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Supernatural Round Table S12E22 “Who We Are” and S12E23 “All Along the Watchtower”

Supernatural’s landmark 12th season wrapped up on May 18 with two episodes shown back to back.  “Who We Are” was directed by John F. Showalter and written by Robert Berens while “All Along the Watchtower” was directed by Robert Singer and written by Andrew Dabb.  Here for the round table this week, in addition to myself, are Jackie Bojarski, Kelly Silva and Lizzy Schweitzer. As always, feel free to let us know what you think in the comments.

“Who We Are”, S12E22

Sam and Dean:

Sam & Dean Escaping Out of the Bunker:

Jackie:  I loved watching Sam and Dean (and even Toni) work together to figure out a way to get out of the Bunker. I especially loved that Sam and Dean were the ones to succeed in fixing the problem. It just goes to show that, for all their recklessness, their way of doing things is superior to that of the British Men of Letters. And, of course, Dean finally got to use his grenade launcher! Who didn’t enjoy Dean’s delight in that scene?

There was something else that is worth mentioning too: that exchange between Sam and Dean right after their failed to get the doors open on their first attempt. In it, they discuss how they envision their own end, something that fans have discussed fervently for years. It was interesting to get Sam and Dean’s own take on the subject and to compare it to what fans’ own wishes.

Kelly:  I enjoyed watching the contrast of how both Sam and Dean approach a problem.  Brains vs Brawns. In this case Grenade Launcher trump’s all. Blaze of Glory. If Sam and Dean work together they can solve any problem.

Debbi:  This is Sam and Dean Winchester at their very best. No one works better under pressure. The BMoL failed to do their due diligence on the Winchesters which is why the Winchesters will beat them in the end. I felt kind of bad for Lady Toni (OK, for a half a second) being left behind by Ketch and robo-Mary, but she really should have expected it; it isn’t like she wouldn’t have done the same thing!  The grenade launcher was perfect and Dean’s reaction to getting to pull out “the big gun” classic. There was bravery, angst and a little comedy in this portion of the show and it was perfectly balanced.

Sam’s Rally Speech to the Other Hunters:

Jackie:  This was not only Sam’s Buffy moment but it was also the moment in which Sam finally became comfortable with leadership. The speech was rousing and inspiring–everything a good speech should be–and, as I mentioned, reminded me of the many Buffy speeches that I loved on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But it also illustrated a change not only in Sam but also in Sam and Dean’s relationship. Dean literally sat behind him showing support but also allowing him to take charge. That indicated a renewed trust in his brother’s instincts. More so, we saw a Sam that was confident in his own ability to make decisions and take actions, and I don’t think I need to explain what a breath of fresh air that is.

Kelly:  Sam stood in front of all the hunters and took responsibility for the problems with the British Men of Letters.  It took courage for him to admit his error. It took even more courage for him to ask the hunters to follow him into battle against the BMOL.

Debbi:  This was Sam’s moment to shine and shine he did. Who would not follow this man into battle and almost certain death? No one, including his older and sometimes over-protective older brother. It reminded Jackie of Buffy, but it reminded me of Braveheart, Lord of the Rings, and even 300.  One man inspiring a small group of fighters to take on an army that vastly out numbers them, and getting them to follow. Well done Bobo, this speech was well-written and then well-acted by Jared Padalecki.  Bravo!

Sam’s Reactions to Roy and Walt:

Jackie:  For the most part, Sam seemed subdued and resigned. I was more interested in Dean’s reaction because Dean was the one who vowed to get revenge on those two in “Dark Side of the Moon.” Dean seemed way more forgiving than I thought he’d be–out of character, even. Granted, there’s no way of knowing what their relationship with Roy & Walt has been like since then but I would’ve thought there would be a lot more tension.

Debbi:  This wasn’t really an important part of this episode to me.  I really haven’t given it much thought.  I figure, any port in a storm and the enemy of my enemy….

Dean’s Belief in Sam:

Jackie:  I can’t tell you how glad I was to see Dean’s trust in his brother. Furthermore, I was immensely happy about his faith in his brother didn’t end up being misplaced. It goes to show how much these two have grown over the years. They’ve learned to trust themselves and each other, which makes them a more effective team.

Kelly:  I was so excited to see Dean hand the reins to Sam. For years Dean has led the way, always protecting Sam, but this was Sam’s fight and Dean’s belief in his brother was unwavering. Dean was so proud of Sam.

Debbi:  My first thought was, ‘it’s about time’. Sam has proven himself over and over and over again and Dean should have loosened the reins much earlier. However, that’s not the show and this was a fundamental change in the way the two Winchesters relate to each other. Hopefully going forward, we will see them relating more as equals.

Dean’s Psychic Connection to Mary:

Jackie:  These were some of the most mesmerizing and heartbreaking scenes of the episode. In retrospect, it makes sense that Dean would be the one to try to pull Mary out of her mind controlled state. After all, he had a relationship with her, albeit a short one, before she died, something that Sam didn’t have. Additionally, he’s always placed her on a pedestal and has been reluctant in voicing his own dissatisfaction with her. These scenes were a wake-up call for both of them, I think. Dean realized just how flawed his mother really is and finally got to confront her about to confront her about all the ways she’s failed as a mother, and Mary finally had to face the reality that she’s not in her picture-perfect Heaven anymore. Altogether, I thought these scenes were the high-point of the episode.

Kelly:  There is nothing Dean will not do for family. He could have killed both Lady Toni and Mary but instead he chose to fight for Mary. “I’m gonna save mom” Dean told Sam.  It’s exactly what he set out to do.

Debbi: There was never any doubt in my mind that Dean would be the one to pull Mary out of her brain-washed state. Dean is the hero, sometimes reluctantly, but that is his role in their family dynamic. In this scene, we get to see both the deeply emotional Dean and the BAMF Dean – that is a perfect combination and certainly makes for great TV.

Dean’s Revelations to Mary:

Jackie:  They were long overdue. I thought it was interesting that Dean focused a lot on what happened to Sam as a result of Mary’s actions but barely mentioned his own ordeals besides having to raise Sam. Perhaps this was because she would understand the agony of having to watch someone whom you’ve raised and taken care of suffer and being unable to protect them. Whatever the reason, this focus made these scenes that much more heart-wrenching and poignant.

Kelly:  When Dean realized his mother was hiding in a memory and chose that memory over her own flesh and blood he got mad. “I hate you,” he said; and in that moment Dean really did hate his mother. In Dean’s mind, he had built Mary up to be a Saint after she died. Since her return, she wasn’t even close to being a Saint much less his mother.

“You lied to me. I was a kid. You promised to keep me safe and then you made a deal with Azazel.” Dean goes on to say that it wasn’t fair that he was not only Sam’s brother but his father and mother too. She failed Sam. Sam lost his girl, was possessed by Lucifer, tortured, and lost his soul all because of her. He tells her he hates her and loves her but most of all he forgives her. Dean is so desperate to have his mom back he begs her to really see him.

Debbi: It is a shame that the people who vote for the Emmy awards consistently overlook genre shows. Jensen Ackles deserves at least one for this scene, but there have been others over the years worthy of Emmy consideration. Dean opens his heart and bares his soul in an attempt to get Mary’s attention.  It is as brave and act as using the grenade launcher inside the bunker was.  While Dean is a very emotional man, he hides those emotions through action, sarcasm and wit to avoid dealing with them.  In this dream world, he bares his wounds with the knowledge that they won’t remain hidden once the psychic connection is broken.  He is and always will be a hero.

Sam working with other hunters to exterminate the BMOL:

Jackie:  It seems fitting that the Hunter community would have to band together to run the BMoL out of the United States. But, my goodness, there don’t seem to be that many Hunters left, does there? Or maybe it’s that Sam and Dean don’t have contact with all of them. I was surprised that Sam didn’t contact the Witch Twins for help but perhaps they didn’t answer. Nevertheless, Sam and the other hunters worked really well together.

Kelly:  My money would be on Sam leading the American hunters any day. I have to say they made the battle look easy. Sam took a pass on working with the British men of Letters to find Lucifer and instead he blew up their American headquarters.

Debbi:  I’ve got to agree with Jackie – where were the other hunters?  Is this all that’s left?  At least there didn’t seem to be too many BMoL to contend with.

Ketch/Lady Toni Bevell deaths:

Jackie:  I can’t say I was broken-hearted over them. I personally think that they got what they deserved. Ketch’s death by Mary’s hand was especially satisfactory.

Kelly:  I was completely happy with how both Ketch and Lady Toni Bevell died. I was glad it was Mary who killed Ketch.

Debbi:  I have nothing to add.

Family Reunion:

Jackie:  This was such a touching way to end the episode. Seeing Sam and Dean begin to mend their relationship with their mother was important to me, and that group hug? I may have shed a few tears.

Kelly:  For me, Mary’s confessions were too little too late. Dean has already accepted Mary and forgiven her. Mary being scared that Sam wouldn’t forgive her, found herself wrapped up in his arms. Sam telling his mother that she doesn’t have to be scared of him. Dean joining Sam and Mary for a family hug. I only wish this reunion happened at the beginning of the season.

Debbi:  It may just be me, but I honestly don’t care that much about Mary. That said, I’m glad that Sam and Dean were able to get some closure with her and perhaps some healing of the wounds she’s caused. I always love a brother hug and that it included Mary didn’t diminish it at all.

Overall Score:

Jackie:  A-

Kelly:  A+

Debbi:  A-

 

S12E23 “All Along the Watchtower”

Dean, Sam, Mary:

Lizzy:  That family hug at the end of ‘Who We Are’, was everything. The dynamic trio is back and working together like clockwork. Love these three together and they kick so much ass!

Jackie:  Once Dean and Sam cleared the air, so to speak, with Mary, the three of them were able to work together as a more effective team against Lucifer. I only wish that we could’ve had more time to watch their relationship grow to a healthier place. In retrospect, it makes sense that Mary would sacrifice herself to stop Lucifer; after all, it is the Winchester MO, after all. Furthermore, it parallels Sam’s sacrifice in “Swan Song.” Hopefully, we’ll get to see how she’s faring in that alternate world next season.

Debbi:  Honestly glad it wasn’t either Sam or Dean making a sacrifice this time – those boys have been through enough.  I’m not sure Mary had time to figure out that she was going along for the ride to the alternate world, although I believe she would have stepped up regardless.  Mary helping Kelly through her labor was very poignant.

Ketch:

Lizzy:  Bye Felicia. So, glad he is gone. He creeped me out from the beginning and I loathed the Mary/Ketch love triangle.

Jackie:  Ketch’s death was the most satisfying one of the season finale. I only wish he had suffered more. Nevertheless, the fact that Mary was the one that got to take him out made me happy.

Debbi:  No tears here!  I do have to give kudos again to David Hadyn-Jones who played Mr. Ketch.  You know you’ve done a great job with a character when the entire fandom celebrates his death!  Well done, David.

Crowley’s return and sacrifice:

Lizzy: Well, if there is one thing I have learned, it’s never to count Crowley out. The fact that his hatred for Lucifer surpassed his love for himself was pretty insane, but I still believe Crowley pulled some sort of Voldemort soul splitting maneuver so he can come back.

Jackie:  Oh, this made me sad 🙁 I’ve really grown to like Crowley (and Mark Sheppard) and thought that he would be around until the series’ end. However, I felt that the writers gave him a hero’s exit. There was a time when Crowley wouldn’t even consider sacrificing himself to benefit the Winchesters, but that time is long past. I’m just grateful that his death wasn’t in vain.

Debbi:  While I will mourn the loss of both Mark Sheppard and Crowley, I’m thrilled that the showrunner/writers kept to the canon of having Crowley hold onto some of the humanity he developed at the end of season 9.  It was heart wrenching to see him sacrifice himself and yet I was so very proud of him. Sheppard and Crowley will be missed… although, knowing Crowley, that may not have been his “Swan Song”.

Cas:

Jackie:  I loved seeing Cas preparing for fatherhood! It was so sweet! Cas being killed in the last minutes cannot last. I really feel like Jack will have the power to bring him back. Btw, happy 100th episode Misha!

Lizzy:  I confess that I haven’t been a huge fan of Cas’s storyline this season. Between his continued search for a purpose and his dedication to protecting Lucifer’s offspring, I spent the majority of his scenes being annoyed. I just didn’t understand how he could keep falling for the same trap and making the same mistakes over and over again. With that said, I was kind of upset that he died the way that he did. He wanted to go out in a blaze of glory, sacrificing himself to stop Lucifer. He failed. Lucifer got the best of him, and if it wasn’t for Mary, would’ve probably succeeded in his plans. In a strange way, though, it’s also kind of fitting considering his character.

Debbi:  Cas’ attempted sacrifice was a lack-luster end to a lack-luster plot line. I know Misha and Castiel are fan favorites, but TPTB need to find something meaningful for him to do next season or write him off. Over the years, they have diminished a once powerful angel of the Lord to a sometimes funny, sometimes irritating side-kick and the character and actor deserve better. I too believe it will be Jack who brings Cas back.

Kelly and Jack:

Lizzy:  There were some really sweet moments in this episode. When she was sending him a video message and letting him know he was loved… so sweet! Kelly made the ultimate sacrifice for her son and I feel as though she will be rewarded in some way.

Jackie:  This was my least favorite storyline of the season so I really don’t even want to waste any more time talking about it. I found Kelly annoying and ultimately did not care what happened to her. I am intrigued by Jack though. Is he good or is he evil? That final scene with him in it didn’t leave me with warm and fuzzy feelings, so my guess is that he’s inherently evil.

Debbi:  Although there were a few sweet scenes between Kelly and Cas, Kelly and Mary and Kelly and Jack, I too am done with the Kelly storyline. I think Jack will prove to be formidable and I don’t think he’s going to play nice.

AU Bobby:

Lizzy:  Who else squealed with joy when Bobby was on screen? Because I sure as heck did! I just immediately let out a high pitch scream. I am so excited for him to be back! He is such a bad ass no matter what dimension he is in.

Jackie:  Oh, how I’ve missed Bobby! I love Jim Beaver and was hoping that the show would bring him back. Furthermore, I’m excited to learn more about that alternate universe. Hopefully, Bobby and Mary team up to fight Lucifer and the other supernatural beings tearing that world apart.

Debbi:  I loved seeing Bobby (Jim Beaver) again! He looked tough and badass and I assume he will be on hand to shepherd Mary through the AU landscape.

Episode Grade:

Lizzy:  A, for Bobby, but what was that with Rowena in the beginning? No way they unceremoniously killed her OFF SCREEN.

Jackie:  This wasn’t as strong as the first part so I’m giving it a B-.

Debbi:  B+ and the plus is for Bobby’s return.

Season Grade:

Lizzy:  A! There were a lot of great moments and fun monsters. I really did not like the killing of Eileen, but overall it was a great season with fantastic acting and story lines.

Jackie:  Altogether, I found this to be one of the weaker seasons of the show. There were too many divergent storylines, some of which were downright boring (cough, Kelly and her baby, cough), and I don’t think they did as much with the BMoL as they could’ve done. Therefore, I give this season a C.

Debbi:  This is quite possibly my least favorite season of all time (and yes, I’ve considered season 7 into my calculations).  There were too many guest stars with story lines that detracted from the main story and took the spotlight off of Sam and Dean. Everyone talks about the show being great because of the brothers and their relationship; let’s feature that instead of stupid reboots of “Rosemary’s Baby”.  I’m also sick to death of Lucifer. Pellegrino does a credible job as the archangel, but his shtick has gotten old; it’s time to move on already.  My grade for this season is a C-.

Predictions for S13?

Lizzy:  Ok, SO excited about this. I think Bobby is going to team up with Mary to get her back to her world and Bobby will come back, even if it is just for a few episodes, to take out Lucifer. Jack will bring Cas back to life, and we will see Jack start out good, but will try another sort of apocalypse deal trying to weed out the bad elements on earth.

Jackie: First, I don’t think Cas is going to stay dead. I think he’ll be brought back by Jack. I only hope that Crowley and Rowena return too. I also think that we’re going to be flip-flopping between the regular “Supernatural” universe and the alternate one, and I’m really excited about that.

Debbi:  Cas will be back and Mary and Bobby will navigate the AU landscape trying to get back to Sam and Dean’s world. Lucifer and the other angels will hamper their efforts. Sam and Dean will spend much of the season searching for a way to get Mary back and trying to control Jack. I’d love to see Rowena back, but am afraid one resurrection is probably her limit. I’d also love to see Crowley return, but suspect Mark Sheppard has gotten another job – possibly a lead role in a series.  With any luck season 13 will be heavy on the Winchesters and light on the guest stars.

There you have our season 12 wrap up.  Comment below and let us know what you think!

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