“Who We Are”
“All Along the Watchtower”
May 18, 2017
THEN: “Your bunker is an excellent fortress – and even better tomb.”
The boys cast about for ways out of the Bunker. Lady Cardboard shoots down every idea, because even in this, she is the ruiner. The garage – doors warded, walls reinforced steel. Air vents – choke points in the ducts. Dean suggests killing Lady C to help buy them another day’s air. She counters that she’s their only hope for getting Mary back. She’s the only one who can undo the programming. They need her.
It feels like a lie, but one the boys are willing to buy it for the moment.
Lady Cardboard says the only way out is to pull the manual override. Which naturally is outside the Bunker.
Of course it is. It always is.
Sam is like, TO THE LORE! He finds a Roma spell that resets equipment and machinery. Yahtzee! They have all the ingredients they need – save for virgin’s blood. Why is it always the virgins?
It seems like a dead-end, until Sam suggests they fake it. Use a purification spell on their own blood – “revirginize it” as Dean so eloquently puts it.
The spell works! The lights flicker back on and the air flow reverses – but only for a moment, and then they’re back to sitting in the red glow of the emergency lights. Lady Cardboard realizes that Ketch placed a safeguard on the Bunker’s lockdown. Magic won’t work.
Dean unrolls a blueprint. He says their brains are exhausted, so they may as well try brawn. He points to a spot at the far end of the Bunker. The walls are just concrete. And behind the wall is an old sewer pipe that goes straight up to the surface and the override.
“We’re gonna straight Shawshank this bitch.”
Dean taps the wall with his fist and then heaves the pick axe at it. He flinches and squints as a piece of concrete flies back in his face.
Pounding the wall. Pounding the wall. Pounding the wall. The boys finally collapse in sweaty exhaustion. They’ve barely made a dent. They won’t hit dirt for three days. Sam says aloud what they both already feel. The air is thin and getting thinner.
“How did this happen?”
“All of it.”
No one listened to Dean when he said not to do the thing? Dean doesn’t rub it in; he lets Sam come to that conclusion on his own. Sam admits that he fell for the BMoL’s company line. He says he only focused on the good that could be done by hunters working together at that scale. He was blind to the cost. And that has always been Sam’s tragic flaw. Guilt washes over him. He says once he was in, he just followed, because it was easy. Easy-er.
“Easier than what?”
“Easier than leading.”
Dean knows that feel. How many times has he wrestled with, and nearly buckled from, that weight? Sam asks if this is how Dean pictured it. The end. Dean says he always thought they’d go out Butch and Sundance style. And then a smile steals across Dean’s face as the idea comes to him. Lady Cardboard declares it lunacy. Colossally stupid!
“Yep! Big, beautiful, and dumb.”
Denied no longer! Dean says he’s been waiting for the perfect moment to use the grenade launcher. He’s downright gleeful, even when Lady Cardboard suggests that the explosion could bring the whole Bunker down on them. Sam and Dean grin at each other. If they’re going to die, they’ll go down swinging.
“Blaze of glory.”
It’s a brief but lovely little broment. Sam drags a still protesting Lady Cardboard out of the blast zone as Dean takes aim.
“Okay, beautiful. Yipee-kay-ay, motherf–.”
The dust is still swirling as Sam hurries into the room. Dean is gone. Chunks of concrete litter the floor. Sam shines a flashlight through the hole in the wall. He sees what appear to be handholds on the other side. There’s the creaking sound of metal from above. Dirt and debris spills down into the void.
Sam stumbles into the map room, calling Dean’s name. He gasps for breath and slowly sinks to the floor. The lights come on and the Bunker whirs back to life. The door at the top of the stairs squeals open. Dean limps in. His leg is a bloody mess. He looks down at Sam from the catwalk.
They load up and start looking for cell phones that aren’t dead. Dean’s first call is to Garth with a warning to go to ground. Yay! Garth is still alive! Sam calls Jody. He doesn’t get an answer. Mary’s car is parked in Jody’s driveway when the boys pull up. There’s a trail of blood and overturned furniture leading to Jody … a very much alive Jody! She’s sitting by the fire with Alex, holding an ice pack to her eye.
JODY LIVES! JODY LIVES!
Jody points to the dining room. Mary is bound to a chair.
Jody fills them in while Alex tends to the hamburger meat that used to be Dean’s knee. Jody says she thought Mary was possessed. “I had no idea that brainwashing could be so thorough.” Dean’s attention is wholly focused on his mother. He stares at Mary like he can fix her through sheer force of will.
Jody reaches down and squeezes Dean’s shoulder. He grabs her wrist and then grasps her hand. They don’t speak, they don’t even look at each other, but they don’t have to. The moment that passes between them is real and genuine and says more than words ever could. Jensen and Kim, y’all.
It’s a moment that Mary can’t help but crap on. She tells Jody that Dean is all hers if she wants to play mother to him. Mary asks Dean if she’s too different from the woman he knows … or too much the same?
Sam marches Lady Cardboard into the room and tells her to do her thing. Jody’s body language says, ‘If you fuck with my people I will end you,’ and it is poetry. Lady Cardboard is like, yeah I lied, Mary’s programming is permanent. She says that their Mary, the “good” Mary, is hiding behind psychic walls that can’t be torn down with grenades.
“Your mother can’t be saved.”
Dean is like, welp time to punch that ticket. Lady Cardboard tells them it won’t end with her. The BMoL will learn soon enough that the Winchesters are alive. They should start running now. Dean takes a hard pass.
“Well then, you die.”
Sam counters with another option.
Damn right you do, Sammy.
Jody makes some calls and summons as many hunters as she can. The Disney brothers are the last to arrive.
“Well, damn. We haven’t seen you guys since …”
“Since you killed us. No hard feelings.”
Sam takes the floor and tells the assembled that the BMoL are hunting down their people. He mea culpas that he was taken in by them. He thought they all wanted the same thing – a world free of monsters. But he says what the BMoL really want is control, by any means necessary. And they’ve discovered they can’t control American hunters. Because American hunters follow their gut and make up their own rules in the pursuit of what’s right, even when it’s hard.
And then Sam Bravehearts this bitch.
He asks the other hunters to follow him. To take the fight to the BMoL. To hit them first. “We beat them down until they give up. Or until they’re dead.” He warns that the BMoL are well trained and well armed. Not everyone will make it back.
“But we will win. We will take down the bad guys, because that’s what we do. They’re scared of us. They should be.”
Jody tells them they roll in ten and the group breaks up to gear up. She goes over instructions with Alex – Donna is waiting for her at a safe house (DONNA LIVES!). Alex is to drive straight there, no stops. Jody will call her when it’s all over. She promises Alex she’ll be careful. Alex says that’s not what she was about to ask.
“Kick it in the ass.”
Dean tells Sam he’s not going. Sam and I are like what, what, whaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaat???!?!?? I begin wondering if writer Robert Berens has met Dean. Does he even go here?
It took me right out of the scene, but then Dean and Bobo brought me right back.
“I’m gonna save mom.”
Because Dean knows his little brother has got this and he tells Sam so. Sam doesn’t need Dean to look out for him in this fight – but Mary does. And if she’s in there somewhere, Dean is going to try to find her. The boys hug. YAY! HUGGING! Dean tells Sam to come back. Sam promises.
After the hunters leave, Dean asks Lady Cardboard if she can get him inside Mary’s head. She says all of her equipment is at the BMoL compound, but she supposes she can improvise something. Back at the Bunker, Dean isn’t keen on letting Lady C poke around in the storage room on her own. She reminds him that the BMoL left her to die. The only side she’s on now is her own.
And when the dust settles, all she asks for is a head start. She says she’d like to see her son again.
Actress Elizabeth Blackmore sells it, but a few lines can’t overcome how badly – and barely – written this character has been. It’s just another example of a squandered storytelling opportunity. Supernatural has wallowed at times in its Daddy Issues. I mean, Show devoted a whole episode last season to a family therapy session between Chuck and Lucifer which I deeply did not care about.
This season you have five women – Kelly, Rowena, Jody, Tasha, and Lady Cardboard – and five very different experiences of motherhood. Giving Mary the opportunity to interact in a meaningful way with any or all of them could have helped shape and inform Mary’s perspective on her own motherhood, the choices she’s made for her family, and the consequences of her actions.
I’ve said before that I get that Supernatural isn’t a family drama – but it also totally is! The entire series is defined first by Mary’s absence and then by her deal with Azazel. As a character she deserves the opportunity to take ownership of those two things! But other than a few promising scenes in the first three episodes, she’s never given the chance. And as lovely and wonderful as the upcoming scene is, it’s no replacement for what could have been an entire season of character development.
Why, it’s almost like Show has a hard time taking its female characters seriously.
And real talk, wouldn’t you rather watch This Is Us with monsters than sit through more of Hell’s drama or yet another scene between Crowley and Lucifer? Because Chuck knows I would. [Ed. note: Word.]
Anyhoo, Lady Cardboard sets up the science and injects Dean and Mary with a cocktail of hypnotics and heavy sedatives that will allow Dean to reach a therapeutic dream state and enter Mary’s psyche. Or, she could have brewed up some dream root tea and cued up side one of “Dark Side of the Moon.” That seemed to work well in Season 3.
Professor Umbridge is giving the briefing for Phase II. No restrictions. No witnesses. As the tactical teams gear up, Ketch becomes concerned that Mary hasn’t answered or returned any of his calls. He quietly pulls a drone aside and asks her to verify Mary’s location. She tells him that Mary is in Lebanon, Kansas.
Dean wakes up in John’s recliner in the old house in Lawrence. It’s the same recliner John was sleeping in when Azazel came to Sam’s nursery. Dean walks into the kitchen and then goes to the foot of the stairs. He looks up and takes a deep breath. Is he remembering coming down those stairs, with Sam in his arms and the heat of the fire at his back?
He hears a cry and turns to see that there’s a crib now in the middle of the living room. He looks down on a chubby, pink cheeked baby Sammy. Mary appears on the other side of the crib. She’s the mother of Dean’s memories – and her own. She smiles and settles her restless infant. Dean follows her into the kitchen where she calls wee!Dean to lunch. A glass of milk, PB&J with the crusts cut off, and pie!
Dean tells her they need to go. He pleads with her to hear him. He takes her by the arm but she gently pulls away from him. Dean is gobsmacked to realize she’s choosing this. Mary kneels down next to wee!Dean and tells her she only wants good things for him. She’ll never let anything bad happen to him. Adult Dean watches and a psychic wall crumbles – only it’s his.
“I hate you.”
Those three words are stunning coming from Dean. In that Season 3 dreamscape, Dean was able to admit to himself how angry he was at John for the responsibilities that his father forced on him. And now, he allows himself to do the same with Mary.
“I hate you. You lied to me. I was a kid. You promised you’d keep me safe … and then you make a deal with Azazel. Yeah, it saved Dad’s life, but I’ll tell you something else that happened, because on November 2, 1983 ol’ Yellow-Eyes came waltzing into Sammy’s room because of your deal. You left us. Alone. Because Dad was just a shell. His perfect wife – gone. Our perfect Mom – the perfect family – it was gone. And I … I had to be more than just a brother, I had to be a father and I had to be a mother. To keep him safe. And that wasn’t fair.”
Dean doesn’t say that there was no one to look out for him. To keep him safe. And that wasn’t fair either.
“And I couldn’t do it. And you want to know what that was like? They killed the girl that he loved. He got possessed by Lucifer. They tortured him in Hell and he lost his soul. His soul.”
“All because of you. All of it was because of you.”
“I hate you. I hate you, and I love you. ‘Cause I can’t – I can’t help it. You’re my Mom. And I understand. Because I have made deals to save the ones I love, more than once. I forgive you.”
Dean catches himself off guard. Once he says it, he realizes he means it. He’s able to let go of the hurt he’s been harboring his entire life.
“I forgive you. For all of it. Everything.”
“On the other side of this, we can start over, okay? You, me, Sam. We can get it right this time. But I need you to fight. Right now, I need you to fight. I need-I need you to look at me, Mom. I need you to really look at me and see me. Mom, I need you to see me. Please.”
This is what Mary didn’t understand during the argument in “The Raid.” All Dean has wanted is for her to see him for the man he is now, not the little boy she lost. To push past her pain and regret and guilt – the way he’s always had to – and be grateful for what they still have.
Throughout this scene, Mary has been fighting to push Dean’s words away. To tune him out. Pretend he wasn’t there. Finally, Mary turns and slowly raises her gaze to make eye contact with her son. Her posture relaxes ever so slightly. She says his name. There’s a question on the end of it, as though she really is seeing him for the first time.
And then Dean is wrenched from the dreamscape. He opens his eyes. His vision fades in and out of focus. Mary is still sitting across from him, unconscious. Lady Cardboard is slumped on the ground with her throat slit. Annoying that it happened off-screen, but she’s dead and I’m not angry about that. Ketch looms over Dean. He says this doesn’t end with Dean getting mummy back. It ends with Ketch ending him.
Fight fight struggle fight. Dean howls with rage and pain. Between the drugs and the knee, he’s not much of a match for Ketch. But he picks himself up and growls that he’s going to kill Ketch. Ketch says he won’t, but he would very much enjoy it if Dean tried. Oh son, no. No.
Ketch taunts Dean, asking if he’d like to know what Mary said about him during their long days … and nights … of hunting? “Absolutely nothing.” Ketch draws back to land another blow. Dean ducks under his arm, spins, and flips Ketch over his shoulder onto the library table. I was hoping at some point Dean was going to grab the gun from under the table, but Ketch shatters it instead. Welp, so much for carving their initials into it and leaving a mark.
Beating each other to death. Beating each other to death. Beating each other to death. Dean pauses to catch his breath and do some taunting of his own. “When you left us alone in the Bunker, man, I knew you were psycho but I didn’t think you were stupid.” Ketch comes up with a gun he pulls from an ankle holster. Dean knows he’s out of plays. He stares Ketch down, waiting for the shot.
When it comes, it comes from Mary.
Ketch drops his gun and sinks to his knees. Dean kicks the gun away and staggers to Mary’s side. She never takes her eyes off Ketch. He says he knew she was killer. “You both are.” There’s admiration in his voice. Dean agrees with him. “You’re right.” And then Mary shoots Ketch in the head. Yay! Ice cream for all!
The hunters’ convoy rolls up on the BMoL compound in the gray early morning. Shooting shooting shooting shooting. Explosions. Shooting shooting shooting shooting. The hunters take down the Brits one by one, but their numbers fall, too. Professor Umbridge gives Feet-off-the-table Jerry the razzle dazzle and snaps his neck.
Umbridge retreats into her office with Sam, Jody, and Walt close behind. She radios London and demands they do whatever it takes, open a portal (FORESHADOWING!), just get her out! London sounds distinctly unconcerned by her situation. Walt blows the door and the three hunters storm in. Umbridge tries to negotiate, but starts off poorly when she calls Sam, Dean.
It’s a common mistake.
Umbridge says severing all ties with the BMoL now would be a grievous mistake. There are things afoot! She tosses Sam a file folder. Inside are surveillance photos of Lucifer leaving Crowley’s palace. She says he’s back – and looking for his son. Sam looks stricken. The sound of the archangel’s name takes Sam back right back to the cage. Umbridge says that together, Lucifer and EJ will be unstoppable. The Winchesters and their hunter allies can’t face that alone. They need the BMoL. The voice from London pipes up that Sam should listen to her. Sam considers the options for a too long moment.
God, finally. Sam shoots the computer. Umbridge goes for a gun and Jody puts a bullet in her head. That feels right, that the den mother to lost boys and wayward daughters is the one to take out her corrupted doppelgänger. The surviving hunters leave the compound and blow it up good.
Now, the timeline of when the BMoL kill squads left the compound and the hunter assault began is a little fuzzy. I’m just going to assume – and hope – that this story line will get the Leviathan treatment and never be spoken of again.
Bye British Men of Letters! You were half-baked, badly executed, and poorly written. No one will miss you. Bye!
Dean limps into the library with a bottle of expired prescription pain killers. Ketch’s body is on the floor under a tarp. Mary is picking up books trying to tidy up the mess. Dean tells her she doesn’t have to do that. It’s not her job. Mary looks around the room with wide, slightly haunted eyes. She says that this – all of this – is because of her. Dean tries to gloss it over. He says it’s going to be okay.
“It’s not okay.”
Mary acknowledges that she’s been distant and cold. She admits to Dean – and to herself – that she left not just because it was too hard living with what she had lost, but that it was too hard living with what she had done. And again, I really wish Show had spent time on the deal over the course of the season, and allowed Mary to come to terms with it in a meaningful way, rather than shoe-horning it into the end of this episode.
Dean however has made peace with Mary’s deal. He chooses to take a long view.
“Mom, what you did … the deal? Everything that’s happened since has made us who we are. And who we are?”
“We kick ass. We save the world.”
Mary can’t argue with that logic. But still … she says she’s scared. What if Sam can’t forgive her?
Sam walks into the room. He tells Mary she doesn’t have to be scared of him. She leans in and he pulls her into a hug. He rests his chin on top of her head and wraps his arms around her. Dean claps his brother on the shoulder. He says he’s glad Sam is back. And then Dean joins the hug, putting his arms around Sam and Mary. She smiles and lets herself enjoy being squished by her ginormous adult sons.
YAY! GROUP HUG! ALL OF THE HUGGINGS!!
Y’all, I would have been perfectly content if the season – indeed, if the whole series – ended here and now on this image. But we’ve still got Evil Jesus nonsense to conclude and an hour yet for the wheels to come off this bus. So if your loins are sufficiently girded, let’s carry on, shall we?
drum drum, drum drum, HUG!
“There’s Something About Mary” ended on what looked like a Cialis ad and that’s exactly where “All Along the Watchtower” begins.
Tootley music plays as Cas wonders if his erectile dysfunction could be a question of blood flow. He makes a mental note to ask his doctor and goes inside the cottage to check on Kelly.
Kelly is in the nursery praying to God and Ikea customer service for strength. She lists for Castiel all of the things she won’t be able to do with or for her son, but Sniglar as her witness, she will build him a Swedish crib! Cas promises her that he will do everything unto his very life for EJ. Foreshadowing!
After the crib is built, Kelly records a message for EJ. She calls him Jack, but he’ll always be Evil Jesus to me. She tells him she loves him and that he has an angel watching over him.
Cas and Kelly make a supply run into town. The bed of the truck is filled with diapers. So many diapers. All of the diapers. Cas says he has read 74 books on child rearing and there is one thing on which they all agree.
Kelly tells him he’s not wrong and then groans in pain. The contraction doubles her over. She grabs onto the truck to steady herself. A glowing smudge of golden energy is left behind where her hand was. As Cas helps Kelly into the house, the energy coalesces and floats towards the lake in a shimmering stream.
At the Bunker, Dean is as pleased as I am that the season didn’t just end with them kicking the BMoL’s “tea swilling” aspirations. No, “we get Lucifer!” He disputes Umbridge’s claim that Crowley is dead. “I’ll believe he’s gone when I see a body. And burn it.”
Cue the rat scurrying over Crowley’s freshly dug shallow grave. And if the demon’s “death” synched to “… beyond this illusion” in The Road So Far didn’t clue you in, we flash back to Crowley smoking out into the rat while Lucifer’s back is turned. Which is exactly what he did at the end of “Brother’s Keeper” in Season 10. And then Crowley drags himself out of his grave, just like Dean did in Season 4 in “Lazarus Rising.”
You know, sometimes it’s a call back and sometimes it’s just straight up recycling because you’ve run out of ideas.
And guess what, there’s a metric ass tonne of recycling in this episode.
Sam says dead or not, it doesn’t matter. Rowena is the one they need. She’s the one who can cast the spell to slam Lucifer back in his cage. Sadly, Lucifer knows this too. Which is why Rowena is now a charred smoking briquette on the floor of her hotel room.
I’m pretty sure this death is going to take.
And really, Show? Really? Not that I wanted to watch Lucifer beat her to death and then set her on fire, but an off-screen death just feels chintzy. It feel cheap.
Farewell Rowena. You deserved better.
They can’t kill Lucifer and they can’t put him back in the cage, so Sam proposes playing for time. He says they’ll find Cas and Kelly, keep moving, and try to siphon off EJ’s grace. Mary is in. “I kind of always wanted to punch the devil in the face.” So where to start? The lore says a nephilim’s birth will be heralded by signs and wonders.
“Things get Biblical. Things get weird.”
Cas steps out of the cottage and cocks his head all, buhzuh? The energy has stretched itself out into a thin pulsing ribbon. Cas walks around it and then ever so carefully extends a single finger to touch it. He’s transported to a desolate black and gray hellscape. He’s attacked by a horned monster but saved when it’s gunned down from behind. His rescuer walks slowly towards Cas. The angel looks up. “You?”
Is Cas in Purgatory? IS IT BENNY? IS BENNY BACK?
Or maybe it’s Adam. It would have been hilarious to me if it was Adam.
Sitting in the nursery, Kelly is hit by another contraction. The glowing rift pulses. Or, as @poptivist so aptly and magnificently called it – the space vagina.
The search for portents is slow going at the Bunker. The best Dean has come up with is a two-headed calf. Sam says the weird they’re looking for is big and bad.
“You rang? Hello, boys.”
Crowley appears at the end of the table. Dean punches him in the nose, tipping the demon backwards out of his chair. Dean pulls Ruby’s knife from his belt and holds it to Crowley’s throat. Did he do it? Did he let Lucifer out?? Crowley squeaks at Moose for a little help. Sam reasonables that Crowley might be able to help them with the cage spell. And if he can’t, “well then we kill him.”
Crowley doesn’t seem moved by the news of Rowena’s death, only surprised that he wasn’t the one to kill her. He explains that he perverted Rowena’s spell not because he wanted to save Lucifer, but because he wanted to win. He thought if he could put the devil on a leash, no one would ever challenge his rule in Hell again. But Crowley says he had time to think while he was a rat, and he realized he hates his job.
Um, yeah … Crowley has kind of hated being king from the get go. He told Bobby as much back in Season 6. He complained then that demons were evil, stupid, lying prats and that maybe Lucifer had it right with, “spike anything with black eyes.” HE SAID IT IN AN EPISODE THAT ANDREW DABB CO-WROTE! GOD, DOES HE EVEN GO HERE?
Sam ignores me. He asks Crowley why he’s there.
“Well, whenever there’s a world ending crisis at hand, I know where to place my bets. It’s on you. You big, beautiful, lumbering piles of flannel.”
Crowley offers the Winchesters a deal. Forgive his transgression and, after they put Lucifer back in the cage, he’ll seal the gates of Hell. “You’ll never see another demon again. Apart from, of course, yours truly.”
The deal is struck. I’ll leave it to your imagination how it is sealed.
Crowley sips his drink and watches the Winchesters research. “Is this what you do when I’m not here? Type?” Sam hits yahtzee again some more. A massive power outage in the Pacific Northwest traced back to a house being rented by James Novak. The Winchesters push away from the table as one, ready to roll. Dean pivots and drives Ruby’s knife through the back of Crowley’s hand, pinning him to the table.
The trust is gone. Crowley stays behind.
Yeah. Because that worked so well when Dean did the exact same thing with an angel blade last season in “Form and Void.” An episode that Andrew Dabb also wrote. Again, it stops being a callback and just becomes lazy writing.
Kelly has changed into a white nightgown OF DOOM and taken to her bed. Cas reassures her that the pressure waves are still very far apart. He says that’s what they called contractions in his doula class. He took it online. She’s in active labor when the Winchesters arrive, which puts a kink on their whole fleeing from Lucifer plan.
Mary goes upstairs to sit with Kelly and Cas heals Dean’s jacked-up knee. It’s the angel’s eye roll of, ‘of course you’re hurt and won’t ask for help,’ that makes it poetry. But when Cas touches him, Dean’s forehead and the cut under his eye glow, and there’s a sound like crackling static and a high-pitched tone. That’s weird. We’ve never seen that happen before when Cas heals someone. Could he still be rocking some of EJ’s juju? Is it caused by passing through the rift. Is this even our Cas?
Mary holds Kelly’s hand as she groans through the final stages of labor. She tells Mary she’s dying, but it’s cool, because wouldn’t Mary die for her sons? FORESHADOWING!
Sam says they should check the warding on the house. He stops short as soon as he steps outside. Sam is like, why is there a glowing vagina in the backyard? Cas tells him it’s a tear in space and time.
SuperWho is a thing.
He clarifies that it’s a doorway to another world. “Like Narnia?”, asks Dean. I’m going to give Andrew Dabb a whole raft of shit in this recap, but bless him for remembering that Dean reads. Cas says on the other side it’s Earth, but different. Crappier. An alternate reality. Sam calls it a bizarro world, like the French Mistake’verse.
“Oh, yeah. The supernatural wasn’t real. And you were Polish.”
Cas warns that they don’t want to know what’s on the other side of the rift. Dean’s like, yeah. But we need to.
They pass through into the gray washed out landscape. Bodies lay scattered about. Cas says they’re on an Earth that is locked in an eternal war between Heaven and Hell. Armies of angels and hoards of demons with the few humans that remain caught in between. Cas tells them not to worry though. EJ caused the tear and he will mend it. Just like he’s going to usher in a new era of peace and ice cream and baskets of kittens, for that is the future that Cas has seen. He has faith. Bless his heart.
Dean tells him he’s a dumbass.
A figure approaches and Cas tells the boys to stand down. It’s the man who saved him when he was ambushed before by the horned tempter demon. “Demons have horns now?” Anyhoo, it’s Bobby.
Which kind of seems super obvious now, but it took me by surprise, and great day in the morning is it good to have him back. Huzzah! For the boys, the reunion is bittersweet. This Bobby isn’t their Bobby. He doesn’t know them. He says the only Winchester he’s ever heard of is John – and he’s been dead over 40 years. Bobby only knows about him because of Mary Campbell. A few pints of shine and she’d tell the same story about the man she loved, John Winchester. Bobby says Azazel killed her 10 years ago.
Cas tells Sam and Dean that they’re standing in a world where they were never born. A world they never saved.
Bobby says usually he guns down fly boys on sight. Killing angels is something of a hobby. His passion. But Cas looked … different. Probably because he’s so clean. It’s a dead giveaway you don’t belong, you always gotta be tidy. Also, he wasn’t wearing a necklace made out of baby ears, so.
With the rift open, Bobby guesses it’s only a matter of time before the Richards upstairs show, and when they do, he and Rufus – his gun – will go to work. Aww. I miss Rufus. Still and always. Bobby says Rufus is loaded with 100 rounds cast from old angel blades. Proving that in any ‘verse, Bobby is awesome.
The trip through the rift leaves Dean rattled. “We’ve got Lucifer on this side. Mad Max world on that side. I mean, yeah, we’ve been down before, but this? I don’t even know where to start!” Dean turns and almost walks right into Crowley. Come on! His can’t even really just can’t. But Crowley says he’s the answer to all their problems.
A plan is agreed to and the boys do a weapons check. Dean says that Cas may have faith in EJ, but he has faith in them. “You. Me. Mom. Cas … … and Crowley.”
Dean says the plan is going to work. It has to.
Sam, Dean, and Cas walk outside to confront Lucifer. Cas makes a move to rush him and Lucifer swats him away like a fly. Sam and Dean make a break for it.
They wait for Lucifer by the rift. He watches as they pass through it and follows. The Apocalypse world meets with his approval. Dean pops up behind him with Rufus. He tells Lucifer he borrowed from an old – new – pal of his. They’ve got a bet going to see if it works against an archangel.
“So, say hello to my little friend.”
Dean fires at will, riddling Lucifer’s body with bullets. Sam scampers for cover and joins Crowley who has laid out the ingredients for a spell. He reminds Sam that the plan is to seal the rift and trap Lucifer on the Apocalypse side. Dean empties the magazine. Lucifer proceeds to beat the pretty off of him again some more. The spell is cast – or so Sam thinks. Crowley tells him that actually, they need one more minor ingredient.
Crowley steps out into the open and Lucifer cackles with glee, delighted that he’s going to get to kill Crowley twice. Sam grabs Dean and pulls him towards the rift and out of the way. Crowley tells Lucifer how truly, madly, deeply he hates him, and how much he’s going to enjoy wiping the smug, self-satisfied look off of the devil’s face. The gladius slips into his hand. Lucifer ain’t even bovvered. He tells Crowley whatever he tries, he’s going to lose. Crowley smiles. He seems at peace with that – because even when he loses, he wins. He looks back at the Winchesters and stabs himself.
What in the who now? The spell flares to life. The rift pulses and its glow fades. And then Cas bursts through like some damn angelic Leeroy Jenkins. What? Why? Did they not tell him the plan? Was he off getting chicken? The hell, man? Cas strides towards Lucifer with purpose while Sam drags Dean back through the rift.
Kelly howls through her final contraction. A pulse of energy snakes across her skin and she begins to glow. She whispers, “I love you,” and then Kelly’s lady bits explode in a flash of blinding white light.
Her lady bits. Explode.
I want you to imagine Andrew Dabb, grown adult man person, sitting at his computer, writing the season finale. Imagine he gets to this scene and types the words, ‘And then Kelly’s vagina explodes, killing her, and knocking Mary unconscious on the floor.’ Imagine he reads back over what he’s written and is like,
What even is this show anymore?
Cas walks up to Lucifer and stabs him. The archangel’s eyes flare red and he gasps. Sam and Dean wait. Cas comes back through. The rift flares and then Cas explodes with light as the tip of the gladius erupts through his chest. He falls to reveal Lucifer standing behind him.
WHAT. JUST. HAPPENED?
Mary enters the fray, barking at Lucifer to get away from her boys. Lucifer tells her she’s living up to her hype. He thanks her for everything. “I owe you, kid.” Sam grabs Mary’s arm, trying to hold her back. She tells her sons she loves them and then takes a swing at Lucifer. She’s wearing the Enochian spelled brass knuckles.
She wasn’t kidding about the whole punching the devil in the face thing.
Everyone is taken aback by how solidly her blow lands. I particularly enjoyed Sam’s startled look of, ‘Oh shit, it’s on.’ Lucifer tells Mary it’s cute. “That all you got, momma?” Mary wails on Lucifer, throwing one-two punches that set him on his heels and drive him back towards the still open rift. As he tumbles into it, he reaches out and grabs Mary by the arm – not unlike the way Sam pulled Michael into the cage with him in “Swan Song.” They pass through the rift together and it seals itself behind them.
Andrew Dabb is why Sam and Dean can’t have nice things.
Sam notices the light show happening in the upstairs bedroom. He runs into the house leaving Dean outside to stare at the space that just swallowed their mother. He slowly sinks down next to his angel. He looks completely lost and alone.
Sam walks into the bedroom and gently closes Kelly’s eyes. She looks peaceful. As peaceful as one can look when one’s vagina has just exploded. Sam hears a noise and cautiously follows the trail of wet footsteps into the nursery. He jumps when he sees the figure huddled in the darkened corner. The boy slowly raises his head and looks at Sam. His eyes flare.
And once again, Sam is in a nursery confronted by a thing with yellow eyes.
Well. So that happened. Where Robert Berens’ episode was satisfying and gave the big emotion scenes room to breath, Andrew Dabb’s episode just pummeled us the way that Mary pummeled Lucifer, with the deaths and losses coming too quickly to process or appreciate.
With Crowley I was too busy freaking out that Sam and Dean were going to become trapped in Apocalypse Land for his death to really register. And with Cas, his death felt rushed, just another plot box to tick off in a crowded scene. We didn’t even get a proper shot of his wings! Just a quick camera pull before the action shifted back to Sam and EJ.
At least Cas and Crowley were given better than Rowena, who wasn’t even given the courtesy of a proper death scene.
And you know, beyond the initial shock, I was strangely *meh* about both Cas and Crowley’s deaths. I think a part of that is a function of how badly their characters have been used of late. Show hasn’t known what to do with Cas for several seasons now. Crowley was wasted in this season’s boring and pointless power struggle with Lucifer.
If this really is the end for those characters, they certainly deserved better.
But that’s my other reason for being indifferent – is it really the end? Show has made it hard to take a character’s death seriously when death itself has lost all meaning. Sam and Dean make jokes about how many times they’ve died. Chuck joked about how many times he’s brought Cas back. I mean, Show killed actual, literal Death at the end of Season 10, and there were no consequences from it. None. Other than it opened the door to introduce the wonderful character of Billie the Reaper – who was then also killed off for no real good purpose and with no consequences.
So I wasn’t convinced Crowley was really dead, although this tweet from Mark Sheppard seems to put any doubt to rest. And even before Jared let it slip at JIBcon, I felt pretty sure that Cas would be back in some form, even if only as the alternate reality version of himself.
And so we’re left with a finale that seems designed only to shock without providing any meaningful cap to the season, and full of plot points that feel awfully familiar. Mary being trapped with Lucifer is a repeat of Sam’s stint in the cage, with shades of Dean’s trip to Purgatory thrown in for good measure. EJ, the god-like being with abandonment issues and the power to reshape reality, is Amara 2.0. That was just last season! I wonder if he’ll imprint on Sam the same way she did with Dean. And Dean mourning Castiel and coming to terms with his loss is Season 7 all over again.
I feel pretty sure that next season will be devoted to finding and rescuing Mary. Although I also feel confident that by the time the Winchesters are reunited, Bobby will have killed Lucifer and started a relationship with Mary, thus officially making himself the father to the boys he’s been all along.
My greatest and wildest hope for next season is that Show embraces the possibilities of the glowing space vagina and becomes Sliders meets Quantum Leap, as each week the boys travel to a different alternate reality in their quest to save Mary. Think of the possibilities!
S13 E4: Gender swap with Melanie Scrofano and Dominique Provost-Chalkley from Wynonna Earp playing Deanna and Samantha.
S13 E7: The boys rift slide to Twin Peaks. They school Agent Cooper on demons and help him defeat Bob. Dean eats every pie in the Double R. A damn fine episode.
S13 E12: Human!Impala.
S13 E14: Mpreg episode. Fuck it, why not? Mine AAO3 for ALL THE STORY IDEAS.
S13 E19: Jensen’s AU idea of a town populated entirely by former cast members. Richard Speight, Jr. as the mayor. Sebastian Roche runs the cafe.
A SuperSlider season would also explain the very real animated crossover with Scooby-Doo planned for Episode 16. It sounded to me like Show was well and truly jumping the shark when it was announced at the CW upfronts. But then Eric Kripke tweeted his approval and excitement for the episode and it suddenly didn’t seem like such a bad idea. Especially when he referenced the classic guest star episodes of old.
Although Show is going to be hard pressed to top the Jerry Reed episode of Scooby-Doo, the greatest guest star episode of Scooby-Doo of all time.
Happy Hellatus, y’all!
Supernatural airs Thursday at 8:00 p.m. (Eastern) on The CW. Follow Whitney on twitter @Watcher_Whitney.