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Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Supernatural S11 (Second Half)


What disappointing American television series will the Dice of Disappointment land on today?

...

Of course.

Supernatural
Series 11
(Second Half).



I tell a lie, Supernatural wasn't disappointing at all this year, because that implies I had high or even low-to-middling expectations of it. My actual expectations for it were that it would be the most boring part of my week, rehash the same plotlines over and over again, and devote a needless amount of time to its two flat, tired leads' angsty manpain - and it met, nay, exceeded, all of those expectations.

Picking up just after Sam was trapped in the Cage with Lucifer again, the second half of series eleven sees Lucifer returning, now possessing Castiel, and setting out to stop the Darkness, Amara. As the Winchesters, Lucifer, and Crowley all search for Hands of God, items imbued with God's power that can be used as weapons against Amara, Dean struggles with his connection to her. But when Metatron is contacted by God, who wants to write his memoirs before the world ends, events take a sharp turn.

This is another one of those series where writing a review is difficult, because I feel like I've already said everything I can possibly say about it, except perhaps that this half of the series takes all the flaws present in Supernatural before and amplifies them. I actually found myself skipping episodes because they were too dull to hold my attention even in short bursts - and I have a pretty high tolerance for being bored, as evidenced by the fact that I watched any of this series.

Even Rowena, who I praised before, has stopped being engaging to watch.

What I can say, maybe, is that there were glimmers of interesting moments a few times this series, and they all involved supporting characters with basically no involvement from the leads. A time travel episode involving World War II manages to genuinely create emotion and tension in its cold open depicting a French Resistance agent, Delphine, killing a Nazi officer. An episode late in the series includes as its B-plot Metatron and God talking in a bar, which manages to be in turns funny and terrifying, as God switches on a dime between forced humility and icy wrath. These were both engaging, vibrant moments that stood out all the more because everything else was tired and beige and just exhausting to watch.

But those moments also throw into sharp relief just how long this series has been going on, how stale it's become, because both of them involve characters we've not seen very many times before and locations and situations that are new to the series - they feel fresh because they feel like entirely different television shows, and as soon as those fresh and interesting scenarios come into contact with the trappings and recurring elements of the series as a whole, they immediately lose any vibrancy or intrigue they had.

It doesn't help that Amara doesn't do much to establish villain cred.

It doesn't help, either, that the entire concept of the Darkness is just ridiculous. 'God's evil sister who wants to hurt things' is an idea that could have very easily come out of a six year old's first story, not a purportedly professionally written and produced television show.

The series ends on a slightly odd note as well - or perhaps it's better to say that it ends on a very anticlimactic note, even by Supernatural's standards. Not entirely out of the blue, because the idea of familial reconciliation is one that had come up several times in previous episodes, as had the idea of God and Amara wanting to reconcile, but it nonetheless felt like a cop-out and a letdown, that at the end of the day all it really took was a five minute speech about love and forgiveness and reconciliation, and the aeons long conflict between these two cosmic superbeings was over and done with. You'd think that might have occurred to one or both of them before at some point, but apparently not.

Oh, two gay characters are introduced, though, and then they leave, presumably
never to be heard from again.

All in all, my conclusion on Supernatural is unchanged: It really, truly, deeply needs to stop. There is pretty much nothing left that could make it even remotely interesting to watch and, to be frank, I'm baffled that apparently people keep tuning in. But they do, which is why we now have a twelfth series coming up, this time featuring the return of Mary, Dean and Sam's mother - for a few episodes, at least, but probably not for very long, since if there's anything we learned from the 'Dean is a Knight of Hell' debacle it's that this show hates deviating from its tired, rotten status quo for more than about eighty minutes at a time.

My earnest prayer is that every single one of Supernatural's sets catch fire and burn to the ground between now and the end of series twelve's filming, and that the CW are left with no choice but to cancel it. It's not likely, but hope springs eternal.

Ugh. Just -- ugh. This show should have ended a long, long time ago.

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