The Supernatural review: S05E11-22

The final part. From ‘Sam, Interrupted’ through to ‘Swan Song’.

Welcome to the final part of our Supernatural watch-through this summer, in anticipation of the show’s new series that airs in the United States on 24 September. Recapping the series has been a lot of fun, but more importantly it’s driven home what a skilfully plotted and crafted show this has been, and what an excellent (and demanding) job Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki have done, along with the excellent support cast.

Onwards, then, with season five, episodes 11-22.

‘Sam, Interrupted’
Writer: Andrew Dabb, Daniel Loflin / Director: James L Conway

A bit of a climb down after the emotional climax of ‘Abandon All Hope’ had to be expected, and in this return from the midseason break we have a classic Supernatural episode. As with most of Dabb and Loflin’s work, I’ve found, it’s solid but it lacks a certain punch. That being said, PUDDING!

‘Swap Meat’
Writer: Julie Siege / Director: Robert Singer

One of my least favourite episodes of season five. Given how original and hard hitting this season has been, why the show decided to do the Freaky Friday episode is beyond me. I didn’t get on with it, or find the humour particularly effective either. All in all, a poor effort.

‘The Song Remains The Same’
Writer: Sera Gamble, Nancy Weiner / Director: Steve Boyum

But of course, the show blasts back to form, even if the Anna character is cruelly treated and thrown aside, one of the reasons that I didn’t give it a full five stars. The plot itself is fun and engaging, and finally meeting Michael for the first time is threatening and exciting in the same measure.

‘My Bloody Valentine’
Writer: Ben Edlund / Director: Mike Rohl

Not the best of the Horsemen episodes by far, and a little bit confused in both direction and intent, ‘My Bloody Valentine’ nonetheless manages to squeeze a few great sequences out of its run time. And there was a return to juiced-up Sam, who it has to be said, really stepped up this time.

‘Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid’
Writer: Jeremy Carver / Director: John Showalter

Ah, zombies. It was only a matter of time before Supernatural did the zombie duck hunt episode, but they managed to accomplish it with style here. Points go for managing to invest it with subtle pathos as well, even more so if you know about Jim Beaver’s recent personal life as well.

‘Dark Side Of The Moon’
Writer: Andrew Dabb, Daniel Loflin / Director: Jeff Woolnough

I’m not sure whether to really like this episode, or dislike it. It’s funny, but uncomfortable, sinister but silly. I’m not so sure about Dean’s certainty he’ll be back from the dead, or of Ash’s brief cameo, but I really liked the ‘God doesn’t care’ angle being finally confirmed, and the effect it has later.

’99 Problems’
Writer: Julie Siege / Director: Charles Beeson

Very cool. After the shocking revelations of the last episode, drunk Castiel was a real treat for ’99 Problems’. It’s also good to have a very action-oriented episode to sink our teeth into, and the idea of a town specifically geared toward the Apocalypse was a pretty cool one by Julie Siege. It almost makes up for ‘Swap Meat’.

‘Point Of No Return’
Writer: Jeremy Carver / Director: Phil Sgriccia

I thought that the newest Winchester was inserted into the series merely as a trapdoor for the writers to escape from when they scripted themselves into a corner regarding Michael and Dean, and this episode proved me right. Sure, it’s entertaining, but there is a slight scent of cheating about it, from a narrative perspective.

‘Hammer Of The Gods’
Writer: Andrew Dabb, Daniel Loflin, David Reed / Director: Rick Bota

Silly. Very silly. It gets two stars because of Gabriel, but I’ve never liked the Old Gods angle that the show insisted on pursuing. It just doesn’t make sense in the wider context of the series, and the people here are more caricatures than anything else. Plus, I just don’t think Reka Sharma is a strong enough actress to carry the role here. Sorry.

‘The Devil You Know’
Writer: Ben Edlund / Director: Robert Singer

We all knew that Sam’s life had been shaped by Azazel from the start, but to what extent? A few pieces fall into place here, and the desperation and darkness is palpable. It also scores points for the return of Crowley, via Mark Sheppard, who’s become a real gem for science fiction of late.

‘Two Minutes To Midnight’
Writer: Sera Gamble / Director: Phil Sgriccia

I think the five minute sequence with Dean and Death is, hands down, my favourite scene in the series as a whole. Shades of Tarantino colour it, but the whole thing is unnaturally tense and perfectly acted. The rest of the episode is great, but nothing can really match up to how masterfully that scene was pulled off.

‘Swan Song’
Writer: Eric Kripke, Eric Gewitz / Director: Steve Boyum

I could write essays on the pros and cons of this episode, but taken as a whole and in context of the entire series, which has been building up to this point, it’s excellent. For 40 minutes it’s some of the best that the show’s ever produced, but I do think it should have ended with Dean on his knees at the graveyard. I’ve said that in print several times, and I won’t say any more on it, other than this is a satisfying finale. Good work.

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