First of all, Matt killed it. He cradled the story in his hands and crafted something not only emotionally meaningful but visually stunning. I'm super thrilled to know that this masterful episode was directed by one of our own. Also, so nice to see Dr. Sexy back as Pastor Joe, and the young woman who played Sylvia was in Season 2, Episode 2. I had to do some Googling to figure out who they were, but once again, we have an actor playing two different roles on Supernatural. This show really is a family, and I love it.
Oftentimes I'm stunned at how much Supernatural can be an allegory for life. Each of us is the Sam or Dean of our lives and we fight our own demons daily. They can't be exorcised, but we continue to fight those monsters and demons. This episode is a prime example. In both plotlines of the episode, we can see how they have the potential to allegorically line up with our lives in some way, shape, or form. So, with that in mind, let's get into it.
We're going to talk Sam first because honestly, there's not much to say. He was there, of course, but Dean was the one really leading the charge and it seems that Sam was just along for the ride. The one thing that stood out to me is his desire to get Dean to talk about what they plan to do to Amara. It seems that Sam is a little uncomfortable with the destiny that has been placed on his shoulders. No doubt, we've seen Sam shirk destiny before, but this feels a whole lot bigger. This feels final in a way that the other destinies haven't (I mean this in a character sense, not a series ending sense). It's clear to me that Sam is struggling with the options he's been given, but is also struggling to see another way out of this mess. I have no doubt that somehow they'll find a way, but I'm feeling just as concerned as Sam is about how this is going to shake out.
Dean Winchester is a fascinating character. On the face of it, he's the swashbuckling, Han Solo-type. He's good with women, handsome, and likable. But when we dig deeper we see that Dean is deeply damaged. Dean is damaged on a level that I don't think can really be fathomed, and we saw some of that in this episode. In his personal conversation with Amara, we see him struggling to contain his emotions when hearing about why Amara brought Mary back. I have no doubt in my mind that Amara had good intentions with bringing Mary back to Sam and Dean, but I'm not quite sure if she went about it in the right way. She wanted Dean to release the anger he was holding onto, but not only did that not happen, but the anger has also grown because she's gone and the circumstances by which that happened. There wasn't a good way to bring Mary back and not have Dean hold onto anger when she was gone again. We see Dean struggling with the idea that he shouldn't be angry. Dean has a right to his anger at this point. From his perspective, all he knows is that his life, a life filled with unending tragedy, torture, loss, and pain, has been entertaining for some cosmic entity. Entertaining enough to turn it into a book series. I'm not saying Chuck was right or wrong, but from Dean's perspective, I'm sure it's frustrating to realize that there is a chance that none of his choices have really been his own and he was just pushed around like a piece on a chessboard. I'm fascinated to see where this will go with what Castiel told him about Jack.
I'm never sure about Castiel, and then an episode like this one happens. Not only was Cas wonderfully written and performed, but I think there is some deep commentary to be found on life and what it means to be human. Castiel has always been our allegory for what humanity is because he isn't human. When we see someone who isn't human struggling with the ups and downs of what that brings, we feel better because it feels like we're not alone. It feels like we have someone who understands. The two moments that stand out were the one where he spoke about finding his faith and the scene in the car with Jack on the way back to the bunker. In the first, we see Cas dealing with the idea of what it means to have faith. I actually was taken back to Season 1 Episode 12, when Dean and Layla were talking and she told him, "I guess, if you're gonna have faith, you can't just have it when the miracles happen. You have to have it when they don't." What Cas said is of a similar feeling. Yes, Castiel lost his faith when he lost his mission, so to speak, but that's not the whole story. Somehow, Cas was able to maintain some kind of faith in something to lead him to the path that brought Jack into his life. I'm not saying faith is the solution to everything, but I think that Cas provides the lesson that if we just stick to it, even if we lose our faith somewhere along the way, it can be found again, and it can be even more meaningful than we ever anticipated. The conversation in the car with Jack is a whole other issue. Watching Misha show the reaction that Cas is having to the words Jack is saying is like watching the penny drop from his eyes. You can see the moment he realizes what Jack is saying and the shock that comes along with it. It is quite clear he's flashing through all of the stages of grief, and Jack's not even dead yet. But even then, we see the Winchester come out in Cas and he refuses to believe that there isn't another way. And, I think for the first time, Cas doesn't keep a secret from Dean and tells him what is going on so they're all on the same page. Truly, this episode was a great one for Cas, and one that I think will have ripple effects throughout the rest of the season.
Last, but never least, Jack. I'm actually going to go in reverse order on the Jack moments and start with the one in the truck. Alexander just killed this. You can see how much Jack is warring with himself about what he's been told he has to do. There's no doubt in my mind that Jack wants to take down Chuck. I also have no doubt that Jack wants to survive. He wants to be able to live his life with his family and see what his life has the potential to become. These two opposing sides are warring within Jack and I think sometimes he's not even sure which side is right. This is one of those situations that gives us a window into how human Jack is, even if he's the furthest thing from it. Moving further back through the episode, I loved watching Jack try to connect with Sylvia. The thing I love about Jack is that because of his age (or lack thereof), he doesn't feel constrained by normal human emotional rules. He expresses what he feels, most of the time, and I think it is a breath of fresh air on a show where often we see our characters hiding their pain. Jack wants to connect with Sylvia and I think he genuinely wants to help but is often rebuffed. Either way, I'm really interested to see where this goes through the rest of the season.
Oh dear, I almost forgot about Amara. First, Emily Swallow is a queen. It was actually super interesting to see how Amara behaved in this episode. It's clear that her issues with Chuck are not as resolved as she would like to pretend they are, but also, she really is trying to just live life. She's not out for anyone's blood, and she doesn't really have a plan for her existence. She just wants to experience the things that this world has to offer, and not be bothered in her quest to do so. But, when Dean is talking to her, she seems to realize that her non-involvement isn't really helping her or anyone else. Sure, she doesn't want to be involved, and that makes sense, but at the same time, she seems to realize that she might have been playing into Chuck's hands just a little bit. She might have been another rat in the rat race that Chuck seems to be running, and Amara has no time for that. She is just as powerful as Chuck, and she's not going to let anyone take her power away from her. Sure, we didn't get a resounding yes from her about helping, but thinking about it isn't a no, so we can take that as a win.
I think that's it. As usual, comments are always open, and I'm always online somehow. Get in touch and let me know your thoughts! We're riding the home stretch, folks. Five more episodes to go. Woah. (I'm excited to get one more flashback episode. They tend to be meaty character studies, so I'm hoping this one won't be an exception.)
Enjoy more of Kate's seasons 14 and 15 character studies and episode reviews by visiting her Writers' Page!