Supernatural: Review: Season 8 Eps 21-23

SupernaturalS08E23The CW, 1, 8 & 15 May 2013

As Kevin Tran continues to work on the tablets, the Winchesters come up against Crowley and a plot it seems they can’t overcome…

Well, that was a bust! The first half of season 8 drifted with little to recommend, except the appearance of Felicia Day (who livened up two episodes this year). It seemed, for a brief moment, that the second half of the season had found a new dramatic focus, with a couple of good episodes in a row. Then, in the run up to the climax, it all fell apart once more. How disappointing…

The Men of Letters concept—which saw Sam and Dean discover they were part of an ancient secret society and inheriting a cool new base—was largely squandered, failing to add much to the overall direction of the show. The concept was a good one, it was just seemingly forgotten apart from the odd mention after a couple of episodes.

The tablet storyline was not bad in terms of offering a new quest that ran through most fo the second half of the season, but the stand-alone story lines just felt tired and rehashed from past seasons. Despite the few new ideas this year, Supernatural has come across as a tired old show that either needs a radical new direction, or to be put out of its misery…

And misery is what it has been offering up… The tiresome focus on torture and fist-fights has been particularly noticeable this year. It is a dismaying aspect of American genre television (especially in the fantasy and science fiction field, it seems) that each episode has to feature two or three fist fights in which no-one really gets hurt and nothing is really achieved. It is poor writing to fall back on this generic trope so regularly: I’d love to see a run of episodes in which that didn’t occur.

The torture and fight bits totally spoiled what otherwise might have been a decent finale. The idea of an attack on Heaven by a renegade angel at least builds on some of the mythology from previous seasons (although I do yearn for the days when the Winchesters simply fought monsters). At least all the talky scenes and fight scenes led to one cool image, as the angels began falling from the sky at the climax… but that was far too little, far too late. Supernatural’s success strike rate has been very low this season, and without a new approach it looks doomed to be a show that simply stuck around long after the creative energy behind it had dissipated.

Verdict: Torture porn for brainless TV viewers…

Episode 21 ”The Great Escapist’: 3/10

Episode 22 ‘Clip Show’: 4/10

Episode 23 ‘Sacrifice’: 5/10

Brian J. Robb

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