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TV Review: Supernatural:—”Lucifer Rising”

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Can I get a “Hell Yeah!?”  I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you.  Louder.  “HELL YEAH!!”

This time last year, I was weeping in devastation over the demise of beloved Dean and worrying over his horrific time to come in Hell (yes, I care about these characters too damn much).  This year, while I’m still very frightened for our boys (and their now fugitive angelic companion as well), and let a “Damn You Kripke!” slip at the cliffhanger ending, I find myself pumping fists more than breaking out the Kleenexes.  That’s a way to cap a spectacular season! 

Again, we must bow at the feet of the master.  This year’s finale is especially bittersweet, for even though it’s the final exclamation point on an already spectacular season, it comes without the matriarch that usually closes the seasons, Kim Manners.  Eric Kripke does an incredible job taking on all the stressful roles of writer, producer, and director for this truly brilliant piece of work.  Even though he’s only directed one episode before, season two’s “What Is and What Should Never Be,” he proves that he has what it takes to use the camera to keep us on the edge of our seats and leave us begging for more.  Awesome man! 

We get answers!  Sure, more questions too, but hey, we need something to take us into next season.  The most satisfying resolution clearly comes from Ruby’s story playing out.  After two seasons and plenty of ambiguity, the outcome isn’t too surprising.  She’s evil, and was brought in to manipulate Sam to carry out the master plan of freeing Lucifer.  Still, I feel a HUGE payoff from how it plays out, and looking back find her overall plan brilliant.  It all comes full circle, right down to both brothers giving her a well deserved gutting like a fish.

Castiel goes rogue!  He grows a pair!  Man did he buy himself a mess of trouble, and all because he listens to Dean.  It’s incredible how their relationship has progressed through the season and the impact they’ve had on each other.  I’ve already got my season five wishlist going, and Cas tops it.  He rescues Anna and together they go off to save the world, having some hot angel sex doing it.  Hey, a girl can dream, can’t she?

Then we FINALLY learn Azazel’s part in all this, and what the “endgame” was all along.  Lilith breaks the seals, and Azazel delivers the “special child,” the only one who can break the final seal.  The plan is 37 years in the making, which is like 370 in Hell years.   I have a feeling we have only seen the beginning of the “end game,” and there’s plenty more to be learned. 

The most jaw dropping part is the plan has been known by the top angels for a while, who have no problem letting it happen.  Seems they’re into some cleansing of humanity for their own reasons.  Zachariah is the angelic version of Azazel, and every bit as evil.  His “God has left the building” remark actually makes Lilith, Azazel, and Ruby seem like the ones with the true faith, since they actually still believe in their Lord.  This show does love to twist things.  Kripke, you magnificent bastard. 

Get To The Brothers Already 

Despite the plenty of side distractions, the main crux of the story involves the fractured brotherly relationship.  The wounds are still stinging from last week’s all-out brawl, with Sam out of hope and ready for death while Dean is being stubborn over his wounded pride.  Sam and Ruby are holed up in the same squalid house from “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” while Dean gets a tongue lashing at Bobby’s for being too much like his dad.  Just as Dean is pondering to go after Sam, the angels step in to stop that plan. 

I have to admire Kripke’s twisted sense of humor, for the angelic “green room” is a near exact replica of “Jupiter and The Infinite Beyond” from 2001: A Space Odyssey.  It’s just another perfect way of showing Dean is stuck in another realm.  He can have cheeseburgers from Delaware (which are great, I can attest), his favorite beer from “What Is and What Should Never Be,” Ginger in full color, and Mary Ann; but all he wants is Sam.  Aww, how sweet.  Too bad that’s the one thing they won’t let him have.

Dean’s role in all this is still in question, which is one of those mental notes for season five.  His destiny isn’t to stop the apocalypse after all, it’s to kill Lucifer, after a whole truckload of eggs (aka humanity) is broken.  His reward is eternal peace.  Dean doesn’t really care much for that reward, since he’s never been comfortable with it anyway.  Did Zachariah forget the Winchester motto?  “Saving people, hunting things, the family business?”  I’m still trying to figure out how Dean is going to be powerful enough to kill Lucifer.  If Castiel can’t kill someone like Alastair…oh screw it, we’ll find out next season.    

Dean’s greatest triumph is getting through to Castiel, showing the conflicted angel once and for all that something’s rotten in Heaven.  My “Hell Yeah!” over Castiel forming the sigil with his own blood on the wall and sending Zachariah away scared both the cat and the dog.  Not hubby though, since we shared a high five. Then we stopped when Castiel reveals the ultimate dinger, Lilith is the final seal.  You knew that and didn’t tell anyone Cas?  What did those big bad angels do to you?   

Dean and Castiel risk the wrath of an archangel to get Chuck The Prophet to tell them where Sam is, and Chuck proves to be the wisest character in the entire episode.  He knows the end is coming, so he’s going out by planning an all-nighter with twenty hookers.  That leads to the line of the episode from Castiel.  “You guys aren’t supposed to be here.  You’re not in this story.”  “Yeah, well, we’re making it up as we go.”  See, Dean is wearing off on Castiel! 

Meanwhile, at a convent in Massachusetts, one that happens to have a doorway for Lucifer should he break free, Sam’s predestined role continues to play out.  Getting there isn’t easy though, for Sam lets his doubts creep through.  He’s actually starting to believe Dean was right.  Of course that’s because he doesn’t want to drink all the blood of an innocent nurse with an evil demon inside of her, showing a glimmer of hope that old Sam is still inside there by thinking that’s wrong.  Poor Sam though, for whether the sabotaged apology voice mail of Dean’s comes from Zachariah or Ruby (I think Zach, since he said steps were being taken), it’s enough for him to act like the monster Dean accuses him of being and sacrifice the nurse.

Yes, Sam is played like a violin right to the end, when he stretches his arm out and does his demon killing mind trick on Lilith (complete with total black demon eyes).  He doesn’t even notice that Dean has arrived (a la the hand slap of transportation from Castiel), even though Ruby does when she closes the door on him.  Sam stops though when he hears Dean’s voice, but Lilith, being an evil demon and all, knows how to push Sam’s buttons.  She taunts him over letting himself become a monster and then not following through.  His temper gets the better of him and he finishes the job, finally getting that long sought-after revenge as a dead Lilith falls to the floor.    

If there’s any episode that’ll truly break a Sam fan’s heart, it’s this one.  Sam’s pinpoint focus on his thirst for revenge leads to the most catastrophic result possible.  Blood pours from Lilith and forms a circle while a celebrating Ruby finally shows her true colors.  Sam has broken the final seal and opened the door.  Once Sam realizes what he’s done, he’s beyond consolation.  His horror and devastation is perfectly played (well done Jared!), even using Dean’s “you lying bitch” line.  He’s also too weak from taking out Lilith to kill Ruby, who is still too overjoyed over Lucifer being free at last.  This is where we get Sam’s big reveal that will be sticking with us to next season.  He didn’t need the demon blood after all to become as powerful as he did.  It was inside him all along.  The line, “You didn’t need the feather to fly, you had it in you all along Dumbo,” is pitch perfect.

Then comes the BEST moment of the night; the BEST moment of this season in a season loaded with plenty of goodies.  Dean breaks through the doors, charges at Ruby who boasts that it’s too late.  “I don’t care.”  Dean pulls out the knife, and a despondent Sam gets enough wits about him to stand up and hold Ruby for his brother.  Dean stabs, she sputters, and ding dong the witch is dead!  (Happy dance, happy dance).  The brothers are together, and suddenly all is right with the world again.  Oh, except for Sam’s heart crushing “I’m sorry” to Dean and Lucifer rising in a flash of white light as the screen fades, but that becomes next season’s worry.  Sam and Dean are in it together (even clutching onto each other), and I’m happy.   

That leaves us with so much to ponder, so many directions for the characters to go, so much to reconcile in the ever growing mythology, but that’s what summer hiatuses are for.  For right now I’m going to sit back, relax, and feel really grateful that there’s a show like this on the air.  This and the Chuck finale are the two I’ll be watching over and over again with a big smile.  And a “HELL YEAH!”   

The Rest

It should be noted that it’s my dream to own a classic Mustang someday and I completely drool every time I see one on the road, but Ruby’s never impressed me.  I think it’s because it’s hers.  I hope Sam gets the car now that she’s dead.  He’d look cooler driving it.  He also needs to paint it black. The Impala needs a sister!  Speaking of cooler, no Impala in this episode?  She must have wanted too much money.

The pop culture references are insane, but my favorite is “The Suite Life with Zack and Cas.”  My kids watch the Zack and Cody Disney channel version ad nauseum in my household, so I really found that joke hysterical.  I’ll take Zack and Cas over Zack and Cody any day!  Second place goes to the mention of the holodeck.  That was the only good part of Star Trek: The Next Generation much of the time.

Bobby didn’t die!!! (Happy dance, happy dance.)  Of course Jim Beaver told us in Cherry Hill he’d be back in season five, so I’m glad it’ll be with his character alive and not some ghost.

The constantly changing paintings in the angelic suite are pretty wild, and I love the themes changing from heavenly to hellish.  It sets the perfect tone for Zachariah’s troubling confession.  Again the archangel Michael is brought up.  I’m sure that’s important for later. 

My grade, an A+.  I’m not sure how this ranks in the all time list, but again, we get a classic for the ages.  My grade for the season is an A.  One of the best I’ve seen in network television, up there with The Simpsons season four and The West Wing season two.  Thank you, thank you Mr. Kripke for your grand vision and perfect execution this season, and good luck planning the next one. 

Is it September yet?      

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About Alice Jester

  • Tigeshire

    Oooh, cause I”m a pain in the but when it comes to accuracy…..

    So 1 month in Hell = 10 years
    37 years X 12 months per year = 444
    times 10 years per month – 4,440 Hell years.

    That is a LONG time coming for this plan.

  • lav1der

    Kim Manners was the patriarch because he was a male. Show some respect please by getting facts correct.

    I also caught the Hell years error.

  • Sandra

    Oh give her a break guys, she’s done a very well-written article as usual, just some factual errors. Happens to everyone once in a while. Maybe you can change Kim Manners (RIP) to former second patriarch in command :)? Otherwise, nice reading as usual, keep it up!

  • Anthony

    Hi Alice,

    I’ve been a reader for some time now, but this is my first time commenting.

    First of all, I want to say how much I look forward to your reviews every week! You’re a fantastic writer and you add a lot of insight to a wonderful show.

    I just wanted to ask for your theory on something. Do you think Dean and Sam will actually kill Lucifer in a years time or do you think they’re just going to lock him up in a cage again? Only because, he is THE Devil after all, like the ULTIMATE bad guy, and even though Kripke likes to shock us I don’t know if he’d have them kill him. Maybe just lock him up after an awesome fight scene or something, but I was just wondering for your take. I mean, Azazel and Alistair were hard enough to kill, and I’m guessing they’re nowhere near as powerful. It took a lot to kill Lilith as well and she half wanted to be killed. So I don’t know how they could kill Lucifer. Also, do you think we’ll ever see some form of God in this series as well by the end of it?

    Thanks in advance for addressing my questions! Again, what an awesome review to go with an amazing season finale! 🙂

  • Shaula

    I just wanted to say that…

    “This time last year, I was weeping in devastation over the demise of beloved Dean and worrying over his horrific time to come in Hell (yes, I care about these characters too damn much). This year, while I’m still very frightened for our boys (and their now fugitive angelic companion as well), and let a “Damn You Kripke!” slip at the cliffhanger ending, I find myself pumping fists more than breaking out the Kleenexes. That’s a way to cap a spectacular season!”

    I couldn’t agree more!!! 🙂

  • **red face** Sorry guys, an unfortunate and very inappropriate typo. Of course I know Kim Manners is a man, most evident in the tribute article I wrote about him. I’ll have this corrected when reposting on The Winchester Family Business site.

    I’ll also admit, in the rush of typing this, I didn’t do the Hell years math and threw a figure out on the top of my head. Thanks so much Tigershire, you are dead on correct. That’s why everyone is so wonderful here, you keep me honest! It really was a long time coming.

    Anthony – I’ll admit, I’m not a big study on The Book of Revelation, so I’m not sure how Lucifer’s defeat plays out there. I still remember Anna’s words from “I Know What You Did Last Summer” when asked if her predictions were like in the bible. “Kind of, I mean, same bottom line.” I think he’ll be defeated but killed? Good question. I guess we’ll find out! As for God, I wouldn’t put it past Kripke. That might be the punchline at the end of all this.

  • Tigeshire

    I was trying to be cheeky(and in my hast have a spelling mistake in my own post too).

    So please don’t think I was trying to chastise you over the numbers thing. That was not my intention.

  • Tigershire – Of course I know your intention was good! You’re exactly right, cheeky or not. Accuracy is important in this fandom, and I applaud your mathematical prowess!

    I swear, I’ve written over a hundred of these articles for blogcritics (can you believe that!) and no matter how many times I proofread, I miss something. It doesn’t get better the more you do. So, typos in comments are more than okay.

  • Chris Blair

    Without even knowing it, we were yelling hell yeah at the same time! lol Loved the episode and have lots of opinions, but you touched on something that I hadn’t thought of. I know Zacha(however you spell it) said that Dean would defeat Lucifer and while I saw the many camera pans to the painting of Michael slaying Lucifer it never clicked until you did the math for me. Back in the episode “It’s the Great Pumpkin Sam Winchester” we find out at the end of the episode that Cas and Uriel’s true orders were to follow Dean’s orders. I don’t believe that God has left the building like the suit Angel says, I believe God’s plan is playing out, despite the attempts of the angelic bureaucracy. If this were any other universe besides the Kripke universe (bows head with respect) I would say that the idea that somehow Dean will become the embodiment of The Archangel Michael is unheard of. However, traditional rules don’t apply and Michael is considered to be the “field commander for the Army of God” as well as “The Talmudic tradition rendered Michael’s name as meaning “who is like El?”, – so Michael could consequently mean “One who is like God,” Through out the season there are hints that Dean has more ultimate say than he is led to believe. Zachawhatever may not be acting on orders from on high, but be on the down low like Uriel. Ruby’s (may she rot in hell) revelation to Sammy that he had it in him all along may not have as much to do with the Demon blood thing as it might seem. Even though the show revolves around The Winchester Bois (and the amazing actors Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki who play them) whose is to say that both sides want or need a Winchester on their team. Perhaps the family is special. Perhaps they possess special gifts (beyond what we know about) that are yet to be revealed. Nothing is coincidence in the Kripke universe and it took a Winchester to open the door for Lucifer, so it would allow another Winchester to smack the pain down on Lucifer for a resounding Hell Yeah, take that! Or you know what I mean. I believe in some way Kripke, who ultimately is the almighty in this story, will make Dean the Archangel Michael or at least connect them in someway, if not embodiment, but maybe a weapon….sword perhaps.

  • vichi

    hi Alice, awesome review as always:) Man I really loved this episode, especially the part when Sam and Dean killed the bitch (happy dance)
    I can’t tell you how much I was happy to hear Carry on my wayward son again. I really missed the classic rock and there will not be a season finale without Kansas in it! So thank you, Kripke for an amazing season finale and especially, thank you Jensen, Jared and Misha , for an excellent acting! You were great, guys!
    Alice, I didn’t know you watch Chuck too :). It’s another of my favorites shows and I just find out the good news that he received the third season! So, this fall will be amazing with Supernatural and Chuck back!

  • Afro+

    Anna is an idiot, and so are you…

  • schof1212

    Not to pick at your insight but, the name “Michael” actually is more of a battle cry, like “Who is like God?”, stand beside me. The indication is all who AREN’T like God are on Lucifer’s side. It’s a call to arms for the righteous against the wicked. It is the battle cry of the angel Michael when the war in Heaven began in the form of a question. Think like “Rally to me!” or whoever is “like God”, “Who among you is like God?”. My name is Michael so I researched the name when I was a good little Catholic sunday school boy.

  • schof1212

    Also, I wouldn’t have minded a new song to start the show other than “Wayward Son”. As much as I love that song for the show, it’s a bit overplayed. We are heading into uncharted seas with this storyline. So something new would have been more appropriate, methinks. Maybe “My Lsat Serenade” by Killswitch Engage or more appropriately “The FOUR HORSEMEN” by Metallica would have been perfect!

  • schof1212

    On another note, are there any rumors around yet as to who will actually play LUCIFER? Too early? Let’s hear some suggestions:
    Anyone see the flick CONSTANTINE? How about Peter Stormare. He was wicked in that movie as Lucifer. Also I know everyone here has seen THE PROPHECY with Viggo Mortensen as the big L. He made my skin crawl with only a few lines but he made it so memorable and slithery. I think it should be someone very good looking as he was God’s perfect angel. Not too young, but with youthful features, statuesque.

  • Robin Vogel

    Ah, Alice, I do love your SUPERNATURAL commentaries and hope one day to tell you so in person. One correction: The state housing Lucifer’s convent is Maryland, not Massachusetts.

    This episode was amazing! I feared Kripke was going to draw out the brothers’ feud, keep it going into season 5, and that would have disturbed me too much. Their close relationship is the foundation of SUPERNATURAL, and the show just hasn’t felt the same without it. It reminded me of the Lorelei-Rory feud on GILMORE GIRLS, and I couldn’t stand all those dull episodes without their rapid-fire mother-daughter put-downs!

    Both Sam and Dean were led on by their respective “benefactors.” Problem is, Dean is still beholden to heaven while Sam is going to have to avoid Lucifer’s “gratitude” for freeing him! Sam is also going to have to deal with his guilt over killing the nurse. Plus, who knows what Castiel and Chuck (who I really hope sticks around, since I think he’s terrific) had to deal with when the Archangel showed up?

    There’s plenty to fret over during the hot summer months, and I, for one, am so grateful we’re getting a fifth year!

    Hope to meet you in person one of these days, Alice! Love, Robin

  • schof212 – I’ve seen Constantine, and I agree! Also, I read somewhere that Krikpe is a fan of it too and fashioned Castiel after that movie (don’t ask me which character, I’m thinking it’s Tilda Swindon’s but don’t quote me). So, who knows if that’ll have an influence on season five.

    Robin – Well so much for my proud feeling of knocking out this review in one afternoon. So far these are my worst typos ever. Man, I knew it was Maryland, since I often drive near Ilchester on my way to Delaware from Ohio. Thanks for the correction! I’m sure we can meet one day, especially if a con is involved!

  • I just re-read this, for no reason at all (I think I followed the links from Comic-con coverage), and I’m really, really, really looking forward to the season premiere of Supernatural now. Argh!

    Thanks, Alice.