Category Archives: Supernatural

Review: Supernatural: “Let the Good Times Roll” (13.23 – Season Finale)


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My collected recaps and reviews of season one, which first appeared on Innsmouth Free Press, are now up (with a few extras) on Kindle and are currently on sale through this Friday (May 18). The Kindle version is available through Amazon. 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. Just FYI.


[lots o’ spoilers ahead]


You can find the recap thread for the episode here.

So, it finally happened. Dean Winchester said yes to the Archangel Michael. Well, more accurately, he said yes to an alternate version of Michael from another timeline. Sort of. With conditions. Which alt-Michael totally ignored after agreeing to them. But more on that in a bit. As well as some (hopeful?) predictions for season 14.

There was a lot of crashing-and-burning in this episode, by several characters. The biggest, of course, was Lucifer, whose crash-and-burn couldn’t have been more literal after Dean stabbed him with an archangel blade in the middle of being mega-smote (we always knew Dean was tough, but jeez). Lucifer had been on an extended storyline the past two seasons (post his sorta-reconciliation with Big Daddy) of having his power reduced, being unable to kill either Sam or Dean, being downgraded almost to human, and fathering a Naphil child. The implication from various bits of dialogue between him and the Brothers was that Chuck wanted Lucifer to learn something about the humans he had always so despised.

Well, Lucifer didn’t learn a thing. Or if he did, he threw it all away at the end and chose power. Personally, I was okay with this because I didn’t care much for Lucifer’s redemption tour in the first place. The way he tried to discredit and gaslight Sam, a human being he had cold-bloodedly twisted and tried to destroy for his own purposes since before birth, was just nasty.

Sure, ideally, a character should be dynamic and change and grow, but some characters are defined by their inability to grow, their flat and static nature. If Lucifer, a 14-billion-year-old archangel, hadn’t learned to be selfless and loving by now, it realistically wasn’t going to happen in a few months or a few years, or even a few centuries. As an extremely powerful and protean creature who was older than this universe, Lucifer arguably could change if he wanted to, but he never wanted to. Whenever he claimed to be turning over a new leaf, he was so clearly lying that he could only have fooled someone as young and naïve as his own son, Jack.

It was time for him to go. Permanently.

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Jack, too, had a crash-and-burn, and he, too, fell due to hubris. But unlike his father, who was hubris embodied, Jack had good intentions and found his power a great burden. The road to Hell, as they say, is paved with good intentions. The more he tried to help people, the more he made mistakes that seemed to make things worse, at least to him.

In reality, it was more that the results were mixed. Jack was discovering that it’s much easier to break than to build and that raw power can only do so much, especially if one lacks wisdom. We saw Jack become more and more frustrated in the episode, culminating in his realization that everyone else was right about his bio daddy. Jack then made a critical error and lost all his raw Naphil power to Lucifer in one terrible, game-changing slash of an archangel blade.

But in the tossing back and forth of Jack’s power like a soccer ball, we got to see Lucifer and Jack’s responses to it, and they contrasted sharply. Whereas Lucifer became drunk with power, rose to a great height, and then crashed to his doom, Jack seemed relieved to be shorn of his power.

Jack then made the decision Lucifer should have made, which was to sacrifice himself out of love in hopes of saving Sam and the rest of the world. That he was saved at the last minute (since the writers clearly want to keep him as a regular now) doesn’t change the magnitude of his choice and sacrifice.

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I’m sure that the writers will waffle and drag out the question of whether or not Jack ever gets his power back, but the usual pattern for any recurring-character-not-named-Dean-Winchester (or Sam pre-season six) is that they are never as naturally powerful again as they were early on. They might get some temporary upgrades by stealing someone else’s power, but their own, personal power does not come back. And Dean’s gradual upgrades have been balanced with an expansion of the heavy burden of his Family Business.

I was relieved to see the writers didn’t go the cheap, Kripke-approved route of upgrading Sam for the umpteenth time. Jared Padalecki got some nice opportunities to act this season as Sam slowly (and finally) opened up about how much the mere existence of Lucifer topside again terrified him. Never mind that Sam and his own chronic battles with hubris were the reason for both of Lucifer’s escapes from the Cage. Sam still gets to be afraid of Lucifer and Padalecki ran with it.

Fortunately, the writers forced Sam to be fully human in his final confrontation with Lucifer. That somehow made Sam’s vindication when Lucifer turned out be – yup – evil, after all, that much sweeter.

Sam willingly chose to go with Jack (however impulsive the gesture) when Lucifer kidnapped his kid. Sam then faced off against his former torturer and lifelong nemesis without even the certainty that the immunity Chuck had given him and Dean against Lucifer was still in effect. That, my droogs, takes guts. Sam pretty literally had to face his (almost) worst fear, knowing full well that he didn’t have any power to oppose Lucifer, to save either himself or Jack.

Sam didn’t even think about finding a way to regain his old powers, perhaps knowing they were too corrupting to oppose Lucifer effectively. For once, Sam made it all about the person he was trying to save and not about himself, which actually made Dean’s penultimate insistence on Lucifer’s defeat being a group effort sound fair this time round. That was a huge step forward for Sam. After over a decade of self-absorption and self-pity, Sam became a truly self-sacrificial Hero.

Weirdly enough, not too many fans noticed.

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Dean also fell (both literally and figuratively) into darkness, but Dean’s fall was qualitatively different from that of Lucifer and Jack, which made it even more tragic, if not in the Classical Greek sense that was for Lucifer and Jack. Lucifer and Jack sinned through hubris, with different results. Lucifer flew to a great height and then crashed to earth. Jack was fooled, lost his temper, and lost his powers. Once humbled, he then chose to die for family – his adopted family, not his creepy bio-dad.

Dean’s fall was the saddest because it occurred without hubris. Dean, motivated by desperation and his chronic low self-esteem, finally embraced his destiny and his doom. Some fans fault Dean for this choice, as Dean’s choices always get picked apart and slammed by various quarters of fandom. This is likely fostered by the illusion that Dean had some better choice. Dean is a character who may rail against fate, but in the end, he always plays the hand he’s dealt, the best way he can. But the writers invariably give him the worst possible cards, which invariably forces him into some horrifically self-destructive choice he never in a billion years would have made on his own, if he had any better options.

Of course this is fun to watch, and makes for great drama, which is why the writers keep doing it, but come on, people. Give the guy a break because the writers never do. The only reason he said yes to alt-Michael was because there were no other options at that point except to wait to die along with the rest of the world, knowing Sam and Jack would die (mostly likely horribly) first.

Dean’s self-esteem is low, but it ain’t that low. If he could have found another way (as he did in the red-herring gas station scene early in the episode where he temporarily saved everyone from alt-Michael via a cunning plan and some holy fire), he’d have done so. Having Castiel stand by, wringing his hands over the decision (a one-angel Greek Chorus was basically all Misha Collins got to do this week), didn’t make that decision any less necessary. In the end, Dean made the best bargain he could. That Dean always puts others first, without thinking, is the true superpower he uses to save the world. But that doesn’t mean he loves making those choices. Or that they don’t hurt.

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Though there were a lot of directorial problems with that climactic fight with Lucifer (Bob Singer’s really losing his touch), Jensen Ackles’ acting wasn’t one of those problems. He acted the hell out of it all, from Dean’s bargaining with alt-Michael all the way up through his final scene as alt-Michael. There’s a reason why fans on social media have been screen-capping and giffing the hell out of Dean’s entrance as an archangel (sans the silly Ten Commandments-style music), alt-Michael’s takeover, and alt-Michael at the very end.

But in between the big moments, Ackles keeps it going. After Dean falls to the church floor, he immediately forces himself to get up, jaw set. If you look at Dean in the background as Sam and Jack are investigating to see if Lucifer is really dead, Dean’s shoulders are heaving and he is clearly in distress.

This leads directly into Dean’s valiant effort to make everything okay one last time for his family before he becomes locked in a deadly struggle for control with alt-Michael and has his body taken over. Even the lines of strain as he fights smooth out in that transitional moment when he straightens up, blank-faced, after losing this second, internal battle. This moment is one of the most heartbreaking in 13 seasons of a show that regularly deals in tragedy. Ackles’ portrayal of Dean being taken over by alt-Michael is chilling, a moment of true horror. Even without the gruesome, Leviathan-like sound effects.

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Some fans have asked why Dean didn’t have an exit plan for dealing with alt-Michael after dealing with Lucifer. There’s the point that Dean didn’t have any other “good” choices besides making a deal with alt-Michael at the moment he said yes. But also, if you watch, Dean is still clutching alt-Michael’s archangel blade the entire time after he kills Lucifer. The logical fallback plan would be to stab himself with the archangel blade once he knew Lucifer was truly dead. Since he had an archangel inside him, suicide ought to have done the trick. It takes an archangel to kill an archangel. Nobody said it couldn’t be the same archangel.

So, why didn’t Dean do this? Well, remember that Lucifer had just smote him. No, Lucifer didn’t get the chance to finish the job, but we saw Dean screaming in pain before he stabbed Lucifer, following Sam’s “Wind beneath My Wings” moment of tossing him the archangel blade. Lucifer scrambled his brains pretty good. Lucifer had also just been beating on him and Dean was dazed.

While it’s true that Dean had an archangel inside him, so he could take more damage than usual, he was up against a charged-up fellow archangel, and he was in the driver’s seat. Dean probably took more of a beating than alt-Michael did and was still dazed afterward. That, and reassuring Sam and Jack, distracted him from immediate suicide, and alt-Michael took advantage of that distraction.

But one might ask, why would alt-Michael need Dean to be distracted in the first place in order to take over? Isn’t the archangel, not his vessel, usually the one in charge? Well … not necessarily. And probably not in this case.

Here we are getting into projections and predictions for next season. It’s really important to remember that Dean’s “yes” was conditional, that the dire consequences of breaking deals has been reiterated time and again the past couple of seasons, and that alt-Michael himself used exactly the same words Dean did later in the same episode (“We had a deal!”) to protest Lucifer’s breaking of their pact. Shortly thereafter, Lucifer ended up karmic toast.

It’s not exactly rocket science to think that might be some foreshadowing for how things pan out for alt-Michael’s betrayal of Dean. These writers are not subtle. They also tend to leave big plotholes. We may never find out, for example, why alt-Michael was so enthusiastically determined to beat Dean to death when he already knew Dean was the Michael Sword. That seems counterintuitive, but never mind.

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So, what deal, exactly, did Dean make? It was pretty simple – he would let alt-Michael in and be his “sword” if, and only if, alt-Michael took an extreme backseat and let Dean be in charge. Alt-Michael might be able to advise, but Dean would make all of the decisions.

We know that Dean is under direct watch by a Reaper, Jessica. She can’t interfere, but she can report back to her boss that an interloper from another timeline is curb-stomping Billie’s (and Chuck’s) designated caretaker in this timeline and trying to take it over. We already know that Billie wants to “fix” that kind of bleed and is unlikely to take kindly to alt-Michael’s crossing over to conquer a world not his own.

We also know that Billie!Death firmly believes in honoring deals (on top of rigidly maintaining the Natural Order). She’d be the first to point out to alt-Michael that he had a deal with Dean and the deal means that as long as they share Dean’s body, Dean is the one in charge. It’s a way for the storyline to continue after Dean has regained control over his body, and possibly for Dean keeping alt-Michael as a prisoner inside. Dean could effectively continue being an archangel (the Michael Sword is sentient and runs the show), while being unable to manifest or use those powers most times because then he’d risk losing control to alt-Michael again.

What makes this storyline more possible is that there is the awkward wrinkle that Billie’s not liable to feel very kindly toward the refugees from alt-Michael’s timeline, either. Or Jack. So, that sets up a dilemma for Team Free Will and even Dean (as he fights back against alt-Michael’s possession), because they won’t be quite as eager to accept any help Billie offers – or even contact her – as they might, otherwise.

In addition, the presence of the refugees is likely to complicate any rescue efforts for Dean (and it’s really unlikely that Dean will not survive this storyline. Really). TFW 2.0 will be anxious to save Dean from alt-Michael and expel alt-Michael from Dean’s body without harming Dean (or, at least, I certainly hope they will, but more on that in a moment). The refugees who’ve already suffered under alt-Michael are going to be a lot more sanguine about Dean’s fate. As long as they can take out alt-Michael permanently, they’re liable to see Dean’s death as tragic, but necessary. He made a decision (however much under duress). He alone faces the consequences.

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This will set up direct conflicts between Sam and them, of course, but also Jack and them, and between Mary and alt-Bobby, between whom a romance of sorts has been brewing, especially in this episode. Even Rowena, seeking redemption, is going to want to help save Dean, but alt-Charlie? Not so much.

Let’s say the writers don’t take the obvious and stupid way out, that they really want to drag this storyline on a bit (which, Bob Singer’s past ohgodohgodohgoddeanhasamytharcstorykillitwithfire kneejerk reactions aside, they really should want to do rather than wrap it up quickly and scramble to fill up the rest of the season with … something). A Saving Dean storyline has plenty of inherent conflict. The people who can mostly likely deal with alt-Michael are going to be divided on at least three fronts (TFW 2.0, Billie and her Reapers, and the alt-SPNverse refugees), so there will be some natural infighting there.

Dean himself can be portrayed pretty easily (and inexpensively) in his interior struggle to regain control as trapped in a nightmare version of a concentration camp in the alt-SPNverse. Regardless of whatever happened to alt-Michael’s previous vessel, Christian Keyes could return and play alt-Michael inside Dean’s head, taunting and tormenting him (one possible reason Keyes has suddenly joined the Creation con circuit). That would leave Jensen Ackles off the hook for playing against himself all the time, while also giving him a chance to play alt-Michael in the external SPNverse scenes.

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Dean could, for example, initially “wake” in the season premiere in a grotty cell with his hands cuffed behind his back, dazed and trying to piece things together, while alt-Michael makes plots and comes into conflict with TFW. I’ve seen fans argue that alt-Michael would put Dean in a paradisiacal fantasy world, but that would probably be more expensive to film (when they’ve still got that alt-SPNverse set to use) and wouldn’t fit the horror theme of the show. It’s more likely alt-Michael will torture Dean, however much that might be stupid in light of its giving Dean a reason and a way to fight back. Alt-Michael is sufficiently arrogant that he’d go that route, anyway, so it’s at least in character.

Once Dean remembered what happened, he would have a dilemma – does he try to expel alt-Michael, only for alt-Michael to find another vessel (or return to his old one if the poor guy isn’t already dust) and continue with his plans for multiverse domination? Or does he try to regain control and hold alt-Michael prisoner inside his own body? Or is there a way to toss alt-Michael into the Cage (though that’s been damaged, so it might not work) or even kill him in a way that won’t kill Dean permanently?

Yes, killing himself to kill alt-Michael would certainly occur to Dean, but folks, the show is just not going to let Dean kill himself permanently. So, a Harvey (yep, that’s both a James Stewart/giant pooka/rabbit and a Farscape reference) storyline seems pretty likely after the first few episodes, or maybe even half a season, if we’re lucky.

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The thing I dearly hope will not occur, though, is the writers continuing with their gratuitous Dean abuse. I’m thinking of stuff like “Soul Survivor” in season ten, where we see Sam strap down a very psychotic, demonized Dean in a dungeon, drug him up with consecrated blood against his will, and force him into a semblance of what Sam feels is “appropriate” sanity – and this ugly assault is apparently rewarded and condoned by the writers (the Nepotism Duo in this case. Shocker) by the end of the episode. I’m also thinking of Dean’s lifelong struggle with suicidal ideation. Remember how he outright committed suicide early last season and no one, not even Death, was surprised?

Dean is a popular fantasy character who has struggled for 13 seasons with severe mental illness. Suicidal levels of depression and low self-esteem, occasional bouts of psychosis, alcoholism, self-medicating, self-harm, social and separation anxiety, a total inability to fit in with “normal” society, and (of course) rampant PTSD, he’s got ’em all. Many people in this world look at a fictional character like Dean, who feels their same pain and despair, and take hope from the way he keeps soldiering on and being a Hero, even when he stumbles, even when he just wants to lie down and die.

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But writing a character like that involves taking responsibility for the message one sends. Too often, the show has generated some pretty ugly subtext through the way characters treat Dean and take advantage of him. Just as the writers have not done a particularly stellar job of portraying Sam’s own issues (Sam’s mental illness and addiction storylines seem to exist, going all the way back to Kripke, solely to prop Sam up as the woobiest woobie Hero ever), the way they have portrayed the responses of people around Dean to his mental health issues has been … kinda gross.

This needs to change.

It’s not just that it’s problematical for your lead actors to have launched a mental health charity (Always Keep Fighting) while your show writers continue to treat mental illness as a character flaw when it comes to Dean (talk about undermining your cast).

It’s not even that some fans agree.

It’s bad enough to hear people refer to Dean’s sacrificial act in this episode as a mistake or a flaw, that Dean “gave in” and “let” alt-Michael trick him, that that’s just Dean. That he’s always looking for ways to be self-destructive and that this isn’t heroic at all. An act that would be seen in any other character as putting the needs of literally everyone else over their own selfish survival is perceived in Dean as just another Thursday. As weakness, as not fighting his own darkness hard enough. “Sloppy, needy Dean,” as a demon once put it.

What is worse is to do it now, in the middle of a national debate about suicide, especially in the wake of the recent suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. Over and over, plaintively and sometimes angrily, friends and families of loved ones who have committed suicide, as well as survivors, point out that depression is not a mistake or a lack of moral character. It doesn’t make you weak if you feel despair and cannot see your way out of it.

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Supernatural desperately needs to change its tack on how the characters around Dean respond to his illness. It’s unrealistic for Dean to recover magically from something he’s suffered from all his life. That would be like expecting Tyrion on Game of Thrones to grow six feet tall.

But the writers can certainly change how they have characters respond to it and put Dean on a slow road to some kind of recovery. No more mean-spirited rants like Sam’s at the end of “Metamorphosis” or “The Purge.” No more of characters incessantly choosing anyone else over the needs of their own, clearly traumatized child standing right in front of them (Mary in season 12 and just a few episodes ago, lookin’ at you). No more “beating some sense” into Dean, or expressing how disappointed the character is in Dean for something that is really that character’s fault, the way Castiel has done over and over again.

Look, I get it. Trauma is drama and bad guys are gonna bad-guy. Angels and demons and monsters who resent Sam and Dean getting in the way of their smashing up the joint will always trash-talk the Brothers. No one expects either Lucifer or Michael (any version) to treat Dean (or Sam) well or do anything but tear away at his self-esteem. They’re the villains.

But it’s way past time for Sam and Mary and Castiel to stop disappearing up their own backsides whenever the black water threatens to pull Dean under. And while I appreciate that Jody wants to help and Claire thinks Dean is awesome, damage and all, it’s not helpful to keep ragging on Dean that he needs to treat himself better. He knows that. He just doesn’t have the first clue how to do it.

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Yes, it’s uncomfortable when someone you love seems locked in a death spiral, but the writers could be improving all of their recurring good-guy characters by having them stop projecting all their own crap onto Dean. Look at Jack – he doesn’t do that. He worships Dean. Yet, the show still managed to establish a relationship with interesting conflict between the two of them.

In fact, a Saving Dean storyline, where Dean is absent for a while (unlike Demon!Dean or MoC!Dean, who was basically just Dean with his anger and bloodlust externalized as a magical metaphor), could conceivably give the characters the story space needed to deal with that without trashing Dean even more. Ackles would still be in the story (he’s not going anywhere; he gets to play alt-Michael now), but Dean the character would be elsewhere, fighting a new battle. The other characters would get a chance to truly miss him and fight to get him back in a way that heals him rather than tears him down.

I think this is a really important thing for the writers to put at the top of their checklist this summer. This is a chance for them to change up a tangle of character arcs that has become toxic and unhealthy even to watch. It’s a way for them to truly represent and join the debate on mental illness (a debate in which their cast already has a voice) in a productive way. It’s time to grow up, Supernatural writers. Do it now.

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Fun lines:

Castiel [listening in on a pack of redneck werewolves]: They’re talking about whether Kylie Jenner would make a good mother. The consensus is “no.”
Dean: Yeah, well, that’s why I’m a  Khloé man.

Alt-Michael [being tortured by Jack]: Lucifer, we had a deal!

Lucifer [to everybody]: I’m not currently the bad guy here.

Lucifer [compelled by Jack to tell about Maggie’s murder]: She saw me when I was scouting out the Bunker. She saw me and she screamed. So, I crushed her skull with my bare hands. And it was warm and wet, and I liked it.

Alt-Michael: This is the end … of everything.
Dean: No. What if … what if you had your Sword?
Castiel: Dean, no!
Dean: I am your Sword, your perfect vessel. With me, you’d be stronger than you’ve ever been.
Alt-Michael: Oh, I know what you are.
Dean: If we work together, can we beat Lucifer?
Castiel: Dean!
Dean: Can we?
Alt-Michael: We have a chance.
Castiel: You can’t!
Dean [to Castiel]: Lucifer has Sam. He has Jack! Cas, I don’t have a choice! [to alt-Michael] If we do this, it’s a one-time deal. I’m in charge. You’re the engine, but I’m behind the wheel. Understand?

Jack [to Sam as he’s about to kill himself]: I love you. I love all of you.

Lucifer [to DeanMichael]: You let my brother in.
DeanMichael: Turns out we have something in common. We both want to gut your ass.

Dean [to alt-Michael inside him]: We had a deal!
Alt-Michael [to Dean after taking over]: Thanks for the suit.


Next: I’ll be finishing my live recap of “Funeralia” this week. I’ll try to catch up with the recaps of the rest of the season and do reviews over the rest of the summer.


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The Official Supernatural: “Funeralia” (13.19) Live Recap Thread


We need your help!

Contribute monthly via Patreon (which includes perks), make a one-time donation through Paypal, or buy us a coffee.

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.

Recap of Rowena and the season so far, sort of.

Cut to Now. Rowena is in Portland, OR when she gets a call from the Brothers and Castiel, asking for help in finding Gabriel. Rowena is a bit distracted (and says so) by doing something she’s pretty sure the Brothers wouldn’t like if they found out about it. Sure enough, she hexes a snotty young woman a moment or two later, causing her to burst, screaming into flame.

Credits


Like this column? You can help keep it going by contributing monthly via Patreon (which includes perks), making a one-time donation through Paypal, or buying us a coffee.


The Official Supernatural: “Let the Good Times Roll” (13.23 – Season Finale) Live Recap Thread


We need your help!

Contribute monthly via Patreon (which includes perks), make a one-time donation through Paypal, or buy us a coffee.

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.

Yeah, yeah. I skipped ahead. Don’t worry; I’ll do the others. It’s just that this one is a-buzzin’ and I want to watch/live recap it all the way through.

Laissez les bons temps rouler.

Recap of the season so far with, of course, “Carry On, Wayward Son,” which begins with a quick voiceover by Dean (and segues into a quick request from Rowena for music). ‘Cause that’s never ominous in a season finale, or anything. The recap ends with alt-Michael and Lucifer being left in the alt-SPNverse.

Cut to Now, with Sam in the Bunker explaining to the alt-SPNverse refugees how our world sucks so much more normally than theirs. There’s a joke about Trump and alt-Bobby gets to deliver it.

Sam gets a call from Dean, who is with Castiel and Jack near a harbor. It seems to they are celebrating getting everyone (they care about) back from the alt-SPNverse by Hunting some dockside werewolves because … reasons. As you do. Just roll with it, I guess.

Castiel starts off the carnage by stabbing one werewolf who’s outside on a smoking break. The Brothers and Jack then bust into the shack, where two other werewolves are discussing the Kardashians. Jack freezes the werewolves, while Dean and Sam fill them full of silver.

Meanwhile, alt-Bobby (now dressed just like “our” Bobby) is taking a nice walk in the rain with Mary. They infodump that Ketch has taken off, while Rowena and alt-Charlie are on a road trip (as long as anything involving Charlie stays off my screen, I’m good, but I sure hope this doesn’t mean the writers are now going to ruin Rowena to make alt-Charlie Sue look fabulous). Anyhoo, alt-Bobby admits that while they can’t go back home without an archangel, he’s not sure he even wants to. It’s nice here (he says as he makes cow eyes at Mary, who looks flattered).

Sadly, this is Supernatural, so the mood is immediately shattered by their discovering Maggie (remember her? The refugee the Brothers helped through a tunnel a few episodes back?) in the path with her head smashed on a rock.

Cue title cards.

Cut to the sneak peek where the Brothers talking about retiring. Sam is surprised that Dean would want to retire. Dean says that if he knew people were safe from monsters, he’d do it, happily, then go live on a beach with Sam and Castiel, and some umbrella drinks. Yeah, that sort of conversation never ends well.

After Sam goes off to do whatever, Dean hears Jack in his room, having a nightmare. Apparently, this is one of the rare times when Jack sleeps. It turns out Jack has nightmares about people he couldn’t save in the alt-SPNverse. Dean wakes him up (Jack wakes up in a less scary mood than Dean does) and reassures him that he has those dreams, too. Jack said he promised to save those people, but wasn’t “strong enough.” Dean tells him it’s not about being strong. If Jack weren’t strong, he wouldn’t have made it back. You just have to keep going and understand you’ll make mistakes some times. But Jack’s family and that’s all that matters.

Hmm. This is getting a bit worrisome. These are the kinds of conversations main characters have right before they get written off.

Sam comes in with a phone call. It’s about Maggie, whose dead body we see next, still on the ground in the rain. Jack is upset, saying he couldn’t protect her. Everyone tries to figure out what’s going on, since all the usual suspects are back in alt-SPNverse. They interview her friend who came over with her from the alt-SPNverse. The friend is shocked to hear she’s dead, saying she expected they would be safe here. She says Maggie had snuck out the night before to see a boy at a local quickie mart she was sweet on (so, I guess a fair bit of time has passed, then). As soon as Jack hears this, he flies off to the quickie mart. Uh-oh.

At the quickie mart, the kid in question is just putting stuff away, minding his own business, when Jack comes in and slams him into one of the freezer shelves. He starts choking the kid, demanding to know why he killed Maggie. The kid has no idea what he’s talking about. Castiel shows up and tries to stop him, but Jack slams him into some shelves. Sam and Dean come in, and an exasperated Dean shoots Jack to snap him out of it. They quickly show him that the kid didn’t kill Maggie, especially when he looks devastated at finding out she’s dead.

Jack runs back out into the woods and starts hitting himself, crying and wondering why he always hurts people. Then he hears angel wings and Lucifer appears behind him. Jack asks if he’s real and Lucifer hedges about how he got there. Lucifer claims that Sam left him behind and lied when he said alt-Michael killed him. Lucifer is all sweetness and light to Jack, but Jack cuts to the chase and asks how Lucifer got through the closed rift. Lucifer dances around this, too, and tries to tell Jack he’s not really human, that they have a lot in common. Ewww. Jack, I know you’re a baby, but jeez. It’s sad when Lucifer is so obvious that he can only fool an infant.

Lucifer suggests they go to some other planet. Jack compares it to Star Wars, but isn’t so sure about leaving Sam, Dean and Castiel behind.

Back in the quickie mart, the Brothers and Castiel try to cover up what happened with the kid by calling the incident “a training exercise” and saying they’re FBI. This is working pretty well until they hear the whine of an angel. A very, very powerful angel. An archangel, in fact. They tell the kid to run (hate to break this to you, kid, but I think your job’s about to go belly up) and he does.

The whining increases and then they see the impossible. Dean tells them to run outside, just as the windows on the quickie mart blow out. Alt-Michael stalks after them, smug as ever. Dean is already pulling some holy oil out of the trunk, lighting it, and tossing out at Michael’s feet. This makes Castiel’s incipient suicide run at alt-Michael unnecessary, since it temporarily stops the archangel, and they flee in the Impala.

Mary and alt-Bobby are discussing who could have killed Maggie when Jack walks in with Lucifer. It’s not a happy reunion, to put it mildly. Lucifer calls alt-Bobby “Longmire.” Lucifer tries to shmooze everyone by healing Maggie and bringing her back from the dead (while continuing to insult Sam to Jack and in front of Mary), his eyes glowing. Jack is impressed by this, enough to leave with Lucifer. Meanwhile, Mary has sent alt-Bobby to call the Brothers. How does alt-Bobby know how to use a cell phone if he’s been living in an Apocalypse World most of his life?

The Brothers come in, but Jack and Lucifer are already gone. Dean goes to call Jody and the other Hunters (alt-Bobby is impressed that Dean has an entire network of Hunters on speed-dial), while Castiel goes to see if there’s any angel chatter, even though they’re almost all locked up in Heaven now. Castiel later reports that it’s all silent on that front, which is unnerving.

Sam talks to Maggie, who is reluctant to talk at first. Then she says she didn’t see her killer’s face, only his eyes. Cut rather obviously to Lucifer and Jack, ostensibly getting ready to leave on their cosmic voyage.

In the Bunker, things go rapidly downhill as someone “knocks” on the door with an enormous boom. Dean insists Mary and alt-Bobby take Maggie and escape through the garage (overriding Mary’s protests), then he and Sam pull out their guns, as they and Castiel turn to confront alt-Michael busting the door down (dammit, gonna have to fix that door again).

Bullets and attempted angel-blade stabbings have no effect. Alt-Michael tosses Sam and Castiel aside, and focuses on Dean, saying that Dean will be the first soul he purges in his great crusade (this seems like rather a large plothole, considering “our” Michael was well aware of who Dean would be as his chosen vessel long before Dean was born). Dean insults him back, even as alt-Michael chokes him slowly, enjoying it. In the process, alt-Michael admits he made a deal (in flashback, we see it’s with Lucifer) to come through the doorway.

On the floor, Sam desperately prays to Jack, hoping Jack can hear him. Jack is temporarily distracted by Lucifer’s star-trekkin’ BS, though a sour note creeps in when Lucifer slips up and mentions wanting to make some “improvements.” But then Jack hears Sam’s prayer and comes back, just in time to stop alt-Michael from fully choking Dean to death.

Jack slams alt-Michael into a post. Lucifer flies in after him, as Jack starts doing Very Bad Things to alt-Michael, making him bleed from his eyes and ears. But Lucifer gets outed as the villain he is by alt-Michael, who screams, “Lucifer, we had a deal!”

Awkward.

Even Jack can see this red flag. As everyone compares notes, Sam tells Jack that Maggie saw the “red, glowing eyes” of her killer. Yep, it was Lucifer. Jack forces Lucifer to tell the truth. Lucifer killed her because she saw him “scouting out the Bunker.” He “crushed her skull” and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Disillusioned, Jack says, “You’re not my father. You’re a monster.” Lucifer is too weak to do much besides roar impotently and whine (alt-Michael is still hurting too much to do more than let his head loll). At least, until Jack lets him get too close. Then Lucifer springs on him, cuts his throat (not fatally) with his archangel blade, and drains his considerable grace (which takes remarkably little time). I’m honestly not sure from the dialogue, but considering his track record, I’m guessing this was Lucifer’s Plan A all along.

Lucifer then heals up the wound (there’s still some grace there, but Jack looks semi-conscious, at best) and disappears with him in a flash of light. As they do, Sam and Castiel both rush forward to grab them. Castiel is tossed back, but Sam disappears with them. To where, no one knows.

Lucifer lands them in a church, where he beats up first Sam (talking about how they’re going to “break up” permanently now) and then Jack, when Jack tries to stagger to Sam’s aid. Lucifer informs Sam (as if Sam didn’t know) that Jack has killed quite a few people. Sam says it doesn’t matter. As Dean said before, Sam says that Jack is “family.”

Lucifer, always disloyal to his own kin, is unimpressed. He tells Sam that “family blows.” To prove it, he drops his archangel blade in front of them and tells them that one of them can walk out, but not without killing the other (it’s doubtful he intends either of them to survive, but first things first). Lucifer also Evil Overlord monologues about how, if one of them lives, in the seven-to-ten days it would take him to “unravel the universe,” the survivor might figure out how to stop him. Or not. Lucifer fully intends to destroy everything and recreate it in his image.

Sam picks up the archangel blade and hands it to Jack, telling Jack to kill him. Instead, Jack starts to stab himself, telling Sam “I love you. I love all of you.”

Meanwhile, Michael is informing Dean that Lucifer is “juiced up” on Jack’s grace and now powerful enough to destroy the universe. All of the universe (“And you thought I was bad?”). He’s actually all for going to kill Lucifer, but his meatsuit is incapacitated and Lucifer is now much more powerful than before.

Dean has an idea, a horrible, no-good idea that alt-Michael may (or may not, considering he was fully willing to kill Dean before) have already been angling for. What if Michael had his Ultimate Weapon, the Michael Sword? Alt-Michael admits he knows who Dean is (which is a bit puzzling, considering he was just trying to kill Dean and was fully intent on killing Dean first, implying he saw Dean as the greatest threat in this new universe) and further admits that yes, it might be possible, the two of them together, to kill Lucifer.

Castiel starts to protest, but Dean says, “Lucifer has Sam. He has Jack. Cas, I don’t have a choice!”

Ah, but it’s Dean, so Dean has conditions. And before we protest that alt-Michael doesn’t have to honor these conditions, remember Death’s ongoing grumpiness about broken deals. Deals for a major supernaturally powerful being are a big deal in the SPNverse and breaking them has major consequences. So, when Dean calls it “a one-time deal” and flat-out says he will be in charge, with alt-Michael having no say and only providing the power, somewhere, someone with more power than alt-Michael is taking notes.

Just as Jack is slowly, agonizingly stabbing himself to death, a bright light appears behind him. It is DeanMichael (Hunterwings, maybe?), his own archangel sword in hand, just landed and unfolding his wings.

I gotta say, this is a pretty damned awesome image that will surely be copied over and over again this summer. Too bad about the way-over-the-top Ten Commandments music that accompanies it.

Anyhoo, Sam calls Dean’s name and Dean responds in kind, cueing us that this is Dean and not alt-Michael in charge.

Lucifer says, “You let my brother in.”

Dean acknowledges this, saying they had a common goal – “we both want to gut your ass.”

Lucifer charges like a bull and Dean starts off well by kicking him across the room. Unfortunately, the rest of the fight goes less well for Dean, especially once they start flying at each other, though he does quite a bit better than Sam and Jack.

Dean drops his sword and Lucifer starts beating on him in mid-air. Then he decides that stabbing’s too good for Dean (Michael doesn’t even get a mention; Lucifer clearly sees his true nemesis as Dean Winchester) and starts to smite him.

Sam then decides to grab the sword and toss it to Dean in one of the cheesier (and more literal) “wind beneath my wings” moments the show’s produced. Dean grabs it and stabs Lucifer, then falls back to earth as Lucifer blasts light out every orifice, then literally crashes and burns.

Afterward, Lucifer lies amidst the charred and glowing remnants of his wings. Sam and Dean and Jack share a bring “It’s Miller Time!” moment, made temporarily sweeter by Dean correcting Sam’s “You did it!” to “We did it!”

But this is the season finale and we’ve got a few minutes of airtime left, so of course this does not end well.

Dean suddenly doubles over in pain and screams, “We had a deal!” (Remember when alt-Michael screamed that at Lucifer and how that worked out for Lucifer? Just saying.) Then, he straightens up, only what straightens up is no longer Dean.

Sam rather unnecessarily supplies who this new/old being is: “Michael.”

Alt-Michael glances around appraisingly (some really nice acting from Ackles here), then, looking straight ahead, says in a cold and taunting tone to his vessel, “Thanks for the suit.” He flies off, leaving a horrified Sam and Jack.

In the Bunker, Mary and alt-Bobby rush in to find a devastated Castiel.

Later, on a rainy street corner, we see a man walking down the street in 1920s gangster garb (as much as I didn’t care for the Ten Commandments musical cue in the previous scene, I love the hell out of the Untouchables musical cue in this one), looking around him in wonder. He looks like Dean, but … isn’t. Right before the credits roll, the camera freezes on his sinister smile and glowing blue eyes. Michael.

Credits


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The Official Supernatural: “Bring ’em Back Alive” (13.18) Live Recap Thread


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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.

Recap of Gabriel, Mary and Jack in the alt-SPNverse, and the last few minutes of the previous episode.

Cut to Now, where Dean and Ketch appear in the alt-verse and it’s now winter (probably because it was winter in Vancouver when they filmed this). Dean is having trouble getting his bearings, which gives Ketch the opening to suggest he might tag along as “backup.” Dean is skeptical, but lets him.

Ketch starts to realize they’re not in Kansas, anymore, when they pass a charred body tied to a tree as they go under a bridge. Dean tells him to get down when some angels start to cross the bridge then stop. They have prisoners, whom they randomly proceed to execute on the bridge for crimes of rebelling against Michael.

They kill the first two, even as Ketch is restraining Dean from interfering. Then they get to the last one. After they uncover her hood, the head angel actually stops the other one, giving Dean time to get a good look at her and see it’s the alt-SPNverse of Charlie.

SMITE HER. SMITE HER NOW.

Cue title cards.

Look, I get that some fans really loved and missed Charlie (though there’s a good bit of evidence they were and are a minority of the fandom), but I was not one of them. And I can’t say Felicia Day’s acting has improved in the interim. The writing for Charlie (this is a Nepotism Duo ep, so keep your expectations low) certainly hasn’t, remaining so terrible that it belongs in another show.

So, Charlie gets hit on by the head angel, who calls her “not the usual human scum.” Oh, God help us, please move on, Show. After some infodumping about her being in the “inner circle” of the rebellion, which is apparently now being led by Mary and Jack, so Dean can conveniently overhear and get his bearings, they decide to take her back to the “Northern Camp” and fly off with her.

Back at the Bunker, Castiel (remember him?) has returned and is extremely not-thrilled to hear that Dean has gone off to the alt-SPNverse. When Sam tries to reassure him by saying that Ketch went with Dean, Castiel snarks, “Because that’s so much better!”

Sam says that Dean insisted on going alone and that they need to take care of Gabriel. Castiel becomes more subdued when they come to Gabriel’s room and he sees the condition his elder brother is in.

Sam, for some reason, has brought in food (angels don’t need to eat). He explains that Gabriel has suffered from years of torture and having his grace drained. It turns out he hasn’t brought food, per se, but some of Gabriel’s own grace to restore him. When they try to give it to Gabriel, though, he refuses to open his mouth and scrambles away from them in terror.

Up on Heaven, Lucifer is playing Solitaire (literally: He’s playing a card game) when Sister Jo comes in. She is unhappy that he is sitting around, expecting to be worshiped, doing nothing to improve the angels’ situation. When Duma comes in, Lucifer tries to draw her into cowing Jo, but Duma refuses to get involved. Duma also wants to know when Lucifer is going to start doing things to help Heaven, but all Lucifer is interested in is where is Jack. Duma says there are very few angels left and they can’t find him. As his eyes glow threateningly, Lucifer tells her to try harder. Frightened, Duma leaves.

Less impressed, Jo also leaves, telling Lucifer that if he wants to be treated like God, he needs to start acting like Him.

In his demon lair, Asmodeus is grumpy that he can’t find Gabriel, or even sense him. He bullies a terrified demon, rather like Lucifer bullying Duma. Lotta pointless macho posturing in this episode.

In alt-SPNverse, Dean is trying to get to where Charlie is so he can rescue her and (ostensibly) find Mary and Jack. Ketch calls him on it, saying that Dean is making it personal for some reason. Ketch is frustrated by Dean’s lack of stealth (though Dean makes a good point that they need speed over stealth right now) and this catches up to Dean when a human bounty hunter shoots him and tries to capture him to take him to a POW camp. Ketch gets into a fight with the man, but it’s not until Dean gets up and shoots the man in the kneecap that the man talks. They find out where the camp is and head there.

At the Bunker, Castiel tries to talk to Gabriel, who has covered the walls of his room with symbols. It turns out to be Gabriel’s story since his apparent death. He faked it by letting Lucifer stab a fake him and think it was the real him.

Gabriel then moved to Monte Carlo and shacked up with porn stars. So, you could say he took on the persona of Charlie Sheen. He was then captured and sold to Asmodeus, who fed on his grace, going from the weakest of the Princes of Hell to the strongest. When Sam wonders why Gabriel is not speaking, Castiel says that maybe he can’t. Sam wonders if maybe Gabriel won’t speak, because he feels it’s safer.

Up in Heaven, Lucifer thinks a new suit and shades will make him God (has he seen how Dad dressed? Wait – yes, he has!). He then sits back down on his throne to hear the prayers of humans. But they are all begging and he deems them pathetic, not worth his time.

The chant of an exorcism, however, piques his interest, so he goes down to earth to investigate. In a parody of The Exorcist (film, TV show, take your pick), two priests are trying to exorcise a young woman, calling the demon inside her “Satan.” Lucifer points out that it’s just a minor demon named “Anthony” and exorcises it out through a vent. The young woman falls back onto the bed, unconscious.

When the younger priest asks who he is, Lucifer makes the mistake of telling them his true name. They’re shocked and horrified, prompting an annoyed rant from Lucifer about how Chuck made him the cosmic “fall guy.”

The priests freak out and start spattering him with holy water and prayers. Annoyed, Lucifer smites them into black smoke, then is annoyed at himself for doing so.

Back in alt-SPNverse (yeah, as usual with a Nep Duo script, far too many storylines and none of them done properly or in any depth), Dean starts to feel ill, but passes it off as nothing. Considering he doesn’t (and shouldn’t) trust Ketch as far as he can kick him in the nuts, I think that’s still pretty sensible. Unfortunately, his condition quickly deteriorates and he passes out into a tree in the middle of Ketch trying to snark an explanation about Charlie out of him. Ketch shows concern, determines that Dean has a high fever, and quickly discovers the bullet wound is a nasty black color that is spreading across Dean’s shoulder.

Ketch makes up an antidote out of some paste on the fly. As you do. It seems the symptoms are much like a poison the LoL used to incapacitate monsters and if you don’t get the antidote, you die a nasty death. Yay.  Oh, and the cure’s painful, too. Of course.

Back at the Bunker, Castiel is trying to angel-talk to Gabriel or read his mind or something. I dunno. Oh, I see. He’s saying he can’t heal Gabriel. He’s just trying to reach his older brother. Gabriel remains catatonic. Sam then tries to give Gabriel a pep-talk about how they’re both “different” from the rest of their family. Oh, Sam. Still banging away at that crap.

But, Sam adds, even though he got out (or thought he did), he realized that his family needed him, and that their mission is also his. Hunting is his life now. He’s chosen it. It’s how he helps the world. Gabriel can help the world, too, if he wakes up. The world needs him. Sam needs him. Even if it was more fun hanging out with “hookers in Monte Carlo.”

The big speech appears to have no effect. Defeated, Sam turns away toward the door. Behind him, Gabriel says, “Porn stars. They were porn stars, Sam.” And his eyes glow.

Unfortunately, Asmodeus is able to sense that on his throne.

Back in alt-SPNverse, Dean is unable to go on, even after being “cured,” and is forced to stop and rest. When Ketch presses him more about why Charlie is so important, Dean goes on and on and on about how Charlie was a special snowflake and he wasn’t able to save her. He then asks Ketch why he’s so interested. Ketch admits that he’s got a lot of people who died on his watch. Problem was, he didn’t even try to save them. Now he realizes that the “duty” he followed was hollow and he doesn’t know how to find redemption. Dean helpfully points out that this is because Ketch sucks.

Ketch sighs and gets up, then reaches out to help Dean up. He figures that maybe if he can help save alt-Charlie, he can redeem himself a tiny bit. Meanwhile, I’m wishing he and Dean would just leave well enough alone.

Meanwhile, Charlie is getting tortured by the most inept angels ever and being all defiant and stuff. Except, remember how angels can find out whatever they want from a human by “reading” their soul (per “The Third Man”)? Guess the Nep Duo forgot all about that.

Back at the Bunker (I know! It’s dizzying!), Sam and Castiel have given Gabriel the remaining vial of his grace because why the hell not? Not like Dean and Ketch won’t ever get stranded over in alt-SPNverse. It restores him a bit, but not completely.

Right on cue, Sam gets a call from Asmodeus, who demands Gabriel back. Sam says he’s hanging up, but doesn’t, allowing Asmodeus to rant and rave and give TFW a ten-minute warning. Well, alrighty-then. Gabriel, of course, looks terrified.

Up in Heaven, Lucifer is whining to Sister Jo about how nobody deserves his awesomeness, as he yanks off his coat and tie. When Sister Jo suggests he’s “giving up,” Lucifer says no, he’s going to find Jack and use his son to remake the world in his own image, where everyone worships him.

Sister Jo’s not buying it. She basically calls Lucifer a loser (which he is), saying he should “make good on your promises,” like “fixing Heaven” and giving the angels back their wings (hmm, isn’t there a certain archangel still in the Cage who could do that?).

Lucifer then lets the cat out of the bag – he can’t do any of that. Whether he isn’t powerful enough right now (his answer implies otherwise) or was never that powerful, he lied. Furious, Sister Jo berates him, saying he’s not even trying that hard to find his son because Jack will probably regard him with contempt, too. Unfortunately for her, she gets too close and Lucifer grabs her. Eyes glowing red, he nearly chokes the life out of her, but releases her at the last moment.

Backing away, Sister Jo rubs her throat and says, “And now you don’t have me.” Then she stalks out. Oooh, could feel that burn all the way down the multiverse.

Zooming back to alt-SPNverse, Dean and Ketch have found the angel camp, at a surprisingly intact old farmhouse with a silo, where, for who knows what reason, wood fires are burning (I don’t see why the angels would bother to let the prisoners burn fires to keep warm). A small band of prisoners is led out into the courtyard. Again, why would the angels keep prisoners?

Anyhoo, the head torturer angel goes off on a speech about how the Resistance is being broken, blah-blah-blah, and they bring out Charlie to be executed. Instead of the usual smiting, they tie her to a post and (I swear to God I am not joking), out comes a dude in goggles to behead her with a scimitar. ‘Cause let’s add a little dash of Islamophobia to this tonedeaf and rushed crap sandwich of an episode.

Sadly, Dean and Ketch figure out a plan and come in, guns blazing (after Dean tosses in a grenade) before this can happen. They shoot down most of the angels with their angel-killing bullets, except for the dastardly head torturer dude, who ducks into an outhouse and flies away (okay, it’s probably not an outhouse, but it looks like one).

Then Dean rescues Charlie, who appears to be the only human left alive besides him and Ketch. Nice rescue. Go team.

Back at the Bunker (weee! Everybody down a shot!), Gabriel is freaking out as Asmodeus is sending him bad-touch vibes, while Castiel watches him, concerned (remember when Castiel could do angel stuff? I miss that). Or something. Sam comes in and says he’s “warded” the rest of the Bunker, but is unsure it “will be enough.” Suddenly, the emergency lights and klaxons go on. Pretty sure it wasn’t enough, Sam.

[Sorry, needed a brief kitten break from this nonsense. These babies are three weeks old and freakin’ adorable. Been watching them on YouTube since they were born.]

Okay, back we go. Sam and Castiel go to investigate (which is dumb, leaving Gabriel alone), Castiel with an angel sword and Sam with a … machete? Really, Sam? Okay.

Anyhoo, the sigils Sam painted are glowing and fritzing. Then they start to go out one by one. Gotta say that’s a cool effect.

Sam and Castiel get attacked by demons with angel blades. Stabbing and smiting ensues, and they win the fight. But it’s a diversion for Asmodeus to come in and disarm/disable them, while two other demons drag out Gabriel. Asmodeus monologues a bit about how powerful he is, which is nonsense, of course. The archangel grace he shouldn’t be able to survive that’s in his body is what’s powerful, not him. Think Asmodeus is a tad high on his own methane.

But as the demons drag a struggling Gabriel up the stairs, and Asmodeus tortures Sam and Castiel with more monologuing and vaguely shown internal damage, Gabriel rallies. He tosses the demons over the stairs (apparently killing them, though that’s now how you kill demons), insta-cleans himself up, and shows his wings.

Asmodeus rather desperately tries to regain control of the situation by declaring “You’re too weak!” Gabriel responds with a cutting comment (that the entire fandom, plus Dean, has been thinking since Day One) about Asmodeus’ “dumbass suit,” then torches him from the inside.

And there was much rejoicing [yaaaayyyyy].

Unfortunately, after Sam and Castiel bring him up to speed and welcome him to TFW 2.0, Gabriel decides that’s not for him and bails on them (he still has wings, remember). Oops.

Meanwhile, in the alt-SPNverse, Dean is bringing alt-Charlie (who is every bit as obnoxious as “our” Charlie) up to speed on their side of the rift and how he wants to find Jack and his mother. The thing alt-Charlie actually balks at is the idea that Mary is his mother. Umm … odd thing to have issues with, but okay. Nevertheless, when they arrive at the rift, she becomes a believer. Well, that was quick.

But when Dean wants to take her through the rift, she and Ketch balk. Charlie wants to stay and fight for her world and Ketch does, too, because reasons. Dean hands Charlie a gun and goes back. Meanwhile, the evil torturer angel shows up with reinforcements (who walk into the fight because why use their wings, right?).

When Dean gets back, he has to explain why he’s alone. Then Sam and Castiel have to explain all that happened with Gabriel and how he bailed on them. Dean is … displeased.

Jensen Ackles has had to do this type of scene before, but it’s pretty cool (and unsettling) how he manages to wring some new subtext from Dean’s anger this time, and introduce some different body language. And how Sam and Castiel look like frightened lieutenants who have failed their leader rather than equal members of the team.

So, when Dean freaks out, it only seems initially like a repeat of, say, how he freaked out when Kevin died. Then he gets cold. Really cold. And when Castiel promises Dean they will find Gabriel, and Dean looks directly at the camera while saying, “We’d better,” I swear I saw ice crystals forming on the screen.

Credits


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The Official Supernatural: “The Thing” (13.17) 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.

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.

Recap of the MoL and of Asmodeus showing Ketch the captured Gabriel, which reminds us how the writers screwed up those storylines.

Cut to Portsmouth, RI in 1925. Some guys in robes are sacrificing a young blonde flapper on an altar, chanting “Insanidox Koth Munto,” using a cup of angel grace and a crystal amulet. A doorway of purple light appears overhead, triggered by the glow from the grace through the amulet. The girl screams as a tentacle reaches down from the doorway, the cultists chanting, “Yokoth! Yokoth!”

Cue title cards.

Sam is asleep on top of his research in the MoL library.  Since Sam is asleep, this is a perfect time for Dean to stick prank Post-It notes on Sam’s back.

Sam wakes up without noticing his new accessories (or Dean’s guilty look) and they start infodumping about the Seal of Solomon. Apparently, it’s “unearthly.” They go back down to the archives (“I LOVE BOOKS!” Dean declares sarcastically) and go at it.

Later, Sam discovers the notes in the mirror, but at that moment, Dean walks in with a metal box, which contains a story about the Seal, which the MoL found in Israel in 1917. It was later brought to Portsmouth. Dean makes a “jinkies!” comment that irritates Sam. It seems Dean’s been quoting Scooby-Doo a lot lately. Gee, wonder why.

Sam then brings up a new bit of MoL lore. Seems they had “capitula” (which Sam translates as “chapter houses”) all over the U.S., including one in Jamestown (implying they’ve been in North America since the beginning of English colonization). Off the Brothers go on a road trip, where they find a surprisingly intact, square brick building and a rotting car covered in vines. The entrance to the capitulum turns out to be a manhole cover with a lock that readily accepts the Bunker’s key (just roll with it, y’all). Dean goes in first.

Inside, they find very familiar corridors (except for a triangular sign with an eye that Dean points out) and a much-smaller version of the Bunker library, also in surprisingly good condition. This does not thrill Dean, but he does find the first clue. As Sam is saying he’s not sure where to begin (but quickly and conveniently discovers a folder about the Seal), Dean finds some old photographs. One of them, of a Sandy Porter, is of Doomed Teaser Gal.

Sam accidentally knocks some objects off the shelf as he picks up the Seal folder. Shortly afterward, the Brothers hear a woman cry for help from deep inside the capitulum. They go running to help. Me, I’d saunter slowly while trying to figure out if it’s a real person or a trap, but that’s just me.

The Brothers bust through a door, only to discover the same room from the teaser and DTG still chained to the altar, alive and apparently quite well. Still young, too. Dean, recalling the photo, asks her if she’s Sandy Porter, born in 1903, and she says yes. To her, mere moments have passed.

Meanwhile,  Ketch is at Demon Central, being blocked by a henchdemon because, even though Asmodeus summoned him, Asmodeus doesn’t really want to see him right now.

Ugh. I know I was just dying to see more of this storyline. Weren’t you? Yes, it should lead to whatever’s going on with Gabriel, but you just know they’re gonna drag this out. Painfully.

Stuck reading children’s books, Ketch is able to sneak past the demon guards while they’re watching kitten video. Inside, Asmodeus is extracting archangel grace from a helpless Gabriel and … injecting it into himself.

Now, I call bullshit on this. I really do. Just a regular angel’s grace like Anna’s disintegrated the host body of a WED. Even if Asmodeus could survive such an injection, canon has stated over and over again that his host could not.

Anyhoo.

After some back-and-forth banter about how Asmodeus owns Ketch, even as Ketch protests too much, Ketch is sent back to the waiting room. I’m not kidding. Told you they’d drag this out.

Meanwhile, the Brothers explain things to Sandy (mostly offscreen) and then take her to a diner, where Dean puts Jay Ramsey’s “Better Luck Next Time” for her on the table jukebox. She’s fascinated by all the weird technology around her (as one would be), and surprised to be still alive, but what’s especially interesting is that the cook behind the grill appears to recognize her. Hmm. Sporting a rather obvious tat on his wrist like the symbol in the capitulum, he makes a call to a woman who is standing near the altar there. She calls him “Marco” and it seems they “have a problem.”

Sandy explains to them that she met a man who told her he was part of “a secret club … the Men of Letters.” This basically confirms the MoL were willing to engage in human sacrifice, oh, yay. As Sam gets the story out of her in flashbacks, Dean reassures that she is safe. Little, of course, do they know that even the short-order cooks are cultists in this town.

Sandy’s recollection extends a bit past the teaser, to show the tentacle wrapping around her. She insists the MoL were “feeding” her to the “monster.” As the waitress comes in to offer her coffee, Sandy leaves the diner in tears.

Meanwhile, the cook is drugging/poisoning the food and pulling out a short scimitar from the oven.

Back to Ketch and Asmodeus. As Gabriel watches, Asmodeus gets out of Ketch that he knows Castiel was in Palestine, then infodumps (to remind us) that the Brothers are looking for the spell Donatello found in the Demon Tablet. Asmodeus then beats the crap out of Ketch to make him fall in line, which will almost certainly cause Ketch to rebel against him because reasons. And it’s Ketch.

I’m so over Asmodeus.

Back at the diner, the Brothers are trying to figure out what Sandy has become. They don’t appear to believe she could still be human (trapped in a time spell like Dorothy from the Oz ep, for example), while Dean is skeptical that this is the MoL’s doing, since it doesn’t seem to be there style. That’s so sweet and naive after last year’s Psycho LoL storyline, especially with Ketch being in the B plot this week. Personally, I think the MoL are quite capable of engaging in human sacrifice.

Anyhoo, Sam gets his food first and ends up drugged. Meanwhile, a young man who was hitting on one of the other waitresses sees some red-robed cultists outside. He warns the whole diner before Dean eats his food and then Sam passes out. Dean has to fight a diner full of cultists, while Sam is kidnapped. Sandy stabs the last one from behind, “saving” Dean. As soon as he realizes Sam is kidnapped, Dean makes some Molotov cocktails on the fly (as you do), while the cultists cut off all outside contact for the diner.

Meanwhile, the two lead cultists (the cook and the woman he was talking to) take Sam off into the woods and have a talk. In a rather unconvincing (but obviously telegraphed) twist, they turn out to be “good guys.” At any rate, they don’t want to kill Sam. They want to stop Sandy.

It seems that the sacrifice did go through as planned. Their ancestor, an MoL named Diego Rivera, went insane after serving in WWI, went rogue, and formed a cult. He decided to “cleanse” the world by summoning two gods, Yokoth and his mate, from another dimension to bring a new paradise. Instead, after Sandy got possessed, she ate most of the cultists and the survivors managed to trap the god, then put the capitulum on lockdown. The MoL “disavowed” the entire incident.

Meanwhile, Asmodeus is pontificating to Ketch that he wants to be redeemed, but never can be. Even when Ketch points out that he has a soul, Asmodeus is unimpressed, saying that just makes Ketch weak. Predictably, as soon as Asmodeus leaves, Ketch grabs frightened Gabriel and the archangel blade and bails, killing the demon who mocked him at the beginning of the episode, along the way. Yeah, I totally didn’t see that coming, either.

At the diner (while Dean is in back, preparing to rescue Sam), the two waitresses send the young man to find out why the cultists have suddenly disappeared. He finds the dead in the parking lot. Then he’s attacked by Sandy, who finishes eating him just as Dean comes out. This is right after the two cultists with Sam tell him that as long as they’ve been starving the goddess, she’s been kept weak. But if she feeds, well, they’re pretty screwed. Oops. They also say that “when she’s not feeding, she’s breeding.” She kidnaps Dean and the female cultist realizes that when Dean is not among the dead, he must have been taken for the other option. Double oops.

Dean wakes up on the altar. Now he’s the sacrificial maiden (more or less). Sandy is beside him, preparing the goblet. When he calls her Sandy, she says that Sandy has “been dead for a long time.”

Dean: Okay, I’ll play. What’s your name?

Sandy [eyes glowing, in an unearthly growl]: Yokoth. Star of Madness. Ravager of Galaxies. Mother of Faceless Humans.

Yes, in case y’all were wondering, we are indeed in Fake Lovecraft Mythos Land.  In case the tentacles didn’t clue you in.

Even if Dean were not an expert at getting villains to Evil Overlord monologue, Yokoth would be easy to get going. She says that she and her mate Glythur were supposed to both come through, but the rift shut before he could make it. She now intends to open the rift and let him through, whereupon he will possess Dean (because Yokoth has a wee crush on our hot, unstable Hunter Hero) and they will eat their way through the SPNverse. She’s really looking forward to that, since they’ve already consumed most of the universe they come from.

She opens the rift with a concoction of what look like human hearts and the aforementioned angel grace, and a tentacle comes through. Dean manages to head-dodge it a time or two, just as Sam and the others rush in. As they fruitlessly attack Yokoth, Dean manages to pull out his pocket knife and pick his chains. Then he leans over to snatch the Seal of Solomon from Yokoth and toss it to the female cultist. She catches it and shouts a counterspell, closing the rift. As it does, Yokoth is conveniently (and unwillingly) snatched up by her mate and dragged back to the other realm. Which solves the problem of what to do with Yokoth rather neatly.

All I can say is, poor Sandy. I sure hope her soul escaped somehow after she died and wasn’t consumed, or something. Or worse, trapped in the other realm inside Yokoth.

Afterward, the Brothers consult with the two cultists, who hand over the Seal of Solomon pretty willingly, albeit with cautions on its limitations (such as that you need something that was already in the realm you’re seeking, that the spell only lasts for 24 hours, and that you never know quite what you’ll get on the other side). Also, they need archangel grace. The Brothers know most of these limitations, already, which helps persuade the cultists that they know what they’re doing.

Back at the Bunker, Sam and Dean are surprised to see Ketch and pull guns on him. Ketch brings out Gabriel, a vial of archangel grace, and the archangel blade as peace offerings. The only thing he really seeks is sanctuary from Asmodeus (which may be a tall order, the Brothers are the most likely to be able to protect him). Sam is skeptical, but Dean shrugs and agrees. Whatever it takes to get their mom and Jack back.

Later, as Sam is cutting the thread sewing Gabriel’s mouth shut (but Gabriel remains silent), Dean comes in, ready to go to the alt-SPNverse. Sam is shocked, but Dean points out that time is a-wasting and they need to get on it.

He also tells Sam that he’s going alone. Not even Ketch coming in, saying he’s going with Dean, changes Dean’s mind. Dean’s reasoning is actually pretty sound. Someone needs to watch Gabriel. Also, if Dean gets trapped over there, they need someone/thing who’s been over there to open the rift and come get him, which would be Sam. And as for Ketch, Dean doesn’t care if Ketch dies. As a matter of fact, Dean would be pretty okay with that.

So, they open the rift and set their watches. And then Dean and Ketch go through.

Credits


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Review: Supernatural: “Wayward Sisters” (13.10)


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My collected recaps and reviews of season one, which first appeared on Innsmouth Free Press, are now up (with a few extras) on Kindle and are currently on sale through this Friday (May 18). The Kindle version is available through Amazon. 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. Just FYI.


[lots o’ spoilers ahead]


I’ve been dawdling over this review for months, largely because, on top of working full-time as an English tutor and museum science educator, I just finished a semester full of an internship for finishing up my Historic Preservation Technology degree and College Algebra (for my sins). Well, I passed those classes and graduated on Friday – and the CW has passed on picking up Wayward Sisters after months of strongly implying the series was practically a go for launch. And the season 13 finale is on Thursday.

So, now seems like a good time to revisit this episode.

I usually try to start with something positive in reviews and get to the critical stuff later on. There are some episodes where it’s more difficult to find the positive than others (translation: almost all of the Nepotism Duo entries). However, with this one, I’m going to spin the format around and go with the critical stuff first, then the viability of the characters, then the viability of the spin-off this backdoor pilot was intended to introduce. I think this spin-off’s actually pretty doable, with some tweaks, but it’s going to take a bit to explain that, and why the potential spin-off is fairly unique. I’ve seen some concerns by posters (legit concerns), though, and I want to discuss them first. Not everyone would want to sit through the viability discussion on the spin-off to get to the review of the episode itself.

Also, I’ve been trying to go in order with the episode reviews, but since there’s a whole lot of talk about the spin-off right now, I’m going to talk about this one and then go back to catching up with the other episodes I haven’t reviewed yet, this season. Also, it means I can put off reviewing yet another dull and cluttered episode by the Nepotism Duo (“War of the Worlds” (13.07)) a little while longer.

So, here’s the Bad, the Mixed and the Good.

waywardsistersnew

The Bad

Let’s talk about why some posters weren’t overly thrilled with the way the episode was set up. They were on to something. The basic premise is a hoary Western cliché that was old when Gunsmoke was on. It’s called “The men are incapacitated/out of town, and the wimminfolk have to step in and save the day.”

A signal example of why this isn’t exactly the most feminist trope ever popped up in 1978 in the original Battlestar Galactica‘s early episode, “Lost Planet of the Gods, Part I.” In it, most of the fleet’s (male) Viper pilots fall ill with a mystery virus, forcing a reluctant (and sexist) Apollo to rely on a bunch of new recruits. Most of them are young women and one of them is his new bride, Serena.

Lots of strident faux-feminist speechifying from the female characters and “down to earth,” condescending sarcasm from the male characters ensue. Naturally, as soon as the men are back on their feet, the women revert to being helpers and girlfriends, and fade into the background once more. In Serena’s case, she straight-up gets killed off in a Doomed Girlfriend in a Coma plot.

That’s the problem with the trope. It’s based on the idea that women are inherently weaker (and dumber) than men, and will only be called upon to engage in such heroic measures in an emergency when the men can’t protect them. As soon as the emergency is over, traditional gender roles snap right back into place and the women return to their kitchens. I’ll bet women who worked in the factories and trades during WWII, and lost their jobs to returning (male) GIs, cringed every time they saw this trope.

Now, obviously, the Wayward Sisters don’t quite revert to their previous roles at the end of the episode. In fact, part of what makes using this trope so awkward in this case is that it’s simply unnecessary for bringing these particular women into action. Jody, Donna, Alex and Claire are already actively Hunting. They’ve even specialized, Donna with Vampires and Claire (apparently) with Werewolves, aside from a smattering of other monsters (ghosts, not so much). Meanwhile, Alex has acquired a certain expertise in autopsying the supernatural.

This is all something of which the Brothers are well aware, having worked with Jody and Alex as recently as episode three of the season because they trust these women and their skills. Only the two new characters, Patience and Kaia (who have superpowers, but are otherwise total newbies to the Life) struggle to fit in. When Patience goes into battle with the other women, a gun is shoved into her hands and she gets offhand noises of approval when she finally manages to kill a monster.

So, why the condescending nonsense about the Little Women riding to the rescue and the dumbing down of the Brothers to accommodate the introduction of the women’s new team? Lousy, tone-deaf writing, that’s why.

Even the task the women have set themselves basically involves their staying at home in one place, waiting for the monsters to come to them, as opposed to the Brothers’ traveling around the country, putting out supernatural brushfires. Not so feminist and progressive, Show. Just sayin’.

This pops up repeatedly in the wheel-spinning the show has Sam and Dean do in the Bad Place. I saw a lot of spec that the mothershow would get canceled midway through season 14 to make way for the spin-off (pretty darned unlikely now). I think that would have been a very, very bad idea if the network wanted the mothershow’s core audience to accept the spin-off (and, at least a few months ago, it seemed apparent that they did).

Ever since the Dawn Ostroff era, saltgunners have been extremely sensitive to any hint that the CW is trying to kill off Supernatural (not least because Ostroff repeatedly did try to do that). Replacing it directly with a spin-off involving a different cast and premise would bring down that paranoia and wrath on the new show. It would kill the spin-off right at the start.

If they had taken this to series, unless Padalecki and Ackles had wanted out right away, I didn’t see the mothershow checking out before the end of season 15, in order to give the new show a good boost and remove any sense that the mothershow was being summarily replaced. Granted, that’s all moot now, unless the CW actually listens to the fan backlash over its failure to pick up the series. But this is a network where its ostensibly female-lead series are even more misogynistic than its male-lead series, while touting the mere fact it has any female-lead series in the first place as something great and progressive, so you probably shouldn’t hold your breath.

Do the showrunners and network understand this dynamic, especially after the ignominious crash-and-burn of previous would-be backdoor pilot, “Bloodlines” (which fans roundly hated for being terrible storytelling and barely even fitting into the SPNverse)? Well … some of the writing and direction this episode could have been a lot more reassuring on that level (and the network’s decision to pick up Yet Another Spin-off of The Vampire Diaries that is even less female-lead than the previous two shows kinda says it all for them).

If the Bad Place really was as deadly as Kaia kept saying it was (she claimed the Brothers wouldn’t last more than a few hours and they made it at least two days), there were better ways to show that than to write Sam and Dean as plot-stupid and suddenly unable to fight their way out of a wet paper bag with a hole in it and a pink neon sign in Kidprint font saying EXIT HERE. There simply was no way that EVOL!Kaia could have taken them both down, even though the plot was writing them as too stupid to pull out their angel swords (which EVOL!Kaia apparently never thought to take from them) until they reached the rift, let alone their guns. Guns trump a cute stick with a blade on it 99% of the time.

Sure, Meg managed it in season one. But she’s a demon and she enlisted help. Plus, that was season one.

Even the figure taking them by surprise was a dumb idea. That whole sequence failed to do what it was supposed to do – make EVOL!Kaia look badass – and just served to irritate the mothershow’s usual audience. I get that the Brothers couldn’t be the focus of the story in the sense of screentime, but their sojourn in the Bad Place could have been written a lot better. A few cute bits about Dean automatically going survivalist and Sam (unrealistically) being squeamish about eating a lizard didn’t cut it.

I mean, come on, writers. The Brothers spent most of season one looking for their father, but that was because he didn’t want to be found, not because he was too dumb to get out of his own mess.

Also not cutting it were a few random and vague references to the importance of the Brothers to the new team. Padalecki and Ackles could easily have had more time off, and the focus could still be on the women, without making the connection between them all so damned generic. This was a golden opportunity to show how much influence the Brothers have had on the next generation of Hunters, and deflect fan anger away from the new interlopers, by showing that the Sisters had an emotional connection with Sam and Dean.

Instead, the writers blew it with a few platitudes that made Claire’s motivation, especially, seem as shallow as a kiddie pool. They wouldn’t have even needed to invent a Woobie character for her to lose if they’d done a little more digging into why she would want to rush off to save Sam and Dean.

I wasn’t wowed, either, by the equally-lazy cliché of Jody and Donna (the adults) going off to investigate the boat and then having to be rescued by the teen girl pack. Well … more like Claire with a flamethrower while the others stood around looking awkward. The image definitely cut down on the danger vibe at the end of the scene.

Admittedly, part of that was another fail of the Bad Place set-up. Those creepy monsters that came through were not even remotely scary. They looked and were filmed like exactly what they were – athletic stunt guys doing parkour in creepy monster suits. The only time one looked cool and like an actual MOTW was when Alex was cutting up a dead one and removing its Mad-Max-style facemask.

Another problem with this was all the mucking about with Kaia and her character development (or sheer lack thereof). I’ll talk a bit in the section on characters about why making her and Claire a romantic couple was actually the most successful (or, at least, the least unsuccessful) aspect of their dynamic. For now, let’s focus on why that twist at the end was oh-so-not-good.

There was a common tactic in action and syndicated fantasy shows of the 80s and 90s to introduce a likeable character who appeared to be part of the main cast and then kill that character off right away, either in the pilot or the next episode or two. Basically, he or she was a disguised Red Shirt. The intent was to give the illusion that anyone could be killed off, even though everyone else usually proceeded to have adamantium plot armor until at least the end of the season.

With Kaia, they seem to have added on the cliché of replacing a likeable auxiliary character (especially one played by a PoC) with an EVOL version. Remember Sydney’s roommate in Alias? Like that. Sometimes, this works (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine had a doozy of a reveal involving Doctor Bashir, and I don’t mean the part about his being Khan-adjacent), but more often, it doesn’t, especially if the switch is permanent.

Part of the problem is that we just barely met Kaia and already, they’re rebooting her. Even if this person wearing Kaia’s face is really her with a personality change, as opposed to an EVOL alt-version of her or a monster taking on her appearance, she’s been rebooted. And it’s not as though we were especially attached to the person they just killed off, so there’s even less emotional investment in the reboot.

You have to care about an original in order to care about a reboot. This isn’t a situation like Fred and Illyria in Angel. We’ve barely met Kaia, so there’s little reason to care about her fate.

It just feels like a cheap way to introduce a really powerful character (at least, in terms of superpowers) very briefly to scatter characters into new configurations and then kill her off because she’s too superpowerful for weekly MOTW use. Plus, Dean would totally have wanted to go after his mom right now at the end of 13.10 if the Kaia of 13.09 were still alive.

So, the whole episode was locking down the new team and the premise, and not only was one character left swinging in the wind, but the writers intentionally did that. Rest assured that as this backdoor pilot isn’t going to series, we’re not likely ever to see a resolution to what happened here, any more than we had any resolution to the twist at the end of “Bloodlines” (not that anybody cared about that, but still). Look at how Jody and Donna and the rest of the crew just up and disappeared after the Donna-centric episode following this one.

Kaia’s been the focus of two episodes now and she still doesn’t feel like a real person. She feels more like a checklist of attributes, most of them making her a victim rather than a character. I feel as though the writers keep shoving her in my face (LOOK, LOOK, SHE’S A POOR INDIGENOUS STREET WAIF, FEEL SORRY FOR HER, HOW DARE YOU NOT FEEL SORRY FOR HER?), which gives me a headache and irritates me with the writers’ constant attempts to handwave their own sketchy writing. Don’t give me retro characterization and then try to guilt me into accepting it as groundbreaking writing in diversity.

While her bonding with Claire was a nice idea, it felt extremely rushed (especially with all the slashy overtones). I could see Claire feeling bad that she’d failed to save an innocent she’d sworn to protect (like the little girl at the beginning), but flinging herself into Jody’s arms and weeping as though she’d lost the love of her life after Kaia’s death? That I don’t get.

I could see her grieving over Dean like that, or Castiel (who gets zero concern from Claire or anyone else this episode, despite also being in the wind at this point as far as they know). It’s certainly how she grieved over her mother. And in the episode where she gets turned into a werewolf, we see Dean leave the room when he believes she is dying because he can’t watch. So, there is a bond between those two. But Kaia? Claire knew her for all of five minutes. Where is all of this emotion coming from?

And why does Kaia suddenly decide to trust her after flatly refusing to help Jack or the Brothers? That seems vaguely misandrist. It’s the same lesbian-knight-saves-superpowered-damsel-in-distress conflict as the one involving Charlie and the fairy in “LARP and the Real Girl,” except that this time, the fairy dies and is a WoC (Woman of Color). The plot eventually resolves into a case where a WoC with sparkly powers gets fridged to motivate a white character who is being presented as the episode’s Hero. Hmmm, yeah, nope, not so progressive.

Also, Kaia wasn’t very sympathetic in either of her episodes. She was whiny and helpless and not even very good at escaping humans, let alone taking care of herself against supernatural creatures. She seemed to oscillate between fearful “Well, screw you all; I’m leaving you to clean up my multiverse mess” and “I shall face my fears by coming over to the other world and helping you, fair Claire.”

I never got any sense of responsibility for her own actions, let alone heroism, from Kaia. Granted, it was a stupid idea to let her actually go with Claire to the Bad Place, since she was the only one who could find it, but a little stepping-up-to-the-plate seemed in order for her being part of the team. She seemed very selfish and immature, except for the jarring shift to “By golly, I will help you” at the end of both this and the previous episodes.

It might have worked with an older and more experienced actress, but really, a lot of it was down to the poor writing and weird direction. I also sensed, from the terrible and choppy way the fight scene in the Bad Place was staged (a lot like the very frustrating cutting back and forth in the dark that you see in Arrow), that a natural at stage-fighting she’s not. It reminded me of all the dancing around Katie Cassidy’s lack of stage-fighting skills in season three.

Spn1112_0471-770x470

The Mixed

On the opposite end of the spectrum from Kaia, I think Jody and Donna were the best-realized of the characters. Sure, they’ve had multiple episodes to develop and the characters are also played by older and more experienced actresses. But also, I think a lot of it came down to the fact that Jody and Donna have their own supernatural-rooted conflicts, based on their being cops in a rural area, and Jody’s loss of her husband and son to monsters. Plus, their training and experience as law enforcement officers have given them a jump-start on the skills they need to survive as Hunters.

They don’t suffer from constant comparisons to Sam and Dean because their central character conflicts aren’t directly pilfered from Sam and Dean. I’d definitely watch a show with just Jody and Donna (I especially liked their incidental theme music while they were boarding the boat). They make a great team and come across as salty old Hunters in the Winchester tradition, already. I’m rather less certain I’d watch a show with just the younger women.

Some people had issues with Donna due to her accent and boisterously pro-gun attitude, but Jody was the one who struck me as a bit of a weathervane character in “Wayward Sisters.” I don’t mind Donna’s accent. She’s an obvious homage to Marge Gunderson in Fargo, whom I love as a character. I love the series, too (plenty of broad accents in that).

You may ask why I hated the RP English accents of last season, but had no problem with Donna’s. Let’s just say that the RP accents of characters like Bela and Toni were genuinely fake, and represented some weird and ugly national stereotypes. But there are some people in the U.S. who actually talk like Donna and certainly some who act like her. And that regional stereotype really is more broad than negative.

More to the point, she’s not an antagonist, and is a solid and capable Hunter. Donna may have issues with her weight and with men (especially her jerkoff ex), but she is fully confident and competent Hunting Vampires.

Jody is fine this episode when she’s off with Donna, but she flip-flops a lot whenever she’s with Claire. She wants Claire to be safe. No, she wants to let Claire go save the world. Make up your mind, Jody.

In the process, she also ends up ignoring Alex, a girl she previously had gone to bat for with the Brothers to save her when Alex was forcibly turned into a Vampire and they were considering killing her. I get that Jody’s desire to create another family to replace the one that died (no matter how much she may protest that’s not so) fuels this emotional conflict. But the writing for it could be a lot better and not portray Jody as an emotional jellyfish. Also, there was no way she should have let Kaia go through the multiverse rip with Claire.

I noticed a lot of questions on social media about why Claire gets so much prominence in the backdoor pilot (and honestly, I hope the series doesn’t go the route of an ensemble cast where one character gets far more coverage than anyone else). Her being white and blonde seems a rather obvious factor. But more so is that as a character, she’s been around longer than any of the other characters in the spin-off (since season four’s “The Rapture”), though Kathryn Newton has only been playing Claire since season ten, when the character popped up again after a six-season hiatus.

Another cogent reason is that Claire is a legacy member of Team Free Will. Castiel has been wearing her (now-dead) father’s body since before he met the Brothers and she has also harbored him as a vessel. So, she has a direct “familial” connection to the Brothers. It helps that Newton seems pretty comfortable with all the physical stuff of the role.

That said, Claire, despite having a lot of roots in the mothershow, is still a bit nebulous in terms of motivation and character. I noted before that I thought making her lesbian – or at least bisexual – was actually a good idea. It defuses a potentially problematical aspect of her character to this point – she has developed a monumental crush on Dean, which has caused a fair amount of unease for both Dean and Jody.

Dean actually loves Claire dearly, enough that, as I said before, he was forced to leave the room when she took the torturous werewolf cure last season and didn’t want her to go through with it due to the high mortality rate. But he loves her as a father and would never, ever sleep with her. He is acutely aware of the fact that he is twice her age and that she is effectively his best friend’s mortal daughter. Claire may talk about how much she owes both Sam and Dean (and she does have a bond with Sam, as well). But she is carrying a big, bright, sparkly Daddy-Figure torch for Dean and this has caused him to put some emotional distance between them.

If Claire is gay, then this soft ground firms up considerably for the writers. The highly inappropriate puppy-dog-love chemistry with this scarred Hunter old enough to be her daddy becomes much less squicky and turns into more appropriate father-daughter chemistry.

Dean has also distanced himself because he appears to blame himself for her self-destructive path into Hunting and sees himself as a terrible role model. Jody, on the other hand, appears to see that Dean’s very mental health issues make him a good role model for troubled young Hunters like Claire because he is a survivor who has used his own damage to become a Hero. A damaged person like Dean, much more than some unattainable paragon of virtue, gives hope to the damaged people who enter Hunting as a major avocation or even full-time profession. Him they can emulate.

One problem is that Claire strives to be like Dean without quite understanding who Dean is or what makes him a great Hunter and Hero. Claire goes in, half-cocked and guns blazing, without understanding that one of the most cunning, sneaky, and strategic people in the SPNverse is Dean Winchester. If Dean does go in big, dumb and beautiful, that’s a tactic, not a sign that he’s too dopey or prideful to do it any other way.

Claire, now being fully orphaned, also doesn’t quite get Dean’s loyalty and devotion to family. The person who gets this, weirdly enough, is Alex. So, while Claire thinks she’s being like Dean, Alex is being like Dean. Claire is more like season-one Sam in that she is seeking revenge and being a hot-head. Alex is staying home and backing Jody up. We even saw her save Jody from a brainwashed Mary last season.

Alex also has important support skills in that she is now a nurse or in nursing school, or something. Let’s hope the show actually starts researching emergency medicine a bit better from now on to suit her role (because she and the others will probably be back, at least on the mothershow). Alex (like Sam) is really only in Hunting out of loyalty to Jody and also (like Sam) feels tainted by her years with a vampire family. Like Sam, Alex is seeking a kind of normal that is so idealized it probably doesn’t exist, while not feeling especially worthy of it or able to identify and find it.

Unfortunately, while Alex got in some good Dean-style lines (“You look like Biker Barbie”), she had very little development aside from some bonding with Claire and Jody. She was effectively shunted aside by all the other characters.

So, let’s talk about Patience. Patience got a full-episode introduction earlier this season in the eponymous “Patience” (13.03). Admittedly, she comes off as bland and low-key in this one compared to all the over-the-topness of certain other characters, but I think her character arc worked the best of them.

Alex desires Normal. Patience just left Normal behind in Atlanta and went off on a Hero’s Journey. She wants to use her power of prophecy to help people. She even basically got disowned by her father in the previous episode for leaving to come to Jody’s. So, Patience may look boring at the moment, but a lot is going on with her.

In addition, Patience also had a few checks on her ego about the above big mission to save others. For one thing, everyone else (except for Kaia, who was kinda grandfathered in) knew a lot more about Hunting and handling guns than she did. For another, the vision that sent her to Jody’s in the first place to try to save Claire ended up saving no one. Not only did it come true, but Patience belatedly realized that it came true because she had misinterpreted it. What she had thought was Claire’s death was actually Claire grieving over Kaia’s death. Prophecy isn’t quite as straightforward as she thought or as the show made it look in her first episode. This is humbling for her.

It’s also really, really nice to see an African American woman who isn’t a condescending stereotype. Patience is boring, middle-class, and academically smart, and that’s the whole point. Technically, she doesn’t have to be there. She has a stable home she could return to. Despite losing her mother and grandmother at a young age, she’s not rocked by trauma and forced out onto the road. She’s a volunteer. She just wants to do something good with her gift.

What makes no sense, though (and I can’t believe I’m saying this because I hated the incessant, years-long focus on Sam’s psychic storyline), is that Sam never has a conversation with her about her visions. Her visions are almost exactly the same as his psychic abilities in the first two seasons, and her grandmother lampshaded Sam’s abilities like crazy back in season one. But nope, not a peep between Sam and Patience about it. Sam has no conversation with Kaia about it, either, for that matter, nor does Dean ever bring up with her the considerable amount of dreamwalking and travel beween worlds he’s done. That absence was glaring to me.

But unlike some fans, I actually don’t mind the women being on the show and I think the focus on the spin-off gave the writing a direction last season distinctly lacked (let’s be honest – Lucifer on the Loose was boring as hell. So was anything to do with the LoL). But considering Sam and Dean are the inspiration for the formation of the Wayward Sisters in-verse, the least the show could do was have some more expression about what that means. A little vague mumbling from Claire and Jody about how Sam and Dean are missing (really? Those guys go missing more often than a tomcat on the prowl) and the women owe them doesn’t cut it. I’d like to see how that thinking has evolved to this point. I mean, hell, every time Bobby and/or Rufus popped up in their later appearances, the show practically went into hagiography mode. I did not sense anything inspirational or special about the Brothers’ appearance in this episode (though there were hints with Dean in the Patience episode).

waywardsisters

The Good

As for SPN being sexist or misogynistic, simply put, it’s not. Women have always been portrayed as Hunters or potential Hunters in the show. They handle weapons. They kill things. They kick ass.

Patience was actually slapped on the back for killing a human-like monster this week. Women don’t get to kill anything on American TV without a huge negative deal made about it, let alone praised for it. Yet, after the Sisters killed all those things, it was Miller Time. The only dampener was the loss of a comrade, not any squeamishness or guilt over killing monsters.

The potential for a female-led storyline has always been there, which is a lot more than I can say for The Vampire Diaries (where the two male leads metaphorically smothered the female lead) or The Originals (where women are either victims or evil bitches – sorry, evil witches), two supposedly female-oriented CW dark fantasy shows that utterly fail to be feminist.

Legends of Tomorrow plays up Sara’s character a whole lot, but the sole other female character (who is always a WoC) seems to get switched in and out interchangeably, rendering women barely a third of the cast. Similarly, male characters also dominate Arrow and the female characters are either love interests, annoying little sister types or screeching harpies (oh, hello, Laurel).

I love Kara and her sister’s relationship on Supergirl (not to mention Alex’s coming out), but dear God, if I have to hear her apologize and grovel one more time for something a male lead never would have been dunned on, I’m gonna scream. Same deal with iZombie and the title character having to be “nice” to everyone (she’s a freakin’ zombie, people!).

Jane the Virgin is female-centric, but it’s also basically a soap opera – very traditional roles for women. And have you seen lowest-rated-show-in-network-history-for-two-whole-seasons Crazy Ex-Girlfriend? Sure, the songs are bouncy, but between the songs are long, arid, grim stretches of the title character actually being a crazy ex-girlfriend, doing things that a male character in film or TV rom-com or adventure would be considered heroic for doing (even though, in the real world, they would indeed be creepy and stalkerish). The only difference is that it’s a woman doing it and women are never portrayed positively doing this stuff. It’s a really negative portrayal.

This baffles me, since Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is hailed as feminist, yet it’s about as anti-feminist as it can be. It breaks no new cinematic ground whatsoever.

There’s The 100 (which I never got into much), but even they did a Bury Your Gay Girls storyline and the showrunners never figured out why that was a problem.

Black Lightning started out a bit iffy on that score (Lynn and her youngest daughter are both rather annoying cliches at the start), but Anissa at the drug store was about the most badass intro to a character’s new powers under fluorescent lighting since we saw Demon!Dean take out an Amara fan at the beginning of season ten. Any showrunners for the “Wayward Sisters” spin-off ought to have taken notes.

There’s a reason why some female viewers like SPN but really dislike other CW shows. And it’s not self-hate or internalized misogyny. The CW claims to have young women as its target audience, but most of its entries are every bit as sexist and misogynistic as the rest of TV.

Not a surprise, considering the network is no more welcoming to women and People of Color as producers than any other network. The pro-Girl Power thing is all just a big marketing dodge. On Supernatural, it’s downright refreshing to see women kill multiple human-like monsters, handle guns, and brag about their weapons collection, without an ounce of remorse or squeamishness (and several actresses from Samantha Ferris to Cyndy Sampson to Marisa Ramirez to Kim Rhodes and Briana Buckmaster have commented over the years on how refreshing it is to get to handle weapons and do real stunts). Go team.

This is usually the point where we get into how a woman can be strong and feminist without wielding a gun or other weapon. And that’s true. But don’t discount the number of contortions TV or film writers go through to avoid having women – ordinary women – get physical in fights and, especially, handle guns. If the only way a woman can be strong compared to men is never in a fight, that’s a problem. If the only way a woman can be strong compared to ordinary men is if she has superpowers (especially if she has to keep apologizing for having them), that’s a big problem. Supernatural doesn’t have that problem. It never did.

Dabb isn’t all that great a writer or showrunner, and he lacks the kind of support Kripke had in the early years. But the world of SPN was established years before he came on board. It is one that has always portrayed characters from many walks of life, both genders, different cultures, different ethnicities, and GLBT who were solid Hunters, years before that was actually fashionable. It’s easy to forget that shows like Highlander portrayed women as physically and even mentally inferior to men, to the point where it seemed a ludicrous idea that a woman Immortal could ever win the Game without cheating. Hence, the female-lead sequel, Raven, bombed horribly, despite having a likable female lead who had been a fan favorite on the previous show. Admittedly, the unlikable male lead and the misogynistic writing didn’t help, but neither did six seasons of the previous show telling us an Immortal woman was so useless in a fight that even a really ancient Immortal like Cassandra couldn’t team up with Methos and take out the rest of the Horsemen. Or any of the Horsemen, for that matter, despite her being almost as old as they were.

As for the much-vaunted Buffy and Angel, if you watch them again, you’ll see a lot of traditional gender roles for women who aren’t superpowered superheroes. For every Buffy, there are five Willows or even Freds. Shows where women are regularly shown as strong, capable and lethal in a physical fight (like Xena: Warrior Princess, or even the far-more-recent Lost Girl) are rare. And even then, the women in Xena wore some pretty revealing outfits clearly not intended to attract a straight female audience (though the Xena showrunners happily pandered to the enthusiastically lesbian portion of their fandom that grew up, at least for the most part).

So, it was no small thing when, a full season before an annoyed Dean informed Jo Harvelle that he had no problems with female Hunters, just idiots, an equally annoyed Dean handed young Kat in “Asylum” a saltgun because she was the one with the gun skills and the moxie, not her dippy boyfriend. And it was Kat who tagged along with Dean and got some grumpy instruction in Hunting from him.

The show has definitely had its issues with portraying gender and women’s issues over the years (and the godawful fight scene in which Sam and Dean are dumbed down enough to get taken down by a lame hooded figure with a blade on a stick is unfortunately not a first), but it’s also tried hard to portray a world where women are in no way inferior to men, as a group, when it comes to battling supernaturally dangerous creatures. Even if that means physically.

This is how “Wayward Sisters” can have an all-female cast of new and established Hunter characters who still feel as though they belong in the SPNverse (as opposed to the obnoxiously snobby One Percenter monsters of “Bloodlines,” which felt like Supernatural: The Originals, which is not a compliment). The casting is extremely critical for such a show (as we saw with the casting of Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles). So, even though the writing for “Wayward Sisters” was creaky, cliched and often tonedeaf, while the direction was uncharacteristically clumsy for show veteran Phil Sgriccia, the chemistry the women on this team have (which is mostly considerable) overcame that because it had the worldbuilding at its back (like Xena) rather than undercutting it (like Highlander: The Raven). The new show can always get new, and better, showrunners, certainly better writers, but none of that would do it any good if the cast chemistry weren’t there.

Fortunately, the cast chemistry is there, especially for Jody and Donna, and Claire and Alex. Patience is bland, but the actress seems capable of taking her somewhere (her reaction to her first monster kill was a hoot) with some decent writing.

So, while there are definitely improvements to be made, and some things could go horrendously wrong (especially with the current showrunning and writing team), I think there are some solid bones here on which to build a new show. Too bad it didn’t get picked up.

wayward


Next: War of the Worlds: The Nepotism Duo return with another confusing tale about the alt-SPNverse, Lucifer, alt-Michael and Asmodeus.


I’ll be doing my live recap of “The Thing” here later tonight or tomorrow. I’ll try to catch up with the recaps of the rest of the season before Thursday night. Wish me luck.


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The Official Supernatural: “ScoobyNatural” (13.16) 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.

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. 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.

In case you’ve been under a rock all day, the show got renewed.

We begin with Dean getting tossed around a shop by a giant, possessed … uh … green dinosaur. Really. We know it’s possessed by something because its eyes keep glowing. Sam jumps into the fray and tackles the dino. As Sam pins it down, Dean pours holy oil on it, then yells at Sam to get out of the way as he tosses a lighter on it. The dinosaur thrashes around, burning, then explodes into a shower of green and white confetti. Just in case you were expecting this to be a serious episode.

As the Brothers get their breath back, the shopkeeper (named Alan) stands up from behind his counter and asks if it’s over. Sam says yes and apologizes for the mess, but Alan heads him off at the guilt pass.

Alan: You guys just took down an evil plushie that was trying to kill me. We’re all good!

Another guy comes in, whom Alan introduces as owning most of the real estate in the general area. The guy is suspicious of the Brothers, but this doesn’t stop Dean from taking Alan up on his offer to give them anything in his store. Dean chooses a large screen color TV, around which he creates a “Dean cave” back at the Bunker, while Sam tries to research how and by what an evil stuff dinosaur could have been possessed.

When Dean shows Sam the Dean Cave, Sam asks how Dean found the time to organize the room. Dean tells him that you just make time, which probably translates to Dean being totally sleepless and wired on something. But let’s not go down that rabbit hole.

When Dean hits the remote on the TV, something strange happens. The same violet light that appeared in the dinosaur’s eyes lights up the TV screen and then flashes out at the Brothers. They disappear …

… and reappear inside a cartoon.

After an initial mutual freak-out, Sam starts to dither a bit more on his own that maybe it’s a dream. Dean slaps him (leaving a literal, if temporary, handprint) and tells him to focus. Sam’s still stuck on whether they’re inside the TV or what. Dean says that maybe it’s an angel thing, or the Trickster.

Sam: But he’s dead.

Dean: Or … is he?

Obvious foreshadowing is obvious.

Dean quickly boils it down to: In order get out, they have to forge on, so when they discover the Impala right next to them (when Sam questions this, Dean suggests it’s because the keys are in his pocket), they get out on the road and drive to the tune of “Dean’s Dirty Organ.”

They soon arrive at a malt shop, which Sam is rather sarcastic about. Dean says they should just pull in, go inside, ask some questions, and get their bearings. But then they see a shocking sight. The Mystery Machine is parked outside. They are inside a Scooby-Doo cartoon.

Cue animated title cards with the title “Scoobynatural.”

[sigh] We’re gonna get a cartoon spin-off now, aren’t we?

The Brothers enter the malt shop and Dean immediately spots the Scooby Gang dancing, while Scooby himself is drinking a series of milkshakes. Dean fanboys, but Sam is more skeptical. Why would Dean care so much? Dean points out that they watched Scooby-Doo their entire childhood. He calls the Scooby Gang “our role models.”

Dean: Just think about it – we do the same thing. We go to spooky places. We solve mysteries. We fight ghosts.

When Sam points out that their ghosts are real and dangerous, and they don’t have a talking dog, Dean compares Castiel to one.

So, the Brothers introduce themselves to the Scooby Gang and try to get through to them that they’re famous. The Scooby Gang respond rather blankly to this, especially Daphne, who acts like a total airhead when Dean hits on her relentlessly right in front of Fred. Actually (spoiler alert), Daphne acts like a total airhead the entire episode and Dean hits on her relentlessly the whole time, and I can’t say I’m wowed by that dynamic at all, even if Dean is up front about his contempt for Fred.

So, the Scoobies are on a case. It seems Scooby-Doo just inherited a fortune from a mysterious Southern colonel (even in a cartoon episode, we just can’t escape the suckage that is Asmodeus). He saved the guy from drowning, but now the Colonel is dead and they’re off to visit his creepy old house. The Scooby Gang senses a mystery.

When Sam grumbles a bit too loudly about this, Dean pulls him aside for a much-needed attitude-adjustment chat. Sam complains that the cartoon world they’re in is so shallow that there isn’t even any print in the newspaper article about the Colonel’s death. Dean reminds him that the last time they ended up inside a TV (“Changing Channels”), they had to play along until they could get back out. So, he’s playing along. Sam reluctantly comes with as Dean easily weasels his way into riding with the Scoobies. But not before some road food involving Shaggy, Scooby – and Dean – eating their signature absolutely enormous sandwiches. Reportedly, this was Jensen Ackles’ favorite bit to voice in the episode.

Outside, Dean challenges Fred to a drag race, which (alas) the Mystery Machine easily wins when Fred beats Dean on the draw. Sam asks Dean why he hates Fred so much and Dean’s response boils down to “He’s perfect.” Oh, Dean.

Sam: Let it go, dude.

Dean [after a moment of apparent defeat]: NO.

At the creepy old mansion, Dean realizes they’re in the episode, “A Night of Fright Is No Delight.” This is a real episode, btw, from season one.

At the reading of the will (which is on a vinyl record), the Colonel tells his various heirs that each one will inherit a million dollars, but only if they can stay the night at his mansion. If any of them leaves, their share will go to the others who don’t. There’s one catch – the house is haunted. The startles Sam and frightens Scooby.

Sam complains that the conditions are ridiculous and can’t possibly be legal, causing Velma to tell him that ghosts don’t exist and these kinds of situations happen all the time. Sam starts to blurt out that sure, they happen inside a cartoon, but Dean stops him. Dean tells Sam that the Scooby Gang are “pure and good,” and the Brothers aren’t going to blow that for them by messing with their minds by telling them they’re inside a cartoon.

Sam grumbles that Dean just wants to get with Daphne. He has a point (Dean’s obsession with Daphne is pretty messed up), but so does Dean. There really isn’t any positive or beneficial point to destroying the Scooby Gang’s sense of their own reality, any more than Sam and Dean can just skip to the end of the story. After all the fantasy worlds they’ve been in, Sam should know that by now, but maybe Dean’s just more of a veteran of this multiple-worlds deal.

The lawyer, Cosgood, tells them he’ll be back in the morning and leaves with a creepy laugh. Dean tells Sam Cosgood is the bad guy of the episode. Sam rolls his eyes. If they watched Scooby-Doo their entire childhoods, shouldn’t Sam have a good chance of remembering this episode, too?

Anyhoo, one of the side characters (an heir) suggests they all turn in at 10pm, which gives Dean the chance to creep on Daphne some more. Sadly, she notes that “girls and boys don’t sleep together” and goes off to sleep with Velma. In the same bed. Oh, the possibilities. But since it’s written by two straight guys who totally didn’t see the #Metoo movement coming, that doesn’t go anywhere.

Dean and Sam have to sleep in the same room as Fred and Scooby (not sure where Shaggy is). As usual, Dean finds perks to their current situation. He loves wearing a nightshirt. Sam is in pajamas. So is Fred.

Meanwhile, the girls are talking about the Brothers. Daphne likes them and Velma thinks Dean is okay, but thinks Sam is an idiot for believing in ghosts. Daphne calls her on this, pointing out that Sam is just Velma’s type, and Velma blushes.

Meanwhile, what looks like a ghost is roaming the halls, cackling. One of the heirs is brushing his teeth when the lights flicker and his breath fogs up. He turns around to see the ghost, which goes after him with a knife while flaring pink light.

Meanwhile, Sam is complaining about Dean eating another sandwich while the others sleep. Dean uses his knowledge of the episode to note that in a minute or so, someone will go missing and “the Scoobies are gonna think that it’s a ghost. But really, it’s the lawyer, Cosgood Creeps, in disguise.” At that moment, they hear a scream. “Toldja,” Dean says.

Everyone runs toward the room from which emit the screams (note: The animation for this episode is better than the rather bare-bones animation of the original; Hanna-Barbera wasn’t known for sparing no expense). Inside the heir’s room, Daphne finds a body soaked in blood. Dean is confused, saying the “dummy bodies don’t show up until later,” but when Sam pulls off the blanket, the heir is really dead, stabbed to death. The Scooby Gang is shocked.

Fred utters the classic Scooby phrase: “Well, gang, it looks like we got another mystery on our hands.” The Brothers are flabbergasted at how cold-blooded the Scooby Gang is about the murder, as the Scoobies stroll off to look for clues, utterly unconcerned by what they’ve just seen.

Dean is confused, saying that nobody ever dies in Scooby-Doo. Sam worries that if the rules have changed so much that a character has died, they can, too. Dean is more worried about Scooby dying: “I’d take a bullet for that dog.”

In the drawing room, Shaggy and Scooby are frightened by the possibility that ghosts really exist, while Fred and Velma pooh-pooh the idea. But as Velma is taking a page from Sherlock Holmes, a creepy figure creeps past the window behind her. The Brothers get into position to ambush it as it opens the window, but Fred grabs it first, throwing it to the ground wrapped in a curtain. When Dean yanks off the curtain, it’s … Castiel.

Startled, the Brothers help him up and Dean introduces him to the Scooby-Gang. Shaggy and Scooby come right up to welcome him, prompting Castiel to note that Scooby talks. Apparently, the show writers forgot that Castiel can talk to animals and doesn’t find it strange in the least.

Dean asks Castiel how he got into the cartoon. There’s a flashback of Castiel returning from Syria with “fruit from the tree of life.” He recounts an amusing tale of killing most of the djinn who were guarding it, before striking up a bargain with the survivors and accidentally marrying their queen.

He entered the room where the cursed TV was, saw the Brothers starting their drag race with the Mystery Machine, saw pink and purple sparks, and was dragged into the cartoon. There’s previously been a creepy figure as the Impala roared away in the drag race. It turns out that was Castiel.

As the Brothers bring Castiel up to speed, Velma listens in, then mocks Sam for his belief in ghosts. Gotta say that even for simplistic cartoon characters, the Scooby Gang are annoyingly broad here, with the exception of Shaggy and Scooby, who are criminally underused so far. The voicework for them is great, though.

Suddenly, there’s a distant roar, the lights flicker, and the room turns cold, scaring Shaggy and Scooby. Cue a montage of lit lamps and flashlights, and ghost hands on window glass, as everyone investigates. The Brothers hear a side character getting sliced and diced inside a room, and investigate. But all the doors in the very long hallway slam shut and when Sam reaches for a doorknob, a ghostly hand slaps his flashlight aside.

Then the ghost makes its appearance. Shaggy and Scooby jump into each other’s and then Castiel’s arms. Fred tackles the ghost twice, which doesn’t help when the ghost disappears into the wall. The Brothers duck. There’s some discussion from Velma about how this couldn’t possibly be a ghost, then they all open the door to the room and find a side character ripped apart inside, with half of him tied to the ceiling. Dean nearly throws up. The Scooby Gang walks off, totally unfazed.

Sam asks Dean if the Scooby Gang is always this cold-blooded about dead bodies, but Dean is more concerned about the obvious signs of a real haunting. He thinks the cartoon itself is haunted.

Back downstairs, Fred’s plan is for everyone to split up and “go looking for clues.” The Brothers and Castiel think this is a terrible idea and Sam tries to tell the Scooby Gang that he and Dean can’t protect them if they do that. Velma calls Sam “chicken.”

They compromise on Dean going with Daphne (and, unwillingly, Fred), Velma off with Sam, and Castiel guarding Shaggy and Scooby. Up in the attic, Velma both insults and hits on Sam something heavy. Sam tries to give her The Talk, but Velma will have none of it, not even when they find a chest of possessed toys, covered with ectoplasm, that attack them and drive them out of the attic.

[will finish this tomorrow night]

[Back. Sorry, but I just got 12 trees from the Arbor Day Foundation and the only time I have to plant them as they merrily sprout from twigs is after I get home at dusk. It’s been kind of a busy week.]

Anyhoo, in the library, Dean is hitting on Daphne again and asking her what she likes in a man. She says the usual and then adds “an ascot,” which leaves Dean rather taken aback. Not lovin’ this subplot at all, but I do like when Dean notices a book standing out from the bookshelf (all the other books are painted on the background) and calls this to the attention of Daphne and Fred, who are dismissive about it, at least until a trapdoor appears underneath them and throws them down a long, twisty shaft to a cellar. There, in the dark, Dean thinks he’s talking to Daphne, but it turns out to be the ghost, who chases them.

But then, the ghost is also stalking Scooby, Shaggy and Castiel upstairs. And while I don’t mind at all that Castiel is in this story, why have Scooby and Shaggy been relegated to comic relief with Castiel when Scooby’s the actual star of the show? Why all the focus on Fred, Daphne and Velma, who are boring twits because they are the straight-man supporting characters? There’s not enough Scooby and Shaggy in this episode.

Scooby and Shaggy are frightened by the ghost and run from him. Castiel isn’t, at first, but when Scooby and Shaggy grab him, he’s suddenly telling them to run (cartoon logic, I tell ya).

Cue the classic Scooby-Doo theme song (finally), which involves lots of the old running-around gag (Scrappy-Doo even pops up during a run down the hallway through different doors, though the gag is mercifully brief), and Dean alternately protecting and hitting on a clueless Daphne. Think she’s more in danger from him than from the ghost, though she’s kinda into it toward the end of the montage.

The song ends with their boarding up all the doors and tumbling back into the drawing room. But the ghost busts through and tosses the Scooby Gang all over the place. Poor Shaggy even gets defenestrated, though Scooby goes after him and Castiel saves them both. Sam grabs some iron candlesticks, and he and Dean drive off the ghost.

Fred gets a bloody nose and Shaggy breaks his arm, which shocks the Scoobies to no end. Sam’s suggestion to Dean that they give the Scoobies The Talk backfires as the Scoobies totally freak out and turn on each other (Shaggy is especially bitter). Dean is forced to give them a rousing pep talk about how they are “heroes” and have beaten many a bad guy before. They can do this.

They’re game, but Velma points out that the Scoobies know nothing about real ghosts. Sam says that’s okay. And he and Dean show them the Impala’s trunk. Dean is a little horrified, saying giving salt guns and other such weapons to the Scoobies is a “Scooby-don’t.” But Fred finally wins Dean’s admiration when he says that “we have to do something” and that they can help.

Putting a hand on Fred’s shoulder and swearing for only the second time in the episode (at least in the cartoon world,” Dean says, “You’re fucking right you can.”

Cue Fred setting an elaborate, Goldbergian trap in the drawing room. The trap doesn’t quite work as planned. When Scooby, Shaggy and Castiel act as bait, they get the ghost after them, but accidentally get stuck in the trap. But Dean has a Plan B (“Fred’s plans never work”), which involves the ghost chasing the other Scoobies before being distracted by a book-pelting Scooby, who weighs the ghost down with some books and sends it down the trap door.

The ghost finds itself trapped inside a line of salt (there’s a neat effect of the barrier as it thrashes around inside it that the show usually can’t afford to do). After the Brothers and Castiel inform it that it’s trapped, it finally reveals its true form and identity. It’s a little boy. His soul was attached to a pocketknife, which the creepy neighbor guy of the pawn shop owner got hold of. The guy has been using it to force everyone in the area to sell their shops to him for cheap. That’s why he owns almost everything there. It’s why he compelled the ghost to attack Alan, the pawn shop owner, with the green Barney dinosaur plushie.

The ghost is happy to send them back to the real world after they promise to release it once they get there. But first, Dean asks a favor of it. The Scooby Gang is totally freaked out, so the ghost pretends to be Cosgood and the Scooby Gang reveal him. Castiel heals Shaggy on the sly, Velma acts all smug and then kisses Sam, and Dean says a goodbye to Daphne that she promptly forgets as she runs after Fred and the others leave. Then the ghost reappears, and the Brothers and Castiel are sent back to the real world.

At this point, even Sam is willing to admit that they just had a “cool” experience. Dean agrees, though much more enthusiastically, but quickly gets back down to business. He goes out and returns with a blowtorch and a sledgehammer. Smashing the TV, he finds the pocketknife. The little boy ghost reappears and asks if he will be with his beloved father now. The Brothers are gentle with him as Sam torches the pocketknife. The little boy’s ghost disappears in a puff of white light and smoke up to Heaven.

At the shop, Alan is about to sign away his business to Creepy Real Estate Guy (Jay). Fortunately, the Brothers show up with Castiel, Dean wearing an ascot. Sam and Castiel lay out the plan – he used the ghost to scare off all the local business people so he could buy up their property cheap. CREG tries to claim they can’t prove anything about a ghost. Sam agrees, which is why they hacked his accounts and found out he doesn’t pay his taxes.

As they watch him get put into the car, Sam realizes, “Velma was right. It was a shady real estate developer, after all.”

CREG [as he’s being put in the car]: It’s not fair! I’d have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for those meddling kids! [since when are Dean and Sam still kids? Let alone Castiel?]

Dean: [gasp!] He said it! He said the line! [looks straight at the camera] Scooby-Dooby-Doooooooo! [Sam and Castiel walk away in disgust]

Castiel: Dean, you’re not a talking dog.

Credits are in a different font this week and there’s a new theme song.


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The Official Supernatural: “A Most Holy Man” (13.15) Live Recap Thread


We need your help!

Contribute monthly via Patreon (which includes perks), make a one-time donation through Paypal, or buy us a coffee.

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. 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. Just FYI.

Right. So, we start at the convent of the Holy Sisters of Malta. There is no such thing, though Malta has many convents of nuns and monks. To answer CC’s question from the previous episode’s discussion, the terms “convent” or “monastery” can be used interchangeably for monks and nuns. Also, double monasteries of monks and nuns were a big thing in the early Middle Ages, until they were banned more-or-less permanently by the Second Council of Nicaea in 787. Some were even ruled over by abbesses.

But this is not one of those places. The man who sneaks out in the stone corridor after a small group of nuns passes by is in priestly garb (albeit somebody forgot to add the dog collar) and priestly confessors are allowed in convents for nuns.

He goes into a small chapel where a plain skull is on display in a glass case. Hmm, relics of bone are always in reliquaries that are exquisitely decorated with gold and jewels, as are often the relics themselves. This display is set up like a modern museum piece. I also get the impression that setting this teaser on Malta is intended to be a shout-out to the perennially (especially this year) popular Knights Templar via the film, The Maltese Falcon, while failing to realize that the crawl at the beginning of the film (based on Hammett’s own error in the book) is incorrect. The Templars no longer existed as a group by the 16th century and the military religious order that ruled Malta was actually the Knights of St John (the Hospitallers). More absence of pretty much any historical research on the part of this episode’s writers, Singer and Dabb. Not generally a good sign.

Anyhoo, predictably, he is caught out by a disapproving nun after smashing the case and grabbing the skull. Also predictably, he knocks her out (her groans emphasize that she is only stunned) and scarpers. In a double irony, he sarcastically asks for her forgiveness as he goes: As a nun, she can’t grant him absolution and he’s obviously not a real priest (the person who could). But I suspect he’s done far worse things than theft and beating down nuns, so I doubt it matters to him. He’d likely care a lot more if he knew Hell was real.

Cue title cards.

Cut to the Bunker, where we get the obligatory “Where are all the missing recurring characters this week?” wrap-up from Sam and Dean, with Dean taking in processing field reports while Sam does research. Sam can’t find anything about the Seal of Solomon. Dean says Castiel is in Syria, looking for a fruit from the Tree of Life (damn, was hoping we’d get an episode about that). Dean also reiterates that they can’t find Lucifer, so no archangel grace at the moment. That leaves the blood of a holy man on their dance card.

Sam figures they’re talking about a saint. Dean scoffs that this will be hard (try getting a knife and giving up some blood, dude; should work) while he eats cold pizza. Sam then infodumps about how many saintly relics (most of them likely fake) are being sold on the internet. He then mentions a possible seller – Margaret Astor. The Maltese Falcon shout-out No. 2: Mary Astor was the female lead in the film. They head to San Francisco (shout-out No. 3, as that’s where the film is set).

Margaret Astor is an elegant blonde who likes martinis (this is really more a Casablanca shout-out than The Maltese Falcon, but let’s roll with it). When the Brothers (in their regular rather than suits, for reasons I don’t quite understand) show up, she takes an immediate shine to Sam and blows Dean off pretty heavily. Dean rolls with it and Sam, after being initially startled, takes one for the team and flirts with her back. Margaret is flattered enough to ask what they need (even though she only usually takes personal referrals) and is surprised when Sam says they need “the blood of a saint.” When she asks him what that’s for, Sam is cagey, but says he’d be ever-so-grateful (while Dean tries hard not to gag next to him).

Margaret’s attraction to Sam goes just so far. She’ll only give them a name and an introduction to someone who might have some saint’s blood – a Mr. Greenstreet in Seattle. Shout-out No. 4, of course. Sydney Greenstreet played the main antagonist in the film. And, naturally, Mr. Greenstreet also turns out to be fat, like his sorta namesake, Kasper Gutman (Greenstreet’s character in the film). We meet him eating a donut.

For those of you wondering how the show can get away with this, it’s easy. Though the film may or may not still be in the public domain by now (technically, it should be as of two years ago, but it’s still a big moneymaker), it doesn’t really matter, since Warner Bros put out the film version we’re using here (Huston’s wasn’t the first, by far). While I’m pretty meh about the shallowness of historical research in the teaser, Huston’s version of The Maltese Falcon is one of my favorite films ever and Humphrey Bogart’s my favorite all-time actor. So, if the episode pulls this homage off, I’m pretty willing to be sanguine about all the silly history in a … shall we say … most holy way.

So, back to the show. The Brothers wisely put on suits to meet with the Fatman (sorry, Mr. Greenstreet). Dean introduces them as Sam and Dean Vaughn from Rhode Island. He asks them a question that catches them out about a fake family back east. He also calls them out on their cheap suits, especially when he finds out they want his sample of the blood of a saint, for which he paid quite a bit. This information is bought by Dean giving their real names, which Greenstreet doesn’t recognize. Considering the Brothers’ massive reputation in Occult circles, you’d think Greenstreet might have heard of them, but he shows no recognition. A hint that he is an ordinary villain and may not have what he says he possesses.

Nonetheless, he changes his mind and decides they are perhaps “not above a little chicanery.” He decides to hire them to get the stolen skull from the teaser out of the hands of a mob boss named Santino Scarpotti (a name Dean recognizes), who runs the Seattle mob. Dean asks whose skull it is. Greenstreet claims it’s that of St. Peter (yes, that St. Peter). The blood of the saint in question is that of St. Ignatius of Loyola (founder of the Jesuits).

Dean agrees, but all Greenstreet really has to offer is that the exchange of the skull between the thief and the mob occurs the following night. When Dean notes that this not a lot of info, Greenstreet serenely replies, “I have faith.”

Outside, Sam is complaining that they’ve been reduced to thieves (dude, you’ve always been thieves. And grifters. And murderers, too). Dean is unimpressed, pointing out that neither of them is “perfect.”

Dean: Look, this isn’t a perfect world and if I’m not perfect saving it, so be it.

We then get some classic music: “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive” by Johnny Mercer and the Pied Pipers from 1944 film Here Come the Waves. Dean also meets a girl who is reading a book called “Guarded by Demons.” They’re hitting it off when Sam cock-blocks Dean by calling him over to talk about research. Damn, Sam. Bad timing, much?

But Sam’s just so excited about his research, you see. He’s found Mr. Nun-Smacking Teaser Guy, a small-time criminal whose name is Antonio Miele, and who’s staying at the Patricia Hotel. The hotel name sounds like a huge shout-out to something, but I don’t think it’s to The Maltese Falcon. I think it’s to the femme fatale, Patricia, in Bogart-inspired French New Wave classic À bout de souffle (Breathless).

As the Brothers enter the hotel, Sam accidentally runs into a shifty-looking dude as he’s coming out of the elevator. Not a real shocker, then, that when they get to Miele’s floor, they find his door ajar, his room trashed, and Miele dead.

As the Brothers try to figure out what’s going on, they are rousted by a dodgy detective (or at least a guy pretending to be a detective). But he has a gun, so they have to take his “suggestion” that they handcuff themselves to a radiator while he tosses the room. Even so, they make it pretty clear they’re on to his disguise. He snarks he’s going to “call it in” as he leaves. Sam then quickly pulls out a handcuff key to unlock their cuffs and Dean jokes that Sam is “like the Boy Scouts, always prepared.” No, Dabb and Singer, apparently you don’t watch your own show – Dean is the brother who is a walking arsenal, including lockpicks, and who once got himself out of a set of handcuffs using a car aerial. But thanks for forgetting 13 years of your own damned canon, sports.

On their way out, they pass the guy Sam ran into, lurking behind a newspaper. As they leave (and the police pull up, fortunately oblivious to the Brothers in their respectable suits), Sam and Dean compare notes and bring us up to date because … reasons, I guess? Anyhoo, they round the corner to where the Impala is and run into a bunch of Scarpatti’s men. Who insist on taking them to Scarpatti. In the Impala. Dean gives up the keys under extreme duress. The mysterious man watches them leave, looking worried.

Scarpatti is listening to opera (not an aria I recognize) and stroking a cat as the Brothers come in. Last time I checked, James Bond was not noir, guys. Pretty kitty, though.

So, Scarpatti gets up and is all proud of himself that he’s figured out the Brothers’ true secret identity as the Winchesters and that they’ve supposedly been dead for six years (try 13 for Dean, but hey, who’s counting, amirite?). But he hasn’t doped out their super-sekrit double-sekrit-probation identities in the supernatural world. So, he’s still as lame as any of the other villains in this story so far. Nice cat, though.

Anyhoo, he wants the Brothers to double-cross Greenstreet because he’s a good Catholic (who already had a collection of relics) and Greenstreet is a dirty, low-down dealer in the sacred. Dean cheekily calls him out on his hypocrisy, just to move things along (thank you, Dean, I was looking at my watch an awful lot). Scarpatti admits he hired Miele to steal the skull and paid him half up front. He claims he didn’t kill Miele and tells the Brothers he will pay them if they find the skull and if they don’t, he’ll kill them. Dean looks not even remotely impressed.

Back at the hotel, Dean is convinced the answer they seek is still in Miele’s room, but alas, it’s a guarded crime scene now. So, Dean starts pulling fire alarms. This motivates the cops to evacuate the hotel, giving a skeptical Sam time to toss the room. He does find a note, but then the mysterious guy whacks him over the head with a vase or something because … reasons. This story is as full of poor logic as it is double-crosses.

Anyhoo, the mysterious guy leaves with a box, looking furtive, but is followed by the “cop” in a scene that tries to be noir, but ends up looking more like the camp 60s version of Batman. The fake cop knocks him out and takes the paper.

Meanwhile, Dean finds Sam and wakes him up. Outside, as they’re looking for the mysterious guy, Dean makes a pretty funny crack about how Sam’s “Disney princess hair” acts as like a crash helmet to protect him from concussions. Look at it this way, Dean – at least Sam didn’t get tied to a chair this time.

They find the mysterious guy unconscious in an alley. When he wakes up, they drag him back to a room, rifle through his stuff, and interrogate him. He says his name is Lucca Camilleri. Dean susses out from his ID that he’s a priest and is after the skull.

Lucca says he was commissioned by the nuns to get the skull back. It turns out Miele was a local hood, so when he vanished at the same time the skull did, it wasn’t tough to connect the dots. Lucca has come to the States to buy the skull back. He has a fair amount of money in his briefcase, though it’s probably not enough. Too bad the fake cop didn’t look in there. Why didn’t he look in there, again?

Anyhoo, Lucca is downcast because how he has to go back to his parish and explain how he lost their major symbol that they’ve had for generations (obvious reference to the set-up for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is obvious). When Dean points out that the world isn’t perfect, Lucca goes into a rant about how you should try to help, anyway, since the world never will be perfect. This motivates Sam to impulsively offer to help Lucca get the skull back.

Dean asks for a short conference with Sam about how problematical this new quest is. Sam suggests they get the skull, dodge Scarpatti somehow, meet with Greenstreet, get the saint’s blood, and doublecross him. Somehow. Dean is not impressed by this hairbrained scheme, so Sam asks Dean what he would do if someone stole the Impala (well … again) and Dean goes into a scary, homicidal state: “Murder. I’d murder ’em all. There’d be torture, I mean, lot of torture, first, but then there’d, it would end up with death. If I can’t have it, nobody can.”

In the Impala, Lucca still can’t remember the face of the man who hit him, but he does remember the number on the slip of paper. It turns out to be a tracking number for a package from Valetta, Malta. Hmm.

Sure enough, Fake Cop shows up to get the package, but the Brothers and Lucca are already staking him out. They follow him to a dock where another car also pulls up. Out gets Margaret Astor.

Inside a warehouse, she and Fake Cop (who is carrying the package) walk in. Fake Cop wants a raise. She says no. Her intended client? Scarpatti, who is not thrilled to be having to pay again for something he already paid to steal.

So, it turns out Margaret killed Miele – or had him killed – and if Scarpatti doesn’t pay up, she will sell the package to the other bidder. This is, of course, Greenstreet, who shows up with his own goons. After Fake Cop opens the package and pulls out a black velvet bag, revealing a plain skull (actually, a relic like that would be inside a well-decorated reliquary and/or be heavily encrusted with jewels and gold, itself), Margaret then starts the bidding.

In the car, Lucca and Dean are having a conversation about God. Lucca trusts in God. Dean says he really shouldn’t, since he knows for a fact God doesn’t care and won’t help. Lucca says that no, he means that all good things come from God, like what Sam is doing now, which is pretty recklessly coming in with Lucca’s box of money. As soon as he says the words, “Let’s make a deal,” Dean and Lucca go in.

While Lucca creates a distraction (by saying so), Dean chokes out all the guards then goes in alone. Meanwhile, both Greenstreet and Scarpatti whine about how Sam double-crossed them. Margaret cuts this short by saying she doesn’t care. Sam’s cute and he has money, too. She then gives everyone a piece of paper to write down their best price. The best price gets the skull.

Sam doesn’t quite have enough, though he stalls as long as he can. Scarpatti puts up three million, but then Greenstreet throws a wrench into the works by offering Fake Cop a million up front to kill Margaret and sell him the skull.

Unfortunately, Margaret unwisely turns her back on Fake Cop, who does shoot her. This starts a general shoot-out as Scarpatti and his men pull guns, Sam ducks for cover, and Dean comes in, guns blazing. As Lucca prays a Pater Noster and we get Gregorian monk chant on the soundtrack (sounds like a Dies Irae), Fake Cop shoots Scarpatti, tries to shoot Dean, gets blocked by Lucca (who gets shot), and gets shot by Sam. It turns out Lucca was only grazed, so praise be and all that.

The only bad guy left standing is Greenstreet. It turns out his story about having saint’s blood was a porky. Dean punches him out and the Brothers shop him to the police.

Then they send Lucca off at the airport, but (in the least surprising twist of a rather dull entry) it turns out he is the saint they were always looking for. It seems Sam found out that the Pope called Lucca an Apostolic Protonotary Supernumerary and Lucca says it means the Pope thought he was “a most holy man.” Oh, golly (and stuff and nonsense, as Lucca is far too timid and ineffectual to be a saint).

So, of course, they get some blood from him and take it home. Because they are creepy that way.

Back at the Bunker, Dean is looking at the vial of Lucca’s blood (which is strangely still fresh without any anticoagulant in it), while Sam is having a mini-meltdown about how they can’t save everyone and is it possible for there to be a world without monsters. Dean says he doesn’t know, but “I have faith.”

Credits.


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The Official Supernatural: “Good Intentions” (13.14) 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.

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. 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. Just FYI.

Whoo, the title to this one was so boring, I kept having to look it up to remember it. Let’s get cracking.

Recap of the Donatello storyline, which does not bode too well for Donatello. Sorry, Mr. Redshirt Prophet. I’m gonna miss you, Keith.

Cut to Jack, who wakes up in the Bunker to hear the Brothers talking about how glad they are to have him back. Then the alarm goes off and smoke comes through the grate in the bottom of the door. He rushes out into the corridor to find that Sam and Dean are trapped inside a room and calling for help. He tries to use his power to break through the door, but he can’t get it open as they plead for their lives.

I’m sure it’s a surprise to no one watching this that it’s a mind game (am getting tired of the whole “Let’s make the protagonists look like fools” trope. It’s greatly overused of late). The only twist is that it’s alt-Zachariah doing some kind of mind control thing on Jack to get him to use his powers to make an interdimensional rift at alt-Michael’s behest. Alt-Michael tells Zachariah to hurry up and get it done, and Zachariah thinks he knows a way to do it. No, sadly, we do not get Kurt Fuller back.

Cue title cards.

Donatello is working on the Demon Tablet, writing down words and phrases: “blood,” “symbols,” “danger,” “open the tear into worlds,” “all will burn,” “the born one.” Comforting messages like that, while distorted voices that kind of sound like Sam and Dean harangue him.

Castiel knocks on the door and asks to come in. He brings breakfast and asks if Donatello is all right. Donatello says sure (as he hides something under a paper), but does comment that the tablet has a lot of power. He also says he’s “making progress.” As soon as Castiel leaves, Donatello uncovers the paper and keeps working on it.

In the kitchen, Dean is eating a plate-ful of bacon, while Sam kvetches. Business as usual on that end.

Dean: Dude, if bacon’s what kills me, I win.

He’s got a point.

So, Castiel comes in and we finally get what the plan was last week – they were going to tap some of Lucifer’s archangel grace for their spell. Okay, whatev.

Meanwhile, Jack finds himself on a misty beach near Vancouver. “Castiel” shows up and says he wanted to show Jack the world before it was ruined by humans. Except, like Apocalypse World has been “saved” by angels and look how that turned out. Hmm. “Castiel” claims that Jack has to use his powers to “save us all,” that Sam and Dean taught Jack to “fear” his powers.

Jack finally buys a clue from Vanna and realized this isn’t Castiel. He wakes up in the grody old church that is alt-Michael’s hideout. Losing patience, alt-Michael tosses Jack and alt-Zachariah into respective corners and then grabs Jack for “my way.” Because that’s been working so well so far.

Back to Donatello, who is writing down “between our world” and “mix thoroughly.” He looks squirrely and then we see him running through the halls into the kitchen with a piece of paper, yelling “Eureka!”

Sam looks at the paper. One surprise is that they have most of the ingredients. Another is that they don’t need archangel grace for this particular spell (Donatello looks shifty at this – hmm). A third is what they do need – “the hearts of Gog and Magog.”

Castiel says he’s “heard rumors,” but didn’t realize Gog and Magog were actual people. Donatello says they were warriors who had “enslaved half the Fertile Crescent” before being locked away beyond space and time. Castiel offers to go fight them and Dean says he’ll come with. As Castiel looks suspicious, Donatello too-cheerfully says he and Sam can stay behind to find the ingredients. I’m sure this will end well.

Cut to Jack getting dragged through a hallway. Remember Dean getting dragged through the angels in season nine premiere, “I Think I’m Gonna Like It Here”? They rip that off. Poorly. Alt-Michael apparently needs a lantern to light his way as he drags Jack to a cell where he tosses him in. There, Jack finds Mary.

To her credit, Mary quickly figures out who Jack is when she hears his name. She tells him she was present at his birth. She’s also relieved to hear her sons aren’t in Apocalypse World.

Jack admits that Michael got inside his head and made him do things. Mary tells him she saw Michael’s grand plan when he got inside her head – he’s going to bring an army to the SPNverse (in other words, alt-Michael is a Bond Villain: Evil Overlord Variant). She explains to Jack that alt-Michael will hurt her to make Jack do what he wants. We also find out from the dialogue that it’s currently six months after Jack’s birth at the end of last season.

As they gear up to go, Dean asks Castiel how he’s doing. Castiel frets that he was brought back for a reason (Dean tells him Jack brought him back and Castiel looks a bit shifty, but doesn’t mention the Empty Entity), but so far, he’s failing Jack, that Michael (he doesn’t specify which one) is all about making war. Dean gives him a pep talk about how they will power through and off they go.

Meanwhile, Sam and Donatello are gathering ingredients, while Donatello runs through a series of Untrustworthy Expressions behind Sam’s back.

In a clearing in a forest in Vancouver, probably somewhere in Stanley Park, Dean and Castiel talk strategy. Castiel says that Donatello said Gog and Magog could only be killed “by a weapon touched by God” and promptly hands Dean an angel blade. Dean casually takes it (remember when angel blades were rare and awe-inspiring? Kinda miss those days) and Castiel does a summoning in Enochian, no spellwork.

At first, nothing happens and Dean gets sassy about Castiel’s Enochian pronunciation. Castiel is snippy in response, which causes Dean to roll his eyes.

Gog and Magog show up (behind Dean and Castiel, of course), making the earth shake with each step. They look more like Vikings than guys from Ancient Mesopotamia and they’re wearing leather diapers. Dean snickers to Castiel that they’re wearing loinclothes. No, man, those are diapers (which Dean finally acknowledges).

Meanwhile, Gog and Magog are commenting in Ancient Canaanite (more or less) on how “pretty” their latest adversaries are. They finally decide which one to attack. One goes after Castiel and the other after Dean.

Dean gets his angel blade shattered by a sword early on. When he yells to Castiel (who is getting tossed to the ground) about what to do next, Castiel shouts back that they can only be killed by weapons “forged by God,” which is different from what he said before.

Dean gets his guy into a headlock, but then gets flipped over. He avoids a sword cut, manages to get hold of Gog (think it’s Gog)’s sword and beheads him with it. Magog is about to make short work of Castiel when Dean stabs him from behind.

Dean [grumpily]: Forged by God; touched by God” – same thing.

But they run into a snag when Castiel goes to retrieve Magog’s heart and finds only sand. It turns out Gog and Magog are not human at all but magical constructs from before the Flood. They have no hearts. The thlot pickens.

Meanwhile, Mary is trying to get Jack to let alt-Michael kill her rather than open the door to the SPNverse. Jack insists he can save them both, but his powers keep going wonky and his head hurts. Mary admits her head hurts, too. She thought it was the torture, but now she wonders if it’s because the angel warding is so strong that even humans can feel it. She finds a place in the cell (conveniently near the only window) where she doesn’t have so much of headache and guesses that’s where the warding is weakest. Jack starts working on breaking through the window.

Back at the Bunker, Donatello is stalking an apparently oblivious Sam, who doesn’t hear a warning call on his cell from Dean. Donatello then smacks Sam in the head with a bottle and keeps on smacking.

So, alt-Michael is, to put it mildly, unhappy about Jack and Mary’s jailbreak. He orders Zachariah to go get Jack back, kill Mary in front of Jack (slowly), and not fail him again.

Meanwhile, Jack and Mary are running around the Apocalypse World set at night, trying to avoid anything on two legs. They quickly get rousted by alt-Bobby. He recognizes her as Mary Campbell and thinks she’s a ghost at first. She mentions Dean and Sam (in that order) and alt-Bobby remembers them. Jack is introduced as “a friend of the family.”

Back at the Bunker, Dean and Castiel arrive to find the place a bit trashed and Sam nursing a large welt on his head. He has a raving Donatello on lockdown in their dungeon. Castiel explains about how Gog and Magog didn’t have hearts, which means the spell was fake – Donatello was trying to send them to their deaths.

Alt-Bobby takes Mary and Jack to his camp and explains that the angels are systematically exterminating humans. As they bond over coffee spiked with whiskey (and Jack does puppet theater for a bunch of kids), alt-Bobby spells out that Mary of his world never made her demon deal, so John didn’t come back from the dead and she never had Dean and Sam (that order again). She says they saved her world. Alt-Bobby says he didn’t go back with them because he’s about the only thing his world has to save it.

He is rather less thrilled, however, when Mary admits that Jack is a Naphil, and insists Jack be out of the camp by dawn. Even when Mary says she’d leave, too, alt-Bobby insists that the angels turned on humans, despite initially seeming to be their allies, and Jack will, too.

Fortunately for Jack, the angels attack in the morning, apparently attracted by Jack using magic in his shadow puppets the night before. Mary tells Jack to run and gets a mission from a grumpy alt-Bobby to rescue as many kids as she can. Jack is running when he hears children screaming and goes back to help.

Meanwhile, Mary has been caught out by Zachariah, who is about to kill her when Jack shows up. Jack kills him, instead, then foils another attack by angels (not impressed by the whole fireball thing instead of wings) by blasting them out of the sky, saving the whole camp. Alt-Bobby is properly impressed.

Yeah, I kinda figured early on that Mary would end up a Mother figure to Jack.

Back at the Bunker, the Brothers try to interrogate Donatello, who cackles that he’s translated the entire Demon Tablet (didn’t Kevin already do that years ago? Why does it need to be translated again?), then does a suffocation spell on Dean. Dean’s okay once Sam gets him out into the corridor (just as a worried Castiel, who was watching on a monitor, shows up), but Donatello is clearly cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.

TFW tries to figure out what went wrong with Donatello. Castiel insists that Prophets can’t be corrupted by the Tablets. They’re only “conduits” of God’s power. Sam then points out that Donatello no longer has his soul (this didn’t come up before?) and Castiel speculates that without the “filter” of the soul, Donatello was corrupted.

There’s then a flurry of discussion. Sam gets mopey and says they can never get Donatello’s soul back because Amara “ate” it. Dean doesn’t exactly contradict him, even though Amara told him once that all of the souls she ate still existed inside her, apparently as intact souls. So, theoretically, it’s just a case of ringing her up and persuading her to give it back, which, theoretically, Dean could do.

But this doesn’t happen. Instead, Castiel suggests putting Donatello down. That way, another Prophet will come into existence and they can use him/her to finish reading the Tablet. The Brothers aren’t thrilled by this idea, but they aren’t quite fast enough (okay, they don’t exactly rush) to stop him from going into the dungeon and forcibly stripping the spell from Donatello’s mind. It’s pretty clear he does this in large part because Donatello hurt Dean. Afterward, he seems odd and one wonders if he absorbed some of Donatello’s “corruption.”

Donatello isn’t dead, per se, but his mind is wiped and the Brothers are forced to leave him at a nearby hospital in a coma. Castiel tells them that Donatello was working for Asmodeus and that “some people can’t be saved.” Dean still calls him out on it, though Castiel justifies it as necessary because they are at war.

Castiel then gives them the ingredients for the spell: “the blood of an archangel, a fruit from the Tree of Life, the Seal of Solomon, and the blood of ‘a most holy man.'”

The episode closes on Dean’s thoughtful face as Castiel says, “It’s like you said, Dean, ‘Whatever it takes.'”

Credits


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The Official Supernatural: “Devil’s Bargain” (13.13) Live Recap Thread


We need your help!

Contribute monthly via Patreon (which includes perks), make a one-time donation through Paypal, or buy us a coffee.

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. 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. Just FYI.

Yeah, I know. I’ve been putting this off. What can I say? The Nep Duo eps are a huge snore for me.

Starting now.

Boring recap of the Nep Duo storyline so far this season reminding why I’m finding it so tedious. You’d have thought the show could have found somebody more competent to do episode 13 of season 13.

Cut to Now. Castiel is staggering through the woods, bleeding, yelling Lucifer’s name. He passes out and is found the next morning by two pubescent budding serial killers who gloat over finding a dead body – until he wakes up and scares them off.

He goes back to that creepy old mental hospital the show’s been filming since … oh … “The End” in season five, at least, but no Lucifer.

Nope, Lucifer is stalking some poor Cupid, who’s just trying to pair up a young woman on roller skates with a guy who drops a wedding cake to catch her. Lucifer rewards the poor guy by stealing his grace, interrogating him about finding more angels, and then killing him basically for kicks. Lucifer does realize that said angel now has a soul and will go to Heaven, where he can be interrogated by other angels, right (that was the storyline for Castiel)? And that (also per Castiel’s lost grace storyline) this stolen grace will only burn away inside him and eventually kill him, right?

Oh, but wait. It’s the Nep Duo. They don’t do tedious things like check up on canon before writing their dreck.

Also, is anyone else totally over Lucifer by now? I mean, completely for the duration of the show?

Cue title cards.

Oh, hey, look, the show’s actual protagonists. Dean is talking to Castiel, who has turned up at the Bunker and is filling Dean in on his kidnapping. Don’t get me started on how dumb it was for the Brothers not to check up on Castiel and find this out for themselves.

Sam is freaked out by the news that Lucifer is back in town, even depowered. It’s probably also not the wisest thing for Castiel to get so detailed about alt-Michael’s threat to the SPNverse, considering Dean is right there. Sam asks about Mary. Castiel confirms that Lucifer said she was still alive.

Cut to Lucifer having some after-effects from his grace meal. Gee, consequences for that? Do tell. But mostly this is just an excuse for the writers to engage in more tasteless homeless person jokes. Yay.

Also, once again, what the hell happened to Lucifer using his wings to fly anywhere he wants in the world in nanoseconds? Instead, we have Lucifer feeling hungry (um … why?) and begging for money because he can’t just fly into a burger joint and out with a dozen burgers before anyone notices – oh, wait. He can.

Another homeless guy takes him dumpster diving and tells him about a healer named Sister Jo. Lucifer starts to get an evil idea, which means she is probably an angel.

Meanwhile, two characters I have even less interest in (Asmodeus and Ketch) are discussing Lucifer’s escape. Ketch twits Asmodeus a bit about how he was out of town and Asmodeus hedges that it was super-duper important then doesn’t kill Ketch. Instead, he tasks Ketch with killing Lucifer while Lucifer is still weak because apparently, we can kill archangels while they are lacking a bit of grace. How does that work, exactly, when Chuck said in season 11 that archangels are fundamentally different even from angels?

Dean apologizes to Castiel for not realizing he’d been captured. Castiel admits that getting captured was on him (and that he knows Dean would have done something crazy to try to break him out if he’d known), and angsts about Jack and Mary. Good times.

Sam comes back from wherever he was with Donatello in tow. Dean lays out his plan to get Jack and Mary back, and then slam the door before alt-Michael can get through. Then they show Donatello the Demon Tablet which, as a Prophet, Donatello might be able to read, even though his talents are kinda different from Kevin’s. Donatello asks for chicken wings.

Cut to a woman (Danneel Ackles’ character) in a church. She is taking money from an older woman with a walker and then heals her with white light. Yup. Angel. She does this to a bunch of other paying customers, too. This is Sister Jo.

As Castiel and the Brothers find out about the dead Cupid (and Castiel identifies him as an angel), and worry Lucifer might get his mojo back, Lucifer has appeared in the crowd waiting to be healed by Sister Jo. After the session ends and the humans leave, Lucifer approaches her and calls her “Amael.” Yup. An angel. Unimpressed, Sister Jo/Amael easily identifies him as Lucifer, but she’s not scared or repulsed as the other angels have been in the past.

Amael explains that after the angels fell and the others were scrambling to find “housing” (vessels), she was more systematic in her search. She found a woman who was praying for her husband to be healed and they made a deal – the woman became Amael’s vessel in exchange for healing her husband. She was, as Amael puts it, extremely “grateful.” Amael realized that she could live comfortably on humans’ desperation for healing and longer life, and that she was actually a much better “businesswoman” than she had been an angel.

We find out how good a businesswoman she is when Lucifer pulls out his sword and goes after her. She points out that if he gives her “time to recharge” (implying that he will eventually recharge on his own, himself), he can take a little grace from her at a time. He helps her and she helps him. Lucifer looks intrigued.

Back to Sam, Dean and Castiel (bet you forgot all about them, eh?). Sam is casing the neighborhood and runs into the homeless guy who told Lucifer about Sister Jo. He also tells Sam about her, and that he told Lucifer about her. Hey, Sam, maybe get Castiel to heal this guy as a reward? No?

Anyhoo, back at the church (so much friggin’ jumping around), Lucifer is feeding off Sister Jo’s grace in a highly sexualized and vampiric way that is well within the Nep Duo’s usual wheelhouse of tone-deafness. Yuck. So, afterward, Sister Jo has to point out to him, using small words, that his killing of the poor Doomed Teaser Cupid was broadcast all over Angel Radio. Apparently, in addition to losing his grace, Lucifer has lost a few IQ points, because he didn’t figure that one out on his own.

Sure enough, guess who shows up at Sister Jo’s chapel? And all three are armed with angel swords. But when Castiel kicks in the door, all they find is … Ketch.

Ketch appeared to be ready to throw something, but doesn’t elaborate about what. Dean cuts to the chase and demands to know what Ketch is doing there. Ketch protests his innocence, but nobody’s impressed, and for once, Sam and Castiel waste no time backing Dean up, demanding instead to know whom Ketch is working for. None of TFW believes Ketch is just freelancing around the countryside, doing Good. So, Ketch tries to join up with the team.

Instead, after an exchange of disgusted glances, Castiel puts him to sleep, they dump him in the Impala’s trunk, and Dean sketches out a plan to bring him back to the Bunker, interrogate him, kill him, and dispose of his body really, really well. Castiel really likes this plan. So do I, so I’m sure it won’t happen now.

There is also a fly in the ointment. Sam has just found some video of Sister Jo healing people and Castiel immediately recognizes her as Amael. But if Lucifer killed her, too, where’s her body?

As they drive home, Sam gets an alert on his phone (he tapped into Sister Jo’s financials) that she just used her credit card. Hmm, seems she might be alive.

Ooops, here comes another highly sexualized scene of Lucifer feeding on Amael that reminds me (not fondly) of Sam feeding off Ruby’s demon blood. Ugh.

Afterward, Amael tells Lucifer that whenever she’s almost completely drained of grace, she experiences human emotions. Lucifer says he experienced them, too, but didn’t like them. Amael feels a bit differently. In Heaven, she received souls and that’s all she did. A soul would arrive, she would “push a button,” and the soul would be counted. She wanted to do other things, to “fix Heaven,” but none of the higher-ups would listen to her and only sent her back to her job. Gee, I guess the Nep Duo missed watching the episodes in seasons four and five when angels who so much as questioned things got brainwashed and/or turned into cinders.

Anyhoo, Amael doesn’t mind being fallen. Lucifer does and whines about being a daddy. The show continues to ignore that consuming angel grace that isn’t the angel’s is unhealthy for the angel doing the consuming.

Meanwhile, Asmodeus (yes, I know you didn’t miss him) gets news from a demon minion that they’ve found Donatello. Really? When did Asmodeus lose him?

Cut to Castiel accosting Donatello outside a chicken wings place to have a chat. You gotta love a show where you have to worry about the good guys’ intentions even more than the bad guys’.

Anyhoo, Castiel asks Donatello about his progress on the Demon Tablet (didn’t Kevin translate that thing a while back? What new info could it have?) and Donatello says he thinks he’s found a spell to get to the alt-SPNverse. Now why the Demon Tablet would have this sort of thing remains unexplained. Like … not even addressed.

So, Castiel is not really Castiel. He’s actually Asmodeus pretending to be Castiel. And he does some kind of forgetting spell on Donatello that we’ve never seen demons do before, just angels (because LOL!Canon, that’s why), while compelling him to tell him everything about said spell as he finds it out. Because I’m sure this won’t backfire on this pathetic character in any way.

As Donatello leaves, Colonel Sanders – sorry, Asmodeus – grabs one of his chicken wings, sniffs it, and tosses it away in disgust. I’ll bet the Nepotism Duo thought this would be some cute and gently mocking shout-out to the rather loud and negative fan reaction to the character, which just goes to show how clueless these two are.

Meanwhile, TFW (with Ketch still apparently in the trunk) is casing the motel where Amael and Lucifer are. Sam draws Amael out by calling the room and saying her credit card was declined. Once outside, TFW meets with her and establishes she is alive.

Amael is … economical … with the truth. She claims to be scared of Lucifer and that he wants her grace. She does give him up, though, saying he is in the motel room and is still weak. So, TFW goes in, assuming she’s with them, which is too bad. Up to this point, they’ve been smart and there’s nothing smart about trusting Sister Jo, especially once they find out she’s alive and unharmed by Lucifer. One would think they’d at least consider her loyalties iffy.

Lucifer’s indeed inside the room, reading the Bible (not as fun as it sounds, unfortunately). Amael tries to warn him when she knocks on the door by calling him “Lord Lucifer,” but as I said before, he’s pretty clueless. He’s therefore apparently surprised when TFW appear in the doorway when he opens it.

A standoff ensues because really, what does TFW have to take Lucifer down, even if he’s weak? No, seriously, what was the plan here? Sam tries to shoo Amael out the door while Lucifer tries to talk his way into a better strategic position for reasons that, frankly, escape me if he’s, you know, no longer as weak as he was.

So, then Amael breaks the standoff by literally breaking up TFW with TK. Except that she should be too weak to do that, having been drained not too long ago by Lucifer to, by her own admission, almost the point of humanity. So, she and Lucifer toss TFW around and Lucifer tortures them a bit, even as Amael is telling him to run for reasons that escape me and probably a good portion of the audience. If Lucifer’s stronger than they thought, why is he running again? And if he’s still unable to kill them thanks to what Chuck did to him in season 11, now would be an excellent time to bring that up again and spell it out, since the show spells out plenty of things it really doesn’t need to.

Ketch then suddenly appears in the doorway with something in his hand. Fortunately for Lucifer (as Amael runs to his side to protect or hide behind him or something), Ketch pauses dramatically in the doorway, which is plenty of time for even a being of Lucifer’s currently limited intellect to remember he has wings and fly away to some forest with Amael. Even so, once they get there, she still has to point out to him that there is a place, not on earth, they can still go – Heaven. And to think he thinks he’s going to meet up with his son and take over the world. Yikes.

Back in the motel room, Ketch is whining (again) that he just saved the Brothers’ lives and Dean reams him out for taking too long to toss the bomb. Ketch claims it was a demon grenade or something that he found in their trunk while escaping, so it wouldn’t have actually killed Lucifer, anyway. Which again begs the question of why he ran (or flew, if you prefer). If you were holding out a faint hope that this was part of some big plan between Ketch and TFW, sorry.

A pretty awkward discussion ensues as Ketch tries to fend off his impending execution by confessing he’s working for Asmodeus and offering to be a double (or triple) agent for TFW. To their credit, they laugh in his face, pointing out that admitting something they kinda suspected already about him doesn’t exactly make them trust him. Ketch then claims that Lucifer out and about is not something even he wants to see (certainly, his erstwhile demon boss doesn’t), let alone whatever is going on with alt-Michael. TFW looks uncomfortable, since they’re probably going to have to work with him now, even though they can see all the big, red “Danger, Will Robinson!” signs surrounding this idea.

Meanwhile, Lucifer is at that stupid angel gate in the playground, talking his way into becoming the ruler of Heaven by offering them the thing that they desperately want the most – to make new angels – and the other thing they want most – to give them their wings back. Even more reluctantly than TFW letting Ketch cozy up to them, the angels take him on board. I’m sure this will end well. I’m also pretty sure that Lucifer is lying about being able to make new angels, or at least that there is a catch.

Near the end (because we have to have multiple codas), TFW is sitting around the table, discussing whether or not they can trust Ketch (the consensus is “No, but we have no choice. For now”). Donatello is doing something weird with peeling the batter off his chicken wings, which I guess is supposed to be a sign of Asmodeus’ meddling with his mind. Dean is cleaning his guns and Donatello has a freak-out when Sam tries to give him a pep talk. Good times. Great mental health all round.

Up in Heaven, the angels are reluctantly kneeling to a smug Lucifer on his throne, with Amael as his main advisor. He’s going to need her, what with that lobotomy the writers have given him.

Meanwhile, Ketch is claiming to Asmodeus that he could have killed Lucifer, but just missed him (yeah, right). Asmodeus whines that they need to dispatch Lucifer as soon as possible (a feat no one has been able to manage for over 14 billion years, mind you), especially since TFW will try to use him to open the gate to the alt-SPNverse. Except that’s not what they’ve been trying to do. They’ve actually been trying to banish him back to the Cage. But let’s not confuse the Nepotism Duo with facts. We’re almost near the end of the episode, thank God.

Through this cloud of misguided hubris, Asmodeus has two final plot coupons – sorry, surprises – to deliver before we reach the credits, though. He’s found an archangel blade (and oh, look, it looks nothing whatsoever like the blades we’ve seen the archangels use, including on each other). When Ketch points out that even with an archangel blade, you need an archangel to wield it, Asmodeus shows him that he has Gabriel prisoner, with his mouth stitched shut. I’m sure that won’t end badly for Asmodeus, or anything.

Credits


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