Dean is back! Sam has a beard! Cas is doing magic! Jack could be sick! Jody breaks another limb! And is that Kaia? So much happened on this week’s episode of Supernatural that it should feel chaotic – but thanks to the brilliant writing of Bobo Berens, it instead flows into this beautiful episode full of action, moments of character growth, sharp wit, and many nods to Wayward Sisters. There’s so much to talk about – let’s dive right in!
The episode starts off just as Sam and Dean are getting back to the bunker, and there’s only one thing Dean has a mind to discuss – the strange new growth on Sam’s face. While it is indeed a thing of beauty, Dean claims to have nothing else to talk about, because his time with Michael at the wheel was nothing more than a blink.
Well, we all know that’s a bunch of crap.
This is Dean we’re talking about – the reigning King of Denial. And Sam knows it too, but unfortunately, he doesn’t get much more of a chance to press because Dean walks into the heart of the bunker and sees – everyone. The place is chalk full of hunters, which is not exactly how he left it. We get this interesting flash of betrayal across Dean’s face as he eyes his new roommates. He’s not mad at Sam, not really – but remember that having a home, a space of his own, was something that was always really important to Dean. There’s this beautiful sort of parallel of Dean’s actual home being occupied without his consent, and his own body being invaded in a similar manner. Neither of which are sitting well with him at the moment.
The reunion with Jack and Castiel is restrained, and kudos here to Misha Collins and Jensen Ackles for playing Cas and Dean so tightly. In the past, all of Team Free Will has openly celebrated their victories with hugs and big smiles, but this is quite different. They’re all pretty wary of Dean’s newfound freedom, and while they aren’t about to look a gift horse in the mouth, they still aren’t exactly going out for beers either. Most importantly, none of them have any clue why Michael just up and left. And it scares the hell out of them.
Dean takes off to take a shower, and we see him begin to strip. He practically tears off Michael’s suit, another indication to the viewer that he’s in a big hurry to shed everything that has to do with the archangel. But in the process, he discovers a new two-pronged scar under his right shoulder. That, along with the holes in his memory, is enough to prompt him to seek out Cas to do a “Vulcan Mind Meld” to help him remember. What follows is a series of terrifying flashes of Dean’s possession, seen by both Cas and Dean, culminating in one last vision – a hooded figure, stabbing Michael in the shoulder with a spear. A very familiar hooded figure.
It’s the dark version of Kaia from last season’s episode “Wayward Daughters.”
(I’ll admit, the transition from that scene to the next is a little fuzzy – I was too busy screeching to anyone that would listen that Dark Kaia was back.)
At any rate, they reach out to Jody to let her know what they saw, only to find out that she’s been investigating some attacks herself, and all of the beheaded bodies have one thing in common – a wound that looks a lot like Dean’s scar.
Original recipe Team Free Will starts to pack up to head towards Sioux Falls to track the thing that killed Kaia, when Jack walks in and wants to go as well. He’s upset that they won’t let him, and it’s about to become more of an issue when they’re interrupted by Jules, one of the hunters that lives in the bunker, coming home. She’s brought back the only survivor of a witch attack, and the young girl, Lora, has been hexed with an aging spell.
Castiel makes an attempt to heal her, but the spell is too strong, so he volunteers to stay with the girl and work on a spell to counteract the attack. Dean agrees that is the best course of action, and that he and Sam are going to trudge on ahead to track the hooded figure. There’s an interesting beat here where Sam seems resistant to have Castiel stay, or maybe it’s more that he is worried about being alone with Dean. Either way, the feeling as they take off together isn’t quite in sync.
In the car together, Dean is all pedal to the metal and full on avoidance of any serious subject matters. Sam makes an attempt to get more out of him, pleading, “I just need you to slow down so I can catch up.” But nothing cracks Dean’s hard exterior, and they press on full speed into the night. In Sioux Falls they meet Jody, who gives Dean a bubbly smile as she embraces him and asks how he did it.
“What me, versus some assbag archangel? Who would you take?” Dean said.
Jody smiled. “You – every time”
Sam asks about the girls and Jody admits that she hasn’t been home since they spoke. She and Claire have worked out a system – if the case is about humans, Jody handles it solo, but if there are any monsters involved she has to call in Claire. She hasn’t pulled her in yet because this could do some serious emotional damage to Claire. Sam wants to wake until daybreak to search the woods they’ve met at, but (to no one’s surprise) Dean wants to go exploring right the heck now.
Back in the bunker, Jack seems just as anxious as Dean, and he’s packed a bag, left a note for Sam, Dean, and Cas, and is almost out the door when he overhears Castiel helping the enchanted girl. He seems to reconsider leaving when he hears of her illness and decides to stick around to try to help.
In the woods, it’s now morning and Dean wants to split off to cover more ground, but Sam and Jody aren’t about to do that. They finally stumble across something helpful – the three heads, presumably from the beheaded bodies that are in Jody’s morgue. Only, these heads have something additional – vampire teeth. Jody had run their tissue through the normal processes (silver, dead man’s blood) and they hadn’t reacted, so it doesn’t really make any sense that they are vampires. Before they can question it further they’re attacked by the cloaked figure. After a particularly cool maneuver (excellent fight choreography this episode) the figure flips and her face is revealed – it’s Kaia. Or at least, it looks like her. The three of them are too stunned to do anything but gape as she runs away.
Jack is with Lora, the enchanted girl, as she wakes up. There’s a sweet moment where she asks Jack if Castiel is his father and he responds with, “One of them, yes”, which made all of our collective hearts melt. But she has a story to share with Jack – one about how much of a mistake running away from her mom actually was. By the end of it, she’s regretful of the choice she made, but Jack assures her that Castiel is going to save her. But you get a sense that Jack understood the pain he would have put his father’s through, had he run off.
Dean, Sam, and Jody continue to track Dark Kaia throughout the woods. Sam asks Dean to stop for just a moment to consider what they were actually tracking, as she had bruises on her cheeks. In his mind, it’s very likely that the vamps were actually coming after Kaia, and that it wasn’t just coincidence that they were in the same place. Dean’s firm – it doesn’t change the plan, and trudges on ahead. Sam and Jody are helpless to do anything but follow.
Back in the bunker, the last few ingredients are added to the spell, and with a purple poof, Castiel and Jules turn to Lora to see if it’s worked. Nothing happens at first, and then suddenly she’s overtaken, gasping and crying as the spell goes into overdrive and sucks the life out of her. Jack watches, horrified and unable to help, as she dies right in front of him. Somehow I feel more sorry for him in this moment than I do the girl who is dying. I think it’s because there is still so much innocence in Jack, and he’d truly believed that Cas would save the day – like we all believe as children that our parents can do anything – only to have the cold hand of reality slap him across the face.
In the woods, Jody gets another call from Claire but ignores it. When Sam asks, Jody is honest. She doesn’t want to tell Claire that they’ve found Kaia’s look alike. She’s afraid of how she’ll react if she thinks there may be some part of Kaia still alive. When Sam looks confused about Claire’s emotional ties to Kaia, Jody clarifies in a beautiful moment that confirms what we suspected in the Wayward Sisters episode – Claire was in love with Kaia.
Dark Kaia has found some refuge in a cabin in the woods, and there’s an interesting moment here where we see her foraging for food and water – sort of indicating she isn’t totally some kind of supernatural being, she has human needs. As she tries to escape back into the woods, Dean is right there to knock her out.
In the next scene, she is tied up as Jody, Sam and Dean interrogate her, and we learn some important new details. First of all, she’s absolutely not Kaia. According to her, what they were to each other, none of them can understand. (But oh, how I want to! I hope we get some resolution on this!) Most importantly, she never meant to kill Kaia – she’d meant to kill Claire. Dark Kaia is currently stuck in those woods because of Michael, or more accurately, the monsters that he has sent after her.
In the bunker, Castiel pulls a sheet over Lora as Jules and Jack look on. Alex Calvert is so fantastic in this scene, as he lets all of his emotion play across his face. The innocence of death, and the way that he feels so powerless now, you just want to reach across the screen and give him a hug. Suddenly, he pulls the sheet back and stands at attention, asking quickly where they’ve moved the witch’s body. They race to the bunker morgue and Jack explains his theory – that the witch had been stealing their youth, and it was tied into the necklace that she wore.
For a brief second just before he smashes the necklace, Castiel asks Jack if he’s sure about this plan, and he replies, “No”. What I loved about this moment, is how many hundreds of times we’ve seen this exact scene play out for Sam, Dean, and Cas on their road to becoming better hunters. The split second decision where they go with their guts, rather than give up, and it (usually) pays off. It’s almost like another step in Jack’s path to becoming a hunter, one that he can’t really be shown by his fathers – one he has to find for himself. With a whack of the hammer, Lora’s life force returns to her, and she wakes up.
In the cabin, Jody suggests that they move the interrogation back to the police station to be safe, but Dean won’t hear it. His eyes are wild as he says, “No, we need to break her, right here, right now.” Sam and Jody are taken aback by Deans single-minded attitude, but Kaia isn’t. She knows that Dean just wants the weapon. “You’re no different than him (Michael) – threats, violence – anything to get what you want.” Dark Kaia breaks Dean down to his base level fears – that’s he’s no different than the monsters that he hunts. She brings up the events of last season’s episode, “The Bad Place,” where we saw Dean threaten Kaia with a gun to get her to help them find Mary. That was such a striking moment of violence, and many fans were taken aback by it. But here, Dark Kaia exploits it, reminding him that even before he was possessed by Michael, she has seen his darkness – and that his darkness makes him weak and small.
This scene is so perfectly crafted to showcase Dean’s mindset. Dark Kaia is so completely apathetic to Dean’s rage, it almost magnifies how ridiculous he is being. Dean is trying to keep from exploding all together as she says she understands that Michael had hurt him, because he hurt her as well. We see this dark flashback sequence of a fight between Michael and Dark Kaia which culminated in her stabbing him with her spear. (Additional kudos here to Ackles, who has a completely different fighting style as Michael, further distancing himself from Dean). In the end, Michael, and by extension now Dean, will do anything to get that spear because it seems like one of the few things that can hurt Michael.
They don’t have much time to process this, as outside, more of Michael’s super-vampires approach. Sam, Dean, and Jody make an attempt to take them out, but they’re far too strong. In a last-ditch move, Dean shoots the leg of the chair Dark Kaia is tied to in order to free her. He smiles as he says to the vamp pinning him down, “Now you’re in trouble.”
And Dark Kaia promptly jumps out the window and flees the fight.
She comes back, thankfully, because things were looking pretty bleak for our heroes, and takes out all three vamps with that spear. Jody, grasping a broken arm, asked confusedly why she didn’t just leave them to die. Dark Kaia clarifies that she came back to take out the monsters, and then leaves with her spear.
They make their way out of the woods and take stock of what’s happened. Dean feels guilt over Jody being hurt, but Jody is more worried about what she’s going to tell the girls. Alex, Patience, Claire – and even to a short extent, Kaia – are her entire world. She hurts when they hurt, and she’s consumed with fear about the hunting life she’s raising them in. There’s a somber moment, where Jody reflects on the daughter she hardly knew before she lost, and it’s a reflection of how the Supernatural fandom felt when the “Wayward Sisters” spin-off was passed for the fall season.
“I just feel like I already lost, before I ever even began.”
Jody turns away from the boys and takes a moment to just feel. There’s an entire other article to write about this important pause, and how for a moment, we were all Jody, breaking a little under the deep sense of loss. It was absolutely a message from Bobo Berens, who would have been the Wayward Sister’s showrunner, of the heart-break from the stories that may go untold.
Back in the bunker, Jack is resting when he’s visited by Castiel. The angel tells him how proud he is that Jack didn’t give up when things looked bleak, and that he used his other skills (and not his grace) to save the day. I don’t think, in the entirety of the show, we’ve seen Castiel smile as much as he has at his son, and you can read the joy and purpose coming off him in waves. Castiel loves his charge, and in building Jack up, he’s building himself too.
It’s a lovely moment, which is completely ruined by Jack beginning to cough. He passes it off as a cold to Castiel (who runs off to make him soup, bless), but as the camera pans out, we see tissues covered with blood in his wastebasket. Something is very wrong with our nougat son, and he’s trying to hide it.
This episode included some beautiful moments that we would have undoubtedly seen more fleshed out in Wayward Sisters, had that show been produced. We’re glad that they’ve chosen to interwoven the stories we were promised in the pilot into this season’s run of Supernatural.
Next week looks to be a return to the goofy side of Supernatural with a Halloween episode. I know I’m excited – are you? Tell us about your favorite moments from this episode in the comments below.