No. 10: Castiel’s Fading Grace
The storyline of Castiel’s stolen grace, and the threat of his inevitable death due to it fading, was here for the second half of the Season and was only confirmed very late on, in episode 9.18 “Meta Fiction”. Initially I hadn’t expected it so it was quite interesting at first, but then after a while it was just tedious and boring as they kept speculating that Cas was going to drain out of juice and die but then, at the end of the Season, it didn’t conclude or get resolved, making it seem even more dragged out.
The audience don’t even get a good look into the problems. We never really see much of it at all, apart from the characters vaguely talking about it. We have no idea of the repercussions or the Angel science behind it and neither does Cas apparently. However, the writers may have been going for a mysterious vibe or wanted the concept to take a back seat this season, to be continued and become more prominent in Season 10.
No. 9: Crowley’s Blood Addiction
This story arc was evident throughout the whole Season so i’ll give it 10 out of 10 for consistency. I know that many viewers found the King of Hell becoming addicted to human blood, and it’s emotional effects, very interesting and liked the change in ‘evil villain crowley’ to ‘awkward best friend crowley’. However, I did not like the change as I have always loved Crowley’s evil and brutal personality, and he has been one of the better villains of the show. The season had me wondering what side he was on and his motives were just not clear.
As I said, I can see why some viewers may find this enhanced his character, and complicated his personality. We do meet his son in this season as well, giving his background and personal past life some more in-depth detail. However, I found it to be such a blunt contrast between his Season 8 character who was killing many of Sam and Dean’s friends horribly and heartlessly. I think that it ruined the evilness that is The King of Hell and I found it amusing that he still referred to himself as so.
No. 8: Abaddon
I love the character of Abaddon with all my heart, and I really liked some of her episodes this season (9.02 “Devil May Care” being a stunning favourite) but I thought that this season kind of ruined her power and evilness that was amazingly set up in Season 8. Her death was no where near justified enough or respectable to Abaddon’s power and, for a big bad villain, I wanted her to appear in more than just 5 episodes.
Sure, there was lots of talk about her and how evil she was but, if you think about it, she didn’t really do anything that bad, did she? Maybe I’m biased because I love the character, but I believed, even though it was randomly revealed that she was creating an army from human souls, the Winchesters should have been more focused on Heaven and Metatron, who was doing much more badass things. So, with hardly any motive, apart from her intimidating power and the fact that Sam and Dean would much rather have the new and emotional Crowley running hell, they kill her off. (I’m not going to mention sexism but audiences could easily read that into it.)
On the positive side, her death scene was visually stunning and different to the deaths that we’ve seen before and, I guess, it was important to the Demon Dean arc and to move the story forward, but, then again, I’m not sure how essential it was. I predicted that Dean would join forces with Abaddon due to the darkness of the Mark of Cain, and they would turn into the King and Queen of Hell, but the writers made Abaddon out to be more stupid than I interpreted she was in Season 8 when she was doing some pretty clever things. This year she can’t even seem to hold Dean up against a wall without getting stabbed. She even knew about Dean and the mark and yet she still manages to fail, and get tricked, outwitted and deceived by Sam and Dean, and also weak, addicted Crowley a few times as well. If I was her, I would have used Dean’s mark to my advantage but, then again, I don’t seek destruction and death like she does so I wouldn’t really know.
No. 7: The Fallen Angels
I have a love/hate relationship with the plotline of the entire race of Angels crashing to Earth and trying to find a way to get back into Heaven. When I first watched the finale to Season 8 last year, I expected the fallen Angels storyline to be a prominent part of Season 9. I thought that this was a massive milestone in the show. There was so much potential there that was not used. For example, Sam and Dean could have hastingly tried to keep Angels from being exposed to the general public, the Angels could have built up an army trying to take over the Earth, or they could have hunted down the Winchesters. None of these things happened and, although the whole Angel storyline was exciting, it was kind of pushed aside as not important right now and the finale of Season 9 was a slight anti-climax to the resolution to the problem.
I expected the Season 9 tone to be chaotic and messy with the Angels on Earth, but instead the writers went for a sense of normalcy, with the Angels having to fit in with human society and Sam and Dean going about their business as usual, not really trying to help them get back home even though the Angels are possessing many innocent people and killing those people when they fight each other. As I said, Sam and Dean seem to forget that’s a problem and, for some reason, think that Abaddon and the First Blade is the priority. If the story arc had been more prominent, it would have become increasingly intricate and would have created more sub-plots and new characters who are allowed to tell their story of the fall. Then maybe we’ll actually feel sympathy for these Angels who we’ve never seen before.
No. 6: Sam and Dean’s Disagreements
Like most hard-core fans, I did not like Sam and Dean’s arguments, it was very uncomfortable to watch. Admittedly, I did enjoy the dynamics and the drama but I agree with the majority of the audience in believing that the concept was irritating. That being said, it was important to this season’s overall narrative and to the Demon Dean arc. It was also something quite different. In the past we’ve had some physical brotherly fights, venting their anger and rage, but we’ve never had brothers completely segregated from each other, refusing to even speak openly, so that was a nice change and made this season even more unique.
None of their fights had gone on for this long before and it did build a lot of tension and expectation that the boys were going to lovingly reunite, keeping viewers watching. I did feel, however, that that expectation was met with a disappointing finale as Dean continues to isolate himself from Sam, due to the mark, and dies before they get a chance to properly forgive each other.
No. 5: Human Castiel
Okay, so they could have handled this storyline a bit better. It was, like the fallen angels, pushed aside a bit. Castiel had hardly any interaction with Sam and Dean whilst he was human which was disappointing. The three of them have been through quite a lot together and Cas almost looks up to the Winchesters. They are pretty important to him but the writers decided to separate both parties. I also believed that Human Castiel would continue until the end of Season 9 but I wasn’t disappointed that it was cut-short. It did make it to Number 5 on my list so I was overall pleased with the change in Castiel this year as the character development was top-notch and it showed in later episodes, particularly in 9,11 “First Born” when Cas and Sam finally get to bond.
No. 4: Kevin’s Death
Aside from the silly ghost episode, I generally liked the death of Kevin. It was about time they killed of a character who was getting to the point where he was just ‘there’. The repercussions drive most of Sam and Dean’s actions throughout the rest of the Season; Sam, having nightmares about killing Kevin, is angry and annoyed at Dean and therefore separates himself from him whereas Dean handles it differently which results in his isolation and transformation into a demon. It was great and, although Kevin’s ghost opened a whole different problem of souls not being able to get into heaven which was really stupid, it was nice closure for the Winchesters and the audience to see Kevin being reunited with his mother again.
No. 3: Metatron’s Army Vs Castiel’s Cult
I loved the tension between big bad Metatron and poor, adorable Castiel. Metatron continues to try and get on Cas’ nerves and so it gets quite personal. I mean, it was already personal as Metatron stole Cas’ grace but Castiel remains the bigger person as he doesn’t seek revenge or takes down Metatron for his own benefit, rather to help the Angels return to Heaven, even when he knows that he will die soon anyway. It’s lovely and ironic how Castiel beats him as well. He uses his psychic microphone against him making Metatron unknowingly reveal to all of his followers the truth of his intentions and how he believes that the Angels are just “frightened little sheep”. Castiel is a bad ass, that is all.
I also loved the appearance of Gabriel. Personally I don’t think that he’s alive and I think that Metatron was just playing mind games with Cas which would be awesome if that was the truth (purely because Gabriel’s death was so good, and bringing him back to life would just raise questions of why he just stood back and watched the apocalypse happen when he said that he was on the human’s side).
No. 2: Sam’s Possession
Great acting from Jared, absolutely amazing. The storyline of Ezekiel/Gadreel’s possession of Sam was definitely worth watching. Apart from, again, driving a wedge between the brothers and forcing Dean to keep all of the secrets to himself, it was a really original, unique concept that the show hasn’t explored before. It made the dying-but-then-coming-back-to-life thing, which the show is famously known for, more interesting and different this time and there was lots of tension as to when or if Sam would find out. Strangely, I also liked the friendship between Dean and Ezekiel (y’know, before he went psycho and killed Kevin) just because Dean couldn’t really talk to anybody else.
No. 1: The Mark of Cain
Is there really any need to say anything for this? Maybe I should just finish the article here.
This well-written, tense, jaw-dropping, new biblical story arc of The Mark of Cain which had fans watching from the edge of their seats as they marvelled at Dean’s horrific transformation from loving brother to a lonely man hopelessly mourning to a hunter trying to fight his inner struggle, to a dying hero to a black-eyed demon. I believe that many fans predicted the conclusion of this story, and so did I. However, that did in no way hinder the tension and shock of that last scene in the Season 9 finale where it all became real for us; it’s actually happening, they actually went there. Personally, I am obsessed with this storyline. Not only did it happen to my favourite character but I think it just works so well with all Dean has been through, going to Hell, going to Purgatory, all of it was leading up to this. I don’t know if it’s the biggest problem that Sam and Dean have ever faced but it is definitely up there with the greats. For me, this season finale competes and maybe even wins over the awesomeness of the Season 3 finale. I take my hat off to the writers! 9 years and they’re still thinking this stuff up like it’s a piece of cake.