Season 11 of Supernatural was one of the most enjoyable since Sam tumbled into Lucifer's cage back in Season 5, with an ending that offered equal amounts of optimism for the future. Mary Winchester returning from the dead thanks to Amara/The Darkness was the perfect ending to the season and gave fans plenty of hope that this season would see the Winchester family out hunting together.
But this season has, so far, been somewhat disappointing, with no real direction or focus for the boys to work towards. Mary has been largely absent, Castiel and Crowley were searching for Lucifer (mostly off screen), the British Men of Letters hasn't been fleshed out much since the first couple of episodes and the Thule have made the odd appearance, but nothing concrete has taken hold.
Previous 'Supernatural' Themes
Each season of Supernatural has had a very specific focus.
- Season 1: Find Dad
- Season 2: Find Yellow-Eyes
- Season 3: Save Dean
- Season 4: Find Lilith and save the 66 Seals
- Season 5: Stop The Apocalypse
- Season 6: Save Sam's soul
- Season 7: Leviathans
- Season 8: Close the gates of Hell
- Season 9: Metatron/Heaven
- Season 10: Dean and the Mark
- Season 11: The Darkness
- Season 12: Mary Returns/Lucifer/Men of Letters/The Thule?
Without a true villain of Season 12, the show is struggling for substance when it had plenty of options early on.
1. Mary's Return
The season started with Dean reunited with his long-dead mother, and her struggling to come to terms with where she is and how her sons are now fully-grown adults. This storyline could have been a strong plot to follow throughout the season, with Mary adjusting to the times and catching up on her hunting skills — all the while spending time with her family and learning about their lives, and their father's life, since her death in 1983.
Mary could have left for a brief time, even having an entire episode dedicated to following her on a case (or cases) as she took some personal time to deal with what was happening. Instead, she has been gone for most of the season, with the Winchester boys carrying on without her. Choosing to keep Mary's return on the back-burner was a poor decision as it could have given the season something solid to work with.
There was once a time when Lucifer was considered the most deadly threat to the world and he was the driving force of the apocalypse that raged on in Season 5. Now, he is appearing more like an angry child causing havoc on a far smaller scale that makes him seem far less threatening. A being with the power and history of Lucifer deserves to be a focus, with the Season 11 episode "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" making him appear every bit as deadly as you would expect him to be.
He has now been sent back to his cage and it feels like he could have been a stronger driving force — potentially setting up a return for his brother, Michael, who would be interesting to see in his insane state.
3. Men Of Letters
The first few episodes of the season focused somewhat on the introduction of the British chapter of the Men of Letters and it started to build up an impression of how important they would become to the story. But, until the most recent episode, this has fallen short on expectations.
The Men of Letters are an interesting organization that has not existed in the United States since the mid-20th century. The re-establishment of the US chapter of the Men of Letters could have been an interesting story to follow, with Sam and Dean bringing in other hunters and people on the British chapter's recommendation to re-establish the network across the country. Choosing to not do anything with the Men of Letters in any substantial capacity is something that should be addressed, giving a new dimension to the #Supernatural world.
4. The Thule
The Thule has appeared sporadically since first being introduced in Season 8, but they have never really been explored as a serious threat. With the magical and historical aspect of the organization, they could reasonably become a season-long adversary hellbent on taking over America and re-establishing the Nazi Party.
The Men of Letters fought against The Thule in World War II and this would be the ideal narrative for a reinvented Men of Letters, with the #Winchesters hunting down their leadership and solving cases.
With so many minor storylines spread across Season 12, it is difficult to determine where the second half of the season will go. Each storyline could conceivably be pulled together and turned into a much larger focus that will turn things around this season.
The monster-of-the-week aspect of the show is always enjoyable, but that is often counterbalanced with the over-arching story of the season to keep things focused, or at least seeming that way. With too many extra stories mixed in, that monster-of-the-week aspect is all this season really has to rely on. Time for the showrunners to start putting together a bigger focus and get the show moving in one direction.
What are your thoughts on Supernatural Season 12?