous terms that the angels provided. It actually felt like a bit of meta-commentary, since so often, genre shows with mystery arcs deal with this same sort of deliberate muddling of the facts to string us along. So Dean sees that he might be able to get through to Castiel, that he might be able to get Cas to understand why this is wrong, and he takes that chance. It’s a frustrating endeavor at first, since Cas clearly got reprimanded in “The Rapture” and is sticking to the “party line” for the time being. Even when Dean does get through, it’s ultimately too late. Zachariah and the other angels have already tricked Dean.
If there’s anything that best represents the angels’ inability to understand humanity, then it’s in the plan they’re acting out. They’ve chosen to let Sam Winchester kill Lilith, break the seal, and release Lucifer, all so that they can ensure that the Apocalypse happens.
THEY WANT TO BRING ABOUT THE APOCALYPSE.
CAN WE TALK ABOUT THIS.
I mean, as I said before, this opens up a whole new storyline for season five in a huge way. It introduces this cosmic, supernatural battle that Dean and Sam are a part of, but not the main focus of. It involves two entire worlds of beings fighting a theological battle on earth. LIKE, THIS IS GOING TO BE HUGE AND DESTRUCTIVE, ISN’T IT? And the angels don’t care. Obviously, the demons don’t either, but no one is surprised by that. Castiel’s initial refusal to help Dean is based on what I imagine is a popular line of thinking among the angels: that humanity has wasted their opportunity, and that it’s time for a clean slate. They are fine with the apocalypse being unleashed upon the world because humans are nothing more than collateral damage. And it’s Dean who finally gets Cas to realize what bullshit this is. I do wonder if Dean’s presence affected Cas’s subtle rebellion earlier this season, but I suppose we’ll have to wait to find out. We know for certain that it’s Dean’s angry rejection of Cas’s logic that helps Cas realize that he cannot obey orders anymore. (Though I’m still completely unsure of who is giving those orders. Zachariah heavily implies that God had nothing to do with what the angels were doing. Is this similar to events in His Dark Materials? Is God powerless now? Which angel or angels are responsible?) And so we get a brief glimpse of Chuck, who was pretty damn certain the end of the world was about to happen, as Cas brings Dean to Chuck to find out where Sam is. Y’all, I WANT TO SEE THE ARCHANGEL. I DO. VERY MUCH SO. Can I??? I mean, we have to find out what happened to Cas and Chuck at some point, right?
It’s at this point in “Lucifer Rising” that the episode was just completely unfair in terms of suspense. I wanted Dean to stop Sam so badly! I was furious with the angels, especially since I saw exactly what Zachariah was referring to when he said he’d give Sam a “nudge.” How can they possibly view it as “good” to deliberately manipulate someone like that? I suppose that is also something we’ll have to explore in the future. I am now realizing that not too long ago, I wondered aloud if Dean would have to fight angels and demons, and that’s totally going to happen now, right? Both are antagonistic forces, and both manipulated Sam and Dean in some way. I just… oh god. SAM’S FACE WHEN DEAN LOOKS AT HIM AFTER KILLING RUBY. LORD. LORD SAVE ME.
Can I also definitively state that I’m going to miss Ruby a lot? Holy shit, her monologue after Sam kills Lilith is so good. She just helped pulled off Lilith’s unreal long con, one that was started by the Yellow-Eyed Demon over thirty years prior, and to see Ruby express such elation… shit, y’all, GENEVIEVE CORTESE IS SO GOOD HERE. Hey, at least she lasted a whole season! CRYING, BRB.
I have no clue where Supernatural goes from here, which sort of goes without saying, but that’s a fantastic thing. I love this idea that the Winchesters have to stop both the angels and the demons from letting the Apocalypse reign on earth. It’s exciting! IT’S HUGE. And maybe they’ll finally start listening to Bobby? That would be great. I admit that I’m not as destroyed as I was for last season’s finale, BUT I’M OKAY WITH THAT. This season has destroyed me enough as it is. Aside from a few bumps along the way (including the gratuitous gendered slurs in this episode, wow), I’ve really enjoyed season four. There’s so much potential in this storyline, and I can’t wait to see how it unfolds.
The video for “Lucifer Rising” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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