In light of everything going on in the fandom these days, I have two things to say before I get into the episode. One is that I love all of you, and am so thankful to have all of you. The other thing is that we are far from done. We have over a year, and even after that, I don’t plan on going anywhere.
While monster of the week episodes are often not super well loved, I tend to enjoy them because they are often character studies. Their plots are simple and well known, so we generally know how it’s going to shake out, allowing for the characters to really shine through. Let’s talk about those characters.
Sam and Dean
If there is one thing about the Winchesters that I constantly have to remember, it’s how competent they are. In Episode 10 of Season 12, when Sam and Dean escape the black site, it was a wonderful reminder of not only how smart the Winchesters are, but how scary competent they are, and how well they know their craft. In this episode, the scene in the woods with the sheriff reminded me that not only do these boys know what they’re doing in terms of the hunt itself, but they have a keen ability to read people, and can often get themselves out of a tricky situation without much trouble. I love seeing the boys be their smart, competent, and special selves.
In addition, that opening scene in the bunker between them shows their ability to communicate without many words, showing how strong their bond is. Something we all knew, but also something that never hurts to show. Sam’s constant jabs at Dean over his porn problem is hilarious, and it lightens up the mood. Their verbal sparring is a joy to watch, along with showing how smart and special both Jared and Jensen are in their acting. The scene where they give Jack the list of supplies is a Sam Winchester bitchface special. I love watching as Jared and Jensen play off each other, while also bring Sam and Dean’s interpersonal relationships with Jack to life. While it’s taken some time for Dean to accept Jack, I think he’s come a long way. I don’t think we’re anywhere close to a relationship like Sam and Jack have, but we’re working our way there. This scene in the bunker shows that Dean is still working through seeing Jack as “the other,” while Sam has accepted him as a full member of their family.
Oh, Jack. My darling. This episode was a tour de force for Alexander Calvert, showing not only his comedic range, but his dramatic one. Most of the episode, we see Jack bonding with the teens in Lebanon from 300. We see him trying to find his way in his relationships with his peers. He reminded me a lot of Castiel from the beginning of the series. Not necessarily the soldier part of it, but the naiveté he shows in his understanding of people and how they work. He is so innocent, still, in a lot of ways, and this episode showed that, while also showing Jack’s adorable sense of humor.
But just when we think it’s all okay, we get the gut punch of the angel blade stabbing the girl in the stomach. Now, I don’t necessarily think it was all on Jack. He was fine, and then the girl moved. He can’t be held responsible for the girl’s actions. If he’d just kept it away from them, we wouldn’t have been in this situation in the first place. But at the same time, it seemed like Jack was unwilling to let the blade fall because he felt so in control of his power. That raises a large red flag for me, because the last time we saw a Winchester “in control” of a great power, was Sam with the demon blood, and we all know how that went down. Seeing Jack with his powers back reminds me that he is a very powerful being. But seeing him act like he is makes me realize that there is a possibility that he burned off more of his soul than we think he did, and healing Stacy didn’t help. We saw him dealing with the guilt that came over him from this action, but I’m glad to see rather than running away like he did last season with the security guard, he retreat’s back to the bunker. I’m upset he didn’t tell at least Sam anything, but he’s taking up the mantle of Winchester well.
Finally, I’m going to bring up something from last week: continuity. It makes me ridiculously happy to see the fact that the show is willing to bring the world of Sam and Dean to life. We haven’t seen the Ghostfacers in person since Season 9 (I think), but their presence is felt, from the chant in the 200th episode, to this one featuring their videos on the phone of the male teen in Lebanon. I don’t know if anyone picked up on this detail, but the book that same boy is reading while the girls are studying for the SAT, has the name Jerry Wanek on it, who is SPN’s production designer (I think). Little details like that not only bring Sam and Dean’s world to life, but make the crew and fandom feel loved and respected.
As I always say, I’m happy to engage here in the comments, or on my social media, so please, feel free to reach out. Hope you enjoyed this review.