Honestly, I loved this episode; we’re in the ramp up to the finale, and stuff always seems to happen around that time, so I expected the episode to be shocking. However, I did not expect the degree to which I was surprised by the episode.

Real quick, let’s talk about the elephant in the room; Nick. Personally, I’m thrilled that he’s gone. I didn’t like Mark’s characterization of Lucifer past Season 5, and I wasn’t all in on Nick from the get, but after seeing the way his character has played out, I’m super upset he was forced back into this season. It’s unnecessary and frankly an insult to the intelligence of the watcher. We don’t care about Nick. Sure, he was Lucifer’s vessel, but there is nothing else about him that interests me. I was also confused right from the beginning about how he is alive even. After Lucifer took Sam in Season 5, he was gone, but then Crowley found Nick’s body. That part makes sense. What doesn’t make sense, however, is the fact that after Lucifer was killed at the end of Season 13, Nick’s consciousness was somehow still around. No. Nick’s soul and memories should be gone. Yes, he could survive without a soul, but…It’s a frustrating thing to see him shoehorned in when no one really cares about him or his story. I’m glad to see him gone, promo for 14x18 be darned. (This mean’s nothing to the way I feel about Mark P. Great actor, activist, and person. Just don’t like Nick or Lucifer all that much. Also, could we please explain how Nick escaped jail? I mean it is sort of explained, but its dumb and feels like lazy writing; but I love you Meredith!)

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I’ve said this in every review I’ve written I think, but, oh Jack. I’m incredibly intrigued by the way his character is going because we are seeing both sides of him. Since his first appearance on screen we’ve seen mostly his good side. Him wanting to do good for the world. Has he made mistakes? Sure, we all do. But as the end of the season is upon us, I think we are now starting to see the potential for evil that Jack possesses. While I’m sure no one wants to see our little nougat loving son go bad, I think it is necessary because it brings more roundness to Jack. While not one dimensional, I think he was becoming a little vanilla, and the arc that has played out with him losing his soul shows us that he is not all one thing. He isn’t good or bad. He’s been shown to have trouble with his modulation of those traits, but he isn’t just good or just bad. He’s a person, and he has his own ways of looking at the world.

This episode was an amazing tour de force for Jared and Sam. I am never not amazed at the skill and talent with which Jared plays Sam. The last time we saw Sam and Nick interact, Sam gave Nick a long overdue tongue lashing, before he was shipped off to jail. When Dean and Mary return from to the Bunker with Nick in hand, we can immediately see the fury that takes over Sam’s whole person, and Dean has to be the one to hold him off. Now, I see Sam’s fury and anger at Nick, but I also think his strong reaction can also be partly attributed to his trauma from Lucifer. Since Lucifer’s return, we’ve seen Sam always have a consistent and unparalleled fear of Lucifer. But at the end of Season 13, Lucifer was gone. Nick remained, but we saw Sam attempt to separate the two of them so he could give Nick the care he deserved after surviving what he did. I think Sam’s patience for benefit of the doubt giving has ended. His reaction is not only due to anger and frustration with Nick, but also with the idea that he can’t seem to escape. Now, I’m not saying he ever will or could, but having Nick and Lucifer gone might go a long way to helping. Seeing Sam so completely done with giving Nick any sort of leeway is incredibly satisfying for me, because it means that we have seen Sam exhaust every resource within himself to try and give Nick a little credit. At this point he is totally and completely bereft of options and at the end of his rope.

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I feel like Dean and Mary were a little lost in this episode. We did see Dean trying to keep Sam calm in regard to Lucifer, but he was pretty quiet, it seemed like. I did appreciate his quip to Mary about where he got his closed off nature from. It was a sweet mother/son moment that has been severely lacking since Mary’s return. With Mary, I’ve always been pretty neutral about her. She’s not amazing, and she’s not terrible either. She’s just herself, and I don’t really care. I kind of wish she would go away, but if that’s not in the cards, then that’s not in the cards. Her conversation with Jack at the end of the episode was interesting, but he could have had that conversation with anyone else, and I think it would have had more meaning. It was just a little bit meh on her end.

Lastly, let’s talk Cas and Anael. First of all, Misha and Danneel have the most insane chemistry I’ve ever seen. They play off of each other in such a fun way, and I think it makes for magic on screen. I’ve loved watching Castiel this season. As he grows, I think he becomes more and more interesting. I was intrigued to see how he was going to get Anael on his side and he proved once again that he is very smart and willing to do whatever he needs to in order to get his goal; very Winchester of him, no? I did love the appearance of the Samulet or a facsimile of the Samulet that made an appearance, I just wish some things hadn’t been spoiled with regard to the finale. It was nice to see Cas once again on a search for G-d, but this time with the knowledge that he’s somewhere, he just has to be found.

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All in all, a great episode for all of the characters and in the lead up to the finale, we’re going to see some really interesting development play out. One more thing: I’ve seen people nutting out over Dean’s, “You’re dead to me,” line from the promo and I think we all need to take a chill pill. Yes, Dean and Cas have had disagreements before. It’s human nature. Dean has always been a little extreme in his levels of love and hate and Cas is no exception to that rule, but let’s wait and see what happens in the episode before we decide Dean or Cas have done something wrong.