The Official Supernatural: “Stranger in a Strange Land” (14.01-Season Premiere) Live Recap Thread


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Whoo, we’re in season 14. A whole new season for the writers to screw up. So much fun.

Anyhoo, there’s a longish recap of the previous season to AC/DC’s “Shot Down in Flames.” This segues to Sam driving down the road in the Impala, listening to the song on the radio. He turns it off. It’s dark and he has a hiatus beard, but he’s not wearing sunglasses.

Cut to a guy waking up in the Middle East to the early call of the muezzin to dawn prayer (this is the scene from SDCC). It turns out to be the alarm on his cell phone. He gets up in his tiny efficiency apartment, lays out his rug, and starts the prayer (there are subtitles, for verses related to the strict monotheism of Islam). He kneels before an empty chair, but when he rises up, a man is sitting in it. A man dressed like a 1920s gangster and looking like Dean Winchester – alt-Michael. We’ll just go with “Michael” for now, ’cause I’m tired of using the dash all the time.

“Hello, Jamil,” Michael says, apparently in English.

The man – Jamil – is quite shocked and asks who he is. Michael recites a verse from the Quran (in Arabic, of course) about the angels Gabriel and Michael, and his eyes glow blue. Jamil guesses he’s God. “Close, but not quite,” Michael says in clipped tones, sounding vaguely irritated. Jamil then guesses Gabriel. A little more annoyed, Michael says, “The other one. The better one.” Finally, Jamil guesses Michael. “There you go,” Michael says.

Then they have a conversation in which Michael asks Jamil what he wants. Michael says he already knows what he wants, but he’s been going all over the world, asking all sorts of humans, what they want. Now he’s asking Jamil.

Jamil gives the usual response (“peace and love”). Michael smiles at this, but it’s not a nice smile. He points out that if Jamil believed in peace, he wouldn’t have abandoned his friends to death in Syria and if he believed in love, he wouldn’t have cheated on his wife, she wouldn’t have left him, and he wouldn’t be “living in this…rathole.” Furious and humiliated, Jamil attacks him from behind and Michael (eyes glowing again briefly) tosses him across the room without even looking. He calls Jamil “lost.”

Jamil, bloodied, asks, “What do you want?!”

Michael replies, “What I’ve always wanted – a better world.”

Cue pretty new title cards with glowing blue wings.

I have to say that Michael is a lot more interesting so far this season than he was last season and Jensen Ackles seems to be having a blast playing him. Michael’s body language is quite still compared to Dean’s. Alas, I have a feeling we won’t be seeing too much of this, partly to keep from ruining a good, scary villain and equally because the writers just aren’t up to it. But we’ll see.

Back at the Bunker, where Mary is talking with some dude who knows how to make magic bullets of all kinds and Maggie is still acting squeamish about treating bloody wounds (seriously, how did this girl survive the alt-SPNverse?), it seems that the people from the other universe are engaged in Hunting trips against monsters all over the U.S.

Sam comes in and infodumps with Mary about the current situation. It’s three weeks later, and Dean is still in the wind and possessed (obviously). Sam was following an angel sighting in Atlanta (which didn’t pan out). Castiel is in Detroit. Ketch is in London. Sam is getting discouraged (after only three weeks? Suck it up, Sam).

It’s funny that some fans have blamed Dean for saying yes to alt-Michael and making things “worse,” but he really didn’t. Lucifer was going to unmake the SPNverse within a week, starting with Sam and Jack. Three weeks later, Michael is still traveling around, doing research, and hasn’t done much damage so far. Dean sacrificed himself, fell on the possession grenade, to buy everyone else time and so far, it’s worked. The situation won’t last, of course, but he did buy them time.

Sam yawns and Mary is all solicitous (how much has she really been like this with Dean since she came back?). Somebody comes up and says there are some vamps prowling the highway, so Sam orders people out on a Hunt. He then sits down and Mary tells him he needs to sleep, blahblahblah. Sam then asks about Jack, which is an obvious segue.

Jack is getting his ass kicked, is what Jack is doing. It’s a boxing session with Bobby (let’s be frank – he may be from another timeline, but he’s basically Bobby), who is trying to teach Jack how to defend himself. Bobby quotes something about self-defense and Jack thinks it was from Ghandi. Yeah, he has a lot to learn.

Castiel is in a bar waiting for the latest Crowley-lite would-be King of Hell to show up. It’s so obviously a trap that I take some time out to do Other Things around the house and then come back. Yep, it turns out the entire bar is possessed. Not only should Castiel have seen that coming, but he should have literally seen that coming since we’ve known since season four that angels can see demons’ real faces. Ugh. Such lazy writing.

Next, we see Sister Jo leaving a church with money when she hears an angel fly in from behind her and Dean’s voice say, “Hey, Jo.”

Jo immediately thinks it’s Dean (even though she heard the wings) until she turns around and sees someone else inside Dean’s body. She then, horrified, identifies him correctly as an alt-verse Michael with her angel vision. I have to say that this is quite a beautiful and scary image, visually evocative of what kind of coldly inhuman character Michael is without dialogue. You wouldn’t expect mercy from such a creature. Hope they do it some more.

She asks him why Dean Winchester would ever say yes to him. He says, “Love,” which pretty much cinches the writers’ confirmation that Dean made this earth-shaking decision for the “right” reasons, despite the eventual consequences (“love” is always the right motivation on this show). She pretends to be sarcastic about this, but you can see she’s affected.

She then tries to run away and he warns her rather politely not to do that (even if he weren’t so powerful, he has wings and she does not). He then asks her what she wants. She says she wants human riches. He gets annoyed and tells her to stop lying. Apparently miffed because, in her mind, she really wasn’t, she says she’s telling the truth. He says that no, she likes to believe she is a “rebel” and materialistic, but what she really wants is to “belong.” She wants “love.” Michael finds this “very, very human and so disappointing.”

He says that he is well aware the angels are in dire condition in the SPNverse and thought he might “help,” but if they’re all like Jo, he doesn’t see the point. They’re not “worthy.”

I have to say that even allowing for the knowledge that these two are married with children, so it’s not all that surprising, the sexual chemistry between the actors in this scene is really distracting, since it’s fairly obvious the writers don’t intend for Jo to be (or fake being) sexual attracted to Michael the way she did for Lucifer.

Back at the Bunker, Sam is giving discouraged Jack a pep talk in his room. He reassures Jack that he will be able to move on without his powers and it will be okay. This is interrupted by Mary coming in and saying “He’s awake.” Jack still looks discouraged after Sam leaves.

Sam and Mary go to another room, but Mary won’t go in, saying she can’t look at whoever is in there. The person is sitting on a bed on top of a devil’s trap. It turns out to be Nick, very much alive, but still wounded (from the stabbing from DeanMichael that killed Lucifer inside him). He and Sam speculate that the archangel blade is engineered to kill the possessing archangel but leave the vessel alive. Well, that would be a whole lot different from pretty much any other angel blade. It also doesn’t explain why Gabriel’s vessel appears to be quite dead. This is fairly obvious foreshadowing for a possible way to rescue Dean (assuming they can find another archangel to stab Michael, or for Dean to regain control and stab himself), but I have a sneaking suspicion the Michael storyline will eventually end up with some Michael stuck in Heaven, powering it back up permanently. Then again, even Michael and Jo haven’t discussed that in detail and it doesn’t appear that Sam & Co. know about it.

I’ve seen unhappiness on Twitter about this storyline, but as I’ve said in the past, I’ve always thought it would be interesting to see Nick again (Crowley’s dialogue about boosting up Lucifer’s vessel is just vague enough that he could have resurrected Nick and just kept him comatose). The character has two pretty major reasons for PTSD (his wife and baby’s deaths, and what Lucifer did using his body) and isn’t played out the way Lucifer was. He was barely introduced before he said yes. There’s stuff to mine there. And I like Mark Pellegrino as much as the next fan. He’s a good actor who’s quite capable of mining it.

My main concern is that the writers are using this as a way of reintroducing Lucifer after a pause. If there’s one character I never, ever, ever want to see again at this point, it’s Lucifer.

Sam interviews Nick about what he remembers from Lucifer. Nick says that he remembers nothing useful about Dean’s whereabouts and all he knows about Michael’s plan is that he told Lucifer he wanted to do things right this time. Oh, yay. That doesn’t sound ominous, or anything.

Sam then gets a call from the demon who has kidnapped Castiel. The demon tells Sam that they need to talk or Castiel will die. So, Sam has to go take care of that.

It’s interesting that a lot of the chatter I’ve seen on social media talks about what a great leader Sam is now and how well he handles things in this episode in Dean’s absence. But I’m more struck by the differences and how much Sam is bogged down by housekeeping duties when he should be triaging the situation better.

Dean is by no means perfect (hell, that’s why he’s so fun to watch and relateable), but he is, as his own brother has stated many times (and been backed up by others) a genius of a true leader. In Sam’s place, Dean would be putting out some fires, too, it’s true, and he’d definitely be leading from the front. But he would also have a laser focus on the main goal – stopping Michael. He wouldn’t lose that focus, either.

Sam wants to find his brother, and I think he’s quite dedicated to that goal, but in the process of dealing with all the different pieces on the chessboard, he seems to have lost focus on the fact that there is a worldkilling archangel out there that needs to be dealt with three weeks ago. Instead of having every single person in the Bunker deal with the Michael problem, Sam is actually draining his resources by having people go out on minor hunts (and how alt-SPNverse humans would know how to navigate in the SPNverse is a big old plothole, anyway).

It’s almost as if a part of him is relying on Dean to somehow keep a rein on Michael from inside until Sam and his team find him (and there are some hints that may even be possible), but it’s shortsighted to do that. If Dean can’t stall or hold back Michael, then everyone else is completely on Michael’s disturbingly inhuman timetable and that’s not good.

If Dean is Julius Caesar, then Sam is Mark Antony.

Sam recruits a team consisting of himself, Mary, Bobby and Maggie (no, I have no idea why, either). Call them Team Free Will: The Expansion Pack. Jack wants to come, too, and Sam agrees over Bobby’s objections. Oh, come on, Bobby, you guys are already taking Maggie. How much worse could Jack be than her?

At the bar, the demon explains in excruciating detail to Castiel that he is bait so the demon can get something from Sam. Castiel does try to warn him that Sam won’t do a deal with him, but the demon has apparently not heard about all the CRD’s Sam has killed (this is a BED). In the previous scene, the demon had made a crack about Destiel being a thing and Castiel hadn’t exactly disagreed.

Castiel wonders what the demon really wants and, lo and behold (without mentioning the archangel’s name, unfortunately for Castiel), the demon has been visited by Michael and asked what he wanted. The demon now says he wants “everything.”

This brings up two interesting points – Michael apparently isn’t killing the people he visits, and he’s asking questions of more than humans and angels. The first is really important because while we know Michael doesn’t kill without reason, we’ve also seen that he has found a whole lot of reasons to kill. And it would be sensible to kill those he asks so they can’t rat on him to Sam or anyone else. It would also have been sensible (in the way Michael thinks) to kill both Sam and Jack in the church after stabbing Lucifer. But he didn’t do that, either. So, it makes one wonder how much real control he has over his vessel who, strictly speaking, only ever gave conditional consent. And is his control growing or receding?

The second point isn’t fully developed, yet. Let’s see where that goes.

Driving through the night, Bobby reassures Jack that the alt-SPNverse humans are still grateful for everyone he saved back in their ‘verse and that they still believe in him. Jack seems to perk up a little about this.

Sam is less sanguine about Mary’s pep talk in the Impala. He worries what Michael is doing to Dean, or if Michael has perhaps even burned Dean out and moved on to another vessel (he’s the Michael Sword, dummy; there aren’t any other vessels). Mary brings him up short, saying that Dean is out there “alone and scared.” She starts to choke up a bit as she says that she has to hope things will turn out okay and they’ll find Dean because she can’t afford to “drown in the bad.” This is actually a good scene between the two of them, and well-acted, showing their guilt and grief and concern without quite spelling it out ad nauseam. This mission is as much about redemption for them both as rescue.

They arrive that morning where Castiel is being held. Sam gives Mary the Spork before going into the bar, reasoning that they will search him. Indeed they do and Crowley-lite smarms all over him, trying to butter him up. Sam blows him off to check on Castiel, who says he’s okay.

Crowley-lite introduces himself as Kipling (“Kip for short”), as we get a bit of eye-rolling virtue signalling from Dabb. As Sam demands to know what he wants, Kip says he warned Sam to come alone. Other demons bring in Jack and Maggie, then beat them up a bit. Sam does his damnedest not to let on that the two genuinely competent Hunters remain in ambush.

So, Kip monologues a bit. We find out he’s been 600 years topside and has been a very naughty boy. He was an even naughtier boy in life during the 12th century, riding with Genghis Khan. He preens and brags and gets annoyed (though he never seems terribly dangerous) when Sam balks at doing a deal with him. Kip wants the “deal” Crowley had with the Winchesters (pretty hard to do that with Dean not there, Kip, just sayin’) and Sam says there was no deal. Kip says that Hell is in a bind, since it’s without a King for the first time in a very long time and he wants to be King. Sam says no. Then all (slowmo) Hell breaks loose.

Mary and Bobby burst in through the door. Bobby is shooting a machine gun. Mary has a pistol. She tosses the Spork to Sam, though she also has an angel blade, with which she dispatches a demon. Bobby gets some of the demons with his gun, but then gets it knocked out of his hands. Sam goes after Kip, but gets TKed into a wall. All this with that annoying “let’s slowmo this Kodak kill moment” stuff that’s so popular lately. Jack tells Maggie to stay under the table they just dived beneath and goes to help. This does not go well. He quickly gets punched out, though he does distract the demons kicking Bobby.

Mary gives Maggie an angel blade, then gets tackled by a demon in a female host. The demon starts choking her, but then gets stabbed by Maggie. As Mary and Maggie wrestle with some of the remaining demons, Sam gets the crap beaten out of him, but finally manages to stab Kip when Kip is distracted by admiring the Spork he’s holding.

It occurs to me that Dean probably could have cleaned up most of the bar all by himself, starting with Kip. This is a very choppy fight and Castiel keeps disappearing as he watches helplessly. Remember how well Cain was integrated into the fight Dean had with three demons? Yeah, not like that.

Anyhoo, once Sam stabs Kip, he yells at the other demons and they stop in shock. He tells them there won’t be any new King of Hell, ever, and come-at-me-bro-demon if any of them want to argue. Instead, they all smoke out.

Oh, and none of them ever finds out that Kip talked to Michael.

Back at the Bunker, a battered Castiel apologizes to a battered Sam. Sam says it’s no big deal. He would have tried the same thing, too, if he’d thought of it first. They infodump about Ketch in London (no mention of the LOL), looking for the egg that tossed Lucifer out of the POTUS, but not finding it.

Castiel then goes to give Jack a pep talk while Jack mopes about how he’s “useless.” Castiel thinks Jack’s grace should regenerate eventually (though can’t he still fly? Hello?), but Jack doesn’t know what to be without his powers.

Meanwhile, Mary and Bobby are enjoying a beer. Called that one last season.

Sam, back in his (Dean’s?) room, gets a call from a mysterious number. It’s Sister Jo, saying they need to talk. Guess she’s finally choosing sides.

Meanwhile, Michael has found someone “worth saving.” It’s a vampire. Remember that second point I talked about? Michael’s going with the monsters.

Credits.

This wasn’t as bad as it sounded on Twitter. Sam actually made plenty of mistakes and he’s no Dean Winchester. And TFW:TEP is no TFW, either 1.0 or 2.0. That was more interesting to watch than the SuperSammy who has everything go his way crap that they’ve done in the past. Also, yay for Mary finally getting organic stuff to do besides run away from her sons.

And I like watching Michael, even if some of his characterization and motivation doesn’t work too well in light of last season (why would he focus on vampires now when he ignored them pretty literally to death in the alt-SPNverse?). He’s interesting to watch and quite scary (Ackles really knocks it out of the park). Also, powerful and deliberate enough not to rush his EVOL World Rebuilding Plan. After all, it took 13 billion years to work through the previous one. Too bad the show apparently cut down the little screentime he already had (his first scene was reportedly longer at SDCC, if the audio out there is any indication).

Dean’s absence is keenly felt in this one, though, especially in the fight scene. And I don’t particularly like the idea of using Michael vampires because the show has overdone that MOTW. I guess we’ll see.

Anyhoo, we’ll see what happens next week. Ratings were not wonderful (a 0.5/2 and 1.49 million, which tied it for second for the week with Riverdale and only 10 thousand behind in audience), but still good for the way the CW is shaping up so far this season. There’s a promo for 14.02 out here.


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Halloween in North Carolina, Day #13: Witchcraft in North Carolina (1919)


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Cross, Tom Peete. “Witchcraft in North Carolina.” Studies in Philology, 16:3 (Jul. 1919): 217-287. Reprinted Forgotten Books, 2018.


This is the second-oldest of the books that I’m reviewing this month and it, too, is technically an article. But it is a very important article that is nearly as long as a book in pages, and easily packs enough for any three regular ghost story collections. It is dense. It is arcane. It is well-researched. Though obviously dated (having come out in 1919), it has footnote sections that are two-thirds the length of the page. But in those footnotes, you will find some stories that may well make you want to read with all the lights on.

“Witchcraft in North Carolina” is a very comprehensive study of its subject. Also, unlike many academic articles, it firmly places its regional topic within the larger subject of witchcraft with a brief history and overview of that subject up to that point in time (99 years ago). This is quite useful, for Virginian folklorist and Celtic scholar Tom Peete Cross (1879-1951) holds to the theory that all witchcraft is based on the concept of maleficium – that some people have the power to do magic that can both help and harm others. The ones who do harm are called “witches,” though the line can be very blurred between helpers and harmers.

Stuart McDonald, Canadian author of The Witches of Fife: Witch-Hunting in a Scottish Shire, 1560-1710 (2002), would argue there is also an element in which political and religious elites use witchcraft charges to root out and eliminate “heretical” dissent. Hence why I reviewed this article today. Today is the 711th anniversary of the arrest (for heresy) of the Knights Templar in France. Their subsequent multi-year trial became an exemplar for later trials during the witchcrazes, even though the Templars had been tried as heretics (and the results were ultimately and officially inconclusive). The witch accusation evolved out of the heresy accusation.

There was certainly this “heresy” element in the Salem Trials (and previous Puritan witch trials) of 1692. However, North Carolina was a very different area. North Carolinians were notoriously irreligious early on and had a different mix of Europeans, Africans and Native Americans than New England. From what I’ve seen in my research, the more humble maleficium was pretty much what you got in NC.

That doesn’t mean that witches were treated better than in Puritan New England, but “conjurers,” were perhaps tolerated more. One really intriguing element is how Cross notes that the distinction between “witch” and “ghost” is fairly meaningless in North Carolina. In NC folklore, witches are not human, but are spirits or demons, already.

So, a story like “The Witch Cat” can have versions where a house is haunted variously by witches (in the form of a black cat) or ghosts, and the ghosts are usually a headless man. The Headless Man in Celtic folklore is actually a fairy (themselves often conflated with the unbaptized dead) called a Dullahan, a very dark member of the Unseelie Court whose appearance invariably signals death – except when the story is mixed up with a dead man’s ghost who is seeking to give away his hidden treasure to a worthy person. Yeah, folklore mutates like that.

Witches in NC folklore are also adept shapeshifters, usually appearing as a black cat or a sow or a black dog. Black dogs (also known as “black shucks“) have their whole own sinister folklore from the British Isles that connects them to fairies, as well, but they can be found all over the world. The measures traditionally used against a witch indicate a cringe-worthy and grim history of extreme animal abuse, especially against black cats. But curiously, there are also traditions where cats shouldn’t be harmed, especially if they are black.

Overall, while this is definitely an academic article and it’s definitely aged, “Witchcraft in North Carolina” is worth a read if you are looking for material for your own stories or want to find out more about NC folklore and its origins. I’ve included a link to it, but there are other, free versions available around the internet, since it’s now well out of copyright.


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The Official Supernatural: “Exodus” (13.22) Live Recap Thread


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Contribute monthly via Patreon (which includes perks), make a one-time donation through Paypal, or buy us a coffee. I’m posting reviews here of North Carolina ghost story books, and notes about my research all month long on Patreon.

My collected recaps and reviews of season one, which first appeared on Innsmouth Free Press, are now up (with a few extras) on Kindle. The Kindle version is available through Amazon and is on sale through this Friday. The print version is also up. If you buy the print version, you get a Kindle copy thrown in for free. I also get paid if you get it on Kindle Unlimited (for free), read the Kindle version, or lend it to a friend via the Kindle Owners Lending Library. Reviews also help with sales. Just FYI.

Okay [cracks knuckles]. Let’s blow through this one and get to the season premiere.

So, we start with an overly long and detailed recap (two minutes) of the season so far. And we come back to Now, which is Sam getting hugged by Mary, while Dean asks him how he got away. Sam admits that Lucifer brought him back.

Lucifer, of course, immediately starts humble-bragging about what a great guy he is and immediately sidles up to a confused Jack. This sparks an instant custody battle between Dean and Castiel on one side and Lucifer on the other (Sam is conspicuously silent). Jack loses it and flies off, leaving them all behind.

Cue title cards.

Gabriel goes after Jack, while Dean yells at Lucifer. Lucifer claims he’s an ally now and he’s even beaten Michael once (as if!). No one believes him. To “prove” his point, Lucifer lets Castiel slap some demonic cuffs on him. Lucifer also tells them that he left Rowena enough grace for about 31 hours left of rift-time. So, Sam sets a clock. Yay. Flash to Rowena at the Bunker, getting a migraine trying to keep the thing open.

Sam apologizes to Dean for bringing Lucifer along. Dean tells him it’s fine, since Dean thought he was dead and now he’s alive again. Dean hugs him. Then they discuss Lucifer and Sam insists he will take care of Lucifer. Dean looks skeptical. Well, we all know how that turned out.

Jack, exhausted from flying around, leans against a tree trunk and recaps his entire friggin’ biography, hitting mostly on the mistakes. Bored now.

As Castiel is dragging him past her, Lucifer unwisely decides to taunt Mary (because that went so well with Rowena). She punches him in the face. Her sons, coming in from stage left, express appreciation.

That appreciation turns a bit sour when she tells them she’s staying in the alt-SPNverse to save a bunch of people she hardly knows. Both brothers protest (especially Dean), but she seems adamant. Oh, Mary, you can be such a bitch, sometimes.

Sam decides to break the deadlock by suggesting they bring everyone back. I’m not quite sure why Mary was so concerned about supplies before, because it turns out there are only 25 people in the camp. Jeez, a couple of episodes ago, she was acting as though they had hundreds. If you’re wondering why the writing got so linear, especially in favor of making Sam look like a Big Damn Hero for not much effort, and why the pacing drags with so much filler, yep, this is a Nepotism Duo script.

Jack comes back, just as Lucifer is trying to manipulate Castiel. Castiel tries to dissuade Jack from having conversation with Lucifer. It doesn’t go particularly well. Jack insists on talking to Lucifer and Lucifer immediately turns on the charm. Jack’s first question is “Why does everyone hate you?”

Lucifer whines and downplays and blames humans, though he falters a bit when Jack brings up his own mother. Lucifer is awfully persuasive and manages to make it seem as though he is the victim. The monologue goes on long enough for me to say “Y’all aren’t Shakespeare, Buckner and Ross-Leming. Wrap it up.”

Sure enough, Jack decides to be persuades by Lucifer’s greasy buttering up. And then they all walk out to the rift because it’s not as though they’ve got two archangels and a naphil who could fly everyone to the rift, one by one, pretty much instantly. Oh, wait.

Gabriel is getting chased by a group of angels (speaking of characters with wings not using them). He warns everyone and the two groups face off. Then Lucifer wastes the angel squad because it turns out the demonic cuffs don’t work on him in the alt-SPNverse. For convenient plot reasons.

Man, I hate recapping Nepotism Duo episodes.

So, after that damp squib of a conflict, everyone arrives at alt-Bobby’s. Alt-Bobby remembers the Brothers, is strangely nice to them, and generally protests far too much that he’s not basically Bobby resurrected. Okeydoke.

We hear that Ketch and alt-Charlie have gone off to hunt down some angel squad that’s executing Resistance members. Any excuse that keeps any version of Charlie off my screen is fine by me.

Lucifer is still shmoozing Jack with his own, weird distorted version of family history and Jack’s illustrious family tree. He tries to get Gabriel to play along, but Gabriel calls him out on it and stalks off.

Unfortunately, we “get” to see Ketch and alt-Charlie’s raid, such as it is (she gets herself easily captured and Ketch, completely out of character, gives up his weapon and surrenders). Morticia Addams channels my feelings, both about Charlie and The Cat in the Hat: “Oh, no. She lives.”

Sam, Dean and Mary are engaged in a recruitment speech for bringing people back so they can get some lore and return to beat alt-Michael when alt-Bobby magically gets news that alt-Charlie and Ketch were captured. How this news got back, let alone so quickly, and why the two of them were out there on a raid alone in the first place are not questions that are about to be answered. So, we’ll move on. The important thing here is that while Ketch is getting the crap beaten out of him and alt-Charlie is looking upset while tied to a chair, the Brothers decide to go rescue them. Because clearly, they don’t already have enough on their plate and alt-Bobby’s crew are clueless. Gee, if only they had some people on their side with wings – oh, wait.

Now, keep in mind that this is the second-to-last episode of the season, and the show really doesn’t have room for extra storylines. So, of course, now is the perfect time to bring all the plot momentum to a screeching halt so that we can have Ketch and alt-Charlie meet…wait for it, now…the alt-SPNverse version of Castiel. You heard me. And how do you know he’s EVOL!Cas? Because Misha Collins uses a really bad German accent and sneers a lot.

That’s good, because back at base camp, Dean is having Our!Cas torture the guy who set up Ketch and alt-Charlie into giving up their location. We surely don’t want to be confused, or anything.

Gabriel and Lucifer are told (by Dean) to stay back at the camp in case any angels come by. Because I’m sure they wouldn’t be useful on this raid, or anything, what with having wings. Gabriel tells Lucifer some cold, hard truths about Jack, that “he’s a kid; he likes shiny objects and magic tricks,” but that he is also fundamentally different from Lucifer. Whether it’s his human blood or his human upbringing, Jack is probably already mostly beyond Lucifer’s corruptive influence.

Lucifer insists he’s changed. Gabriel mocks this, pointing out he’s known Lucifer since the world began. Lucifer doesn’t love or feel empathy for anyone. And Chuck didn’t lock him up because Chuck was mean, but because Chuck realized he was a cancer of evil that would spread. Gabriel says that Lucifer was jealous of humans because Chuck loved them more than he loved Lucifer. He says it’s too late for Lucifer to change and he walks away.

Back to the interrogation, in which EVOL!Cas goes on and on and on a lot more about what a stone-cold badass alt-Charlie is, while Felicia Day gives off waves of scared fluffy-bunny vibes. He then basically does the same thing Our!Cas did to the guy back at base camp until the lights go out, and alt-Charlie screams a whole lot.

Damn, if I weren’t recapping this, I’d totally be FFing this whole scene. Well, soldiering through….

So, as EVOL!Cas runs outside to something-something, Jack takes out the guards, while Mary and her sons burst in and kill all the angels guarding the prisoners. Because angels totally can’t fly, anymore – oh, wait. Dean helps Ketch, while Sam helps alt-Charlie. Sam hugs a startled alt-Charlie (who seems none the worse for wear from her torture) and Ketch snarks about Dean saving him instead of the other way round.

Outside, Our!Cas catches up with EVOL!Cas and, after some banter about how they’re the same, dispatches him with an angel blade. Which makes sense in an interdimensional Circle of Life sort of way. I guess.

Back at the camp, Bobby tells the Brothers that everyone voted to go with them (well, wouldn’t you?). Now, the problem is how to get them there. Gee, if only they had some people in their ranks who could fly – YES, I KNOW IT’S A PLOTHOLE, BUT AT LEAST ADDRESS IT, SHOW.

Dean spots a bus at the edge of camp. Even though they have just a few hours left, Dean has it running by daylight. Because of course he does. And they only have half an hour and a half left (based on Lucifer’s seriously inexact estimate), but they can totally drive there in time. What tunnel full of vampires? That was so last episode.

So, Jack decides to waste even more time saying he’s going to go kill alt-Michael and check that off his To Do list, first. Sam and Lucifer talk him out of it. Kid, when the Devil is giving you good advice, you’ve really been heading in the wrong direction.

We then get an extended montage of the caravan driving through the woods because I guess the Nepotism Duo couldn’t stretch the melodrama quite enough to fill the run time (they even waste time on an obnoxious “bitches” line from alt-Charlie before she goes through the rift. So much hate). In the Bunker, an exhausted Rowena is saying a spell that extends the time for the rift to last. People start heading through, though not the people she expects, at first.

Back in the alt-SPNverse, alt-Michael arrives unexpectedly (okay, maybe only because nobody mentioned he might be coming). His landing kills most of the remaining redshirts, including at least one who had lines earlier. Maggie has gone through and a lot of other people. Gabriel decides to stay behind because he’s tired of running and Sam has been pushing Lucifer back. Lucifer fights alt-Michael first and gets his ass kicked. Gabriel tries and gets stabbed to death (though whether this is any more real than last time? Who knows?). Dean is horrified when he sees Gabriel get stabbed, but Sam urges him to go through the rift.

Sam has hung back for a reason. As Lucifer tries to follow him, he shoves him back to the ground, saying “How’d you think this was gonna end?” And then he goes through the rift. Alt-Michael tries to rush after them, but (presumably, after Sam yelled at Rowena to close it on the other side), the rift evaporates. Lucifer is trapped on the other side with alt-Michael.

Welp, that was mighty cold of Sam and I don’t blame him a bit.

At the Bunker, it’s Miller Time, though Jack is sad about . Sam tells Rowena he owes her (and she insists she will “collect”). She regrets not being able to leave the rift open any longer, so I guess Sam didn’t warn her to close it.

Dean mopes to Sam and Castiel about Gabriel’s death. When Castiel asks Dean about Lucifer, Dean calmly replies, “Sam handled it.” Oooh. Ice cold. Not only did Sam intentionally ditch Lucifer on the other side, but he and Dean had planned it beforehand.

Alt-Bobby gives a speech (because we’re still short a few minutes of air time) about their fallen redshirt comrades (who apparently don’t merit names), and how they’re gonna get strong and go back to the alt-SPNverse and kick it in the ass. Then he proposes a toast to the Brothers Winchester.

Too bad that deadline’s about to be rushed. On the other side of the rift, Gabriel is still dead, but Lucifer is alive and telling alt-Michael all about the spell to go through the rift (isn’t it the same one alt-Michael got from Kevin? Pretty sure it is). They make a deal. Lucifer will get his son and alt-Michael will get “everything else.”

Credits

Of course, I’ve already recapped the season finale here.

Alas, this one took me a while (as I said, Nepotism Duo episodes are a bit of a slog), so I’ll have to tackle the season premiere tomorrow evening. I do have it, though, so that shouldn’t be a problem.


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