Supernatural Midseason Review: What We Think of Season 7 So Far

Supernatural Season 7“Death Doesn’t Mean Anything on Supernatural“. It’s been a long-running joke, among the fans and the writers, that people don’t stay dead on this show. Some people think that means that death has less resonance on Supernatural, but I respectfully disagree. For those of us out here in the real world, death is obviously a finality (let’s not get into your religious beliefs, let’s just all agree that death means you’re no longer living on earth). But on Supernatural, death is primarily about a change of state. Let’s all remember that Supernatural is not – nor has it ever really been – a particularly realistic show. Yes, the show absolutely deals with everyday issues, like family and love and loss. However, it’s also a show where Hell is a physical place and where angels occupy vessels on earth. Sorry, but that part is not terribly realistic with what we know of our world. What the show tends to do is use these supernatural elements as metaphors for real life issues, much like Buffy used to do.

I personally see no reason why death should mean we never see a character again. If that were true, Supernatural would have burned out years ago. Think about the sheer number of deaths on this show. If they were all permanently gone, who would be left? But death does mean something on the show. It means that we might see Jo again as a ghost, but we’ll never see her come along on a case like she did in season 2’s “No Exit”. Likewise, Ash can’t really be called on by the Winchesters to work his computer magic and we may have seen Ellen again in “My Heart Will Go On”, but we’ll never see her to the degree that we did in earlier seasons and we know her reappearance wasn’t “real”. Like I said, death means a change of state, but it doesn’t have to mean a complete ending. The impact of the deaths of various characters has always resonated on this show. We may have seen Bobby’s wife again, but we understand how her death impacted his life and character development. We know how acutely Sam and Dean have suffered from the loss of their father and we saw how guilty Dean felt after Jo and Ellen’s death. Each death on the show is given the respect it deserves, even if we see the character again two episodes or two years later.

I’ve seen some fans suggest that not killing Bobby after “Death’s Door” would actually cheapen the sentiment of that episode. But, again, I respectfully disagree. Did Dean’s return from Hell in “Lazarus Rising” somehow cheapen the enormity of his love and sacrifice for Sam in selling his soul in the first place? Did Sam’s return at the end of “Swan Song” cheapen the emotional goodbye he had with Dean in Stull Cemetery? Personally, I don’t think any deaths have ever been cheapened either by eventual survival or a (temporary) return of characters. I think that we can take “Death’s Door” for what it was – a beautiful character study into a character that deserved it – and still have Bobby live to fight another day. Now, you’re perfectly welcome to disagree with me. In fact, I know several of the writers I consulted for this review do disagree with me. But that’s simply how I feel.

Supernatural Season 7

Final Thoughts. I think what fans should ultimately take from this review is that I – and the other writers who participated in it – are hopeful for season 7. Many of us are more excited about it than season 6 and I think the show is doing an admirable job of writing for a show that has been on the air for seven seasons. Yes, we and the fans may have a few gripes, because no show is perfect. But that doesn’t mean the die-hard fans are prepared to jump ship.

I honestly believe that this season of Supernatural is more a study about the characters than any season that preceded it. The point of Dean’s emotional struggle is for him to come to terms with the man he wants to be. The point of Sam’s mental struggle is to learn to live with being “different”. The point of “Death’s Door” was to finally give us more insight into a character that deserved it. The leviathans exist as an adversary, but I believe this season is meant to be more introspective. And I’m honestly OK with that.

Winchester Daily’s Nikki Novak acknowledges that there has been a lot of good this season, but there also seems to be a lot of complaints from the fans. The backlash against what happened with Castiel is very real, as are the complaints that Sam’s Hell memories have taken a backseat. But there is good to be found here as well, particularly with Sam and Dean’s relationship. There will always be complaints, but there will also always be compliments.

While some of us would like to suggest that the leviathan arc should move at a quicker pace and the writing of some mini-arcs should be tighter or different, Tina was correct in saying that none of us are “a scripted TV writer so [we] really have no right to tell anyone how to improve a show. This is a subjective business and what [we] think won’t be the same as what the next person thinks.”

I have a great deal of hope for the remainder of season 7. There are obviously some things I would like to see – and things I believe we will see – but I feel confident that Supernatural will deliver. As much as I like to threaten that Bobby dying might be the end of the line for me, Laura’s words resonate in my head as true: “I’m still rooting for the Winchesters, and I’ll follow them to hell and back for as long as the show is on the air.”

But, seriously, can we please get the Impala out of storage? Because that one might end up being the deal-breaker.

Supernatural returns with new episodes on January 6, 2012. Watch a trailer for the upcoming episodes here.

 

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