I’ll confess, I’m more than a little excited about the season finale of Supernatural tonight, the culmination of a five-year escalation of biblical proportions for the Winchester boys, Sam and Dean. One miraculous byproduct of the show is that I’m still even watching it; my wife and I canned our viewing regimen in season one after the wretched “Bugs” episode (subsequently mocked by the show itself in a perfect self-depricating joke in season four). However, when Smallville died its slow narrative death* a few years ago, the only thing worth watching in that embarrassing hour were promos for Supernatural season three, so we rented previous season DVDs and decided to Carry On…
*For the record, I know Smallville is technically still on… but that doesn’t mean it’s still alive. Zombies walk, but they’re merely a shell of what they were.
This show actually grew my appreciation for classic rock, among other things (listening to Kansas and Queen as I write this). It’s been odd to see this series steer through early supernatural haze into a flawed but undeniably Christian worldview. The first season was very Ghost-hunters, mostly the chasing restless spirits and urban legends with some “demons” thrown in for good measure. Season two reunited the boys with their father, and the demon agenda moved to center stage. In the third season, we realize that although the boys have their hands full with increasingly demon-centric villainy, Dean does not believe in angels, heaven, or God. Cue season four, where we’re introduced to Castiel and a host of angels, ending with the release of Lucifer and impending apocalypse, which has dominated season five including the four horsemen and the war between angels and demons. Although the show has allowed the heroes – and viewers – to entertain the notion that some demons might be “good” and Sam could use dark powers for the purposes of light, all these notions, well… literally went to hell. Whereas many shows dealing with the unnatural often start with Christianesque ideas and tend to stray further and further, Supernatural started broadly and has done the very opposite.
Playing it safe, the show has shied away from actually depicting the biblical God, and even though some would complain that this season validated the existence of other “gods” – Kali, Odin, Ganesh, etc. – Lucifer dispatches them while barely flexing a muscle, which makes them lesser than angels and using the term “god” fairly loosely. Nobody has dared go toe-to-toe with Yahweh. The horseman Death boasts someday he will take down God, but the dark characters on this show often think more highly of themselves than they ought. (Oddly enough, the same actor playing Lucifer is playing Jacob on LOST – that’s quite a resume for Mark Pellegrino).
God seems to be distant and detached in this show, and older brother Dean still doesn’t believe he can trust that God has a plan to work everything out… but this seems more a projection of Dean’s dissatisfaction with his all-too-earthly father. He’s projecting the less-than-perfect fatherhood of John Winchester onto the machinations of a sovereign God, something we often do ourselves. Even their angelic guardian, Castiel, has seemingly lost his faith, so this last episode of the season (originally intended to end the series, though it’s now slated for at least another year) will likely make or break their loose interpretation of a biblical worldview. I’ll be watching with friends, clenched teeth, and crossed fingers to see how series creator Eric Kripke averts the apocalypse and teaches the Winchester boys a five-year-worthy lesson about God and their place in the universe. (Okay, no crossed fingers – I’m not superstitious. And I keep salt in the house only for turkey and hashbrowns).
Supernatural fans, you can expect Cinemagogue to Ramble On with another post on the shows highlights after this season ends (as well as LOST, once it actually makes good on its promise and actually comes to a close in a few weeks).