Here’s the thing about Supernatural: It was the show no one cared about. Put on as the replacement of Angel when that show was abruptly cancelled (at its creative high no less), Supernatural already had fan anger going against it. No one wanted a show with Cute!Dean and Alec ‘saving people, hunting things, the family business’. I know I personally didn’t and swore I would never watch an episode.
But a funny thing happened: I was in college and one of my roommates came knocking on my door asking if I could come into her room and watch an episode with her because she was so freaked out that she had no desire to watch it by herself. That episode was Skin and from that point on I was hooked.
Which brings us to season eleven. Coming off of season ten, where the show hit a creative high that hadn’t been seen since seasons five and six, not only did eleven start off with a bang it just kept getting better. There were no throwaway episodes or lines, even the so-called demon of the week eps went back to the overall arc of the season.The real genius of the season? It went back to what made me fall in love with this show in the first place: family.
Whether it’s Lucifer and Castiel literally duking it out in the same body; Crowley and Rowena trying to figure out how to navigate the thin line between love and hate in their effed up Oedipal relationship; Dean and Sam, desperately trying to keep their heads above water and Dean safe and sane as Dean is inexorably drawn to Amara despite everything in him fighting it; or last, but certainly not least, twins Chuck and Amara: two halves of the same universe creating whole realizing that they need each other, and more importantly, love each other. These people, with their flaws and superpowers and enough issues to keep a psychiatrist paid for life, are a family above all.
It’s this that saves everyone. With Chuck dying and Amara realizing that she didn’t want to end the universe after all but can’t stop what she’s started it’s that familial bond that Dean taps into. It’s not the infinite power he’s been bestowed through tens of thousands of souls placed in him via Rowena’s magic and an assist from Billie, but kindness, honesty and Dean’s love of his family and of life itself that heals the rift between Chuck and Amara and all of creation. Dean Winchester saved the universe, not with power but with words and it’s beautiful.
It’s also why, when Chuck tells Dean that he and Sam are the protectors of Earth it’s shocking, but also rings true. The boys have literally given up everything, time and time again, to do what’s right. Do they screw up? Oh yes. Amara wouldn’t have been released had Charlie (we still miss you girl) Cas and Sam been able to accept Dean’s choice in receiving the Mark of Cain and all that it entails. But the thing about the Winchesters (Cas included), and about Supernatural as a whole, is no matter what happens, they get right back up. They keep going, keep striving to learn from their mistakes and make the world around them a better place. They get nothing for their efforts except home invasions, contempt and constant fear for their lives, but they keep moving. Even when they do get something, or more importantly someone, back it’s tinged with a cloud of doom.
Yet they just keep getting up.
It’s what makes them heroes and Supernatural one of the best shows on television, still able to move us after eleven years.