Feb 12, 2011

Supernatural - Season 5


Manipulated by Ruby, Sam killed Lilith and thus broke the final seal to Lucifer's prison. The devil is freed from his cage, and Armageddon has come. And Castiel has died protecting Dean from the archangel tied to the prophet Chuck. But another force intervenes, and at the last second before Lucifer is unleashed upon the world, Sam and Dean find themselves on a plane, away from immediate danger. What's more, that same force has brought Castiel back from the dead.

But the Winchesters' roles in the Apocalypse have just started. Because it turns out that for the final battle between Lucifer and his big brother Michael to happen, two very special vessels are required - an obedient older brother and a younger one that ever rebelled against an unfathomable father. Sam and Dean are the true vessels of Armageddon. But for an angel to occupy a vessel, it has to first give consent. And so the quest for preventing the final battle begins.

Season 5 of Supernatural is the heaviest in terms of plot yet. Initially planned as an ending to the Winchesters' story, it goes on to resolve most of the issues the brothers have between them, and even takes some time to flesh out Bobby and Castiel, making them full-fledged support cast. There are almost no stand-alone episodes, and when there are, they are also either tied somehow to the main arc, or used to further develop the brothers.

Two other characters receive more attention, one of them old, the other - a newcomer. The first is everyboty's favorite Trickster (Richard Speight Jr.) who turns out to be so much more than we originally thought (and the screenwriters originally planned, I bet). He also leads by far the funniest episode in the show yet - the hilarious TV show hopping Changing Channels where the Winchesters are trapped in TV-land and have to play roles to survive. The Trickster has a bigger role to play too, and although it's obvious he wasn't conceived as such from the beginning, it ties perfectly with the show's concepts.

The new addition is the insanely charming and obnoxious demon Crowley (Mark A. Sheppard) - Lord of the Crossroads and a craven opportunist whose instinct of self-preservation makes him want to help the brothers ice the devil. You know he's awesome when he complains about how other demons are after his ass with the immortal words "They burned down my house! THEY ATE MY TAILOR!" Sheppard was pretty great in Battlestar Galactica as the smartass lawyer Romo Lampkin, but his Crowley here is such a disarmingly horrible person, that you just have to love him.

And then of course, there is Lucifer (Mark Pellegrino), riding an imperfect vessel until he can persuade Sam to say yes. The fallen angel is just as cool as could be expected, going more Milton than Bible in being honest, calm, and at the same time utterly maddened by the desire to take revenge on his father for casting him down just for loving him too much. He doesn't need rage, because he knows that he will win, and is almost serene in the knowledge. A very strong character that doesn't have nearly enough screen time.

There are no weak elements that I haven't addressed in previous reviews. Of course, it's a little annoying that a season that has obviously been thought of as final, turns out to not be so, but it doesn't really suffer from that business decision. Some bad acting happens here and there, some weird plot holes, some easy saves where no easy saves should occur, and of course the usual "we can't really do issues well"... wait for it... ISSUE. But nothing that would spoil the fun.

All in all Season 5 is probably the best season of the show so far. True, the plot drags on occasion, but the main arc is so rich and interesting, that it compensates fully. Almost all the episodes are strong, with appearances from damn near every character this show has ever had, plus some new ones. The angels are still trying to outdick the demons (Zachariah wins the cherry with his awesome "Lucifer might be powerful, but I am petty!") while humans can't make heads or tails of what's happening around them. The four horsemen ride on unorthodox steeds, and in the utterly awesome Hammer of the Gods even some pagan deities make appearances. The Apocalypse is no longer nigh, it is here, and it is happening. And Supernatural pulls it off beautifully, managing to finish the season in the most perfect way imaginable. I'm really curious to see how Season 6 will pick up the story.


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