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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Supernatural: "Point of No Return"

Illustration for article titled Supernatural: "Point of No Return"

"Point of No Return" was Supernatural's 100th episode. Did anyone bring cake? I totally forgot cake, I always do that. I think there are some stale pretzels under the couch.

So, hey, not bad, right? Grim, though. Quite grim for most of the running time, with lots of shouting and the angst and the sadness and so forth. Shockingly, I'm not going to complain about that, because while I have issues with this season's heavy-handed tone problems, I'm not so big a fool to not recognize effective darkness when I see it. So while I'm never going to be a fan of the patented Winchester therapy sessions (while it can be effective if used sparingly, the show let's its main characters explain their feelings way too often), I'm glad to see them reach a crisis point. We've done misery for a while now, and by the end of last week's episode, it looked like Dean had finally hit rock bottom. To paraphrase Shawshank Redemption, there were only two choices left: get busy living, or get busy being a meat muppet for Michael.

My major contention with the show's descent into mopery has always been that Supernatural is not a series that can maintain honest grimness over a long period of time without settling into tedium. Sam and Dean are fun guys to hang out with, and I appreciate they have a modicum of depth, but there's not enough texture to their woe to make it dramatically compelling for more than an episode or two. We haven't learned anything new about either of them this season, we've just heard the same handful of concepts restated over and over—Dean resents Sam for leaving home, Sam resents Dean for not trusting them, both have Daddy issues, and so on. It's possible to do a show about grief and make it exciting (Battlestar Galactica springs to mind), but this is not that, and robbing the Winchesters of a sense of agency threatened to turn this into some kind of Bizarro-Twilight spin-off: heavy on the soulful gazes, light on content.

Thankfully, things never got that bad, and finally this week we got what I've been wanting. It's not closure, but it's a shift in direction, and hopefully a permanent one. What's better is that "Point" managed to recapture some of the ambiguity of last season without becoming too murky and indistinct to be dramatically effective. Dean's decided to give in to Michael. At least he's leaning that way; he spends a lot of time between last week and this settling his affairs, which makes you wonder how disappointed he is when Sam finds him again. Everybody goes back to Bobby's to trying and figure things out, with Dean snarking in the corner, and in a shock twist, the angels resurrect Adam, the Winchester brother I had completely forgotten about who got eaten by a ghoul a little while ago. Adam's been told that he's going to be Michael's flesh suit, which doesn't sit well with Dean, and there's a lot more sarcasm slinging until both Dean and Adam make their respective escapes.

Cass gets Dean back, despite Dean's trickery with the Angel Off symbol, and there's a nice "beat some sense into the hero" scene when Cass beats up Dean. I really wish this season used Misha Collins more, but he got some great moments tonight, the best of which has to be his dusting three angels at once with an Angel Off symbol carved into his chest. Hardcore. Angel-wise, it's second stringers and Zachariah himself back on the case. Loved the scene with him in the bar, getting the call from Michael (or was that God? I'm assuming God's still on sidelines), and the final showdown between him and Dean was satisfying. I'm a little sad to see Zachariah go, because he was such a well-realized bad-guy. We haven't seen Lucifer in a while, and Michael is just this really bright light. Bible Monsters Of The Week are fine, but I miss the Yellow Eyed Demon. That dude knew how persistence.

But hey, I wouldn't be surprised if we see Michael again soon, and that Adam's tied up in that. (I wonder if Michael will use Adam as a vessel? Adam seemed pretty committed to Sam and Dean by the end, but there's still his mom to consider.) So there's that. Even better, for the first time in what feels like forever, we get an episode that rests on a relative high note, plus some character development that represents a change. As on-the-nose as Sam and Dean's chats can be, there was actual emotional significance to Sam's decision to trust his brother would make the right call. For once, somebody put their money where there mouth was, and it paid off beautifully, with Sam's faith convincing Dean to Just Say No. (And kill Zachariah in the process. Score!) In the end, the guys have hope again, and that has me excited. Hope means ass-kicking. And while that means sacrificing some ambiguity (I don't really think Sam and/or Dean will vessel up any more), I'll trade it for some rock and roll.


Stray Observations:

  • I wish Cass had said, "Angel sense… tingling!" when the headache hit.
  • I think I've mentioned this before, but the jokes about sexual tension between the Winchesters need to be let go for a while. Zachariah's "erotically" was in character, but it reminded me of all the other Wincest gags the show has done, and that made the whole "soulful eye contact then wink" exchange between Sam and Dean at the end a little harder to take… straight.
  • Another great moment: Dean telling Sam he didn't believe Sam could hold out against the Devil's advances. "Lucifer's gonna wear you to the prom, man." His doubt wasn't a shock, but it clarified the conflict between them, and that meant the conflict could be dealt with.
  • "Word to the wise—don't piss off the nerd angels."