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Recap: Recap of the season so far, as well as a quick, pizza-themed montage of Megstiel, Ruby 2.0, and Dean eating pizza.
Cut to Now. The Brothers are in the library. Sam is reading old books, while Dean is surfing the internet. They’re trying to locate Chuck, but as Dean points out, if he’s off destroying other universes, he’s not liable to be on Earth Prime’s radar just yet.
They suddenly hear a loud, machine-like hum from another room (another part of the library, I guess?) down the corridor and we get some shaky-cam. A light glows underneath the door to the room as Dean opens it. Inside, they find a rift … and a car. The kind of cute little car of which Dean is not fond (we find out later).
Two people get out of the car to arguably the gayest song of the pop 1990s scene, Savage Garden’s “I Want You” (and believe me, there was some heavy competition for that title). They are another Sam and Dean, in very nice clothes. alt-Dean is wearing what looks like a Rolex and Argyle socks, along with a white, open-collared shirt that looks suspiciously like something Jensen Ackles once wore in a photo shoot and some kind of tan safari jacket. alt-Sam sports an Apple watch, a manbun, and no socks. They smile in relief, as alt-Sam says that they made it, and fist bump.
Then they notice “our” Sam and Dean. They exchange a “What the heck?” for a “What the hell?” and recognition of names before the rift glitches. As alt-Dean says, “Aw, nuts!” they vanish.
Cue title cards.
So, “our” Sam and Dean are trying to explain the situation to Castiel and it’s not going very well. Fortunately, Billie pops in to infodump. She says that the alternate versions of themselves were “running” and that Chuck is almost finished destroying the rest of the worlds. Once he’s done, he’ll return to Earth Prime and destroy it, too.
She says that they need to be ready and she’s got “the next step” for Jack, who waltzes in, blandly eating a sandwich. He calmly says he’s ready. Billie’s not so sure about that. She says that the previous quest (eating Grigori hearts) was for building up his body, but this new quest – seeking the “Occultum” – is “more spiritual.” Sam helpfully translates the “Occultum” as “hidden.” Thank you, Captain Obvious.
Billie is forced to admit that she doesn’t know exactly what the Occultum is (eliciting some sarcasm from Dean). It’s been lost for centuries because it is, as she points out to Captain Obvious (sorry, I mean Sam), “hidden.” But she does know that it’s “potent and powerful,” and that Jack has to find it.
She then warns them (well, actually, she warns Sam if we’re going by whom she’s glaring at when she says it, but Dean’s eyeroll is the actual reaction shot we get) not to do anything “stupid,” because if Chuck finds out prematurely what they’re all doing, their collective goose is cooked. And nobody on TFW 2.0 can argue with that.
Later, Sam is whining that he can barely find anything in the books about the Occultum, while Dean plays with a rubber band, apparently mentally checked out. When Sam calls him on his inattention, it turns out that Dean is, in fact, about ten steps ahead of Sam regarding the implications of Billie’s info. He talks about how Death is now their “Obi-Wan” and they are “the messengers of God’s destruction” in an incredulous voice. But that’s not the worst of it. If Jack is going to kill Chuck, what about Amara? She’s the Darkness and if Chuck dies with her still alive, the balance is thrown out of whack and the whole SPNverse dies (she does, too, actually, but the episode forgets that). So, he’s thinking maybe Jack can kill her, too.
By the way, where is Amara in the midst of this ongoing Chuck tantrum? There are some things she does happen to like about his creation. Wouldn’t she be interested in preserving them?
Sam asks, then what? Does Jack then become the new God? At this moment, Jack strolls in, announcing he just learned how to blow a bubble gum bubble. Dean looks at Sam and says, “Probably not.”
Sam and Dean ask Jack if he has any more info from Billie on how he’s going to kill Chuck. Turns out Jack has no clue. At this moment, Castiel comes in, on his cell phone, grumpily telling someone he owes them. It turns out to be Sergei. Dean is unimpressed (“Are we that desperate?”), but Sergei did give up some more info on the Occultum. It’s “divine in origin” and was kept in a temple until it was pillaged by Mongols and sold on the black market (Dean has a good time trying to Indiana Jones-guess its fate, to Castiel’s stiff discomfort). It eventually fell into the hands of a family named Jacobson, until one Hiram Jacobson gave it up to a faith healer to save his son’s life. The description of her and her powers, however vague, leaves them with but one candidate – the angel Anael, AKA Sister Jo.
Cut to Sister Jo at the end of a hard day grifting sick humans. The Brothers come in and ask her about her deal with Hiram. When she claims “patient confidentiality,” they reveal they know she took the Occultum as payment and they want to use it to “kill God” because Chuck is going to “murder the world.”
Jo demurs, claiming she doesn’t want to go up against God (apparently, she’s also hard of hearing, or not as bright as she used to be, because I’m pretty sure she knows better than to think Chuck would spare her). So, the Brothers bring out their angel swords and Jo starts talking.
She claims that she gave it to Ruby back in season four (Ruby 2.0, in other words). They used to work the odd grifter job together and Ruby claimed she had a great buyer for it. Unfortunately, after Ruby stashed it somewhere in Hell, she got killed by Dean (we get a quick flashback) before she had a chance to get the payment from the buyer.
Back at the Bunker, Jack is pigging out when Castiel comes in. Jack admits that after you’re dead, and you come back, you appreciate life more. However, now that he’s “lost” his soul, he can’t feel emotions the way he used to. It’s now all a distant, intellectual exercise. While he did find emotions unbearable at times, he misses them. He misses his soul.
Jack then talks about Mary’s death (Castiel has to remind him that he was the one who murdered her). He says that after what he did, he recognizes, at least on an intellectual level, that Sam and Dean don’t look at him or feel the same way about him since he killed her. He wonders if Dean, especially, will ever forgive him.
Rather than point out that this animosity is a natural consequence of murdering someone’s mother, and that Jack is damned lucky either brother didn’t immediately gank his soulless ass the moment they saw him in the Bunker two episodes ago, Castiel goes on some weird rhapsody about how Dean “feels things more acutely than any human I’ve ever known.” Considering the really low view this show actually has of humanity (while trumpeting the opposite), this statement is both accurate and a very low bar for Dean to hurdle.
Castiel says that Dean may hold on to his grudge, or he may just blow up eventually and move on. Jack asks how long that will take. Castiel says he doesn’t know. Well, it took Dean 24 years to hunt down and gank the last supernatural thing that murdered his mother, so I don’t suggest Jack hold his breath.
Sam and Dean arrive home from their conversation with Sister Jo. Rather than the script following up on his conversation with Jack, like … at all … it instead has Castiel show them something completely different that he discovered off-screen between scenes. In another part of the Bunker, as if on a movie screen, the ghostly, moving images of the alt-Sam and Dean from the teaser appear on the wall.
Castiel says that the alt versions can’t see or hear anybody over here. He theorizes that when Chuck destroyed their world, they were trapped in between realities. They are here but not quite here.
Dean asks if they’re in any pain. Castiel says no. Dean says that’s good and starts to leave. When Sam protests, Dean says TFW 2.0 will figure something out, but for now, they have to find the Occultum. Castiel is more than a little concerned when he hears that Jo said Ruby stashed it in Hell (Dean acts surprised when Castiel mentions Sam and Ruby were lovers. Did he really not know? He found them in the bridal suite in “When the Levee Breaks”). Castiel says that Hell is a big place and they could search there for years. Or, you know, aside from the whole time slip differential these two writers never remember, they could just ask Rowena.
Instead, Castiel suggests they talk to Ruby. Dean points out that Ruby is dead and buried in the Empty. He and Sam are off to Hell and he tells Castiel to keep the purple fires burning so they don’t get stuck.
In Hell (which now has a Universal horror movie organ soundtrack), they encounter a generic demon who says he will take them to Rowena, who is “hosting a reception for newly condemned souls.” But instead, it’s a trap and they’re ambushed by what look like some of the same demons from Central Casting who ambushed them last time. Except that this time, the Brothers remember their fighting skills and take the demons out (Dean takes out two and Sam gets the last one to talk before ganking him). But only after finding out that the demons were working with Sister Jo, who asked them to settle Sam and Dean’s hash in exchange for breaking the demons out. Afterward, we see Jo leaving town in a hurry and fleeing to parts wherever. She even passes up a would-be patient and coldly leaves him in the lurch (poor guy).
Back in the Bunker, Castiel is watching over the purple flame portal when Jack walks in and asks if the Brothers made it safely to Hell (this show … the things I thought I’d never say before I started watching it). Castiel says yes, but that he doesn’t trust Jo’s story. He still feels he needs to talk to Ruby, who is in the Empty.
He asks Jack to kill him … mostly … by cutting his throat and drawing out most of his grace into one of Dean’s whiskey flasks (which he found in the library’s card catalogue), so that he is dead enough to go to the Empty, but has a lifeline to come back. Because these two writers obviously forgot that when an angel loses his/her grace, he/she doesn’t die. He/she becomes human. You know … like Anna in season four. Or Castiel himself early in season nine. Hell, Jack lost his grace in exactly the same way (leading up to this entire stupid storyline about burning out his soul) at the end of season 13.
When Jack protests that the Empty Entity has it out for Castiel, Castiel points out (rather unconvincingly) that they have a deal in which the Empty can only take him if he’s happy and he most certainly is not right now. Jack, who has spent months hiding in the Empty and should, at this point, know the EE pretty well, is dumb enough to buy this and goes along with the plan, after some foot-dragging. Castiel says to bring him back in an hour. Jack then extracts Castiel’s grace using his own powers – which he wasn’t supposed to do last week, it being a major ongoing plot point and all.
In the Empty, Castiel is wandering around in the dark, looking for Ruby. Apparently, he forgot that the Empty is a lot bigger than Hell. While he’s stumbling around, calling for her, the EE shows up on a throne with a glass of Chardonnay, wearing Meg’s face. So, I guess that settles the lingering question of whether or not the EE escaped the Empty and left Chuck in its place (and opens up a whole can of worms regarding Things That Don’t Make Sense in the plot).
The EE, at first, doesn’t want to help, even when Castiel points out that he’s on a mission for Death, and he knows Death and the EE are working together. But when Castiel stands his ground, the EE grumps a bit and gestures. A glowing red ball of light appears and coalesces into Ruby.
Castiel very quickly brings Ruby up to speed that she is dead and in the Empty. He asks her about the Occultum. She rolls her eyes when he says Sister Jo said it was in Hell, saying hiding something there would “be a bit obvious” for a demon (I dunno … would it?). When Castiel mentions that Sam and Dean have gone to Hell to look for the Occultum, she indulges in some weird nostalgia about Sam and says they “had a good thing, until he killed me.”
Her memory must be worse even than the writers’ because the flashback to “Lucifer Rising” just a few scenes before clearly showed Dean stabbing her. Yes, Sam had grabbed her from behind so she was taken by surprise, but Dean still struck the actual blow.
Ruby’s version of the story is that Sister Jo called her, not the other way round, and asked to make a deal. Anael pointed out that even though Ruby was working for Lucifer, once he got out, he and Michael would go toe-to-toe and the world would end. But she and Ruby could escape it all by hiding inside the Occultum (there’s a bit more blather than that, but that’s the gist).
Ruby says she never told Sister Jo where she put the Occultum, but she didn’t put it in Hell. She’s willing to tell Castiel if he busts her out of the Empty, since she knows he’s “connected.” Far from being a place of eternal, peaceful sleep, it is an eternal hell of nightmares and regrets. Castiel says he knows this (then why did he just ask her why she wanted out – oh, never mind). He says he will do the best he can, but he can’t promise anything. She’s willing to take even a promise to try and tells him.
In the Bunker, Dean and Sam arrive back to find Jack next to a “mostly dead” Castiel. Jack all-too-perkily explains to them Castiel’s plan. Dean decides it’s time to cut that short and tells Jack to bring Castiel back.
As Jack pulls out the flask and starts giving Castiel his grace back, the EE turns nasty and starts torturing Castiel. When Castiel points out they had a deal, the EE says she has a deal with Death. Death can put her back to sleep (her fondest desire). But she doesn’t recall Death including Castiel’s safe conduct in that deal. Nonetheless, Castiel fades out of the Empty as the EE is ranting about how he can’t just go back and forth: “It upsets the Natural Order of things.” Unperturbed, the EE just adds, “See you soon.”
Back in the Bunker, Dean calls Castiel an idiot, both before and after Castiel fills them in on what Ruby told him. Not only is the Occultum a place in addition to a thing (“the safest place in the world”), but Ruby told him where it is. And it’s not in Hell. The Brothers are like, Well, duh.
Jack then worries what would happen if Chuck checks on them and doesn’t find them in the Bunker. Well, first of all, he’d probably just assume they were on a hunt. And second, what about if he checks in and sees Jack? How, exactly, is Billie hiding Jack from Chuck, especially when Jack is using his powers?
Anyhoo, Dean has a quite-clever idea about addressing Jack’s objections. He takes them to the room where their alternate versions are stuck between worlds. It turns out he has a way to get them out. Since they are stuck between dimensions, right next door to this one, the spell needed to get them here shouldn’t require full archangel grace. Some of Castiel’s should suffice (right after he nearly died from losing his grace? Okay). Sure, it could also blast them off into the aether, but it’s a chance worth taking. So, Sam recites the spell, and lo and behold, it works.
Cut to Sam and Dean talking to … Sam and Dean across a table. Alt-Sam is prissy and uncomfortable, while alt-Dean quietly observes Sam and Dean, who are standing across the table from them, holding beers (the alt versions are rather less into beer, though alt-Dean appears to warm to it over the course of the scene). It turns out they were Hunters in their own world, too, but their father alt-John (who was alive and well up until the point when they were separated trying to escape Chuck’s destruction) had built up a worldwide multi-million dollar business out of it, Hunter Corp. Not only did they get paid to hunt, but they had a jet and pilots on standby to go all around the world doing it.
After the alt versions thank them for rescuing them, Sam and Dean explain their proximate reason for doing so – to pretend to be them to fool Chuck. Alt-Sam and Dean are shocked to hear that this Sam and Dean have “a relationship” with God that has him looking in on them regularly, but not quite as shocked as Sam’s insistence that his alternate “lose the manbun” or Dean’s that they need to wear flannel.
Later, we get a quick scene of alt-Sam watching cute kitten videos (while still clinging to the manbun and complaining about having to dress like a “hillbilly”) and alt-Dean discovering he actually quite likes wearing flannel and drinking beer (especially after he discovers Dean’s computer porn collection). Alt-Dean thinks this is a great life , if “simple,” and there are strong hints alt-John infantilized and controlled his sons, to the point where they didn’t even have a sex life.
Meanwhile, off on the road TFW 2.0 go, to a church that this show has been renting for a lot of years. This is where Ruby hid the Occultum. The question is where. The other question, which Jack brings up, is whether all this is a bit too easy. That is answered by the arrival of some Hell Hounds, just as Dean is discovering that the doors are locked.
With remarkable alacrity, Dean whips around and starts picking the lock, Sam rather needlessly urging him to hurry. He gets the doors open just in time and in they all rush, slamming the double doors in the faces of the Hounds.
As they leave Sam to secure the doors, Dean, Castiel and Jack try to figure out what Ruby meant by the Occultum being hidden near the “top of the cross.” A serendipitous ray of moonlight through a stained glass cross window above the altar glows on the floor, showing that they need to dig under the floorboards. Castiel and Jack stand around, watching Dean do just that (and discovering a velvet bag with a silver filigreed ball inside it), while Sam struggles to keep the doors closed. Seems like a weird distribution of labor, but okay.
Castiel reads some Enochian on the ball that says that in order to get inside the Occultum, it has to be inside you. So, while Dean and Castiel are trying to figure out what to do with it (and Dean is pretty accurately guessing that both Jo and Ruby want them dead), Jack palms it and eats it. This shortly goes horribly awry when Jack falls to the floor in agony, disappears in a big glow of light, and shortly finds himself inside a very fake-looking forest. He meets a girl who declares that he can’t be human, since humans can’t enter the forest.
When the girl asks Jack if he’s an angel, he hedges a bit. He then asks why this place is forbidden to humans. The girl explains that humans were cast out of its “perfection” and Jack realizes it’s the Garden of Eden, from which Adam and Eve were cast out. This … is rather a hot mess of retcon, considering Adam is Sam and Dean’s brother, and Eve is the mother of monsters, and the show has already tread very lightly with Genesis, going far more in favor of science and evolution.
Anyhoo, the girl tells Jack that if he is the one the Garden was meant for, he’ll “know soon enough.” Then she walks away, fading as she goes. As Jack turns around, he sees a CGI snake (remember the one on Sam’s arm in that season six poster? Like that) in the tree. The snake asks, “Who are you, really? Who are you meant to be?”
In response, Jack gets dizzy and collapses, as memories wash over him: riding with Dean, hanging out with TFW 2.0, then a quickie recap of the events leading up to his murdering Mary while Nickifer tells him in voiceover, “They’ll never trust you again.”
As Dean and Castiel are still arguing in the church (and poor Sam is playing Hodor), a bright light appears above them and comes down. Just as Sam is knocked back into the church and the doors burst open, the light blasts the Hounds (briefly shadowed in the glare) to dust. In the aftermath, Jack is left lying on the ground. He wakes up looking confused.
Back at the Bunker, Dean sends alt-Sam and Dean off to Brazil, despite alt-Dean’s eagerness to stick around. Though they make a rather large faux pas when they smugly admit to driving the Impala (um … when? TFW 2.0 took it with them to the church). Realizing they’ve overstepped when Dean starts to freak out, alt-Dean bodily shoves his brother out the door.
An annoyed Dean returns to where Sam is holding some kind of vigil outside the kitchen. Castiel comes out and says that Jack seems different: “He’s been to the crossroads between divinity and humanity. No one’s been there since the Exile till now. Till Jack.”
They go inside, and Jack is all weepy and emo. He begs their forgiveness for murdering Mary while the Brothers (especially Dean) look really uncomfortable. Castiel spells it out: Jack has his soul back.
The show rose again slightly to a 0.3 and 1.07 million in audience.
No preview for the next episode, “Last Holiday” (15.14). With the Coronavirus pandemic halting show production after the first day of filming the penultimate episode of the series, we’ll have another hellatus of unknown length following “Destiny’s Child.” It seems probable we will end up with a de facto season 16 of 7 episodes this fall, even if the CW doesn’t market it that way. Other shows experienced truncated seasons, but Supernatural is set to finish out as usual, just later on when the industry opens back up.
Review: This was another daft script from the Nepotism Duo and it figures this would be how we’d end up going on the unexpected Coronavirus hellatus (there has been much gallows humor about the current world situation keeping this show around a little longer). By far the most interesting and fun part of it was the flakiest and most throwaway – the metrosexual Sam and Dean who figured out how to save themselves and cross over from an alternate universe to Earth Prime.
Alas, that wasn’t the main storyline, which consisted of much canon-violating, with Jack Sue and pointless cameos by the two series leads’ wives as Ruby and Jo. I’ve actually liked Sister Jo most of the time, but this episode, she felt shoehorned in so the writers could put the leads’ wives together in the same scene.
It came off as uncomfortable, with the two characters not bouncing off each other especially well. Most of the logic surrounding their part in the plot was silly and involved a lot of sloppy retconning in which we were to believe that Anael lied about coming to earth with the other angels during the Fall at the end of season nine and that Ruby lied in season four about never having met an angel before. Even though there had never been a reason for either to lie about that.
I enjoyed Rachel Miner’s reappearance a bit more because … well … it’s Rachel Miner. But it wasn’t Meg. It was the EE using Meg’s appearance and mannerisms like a skin mask (a subtext, by the way, Miner got across most adeptly). It reminded me of The First Evil story from the last season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and how that didn’t work for me because it came off as such a cheap and generic way of bringing back dead characters, rather than a genuinely scary ubervillain.
The pacing itself was flat as all get-out. Normally, in a story, you have a build-up to a climax and this episode purported to have one in Jack visiting the Garden. However, the pacing felt a lot more like “This happened and then this happened and oh, yeah, then this happened” than a slow building of tension and of stakes. These two writers frequently suffer from that problem, but you’d think that after some four decades in the business, they’d have worked through it. They haven’t.
The Jacknatural plot would be far less irritating if it weren’t so damned dull. His character has taken over the mytharc like kudzu, choking Sam and Dean (especially) right out of it, and this has resulted in a sharp drop in quality, not just in the writing (of course), but also in direction and set design and editing. It’s increasingly feeling as though everyone involved is just phoning it in and waiting for the end, presumably thanks to frustration with the lousy attitude from the showrunners themselves.
I sure hope that this enforced hellatus (like the one in season three during the Writers Strike) inspires someone to get their acts together and improve things enough to give us at least a decent ending that doesn’t make half the fandom want to toss their Supernatural DVDs on the bonfire next to their Game of Thrones Blu-rays.
But this episode sure wasn’t it. The retcons and plot holes were large enough to ride a cruise ship through. For example, we now have the Garden of Eden (which, of course, only SuperSpeshulSparkly Non-Human Jack can visit). Except that Sam and Dean already visited the Garden in the center of Heaven back in season five’s “Dark Side of the Moon.” You’d think the writers would have remembered this, considering Andrew Dabb co-wrote the damned script, but nope.
Some fans have tried to argue that the Garden in season five wasn’t really the Garden of Eden (even though it was clearly intended to be in season five), but the way the entire issue was ignored tells you the writers simply forgot about it. This version sucked, anyway. It looked cheap. The little girl was basically just there to remind everyone that Jack was Special, and Sam and Dean were not. And absolutely nothing happened with the serpent.
It really doesn’t help that Jack’s character is a spoiled little prince waiting to be King, with Sam and Dean reduced to his Rosencrantz and Gildenstern. He is a classic fairy tale example of a privileged white boy failing upward. There is nothing actually special about him to give him any flavor, let alone spice (hence the nickname Nougat Boy). That’s why he’s boring. He’s such a smug and entitled little brat that I don’t want him to succeed. I want him to fail. And I want him to fail big. And the end of this episode did not change that.
I most sincerely hope the show is not going where I think it’s going – making Jack the show’s version of Jesus Christ. Because that would be astoundingly tone deaf and profoundly offensive on a whole lot of levels chockful of Unfortunate Implications.
Part of the problem, as I said above, is that it makes this version of Jesus out to be a very spoiled young man. The Jesus of the Gospels, once we get beyond the early legendary stories of his birth and childhood, is very much a full-grown man, well-educated but poor. Jesus was very much a blue collar dude of his time, not any kind of earthly royalty. Nobody was holding his hand, leading him through where he needed to go, even in the story of his teaching the elders in the Temple as a boy. A royal prince is not relatable in the way Jesus is relatable.
But while that’s a problem, it is by far not the most offensive and tone deaf part. Jesus Christ dies on the cross (yesterday, in fact) for all of our sins. But he doesn’t die for his own sins. He isn’t atoning for things he did. His is innocent blood.
Now, I wrote an entire article about the nature of Jesus as a literary figure and how that pertained to Supernatural. And yes, I will repost it, since it got lost in the Great Innsmouth Free Press Database Crash. And yes, I did argue in it that Dean Winchester is the main candidate for being a Jesus figure. But the very reasons why Dean is a good candidate are exactly why Jack Kline is definitely not.
Jack’s blood is not innocent. Very early on, Jack commits an inadvertent murder (the security guard) out of hubris and proceeds to engage in a not-so-slow moral decline in which he grossly misuses his power, becomes arrogant, has a great fall, seeks to regain his power (having, apparently, not been sufficiently humbled), loses his soul, commits multiple more murders (Nick and Mary being the first two), and gets killed by Chuck after one of his victims’ sons, Dean, refuses to kill him. You might argue that Jack is what Jesus might have turned into if he’d allowed himself to be tempted by the Devil. But that version of Jesus would never turn out to be Christ, the Son of God. Jack’s is not a Jesus arc. It’s a Judas arc.
It doesn’t help that the show has cycled through at least three permutations of the same arc with Jack, or that we have only seven episodes left for them to do anything different, with Jack’s current fall and atonement still in progress. There just isn’t time to get him into position to become God 2.0, especially on top of the main storyline, which ought to be wrapping up Sam and Dean’s story for good in any kind of satisfying way. Jack ain’t the Hero of this story. Sam and Dean are.
Every major (and most minor) character but Dean has an atonement arc for the sin of Pride. Jack ended up on the same journey as Sam and Castiel where he fell due to hubris and now must redeem himself. Only Dean is a character who doesn’t have a real atonement arc because Dean doesn’t feel hubris.
Oh, sure, he makes mistakes, and his constantly simmering rage is both his engine and his biggest flaw. His Old Testament version of judgment might feel terrifying and others may successfully persuade him to show more mercy, but even as a demon, Dean doesn’t have hubris (he just – mostly – stops caring about saving people). So, he never falls the way the others do. Instead, he feels guilty and tries to atone for his mistakes and even things that aren’t his fault, for other people’s sins, for other supernatural beings’ messes. Dean’s entire character arc is about saving other people.
You cannot make your Christ figure a murderer who once sinned through Pride. You cannot give your Christ figure a redemption arc. Mind you, I don’t mean that someone in an atonement arc can’t follow Christ’s journey (Imitatio Christi) as they reach out for redemption. But if you’re going to have a story with a supernatural literal Christ figure who is dying for the sins of the world and subsequently rises again as a universal god whom people worship, that character cannot be a murderer atoning for mortal sin at the same time.
Just as it was important for the story that Christ didn’t have a mortal family with wife and children (because all of us were his family and descendants), it was important for the story that Christ have no sins to atone for, especially when he was dying on the cross. Otherwise, how would he be free to atone for everyone else’s? His had to be a sinless offering.
Finally, let’s talk about the alternate versions of Sam and Dean this week. As usual, these two writers overstuffed their plot such that nothing was ever developed fully. Not the Occultum, not the Garden, not Jo, not Ruby, not the Empty’s deal with Billie, and certainly not these versions of Sam and Dean. But they were fun and had promise, nonetheless, mostly due to the performances.
The alt versions of Sam and Dean appear to have grown up in a world where their mission of hunting monsters is something more along the lines of pulp boys’ adventure like Johnny Quest, than the horror story of Supernatural. John is alive and has built up a vast empire, and he loves his sons, with whom he has a good relationship.
On the other hand, he also smothers them to the point where they are sexually innocent. If anything, alt-Dean seems far more curious and adaptable than alt-Sam, who spends a lot of time protecting his manbun and making snobby remarks while expressing horror at Dean’s porn collection. Buckner and Ross-Leming spend a lot of time mocking the show’s blue collar roots (as they have in the past), while remaining tone deaf to why those roots have kept the show going for so long.
The show didn’t need to get into the metrosexual subtext with that song choice. Aside from the part where it turns alt-Sam and Dean into a couple of gay stereotypes, the “Are they really brothers?” jokes common early in the show got dropped for a reason. The Wincest angle just got too icky, even for the HBO kind of crowd. The writers didn’t need to resurrect that trope in the final season. But they did.
Even so, I wouldn’t mind seeing alt-Sam and Dean (who were pretty resourceful) again before the end. I wouldn’t be surprised if they came back, either, though the show will likely kill them off. Ah, well.
The Kripke Years
The Gamble Years
The Carver Years
The Dabb Years