The seventh season of “Supernatural” is coming to an end but the heated argument about how successful the year has been will last until the Fall. Coming off a season focused on monsters, angels, and Purgatory, season seven sought to give Sam and Dean Winchester a single group of Big Bads in the form of the Leviathan. But these aren’t your everyday villains: they’ve infiltrated the highest positions of power and are gunning for the Winchesters – who are struggling to find a way to fight back. One of the biggest subplots this season has focused on isolating the brothers, cutting them off from the lifelines they’ve relied on for seven years, and this move has gotten the fans up-in-arms about whether it was the best decision.
But the question lurking in the back of my mind is: in a show that is - and has always been - about two brothers, does anyone else matter?
NOTE: Within this post, there may be spoilers for episodes that have already aired. Continue reading at your own discretion.
What’s important to note is that the Winchester brothers are the heroes, swooping in to save innocents from evil, but they’re not superheroes. They can’t do everything on their own. Dean’s great at conning and fighting and Sam knows how to do research better than most but neither have the best forgery skills and they certainly don’t know everything. They need help! That’s why it’s so great when a well-seasoned hunter, like Bobby, or an angel, like Castiel, shows up to lend a hand. It reminds us that these guys can’t do it alone. Not to mention the fact that we’ve grown so attached to many of the supporting characters over the years. We look forward to when they will pop in and losing them is like losing a main character.
At the same time, I wonder, when does it get to be too easy? When do the supporting characters become too convenient? The distance between wherever the Winchesters are and Bobby’s house seemed to shrink dramatically between the first and second season and Castiel, at full capacity as an angel, was so powerful that he could do almost anything. Where’s the risk, the danger, the suspense of seeing the Winchesters struggle to overcome evil if all they need to do is phone a friend or say a prayer and they’ll have help almost immediately?
Then there’s the fact that the inclusion of angels is very divisive among the fans. Some people love Castiel and his friends and enjoy the way that the scope of the show expanded in the fourth season while others wish that it had stayed much smaller in scale. The amount of power that the angels have was enjoyable when they were working against the Winchesters’ agenda but when they were sided together, it became too convenient, almost a literal deus ex machina.
But we also need to keep in mind that if it’s just Sam and Dean, travelling around in their Impala, wouldn’t the show be boring? Sure, there would be fresh faces with each episode but how much is there left to learn about the brothers after seven years? The supporting characters give us other people to learn and care about. With limited allies and after all we’ve covered with our main characters, what else is there to do in season eight? Where do we go?
So what do you think? Should “Supernatural” limit the number of allies that the Winchesters have access to and keep the focus on just the brothers? Or should there be regular supporting characters helping out? Let me know in the comments!
Be sure to catch “Supernatural” on Fridays at 9:00 PM on the CW!