In the tenth episode of the fifth season ofÂ Supernatural, fuck this episode. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watchÂ Supernatural.
Trigger Warning: For talk of consent, queerbaiting, mass murder, and fridging/sexism
For real, fuck this episode for the following reasons:
1) Introducing Crowley to me
SURPRISE MARK SHEPPARD? HOW DO YOU EXPECT ME TO DEAL WITH THIS???
I admit that the role Sheppard’s been given here (which might also be a nod toÂ Good Omens!) is perfect for the man. Crowley is unlike absolutely any demon we have ever seen, and what he tasks the Winchesters with is… well, seemingly not a trick or a trap or a joke. As far as I can tell, he’s sincere in his desire to have Lucifer killed. In that sense, he might be the first demon free agent we’ve ever come across. Of course, the show won’t let us forget that this is a demon offering toÂ help Dean and Sam, and we just spent an entire season covering a plot very similar to something like this. There are a lot of little moments here where Sam looks to Dean as if he’s asking if it’s okay to proceed. Hell, they even outright acknowledge the similarities to Sam’s manipulation at the hands of Ruby. But Sam and Dean genuinely seem to be doing their best to move on from their distrust of one another, and the decisions they make here are doneÂ together.
Anyway, I’ll touch on the Winchesters more later. CROWLEY, Y’ALL. His very first scene here, he’s telling a scumbag banker not to be homophobic about a kiss, and while it’s great to tell straight men not to be gross about displays of affection between men, the context kind of negates that. Like, this is the first queer kiss onÂ Supernatural. Hooray! Oh, it’s between a straight man and an ostensibly straight demon? Oh, boo. That’s… that’s no fun. Why not haveÂ actual gay characters (Demian and Barnes) kiss instead of this?
I do like Crowley’s characterization a great deal. He openly toys with Sam and Dean just because it’s funny, choosing to confuse them and unsettle them with no regard for whether or not this convinces them of his sincerity. He shoots two of his demon guards, he lets Sam fire the Colt at him (albeit without bullets in the chamber), and then he sends them off to go kill Lucifer. Like that. No tricks (that I could see, I should say), no jokes, no manipulation. If Crowley is telling the truth, then there’s another angle to this entire Lucifer / Michael war. And you know what? I think Lucifer’s aside to Sam after sacrificing the demons suggests that Crowley isn’t lying.
2) Mark Pellegrino
Just fuck this show for sticking him in the cast and expecting one mere human to deal with it. HE IS SO GOOD, and we’re graced with a ridiculous sequence where Castiel and Lucifer actuallyÂ talkÂ to one another. It was such a treat to watch, especially since it enabled to pick up on a common behavior in Lucifer. He tries his best to find the most sympathetic angle with which to appeal to the person he’s talking to. In “Abandon All Hope…,” he does this first with Castiel. Note how he draws direct parallels between his own experience â€“ rebelling against the authority of Heaven and the rejection he faced because of it â€“ with what Cas is currentlyÂ going through. Cas has been rejected from Heaven and is experiencing a dramatic limitation on his powers. So Lucifer thinks that this is the easiest way to get Castiel on his side: talk to him as if he understands what Cas is going through. Except… that’s not really what Cas is going through? Lucifer’s storyÂ is about rejection, but there are emotional issues at stake that are not only more intense than Castiel’s crisis, but involve being IMPRISONED IN HELL FOR MORE YEARS THAN I CAN EVEN FATHOM. On top of that, Castiel’s own morals aren’t even remotely in line with Lucifer’s! They’re not!
And the same goes for Sam, who is also tempted by Lucifer when Lucifer tries to draw parallels between himself and Michael, and Sam and Dean. Mark Pellegrino, bless his soul, sells this character soÂ intensely. I can see why Lucifer is such a charismatic being when he’s played by Pellegrino, and I almost had these moments where I wanted to sympathize with him, but then HOLY SHIT HE MURDERED ALL THE WOMEN AND CHILDREN IN CARTHAGE AND THEN GAVE THE MEN’S BODIES OVER TO DEMONS SO HE COULD RAISE DEATH.
WE’VE GOT ANOTHER HORSEMAN OF THE APOCALYPSE AND IT’S DEATH AND OH, FUCK YOU, THIS IS GREAT.
Does he get a white Mustang??? PROBABLY.
4) Big Damn Heroes
Oh, fuck you,Â Supernatural, for your devotion to emotional storytelling. I have a huge issue with what this episode does, but I also want to talk about hunters. Admittedly, this is what hunters do, and it’s somethingÂ Supernatural has spent time (though not enough time) developing over the course of these four and half seasons. The hunter community understands that what they do is thankless, it’s brutal, and it is rarely, ifÂ ever, rewarding. It’s why hunters often have each others’ backs. They know firsthand what a nightmare this job is, and they know that most of the time, hunters barely chose toÂ be hunters. How many of these men and women lost their spouses? Their siblings? Their best friends and lovers and relatives and anyone they cared about? How many people were thrust into this world due to death?
And we know that hunters pretty muchÂ never make it out of the business unscathed. Physical damage. Emotional trauma. And, eventually, they all die, and most of them die on the job. But this war that they fight is one they believe in because they want the rest of the world to go on living as ifÂ none of this ever happened. It’s a battle that they can’t tell others about. They can’t enlist government support or secret organizations. At best, they have a lot of research at their disposal, and then they have each other. There’s not even a moment in “Abandon All Hope…” where we get to see Dean or Sam call up the Harvelles and ask them to help out. At this point, we just understand that people like the Harvelles or Bobby are just ready to help at the drop of a hat.
Supernatural has consistently been about heroes who work without credit or reward. (It’s notÂ always about that, as sometimes the writers reward Dean with a woman, which… no, I’ll pass on discussing that, at least for now.) I don’t see the show ever getting to a point where the world of the supernatural spills out into the public eye, though I wouldÂ like to see that. BY ALL MEANS, GIVE ME THAT. Hell, the upcoming END OF THE WORLD might be a good time for it. But I also think that would fundamentally change the fabric of the show in one sense, and it would be a difficult hurdle to jump. Regardless, I wanted to state this because theÂ emotional reality of hunting is part of the show that you can’t ignore. Again, it’s notÂ always explored, but we’ve seen the loneliness and desperation and anger from the Winchesters and plenty of secondary characters that demonstrates what a harsh would these hunters live in.
That being said.
4) Killing off the Harvelles
I hate it. IÂ hate it. I understand many things here that would explain the choice. It demonstrates how urgent and terrifying this war is. It fulfills Ellen and Jo’s arc of heroic sacrifice. It gives us an extra punch in the gut when their sacrifice is ultimately in vain because Lucifer summons Death anyone, and the Winchesters could not save anyone in Carthage.
And I don’t hate it any less than because of that. This show has a horrible tendency to create believable, fascinating characters who add so much brilliance and depth toÂ Supernatural, and then kill them off when they show promise. In hindsight, I’m actually a bit surprised that the Harvelles survived this long, though I suspect that their absence from the entirety of seasons three and four played a part in that. But look, people die inÂ Supernatural. A lot. Dean and Sam and Castiel included! (Though all three have been brought back almost immediately, and I suspect we won’t see the Harvelles as mortal humans ever again.) Death isn’t the problem here.
It’s the fact that they died to advance the plot, and it’s a blatant example of Woman in Refrigerators, a term coined by Gail Simone over fifteen years ago. (That long??? OMG I’M OLD.) They die so Dean and Sam can get out of a building.Â The end. They die to solve a problem, they die to make Dean and Sam sad, and they die so that Bobby, Dean, and Sam can all fight the good fight better than they did before. If these were heavily-used, deeply developed characters, I’d have less of a point. But how many times have these two been in an episode? Ten times out of nearly 100 episodes? And now they’re gone, and the only two recurring womenÂ are gone with them. (I don’t count Meg because Meg has been portrayed by so many different actresses that it doesn’t feel analogous.)
Ultimately, it feelsÂ cheap. I feel like my heart was ripped out for the sake of it, not because it served a better story. AND YOU BETTER BELIEVE I AM HEARTBROKEN OVER THIS. Though I do have to laugh at myself. I did ask for more of them! I DID IT. Oh god,Â nope.
And fuck this show for giving me Alona Tal’s and Samantha Ferris’s best acting in the episode we lose them. YOU ARE SO CRUEL TO ME, WHY MUST I DO THIS TO MYSELF.
The video for “Abandon All Hope…” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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