A while back, I wrote a post about this most recent season of Supernatural: more specifically, about my skepticism regarding the show’s repeated tendency to use Dean and Castiel to engage in romantic tropes to move the narrative drama forward, then pull back at the end of a season to retain the how’s carefully heteronormative status quo. With the airing of the finale this week, Alpha and Omega, I was unsurprised to see SPN fall back on more of the same, as Dean took Castiel on a drive to, as Jensen Ackles described, “explain” why Dean has been so particularly upset at Castiel’s giving himself up to Lucifer this season. Unsurprisingly, the conversation was more or less as expected, with Dean telling Castiel that he’s he and Sam’s “best friend” — moreover, that he’s their “brother.”
Ignoring for a moment that this scene does nothing to explain why Dean in particular had such a crushing reaction (or why his response differed so completely from Sam, who spent the body of the season far more worried about werewolves, banshees, and square planets than he did his angel-brother from another mother), I find myself reacting with far more frustration than I expected. As we all know by now, Alpha and Omega marked a kind of major ending: a quasi-series finale, if you will, as current show runner Jeremy Carver has left Supernatural to helm a new show for the CW, and left Andrew Dabb, long-time staff writer, to take over. And perhaps this is the core of my ire. Because just as Swan Song set up Sera Gamble’s narrative arc for seasons 6 and 7 by hinting at a Sam who had returned from Hell, Not Quite Right; just as Survival of the Fittest prepped Carver’s era by shuttling Dean and Castiel to purgatory, and leaving Sam panicked, afraid, and utterly alone; Alpha and Omega serves to offer us our first glimpse into Dabb’s vision for the show’s future.