Aaaannndddd we’re back! Right, exactly where we left off, Supernatural picks up in the heart-shredding, creepy moment that it left us oh, so many months ago to learn what exactly happens when a Nephilim enters the world with the Winchester brothers there to bear witness. Hint: chaos, drama and pain. The premiere of season thirteen was nothing to enter lightly, and though it certainly didn’t address every dangling thread from last spring, the main story of Jack was handled with laser point focus and, "Lost and Found" didn’t disappoint on the emotional fronts either.
Jack Meets the World
So much of season twelve was spent building up the mystical nuke that is Jack; and after a summer of speculation born from the eerie glimpse into those ethereal and menacing eyes there was a lot to live up to for this character. Which means there was a lot of room for failure.
On delivery, Jack has succeeded so far on a few levels. First, let’s talk about Alexander Calvert who portrays Jack with endearing innocence and unsettling power perfectly. Calvert has managed to imbue Jack with some of the early Castiel-esque confusion, making him engaging, without becoming a complete repeat of the “ignorant of humanity” explained by his pre-natal relationship with Kelly. The chocolate bar moments were perfectly childlike and yet later when Jack meets Sam and Dean again, he sends a clear message of threat. Unique to Jack – unlike previous young and powerful characters (Lilith, for example)– is that while he is obviously intimidating and aware of this to a degree, Jack does not come across as insidious or sinister (yet). Jack’s slow, precise cadence, thoughtful gaze and studious maneuvering have the mutual effect of conveying innocence and unexplored power.
The character reads well; kudos to Alexander on this portrayal, as well as others – in particular Jared during the initial jailcell encounter– who reacts to Jack with uncertainty and extreme caution at every approach. The space and reaction to Jack afforded by every character he encounters, even the callous young fast food worker, are reminiscent of animals sensing approaching storms, and reinforce the danger he presents.
The second piece of Jack that has begun to be established early on is a clear bond with Sam. Though perhaps premature to comment on this relationship, Jack and Sam demonstratively, if tentatively, took to one another and it was evident through the remainder of the episode as Jack took so attentively to Sam’s words and watched for his cues. This relationship is a set up for damage, hurt and big brother Sam in a new incarnation of the role as the leader/teacher/mentor that he stepped up and took at the end of last season.
With one episode, Jack has been established very clearly equal parts dangerous, innocent and searching. His lack of usual angelic weaknesses combined with his obvious human emotions, desires for bonds and connections put him at a precipice between bomb and hero. What a journey it should be!
Straight and Steady Storyline
As I mentioned, our premiere focused virtually the entirety of it’s energy on Jack and the repercussions in the immediate aftermath of his arrival. We left season twelve with many things to address, including the alternate universe, multiple deaths of main characters and all related losses incurred therein. Yes, the episode did address these pieces to an extent, however the focus was all on Jack and we stayed on this trail for the whole of "Lost and Found". And this was, despite so many pieces to pick up, the best way to start us out.
Jack, afterall, is at the centre of all those rippling story-threads. Branching into the underworld to look at the aftermath of losing Crowley and Lucifer or too deep into Heaven would have cost the opportunity to properly introduce Jack’s character and look at Sam and Dean along the way. This was a wise choice, for the most part, on the part of the writers.
The one point of the episode that did move away from the Nephilim/Sam and Dean plot touched briefly on Mary and Lucifer in the Apocalypse universe in the last minute of the episode. While informative and interesting, the scene was not well placed in the episode – at least not in this writer's opinion. Following such an emotional, reverential exchange at the funeral pyres, Lucifer’s morbid teasing of Mary detracted from what was otherwise a powerful moment to end on.
Heroes and Heartbreak
Grief hits in different ways, at different times and in different stages. Through the years we’ve seen both Sam and Dean experience grief in a variety of incarnations, be it for lives they’ve lost or people they’ve left behind – and actual death of beloved ones. What was different about this "Lost and Found"? The net of the loss is cast wide and the boys are registering the losses is wholly different ways. For Sam, mom is alive and well (which we know to be true, of course) and for Dean, she’s dead and gone.
As always, Jared and Jensen give us beautiful portrayals of unique and character-true conceptualizing of anguish. For Sam, he’s hurt but focused on Jack, registering the confusion in the boy and pouring his energy into helping Jack. The suffering is not silent for Sam but fuel. A stirring scene that captures this is in the jail cell when Jack asks where Castiel is and Sam tells him Cas is dead. Short though the moment is, Sam is raw and anguished when he delivers the news.
Dean on the other hand – shuts down. The loss is too great and though the shock and anger are apparent at every interaction through the episode, it isn’t until Dean’s flashback to the prayer – not unreminiscent to the phone call Dean made to John way back in "Home" -that we glimpse it fully. This prayer for help underscores Dean’s desperation at his losses but most significantly, his anger:
Okay, Chuck or God or whatever. I -- I need your help... We've lost everything. And now you're gonna bring him back. Okay? You're gonna bring back Cas, you're gonna bring back Mom, you're gonna bring 'em all back. All of them. Even Crowley... 'Cause after everything that you've done, you owe us, you son of a bitch. So, you get your ass down here and you make this right. Right here! And right now! Please. Please help us.
Everything has been taken, even Crowley is included in this list (which was touching for many reasons) and it’s too overwhelming to express – at least with words.
Finally, we are left on a sombre note with a funeral pyre and words of thank you and apology and wishes for better times. Jack and his mother have a brief, wordless moment and for a second I expected a resurrection. I was left waiting, breathlessly, for Jack to return Castiel to his full form for these last moments. He so attentively listened to Dean and Sam discuss Castiel, about God’s previous resurrection – alas, no Lazarus here.
Instead the moments were quiet in tone, reverent and mourning as Dean prepared and wrapped Castiel’s body and Sam explained what they say at the graveside to Jack.
“…Thank you, you say thank you. And you say you're sorry. You hope they're somewhere without sadness or hate. You hope they're somewhere better. You say goodbye.”
These moments are what Supernatural still does so well after thirteen season: the human parts. The loss, the grief, the want of hope where there may be nothing left to hope for; Sam and Dean – and even Jack – captured the spectrum. Particularly in this final scene, equal parts powerful and poignant.
Bits and Pieces
"Lost and Found" was, by and large, a serious and emotionally heady episode. That said, it was balanced with humour and a few lighthearted moments – primarily Jack’s nakedness. To the great credit of the writers, this joke was never overdone or played to exhaustion. Instead it was simply balanced against intense moments while never detracting.
One thing that did detract, ever so slightly, was our drunk teen angel, Miriam. Here the hand was overplayed just ever-so-slightly and once the name “Becky” was tossed out, it was too apparent that Miriam was involved. Ultimately, it didn’t make a difference really: her appearance at the drive-through didn’t drive the plot in any true sense. Which then makes me wonder – what was the purpose of that initial encounter, when it had no later bearing (at least that I could tell) on Miriam's skirmish with the Winchesters and Alex?"
From the perfect and powerfully effective opening recap video to Metallica’s "Nothing Else Matters" to Dean’s intense dream of Mary burning to demonstrations of Jack’s angel power and the final burning of Cas’ corpse like we’ve never quite witnessed before, the opening of season thirteen was an emotional punch and hit all the right notes. Though certainly it had some shaky elements (the angel posse being established was almost unnecessary) and an out of place scene in Mary and Lucifer’s Apocalypse World glimpse; as premieres go "Lost and Found" worked well.
13.01 was emotional, powerful, concentrated and unexpected. We met Jack, who presents a host of possibilities and left me thinking, over and over, of Jared’s recent TorCon comments that his advice to Sam this season, knowing what he does about where season thirteen will go so far would be “don’t get too attached.” Oh… boy…..The episode laid ground work for what could be an incredible – if emotionally devastating and shocking – new landscape over the next 22 episodes. Whose ready for the ride?
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