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Sam and Dean are totally screwed. 

That’s our big takeaway from this week’s episode, “Proverbs 17:3’. It took me week to come up with my last review on “Atomic Monsters.”  This week, it’s only taken me a few hours.  Why?  Because the episode can be summed up in just one word.  Depressing. 

Nah, I’ll give you more than that.  How about anvilicious?  I won’t say that “Proverbs 17:3” is a bad episode.  It was actually good in terms on construction and flow.  The farewell episode for writer Steve Yockey stayed within the “navigational beacons” so to speak, offered some humor, and we always savor a directing outing of from our favorite son, Richard Speight Jr.  But pushing all that aside, it was no fun to see Sam and Dean finally come to a realization of something we saw a mile away.  It was every bit as hopeless as anticipated. What a bummer. 

The Writer Strikes Back

I’m starting to believe the return of Chuck is just to offer an excuse for bad writing as opposed to actually giving us good writing.  The last two episodes have decided to take the run of the mill monster hunts, featuring the well overdone monsters vampires and werewolves, and turn them into something different to service the main mytharc of the season.  Chuck got his revenge on the fan last week, this week, he can focus on Sam and Dean.  Writer meta is again at the forefront of the script (flying anvil alert!).   While going through the boring, very average paint by numbers werewolf hunt, I sat waiting for the punchline, thinking something was very amiss.  Whoa, Lilith?  Did. Not. See. That. Coming.  One of the best twists we’ve gotten in a while.

Dean got to play the depressive this week, which was about face considering what an emotional mess Sam was at the end of the last episode.  Given the comedic opening, looks like all Sammy needed was a shower and a good night’s sleep.  How disappointing.  He seemed all back to normal, ready to go on a monster hunt.  So yeah, I guess tomorrow got better.  The “nightmares” really kicked into high gear though, which he originally attributed to PTSD.  So shaking off bad dreams is how you deal with PTSD?  Dreams where either your brother or you die?  Oh geez, there’s superhuman Sammy again. It all just rolls off like a duck’s back. 

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(Love this shot from Director Dick)

I really liked the two death scenarios, especially the recreation of Dean firing the colt through Lucifer’s skull, a la “Abandon All Hope”.  This time Lucifer is Sam, in full white suit, and well, the outcome is the same, it doesn’t kill him.  But watching Dean get torched afterward, that didn’t happen before!  I adored the calm yet chillingly evil demeanor of Sam’s Lucifer, taking in the burning flesh fire with warm pleasance.  Creepy!  It goes to show just how badly they ruined Lucifer in the later seasons.  As for Dean hopped up on the Mark of Cain, fun to watch, but it really didn’t have as much impact.  It was too easy!  But that’s Chuck for you.  

I found it interesting that it Dean was the target of Lilith’s plan this time.  I guess it makes sense since Sam got that opportunity earlier in the series.  I love this new version of Lilith.  This actress is much better and she had her mannerisms down pat.  She knew how to play to Dean’s weaknesses, going for the whole damsel in distress.  It was so obvious, but Dean instead decided to share personal things.  It’s still amazing how he can do that with someone on a case but not his own brother.   I loved the twist that her plan foiled when she fell on the deer horns.  Sam and Dean’s “what just happened?” looks were priceless.  I had the same reaction.      

Supernatural Sam Reaction

Lilith’s comments on her death were fun to hear.  She let Sam kill her, all to fulfill the ultimate plan to bring Lucifer back.  That got her nowhere.  It hasn’t done much for the boys either!  She wants to kill Sam and Dean, but accepts the conditions Chuck made with her new lease on life.  The question is what now?  Will she return to Hell?  What sort of havoc can she unleash on earth now? Her return does raise a few possibilities, but there’s so little time to play it all out.  I say she goes back to Hell and raises a damn army herself this time.  Lucifer who?  That is assuming we hear from her again.  This also smells of dropped plot thread. 

I had to think about her return hard.  Chuck can pull souls out of the empty?  Wasn’t it established in season 13’s “The Big Empty” that even God couldn’t touch anything down there?  Checking the transcript:

Cosmic Entity:  Oh, yes. Excellent question. You see, before God and Amara, creation, destruction, Heaven, Hell, your precious little Earth, what was there?
Castiel:  Nothing.
Cosmic Entity:  Yes. That’s right. Nothing. Nothing but Empty. 

Cosmic Entity:  No. No, no, no. Not with me, and I’m—I’m the only one that has any pull here. Not Heaven, not Hell, not G-O-D himself.

Yep, shouldn’t happen.  The empty existed before God came along and created his universe.  So it would make sense that Chuck not be able to touch it.  But, given Lilith’s resurrection, we will have to assume that Chuck could do that all along but was obeying some sort of natural order rule before.  Perhaps when he killed Jack all bets were off.  That does imply that Chuck is going to have to answer to one pissed off Cosmic Entity.  I guess we’ll just “…” that for later.   

Supernatural: The Pageant

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Aside from the shock of Lilith’s return, this episode continued to push a very repetitive theme this season (watch out anvil coming!). Inserting the writer into a meta episode here and there has proven to be fun, but doing it for a whole season?  I’m not sure how that can work. 

If anything, this season so far has turned into a farewell pageant, strolling out the past characters to take their dramatic wave down the runway before retreating back to oblivion.  Considering that a grand majority of the old characters are dead, this opens up the possibility of contrived scenarios for the resurrections.  Kevin Tran tops that contest, although Lilith is now dangerously close to “WTF?” territory as well.  At least her resurrection can pass as a semi-plausible, if you look at it sideways loophole. 

The stunt of returning characters through the years has been conceived by desperate writers grasping for ways to entice fans, so it makes sense that Chuck the hack writer would resort to that tactic.  The sensational character returns though have often stunted the story (Gabriel?  Lucifer?) and unfortunately that has not been proven different now.  With so little time left to wrap up the story, there should be no time for pathetic stunts.  Alas, I can only imagine the writers filling up the required pages in their scripts going, “the fans will love it.”

How the hell are we supposed to fight God?

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Dean raised the brain teaser of the season so far.  Again, I’m not sure why Dean thought that Chuck went away after breaking open Hell.  His foreboding sense is so much better than that.  I’m just glad that they didn’t drag out the reveal for more than a few episodes.  That way Dean looks less like a schmuck.  But yes, he raised the perfect question, despite the fact that it brought on a rather hopeless ending.   

There was no way that the God gun was going to work again (loved that Lilith thought "The Equalizer" name was dumb).  Lilith melting it did them a favor.  That meant that one of them would have to die too and I’m tired of the one brother sacrifice scenario.  Sam and Dean did finally compare notes on Chuck’s plan though and I’m relieved that Sam finally told Dean what those nightmares are about.  I get that Dean was overwhelmed by the idea that Chuck was after them, but Sam did raise a good point.  They have a connection.  That really should have been explored further.  I can picture Dean waking up in the middle of night, going to Sam's room and asking, "Hey, sorry, did you say you've got a connection with Chuck?  Wow, I think we should run with that."   

How about this for a brain twister?  Chuck wants to write out his perfect ending, aka Sam either kills Dean or vice versa.  The trouble is if Sam dies, so does Chuck (assuming the whole Equalizer thing was true).  So, when will this dawn on Chuck that he can’t have his perfect ending?  I guess Sam could kill Dean and live on, but that won’t mean the end nor give Chuck what he wants.  I imagine Sam could kill himself as well, just like what we saw with the Werewolf brothers (anvils flying!), and take out Chuck in the process.  But then won’t that bring the end of the earth, like when Chuck was dying in season 11?  Well, we have a light wild card and his name is Jack.  He really needs to hook up with his great aunty Amara. 

Don’t think so?  Remember Castiel’s words to Kelly Kline in “All Along the Watchtower?” 

Kelly: Tell me again. Tell me again what you saw.
Cas: Right, I saw-- I saw... I saw the future. I saw a world without pain or hunger or want. I saw the world that this child... that your child... will create. And it is a world without fear and without suffering and without hate.
Kelly: Mm.
Cas: I saw paradise.

I don’t think the empty is paradise!  Jack has a great destiny in his future.   It does make me wonder if Chuck’s end for the Winchesters will play out, but the new saga begins for the rest of the earth afterward.  Sure, it’s dark and bittersweet, but the fans will feel something, right?  (Sees more anvils flying at me).  So yeah, it looks bleak for Sam and Dean, but I imagine the rest of the world will come out okay. 

How do Sam and Dean fight God, aka the whim of the writers?  Unless St. Edlund or some other SPN deity floats down from the sky pledging to save the SPN verse from bad writing, we all are probably stuck with no good answer in sight.  I just hope it gets better, or if anything we are given another reason to tune in every week other than it’s the end. 

Overall grade, a B-.  Not bad, it pushed the plot along, but it’s just another dark bummer that doesn’t help us embrace the inevitable end with any enthusiasm.  Hopelessness is so… bland.

Read more of Alice's insights on Supernatural! Reviews on every episode of the series are on Alice's Writer's Page and in WFB's Episode Guides