Thoughts on "Hammer of the Gods"
Going into this episode, I thought it'd be light-hearted and funny. I didn't read the descriptions but I did see the preview clip. Little did I know that Lucifer and the Trickster would be returning and thus overshadowing the humour with drama and emotion. At first, when Changing Channels was in the Then segment, the idea that the episode would be amusing was reinforced - until Mark Pelligrino's name flashed across the screen in the opening credits. Lucifer is not a funny guy.
The opening teaser was a fabulous throw-back to the old MOTW episodes of Supernatural - dilapidated location, innocent dude with a flashlight, creepy man in suit, blood slashed against the walls. The "elys" which was visible alluded to the gods/goddesses storyline that would arise and I was delighted when it was Elysian Fields (as I predicted to my mother and then we argued over pronunciation of the word) and then I was surprised that Sam didn't catch on - him being a walking encyclopaedia of weird after all. The Elysian Fields, of course, being heavily present in various mythologies as the resting place of the souls of warriors or a number of variations there in. Undoubtedly I'm reading too much into the name, but it does seem fitting that Sam and Dean are in Elysian Fields at one point or another- them being warriors of light and virtue.
I didn't mind the pagan gods and in fact, I wondered many, many episodes ago about creatures such as these and their reaction to the apocalypse. I agree that the gods seemed easily destroyed, but I wonder if power isn't directly proportionate to their following? Considering that the other two types of pagan gods we've encountered in Supernatural have been killed by Sam and Dean "mere mortal" Winchester, and given that at the time they were killed their biggest complaints were the lack of worship they'd received over the last centuries, this seems plausible. Also, perhaps their surrender of the planet to the Christian God (in Supernatural mythology anyways) rendered them lesser beings. Or maybe angels just kick ass, period. Hard to say.
"No one gives us the right. We take it."
Every time Mark Pellegrino graces the screen, I am more in love with his portrayal of Lucifer than before. As Lucifer's back-up vessel deteriorates more and more, so too does the façade Lucifer first adopted. He's become more and more "prideful" every time we've seen him - never more so than in this episode. Waltzing in to the hotel and flexing his muscle that way, asserting that he simply takes whatever he wants? What happened to the soft-spoken Lucifer who swayed people with quiet emotional manipulation? Lucifer's massacre of the pagan counsel was terrifying and enthralling - so much power in the flick of his wrist. Mark Pellegrino as Lucifer is always impressive. The standoff with Kali and the fire makes me look forward to the final showdown. It is very evident that, aside from angels (such as himself) Lucifer is of the opinion that all other creatures belong dead and gone.
 "You learned all your tricks from me, little brother" - There was something heartbreaking about this deliver. I'll admit, I felt for Lucifer - he didn't enjoy killing Gabriel that much was clear. He seemed almost sorry to do it. Of course, my sympathy only extends so far, given that he did, in fact, kill Gabriel.
"Luci, I'm home."
As always, Richard Speight Jr. was phenomenal. He played the role of the Trickster/Gabriel so well all these years and it's sad to see him go. The exchange between Lucifer and Gabe was tragic and poignant. After Gabe's stunt with Kali and the fake sword, I held my breath waiting for a similar occurrence to take place when Lucifer stabbed Gabe, but when the wing outline became clear, it was all over. I wonder if it was the fact that Gabe was out of Heaven for so long or just that Lucifer is more powerful. We witnessed Lucifer tear people (pagan gods) apart, in some cases without laying a finger on them. So, if the arch angels are all-powerful, why was Gabriel unable to legitimately fight Lucifer, equal to equal. It's curious and inspires questions of what Michael expects to do. I suppose, that like Cas his powers have simply faded over time (though, his trickster powers have been pretty incredible - I've yet to see Castiel create an alternate dimension and Gabe's been out of heaven a lot longer than Cas) but this raises the question about Lucifer's power - what exactly fuels him? Hmm. I'm sure that's an over analysis, but it's a lingering question nonetheless. The final speech that Gabriel made to Lucifer was pitch perfect and hopeful. It was my favourite part of the episode:
"I'm loyal. To them, to people, Lucifer. People.  Dad was right, they are better than us.  They're flawed. But a lot of them try, to do better, to forgive.  I've been riding the pine for a long time but I'm in the game now. And I'm not on your side or Michael's. I'm on theirs."
Finally! Someone on the side of humanity - this was a welcome breath. I suppose the Trickster, having spent so much time on Earth (mostly tormenting humans with iron - but only the ones who deserved it) would know better than any other angels that, despite the flaws, there are a few of us who are, or at least strive to be, decent people. The best example Gabe would have of this is Sam and Dean, whom he's witnessed time and again struggle to save people and do the right thing - even in this episode when they blackmailed him to help get the frozen soon-to-be dinners out of the freezer. Gabriel's death, if it absolutely had to happen, when down exactly as it should have. He climbed off the "pine" and took a stand, between the humans and his brothers. And, he gave mankind a spark of a chance by pointing Sam and Dean to the rings of the horsemen.
I would have liked to have seen more interaction between Castiel and Gabriel. During Changing Channels there seemed to be something between them, whether it was generally angel-to-angel animosity or more familial in nature, it would have been interesting to explore even for one scene. After all, Gabriel has lived among humans for who knows how long (and earned a Masters in the art of sarcasm) - he and Cas could have had some interesting conversations.
The Casa Erotica DVD - what a way to get a post-humus message to the Winchesters! I yelled - "we knew it!" at the tv after the ring reveal. Way to bring that back and give the boys a fighting chance! I am so excited for the final three episodes - although, pestilence made me sufficiently nauseous with just a minute on screen so I'm sure I'm ready to handle an entire episode with him as the feature baddy. The horsemen have been a slowly building element through   out this season and personally, I love it. That Dean and Sam inadvertently began to collect the tools they'd need to stop Luci was a nice touch. Good thing they postponed that trip to Mordor after all.
We're left with a few loose ends after this episode. First and foremost, what of the blood Kali collected from the boys and Gabriel? If they are bound to her, Gabriel included, does that mean that she could resurrect Gabriel? Did the boys actually take and get rid of the blood vials? Additionally, what became of Kali. Surely this isn't the last we'll see of her, since it was such a pointed get away - and, for all intents and purposes, Gabriel gave his life for her. They seemed to have a genuine mutual care for one another. Has Kali been added to the potential arsenal alongside the anti-Christ? I hope so! One wonders, where does a pagan god on the run from Lucifer go to hide? Perhaps she has an Enochian rib-carver on her payroll.
All in all, I enjoyed this episode immensely. We got to see Dean as his old self - from the pie to the name-calling antagonism of the gods to his optimistic reassurance of Sam that they'd find a way to stop Lucifer's evil plan of world domination - it was refreshing. At the same time, the hints about and cracks in Sam's until-now stable, stalwart stand tease that the final instalments of this season will be amazing. Can't wait to see how this ride will turn out.

Comments  

Alice
# Alice 2010-04-27 22:01
Great review elle! So many good points as usual.

I'm in the minority I know, but I really didn't like this one. As a matter of fact, it's going with "Red Sky At Morning," "Family Remains," and "No Exit," as episodes I'll never rewatch.

I LOVED Dean, I LOVED Gabriel, I LOVED Lucifer, but the rest just was bad on so many levels. The return of out of character Sam, shallow MOTW characters that I didn't care for, squandered opportunities with the views of other religions and a fancy hotel in the middle of nowhere, but most of all, Gabriel's demise is way too painful for me. It hurts that much. I just submitted my review to Blogcritics and gave it a D+.

The rest of the season looks SO good though! I can't wait.
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2010-04-28 04:01
Elle, I'm with you in the can't-wait-to-s ee-how-this-sea son-goes-down - saddle. Loved your thoughts on this episode, and in contrast to Alice, I liked it a lot: we finally saw something of Lucifer's true potential which actually explains why the angels are so freaked out and every being on this planet should be. One could have wondered - if Lucifer is merely an angel who happened to be exiled into hell, why the fuss? Take an archangel's blade and just kill him,come on.

But this bastard is hard to kill. Mark Pellegrino is amazing in this role (but I still would love to see Jared flex his acting muscles in a big confrontation, letting out all of his evil potential, though the idea alone freaks me out - if we get to see that, I'll be in serious need of meds, I fear. And tons of chocolate which won't help much).

I don't think, however, that we will hear more of the blood that Kali took. To my mind this was only a MacGuffin for the episode, I don't think there's much time in the upcoming episodes to get on that sideline.

And, as I mentioned in my open-couch-arti cle, I can't believe Dean is his old self just like that. If the writers didn't address his dilemma and his despair that has been almost physically palpable over the last episodes, I would be very disappointed. That would indeed take a lot of the authenticity this show has been so famed for away. Because - after all those years that I am dealing with these matters, I've never seen it happen in this manner. The human soul does not work that way.

I think they need Dean sharp for the upcoming battle and perhaps thought to bring him back 'to normal', which is basically okay. But I expect those wound to at least surface so that we know they are still there and he's dealing with it - even if that means that he's getting a grip to be able to fight.

Well, the descriptions of the upcoming episodes say the guys will make decisions that will change their lives forever - I wonder what that will mean for season six.

Thank you, Elle. Love Jas
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2010-04-28 04:05
P.S. - I agree with Alice, though, on her point of missed opportunities in regard to the other religions. That would have been a neat chance to get some light on that.
Perhaps we will find some of this in the upcoming season. They could explore the co-existence of religions a bit more. Which - to be honest - I doubt will be the case.
Suze
# Suze 2010-04-28 07:39
I liked it, but then I've been offline for aeons due to broadband meltdown and volcano-induced exile so I was starting to think I was going to miss the Apocalypse altogether and I'm all happy and full of glee to have pitched up in time for the big fight in spite of everything, so my critical faculties are out to lunch for the time being.

Loved Kali ... Seriously sniffy about the Trickster's exit, but when does anyone actually stay dead on this show? Fingers crossed ... :D
Bevie
# Bevie 2010-04-28 10:28
Hi Elle, I too enjoyed this one very much, except when Gabriel was killed. I really kept hoping he was playing another trick, but no. My goodness, I liked him so very much and was looking forward to more Richard Speight Jr. episodes next year. :cry::

And Pestilence was such a stomach turner! He'll be hard to watch if he keeps spewing snot like that. I didn't even recognize Max Headroom!

I have to say there is not one episode of Supernatural that I refuse to rewatch. There is something golden in each and every one of them, even if the writing is a little below par. At least that is how I do it. Also, if we all could get what each of us wants from the show then it would have to be 2 or 3 hours instead of 45 minutes (and there wouldn't be anything wrong with that)LOL. I too would have enjoyed to see a meeting between Cas and Gabe. Would love to know more about Gabe's back story and see more of those pagan gods, but they do manage to give us a great story squeezed into those 45 minutes.

I enjoyed Dean getting more pie. He wanted pie for more than 3 seasons and we never saw him getting any. This season he got pie twice from Bobby's wife and once from the Elysian delicatessen. He'd been close to getting pie before, but it either never arrived (AHBL 1, AYTGIDW) or he had to leave it (Lazarus Rising) before getting a bite.
Poor baby! (Methinks I love this show too much!) :-?
Sablegreen
# Sablegreen 2010-04-28 11:59
II agree with Alice, Sam was way out of character here...Dean was much more the normal Dean. That was excellent! Hopefully he will stay that way for the rest of the season. Now we need to get normal Sam back!

I agree with you, elle...Lucifer is NOT a fun guy....but I did think he feel a bit of remorse for killing Gab. Really I was so glad when the writers finally gave us Gab's speech. That felt so rewarding, and a testament to the boy's power of persuasion.

All in all, I did enjoy this episode...excep t for Gab's demise, of course, which to me seemed out of place. With what he knew about the rings, he didn't need to fight with his bro. I think the writers should have rethought that one.

Thanks elle, great review.
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2010-04-28 12:45
Suze! I'm so glad to hear your voice here! I was really worried and feared somothing serious might have happened to you!
Just wanted to express how happy I am that you seem to be alright.
Come back as often as you can, you're missed! Cheers, Jas
Suze
# Suze 2010-04-28 14:22
Aw, Bless ... Thanks, Jas. :D Wild horses wouldn't drag me away now, not when we're SOOO close to the End Of Days ( famous last words, now a tree'll fall on my computer or something ... ;-) )
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2010-04-28 14:31
No,that's not an option, Suze... We're going through all the terrible adventures together on this site. When you can, read my con-report, there's some news that yóu might particularly like... well, something about a certain aligator... ;-)Love Jas
Kaffeklubben
# Kaffeklubben 2010-04-28 16:45
I agree with you Alice, this episode really did not do much for me. Love our show and Gabriel was one of my favourite supporting characters. But this... as Alice said; wasted potential. Felt weak, wasted a lot of good opportunities for some real cool "one scene wonders". And to dismiss this many religions as inferior to Christianity (how can I otherwise interpret this?) was just a symbolism was not cool with me. No, no and no.
Faellie
# Faellie 2010-04-28 19:38
A couple of thoughts on comparative religion. The first is that we were told by Lucifer in Abandon All Hope that there were only 4 things that the Colt couldn't kill, and that he was one of them. So we've known for a while that the "God of Supernatural" (and presumably his strongest minions too) has the power of life or death over other gods, even Hindu gods with 700 million worshippers. It's a bit more of a shock to be shown rather than told, of course. But the principle behind this superiority comes from the monotheistic religions themselves (judaism, christianity, islam) rather than being created by Show. An equivalent of Show in a non-judeo-chris tian culture could just as validly show the reverse situation.

On the other hand, presenting those other gods as consumers of human flesh seems pretty inexcusable, and also unnecessary in story-telling terms.

Apart from that, Mrs Lincoln, I rather liked this one.
BagginsDVM
# BagginsDVM 2010-04-28 22:13
I have to admit that there is yet to be an episode that I'll never watch again (even Bugs!) because I always find something to like, even if it's just a line or two of dialogue or one of the guys' expressions. The show is still so much better than most everything else on TV.

That said, Gabriel's death really did hurt to watch. I really enjoyed the character, & while I understand the need to wrap up the angels' part in the apocalypse, I did not want Gabriel to leave (& I'm even more worried about Castiel). Stop killing off every friend & ally of our boys, Kripke! They need someone on their side in season 6!

I did cringe at the idea of all the other gods eating humans. I don't remember any of the particular gods portrayed in the episode (at least the Norse, Greco-Roman or Hindu) as demanding human sacrifice. Of course this is Kripke's own mythology, so he can do what he wants. He certainly has taken liberties with the Judeo-Christian beliefs too. I hope we see Kali again. I enjoyed her speech about religion.

I like the plan to put Luci back in his cage. I figured at some point they'd have to realize that they couldn't really kill Lucifer. The ultimate big bad still has to be there for the whole good & evil, light & dark balance, I suppose. Our Winchesters are being good little hobbits, keeping the "preciousss" of War & Famine safe & hidden so far, & now must look for the others before that trip to Mordor. Just don't be tempted to wear them, boys!