“Carry On My Wayward Son/ There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done/ Lay Your Weary Head to Rest/ Don’t You Cry No More”

The Supernatural Series Finale

Yes, I said in the last post that I’d be taking a break for the holidays (because life gets nuts), but did you really expect that I wouldn’t say something about the end a beloved show?  The heart wrenching finale aired last night and I will mark spoilers. (And yes, I had to do that title)

I never expected to become a Supernatural fan, or part of the SPNFamily.  I did not watch it when it premiered; I probably wasn’t even aware it existed at that point.  I was still in high school; getting into Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, so definitely into the fantasy genre, but not horror.  I don’t do horror movies.  I remember seeing the DVD covers at my cousin’s and thinking, “I will never watch that.”  (Pretty sure it was the cover with a giant snake on Sam’s arm and thinking, “that must be a bad guy”…oh how wrong was I).  I think my friend in college mentioned it and I still resisted.  At that point I watched NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles, and Castle.  Mainstream shows.

2015 rolls around; I’m working two part-time jobs, life is a bit nuts (when is it not, but there are phases), and my friend begins suggesting that I would like Supernatural.  My cousin chimes in (I should thank her for letting me borrow the series on DVD).  A guy friend offers that if I don’t like the show, I can come back and punch him.  So I give it a whirl…and I still don’t like the horror bits.  Then, I get hooked.  It becomes, how many episodes can I watch before I go to work?  Oh, let’s watch one in the evening.  Which then becomes, how many can I watch before I fall asleep?  The eleventh season was getting ready to air and I only had up through season nine on disc.  So I bought season ten to watch on Amazon, because I had to find out what happened.  (And this was just about the point that “binge” watching was becoming a thing). I know my friend got numerous texts from me as I watched, usually like “What!!” or “this just happened!”  I mean, it did take a little suspense away from the early seasons because hey, I knew they survived till season nine or whatever.

I utterly fell in love with Sam and Dean Winchester.  I fell in love with brothers who would do anything for each other.  They were tough guys, but they showed vulnerability around each other.  I wanted to wrap them up in hugs.  I also probably yelled at them for being stupid idiots.

And of course, I dived into the fandom and found it thriving.  And I discovered Jared’s “Always Keep Fighting” campaign.  And that helped.  Because life it hard sometimes.  I could look at Sam and Dean, and I could look at Jared and Jensen, and see strength, and see the love they have for each other.  Finding out that Jared and Jensen are like brothers in real life is heartwarming.  And if the Winchesters can face down death and demons and monsters, I can face down the dark thoughts in my head. 

Sadly, all good things must come to an end, as much as we wish this show could go on forever.  And these wonderful men have their own families they want to be with.  Even though I’ve never attended a convention, I’ve watched bits online and I think it is utterly wonderful that Jared and Jensen, and Misha, and all the rest have embraced the fandom so much.  I’m grateful for what we’ve had from this show.  And the fandom will never die.  Heck, look at Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings, all still going strong.  And I will certainly continue to re-watch and re-watch this show.

*SPOILER ALERT*  It didn’t really hit me that the show was ending until Castiel’s goodbye.  There have been sacrifices throughout the show; John for Dean, Dean for Sam, Sam for Dean.  But this was a final sacrifice.  We know there won’t be any coming back.  And Cas’s voice changes a bit.  It’s now Misha.  And he’s saying everything we know and feel about Dean.  And I have tears pouring down my face.  (I’m re-watching it and I still cry).  Cas says “I love you,” to Dean…which could run from and include friendship love to romantic love…and I’m okay with that.  Then Dean crying at the end of the episode, my heart breaks.  I had to sit for a minute and process everything once it ended.

The penultimate episode went differently than I expected.  I figured there would be a huge, bloody showdown.  There was, a little…then Chuck is de-powered and Jack is the new God.  And leaves the boys.  I cry a little, for the boys.  I felt it was a satisfying conclusion for Jack; in all, I think the finale was well thought and planned out.  I know there are shows that just suddenly end, or the writers quickly have to come up with a way to conclude everything and it’s rushed and it shows.  The montage at the end had me in tears and it almost wrapped up the series there.

I reiterate SPOILER ALERT: Going into the final episode, I had hope that maybe it would end happy; the boys live and have families, or just carry on doing their job.  Originally, I figured the show would end bloody.  And it had to be both boys going, together.  And I kind of wanted Jody and Donna and all the other alive characters to gather to say goodbye to the boys.  And all the ones in heaven to be gathered there to greet them.  Starting the interview portion with the musical episode rendition of Carry On Wayward Son had me in tears early.  Then the episode didn’t start with the original version and I was a bit confused.  I’m glad Dean has a dog (especially since both Jared and Jensen have dogs).  Masked bad guys are creepy, but we’re getting to the hunt a bit early.  I don’t really remember that girl from the earlier season.  Then Dean’s pinned.  And it’s only halfway through…and I’m sobbing into a pillow (I’m crying again). 

Because yes, Dean was always going to go out fighting.  Saying he’s proud of Sam, oh, there’s a stab in my heart.  Beautiful acting on Jensen’s part, the hitches in his breath.  And they echo from the pilot “I can’t do this alone. …  I don’t want to.”  And Dean will always be with us, and he urges all of us to keep fighting.  I’m just begging, “not without Sam.”  Like I mentioned, I figured they both had to go at the same time.  Dean just can’t leave Sam alone.  There was the single man tear…and sobbing alongside Sam.

Heaven was beautiful (I think the crew took the opportunity to showcase Canadian scenery) and yes, it was nice to see Bobby again.  And the car.  Carry On Wayward Son finally plays and Dean’s smiling and driving.  I’m still crying.  Sam gets a life, like Dean always wanted for him (I kind of wonder who he married).  Sam was weird looking as an old guy, and honestly, I expected him to pass in the car, though it was touching that his son told him it was okay.  And of course I’m happy Sam is back with Dean, where he belongs.  A final hug for us.  I can see how there may be a short run sequel or movie or something…Dean and Sam’s Adventures in Heaven or something.  So yes, satisfying.  And so heart wrenching.

Let’s all take a breath… (Spoilers are finished)

I know both guys have projects coming up soon; they’ve already started teasers for Walker, and I’ll record it and watch it.  Not sure I’ll try to get into The Boys, but I might find scenes with Jensen to watch.  Not sure I’m ready to see these boys in something other than Supernatural, as characters other than Sam and Dean.  I keep reminding myself of the Dr. Seuss quote that is very applicable now: Don’t cry because it’s over, Smile because it happened.  I will be forever grateful to this wonderful show (and to my friend for introducing me).  The fandom and the SPNFamily will live and carry on.  I’m sure there will be dissenting views on the ending, but hey, that’s what fanfiction is for.  A huge thank you to Jared and Jensen for these wonderful characters and all the cast and crew and writers for a show about love and family, even through dark times.

(Because we could all use some hugs right now)

“My heart want to sings every song it hears”

The Sound of Music

Probably my favorite musical of all time and I don’t even mind that it’s nearly three hours long.  It’s a Rodgers and Hammerstein classic and the range is well suited to my voice; I’d love to perform it sometime.  It too stars Julie Andrews and was released one year after Mary Poppins.  It won Best Picture in 1965, and Julie was nominated for Best Actress.  Julie is Maria, and the cast includes Christopher Plummer as Captain Von Trapp.  It is based on the life of the Von Trapp family singers, who did escape Austria trapp family lodgebefore war broke out.  They traveled in the United States, singing, before they settled in Vermont, where they founded the Trapp Family Lodge (it reminded them of the mountains of Austria).  But some aspects of their lives were changed for the film; their father was not as cold as he appeared and there were more children with different names.

The film opens on the mountains and Maria twirls around, “the hills are alive/ with the Sound of Music/ with songs they have sung/ for a thousand years.”  Bells ring after the song and she has to run back to the abbey.  The audience is treated to a little tour of Salzburg [ironically, the movie is not all that well known in Austria].  The other nuns in the abbey ask Mother Superior, “how do you solve a problem like Maria.”  “How do you catch a cloud/ and pin it down…but how do you make her stay/ and listen to all you say/ how do you keep a wave/ upon the sand?”  In the end, she’s a girl, not a demon nor a lamb.  But Mother Superior does speak to Maria.  The young woman can’t stop singing and she may not have been prepared for the kind of life that nuns lead.  So Mother Superior will have her act as a governess to seven children, to see if she can really live the nun’s life.  Maria is nervous at first, but finds I Have Confidence.

von trapp familyHer introduction to the Captain is not the best.  He expects his home and his children to be run with discipline and calls for his children with a whistle; like one would on a ship [that never happened].  Maria refuses and admits she was trouble at the abbey [the truth].  Liesl is 16, Friedrich is 14, Louisa 13, Kurt 11, Brigitta 10, Marta 7, and Gretl 5.  As many children are wont to do when someone new arrives and they’re trying to get attention, they play tricks on Maria.  But she surprises them and takes them in stride, and I believe that is why some of the younger girls begin crying at dinner.  Liesl sneaks out to meet the telegram boy, Rolf.  She is Sixteen Going on Seventeen, while he is seventeen, so Liesl hopes Rolf will tell her how to act in a grown up world.  They dance in the gazebo while it rains and at the end, Rolf pulls Liesl in for a kiss.  She grins in joy later, then has to sneak in to Maria’s room.

Maria discovers from household gossip that Captain Von Trapp is considering marrying Baroness Schrader, but the Captain will not grant Maria’s request for play clothes for the children.  She makes inroads with Liesl, so the young woman admits she may in fact still need a governess.  Gretl runs into Maria’s room, scared of the thunder, quickly followed by the other girls.  The boys join a minute later, to “make sure the girls weren’t scared.”  Maria shares that she thinks of My Favorite Things when something scares or saddens her (I adore this song), “and then I don’t feel/ so bad.”  The children begin laughing and they’re having a merry time, until the Captain appears.  Maria covers for Liesl, but the Captain asks that Maria acquire discipline while he is gone.  She gets an idea from her curtains as she finishes her song.

do re miWhile the Captain is away, Maria makes new play clothes for the children from her old drapes, since new ones are to be made.  They traipse about Salzburg and Maria takes them to her hill and teaches them to sing.  “Let’s start at the very beginning/ a very good place to start/ when you read/ you begin with A B C/ when you sing / you being with Do Re Mi.”  (This is a classic choir song and the solfeg is actually very helpful.)  The Captain returns home with the Baroness, and Uncle Max.  The Captain feels that the Baroness has brought meaning back into his life and she does not want to speak out of turn with Max.  Though she admits that wedding bells may be ringing, but she’s very fond of the Captain.  Max wants to keep the money between the two in the family.  They are surprisingly joined by the children from the river, where they tip over the boat (the young actress playing Gretl couldn’t swim, so she was carried out of the water).  The Captain sends his children in to change, but doesn’t want to discuss them with Maria.  She stands up to the Captain, insisting they are children and all they want is love.  A sound breaks their argument; the children singing.  The Captain is surprised.  Maria watches as he joins his children on The Sound of Music and the family hug afterwards.  The Captain apologizes to Maria in the entryway and asks her to stay.  She managed to bring music back into the house.

Life is merrier.  The children show off a puppet show and The Lonely Goatherd to the other adults and Max wants to enter them into a local music festival.  The Captain refuses; his children will not sing in public.  They do ask their father to sing; he chooses Edelweiss (which is not actually an actual Austrian folk song or national anthem; in fact, it was the last song Hammerstein wrote).  The Baroness notices the looks the Captain gives Maria and so suggests a party, so all of his friends can meet her.

Underlying the family storyline are the historical events of the end of the thirties.  Hitler has begun his rise in Germany and wishes to annex Austria and join it to Germany, the Anschluss.  Rolf has already mentioned it and Herr Zeller attends the party, noting the Austrian flag hanging in the Captain’s home.  Captain Von Trapp was a hero of the Austrian navy in the first world war.  Zeller butts heads with the Captain a little, but they keep it light since it is a party.

Maria starts to show the children an Austrian folk dance, but Kurt is too short.  The Captain assists.  Maria flushes.  The Baroness witnesses.  Then it is time for the children to say good night.  The guests assemble for So Long, Farewell; Gretl is such a sweet child.  Max insists to the Captain that Maria stay with adults for dinner and the Baroness offers to help Maria change.  She mentions to Maria that the Captain has been noticing her; the Baroness can tell that Maria loves the Captain, and the Captain may even think he is in love with her.  Maria decides to leave and the Baroness agrees.

Intermission.  After the Entr’acte back through Salzburg, the children are despondent.  They are not happy with the Baroness and she even remarks to Max that her solution to the children is boarding school.  The children don’t even want to sing anymore.  They venture to the abbey and ask to see Maria, but she’s in seclusion and not seeing anyone.  Mother Superior calls her in to find out what happened with the Von Trapps.  Maria was not mistreated, but she can’t face him again.  Mother Superior asks her plainly, “are you in love with him?”  “I don’t know!” Maria exclaims.  Mother Superior counsels the young woman that she has a great capacity for love, but she must decide what she will do with it.  Maria should return to the Von Trapps, face her problems, and discover the life she was born to live.  Climb Ev’ry Mountain, Mother Superior counsels; “follow ev’ry rainbow/ ’till you find your dream/ a dream that will need/ all the love you can give/ ev’ry day of your life/ for as long as you live.”

Maria does return, as the children sing My Favorite Things to lift their spirits (after claiming to have eaten loads of berries and missing dinner).  They’re thrilled, as is Maria, until she discovers the Captain’s engagement.  She tells the Captain she will remain until a new governess is found.  But the Baroness and Captain break off the engagement.  The Captain admits he has not been fair to the Baroness, loving someone else.  And the Baroness needs to be needed, or at least, need her money.  The Captain goes to Maria that evening at the gazebo and kisses her.  Something Good has come to their lives.  Their wedding follows at the abbey, with the organ and choir reprising Maria.

Max has the children rehearse for the festival while Maria and the Captain are on their honeymoon.  The Anschluss has occurred and Nazi flags drape the buildings [there were concerns with filming whether the people would dislike the flags so soon after the war, but it was better than using news film].  Zeller wishes to speak to the Captain, but he has not returned yet.  He insists that “nothing in Austria has changed,” everything is still the same.  The Captain and Maria have in fact returned home to find a Nazi flag on their house.  There is a telegram delivered from Rolf via Liesl ordering the Captain to report for a position in the Third Reich.  He decides the family must get out of Austria, tonight.  The Germans are waiting for the family that evening when they try to sneak out (the butler was a Nazi-sympathizer).  The family uses the festival as their excuse and in fact final concertperform as a whole.  It’s a rearrangement of Do Re Mi and the Captain follows by singing Edelweiss with the crowd.  Max reveals the Third Reich’s plans for the Captain, causing the audience to mutter against the Nazi invasion; the family will perform a final encore, So Long, Farewell.  When the winners of the festival are announced, the Von Trapp family is gone.

They take refuge at the abbey and Mother Superior hides them in the cemetery.  There are always nerves as the Nazis shine their flashlight, searching for the family, even if it’s the dozen-th time I have watched the movie.  Rolf hides and discovers the family as they start to get away.  He pulls a gun on the Captain; it’s him the Nazis want, not the family.  The Captain manages to get the gun and begs Rolf to come with them, he’s only a boy.  But when he says that Rolf is not a Nazi, Rolf raises the alarm, just to prove that he is.  The nuns have taken pieces of the Nazis cars to stop them from following the Von Trapps.  The family hikes into the mountain and will cross into Switzerland on foot.  A choir reprises the chorus of Climb Ev’ry Mountain as the family passes by [what actually happened is that they took a train into Italy, then made their way to England and ultimately the United States.  If they had gone over the mountains, they would have ended up in Germany, near Hitler’s mountain retreat.]

The family storyline in the film is heartwarming; a father learning to reconnect with his children, especially through music.  The music is superb; there’s a reason it is one of the best known musicals.

Further Reading:

Agathe von Trapp: Memories Before and After The Sound of Music, written by the eldest von Trapp daughter and contains the actual history of the family.  It’s a nice read; even though the family initially disliked the film since it portrays their father colder than reality, they recognize the impact it has had on moviegoers.

The Sound of Music Companion by Laurence Maslon and Julie Andrews, behind the scenes of filming and bringing the original stage production to life.

Julie Andrews also has two autobiographies out at this time, Home and Home Work

 

This  film with the half dozen previous posts, made up a big portion of my childhood.  Definitely danced around the living room to the soundtrack of Joseph.  As already noted, my brother and I watched these on repeat as children.  I still love to sing along to these soundtracks.  1776 was the influence of a paper I wrote in college; aided by a dozen of my mother’s books on John Adams.

Ah yes, by now I have watched Hamilton thanks to Disney +.  I didn’t mind the middle part, but it started to drag on at the end.  It’s a very cool concept, to mix American history with modern music and dance.  But…I will always love 1776.

Up Next: I’ll start the action/adventure section.  Posts might be spread out a bit more to give me a chance to truly analyze story and character aspects.  It’ll definitely take us through Christmas.  I begin with the Zorro movies.