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Family Don't End With Blood

Featuring a chapter from Nightsky!

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Color me surprised!  I went into “LOTUS” with some incredibly low, sub zero basement low, if not totally despondent expectations.  I mean, how in the world were they going to turn around this fiasco known as season 12? The synopsis had me believing this, to quote Comic Book Guy, would be the worst…episode…ever.  Given the fact that I’ve been hardly impressed to downright angry with the episodes all season long, not to mention bitterly disappointed by all the midseason finales over the last several seasons, as well as my fear that the Lucifer storyline has dragged on way to long, it was going to be a near impossible task to win me over.  
 
Go figure, it happened, and we can thank…*gulp*…Brad and Eugenie.  Suddenly, I’m on board again.  I loved it.  
 
Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t call “LOTUS” epic or gorgeous, or even standing up to the series classics.  But for season 12, I’m calling it the best episode so far.  I liked that everyone played their part.  Sam and Dean got to be heroes (with a twist), Crowley and Rowena had moments that were quite enjoyable, and even Castiel was slightly better than useless, getting to deliver the big news of Lucifer's offspring thanks to the angel radio.  I also want the British Men of Letters to only be Mr. Ketch.  He’s awesome! 
 
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I know, this wasn’t an epic emotional story that involved brotherly bonding or strong family moments.  Emotional elements have never been Brad and Eugenie’s strength, so that expectation was never there for me.  The episode dragged in parts like during the presidential scenes, which got too much air time, even if it was Lucifer.  But overall the story had my attention the entire hour.  It was actually fluid and moved very well.  All the parts added up and had a logical progression instead of being a random mess.  Tonally it was very even.  It also moved forward a season that seemed aimless and going nowhere by merely presenting mytharc pieces in an interesting way.  But best of all, the eye rolling moments were at a minimum.  In today’s “Supernatural” landscape, I call that a win.  
 
So what made “LOTUS” so extraordinary from all the other season 12 selections?  Let’s take a deeper look.    
 
The Book of Enoch Meets “Jus In Bello”
 
Once upon a time, Eric Kripke and Sera Gamble went with the philosophy that if the lore was researchable, it was game for the show.  They could fashion their own variations of the lore, but it had to be something that was out there.  Once of the pieces of work that has influenced “Supernatural” mythology from the beginning has been The Book of Enoch.  For example, Azazel was from The Book of Enoch.  Also, The Book of Enoch named Gadreel as the angel that deceived Eve in the Garden of Eden.  Also, it implied that when Enoch was transformed to an angel, he became Metatron.  
 
One big part of The Book of Enoch is the story of the fallen angels, who came to earth to have children with human women.  These offspring were called the Nephilim.  As someone who has read The Book of Enoch and used some references to it in a “Supernatural” fan fiction, I have been DYING for “Supernatural” to introduce a Nephilim story.  I’ve read some great fan fiction stories on them.  It’s one of the major biblical stories this show hasn’t touched.  Consider it done!  Brad and Eugenie, I thank you.  
 
Another potential story that has been on my years long “wouldn’t mind seeing list” comes from something that Victor Hendrickson said in season three’s “Jus In Bello”:  
 
“Ready like a court order to keep you in a Supermaximum prison in Nevada till trial. Ready like isolation in a soundproof, windowless cell, that between you and me… probably unconstitutional.”
 
At the time, especially with Sam and Dean already locked up in jail, that visual was frightening.  What has been revealed about Guantanamo Bay since then has made the idea even more frightening.  Watching Sam and Dean in Supermax lock up in the preview is finally going to play that out and so far looks it as chilling as I possibly imagined.  I couldn’t be happier that they’re going there.  Now there’s some of that bold story telling I’ve been missing.  
 
Think about it, this is the way it should be, Sam and Dean are in this giant mess together.  No “one-brother-is-missing-so-the-other-goes-ballistic-looking-for-him” scenario.  They’re both in peril, they both get to experience the same ordeal at the same time. Of course, my enthusiasm could end up being short lived.  I have some pretty high expectations for this story line.  I mean, how long can the story go with Sam and Dean locked up and isolated in separate cells away from the world?  We know they’re going to get rescued.  They’re the freaking leads of the show.  This is a one episode shot.  However, I want to see their situation get dire before their rescue.  I want the trauma of past ordeals like, I don’t know, being tortured in Hell, surface.  I want to see the metaphorical “paint peeling from the walls.”  I know a lot of the episode will focus on Castiel and Mary.  I’m okay with that for one episode.  But if they’re going to go there, the story must deliver on all sides or it will turn out to be another wasted opportunity.  
 
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There was a lot more though to this episode than me seeing two of my personal wish list items being satisfied.  I loved the satanic symbols that should have been there every time we saw Lucifer, like the crosses turning upside down as he walked by (creepy!) and the bible burning when he touched it.  Even Castiel used the Bible thing on Kelly, the woman pregnant with Lucifer’s child.  She set it on fire!  Why hasn’t this been thought of before?  It’s these little details when telling a story about the Devil that should ALWAYS be there.  “Supernatural” has gotten a little too careless in that regard.  
 
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I love the continuation of the Crowley and Castiel buddy comedy.  Agent Zappa!  The fact that they beat Sam and Dean to the morgue was pretty impressive, and Crowley is outdoing them all with his Armani suits.  We can tell he's having fun.  I really love how well the relationship between Rowena and Crowley has evolved.  Aww, the King of Hell has a soft spot for his mother.  I normally hate Rowena’s antics, especially when her overacting is involved, but I loved Crowley showing up just in time to explode her gold digging fiancé.  Rowena is stunned, covered in the brains and guts of the man that just two timed her, yet her words to Crowley are priceless.  “That’s the sweetest thing you’ve ever done for me.”  She even manages a proud smile.  Yep, that’s her boy!  The visual was great and I did laugh out loud.
 
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I loved Mr. Ketch.  I hear ya, I’ve been the biggest opponent of the British Men of Letters so far.  I’m still skeptical of their intent but talk about making an entrance!  But why does Mr. Ketch get to use the grenade launcher and not Dean?  It’s not fair!  His dialogue was awesome too.  I died laughing over the “Bing-bang-boom, meet Bob, he's your uncle,” line.  I have no idea why the Brits use that expression to say everything will be alright, but it was great to hear.  I want to know more about the British Men of Letters toys, even though the Magical Exorcism Egg was kind of contrived.  It reminds me of a recent joke on “Honest Trailers” for “The Flash.”  Star Labs can come up with any technological device that the plot requires.  Seems we have the same thing going with the British Men of Letters.  I hope that’s not used as a fall back too much, but some new toys would be cool.
 
When in the world is Sam going to accept that Crowley is one of the team?  His contempt for Crowley is old and so overdone.  Come on, Crowley has saved him a few times, like going into his head to free him from Gadreel.  Sam last season pandered to Lucifer, the being who miserably tortured him for like 100 years, for the sake of the mission.  Crowley has done far less to him and actually been a valuable ally.  Dean has no issue with him.  Even Castiel sees his usefulness.  For sake of Sam’s practical, “desperate times” mentality, this behavior has to stop. 
 
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Speaking of Sam though, I’m extremely happy that he’s the one that ultimately got to exorcise Lucifer with the Magical Egg thing (Magic Egg, it gets funnier each time I hear it).  The VFX in that scene was amazing.  Huge kudos to the crew for pulling it off.  I’m glad that they showed the extra intensity that should go into exorcising an arch angel.  I also applaud the show for remembering that only Rowena could put Lucifer back in the cage.  It’s those details!  Another detail I appreciated, when the SUV was about to explode during the alteraction with the Secret Service.  Everyone ran and took cover except Castiel. I would have enjoyed seeing him engulfed in flames and then coming out unscathed.  But what we got worked too.  He was pretty close to the fire and didn't flinch one bit during the whole explosion.  That's some great acting by Misha!  
 
As for Lucifer, I’ve read the speculation.  Lucifer didn’t go to the cage and he’ll be back.  There’s even speculation that he ended up in the Secret Service agent that ultimately captured Sam and Dean.  I’m going to believe that Lucifer is back in the cage.  I’m really tired of his rampage on Earth storyline.  Taking on vessels is tired and old.  I like the idea more that he has created enough havoc on earth to where everyone has to deal with the consequences now.  I think Lucifer mind controlled the Secret Service agent, like he did to his super fan as Vincent.  Now he has his revenge against Sam and Dean with their incarceration to a secret prison that no one can find.  It’s just desserts given Luci’s own time in the cage, don’t you think?  He also will have his offspring roam the earth.  Maybe with that connection he can do a lot of damage from the cage.  It isn’t over, but I’m convinced that Lucifer’s time on Earth is.  
 
I do have a nitpick, and it’s the use of the “act of stupidty” card to once again force a situation.  It’s implausible to me that Sam and Dean would have stuck around with the President after the exorcism.  They knew the Secret Service was outside or would be there soon enough.  They know that as hunters that quick exits are the norm.  Were they staying behind to help Castiel and Kelly get away?  Couldn’t she have stayed and ordered the goons off?  Ditto for Castiel’s careless falling for the “going to the bathroom” trick and losing Kelly.  Angels won’t be able to find her?  They sensed the Nephilim being conceived so why don’t they sense its location?  Yeah, I don’t get it, but hey, the end result is enticing to me in both cases, so we’ll just file that under “contrived setup.” It’s happens so much anymore that I’m reduced to shoulder shrugs…and it’s turned into an interesting drinking game.
 
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The Red Headed Monster
 
Merry Christmas!  Have some egg nog!  (Hmm, spiked egg nog…)
 
Overall grade, a B+.  This is my favorite midseason finale since season six’s “Appointment in Samarra.”  I’m interested to see what happens next.  That’s a vast improvement over last week.  Heck, it's a vast improvement over all season.