|Supernatural does create great ambiguous villains!|
When writers run out of ideas, they retreat to (1) the rubbish bin; (2) the soap opera approach.
Arthur Conan Doyle went to the rubbish bin when the public more or less forced him to continue producing Sherlock Holmes stories. Later Holmes stores are not nearly as well-written--or plotted--as earlier ones. In one of his last, he relies on the body-hidden-beneath-another-in-a-coffin device, a chestnut so established that The Mentalist parodies it in Season 3. (Speaking of parodies . . .)
All in all, I prefer the struggle to maintain a high writing standard over solution 2: the collapse into soap opera material. I get immensely tired of shows forcing PROBLEMS, ANGST, LOVE TRIANGLES onto their characters simply so the writers will have something to write about.
There is a third solution.
The third solution is to say, "Who cares if we repeat ourselves? Earlier viewers won't care. And later viewers haven't necessarily seen our earlier episodes. We can do whatever we want."
I admire this third solution--to a point. For one, it keeps the show focused on what the viewers came to love about it in the first place. For another, it enables the writers to stick to one-story-per-episode. For a third, it prevents an excess of soap opera-ness. So it works.
Right until it doesn't.
|Buckmaster and Rhodes|
Generally speaking, the season is classic and lovely--with a fantastic surprise cameo in "Fan Fiction"--so what's the prob?
Well, there isn't one, really, except for all the places where there is.
For (albeit hot) men in their mid-thirties (and nearing forty), the same plot of sacrifice-while-lying begins to pale. It is not that thirty-three and thirty-eight-year-old men don't do this. And it isn't that families don't repeat the same patterns. But television isn't reality. And Supernatural is supposed to be a story. And at some point in a story--a classic one at least--people should learn from the past.
The Supernatural writers seem aware of this problem, which may explain the Castiel and Crowley story-lines in Season 10. They are, luckily, interesting and well-written. Regarding Crowley, not since Faith in Buffy have I seen a bad guy's downward spiral based so tightly and realistically on feeling "left out" of the gang.
Yet these storylines are filler. The Dean/Sam arc isn't substantial enough to excuse much more writing than it gets. Sam is going to find a solution NO MATTER WHAT! Dean will be DISAPPOINTED when he finds out that Sam WENT BEHIND HIS BACK. Dean will argue his LACK OF WORTH! Sam will ARGUE BACK. Dean will CHOOSE HIS BROTHER OVER DEATH (quite literally). And . . . we've been here before.
But there isn't enough there (that hasn't been said before--and better). Since the new big bad appears interesting--I haven't yet seen Season 11--I would personally have timed its arrival for somewhere around episode 18 in Season 10. This would have solved the lack of an arc, cutting down on the far too familiar sight of Sam and/or Dean angstifying about the other's welfare.
Their mutual worries remain endearing but the truth is, one can never go home again--not completely. Repeating the earlier seasons isn't a bad idea. But something sometime somewhere has to change.