Aspasía S. Bissas
Aspasía S. Bissas
Aspasía S. Bissas
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A few weeks back I posted about re-watching older seasons of Supernatural in anticipation of seeing the last few seasons I’d missed, including the series finale. I finally completed what occasionally felt like a gruelling trek, and I thought I’d share a few final thoughts about the show.
I actually almost didn’t make it to the end. The last season I’d seen involved a lot of sturm und drang about Lucifer fathering a child with an unsuspecting human woman. That season ended with baby Jack being born (and instantly aging up to a young man), in the process opening a portal to an alternate– apocalyptic– Earth. At this point, fan favourite Bobby is re-introduced to the show, while other favourites are killed off, including Crowley (RIP) and Castiel. Okay, I thought, this is going to be interesting.
Only it wasn’t.
I think the writers really didn’t know what to do with the alternate Earth. Bobby and Charlie were brought back, but then nothing much really happened with them (definitely nothing that added to character development, the story arc, or to the show as a whole). There’s a bizarre alternate Castiel who is (thankfully) quickly killed. New characters are introduced and brought to Sam and Dean’s Earth in a side plot that, along with these characters, went nowhere. Most were killed or just disappeared, and in the last season any that were left were wiped out of existence (more on that later). And then there was the apocalypse. We already had an apocalypse season on Supernatural— who decided we needed another one? And why did anyone think viewers would care if angels were wreaking havoc on another planet? It was a strange choice and mostly (I think) an excuse to bring back another character no one asked for: (alternate) Archangel Michael.
Boredom with what had initially seemed like it would be an interesting season soon turned to frustration. Not only did we have to sit through an alternate world’s apocalypse, but we had to endure human-hating angels led by apocalypse-obsessed alternate Michael. One stupid decision after another leads to him showing up on Sam and Dean’s Earth (which I’m calling Main Earth from now on), where Dean, going against all sense and reason, ends up giving Michael permission to possess him (AKA use him as a “vessel”) on the condition that Dean remain fully in control. Of course Michael never has any intention of keeping his word. Who could have foreseen this twist, other than literally everyone? It feels like we’ve seen this exact story a thousand times on Supernatural. Watching the characters make one dumb move after another was intolerable, and this was where I almost walked away from the show. I actually looked up series finale spoilers to find out if there was any point to keep watching. Ultimately, I decided there was, but if I had my way I’d purge this season, along with the “British Men of Letters” one.
Side note: the final season sees the return of original Michael, along with Sam and Dean’s half-brother Adam. Unlike alternate Michael, this works well, as original Michael helps the story along and gives the show a chance to tie up a longstanding loose end. And also unlike alternate Michael, original Michael’s motives actually make sense.
Instead of another apocalypse and alternate Michael, I really would have preferred more of a focus on Jack. He was something new on Supernatural— the son of Lucifer, and an incredibly powerful being in his own right (more powerful than an archangel, according to the show). Or, at least, he should have been. As with their treatment of Castiel, the writers found every excuse to diminish his powers (right until the very last episode). Who was this kid? Would he go full-on Damian at some point? Would he team up with Lucifer, or destroy his father and become the new Big Bad? Or maybe he’d beat the odds and side with good. So many possibilities– so few opportunities taken by the writers. He did exhibit a few abilities early on (like bringing Cas back from the dead), but mostly it felt like we were perpetually waiting for Jack to do something. Even when he lost his soul, it didn’t change much. Jack had so much potential, but it was frustrating (there’s that word again) waiting for him to reach it. Not that it wasn’t satisfying when he finally did, but at that point it was verging on too little too late.
To borrow a much-overused phrase from the show “I get it”: a lot had to happen in the final season and we couldn’t necessarily have long goodbyes with a lot of characters. But it was disappointing the way some of them left. We’re lucky to have had a final visit with Rowena (awesome witch, the new Queen of Hell, and one of my all-time favourite characters), but too many other characters didn’t get more than a passing mention. It would have been nice, for example, when Dean went to heaven, to see someone other than (original) Bobby and, eventually, Sam. Why not a quick cast reunion at the end? At least they could have given us a final glimpse of Cas and Jack. And what happened to the people from the alternate Earths (which, reminder: includes us, as established in an earlier episode)? Chuck destroyed all the alternate Earths, and then wiped out nearly everyone on Main Earth, including the people rescued from apocalypse world. Jack eventually restores everyone on Main Earth, but he also implies that he’s going to be sticking with just the one earth. Never mind what ultimately happened to everyone on the alternate Earths, we don’t even know what happened to alternate Charlie and Bobby, whether they ended up anywhere or simply ceased to exist forever. All I’m saying is a little closure would have been nice.
It wasn’t all poor choices and unanswered questions, though. The one thing I think the show really got right in the final season was:
It probably created some controversy to make God (AKA Chuck) the ultimate villain on the show, but I think it works. Let’s face it: from his long absences (including during serious crises) and his lack of interest in his creations, to his fits of cruel vengeance/punishments, and his habit of playing favourites, God is half-villain already. Supernatural re-imagines him as a hack writer who plays with people’s lives for his own entertainment. He torments Sam and Dean (whom he claims are his favourite “characters”) and “cancels shows” (destroys all the alternate earths) because Sam and Dean don’t want to play along anymore. He wipes out every person and animal on Main Earth just so he can watch how Sam, Dean, and Jack will cope. When Dean is thrilled to discover a dog that was somehow missed, Chuck wipes out the dog while watching Dean’s reaction. His arrogance is ultimately his downfall, and when Jack absorbs all of Chuck’s power, it’s the best possible outcome. Chuck is left as a normal, powerless, human to live out his life and die; meanwhile it’s pretty clear that Jack is going to make a superior God. It’s a good end to the story arc and an interesting take on biblical mythology. I think it was a fitting conclusion to the series.
So, is it worth watching Supernatural? It’s not the best show, but as I’m discovering watching some of what else is out there, it’s not the worst one, either. Supernatural has multitudes of great characters, overall decent acting, a few really creative episodes, and some solid writing and storylines. They even managed to introduce a group of actually scary vampires in the last episode. Better late than never.
What did you think of the end of Supernatural? Share in the comments…
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Aspasía S. Bissas
Aspasía S. Bissas
Valentine’s Day, the romantic holiday with pagan roots is tomorrow. While it’s a sweet day for some, it can also be a painful reminder of loneliness and heartbreak. But then, love itself isn’t always sunshine and roses (there’s a reason Cupid uses a bow and arrow instead of blowing kisses). Whether you think romance is a pleasure or a pain, here are 5 real-life love stories that might convince you otherwise…
Prince Kurram (the future Shah Jahan), son of the Mughal Emperor, and Arjumand Banu Begum, daughter of a Persian noble and niece of Empress Nur Jahan, fell in love in 1607 and married a few years later. He had other wives, but Arjumand was the only love match and his enduring favourite. He nicknamed her “Mumtaz Mahal,” or “the jewel (or exalted one) of the palace.” He relied on her political advice and she was his constant companion and confidant. Unfortunately, Mumtaz Mahal died at age 38, due to complications from giving birth to her 14th child. Heartbroken, her husband spent the next two decades building her a beautiful mausoleum, and nearly 400 years later, people are still awed by the Taj Mahal.
When the heir to the Portuguese throne fell in love with his wife’s older, widowed Lady-in-Waiting, the couple wasn’t exactly embraced by the family. Pedro’s father, King Alfonso IV, had Ines banished to Spain in an attempt to dissuade his son, but Pedro found a way to send letters and visit her as often as he could. After his wife died, Pedro brought Ines back and lived with her openly, even having three children together. When he asked his father to accept Ines as his new wife, the King had her brutally executed instead. In retaliation Pedro started a Civil War in an attempt to overthrow his father. The war ended after two years when the Queen, Pedro’s mother, arranged a truce, but he never forgave his father. When he eventually became King, he had Ines’s assassins executed by tearing their hearts out. It’s also rumoured that he had Ines’s body exhumed and placed on the throne, where he forced the court to swear allegiance to the new Queen.
Elizabeth Barrett was an accomplished poet in 1844 when Robert Browning wrote an admiring letter, telling her “I love your verses with all my heart, dear Miss Barrett.” Perhaps unsurprisingly they continued writing each other, and eventually met and fell in love. Knowing her father would disapprove, Elizabeth kept the relationship secret and she and Robert eloped (her father refused to reconcile with her and eventually disinherited her). The Brownings lived mainly in Italy, and spent their time among writers and artists. One of Elizabeth’s most well-known and beloved works, “Sonnets from the Portuguese,” consists of love poems she wrote for Robert, which he insisted she had to publish because they were “the finest sonnets written in any language since Shakespeare’s.” Their hundreds of letters to each other also attest to the incredible love between them. Unfortunately, Elizabeth’s lifelong poor health, which had improved for a while, started to deteriorate after only a few years together. She died in her husband’s arms in 1861, at age 55. Browning returned to England and never remarried.
Legend has it that King Henry II of England built a complicated maze, at the centre of which he hid his lover Rosamund, in order to keep the affair hidden from his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine. The Queen, however, solved the maze and found Rosamund, giving her the option of death by dagger or poison. Rosamund supposedly chose the latter. Another version has Eleanor stabbing Rosamund while she bathed. Although these stories are false, there is, according to historian Mike Ibeji, ” … no doubt that the great love of his [Henry’s] life was Rosamund Clifford.” It’s unknown when Henry and Rosamund’s relationship started, but it became common knowledge in 1174, after his relationship with the Queen soured due to her rebelling against him, along with their sons. While Queen Eleanor was imprisoned, Rosamund moved into the royal palace of Woodstock. It’s said that Henry was so enamoured of Rosamund that he lost interest in all his other mistresses (of which there were many). Although it’s unknown if Rosamund returned Henry’s feelings (you don’t say no to the King), she was blamed for being a temptress and an adulteress, and her character was attacked long after her death. This may be why she ended the affair with the King in 1175 or 1176, withdrawing to Godstow Abbey, where she died shortly afterwards. Henry paid for a lavish tomb for Rosamund, arranging for nuns to leave daily floral tributes to her, as well as paying to keep the site maintained. Although the tomb was eventually destroyed, the story of “Fair Rosamund” has inspired countless poets and artists through the centuries, giving immortality to Henry and Rosamund’s brief time together.
Although married three times to men, Margaret Mead’s “most intense and enduring relationship” was with her mentor Ruth Benedict. Mead’s letters, spanning a quarter of a century until Benedict’s sudden death in 1948, are filled with terms of endearment and plaintive longing. Margaret claims that Ruth’s love gives her strength and laments that they can’t be together. The two, worried about how a public relationship would affect their careers (already difficult for women at the time), worked hard to keep their feelings secret, and even made sure never to be photographed together. It’s only relatively recently that Margaret’s daughter has hinted at the sexual nature of Mead and Benedict’s relationship, and that Mead’s letters have been released for publication. Had it not been for the hostile social climate and legal system that existed back then, Margaret and Ruth could have had a life together. Instead they squeezed in moments with each other around marriages, family life, and work. Margaret and Ruth loved each other as fully as they could, while being deprived of what could have been.
No matter what your plans are, or who you’re spending it with, I hope you have a happy Valentine’s Day ♥ What’s your favourite bittersweet love story? Share in the comments.
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If you prefer a paperback to an ebook, use this link to order Love Lies Bleeding from Bookshop – a portion of each sale goes directly to independent bookstores, as well as to myself. Thank you for supporting indie! ♥
Aspasía S. Bissas