I’ve taken forever to write up the final two episodes of season 12. I don’t know why, I loved them both, a hell of a lot! Maybe it’s because I kinda just wanted to savour them without over thinking them, or maybe it’s because once they’re written up the hellatus has truely started! I’ve watched both episodes many times. They were on repeat for about 8 hours I reckon on that first day…just playing as I rewatched them, and chatted on twitter, and generally soaked everything up. They were both so good, full of emotion, and shocks, and times where I literally had to stand up because I just couldn't sit anymore! There was crying, there was yelling, there was random hand clapping, and there was a lot of dropped jaw gaping! I was left feeling absolutely shattered, in the best possible way. My heart had been pounding for the full 2 hours, from love, and fear, and horror, and sadness and just everything the show throws at me. It was a grand 2 hours of epic feels, I loved it!
Warning: Ahead be Winchester-centric gushing.
Have I ever mentioned to you how much I love Sam and Dean Winchester? I feel like it may have come up once or twice…
I think maybe Bob Berens wrote, “Who We Are” just for me. I mean, seriously. Pretty sure he sat down and thought, “Now what would Amy love in an episode?”, and then wrote it! Because right from the get go in the bunker, smashing the walls, with the Yippee ki yays, and the hey lunatics, and the Butch and Sundance blaze of glory, that I swear sounded like Jensen and Jared at any number or cons…it was like all my favourite things were happening right before my eyes. Smart boys, kick ass boys, (sweaty, grubby boys in clingy t-shirts), boys having D&Ms about their lives, with no judgements, right through to genuine hugs, bitch and jerk, and a bunch of the heavy crap they’ve been carrying around for as long as we’ve known them, finally shaken off.
They were united, and respectful of each other and their decisions. They were a team, equal in the face of everything coming at them. It was like the payoff of everything we’ve seen this season, with Sam stepping up, with Dean letting go of the reigns, with them both on the same page, with no animosity, no finger pointing, no amped up drama. We could genuinely believe in each and every moment between them because we had spent a season seeing them reach this place of harmony and respect in their relationship, and so it wasn't jarring to see this kind of raw and open emotion. They have been side by side and one voice all season. We didn’t have to suspend disbelief that they’d suddenly forgiven each other something horrible, or wonder how they can be so tight after being at odds all season over some nasty lie. This was a beautiful progression of what started in season 11 with new found trust and honesty, and blossomed through season 12 into respect and equality.
Where these guys are now, it’s somewhere they’ve never been, no matter how hard you look through Winchester coloured glasses, and it’s somewhere I’ve always hoped they would be, because they love each other so profoundly and they deserve to be happy…even if it’s only in what they have together.
Yep “Who We Are” was a squee inducing, heart swelling bromantic episode. And oh my God, how I loved it.
The fact that Sam, the boy with the demon blood who was destined to lead an army of demons, wound up being the leader he was born to be, but instead leading an army of hunters, heroes, fighting to protect their world and their lives and the lives of others, is something I truly hope Sam recognised. It was a beautiful turn in the story, a full circle for Sam, something he truly deserved, and a place I think Sam was able to get to in part because he knows that Dean trusts and believes in him. The doubts that he may have harboured over the years about how his brother felt about him, the disappointment he saw himself as, have dissipated as the brothers’ relationship has developed into one on a much more even footing. Dean’s acceptance of Sam’s decision to fight with the British Men of Letters, and how he resolutely did not point fingers or chastise Sam when it all went pearshaped, would have gone a long way with helping Sam not to kick himself too hard about that misstep. And even if he was kicking himself, at least Dean wasn’t joining in.
When Sam decided to step up and be the leader we all know him to be, he was magnificent. As big as a freakin’ tree in the middle of the room, rallying the troops and instilling in them the confidence which allowed them to follow him. My fists were pumping the air as he told the hunters that the BMoL had every reason to be scared of them. I think I yelled out “YEAH SAMMY” at no one in particular.
And then there was Dean’s face, as he listened to his little brother, as he looked around and saw his fellow hunters believing in Sam, transfixed by Sam. The small smile that crept across Dean’s mouth, the look of pride… My God. Seriously, there were hearts shooting out of my eyeballs, and tears…hearts and tears…it was messy!
I loved that Dean said he saw Sam…this was a theme through this episode, to be really seen. Dean really saw Sam, saw how much Sam had grown and who he’d grown into, and the pride in Dean’s voice, the pride on his face…GAH! I’m making myself all weepy!
I saw you….you’re ready for this…you show those sons of bitches who's boss….You got this…come here… you come back.
A MILLION HAPPY TEARS!
I think this hug, the hug that answered a thousand fangirl hug prayers, may be my new favourite hug. I’ve always loved what I called surprise hug, which was when Dean hugged Sam after he’d been speaking to Charlie, just because he was happy to have Sam. That was such a great, out of nowhere hug! This hug here was a straight out I love you hug. It wasn’t a you’re back from the dead hug, or a you’re about to die I’m never going to see you again hug, it was a hug that was just love, plain and simple. It was so raw and so honest and so full of emotion and so damn real. So. Damn. Real. When Dean said, you come back, and Sam said, promise…I don’t know I’ve ever heard them say anything like that before, have I? It was fucking fantastic. I can’t even with how fantastic it was.
Then when Dean said he wasn’t going to fight with Sam, because Sam had it covered, and that he was going to save their mum, that felt totally right too, because that’s what Dean has always done, all his life he’s fought to save his family, fought to hold on to them. Sam was the leader he was always meant to be, and Dean was fighting for the thing that he’s always believed in the most.
Jensen Ackles has done some damn fine work during Supernatural, but I think the scene with Mary that took place inside her mind, was probably his best work to date.
I can’t tell you how shocked I was when Dean said, “I hate you” to Mary. I clapped both my hands over my mouth. We’ve never heard Dean say anything at all about hating his mum, and as shocking as it was, it dawned on me how absolutely right it felt. I was suddenly so sad, so deeply pained that he’d buried that inside himself for so long. Never uttering the words. Probably never really allowing himself to own those feelings. The guilt that he would have felt whenever those feelings bubbled up, alongside the raging conflict, man, no wonder that guy had been so damn angry for so damn long, all of that squished down inside him! Dean Winchester breaks my freakin’ heart.
Now facing his mother, who’d been so confusing for him all season, who he’d been struggling to accept and to change how he perceived her, who he felt discarded by yet again, who was now choosing to leave him…choosing to stay in the world created in her mind, because it was easier…choosing to abandon him yet again. That was too much.
I love so much that Dean got to say all of those things to his mother. Tell her the truth about how broken John was, how her children were affected by her loss, what Dean’s childhood became, and the horrors that befell Sam all because of the deal Mary made, the deal that destroyed their family and their lives, Dean, still framing all his pain around Sam’s, because ever single time Sam hurt, Dean not only hurt, he felt he failed, and he punished himself for those failures, and he was right, that wasn’t fair…he was just a kid…and he had to become so much more.
But what I found so magnificent about this scene and Jensen’s performance in it, was that it truly felt like Dean was coming to all these realisations in the moment, like he’d never really admitted even to himself the depth of the anger he felt towards his mother. But as it all came tumbling out, he was not only realising that he hates her, he was realising that it didn’t matter, because he also loved her, because she’s his mum and he can’t help but love her, no matter how wounded he is, no matter what she did, he still loves her. You could literally see him coming to that understanding as those words came out. Then as he forgave her, that small smile drifted across his lips, because in forgiving Mary, he was also forgiving himself for all these feelings, and for his mistakes, and for his deals, and letting it all go. All of this played out in front of us, as it was playing out for Dean, as he worked through it all, as he came to each place and understood it and released it, and that was bloody amazing.
Jensen was able to show Dean coming to each emotional realisation step by step as he processed that anger, landing in a place of love, forgiveness and fresh starts. I was completely blown away. The first time I watched this scene, I was so damned mesmerised, I couldn’t cry, I couldn’t breathe enough to cry…second watch I howled like a baby, but the first watch, I just stopped breathing…pretty much.
Dean’s plea to his mum to see him, embodied how he must have felt from the moment Mary arrived back on the scene. She never saw Dean, she never saw either of her boys, she only saw what they weren’t… they weren’t her babies, they weren’t the children she knew…she never actually saw them and the spectacular men they grew in to…and I didn’t even realise that until Dean begged for her to see him, “I need you to look at me mum, I need you to really look at me and see me. Mum I need you to see me.” God. That just got me in the gut. Like a physical blow. He wanted his mum to see him…not just to pull her out of her own mind, but because, he needed her to see him. My heart.
You can’t help but think, this here is what Amara meant when she said she was giving Dean what he needed most…this, this moment with his mother, this release from the bonds of anger and guilt is what he needed most. I always wondered why Mary. Now I know.
The thing is, as Dean says later, and as is also touched on in the finale episode, all of this tragedy, all of these horrors, all of these terrible things that have plagued Sam and Dean because of Mary’s deal, have made them who they are, and they are kick ass, they’re great big heroes who save the world. It’s a truly wonderful thing that the brothers have grown to understand this…they’ve both verbalised this during season 12. It’s like they finally understand their significance, and in finding peace with each other, they’ve finally found true peace and acceptance with their jobs.. and with that comes pride in what they do. We’ve never seen that quite so clearly as we have in season 12.
Then…after lots of epic Jody and Sam hunter action, (I was shitting myself the whole time that Jody was going to die…thank Chuck she didn’t! It was so great to see her!), a couple of epic reveals about Lucifer and Crowley, a kick ass fight between a drugged up Dean and Ketch in the bunker, and a couple of epic head shots by Jody and Mary straight into the bad guy’s brains…we had the amazing Winchester-triple-hug. It occurred to me, even with Mary back, we hadn’t had a moment like this between Mary and her sons, she had never been in a place to allow it, for herself or for her boys. Too much guilt, too much fear, and too much sadness. But now, with both her sons forgiving her…they can start a fresh…
AT LEAST THEY COULD IF THIS WASN’T SUPERNATURAL! SHUT UP that’s next episode!
I loved “Who We Are”. It truly represented who those boys are, who they are now, how they got there, and where they are in understanding who they are and accepting it, as well as who the Winchesters are...all three of them. Dean shed the painful feelings he’s been holding onto since he was four. Sam shed the self doubt and feelings of inadequacy we know have haunted him. Such a lot of burdens that the brothers have carried, finally dropped. Both must have felt as light as a damn feather.
Bob Berens wrote some crazy good shit in “Who We Are” and Jensen, Jared and Sam Smith were crazy good in it. Everything was amazing, from all the action, to all the emotion. This episode shot to the top of my all time favourite episodes with a bullet! I adored it.
And guys, Dean finally got to use the grenade launcher. Love.
I’ll be back with the season finale - I was going to do it all in one, but then I went on and on about how awesome Sam and Dean are (and not much else, sorrryyyy)! So I’ll give your eyeballs a break!
See you soon!
Read Anna's thoughts on 12x22 here
Read Anna's thoughts on 12x22 here