‘Supernatural’ Season 14, Episode 1 Recap: “Stranger in a Strange Land”
After what felt like a very long hiatus, Supernatural returned last night with the premiere of Season 14. “Stranger in a Strange Land,” started the season off with a bang! If you didn’t already watch, you are going to want to stop here because there will be plenty of spoilers in this recap. Let’s get right down to it!
The episode begins with Michael (still in Dean’s vessel) speaking with a man in Arabic. They quickly switch to English, where the man guesses who Michael!Dean is after a few hints supplied by Michael!Dean. When the man asks Michael!Dean what he’s doing there, we hear Michael!Dean ask what becomes his signature question throughout this episode: “What do you want?” Michael!Dean tells the man he has spent weeks traveling the world asking all sorts of people – holy men, leaders, killers – the same question.
He knows the names of the man’s wife and his friends, showing us just how much Michael!Dean can learn just from looking at a person. Once Michael!Dean uses his powers to throw the man across the room, the man turns his own question back on Michael!Dean, asking him, “What do you want?”
Michael answers, “What I’ve always wanted: a better world.”
Next, we see Mary and some of the refugees from the Apocalypse World in the bunker. Maggie is helping to clean up another refugee who’s been injured by a rawhead. Sam comes in and shares a hug with Mary. He explains that he just came back from Atlanta, which was a bust, because the woman who said she saw an angel was under the influence of too many drugs. Mary tries to reassure him that they’re going to find Dean, but it’s easy to see it’s a repeat of a conversation they’ve had several times over the last three weeks.
Mary tries to convince Sam to get some rest and eat some soup, but he gets word of some vampires killing people. Here, we get our first glimpse of Sam taking a leadership role in the bunker as he starts giving out orders to everybody there, ultimately leaving his soup behind and getting back to work even though he’s visibly exhausted.
The scene cuts to Jack, who’s lying on the ground after losing a boxing match to Bobby. Jack is sweaty, sporting a bruise on one side of his face, and panting heavily. Bobby tries to comfort him by telling him fighting didn’t come easily to him at first either, summing up his feelings on the matter by saying, “A wise man once said, ‘It ain’t how hard you hit, it’s how hard you can get hit and keep moving forwards.'” Jacks naivety is shown when he deadpans, “Was that Ghandi?”
A man walks into a bar to meet Castiel, who is alone and waiting for him in his signature trench coat. We soon learn that the man’s name is Kipling, that he is a demon, and that Castiel is the one who arranged their meeting because he’s looking for Dean. After Kipling expresses his shock at Castiel losing Dean, Castiel asks if any demon has seen Dean Winchester. Kipling declines to answer though, and instead shows Castiel that every person in the bar is actually a demon. Castiel is outnumbered, and though he puts up a meager fight, he’s quickly overpowered and detained.
Next, we see Sister Jo at St. Anthony’s Holy Parish of Duluth. As she exits the church, she’s met by Michael!Dean. After she notes that he’s not Dean, we get a glimpse into what Michael!Dean looks like to Sister Jo, which frankly, is awesome. However, Sister Jo is not at all interested in having a conversation with Michael!Dean and tries to leave, but Michael!Dean tells her she’s not leaving until she answers his question, “What do you want?”
She laughs him off by answering, “I don’t know. Chanel, Dior, Louis Vuitton.”
Michael!Dean is irritated by her treating him like a joke and lying to him, but Jo insists that she didn’t lie. Michael!Dean says he knows all about her because Dean knew about her. She’s the angel who doesn’t like playing by Heaven’s rules. According to Michael!Dean, she pretends to care about pretty things, but it’s all just pretending. Those things don’t really make her happy and they’re not really what she wants. Jo challenges him, asking him if he’s so smart, then what does she really want? Michael!Dean answers easily, telling her she wants love, to belong, a home, a family. He says it’s all very human of her and very disappointing where he’s concerned. He declares he can sense how few angels are left in the world and thought he might do something to help with that, but if they’re all sad, lost, fallen things like Jo, maybe they aren’t worth saving after all.
We see Sam knock on Jack’s door, where it becomes obvious he’s there to check on Jack after Bobby said Jack may have had a rough day. Jack denies it, telling Sam that he’s fine. Sam starts talking to Jack about how he knows things must be hard for him without his grace and without his powers, but Sam assures him that Jack can get past it because he believes in him. Mary interrupts by telling Sam cryptically that he’s awake. Sam has to go check on whoever “he” is, but promises Jack he’ll be back to talk more later. Jack is left in his bedroom looking sad and dejected.
In the hallway, Sam asks Mary if “he” said anything, but Mary confesses she didn’t talk to him because she can hardly look at him. Sam opens the bedroom door and we get a glimpse of what at first appears to be Lucifer sitting on a bed – except Sam calls him Nick, and we get a series of flashbacks reminding us that Nick was Lucifer’s vessel before he said yes to letting Lucifer in so long ago. After Sam asks him how he slept, Nick says that he didn’t wake up screaming this time and his nightmares are getting better. Sam inquires about his injury, and we see Nick reveal a stab mark in his chest.
NICK: I don’t get it. I don’t understand how Lucifer could die and I could live.
SAM: I think maybe it’s because the archangel blade is made to kill the archangel inside and not the person he uh –
NICK: – possesses and uses to almost end the world? Twice?” Lucifer finishes for him.
After Lucifer comments on how it must be weird for Sam to look at Nick and see Lucifer, Sam says he’s just really glad it’s him and that Lucifer is dead, to which Nick agrees. Sam asks if he remembers anything about Dean, but he says he doesn’t, and doesn’t remember anything about Michael, either. The only thing he does remember is Michael saying he “wanted to do it right his time.” As Sam leaves Nick’s bedroom, he gets a phone call from Kipling, who tells Sam he has his angel, and if Sam wants to see Castiel again alive then they should probably chat.
While Mary warns Sam that he’s being led into a trap, Sam packs up his weapons and devises a plan. Maggie is with Bobby, Mary is with Sam, and Jack insists that he’s going too. Jack knows he’s not as strong as he used to be, but says he has to help. Bobby is about to tell him to stay behind, but Sam gives him the okay, even after Bobby tells him he’s not ready for demons, explaining that Jack needs this.
Back at the bar, Kipling and Castiel have a discussion while Castiel is chained to a chair, where Kipling admits he needs something from Sam. He says that recently, somebody asked him what he wanted (who could it be?) and he realized that after 600 years as a demon, he didn’t know what he wanted. So he gave it “a good think” and realized exactly what he wanted: everything.
Sam and Mary are in the Impala (and boy is it weird to see Sam behind the wheel instead of Dean!) where Mary once again tells Sam that everything’s going to be fine. Sam asks her to stop saying that because they don’t know for sure. They don’t know where Dean is, or worse, if he’s even still alive. She says that she knows Dean might never come back, but she has to think about the good because if she doesn’t, she’ll drown in the bad. And for Dean’s sake, she can’t do that – they can’t do that.
Meanwhile, Jack and Bobby are also on the way to save Castiel, and Bobby tells Jack that back in the Apocalypse World, Jack saved him and his people a dozen times. He says that things may have changed, but whatever happens, he has Jack’s back. Jack looks the complete opposite of reassured, and turns to look out the window instead.
Arriving at the bar where Castiel is being held captive, Sam surrenders his demon killing knife to his mom, tells everybody they know what to do, and strides into the bar. Kipling is waiting for him, and Sam’s patted down for weapons while Kipling talks about what a legend he is. Sam asks about Castiel’s well-being, and Kipling says of course Castiel is okay because he doesn’t damage the merchandise. Kipling finally introduces himself and reveals his demons found Jack and Maggie outside and comments about how they didn’t even put up a fight while they’re brought into the bar.
Kipling offers Sam a deal. With Crowley dead and Asmodeus fried, for the first time in a very long time, Hell is without a King. That’s where Kipling comes in. He’s telling this to Sam because he wants them to work together. He kept Castiel breathing to show “Sam and friends” that he can hurt them, but chooses not to. He offers the terms of the deal: he gives Sam a spot of help every now and then, and in exchange, Sam turns a blind eye to the crossroad deals and demon-on-demon violence. Sam refuses, telling Kipling he’s no Crowley and everybody knows it.
Kipling agrees that he isn’t anything like Crowley, and if he had it his way, he would eat Sam’s heart out – but a King has an image to maintain – and he isn’t afraid of Sam. His demons are, though, so he urges Sam again to take the deal before he stops trying to be Crowley and shows him who he really is. Sam refuses again, and that’s when Mary and Bobby come storming into the bar, shooting up the place and all the demons inside, beginning the first major fight scene in Season 14.
It doesn’t disappoint. We’re treated to some spectacular hand-to-hand combat, slow-motion shots of bullets breaking through shot glasses on the bar, a demon running Matrix-style on the wall while bullets explode into it all around him, and finally, Mary tossing Sam’s demon killing blade to him. Sam takes on Kipling, who sends him soaring through the air, while Mary takes out a demon with a knife through his back. Jack tells Maggie to stay hidden behind the bar and gets up to try to defend Bobby, who’s being kicked in the face repeatedly by a demon. Jack bravely confronts him with nothing but his fists… and is promptly dropped with a single punch to the face.
Sam’s recovered now from his fall, and engages in another fight with Kipling. Meanwhile, Mary finds Maggie on the ground and hands her an angel blade, asking her if she knows how to use it. Maggie tentatively answers, “Stab them with the pointy end?” which was a much-needed tension breaker in the middle of such a big scene. Showing Castiel frantically watching the scuffle while still chained to the chair, it seems Sam is losing his fight with Kipling. Kipling gets Sam’s knife away from Sam and punches him in the face several times. Maggie comes to Mary’s aid and stabs a demon in the back with the angel blade, saving her life, before two more demons jump into the chaos instead. Kipling raises Sam’s knife in his hand for the killing blow, looking over at it to admire it, but Sam uses his lack of concentration to take his hand and force Kipling to stab himself with it in the chest.
Now that Kipling is dead, Sam shouts, “Enough!” which seems to get everybody else to stop fighting. He says, “There will be no new King of Hell. Not today. Not ever. And if anybody wants the job, you can come through me. Understood?” With that, the demons all smoke out, vacating their vessels and leaving Sam, Castiel, Mary, Bobby, Jack, and Maggie alone in the bar.
Back at the bunker, Sam is talking on his phone with a beer held to a wound on his head, when Castiel enters asking who he was speaking to. Sam explains he was talking to Ketch who is looking for the “magic egg” they used to get Lucifer out of the president, but Ketch can’t find it – which is another dead-end. Castiel asks if Sam is alright, and Sam admits he’s been better but he’s been worse, too. Sam then checks on Castiel, which prompts Castiel to apologize for approaching the demons. Sam says he doesn’t blame him, and admits he wishes he had thought of it first. If means finding Dean, he’d work with and do anything. Castiel sighs and nods his agreement.
We get a glimpse of Mary and Bobby sharing a beer in the kitchen before Castiel checks on Jack. Jack insists again that he’s fine, and Castiel tells him he did well. Jack disagrees, saying all he did was get punched in the face. Castiel, standing there with a fat lip and bleeding nose himself, reminds him that they all got punched in the face. Jack insists that before, when he had his powers, he could have done something, but Castiel interrupts to say that he doesn’t have his powers. Castiel says Jack’s grace should regenerate in time, but Jack maintains that until then he’s useless. Jack feels like he can’t do anything and he doesn’t have anything. Castiel insists that’s not true and reminds him that he has him and everybody else. He has a family. Before Castiel walks out, he adds, “And we are going to find Dean, and we are going to beat Michael, and we’re going to do it together. Because that’s what we do.”
Sam enters his bedroom with a heavy sigh, where the cell phone he just put down rings again. Answering it, he hears Sister Jo on the other end who is no longer with Michael!Dean. Jo tells him, “We have a problem.”
Next, we see Michael!Dean talking to somebody new, telling the man, “Now you, you know exactly what you want. You don’t pretend to want to help people or save the world. Your want is pure and simple and clean. And that’s why you are worth saving. That’s why we are going to work so well together. Because you, you just want to eat.” That’s when we see the man smile and show his teeth, revealing that he’s a vampire.
With Sam and Sister Jo potentially working together, Castiel trying to help Jack accept everything that comes along with being human, Michael!Dean teaming up with vampires, Nick somehow alive, Heaven still breaking down without enough angels, and a bunker full of people from the Apocalypse World, it seems like Supernatural certainly has a full season ahead!
Tune in next week for all-new Supernatural, Thursday at 8/7c on the CW.