'Supernatural's Two-Part Finale And The Structure Of A(n Un)Successful Season

'Supernatural's Two-Part Finale And The Structure Of A(n Un)Successful Season

There are two types of "Supernatural" finales, and "All Along The Watchtower" is neither.
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When the CW announced that the season 12 finale of Supernatural would be a two-hour event, fans knew to expect some carnage. It's a staple of Supernatural finales at this point, and the show certainly didn't disappoint in that department. The final episode featured not one or two, but six recurring character deaths (seven, if you count Dr. Hess), contributing to the show's long-standing tradition of plot-twisting and controversial conclusions in more ways than one. Supernatural's season finales are practically famous for ending on game changers and cliffhangers, and this season's ending brought them not only in the form of Cas and Crowley's deaths, but in the introduction of parallel universes and the birth of a potential friend/foe as Lucifer's child finally makes an appearance in the last shot of the final episode. What separated this episode from past finales was not simply the fact that it was separated into two parts, but that it did not fit the formulaic structure that the majority of Supernatural's other finales have relied on.

Though Supernatural finales always go big in their final moments, those moments rarely come as a complete shock. Rather, Supernatural's most common, and often best, season finales deliver exactly what the rest of the season was trying to prevent. Season 3 is set on saving Dean, so its season finale kills him. Season 4 is set on preventing Lucifer from rising, so Lucifer does exactly that in the season's final moments. Season 8 is set on completing the trials to lock the gates of Hell, so the finale never lets Sam complete them. Season 9 is, once again, set on saving Dean, so Dean dies, once again. As predictable as you'd think this would make the show, the seasons that choose not to follow this formula often lack a satisfying ending to their over-arching plotline, mainly because the image that finishes off the finale tends to have little to do with the rest of plot and offers hardly any explanation or lasting impression on what came beforehand: the goal of the season is accomplished in the finale, but at an unforeseen cost.

Season 1's final episodes deliver the boys to their father, but its finale catches them in a car crash that nearly kills Dean and ultimately kills their father. The finale of Season 7 sees Dick Roman successfully killed, but Dean and Cas are sent to Purgatory in the process. Season 10 successfully removes the Mark from Dean, but releases the Darkness with it. The only season that benefits from this structure is Season 5, mainly because this type of finale lends itself more to endings than cliffhangers and Season 5 acts as an ending to the show's initial storyline.

Season 12's finale doesn't fit neatly into either of these categories, possibly because the season created so many plotlines to be resolved. There's the British Men of Letters plotline, Lucifer's child being born, Crowley trying to regain and maintain power over Lucifer, Mary's strained relationship with her sons, and Cas' internal struggle to find a home for himself despite Billie's warning that "cosmic consequences" were coming for him, all of which needed to be tied up in the last two episodes. In order to do that, the show splits its finale into two parts and addresses its plotlines separately. In effect, the finale's first part, "Who We Are," becomes a satisfying stand-alone conclusion to the Men of Letters plot and the Winchesters' character arcs so that "All Along The Watchtower" can focus on the plotlines that will continue into the next season, thus creating a final episode in which every plotline gets its own separate version of the Supernatural finale structure.

Crowley's plotline is the second type, as he gains control over Lucifer's life only by killing himself. The Lucifer plotline is the second type, as well, since the Winchesters cage him, but lose Mary in the process. Cas' plotline is the first type, since much of his arc this season has been concerned with Dean worrying over keeping him safe, but the finale ends both of their storylines with Cas' death. The decision to give each of these stories a separate ending within the show's final episode may have been a good one, had each of these endings been given the time to take hold and have a lasting effect, but each of these plotlines is closed in the last five minutes, leading to the major issue found in "All Along The Watchtower": the season's final moments provide none of the complexity, emotion, or focus that "Who We Are" promised.

This is seen most clearly in Cas' death scene. The entire season was spent looking back to the show's glory days, so it's fitting that Dean ends his season with Cas while Sam's final shot is with Lucifer's son, a character that, despite having been born in the final moments of the episode, already parallels Sam's arc from season 4 and 5 not only in his connection to Lucifer, but in that both characters are expected by the angels to bring destruction because of that connection. However, as emotional as Cas' death should be, the scene feels sudden, strange, and unfair to Cas' character. Ending Cas' season 12 storyline with his death before Cas has been able to finally address the line he walks between Heaven and Earth, a decision that might have been addressed after his first visit to Heaven in years had he not been stolen away by Kelly and Jack, does nothing for Cas' season 12 character arc. His death stops the action of his story while he is still living with the same uncertainty as he was in the beginning, especially since his death is preceded by him barging into the alternate universe Jack opened up and attacking Lucifer with a useless weapon without any apparent rhyme or reason. His character saw more development in the first half of the season in episodes like "Lily Sunder Has Some Regrets" and "Stuck in the Middle (With You)," yet the show chooses to ignore this, continuously bringing back the question of where "home" is for Cas despite ending these episodes with a blatant, resounding answer of "with Sam and Dean."

This odd stasis that Cas' death leaves his story in combines with the rushed attempt to tie up three storylines in last minutes of the finale and makes Cas' death feel more hollow than heartbreaking. On paper, Cas' final moments sound tragic. Between his "wing shot," which fans have wondered and worried about since the ashy imprints angels leave behind in death were first introduced in Season 4, and Dean falling to his knees beside him, shut down and barely aware of Sam running back into house and potential danger, the finale might have brought on a few tears if it had taken the time to both give Cas a satisfying reason for dying and give Sam and Dean the room to properly react. Instead, Cas' death is used for shock value. I'm sure it won't continue to remain as quick and pointless as it came across, considering Jensen Ackles and Misha Collins both commented on the lasting effect his death may have on both of their characters in Season 13 at Jus in Bello Con just after the episodes aired. But for the time being, the scene has been crafted in a way that only allows for shock.

Though Jensen definitely provides some heart to the scene, Andrew Dabb's writing and Bob Singer's direction leave Cas' death feeling empty. The camera barely shows Cas after he falls until the final wing shot, which should have been a poignant image and makes sense to hold off on, but with Singer's lock on the other actor's faces (either close-ups or low-angle shots looking up from around their waists) and the way the scene is forced to move on so quickly in order to deal with Lucifer's appearance and his and Mary's disappearance, what should be the season's gripping final moments almost seem to forget Cas until Dean falls beside him, manage to completely overshadow Crowley's death, which is a low blow considering Cas will be back while Crowley definitely won't be, and leave the season without the satisfying close that "Who We Are" originally offered. The season never actually feels like it delivers.

This inability to fully deliver in season finales has been an issue for Supernatural ever since two-part seasons were introduced to the show around season 6 and became a staple of the show in season 9. Mid-season finales after the show took to this type of season structure no longer marked a turn in the action in the same plotline, but the beginning of a different plotline, thus creating season finales that needed to integrate several plotlines into their big reveals and cliffhangers rather than just one. This constant mixing of plotlines that are irrelevant to one another combined with the show's continuous attempts to match the neat build and plotline that was the first five seasons has led to larger and larger plot points, each trying to cover the many, many bases that were created to cover the last larger-than-life plot point. Abaddon is introduced in season 8, Dean takes up the Mark to defeat Abaddon and becomes a demon in season 9, Dean loses control of the Mark and kills Death and releases God's sister in an attempt to rid himself of it in season 10, Lucifer is released to contain God's sister in season 11, and an alternate dimension is created by Lucifer's son and used to contain Lucifer in season 12. The stakes continue to get higher and higher as plotlines from the first half and second half of the season converge and suddenly the season finale must create a way to combine the wall in Sam's mind and the sudden appearance of the rest of the Campbells with Eve's rebirth, the war in Heaven, Crowley and Cas' partnership and the search for Purgatory, or reconcile the fall of the angels, the war in Heaven, and Gadreel's involvement with the Mark of Cain and Abaddon's plotline, or, in this case, address the British Men of Letters, Lucifer's escape, the child Lucifer created during his first escape of the season, Castiel's apparently impenetrable ties to Heaven, and Mary's relationship with her sons. At this point, it's almost a good thing that this season did nothing in terms of character development for Sam or Dean, or else this finale might have had more on its plate to shove into its final minutes.

I will say this for the end of season 12, though. This finale is absolutely cleaner than most of the show's other recent attempts, undoubtably due to the decision to spread itself between two episodes. "Who We Are" is one of the show's best episodes in a long while. Robert Berens is able to create some incredibly touching, heart-wrenching moments, especially between Sam and Dean and Dean and Mary (I got chills from Dean's first "I hate you"), and the writing is tight and well-paced. "All Along the Watchtower" may lack some of the power it was trying to channel, but it does introduce some really intriguing plotlines for season 13, especially in the introduction of alternate universes, through which old and new characters may (re)enter the canon. In the end, though, this awkward, fast-paced almost-closure to the season rests in an odd place between the two established types of Supernatural finales (a combination that only ever truly worked ten years ago, during season 2) and leaves an after-impression that is not so much disappointing as it is void of grip or emotion, especially in the afterglow of "Who We Are," and the time it gives its most important moments and characters to breathe, and the potential it represents that Supernatural should continue to strive toward.

Cover Image Credit: Supernatural

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37 Drake Lyrics From 'Scorpion' That Will Make Your Next Instagram Caption Go Double Platinum

Side A makes you want to be single, Side B make you want to be boo'd up.

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We all knew Scorpion was going to be the summer banger we wanted. However, Drake surprised us with two sides of an album and two sides of himself. Mixing rap and R&B; was genius on his part, so why not dedicate 37 of his lyrics to our Instagram captions?

1. "Don't tell me how knew it would be like this all along" — Emotionless

Definitely a "I'm too good" for you vibe.

2. "My mentions are jokes, but they never give me the facts" — Talk Up

This one's for my haters.

3. "I wanna thank God for workin' way harder than Satan" — Elevate

For when you're feeling blessed.

4. "I promise if I'm not dead then I'm dedicated" — March 14

In Drake's story about his son the world knows about now, we get a lyric of true love and dedication

5. "My Mount Rushmore is me with four different expressions" — Survival

6. "Pinky ring 'til I get a wedding ring" — Nonstop

7. "I gotta breathe in real deep when I catch an attitude" — 8 Out of 10

This first line of the song is about to be spread on the gram like a wildfire

8. "Heard all of the talkin', now it's quiet, now it's shush" — Mob Ties

9. "California girls sweeter than pieces of candy" — Sandra's Rose

This is gonna have every girl who has ever stayed in Cali all hot and heavy, watch it.

10. "I think you're changing your mind, starting to see it in your eyes" — Summer Games

Y'all know how these summer games go

11. "Look the new me is really still the real me" — In My Feelings

When you've got to profess that you've changed 200%

12. "Only beggin' that I do is me beggin' your pardon" — Is There More

13. "Shifted your focus, lens lookin' jaded" — Jaded

14. "Back and forth to Italy, my comment section killin' me" — Can't Take a Joke

Necessary for when you've got people hyping you up already

15. "People are only as tough as they phone allows them to be" — Peak

Y'all can't have this one, I'm stealing it

16. "Work all winter, shine all summer" — That's How You Feel

Put in the work so you can flex on 'em, summer 18

17. "Blue faces, I got blue diamonds, blue tint, yeah" — Blue Tint


18. "I stay busy workin' on me" — Elevate

19. "Ten of us, we movin' as one" — Talk Up

The perfect reason to get the largest group picture you've had on your gram

20. "October baby for irony sake, of course" — March 14

This statistically applies to 1/12 of y'all reading this, so take that as you will (we October babies are the best)

21. "She had an attitude in the summer but now she nice again" — Blue Tint

22. "I know you special girl 'cause I know too many" — In My Feelings


23. "Gotta hit the club like you hit them, hit them, hit them angles" — Nice for What

24. "She said 'Do you love me?' I tell her, 'Only partly,' I only love my ____ and my ____ I'm sorry" — God's Plan

If you haven't used this one yet, get to it

25. "But I'm blessed I just checked, hate me never met me in the flesh" — I'm Upset

26. "It's only good in my city because I said so" — 8 Out of 10

Follow this up with a location and shoutout your hometown

27. "My haters either on they way to work or they arrived" — Can't Take a Joke

28. "I always need a glass of wine by sundown" — Final Fantasy

Has Drake ever been more relatable?

29. "It's your f***in' birthday. Happy birthday" — Ratchet Happy Birthday

Let's go get kicked out of an Applebee's

30. "I move through London with the Eurostep" — Nonstop


31. "I stopped askin' myself and I started feelin' myself" — Survival

Mood all summer 18

32. "They keep tryna' get me for my soul" — I'm Upset

33. "I'm tryna see who's there on the other end of the shade" — Emotionless

34. "Only obligation is to tell it straight" — Elevate

35. "It don't matter to me what you say" — Don't Matter to Me


This line from the King of Pop (MJ) will give you chills. R.I.P.

36. "I'm the chosen one, flowers never pick themselves" — Sandra's Rose

37. "Say you'll never ever leave from beside me" — In My Feelings

Couple goals, amirite?

Cover Image Credit:

@champagnepapi / Instagram

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If College Majors Were Plucked Out Of A Crayola Crayon Box

College is a colorful place.

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In college, individually, we are practically all the yellow crayon.

It's the brightest of the box, vibrant and the epitome of sunshine... Until it's four years later and you lack the will to go on, thanks to your caffeine-induced all-nighters, novel-long writing assignments, and booze therapy. Eventually, every yellow crayon gets a little bit of the other colors on it, leaving its original, striking shine a little dull.

However, the majors that cause the yellow to change are colors of their own. They make us feel as if there's a light at the end of this tunnel of torture.

1. Maroon: Advertising/Marketing

A determined and ambitious red, but still cool, calm, and collected. Advertisers and marketers are determined to push their campaigns, appeal to the wants and needs of their target audience, and create enjoyable content to maintain customer loyalty. In a high-pressure environment like this, it's important to keep your head up and not to panic. Even when it all hits the fan, you have to stand your ground and not freak out.

2. Indigo: Engineering

Engineers appear to be confident Ravenclaws on the outside, but they're drowning on the inside (hence the blue). Their workload requires tough math classes, science, physics, and many more. And they have to be good at all of those! If you walk around on the engineering part of campus, you'll hardly ever see a smiling face. All are expressions of stress and fear. It's a lot of work, but engineers will eventually make it out alive. I promise!

3. Green: Journalism

Journalists are always after the news and the big scoop. Green is typically associated with new beginnings and growth. Journalism is constantly expanding in some way. While many people think that it is a dying field, it is actually morphing into a purely digital medium. Don't underestimate your print and broadcast journalists, because they'll be way better off than you could imagine. They're good at adapting and conquering obstacles, true to their major.

4. Pink: Nursing

There is no better color to represent kindness and helpfulness than pink. Nurses are compassionate and seek to help anyone who steps through the door. However, while nurses have to be kind, it is not a job for the faint of heart. You will see many unpleasant things as a nurse and you have to be prepared for it. You have to know that you want to help people, no matter the circumstance. Pink is one of those colors confused with weakness, but that could not be further from the truth. Never underestimate the power of pink and never underestimate the strength of nurses.

5. Orange: Education

Orange is bright and warm, as most teachers are. They hold the knowledge to teach future generations and practically raise kids while their parents are at work. They are miracle workers that have a lot to deal with on a daily basis. They have to mediate between kids, teach them to uphold the morals taught by their parents, and even teach them better than their parents ever could. People don't give teachers enough credit and they deserve more money than they get.

6. Grey: Business

All business, a serious grey is meant for the business and economics majors. Grey isn't necessarily bland or boring. Grey has a boss-like demeanor. It's persuasive and can own a room. This is why it's perfect to describe business majors. These people learn the ins and outs of sales, buying, stocks, etc. These people are so money smart that it's insane. Also, it helps that suits come in grey.

7. Violet: Psychology and Criminology

Psychology and criminology majors can analyze every little reason you do the things you do or why you are the way you are. They are far superior at understanding the human brain and the behavior patterns. Violet fits the bill when it comes to these majors, given that they are a breed of their own. They are mysterious, much like the color purple, and can solve the mysteries of humankind.

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