I just watched this week’s Supernatural and boy, do I have thoughts.
First, it’s fair to mention that there were a number of things I knew were happening this week, thanks mostly to social media. Given the fast pace of this season so far, though, I really may attempt to cut back on my spoilers from now on. Although that wouldn’t have spared me the emotional whiplash of witnessing the return of Missouri Moseley (I missed her so much!) only to suffer through her severely short amount of screen time. Yes, I knew Missouri was back, and no, I didn’t see how her storyline might play out until it was too late. Now I wish I hadn’t been anticipating that part of the episode quite so much. That said, I’m kind of interested in Patience, especially since we know that she’s coming back into the Supernatural universe as part of Wayward Sisters. Which, again, means I should have anticipated Missouri’s story better. Oh well. At least we knew Jody wasn’t going to die in this episode, right? More on that later.
One place where my expectations were well met was back at the bunker where Sam continued to try and get through to Jack. I was pleasantly surprised at the return of Kelly’s video. Her filming that last season did feel at least a bit like a Chehkov’s gun, and I’m glad it wasn’t forgotten. So even if there’s something evil lurking in Jack—something that hasn’t quite taken over yet, perhaps?—at least part of him is getting a message of pure love and acceptance, with no motive other than, “I’m your mother and I love you”. Following that with some really lovely scenes between Jack and Sam, with Sam explaining why he knows a little about what it’s like to be the outsider, made for some really satisfying storytelling. I also liked how that part of the story was woven evenly through the episode, rather than loaded up at just the beginning and the end.
Also! Not nice toying with us, Supernatural! I totally fell for Patience’s vision when she was tied up (you’d think I’d have known better given what happened at the school, but NO) and it wasn’t until Dean was dead on the floor that I figured out what had actually happened. Talk about a heart-stopping moment! But both the real and vision-induced fight scenes were wonderful. Is it me, or are they getting more intense recently? (I’m still not over how Sam spun and clocked Ramiel in the chin during their fight last season. Seriously.) And little moments like Dean’s reaction when James admitted that he purposely cut his mother out of his life—and Jody’s reassuring hand—plus Patience’s flashback at her mother’s grave were both very nice touches, and filled out the new characters very well. Quite a lot to pack into one episode!
Dean’s overwhelming sense of grief continued throughout the episode, giving more than one moment of “WTH, Dean?” particularly at the beginning where he lit into Sam for putting Jody on a case instead of going themselves. But we all know that when Dean’s trying to ignore his feelings, he goes to work. I just wasn’t expecting him to lash out at Sam quite like that. It did underscore, though, that Sam truly is the only person Dean has left in his life, the only person who understands him well enough to know that this is (hopefully!) temporary. The show also continues to underscore that Dean has lost his sense of purpose, from his “I’m just a guy doing a job” last week to his “there’s no joy in it” speech to Patience near the close of the episode. But then, we’ve seen in the past how much Dean longs for a normal life, even as Sam has accepted the hunting life as the new normal. What a shift between these two over time.
I will say that really loved Jody’s follow-up with Patience about accepting who she is and not letting other people’s happiness dictate her life choices. Just as the boys keep moving forward through all the things that happen in their lives, we see that Jody has made peace with a lot of horrible things as well. And she’s made something good out of it. And yes, it’s the blatant setup for Wayward Sisters that we were expecting to see happen. But it felt very natural and organic, and it was a very smooth way to introduce the concept to viewers who didn’t know this was coming. “It’s your choice” is always the best line, in anything. (Plus, I just love Kim Rhodes, okay?)
The final bunker scene with Sam and Dean was brilliantly painful. It paid homage to the boys’ history but still gave each brother the opportunity to more fully verbalize their side of this conflict about Jack. Sam telling Dean that Jack was “messed up” because of him certainly was as close to an admission from Sam that the same thing had happened to him. And especially after seeing Dean drinking and withdrawing earlier in the episode, his outburst was a long time coming, and had to be at least a little cathartic. Now that all that’s happened, I expect we’ll start to see them move away from the rawness of their grief and start to move forward. I’m looking forward to that.
And yes, the one thing I knew would happen did in fact happen. Castiel, promised to be in this episode, showed up with under a minute left to go, awakened somehow in a place that’s most likely the Empty. How did he get there? Did Jack wake him? Does Jack even know that he made contact with Cas? Will we find Death there, maybe?! Ah, but those are questions to be answered in future episodes.
All in all, it was a fairly satisfying hour of television. I’ll admit, I had high expectations given the powerful start to this season. I felt like the momentum was a bit lower overall, but then, the last two episodes were pretty emotional. This week, the emotion wasn’t so much from the storylines themselves, but in particular moments from Sam and Dean. That’s not a criticism, because those guys both do emotional bits so damned well! It was just a little different than what I was expecting. But definitely necessary to keep this season’s story arc in motion. I’m ready for a re-watch!