A Pit Stop at The Crossroads: Thoughts on Supernatural at SDCC 2016
Thoughts on Supernatural at SDCC 2016 – Originally published on Rain Man Digital
By Thomas Cowley
We are now firmly in the middle of July. That means Hellatus sits before us stretched across the horizon like the harsh wilderness of yesteryear. And we collective settlers seek to make our way across this brutal land in the hopes of finding a better life in the month of October. And like those bygone settlers, we must be careful in planning this three-month long expedition because if we are not, there is a very good chance we will resort to cannibalism. Lately I’ve been too preoccupied to dwell on Hellatus as I recently dealt with the arduous process of moving while simultaneously dealing with enough home repairs to give someone the impression that I had converted the place from a shanty town. However, as San Diego Comic Con was in full swing my phone blew up with Supernatural news that has been just interesting enough to grab my attention. That, and there is a limit to the number of photos I can be subjected to of Ryan enjoying a lovely time with Ruth Connell in comfortable California while I moved furniture from house to house in Arizona, without air conditioning, in the middle of July like I’m re-enacting the construction of the fucking Pyramid of Giza. My point is I needed the distraction so let us talk Supernatural.
There has been quite a bit of information about titular season 12 at comic con this year. Perhaps I’m getting old or I’ve spent too much time out in the sun this past weekend, but I do not recall nearly as much information about the upcoming season in years past. Amara was discussed certainly, but not at length and there was nothing but rumors in regards to Chuck’s ultimate purpose, and even those were the same rumors that had been buzzing about the fandoms for the past 6 years like the world’s oldest and most obnoxious fly. This year we got a fair amount of information both on the goings on within the show as well as behind the scenes and for once, I am taking that as a good sign. Season 11 had enough reveals and major moments that they never really had to sell it to us. Conversely, there was a lot of showmanship around the concept and promotion of Demon Dean, and like a snake oil salesman it turned out to be a lot of hype because they knew that the presentation was worth more than anything they were selling us. Unfortunately, by the time we had realized it they had already rode off into the distance. While they are obviously trying to promote the show, it feels like the promotion this season has more substance and less sensationalism.
Mary’s Return – The biggest cliffhanger of the season was undoubtedly the return of Mary Winchester. Mommy dearest has been absent for most, if not all, of their lives due to her whole burning to death while pinned to the roof thing; a fact that has been a cornerstone of Dean’s character since the pilot episode. His idolization of his mother compared to the harsh realities of her as a person is a concept that has been touched on in seasons past, but they were always portrayed as small glimpses into her life and do not represent her as a person which is the same defense one would use to try to explain incriminating Facebook photos to a potential employer. Of the two brothers it can be safely assumed that Sam will be the more level headed during the family reunion. Never having truly met her, Sam has no memories or misconceptions about her and theoretically, will be able to see her for the person she is rather than the person he wants her to be. On the other side of the coin, Dean is the one that has to worry about getting his heart broken yet again. It was after all his deepest desire to have his mom brought back into his life regardless of the implications the same way a belligerent drunk wants one more for the road as he stumbles out the door, spilling beer on a passing police officer during Drunk Driving Awareness month. Watching the struggle unfold as Dean’s idealistic vision of his mother, the patron saint, is challenged by the realities of her character will be an interesting one as it is bound to clash with Sam’s more grounded view of the woman. It is quite possible that a central conflict for Dean this season is the clash between his loyalty to family and the idea that family does not end with blood.
Lucifer vs Castiel – The reveal that Lucifer is still alive and floating about the ether seeking a vessel like some sort of homeless angelic fart cloud should come to no surprise to any true Lucifer fan. You do not kill off the main baddy of your franchise with a supposed “death” that had less emotional impact than deleting your spam email. We do find out that Castiel has an axe to grind against the anarchic archangel due to having to ride bitch in his own body for the better part of a year. Then there was that coquettish little tease when we discovered that Castiel has in some way gotten his groove back and will be more reminiscent of his previous incarnations which I am looking forward to, but with my trademark bitter negativity at the ready. Presumably this would mean the more violent and militaristic Castiel that we first saw when he “gripped us hard” during his introduction. Because I know something certainly gripped me hard during that amazing scene, and is it suddenly hot in here? As to whether or not this will be a true return to form for our formerly feathered friend all we can do is wait and see, but it certainly is a believable route to take the character down. If there is one person that would require Cas to put on his big boy trench coat, an archangel who rode you the same way a parasitic wasp rides the caterpillar it lays its eggs in would certainly be a good choice.
Back to Basics – A storyline in a show can be a lot like sex; once you hit a particularly good climax it’s time to take five and enjoy a cigarette and this is something that the show is taking to heart this season. According to Robert Singer, after introducing the biggest characters in the show to date, God and Amara, the show will be going “back to basics” with smaller stories with a stronger horror focus. A strong push back to the horror side of things would be a good way to tell smaller stories that are still engaging, as well as provide the appropriate backdrop to display Mary Winchester’s hunting prowess and how she will work with the boys. Plus nothing says “quality family time” like risking one’s life to kill monstrosities from beyond the grave. Perhaps they could try something really outside the box and play Monopoly together, though that may turn into a gunfight as well if art does in fact imitate life. I cannot speak for everyone, but at my house someone buying up the final property in a monopoly you were gunning for and then charging five times the price is a good way to get shot.
The Prince of Hell Returns – One unexpected return this season will be Gavin, Crowley’s son and the would be Prince of Hell. It has been just over two years and nearly 3 seasons since we last saw Gavin, left alone in the 21st century with no money, no identification and no fucking clue what was going on. Knowing Crowley, he has been under surveillance ever since the King of Hell changed fate and saved his son during a rare moment of humanity once Abaddon was safely in the grave again. With Hell finally showing Crowley once and for all where he can stick it and a new found relationship with his mother (however strained), perhaps he will focus his efforts on a new goal and reconnect with his son. Or perhaps he will simply use him to further his vengeance against Lucifer. Or perhaps they will wander off to the land of the mole people for all we know. Regardless, this bit of information is special to me as actor Theo Devaney who portrayed Gavin in Season 9 was our first interview on Supernatural: The Crossroads, so suffice it to say his return will have a bit of extra meaning to us. Perhaps a second interview will be in order should things go well for him. But knowing the Crowley family dynamic, he may want to look into that “revive my dead corpse” McGuffin his grandmother found so useful. Just a guess, but something tells me it would behoove him to have a few tricks up his sleeve.
Originally published on Rain Man Digital