Supernatural Episode Reviews

“Exodus” -- 13 x 22

Reviewed by: Abby or @ImpalaLostiel on Twitter

Congratulations, guys! We have officially slipped back into Buck-Leming normalcy! Last episode, written by the same Robert Berens that gave us so much #wayward content, was a surprising pick up from the plotless, slow momentum. One of my favorites of the season. This episode, no matter how much I loved individual parts, didn’t hold the same energy. We went from an episode so good I had to re-watch it immediately to this; mostly sub-par. With two episodes left, including this one, I had hoped for consistency.

It starts where we left off last episode.

Sam feels guilty for leading Lucifer to the camp. Of course he does, that’s a Winchester standard on how they process things. Honestly, if he didn’t feel guilty I would be concerned. And anyway, Sam is one hundred percent blameless in this situation. He was dead and Lucifer brought him back, there was no upper hand here. Dean understandably expresses the same logic, after asking if Sam was okay. Que brother hug.

“Your name is Jack.” The first words Lucifer has said to his son.

“And yours is Lucifer.” Good dialogue.

And then, Jack disappears after Dean erupts in a shouting fit. He commands Gabriel to kill Lucifer. It gets loud, with a lot of conflict, and Jack visibly becomes upset.

“You’ve got the blade, he’s the devil. Kill him.”

Jack shouts back. “Stop it!” And then vanishes.

Castiel hand cuffs Lucifer with enochian carved handcuffs, which he causally takes out of Dean’s bag. Such a subtle move, but it really demonstrates the trust and familiarity between them. Castiel is family, and Dean, who is normal peculiar about personal space and people touching him without permission, allows Castiel to do so.

When Jack reappears, Lucifer, Castiel, and him have a moment away from the others. It gets to the point where all Jack wants to do is “listen” to his biological father, which Castiel reluctantly agrees to. Lucifer seems giddy at the prospect, starting his web of lies and trying to gain Jack’s trust.

Mary punches Lucifer. Hell yeah!

We find out that Mary doesn’t want to leave the Apocalypse world— effectively crushing Dean’s heart once more. Dean has abandonment issues as it is. The way I feel about Mary largely shifts depending on the circumstances. I like her, but only when she’s not flighty and trying to leave her sons. It leaves both of them, especially Dean since Sam is more understanding, emotionally eviscerated. In this moment, it’s like the entire season has been for nothing. Finding and saving mom, the entire plot is completely scrapped because she doesn’t want to be saved. She wants to stay in the alternate universe.

To me, her reasoning it actually sound, however. Essentially, Mary has spent over a year in this world. She has grown close with its people. (More than he sons, apparently. But let’s not go there.) She doesn’t want to give up on the fight against Michael, and Jack is also of the same opinion. Sam offers a solution to ease both his mom and Dean’s worries. They can bring the entire camp with them back through the rift.

At this point Castiel has abandoned Lucifer and Jack to come tattle on them to Sam, Dean, and Mary. We get a Trump reference from Lucifer, telling Jack that everything bad he’s known for is “fake news”. Iconic, especially with Pellegrino saying the line! We then get Jack calling Lucifer his dad, which is an uncomfortable shift with Castiel standing only a few feet away.

Jack and Lucifer go to talk, rehashing Lucifer’s story and explaining the family tree. (Lucifer is evil. Stop trying to redeem him.) While Dean, Sam, and Mary go to convince Bobby and the other exiles to escape with them through the rift. At this point we’ve been told there’s only thirty-one hours remaining before it closes. I was screaming at my TV pretty hard here, trying to understand why they were all just standing around when there was a literal time limit. I, for sure, thought someone was going to be left behind.

During this meeting, Bobby tells them that Charlie and Ketch, who had been off saving a rebel from Michael’s forces, were captured. They go on a rescue mission but not before some interrogation by Dean and Castiel. The subtle nod Dean gives Castiel to torture the guy, what beautiful silent communication! I mean, its torture, and we get alternate universe Castiel, who is apparently evil, in the next scene doing the same thing, but the context is different. Back when Castiel violated Donatello, I was completely down for it. This is essentially the same deal. Also, Dean has apparently changed his stance on the mater completely. He was disappointed in Castiel for the torture the first time, but in this scene he instigated it. Interesting.

Speaking of alternate universe Castiel, holy moly is Misha an exquisite actor!

Alternate universe Castiel is everything we could have wanted him to be. Black trench coat, check! Weird India-Russian accent, check! (Honestly the accent was laughable for the first few seconds, but I eventually succumbed to Misha’s vision. But why did he have an accent in the first place? Because Sam and Dean weren’t born, Jimmy was born in Russia?) What really impressed me was the chemistry between them, and Misha was playing them both! Amazing!

All I wish was that Dean or Sam could have had any contact with him, maybe a chance for redemption? Dean, the righteous man, was the reason Castiel rebelled the first time. All we need is emotions, or “doorways to doubt” for Castiel to fall.

We get some “Cas on Cas action”, although it only lasts one scene and is less explored than demon Dean. I mean, seriously? I would’ve gave anything to have alternate universe Castiel stick around. Such a wasted opportunity. We do get Castiel revealing his thoughts on angels however, and we learn that he greatly prefers angels. There’s a weird conversation that happens between them, alternate Castiel calling them the same and our Castiel agreeing before killing his doppelganger. It felt symbolic.

They save Ketch and Charlie, which leads to an adorable moment between Sam and the red-head. This is the first time Sam has seen her, after her death which was essentially pinned on him, and he pulls her into a hug. He remembers himself and pulls away, only to have her punch him good-naturedly on the shoulder. Very cute moment!

And I also enjoyed the ongoing banter between Ketch and Dean. Ketch will forever be on my bad side for killing Mick, but he sure is entertaining.

We get a scene between Gabriel and Lucifer, which really gives closure to poor Gabriel. He gets to let out all his frustrations. Mostly about humanity and Lucifer corrupting them out of jealousy and spite towards their father. When Gabriel turns his back, Lucifer sheds a tear. I rolled my eyes at that because I really can’t stand this redemption arch they seem to have going.

Sam, Dean, Castiel, Jack, and Mary meet up with Bobby. He compliments them on their “win” after saving Ketch and Charlie. He says, “real proud of you, boys.” Which warmed my heart. He also informs them that after taking a vote, everyone from the camp wants to go through the rift. Sam asks the obvious question, how are they going to transport twenty-five people in only a few hours all the way back to the rift? Dean is as stumped, but then has an idea as he spots a bus in Bobby’s salvage yard.

They get the bus running, with Lucifer behind the wheel. I can hear, “Jesus take the wheel” ironically playing as I watch this scene. Dean says to a perturbed Gabriel that the reason they’ve got him driving is so they know what he’s doing and so Castiel can keep an eye on him.

Jack runs off, saying he has to end Michael. Lucifer is the only one who can talk him down. Which, honestly, didn’t surprise me. The way Sam was explaining things was less explaining more imposing. Lucifer actually listed the reasons why it wouldn’t be a good idea to go looking for the archangel. Although, after seeing the ending, I am conflicted about this selection.

When they finally get to the rift, but its closing. When they had started driving they only had an hour, and now it’s within minutes of seal off. Then, Rowena-ex-machina, she does some spell that keeps it open for a bit longer. Castiel and Ketch lead them through the portal, Mary and Bobby next, then Charlie.

She even says, “See ya’ on the other side, bitches.” Superb.

Sam holds Lucifer back, explaining that they need him and Gabriel to remain in apocalypse world “in case something goes wrong”. Which I don’t really understand considering they need archangel grace to open a portal in the first place. Maybe they’re assuming that Jack will open the rift, but didn’t they need a dream walker last time? Maybe since he’s already been there he’ll know how to get back.

Anyway, when it’s just Sam, Dean, Lucifer, and Gabriel; Michael arrives.

And can I say, pretty great entrance. The wings were awesome.

Lucifer steps up to bat, and after some classic ribbing between him and his brother, he flashes his red eyes and Hadoukens Michael with a ball of grace. It does nothing. But when Michael send back two attacks of his own, Lucifer ends up on the grown with blood coming out of his mouth.

And then it’s Gabriel’s turn. But in all honesty, why?

He tells them that he’s trying to buy them some time. But what's the point of Gabriel sacrificing himself if Sam and Dean are just going to stand there? He tells them to run, but they literally just move closer to the rift and watch. It was mind numbingly stupid and cost Gabriel his life. What about heaven? Is it going to power down how since they won’t have enough angels to power it? Gabriel, who wanted to redeem himself, could have done so in so many other ways. Instead they kill him only two episodes after gaining him in their posse.

Lucifer has managed to get up, and is trying to make his way to the rift. Dean jumps through and Sam stays back. At this point I was positive that Sam was going to be stuck on the wrong side, I mean, what else would trigger Dean to allow Michael to possess him like his brother being trapped in apocalypse world?

But instead, Sam pushes Lucifer to the ground and jumps through.

With a badass one-liner. “How did you think this was going to end?”

It closes at the last minute, leaving Michael and Lucifer in the apocalypse world. Now, I’m both upset and proud of this moment. Surely Sam must know that simply leaving Lucifer with Michael wouldn’t be the best solution?

We see the bunker next, full of people celebrating and Jack sulking in the corner. Dean is explaining Gabriel’s sacrifice to Castiel, who seems pretty torn up about it. Castiel also asks about Lucifer, and Dean explains that he was handled thanks to Sam. Bobby gets up to do a speech.

At the end of his speech, after seeing the bunker full of life and people, Bobby says, “A toast to our new brothers, Sam and Dean Winchester. Thanks boys, welcome to the family.” I was so confused then. Like, Castiel was literally standing right there? He helped too. Sigh.

And the episode ends with Lucifer teaming up with Michael. Great.

Honestly, it wasn’t a terrible episode. But it felt very lacking when in comparison to last week. The feel was different, the dialogue was sluggish but good in some parts, and really it was just a Buck-Leming episode that just stilted the momentum of the end of the season.

Obviously there where some good parts, like alternate universe Castiel or Sam finally standing up to Lucifer. But mostly everything felt bland. Like there was no substance. It did further the storyline, which I can appreciate, but it was so slow that the dragging on felt like torment.

Now that my review is over, and after watching the preview of the finale twelve times, can I say: WTF IS HAPPENING NEXT WEEK THOUGH?

FLYING SQUIRREL ACTIVATE!

I guess we need to prepare for Michael!Dean.

Thanks for reading!

@ImpalaLostiel

“Unfinished Business” -- 13 x 20

“Unfinished Business” Season 13, episode 20

Reviewed by: Abby or @ImpalaLostiel on Twitter

Just a little precursor, I am definitely not here to sugar coat my feelings about the show. This episode was a hit or miss, but mostly a miss, to me and here’s why:

As soon as the episode opens — after an exciting recap montage of Gabriel, Gabriel, and even more Gabriel — we’re accosted by said Archangel playing a kazoo and stabbing a wooden sword into a man stumbling drunkenly through an alleyway.

We’re not even five minutes into the episode and I’m already laughing out loud.

Gabriel conveniently name drops the guy, almost like there is an audience full of people watching, with more enthusiasm than a WWE announcer. Fenrir Odensbane, as the captions spelt, is a Norse demi-god who is murdered “Kill Bill” style while a funky instrumental plays in the background. After a few evenly distributed blows in what is a beautifully choreographed fight, Gabriel is facing away from Fenrir and hara-kiri’s the sword through his own stomach to kill the he-wolf.

That self-inflicted wound does hurt Gabriel, which really displays how depleted the archangel’s grace is. Fenrir even commented on Gabriel’s ability to bleed earlier. He uses some of his own blood to forebodingly mark out Fenrir’s name on a list of other Norse demi-gods, which indicates that this is only the beginning in a long road of hits.

What I find most encapsulating about this entire scene, or even the full instalment, is the brilliance of Richard Speight Jr. who both directed and starred in the episode with not one but two characters. The way the first five minutes caught my attention visually, like an homage to Uma Thurman and everything that made sword fights great in the early 2000s, will forever showcase his awesomeness — and then later in the episode where he confronts Loki.

The title card appears and fades.

We finally see the brothers; Sam unpacking a suitcase full of flannel and Dean chatting on the phone with Castiel. Unfortunately the angel does not make an appearance in this episode, but unlike how they typically explain away his absence, we actually get a solid excuse as to why Castiel isn’t travelling with them. They’ve split up to search for Gabriel. Rowena, who also doesn’t make a cameo, has tracked Gabriel’s essence and narrowed down his location to two possible towns.

Castiel took Amarillo, Texas while Sam and Dean took Central City, Colorado.

This is where we get the first touch of an argument between Sam and Dean. It’s not too high tension, unlike other moments in this episode between the brothers, a simple argument about whether they’re spending their time wisely.

Dean believes they are wasting time waiting around for Gabriel, or as Dean put it “some dumbass Archangel who doesn’t want to be found”, as Mary and Jack are stuck over in apocalypse world — something he no doubt considers his fault after “Bring 'em Back Alive”, a Brad Buckner and Eugenie Ross-Leming episode that I actually liked. They were so close! And we know Dean loves to shoulder blame. It’s evident he’s completely given up on the Archangel.

Sam, on the other hand, wants to settle in and pull the long haul on the search for Gabriel. Which makes sense as they can’t really do anything else. They’re stuck on this side of the rift, so they might as well spend time looking for an Archangel. Hell, last episode they spent a lot of time going after Rowena!

Maybe Dean’s depression, which we’ve seen cultivate pretty obviously over the series, is sneaking back up on him? But then, he didn’t act too troubled and even made sarcastic sassy remarks —which are telltale Dean relaxed characteristics.

The bed starts to shake, a call back to Dean’s love of magic fingers from seasons past, for comedic relief to the spiraling disagreement. And then Gabriel knocks on the door.

 

Sam bandages Gabriel’s stomach wound, which still isn’t healing, and we find out the only reason the Archangel came to them was because he hoped they had another bottle of his grace. Dean breaks the news, they used the rest of it to open the rift from “Bring ‘em Back Alive”, and Gabriel tries to leave. He barely stands before buckling under the pain, falling back onto the couch and deciding that he should take a nap.

This scene was a weird one for me, very much so like the dialogue between Gabriel and Sam in “Bring ‘em Back Alive”, I found the parallels odd and unnecessary. Why is Sam acting so friendly with Gabriel? Is it because he’s using him for his grace? Does he think being overtly nice to Gabriel will help them get to Mary and Jack? Or has their relationship progressed without much built up thanks to shifty writing? At least Dean has the common sense to use handcuffs when leaving Gabriel alone. As much as we love the Archangel, he still is a wild card regarding goodness.

The other two Norse demi-gods, who we saw earlier on Gabriel’s hit list, break into the room dressed to impress. Sure these guys sold Gabriel to Asmodeus, but that suit is the biggest crime! Seriously. I didn’t think I could seen more plaid than in the suitcase Sam was unpacking earlier, but this demi-god has the brothers beat concerning patterns. Who looks like a lumberjack now?

During the fight: Dean uses chair! It’s not effective.

Without a doubt, I really love Dean's fight scenes in this season.

Gabriel comes in with the Hail Mary, saving Sam last minute and killing the bigger demi-god with a wooden katana. The smaller one runs back to his father, Loki, and we finally get back story concerning Gabriel and his revenge murder-spree plan. In a flash back, or maybe from Dean’s imagination as when it cuts back to real time Dean is clearly visualizing the scenario, we get to see how the Archangel went from partying with porn stars to rotting in Asmodeus’ cellar.

It ends with Loki, who we find out is a completely different entity than the Archangel, selling Gabriel to Asmodeus back during the first apocalypse. What a bunch of retcon. I can’t complain too much however as Loki is already far more interesting than Ass-modeus.

Dean tries to negotiate with Gabriel and his need for vengeance, saying almost the same thing he said to Amara in season eleven regarding revenge — but it didn’t sound like a secondhand line or unnecessary to the story. Dean Winchester spent the first twenty something years of his life drowning in his fathers, and eventually his own, revenge. If anyone can comment on the uselessness of retaliation, it’s Dean. But then Dean caves, Sam using his little brother influence to sway Dean’s position. Dean agrees to help Gabriel if the Archangel agrees to help them. They make a deal.

They kill plaid suit demi-god quickly, with Dean sneaking off to go hunt down and kill Loki himself.

Why? This made no sense to me other than a call back to earlier in the episode when Dean thought helping Gabriel with his revenge plan was a waste of time. But still, they made a deal with Gabriel to leave Loki for the Archangel to kill and then Dean goes and ruins the plan? They touch on this later in the episode, with Sam asking why Dean had run off, and we get a whole bull-crap brothers toxic codependency spiel where Dean has seemingly regressed seasons worth of character development to envision Sam as his “pain in the ass little brother” and not as an equal.

Often, as a member of a certain side of the Supernatural family, I forget that many people love the codependency between the brothers. They don’t treat them as individuals that deserve beneficial mental health, but as a single being that doesn’t deserve friends, a dependable home, or life outside of their brother. It’s strange to remember that people claim to love Sam and Dean so much, but they don’t love them being happy. Dean is allowed to have friends outside of his brother and Sam should be allowed to have a constant roof over his head. And they shouldn’t be making suicide pacts!

Anyway, Dean meets with Loki, who is played by the brilliant Richard Speight Jr. also, and they have a very interesting talk. According to Loki, Gabriel is responsible for Odin’s death and Dean tries to sets the record straight by saying that Lucifer killed Odin back in season five. Loki dismisses that and says Odin would’ve been in the hotel in the first place if it weren’t for Gabriel.

Dean tries to stab Loki but it’s then revealed that Dean’s only talking to a hologram. Outside, where Gabriel and Sam are trying to find Dean, the “real” Loki confront Gabriel and they fight. The only reason Gabriel wins is because Dean slides him the wooden sword, and even then: Do we really think Loki is dead? I’ve seen some interesting fan theories about Loki being the other character Jensen is playing in the season finale. I’m sure at this point it’s a given that Michael!Dean is going to happen, but we can all pray this won’t end in brotherly self-sacrificing!

“If I’m being perfectly honest, tricks are for kids.” Spot-on!

And now we’ve added Gabriel to the party.

We finally see Mary and Jack, the first time since episode fourteen, and honestly they were my least favorite part of the episode (my favorite being Gabriel’s one liners). I love Jack with a fierce intensity, he reminds me of early seasons Castiel, which makes sense as they’re father and son, and his youthful innocence makes me grin. Mary is a bit of a mixed bag, sometimes I love her for Sam and Dean’s sake and other times I wish she hadn’t been brought back.

I’ll tell you what really brought this episode down for me, beside the last five minutes where Sam and Dean basically made a suicide pact, was Kevin being killed off and the weird dialogue between Mary and Jack. There’s a scene where Mary says, "I can't lose another boy". And after squeeing ceaselessly about Castiel being considered one of her boys, I came to realize how odd that line was. What the Hell? Since when was there any development in their relationship? Since when did they become close? Why did Mary become closer to Jack in less time than she did with Sam and Dean? Screw off.

It reminds me of my earlier question of Gabriel and Sam’s sudden closeness, why are all these relationships being put on fast-forward? If there was more screen time, or more context clues, then maybe I could accept some of these rapidly growing bonds. But this “everyone is family” crap doesn’t work with certain characters. Gabriel had a redemption arch, but that was practically flushed down the toilet when the retconned him give up himself for the brothers. Now, his sacrifice was meaningless to the story and where was the character development that established Gabriel as one of the gang?

For Jack it makes sense that they adopted him into their family, he was born as Castiel’s son. Not sure about Mary accepting him as readily as she just spent a whole season teaming up with the British Men of Letters to kill anything remotely supernatural. It feels like a forced connection. Or crappy fanfiction.

Also, why did they kill Kevin? What was the point in bringing him back if they were just going to kill him mere episodes later?

Is this foreshadowing to Charlie’s fate?

As a quick little recap to my thoughts:

Five out of ten. I didn't really like this episode. Most of it was boring and then the dialogue between Mary and Jack was off, like I said before. The codependency bro-moment at the end was really uncomfortable for me to watch. And then Castiel wasn't in it, which always manages to bump down my rating.

So as much as I loved Richard Speight Jr. acting and directing, nothing could really tip this over the weak episode bracket. Best parts were Gabriel’s jokes — but what else did we expect? I liked that Kevin was brought back — I didn't like that they killed him. Screw the writers for that.

And even though I already mentioned it multiple times, the codependency really turned me off. Who in their right mind thinks "dying together" is healthy? The only people who support that kind of content want Sam and Dean remain miserable and never understand that there is more to life than living for someone else. This is ignoring a whole season worth of development. But who cares about canon, let's regress!

But then, this was all my opinion. I’ve seen other people, friends even, give this episode a very high rating. So please take my review with a grain of salt and watch the episode yourself.

Thanks for reading!

@ImpalaLostiel

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