Spoiler alert! This article contains multiple spoilers not only about the character of Arthur Ketch, but the entirety of Season 13. Read on at your own risk!
There were plenty of big reveals concerning returning characters in season 13 of Supernatural, and one of the most shocking was the revival of Arthur Ketch, played by David Haydn-Jones. In the penultimate episode of season 12, Ketch was shot point-blank in the head by Mary Winchester after he pulled a gun on Dean, and fans everywhere believed that to be the end for him.
We were all just as surprised as Sam and Dean were when his face showed up in security footage in “War of the Worlds”, the seventh episode of season 13. While I would have put money on him not making it through another season, unbelievably, Arthur Ketch was still alive at the end of 13.
He’s a controversial character several of us love to hate, and some people actually hate due to the smarmy portrayal by Haydn-Jones and the fact that he killed off fan-favorite, Eileen Leahy, in one of the most horrifying ways imaginable in Season 12. But regardless of how you feel about the character, it’s undeniable that he had some big, surprising moments in Season 13.
Let’s take a look back at what I think Arthur Ketch’s five biggest moments were this past season.
1. “War of the Worlds” – Episode 7
This was the episode where Ketch made his return, and while he tried to play the “good twin/evil twin” angle at first by pretending to be Alexander Ketch, Arthur’s brother, but thankfully that didn’t even last through the entire episode. After capturing him, the Winchesters made the rookie mistake of leaving Ketch locked up in the bunker without first performing a cavity search, and Ketch managed to pick his lock and ultimately come to the Winchesters’ rescue.
There was some great dialogue between Dean and Ketch here, which I need to include because it sets up the first biggest moment.
DEAN: Why’d you come here? You could’ve run.
KETCH: Did it ever occur to you, Dean, that I might actually be one of the good guys?
DEAN: No. Not even once.
KETCH: You and I were soldiers in opposing armies who were at war.
DEAN: Well, the thing about war is, one side wins.
KETCH: I suppose you’re right.
And then he escapes.
Why is this significant?
It’s further proof that Ketch, while not on the same level as Sam and Dean when it comes to being a hunter, is still a force to be reckoned with. Not only do we see him outsmart the Winchester brothers and escape them for a second time, but it was the first time Ketch came out and suggested that he might not be as evil as he seems. Of course, we all took that with a grain of salt considering the next scene shows us that he’s working with Asmodeus, but it left the question hanging: if Sam and Dean had been willing to work with him, would he have stayed loyal to them or would he still be working with Asmodeus?
2. “Devil’s Bargain” – Episode 13
In this episode, we get to see more of Ketch’s strained working relationship with Asmodeus. Ketch mouths off to Asmodeus more than is probably wise, and in retaliation, he gets sent to do the one thing the Winchesters have been unsuccessful doing on their own: kill Lucifer. Once Ketch tracks Lucifer to a church, he runs into the Winchesters and Castiel who are also trying to find Lucifer, and after yet another bid to work together on the same team, he ends up knocked out by Castiel and put in the trunk of the Impala.
Why is this significant?
Because it gives Ketch another chance to come to the aide of Team Free Will. Once again, he escapes the trunk with the simple explanation (and one of my all-time favorite Ketch quotes), “I’m Ketch.” He walked into the hotel room to find Dean, Sam, and Castiel all completely incapacitated by Lucifer and Sister Jo, and used a demon bomb he took from the trunk to get them all free. For the third time, he makes a bid to work together. He ultimately returns to Asmodeus, but the audience is left wondering if he’s being genuine with wanting to help Team Free Will or not.
3. “The Thing” – Episode 17
This is another episode that made it super clear to the viewers that Ketch is incredibly unhappy working with Asmodeus. We get to see his patience running thin while he waits for Asmodeus after he was summoned by him (and the hilarious bit of him reading a children’s book while he waits), and we also learned that he did not share all of the information he had about Team Free Will with Asmodeus when he admits he knew where Castiel was and didn’t pass the information on. After an argument with Asmodeus, Ketch tries to quit and ultimately gets the crap kicked out of him. Which is when we get to the next biggest moment: Arthur Ketch frees Gabriel.
Why is this significant?
For starters, instead of attempting to use Gabriel for his own evil plan, Ketch brings Gabriel to the bunker and Team Free Will. Without Gabriel, the boys had no way to complete the spell in order to open the rift to the other dimension where Mary and Jack are trapped. Ketch also gives them a vial of archangel grace that had already been extracted from Gabriel and the archangel blade instead of keeping both for himself. And he does it all (as far as we know) for protection from Asmodeus. At the end of the episode, he ends up going into the rift and the other dimension with Dean to get away from Asmodeus.
4. “Bring ‘Em Back Alive” – Episode 18
Once Dean and Ketch arrive in the apocalypse world, Dean offers Ketch the chance to take off on his own to save himself, but Ketch refuses, explaining he thinks he at least owes Mary an attempt at rescuing her. Dean warns him that when Mary sees him she’ll probably try to kill him (again), but still, Ketch hangs around. All of the training Ketch had to go through in order to be a part of the British Men of Letters comes in handy when he’s able to all but disappear into their surroundings to avoid any danger, but unfortunately, that leaves Dean out in the open and he gets shot after broadcasting his position by calling for Ketch. He and Dean end up getting Mary and Jack’s location from the man who shot Dean before knocking him out, but it isn’t long before they realize something isn’t right with Dean’s wound.
Why is this significant?
Ketch is presented with an excellent excuse to leave Dean behind. He wasn’t responsible for him getting shot, and if he wanted to take off into the apocalypse world alone and hide there from Asmodeus forever, this would be the perfect opportunity to do just that. But he doesn’t take it. Instead, he recognizes the poison working its way through Dean’s body and mixes up an antidote. He administers it to Dean and subsequently saves his life.
5. “Exodus” – Episode 22
Once all of Team Free Will has made it into the apocalypse world, they make the decision to get everybody from that dimension into their own in order to save them from Michael. We learn that Ketch and Charlie are out on a mission to save a prisoner… where they end up getting ambushed by a set up instead. Ketch reluctantly lowers his own gun when Charlie is taken hostage and they’re both captured. Later, we see both Charlie and Ketch being tortured for information on who they’re working with.
Why is this significant?
So far, everything we’ve seen about Ketch has given us the impression that he’s willing to align himself with the people who have the most power in any given situation: the British Men of Letters, attempting to partner up with the Winchesters when he was on his own, working with Asmodeus, then hiding out with Gabriel and Team Free Will when they had the upper hand. Now though, we see him resisting the most powerful people in this other dimension. He could easily give up information on the Winchesters and everybody else in the apocalypse world, but instead, he sasses them and even gets in a nice dig using Monopoly of all things.
ANGEL: How many fighters do you have? Where’s your battalion based?
KETCH: Are you familiar with a place called Boardwalk?
KETCH: Well, it’s very near Park Place. Go to Oriental Avenue and take the B&O Railroad straight to Hell.
His loyalty to the good guys pays off, and he ends up getting rescued by Dean accompanied by an eye-roll. Back in our world in the last episode, “Let The Good Times Roll”, Bobby tells us that Ketch is out “doing Ketch things,” and that’s the last we hear of him for the season.
Even after all of these big Ketch moments, we’re still left with a lot of unanswered questions about the character. Is he really on our side? If so, for how long? After everything he did to the Winchesters (and Mary in particular) can he ever be forgiven and/or trusted by them to really be a part of the team? With Michael now in control of Dean’s body, Sam, Castiel, Jack and Mary are going to need all the help they can get, and one thing Ketch has proven time and again is that he has a unique skill set. But will he stay loyal to them, or will he partner up with Michael instead now that he’s so powerful?
Opinions are varied over this, with some fans believing that Ketch isn’t really all that bad deep down but was brought up in a life where he had little chance to be anything else, and other fans are firmly in the camp that anybody who could kill Eileen the way he did is evil to the very core. For me, I will admit I was rooted in the Ketch is evil no matter what his reasoning was when he first came back in season 13… and now I’m somewhere in the middle.
One thing is for sure though: Arthur Ketch is almost guaranteed to have many more big moments in the upcoming season. Season 14 of Supernatural premieres on Wednesday, October 11 on The CW, so make sure to tune in to see where Ketch’s storyline takes us!
Nerds and Beyond has several other 5 Biggest Moments posts featuring all of your favorite characters coming your way soon, so check back to help yourself get through the rest of the hiatus!