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Supernatural: A Tale of Two Finales

There's formulaic, but this is just ridiculous.

MaryAnn Sleasman

It took an entire season of aimless wandering, but Supernatural finally had its devil baby and of course there was a labor scene and Mary Winchester (Samantha Smith) said to Dumb Kelly Kline (Courtney Ford), "Your contractions are five minutes apart. It's almost time." And then I started mean-laughing because no.

Other than the hilariously-unrealistic-but-woefully-standard presentation of a TV labor and delivery, Supernatural's double whammy of a finale also gave us...well...it's hard to describe. Everyone died, but that's par for the course for a Supernatural finale to the point that even Castiel's (Misha Collins) SHOCKING death at the hands of Lucifer (Mark Pellegrino) wasn't particularly shocking, but hey at least we have an entire summer of sad-Dean-pining-for-the-angel-peen fanfic to fill the void.

Castiel is fine, you guys. He's fiiiiiine.

Also "fine" this week: Dumb Kelly, Rowena (Ruth Connell), a bunch of nameless hunters, Lady Toni Bevell (Elizabeth Blackmore), Ketch (David Haydn-Jones), a bunch of B-MOL lackeys, and Crowley (Mark Sheppard). If we really want to talk about shocking deaths, let's take a look at Crowley's random act of self-sacrifice while Dean (Jensen Ackles) fruitlessly reenacted scenes from Scarface with an angel-killing gun and a reluctant Lucifer who, it turned out, was immune to this week's wonder weapon because, idk, it was convenient to the plot. And no, I'm not willing to accept the "archangel" argument. Gabriel was an archangel and a plain old angel sword did him in way back in Season 5. Therefore, it stands to reason that the big boomstick that fires bullets made from angel swords would have no problem taking an angel of Gabriel or Lucifer's caliber down. Of course, we spent half the series leading up to the first apocalypse counting on the Colt to "kill anything" and then Lucifer was immune to that too. Go figure.

Is Supernatural just rehashing its classic fifth season?

Supernatural's two-hour finale managed to land firmly in the realm of one of my biggest television pet peeves: the two-hour "special" that isn't special at all. It was two very different and separate episodes aired back to back and as a result, the "2-hour finale" felt disjointed and a lot like we were supposed to be sitting there with a checklist, making sure all of the plot points for Season 12 were conveniently wrapped up and that all the comfort food aspects of a Supernatural finale were featured.

Defeat the evil B-MOL? CHECK.

De-program Mary? CHECK.

Kill someone important? CHECK. CHECK. AND CHECK.

"Carry on My Wayward Son?" CHECK.

Bro-hugs? Bitch/Jerk? CHECK AND CHECK.

"Who We Are" saw Sam (Jared Padalecki) lead a victorious assault on the British Men of Letters' stateside base, clearing the way for the follow-up episode, "All Along the Watchtower," to address Kelly Kline, Lucifer, and their unholy bun in the oven. As far as Supernatural finales go, "All Along the Watchtower" will not go down in history as one of the series' best. That pesky checklist vibe carried over from "Who We Are" and all of the finale notes were hit with mechanical precision -- which is the problem, of course. It's fine to joke about the Supernatural finale formula. It's born out of the sort of love that keeps a goofy little CW show on the air for over a decade and becomes its own sort of contribution to the love fest. Who is going to die this season? Who is going to make a "shocking" return? Will there be a single manly tear of man angst running down Jensen Ackles' face? How far into the episode will bitch/jerk be substituted for an actual emotional conversation? Or will we get an actual emotional conversation before someone's big damn hero routine? How long will it take for the Winchesters' latest victory to come with a bitch of a downside?

"All Along the Watchtower" hit those points, but with that same sort of bored detachment that plagued Season 12 as a whole. Apparently Supernatural has a multiverse now, with baby Lucifier Jr. tearing a door between this world and one in which Sam and Dean were never born and humanity was perpetually locked in a battle between Heaven and Hell even though we know Azazel had other special children stashed across the country and, theoretically, if Sam had never been born, one of those children would have been Lucifer's one true meatsuit, therefore setting off the events that started us down this long road so many seasons ago. It's possible that such a fate has already come to pass in the colorless wasteland on the other side of the tear -- I wouldn't mind Supernatural exploring that world when the series returns in the fall, and given Mary's unfortunate captivity on the other side of reality, it's safe to assume that Sam and Dean are hardly going to let a little thing like the birth of a reality-altering monster-baby and death of a BAFF (Best Angel Friend Forever) keep them from rescuing their mama.

Then again: Adam Milligan, anyone? Anyone? I mean, if we're making checklists of unresolved plot points, can we please, someday, maybe address that one?

Supernatural will do an animated Scooby Doo episode next season.

It's hard to look at this finale and acknowledge how disappointing it was at times. Supernatural, historically, does finales well and there's something commendable in following the checklist and hitting the marks, except this time around, the formula is too obviously there, the checklist too heavily relied upon. It felt stifled, restrained by the idea of what a Supernatural finale should include. Even the bromantic moments before certain death felt forced because at no point did it actually feel like Dean and Sam (or Cas or Mary) were in actual mortal peril. The most panic I felt was when Jody Mills (Kim Rhodes) appeared on Robo-Mary's hitlist, and that was mostly due to Supernatural suddenly deciding the resurrect its habit of unceremoniously killing off its women for plot advancement and yes I'm still mad about Alicia (Kara Royster) and Eileen (Shoshanna Stern) and now, surprisingly, freaking Lady Toni. I MEAN REALLY.

Supernatural returns next fall on The CW.

(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS, one of The CW's parent companies.)