THEN:  Castiel is watching the night sky fill with falling stars, i.e. angels, Rowena, Dean with Billie as the new Death, then Gabriel killing Asmodeus and  choosing to leave instead of joining Team Free Will.

 

NOW:  It's a fancy art gallery in Portland, Oregon. Rowena, in a classy black gown, is enjoying a drink with her male companion when her phone rings.  It's Sam, Dean, and Cas calling from the bunker.  They need her to help rescue their family and confront the archangel Michael.  Rowena stays flirty and friendly but isn't interested in helping.  She calls them her beautiful Musketeers and hangs up, then approaches a society lady, gushes about meeting her, but then quietly references a newspaper article.  This bothers the woman, but Rowena sweeps away after leaving her purse for the woman to hold.  She dances a dramatic tango with her large companion; then, during one dramatic dip, her eyes glow purple and her hand shoots out.  The woman bursts into flame and burns alive.

What we know about Supernatural season 13 episode 19.
A nice surprise from a familiar face does enhance this Supernatural episode, but my inescapable feelings of been there, done that - they just leave me unsatisfied.
Well, every season has to have its downer. 
 
Beware ranting ahead.

The Morning After

Asmodeus is dead!! Hallelujah!

Charlie is back! Hooray!

Gabriel is alive and well again! Outstanding!

Supernatural’s “Bring ‘em Back Alive” crammed at least three game changing events into one episode! It was a bit jolting, abruptly closing plot lines I expected would run for at least 2-3 more episodes, but that made the episode (for the most part) enoyably intense. I thought Dean's shocking entry into the rift last week began a steady acceleration to the finale, with parallel fights: Dean and Ketch finding Mary, Bobby and Jack; while Sam, Castiel and Gabriel fought off Asmodeus and his search for Jack’s power. I totally got sucked into Dean’s prediction that they were on the ultimate multi-week rescue mission where he would miss the 24 hours deadline, search for and finally find Mary and Jack, but then would need Sam and Castiel to come save them all. Instead, this episode raced through all that in less than one day, dealing several supposed set-backs to Team Free Will.

Then:  A small grate in a door slides back.  Ketch and Asmodeus peer in at Gabriel.  We see glimpses of Mary in Alt World as well as a reminder that an archangel is needed to create a spell to get into that world.  We see Dean and Ketch step through the rift and Sam watching worriedly.

Now:  A black and white world, barren branches, a snow-laden woods - suddenly, a narrow, glowing rift appears.  Dean and Ketch come through.  "Where are we?"  Dean admits to not knowing where they are; it's different from where they were before.  He expects Ketch to leave, but Ketch wants to help him find Jack and Mary.  Mary will probably kill you when she sees you, says Dean, and Ketch agrees but says that Dean needs backup. 

What we know about season 13 episode 18.
Does anybody even care what any self-styled critic might have to say about this? And by that I mean, what is there really to say on this? It's one of those episodes above positive or negative criticism (like "Baby" or "Changing Channels"). Still, I had a few words.