Every season of Supernatural around this time, I start to develop this sort of low hum of anxiety whenever I watch the latest episode. We’re so close to the end – things are going ary, friendships are being tested, stakes are being raised. This week’s episode left us at a fever pitch, pointed in a direction I don’t think all of us are all that excited about.
But at least we got a bro hug, guys, so I’ll take the great with the terrifying.
The episode starts right where last week’s left off – Sam has just shown back up at camp, miraculously alive with an obnoxiously gleeful Lucifer in tow. Sam’s embraced by Mary quickly, but Dean’s guard is still up (Cas too). Lucifer doesn’t spend much time on them however – he’s only got eyes for Jack. The moment he speaks to him, Dean and Cas are quick to step in. “Don’t you think that’s his choice?” Lucifer counters, pointing at Jack. “No.” Cas replies. (I love a man of few words.) For Dean, what’s next is simple – he turns to Gabriel, demanding that he kill Lucifer. Gabe hesitates just long enough for Jack to get good and flustered about the whole thing and poof – he disappeared without a trace.
Great, now we’ve gotta go fetch our nougat son again.
Gabe runs off after him, but Lucifer is highly offended. After all, in his eyes, they need him in the fight against Michael and well – he’s not wrong, per se. He’s just a jerk. Castiel fetches a pair of angelic handcuffs from Dean’s bag and Lucifer agrees to wear them in the spirit of cooperation. Sam asks about Rowena and the rift, but Lucifer assures him that he’s left her with some grace and they’ve got about 31 hours before it closes.
Away from the rest of the group, Sam and Dean take a few moments to regroup. Sam’s quick to apologize for the situation he’s unwittingly gotten them into.
“Are you good?” Dean asks.
Sam looks down at himself, still blooded but whole. “I’m alive, yeah.”
“Then you’ve got nothing to be sorry for.”
And oh, the hug. They needed that. The fandom needed that. Heck, I needed that! What’s more, Sam needed to hear definitively that for crying out loud, Dean doesn’t give a hoot what Sam’s done as long as he’s alive and whole. The rest of it can be figured out.
And then in another move of awesome character growth, when Sam tells Dean he’ll handle Lucifer, Dean believes him and agrees. He doesn’t try to argue or put himself in harm’s way – he understands that Sam feels responsible for this, and for his own sanity, he needs to be the one to take care of it. Dean’s done this more and more since last season where we saw Sam go off and take out the Men of Letters compound without him. This switch from viewing Sam as his little brother he has to protect to his comrade in arms has been a long time coming, but it’s been consistent through the last two seasons.
Elsewhere in the woods, Jack is having some moments of introspection – playing out in his head all of the people who have told him how he should be, what he can be, and all the mistakes that he’s made. We all want to bring him a snack and a blanket. That kid has had it pretty rough.
Back in camp, Mary is minding her own business when Lucifer happens by (escorted by Castiel). He says “Miss me?” and in a move that is sure to be a new classic Supernatural gif, she punches him straight in the face. Her boys show up just in time to congratulate her, and start making plans to get back to the rift. Only, Mary doesn’t want to go. You can see the disappointment on her boys faces (alright, Dean’s face is a bit more “Of course, because nothing ever goes to plan.”) but she’s got a good point – she’s been fighting alongside these people for a long time. And she’s a Winchester – she can’t run away from a fight. Dean’s ready to argue, but Sam can empathize, and they form a better plan – lets get as many people out of this world and into the safety of the other in order to regroup. Then, once they have a plan, they come back and beat Michael. Mary agrees with a genuine smile for her boys.
Castiel has had just about enough of Lucifer’s crap when Jack shows back up for the two of them. But he’s not there to talk to Lucifer, he’s there to listen. First question for his birth father – why does everyone hate you? Lucifer fumbles for a bit, tries to make excuses (man am I glad Cas is there to broker this conversation) but eventually he gets down to the truth of it – he’s done things he’s not proud of. But he did it because humanity stinks – they’re so “easily led”, and they need a fall guy (Lucifer) for their crappy actions. Further, God kicked him out of heaven for pointing out the flaws in his creation. He’s really the victim in all of this, he wants Jack to know.
Frustrated, Cas takes off to grab Sam, Dean and Mary. They’re not excited about Lucifer talking to Jack either, and try to point out that they know him better – the evil that he’s capable of. It’s clear to the audience that Jack’s three Dads are trying to protect him but the trouble is, Jack wants to draw his own conclusions. Culminating in a moment where Jack declares Lucifer to be his father. Ouch, that one stung.
They all start to take off towards the rift. Sam hangs back to provide a counterpoint to Lucifer as he talks to Jack, and ahead of them Mary is trying to tell Dean that Jack will eventually draw the right conclusions about Lucifer. They just need to trust him, and trust that he’s good at heart – . she certainly does. It’s a great little parenting moment for Mary, and to be honest, for Dean as well. All of the sudden they run into a group of angels but just as soon as they show up, they turn to dust. Turns out, Lucifer could have gotten out of his chains the whole time, and saved their butts. Cool? Maybe. But now it feels like they’ve got even less control of the situation.
They arrive at Singer Salvage (and then I cried) to reunite with Bobby. He’s excited to see Sam and Dean again, but he isn’t all that thrilled about their plan to leave this world.
Lucifer is still taking advantage of the fact that Jack is listening to him blather on, and is explaining to him their family tree. Gabe is there too, and is clearly just barely tolerating Lucifers pontification (perhaps for the sake of Jack drawing his own conclusions) until he starts talking about their father. Gabe’s had it with his playing the victim in that narrative, and so he takes off.
Later that night, Sam and Dean are trying their damndest to convince everyone to come back to their world to regroup. (Geeze guys, you’d think the chance at a hot shower and a night somewhere without the threat of imminent death would enough of a compelling argument.) They agree to take it to a vote.
In the meantime, Ketch and Charlie, who had gone out on a rescue mission, have been captured. They’re drug back to some seedy location and beat to hell – but they won’t give up the location of the rebel base. It’s alright though, as the angel slicing up Ketch points out – he’s sent for reinforcements. Someone trained in the art of torture. And then in walks Castiel.
Alternate universe Castiel.
In a weird sort of parallel move, in their own little seedy location, Dean, Sam, Bobby and Cas are torturing for information from one of their own about the whereabouts of Ketch and Charlie. It looks like they have a traitor in their midst. He’s not giving it up either, and with a pointed look, Dean has Cas do that same mind scraping thing he did to Donatello a few episodes ago.
Outside, Lucifer is antsy because he’s not around Jack, and Gabriel has had it. “Lucifer, do you really see a version here where he sticks by you?” he asks. They have a fantastic exchange here which really boils down to Gabe not buying what Lucifer is selling. (Have I mentioned how much I love Gabriel? Lemme make sure to mention it again. He’s such a snarky, smart counterpoint to Lucifer’s arrogance.) Lucifer hasn’t changed, he’s not redeemable, and in the end, Gabe believes that Jack will see that because he’s good at heart. All this playing the victim Lucifer is doing isn’t going to score him any points, because it’s really just a lie anyway.
I’ll admit though, after Gabriel’s speech, a single man tear is shed by Lucifer. Maybe we’re headed toward a redemption arc?
Charlie is faced with a very different Castiel than we’re used to. Kudos again to Misha who’s up to his sixth iteration of Castiel, and each is completely different. This one is twitchy and hard, with parted hair and a foggy eye. He’s downright unnerving with his Russian accent and black trenchcoat. And he’s certainly doing a good job of scaring the hell out of Charlie. He’s just started his little mind wipe when the lights go out and the Winchesters swoop in for the rescue. (Complete with the most adorable Charlie and Sam hug imaginable!)
Outside, AU Cas is making his way to his jeep (interesting that his wings are clipped in this world) when our Castiel throws him against the side of it, angel blade at his throat. “More than one of us? Fascinating.” AU Cas croaks. “I’ve gotten used to it,” our Cas counters. The AU Castiel is surprised to find a version of himself that’s aligned himself with humans, but it didn’t seem to matter. “Don’t think you are better than me – we are the same.”
Castiel seems to consider this for a moment, before ultimately agreeing with him. “Yes, we are,” he says, and stabs his alternate self in the gut. It’s another great moment of growth for Castiel, who’s spent so long in self doubt but this season has begun to fight his demons (both in his own image, with the alternative Cas and the Cas in the empty as well). Here he sees clearly what he could have turned into if he’d never been sent on that mission to save Dean nearly ten years before. And he cuts that part out without a second thought. I wanna high five our favorite angel.
Back at Singer Salvage, they’ve taken a vote and they’re all coming to our world. Which is great only, the logistics of getting that many people back in time proves to be tricky, until Dean spots a bus. They get it working (and get Lucifer to drive it, in an odd move) but before they can take off, Sam catches Jack as he tries to get away. He wants to go take care of Michael on his own, but before Sam can convince him it’s a terrible idea, Lucifer comes along and actually makes a compelling argument to wait. One that Jack listens to.
The bus makes it to the rift just as its starting to fizzle out. On the other side, Rowena has been sitting the last 31 hours trying her darndest to keep it open (shes the real hero of this episode, lets be real), and everyone makes the jump. Everyone of course but the a few more rebels and the final four, Sam, Dean Gabriel and Lucifer, who are stopped short as some sort of angelic bomb is hurled at them. From the ashes of the explosion walks Michael. Lucifer takes him on first, but is quickly taken out. With a grim look to the brothers, Gabriel steps up next. Sam protests, but Gabriel shoots him down. “All I did on earth is run – I’m not running anymore.”
(Well alright, I love character development as much as the next gal, but NO GABRIEL. DON’T DO IT.)
Guys, its the second to last episode. As much as I was rooting for Gabriel because it was so good to have him back, it’s not a suprise he loses the fight. He dies with a scream and man I really hope that was another Trickster move. (A note to Andrew Dabb – if you wanna go ahead and call it that when you bring him back next season, we will all totally believe it. Promise.) Sam pushes Dean through the rift, and then in a strange beat, turns back towards the fight. He’s got a hard look on his face as Lucifer stumbles towards him, and he puts his hand on his chest to stop him. “How did you think this was gonna end?” he snarls, and pushes Lucifer to the ground. He jumps through the rift, and it closes behind him trapping Lucifer in with Michael.
Back at the bunker, it’s beers (and some whiskey) all around in a sort of somber celebration of freedom. Sam thanks Rowena, Dean tells Cas about Gabriel’s sacrifice, and in the corner, Jack looks forlorn by himself. Bobby stands at the bottom of the stairs and addresses the crowd in a motivating speech, ultimately thanking their new brothers for the rescue. It’s a light moment in the bunker and finally, FINALLY, at least for the moment, everyone is home and safe.
Back in the alternative universe, Lucifer is doing what he does best – negotiating to save his own bacon. He tells Michael he knows the spell to open the rift and he’ll help him, as long as he can get Jack. “And I get everything else?” Michael counters. “Are we agreed?”
And honestly, it’s the first time I’ve ever seen genuinely Lucifer conflicted. The episode ends before he gives his answer.
Next week is the season finale and I only know two things – first, for some reason, Dean flies across a church and second, that we’re all going to start crying the moment “Carry on My Wayward Son” starts playing. Bring the tissues, fam, we’ll get through this together.