October 25, 2018
THEN: “I only go to one place– the Bad Place. It’s just… blood and death and monsters.”
Dean is back, back in the safety of his family and the Bunker, but struggles to overcome a horror that still confronts him. Like a nightmare, it’s always just there. Watching …
Sam’s Grief Beard.
Hah! And also, hey! Step off the beard, son. The beard is good. Grief beard can stay.
He’s also taken aback to discover that the Bunker has become a bustling hive filled with AV Clubbers who call Sam, “chief.” Two familiar faces welcome him home. Jack hugs him; Cas doesn’t. Boo! The emotions that flash across the angel’s face are kind of remarkable. Like what he really wants to do is crawl up inside Dean and just hang out there for a while. Well played, Misha.
Dean excuses himself for a shower to wash off the archangel stink. I worry that the AV Clubbers have used up all the hot water and that someone has commandeered his dead guy robe.
Sam and Cas fret about Dean’s emotional state and, hi. Have you met Dean? When he says he’s fine, he’s good, really he promises, that’s just the paper thin facade to cover over how deeply traumatized he’s been by his experience.
Although it feels off for Dean to be throwing up this smoke screen. That feels more like the response from Season 7 or 8 Dean. The Dean of the last few seasons has been more open about his well being or lack thereof. Dean was downright candid about how not okay he was last season.
Sigh. I expect more from you episode writer, Robert Berens.
Character development. How does it work?
Also, Sam learns that Nick has gone radio silent after leaving the Bunker in a cloud of darkness, crushed under the grief of his murdered family. But he’s probably fine. No need to worry or mention that he reflexively tried to finger snap Castiel out of existence.
Dean aggressively strips off Michael’s vest and dress shirt, and come on. It’s not the suit’s fault! He notices something peeking out from under the sleeve of his white t-shirt. He pulls it back to discover an angry, pink scar on his arm.
Dean has no idea how he got it. He doesn’t remember anything between saying yes and staggering into the church. He asks Cas to Vulcan mind meld him and find out what’s strong enough to hurt an archangel. What was I saying about Cas crawling up inside Dean?
A scan through Dean’s immediate memories only takes him back as far as “Stranger in a Strange Land.” So Cas claps his hand over the scar, grips Dean tight, and jumps immediately into a memory of Michael getting pig stuck by Kaia Ren.
KAIA RENNNNNNNN!!! WAYWARD SISTERS LIIIIIIIIIIIIVES!!!
The boys don’t know this is Kaia’s doppelgänger, just that it’s the thing from the Bad Place that killed her. They check in with Jody (YAY!) who reports that all is quiet down at the boatyard. Nothing rifty. No floating space vaginas. Nothing on her blotter but three totally normal headless bodies with wounds that look like they were stabbed with a giant meat fork. Just like Dean’s scar.
Jack will just grab his duffel full of pluck and can do and be ready to roll. Cas and Sam search for a delicate way to tell Jack he can’t come. Dean just bluntly tells him he can’t come, earning him double barrel bitch faces. And you know what, Cas and Sam can just stow it. Jack wasn’t field ready when he had his powers and there will be no chances taken when Jody’s life is in play.
Jack trudges back to his room to be sad again some more about being human.
Cas hangs back to help AV Clubber Jules with this week’s B-story. Her job in Wichita tallied up one dead witch and two dried out husks that used to be missing girls. Jules thinks the witch cast one final hex before she died because survivor Laura is slowly withering.
The angel is unable to heal the girl. He says the magic is too tangled. A call to Rowena yields the suggestion of a simple reversal spell. Jack decides to hold off on running away from home long enough to sit with Laura while Cas and Jules assemble the ingredients.
Laura nods at Cas and asks if he’s Jack’s dad.
“One of them.”
Laura tells Jack that they could call her mom, except that her mom probably hates her for running away. Laura left because she hated school, and her crappy town, and her mom’s rules, and being treated like a kid. She thought she could make it on her own.
That’s when Laura met the witch. She was kind and gifted Laura and the other girls she took in with pretty pendants. She told the girls they kept her young. Yeah, I’ve seen the Buffy episode, “The Wish”. That necklace Laura is wearing is totally connected to the spell that’s sucking the life out of her.
Cas overhears all this, but doesn’t call Rowena with the new information. Instead he and Jules carry on with the reversal spell and Laura promptly drops dead.
Jack makes her death about him and his not having powerness. It makes him very sad.
But then Jack remembers that he’s seen the Buffy episode “The Body” too, and also that maybe – wait you guys, hear him out – just maybe, the witch was being literal about the girls keeping her young.
Jack floats the reasonable and well thought out idea that, even after Jules plugged the witch with a witch killing bullet, the spell continued trying to keep her alive. The harder it worked, the more of Laura it consumed.
Jack pulls the glowing green amulet from around the witch’s neck. He says that it contains Laura’s life force. Probably. He’s not really sure, but there’s only one way to find out.
And he’s right! Glowing green magic streams out of the smashed necklace and back into Laura. The spell is broken and Laura loudly gasps herself back to life. Later, Cas commends Jack for his quick thinking. He says hunting’s physical skills take time and training, but that Jack has shown he has the mind and heart of a hunter. He offers to take the boy on a hunting trip in the same way that a dad might ask a kid if they want to play catch. Because that’s how Winchesters say, I love you.
And now Jack no longer has reason to mope about being useless. Based on the volume of bloody Kleenex in the wastebasket, he can instead worry about the nasty case of consumption he seems to have developed.
The boys drive through the night. Dean stares ahead into the darkness. Sam is frustrated by his brother’s aggressive silence.
We’re back here again? Really? Dean gets a bad rap for not caring and sharing, but he does – in his own time, when he’s ready. Sam has always needed to process right away – about John’s death in Season 2, Dean’s deal in Season 3, and his subsequent time in Hell in Season 4 – but that need has evolved over time.
One of the things that I really enjoyed about Season 11 was Sam’s willingness to take a step back and give Dean the time and space he needs to process. “Love Hurts” and “The Vessel” were practically Oprah confessionals. So it’s frustrating in Season freaking 14 to see the boys rewind like this.
And I mean, Dean has only been back for 10 minutes.
They meet Jody on the edge of a forest and here’s the hugging we deserve. Yay! Hugging! She tugs on Sam’s beard and gives it an enthusiastic seal of approval while Dean’s eyes roll out of his fool skull. Sam asks after the Wayward Sisters and Jody says they’re surprisingly good.
“Alex is still at the hospital. Patience is still in school. Claire’s still … Claire.”
Claire is also still in the dark about Kaia Ren. Jody hedges that she’s waiting to tell Claire until she knows for sure what’s going on. Until she talked to the boys, Jody thought she was hunting a human serial killer. She says it would have been the first one in Sioux Falls since … Sam jumps in with a name. Robert Leroy Henderson. Because while some people needlepoint or collect stamps, Sam collects serial killer stats.
At least some people can remember the things they wrote in past seasons, ANDREW.
Dean brushes off Sam’s suggestion to begin their search at daybreak and begrudgingly agrees to stick together only after Jody casts her vote in favor. Jody has seen this show before. She knows nothing good ever comes of the boys splitting up.
Dean follows a curve in the path and finds the missing heads. They’re on spikes at the entrance of Kaia Ren’s small encampment and HOLY SHIT YOU GUYS, I WAS THERE TWO WEEKS AGO!
The heads all belonged to vampires, which leaves Jody at a loss. She says she took tissue samples from the headless bodies, had Alex look at them under a microscope, and checked them against silver and dead man’s blood. There was no reaction. Sam furrows his massive brow and makes the short jump to conclude that these vamps were part of Michael’s new enhanced army.
Dean crouches down by the still warm fire and has a flash of memory. This is where Michael was wounded. Another flash and Kaia Ren is standing in front of him, spear at the ready. Fight fight struggle fight. She runs off but not before the trio all get a look at her face. The boys look flummoxed. Jody looks gutted.
Walking through the forest. Walking through the forest. Walking through the forest. They find Kaia Ren at an old hunter’s cabin and AAAAAAAAAH I’VE BEEN THERE TOOOOOOOOO!!!
Dean knocks her out and ties her to a chair. They establish that she’s Kaia’s double, “like Bad Cas or New Bobby.”
* record scratch *
I missed this line the first time, but can we talk about the fact that Jody doesn’t react or clock the “new Bobby” comment at all? Does that mean Show has just decided to forget that she and Bobby ever almost had a thing? That it was enough of an almost thing that Show addressed Jody’s feelings in Season 7’s “Time After Time” and revisited them again in Season 9’s “Rock and a Hard Place”? And beyond that, Jody spent years arresting Bobby. They had a relationship. They had history.
I love this show, but sometimes it just makes me tired.
Anyhoo, Kaia Ren disdains that they could never understand what she and Kaia Prime were to each other. In answer to Jody’s question, she says killing her was an accident – she was trying to kill Claire. Jody is a professional so she takes the urge to shoot Kaia Ren in the face and pushes it down, way down, deep deep down inside of her.
Dean does not feel this same sense of restraint. He growls that he’s going to break her, and wait, what? They’ve established that her spear can hurt Michael, and Kaia Ren has confirmed Sam’s theory that Michael is sending his enhanced monsters after her. So wouldn’t an “enemy of my enemy” strategy make more sense here? Dean is smart enough to see that. And taking a shot at Claire falls pretty low on the list of deal breakers. I mean, the boys teamed up with Ketch last season after he tried multiple times to murder them and mind raped Mary.
This whole, “Talk, bitch!” interrogation is some Season 1 nonsense and I am not here for it.
The only redeeming quality to this scene is that Kaia Ren calls Dean out – finally, FINALLY someone calls him out – for shoving his gun in Kaia Prime’s face and forcing her to help Jack open a rift in “The Bad Place”.
She also Yodas that it’s fear that propels Dean to anger and impatience. Kaia Ren gently says that Michael hurt Dean and made him feel weak. He hurt her too, but she was able to give as good as she got, thanks to the spear.
Sam only just now seems to realize that hey, Michael wants the spear because it can hurt him. The same reason that they want the spear! What a weird coincidence. And the spear is the reason Michael is sending his monsters after Kaia Ren.
It is painful how long it took Sam to put all that together.
The awareness that they should have listened to Jody 15 minutes ago when she suggested they move to a more secure location comes too late. Michael’s werewolves have found them. Fight fight struggle fight. Dean pulls out his gun and promptly has his arm pinned to the ground. The barrel is pointed at Kaia Ren. Her eyes go wide, like really? I’m the one you’re going to shoot? Dean pulls the trigger and hits the chair leg. Kaia Ren tumbles to the ground, frees herself, and then tucks and rolls through the window.
That … that is not the outcome Dean was hoping for.
Punching, punching, punching. Snapping Jody’s arm in two. She screams and crumples to the floor. The monster picks up her machete and that’s when Kaia Ren puts her spear through the back of his head.
That’s going to leave a mark.
Also, it’s the little detail of one of his fangs flying through the air as the spear tips come through his mouth that makes the moment poetry. Well played VFX and post-production. Well played.
She liberates the remaining two werewolves from their heads in a single stroke, ending with a spinning flourish and power pose that is GIVING. ME. LIFE.
The dust settles. Kaia Ren holds the spear close when she sees the MY PRECIOUSSSS expression on Dean’s face. Sam warns that as long as she has it, she’ll remain a target for Michael and his monsters. Kaia Ren flatly says she’s used to it before walking away.
Night has fallen by the time our trio trudge their way out of the forest and back to the cars. Jody waives off a ride to the hospital. She says she’s driven with a broken arm before. She’s more worried about what she’s going to tell Alex when she gets there. And Claire when she gets home.
Jody gets the thousand yard stare, thinking about how well Claire has been doing … and how Kaia Ren is going to powder keg it. She’s dreading those consequences but says Claire has to know.
Jody is also processing her own feelings about seeing Kaia again – even if she didn’t really get a chance to know the girl before she died.
“Raising three hunters and fearing every day that I might lose one of them … I just feel like I already lost. Before I ever even began.”
Kim Rhodes, y’all. And my heart.
Dean is still stewing as he and Sam drive back to the Bunker. He says he just wanted to skip to the end of the story, and the part where he gets the weapon, kills Michael, and takes his vengeance for what the archangel used him for. He admits that being Michael’s vessel wasn’t a blink for him. He doesn’t remember most of it because he was underwater. Drowning.
And that he remembers. He felt every second of it, clawing for air.
Dean says he thought he could make it out, but he wasn’t strong enough. And now Michael is putting an army of monsters together. He’s hurting people …
“And it’s all on me. I said yes. It’s my fault.”
Sweet buttery jebus Show really is reaching into the way back machine for character beats because this is some straight up Season 7 “Defending Your Life” self-loathing here. And that’s exactly what I’d like to see. Another season of Dean flogging himself with guilt and burdens that aren’t his to carry.
Supernatural airs Thursday at 8:00 p.m. (Eastern) on The CW. Follow Whitney on Twitter @Watcher_Whitney.