Last night's season finale of Supernatural brought to a conclusion the often-murky battle to stop the Leviathans, and especially their corporate overlord Dick. We've had some outstanding episodes this season, but we've also had a lot of disappointments — especially when it came to exploring all the Leviathan conspiracies, all of which went nowhere. The same could be said about the season finale, "Survival of the Fittest." We got some good closure, and a few crisp, funny scenes, but we also got some frustrating randomness too.
A special note for those of you tuning in every week
Sorry I didn't recap the last few episodes — I was traveling in Turkey and the UK, and didn't have a chance to catch the shows as they aired. For the record, my favorite of the episodes I missed was "The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo." That was terrific, plus it advanced the plot in really fascinating ways. Let's see more Supernatural like that! In fact, I want a spinoff with just our cool hacker geek and the awesome AP student prophet, fighting to decode the universe.
And now back to our regularly-scheduled recap
This episode had a lot of explaining to do. First of all, we had all the random conspiracies attributed to the Leviathans — everything from a secret cancer center (whose geographical coordinates Bobby died to pass along to the Winchesters), to a junk food mind control scheme. Second, we had Bobby's ghost rage issue (and possession). Third, we had the boys trying to whip up their blood bone weapon thing from the tablets translated by the tragically underused prophet Kevin Tran. And fourth, we had Cas doing his River Tam impression, acting like a psychotic, superpowered innocent child who just wants to do ballet. Last things first.
Let's play Twister!
I was terrifically glad that Dean finally delivered the "buck up and take responsibility for your shit" speech Cas had been needing to hear for about 6 episodes. After Cas spent most of this episode doing what Meg called his "emo" thing, making everybody sandwiches that don't include any mind-poisoning processed corn syrup, he took things too far. Instead of helping to plan the attack on Dick and Co., Cas suggested they get a cat and play Twister.
That's when Dean tells the fallen angel to cut it out with the "I'm broken" routine and help them. Now that Dick has hidden himself by making a bunch of Dick copies, the boys need Cas on site at Sucrocorp when they zoom in for the attack. After all, as Meg points out, Cas could recognize any of the Leviathans under the meatsuit — he had all of them inside him. Cas agrees, and admits that he's been hiding from his mistakes.
Let's bone some nuns!
This whole "get the blood of everybody" subplot has been one of the weak, confusing bits this season. We started out with the Leviathans representing a giant conspiracy threat, and now we've kind of boiled them back down to a typical monster who can be defeated with a recipe. Though I liked last week's meeting with the Alpha Vamp, the search this week for the bone of a pure-hearted nun felt kind of like padding thrown in just for the joke potential — Dean makes the inevitable nun boning joke, and later Cas sniffs the bone they retrieve in a weird way and notes that Sister Mary was a good choice. OK, what?
Anyway, they've been counting on getting Crowley's blood, but Dick waylaid our favorite King of Hell first. I loved that Dick had that fluorescent ceiling light with the demon holding glyphs on it. There's an extremely funny scene where Dick offers Crowley all the souls in Canada, in exchange for Crowley's promise that he won't help the Winchesters. Weirdly, the Leviathans seem not to realize there are parts of the world beyond America and Canada. There is a long "haggling over a giant legal contract" scene, which ends with us thinking Crowley has betrayed the boys.
But no — the fact is, not even a Leviathan can really out-lawyer the King of Hell. Crowley has some kind of legal loophole that allows him to help the boys at the last minute. But first, before harmony can be restored to the universe, we had to deal with the Bobby Issue.
Let's conveniently get rid of this subplot!
This season, the ghost Bobby subplot suffered from let's-do-too-much-itis, which is exactly what you could say about the Leviathans too. Instead of dealing with Bobby as a character, and how the brothers get (un)comfortable with his ghost, we got a "Bobby is going crazy with vengeance" simplification. Which — it wasn't so much a simplification so much as a "let's gloss over all these other issues by layering on something which is very easy to resolve." And indeed, once Bobby isn't a person anymore, but is instead a one-dimensional ghost whose only attribute is "I might go crazy and kill you," we don't have to deal with any ambiguities.
So Bobby has possessed an innocent woman, and is going to use her to go into Sucrocorp to attack Dick with a knife. When Sam tries to stop him, he tries to kill Sam — and is then booted out of the woman's body. OK, that was easy. He's dangerous, and sees the error of his ways, and asks the boys to burn the flask that's keeping his spirit on Earth. There's some burning, some sadness, and now Bobby is really gone. That was a serious anticlimax.
Let's smash things with a car and than do some wubbly-bubbly!
As I mentioned earlier, the Leviathan arc this season has been an example of how NOT to do a conspiracy plotline. I blame Lost for making television writers think it's OK to lead us in twenty million false directions and then never account for any of them. I feel like every time we re-meet the Leviathans they're up to yet another weird, nefarious thing that basically boils down to "let's eat people." This time, they're inventing a dairy creamer that will instantly kill people who are skinny — because they want to create good human breeding stock as quickly as possible.
Yes, this is gross, but I am confused. I mean, why not just eat all the skinny people first and leave the fat ones as breeding stock? Why waste all that tasty human flesh by just killing them? The whole scene where Dick strips a skinny teenager and shoots her up with death junk felt like a cheap excuse to show us a teenage girl in lingerie wiggling on the floor in her own barf. Which — nothing wrong with that, except that DON'T WE HAVE ENOUGH LEVIATHAN PLOTS ALREADY? I mean, did we really need another scene reiterating that these guys are evil human-eaters who want to control our minds with corn syrup and vitamins and cancer cures? Also, what about those cancer cures? Why do you need them? Is cancer poison to the Leviathans? Gee, if we'd only paid some attention to that plot instead of letting it fall by the wayside we could have had plot DEVELOPMENT, instead of plot DISCARDS.
I was so grumpy about all this that it was even hard for me to enjoy watching the boys' magnificent attack on Sucrocorp, with Meg smashing through the Sucrocorp sign in the Chevy and the boys giving Dick the old nun stick in the throat. What was that wubbly-bubbly thing that happened to him before he exploded? I don't know, but it was very Saturday-morning-cartoon awesome.
And now it's time to process our feelings
So we're sort of back to square one at the end of the episode. When Dick whooshes out of existence, back to Purgatory, he brings Cas and Dean with him. Sam is left gasping in confusion, staring helplessly at Crowley. As for Crowley, he gloatingly explains to Sam that he's taking Meg back to Hell with him for a good roasting, and leaving Sam all alone without anybody at all in the world.
So next year it's going to be early season 6 all over again, with the two brothers separated. Sam is bereft, still half-crazy, and has no idea what to do. Dean is stuck in monster town with Cas in River Tam mode. The brothers are separated! We already heard "see you next season" from Alpha Vamp, so we kind of know what to expect, unless that was just a misdirection!
This season should have ended with a bang, but all I wanted to do when it was over was whimper.