Tag Archives: Season 14

The Official Supernatural: “Nightmare Logic” (14.05) 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. I’m posting reviews here of North Carolina ghost story books, and notes about my research all month long on Patreon.

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

Apologies for not getting to this one until now. Also, next week, I’ll be busy Friday and Saturday, so I likely won’t get to that one until Sunday.

Okay, so let’s get started.

Recap starting with Maggie (the most useless DiD ever) then going through the Michael storyline and Dean’s speech to Sam about ending all monsters. FYI, there is a wee spoiler in there that, tied in with the title, will tell you right away what the MOTW is. Sorry.

Cut to night in Claremore, OK, where Maggie is walking through a forest all alone. She enters a graveyard and approaches a crypt with the family name “Rawling” across it. She sits down and pulls something out of her backpack. It turns out to be a bodycam that she reports into before clipping it on and entering the crypt.

Okay, why is Maggie Hunting, let alone by herself? The last time we saw her on a Hunt, she nearly got her team killed and that was with a group. Is she by herself or did some other moron think this was a good idea?

Also, we already found out that bodycams, or any cams, are a bad idea from “Ghostfacers!” They’re distracting to whoever is using them and the footage risks outing Hunters to the general human world, which is not a good idea.

Anyhoo, Maggie breaks into the crypt, believing she is Hunting a ghoul. By herself. With no backup. Okeydoke.

As she walks around the crypt, looking for opened coffins, a wavering machete in her hand, she is attacked by a snarling old man/ghoul.

Cue title cards.

Cut to the Bunker, where Sam is giving some newbie Hunters from the Other Side a lecture on Hunter safety before sending them off. As Dean walks in on them, Sam automatically glances to Dean for feedback. Dean chooses, instead, to take a backseat. As the meeting breaks up and Sam walks off with Dean, Dean’s main comment (aside from seeing Sam do coordinating with Hunters as “adorable”) is that Sam is not getting enough sleep. Yeah, one thing Sam really ought to be doing is having someone play dispatcher on shifts for Hunter check-ins, rather than trying to do it all himself. Yeah, I used to run a rescue squad. You gotta learn to delegate that stuff.

Sam discovers that one of the Hunters (he infodumps that he has 20 out there, including our four non-redshirts Castiel, Jack, Mary and alt-Bobby) “missed check-in.” It’s Maggie. So, now we know which moron sent Maggie out on a Hunt all by herself. Yay, Boss Sam.

So, Dean is trying to call Maggie, while Sam calls up her body cam and some random redshirt wanders past the Library. Sam infodumps that the body cams automatically upload to a server, which I’m sure could never get hacked by hostile parties, or anything. So, yeah, Sam’s responsible for that swift decision, too. Dean doesn’t call him on it, just infodumps about the reasoning behind it. They get the teaser for the episode.

Sam starts to tailspin in self-recrimination. Dean yanks Sam’s head out of his ass by agreeing it looks like a ghoul and it’s time to go find out for sure. Meanwhile, Rando Redshirt dude wanders around in the background, checking the wastebaskets, or something.

Off the Brothers go to Oklahoma. That is a rather odd background on the obligatory Impala-on-the-road shot. Did they bluescreen that?

In the graveyard, Sam infodumps that it’s all owned by the same family, which Dean notes is awfully convenient – for that family.

Sam says Maggie was investigating a report by some local kids that they were attacked by a “walker” while they were studying. Sam even outs it as an explicit The Walking Dead reference.

“I know what a Walker is, Sam,” Dean calmly replies. As they approach the crypt, Dean notices some beer cans in front of it and dismisses the “studying” excuse with that adorable half-laugh he always used to do back in the day. Ackles is having fun plumbing his old Dean tics toolkit these days.

Inside, they find disturbed dust and scuff marks, but no blood. Dean theorizes that the ghoul might have dragged Maggie off to feed on her later, and that she might still be alive. Either way, they have to find the MOTW and kill it.

They are hailed from the entrance by a guy in a gardening suit with a rake and accused of trespassing. Sam smoothly states they’re from an historical society and Dean follows up by asking where the local family mansion is. They guy leads them to it and introduces them to a rotund, smarmy grad student type who burbles over the idea of an historical society turning the family manse and graveyard into an official historical site. It’s obviously a lot more complicated than that, but this is just a Winchester cover story, anyway, so let’s roll with it.

The guy, named Neil, lets them in and comments that there seem to be an awful lot of people there from the “HBC.” Turns out Mary and Bobby showed up to investigate, too. Bobby is pretty sarcastic about Sam’s attempts to pull rank, so Mary takes Sam off to talk to him about Maggie, while Dean stays behind to interview Neil, with Bobby.

Neil says he’s not part of the family. He’s Mr. Rawling’s “nurse.” When Bobby asks to interview Old Man Rawling, there’s a snag. Old Man Rawling is in a coma.

Mary tells Sam she and Bobby came to check on Maggie because Maggie was “nervous about her first Hunt.” (Oh, hon, she shouldn’t have been out Hunting, period, not to mention alone.) They were texting with her when she suddenly went radio silence, but Mary admits she and Bobby should have let Sam know. Well, yes, there isn’t much point to all these high-tech improvements if y’all don’t use them to, y’know, stay in touch.

Something is awry with Old Man Rawling. He’s in a coma surrounded by blood transfusions and yet, he’s the ghoul from Maggie’s body cam footage. Meanwhile, Maggie is underground somewhere, trussed up and being drained of her own blood. Big hint about the MOTW, there.

A woman with groceries walks in, looking totally unimpressed by the new people in her dad’s room. Neil introduces her as Sasha, Old Man Rawling’s daughter. After a little banter, she throws them out.

At the Impala, the Hunters chew things over. Bobby says he tested OMR and he had no bites, so probably not a ghoul.

Mary speculates shapeshifter, but Dean points out that ‘shifters don’t generally do graveyards. Sam thinks maybe demon, but Bobby points out that demons aren’t generally so patient as to put their hosts’ bodies back in their beds after taking them for a “joyride.”

Dean notes Bobby’s irritability and calls him out on it. Bobby admits he has a problem with Sam sending Maggie out on a Hunt alone. He says she wasn’t ready and “a real leader” would have noticed this.

Mary breaks things up by going on reconnaissance with Sam and having Dean go with Bobby. I get she wants to give Sam a pep talk, but why stick poor Dean with Bobby? Sheesh.

Also, I don’t agree with Mary that it’s not Sam’s fault. It really is. Yeah, Sam’s moping over it isn’t helping, but Sam should have clearly seen how unready Maggie was back in the season premiere bar fight and kept her back for longer. I mean, come on, it’s been only a few weeks since then. No way Maggie turned into Hunter Sue in that time and Mary (the one who had to hand her an angel sword and tell her to get out there during the bar fight) knows that better than anyone.

Instead, Bobby is made to look like a big meanie for pointing out that Sam’s leadership skills need a little work. They do. Sure, he can get better, but he can’t get better if other characters’ keep holding his hand.

Bobby asks Dean if he was too hard on Sam. Dean’s response is rather noncommittal, saying that Sam is “doing his best.” But Dean also notes that Sam is overdoing it and not sleeping enough.

Sam, meanwhile, asks Mary about her relationship with Bobby. She says things were going fine until they got back home (for her). Then Bobby closed up and all he ever wants to do is hunt. Sam tells her a little about “our” Bobby, that his wife was possessed and he had to deal with it himself (um…was Sam not aware of Rufus’ involvement in that?). Mary asks if Bobby ever had kids. Sam says no.

Then they find an old campfire and Mary spots something.

As Dean and Bobby find the cabin from The Blair Witch Project, Mary and Sam find burned IDs in the fire. They’re a Hunter’s IDs. Bobby is distracted by someone in the woods and goes to follow him. Dean enters the cabin (which is full of animal furs and skulls) and discovers the body of the Hunter in the IDs. He’s then attacked by OMR, but when Dean stabs him, OMR (who is still in the hospital bed, while his daughter sits nearby) explodes into ashes, covering Dean. When Bobby comes back, he snarks at Dean’s appearance as Dean asks him where he went.

Back at the manse, while going through her father’s papers, Sasha hears a noise of breaking glass and footsteps upstairs. She goes to investigate, thinking it’s Neil, but she instead finds a half-open door to a dark room and a ravenous vampire. Screaming, she runs, but when she trips and falls, nothing comes after her.

As Neil acts all solicitous over her, Sasha is later interviewed by Mary and Sam, and immediately guesses she saw a vampire. This leads to her and Neil getting The Talk.

Dean walks in with news from “the shed.” Sam quickly fills him in about the attack. “Oh, good. You told ’em,” Dean says conversationally. The matter-of-fact way they confirm the identity of the Hunter Dean found is a hoot as it’s filmed almost from an outsider’s POV. They look utterly terrifying when they drop the “normal” mask like that.

Mary goes to check on Bobby (whom Dean says stayed back to get something from his truck), but can’t find him. Meanwhile, the Brothers formulate a theory, right in front of Sasha and Neil, that OMR is somehow psychically manifesting images of himself. They interview Sasha a bit more and it turns out the noises she thought she heard came from the attic. Sam goes up there, while Dean stays back to guard Sasha and her dad.

Sasha pops a benzodiazepine while Dean sharpens his machete. Neil has gone…somewhere. Sasha asks him to stop and then points out the insanity of Dean’s very presence there. Dean asks her if she’s okay and she brushes it off. At first.

Dean shrugs and sheaths his machete, but then Sasha opens up as she also downs some whiskey.  Her father was a workaholic who was never home, said he was doing it for the family. But her mother had a family history of depression and killed herself when Sasha was 12. Sasha found her. Sasha “worshiped” her father when she was a kid, but now is bitter because he never expressed any regret over not seeing his wife was suicidal or being around for his family.

This is a huge John Winchester anvil. There was an earlier one in the woods, when Mary said Bobby wasn’t “open” the way John was and then has to admit she means the way John was before she died as Sam snorts in disbelief.

Dean offers Sasha some advice – “let it go. You’ll feel a lot lighter.”

“That what you do?” Sasha asks.

“I try,” Dean admits. “Every single day.” It’s a heartbreaking moment of pure honesty.

Upstairs, Sam finds the darkened doorway Sasha discovered. It leads to a room with unfinished walls (no drywall) that leads to a stairway that goes up to the attic. Very strange layout, that.

In the attic, he find Maggie, trussed up. She tries to warn him as the same vampire that went after Sasha attacks him. Sam stabs it and it, too, explodes into ashes. Needless to say, despite his and Dean’s theory, Sam’s a bit confused.

As Sam gets Maggie down, Maggie apologizes for screwing up. Sam reassures her that she didn’t (well, she did, but now is not the time).

We cut to the woods, where Bobby finds a young man with his eyes burned out, angel-style. Dialogue identifies this young man as Bobby’s son Daniel. Daniel beats up Bobby and then impales him against a tree with an angel blade. He tells Bobby the angels crucified him “piece by piece” (uh…that’s not really how crucifixion works, but okay), but when he’s about to kill Bobby with another angel blade, Mary shows up.

Mary shoots Daniel, but unlike the other monsters, Daniel doesn’t disappear (plothole, y’all). Instead, he knocks Mary down and starts choking her out. This gives Bobby the strength of ten Grinches. He manages to yank out the angel blade impaling him, while dangling from the tree, knocks Daniel down, and stabs him with it, after apologizing. Daniel bursts into ashes. Yeah, it’s as stupid as it sounds. Also, I’m getting tired of Mary having to be rescued all the time. She’s a competent Hunter, Show, come on.

Inside the house, Sasha and Dean enter the room where Neil is tending OMR. Dean suddenly, really notices the blood bags and has an epiphany. He calmly asks why Neil is giving OMR a blood transfusion for a stroke and Neil blathers something about how “it keeps his iron up.”

Dean asks Sasha to make him a sandwich. She’s confused at first until he mouths, “Go,” and she realizes he needs her to get out of the line of fire because Neil is the MOTW. She skedaddles. I like Sasha. She’s sassy.

As she leaves, Dean pulls out his gun and aims it at Neil. Neil at first professes to be confused until Dean explains his reasoning. He says he only just recognized the set-up Neil has OMR in as one he was once trapped in, too.

We then get a brief flashback to Dean’s nightmare flash of being trussed up by a djinn in season two’s “What Is and What Should Never Be.”

“You’re a djinn,” Dean says. I love me some Smart, Deductive Dean.

Neil smiles and reveals his djinn face and glowing eyes, but then flips the script really strangely by saying “But you knew that, already…didn’t you?”

As Dean interrogates him about why he’s killing Hunters (and Neil the Djinn sure is chatty), Neil reveals that he thinks Dean is Michael (until Dean tells him otherwise). Michael has altered him and offered him a deal for more power: “Find somewhere quiet. Set up shop. Kill as many Hunters as I can.”

The upgrade Neil got was fairly impressive. With a single touch, he can now read minds, extract nightmares, and give them physical life – the projections Dean and the others have been dealing with. OMR is afraid of dying along and unloved, Maggie of the vampires that murdered her family, and we just saw what Bobby feared.

Neil keeps edging closer to Dean, saying Dean can’t harm him. Dean proves somewhat otherwise by shooting him in the leg. Angry and hurt, Neil charges Dean and uses his power on him. He claims he won’t “hurt Michael’s favorite monkey suit, but I am curious – what are your nightmares?”

But whatever he finds inside is a lot more than he bargained for. It tosses him back out as he stammers, “You…you’re….”

Dean wastes no time taking advantage of the djinn’s confusion. He attacks Neil and slams his head into the table. “You know,” he comments, looking just like Demon!Dean, “I don’t have a knife dipped in lamb’s blood – but I can improvise!” Spotting two bronze bookends, he grabs them and beats the djinn’s head in, but not before Neil defiantly claims that “there are dozens of” Hunter traps of Michael’s, lying in wait “for you and your family.”

“You don’t know my family,” Dean replies coldly, before dealing the fatal blow and then disintegrating Neil’s head with his gun, held in bloody hands.

Later, Dean removes the apparatus from OMR, while giving Sasha a crash course in helping a djinn victim recover. As Dean leaves, she reassures her waking father that she’s there for him.

The Brothers drive home and return Maggie to the Bunker, where a bunch of redshirt Hunters I’ve never seen before and care nothing about cheer her return.

Dean cheerleaders Sam about bringing Maggie back. Meanwhile, Mary bandages up Bobby and gets him to tell her about Daniel. After the angel war kicked off, Bobby was given a “platoon.” He and his son had taken care of the thing with his wife (which went the same way as in the SPNverse). Daniel was part of Bobby’s platoon, but on one mission, they got separated. Daniel and his group were captured by angels (Bobby assumes) and never seen again. Bobby is left to speculate what really happened and since they crossed over to here, is trying to get himself killed. Mary tells him she won’t let him do that. After talking with the Brothers, she gets an offer from Donna via them of Donna’s cabin (what happened to Rufus’ cabin?), so she and Bobby can try a little normalcy for a while. So, that’s Mary and Bobby off for a few episodes.

Before they leave, though, Bobby is yet another character who gives Sam a pep talk about being a leader. But hey, at least Dean gets an explanation from Mary this time and is allowed to give her “permission” to leave.

The Brothers then put out the word to other Hunters about the “new, supercharged monsters.” After, Dean tries not to blame himself (and has lots of trouble with pronouns), while Sam insists he’ll just sleep less than before so they can find and kill Michael, even though they don’t know how to do either one.

Credits

Okay, now I am truly curious about what happened with Michael. There were heavy hints this week, especially in the scene with the djinn, that Michael is still inside Dean, but, for whatever reason, is currently dormant. Dean seems unaware of this, but he also appears to be fully in control. At least for now.

The theory I like best is that Dean somehow reasserted control, but has no idea that he did, let alone how he did, and has Michael trapped inside his own body. Remember that while Michael may have intended for Dean to become just his vessel, Dean is a powerful agent of the Natural Order in his own timeline, in his own right, which means other beings like Chuck and Amara, but especially Death, are apt to get involved if alt-Michael tries to stay in control of Our!Dean for too long. There are, as Death always likes to say, consequences for that sort of thing, especially since Michael broke his deal with Dean.

Perhaps, as it appears Michael was able to assert himself at the end of last season partly due to Dean’s being smote by Lucifer, Dean was able to reassert himself after Michael was wounded by Kaia’s Magic Hockey Stick (or maybe Michael overused his own grace in his experiments, which contradicts how precious he was about it last year). It could also be that because Dean’s deal with Michael was conditional on Michael letting him be in control, that is a natural condition Michael must constantly fight in order to dominate Dean. And when the djinn looked for Dean’s nightmares, he found Michael.

This doesn’t really explain the djinn’s final words, but I suspect the writers were just going with the ridiculous cliche of the expositional Final Curse. Folks, most people are too busy dying for that nonsense and it lessens the horror and severity of death. Enough, already.

Also, if the djinn found Michael, he may also have realized that Michael was imprisoned inside Dean, which meant he was dealing with Dean when he spoke his final words. Or something.

So, this is a version of Dean Done Come Back Wrong/There’s Something About Dean. Honestly? I’m okay with it. Ackles is acting the shit out of it and it’s a true mystery. Let it go all season.

Also, I loved the callback to “What Is and What Should Never Be.” The show has never allowed Dean to feel his trauma before over being violated by the djinn like that, so it’s nice to see him use it to figure things out about the MOTW, and have the show lampshade it with a flashback to that episode and that particular scene.

I’m far less into the Sam the Leader storyline. I know that Sam needs something to do, and since Dean has the mytharc, that makes Sam the wind beneath Dean’s wings. But this storyline is unconvincing. It suffers from the same problem just about every Sam storyline going all the way back to the Pilot suffers from – the writers never trust that the audience will care enough about Sam to just give us the story. They always Tell us how to feel about Sam’s story rather than Show us.

So, we have characters throughout the story holding Sam’s hand, listening to Sam’s problems, Telling Sam (and us) that Sam is really a great leader (even when it’s clear he is not). Dean’s leader storylines are great because we see all the fight and struggle to convince others to follow him. For Sam, all the whining about lack of sleep aside, it’s a walk in the park. That’s boring to watch.

Another problem going back to Kripke (but especially evident in the Nepotism Duo scripts that suffer from plotting so bad that they LOL!canon their own canon five minutes after they established some within the same script) is a tendency to present us with a major Sam change (usually, though not always, a heroic one) rather than develop it. I have no issue with Sam starting out not-great and developing into a great leader, but to skip a few weeks and be Told he’s brilliant already is just plain lazy writing.

I don’t quite get why Dean is sitting back and letting Sam lead. Okay, actually, I do kind of get it. Just as Bobby was correct in calling out Sam’s awful decision in letting Maggie go hunt alone (even if the show then forced him to backtrack and apologize for stating the flaming obvious, and letting Sam feel and understand the consequences), Dean hanging back and letting Sam do this is very much of a Dean Leader thing to do.

Problem is, I’m not sure that the likes of the Nepotism Duo, Robert “Insert PC snark instead of story here” Berens, Davy “Linear Plotting 101” Perez, and Andrew “Let’s pillage every inappropriate comic book plot I can remember” Dabb are aware that this is basically Dean leading this group of redshirts who only know him as a supervillain through teaching his brother how to lead.

Speaking of the redshirts, their lack of character development is not good. The Bunker is infested by a bunch of one-dimensional characters I don’t have any emotional attachment to whatsoever (and from the sound of things on Twitter, neither do a lot of fans). Even the ones who get a little development, like Maggie, are boring and kinda of annoying.

It’s another case of a plot that would be fine it if weren’t being treated like 5-minute rice. Spreading out their involvement with other Hunters and using the Bunker as a base of operations for Hunters? Fine as a plot spread out over an entire season, or more. Doing a cheap time jump and presenting it as a fait accompli? So not okay. It reminds me of how the Roadhouse initially came across in season two – an abrupt change in tone that threatened to screw up the show’s basic franchise plot and everything fans liked about it.

I’m going to (possibly) go against the grain again and say that I don’t actually have any problems with a Mary and Bobby pair-up. The writers have floundered a bit with her since they brought her back. First, they had her in conflict with her sons, avoiding them because of her own guilt over how their lives turned out following her death. That made her look unsympathetic, especially toward Dean.

Then they had her off in the alt-SPNverse, mothering Jack. That, too, was not so successful in making her sympathetic, largely because she was using Jack as a substitute for her grown-ass sons.

This week, though, shows why Mary and alt-Bobby could work. We see her actually seeking advice and validation from her sons in figuring out what’s going on with Bobby and whether or not to proceed in a relationship with him. Rather than being in conflict with her, they are her allies.

Sure, there were flaws in it. I didn’t like that we had an extended conversation between Mary and Sam when, again, until the time jump, she was much closer to Dean, but hey, at least she got to talk to Dean at the end and seek “permission” to leave for a while, which he calmly gave. Still waiting on that conversation about his possession by Michael, though.

And I really wasn’t thrilled to see her used, yet again, as a DiD to motivate Bobby. That was annoying. But overall, I’m okay with it.

As for the “But she was with John first” stuff, we did have her defend John a bit to Sam, while acknowledging that he changed (not for the better) after she died. It’s not as though she’s forgotten about him. And JDM’s got another show, with little interest in coming back to this one, while Matt Cohen is both too busy and not the right period to come back as John. So, Bobby it is.

Promo next week is up. Alt-Charlie’s back – ugh.

Ratings for the show were down a bit, still 0.3/1 and 1.43 million in audience. Don’t think Legacies is doing Supernatural any favors. Still a tad salty about the CW picking that up over Wayward Sisters.


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: “Mint Condition” (14.04) 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. I’m posting reviews here of North Carolina ghost story books, and notes about my research all month long on Patreon.

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

Right. Let’s get cracking.

Well, this is obviously the Halloween episode of the year (seeing as how it’s on All Saints’ Day). You gotta love how its Halloween episodes are so often some of the show’s lighter episodes. That’s … well, that’s actually pretty messed up.

We get a recap that brings us up to date on the mytharc (which, so far, appears to be Michael possessing Dean, then leaving for no good reason after he got stabbed by the Big Toothpick of Meh wielded by Kaia Sue from last week.

The recap also completely spoils the MOTW by having a recap of ghost eps and ghost rules in voiceover from Sam and Dean. Okeydoke.

Cut to Now and a comic book shop in Salem, OH. What? Everybody instantly knows the inside of a comic book shop just from the memorabilia section.

Anyhoo, as a gold commercial for Diamond Dave’s goes on voiceover, and we get fake ads on now-defunct cable network Chiller (Sorry, Shocker, but it’s about Chiller – it’s a ghost network, geddit?) for fake horror movies like Hell Hazers II (which was filmed during season two’s “Hollywood Babylon”) and one involving a creepy guy in a skin mask (whose tagline is “Time to slice and dice!), we see a guy at the counter unwrapping some action figures in their original packaging (remember “Hell House”?). When he gets to a rare Thundercats one, he sneaks it into his backpack, right before he gets a call from a young woman named Sam who is apparently either his boss or business partner.

Unaware that he is snaking merchandise, she gives him an earful for a bad rating he got the store on Yelp due to getting into a screaming match (involving some racist language) with a customer over a superhero match. She begs him to tone it down because they really need the customers. After a nerd-rage rant, he appears to calm down and sort of apologizes.

As he leaves, still with the stolen merch, we see that the life-sized mannequin across from the counter is of “Slice and Dice” guy.

At home, he is yelling on the phone at the pizza delivery guy, trying to get a free pizza (yep, he’s a dick), when the Thundercats doll he has out and on the table turns its head.

Uh-oh.

The guy hears a noise, turns around, and sees the toy on the floor. Upright. Looking angry. Now, it’s not really dumb that he goes over to investigate initially, because it’s just an oddity. But when the toy grimaces at him, whirls its mini-nunchucks, and smacks him upside the head, he takes way too long even to scream. So, dumb on top of being a jerk.

Title cards

Cut to – what the heck is the red lettering on Dean’s socks? Never mind. Dean is in his room, eating pizza and watching horror movies. He’s “made it all the way through the Halloweens” and is on a film called All Saints’ Day (because the episode aired on All Saints’ Day, yeah?), featuring the creepy mannequin dude from the teaser, a serial killer known as the Hatchet Man.

The plotline is blatantly 80s slasher. A long-haired blonde dude in jeans and a t-shirt, with a dancer’s body, is moping a floor in an institutional hallway (basically, it looks like the same set as for season one’s “Asylum”) when he spots a vending machine and decides to steal some candy. Hatchet Man walks up in the middle of this chicanery and puts an ax through the guy’s knee. When a young woman in a pink outfit (complete with shoulder pads) randomly comes out and screams, Hatchet Man immediately turns his attention to her: “Time to slice and dice!”

They even get some decently high 80s slasher-style gore. I wonder if the FCC has just plain given up with the show except for language at this point.

That’s when Sam walks in to do – I kid you not – a welfare check on his brother.

Sam infodumps that Dean has been in his room for a week. Dean infodumps back that Castiel is out training Jack, Dork!Kaia is still missing, so is Michael, and, well, “the house is full of strangers.” I note that Dean does not mention his mother. Hmm. He does mention that Sam shaves. He does a double-take when Sam comes in. Ackles has a lot of fun calling Sam’s face “smooth as a dolphin’s belly!”

Sam doesn’t appear to see that he’s filled up the Bunker with people Dean doesn’t know or trust (and who don’t know or respect him at all) and that this is Dean’s home. Of course Dean retreated to his bedroom. He’s an introvert.

Sam also thinks that Dean’s enjoyment of horror films is weird, considering their profession, and doesn’t like Halloween. Coming from a guy who is literally a serial killer fanboy, that’s a hoot.

But Sam is successful in luring his brother out to a Hunt with a video of Doomed Teaser Douchebag ranting about getting attacked by a Thundercats action figure. Dean’s all over that.

In Salem (Ohio), they immediately go to the comic book shop, where the girl from the teaser, Sam, is working the counter. Sam (our Sam, yes, this will be confusing) turns away from the Jason Todd costume that Jensen Ackles cosplayed in real life for Halloween. He and Dean are dressed in ties and short-sleeved shirts that make them look like extras from The Office.

Dean teases Sam that he and Girl!Sam are a lot alike. Sam retorts that Dean and a nerdy, slobby guy in the stacks are also very much alike. Dean denies this with a snort, but after he discovers the mannequin of Hatchet Man (“David friggin’ Yeager!”), he and the guy immediately and automatically start to bond over it.

The Brothers introduce themselves to Girl!Sam as insurance agents with rock star aliases checking up on DTD’s (real name Stewart) injuries. She says he’s at his apartment, resting. They say they went there and he got evicted. She admits he and his roommate had a fight (over nerd stuff), and that he’s also a troll, and says he’s back at his mother’s house.

Mom is pleasant, but smothering and enabling. She gives them apple cider (and Dean snags the Flash mug). When Sam snarks about it, Dean points out that she offered. Dean is wearing Birth Control Glasses that are totally not working for their intended purpose. Damn, Jensen Ackles. When are you ever not hot?

They hear Stuart yelling at a video game in the basement. Dean rolls his eyes at that, but Sam actually recognizes the name when Stuart comes up the stairs and finds them there. Sam introduces them (Campbell & Sons – LOL!) and Dean notices that Stuart is burning sage in the basement.

Stuart, who has cuts all over his face and is pretty twitchy, says he got the idea from a “Goth girl” he met online who was into Wicca (naturally, this catches the Brothers’ attention). He says he broke up with her before they could MIRL (Meet In Real Life). I kinda love Dean for not knowing. Neither did I, but Sam fills in the blanks for both of us.

When they ask about the video, Stuart turns full-on squirrely. He insists he faked it and then orders them out of the house. They decide to stakeout the house until Stuart and his mom leave, so they can check it out for hex bags. Sam points out that Wiccans aren’t always witches and Dean replies, “Except when they are.”

While they wait, Sam fields a call from one of his Bunker groupies. Dean snarks at this (but doesn’t mention Sam’s Bobby act). Then he quizzes Sam about his hate-on for Halloween (Sam really doesn’t like major holidays, does he? Remember Christmas?). Sam won’t talk about it.

At that moment, Stuart’s mom comes out in a … yep, I do believe that is a poodle skirt … and drives away. The bit where the Brothers awkwardly duck down as she goes by is funny.

As they debate on how to get Stuart out of the house, Sam reads through the comments on his video, calling them “brutal.”

“Gotta love the internet,” Dean says, “where everyone can be a dick.”

At that moment, Stuart comes stumbling out the front door, screaming for help and covered in blood. As Sam tends to him, Dean pulls out his pistol and goes in alone. He follows a trail of blood downstairs. As he’s distracted by a poster of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, he hears a chainsaw rev up behind him, in midair. It flips through the air and hits the poster, as Dean dodges out of the way.

The Brothers talk to Mom at the hospital and persuade her to stay with her son. As they exit the hospital room, Dean says he checked the house over for hex bags and found nothing, but the EMF meter went off the scale. So, they’re looking for a ghost, though Sam is puzzled by the motive. He goes back to the house to check on what’s going on, while Dean stays at the hospital to wait until Stuart wakes up. Sam is puzzled to find that the Thundercats toy reads nothing in EMF. So, it’s apparently not cursed. He also finds a photo on one of Stuart’s computers that shows Stuart, Girl!Sam, the geek dude who bonded with Dean, and an older guy.

At the hospital, Dean finds the geek dude has arrived. He says Stuart is his best friend. The guy is actually pretty level-headed, but his home life is bad (his father is abusive) and Stuart lets him stay over when things get bad.

On the TV is All Saints’ Day III. That’s geek dude’s favorite. Dean’s is IV. They recite in union the tagline for it. Dean says, “I like to watch movies where I know the bad guy’s gonna lose.” I hear that.

Sam visits the store, where Girl!Sam is closing up. Sam asks her if anyone “close to Stuart” has died recently. She says the previous owner was a guy named Jordan. He was their mentor, but he only left the store to Girl!Sam and geek dude (named Dirk). He left Stuart out of the will because Stuart was always stealing merchandise and Jordan fired him twice.

As she says Jordan was cremated, Sam sees the glass case behind her frost up. He tries quickly to bring her up to speed, but then the Hatchet Man mannequin comes alive and knocks him out. When he wakes up, Girl!Sam is alive, though scared, but they’re locked in.

At the hospital, in the middle of talking about the film series’ best kills, Dean gets a call from Sam about what happened. Dean totally geeks out over the approach of his horror movie idol.

We then cut to a gratuitously blatant homage to the Halloween films in Hatchet Man’s stroll down the sidewalk toward the hospital, through crowds of unsuspecting teenage trick’rtreaters.

Dean and Sam each give The Talk, Dean while doing a line of salt around Stuart’s bed. He then tells Dirk to stay by the bed, inside the line, while he goes looking for the ghost. Unfortunately, the ghost starts poltergeisting the hell out of the room while Dean is gone and Dirk flees in terror.

Stuart’s mom runs into Hatchet Man while bringing her son a tray of food and she’s terrified. Dirk bravely distracts Hatchet Man away from her, but then is chased relentlessly through the empty hallways while security is too busy watching a near-mirror image of the same chase from the scene we saw earlier (that began with the guy getting an ax to the knee). Dean had commented earlier that hospitals can be remarkably deserted at night.

Dean, meanwhile, has found an ax.

The scene cuts back and forth between the girl in the movie trying to escape in an elevator whose doors won’t close and Dirk in the same situation. They finally do, and both the girl and Dirk escape.

Dirk ends up in the morgue, where Dean finds him and asks him why he didn’t stay put. Dirk says Hatchet Man is in the hospital and sure enough, the MOTW sits up on one of the gurneys, pulling off a sheet.

Cut to a cheesy preview of All Saints’ Day III: The Reckoning. Then we get the confrontation between Dean and Hatchet Man. Dean says the ghost can go into the light on its own or he can “send it there.” He’s pleased when the ghost decides to fight. Not so pleased when the ghost turns out to be really strong. A kick-ass fight ensues and Dirk even helps at one point, but Sam and Girl!Sam burst in on Dean getting choked out.

Sam had gotten them out of the comic shop by making a makeshift bomb from a lunchbox. When Girl!Sam asked him how he learned that, he says, “I had a messed up childhood,” which echoes what he tells Sarah in “Provenance.”

On the way, they figured out how Jordan (the ghost) was getting around. He was using a Batman keychain. As they rush in, Sam yells at Dean to get the keychain, which is in Hatchet Man’s pocket. Dean gropes around and yanks it out, tossing it to them. Girl!Sam gets into the spirit by grabbing some alcohol to speed up the burning process. Jordan is forcibly exorcised and flames out, probably to Hell. But when Girl!Sam asks about him, Sam just says, “He’s in a better place.”

Stuart lives, but we don’t see him again.

Driving back, Dean finally gets Sam to tell him why he hates Halloween. It turns out to have been a teenage date-gone-horribly-wrong. Sam was nervous all night and when asked to bobbing for apples, threw up all over his date and a lot of other things.

Dean also thanks Sam for getting him out of his room and giving him a “win.” Sam tells Dean that saying yes was not the wrong thing. He did it for Sam, Jack and his “family,” for all the right reasons. What Michael used his body to do afterward is not his fault.

Dean flatly states, “I’m not gonna get over it.” But he admits that he’s not “doing anybody any good” staying in his room all day, so he tells Sam he’ll do whatever Sam and the team need him to do.

Dean says they should dress up in costume the next Halloween and starts naming possible costumes, from the ridiculous (“Turner and Hooch”) to the injoke-y (“Rocky and Bullwinkle”) to the really disturbing (“Thelma and Louise – we’ll just put it in Drive and go!”).

In the coda, one of the security guards from before enters the morgue. The lights fritz, so he gets out his flashlight and follows the trail of weapons and such used on Hatchet Man until he gets to the mannequin itself. The mannequin then appears to speak one of Hatchet Man’s taglines: “Trick’rtreat!” So, we get one of those 80s horror movie “twist” endings that never made a lick of sense.

Credits

So, that was one was more amusing than I thought it would be. Had some nice rewatch value. Davy Perez still overdoes it a bit on the homages, but moves things along and doesn’t insult our intelligence this time. But I really think the direction by Amyn Kaderali (and, of course, the enthusiasm from the cast and crew over doing a Halloween episode) is what makes it. Which is kind of funny, considering Kaderali’s previous three episodes weren’t terribly memorable, either. But hey, improvement’s always good.

Girl!Sam and Dirk could come back. I wouldn’t mind.

It seems as though the mytharc focus is firmly on Dean this season. We’re four episodes in and it’s All About his possession by Michael and ensuing PTAPD (Post Traumatic Angel Possession Disorder).

Promo for next week is here.

Ratings for this week were meh (usually are for a holiday week), with a 0.4/2 and 1.46 million. Still significantly better than its lead-out, though.


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: “The Scar” (14.03) 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. I’m posting reviews here of North Carolina ghost story books, and notes about my research all month long on Patreon.

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

Recap of events up to this point. Still no rock and the incidental music is frequently dull this season.

Cut to Now and Dean walking back into the Bunker with Sam. Dean is already back in shirtsleeves and talking about how he doesn’t remember anything from saying yes in the Bunker to waking up in front of TFW:TEP at the end of last week. This is almost certainly a lie, since Dean was fully awake and fighting when he went up against Lucifer in the season finale.

Dean is a little shocked to see the Bunker’s HQ turned into an actual HQ (and where the hell were all these people last week, when Castiel was pulling double duty, babysitting Jack and Nick?), and even more so that people are already calling Sam “Chief” after just a few weeks. Yeah, I know. Convenient writing. Just roll with it.

Dean is reunited with Jack and Castiel, who seem glad to see him again, especially Castiel. Then Dean makes the excuse that he needs to go shower and leaves. As the others ask Sam if Dean is all right (think that’s a big old NO, Ghost Rider), and Sam hedges, we see Dean enter his room, take off his outer shirt, and spot a ginormous scar on his right shoulder in the mirror.

Cue title cards.

So, Dean hides this and pretends nothing’s wrong – wait, that’s only half-right. He actually goes to tell Sam and Castiel. No secrets. Who are you and what have you done with Dean Winchester?!

Dean insists that Castiel do a mind-meld (i.e., soul read, which, as we know from season six’s “The Third Man,” is extremely painful) to dig up his memories. Castiel finds some fragments of already-filmed stuff of Michael and his experiments, and seems puzzled why a powerful archangel would be creating monsters (you and me both, dude). He then discovers a new memory – one of DeanMichael getting stabbed in the shoulder, creating the odd scar. There’s a lot of screaming, but no blood (of course) and also no angel light (whoops, continuity error or just plain being cheap about the FX).

Dean has no idea what Castiel just dug up, so they call Jody. Not sure why, but it’s what they do.

Jody is getting a text from Claire (I think) about Alex’s laundry. Claire asks if Jody is on a hunt and Jody says no. Then she gets a call from TFW 1.0.

So, the reason they called her is that Dean recognized the figure that stabbed him/Michael as the same hooded figure that casually murdered Kaia in the “Bad Place” last season. We know (though they don’t) that this was Bad Place!Kaia, so I want to reiterate that she murdered her own counterpart in this world, without an ounce of apparent remorse. I’m thinking that will be important later.

Anyhoo, it turns out the hunt Jody wasn’t telling Claire about involves headless bodies with the same scar.

Dean immediately packs. He, Sam and Castiel are heading out when Jack comes in and wants to help. Sam and Castiel hedge, but Dean’s the one who gets blamed for “hurting” Jack’s feelings by saying he’s not strong enough to go. Yeah, because that’s much worse than taking him along and letting him get beaten to a pulp by demons – oh, wait.

Roadblock number 2 is a female Hunter coming in (apparently Yet Another alt-SPNverse Denizen) with the only survivor of a witch. The witch is dead, but she apparently hexed the girl with an ageing spell. Castiel can’t immediately cure her, so he stays behind to work on it. Dean forges ahead with just Sam.

Oh, by the way, it was established earlier in the ep that Nick is still in the wind and TFW:TEP has no idea he’s turned into a murderer.

In the car, Dean is speeding a bit (75 doesn’t really seem very fast, but okay) and Sam decides it’s time to get pissy and have The Talk about how Dean’s not acknowledging his feelings. Because this has gone so well before, mainly due to Sam always using what info he worms out of Dean to hurt Dean later. Just sayin’, Sam.

Sam whines that time may not have passed for Dean, but it passed for him and he’s worried and he wants Dean to tell him stuff Dean claims he doesn’t remember. Dean is charitable enough not to throw in Sam’s face the times Sam took off on him and did things and told Dean they were none of his business (not to mention that whole “year off” when Dean was in Purgatory and Sam didn’t look for him).

BTW, Dean thinks Sam needs to lose the beard. I’m kinda with him on that.

They arrive at Jody’s, in a meeting at night in the woods. Jody and Dean enthusiastically hug, and Jody admits she’s been hiding the hunt from Claire. Alex is still working at the hospital. Patience is still in school. Jody likes the beard. Dean rolls his eyes at Sam behind her back. Then Dean suggests they go right off into the hunt, even as Sam suggests they wait until daylight. Uh, Sam, honey, Jody just met you at night in the woods and said she doesn’t want to go home until the hunt is done. Go hunt.

There are three bodies so far. Jody thought they were human, but if they’re headless, you can’t really check to see if they’re vampires. Since, like, now vampires can bleed, and all. LOL!canon. And they might be werewolves

Back at the Bunker, Jack decides to pack a bag and leaves note to “Sam,Dean,Castiel.” But as he’s about to go do the Little Orphan Annie shtick, he hears voices down the hall. It’s Castiel and the Hunter, trying to cure the Damsel in Distress in the infirmary. When Jack comes in, Castiel explains that he can’t heal the girl because “the spell is too knotted.” Whatever that means. Castiel got hold of Rowena, who told him to try a reversal spell, but it’s complicated.

Castiel notices the backpack and asks if Jack is leaving. Jack, with a new look of determination, says no and enters the infirmary, presumably to help the girl.

Is the Hunter this week being played by the actress who played the detective in the Warner Bros cartoon ep? She was fun.

It’s daylight in the woods and Dean wants to split up. Sam and Jody veto the idea, so Dean just strides ahead and they run to catch up. Dean finds a campfire (still smoking) with three heads – three vampire heads – on poles in front of it.

Jody and Sam debate over whether it’s just a really big coincidence, or whether these are her three John Does as Dean confirms that they are vampires. But Jody is confused by this. She says that she took their blood home and had Alex examine it. The blood didn’t react to silver or anything like that. Well, vamps wouldn’t.

Dean crouches by the fire and checks out how long it’s been since it was last tended. Then he looks up over his shoulder and is startled by a vivid and hallucinatory flashback of the hooded figure that stabbed him, with the spear in its hands. When he looks up again, though, the figure is actually there and poised to strike. It’s not a flashback. It’s a flashforward, a premonition sort of like Patience’s gift, except briefer and more shadowy. I’m reminded of Zachariah’s claim in “Point of No Return” that Michael foresaw the day Dean would say yes in great detail (except that Dean didn’t quite say yes that day). So, Dean may have a new power. Kewl.

And before anybody starts going on about Dean is fully human, folks, that ship has sailed, hit an iceberg, sunk, been rediscovered and brought up by deep sea submersibles, and set up in a museum. And besides, Nick sure as hell isn’t just an ordinary guy, anymore, either, and it took Sam a hell of a long time to become fully human again – about ten seasons, to be exact. So, no, Dean is not fully human anymore, if he ever truly was.

Anyhoo, the whateveritis gives a startled Dean just enough warning to dodge a strike from the spear. A fight ensues in which the refugee from Arrow gets all Kung-Fu genre on the three of them. Though Dean probably would have won if the hood hadn’t come off and the person he saw looked just like Kaia. EVOL!Kaia (sadly, the actress still only has about three expressions) knocks Dean over, tosses her spear to a mound nearby, swan-leaps over a fence, grabs it, and runs away. All of this is entirely unnecessary for a real fight and looks fake. I hate the way EVOL!Kaia fights.

Back at the Bunker, Jack sits with the young girl, who tells him her life story. As subtext anvils rain down, she asks of Castiel is his dad. Jack says, “One of them,” smiling fondly. When he asks her if there’s anyone they can call, she says her mother, but she fears Mom would hate her. She ran away from home out of rebellion (Jack looks guilty) and was taken in, along with two other girls, by the witch. She says the witch gave them gifts (Jack notices a big, honking necklace that Castiel and the Hunter apparently didn’t), but then the witch turned mean. She locked them up and the other girls withered away to husks. Now, she is withering away, too, but even faster, and she’s scared. Jack reassures her that Castiel will find a solution.

In the woods, Dean is still striding ahead and Sam still wants to chew the fat. This is basically just an excuse by the writers for some infodumping from Sam about how he thinks Michael sent his super-vampires (I guess he somehow found a way to perfect them?) to kill EVOL!Kaia for reasons as-yet unknown. Dean’s like, yeah, all right, but that doesn’t change the plan. Which is, obviously, to find and capture EVOL!Kaia. As Dean walks off, Jody pats Sam on the shoulder and follows Dean. Yay, Jody.

Thanks to Dean’s tracking skills (which are still excellent), they can follow EVOL!Kaia. And they do, as the day passes again toward night.

In the Bunker, Castiel and the Hunter do a Latin spell together, but it only speeds up the ageing process and DiD starts to choke as Jack looks on, distressed. I check my watch.

By the way, it was also infodumped at the beginning that Mary and Bobby stayed back at Michael’s laboratory to … uh … clean up his experiments.

Back in the woods, Jody skips a call from Claire. She tells Sam she promised Claire that she would cover all human-related cases but would let Claire know about “anything monster-y.” This, however, would be too much. It seems that Kaia was Claire’s “first love” (well, yeah, it would be rather awkward to continue much further with Claire’s weird puppy-dog hero worship thing for Dean, since he’s twice her age and totally not into it, or ever address again that whole Daddy Issues stuff she had going with her Fagin dude that Dean killed). So, Jody is not going to tell Claire. Or, at least, she’s going to put it off as long as she can.

Jody asks Sam about how he and Dean are doing (more infodumping about feels!). Sam says that Dean is “working something out – alone” (hey, man, you asked Dean to address what Michael did to him and he said he was by going on this hunt). Sam doesn’t think Dean is any more ready for this hunt than Claire would be. Jody points out that maybe Dean needs to be on this hunt. After all, hunts are how Dean works out dark and destructive feelings. Dean’s entirely barren field of fucks in “Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things” fairly leaps to mind here.

Boy, the woods are really nice and clean and open here in Vanco – I mean, Sioux Falls (and it was amusing to see Sam geek out once again about serial killers, to Jody’s consternation and Dean’s exasperation).

So, cut from Sam’s manly, brooding, bearded face to EVOL!Kaia dropping down into a crouch next to some cabin. She enters, briefly scans the interior, then goes to the sink for some water. After stealing some crackers, she comes back out. The creaking of wood warns her, but this turns out to be deliberate. She turns right into a gun butt from Dean, who was waiting on the porch. As she falls, Sam and Jody happen to be standing there (even though they weren’t when she walked out onto the porch. Continuity error, there).

Gotta say, that was pretty satisfying. I rewatched it a time or two. She’s a tad high on the Jerk Sue scale.

So, they tie her to a chair and interrogate her. After they confirm that she is the Kaia from the Bad Place, they ask her why she came through the rift. She refuses to say why, so Sam asks her why she’s (still) in Sioux Falls. She says it’s “because of him.” She means Michael and Dean confirms he’s no longer Michael. She snarks, “I know. You’re much weaker.” Because really, she wasn’t already obnoxious enough. Gotta say that seeing any version of Kaia ever again on this show was not high up on my wish list and this episode is not changing that opinion.

Anyhoo, Dean says, yeah, whatever, but “you’re still scared.” She claims she’s not scared of Dean (but she sure should be). She’s afraid of “them.” She means the monsters Michael has been sending after her. Every time she stops running, more come. As she speaks, we get a view of her camp, with three new super-vamps surveying the severed heads of their predecessors and snarling.

EVOL!Kaia claims she wasn’t trying to kill her double, with whom she claims to have had a Very Special Bond, but “the blonde” (Claire). Which is bullshit, of course, because if she’d actually cared about her double, and seen through her eyes, she would have known perfectly well not to try to kill Claire.

Jody says they need to get her back to the station for more security and protection. Dean says they have to “break her” right then and there. While Jody and Sam look a bit horrified, EVOL!Kaia smugly claims all Dean wants is the weapon she normally carries (but, for whatever reason, stashed someplace because Stuff to Keep the Plot Going). It does not seem to occur to her that these people who knew Kaia and “the blonde” might want to break her for less esoteric reasons – like revenge. For all her sparkly weapon and fancy martial arts, EVOL!Kaia is quite stupid.

By the way, back at the Bunker, DiD has died. As Castiel covers her face with a sheet, Jack weeps over her body, proclaiming that he could have saved her if he’d still had his own sparkly powers. Then he gets an idea (very belatedly). He pulls off the sheet, looks at the necklace, and asks the Hunter where she put the witch’s body. Um … excuse me? Didn’t the woman just salt and burn the witch on the spot? Nope, she brought her back to the morgue, where the witch is in the cooler. That was their first mistake. The second was not noticing the Big Honking Green Necklace On Her Neck that is identical to the one on DiD’s neck.

Some days, there just aren’t enough facepalms.

So, Jack explains in excruciating detail for Castiel, the Hunter and any of the slower members of the audience that the witch is still dead because the witch-killing bullet is still inside her. But the necklace drained DiD because it was trying to revive the witch, which it couldn’t do because the witch-killing bullet was still inside (really, it’s that spelled out). He yanks the necklace off her neck.

Back in the cabin, Dean is admitting that yes, he’s there for the weapon and is willing to torture EVOL!Kaia for it. He then tosses her around a bit, but EVOL!Kaia just smirks because sure, why would she be the least bit afraid of a guy who is wearing the face of the immensely powerful being that is sending monsters after her, 24/7? I’m not sure if the actress would be any better with more competent writing, but the script sure isn’t doing her any favors.

Meanwhile, Jody and Sam want to protect this puir widdle not-innocent who just bragged about killing her own double and trying to kill Claire. Pretty sure if Jody were actually in character in this scene, she’d be shoving Dean out of the way and cutting strips of skin off EVOL!Kaia.

Meanwhile, the vampires are coming. In case anybody still cares.

So, she claims that Dean is just like Michael, with his “threats” and “violence,” and she starts blathering on about how she “saw” Dean shove a gun in her double’s face (yet shows no fear because bad acting and awful writing make for a totally unrealistic character), and he’s afraid and “weak.” And this is the part where the script really crashes and burns for me.

Yeah, Dean forced Kaia to get into a car with him. And there’s been a lot of bashing of Dean (some fans really dig that) over the decision. Now, I’m okay with scenes where an antagonist calls Dean out on being so violent, but the ones that work (like, say, the interrogation scene in season one finale “Devil’s Trap”) involve much better writing and acting than this one.

The thing is that no other reaction from Dean in the scene where he threatens Kaia would have been in character. To Dean, Kaia was just shrugging off that she’d been helped out of a bad situation (the clinic) and refusing to help him, Sam and Jack rescue their mother, who was being tortured by Michael, right at that moment.

It wasn’t just that Kaia was afraid to help. It was that Kaia made it abundantly clear that she just didn’t give a shit. Too bad, so sad, getting on a bus now. If she hadn’t been afraid, she just wouldn’t have been bothered.

And just as an in-character Jody would have been ripping EVOL!Kaia apart rather than standing weakly by and mouthing platitudes about how torture is wrong (because Jody is a mama bear when it comes to Claire), an in-character Dean would have been bashed just as cheerfully by the same parts of fandom if he had not gone full-on Mad Max in 13.09 to save his mother, once he found out she was actually alive and – oh, yeah – being tortured by the archangel he was once supposed to say yes to, on anyone who got in his way.

But even this is rather beside the point because the very person who is calling Dean out on threatening Kaia is the one who murdered her. And excuse me, but murder (“accidental” for being the “wrong victim” or not) is far worse than a threat that isn’t actually carried out. So, screw you, EVOL!Kaia, you hypocritical little Psycho Sue, and get off my damned screen.

By the way, back at the Bunker, Jack brings the witch’s necklace back to the infirmary, smashes it, and DiD is instantly revived. So, there goes that B-plot.

In the cabin, more painful infodumping as we get a flashback to Michael appearing to EVOL!Kaia and offering her a place in his army if she gives him the spear. She attacks him (because, well, she’s stupid) and he easily evades her attacks (some nice stuntwork from Ackles, which unfortunately shows up the Kaia stuntwork in all its flaws) until she somehow manages to knock his feet out from under him and stab him in the shoulder. Not the heart, not the neck, not the eye, not anything that might have been, you know, effective. Just the shoulder.

Also, it’s pretty sad when the writers forget that full-power angels have wings and can easily outmaneuver a human using them, not to mention, smite them. Remember Anna against Mary in “The Song Remains the Same”? Like that. So, this fight is just straight-up lame.

Anyhoo, all is interrupted by the arrival (finally) of the super-vamps, who proceed to beat the crap out of Sam, Dean and Jody. A plot hole bubbles to the surface when one of the vamps insists he’s only there for EVOL!Kaia and they proceed to beat the crap out of Dean. Because I’m pretty sure that Michael’s vessel is still every bit as important as a spear that could kill him. If not more so.

The vamps are so dumb that when Dean frees Kaia by shooting her chair leg and she jumps out the window, they don’t follow her. So, it’s not a real shocker that she stabs one of them from behind, and then the other two conveniently turn around so she can whirl her big stick a few times and lop off their heads. She then pauses for a bit and Jody says hey, you came back instead of leaving us to die. EVOL!Kaia sullenly insists she came back to kill the monsters (because that totally makes sense – not) and then she bails.

Oh, please, Show, can’t you just kill her off offscreen? I’m begging you.

Afterward, Jody has a broken arm, but insists on driving herself home, after telling Dean not to blame himself (which is a bit like telling Dean not to breathe, but I appreciate her effort).

Back at the Bunker, Castiel visits Jack in his room and tells him he’s proud of him. The Hunter (who now has a name, Jules) is taking DiD back home to her mother. Can we keep Jules? She’s about the only decent thing about this trainwreck of an episode.

After Castiel leaves, Jack coughs up blood, but doesn’t tell anybody. Because it wouldn’t be a Supernatural episode without Secreth and Lieth.

In the car, Dean feels guilty for having said yes to Michael and says Sam was right (well … not really. About a lot of things). He just wanted to skip to the end where he got the weapon and killed the Big Bad. He says he never should have said yes (Sam, who would not be alive, and who knows full well what Lucifer was planning to do to the universe, had Dean not showed up at that church, says nothing to contradict him).

Dean then admits that he actually does remember all of being possessed. He doesn’t remember most of what Michael was doing, but he remembers the possession mostly as a kind of drowning and being too weak to overcome it. Which makes Sam’s whinging earlier in the ep about how he had to deal without Dean around, while Dean got to not remember the past few weeks, look pretty damned bad.

Credits.

This was a pretty inept script, full of endless, momentum-stopping, intelligence-insulting infodump, characters acting stupid or out of character simply to advance the plot, simplistic and linear plot turns (we still don’t even know why Michael left Dean, just how Dean got the scar), an unnecessary B plot, bad acting and some not-so-hot stuntwork, especially from the main guest star. Not what I would have liked to see from a Jody return or a Dean possession aftermath ep.

It’s probably therefore no big surprise the show got a fairly low rating of 0.4/2 in the demo and 1.39 million watching. in part due to audience bailing in the second half (though it seems that Legacies‘ unloved series premiere also dragged it down). Let’s hope next week has at least a tighter MOTW script because Show, you can do better than this.

Promo for next week.


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: “Gods and Monsters” (14.02) 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. I’m posting reviews here of North Carolina ghost story books, and notes about my research all month long on Patreon.

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

Hey, remember when I did a column for Innsmouth Free Press called “Gods and Monsters”? Good times. Of course, the original source for that title is the classic 1998 film about the last days of James Whale, director of Universal’s version of Frankenstein. Last week got its title from the Robert Heinlein novel about a young man who returns to Earth after being raised by Martians and inadvertently starts a cult.

Interminable recap of the situation so far, without even any decent rock music. I’m not one to complain when there isn’t a rock song in every episode, but it’s been a mighty dry spell of late.

Cut to Now and creepy, Gothic church full of cobwebs and detritus. And tied-up people. A man is tied to a chair, slowly bleeding into a cup from his throat. Michael approaches him and heals the cut, then takes the cup. He pours a little bit of grace (his grace?) from a vial into the cup of blood, saying “A little bit of this, a little bit of that.” Swirling it around, he then feeds it to the man.

At first, nothing much happens, and then the man starts glowing from within and his eyes burn out. He falls forward, dead.

“Too much ‘that,'” says Michael. Then, as Universal Horror Film music blares on the soundtrack, he twirls a curved set of knives and rhetorically asks the line of terrified tied-up people, “Who’s next?”

Cue title cards.

So, what is TFW: TEP getting up to these days? The show is so glad you asked (and this being the Nepotism Duo, you’re gonna get the answer in excruciating detail).  They’re finding a story about a pile of dead bodies in Duluth with their eyes burned out and immediately think, “Hey! It must be Michael!” as you do when there about five angels left on the planet and one of them is talking to you right then.

So, Sam gets Mary and Bobby together (because apparently, the redshirts we met in the season premiere are still off hunting vampires on the highways and Maggie is…somewhere).  He leaves Castiel behind to “babysit” (Castiel’s apt wording) Jack and Nick. Castiel admits that his angel grace would undoubtedly clue Michael in and that, even though his track record says this won’t end well, Jack and Nick do require babysitting. Jack is still moping about his lost grace and Nick is making everyone jumpy.

Absolutely no one mentions that this is undoubtedly a trap, just like the last time they thought they had Michael cornered, over in the alt-SPNverse. Remember Kevin 2.0?

And Sam still has Hiatus Beard.

Jack comes in and mopely agrees that he needs to stay behind. Later, Castiel visits Nick, who is having nasty flashbacks to Lucifer using his body to murder lots of people. He’s also hurt that Castiel won’t look at him…much.

Nick doesn’t remember why he said yes to Lucifer in the first place, until Castiel helps him remember. That his wife and child were murdered. Hey, we’re actually gonna find out what happened with that dropped plot.

Cut to TFW: TEP talking to the medical examiner in Duluth (as FBI agents). She conveniently gets a call so they can check the bodies on their own. Sam quickly discovers that one of the dead is a vampire. Bobby and Mary discover the other bodies were, too. And they see the scars for where Michael “bled” the vamps (we’ll leave aside the ongoing stupidity of dead bodies being able to bleed). They wonder why Michael is bleeding and smiting vampires, or “hunting” them in the first place.

Meanwhile, Michael is putting on a nice suit and putting down a brief rebellion from Dean, whose reflection is in the mirror? We know that won’t be the last time Dean fights back.

Castiel tells Jack about the time after the angels fell when he had no powers or wings, and how lost he felt. We get a tidbit that angel powers can take as long as a century to come back. So, that leaves the writers a lot of wiggle room, eh.

As Castiel is talking on the phone to the field team about why Michael would go after vampires, Nick comes in. Nick is upset because there’s no sign that the case of his wife and baby’s murders was ever solved. If he hadn’t said yes to Lucifer, he might have been able to keep the police on the case until it was solved. When Castiel goes to touch his shoulder, Nick comes up with a Lucifer-smite snap, as if on reflex. But when Castiel asks him what he was thinking at that moment, Nick doesn’t know. Castiel goes to touch him again and whatever he finds, he admits that Nick may be more “damaged” by Lucifer than any of them first thought.

Nick goes out to investigate his family’s murder. Castiel doesn’t stop him.

In a grotty motel room, TFW: TEP have tracked down a young woman who had showed up at the morgue to ask about her friends. She turns out to have been one of the people tied up in the church. She claims to have been just a “veggy” vamp, feeding on animals and tells them that she saw Michael’s experiments on her friends (though she didn’t see the part we did in the teaser about his archangel grace). She says she managed to escape. To get them to spare her life, she tells them where Michael went.

Cut to Michael, still all dressed up, entering a hotel room with a woman in a red dress. They exchange banter about how he picked her up in the bar and he is utterly unsurprised when she shows werewolf teeth. He tosses her across the room and orders her to call her “master” (I guess the werewolf Alpha is still alive).

Back at the Bunker, Nick is having a lot of trouble getting anyone in law enforcement to tell him about what happened to his family. It’s a cold case. His only lead is that a witness claimed to have seen someone leave the house and then claimed that they were mistaken.

Castiel tells Nick about Jimmy Novak and Nick calls him out for wearing a dead human. Before leaving to check on Jack, Castiel tells Nick, Jimmy and his family were “my greatest regret.”

Meanwhile, Michael is meeting with the werewolf leader, who isn’t an Alpha so much as a leader of a large pack. Michael makes it clear that he despises humans and that Chuck isn’t coming back any time soon. Which makes Michael the de facto God of this realm.

He offers the leader a way to rule the earth and take over from humans, as long as he volunteers his people to be experimented on. Michael downplays his previous failures with the vampires, which makes you wonder what kind of mistakes he made in the alt-SPNverse.

Jack has somehow gotten out of the Bunker and goes to visit his grandparents. He passes himself off as her assistant and tells them she gave birth to a son. He doesn’t tell them she’s dead. It’s a pretty awkward scene as he dances around the fact that he’s the grandson.

Vampire Girl is packing (TFW: TEP apparently having let her go) when Michael flies in. He tells her that Rule #1 is to have bait for a trap and Rule #2 is that “when the trap has been sprung, you don’t need the bait, anymore.” His eyes glow and he smites her from across the room without even turning to face her.

Castiel is not at all thrilled when Jack gets back, but they talk it out. Jack admits he couldn’t let them know that she is dead now.

The conversation takes a dark turn when Jack asks where TFW: TEP is. Jack thinks Dean can’t be saved and says that Michael has to die. Jack fails to understand that they don’t have any means to kill Michael and that the only way they can cage him is to separate him from Dean. So, killing Dean is so not an option.

Nick visits his neighbor, Artie, and has a talk with him. It turns out Artie was the witness. Artie says that he thought he saw “something,” but he must have been wrong. He starts to get nervous.

Nick gets pretty intense and starts accusing Artie of having beaten his family to death with a hammer. Nick beats him up, determined to get the truth out of him.

TFW: TEP go to the church and find the scene of Michael’s experiments. Then they’re attacked by hyped-up werewolves. Silver doesn’t work. Neither do angel blades, but beheading does.

The doors open and a figure appears. It’s not Michael; it’s Dean and he looks exhausted. He tells them that Michael “just left” and he doesn’t know why.

We cut back to Nick, who has beaten his neighbor to death with a hammer. Hmm.

Credits

Okay, Nick is an obvious parallel to Dean, so that’s not good. I feel a bit annoyed that they went this route with Nick, since it now makes it convenient to see him as EVOL.

I don’t quite know what trap Michael set with Dean, but this being Supernatural, it’s bound to backfire as much on Michael as on TFW. Think I’ve said this before, but I’ve thought for a while that Dean’s possession by Michael could be intermittent and if Michael thinks experimenting on his Sword with his own grace is a good idea, he’s got another think coming. This, of course, makes things that much more awkward for TFW, because that makes Dean pretty unsafe to be around.

As for the rest, damn, Nepotism Duo scripts are overly busy, aren’t they? I felt as though a whole lot of wheel-spinning happened this week.

Ratings for this week went up a bit from 0.468 to 0.485 (rounding up both weeks to 0.5) and from 1.49 million to 1.53 million.

The promo for next week is up.


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.


Supernatural: Season 14


We need your help!

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

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

Here are all my live recaps and reviews in one, handy-dandy spot, for Season 14.


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

The Official Supernatural: “Gods and Monsters” (14.02) Live Recap Thread

The Official Supernatural: “The Scar” (14.03) Live Recap Thread


Season 12

Season 13


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: “Stranger in a Strange Land” (14.01-Season Premiere) 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. I’m posting reviews here of North Carolina ghost story books, and notes about my research all month long on Patreon.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cue pretty new title cards with glowing blue wings.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Credits.

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

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

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

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


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.