Supernatural Episode Reviews

First of all, there's no way for me to cover this review without spoilers. But these are the kind of spoilers everyone's gonna be screaming about anyway, for the most part, unless you're some sort of social media ninja. Some moments I will not cover in full because there was a lot of great emotional impact at certain moments that can't be properly construed in a smooth review and I do encourage people to watch this episode.
 
Second of all, this is a BuckLeming episode. A lot of scenes get split across, so there's a few points I'm actually going to shift exact order of revelation if it isn't appropriate to flow so the review doesn't jive all over the place and bulk a few corresponding scenes.
 
I'll give a tally at the end of various notes to glean.
 
13x18: Bring 'Em Back Alive
Review by: Minerva J Davis/Ghost of Bobby
Written by: Brad Buckner and Eugenie Ross-Leming
Directed by: Amyn Kaderali
 

 
Apocalypse world seems to have strangely pleasant looking winters compared to thundery summers. Dean and Ketch are pitched into an apocalyptic Christmas and, being short of Sam and Cas to mother-hen Dean, Ketch quickly assumes wife mode to try to keep them moving. Despite disagreements, they come to terms and troop on within a few minutes with promises of enduring social conflict and brothers in arms looming on the winter wonderland horizon.
 

Within minutes the rhythm is pulsing with well placed music, and the duo take cover to watch an angel execution start to fall down. The big spoiler comes into play for something else the fandom has been screaming for years, and I legitimately screamed even though I KNEW it was coming. Well, not knew-knew, but with the announcement of "getting the team back together" and another face from the AU, and Felicia's recent activity on twitter with the fandom, I had my suspicions. Didn't keep me from screaming.
 

 
Charlie is yet again a badass and a leader of the resistance against the angels, sparing her life long enough for them to take her back to camp to try to smack her around and get intel on the resistance and so on. Honestly this is the first episode I gained true interest in the AU's dynamic since the idea was presented. Until then, I was waiting for this temporary journey to speed itself over and get us towards an ending, but now I'm thinking of all the backstories and alternate tales that can be told, how these characters we loved survived once the world did start to end. Anyone smell another spinoff some day in the future? I dunno. Who knows. This is basically this generation's Star Trek at this point.
 

(And another Misha reaction meme is born.)
Annnnd cut to Sam, and Castiel, who since his rebirth has regained a good deal of his sass and spunk. I can't put into words how amused I was at the line they dropped us in the previews. Even spoiled, I grinned, despite knowing what was around the corner: Gabriel, torn and shredded.
 
I was conflicted in a lot of ways about this scene -- or, sideplot? It stretches across the entire episode while Dean cavorts through AU-land. They were the character interactions we wanted, but Gabe was just so shredded. The content we deserve, but not the content we need right now? I did find myself with one particular gripe, which may be personal: Sam's dialogue with Gabriel while trying to break through to him.
 

 
Sam is great with empathy when need be. He's a survivor of TERRIBLE trauma and knows all too well of being locked inside his own head. While they textually, in dialogue, acknowledge that as a statement, the actual execution through other dialogue seems to be lacking it. Hey, Gabe, it's me, do you remember this TRIGGER? And this terrible TRIGGER? When you TRIGGERED? I just want to see if he remembers the TRIGGER.  This seemed to lack a great deal of finesse that Sam was more deserving of displaying. I let it go, recognizing it wasn't from what was necessarily my favorite authors on the show, and the scene moved on to other parts of this puzzle.
 
(Results to be expected)


 
 
In the interim, Lucifer is highly regretting wifing Jo, who's essentially asking him what he's doing with his life while he putzes around in heaven. Apparently Lucifer is still kind of out of it on ruling things and resource management, but I guess after being in the cage for an eternity, popping out, and getting shoved in and out on repeat, he has a few millennia he's gotten rusty. Asmodeus isn't having much better luck, fiddling with his balls neurotically and equally impatient with his suit-wives.
 

 
I'm going to hold comment on the Sam-Cas-Gabe transition to bulk out commentary of part of that together, and instead focus on a highlight of the episode: Lucifer fancying himself as God. The Forrest Gump prayer was a quaint easter egg. He quickly grows tired of "whining," but quickly tunes in to an exorcism. And I'm sorry. THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST SCENES OF THE EPISODE OH MY GOD.
 
There's a full The Exorcist in play, demon in a girl strapped to a bed pulling all the classics, bloodied, drooling, mangled voice and writhing while mocking the priests for their cam girl addictions and whatever else. Full theatrics are in play until Lucifer, rubbing his temples in the corner, calls out a "FELLAS" and the scene stops dead. The demon stops shaking the bed, "Ah, crap."
 
A+
A+++ and it only just got better timed throughout the scene.
This is the kind of thing any sort of review would spoil the further it goes. The humor and timing can only be appreciated in person.
...Anthony.
I just...
If you watch the episode for nothing else, watch it for this scene. I don't care anyone's opinions of anyone in particular. I legitimately loved this. Please watch this. I can't emphasize enough. I mean, it's a personal preference, I guess, but let it be said - and take this in the best intended ways - I'm not necessarily a huge Mark P fan. Neither is my girlfriend. We both loved the hell out of this despite her uh, very vocal opinions of him and my general neutrality. Just to put that out there.
 
"Damnit."


 Meanwhile, Ketch continues to fulfill wifely duties of tracking after Dean, scolding his unwillingness to use stealth while rushing to save Charlie. Dean clearly refuses to lose her a second time, even if it isn't necessarily "His Charlie." This quickly backfires. Or... shoulderfires. Ketch covers a downed Dean, they bro-wer through it, and Dean takes no snit once the situation is controlled. A few gunshots later and they know where to find Charlie and take off with Dean unrelenting. A few hours of walk is promised for them before they can reach the angel's POW camp for the resistance.
 

 
Ketch: "You don't look good,"
Dean: "Yeah well, you're not my type either."
 
Dean, wounded, refuses to slow while Ketch wonders over who this Charlie may have been - old girlfriend? Break his heart? This is a theme that actually staggers through the episode, despite us all knowing better. Dean isn't slowing... until he's falling on himself and once Ketch checks the wound, it's not just a standard bleed - it's outright toxic. Ketch recognizes the wound and poison as similar to one the Men of Letters used to disable targets while Dean snaps back,
Ketch prepares an antitoxin from his own knowledge while Dean accuses them of being dicks, to which Ketch admits he is guilty.
 
"How's it look, mom?"



 
 
Now, back to the Sam-Cas-Gabe arrangement
 

 
The fandom has been crying, for some time, to give Sam and Cas, and Sam and Gabe, and Cas and Gabe, respectively time together to work things out on a personal level. I only wish we'd had more time to really bring reconciliations. Gabe is out of his gourd, All Work No Play Make Gabby Dull Archangel writing on the walls. There's parts of the Enochian that read biblical verses if translated, but Castiel quickly sources out the fresher story telling of Gabriel's survival (pretty much what most people speculated), vacation, porn stars, and capture-and-sale and Asmodeus' feeding upon him.
 

 
But then it falls down to a few points the episode gets weak, and why. I don't often speak down about authors or act like I know 'better' than them (I may critique episode flow and things like that, but not 'character representation'), but here's a BuckLeming episode in full swing - some points can be spot on, then others break out like this. They WANTED to show Sam as empathetic but on an actual psychology level that was just like chewing on a foot while trying to force feed him his own grace. Then Sam promises no more trigger, trigger, trigger or trigger - again, just feeling to lack the finesse deserved of Sam. "I've been there. I'm just like you." is the general theme. They wanted to show empathy... they... tried? I feel like Jared did well with the lines he was provided, but there's only so much to be done with that.
 

 
Speaking of tried, while punching through this raw dialogue that in my opinion should have been refined, BuckLeming seems to take a moment to reflect on what they're doing this episode. Well, they're making up for killing Charlie, who was Robbie Thompson's baby. What else of Thompson's did people love? Well, Thompson seemed into the gay angel ship stuff. People loved that "We need you... I need you" line, let's just shoe-horn that in at the back end of this awkward trigger-fest dialogue and let that be what clicks Gabe online. Okay... good... I guess?
 

 And... porn stars.
 
Still, that was deadass "SeE wE cAn paRaLLel tOo!"
[leans to side, whispering] 'Everybody loved Charlie.'
[whispers back] 'Quick what else did Robbie do that they love? They call him Dad Prime'
[whisper] 'We Need You I Need You'
[whiswhis] 'Oh yeah and people like the gay angel ships'
 
Honestly there were so many better ways to use that line, even later in the episode - which I'll mention - if it had to be used but I felt like Sam, in general, deserved a lot better dialogue this episode. I'm glad he GOT as much focus as he did, but it just felt raw and unrefined and despite Jared's fantastic efforts it just didn't seem to fit the thoughtful, versed-in-trauma Sam Winchester I know. Maybe that's just me.
 

 
But back to the temporary bromance of the AU, Dean's still struggling despite the anti-poison merit badge award, but refuses to give up time to save Charlie. Collapsing again, he concedes to rest and Ketch continues to quip admittedly charmingly, opting to revisit talk of Charlie, which Dean tries to resist. Ketch needs to know what deserves being so ... well, stupid. Dean, burdened by history of Charlie, becomes evident to Ketch who needs to know the story. And Charlie was like family - a sister to him, Dean remembers - of her efforts, and virtues... and her gruesome murder. And he would not fail her again.
 
And for the first time, I actually resonated with bringing back Ketch. I've loved David, but admittedly was not particularly fond of his return. Reflecting on his own past sins, Ketch decides to do better. This can not be - and should not be - encapsulated in a review; this should not be spoiled. This was an earnest moment to appreciate Ketch if he hasn't claimed you yet. Of course, we know the fate of characters that start getting redemption arcs in this show, but still.
 
"Impossible and stupid, eh? You say that like it's a bad thing." - Dean


  
As a brief series of breakaways: Asmodeus, rubbing his balls, clicks on to Gabriel's location and quickly issues a threatening phonecall to the Earth-1 Winchester crew, setting Gabriel into panic mode while still recovering. But of course, Sam and Cas choose to do everything they can to secure the bunker and protect Gabriel. Meanwhile, Lucifer continues to gripe about his position, and is shortly completely chewed out by his not-wife. Luce admits he's absolutely full of crap about rebuilding heaven's forces.  Sister Jo is not taking any of his crap. She's not even letting him take his OWN crap. It almost costs her when she takes it a step too far, but in the end she walks out, empowered by the scene of essentially telling the God-Devil to screw himself and stop complaining. Dean and Ketch unabashedly blow into the Angel POW crap with an enormous array of angel killing bullets. Charlie doesn't know Dean - time to go. Yes, these transitions are as quick as it seems like, but they are honestly very smoothly handled. Amyn Kaderali, directing handled BuckLeming's shifting narrative with surprising ease. I was quite pleased with this, as she's only directed two episodes for us before and even great hands sometimes make BuckLeming's transition style kinda like plotsalad, but despite a few edits that seemed rushed in timing - probably not even Amyn's fault as much as the editors and time constraints - we flowed this whole EPISODE pretty well. In like five minutes more plot went down than we've gotten in the last few episodes.
 

 
We now focus on the bunker being overpowered despite Sam's masterful warding, which admittedly left me wondering - that was some Amara-level power. How much Angel Juice did this guy DRINK what the hell? But the battle scene was worth it. Both Sam and Cas held their own fabulously, though Castiel admittedly downed both. That's just the way battle falls down though. That wouldn't help when Asmodeus walked in to claim what was his, more demons seeing out Gabriel frozen in terror. Sam and Cas are BOTH utterly overpowered and helpless in the face of it until Gabriel's eyes activate.
 

(Kamehameha-)
 
Asmodeus attempts to intimidate the angel, but a portion of his power had been given to him and the classic pose of angel glow and wings stands him off. Gabriel recovers himself and does some DBZ Ki ball deflection before insulting the suit and making him some Kentucky Fried Demon with a trickster's grin and angel's eyes. 
 

 
Charlie's still sassy in the AU trying to understand the situation. She demands to know how-very friendly Dean was. Either we have some interesting narrative framework being set out or they're actively challenging the perpetual assumption of "woman next to man on TV show, woman must attach to man," because Charlie is told she was into chicks, and Charlie likes her. Charlie... likes Charlie. Yeah. Charlie's Charlie, just not one that knew the Winchesters, and I'm still coping with that. He tries to ask about Jack and Mary, Charlie maintains disbelief until showing her the fading rift.
 
 

(particular A+ on explaining the situation with the corpse laid out right in front of him)
Gabriel's similarly having trouble processing his end of the situation while they deluge him with information, maybe a little too fast. Maybe the penalty of the hard-press dialogue this episode but Gabe is like hah, no! Thanks! For the rescue, and the redemption arc! But deuces! They implore him, Gabe just shoulders the responsibility onto them; Cas tries to challenge him about their father's creation. Honestly, I feel like - in drawing parallelism, and stepping away from the shipping zone, the "I need you, we need you" would have fit much better in Castiel's mouth here, brother to brother, and had more impact but I guess that wouldn't have fit current plot needs. Walking away runs in the family, and so does winging out at inopportune moments.
 
AU-Squad debates. The gate is closing, Dean needs to get back, Ketch wants to stay to find them, "Bring back Sam, your angel, and Gabriel, the bloody Navy Seals-" but he should stay.
 

("You mean, like... get our angelS." "I said what I said.")
 
Charlie pledges too; it's her world. He doesn't want to lose her again - he tells her that. Her answer is best left for you to hear. Before they have time to really consider, an angel squad comes up behind, leaving Dean to stagger back in to the bunker and the gate to close. And to find that everything they've worked for is up in flames. The bunker is trashed. Gabriel is missing and so is his grace, and their keys for the gate are thus gone. Dean returns with nothing, to nothing, gripping his head in frustration.
 

 
EVERY TIME!
EVERY TIME WE GET CLOSE!
BUCKLEMING WRITES AN EPISODE AND STUFF EXPLODES!
EVERY FREAKING TIME!
 
Wait, that isn't what Dean said? Cuz that's pretty much what I heard.
 

(This screenshot is more important than we think.)
 
Sam and Cas try to enforce Dean as he crumbles though they look no better themselves, unknowing what to say; Dean, unable to even look at them leaving them only one option: find Gabriel.
 
TAKEAWAYS:
 
NARRATIVE GLOSS:
We know our next direction -- Gabriel. Ketch has run a redemption arc that has reached out to me, as a hold out in the audience that kept reservations on his return -- meaning we know what's probably about to happen. And if that happens for Charlie -- bless, some form of her is back at least -- I'll personally be happy. Ketch is proving a vital ally to the Winchesters, evolving less out of selfish survival and more into Doing The Right Thing, in silent echo of Mick, who he may have indirectly reflected on without words amidst some of his dialogue today. We know we'll see more of Gabriel, and I have my suspicions on how, but I won't reach that far ahead. We're down one Big Bad, now it's just a matter of saving the Fam and dealing with the Lucifer/Michael. You know. Just.

We're getting the team back together like the showrunners said, so I'm honestly interested what lies in the episodes ahead. Looks like Sam's getting around on a fun crack-ship level. First Sabriel, teasers of Samwitch next week - hey, it's been a while since my boy's gotten some love. Not... not like that. But if it's like that okay. I don't think he'd mind. Either way, amusing.

GENERAL REVIEW:
The episode itself was actually fun on a GA level, if you click your brain off for certain parts - I know that’s a weird thing to say but GA generally don’t stalk for plot holes. But I try to watch first on a GA appreciation level, then do a rewatch on a clinical level. Sometimes my brain still dissects things on my first watch but I TRY, okay?

Yes there WERE plot holes. Because Asmodeus sucked on an angel for a while he can punch through the bunker warding like Amara? OKIE DOKIE.

Despite TRYING not to be overly analytical on my first watch, the Sam-Cas-Gabe story was STILL uncomfortable and weird to me. Sam’s dialogue lacked any true empathy I would expect out of him. They textualized like I TOTALLY GET IT AND IM TOTES LIKE YOU but in the end, it was one heartless, soulless trigger after trigger while trying to force him to remember which does NOT seem like Sam. Much less the awkward “We/I need you” shoehorn. Jared literally LOOKED uncomfortable in most of these moments to me, like - baby was doing his best with what he had and trying to reason into it but he wasn’t emphatic. He tried to be heartfelt but there was just something missing and that wasn’t his fault.  I’m 99% sure he felt something was off here too but couldn’t verbalize what to the team to know how to change it up.

But it feels like reviewing this episode requires breaking out the AU and Bunker storylines, and respectively Buckner and Leming (which, while I’m speculating, from what I know of how they talk in interviews, I’m seriously like 99.9% about who wrote which end. I feel Buckner did fantastic. Leming cacked the bed on a few occasions but at least there was SOME good content there and it gave us back things we deserve. So that’s something. But if we split the primary stories off like watching and reviewing two different episodes, between the two authors, one would be getting a 10/10 from me and another would be getting a 1/10. I'm giving that a 5/10.

 NUMBERS
Directing: 9/10
No visible faults. Smooth transitions of rapid fire storyline even in the center where they pitched us scenario and scene one after the other before the bunker battle. A few points felt rush-paced, but that may be more editing; I just don't have a category for that so it goes here.
Writing: 5/10
I'm knocking a few points only because that part was REALLY uncomfortable to me and I feel like Sam Deserved Better. The whole arrangement deserved better. The weird parallel was either unnecessary or in the wrong mouth. The vague power threshold of Asmodeus Amara-level. They managed to lob in humor somehow with Luce, and I enjoyed him beyond what I had in a while. I finally came to appreciate Ketch. AU-side was strong, Bunker side had gaping flaws. The curse of the cowriters.
General Experience/Premise:
8/10 - Pretty good. I do kind of feel uneasy about how easy the bunker got overwhelmed so on a canon stan level I'm kind of bothered. But I see what they're doing, understand what they're doing, and I'm fairly content at least with the AU side, and the CONCEPT given to us Bunker side, despite delivery.
General result: 7.3/10
Above average/Good. Not like "top 10 episodes of all time" like Scooby was a few back, but it's definitely worth a watch even just BEYOND being a canon/plot staple episode. Great character engagements abound AU-side; great character engagement PREMISES bunker side that needed more work. A few quirks here and there. Most of it was well enough on point.
 
But back to this shot:



 
I think this tells us a lot of our future of this show. And I mean that both in story of the season, and just general set, crew, and more. Within the constraints of our plot arc, Dean's finally had his happy go lucky streak after his grief arc come completely crashing down on him. While I hope for more openness and recovery from Sam like we've seen, for the last few years, whether there's listed co-stars or not (and possibly risking triggering some fans), Jensen and Dean have kinda stolen the show as the most pivotal character. While there are arguments of imbalances and placement, we're being shown a perfect triangle of family here, shadowing him. Misha Collins and Castiel are in more episodes this season than ever before, we got a Ackles-Collins panel for the first time on US soil at Hon Con, and they've been promoting him further and further as a lead. While I'm not gonna say "He'll be in every episode," the series' increasing focus on ensemble cast and rebuilding family with Dabb and Singer's comment of "bringing the team back together," with folks like Bobby and Charlie - we're looking at a literal on screen iconization of the future of this family - through the end of this season, and likely well beyond it. And with the support at Dean's back, the ability to turn around and face those who have his back, hopefully a redistribution and balancing of the various weights on the character shoulders as a proper triad.
 
And that's my take.

A Most Holy Man -- 13x15

by @GhostofBobby

Since this is my first review for Changing Channels, I'm going to clarify a few points.

· Spoilers will be involved.
· I'm sassy.
· I will review writing, directing, editing, continuity and consistency, with only a touch of plot review, as plot is largely opinion. All reviews are opinion, but that's the biggest grey zone.

So here we go.

The episode unsurprisingly starts much like I expected: Cas is off in bumscrew Egypt (or Syria, apparently) and the Winchesters briefly overview this while everyone's scrambling for parts. One recurring question I had, and much of my timeline has had: how did Cas get there? Did he take a plane? Did he apply for a Visa? Castiel fans can hope this is a hint that his wings were restored upon his return from the Empty, and I reserve any judgment about that until we get a positive or negative (though I'm gonna bank towards 'no'); otherwise, we got a pretty funny plothole that has filled my timeline with memes.

(Meme courtesy of my sassy twitterfriend @GunmetalNGrace)

I will say that regardless of wings-or-no, even if he has wings back, that's the kind of thing that deserves far better exposition than "oh by the way he swung to get us legit hummus and the TreeFruit overseas." And if not at all, we're going to have to edit-back and mark "gaping plothole." Minding Dabb's habit of paralleling parallels, I'm going to guess this blot on canon history wasn't him since similar issues came back during old Singer episodes in S6. Maybe I'm wrong. Just a hunch.

But I mean - expectable. We generally get Castiel in about half of the season and the episode leaves us for more bro-feels. So, while Cas is dodging bullets in Syria, and possibly customs, we're left with the brothers up a creek on the Seal of Solomon (which might point them straight at Colonel Sanders if we jive with lore, but you never know with this show), and chasing down black market Catholic artifacts. Cool.

Next step: Creepy eyebrow chick. I'm going to give it straight: this was so incredibly awkward. I get that it was meant to be awkward, but we even got persistent flashes of Dean's face just to remind us how awkward it was on top of all of the awkward. While Amanda Tapping is generally solid as a director, she has her moments I less-than-jive with some of her decisions (like-)

Or the really awkward flailing Cas had in Dagon's grip that episode, which may have partially been a budget shortage but damn, don't focus on it so much please.

I know Tapping is popular with the fanbase, but these are just moments I've had distinct disassociation from the flow of an episode due to her choices. And you don't have to agree with me, that's cool. Even so, the constant flicker to Dean in an already blatantly awkward scene didn't strike me as necessary. With as much overwhelming screentime as Jensen has gotten recently, and stark camera focus, it didn't seem entirely needed to continue reminding us he was there. I get that Jensen is awesome and
reactionary, but it was the same reaction. Every time. Jared's deserved more screenshow lately, so it was kind of weird to keep cutting out repeatedly to show us the same face. Over and over.

(It was a real tough call choosing between the same zoning expressions or the same eyeroll he flashed every time. Real tough. It was a time warp of bored eyerolls interrupting what would have been Sam acting-into Eyebrow Lady.)

Even still, I brushed it off and kept on. There's always a moment we can bicker about. No point splitting hairs.

At this point, we go to meet donut-eating dude. Knowing this was a Maltese parody, and minding the uncomfortably overplayed flirting scene, I settled into his behavior being legitimate satire. Too long, didn't read, the brothers banter right-and-wrong, Sam continues to air on being more respectively "good," Dean pledges in the vein of whatever-it-takes still.

I felt a bit of a jar between narrative, to be honest. While Singer is known for writing good brother-episodes, there was a distinctly pointless "flirt mindlessly with Book Girl to pretend we're still in season 3" that happens mostly with Singer, BuckLeming, and on the occasion he's surfaced, Bring; it's really a minor gripe, but worth an eyeroll enough that my non-shipping-of-any-type GA audience girlfriend went "And theeeere's Singer." When someone who's never had a fandom account and only vaguely hears her more fandom-deep friends talk nerdy calls out the narrative tone-shift, there may be a problem.

Minding the parody, I didn't flinch at the obvious "had to bump into dude that's acting shady," and went along. It was another of Singer's "old switcheroos," in the end - or a series of them through the episode, also in the vein with Maltese. Sam takes more head trauma, but at least this time Dean at least lays a sharp crack about the writer's habit of gonging Sam over the skull lately. Along the way, Sam and Dean get held up and taken to the Mob Boss, which is where I really started running into issues. While Donut Dude (Greenstreet) and Eyebrow Lady (Margaret) were satirically played, this guy seemed to be into it. He was taking his role more seriously. While the other villains were stage acting, this was... trying to actually jive with Sam and Dean. Which actually threw me off worse than the satirical acting, because now, I'm not even sure how I'm supposed to be interpreting this episode.

Oh and this dude is wearing Cas' trench coat. I guess they figured with it buttoned up we'd not notice it's literally the exact same coat. Or he shops at the same place as the Empty.

("Sir! We've run out of trenchcoats for everyone in this episode!" "Ehh button Cas' coat up, they won't notice. He never buttons.")
At this point Sam and Dean have agreed to work with two conflicting sides over the missing skull. Cool. Tension, and stuff.

So back to the switcheroo-chain.

So thief dude is dead after shady dude leaves, but shady dude is actually good dude. Good dude is a priest who has a very heartfelt talk and, I swear to god, I hope nobody after this talk in the lobby was in any way surprised about him being the Most Holy Man. Shady Dude, who gave Sam his twenty-seventh concussion on the season, now formally known as Father Lucca Camilleri, explains the theft, the purity of his intent to get it, and not knowing who brained him.

Honestly, I appreciated Lucca. Given, his speech and resume sounded kind of like some crazy foreign priest version of Misha Collins - and frankly, so did his later antics. He was, probably, my greatest highlight on the story of this episode. Rattling out my confusion on the base tone of the episode, he was a temporary character I was begging to the gods to not get knocked dead in the presence of Sam and Dean (and Singer's pen). I was completely convinced he'd get dropped for them to get the blood of a Most
Holy Man. He gave them both some talks and considerations they really needed. Dean got extra time there, while Sam got to take the charge.

Sam shines as the net-guru, tracks a package, they follow it with Lucca alongside and... Here's where things got really weird for me, full stop.

We ultimately get into the showdown of Donut Dude, Eyebrow Lady, Serious Mobster, and Vague Hitman over the Skull. Sam walks in with the briefcase while Dean and Lucca monitor what's going on. Lucca endearingly distracts the guard, and Dean moves in while Lucca prays vehemently and basically prepares to kiss his ass goodbye to do the right thing.

At this point, we're at a bizarre crux where Team Parody and Team Serious are coming to a head. I had completely expected Sam to do some sassy thing with "The most zeros" by legit writing down the foreign currency value, so I was disappointed we didn't get that. Meanwhile, I'm trying to jive through this literal narrative wall of comedy-versus-tension that's buzzing in the room before the slow mo gun fight breaks out. In this moment, the only thing I cared about was Lucca. He was a developed character, consistently played, worth SOMETHING, and clearly our Holy Man they needed blood of. I actually did not want him to die. We knew Sam and Dean wouldn't. There's no tension there.

But for all the missed Noir-esque blur transitions by the editing team earlier (in favor of awkward flirt-to- flirt-to-donut hops), now we get the drawn out scene where the only thing I'm saying in my head is "PLEASE DON'T KILL MALTESE MISHA COLLINS." So I will give them - they made me think they did (due to my complete belief the authors are out to subject us to crippling pain wherever possible).

But on a directing level, I really, really feel like Tapping should have pulled her team in a little tighter. By the end, I had no idea how I was supposed to be interpreting this episode, or these villains. The only connecting point up until here that I had is for one character I'm 99.9% sure we'll never see again. I mean, sure, we got some Sam-Dean engagement but up until this threshold? Really nothing stuck out. Some cleared throats, a few jabs; even tied to the radiator it just felt underwhelming. By the time the fight was done, Sam and Dean were shocked about the Holy Man thing, but got the blood and tada.

Aside from Lucca, the real highlight of the episode was the ending. Sam's strain again manifests and again, as he has through most of the season to everyone around him, Dean reached out to ask what was on his mind. With Dean's grief arc and "win" given to him, he's able to be the emotional support Sam, that Sam was for him in other recent episodes. Sam is fretting over the end of the road for them. There's always a new disaster, or a new monster. This echoes us back to Season 12, where Dean was worrying
over their legacy when they were gone. As Sam gave him faith in the future before, and through his grief, Dean issued back his own faith - given a boost by Lucca - that they'd find the way.

Supernatural is indeed gearing us for an ending - for their new world, their legacy, their peace when they are done. As Sam has been Dean's shining light in the dark, it's Dean's turn to step forward in emotional support now.

Overall, what I can say of the episode is:

· It's effectively a Monster of the Week, with people and an item instead. MOTW episodes generally have a case, and a few minutes of legitimate brother bonding at the end. We got that here.

· The tone of the episode seems confused even to itself. This is a mix of the co-writing effect, and of some direction.
May some of the fandom shoot me down, but I feel Tapping should have gotten better reign on her bit role actors to
declare a tone, and again, awkward Dean-reaction blip.

· The music was... there. It existed.

· The editing tried to be Noir at the end but missed opportunities at the start, so that also led to feeling of inconsistency.

· There were moments of a few sharp lines, but ultimately dialogue wasn't breathtaking.

· Nothing about the twists and turns surprised me, but that could just be me.


· I was honestly just expecting a lot more from a double-showrunner-written episode. No big landmark plot, nothing. That's a personal preference, though, and won't fall into my final review nor something for the General Audience to even be considering.

FINAL POINTS

Directing: 5/10

Redundant reactions and lack of consistency on the crew she could have corrected. The vision was not there and led to a bizarre and awkward standoff. Otherwise it's just base and solid.

Writing: 6/10

Either a plot hole or a terrible way to give a major character point. Narrative we could feel the break on. Some missed opportunities at writing like the radiator. Otherwise, basic brothers, basic Monster of the Week style plot, We Found The Thing. Good, solid brother moment at the end.

General Experience: 5/10

I didn't know what I was supposed to think or feel. Most episodes let me just immerse myself in a vibe, this one's shifted around so much I couldn't tell what the vibe I was supposed to even get was. It was, in general, "an average viewing experience." It's not one I'd recommend. I wouldn't put it on a Roadmap For Beginner Viewers - the end beat is "They talked a few minutes, had an adventure, got The Thing." Unless you count Lucca, people are literally missing nothing if they skip it.

Result: 5.33

Basically: Overwhelmingly average. I wouldn't say it's the "worst ever," but it's just nothing to make most of the audience wildly excited. Beyond the above points, I'd say the best attribute of the episode is that it had a lot of strong Sam presence, but there were a few other ways that could have been improved too.

On the other hand, I am wildly excited for Scoobynatural. At least I won't be confused on the intent and tone of that one. And there's me throwing myself to the wolves on the first review, for a new site, while poking all the bears.

("Dude, she's toast.")

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Devil's Bargain -- 13x13

by Axy Dewelle

Besides the unbearable frustration caused by any hellatus of any length, they’re often considered as mini-finales in themselves. It’s always a signal in the fandom that something big might be happening, and that we might be on the verge of big revelations, or big returns…Or significant, if not permanent, deaths. This time, it’s a come back, and holy hell, it’s the one we all waited for. Let’s break down a pretty massive episode that raises the stakes a lot higher, introduces a new player that might be a game changer for everyone, and sets the tone for the rest of the season in a pretty epic way.

So far, I’m conflicted about how many of Castiel’s powers are back. We all saw him come back to potentially full capacity (and a new coat, which normally means a new chapter in the life of our favorite angel) at the end of 1304/The Big Empty, and we know he can smite demons back again. However, Lucifer’s stabbing wound last week left him far weaker than we could have hoped for, and we find him running around in a nearby forest, lost, confused, and coughing blood, before he loses consciousness and is awakened hours later by two kids who had the scare of their life when they tried to poke him with a stick. Parents, please, teach your children not to poke bodies with sticks, would you? This marks the first reference of almost a dozen throughout the episode, as the show now has enough material to create its own self-referenced Easter eggs, to one of season 2’s most famous quotes, Sam’s « Dude, we’re not gonna poke her with a stick » from 211/Playthings. Apparently, eleven years later, poking people with sticks became trendy. Anyway, Castiel is awake, feels obviously better and his wound is now apparently healed, and he’s getting right back where he stabbed Lucifer. Lucifer is, of course, long gone.

There is something that I’m still questioning about the version of Castiel we now have. It’s him, there’s no argument there, his speech about Jack to Lucifer proved it enough, but there’s something that I can’t quite grasp that makes me consider whether he’s powered the same way, or whether his row with the cosmic entity changed him, one way or another. And there’s an element that made me stumble in my trail of thoughts, there: the recurrence of the thunder. When Jack accidentally killed the bank guard on 1306/Tombstone, the second Castiel tried to heal him, thunder was heard, and on the forest scene too. It could be nothing. It could also mean everything. I’m not certain whether it’s even relevant or just a random piece of montage and directing, but if Supernatural really taught me one thing, it’s to never, ever assume that random things ARE random.

Meanwhile, on Hallmark’s channel…The scene where the new Cupid catches his latest victims and makes a lady on roller skates fall for a gentleman with a now destroyed wedding cake seems to come straight out of a show called « Head Over Wheels For The Wedding Planner ». Naturally, where there’s power, there’s Lucifer, and soon enough, Cupid’s grace is stolen and  left with a hole the size of a fist in his chest in lieu and place of a heart. Oh, the irony. Kudos to Mark Pellegrino who’s obviously taking a great and communicative joy in exploring the vulnerable yet still completely rotten side of his character.

In the bunker, the boys are catching up with the latest news, and they have been out of  the loop on quite a few things. Castiel is back home, and they’re on the receiving end of the worst possible news with Lucifer’s untimely come back on earth, Asmodeus’s strategy to get his nasty hands on Jack, and all the troubles coming from the alternate universe, from Kevin’s Angel Tablet spell to Michael’s intentions to rule over earth. As Castiel tell the boys he’s met with Lucifer to strategize, to Sam’s shock and Dean’s typical « I specifically told you not to do anything stupid » (honestly, this could very well be Supernatural’s tagline) he tells them that Lucifer is both weak and scared, and that Michael is that big of a threat even his brother wants to fight him. Still, you can feel that it’s pretty hard to swallow for Sam, whose position on Lucifer has been pretty straightforward lately. Castiel mentions that Lucifer later on tried to kill him, to neither Dean nor Sam’s surprise after all. Not one to hold a grudge, Sam asks Cas about whether he has news of their mother, and Castiel confirms that she’s still alive, as he lies to protect them about the torture Lucifer mentioned last week. Once again, even in the middle of the biggest mess we’ve seen in a long time (which is all but relative in Supernatural’s realms), Castiel’s first intentions are towards the ones he love and those who love him back. I’m grateful that he didn’t tell them that Lucifer insisted on her being tortured in ways even him couldn’t fathom, simply because they’re both on edge enough as it is not to put them through an additional level of worry, and Castiel had no way to know whether Mary was really being tortured, or if Lucifer was just being his usual monster self and toying with him. However, that simple information reinforce the brother’s determination, and a spark of hope briefly lights up the room.

Asmodeus is, of course, less than pleased by Lucifer and Castiel’s great escape while he was away for « an important errand », and tries to take it on Ketch who’s not really known to take any prisoners and calls his plan to keep Lucifer in jail « monumentally stupid ». I was surprised Arthur didn’t get beheaded on the spot (or at least stabbed, Asmodeus is going soft on him) but as it turns out, Asmodeus agrees with him and now wants him to take it to next level: killing Lucifer. As good as Jeffrey Vincent Parise is as Colonel Sanders gone rogue, David Haydn-Jones is amazing at keeping Asmodeus in line and affirming Ketch’s very own brand of reckless smartass. Now that Ketch is out of the British Men Of Letters chains, he has a real leeway to install a fabulously twisted and complex character whose moral compass is both flexible and interesting. Of all our recent additions to the stellar cast of Supernatural, he is, after Alex Calvert, my favorite one.

As Asmodeus assumes that in his current weakened state an angel blade to the heart should kill Lucifer, we see fear in Ketch’s eyes for the first time in a very long time. They both come to the conclusion that if his grace is recharged already, they’re all dead. I still am conflicted as to whether Asmodeus tried to send Ketch to his death, since he’s well aware of the fact that stabbing Lucifer, however weak, with an angel blade to the heart wouldn’t suffice. He’s still an archangel, after all, even with a severely depleted grace. Maybe Asmodeus did, maybe he did not. It’s opened for debate.

Homeless Lucifer remains, frankly, an annoying jerk. As he’s discovering his near human limits, feeling hungry, cold, tired, he now has to find ways to fix those very mortal issues. After trying to bully people into helping him, he sat next to Tim, a young disabled man, whose gentle and kind aura earns him a fairly successful beggar status. As Tim tries to explain that a change of attitude would go a long way, to no end, he’s inviting him to get some lunch. Lucifer first believes that the money Tim earned is destined to invite him to a warm meal in the nearby joint, but they end up dumpster diving for lasagna, as Tim explains that those funds are going toward a payment to a faith healer that can fix his leg. When Tim mentions that she is the real deal, and there’s a white light when she heals people, the little circuits in Lucifer’s brain are quick to draw conclusions: the mysterious faith healer is most likely an angel, and where there’s angels, there’s more grace to steal.

Once again, there were two excellent references to two very defining moments of the show when Lucifer and Tim were looking for lasagna in the dumpster. The first one is to the episode 903/I’m No Angel, where human Castiel wanders in the streets and look for food nearby April’s flat. It was an important moment because it was the lowest point in human Castiel’s existence, and it made him vulnerable enough to accept April’s help without applying any form of caution that would probably have revealed who she really was and what her intentions really were. The other reference is to one of the biggest mythological episode of the show, 1120/Don’t Call me Shurley, as Metatron and his canine companion, too, are looking for food before they end up at Chuck’s bar. Supernatural’s art of foreshadowing isn’t a mystery, and both characters were led there to a form of perdition: Cas would get killed (and then brought back by Sam/Gadreel) by April, and Metatron would sacrifice himself to give Sam, Donatello and Castiel (as Lucifer) time to flee Amara’s wrath. In this very case, I suspect that meeting Sister Jo is the first brick to Lucifer’s demise.

At the bunker, we’re about to get reacquainted with one of the most important object in the Supernatural mythology, as Dean lays it on the library’s table, wrapped into a cloth. At first, I somehow suspected it was the Colt, or whatever’s left of it, not by omission, but simply because I thought we’d seen the last of said object in season 8. Cas and Dean are having a calm and collected conversation, as Dean apologizes for not understanding earlier on that it wasn’t Castiel they were talking to on the phone, and Castiel held no grudges whatsoever as he knew they would have done the impossible to get him out, and it might have caused them more harm than good. We’re treading around the biggest recurring lie of the show when Cas tells Dean that he’s « fine », which we all know is the Winchester’s slang to say « I’m not fine at all and I might shoot you if you keep asking me ». Still, Castiel’s entire focus is oriented towards Jack, Mary, and his promise to Kelly. You can feel how painful it is for him to consider he has let her down in any way, and how deeply connected to Jack he is.

Let’s take a minute to appreciate Dean’s regularly understated mental health. I’m very happy that he apologized for not recognizing Cas’s voice when Asmodeus called them, and I’m even happier about how frank and spontaneous it was. Dean’s emotional maturity has been subtly and constantly developed over the past 13 episodes, forced through grief, anger, depression worth considering that dying wasn’t such a bad solution after all, and recently, having to handle Sam’s own menacing dark clouds, and his newly built rejection of whatever encouraging words he may have to cheer him up. Those are violent and deeply traumatic states that Dean’s handling rather gracefully, now that Castiel’s back. Aside from the brutal gesture towards Kaia during the mid-season finale, which I wasn’t really shocked about, because he’s seen his brother walking such a thin line between hope and despair that he practically had a knee-jerk reaction to a possibility of getting their mother back that was just slipping away from them, he’s been trying to fix things with everyone in a very grown up way. He’s said to Jack that he’s family, he’s been listening and caring about Sam, and Sam’s silences, he’s moderating his anger when people makes questionable decisions (he didn’t lash out at Sam for giving the page of the grimoire to Rowena, and neither did he at Cas trying to team up with Lucifer) and he’s questioning people’s feelings more than he questions his own, which is so very Dean, but in a deeper, more thoughtful way than the big brother complex he’s been burdened with his whole life long. It’s good to see him get more in touch with his emotions, and I suspect that parenting Jack and meeting Billie played two important parts in there. Dean’s a work in progress, but he’s evolving in ways that are resonating with Sam’s issues just the right way. Once again, Supernatural’s character development is extremely smart, precise and focused. Thirteen seasons in, writers and actors are still able to push their characters further than they’ve ever been, and it’s the unmissable sign of a show that know who it is, where it goes and why it exists. Jensen is doing such an extraordinary job at layering Dean with emotions that aren’t changing the core of the character, yet still give us new hindsights as to how he’s evolving and how wiser he’s becoming.

Enters our prophet with Sam. Donatello’s visible lack of enthusiasm for the current turn of events since he’s first met Jack is both hilarious and refreshing. The boy’s plan is wobbly at best: getting to Lucifer, assuming he’s still weak enough for him to get Enochian cuffed, and take back his grace to do the same spell Michael did. At this very time, before I even knew how they were gonna find the spell, I knew I wanted that plan to fail, because what they don’t know yet is that it only allows for one person to make the trip back home and one person only before the rift closes down, and my heart broke in anticipation of what could be Sophie’s choice, Winchester edition: rescuing Mary OR rescuing Jack.

Donatello asks where to find the spell, and Sam himself reveals what was in the cloth all this time: the Demon Tablet. Once again, Jared was extremely precise in his interpretation, because all the memories of the trials showed in his eyes for a split second, as if suddenly sent back in time five years ago. 823/Sacrifice remains one of the most poignant and important episode of the whole show, and all it took was a glance at the Demon Tablet to see a church lost in the middle of nowhere, and angels falling from the sky. They basically assume that the spell must be there, because it, too, is the word of god. All they need is for the prophet to translate it, and a very panicked Donatello requires at least 25 buckets of chicken wings to fuel his brain to translate it. Good to know. Next time I’ll need excuses to eat fried chicken, I’ll just use Donatello’s. It’s brain fuel.

When Castiel’s angel radio went nuts and made him crouch in pain, I was somehow relieved at the fact that it was Sam who inquired about what was happening and whether he was okay. It’s in Sam’s very nature to forgive and forget, and had he been in any other mental state than the gradually worsening one he’s been on for weeks now, I would never have questioned whether he was angry or upset at Cas teaming up with Lucifer. But I had a doubt there, one that got swept away by that scene. He’s already moved on, probably entirely focused on the plan that was terribly absent at the end of the previous episode. And he now knows for sure his mom is alive. That counts for something. Castiel reveals that a mutilated vessel has been found, leading to a minor freak out from Donatello who’s asking a rhetorical Supernatural question: who’s killing angels ?

Supernatural teased the arrival of Jensen’s wife, the beloved and amazing fandom-ally Danneel for quite some time, and the story behind it is all kinds of amazing. A long while ago, someone asked her when she’d get a role in the show, and she playfully replied in season 13, when no one could even consider that Supernatural would live long enough to see 13 seasons and counting. As it turned out, Jensen and Danneel’s twins are now old enough for her to join the show, and so, she decided it was the right time and they crafted Sister Jo’s character around her. It also allows Jensen to get his family on set with him, which is a welcomed bonus for both parts and for Jared and Misha to work with one of their closest friends. All in the family, once again. And the least we can say is that Sister Jo makes quite the entrance. She’s an angel indeed, healing people for money, but there’s no really mean vibe coming off her. She looks very nice, very sweet, very pretty and she seems genuinely happy she got to help those people, however expensive her retribution is. This makes Lucifer very happy, since the halo of light coming off her hands as she fixes the wounded and the sick and the disabled confirms that she’s an ex-resident of Heaven.

Once again, another evident reference is made there : one to 112/Faith, the very first episode of the show with a Winchester’s life on the line, and finding supernatural fixes to impending or consumed deaths would soon become one of the show’s biggest trademark. It’s only fair that Danneel gets to be connected to one of (several) Jensen’s finest acting hour. Also, did you notice what was on the painted wall behind Sister Jo? The long and infinite road, the dark sky, the invitation to drive to the horizon, the road signs indicating Sioux Falls, Blackwater Ridge, Lawrence…This wall is a love fest to everything Supernatural represents. An homage. Easter egg as its best. And nothing else than 1005/FanFiction’s very own stage props.

Okay, I’m having a moment, there, but how exhilarating is it to see Sam, Cas and Dean, together, working on the smited angel case? I always get a little joyful kick at seeing the Team Free Will together. They’re investigating the angel kill, and quickly understand that a throat slit can only mean one thing, a stolen grace, which, coincidentally, would lead to one of the few but powerful comedic moments of the episode, all in the dialogues and the…Subtext, shall we say. Dean’s « we’re boned » and Castiel’s « epically » made me laugh far, far more than it should. Sam’s expression, halfway through annoyed and amused, was the cherry on top of a cake I didn’t know I needed. Peak Team Free Will. Peak Supernatural, actually.

Upon approaching Sister Jo, Lucifer’s intentions are fairly straight and deadly: stealing her grace, killing her, and moving on to the next angel who would be unfortunate enough to pass by him. And yet, she recognizes him instantly and she shows no fear, not even the beginning of a scare or a worry, which destabilize Lucifer and make him prone to listen to her story prior to his unfazed deadly appetite for her grace. And that’s when Danneel gives her absolute best and explains in a calm, collected manner who she was, and who she is now, and how attached she grew to humanity. When the angels fell, she made a trade with a woman who was praying for her husband’s life, healing him if she accepted to become her vessel. She underlined the woman’s gratefulness, as she understood that humanity’s lust for life would make her angelic talents useful, and so she monetized them to make a decent living, while finding a purpose on earth. As Lucifer threatens her and nearly stole her grace without asking any further questions, she bargains with him, showing not only that’s she a strong, independent woman, but also that she can worm her way out of the deadliest situation without even breaking a sweat. As she paints Lucifer the image of a benevolent angel letting him sip on her grace regularly to help him recover, if he decides not to kill her, the light in Lucifer’s eyes starts flickering as Sister Jo slowly crawls into Lucifer’s mind and wraps her influence around him, slowly, patiently, intelligently. I’m convinced that she’s bound to become a key player in the second part of the season, and maybe even in the future. She already has quite a grip on him.

The boys lead to find where Lucifer is gets serious when Sam randomly questions Tim, who send him right on Sister Jo’s path. Once again, devil’s literally in the details: how committed and driven must Sam be to get Jack and Mary back to even consider having Lucifer’s picture on his phone? Once again, it’s proving the depths of Sam’s attachment to Jack, and the hope he’s still relying on to finally get a decent relationship to his mother. He’s not flinching. He’s going to go all the way to get them back. Somehow, Castiel’s confirmation that Mary’s alive probably have helped him focusing solely on their main task, and not on the dark place he’s currently in.

Sister Jo is quite the businesswoman, and so, her bargain with the devil was a success. He feeds on her just enough to let her grace recharge, and in exchange, he doesn’t kill her. Grace eating scenes are hypersexualized, which is something that could be off-putting, but it didn’t with me. It was far more awkward to see Mark so close to Jensen’s wife, than figuring out the value of sexualizing Sister Jo’s and Lucifer’s business partnership. Another major reference is hidden in there to make it all…Clearer, or more acceptable. It’s a direct nod to how Sam and Ruby’s relationship was sexualized (case in point specifically in 416/On The Head Of A Pin and 421/When The Levee Breaks) too, and how feeding his addiction led to the same kind of cinematographic erotic value. Sam was depending on Ruby’s blood to get more strength, the exact same way Lucifer relies on Anael’s grace to get stronger, and the lines between power and desire gets blurrier. There’s also an almost fourth wall reference to who Genevieve would eventually become, and who Danneel already is. So, all in all, my slightly icky feeling quickly dissipated.

Have I mentioned recently how much I love the writing in all of the show in general, but there in particular? No? Consider it done. There’s a very subtle way of making Anael seems like she’s way ahead of Lucifer in terms of thinking about the future in general and hers in particular.  While Lucifer is being the spoiled, petulant child who snacks randomly on angels regardless to the consequences, she’s the one to question what happened and that it might be all over Angel Radio already. Had Anael not been there, Lucifer would certainly have been found by either Ketch of the Winchesters, and there’s no telling that he would have made it alive. She’s way smarter than he is, probably because she has been in contact to humanity for years now, and she doesn’t consider herself more powerful than she really is. She is way more mature than Lucifer will ever be.

Arriving at Sister Jo’s church, Sam, Castiel and Dean do find someone inside, just not the someone they were looking for. Arthur, following the same lead and searching for Lucifer on Asmodeus’s behalf, has preceded them and came up short, but do suggest a suspiciously enthusiast team up to get to Lucifer. I like how monumentally pissed Castiel is and how he has little to no patience for Arthur’s bullshit. Knocking him right out without even hesitating was a genius move, and the boy’s faces and silent agreement were both priceless. I love how even in fast paced and mythology-packed episodes, we still have time for those little drops of comedy, always timely and welcomed. Ketch bought himself a ticket to a journey in Baby’s trunk, and got us one of the best quotes of the episode from Dean : « All right, I say take dick bag here back to the bunker, find out what he knows, and put a bullet in him, burn his bones and flush his ashes ». Castiel’s reaction is even better : « I like that plan ». Meanwhile, Sam’s found a video of Sister Jo’s healing sessions, and they all suspect that she might be dead. However, later on, in the Impala, Sam receives a text alert regarding Sister Jo’s credit card usage, and she, or whoever is using her card, has just checked in in a motel.

This episode’s real piece de resistance clearly is the extended motel scene between Anael and Lucifer. They gifted Danneel with such an extraordinary character, layered and complex and driven and with her own sets of motivations and pains and hopes and dreams, and she really did an amazing job at never falling into any easy, cheap acting trick. She really is a gifted actress, she really fits in that exceptional cast we are lucky to have.

Once again, the grace eating scene is lurking around erotic imagery, but at this point, I’m pretty much leaning toward it being one of the many ways Anael uses to show that she is empowered with her own decisions, her own intelligence, her own body language and that she will use all of her charms to get to wherever she wants to go. She’s the epitome of the strong female, and her choices aren’t anyone’s business but hers.

The conversation afterwards is revealing an extremely important part of Anael’s psyche and motivation. And it’s extremely profound and well written. When she confides in Lucifer, you’d think she’s inviting him in and letting him assume that she likes him, or that she relates to him, but she’s actually far more in control. Her position on the bed is typical of someone who knows how to play the game, but also how to fix her own limits. Limits she won’t cross. As she’s speaking of the emotional state she’s in when she gave just enough grace to stay angelic, but can feel the humanity around her, she’s using a very well known image of Supernatural, the one of the angels fascinated and falling in love with humanity. That’s who Castiel is, after all. He’s an angel who realized upon confronting humanity that his place and his choices made more sense on earth. Anael uses extremely positive words to talk about the feeling of being human, such as emotions, sensations, pain, hope and love. All in the register of the inner self, the feelings, the soul. The core of what humanity is, whereas Lucifer uses simple, childish expressions of a bodily need: hunger, cold, loneliness. Anael knows she has the upper hand, because Lucifer is incapable of dealing with emotions further than this, and his own psyche is easily twistable.

Anael’s story is such an extraordinary metaphor. She’s what most of humanity will feel one day: overlooked, ignored, looked down, even, bullied into staying in a degrading position while the other ones have the power and wreak havoc. She says she had ideas, she tried to talk to Michael, to Raphael, to Naomi, and no one listened and she got sent back to push a button, and that’s what her life was meant to be. She really gave us a rare in-depth look at what heaven is for the unimportant angels, and make me question who decided that most of them should do that for eternity, while some are holding the reins. Chuck’s hierarchy of Heaven is questionable. When Anael says « I saw how Heaven was running and I knew how to fix it », she doesn’t sound like someone who has vaguely thought about possibilities to make things different up there. She has a plan. She has solutions. She has knowledge. It’s not the random ramblings of a lost angel, it’s the driven strategy of someone who couldn’t do with the uselessness she’s been forced to live with her whole life. Lucifer grasps it pretty clearly when he says « So up here you’re nobody, down here, you’re somebody ». He basically summed up the core of the relationship between humans and angels in Supernatural. Remember Metatron, and how humanity changed him? Or Gadreel? Balthazar? Anna? Hanna? The minute they are in contact with humanity, there’s no turning back to Heaven, not untainted with humanity’s emotions and freedom anyway. Mythology-wise, it’s one of the core themes of the show. Humanity is at the very center of Supernatural.

Anael goes even further when she says that the fall at the end of season 8 was an actual liberation for her. Of course, Lucifer, once again, in a very childish way, brings back his own eternal daddy issues. He wanted to fit in, he wanted to exist in the eyes of Chuck. He can’t move on from something he’s unlikely to ever get. And he’s trying to link it to his own impending fatherhood, but he does sounds scared about it. Is it because he is actually afraid of failing Jack the way Chuck failed him, and in this case, wouldn’t a failure from Lucifer consider a success on the Team Free Will’s regard ? Or woulda failure be making him as evil as he is ? Or is it simply because he’s well aware of what Cas told him on the last episode, about him becoming inherently good and taking after his mother, and he’s afraid of being actually defeated by Jack ? There’s an open question there, to determine what is really going on inside of Lucifer’s brain. However, when Anael tries to come closer, probably not because she is inherently attracted to him, but more as a leeway to get him on her side once and for good (I wouldn’t completely reject her falling for him theory, she seems to be attracted to people of powers, but I’m not sure it’s the prime feeling there) Lucifer reacts like a teenager, though, he suspects something and rolls back on the edge of the bed as to not show himself emotionally compromised. But he is under her spell. It’s pretty obvious. Even when he tries to gain composure and show that he’s Lucifer, his argument falls flat : « Lucifer, prince of darkness, King Of Lies » sounds terribly pathetic for how much of a monster he is and how much damages he’s caused to all of our heroes. However, when he says that the « fun really starts » when he’ll find Jack, this makes me terribly worried. And scared.

Asmodeus couldn’t stay idle, could he? As soon as his goons located Donatello-on a chicken wings run on his own, of course, because the Winchesters and Castiel are gone running after Lucifer-he’s shapeshifting as Castiel and traps him, and got him to talk about most of what he knows: Jack and Mary are trapped, they are decoding the tablet, there is something in there but he’s yet to crack the ingredients. Asmodeus then uses that poor prophet as one of his unwilling informants, forced to spy on the Winchesters for his account. Kudos to Misha, once again, for playing several versions of Castiel with such poise and brain. You can tell it’s not Castiel, but it’s enough off him not to look suspicious. Alchemist’s work, there. Never too much, never not enough, just the right dosage to make it work. The bad news being: we now have one ally that’s in bed with the enemy. Woohoo!

Also, and I have to mention it: Colonel Sander’s evil twin holding a chicken wing ? Apparently, the writer’s room has heard of Asmodeus official nickname !

At the motel, while Lucifer reads the bible and does a large editing of it, protesting that no one did a fact-checking of the book (fact checking the bible…If that’s not a genius line, then I don’t know what that is), Sam is calling Anael and pretending her card got rejected to get her to come out of the room, and when she does, and she recognizes Castiel, she pretends that she’s been forced to stay with him because he wants to eat her grace. She swear to the boys that he’s very weak, weak enough to be captured. That very moment squeezed my heart painfully, because when she insists on how « very » weak he is, there’s a glimpse of hope in Sam’s eyes, and a fragile smile, as if everything just falls into place in his mind and for once, they’re in for a win that’s going to lead to Jack and their mother back home. And it’s almost unbearable to know that this spark of happiness, that small, almost imperceptible trace of relief got shattered when they finally understood that Anael was working with Lucifer, that the Enochian cuffs wouldn’t go anywhere near him (though I’m not sure there weren’t fear in Lucifer’s eyes, as if he knew the cuffs could have worked) and had Ketch not decided to throw a demon bomb at the very last minute, they would most likely have been killed (who said « again » ?). I’m still not sure as to who got Lucifer and Anael out of harm’s way and into the forest, I suspect it’s Lucifer since he was exhausted and calling to get in better shape, but here they are, together, alone, headed for the sandbox. As for Team Free Will, they are back at square one, with Ketch affirming his will to form an alliance again, and this time, he’s playing his last card: he told the boys that he’s been working with Asmodeus, and offers to become a mole. They might not like it, but right now he’s all they got. Once again, a nod to David, who’s so good at being snarky…When Sam asks him how he got out of the trunk, his answer is absolutely fabulous : « I’m Ketch ». That’s how you know a character has been well outlines and built, when he’s enough on his own to define his own structure. Even when he talks about the situation they’re in, he’s incredible self-aware and honest « I’m the lesser of at least three evils » « all I ask is that you wait to murder me until after I prove useful ». As angry as I am for Mick and Eileen and all of the big bad mess they’ve created last year with the BMOL, I want to trust him. I want Ketch to give redemption a go. Hell, I want him to die a hero. I usually am very careful about trusting characters proved insane or unreliable by the past, but in this specific case, I want to give Ketch the benefit of the doubt. To be perfectly honest, it could very well be because I love David so much. But still. Ketch is not too far gone, and he’s had a terrible childhood to explain it all. There really is something worth exploring, there.

At the sandbox, some really, really twisted things are about to happen. As Lucifer tries to negotiate with Dumah (who you might recognize as Erica Cerra, previously seen as Robin, the girl soulless Sam murdered and that stays with him when the wall in his mind breaks in season 6’s finale), the annoying angel that seemed to be in control of heaven back then, he underlines how grimly the situation is, with the angel’s number in free fall, and Asmodeus about to make a move at anytime. He explains to them that he knows how to create angels. Anael tries to intervene and get shut down, and you can feel that the minute Anael has an inch of power up there, she’s going to turn her into mush. In all fairness, Dumah had it coming. In the end, Lucifer has one argument that makes a huge difference for those idiots: he knows how to get them their wings back. Or so he says.

This episode is layered with references, but there are also several symmetrical strings with season 8 as a whole, and Sacrifice in particular. Several items are echoing to one another, are getting a definite, or a least permanent answer, or are simply mirroring the foundations of the eighth season. The return of the Demon Tablet, and the mirror in its presence to the Angel one that’s used by Michael; the presence of Donatello carefully monitored by Asmodeus echoes Kevin’s and Crowley, and even the method remains the same since Asmodeus uses Castiel to spy on Donatello while Crowley had two fake Sam and Dean to do the same with Kevin; Lucifer suggesting to fix what Metatron has caused with the spell; him being contaminated by humanity at his weakest echoes directly Crowley’s cure…And there are plenty more I didn’t get. This isn’t something I take comfort in: if the big theme of the season is to fix what has been damaged or remained unfinished in season 8, then one of the Winchesters is in immediate peril. I’d rather reject that idea, but once you give it a thought, it sort of make sense. I’ve had a bad feeling for months, and the deeper I dig, the more clues going in that direction I seem to find.

The episode never allowed us to catch a break, or even get a second to take a breath. The pace never seem to slow down, not even near the end as the boys are back at the bunker and Donatello snaps at Sam who’s trying to remain positive and encourage Donatello the best he can, to no end. He seems to be back on a more positive mindset, though. I think that having a plan, however thin and poorly outlined, is whatever he needs to distance himself from however bad he feels. Once again, rather than dealing, he’s grasping at straws to push it all further down. This is not going to end well if they fail. I was happy he tried to get Castiel’s support when Donatello snapped, confirming that he’s gone past Castiel’s attempt to get close to Lucifer. They also don’t trust Ketch, but why would they? We leave the bunker behind with a parody of calm before the storm, a Team Free Will fully committed to get Jack back, and a weird compromise between getting an unreliable spy and a soon to be unfaithful ally.  

In Heaven, the geniuses let Lucifer in, with Anael right by his side. His powers looks at least partially back, and his ego seems to appreciate the devotion of the (idiots) angels kneeling before him : « hail to the king, baby ». I really hope it’s going to alarm Chuck and he’s going to come back to clean his mess and kick some butts. One can hope.

Two minutes before the end of the episode, I suddenly remembered the lurking hellatus, and that, weirdly enough, nothing cliffhanger-ey really happened. Until Asmodeus started to parade around Ketch, to show off that he’s got the upper hand on Lucifer, outlining the impending major shock we were all going to get.  And I sensed it. I sensed that something would happen on the archangel level, since archangel’s graces seems to be a recurring theme around, lately.

However, that’s not one but two massive new informations we get, as Asmodeus confides in Ketch (who look less and less Ketch and more and more Arthur : less cocky, more human) : first, there IS a blade that we’ve never heard about before, the (rather magnificent, I have to say) Archangel blade. And it’s the only one able to kill an archangel, if used by another archangel. At this point of the episode, the overflow of informations was so strong that I didn’t connected the i’s and crossed the t’s. I was just mesmerized by the pace and the number of new artifacts and items and ideas thrown at us.

Until it happened.

Asmodeus does have more than the upper hand on Lucifer.

He has the weapon to end him, and he has someone who can use it.

An archangel resides in Hell’s jail.

I honestly thought it would be Adam/Michael. I expected it to be, quite simply because I couldn’t allow myself to hope for THAT archangel to still be alive. I didn’t wanted to believe in it. I couldn’t afford the emotional distress if I was wrong.

And yet. Dreams do come true, even in Supernatural, in their own twisted ways.

Gabriel.

Our very own Gabriel, in a poor state, lips sewn shut, and the maddest look of anger we’ve ever seen in his eyes. Honestly, I was INSANE with joy in front of my television. I possibly even screamed. The questions are now infinite, but at least he’s back and this is the single greatest thing that happened on Supernatural since Jack’s arrival and Castiel’s return.

They knew, though. They knew that leaving us on such a revelation for two, painfully long weeks of hellatus would be torture. And a lovefest all at once. I’ve never seen so many people losing their minds with joy collectively all at once.

So what else is there to say…Season 13 REALLY is our lucky one. Saying that I’m thrilled for what’s to come is the understatement of the year. I’m beyond excited and scared and happy and worried, and you know what? It proves that 13 years later, this little, innocuous show not only has come a long way, but the best is still yet to come.

Scene of the week : I’m gonna go with the « epically boned » moment. For the pleasure of getting TFW back on the road, and for the innuendos that are getting bigger and bigger by the season.

Performer of the week : Danneel Ackles. What an entrance. What a character. What a woman.

Laugh of the week : Castiel knocking Ketch out, being SO DONE with him. I had to rewatch the scene at least ten times.

Punch in the feels : Our poor Gabe, what have they done to you ?

Scene stealer : David Haydn-Jones is so, so good, he always adds something brilliant to every scene he’s in. Huzzah !

Question of the week : HOW ????

Fangirl moment : That last minute. How did Richard kept THIS a secret is beyond me. Well played, Sir. Well played.

Special nod to : Jared, Jensen and Misha. They look so impressed when they were with Danneel for the first time, it’s adorable. To think that J2M have finally found someone who’s keeping them calmer than they normally are is a miracle. #TeamDanneel

Various & Sundry Villains -- 13x12

by Axy Dewelle

Last week, Breakdown left us all with a lot of questions, but most of all, it left us worried for the youngest Winchester, whose perspectives and faith in his own future were extremely low. In the gloom of that final scene, we were all in need of a lighter episode, and a few laughs were overdue. Various & Sundry Villains certainly played that relieving part, but it also shined a light on Sam’s degrading mental health, gave us an extremely powerful return of our favorite witch, and a particularly efficient dig into Castiel and Lucifer’s predicament.

Witches. Beside Rowena, it’s never a good sign, on Supernatural. Most of the times, they’re clueless, selfish beings and this week’s pair of “wee” witches weren’t particularly smart, nor were they subtle. Finding the first idiot in a convenience store, hexing him, putting him under a love spell, having him raid all the cash...And killing him with a hammer doesn’t really depart from the tradition. And off they are, headed for...Lebanon.

Speaking of Lebanon, Sam and Dean are trying their best to find resources within the bunker to get Jack and Mary out of the alternate universe they’re both stuck in. It’s pretty obvious that Sam’s not really feeling any better than last week, and that the current lack of solution to fix their problem is weighing heavily on him. However heartbreaking the situation is, it’s hard not to completely fall for Sam’s impeccable pronunciation of Jour Et Nuit, after Dean managed to butcher the three words and insult the whole French nation in the process. The French embassy has been contacted, they gave a solid 9 to Jared’s accent, and a firm scolding to Jensen’s disappointing effort.

As Dean decides to leave for a beer run, and the absence of Castiel is evoked, a few images of our favorite angel and his unfortunate cellmate let us see an extremely calm, collected angel, while Lucifer is having a tantrum nearby. Powerless, Lucifer resembles a petulant child whose desires and needs are suddenly ignored, and Mark Pellegrino is amazing at playing that new nuance in Lucifer’s development. He’s less mature than his eight-month-old child, and some of his lines could very well come from the mouth of a toddler: “You’re not nice and I don’t like you.”

Next to him, Castiel is completely unfazed by the current situation, and has visibly decided to play it safe, enjoying however short a fuse Satan currently has. The sheer jubilation when Castiel points out that Lucifer is now too weak to defeat his weakest creature, Asmodeus, is contagious. Misha is doing a stellar job at transitioning toward this new version of our beloved angel, that could very well be the sole product of years and years of learning from the consequences of his actions, as much as he could be tainted with something else (the celestial being from The Empty maybe hitched a ride?). Castiel’s current form is yet to be completely outlined, and the future episodes are going to help us figure out in which head space he’s currently in. However dark and twisted the answer might be, it’s hard not to smile at the peaceful strength radiating from him.

In Kansas back again, Dean’s beer run takes an unexpected turn when the sisters strike back, pretending that Jamie’s a damsel in distress in urgent need of help from a white knight and drop a hex bag in Dean’s pocket. One love spell and two purple pupils later, Dean’s in a trance, and once again, Jensen’s comedy genius reaches new highs. Back at the bunker, Sam’s more amused than really concerned when his brother announces that he’s found love, until Dean considers that the Black Grimoire is a reasonable gift for his “soulmate.” Thankfully, Sam understands almost instantly what’s going on, even mentions the Becky case, and tries to reason with a dumbed-down version of Dean who even argues that Sam can hook up with Jamie’s sister. Jared and Jensen’s playfulness and intelligence shines bright in that scene, until Dean punches his brother in the face when he takes away the Impala’s keys and knocks him out to join Jamie and give her the Grimoire. “Good talk, pal. Good talk.” Despite the unconscious form on the floor of the library, the scene is nothing but pure comedy.

And along comes Dean, Black Grimoire in hand, looking the happiest we’ve seen him since Tombstone, one hammer away from death once Jamie gets her hands on the book. What saves him is Baby’s glorious entrance and a very furious Sam, but as he points his gun at the sisters, the brothers ends up fighting in the funniest way, one trying to get the hex bag out of his brother’s pocket, and the other one tried to kill him because he’s, apparently, jealous. Tall Tales, anyone? Such a nice wink at the former causes of argument and fights between the brothers. In the end, seconds before Dean choked Sam to death, a pair of red boots belonging to a gorgeous redhead appears, destroys the hex bag, and restores a little peace between the Winchesters.

Rowena. Our very own Rowena. She’s back, and she’s even more amazing than she used to be, which is a lot to say. The brother’s faces speaks volumes: they’re surprised she’s alive... But not THAT surprised. Neither was I, however awful and graphic her death could have been. It’s going to take a lot more than Lucifer to end this witch.

Back in hell, Lucifer is trying to use his powers, or lack thereof, and tries to get under Castiel’s skin by talking about the torture Michael’s inflicting on Mary. It doesn’t take long for Castiel to make him stop, and to take back the control of the situation by telling Lucifer who Jack really is: “You want truth? How about I tell you a few truths about your son? Did you know that he loves movies? Fantasy movies with heroes who crush villains. And he’s thoughtful. He’s emotional. Remarkably intuitive. You know he, uh, resurrected me just out of instinct. Isn’t that a beautiful gesture? Jack would rather kill you than hug you. Seems relevant. Do you know he doesn’t even really look like you? And he reminds me so much of his mother.

I often say that we have some of the best and most underrated writers on this show, and once again, this amazing piece of dialogue proves me right. Steve Yockey wrote a line there that gave us one of the most emotional moments of the season, and kudos to Misha for playing it with such heart, such honesty. That incredible piece of writing encompasses Jack’s entire existence.

The fantasy movies? That’s on Sam.

Bringing back Cas intuitively? That’s on Dean.

Not looking like Lucifer? He looks like Cas.

And even Kelly’s presence is underlined. Within a few words, all is said. And Lucifer is losing his temper for good, unable to take the truth: his son is good. Granted, his anger makes him come up with a plan to get out...But he’s really pissed, and I was thrilled.

Back at the bunker, and to Rowena’s explanations. The boys aren’t exactly surprised, since death in general doesn’t stick on Supernatural, but there’s a vulnerability in Rowena that’s touching. She really looks different, and yet she’s still the same badass, sassy witch we love. Once again, the character development is on point. Her backstory, being binded by a spell from the Grand Coven and needing the Black Grimoire, answers pretty efficiently the question I had after Regarding Dean last season. The reason behind her obsession with that book makes perfect sense, and it doesn’t call for much more information. That’s one of the numerous things I love with this show: they won’t complicate a storyline with useless details. They make it easy and efficient. Adding the tracking spell was even smarter, it simplified both Rowena’s timely arrival, and how to find the sisters Plum, later on the episode. Often, in Supernatural, less is more. And in this case, it worked extremely well. I also enjoyed the fact that she got the boys their drinks, proving that she’s well acquainted with the bunker and she’s comfortable with them. There is something interesting between the Winchesters and Rowena, she’s carrying Crowley’s frenemy torch. They don’t trust her, but they know they can use her and she will help them if they need to be helped. Trust is such a stretchable notion in this show, it’s something that is never set in stone, that can be lost and found and lost again. It’s a very human idea, however hard to apply. Amanda Tapping’s direction was quite perfect too: getting Rowena and one boy on each side made for a very creative plan, and one that foreshadowed the end of the episode: Sam is on Rowena’s left side, the heart one, as they share a common trauma, while Dean in on Rowena’s right side. I couldn’t help but roll my eyes when Dean said that they “lost” the Grimoire. No you didn’t, lover. You gifted it to your “soulmate.”

Along comes the question we were all hoping to hear. Rowena asks where her son is. I like that she called him “her son” rather than “Fergus” or “Crowley.” The fact that she picked the family link rather than his identity speaks volumes for me. Smart cut, at the perfect time, straight after she asked that pressing question, leaving us a little more anxious to hear what she has to say. Amanda Tapping knows what she is talking about, and her directing is on point, precise and audacious. The work she’s done on this episode is simply stunning.

The cut to the store could have been useless had it not been for Brenda. The sisters are selfish idiots, got it. They are going to kill that poor dude, got it. They are treating people like crap, got it. But there’s Brenda, queen of sass and champion of the side eye. We’re all Brenda. Team Brenda.

In Hell’s prison, things are heating up nicely. I love how sassy Castiel was. And is. And is probably going to remain for the rest of the season. And I love how he handled the whole situation, and how he managed to double cross Lucifer. “Face it, you are useless and impotent and unnecessary and you will die alone, unmourned” became a instant favorite Castiel quote of mine. Also, there’s a strange buddy comedy vibe coming from those two, not unlike (albeit much less efficient) the one when Cas was on the road with Crowley. Misha really has a gift to turn any pairing into a successful one. Mark is a pretty good sport, too. It just works, and it works well.

While Dean is left to deal with looking for more details about where the Plum sisters are, Sam stayed in the Impala with a grounded Rowena. And instinctively, because he’s short of anyone to share that grief with, Sam has a heart to heart with the witch, and a pretty essential one. He’s acknowledging the complete extent of the damage Lucifer has done, and admitting that he’s never been able to process the feelings and that it still haunts him on a daily basis tore me apart, and yet, it was overdue, one way or another. I’m glad they used Rowena, and her own similar trauma, to circle around both of their PTSD, their fears and the subsequent depression, and to establish that connection between the two of them. Even if Rowena did play Sam a little, nothing will ever convince me that her self-confessed terror wasn’t real. And that ominous, hopeless “never” from Sam sounded awfully terminal, just like the end of Breakdown. Once more, Jared proves here that Sam’s emotional range is infinite, and the scene was heartbreaking and beautiful, just like what Supernatural does best. Of course, Sam’s trust in Rowena as she asks to take a breather outside backfired. Because it’s Rowena and she’s always one step ahead at least. But the emotional value of this scene is off the charts.

Remember our friend Brenda? More snark, more sass, and her asking Dean to be particularly mean to the sisters Plum made me chuckle. Checking Dean out as he left the store was the golden cherry on top of a perfect cake. Let’s get Brenda back on the show. We need more Brenda in our lives.

That Rowena doubled crossed the boys was a token. But she’s certainly did it with style, this time again. The Manete spell was absolutely genius, and Jared and Jensen made it even better. More jokes about Jared’s height, more physical comedy in addition to the situational one, and an added bonus with Sam’s expression when his brother throws the burning hex bag at him. At times, it’s hard to remember that those two goofballs are the best hunters in the world.  

Out of hell, and safe from the herd of demons who tried to attack them earlier, Lucifer is trying to bargain his way up to Cas to get a bit of his grace, and then attacks him mercilessly, in a very...Lucifer way, all things considered. Cas closely avoids another fatal blow, and in a surprisingly, not by much though, move, stabs Lucifer back until the red light in his eyes goes away. This will never mean that Lucifer’s dead, but this doesn’t take away the emotional weight of such a move. “This is me, leaning from my mistakes.” I’m not going to lie, I was wild with pride and joy and cheering loudly for my angel. This season is managing to give Cas a major axis of development, and Misha is having a field day with it. How useless his action against Lucifer is going to prove itself to be doesn’t matter half as much as this little sentence does. I’m in love with season 13 Castiel. Not that I wasn’t before, but he is driven, confident, and he’s full on badass.

At the Plum’s, things went awry really quickly. The two genius sisters (anyone else laughed at them being called Jennie and Jamie, aka a girl J2?) have tried a spell to revive their mother, they don’t give a damn about killing thousands if they need to, but could not complete it and ended up with a zombie mother. Rowena, whose double crossing skills aren’t left to prove anymore, was the one tipping the sisters to get the book and attack the boys, but the plan backfires as she mocks the visible stupidity of the two witches, and ends up chased by zombie mom, rendered magic-proof by the spell. As Dean would say, good times. Thankfully for Rowena, the boys arrive, almost get killed by the two overpowered sisters, but as zombie mom got shot, Rowena turned the sisters against each other and let them killed each another in a pretty grim way.

As the brothers were about to get back the Black Grimoire, Rowena tries to convince Sam to let her take it, and apparently, Sam refuses. They didn’t fool me, though, and when it’s later revealed that the page Rowena was after is gone, I was happy. I’m extremely satisfied that he did. I don’t think that anyone yet is correctly assessing yet Sam’s pain and the damages that Lucifer has done that are surfacing now only. This arc is beyond overdue, and it’s extremely well introduced. We’ve seen Sam change a lot, turn into a fully fledged leader last season, and become Jack’s very own teacher and confident, but no one, no one human can possibly be mentally healthy after what he’s been put through during his whole life, basically. We were a lot to identify ourselves with Sam even more than we used to, right there, for knowing what it is to push our issues down because life gets in the way and we don’t get the time to properly collapse in order to rise up again. And that’s exactly what is happening with Sam. All those things he hasn’t had any time whatsoever to work on and deal with are just coming back all at once, after Jack’s alternate universe mishap and Kaia’s death.

Once more, and it won’t be a surprise for anyone who devoted a little of their time to Jared, the way he’s delivering Sam’s struggle is raw, real and incredibly relatable. If only the major TV show awards academies were less uptight, they would realize that there’s matter for celebration on this show, everywhere, all the time.

On a side note, now that we are getting in depth into Sam’s PTSD, how courageous and immensely brave is it to have taken Lucifer’s kid under his wing? He’s the son of his biggest nightmare. Not everyone would have had the heart to be able to.

I’d love to point at Dean’s openness. I’ve felt like their kitchen conversation was a lot more honest and frank than it has been in a while, and that Dean is trying is best to find words that don’t yet exist to relieve his brother of the pain he’s in. And Dean tries. Jensen is quite incredible, because his expression shows helplessness, and Dean Winchester does not do helpless. However, the way Sam just couldn’t take Dean’s affirmation that they would fix this reminded me of the pivotal discussion they had on The Purge, in season 9, when Sam told his brother that under the same circumstances, he wouldn’t have done the same thing and tried to save him at all costs. The way he’s just cutting it short and goes to bed echoes what he did in that scene, and it’s safe to assume that the implications of that very moment are probably going to be as important and as pivotal for the remain of the season.

How can one not to jump excitedly at the last scene of the episode? Rowena is a queen, no argument there, but her purple chains being broken and the purple eyes...Oooooooh, typical Supernatural: feeding off of our frustration. I want so much more of that and I want to know what is going on. And I want to discover how powerful exactly she became. And I want to know who’s going to kill Lucifer, because at this point of the show, it’s probably happening sooner than we think.

Someone wise once told me that when you’re ending an episode of any show with more questions than you started it with, it’s because they’ve done their job right. Once again, Supernatural passed with flying colors.

Scene of the week: The Winchesters hexed on the ground by Rowena. Those two will never cease to surprise me.
Performer of the week: Misha Collins. Season 13’s Castiel is amazing.
Laugh of the week: Dean arriving with the Black Grimoire. That face. That smile. Jensen’s a genius.
Punch in the feels: Sam coming clean about his struggles to Rowena. Unexpected pairing, unbelievable results.
Scene stealer: Brenda. Even Jared said it while live tweeting. Get her back on the show, somehow.
Question of the week: Will Sam’s vote of confidence backfire, or are Lucifer’s days already counted?
Fangirl moment: Jour Et Nuit. Don’t lie, I’ve seen you all fall for it.
Special nod to...Amanda Tapping, among our best current directors. She’s visually creative, skilled, and she’s not afraid to play on our nerves, and to the genius of Steve Yockey, who has the skills to balance emotion and comedy, darkness and light, and knows exactly where the characters are supposed to be headed.  

 

Lost & Found -- 13x1

by Carol Hansson

Wow. After 12 seasons, and countless episodes, Supernatural continues to surprise me – not only to tug on your heartstrings, but to grab them tight and make you confront your emotions.

I’m going to precede this review with the following facts –my estranged father passed away less than a week ago, and I’ve been struggling with how to deal with the emotional fallout.

5 p.m. PT rolls around – hellatus is over, I’ve got my pink sparkly drink and Supernatural wine glass in hand – let’s get this party started!

The overall review of the Supernatural history in turns made me laugh, cry and bemoan the loss of our dear Mr. Ketch – a David Haydn-Jones fan I always will be. And of course, the death of our Crowley – a better King of Hell? I don’t think that exists.

Even watching the introduction for the second time makes me squee ... and reminisce about the beginning of Season 12, when Mary meets her adult son for the first time (technically the third time, I believe, because of time travel and such). It amazes me what an awesome cast we have -- not even just the main cast, but the supporting cast as well. One of the other highlights that I adore from the introduction is the repeat of Dean's discussion with Mary, in the dream world -- where he says, "I hate you, but I love you." The look on Dean's eyes ... my Chuck. And watching Mary kick ass is just, well, kick ass. I do wish they showed the Alpha Vampire being shot though, gotta love the Rick Worthy.

We begin right where we ended – poor Dean, and poor Castiel in that lonely beach in Squamish (at least I’m fairly sure that’s where that was filmed). I really do hope there are outtakes from that scene --- I can totally see Jensen cracking some joke and Misha trying oh so very hard not to laugh. The black wings on the ground though -- I have to admit I’m very glad that Jared leaked that Misha was back sometime this season – you and I both know that Castiel is entirely too much of a fan favourite to go anywhere, but it’s always nice to be assured.

"Father?" This entire episode seems to be centred around who Jack identifies as father. Just like a newborn kitten, Jack tries to imprint on the first person he sees -- Sam. Sam's relationship with Jack -- and of course how Dean deals with it -- will be very interesting to see this season.

Kudos to the SFX team for the next scene, where Jack uses his power to defend himself (wouldn't you try to defend yourself as well, in any way possible, if someone shot at you?). It's definitely not something I've ever seen before, and it makes me wonder what else Jack can do.

The title card -- Jack's iris -- reminds me a lot of the all-seeing eye from Lord of the Rings. This proves that Jack's story line will be a major one this season.

The "memory" of Mary sacrificing herself -- and in turn apparently burning up -- really confused me. What was the point of that? I understand that Dean was dreaming, but still.

One of the things that I instantly noted seeing Baby on the Sea to Sky was how dirty she was. Further on in the episode, when the drunk girl – who ends up being the angel Miriam – is seen near Baby, you see that Bitch was written in the dust.

"What about Cas? Is he really dead?"

"You know he is."

I'm uncertain as to the amount of times Castiel has actually died in this show -- or almost died -- but I'm sure it's a lot. No matter what though, it's always emotional.

I have to mention casting Alexander Calvert as Jack -- that little smirk when the sheriff introduces herself? That was awesome. Again, the facial expressions of our cast are awesome.

"There's no such thing as weird. Everyone is normal in their own way."

This has got to be one of the best lines in this epsiode -- I think it's a shout out to the SPN family, and fandoms everywhere. We're weird, but lovable.

Through the entire episode -- until Jack reveals -- we think that he identifies Lucifer as his father. When he says Castiel, and explains why, it totally falls into place. Throughout the latter part of her pregnancy, Kelly continuously tells Jack that Castiel will take care of her. And since Jack is a nephilim, he remembers this.

Watching for the second time, I did notice something. The angel says, "You and me both," when Sam says that he's looking for a naked kid. At first you think it's just the “drunk” in the drunk woman talking ... but then on second watch you realize she is actually looking for Jack too.

So apparently angel radio hurts Jack -- I wonder if that's just because he's not used to it? At least I'm assuming that's what it is.

Sam and Dean don't often tell the truth when it comes to dealing with the authorities, so I wonder if this means that we'll see the sheriff further on in the season, if they're changing how they do things, or if it's just a one-off. I guess we'll see.

One thing that was mentioned on-line is Dean's switch in point of view -- that they're doing a job, rather than being heroes. It's one of the major signs we see as to how much Cas's death has affected him.

Come to think of it, the angry voices must be angel radio, because the two angels we see previously would be pretty upset when they can't find Jack.

"I'm sorry. Will you tell them that I'm sorry?"

This is further proof – at least to me -- that Jack is not truly evil. Or at least not all the way evil.

"You take things, you break things, and you don't care who you hurt." Y'know, on second thought I'm wondering if this angel was a Cas fan as well. Or it could just be a reference to the amount of times Dean (and Sam) have caused the "end of the world."

"Castiel is dead. All the way dead. Because of you." And there we go, proof that this angel is a Cas fan as well.

The last scene is the one that hit me the most.

"You want to say anything?"

"What do you say?"

"Thank you. You say thank you. And you say I'm sorry. You hope they're somewhere without sadness, without pain. Somewhere better. You say goodbye."

This hit me SO hard. I literally burst into tears. I’ve been struggling so hard with how to deal with my father’s death – and Sam’s simplification helped SO MUCH.

So … I’m sorry, dad. I hope you’re in a better place. And thank you for giving me life. Goodbye.