‘Supernatural’ 13×12 Recap – “Various & Sundry Villains”
The witch is back!
Before we get too far into a recap of this week’s episode of Supernatural let me just start by saying how great it was to have Rowena return! Her (apparent) demise at the end of season 12 was truly, truly awful (we learned more about just how awful this episode) so to see her again was fantastic and a true testament to ‘no one ever truly dies on Supernatural.”
Jamie and Jennie Plum are sisters who also happen to be pretty crafty witches on a quest to bring their mother – also a witch – back from the dead. In order to do so, they need to recover the Black Grimoire which is a very powerful spell book that is currently in the possession of the Winchesters. And they aren’t the only ones after the book as it turns out. Rowena is also in search of the book which she needs to remove a bond on her magic that was placed by the Grand Coven in an order to suppress some of her powers. Rowena – being the chaotic neutral force that she is – crosses Sam and Dean in keeping with a deal she made with the Plum sisters to help restore their mother.
I always enjoy Steve Yockey’s writing and he delivered for me yet again with ‘Various & Sundry Villains’. That said – the “villains” this week were a little lack luster for me. As far as bad guys go these characters didn’t have much depth and aside from being a bit ruthless and manipulative, they didn’t have much going for them as antagonists. I had a few other issues with the episode that I will dive into more later.
Things really got going when Jamie and Jennie track the Grimoire to Lebanon and manage to put Dean under a love spell in order to get him to deliver the book to them. I love, love, love getting to see Jensen flex his comedic muscles. When Dean shows back up at the bunker clearly in the throws of the love spell was just fun to watch. We clearly know this isn’t normal. Dean is acting completely out of character, and it was just fun to watch what Jensen did with this scene. Right up to the moment he punched Sam to get away.
Thankfully, Sam always knows when something is up with his older brother and followed him. Dean hands over the spell book to the sisters and Sam shows up to try to stop him, and because Dean is still under the love spell a struggle ensues. Again, this was just amusing to watch, especially with Dean justifying his putting Sam into a choke hold saying “I’m sorry, Sam. I just – I love her so much.”
What really stole the whole episode for me was the conversation Rowena and Sam have in the car while they are waiting for Dean. Not only did we learn more about Rowena and how truly horrible her fate was last season, but we learned something about Sam that we didn’t previously know. Both Sam and Rowena have seen Lucifer’s true face. Sam endured physical and psychological torture at Lucifer’s hands, and seasons later we are now learning that the feelings of fear and helplessness of it still haven’t gone away from him. This was such an important scene, because it really shed more light on to the fear that was driving Rowena, and what Sam has been carrying around for years.
But, there was more going on in this episode besides the brothers are handling their witch problem. Castiel and Lucifer are still very much stuck in hell and Castiel clearly is losing his patience more and more with his older brother. I really enjoyed the way that Steve wrote these scenes. Give me all the sardonic Cas. He knew exactly what he was doing by getting Lucifer riled up, and it worked.
One thing that really struck me in this scene was Misha’s acting because so much of the delivered those lines, and even his facial expressions reminded me a lot of Jack’s mannerisms and the way that Alex portrays him.
Another scene that really stuck out to me was the scene when Cas and Lucifer have finally fought their way out of hell, and Lucifer tries to get Castiel to give him his grace. Cas standing up to Lucifer was so, so important especially when he said that he has finally learned from his mistakes. It only took Lucifer tricking him and eventually killing him over the course of a couple of seasons, but this definitely needed to happen and I’m so glad to finally see Cas standing up for himself.
In the final minutes wrapping up the episode, another thing that kind of didn’t sit well with me was when Sam and Dean track down Rowena and the Plum sisters and come in, guns drawn and tell the witches that they’re packing witch killing bullets. These are seasoned hunters and in giving away this information they just gave away their advantage. Of course, everything worked out in the end, when Rowena was able to subdue the other witches, but this still felt like a bit of an oversight and a slight disservice to the brother’s capabilities. It’s also very interesting to see how in this episode the dynamic between Sam and Dean has shifted. In the first few episodes before Castiel’s return we saw Dean out of sorts and seemingly in the position that Sam is in now, and now the roles have shifted with Sam in a much darker place than he was in the first half of the season.
Episode 12 closed out in a very interesting way. We now know that Sam gave Rowena the spell she needed to unlock the fullness of her abilities, and what a way to end the episode with showing her completing the ritual. Rowena is one of the most powerful -if not the most powerful – witches that the brothers have ever encountered. And she wasn’t even at her full strength. I am truly hopeful that we will see more of her soon, especially know that she is capable of more than ever.