It feels weird to be writing this like it’s business as usual. Supernatural returned Monday night, I’m still two days late on the review like always, and Chuck has this weird obsession with the Winchesters that I’m seriously starting to question. Monday night’s return was supposed to kick off the nine-episode home stretch toward the series’ end. Instead, Supernatural, like many film and television shows, has shut down production amid concerns of the ever-spreading COVID-19 virus, with two episodes left to go on their final season. The somewhat bittersweet news to come out of this is that we’ll get to keep Supernatural a little longer, but it’s still unclear on when those productions will restart (or if they will).
In a bit of weird timing, “Galaxy Brain,” written by Robert Berens and Meredith Glynn, begins with Chuck visiting a Radio Shack-like store called Radio Shed on Earth 2. There, he monologues to a poor Radio Shed employee about how every world he created is ungrateful of his generosity, so it’s time to shut them down. On the wall of television screens, we see glimpses of these supposedly different worlds, a lot of them with various versions of Sam and Dean. “It’s time to start cancelling shows,” he says, just as we go into the title card. In the middle of a global pandemic, with productions shutting down left and right, Chuck just broke the ultimate fourth wall on a show famous for breaking the fourth wall.
Chuck’s obsession with the Winchesters is bordering on the edge of an idea I’m not particularly fond of. It’s not a new idea that the brothers have turned into larger-than-life figures in the supernatural and hunter world. Season 5’s whole thing put them into the biblical shoes of Lucifer and Michael. Season 12 had them visiting an apocalypse world in which it’s said that things got really bad because Sam and Dean were never born. But that simply felt like a cause and effect idea, the apocalyptic doom of that world directly related to the events of Season 5. Chuck, who is supposed to be God in this show, has turned them into unbelievable martyrs that exceed every biblical metaphor the show has done before.
This bothers me. In Supernatural, the religious connotations have mostly been used as mythology and lore. There’s a heaven, there’s a hell, there’s even archangels and Lucifer himself. Since their introductions, they’ve always been treated as just another part of the supernatural world. God occupies a metaphor based solely on stories and people who write them. Chuck then is the ultimate storyteller, deciding whose story is most important. Even though he’s dead-set on destroying the Winchesters, his focus on them gives the brothers a status of untouchable levels of heroism. The episode “The Heroes’ Journey” said something similar when it posited the idea that to be the hero, you must possess a level of physical strength and power. Normal people can’t be heroes and they certainly have to be Sam and Dean.
I know this show has always been about the brothers. However, it’s been on the edge of an ensemble show for years, but it never makes the leap like it should.
Sam and Dean know this apocalyptic stuff doesn’t mean they ignore when people are in trouble. Given rules by Billie as Death to only focus on the bigger picture, Sam, Dean, and Jack decide to break them once they learn Kaia is alive in The Bad Place when her doppleganger kidnaps Jodie to force Dean to relinquish the spear he took from her. They rescue Jodie, then they rescue Kaia. “Doing the dumb, right thing. Feels like we’re back,” Sam says. It’s a fairly simple mission, though. Kaia’s doppleganger, the hooded spear-wielding assassin, decides to stay behind in her world even as it’s ending. It takes about a minute of screen time, making Castiel’s plea to Jodie to stay behind feel even more like condescending bullshit. Let’s sit the one recurring female hunter we have out for a trip that poses absolutely no danger, narratively speaking.
Doing the right thing is a good heroic calling. But only if you’re Sam or Dean. Only if you’re Castiel or Jack.
The failed Wayward Sisters spin-off ends with a fizzle as Kaia’s doppelganger dies without much fanfare and Jodie takes our Kaia back to her place, presumably to live out the show’s only same-sex relationship with Claire, but offscreen. Jodie and Kaia’s departure feels like an end. I hope we see them again.
While it’s great to see Sam and Dean try to go back to their roots, the pacing of these stories provides unbalanced screen time in the name of Winchester importance. The difference between Season 15’s apocalyptic doom and Season 5’s was the larger world implications of the latter’s end-of-the-world scenario. Despite Sam and Dean’s role as stand-ins for Lucifer and Michael, with God absent and the angels proving again and again they don’t know what they were doing, Sam and Dean sort of felt like they stumbled into being world heroes. Now, they’re Heroes. It doesn’t feel the same.
This Week’s Wayward Thoughts:
“Sir, this is a Radio Shed.”
Cas and Jack playing Connect Four.
Why have Jodie and Cas never met in person before this? Another reason this show should have been made more of an ensemble a long time ago.
Really wishing we had that Wayward Sisters spin off. Kaia is such a fastening character and I wanted to learn way more about her, her doppleganger, and their shared dreams.
We get a flashback to season five and Julian Riching’s Death talking to Dean in the pizza parlor: “In the end, I’ll him [God] too.” Somehow had forgotten this bit of information. Seems Billie might be the one to take Chuck down.
I’m also curious to see if they will follow destiny this time, or band back together as Team Free Will.