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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.