“Alpha and Omega”
May 25, 2016
THE ROAD SO FAR
Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
They stood, and Earth’s foundations stay;
What God abandoned, these defended;
And saved the sum of things for pay.
Chuck’s body falls to the floor with a thud.
Sam helps Dean to his feet. Dean tells him to check on Chuck before limping over to Cascifer. He kneels next to the angel and claps a hand on his shoulder. Dean frowns, his face hard … until he realizes it’s Cas looking back at him, not Lucifer. Castiel says the archangel is gone. Amara ripped him from the vessel.
Chuck slowly comes around. He grimaces in pain and says he feels like the bug who just hit a windshield. And whatever Amara did to him – he is dying. Fading. He thinks she could heal him, maybe,
” … but that’s never going to happen.”
The power station door clangs open. Dean reflexively draws. “So, that was a gun in your pocket.” Crowley strolls in soon after his mother. His review of their team effort? “Well, that was a complete, and utter, dog’s breakfast.”
“I didn’t know dogs had breakfast.”
Rowena asks if any of them have looked outside. They file out into the parking lot. The first thing anyone notices is the giant smite mark on the pavement. Rowena touches a hand to Dean’s shoulder to get his attention. He follows her gaze to the oddly unnatural pink-orange sun hanging low in the sky.
Castiel says the sun is dying. Without it, everything on Earth will just waste away.
When’s the last time you watched a sunset without waiting for something to go bump in the night?
Chuck snaps them back to the Bunker. He says he still has a few tricks up his sleeve … and then proceeds to “faint like a pregnant lady.” Sam catches him and helps him over to a chair. Cas turns to Dean. What do they do now? Sam and Crowley look to him as well, waiting for the answer. Dean marches out of the map room with a look of grim determination on his face.
He goes to the kitchen, grabs a six-pack from the fridge, and starts drinking.
Sam is appalled, but he shouldn’t be surprised. This is what Dean did in “Meet the New Boss” after Cas cracked open Purgatory. At least now he’s not also watching Asian cartoon porn.
Dean says they hit Amara with everything they had, “and she walked it off.” So it’s last call. If Sam has something for him to punch, shoot, or kill, Dean will. He’ll do it until he dies.
“But how are we supposed to fix the friggin’ Sun?”
Dean decides the one six pack isn’t going to be nearly enough. Time for a beer run. “No reason to die sober.” Crowley is having the same thought. He sniffs the decanter in the library and nearly passes out from the fumes. Clearly not his brand.
Rowena tends to Chuck. She calls him Charles. She says she’ll put the kettle on. Her mum always said there’s nothing a nice wee cup of tea can’t fix.
Crowley listens to his mother fuss over God and tries not to gag. After she leaves the room, Crowley tells Chuck she’s using him. “It’s what she does.” She finds someone with power, cozies up, and digs her claws in.
“I’m not calling you, ‘Dad’.”
Chuck is still slumped in a chair. He can barely hold his head up. He says Rowena has been nice.
“Now is kind of all we’ve got.”
Over tea, Rowena tells Chuck about Crowley’s childhood. She says he was bright. Walked before his first birthday. But he hated pants. She laughs as she remembers him running naked around the village, just flapping in the breeze. Chuck says Adam and Eve were the same way. “Kids.”
Crowley is sitting off in the corner nursing the bottle of Craig he found stashed in a cupboard.
“I’m so glad the world is ending.”
Sam comes into the library and his can’t even just can’t. He shouts that they should be doing something! Anything! Anything would be better than * angry hand wave * this! Chuck understands Sam’s frustration, but says there’s nothing they can do. He’s dying. And when he’s gone, the cosmic balance between light and dark will be ended.
Sam suddenly has his Plan B. He says if they can’t cage Amara, then they’ll kill her. Balance restored.
Dean is in the car with Cas. Castiel is second guessing his decision to say yes to Lucifer. He says he was stupid. Oh, Cas. In Season 12 can our angel please have a win? Something that gives him back some sense of self worth? After the Leviathans, Purgatory, Metatron, and Lucifer he’s been turned into a punching bag.
Remember when Castiel was a badass?
I would really like for show to remember too. REMEMBER, ANDREW DABB. REMEMBER.
Dean reassures Cas that he made the right decision. It was their best shot and he took it. Dean says that’s not something he or Sam could have done. Castiel says he was just trying to help.
We know, Cas. We know. And I know it’s not his fault – he’s just written that way – but maybe he should help less.
But Dean says Cas does help and admits that he and Sam don’t always acknowledge him. That they get too wrapped up in their psychotic, irrational, erotic codependency and ignore everything else. But Cas is always there.
“You’re the best friend we’ve ever had. You’re our brother, Cas.”
Sam summons them back to the Bunker and makes his pitch for Plan B: The Killening. Dean is game, but he has to ask – how? Amara seems impossible to destroy. Chuck has been pointedly silent during the discussion. He hems and haws when Sam asks, “Is she?” He snatches the bottle from Crowley and reluctantly admits that light may – might – be Amara’s weakness.
He didn’t say anything before because he just wanted to trap her. “I didn’t want to murder her.” He says 10,000 suns sets to supernova would do it. Any other day he could just “God ’em up,” but not today. Today all Chuck has the strength to do is curl himself around Crowley’s bottle.
Sam remains upbeat. They’ll just workshop the problem! He asks Rowena about the Book of the Damned. She scoffs and throws up her hands. Killing the Darkness is beyond the Book’s power. Crowley?
“Oh, I got nothing.”
Castiel suggests souls. He says they’re full of energy, full of light. He once described them as nuclear reactors.
He guesses each one is as powerful as 100 suns.
Rowena quickly warms to this idea. She says if they can get her enough souls, she can build a bomb. The more souls the better. Castiel will go to Heaven and see what they can spare. And for the rest, they can use ghosts. Dean calls them souls with baggage. They can get all they need at Waverly Hills. Crowley calls the plan desperate and stupid.
“Well, desperate and stupid is pretty much all we’ve got right now, so.”
Louisville, Kentucky. One of the most haunted hospitals in America. Standing outside the abandoned sanatorium, Dean is having doubts. All they have is Rowena’s word that the spell will work, and the “wee crystal will suck up all the blimey ghosts.” They just have to say the magic word.
Sam eyebrows at Dean as he mimics Rowena’s accent. Or tries to. He seems to be veering more Irish than Scottish. He’s been listening to his David Boreanaz language tapes again.
Inside, the EMF redlines and squeals in delight. So many ghosts! ALL OF THE GHOSTS! The boys select a large, airy day room for the trap. “Alright, let’s bust some ghosts.” The lighting in this scene is kind of amazing. The boys are backlit, putting them totally in shadow.
If you hit pause in the right place, it looks like there’s a void where they should be. It’s almost like they’re spirits, too.
The actual spirits of the dead make their presence known but keep their distance. Sam tells Dean to lay the salt lines; he’ll go piss off the ghosts. Shooting ghosts in the face with rock salt. Shooting ghosts in the face with rock salt. Shooting ghosts in the face with rock salt. Sam never seems to reload. How many barrels does that shotgun have?
Sam backs into the room followed by a cadre of ghosts. Dean takes aim over the door and shoots the ‘lock’. Salt spills down onto the floor, trapping the ghosts inside the room. The plan seems to go sideways as the ghosts swarm them. Dean grabs the crystal from the duffel, tosses it in the air, and yells the magic word.
The wee crystal explodes with purple light. One by one it sucks up all the blimey ghosts until the room is empty. The boys consider the crystal as it glitters and glows atop the duffel.
“Go magic word.”
Soul count at the Bunker. Cas says that Heaven won’t help. They know God is dying and they don’t think Team Chuck can win. So they’re sealing up Heaven and “dying with dignity.” Crowley also came up dry. He says he had all the souls they need, but while he was … indisposed … a group of demons raided his stash.
As they ponder their soul deficit, the lights in the war room turn from white to red. “Well that can be nothing but good news.” Nearly in tandem, Sam and Dean take aim in the direction of steady approaching footsteps. The front door groans open and Billie the Reaper walks into the Bunker.
Sam starts to ask how she got in, but abandons the question. Who can’t get into the Bunker anymore? Thanks for that
Buckner and Ross-Leming Andrew Dabb. He asks instead what she’s doing there. She says she saw them at Waverly Hills. She’s a curious kitten. After all, dead folks are kind of her thing.
Dean eyebrows at Sam. Doesn’t seem any point in lying, so. Sam tells her they’re collecting souls to build a bomb. Billie eyes the glowing purple crystal and says, “Okay.” The ways things are going, she’s about an hour away from reaping God himself.
And, Hi. Remember when we first met Death in Season 5 and he told Dean that he was as old, or older than, God and that one day he would reap Him, too? Sure would be nice if we got some resolution to the whole killing Death thing.
Anyhoo, Billie decides to help. I guess everything ending makes it hard to throw the Winchesters into the Empty. It’s the little things that get you through the day. She offers them a tip for next time.
“You want souls? Call a reaper.”
Amara has found a beautiful, quiet garden in which to wait out the end of all Creation. She’s joined by an elderly woman. The woman drops bird seed for the pigeons along the ground and the edge of the fountain. She has a British accent and I’m immediately put in mind of the “Feed the Birds” scene from Mary Poppins. I get verklempt at that scene every time.
Bird Lady sits next to Amara and compliments her dress. She says it’s fancy for the park, “but at least you’ve made an effort.” She offers the bird seed and asks if Amara would like the feed them. The Darkness folds her hands in her lap. She says she shouldn’t. She seems a little embarrassed, as though acknowledging that she doesn’t have the right now to care for her brother’s things.
The woman shrugs. She been feeding the birds for 20 years. She says they’re practically family – and she doesn’t care if that makes her sound like a crazy old bat. This family doesn’t keep slipping her brochures for retirement communities. She calls them places where they send old folks to die.
Amara takes this to mean that the woman hates her son. The woman doesn’t disagree. She sighs and says, ” … a little bit. Sometimes. But you know family. Even when you hate them, you still love them.” Amara looks stricken.
Billie holds the crystal outstretched in her hand. It sparkles quietly to itself and then flares with light. Glowing blue-white souls swirl around the war room. Billie says the crystal has absorbed a couple hundred … thousand. She raided the Veil.
Well, there’s that hanging chad sorted. But it still seems like a pretty raw deal for all those souls! Locked out of Heaven for two seasons only to be weaponized? What happens to the souls when the bomb goes boom? And is Heaven still closed for business? Is the Veil just going to fill up again?
WITHER THE SOULS? WON’T SOMEONE THINK OF THE SOULS??
Rowena stares at the crystal almost in a daze. All that power. Billie hands it off to her and takes her leave. She’ll see ’em around. “Just hope it’s not today.” She makes a point of acknowledging Crowley before she leaves. The most wonderful expression comes over his face – a combination of flirty and bashful.
Ooh, there are stories in that expression! Well played Mark Sheppard.
Chuck says he can track Amara. She’s no longer warded against him. “Why would she be? She won.” All that’s left is someone to carry the bomb. Someone who can get close to her …
“Someone with a personal connection.”
Dean is all like, ‘You had to go there, Cas. You had to make it weird’. Rowena clarifies that Dean won’t carry the bomb.
He’ll be the bomb.
As the tinkly piano of Dean’s Family Theme starts up, Rowena explains that she’ll take the souls from the crystal and put them ‘here’. She lightly touches her hand to Dean’s chest. He’ll have about an hour before the souls go critical. Once he’s close to Amara, all Dean has to do is press his fingers together like so.
“Dean, you know you don’t have to do this.” Sam shifts his weight from foot to foot. It’s a little late for that, but he can’t not say it. Dean appreciates the out, but he wouldn’t take it, even if he could. He says he just has to get close. He can do that. He looks down at their mother’s grave.
“I can do that.”
Dean claps Sam on the shoulder. He knows he’s carrying a one way ticket. He walks through the falling petals from the flowering trees towards the car. Sam hangs back. He reaches out and leaves a kiss on Mary’s headstone.
I’M NOT CRYING, YOU’RE CRYING.
Chuck is standing by the car, supported by Rowena. He’s not at all “cool with this”. He says after everything Amara has done, she’s still his sister. “She’s my family.” He doesn’t want to see her dead, but … “I understand.”
Castiel comes up behind Dean and pulls him into a hug. Dean lets himself enjoy the embrace. He knows it’s the last time his angel will grip him tight.
Cas offers to go with him, but Dean has to do this alone. He looks over Castiel’s shoulder at Sam. He says if – when – the plan works, Sam is going to be a mess. He asks Cas to look out for him. “Make sure he doesn’t do anything stupid.”
“Thank you for everything.”
The “Americana Theme” transitions back to the “Family Theme” as Dean leaves his final instructions. He says he wants a big funeral. He’s talking epic. “Open bar, choir, Sabbath cover band, and Gary Busey reading the eulogy.”
And for his ashes … Dean looks around the cemetery like he’s seeing it with fresh eyes. He smiles. He likes it there. “You know, as far as eternal resting places go.” Chuck nods. Consider it done.
Dean makes a, ‘Welp, can’t put this off any longer’, face. He pulls the car keys out of his pocket as the “Family Theme” swells. Sam shakes his head, his sad b-face refusing to believe that this is the last time they’ll say goodbye. My heart! Dean says he knows the drill.
“No chick flick moments.”
Sam reluctantly takes Baby’s keys. “Yeah, you love chick flicks.”
“You’re right, I do.”
They break apart and Dean says, “Let’s do this.” With a snap, he’s gone.
The rest of Team Soul Bomb go to a bar – The Lazy Shag – to wait. It’s locked and deserted. “One little Apocalypse and they shut up shop. Quitters.” Crowley mojos the door. “Your round, Moose.”
Dean waits for Amara in the garden. When she appears, he tells her he’s come to give her what she wants. He walks towards her explaining that, if becoming a part of her takes him away from watching everything he loves die, then he’s in.
“You … and that bomb in your chest?”
Amara says she can taste power come off of him. Oh, that’s not the bomb. Blame the musk.
Dean has never been able to hurt her before. Amara wonders what makes this time any different? He says he doesn’t have a choice. What she’s doing to the sun … Amara cuts him off. That’s not her. She says the scales are tipping as Chuck grows weaker. “Away from light … into nothing.” When he is gone, everything will cease to exist. Including her.
The sun grows more dim. Everyone sits in silence in the darkening bar. Crowley picks through the beer nuts. “Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying” plays. The music cues, always on point. Well played. Sam checks on God. Chuck is in a corner, curled in on himself. He looks terrible. He says he’s aces.
Dean insists that Chuck doesn’t want this – any of it. It wasn’t his idea. Amara is family. Her brother doesn’t want her dead. Is this what Amara wanted? She quickly and firmly says no. She just wanted to hurt him. She spits that she wanted to make God pay.
“Yeah, that’s revenge.”
Dean says it will get you out of bed in the morning. And when you get it, it feels great … for about five minutes. He’s been there. And he and Sam have had their fair share of fights. “More than our share.” But he says no matter how bad it got, they always made it right.
“Because we’re family.”
“I need him. He needs me. And when everything goes to crap, that’s all you’ve got. Family.”
And Dean thinks Amara is no different, all powerful being or no. She simply needs her brother. Dean says maybe that’s why she wanted him. But he’s not Chuck. So maybe he pulls the trigger and Creation lives happily ever after – or maybe they die bloody.
“Or maybe it doesn’t matter … because maybe there’s a different way.”
Dean asks her – pleads with her – to put aside the rage and hate and decide what she really wants.
Sam goes to the bar to pour Chuck a glass of water. When he turns back, Chuck is gone.
Chuck glares at Dean wondering if this is some kind of double cross. Dean nods at Amara, silently encouraging her. The Darkness bounces on her toes, at a loss. She takes a deep breath and says in the beginning … it was just the two of them. They were family. They loved each other. But then he went and made all these other things. She hated them.
“I hated you for needing something else. Something that wasn’t me.”
And then Chuck locked her away. And all Amara could think about was making him suffer. She thought revenge would make her happy. “But I was wrong.” Amara looks around the garden with tears in her eyes. She says what he’s made is beautiful. It took her a long time to see that. She says they can’t go back – and she doesn’t want to.
“But I wish that we could just be family again.”
Chuck reaches out to her. He wants that too. Amara takes his hand. Energy glows between them. Dean looks up at the sky as the sun beams down on him. In the bar, light begins to stream through the half open blinds. “He did it. He bloody did it.” Sam looks devastated.
See. SEE? This is what happens when people LISTEN TO DEAN.
Amara heals Chuck. They both look at Dean with shining gratitude. Chuck says they’re just going to go away for a while. I guess they’re taking my advice about finding a nice island outside of space and time. But first, he’ll take the bomb out of Dean’s chest. Dean tries to breath through the pain as Chuck pulls the souls from him.
Dean looks stricken as he realizes Creation is being left on its own again. “What about us?” Chuck says Earth will be fine.
“It’s got you. And Sam.”
Chuck is certain that they’re up to the job. Dean is clearly not so sure. Amara says Dean gave her what she needed most. “I want to do the same for you.”
The Light and the Dark joins hands. Together they evaporate and entwine together up into the sky.
The sun sets. Sam and Cas return to the Bunker. A chirpy British voice greets them. The bloody hand attached to it activates a banishing sigil. Castiel zaps away in a blinding flash of white light. Lady
Toomy Tunni Toni Bevell pulls a gun and introduces herself. She’s Men of Letters, London Chapterhouse.
I’m just going to call her Lady Cardboard, because so far, that’s all this character is.
She appears to have used a key to get in, which is just precious. In answer to Sam’s eyebrows shooting up over his forehead, she says he won’t of heard of them. They’re very traditional. Keep out of the way. Keep to their studies. Except when they don’t.
She’s there to take him in.
She says they’ve been watching the Winchesters. What they’ve done. The damage they’ve caused. “Archangels, Leviathans, the Darkness …” She says the old men have decided enough is enough.
“I mean, let’s face it Sam. You’re just a jumped up hunter playing with things you don’t understand and doing more harm than good.”
I don’t care for you or your attitude, Lady Cardboard.
She asks where Dean is. Sam quietly says, “Dead.” Her face is in shadow so it’s hard to tell, but she seems to have the good grace to be affected by this news. Sam starts walking towards her. He says they both know she’s not going to pull the trigger. Lady Cardboard pulls the trigger. The ping of the falling shell casing echoes through the Bunker.
Dean walks through dense foliage. He doesn’t know where he is. Night has fallen. How long has he been walking? He holds his phone up, desperate to get a signal. He hears a woman’s voice calling out for help. He runs into a clearing and stops short when he sees her.
Well. For a show that typically spends all season telling you exactly how it’s going to end, I didn’t see that big reveal coming. And maybe I should have suspected. Now that we know what the season’s end game was, the set up is more apparent.
The episodes in the back half of the season felt disconnected from each other, but they’re all about family – the blood and choices that make them, the stresses that break them, and the extremes to which family can drive you.
That common thread of family helps the season hang together for me a little better than it did on first watch. There were points during the second half when the pacing just felt wildly uneven. And I was disappointed that after killing Death he was essentially never spoken of again. There was seemingly no consequence at all to Death’s death, which is just a cheap way to treat an amazing character and a missed story telling opportunity.
On the plus side, we did get Lisa Berry’s Reaper Billie. She was a delight from her first moment on screen and I hope we see more of her in Season 12.
The pacing (and other) issues may have been due to changes occurring behind the scenes. Jeremy Carver handed the Supernatural reins to writer Andrew Dabb at mid-season in favor of working on his new show Frequency. I don’t envy Dabb the task of trying to execute someone else’s vision while getting his feet under him as show runner.
That may also explain why, out of the last four episodes, three of them could have been season finales. And according to reports from Phoenix Con, Jared and Jensen argued that the season should have ended on “Don’t Call Me Shurley.” I can’t say they were wrong.
Also, what was up with Checkov’s Train Whistle? That whistle sounded in almost every episode, but whatever it was intended to signify or represent was never revealed.
Each season’s finale has tried to go bigger than the last, so it was kind of nice for all of the sound and fury to collapse back down to something small and intimate. While I didn’t care for the way Show portrayed the father/son relationship between God and Lucifer I did like the sibling dynamic between Chuck and Amara. Their reconciliation felt real and earned. Rob Benedict and Emily Swallow totally sold it.
And now, after defining the series by her absence, we have Mary back. You guys, I’m really nervous about this. There are not enough table flipping gifs on the interwebs if Show ends up bringing Mary Winchester back just to kill her again.
There are so many threads to tease out with Mary, and I really hope Andrew Dabb has a plan for her. I hope the writers – old and new – are up for it. Where does Mary fit? What does she remember? How will the deal she made with YED color her relationship with her sons? And what is it that Dean needs that only his mother can give him? Maybe finally a sense of security and self worth? Which again, if Show then just snatches it away …
Don’t make me start hate watching on your watch, Andrew Dabb.
There’s another mother who may have a role to play in Season 12 – Lady Cardboard. And unnnngh, you guys. There is just nothing about her or Chapterhouse London that I’m excited about. Despite the episode’s efforts to tell us something about her, she’s still just a cutout, not an actual character.
Here’s hoping that Season 12 opens with Dean and Mary walking into the Bunker to find Sam alone with his arm in a sling (again). Just ship Lady Cardboard off with Death, and the Empty, and the Hands of God, and the Samulet never to be spoken of again.
I would also accept keeping her around just long enough for Mary to beat her senseless for shooting Sam and then dropping her into a bottomless plothole.
The whole concept of the MoL London just makes me angry. Lady Cardboard mentions archangels and Leviathan – which all happened before the boys learned of the Men of Letters. So if London was aware of them, why not step in?
While the MoL may have looked down their noses at hunters, Henry did say in Season 8 that MoL shared their findings with a few trusted elite. And London had to know Sam and Dean were legacies. So why not bring them back into the fold? Why not teach them instead of sitting back and tutting at their perceived mistakes?
And I really don’t want Sam sitting in some MoL Black Site for half the season while Dean and Mary look for him, and Cas … well, who knows what Cas will be doing. Show hasn’t known what to do with their angel since Season 7.
But hey, Rick Springfield is joining the cast as Lucifer (which I’m actually kind of excited about), so we’ve got that going for us.
Supernatural Season 12 moves to Thursday, premiering on October 13 at 8:00 p.m. on The CW. Follow Whitney on twitter @Watcher_Whitney.
This post originally appeared on the Hearst site chron.com.