‘Supernatural’ Season 14, Episode 20 Review: “Moriah”
With Jack missing his soul, Mary dead, and a huge divide rising between Team Free Will, things going into the Supernatural season finale were looking pretty bleak. (Even by SPN standards!) The recent announcement that the next season will be the last has definitely raised the stakes and going into the final episode, expectations couldn’t have been higher. (I myself stocked up with booze.)
But fortunately for the #SPNFamily, on Thursday night — those expectations were met and exceeded.
The episode opens with Jack, his eyes scary and glowing, and the bunker around him on fire, riddled with concrete crumbles. Castiel doesn’t even have a moment to speak to Jack before the nephilim opens his mouth and screams (just like he did to Sam and Dean moments after his birth) and Sam, Dean, and Cas go flying across the room. As they come to, Jack is gone — and now an even bigger problem. But Dean knows what to do with big problems! Castiel is pissed, and he and Dean have it out (oh my heart breaks!) as they choose their sides. Castiel wants to track Jack down and help him. Dean is, quite frankly, done with helping. He explains to Cas that he and Sam, they know what to do with monsters. They put them down. The intentional dialogue of Dean separating Sam and himself from Castiel stings something fierce, but Dean is regressing to what he knows — eliminate the threat, no matter the cost. Castiel pushes past him and leaves. The brothers Winchester form the only plan they can; find Jack, use a soul bomb (from the season 12 finale) and take him out.
Jack finds himself wandering among the crowds of a city, listening to their conversations. All around him, people are lying — to each other, to their loved ones and to themselves. Fed up, he screams at them, and the world grows quieter.
Dean and Sam find themselves at Mirror Industries, a software company with advanced facial recognition software. They figure this might be the best way to track down Jack. They exchange a friendly bit of banter here, where Dean calls the employees “nerds” and Sam reminds him that he, in fact, is a huge nerd. Dean is just nerdy about things like, knowing all of the words to every Led Zeppelin song, being able to discuss every major rock band from 1967-1984’s drummer and Jeopardy, which he watches every night. Begrudgingly, he agrees.
At the front counter, Dean put on his best smile and presents his FBI badge. As the receptionist looks up at him, he says “Hello, my name is Dean Winchester, and I’m looking for the devil’s son.” Confused, he clears his throat and tries again, only to say the same thing and adding, “This badge is fake.” Panicked he hurries back to Sam and asks him what his favorite singer is. “Celine Dion,” Sam replies, shocked (expecting to say “Elvis” and missing the mark) and then repeats it again and again. They can’t lie. In the main office area, one of the workers asks if someone ate his yogurt — and chaos ensues. Dean and Sam sequester themselves to a side office and turn on the news to learn this isn’t just happening to them, it’s happening all over the world. And there’s only one clear explanation — Jack.
In a seedy alley, Castiel speaks with a demon lady through a small hole in a door like he’s trying to get into some kind of exclusive club. He wants to go to hell, literally, and he’s been told this woman can take him. Castiel intends on taking some time to study the cage — presumably, as a place to keep Jack? “Man, you guys are screwed,” he hears behind him and turns and God almighty, its Chuck.
Castiel is shocked but he shouldn’t be — after all, Chuck only came because of his prayer. And Jack, of course because “…he’s a problem.”
Jack finds himself at his grandparents, the Klines. But instead of a friendly reception, he’s met with hostility. Turns out, they followed up on his “story” from the last time they talked, and they suspect he has something to do with Kelly’s disappearance and death. Getting agitated, Jack’s eyes glow as he barks “Stop!” — and the camera cuts away.
We’re left to wonder if he just murdered Kelly’s mother like Mary. On “accident.” Oh, how far our nougat son has fallen.
Back at Mirror Industries, the chaos among the workers mounts as Castiel and Chuck show up. (Most days, I feel like I’m a mix between the man at his desk ripping up paper chanting “I hate everyone!” and the woman on the floor next to him, sobbing saying “I just want to be loved!”) “See, this is why people need to lie,” Chuck explains to Cas, “to keep the peace.” Castiel is flabbergasted that the all powerful divine being would ever endorse such a thing. “I’m a writer,” he explains, a glib smirk on his face. “Lying is kinda what we do.”
(As a writer, I feel very called out.)
Sam and Dean are shocked to see the smug writer and accompanying angel come into their little side office, where they’ve been trying to use software to find Jack. “Where have you been?” Dean asks Chuck. “Funny story, reminds me of a song,” Chuck responds, picking up a guitar. Dean grabs it and smashes it against the ground. “Don’t!” Chuck barks, then snaps his fingers and they’re back at the bunker. He explains a bit about where he’s been, and reminds them that he’s a hands off dude — most of the time. But with Jack, he’s making an exception, because the world is going a little insane. “Can you fix it?” Castiel asks, and again, Chuck snaps his fingers and it’s all back to normal, people are able to lie again, like it never happened. (Dean gives it a quick test with, “Celine Dion rocks.”) But the problem still remains; Jack is a God-level issue, which is why Chuck is here. They finally ask if he can fix it, and of course, he can’t. But, he tells them, they can, as he points to a single silver gun, now sitting between them on the map table.
Where has this gun been? Well, no where. Chuck just created it. See the thing is, there’s a catch — whatever happens to the person who gets shot, also happens to the person shooting. So whoever pulls that trigger to kill Jack will die themselves. Dean is quick to metaphorically and literally take that bullet, but Castiel is confused – why aren’t they even considering saving Jack? Chuck claims that it’s out of his control (apparently creating a soul is too hard for God?!) and besides, he says as he looks very pointedly at Dean, even if he could, would you really want him to? As if to say, aren’t there actions that even Team Free Will cannot reconcile among themselves?
Castiel still wants to try to put Jack in the cage but Dean shuts him down, reinforcing that God himself just told him this is their only play. Castiel is furious, and reminds Dean that Billie once told him the only way to defeat Michael was to lock him in the Ma’lak box. (Which we all remember, they decided as a group they would not do, and look at that, found a way through it.) Dean won’t be convinced, and he is harsh as he tells Castiel that he doesn’t care what he thinks, that he can either get on board with the plan, or show himself out.
Castiel turns and leaves.
Side note here, as a longtime viewer, this is a pretty revolutionary move. Castiel is, in every sense of the word, choosing Jack over Dean. Historically, Castiel has never choosen anything over Dean (or Sam) — even turning on Heaven and his own family for the sake of the Winchesters because he always backs their play. Walking away from Dean in this moment does two things. First of all, it shows tremendous growth for Castiel, who has openly struggled with his self worth for multiple seasons. The amount of conviction in his beliefs that it took to turn away from Dean in that moment is unprecedented. Secondly, it shows Dean, (who has progressively relied more and more on Castiel having his back), that Castiel doesn’t back him most of the time strictly out of loyalty. He does it because he firmly believes that Dean is right. And isn’t afraid to disagree when he’s wrong. It places the seed of doubt in Dean’s mind of his own decision in taking out Jack.
Later, Sam finds Dean in his room, drinking and filling up flasks. Sam gives him a few minutes to speak, but he knows where this is going. Dean is going to pull the trigger, end of discussion. But not for Sam. Sam is pissed — at Jack, sure, but more than that — because they haven’t even tried to save him. Sam takes the blame for bringing him back when Jack first died, but he did it because Jack is family. Jack’s soul is gone because he burned through it saving the two of them. “And now you want my permission?” Sam says. “You want me to say I’m cool with losing him and losing you all at once? Cause I can’t do that. I won’t say that. I’ve already lost too much.”
Castiel drives to a graveyard, looking for Jack. As he slams his fists against the hood, Jack appears behind him. They look for a moment like they might fight until Castiel steps forward and draws Jack into his arms in relief.
Sam finds Chuck in the study playing with one of the blades brought back from the alternative verse. Chuck laughs as Sam asks how many other worlds there are, because apparently he has lost count, and starts describing a few of them. (Side note, in season 15, can we please go to the “All Squirrel” universe? Just for a minute?) Sam has questions about this universe, questions that Michael put in his head — is this universe, the one they live in, just another playground for Chuck? To use up and toss aside? Chuck claims that this universe, this Sam and Dean, are his favorites. (Same Chuck, same.)
Jack and Castiel stroll through the graveyard and talk. Jack tells him that he went to see his grandparents and that she claimed that Jack killed his mother. Which is technically true. “What did you do, after you talked?” Castiel asks. Jack answers, “I ran.” and you can see the relief on Castiel’s face. When pushed, Jack made a different choice and controlled himself (as opposed to what happened with Mary) and maybe there’s some hope for him yet.
“Do you just watch us?” Sam asks Chuck, accusatory and angry. Chuck takes a beat and considers this with a smile, then responds with easily the most meta line in the whole episode, “Yeah. I mean, you’re my favorite show.” You can see the wheels turning in Sam’s head as he continues to grill Chuck who seems less and less concerned as the minutes tick by. Finally, Sam puts together one key piece of information — Chuck is scared of Jack. He even knows where Jack is, and yet they still sit. Sam asks him why he doesn’t go to face him already, but Chuck just shrugs. He’s not waiting for anything. In fact, Dean has already left to go find Jack. (Dammit Dean, we leave you alone for one second!)
In the graveyard, Jack admits to Castiel that all he ever really wanted was to be good. Instead, now, he feels nothing — not even love for Castiel, though he wants to. “You don’t feel it yet,” Cas reminds him, clearly still formulating a plan when they hear steps approaching. It’s Dean, his expression guarded, with his silver gun.
Castiel and Jack stand, and Castiel orders Jack to run, but he won’t. Instead, Jack knocks Castiel across the graveyard with a wave of his hand. And then it’s just Dean and Jack. There’s a great bit of cinematography as we watch Jack get to his knees and in the foreground, a statue of the Virgin Mary watches over him. Dean is surprised as he watches him kneel, as if he expected him to put up more of a fight — but Jack’s done running.
Sam pulls up in some hooptie and races to the graveyard, then across it, yelling for Dean to stop. Dean points the gun, the muscles in his jaw clenching with indecision. His finger resting on the trigger. “I understand,” Jack says, and Dean flinches. Sam reaches them but Dean orders him to stay back. “And you were right, all along,” Jack continues, “I am a monster.” Beside Sam, Chuck appears out of thin air and Sam turns to him in a panic, begging him to do something. Chuck says nothing but looks on and Sam realizes, in horror — Chuck is enjoying this. Dean cocks the gun and looks at Jack. But he can’t do it. Something in his micro expression switches from anger to empathy and he lowers his gun, then tosses it aside.
“No, pick it up! This isn’t how the story is supposed to end!” Chuck yells, approaching Sam and Dean. He’s pissed that this is not turning out like he wanted, and Team Free Will is peak confused. Up until this point they’ve known Chuck as a bit of a jokester, but ultimately good. Here he shows off his true nature – that he is a “cruel, capricious god.” He orders Dean to shoot Jack and tells him that if he does, he’ll bring back their mother. While he might have thought of this as a trump card, this is what gets Dean to back up and refuse. See, turns out this whole time, their whole lives, Chuck has been orchestrating all of this (the pain, the death, the loss) from above for his own entertainment. But for Sam and Dean, this is their lives, dammit. So when does it end, they ask? Chuck laughs them off and orders Dean to just kill Jack already, but Dean tells him “God or no God, you go to hell.” “Have it your way,” he replies and snaps his fingers. Suddenly beside them Jack throws his head back in pain, light escaping his eyes and mouth. Castiel kneels beside him trying to heal him, and Dean yells at Chuck to stop, but Chuck knocks him clear across the graveyard. Sam, in a last ditch effort, picks up the gun and yells for Chuck who turns around. And then Sam shoots God.
(In case you’ve forgotten, you’re watching Supernatural. Sometimes they kill Death. And God. NBD)
The shot hits Sam too, right in the shoulder and he falls to the ground. Chuck is hardly scratched but he’s pissed, turning around and yelling, “Is that how you want it? Fine. Welcome to the end.” And snaps his fingers. The world goes dark. He disappears. They’re all alone.
On the ground, the scorch marks of Jack’s wings are imprinted into the grass. Dean approaches and asks Castiel, still kneeling beside his son, “I thought Chuck said that the gun was the only thing that could kill him?” Castiel looks up and away, and replies, through his tears, “He’s a writer. Writers lie.”
Jack is gone. Or is he? (In yet another meta moment, we believe that Jack is dead, but oh, maybe the SPN writers lied to us!?) The camera zooms in on him as “God Was Never On Your Side” by Motorhead starts playing. (Which could not have possibly been a better song, and a chill ran up my spine.) He’s not alive, but he’s not dead. Jack is in the Empty. A figure in front of him (all gooey and black) gives him a wave, and he turns to the sound of a voice. It’s Billie, scythe and all, and she tells him “We should talk.”
Back on earth, explosions set off all around Sam, Dean and Cas as they watch souls from hell erupt from the earth, flying out into the sky. The camera cuts to a man driving along a highway who stops for a woman in a white dress. Another, a woman with a cake at a child’s birthday party opens the door to a horrifying clown. And yet another, two teen girls crowd around a mirror, and as they turn away, a woman in the glass looks on. All three are monsters that the Winchesters have already defeated — how many more are back? Did Chuck just erase their lifetime of work?
In the graveyard, the souls come crashing down on to the graves. Each time, a zombie emerges and shuffles towards the last of Team Free Will. Castiel draws his blade. Dean breaks off some iron bars for him and Sam. And they slowly draw nearer to one another as dozens of zombies push ever closer. There’s an odd sense of finality about this moment — after all, it’s always been the Winchester brothers and their angel against the world. Isn’t that how it should be? In the last shot you see the zombies pounce, and the camera pulls away.
This episode was a non-stop ride to the finish, and perfectly sets up what will surely be an explosive final season of Supernatural. After fourteen years of mythology, loss, love and laughs, the writers (who we love endlessly, and also most definitely DO lie) have their work cut out for them. I know I will be spending the time between now and October (when we expect the premier of Supernatural to be) re-watching fourteen years of one of the best genre shows to ever grace our televisions.
What was your favorite part about the finale? What are you looking forward to? Let us know in the comments below!