Man, I do not understand the end of S7 at all. XDD Which was frustrating in 2012--and remained frustrating for a long, long time--but I find I don't have any problem with now. And was typically okay with before, frankly, because it's not as though the end of S5 or S6 (or S4, or S3) did not also display the same trademarks: That sense of someone having sampled multiple lifepaths and trying to balance them all--most of which it doesn't even want any more but can't just drop yet needs to just drop--and coming up on a deadline where it is supposed to come together and it is supposed to at least own whatever it lands on, no matter what it is, no matter how rocky the landing or hazy the direction. Like a recital or a routine you're not quite ready for, SPN finales are not often beautiful things. But it stood up and it did its thing and it made sure to salute the judges, even as it knows it's points off for falls, wobbles, lack of artistry. For narrative combinations it had to curtail and big moves that would have needed to be bigger. I applaud anyway, as I do when I am at a recital or watching any routine I know they are not quite ready for.
Which sounds almost condescending, or paternalistic. But that's not actually what I mean. If you've ever been in a crowd, cheering someone on whom you care about, you know that's not what I mean. What it's like is watching my brother's gymnastics meet and having his team rank almost last, and still being proud. Watching my sister's rugby team lose by huge, inescapable margins, and still feeling like she played well. Because you support that this is what they're trying to do, what they're working toward, and this is where they are. It's knowing what it feels like to try to pull something big together, with too many moving parts, things outside of your control, and not enough time--knowing pieces slipped but still knowing that you rocked it. (And if you didn't, you still did it.)
But maybe it's more intimate than that. Maybe it's not a performance. (Well, it is. It's a television show; it's a performance. But.) But maybe its success or lack thereof isn't just about where it's at, or what it wants, because you are partners. You are partners and its choices, its successes, its failures, affect you deeply.
SPN's personality is dynamic and very fluid, but it has areas of strength and weakness that it maintains fairly consistently, and I think that where my relationship to SPN's ability to end seasons is concerned--that's something that's part of who SPN is. Strength or weakness (and it's a weakness, I'm calling it right here, still a weakness), that's who SPN is. It's this deep, core part of who SPN is.
So then what do you do with that? There's several options:
1) Squint, take a deep breath, don't think too hard, power through and find some clarity on the other side. (This is what Sam and Dean do.)
2) Thematize. Finales (let's say 7x23 here, but at the moment I'm also thinking specifically about 5x22, 10x23, and 11x23) feel that way because that's how final moments in the real world typically feel. That's how Sam and Dean probably feel--stressed and sleep-deprived and not particularly on their game, and probably not riding a particularly smooth, heroic, grandiose swell of storytelling because that's just now how their lives work. And for once, they're certainly not alone in that. (I find this thought experiment deeply appealing and engaging, and the potential for almost low-key slow burn H/C thoughts are an added bonus, lol.)
3) Write, because you're partners, and this is a thing you can do. (I'm not into bitter, aggrieved fix-it stuff, like, at all, but I think it's a different thing to push envelopes, challenge ideas/outcomes collegially, propose alternative strategies, etc. Which I often find appealing and engaging as well, though in the case of 7x23 I think that sounds like a lot of work and I'd rather just squint, power through, and move on to 8x01--since it's there and all. XDD)
4) Take a break, break up, separate, or divorce, because sometimes things don't work out. SPN is who it is, and you are who you are, and sometimes things don't work out. That's a thing, too.
I've had eight and a half years to figure out what my relationship with SPN is, and what I'd like it to be. And while--like myself, and like SPN--it's always changing, and always has a slightly different flavor, the groove I've found that works for me is treating SPN like a person (insert theoretical exponents here, blah blah blah), and a partner.
I love SPN when it's on its game, and it's doing what it does best just SO fucking well, either in its limited screen time or by way of invitation/implication. I love its best self. I love when it's off to the races. I love it at cruising speed. I love it when it takes some bizarre frontage road and can't for the life of it find the interstate. I love it when it's wandering down one way street after one way street downtown, completely lost. I love its sloppiness, forgetting its coffee on the roof or leaving its gas cap dangling. I love it when it's carrying too many bags, most of which it probably shouldn't have brought, or purchased in the first place. I love it when it straight-up gives up for a sec and throws half those bags out the window (plot thread, what plot thread?). I love it when it insists on collecting things--like Alphas, Godly weapons, bunkers, Macguffins--on counting things--Trials, Seals--on growing things--psychics, sisters, antichrists. When it invites its dumb friends over. When it keeps inviting the same dumb friends over. When it forgets why I married it. When it remembers. Eventually, I know it will always remember.
I don't mean this list as an indication of some grudging compromise, or having to settle, or even saying, "well, yes, but..." Because even when SPN is acting in complete defiance of what I want, or what I think would be best, I do, actually, kind of love that. Because I can do--and will do, and have done--that, too.
That's just me, though. We're all doing different things, and are here for different reasons. But I want something to be able to point to and say, hey, that's me! This is my experience. This is what I want. And this is how I love you, SPN. How I really, really, unrelentingly, unhesitatingly, unabashedly and without qualification love you. This post is kind of a mess and contains at least three mixed metaphors, but you're gonna have to take me as-is on this one. <3