‘Supernatural’: What about all of this is real?

“Raising Hell”
October 17, 2019


“This isn’t just a story; IT’S OUR LIVES.”


Harlan, Kansas. A woman enters the quarantine zone under cover of darkness.  A figure looms out of the shadows, but it’s cool, it’s just Rob. Nan tells him she snuck back to get Debbie’s allergy medication. She says that with everything going on, her daughter is most worried about the school spelling bee being canceled. Does Rob think they’ll cancel the spelling bee?

In answer, Rob pulls a knife from the pocket of his bathrobe and stabs Nan several times.


Rob stares at the bloody blade and then collapses to the ground as a ghost dispossesses him. 

“Disembowel.  D-I-S-E-M-B-O-W-E-L.  Disembowel.”


Enough time has elapsed since Hell’s opening for the boys to be reinforced by other hunters and for residents to get antsy and start asking questions. Castiel is concerned that the benzene story won’t hold much longer. 

Sam tries to buy them some time. He announces to the group that EPA techs will arrive the next day to determine the source of the elevated benzene levels and how to properly respond. He says they hope to have everyone back in their homes shortly but stresses again some more the importance of remaining outside of the quarantine zone.

Sam is very convincing. I would trust him.

Amara is in Reno enjoying a little me time when Chuck decides to pop in. 

“Did you smite my masseuse?!?”

Amara groans that they agreed to give each other space. I guess family togetherness wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. Chuck tries charm and chit chat about Game of Thrones—of course he liked the ending [OF COURSE HE DID — Ed.]—but Amara is not having it.  

Why is he here?

Chuck says he’s taking a little break from omniscient benevolence. They could use the time to drop by another dimension! Start a new species! Amara takes a hard pass. She likes where she is. Everyone in Reno is so not … Chuck. Her voice drips with disdain.

Something pings in Amara’s brain and she takes a quick scan of the fabric of the universe. Her eyes go wide as she realizes that little brother Chuck needs her. He’s never needed her before. Chuck’s general squirelliness does nothing to dispel her suspicion that something … isn’t … quite … right.

And then she latches onto it. She pokes at Chuck’s shoulder. He cringes away from her and gasps in pain. Amara says Chuck isn’t complete. He’s not at full strength. And he’s afraid.

Dean and Belphejack patrol the neighborhood. The EMF screams and redlines. Dean can’t believe he’s teamed up with a demon again.  “You think I’d know better by now.”  Belphejack is like, hard same, teaming up with a hunter.  Dean probes the demon’s motivations again some more, but Belphejack sticks to his story that he likes Hell as it was. He shrugs and says he’s a good soldier.

The barrier flares and Dean shoots a spirit trying to escape. The warding is holding—for now—but Belphejack warns that it won’t last forever. And the souls they’re dealing with aren’t the usual ghosts. They’re more dangerous. For instance, the spirit Dean just tagged is Francis Tumblety—one of several Jack the Ripper suspects.

Sam is so annoyed right now that he’s stuck at the school.


The next morning Tumblety calls the other ghosts together and really? Ghost staff meetings are a thing? Really? He gives them the sitrep on why they were sprung from Hell and who is holding them in the town. He says they have the strength in numbers and poo-poos the containment spell.  Warding is a door—doors have locks and locks have keys.


Rowena arrives at the school as Sam and Cas are having a slap fight over telling Mr. Nan that his wife is dead. Yeah, because the truth will definitely improve their current situation—one that Rowena hoots is messy even by Winchester standards. Sam sheepishly says they’re hoping she can help.

“Can you boys do nothing on your own?”

Rowena’s poking is good-natured—she’s happy to help. Sam reminds her of the soul bomb she built in Season 11. They want her to build another one that they can use to suck up the ghosts and trap them. That’s actually a pretty good idea and yay for the call back to canon! Much like the stopped clock, even BuckLeming can get it right twice a day.

Sadly, they don’t have Sam also remember that they needed an assist from Billie to fully power the bomb. Otherwise, their second call might have been to her. I mean, you have a problem with souls, you call a reaper. You have a problem with a Hell’s worth of souls, you call Death.

SPN Reaper Billie sup

Anyhoo, there’s no time for my complaining, there’s a situation in the neighborhood! Mr. Nan went looking for his missing wife and now he and a friend have gotten their fool selves possessed by ghosts. Tumblety appears and demands the boys clear the way and open the warding … or the ghosts will tear Mr. Nan and friend apart from the inside.

Sam and Dean stand and watch, not shooting the ghosts with rock salt until the civilians are suddenly showered with confetti and the ghosts are expelled.

Oh look, everyone, it’s Ketch.  Yay.  Said no one ever.

congratulations confetti high-five celebrate

Rowena seems inexplicably pleased by Ketch’s arrival. They flirt and Dean looks like he might want to wash his eyes out with bleach.


Belphejack checks in to report that the streets are quiet … meaning the ghosts are just planning their next move. Ketch is taken aback—Jack? Sam breaks the news.  Dean adds that Jack was killed by God. He says the kid must have gotten under Chuck’s skin.

“And now I’m under Jack’s.”


Seriously, can we keep him?  Belphejack is a delight!

The demon also has a price on his head—put there by Ketch’s current employer Ardat, a Sumerian succubus that Google tells me is associated with Lilith, so stick a pin in that. Belphejack is neither surprised nor bothered by this news.


Cas finds Dean for the caring and sharing portion of the episode. The angel acknowledges that he dropped the puck with the whole not telling them that Jack burned off his soul thing, and then after what happened … at the mention of Mary, Dean turns and warns Cas off with a growled, “Don’t.”

And yes, as a matter of fact, Dean is angry. At everything. All of it. Their whole big hamster wheel of a life. And I’m reminded of the conversation Dean had with Sam in “Lebanon,” when Sam expressed a wish for things to be different. A wish that someone else could save the world for once. And Dean wondered—if that were to happen—what it would make them. Who would they be? 

“I am good with who I am.  I’m good with who you are.  Because our lives—they’re ours.”

But now, confronted with God’s long con, Dean isn’t so sure. Everything was a lie and nothing that they’ve done mattered. Castiel argues that life is an obstacle course, and regardless of who designed it or why, they ran their own race and made their own moves, “and mostly, we did well with that.”

Dean has crawled too far into the hole of existential nihilism to be persuaded. NOTHING IS REAL. CHOICE IS AN ILLUSION. 

Castiel says there is one thing that is real.  

“We are.”

And then they kiss

Dean and Ketch are on patrol together when Dean gets word that two hunters haven’t checked in. After giving Ketch an iron anti-possession necklace (because the tattoos only work for demons? Because reasons?) they search the meatpacking plant. They don’t find the hunters but they do get their asses handed to them by Lizzie Borden.

A voice calls out from the shadows, ordering Lizzie to stop just as she’s about to cave Dean’s fool skull in. She zaps out and Kevin walks into the room.  


Never forget.

Which, while delightful, is also weird because Kevin is supposed to be in Heaven. The once and future prophet is like, yeah funny story, Chuck lied. He didn’t send Kevin to Heaven in Season 11 … he cast him down to Hell.  

Because reasons? 

Oprah cut the bullshit

Because someone decided it would be fun to check in with Kevin one more time (not wrong) and the Mayors of Lazy Writing Town and Least Resistanceville decided this was the easiest way to do it?

Sweet Jebus, Eugenie Ross-Leming and Brad Buckner are the worst. THE WORST! The one good thing about Show ending is that I will never have to suffer through their bad writing again.


The next morning, Sam and Dean discuss Kevin’s situation and his confirmation that the warding is fading. Belphejack pops up behind them and is like, uh told you so? What he failed to tell them is that the spell was a one-time thing. The warding can’t be recharged … and also it can’t be cast a second time? Because reasons? I mean, they’ve got a heart—Nan’s should still be fresh-ish. 

Oh, and there’s no way to get Kevin into the Good Place. Heaven can’t take souls that have been cast down to Hell. The boys point out that both John and Bobby ascended after being in Hell. The demon shrugs. That was then. The rules have changed.

Because reasons.


In Reno, Chuck prods at the bullet hole in his shoulder and hisses in pain. Sam reacts at the same time to the touch. But no, it’s fine. It’s fiiiiiiiine.

Narrator: It’s not fine.

Dean tells Rowena that they need the soul bomb catcher now. She hurries to meet them, cutting through the quarantine zone because reasons? So that she can have an encounter with Tumblety? And he can club Ketch over the head with a rock and later possess him even though Ketch is wearing the iron necklace? How did the ghost even get it off him?


Oh and also, Tumblety has Kevin. The ghost saw right through Kevin’s attempt to infiltrate the daily staff meeting. When doesn’t helping the Winchester end up screwing that kid?

Oh, Kevin.

The boys go to ghost HQ where Tumblety presents his terms—shut down the warding or he’ll devour Kevin. What? How? How does that even work? Since when does a soul—even a damned one—have that kind of juice? AND WHY COULDN’T KEVIN JUST ZAP OUT OF THE HOUSE THE SAME WAY HE ZAPPED INTO IT??


Rowena and Cas enter through a side door and she brandishes the soul catching crystal at the ghosts. It sucks them up one by one allowing the others time to escape. She says it isn’t as powerful as the first one she made. Well, maybe if she and Ketch hadn’t been eye-fucking each other and he’d kept his spell casting short cut in his pants we wouldn’t have this problem.

Dean warned Rowena off pursuing Ketch. LISTEN TO DEAN WHEN HE SAYS NOT TO DO THE THING.

Kevin reports on the ghosts’ plan to mass their strength at the most vulnerable place in the warding and raptor their way out.

Clevah girls.

Rowena deploys the soul catcher again and it works! It works great! It hoovers up the hundred-odd ghosts trying to break through. And when it’s done, Ketch knocks Rowena to the ground and grabs the crystal.  Which is a surprise to everyone, because even though an angel and a demon are standing RIGHT THERE they can’t tell that Ketch is possessed? Because reasons?


Dean tries to shoot Ketch, but he used up all his salt rounds rage firing at the ghosts AND NO ONE ELSE IS ARMED. WHY IS NO ONE ELSE CARRYING A SHOTGUN? 

BuckLeming’s shitty writing is why Mommy drinks.


Dean makes up for the fact that NO ONE ELSE IS ARMED by pulling his handgun from his waistband and plugging Tumbleketch with several iron rounds. The crystal flies into his hand, he passes it to Rowena and she dispatches the remaining ghosts. Everyone stands around like, great job team!, while Ketch lays on the ground bleeding to death.

EMTs are summoned after Cas is unable to heal Ketch. Sam is strangely unconcerned that their angel suddenly seems to be powered down. I guess Show has been so inconsistent with Cas’ abilities lo these many seasons that it just seems normal.

Bye, Ketch! Bye! You mind raped Mary and murdered Eileen and you don’t deserve the redemption arc you’ve been given.


Kevin says his goodbyes to Sam and Dean. He knows he has two options—Hell or Earth. Eternal torture or a long, slow slide into madness. He says he’ll take door number two.  He won’t go back to Hell.

The boys don’t argue with him. They can’t. They know.

Belphejack lowers the warding long enough for Kevin to step through. Bye, Kevin. I hope we see you again long enough for your storyline to get unfucked. You deserve better.


Amara is ready to roll … but she and her cunning chartreuse pantsuit will be traveling alone. Chuck insists that they belong together. Amara concedes that she is willing to co-exist with him in the Universe. Just not anywhere in any actual proximity.

Chuck tries to pull God rank on her, but Amara warns him off with a curt, “DON’T.” 

“Even on your best day you couldn’t force my hand. And this is not your best day.”

Amara doesn’t think Chuck can do much of anything. He certainly can’t leave this world.  Not without her help. And Amara is done. She says she’s changed.  Adapted. “I’ve become the better me.” Well, her fashion sense and accessorizing have certainly improved from the sad rags she was forced to wear in Season 11. 

But Chuck? Amara says he is still the same. Petulant. Narcissistic. So she’s leaving him there. Amara realizes that she’s doing to Chuck what he once did to her. Sealing him away. He’s trapped. Diminished. Abandoned.

“So I guess you got what you’ve always wanted. You’re on your own.”


Team Free Will stand and watch as the sky fills with swirling souls. And okay, how does this soulpocalypse work again? All the doors to Hell were opened, but not all the souls escaped at once? And they can only exit through this one cemetery in Kansas? Because reasons? Anyhoo, Belphejack says they’ll soon be overrun.  Again.  And Rowena’s soul catcher isn’t strong enough to contain them all.  Because reasons. 

They’ll have to find another way. 

Supernatural airs Thursday at 8:00 p.m. (Eastern) on The CW. Follow Whitney on Twitter @Watcher_Whitney.

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