Supernatural had a lot to prove this season. Eric Kripke planned out a five year storyline for the show and delivered it more successfully than I think anyone could hope for. Off the back of that success he passed on the show runner duties and left his successors trying to work out what you do after you’ve fought the apocalypse and won. Oh, and one of your two lead characters is dead. Good luck with that.
The way the writers seem to have gone is to pull out elements of previous seasons and turn them on their heads a bit. So there’s a strong element of monster-of-the-week to many of the stories, but sometimes the boys are actually having to protect those monsters from even worse monsters. The ‘alpha’ monsters are also a way to up the drama levels, after all taking down a standard vampire or werewolf wouldn’t be much of a challenge for the team that took out Lucifer.
There was also a nice turnaround on the plot of season 1 as the brothers gradually learn how to work together again after being separated, except this time it’s Dean who’s been living a ‘normal’ life and is more aware of the impact of their actions while it’s Sam who is committed to the fight and sometimes gets carried away. Although it’s great to see the characters when they’re happy and working well together, it’s of course far more interesting to see them challenged and struggling to suss out their relationship again.
What I haven’t enjoyed this season so much is the way the boys always end up pretty much alone. With the exception of Bobby, they lose absolutely everyone that gets close to them. It’s getting to be quite ridiculous that absolutely no one except the seemingly invulnerable Bobby survives befriending (or be-villaining for that matter) the Winchesters. This season the writers seemed to go out of their way to bring back characters that were already dead, just so they could be killed off all over again. It’s not only frustrating because the supporting characters are generally pretty good, but by continually isolating the central characters we miss out on some really interesting and entertaining relationships, which show the boys from different perspectives.
The thing with Supernatural is that it covers a lot of ground, from the extremes of ridiculous comedy to the depths of heartbreaking despair. It’s one of the things that I’ve always admired about the show. However it can also be slightly exhausting, after their five year arc built up to the climax of the apocalypse it might have been nice to just relax a bit, give the guys a break and have something… anything… work out for them. It’s a credit to the writers and actors that they’ve crafted characters that I care so much about that I ‘d rather watch the stand-alone throw-away episodes than the ones where masses of plot and development happen.
This is one of the reasons it’s taken me a long time to write this review. I wanted to write a good review, because fundamentally the season was really very good, doing all the things that I’ve always loved about Supernatural – excellent acting, entertaining writing, beautifully developed characters and complex but engaging plots. However rather than leaving me feeling satisfied, it left me feeling sort of weary. So my hope for season seven – lighten up on the guys, just let them hunt some monsters and catch some good luck for a change.