We're back with another TV Fanatic Report Card.
Where does Supernatural Season 7 stack up against past seasons of this CW favorite? Staff writer Sean McKenna is here with his answer...
Best Episode: While I enjoyed the Castiel return in "The Born-Again Identity" and the wildly fun "Plucky Pennywhistle's Magical Menagerie," "Meet the New Boss" still wins out for me. It was such a great intro with the Cas transformation from God to Leviathan and amped up the stakes and tension with great stand out acting from everyone. Jokes, emotional moments, and a great set up for the season. I just wish some of the follow up was on the same level.
Worst Episode: I said during mid season that the turducken plot of "How to Win Friends and Influence Monsters" just felt too silly and too farcical, but the idea was carried through multiple episodes and the concept of a silent killer was certainly a different take albeit not perfect. So that leaves me with "Shut Up, Dr. Phil," which I wanted to like because of James Marsters and Charisma Carpenter, but it was slow and lacking in Sam and Dean time. And their magic that could stop the Leviathan was never a plot that was brought back or explored.
Best Character: I love the core characters, especially Sam and Dean, but the introduction of Garth won me over. It was something different and fun and he had an entertaining chemistry with the brothers. It was quirky cool while blending right into the Supernatural ideal. Best "New" Character?
Worst Character: The Leviathan may have been more dull than I wanted (where was the fierceness and evil shown in the premiere?), but Meg's return was rather bland. Her personality teetered on sarcastic and bored. Maybe she was there to set up for next season, but she was easily forgettable compared to her first incarnation in the series.
Most Underused Character: Crowley popped up here and there to make his wonderfully smarmy comments but I thought he would put up more of a fight against the Leviathan. And the amount of time he did stick around felt like more of a set up for Season 8 and showing that Sam and Dean underestimate the King of Hell. I just wish he had a little more to do than just hand over his blood in the final episodes.
Best/Worst Hallucination: Maybe worst for Sam but enjoyable for viewers was Lucifer as the buzzing fly in Sam's head. Mark Pellegrino nails it as the character bringing charismatically evil to our screens. He may not have been the real Lucifer per say but it was fun having him back.
Overall Grade: B-. I thought the cliffhanger was a cool left field turn and the return to the basic hunting was a nice throwback but the season lacked a streamlined story and purpose beyond "defeat the Leviathan." It felt like there were a lot of ideas thrown out (Sam's hallucination, morality of killing, Bobby as a ghost, Leviathan, Blood of the Fallen, Castiel gone crazy, etc) but perhaps too many to give enough time to thoroughly focus on them. Plus I never knew where the show was headed or what everything would lead up to even though I knew there was an inevitable face off. It was a roller coaster of really enjoyable episodes and then ones that had me scratching my head at times.
Hopes for Season 8: I love Supernatural and Sam and Dean, but perhaps a better feeling of continuity and rising stakes and yes, a scary and imposing bad guy, would help the show get back on track. I know it can be hard for a show that's been on this long to maintain the energy and spark that made it great in the first place, but I truly believe that it's still there and just needs to be pulled out.
And with a new show runner in Jeremy Carver, I have faith that he can revitalize it and re-kick start the show in a sense. I want to feel that anticipation, that creepy atmosphere, that fun fun dialogue that Jensen and Jared deliver wonderfully. The ingredients are all there, now it's time to put them all together. Bring on Season 8!
Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.