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My collected recaps and reviews of season one, which first appeared on Innsmouth Free Press, are now up (with a few extras) on Kindle. The Kindle version is available through Amazon. The print version is also up. If you buy the print version, you get a Kindle copy thrown in for free. I also get paid if you get it on Kindle Unlimited (for free), read the Kindle version, or lend it to a friend via the Kindle Owners Lending Library. Just FYI.
Then recap of “Regarding Dean” last season and then bringing us up to speed with Lucifer’s depowering subplot this season. I sure hope the last time we see Asmodeus this week is in the recap because bleah.
Cut to Now on I-135 Just North of Wichita, KS. A guy named Dale walks into a liquor store and exchanges grunts with the store clerk (indicating they know each other). He sees two blondes giggling in the security camera and goes over to investigate. They are, of course, pretty blondes. And once one of them slips a hex bag in his coat pocket while the other one says a spell in Latin, he immediately falls in love.
They then ask him where Lebanon, KS is (he says he’s never heard of it, which seems unlikely) and then they con him into robbing the liquor store and giving them all the money and booze. He also kills the clerk, Marty.
When he comes out, they brain him with a sledgehammer, because their mother always told them to make deaths “look non-magical” so as to avoid attracting the attention of Hunters. Which is fortunate, since these two girls don’t look as though they’ve got a lot going on upstairs, in addition to being spree-killer witches. Also, the actresses are overdoing it just a tad.
Cue title cards.
Sam’s working at a table in the Bunker. Dean walks in from another room with some books from the MoL library he’s found on otherworldly dimensions. He struggles with one called “Jour et Nuit,” despite having no trouble with the Latin titles of the others, and Sam has to tell him it’s French and pronounce it correctly. Either this is bad writing or the show’s portraying Sam as pretty naive here, since Dean wouldn’t have been able to determine that any of these books were about otherworldly dimensions unless, y’know, he could read Latin and French (and we already know he can read Latin). Which means he’s just messing with Sam to get Sam to look through the books for a way to find Jack so that he can go out on a beer run.
Oh, and by the way, Sam is still in full-on Negative Nelly mode. Because it’s halfway through the season and reasons.
There is also a brief discussion about how “Castiel” checks in every day, as we see Castiel in prison, being taunted by one of Asmodeus’ demons. The demon (named “Dipper” for Idon’tcarewhatreason) also taunts Lucifer, who is annoyed that his jail cell is too warded for him to escape. For the moment. Boy, demons sure are stupid on this show, aren’t they?
After the demon leaves, Castiel mocks Lucifer (because Colonel Sanders – sorry, Asmodeus – is so “smart” that he allowed his two captive angels to be in adjoining cells so they could plot their escape) and Lucifer tries to get Castiel to give him some of his grace so they can both escape. Castiel’s not buying it, not even when Lucifer brings up his own grace-eating days. Castiel also mocks Lucifer when Lucifer calls Asmodeus his “weakest creation,” even after admitting that Asmodeus managed to learn shapeshifting/illusion on his own. Castiel wonders aloud that if Lucifer is being imprisoned by his weakest creation, what does that make him?
Dean is returning from his beer run when he encounters the witches from the teaser in the parking lot (they sure do hang around liquor stores a lot). One sister is screaming for help for the other sister, then slips a hex bag in his coat pocket when he leans over the other sister to help and says the Latin words (“Aegrota amore”) again. As with Dale, Dean’s eyes glow pink and he becomes putty in the women’s hands, kissing the “injured” sister at the first one’s suggestion.
It turns out they know his name and were looking for him. Being under the spell, Dean does not see this as odd.
Sam greets Dean as he comes back into the Bunker. Dean is giddy and “twitter-pated” (his own words). He talks about being in love and would be charmingly goofy if the show weren’t playing what is basically roofie-rape for laughs. Sam starts to realize this is not one of Dean’s usual volatile moods when Dean takes out the Black Grimoire and starts to walk out with it, declaring that it’s a “gift” for his new lady-love, Jamie.
I gotta give Sam credit here for twigging very quickly something’s wrong and trying to handle Dean with kid gloves (since Dean, already volatile, can be extremely dangerous under a spell of compulsion like this). He mentions Becky and the love spell, but Dean starts to turn scary, all while smiling and sunny and basically channeling Clayne Crawford in Lethal Weapon (no, really; Ackles gets him just about dead-on). Sam manages to snag the keys, so Dean says he’ll just walk. Sam tries to grab his arm, and that’s when Dean whips around and cold-cocks him. Knocks him right out. He does say to an unconscious Sam as he walks off that he will give him an ice pack after he returns. Not even the strongest love spell seems capable of subsuming his brotherly instincts.
I have to laugh at the people who are complaining and wondering since when has Dean been stronger than Sam? Um, I dunno, since always? The only time Sam was able to beat Dean was when he was drunk on demon blood and Dean didn’t want to fight him in “When the Levee Breaks.” In fact, it was a major plot point that Sam was able to beat Dean under those circumstances when he never could, otherwise.
The other thing is that it’s never been fully resolved how fully human Dean remains after a year in Purgatory and having the MoC. Chuck did say that Dean would be forever “tainted” by it and Dean did retain abilities specific to Amara in season 11. And we know Dean is still able to do things like fight multiple demons at once, which ought to be beyond human capacity.
Dean arrives back at the parking lot with the book. The sisters are smiling, though one of the girls grumps that they wanted the Impala, too (no shocker that was a no-go for Dean, even under compulsion). They were just discussing in Valley-speak whether to “make the call” and the younger one says she won’t. They’re just going to use the book for their own purposes and not call whomever they apparently stole it for.
They are about to brain Dean with the sledgehammer when Sam shows up in the Impala and comes out, gun drawn. But Dean attacks him and knocks him over as Sam tries to get the hex bag out (having figured out the situation pretty quickly, despite his concussion).
Then the sisters do a very, very stupid thing for which I lose all respect for them as villains – they just drive away. They don’t try to kill the Brothers. They just leave.
Anyhoo, Sam gets the hex bag out (it’s pink, of course), but before he can burn it, Dean starts to choke him out, while apologizing. But then the bag burns and the spell breaks in a pink flash. And Rowena shows up.
Cut back to Lucifer (because sure, now that Rowena’s back from the dead, what I wanted to see was more played-out Lucifer, but at least we get some Castiel mocking him, so there’s that). Lucifer is trying to make a stick lift, though apparently unable to (hmm). Dipper comes past and tells Castiel Asmodeus has “big plans” for him once he returns.
Lucifer yells after the departing demon that alt-Michael will come over from the other ‘verse and kill them all. We then get a very odd bit of infodump. Lucifer proceeds to As-You-Know-Bob to Castiel that no matter the version of Michael in whatever universe, Michael is ruthless and determined and tunnel-visioned and will get over to the SPNverse by sheer force of will.
This makes no sense for two reasons. One is that Castiel is also an angel and knows perfectly well what Michael is like. Yes, Lucifer has had an encounter with alt-verse Michael that Castiel hasn’t, but Castiel hardly needs to pump Lucifer for info about what all versions of Michael have in common.
Second, if Michael is so scary and determined and blahblahblah, why is this universe’s version of him still in the damned Cage?
Lucifer then starts talking about how much alt-Michael is torturing Mary and how it’s like nothing he’s ever seen. Dear God, I am so tired of this show’s ongoing obsession with comparisons of who got tortured the most.
Anyhoo, Castiel finally shuts him up with talking about Jack, how Jack is a lot like his mother and wants to do good, and how Jack resurrected Castiel from the Empty. Lucifer is so mad that he finally is able to TK the stick into the wall. Which gives him an idea.
Cut back to Rowena at the Bunker with the Brothers. Yes, she’s in the Bunker. Also, she’s pouring the three of them whiskeys. Which the Brothers are willing to drink. And nothing bad comes of it.
They ask her how she’s still alive. She’s cagey about just how (and they don’t mention their encounter with Arthur and what he told her about the resurrection device she gave him). She just says that it took a very long time to heal this time round and she doesn’t want to have to go through it again. She admits to having put a tracking spell on the book (hence why she’s there now) and calls Dean “lover” (at which Dean looks less-than-nonplussed and Sam smiles). A joke about “fifth base” in which Rowena teases Dean about his being roofied and supposed lack of sexual expertise fails, though.
There’s also a sad moment when Rowena finds out that Crowley is dead. It’s a nicely gauged mix of emotions as she reacts with both anger and hurt. The Brothers’ insistence that he died a hero doesn’t comfort her, since she’d prefer a “living” (so to speak) son, “even one who hated me,” to one who is dead and gone forever. Of course, there’s her grandson, but he’s in Heaven. Which she can’t reach.
It turns out that what she’s after is a spell in the book that would break a binding the Grand Coven once put on her. Needless to say, Sam and Dean aren’t too thrilled about the idea of just giving her more power. But they do, in the end, agree to work with her to get the book back. And then they’ll talk.
I should probably refresh everyone’s memories that the Black Grimoire is the book of spells the Brothers “liberated” from the Cajun witches Rowena helped them defeat in “Regarding Dean.”
I like this scene. Everyone in it is a thief, murderer and con artist, and they’re all working angles. And yet, you can tell there’s a shared camaraderie. When Rowena claims she’s “changed,” I find myself hoping she really has and I think the Brothers kind of do, too. The two MOTWs seem quite flat in comparison.
So, naturally, guess where we go next? A hardware store where the witches are trying to read the book they stole (they kinda suck at it) and magicking a staff guy. The younger girl, Jennie, seems to have the magical talent, though that’s not saying much. A young African American woman working there calls them out on shoplifting, to which they respond with some downright nasty snootiness. Ooooh, burn.
They then read that they need a human soul for their spell, so they zero in on an innocent young stock boy. I’m guessing, from “Regarding Dean,” they mean the spell the Cajun witches were using to try to resurrect their brother.
Back at a house, they’re reading the book over the body of an older woman. Jamie shows Jennie a photo. They’re in it with the woman. It’s their mom. They have a discussion over Jennie’s uncertainty whether she can work the resurrection spell and how much they miss their mother. This is probably intended to add some depth to their characterization, but between the Valley-speak and the references to how many people their mother murdered in her lifetime (and how many people they are willing to murder now to bring her back) the scene manages to generate no sympathy for them whatsoever.
We then hear a man’s voice from the other side of the room. It’s the poor stock boy, who is completely enspelled. Coolly asking Jamie if they still need that spell (Jamie, of course, says yes), Jenny strolls over the boy and stabs him to death. Then she walks away.
The Brothers and Rowena (in the backseat) arrive in Stillwater, OK. Rowena says that her tracking spell on the book really only works for general location and when it’s moving – and it’s stopped moving. They have to ask around to find the sisters. She offers to interrogate the locals herself, but the Brothers point out that her methods tend to be extreme and fatal. Or extremely fatal. Take your pick.
Sam offers to babysit Rowena in the car, while Dean goes out and does interviews. Rowena makes a final suggestion – that Dean talk to the woman. She says she’s pretty sure “these girls aren’t popular with other women.” We see Dean quickly process this and nod, taking the suggestion on board. Rowena doesn’t insult Dean by asking him if he knows how to talk to women about other women. She knows he can talk to women about all sorts of things. After all, she (and we) are pretty certain he lied about not remembering the conversation she had with him in “Regarding Dean” about Chuck and Amara.
Cut to Castiel and Lucifer. Castiel is entertaining the demon, Dipper, by insulting Lucifer. But this turns out to be a trick. When Dipper goes to mock Lucifer, Lucifer yanks him up against the bars, then reaches through them (despite the sparks) and stabs him in the neck with the stick. This somehow breaks the warding, both on his door and Castiel’s. The demon turns around and gets smote by Castiel.
Naturally, more demons show up, but Lucifer and Castiel somehow have angel swords now, so this ought to be a short fight.
In the car, Rowena is bored and asks for music. Sam points out they only have Dean’s hard rock collection. Exasperated, Rowena says that surely she can “enslave” a few townspeople to tell them what they need to know.
Sam: I’m pretty sure you can. I’m also pretty sure you shouldn’t.
Rowena: Bless your precious little heart. You just described my entire life.
Ah, Rowena, how I missed thee.
In a surprisingly thoughtful moment, Sam gently tells Rowena that even if she gets hold of the book, it won’t help. She’ll still feel “helpless.” Rowena at first doesn’t want to talk about it (her fear of Lucifer is quite genuine). Then she gets teary and admits the scariest part of Lucifer’s burning her alive and crushing her skull – “he showed me his face. His true face. I’m scared, Sam. All the time.”
At that point, Sam admits that he’s seen it, too, and it “still keeps me up at night.” When she asks him how he deals with it, Sam admits that he really doesn’t. Mostly, there’s always a new world-busting crisis, so he just “pushes it down” (much like his brother with his own traumas). He could talk to Dean, whom he knows would listen, but for whatever reason, he never does. In a weird way, I think Sam may actually find comfort that Dean would listen, even if he never unburdens himself to Dean, just as he and Rowena find some comfort in unburdening themselves to each other in this scene. Awww.
Dean goes into the same hardware store where Jamie and Jennie were earlier and he encounters the same clerk who called them out on shoplifting. She’s skeptical at first of his intentions (though she definitely likes the tall drink of water standing in front of her), but when he makes it clear he’s there for revenge not love, she has no problem whatsoever giving up the address of “the Plum sisters,” whom she also calls “a whole mess of trouble.”
“You going to be really mean?” she asks.
“Yeah,” Dean replies, in a tone with a whole lot of intent.
“‘Cause somebody sure needs to be,” she finishes, giving him the address. Can we see her again? I like her.
Sam is telling Rowena that it doesn’t matter if she gets her power back, she’ll always feel helpless, as Dean returns to the car. At that moment, Rowena gets out, claiming to need some fresh air. But when Dean rather stupidly says he has the address, Rowena gets a look at it and then tosses down a hex bag, shouting, “Manete! (Stand!)” before fleeing.
As the Brothers try to get the hex bag (and Dean calls Sam an idiot for letting Rowena get under his guard), Rowena goes to the address. There the two witches are arguing about their spell having gone wrong (the poor clerk is quite dead at this point, still smiling). Rowena comes in and growls at them about not waiting for her. Turns out she was the one they were supposed to call and she had them get the book for her, after telling them about the Winchesters and where it was. But they double-crossed her. Shocker.
Anyhoo, it turns out they already did the spell on their mother and brought her back as a mindless, violent, magic-proof zombie who goes after Rowena. As she barricades herself in another room, they think this is funny because … well … they’re really dumb.
Sam finally manages to get the hex bag and Dean burns it. Then they go after the witches.
Meanwhile, Castiel and Lucifer are escaping from that old sanitorium the show is always using as a set. Lucifer tries to persuade Castiel to give him his grace, then tries to stab it out of him. Instead, Castiel stabs him, saying “This is me learning from my mistakes.”
At their house, the sisters are still mocking Rowena when the Brothers enter. The sisters aren’t terribly impressed by the Brothers’ guns, but Dean unwisely tells them they have witch-killing bullets, so the sisters use a TK spell (one they just learned, I guess) and then go after the Brothers with a knife and a hammer and superstrength. Sam gets his ass kicked, though Dean holds his own pretty well against Jamie (and is even winning), until Jamie calls for help and Jennie hits him in the leg with her hammer.
But the sisters are distracted by Rowena shouting for advice on how to deal with a magical zombie, and Dean suggesting shooting the mother. When Rowena actually does, though, the sisters inexplicably keep going after the Brothers. This gives Rowena time to recover a bit and use an “Impetus Bestiarum” spell (the one she used on that poor prostitute in her second appearance) on them, then compels them to kill each other. Though looking a bit startled, the Brothers don’t make any effort to interfere.
Still favoring his knee from the hammer blow, Dean insists they take the Black Grimoire back. As Sam goes to get it from Rowena, who whispers desperately to Sam that she can’t “feel that helpless again.” She then appears to leave empty-handed, but Dean watches her go with a considering look.
Back at the Bunker, Dean is still hurting and is disgusted at himself for having fallen for a love spell (didn’t see any choice for him in the matter, but okay). But as they drink beers, Dean points out to Sam, “You do know Rowena is not our friend, right?” He then opens the book. The page with the spell on it that Rowena was seeking is missing, torn out. Dean wasn’t fooled.
Sam admits he let her take it and that if she “breaks bad,” he’ll kill her himself. But he feels that if she encounters Lucifer again, he’s on Team Rowena and wants her to be able to “make him suffer.”
Dean accurately pegs this as part of Sam’s depression. Sam says that Rowena’s not the only one who “feels helpless.” He admits that he started the season with a plan that involved Jack, but with Jack gone, he doesn’t know what to do. Dean says calmly, “We’ll figure it out.” Sam asks how, when they have no plan? Dean just steadily says that the two of them will “figure it out.” Sam looks less sure, but doesn’t argue.
In the last scene, Rowena is kneeling inside a pentacle/devil’s trap with candles. She recites in Latin, asking for her “voice” back and ending with “Fiam invicta!” (I am invincible!). She also cuts her throat vertically, though this doesn’t kill her. As she bleeds from her eyes, glowing purple bonds surrounding her break and the candles gutter out. She smiles, totally healed, and then her eyes glow blue. Possibly not an angelic blue (though who knows? Maybe she said yes to Michael in the Cage and that’s how she resurrected), but still a very unsettling color. Also unsettling is the smile.