So yesterday I wrote a post in which I detailed why Supernatural should continue for a few years, basically detailing the brothers' relationship. My main reason was that a relationship doesn't end, it always evolves and Supernatural has now become the perfect case study of a relationship between family. This tenth season has wiped the slate clear for the show just as the fifth season did and it has been the best season since the aforementioned fifth one. This season gave to us some things that we expected we would never see, evolved the relationship between the brothers and set up what I am sure will be a stellar next season.
Starting off, we have to talk about the story. What is it? Essentially it starts off with Dean as a demon, a powerful and uncontrollable demon who not even the King of Hell can stop, so how can an injured Sam possibly try and do so? The first "mini-arc" seen on Supernatural in a long time, fans were extremely excited, mostly because Dean Winchester has gone evil. We got to see some great acting from Jensen Ackles, the uncaring and violent demeanor that he portrayed as his undead self was chilling and actually terrifying. If somebody only watched those three episodes, I am certain the show would evoke fear in somebody for the first time in years. Jared Padalecki's acting has never been as great as Jensen's in my opinion, but he has always been wonderful nonetheless. He showed a new side to Sam, a nuclear and relentless man who will do anything to fix his brother. This is something we usually see in Dean, but in him it is subtle and more subdued. In Sam, Jared shines as being vocal and edgy or dodgy. When Dean gets cured, they find they still have to deal with the Mark of Cain. Now, just a brief note. I have no doubt that the writers wanted to continue Demon Dean as well, but once cured, it would become a reused plot thread and if they continued, the 200th Episode would not have been as great as it was. Speaking of the 200th Episode, it was so meta, so filler and so great. It summed up opinions of the show in a nutshell and proved why we keep watching, even though we always complain. As the Mark of Cain plot thread progresses, we see Dean slowly and slowly become more uncaring, slightly more violent and more dark. I saw a lot of complaining that we actually were not seeing this, but as I have pointed out, Jensen Ackles' acting style is much more subdued. Instead of seeing uber-violent Dean as a demon, we were treated to a laid back deviant. So when the Mark of Cain takes hold, we go from Ackles' character trying to deal with it, accepting it, getting sadder and then just uncaring. It is all so subtle that you need to applaud Ackles for his performance. As the Mark continues to worsen Dean, Sam goes to extreme lengths to find the cure, a move which results in a girl whom they care for like a sister, Charlie Bradbury, getting slaughtered by the Styne Family. Dean finally loses control and murders all of the Stynes, but even then, Sam is willing to forgive him. Sam agrees to lay down his own life, so Death can take Dean away but only agrees to do so if Dean remembers who he once was. Sam is insistent that there is good in Dean. It is a powerful scene.
Production values for this show do seem to go down for normal episodes and every year the show seems to rely more on practical effects than CGI. The last CGI heavy season I would argue was season 7. We don't get that big of a budget on this compared to The Flash, which needs it for Gorilla Grodd. Yet whenever we need these effects, practical or otherwise, it comes off as amazing. When Dean killed Cain, it was amazing and all practical. When the Darkness got released, it may have not seemed very original, but proves that the studio technicians still have it.
Perhaps the worst part of this season would be the writing. When the filler was mediocre, it was very mediocre. When the filler was good, it was amazing. Perhaps it is good that much of the writing staff has departed, new blood means new chances and people who cannot wait to sink their claws in to the game. All while this happens, we keep some of the best writers and hope for a good spin-off soon.
Overall, while this season had its troubles, it was still the best since the fifth.