Welcome back for our weekly Supernatural roundtable! This week our focus is the season finale, episode 11×23 “Alpha and Omega,” which was written by Andrew Dabb. Contributing this week are Michele Villery, Jackie Bojarski, Debbi Bach, Destini Nash and Elizabeth Schweitzer. If you would like to discuss the episode further, join in by going to the comments section of the page. We hope you enjoy this week’s topics!
Amara and Chuck:
Michele: I love Emily Swallow and Rob Benedict! Their performances were excellent. My issue with this episode was the battle of powers/Dr. Phil vibe. While I’m glad that Amara now understands humanity and Chuck doesn’t want anything to happen to his sister, this whole plot just felt flat. I expected more. What happened to all of the souls that Amara took? Are they gone? Do they come back? They’re were no answers. Chuck and Amara just left.
Elizabeth: I’m happy they made up without Amara or Chuck having to die or Amara having to go back into the trap. I’m also really happy this storyline is over so we can go back to having the boys do what they do best. Saving people and HUNTING THINGS. But, can I be selfish for a moment and say, if we are bringing back dead people, couldn’t they have brought Charlie?
Jackie: So….can we all agree that this was probably the most anticlimactic finale yet? I truly expected that we were going to see an epic, cosmic clash between light and dark, and this finale failed to deliver that. Instead, we saw Dean once again serve the purpose as a relationship counselor. With Dean’s guidance, Amara and God mend their broken relationship and then disappear together to make up for lost time. I don’t really know what they’re doing, and frankly, I don’t care. I’m just glad this storyline is over.
Destini: The relationship between Amara and Chuck always seemed childish to me, and as we got closer to the finale, that impression I had was heightened. By the time we saw its resolution in the finale, it did not have the same powerful effect as I hoped we would see from the season’s main villain being culled. Amara’s ‘end’ did not feel like the end of a season, but more like the end game of a much simpler storyline than season eleven’s was made out to be.
Sadly Chuck has without a doubt become one of my least favorite portrayals of God or a supreme being figure in the media. By the end of the episode and season, I felt left with a person with little to no backbone and kind of a selfish attitude towards his own creation- the humans. I understand Supernatural going for an alternative view of God, but there was not much that was Godlike about God at some point.
Amara’s rather immediate acceptance of Dean’s explanation and Chuck’s affection was also strange. After an entire period of trying to stop her, all she needed was a bit of mediation? It felt cheap, and not at any discredit to Dean’s speech because it was very special but I feel as though if the plan was to just have a family talk, a whole season wasn’t needed to set this up.
Debbi: I’ve not been a big fan of the whole Amara/darkness story line but love the way it ended. Although I’m sure some people may not be happy with giving God and his sister human qualities, I think it’s absolutely appropriate since we were made in God’s own image and it stands to reason that he would have given us some of his own insecurities as well. I think the fact that the Winchester brothers served as a model of family for both Chuck and Amara is just beautiful. In fact, these two couldn’t have had better teachers in terms of what family is and what family does for each other. Including the fact that you can love your sibling even when you want to beat the snot out of him!
The effect of the two of them turning to light and dark smoke and creating a double helix formation as they ascended back to the heavens was just beautiful and so very appropriate. I choked up a couple of times during this episode and this was one of those times.
Michele: Dean wouldn’t have given Cas a pass for taking on Lucifer. The Cas scene in the car was not in Dean’s character at all. Over the last two episodes, Dean has become a mediator of sorts. I think Dabb was trying to show a parallel between Amara/Chuck and Sam/Dean. Dabb was showing how siblings go through their ups and downs over the years. However, it was done too tidy in my opinion. I did think that it was interesting that Amara brought back Mary. I honestly thought she’d use her to get to Dean somehow. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.
Elizabeth: I liked the ghost hunting, loved “no chick flick moments”, his funeral requests, and no drawn out emotional speech about dying. Short and sweet. I’m happy he was able to help Amara and Chuck patch things up. I think this episode really highlighted his growth and maturity .
Jackie: I can honestly say that I wasn’t surprised that Dean was willing to sacrifice himself, since I saw a Swan Song redux coming a mile off (I was more surprised that Sam was so accepting of his decision, but hey, we should be used to OOC moments now, right?) I was disappointed that Dean’s primary role was as relationship counselor for these cosmic beings; it felt surreal and ludicrous. I was also confused by the cliffhanger. Since Dean made a point to accentuate how much he and Sam need each other, and since this was meant to parallel God and Amara’s complimentary relationship, why would Amara think that Dean needs Mary more? Is it just because he already had Sam? I guess we’ll have to wait and see what unfolds
Destini: Dean showed his capacity to be extremely self-sacrificial again, which never really makes me happy but it’s a trait of his that’s been there from the jump so it’s unsurprising. I was thoroughly moved by his and Sam’s parting words in the cemetery, and even more so when he again did the very ceremonious passing of the Impala’s keys to Sam.
Dean’s speech to Amara was awesome because there was a lot of growth shown to Dean as a character and man. He was able to give an amazingly strong and compelling message that also shows how much he cares for his family – not that there is a huge amount of doubt, but sometimes fans like hearing it for reassurance!
Debbi: The man who loudly pronounces “no chick flick” moments whenever he can, actually had a couple of them throughout the episode and I always love when Dean lets down his guard and shows his vulnerability. His talk with Cas in the Impala as they were making a beer run was a long time coming. Dean has treated Cas like a brother for a while now (as has Sam) but given Cas’ angel personality it did have to be said out loud to him for him to believe it. Of course, it takes the end of the world as we know it to prod Dean into action, but at least he didn’t let the moment pass without acknowledging how much Castiel means to the brothers.
The other time I choked up was the scene in the graveyard between Sam and Dean. Dean forever the big brother and Sam loving him despite it. I’m sure Sam was back at “The Mystery Spot” and remembering the experience of living without Dean as he said goodbye. It was both chilling and heartwarming. Stellar acting by Jensen and Jared. I felt every second of their pain and their loss.
Dean was also amazing with Amara. The bond they shared through the MoC was both frightening and frustrating to him, but when it counted he pushed his discomfort aside and spoke to her almost as he would to a child as he explained family dynamics and how you both love and hate someone equally. For a man who claims that all he wants is a monster to hunt and kill, Dean is amazingly patient when he needs to be and once he opens his heart you see the marshmallow that exists at his center. I always love this Dean and Ackles has nailed this aspect of Dean.
Sam (lack thereof):
Michele: I have so many feelings about this. I know they only have so much time to fit things in an episode, but after so many of Sam’s scenes were cut from the last few episodes, I’m concerned about how the writers are treating Sam. Both Jensen and Jared did well with what they were given. This isn’t a slight on their talent at all. But it seems there has been a slow deterioration of Sam over the last four years. This season finale really proved it.
Sam literally was voiceless. The Sam Winchester we all know would have stood up to Dean and protested when he sacrificed himself or even volunteered to go with him. Instead, Sam said nothing. We had glimpses of Sam when he kissed his mother’s grave and when he said something after he saw everyone else drinking in the bunker instead of figuring out a way to defeat Amara.
Sam thinks Dean is gone and now we meet Toni, from the London branch of the Men of Letters, who it seems has been keeping track of the Winchester Brothers. That ending scene will make for an interesting S12. I hope Sam and Toni become friends and she shows him the ways of the Men of Letters.
Elizabeth: Sam had no real place in this episode (until the very end), which was a shame, but I understand why. This needed to be a solo mission, Sam stepped up by not trying to stop Dean and allowed him to go. I’m excited to see where he goes next season now that the Dean/Amara relationship is over.
Jackie: Sadly, Sam had little to do in this episode. Apart from the touching hug he shared with Dean, Sam’s only other important moment involved him being blamed for…pretty much everything, even the things that weren’t his fault (I’m looking at you, Castiel; don’t fidget like you don’t know the Leviathans and the angels falling weren’t due to your misguided decisions). Seriously, this was the most eyebrow-raising part of the episode, and that’s saying something considering the whole thing was pretty eyebrow-raising!
I do hope that the writers allow Sam and Lady Toni to establish a friendship, provided she didn’t wound him too badly. It’s been a long time since he had a chance to forge a relationship outside of Dean, so this could be a great opportunity for that to happen.
Destini: I was not terribly happy with how Sam was written! From the jump, it wasn’t terrible because he had a fire in him, wanting to get things figured out when everyone else had seemingly become complacent with just twiddling their thumbs until the sun cracked like an egg. It wasn’t until Dean’s decision to be a soul bomb that I began to see a strange disconnect.
I felt as though Sam would’ve been a lot more combative about Dean’s decision to sacrifice himself. I also feel as though he would not have been okay, just sitting in a bar until it all happened. The same motivation he made in the beginning of the episode just up and left and we had Sam just waiting until it was done and his brother was presumably dead.
To add, there was just a general lack of Sam as an integral part of the solution in general, and he’s the co-star! He assisted in the ghost hunt, but arguably that’s it and that’s unacceptable.
Debbi: I don’t read the others’ roundtable comments prior to writing mine and in this instance I stayed away from Twitter as well, so based on the topic name I think that I may have watched a completely different finale since I thought Sam was central to getting the Scooby gang out of their trenches of depression and despair and on to solving the problem at hand. Without Sam kicking their collective asses, they may have seen the sun go out as they drank away their respective sorrows. In addition, this guy went all BAMF in the asylum and was both strong and loving as he stood back and let Dean do what they all felt was necessary to save mankind. That is a true hero, a loving brother and a good friend. Sam exhibited all of the qualities that make me love him so very much, including his understanding that his brother needs the spotlight in order to feel like he’s done his part. Sam gives him this gift every time without becoming resentful, that is the purest kind of love. Thank you, Jared Padalecki, for this incredible portrayal of the kind of heroism that is content to take the backseat and root for others and also steps up when necessary. This is a more difficult to role to take on in life and Sam handles it and himself heroically.
Michele: I can’t help but remember previous seasons, I saw a lot of rehashed things from season five in this season. In particular, one sacrificing themselves for the greater good. Although Dean and Cas didn’t quite do this, Cas’s taking on Lucifer was one of the weakest storylines in the series history. Cas knows how evil Lucifer is and because he wanted to redeem himself, he decided to let Lucifer in. Now, Lucifer is out. Which poses an even greater problem in Season 12.
Sam this season has had a lot of good things, but in these last couple of episodes, they have essentially made him a sideline character. All that Sam fought for in season five now seems to be in vain because they’re going to have to find Lucifer and put him back in the cage.
Jackie: What is canon nowadays? Frankly, I’ve given up on the writers staying true to canon; at this point, all I could wish for is that they don’t screw things up too badly (unfortunately, there have been quite a few monumental canon screw-ups). I don’t really know what the writers are doing or if they have a plan. I personally think their primary objective now is to try to do the most shocking thing, even if it doesn’t make canonical sense. Then again, maybe I’m wrong. We’ll have to see what season 12 has in store for us!
Destini: My canon issues stemmed from the character portrayal mostly. There were plenty of moments that felt very out of character and it really does make it harder to accept everything happening when a character or characters you’ve seen for plenty of seasons act completely different from you’re used to.
Debbi: I don’t really have much to contribute here other than this… It is hard to scream “canon breach” before a story is finished. An author (writer, showrunner) can lead you down a false path on purpose so that a reveal later in the story is more effective. More simply stated, you cannot trust that everything you’ve been shown is complete ‘canon’ until you’ve finished the book. There are many, many books that rely on an unknown fact or character to enter their story later that ends up changing things. This is true in real life as well and I personally am not too quick to jump on things that are presented differently from the way they’ve been in the past until I see where the author is taking us. Just my lousy two cents, but it’s a lot less frustrating and more enjoyable for me to view things from this POV.
Men/Woman of Letters:
Michele: I dug Toni. She’s an interesting lady. I liked how she was introduced. The Men of Letters has such a huge backstory that it’s time that they explore it. I’m curious about who her elders are. They’ve told her Sam was responsible for a lot of things he wasn’t responsible for… Cas was the one who let the Leviathans out, Toni.
I don’t think she shot him either. If she did, maybe it was with something to knock him out? Or it was in the shoulder? I don’t think she wants to kill him. She seems to want to punish both Sam and Dean for all the issues they supposedly caused over the years. Do the Men of Letters have trials? Will we see Eileen again? She’s a Women of Letters too. Dorothy (who is currently in Oz) is as well.
The Men of Letters has always intrigued me, I wonder if Toni takes Sam to London so he will learn more about his legacy.
Elizabeth: I’m excited about a new story line. Not going to lie, was looking forward to maybe a good vs evil witch thing, or maybe an entire season of Ghost Facers, but ok, men/women of letters from across the pond will do!
Jackie: So, the new Men/Women of Letters branch seems a lot like The Watchers’ Council from “Buffy”: stuffy, hoity-toity and irritating. They seem to like to insert themselves into situations and pass judgment without knowing the whole story–at least, that’s what Lady Tony is going to the Winchesters. But, she still has time to come around! I am excited to see what this new addition to canon will mean for the show and if we’ll see the brothers making connections with more Men of Letters. Here’s hoping!
Destini: We were introduced to a new MoL member during the last episode which was my first issue because I’m being shown a new, apparently important character during the last episode where I barely have time to learn about them or accept them.
To add, her explanation of their MoL chapter’s way of working was pretty infuriating. The fact that they like to stay quiet implied that even during the previous, possibly world-ending events, they decided they weren’t going to have anything to do with it. However, Sam and Dean Winchester alone are menaces enough that they have entire pin boards of their pictures in a basement somewhere. Their priorities already seem ridiculous.
Even in the episode, they were more concerned about capturing Sam and Dean than fixing this issue with the sun breaking. I’m not understanding this chapter of Men of Letters’ focus but it doesn’t seem to be for the greater good of mankind.
Debbi: I’m guessing when the Men of Letters was first named they were composed primarily of men but now I’d argue that they are using ‘men’ as a universal pronoun for people in general regardless of gender. We’ve met a few women who have been associated with other MoL societies as well as some from the past. Additionally, there has already been mention of other MoL locations so that one showing up in London or perhaps the UK is a better description, doesn’t come as a huge surprise to me and I like the fact that they are expanding on the MoL storyline. I think that there is a lot that can be added to the story by the incorporation of other locations and associates. It gives the Supernatural ‘verse more room to expand and develop stories.
Toni was a cool one and I don’t for a minute believe she actually shot Sam – certainly not to kill. I think it was an ‘I mean this so listen up and stop screwing around’ warning. It is apparent she’s not working alone, but it is too early to actually determine what her (or their) agenda is with the Winchesters. Even the storyboard in her bunker doesn’t necessarily mean that they are out to permanently remove the Winchesters from existence. We are definitely going to have to wait and see what direction the show chooses to take.
I don’t see a topic for the reappearance of Mary Winchester so I’ll throw it in here. I believe that she is, in fact, alive and on earth – Dean isn’t hallucinating or on another plane with her. She is here and will undoubtedly be confused by her resurrection. It will be interesting to see how they plan to play this plotline out as well.
Michele: I honestly have no clue. The mytharc has ended, but we now have Mary Winchester back, Lucifer out and the Women of Letters who want to put Sam on trial. So who knows. Also, what is up with Crowley and Billie?
Elizabeth: Sam is very intellectual and I think will get very sucked into the Men of Letters and all they can teach him. Crowley will have something bigger up his sleeve than the king of Hell, maybe the new Death? I mean, what was that odd moment between him and Billie? No clue where they are going with the Mary/Dean story, though. Will have to wait and see!
Jackie: For season 12, I think we’re going to learn a lot more about the Men of Letters and what they do. I also think we’re going to find out that Mary is either a ghost or that her presence on Earth is temporary. I just can’t see them keeping her around for more than a season.
Destini: Well I already predict we will find Sam in captivity of the MoL England chapter. I reckon they will interrogate (and probably torture) him for answers. I also have had this theory that the MoL may be run by someone with a darker plan for a while now, so that might come to light!
I also predict that Mary Winchester is not here for good. Amara told Dean she would give him something he wants, not that he needs. I predict that Dean has something he wants to say to his mother, and Amara has given him the opportunity to.
Debbi: Overall the episode left a bunch of doors open for season 12 to explore and if the quality of the episodes continues into S12, we could potentially see some episodes that break into people’s top 5 or 10. That is my hope anyway.
I think having MoL outposts active in Europe will open up a bunch of new lines of inquiry that could crop up as issues for the guys to chase down. Also, there is a chance (slight, I know) that we could see a return of the Styne family. They referenced their cousins in Europe so the UK MoL could know about them and I still hold out hope that they are eager to avenge their family in the US and get hold of their book again.
OK, just glanced at Jackie’s comments – I’ll add this about the MoL vs. the Watchers from Buffy. Watchers were actually first introduced in Anne Rice’s books about the witches in New Orleans (The Witching Hour is the first of this series and extremely well written). Her organization (also UK-based) was called the Talamasca. This concept was picked up in the TV series Highlander both which were in existence before Buffy hit the airwaves. I don’t think the MoL watch as much as these other organizations who were determined to record events as the unfolded and not interfere with them. I think the MoL and the hunters are partners in maintaining the safety of humankind from Supernatural threats.
Michele: C. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good. It was just dull, except for the final 2 minutes. However, I’m still here for you Supernatural!
Elizabeth: B. I’m excited to move on, but was not all that exciting of an episode.
Destini: C. Not the strongest season finale, but this wasn’t the strongest season either. I do believe they have plausibly set themselves up to do something of interest next season so I’m still on board. I can’t quit this show!
Debbi: I abstained last week because I wanted to see how the writers/showrunner wrapped things up. I am very happy with episode 23 and scoring 22 and 23 combined gives them a B-.