Following an incredibly emotional 300th episode, Supernatural returned after a short hiatus with a “monster-of-the-week” episode.
“Ouroboros” was written by Steve Yockey and directed by Amyn Kaderali, and pulled together all of the elements about the show that I have come to love over the years.
We meet our monster in Raton, New Mexico, as he’s busy cooking in a kitchen. He’s chopping some veggies, boiling some pasta, giving the sauce a little stir and a taste test and, well, pulling organs out of a human corpse to include in his meal.
He’s accompanied by a snake friend that he calls “Felix” and speaks to it about making sure they have time for a proper dinner. He then removes an eyeball from his victim’s face and pops it into his mouth. The monster’s eyes change from human to snake, and the scene cuts to Sam and Dean entering a room, guns drawn — and then we cut back to the monster, which indicates that he can see that Sam and Dean are on their way to him. He places Felix around his neck and removes the remaining eye from his victim’s body as a snack for later.
Our monster makes quick work of exiting the home, just as Sam, Dean, Castiel, and Jack happen upon the scene. They each begin to have a look around: Castiel takes a moment to try to save the victim, but to no avail. And Jack checks out the meal that is now burning on the stove top, declaring that their guy is “cooking the body parts, again.”
Sam and Dean are frustrated that their monster has apparently done something like this before and that they’ve been hunting him for some time. Our four heroes discuss the gruesome crimes, filled with questions as to why the victims don’t appear to ever fight back. Dean assumes it’s witchcraft, which prompts Rowena to show up, visibly upset that he’s always blaming witches. We learn that Rowena has provided them with a tracking spell that was meant to make this hunt easier, but seems to be failing them magnificently.
Jack discovers a snake skin on the floor, something that they haven’t come across before. Then, Rowena mentions that this is the first victim she’s actually seen in the flesh and wonders out loud if all of the victims had blackened lips as she dabs a cloth onto the latest victim’s lips. Sam confirms that the victims have all had the blackened lips as well as black patches of skin around the face and neck. Jack asks Rowena if the black lips mean something to which Rowena responds, “everything means something.”
Later, we find Dean and Castiel sitting in a booth at a diner, as they’re in the middle of discussing Sam and Rowena. Dean has a good feeling about bringing Rowena in to help, and he feels that they have a good shot at cracking this case. They’re both quiet for a moment and Castiel looks at Dean with concern. We get a quick flash of Michael still going bonkers inside of Dean’s head, which causes him to flinch and appear distressed.
Castiel notices and before he can say much, Dean insists that he’s fine. Instead of arguing with Dean about it, Castiel is sympathetic. He acknowledges that what Dean is doing by keeping Micheal locked away is a feat and that he can’t even imagine having that kind of willpower to do the same. Dean admits that Michael is fighting hard to escape and that he doesn’t even sleep because he knows he can’t let his guard down even for a second. Cas knows that Dean won’t be able to go on forever this way, but Dean says that there’s no use in complaining about it.
The scene then cuts to Jack washing his hands in the bathroom. He suddenly goes into a coughing fit in which he coughs up blood into his hand. He quickly washes away the blood, and I assume that just means he’s going to keep hiding this from everyone else… you know, because he’s a Winchester. Jack heals himself, and because he is still running off of power from his human soul, I’m guessing that Cas, Dean, and Sam wouldn’t be super pleased if they knew that he was doing this.
Now, Dean and Castiel are discussing the possibility that there is no solution to the archangel trapped in his mind. Castiel insists they’ll find a way, but Dean isn’t so sure. He reminds Cas about “plan B,” and while Cas is still trying to avoid the idea that it might be the only way, Dean very simply lays it out for him: “Coffin. Ocean. Done.”
Later, the group meets up with Sam and Rowena. Rowena states that they must be hunting a gorgon. Dean brings up the most famous gorgon, Medusa, which turns into him fanboying over the classic Clash of the Titans. Sam seems unimpressed, and Rowena says the story of Medusa is highly exaggerated. She explains that gorgons don’t turn their victims into stone; it’s more of a paralysis from a venom, which explains the reason behind the black lips of the victims they’ve come across and the fact that they never seem to fight back against their attacker.
Sam has discovered at least 17 cases that could very well be tied to this guy. Cas wonders how the gorgon keeps eluding them, and Rowena explains that a gorgon consumes people’s eyes so that they can glimpse into the future. Obviously a tracking spell isn’t going to work against a creature who can see them coming, so for now, our team is at a loss at what to do.
The next day, Dean and Castiel are at a truck stop, the gorgon’s latest crime scene. They introduce themselves as FBI, and the officer on the scene gives them a note that was left on the body of the victim. The note has been made out specifically to Dean, and it indicates that the gorgon can see him in this very moment. He can also see Rowena and Sam chasing him, and he demands that they stop. They also now have a name, Noah. Cas asks why Noah can see Dean, Sam, and Rowena, but he doesn’t even mention him or Jack. Dean responds with, “Maybe you’re not his type.”
Dean calls the others to clue them in on the new developments. Sam immediately realizes that the gorgon obviously can’t see angels. Of course this is their shot at finally catching him. Dean tells Rowena to get her tracking spell ready, and he and Cas jump in the Impala. Rowena explains to Sam that she needs antivenom so she can whip up an antidote in case things go south when they do find the gorgon. She luckily has a plan for a situation such as this.
The next scene, Sam and Rowena are rushing into a veterinary office with a dog in tow (names “Jack”), acting as if their fake fur baby is sick. The scene is a delightful little moment between the two, as they act like a couple just concerned about their dog. They bicker back and forth about whose fault it is that their “wee pup” is sick, and when the vet leaves them to treat the dog, Rowena pats herself on the back for an acting job well done.
This scene was so much fun and a nice comedic moment to break up the intensity of the episode.
Back in an exam room, the vet looks over the poor sweet doggy and leaves him for a moment to go tell Sam and Rowena that he’s fine. As the vet leaves, the camera pans back to the mirror on the wall and, lo and behold, the dog named “Jack” was actually our Jack all along. Jack sits for a moment, looking a little worse for wear. He collects himself and finds a bottle of antivenom in a cabinet and leaves.
Jack meets Sam and Rowena outside where he hands over the bottle. He’s looking a bit uncomfortable and wishes out loud that he had retrieved the bottle before the vet took his temperature.
Back with the gorgon, Noah is telling his current victim about eating people, how boring it is, and how he doesn’t really like to do it, but this is his life. His victim is shocked by the revelation that Noah is feeding on helpless men, and Noah tells him that he’s not biased. He eats ladies too, but, “women have become so cautious lately.” (Honestly, I love Yockey for the way he writes for women on this show. I especially loved this amazing line.) Noah ends the scene by giving his victim a paralyzing kiss and heading for the kitchen.
Next, we find Sam on the phone speaking to Maggie back at the bunker. She’s explaining that the only way to kill a gorgon is by decapitation with a silver blade. Sam checks in on everyone quickly, Maggie insists that things are fine. Rowena has tracked Noah and she hands over the antidote in case they get poisoned, and our four hunters head out to find the monster.
Castiel and Jack, who have been unseen by Noah this entire time, bust in and catch Noah. Noah begins to tell Jack a story as Cas checks out the scene. He talks about the black snake that keeps eating the chicken’s eggs. When there is one egg left, the snake sneaks in to eat it, but ends up choking on it as the chicken had hard-boiled the egg to make sure the snake died. Perhaps he’s telling the story to confuse Jack, or perhaps it actually means something. As he’s rambling, Cas revives the victim and helps him escape. Cas turns to Noah, and asks him why he’s telling this story. Noah states that he can’t decide if Jack is the chicken or the snake.
Cas and Noah start to fight and Noah renders him useless rather quickly with a venomous kiss to his cheek. Sam and Dean enter the room. They fight, and Noah repeatedly slams Dean’s head against a wall, knocking him unconscious. As the gorgon leaves, Jack decapitates him. Jack then attempts to use the antidote on Cas, but it doesn’t work. So, he goes with his next instinct and heals Cas on his own.
They carry a still unconscious Dean back to the bunker. Cas can’t heal him, much less see what’s happening in his head. Jack offers to help, but Cas knows he can’t keep burning off more of his soul to try to help people.
The scene cuts to Jack, now sitting in his room as Cas checks in on him. Jack is having a hard time even thinking about the possibility of losing the people he loves, and Cas reminds him that the WInchesters are humans. and humans die. Jack doesn’t understand what the point of being an angel is if everyone he cares about will end up leaving him. Cas says that they just need to appreciate the time that they have now with the people they love. Jack offers to use his powers to help Dean, but Cas still won’t let him.
Jack then brings up the story that Noah told him about the chicken and the snake. Cas says it was a story about greed and being willing to give up something that you love in order to kill the thing you hate.
As Rowena said earlier in the episode, everything means something.
They’re interrupted by the sound of Dean losing his temper in the other room. He’s yelling and throwing things until suddenly, whatever is tormenting him just stops. He turns to face everyone and simply states that, “he’s gone.” There’s a quick cut to the room inside of Dean’s head where Michael was locked away. The door is busted down and Michael is nowhere to be found.
Dean is now angry that he let his guard down and they hear someone scream from another room. They rush out and stumble upon a scene of bodies lying on the ground just as Maggie has her eyes burnt out right in front of them and falls to the ground, dead.
The camera pans up to Rowena entering the scene, her eyes glowing as she addresses them. Dean recognizes right away that Michael has found a new vessel in Rowena
Rowena!Michael teases everyone by saying that maybe Dean should have used that coffin when he had the chance. Dean tells Sam to get the cuffs to hopefully subdue Michael, but the archangel springs right into action, incapacitating the Winchesters and Castiel. Jack then steps up and challenges Rowena!Michael, and the two battle as everyone else watches. Rowena!Michael can tell that Jack is burning off his soul, but Jack still won’t give up.
Jack reminds Rowena!Michael that he is not a child; he states that he is the son of Lucifer, a hunter, and a Winchester. He then expels Michael from Rowena. But Jack isn’t done; he seemingly devours Michael’s grace and turns to his family as he assures them that he is himself again and that Michael is dead. Jack glows, and his wings show behind him as the others look on in amazement, ending the episode.
While “Ouroboros” ends on a hopeful note, even I know better than to think it’s all this easy. Sure, it appears as if Michael has been defeated by Jack, but at what cost? Is Michael really dead? What does all of this mean for Jack? Is he really back to his usual self? Does all of this mean he no longer has a soul, the one thing that kept him close to being human?
I don’t know if we’ll get our answers any time soon, but I can’t wait to find out.
Tune in next Thursday for “Peace of Mind” on The CW at 8 p.m. EST