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Reflections on A Golden Amulet

(with apologies to Carson McCullers for the title.  Spoilers for SPN 5.22 "Swan Song",  and random earlier eps, after the cut.)

 

So.  Power to find God.  Sam's gift to Dean, given at the very moment that arguably ended both their childhoods. (1)

Where the frak was it?

We haven't got any of that new-fangled technology that'll record the programs for you, so this is my take on seeing it the Supernatural finale a highly-emotional once. (2) I realize I could probably manage something more nuanced if I could also manage exercising patience til it to gets uploaded to Hulu, but what the hell, I can always come back and contradict myself later.

I wasn't crazy about the implication that Chuck is God, because my first impression of his final scene was that he'd been orchestrating the entire shebang.

Maybe that wasn't what they were going for, but it's a version of God I'm ultimately disinterested in--if I believed an almighty power was sitting by, essentially setting up the pieces and then lying about the game, then I gotta say Lucifer's plan to walk off the board sounds about right to me.  

I need to re-watch the episodes he was in and see whether I think they did the necessary groundwork to establish him as unable, rather than unwilling, to intervene--I mean, I get that is the whole point of free will, but I haven't always been convinced that that the show and I were on the same page in that regard.

Plus, Dean had the freaking amulet the first time he met Chuck back in season 4 and I don't remember anyone noticing it "burning with holy fire."  I'm willing to buy that mebbe Castiel's intel was bad, but after making it a focal point for the entire season, is a little confirmation too much to ask?

Maybe I'd feel better about it if Sam had given Dean the amulet back.  (J pointed out that they didn't actually show Sam digging it out of the trash, but I feel morally certain that a legion of fangirls and I can't possibly be wrong on this count.)

I think seeing Dean accept it again would help ameliorate my unease that it's the writers--and not just his dad and brother--who think that Sam somehow betrayed his family by going off to college.  Making your own life choices doesn't mean you don't value the care with which you were raised, and when Dean chose to interpret Sam's good memories in that way, I wanted to deck him.  Really, really kind of a lot.

I loved the scene itself, because I thought it was an honest and believable reaction.  It makes sense to me, in the context of the story, how Dean might feel that Sam abandoned them.  I've got a lot of empathy for why he might think that Sam owed them more, but that doesn't mean I think he was right. (Allow me to quote Glee's Burt Hummel, who broke my heart in the best possible way this week by telling his teenaged gay son, Your job is to be yourself and my job is to love you no matter what.

Don't get me wrong, I like that Dean-- and John--are flawed, because people always are.  Sam is, too, but the show never seemed to me to be having any difficulty acknowledging his faults. 

I think we got a lot of (really, really) awesome dialogue between Sam and Dean in the episode, in which they took some responsibility for the ways in which they'd failed each other, but I still would have liked the amulet to resurface.

Since we're talkin' Chekhov's gun (3) here, I assume we didn't get the amulet last night 'cause they're holding it for season 6. Much as I love this show--and, God, I really, really do--I was conflicted about them getting the go-ahead for next season.  Because sometimes stories are finished, and that's no bad thing.  

I didn't start watching Buffy until a few years after it was off the air, so I didn't experience any of the fan reaction in real time.  I know some people think it should've ended with the season 5 finale "The Gift".  And while I do love that episode and think it would've made a beautiful stopping point, I also love the two seasons that followed pretty much unreservedly. (4)

So I'm willing to give 'em the benefit of the doubt, that there's more story here to tell, even with the Apocalypse averted.  I was a little miffed last night, when it became clear that Dean did intend to fulfill Sam's dying wish, that this might be seen as another example of him doing the right thing, where Sam had failed.  But then I thought about it a little more and went back to check my memory of Dean's last words to Sam before succumbing to the hellhounds in season three.

Keep fighting....Remember everything Dad taught you.  Everything I taught you.

And, really, in his reckless drive to destroy Lilith, you can say Sam did exactly that.  Even down to making deals with demons, when all that's left is your final, desperate act.  He emulated some of their worst lessons in season 4--and then, some of their best in season 5.  And love trumped destiny, just as Dean had always promised it would.

 _________

(1) Dean was obviously doing a helluva lot of caretaking before then, but I don't think he missed the significance of Sam deciding to give him something he originally intended for their dad.

(2) If you want to know how lucky I am in the spousal unit department, I realized while packing that, due to our much-anticipated, hell-yeah-we're-turning-40 Disney World extravaganza, I was going to miss seeing the penultimate ep in real time and therefore, possibly at all, before the finale aired.  I actually gave brief, but serious, thought to whether I needed to park myself in our room at the appointed hour to avert such a catastrophe...and, yet, still not divorced!  (I managed to get it online once we were home Sunday morning just fine.)

(3) From my roving on the intertubes, I've gleaned that it's considered polite to warn when linking to the glorious timesuck know as TVTropes.

(4) I've seen an awful lot written online that makes me think this might be a minority opinion, but there's way too much stuff in there that, frankly, I think the world would be a poorer place without.  Like the musical episode, which remains a go-to  DVD around here when we're feeling especially bleak.  Or Buffy's speech at the end of "Chosen", which makes me cry Every. Single. Time.  And the evolution of Spike, which I think is genius as opposed to character assassination, but that's a different diatribe.



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