Four Days Later

“I'm confused. Aren't you Satan? Which would make you the evil monster?”
I’m with Kevin! I’m so confused. Lucifer is back? Well that was easy. A rift that supposedly only a once-a-millennia super power can open is created just in time for Lucifer to use? On top of it, he’s changed and is a good guy who is trying to save Earth?
Lucifer: Everything I am telling you is true.
Castiel: You'll forgive me if I'm a little on edge. The last time we were together, you killed me.
Lucifer: Well, last time we were together, you stabbed me.
Castiel: I'm sorry.
Lucifer: You wanna dwell on the past? I don't. I'm not myself anyway. What am I gonna do? Okay? Look, it's time to save the world. Be the heroic Castiel instead of the butt of Heaven's joke.
 

I love that Pellegrino is back to play a larger role in the season. I thoroughly enjoy his wit and snarky commentary, but I shouldn't like Lucifer!

13.7 1133 Luci smirk

Many fans have dubbed him the “new Crowley” because we know he is evil and should despise him but he is irritatingly helpful in the war against things that are even worse than him. It also seems he’s going to be Castiel’s side-kick (or visa-versa).

13.7 1387 bar angels

Then Kevin is back! Hallelujah! I love this version of Kevin. He talks faster, is even more of a smart aleck than Advanced Placement Kevin, and for some reason reminds me more of Osric.  

13.7 0302 Kevin weird

This Kevin’s a self-absorbed coward who is helping the worst guy in the AU, though. How am I supposed to root for one of my favorite characters when he’s working for the bad guys?

13.7 1697 Arthur

And Ketch is back! At least he hasn’t changed! He’s still the conflicted killer who throws out occasional pleas for people to think of him as a “good guy”. 

 

Now Ketch is working for Hell, specifically the Prince of Hell Asmodeus, as a mercenary. You would think I'd be shouting that this reignites our theory that Asmodeus was running the BMoL all along, but oddly, it didn't strike me that way. It was presented more as Ketch hiring himself out to the highest bidder. On the other hand, he did say he was a loyal company man, to a fault. So maybe there's hope for our theory yet. I'm going to wait and see on this one. Which way are you leaning on this?  Ketch truly seemed to like being his better half, Alexander, though.

13.7 1290 Alex

We theorized that the alternate universe would bring back characters but this episode has my head spinning! No wonder Castiel never knows who to trust! Characters, characters everywhere!

War of the Worlds (Title Thread)

Let’s start by talking about Jack - simply because I like and miss Jack! It seems everyone misses Jack, but for different reasons. Sam and Dean want him back to protect him, to keep him out of the hands of their enemies and to hopefully use him to rescue their mother. Their traditional means of searching news wires and contacting the hunter network wasn’t yielding results, though, at least not the intended results. Their efforts tipped off Asmodeus that they had lost Jack, thanks to a “hunter” on the payroll. Wonder who that traitor is and when that little clue will come to full realization (note: a bad guy disguised as a good guy).

13.7 0200

Asmodeus was already doing everything he could to find Jack anyways. The Prince of Hell was psychically calling out to Jack yet couldn’t detect his immense power. That’s interesting. Has Jack learned to shield himself from Asmodeus’ mind meld? If so, Jack is learning more about his powers, which is a good thing.  We saw in 13.2 “The Rising Son” that Asmodeus wants to use Jack to dig to Hell’s depths to release ugly, clawed creatures and rule over an evil paradise. Seems like a pointless megalomaniac plan to me but then I’m not a demon.

13.7 0988 dumah

Heaven also wants Jack’s power, but their goal is to create more angels either as a defensive move (safety in numbers) or because they have a serious labor shortage for all of heaven’s duties after the workforce eradication fall of 2013. I tend to think the former since lately self-preservation has been more important to them than fulfilling their mission of protecting humanity.

 

Dumah: If we had him, he wouldn't be imprisoned. He would be put to work. Castiel, the angels - Our numbers were greatly diminished after the fall. No one's made new angels since the dawn of creation. We're going extinct.
Castiel: You would need a powerful force to make more of us. You mean Jack. Even if he had that power, what makes you think he'd cooperate?
Dumah: He may not have a choice.
Castiel: So you're planning to enslave him for some kind of experiment?
Dumah: Castiel, he's not your pet…. We hear you have influence with the nephilim. He'll listen to you.
 
Not unlike Asmodeus, the angels want Jack to secure their place as supreme in this world, then remold it to their vision of paradise.  Lucifer also wants Jack, supposedly to save this world but more likely to shore up his own dominion over the Earth.  It’s all about power to Lucifer. Asking if his son is a real “bruiser” and, like Asmodeus, trying to understand how Jack is hiding himself from their senses.
 
Castiel: How do I save the world?
Lucifer: We. We. Look, you protected my son. He trusts you. If you can convince him to be on our team, I think the combined power of the three of us can drive Michael back. I'm telling you, this guy is not the same Michael that we knew. He's much more powerful.
Castiel: Okay, if this Michael comes –
Lucifer: Not if. When. When. The guy's on a mission… But seriously, I mean, why can't I, you know, detect a presence?
 
According to Lucifer, behind door number 3 is the AU Michael who wants to rule this world because his own has been reduced to smoldering ash – largely by him. Everyone’s in a race to rule paradise, but at the very beginning of the episode, Lucifer reminded us that God already claimed this world for humans:
 
Lucifer: He did give mankind a good turn at bat and a chance to live in paradise. He ruled. He smote. He parted waters. Worshipped by creatures who made God in man's image.
 
The last part of Lucifer’s narration of creation held an interesting turn of phrase. The Book of Genesis 1:27 says: “God created Man in his own image” yet Lucifer recrafted it, saying man “made God in man’s image”. His words indict humans as having the same motivations as the angels or demons who are currently fighting for control of this world. In Lucifer’s version of history, humanity tried to claim the greatest supernatural power at the time as their own, molding it/Him in their image. Was their motivation also self-preservation or was it a testament to their dominion over creation? With humanity’s champion gone, all of the creatures who were deemed second best are now fighting to claim the closest thing to a “god” available to them - Jack - to save themselves from their enemies and remake the world in their image, casting out Earth 1.0 as envisioned by God. 
 
13.7 0898 Interrogation
Ketch: Did it ever occur to you, Dean, that I might actually be one of the good guys?
Dean: No. Not even once.
Ketch: You and I were soldiers in opposing armies who were at war.
Dean: Well, the thing about war is, one side wins.
Ketch: I suppose you're right.
 
Caught in the middle of the war once again is Team Free Will. Sam and Dean’s role in this episode truly seemed to be “stuck in idle”.
13.7 0950 bros
They were actually rather oblivious to the war going on around them. In a way, that seemed appropriate. If Heaven, Hell, angels and demons are locked in a war over earth, humans would be mostly oblivious to what’s happening on that plane of existence. If forces in alternate universes are planning an invasion, humans would probably be the last to know. The brothers had some good fight scenes but their role was mostly playing catch up, minding their own “business” and pursuing a rather routine hunt. They don’t yet know about Lucifer, Kevin, Michael, or Castiel’s plight. Castiel was more on the front lines of this war.
 13.7 0989 cas
Because of his trusted relationship with Jack, Castiel was almost in as high demand as Jack – to the angels and Lucifer as an influencer, and to the Prince of Hell as a bargaining chip. Maybe everyone knows Castiel’s more trusting (i.e. gullible) than Sam and Dean so they went after him rather than the Winchesters. They, after all, were cautious and didn’t fall for Ketch’s deception while in sharp contrast Cas walked right into a trap set by the angels.
13.7 1062 bested
He was saved by Lucifer, who then started to sweet talk him almost exactly the same way Metatron did years ago with “For the greater good”, “it’s your duty” kind of talk. Cas had learned enough to know he should check with Sam and Dean but why didn’t he blurt out over the phone “I’m with Lucifer! He’s back, he says we have a big problem coming our way and he’s looking for Jack!” What’s with all the subterfuge?
13.7 1315 phone
If talking is indeed a thread, Castiel has to learn how to talk faster! They don’t know it yet but Sam and Dean have once again lost Castiel to their enemies. Although it’s nice that they don’t have the weight of the world on their shoulders right now, and this episode set up the allies in the war to come, I hope it’s not long before Sam and Dean figure out what’s happening.

 Free Will vs. Self-Preservation

As is usually the case in a war, self-preservation was an overriding theme for all the characters in this story. The main players’ stories were obvious. Asmodeus, who's “real satisfied with his current position”, needs to defeat Lucifer to retain both his position and his life; Heaven’s angels, who are afraid of extinction; and Lucifer and Michael, who are in an endless battle to be the surviving, most powerful archangel, are all seeking to “trade up” their status.
13.7 0288 ta da
The pawns in the story were also motivated by self-preservation, though.  Kevin openly admitted that he was helping Michael because the alternative was unpleasant.
 
Lucifer: Kevin, what are you doing, getting mixed up with Michael?
Kevin: I don't have a choice. I'm a prophet, so I serve God, but there's no God to serve, so I serve the ranking deity, which is Michael, because I don't have a choice because I'm a prophet.
 
Ketch’s rampage of hunting and torturing witches was a quest for his own immortality. Rendered a mere mortal now, he needs to find Rowena, who had helped him skirt death once already. This is the second reference to Rowena that I’ve detected (the first being by Death in “Advanced Thanatology”) so her resurrection is almost certainly guaranteed now. Do you agree?
 
13.7 0676 witch
The last witch that Ketch caught also was driven to contact and trust a sworn enemy, hunters, as the lesser of the two evils currently threatening her life:
In my profession, it pays to know the enemy. My name is Daniela. I'm a witch. And I know you don't like witches, but I also know you help people who are in trouble.
 
Until he can master enough of his powers to take them all on, Jack is hiding, even from his friends. Not a really smart move but he’s young and scared. As this episode's dialog reiterated several times, those who want power wish to enslave those with power, Kevin and Jack particularly.
13.7 1780 jail    13.7 1782 jail
Even Lucifer and Castiel lost their free will in the end, when they were imprisoned by Asmodeus to be used as future collateral.  

New Rules

It’s hard keeping up with all the new rules of interdimensional travel and supernatural beings! Lucifer himself said he didn’t want to dwell on the past. Was this a meta message for fans, that we all need to keep an open mind because the Supernatural universe is expanding with new dimensions and redefined characters? We can add psychic blocking to Jack’s burgeoning powers and rift spells to the capabilities of the angel tablets.

 

13.7 0283 Kevin Tablet

Kevin: Okay, disclaimer? What I'm making is a synthetically generated megaforce which has not been tested, and I've never done it before. And it should be enough to open the rift, but I can't promise 100%.
 
I guess we can follow the logic that if 
  Rift = Jack + mental intention,  
and Jack = human soul with deity connection + archangel,
and prophet = human soul with a deity connection 
then by the laws of substitution       
Rift = Prophet + spell + archangel

A prophet, spell and archangel grace can be substituted for Jack! Convenient since now each side of the rift has its own prophet: Michael has Kevin, who never met the Winchesters and is thus still alive; and Sam and Dean’s world has Donatello, who was strategically reintroduced last week in “Tombstone”. It will be interesting to see how long it will take for Castiel or the brothers to learn how Lucifer got back, because both sides now have a way to open the door between universes.

 

13.7 0495 rift

Kevin: Clearly, the science wasn't perfect! And wow! The spell's designed to admit one person at a time.
 
Mary has a way to get back other than Jack! This would have been the first thought for her sons but I would have thought Cas would have at least brought it up to Lucifer. Presumably, Kevin could reproduce the rift if Michael cooperated but since he is unwilling to spare any of his grace for the spell, this may now be a door without a key.
13.7 0343 grace    13.7 0353 Michael grace
Does that mean this was a one-time appearance of Kevin (like Bobby, who mysteriously disappeared), or are we in for a war between prophets with Donatello and Kevin being used by each side to open the rift in Jack’s absence?
 

A new character was also introduced in “War of the Worlds” but whether his story is true or not may be more aligned with the next thread.

Imposters/Disguises

For the past several weeks, Supernatural’s stories have been filled with the thread of people and monsters disguising themselves as someone they are not, leading to speculation about whether Castiel or the Empty’s Entity returned to Earth.  “War of the Worlds” added to this thread, both blatantly and subtly. As far as Castiel, he looked and acted like his old self this week, with one exception. Is that a new hair style?

 07

Lucifer also stated he was “not himself”, that Michael was "not the same Michael" and that humans imagined even God's appearance differently than his true self. Even Asmodeus posed as Castiel on the phone. All these references bolster our suspicions that this thread is important. The most obvious reiteration of this thread was Arthur vs. Alexander Ketch.

13.7 0961 talking

Ketch’s psychoanalysis session with Sam was intriguing:

Sam: It -- it's probably smart to question everything about Arthur Ketch.

Ketch: Probably, yeah. I know I'm still trying to figure him out.

Sam: The Arthur Ketch we knew was sadistic. Amoral, predatory. Loyal to no one.

Ketch: You're wrong there. Not amoral, and actually, loyal to a fault. What you witnessed was an incredibly good company man. Not an easy job.

Sam: Sounds like it would be easier to be Alexander than to be Arthur, yeah?

Ketch: To a degree. No glory, yes, but no burdens either.

Sam: You admire him.

Ketch: Maybe, uh, wanted to be like him. Like you, I understood my brother's issues and why he did what he did. I suspect, if he were here, he'd admit regret to some of the things he did to your family.

 

Now knowing that that was Arthur talking, it truly seems like he wished he could be his alter-ego Alexander. Once his deception was revealed, I dismissed Alexander as nothing more than a cover story but a fan contacted me on Twitter and got me thinking about him differently. Mika (@mika_spn1967) speculated that Alex actually existed. Once she questioned this, everything fell into place for me. Sam found Kendrick’s records, and Arthur did say Alex understood Arthur, that he admired Alex and that he was still trying to figure Arthur (himself) out. I think we’ll learn that Arthur killed Alex in that cruel initiation rite and Cain’s sin of killing his own brother has haunted him since. Wouldn’t that be a great parallel story to the Winchester brothers? What do you think?

Talking

13.7 1156 Talk angels
Sam and Ketch’s tête-à-tête wasn’t the only deep discussion of the episode: 
 
Lucifer: And you and I need to talk.
Castiel: I have no interest in talking to you.
 
Yet they did talk for quite some time. I like this new sit-down style of exposé. Hopefully it will continue.

Truth

Ketch: Actually, everything I told you is true. Well, except for the, uh, twin brother thing. I am separated from the British Men of Letters, lying low because they will kill me for desertion.
 
Lying, truth and trust were referenced several times, mostly with people avowing that they were telling the truth. Still, truth can be deceptive if one tells only half the truth, as we saw with Ketch and will probably see with Lucifer.

Manners and Fear

Please, sorry, forgive me and other pleasantries were all a part of the dialog again this week. So was a single mention of fear.
Michael: While I was in your head, I saw what you're afraid of -- being locked up again, like you were in the Cage.

Fear seems rather pertinent but I can’t imagine the importance of manners. Still, it is interesting that it continues each week..

 Animals

Michael: Don't screw with me, Worm.
Kevin: I'm a vertebrate, neither an annelid nor a nematode
 
Doomed motel clerk: You're just beating a dead horse.
 
OK, what did I miss this week?

Curiosities 

WFB staff writer Wednesday has been on a roll on Twitter, basically writing her review in 280 character bursts. I love her insights! Check out her timeline (Tweets and Replies) for themes that are only obvious after she points them out!
 
“War of the Worlds” contained several interrogtion scenes (that were uncomfortably cruel for me), several fight scenes and no shortage of parallel stories. After writing years of reviews, I can often judge an episode by the number of intriguing screencaps I feel must be included for their cinematic beauty or significance to the plot. By those standards, Richard Speight, Jr., the writers and crew did an outstanding job. I guess that's why I'm a bit confused by it. All the pieces of this episode were interesting, but I didn't feel an overwhelming impact from it. Maybe there were too many pieces for any single plot to have time to resonate deeply, or maybe its presentation on a major US holiday detracted from it more than I realized. What do you think? I'll be curious how it stands up in the overall season 13 retrospective.
 
At its core,though, "War of the Worlds" was a battle of interesting characters.  I loved Erica Cerra playing Dumah. She was in “The Man Who Knew Too Much” in season 6 (2011) but I’ve loved her since Eureka.
13.7 0215 Throne
I could have gone all year without seeing Asmodeus again. Why couldn’t Ramiel have been the repeat appearance Prince of Hell? I loved his more serious portrayal of the power of the yellow eyed demon versus this “evil Col. Sanders” parody.  Am I alone in not at all appreciating caricatures of characters?? I take Sam and Dean seriously, I take their fight to save humanity seriously. That emotional and intellectual suspension of disbelief is disrupted every time I’m asked to take silly characters seriously. Sam, Dean, Cas, Jack, Lucifer, Mary, Michael, Kevin, Ketch, even Dumah (if they change that trite angel wardrobe) are complex, believable characters so why throw in the silliness of Asmodeus? I don’t get it.  Still, I guess I’ll go with the majority being superb stories that captivate. I am even intrigued with Hell’s dungeon more than I am with its throne room. Stay out of there and I can’t wait to see what comes next.
 
 

Transcript courtesy of: https://www.springfieldspringfield.co.uk/view_episode_scripts.php?tv-show=supernatural&episode=s13e07

Additional screencaps courtesy of: http://www.homeofthenutty.com/supernatural/screencaps/