March 7, 2019
THEN: “Michael gets out, that’s it for this world.”
Team Free Will 2.0 is hunting a monster with a taste for human flesh, artfully prepared. Between popping eyeballs like they’re marinated olives and opening up a dude’s rib cage like it’s a crown roast, this may be the most gleefully gruesome episode of Show since the couple that ate each other to death in Season 5’s “My Bloody Valentine.”
I kind of wish they’d put the little hats on the dude’s ribs. That would have been a nice touch.
Rib roast guy is the 6th victim the boys know of. They’ve been tracking the monster for weeks but he’s remained a step ahead of them. Calling in Rowena for a tracking spell got them closer, but still not by enough.
Weirdly jarring music transitions us to the motel where Rowena and Sam are on research detail. Rowena is like, hey so Jack was on death’s door and Dean has an archangel trapped in his nugget. What’s up with that?
Sam tells Rowena everything is fine. No need to worry.
Dean and Cas are next door in the motel’s diner. Cas catches Dean trying to hide a grimace and acknowledges the Herculean feat of will it must take for him to keep the angel bottled up.
Dean admits that the pounding in his head never stops. He can feel how hard Michael is fighting to get out. Dean says he can’t let his guard down. Not for a second. He’s barely sleeping. He chuckles and sips his coffee.
Dean is being open and honest about how hard he’s struggling? And Cas is letting him be vulnerable? What show am I watching?
Dean agrees that the situation is barely sustainable, but what are you gonna do … other than put his aspirations in the Ma’lak Box and drop it in the ocean. Dean reminds Cas that that’s still an option.
Jack is in the bathroom washing his hands when he’s racked with an attack of the consumption. The boy of the camellias conjures up a little magic like it’s a piece of soul-burning ricola.
Sam calls them back to the room with an update. It feels to Dean like an AV Club presentation. Jack asks what an AV Club is and Cas tells him IT’S A MUHFUKKING SHOUT OUT is what it is! Thanks writer Steve Yockey! It’s not enough to keep me from tearing this episode a new one in about 20 minutes, but still. SHOUT OUT!
Rowena tells them that she believes they’re hunting a gorgon. Dean is like, oh yeah. Medusa. Clash of the Titans.
Sam rolls his eyes and YOU SHUT IT, SAMUEL. YOU JUST SHUT IT. Number 1, we already know from Season 4’s “Sex and Violence” that Dean has an affinity for Greek myths and legends.
And Number 2, the original Clash is the jam.
Sam says there are as many as 17 unexplained deaths that could be traced to the gorgon. Rowena explains that, unlike the Medusa of myth, this gorgon uses a venom that causes paralysis. He doesn’t actually turn his victims to stone. And noshing on their eyes allows him to look into the future—and see the hunters coming.
As the gorgon does with his next victim. He leaves a note behind with the body addressed to Dean. Noah the gorgon warns that Dean, the tall man, and the red-headed witch should stop chasing him … or Noah will make them stop.
He doesn’t mention Cas or Jack. The gorgon can’t see angels.
Before Cas and Jack test that theory, Rowena (smartly) suggests mixing up a poison antidote (in case one of them gets sloppy). She just needs a wee bit of anti-venom.
Which they acquire by pilfering it from a vet’s office—and raise your hand if you had flashbacks to Season 8 and Amelia.
Sam and Rowena rush their wee doggy Jack into the vet, bickering over whose fault it is that the poor darling is sick. And y’all, did … did they steal someone’s dog? I’m distracted from enjoying how great Sam and Rowena are together by my worry that they’ve stolen someone’s dog!
The vet carries the dog into the back, checks its vitals, and then steps outside. The camera pans over to a mirror on the wall to reveal that the dog is, in fact, Jack. Rowena glamouring him to look like a small fluffy dog is both brilliant and totally on brand for the precious bean. He grabs a bottle of antivenin and scoots out the back.
He just wishes he could have gotten it before the vet took his temperature.
Rowena asks Sam again some more exactly what they did to Jack. Because when she cast the transformation spell she felt something pushing back on her. Something volatile, powerful, and stitched to the boy like some kind of parasite.
Sam cops an attitude and basically tells Rowena not to worry her pretty little head about it. Jack is being careful—they’re all being careful—and that’s all she needs to know.
Rowena doesn’t tell Sam that he is the worst—at least not in so many words. Instead, she says that using dangerous, mysterious magic regardless of the cost is a very on brand her thing to do. Sam takes it as a compliment. He’s kind of making a joke about it, but also kind of not?
Hey, Sam. Your Season 10 ‘Save Dean from the Mark of Cain at any cost’ storyline called. It said, “It’s not a compliment, dummy.”
Rowena locates Noah. Cas and Jack burst in on him unawares … and things quickly begin to go off the rails. This may be the point at which BuckLeming locked Steve Yockey in a coat closet and finished his script themselves.
Because instead of pressing their attack together and killing the gorgon, Castiel decides to tend to his still alive, unflayed victim while Noah tells Jack the folk tale about the chicken and the snake.
84 years later, Cas gets his ass handed to him by the gorgon.
And then he gets dosed with poison.
Never mind wishing that Show would remember that Cas is a badass. I just wish Show would remember that he’s AN ANGEL WHO SHOULD BE IMMUNE TO WHAT IS BASICALLY A SUPER JUICED SNAKE BITE.
Noah makes short work of Jack and Sam, just kind of tossing them to the floor like rag dolls, but Dean? Dean gets his head violently slammed into the wall. Night night, lights out. Noah grabs his bag and heads for the door … where he walks directly into Jack’s silver blade.
Sam tries—unsuccessfully—to rouse Dean while Jack tends to Cas. He administers the antidote but Cas remains immobilized. So instead of dosing Cas until it works, Jack decides to burn off another chunk of his soul.
And okay, this. This is where BuckLeming definitely finished Steve Yockey’s script. Because instead of immediately containing Dean in a ring of holy fire, these dummies haul ass nearly 600 miles and 10 hours back to the Bunker from New Mexico.
What could go wrong?
Sam and Cas carry Dean’s still unconscious carcass into the infirmary. While Maggie runs to get ice—because THAT’S going to help—Cas tries again (unsuccessfully) to heal Dean. But it’s cool, because he also can’t see what’s going on inside Dean’s head.
So instead of initiating some kind of archangel protocol—evacuating the Bunker, warding the infirmary, holy fire, angel cuffs, OR JUST PUTTING DEAN IN THE DAMN BOX—Sam stands over Dean’s bed wringing his hands while Cas explains to Jack that it’s the nature of humans to burn brightly for a short time and then die and it’s very sad but it’s all a part of growing up.
Jack asks Cas what the point of it all is, and THAT’S AN EXCELLENT QUESTION SMALL BEAN. One to which Andrew Dabb clearly has no answer. ARC. STRUCTURE. LOOK INTO IT.
Honestly, what even is this Chuck forsaken episode?
Jack and Cas’s existential blah blahing is mercifully interrupted by a commotion in the infirmary. The good news is, Dean is awake and mentally intact. The bad news is, Michael is gone.
Jack gasps out, “How??”, and I really just can’t with this episode. HOW DO YOU THINK, DUMMY? Did they all think Dean was just being dramatic when he said the pounding never stopped and he couldn’t let his guard down? Maybe they should have taken the message of the chicken and the snake story to heart three episodes ago.
Dean is devastated. He immediately blames himself for letting his guard down, realizes he’s been unconscious for going on 12 hours, so maybe it’s not all his fault, and turns his rage on Sam. BOX AT THE BOTTOM OF THE OCEAN SEEMS LIKE A PRETTY GOOD IDEA NOW, HUH?
Sam tries to stammer out a response, but he’s cut off by an agonized scream coming from the other room. They rush into the map room in time to watch Maggie die as her EYES ARE BURNED OUT OF HER FOOL SKULL, EEP! Her body joins the rest of the AV Clubbers that are littering the Bunker’s floor.
And not gonna lie, y’all. I’m not at all sad that the AV randos are dead. I’m sad that Dean is going to feel guilty about it, but not sad that they’re gone. Their presence didn’t really add to the story and I’ll forget about them before the season is over.
Also, it’s been discussed and decided that Maggie and Sam were totally boning. The Peen o’ Death strikes again!
Finally, in a plot twist that—to me—makes no damn sense, Michael has taken Rowena as his vessel.
Michael threatens to kill everyone in the Bunker if she doesn’t say yes to him … but she has to know he’s going to kill everyone no matter what. Rowena is smarter than that! Say no, force Michael to find another vessel, buy them all some time.
It makes me angry when a story can only get from Point A to Point B if the characters are written like brain-damaged kittens.
And why would Michael even care if Rowena tells him to get bent? He can play the long game. And he’s been in Dean’s head long enough to know there are more creative ways to hurt him. Get Ben to say yes. How about that for an angsty good time?
Anyhoo, Rowena says yes because reasons and Michael slowly tortures Sam, Dean, and Cas while Jack just stands there watching like the aforementioned brain-damaged kitten. He finally makes his move, absorbing blow after blow from the archangel who shouts that he will not be challenged by a child!
Jack big damn heroes that he is the son of Lucifer.
He’s a hunter.
He is a Winchester!
Jack claps his hands to Rowena’s head and yanks Michael from her body. The nazis-having-their-faces-melted-off-at-the-end-of-Raiders music swells as the archangel’s essence glows and swirls around the Bunker’s ceiling.
Jack focuses his energy on Michael and the room rings with the cries of his true voice. His essence flames out, leaving only his grace, which Jack consumes.
So, wait. That’s it? That’s the end of the Michael story?
Jack turns to look at the boys. His eyes flash golden. He manifests his wings. Jack says Michael is dead. And he is him again.
But, you know, probably without a SOUL.
So, with SIX EPISODES left in the season, I’m calling it now. Michael’s grace is powering Jack, but he burned through his soul, so he’s all soulless now. Good times. Lucifer will come back from the Empty, Jack will make short work of him, and then turn dark side in a retread of the Godstiel/Leviathan storyline from Season 7.
Although honestly, even that is probably putting too much faith in Andrew Dabb’s storytelling abilities.