Supernatural is the form of present that takes a sadistic glee in emotionally compromising episodes — it is like That is Us however with extra exsanguination. Have a look at any checklist of “nice” Supernatural episodes and you are going to see the likes of “Religion” and “Thriller Spot” and “What Is and What Ought to By no means Be.” And in lists curated after Feb. 7, 2019, I feel you would possibly simply see “Lebanon” begin to seem.
The hour begins out primary sufficient — Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) roll into Treasured Pawn. (Ah sure, I’ve pawned many an engagement ring in a store similar to that one, besides I am fairly certain the tremendous secret again rooms in these institutions simply contained lifted DVD gamers and never an assortment of supernatural swag.) The primary 15 minutes of “Lebanon” are a enjoyable romp that would have occurred in actually any season of the collection (aside from Season 5, as a result of Season 5 was emo); Dean and Sam casually avenge a hunter, clear out Treasured Pawn’s catalogue of loopy, and chase some children throughout city after they steal Child, as unhappy youngsters do. I really like that, initially, the native teenagers in Lebanon view Dean and Sam as these outdated weirdoes, crafting elaborate tales about them that in some way aren’t as bizarre as the reality.
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However that is the 300th episode of the collection. It has been on the air for 14 seasons. It is already been renewed for a 15th season. Supernatural is sort of sufficiently old to drive and I feel it is necessary (and far appreciated) that the collection acknowledges that in “Lebanon.” For the reason that present began, we have seen Padalecki and Ackles evolve from the newest crop of WB (sure, WB!) heartthrobs into husbands, fathers, enterprise homeowners, and administrators. Padalecki was barely sufficiently old to drink a beer when this collection started. Ackles’ voice was noticeably greater, that face noticeably smoother — and that is not a knock on them for being “lol outdated.” Padalecki is like 5 minutes older than me and we’re not outdated, thanks very a lot. I am simply saying that this can be a collection that we have now, in a manner, grown up with. To insist that Dean and Sam be seen in the identical manner, as these attractive, mysterious, harmful daredevils who blow out and in of cities on the tail of some spooky taking place or one other could be to show the collection right into a parody of itself. Typically, it is completely effective to behave your age.
The way in which the locals view Sam and Dean can also be an necessary think about one of many underlying themes of “Lebanon” and, after all, the collection as a complete. Sam particularly referred to the Males of Letters bunker as “dwelling” when he and Dean began clearing out the pawn store, and it was such a fast however poignant second. Sure, lastly, in any case this time, the Winchester boys have an actual, fastened place on the map that they will name dwelling. They’ve turn out to be locals themselves, and that attractive serial killer vibe that obtained Dean Winchester laid in Season 1 does not play so effectively whenever you’re pushing 40 in a city so tiny that the postmaster can let you know the place the lady who stole your automobile lives, and the place her mother works, based mostly on the outline that she’s blonde.
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No matter how the youths initially seen Dean and Sam, nevertheless, via their interactions with the mail woman and the liquor retailer proprietor, it is obvious that the Winchester boys (effectively, the Campbell boys), usually are not outcasts in any respect. They’re part of this group. They’ve extra going for them in life than simply the hunt, the revenge, and the cycle of emotional constipation that outlined their lives for therefore lengthy. A protracted, very long time in the past, Dean Winchester stated “it ends bloody or unhappy.” Perhaps it does not must, although. Enter John Winchester (Jeffrey Dean Morgan).
Oh, it ends bloody and unhappy for John. There is not any altering that. Whereas cataloguing Treasured Pawn’s extra fascinating merchandise, Sam discovers a magical, wish-granting pearl. The lightbulb goes off over that shaggy head and he convinces Dean to carry the pearl, want actually laborious, and eventually get Michael out of his head. The pearl grants the proprietor what their coronary heart most wishes and what extra may Dean probably need than Michael out of his head? Effectively, Dean has, by his personal admission, wished precisely one factor and one factor solely, since he was four years outdated: his household, collectively once more.
It was a pleasant attempt, Sammy. Good effort.
I side-eyed the convenience with which John Winchester, freshly plucked from 2003 and dropped within the magic doomsday bunker in 2019, purchased Sam and Dean’s story. This can be a John from two years earlier than the collection even begins. The bitterness towards Sam leaving for Stanford was undoubtedly contemporary. Would not this have additionally been across the time ol’ Yellow Eyes’ plans began to turn out to be identified to John, beginning our speedy descent into Crazytown and “oh, btw Deano, you may need to kill Sammy” territory?
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You are telling me that John, in peak-psycho-hunter mode, poofs right into a magical bunker virtually 20 years sooner or later, finds out that each of his youngsters have been repeatedly possessed by all method of supernatural baddies; have been to literal hell and again (and heaven, and a pair alternate universes); have turn out to be BFFs with an precise angel; have adopted Devil’s spawn; and oh yeah, Saint Mary the Fridged is alive and effectively and badass as hell… and that each one of this will get plunked into John Winchester’s uncompromising hunter-brain and he is similar to “I’m so grateful for this time we have now collectively.”
“Lebanon” is not an episode that advantages from an excessive amount of logical considering, however possibly that is the purpose. It is an episode that depends closely on magical considering and it’s pure want achievement. Dean wished for his household, and that want was granted. After all, in typical Supernatural vogue, Dean and Sam aren’t allowed to have good issues and the achievement of Dean’s want compromised the world because the occasions from the final 16 years of their lives started to unravel. In a world the place John Winchester is not destined to die in 2006, Sam graduates from Stanford and turns into a kind of Steve Jobs determine, full with douchey turtleneck. Dean is on the FBI’s most wished checklist, however, ever the martyr, he is apparently cool with that so long as it means he will get his household.
Sadly, if John does not return to 2003 and proceed to tug his boys down the street that results in the beginning of the collection, the occasions of the collection by no means occur. This has cosmic implications, actually, as all that world-saving the Winchesters engaged in turns into unsaved. All of the individuals they rescued over time are resigned to their bloody fates. Castiel (Misha Collins) reverts again to his Outdated Testomony self, untarnished by the Winchester meddling that humanized him over time. There may be additionally the little downside that if John lives, Mary (Samantha Smith) dies. If the occasions of the collection by no means occur, then Mary is rarely resurrected. Mary Winchester dies in 1983 and that is the place she’s going to keep.
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The Winchester household — John, Dean, Mary, and Sam, collectively once more if just for a second — determine that John must return to 2003 and his unhappy and bloody destiny, and John is OK with that as a result of he is a horrible, tousled one that loves his household and it is clear the place Dean will get his martyr advanced from. John returns to 2003 the place that final supper along with his household is simply an odd dream that can certainly be forgotten by the point he is making a cope with Azazel in a hospital basement. It’s Supernatural‘s most sacred guiding rule of the universe: the Winchesters by no means, ever, get to have their cake and eat it too.
And that is… OK. Dean tells Sam, “I am good with who I’m. I am good with who you might be,” and that is what any 14-year-old wants to listen to, even when that 14-year-old occurs to be an immortal little present on The CW. That line encapsulated the expansion that this collection, its stars and crew, its followers, and its world have skilled within the lifetime that 300 episodes represents.
It hasn’t at all times been enjoyable. The street hasn’t at all times been clean. Plans have backfired. Buddies have died. Fights have been bitter. Silences lengthy. Perhaps this is not the place everybody thought they had been going to land when this loopy street journey began, but it surely’s the place we’re meant to be, and it is dwelling.
SOME NOTES AND QUOTES
– That was a pleasant wanting John Wayne Gacy ghost. KUDOS to the make-up crew.
– You saved the world… and now you reside in a secret bunker with an angel and Lucifer’s child?” It does not take a lot to sum up how bizarre this present is.
– Oh Robo-Cas, what tingly emotions you encourage. Keep in mind when Castiel was highly effective and scary and never a child in a trench coat?
– It was very superior to see Kurt Fuller once more as Zachariah. I missed that a-hole angel.
– I assumed I’d hate Sam’s forgiveness scene with John as a result of I habitually apply manner too many private emotions to that specific relationship, however I used to be pleasantly shocked to be OK with it.
– John and Mary positively ran off and did a horizontal tango whereas their youngsters awkwardly walked as distant as doable, proper? We are able to agree that that is what occurred there?
– Dean, to Sam, concerning John Wayne Gacy’s haunted cigar field: “That is the perfect worst factor to occur to you since you love serial killers however hate clowns.”
Supernatural airs Thursdays at 8/7c on The CW.
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