Supernatural returned from its very last mid season hiatus with an episode that fans waited for with a wide range of emotions, which is probably going to be par for the course for the last eleven episodes of the series. I have mixed feelings every time an episode airs, because it’s one episode closer to the end, and because it’s one more chance to take the show somewhere I may not want to follow, knowing there’s no time for that to change anymore. This is not an easy thing, staying with a show you’ve loved for fifteen years to the bitter end! It feels like an emotional and psychological risk, which is something I’ve never experienced before with television.
I’m actually really looking forward to next week’s episode, which will be a ‘funny’ one – at least in parts. I feel like I need a break from all the angst and stress! To think, this used to be my stress reliever!
So here are the things I liked and the things that didn’t work too well for me. It was a kickass ‘The Road So Far’. I watch those beginnings and am always in awe of just what a remarkable show this is. We also had an amazing Shaving People Punting Things video the week before, which made this next string of episodes look truly epic. I think sometimes those editors get the show better than anyone!
Anyway, the episode was split into two story lines, as it so often is. Sam and Eileen wake up tied to chairs, captured by Chuck. I’ve said before that I thought Chuck had a hand in manipulating Sam and Eileen and it turns out that yes, he put her in Sam’s path and made that spell fall out (that was obviously too much of a coincidence) and let Sam being a good person do the rest. What an awful thing for Eileen and Sam to find out. How do you have any hope of sorting out which of your feelings are real and which aren’t? Worse yet, did you really have agency (and the capacity for any kind of consent) when you acted on those feelings? Chuck really is a bad bad guy. I’m still confused as to why Sam looked so conflicted about his relationship with Eileen the entire time, though. Side effect of Chuck’s “nudges”? Was he somehow sensing the interference? We may never know.
Chuck’s explanation is particularly cruel.
Chuck: I couldn’t see you. I needed eyes and ears on the inside… well, eyes.
Ouch. If you wanted to turn Chuck into an irredeemable villain, Show, that’s a good way to do it. So vicious and pointed. Rob delivered it perfectly; I could appreciate that even as I literally cringed hearing it.
I love that Eileen shot back, “Screw you.”
Shoshannah Stern delivers the line with all the venom and badassery it warranted.
Yeah, screw you, Chuck! (But not you, Rob, I still adore you)
Meanwhile, Dean is worrying about not being able to reach Sam, not knowing that Sam and Eileen are captured. I also love that Eileen almost did screw Chuck over by managing to place a call to Dean (more badassery). I’m assuming her phone has a convert to text feature because Dean kept yelling “Eileen?” into the phone. Unfortunately, Chuck realizes and picks up.
Dean: Chuck, you dick!
Chuck: Bye, Dean.
Dean tracks Sam’s phone, and smart Winchesters make me happy. Cas is also doing something smart – making Leviathan bullets out of Borax.
Dean: We need to go!
Cas: To Purgatory.
Not what Dean meant; he’s understandably focused on saving Sam and Eileen. They argue, and Dean says he’s not leaving Sam, because he’s Dean.
Cas: Stop being so stupid!
I was taken aback by that. Castiel in this episode is written as had-it-up-to-here, bristling with anger and resentment. We don’t always see Castiel’s emotions come to the surface, but I think he’s every bit as angry as Dean has been, to the point where he’s harsh and sometimes cold. It’s not the “badass Cas” which we’ve seen before, it’s as though he’s so angry that he’s put up a wall.
The episode had a lot to say about anger, but not all of it was easy to decipher. We saw Dean’s anger come spilling out in his initial fight with Cas, in which he lashes out with some hurtful things. Everyone expresses anger differently, and in this episode we saw Castiel’s anger too. I think he walked out on that fight with Dean because it was just too painful, but it was also clearly because he was angry. Otherwise he would have picked up Sam’s phone calls. His response to anger is to withdraw and then to put up a cold shoulder and refuse to be reached, literally or figuratively. Maybe I can’t stop my psychologist brain from kicking in, but this is a familiar pattern. One person goes on the attack, spewing hurtful words, then the other withdraws and puts up a wall. Both are expressions of anger and intended to hurt. Often one of those people is very afraid of abandonment; in this case, that applies to both of them, so the withdrawal and stonewalling is an effective counterattack (that probably impact Dean’s later breakdown).
Cas points out that they have no way to kill Chuck and that going to Purgatory and doing the spell is the way they’ll save Sam – and the world.
Surprisingly, Dean goes along fairly quickly, which I didn’t expect. I had a little trouble with that instant capitulation, much like the scene in the tunnels in Season 13 when Dean tries to go after an in-peril Sam and Cas stops him. Dean seemed a little too easy to convince here too. However, Cas does have a point, so maybe Dean just reluctantly agreed. The pacing (or the editing?) was wonky in this episode, so perhaps some things that were meant to be conveyed just didn’t come through.
Back to the casino (isn’t it interesting that Chuck has taken up residence at a casino? He loves rolling the dice and playing the odds, especially when it’s with other people’s lives.)
Chuck does a lot of dialoguing in this episode, which Rob Benedict pulls off quite well. He decides to dig out the god bullet in Sam’s shoulder that he realizes is keeping him weak, but hesitates. (I at first thought it was because it would hurt Chuck too, because isn’t that exactly what we’ve been told in canon? But no, that’s apparently been discarded, because Chuck calmly plays guitar while Sam has a knife dug into him). For some reason, Sam thinks it would be a good idea to taunt God while he’s holding a knife to him, ridiculing Chuck for not being able to get his hands dirty.
Sam: You just like to watch.
Oooh, Sam. Good one. But still not sure it’s a great idea…
Eileen joins in and calls Chuck pathetic, which made me start yelling at my tv, stop it you two, why do you think taunting him is a great idea while you’re both tied to chairs and he’s God? Predictably, Chuck gets pissed and just makes Eileen do it. What did they think, their taunts were going to talk Chuck out of it??
[Also, am I the only one who started singing when at one point Chuck exclaimed, “Come on, Eileen!”]
Sam, even when being tortured, keeps reassuring Eileen, telling her “It’s okay, I know it’s not you.” This scene was one that did work for me; that really rang true for what Sam would do, even as Jared showed us his pain so vividly, and Shoshannah Stern did a fabulous job showing us Eileen’s agony at having to hurt someone she cares about. I’ve said before that Jared portrays Sam’s pain incredibly well — it feels so real that it actually hurts.
Meanwhile, Chuck plays guitar and looks like Rob Benedict. Eventually he gets frustrated.
Chuck: How are you still like this? Defiant…
Then he figures it out – what’s apparently keeping Chuck weak and keeping him from being able to dig out the god wound is – Sam’s hope?
That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. Why would Sam holding out hope be keeping Chuck weak and the bond between them functioning? I had to do lots of mental gymnastics to make any sense out of that, and the only way it makes any sense at all is if Sam shot Chuck to create a connection they could use, and then when he gave up on that idea and didn’t want the connection anymore, it went away. That Sam had some sort of control over keeping the wound open and active because he was the shooter, despite, as Sergei said, “wounds want to heal.” But that was never established. (There are some truly superb mental gymnastics out there about Prometheus and hope keeping evil contained but hoo boy if I have to go that far out, Show is doing something wrong)
For whatever reason, Chuck believes it, and sets out to eradicate Sam’s hope. That was a process that many fans found very hard to watch, me included. Sam is the one who often carries the hope in the show, and it’s that hope that has inspired so many Supernatural fans, both in terms of Sam and in terms of Jared Padalecki’s “Always Keep Fighting” mantra in real life. To see it devastated was….. devastating.
Sam watched, helpless, as Chuck handed him a pocket watch and told him to dial into the future. At first what Chuck shows Sam is not so bad. Future Sam, Dean, Cas and Eileen ready to have a pizza and movie night in the bunker.
Then Jody calls – bloodied, hopeless. Overcome by too many monsters (this is a theme….)
Jody: She’s dead. Claire’s dead.
Most of us had seen that in the preview and assumed it was Claire, so it didn’t carry the emotional punch it might have, and nobody expected Kathryn Newton to come back, busy as she is, but Kim Rhodes gave it all the emotion that Jody would doubtless feel. It got to Sam, that’s for sure. Once again, Jared showed us all Sam’s pain, this time emotional.
Sam (watching): No….
I was happy to have Kim Rhodes back on my tv screen, and she showed us Jody’s hopelessness clearly.
The next future leap, as Sam turns the magic watch forward (interesting touch btw), shows Sam and Dean in the Impala, bloodied and fast careening toward the hopelessness Chuck is cultivating in Sam. Unable to save people, Castiel gone.
Dean: (sadly) The monsters are winning (this is a theme…)
By the time Sam turns the pocket watch to November 2021, Dean has lost hope.
Dean: It’s time. Time to stand down.
Cas apparently took on the Mark and went crazy and Dean had to lock him in the Malak box, and everyone they know is dead, and they can’t even save anyone anymore. Only Bobby and Jody are left, with a death wish since she lost Donna and the girls.
Dean: And since you lost Eileen? You too.
Sam: What happened to Butch and Sundance? What happened to goin’ out swinging?
Dean: We lost, brother.
That scene hurt, especially the reference to going out like Butch and Sundance, which for many years is how Jared and Jensen talked about the show possibly ending. Padalecki and Ackles both conveyed just how painful this moment was for both Winchesters, which made it painful for viewers too.
But, like Sam in the present, that scene also didn’t ring entirely true to me. So much of what the show has been about is not giving up. Is this really what would happen, or is Chuck just manipulating what Sam sees? I mean, he’s God, he can clearly do that if he wants to. Why would Sam believe that this is a true glimpse into a future that’s inevitable if they cage Chuck? Why would we as viewers believe it when the showrunner/writers in real life have repeatedly yelled “writers lie” and so has Chuck himself?? This is the epitome of an unreliable narrator, after all.
Sam protests to Chuck.
Sam: This is a lie! The Dean I know – the Dean who raised me – he’d never give up. No matter how bad things got.
I agree with Sam, Show. Also that line made me tear up for real.
The last future scene is apparently the end for the Winchesters – the stop watch won’t go any further than December 9, 2022.
I have to say, Chuck looks almost as sad as I do by this time. It’s hard to tell what’s a manipulation and what might be actual emotion – does he, as he insists, still care about the Winchesters?
In the future, Sam tells a hopeless and drinking Dean that he’s going to take out that nest with or without him. And Dean, still being Dean, even as hopeless as he is, goes along.
Dean: Then I guess I don’t have a choice.
That kinda broke me a little. That even without any hope at all, Dean will not let his brother go it alone. That did ring true, and it made me tear up again.
Flash forward to that last day, Dean and Sam barricaded and trapped, bad guys approaching, and at first it does look like Butch and Sundance and I start to get very anxious. Their conversation goes like this:
We’re outnumbered…What else is new?…Like Butch and Sundance… At least we go out together…Go out swingin’.
But it turns out to be a perversion of what we expect (and an ending many people thought might be for real). In actuality, Sam and Dean have been turned into vampires and Bobby and Jody are the ones coming to kill them. Vamp Sam and Dean kill the other hunters with what looks like relish, and… wait a minute! So are we to believe they have turned evil? We know that doesn’t HAVE to happen to vampires. Vampires can be like Lenore or Benny and not kill humans. And anyway, the Winchesters know there’s a cure for vampirism, so huh?? That made me even more certain that what Chuck was showing Sam was not the truth.
I was in the middle of being confused about all that when Jody shoots Sam.
Dean turns on her and…. hisses? I couldn’t help it, I giggled. Caps and memes of hissing Dean made the rounds all night, so thanks for that, timeline.
Dean kills Jody with a bite (can’t wait to hear Kim Rhodes’ stories about that scene, knowing how hard it is for her to concentrate when Ackles is close by, let alone on top of her). Then Bobby kills Sam.
At first the way they looked with a mouthful of fangs made me laugh, but I don’t think they were intentionally playing it that way, and then that made me sad. Remember when Dean was turned before, how agonizing that was for him? How he fought so desperately against it and looked so agonized the whole time? That was dark and despairing and tragic and this was….not. I don’t understand why Sam and Dean would just go with being vampires and killing their friends.
In the present, Chuck tries to reassure a shaken Sam, insisting he still cares about Sam and Dean. Sam’s bitch face in response is priceless.
Sam: I saw your endings. Cain and Abel.
Chuck insists there’s more to it. That the important thing to take from the glimpses of the future are the monsters (it’s a theme).
Chuck: Without me, the dark forces prevail. Everyone you love will die.
That doesn’t explain why Chuck is still so set on a Cain and Abel showdown though, does it? What kind of a choice is that?
Has he convinced Sam??
Meanwhile, Dean and Cas are in Purgatory, which is alot brighter than it was so doesn’t look as scary or frankly as cool. Dean wants to split up, Cas says no, too dangerous – and again, surprisingly, Dean listens, just like that. Dean is usually the one calling the shots, but he doesn’t in this entire episode until the very end, and it’s jarring. Last time they were in Purgatory, it was Cas who split them up, but this time he says no. Anyway, they do a smart thing and stage a moment of cluelessness to trick a Leviathan into attacking.
Or do they?
He gives in mighty easily and offers to take them to the blossoms they need. Dean asks about Benny, and finds out that he’s dead. Killed by his own kind, who ripped him apart. I’m guessing Dean had a lot more reaction than the edited version of the scene let us see, because Benny was important to him, and returned to Purgatory so Dean could save Sam. The guilt Dean would feel knowing he was almost immediately killed… I bet Jensen showed us more than what we saw. Which would have been really helpful in explaining the absolute breakdown Dean has shortly thereafter.
Dean and Cas are still pissy with each other, both still angry and expressing that anger in their individual ways. Castiel says he still feels guilty, that it was his fault the Leviathans got out (and mentions in passing that Purgatory brings out or magnifies guilt). He says he’s sorry. Dean thinks he’s apologizing for killing their Mom (which is the thing Dean is still struggling with), but Cas corrects him, saying sharply that he’s talking about Jack.
Cas: I’m talking about Jack. I already apologized to you (about your mother), but you couldn’t hear it. You were too angry.
Dean: You’re the one who left.
Cas: I left because you couldn’t forgive me and you couldn’t move on. I left, but you didn’t stop me.
In other words, they’re still at an impasse. Still both clearly angry. Still trying to hurt each other in their own way.
Castiel’s anger is understandable if you look at it as a mix of both guilt and hurt. He does regret the part he played in Jack killing Mary, by once again keeping something important from the Winchesters. (Though I did understand why he did it, out of fear of them abandoning him. So much of these characters revolves around that fear!) I think he does feel guilty about that, and I think Dean’s harsh words hurt him more because he was already feeling those things, so he withdrew. But Dean’s anger is also completely understandable. When they had that fight, his mother – who he had longed for his entire life and only recently gotten back and forged some kind of relationship with – had been killed DAYS ago. His grief was raw and overwhelming, and it’s a normal human reaction to lash out in anger and try to place blame. We have a great need to try to make sense of overwhelming loss, and that’s part of the process. Would Castiel really feel that Dean should have been over it in two days? That makes no sense at all. Give Cas more credit than that. Dean has forgiven him countless times in the past; it’s not like Dean refuses to forgive, that’s not his nature at all. Cas knows this – has experienced this repeatedly. Why this time would he expect it to happen instantly?
Anyway, still both angry, they get to the field of blossoms, and apropros of the title, it’s a trap – an angel trap of some kind. Seems Eve and the Leviathans are still pissed at Castiel. I had to scratch my head multiple times at this point, because didn’t that Leviathan guy (Edgar?) say they didn’t respect Eve at all? Also, how did they possibly make up that trap and have that Leviathan follow them and set it up so quickly?? And wasn’t Dean the one who killed Eve? Why would she only want revenge on Castiel?
I don’t know. But the Leviathans knock Dean out, and when he wakes up, in a pretty cool crane shot ala Kim Manners, both Cas and the flowers (I guess?) are gone.
Luckily, they have conveniently just left Dean lying there unhurt for some inexplicable reason, even though we know that Leviathans love to eat people – and angels too, I think. Why would Eve want to talk to Castiel? Also, why is Purgatory now so empty? Wasn’t it a place where Dean had to fight tooth and nail all the time, constantly attacked by monsters? He was unconscious lying there and nothing bothered him? They literally only got attacked that one time the whole time they were there? Unless it was all a set up?
Anyway, Dean heads back to the portal, and then out of nowhere he is suddenly overwhelmed with guilt and remorse, so much so that he has to lean against a tree. There was no lead up to this; a quick look at the watch still showed almost half an hour left, so there was no sense of desperation. No sense of “OMG where is Cas, I might have to leave him in Purgatory AGAIN and OMG I never even told him I forgive him!” which would have made the breakdown make sense. Dean wasn’t even at the portal yet, so for all he knew Castiel was sitting there waiting for him (which in fact he was).
I wasn’t feeling any sense of desperation, but Dean is suddenly desperate and sends a prayer to Cas, which quickly gets super emotional.
Dean: You’re my best friend, and I let you go. It was easier than admitting I was wrong.
He’s in tears suddenly as he says it. Overcome even more by guilt, he falls to his knees, confessing that he gets so angry and doesn’t know why, that it’s always been there and that he can’t stop it when it comes out.
Dean: I forgive you, of course I forgive you. Cas, I’m so sorry.
I think it’s the first time that Dean has cried that I haven’t. I get that the goal was to write an emotional reconciliation scene, but that can’t be the goal without the set up that makes it make sense. I could go with it if Dean was faced with the near certainty of leaving Cas behind again, after already feeling guilty about leaving him the last time and compounded by the guilt of sending Benny back there to die. If it felt like Dean’s last chance to forgive Cas, in those last few moments, his desperation and tears might have worked a lot better.
I also didn’t quite know what to make of what Dean said. I could understand him apologizing for the hurtful things he said in their initial fight or for taking so long to forgive, but that wasn’t it. It seemed more like he was apologizing for his feelings, when they were understandable at the time. Like he was returning to his long standing tendency to take 110% of the blame for everything just so people he cares about won’t abandon him. Was this Dean overwhelmed by the ever present guilt and panic of a too often abandoned boy, faced with losing someone he cares about yet again? Castiel seeming to say that Dean should have stopped him from leaving would set off those fears even more – people with abandonment panic are easily convinced they’ve done something to deserve the abandonment, and then they frantically plead that they’ll be better if the person comes back, and repeatedly say they’re sorry. This started to play weirdly like that.
I don’t know if that was the intention. But really, who wouldn’t be incredibly indescribably angry if they’d lived Dean Winchester’s life?? Who wouldn’t be out of control angry literally days after their mother was killed, after longing for her your entire life? Give Cas credit, writers, he has to understand that. Why would he expect Dean to forgive him 48 hours later?
Dean brushes his tears away and soldiers on.
Finally, with 3 minutes to spare (finally we get that urgency long after we needed it), Dean arrives at the portal and turns to find Cas there after all. His joy is genuine as he pulls Cas into a hug, and again I think of Dean’s deep abandonment issues and that panic he was in when he thought it was happening again.
Dean still feels driven to apologize even more (that abandonment panic again?), and I’m yelling OMG you have like one minute, stop trying to have a heart to heart right now and go through that about-to-close portal, you idiots!
Cas managed to both escape the Leviathans and to grab the needed blossom from somewhere, which makes me again question the whole thing seeming way too easy, and is that even Cas? He assures Dean that he heard his prayer.
Cas: You don’t have to say it.
That was a line written as an invitation to interpretation, that’s for sure. Whether that worked or not, or how much that goal impacted the narrative’s coherence, is up in the air. There’s a beat that you can read meaning into if you want, and then they’re through.
Cas and Dean do the spell, Cas volunteering to take on the Mark because Dean already has. Once again, Dean capitulates oddly quickly. He’s just had a huge breakdown over how much he cares for Castiel, and then he doesn’t protest much when Cas agrees to take the Mark when we don’t really know what it will do to him?
Note: that means Sam or Dean will have to destroy the magic ball that they made in order to cage Chuck. They find Sam tied up in the casino, and Dean begins to cut him free when Chuck appears.
Chuck: Hi Dean.
Dean: punches him in the face.
Dean: I had to.
Chuck: punches him in the face.
Chuck: Me too.
Cas takes down a once again manipulated Eileen (urgh), and tosses Sam the magic ball.
Dean: Smash it! Now!
But Sam doesn’t. Looking anguished, he falls to his knees.
Sam: I can’t.
Dean: What did you do to him?!
It appears that Sam finally lost all hope, and now as a result, Chuck is free. This is a brilliant shot by Bob Singer, Jared showing us without words just how broken Sam is in this moment.
Chuck smashes the magic ball.
(My best explanation for why Chuck’s machinations worked is that Sam knew that Cas must have agreed to take the Mark when they came in to save him and Eileen, and so he realized that part of what he saw in the future really did come true, so that made him think that maybe it was all true. I say that because I had that reaction – and so did another friend. And thinking about what Castiel’s fate was in the future, when he took the Mark? Sam can’t allow that to happen. So he can’t do it.)
Chuck has his power back, it seems, which makes the whole god gun and god wound and Equalizer thing seem like a lot of plot time only to be resolved sort of easily. I mean, so much in this episode seemed way too easy, didn’t it? Considering the massive undertaking it would have been to trap Amara, was a simple spell with a blossom from Purgatory really going to contain God?? Just like that? I don’t know, it all seems off….
But that’s okay, because I loved the next scene. Chuck being back at full power should be scary as hell, but Dean Winchester is not scared. He gets right in Chuck’s face, saying he knows Chuck won’t kill them because that’s not the ending he wants.
Chuck confirms what we all thought, that Sam’s earlier visions were not the future, but memories of different Sam and Deans in different worlds. Who all killed each other.
Chuck: Just like you, they didn’t think they would do it either. But they did. And so will you.
(This makes no sense, btw, in the context of Chuck’s insistence that he cares about them).
Dean, a good half a foot taller than Chuck, towers over him. Unafraid.
Dean: No. Not this Sam. Not this Dean. We will never give you the ending that you want.
Sam looks on, hope sparking as he sees his brother still defiant.
Chuck: We’ll see.
Snap, he’s gone.
That is the Dean Winchester I know and love!
(Also, how did Rob Benedict survive that and not spontaneously combust??)
Sam looks so relieved to hear his big brother say that and to hear that he hasn’t given up hope like the Dean of that future vision.
Cut, back to the bunker, Eileen packing her gear and getting ready to leave. Sam says he wishes she would stay, but Eileen says that after all that happened, she doesn’t know what’s real anymore.
I can understand how she must feel, and how awful it must be to be used like that. Even though I think there’s genuine affection between her and Sam, they can’t know right now, and that’s awful.
He cups her face and kisses her, saying “I know that’s real.”
She nods and heads up the stairs.
It would have been a tender scene, and Shoshannah and Jared manage to convey some real affection. Except we know that Chuck has been manipulating both of them. How can either of them trust anything? I’m not sure Sam would kiss her when she has just said she doesn’t know what is real so she can’t do this. I know if you ship it you were probably just happy to see it, but again it felt like the goal was to have the emotional moment just for that reason, without a context that allowed it to make sense for those characters. There was also unbelievably dramatic (melodramatic) music that started playing as Eileen slowly walked up the stairs, which threw me totally out of the moment. Just let the emotion come through, Show, for godsakes! These actors can do that. Both Shoshannah and Jared showed us the characters’ conflicting emotions in this scene in a nuanced yet powerful way; they didn’t need the melodrama.
I am relieved that Eileen is still alive, though!
Sam joins Dean and Cas in the kitchen. He’s clearly feeling awful, like he messed things up and let Dean and Cas down. Which broke my heart for him, because he was put in the terrible position of having to make a decision about what would be best for the entire universe based on things only he had seen. He was still clearly trying to do the right thing.
Sam: This was our chance to stop Chuck. But what Chuck showed me, what would happen if we trapped him… I believed him.
Dean does not hesitate.
Dean: That’s good enough for me.
I loved this scene and Dean’s resolute loyalty to his brother. There have been times in the show when Dean has not believed Sam – and those times have been incredibly painful for Sam. The look on his face when Dean instantly trusts him is priceless – and damn, Jared knows how to show it.
I’m not sure either of them should be believing Chuck at all, however. He had a clear agenda, everything he does is a manipulation. Why not this?
Sam: So what now? If we can’t kill him, or trap him…
Dean: Well then, we’ll find another way.
Sam’s look is so relieved, and that touched me. Dean is not hopeless, not in this reality.
Cut to the Empty, and Jack. And Billie.
Billie: It’s time.
So here we are, headed into the final eleven episodes. I have to say, I would be on board for Dean and Sam fighting to not do what Chuck wants. To not become Cain and Abel like every other Sam and Dean in every other universe. Exercising the free will that even Chuck realizes they do have. That was teased way back in the middle of the series, that Sam and Dean would go toe to toe, and it never really happened as Sam and Dean. If that’s what the last part of the show will be, I’m down for it. This could be the biggest test of the brothers’ relationship of all.
On the other hand, while I enjoy Jack as a character, I’m not on board for this being the Jack-saves-us-all show. I’ll wait and see, but an ending where someone else swoops in and saves the day is not what I signed up for.
I was left with alot of questions after this episode. There were things I liked, but I’m also frustrated that some other things didn’t work for me. Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to tonight’s episode if it allows me to laugh a little. I need it!
Speaking of which, the cast had fun during filming, from the looks of their twitter posts.
Here’s to next week!
Caps by @kayb625
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27 thoughts on “Supernatural Returns From Last Mid Season Hiatus with ‘The Trap’”
Thanks for this Lynn, so much of this episode made me so very angry( ironic huh?) But you thoughtful insight has given me a perspective I could run with that helped sort through how I could make this work for me. Especially with the whole Dean / Cas awkwardness that seemed to come from nowhere and everywhere. The prayer was a particular problem to me. But it wasn’t really exactly what I saw and your explanation made so much sense. A wise woman councilled me be patient , look at other views in the midst of my frustration and disappointment, and there you were, with just the right words . Thank you
You’re welcome – your wise words often do that for me as well. I did alot of mental gymnastics for this episode – hoping that tonight’s will let my poor brain kick back and recover!
My other wise friend recommended lots of ice cream as a relaxation technique, it worked for me…🤗
I have always loved your reviews as I always felt like you were one of the weekly reviewers who actually dug deep and were honest with what you found, good or bad.
& 90% of the time, I agree with 90% of what you write. Sometimes I would have gripes with the show, read your review and then reevaluate my opinion through slightly more rose-colored glasses.
That is until now. This episode (this season, really) felt like such a betrayal to me. I thought this episode was THAT bad. It just felt so far off the reservation. I’ve never finished an episode of this show and felt that angry, hurt, helpless, hopeless.
I honestly feel like it was straight up character assassination for the Winchesters. I’m truly not convinced Berens even likes Sam and Dean the way he writes them.
I don’t think I will ever forgive the show for invalidating Dean’s anger and groveling to Cas in that prayer. Dean’s tears didn’t work for me either for (I think) the first time in Supernatural’s history. I was too busy seeing red. That whole scene just did not feel like Dean and did not ring true to his normal emotional response. It felt very over-the-top. I mean, have we ever seen Dean that emotional..ever? No. Not even about SAM. It came out of left field.
It all just feels like a trend too: tear down Sam & Dean, prop up everyone else. Weak, dumb Sam. Wrong, angry Dean. Why? We already know they are human with beautiful, real flaws. But these characterizations are doing such a disservice to who Sam & Dean are.
The whole God-meta “I can do whatever I want ::sticks out tongue::” tone this episode (this season) had is feeling all too real. It doesn’t feel like good story-telling. It feels messy..and cruel..and pointless.
Even if I didn’t like where the story was headed, I never not enjoyed watching the show each week until now. I’m not enjoying my Thursday nights this season. I just feel like we’ve nose-dived this season in quality. I just want to shake my show & yell at it to “BE BETTER” because it still has sooooo much potential.
I just..I admire your ability to still find the nuggets of good in episodes like one. I’m glad your still getting joy from the show this season. I will I could look past all the crap I see. But I just can’t.
I feel every word of this. Watching has become a chore, and I avoid the new episodes as long as I can without falling behind and having to (shudder) binge to catch up. Cuz I can’t take more than one episode of this season at a time.
This was not a good episode. There were too many things that made no sense. As you already mentioned, Eve (or her minions) leaving Dean in that field-he did kill Eve after all- was confusing.
Things I liked-defiant Sam and Castiel finally succeeding at something
Things I disliked- pretty much everything else. Bossy Castiel, that Dean prayer which just made me cringe,-Jensen’s acting was great but the reasons were wrong. I think it was pandering to Destiel fans and it showed. Also, the plot holes you could drive Baby through and the terrible laughable vampires that were supposed to be Sam and Dean.
Maybe someday this episode will make sense but right now? It was awful. And I totally agree that the ridiculous sappy music when Sam and Eileen kissed was so unnecessary.
April 17, 2020 is when Claire died. Keep that date in mind.
It just seems very clear to me that the remaining writers on the show, with VERY few exceptions, have either been directed to assassinate the boys’ characters or have finally been given the freedom to show the audience just how little they like or understand Sam and Dean. It really feels like in this last season, Dabb went, “It’s okay – I don’t get the appeal of this show either, go ahead and grab anything you need from Twitter if you get stuck on a plot or character,” and probably 90% of the writing staff went, “OH THANK GOD, it’s just too HARD to put in EFFORT.” Especially Dean’s prayer to Cas, which really just had me sitting here wondering why the writers hate Jensen that they keep giving him that kind of crap and expecting him to sell it. First the Peter Pan Lucifer fight, then the non-existent Michael arc, and now this Destiel pandering.
And I’m genuinely not here for a “Jack saves the world” end to the show. I’m really not.
I agree. This show is about the brothers. Period.
Castiel, Jack they’re extras. I’m going to be very pissed (not that the writers care) if the boys aren’t heroes in their own story.
I kind of can’t wait for the ending, because Dabb is all, “It’s closed ended. It would be very difficult for anyone to continue the story.” I can guarantee you that there are a boatload of fanfic writers who read that and went, “Challenge accepted,” and are just waiting to see whatever crappy ending he’s come up with, fingers poised over their keyboards.
And how depressing is it that THAT’S what I’m looking forward to in the final season of my favorite show?
What in the Hell is up with Dabb? Even the J’s have indicated that they would be up for a Supernatural movie and now Andrew has to crap all over that? I myself doubt there would ever be a spin-off but for him to intentionally write it close ended? I read here and there how Dabb is just pissed over fandom not supporting his spin-off so he’s just taking it out on us by destroying the show we know and love it and I always thought that was just silly talk but hearing his final plan – I have to wonder if there’s something to it?
Everything about the way Dabb wrote season 14 and is writing season 15 screams to me that he is nothing more than a petty little man who feels like he was PROMISED a spinoff, rather than generously being given a second chance at a spinoff even when he didn’t deserve it (the awful first spinoff attempt in Season 8 was him, too), so he’s just retaliating and changing the entire show. He indicated in the same interview that he planted seeds for the ending a while ago, and that’s why I personally am placing money on Jack saving the world. Because all the way back in season 12, Jack showed Cas that he could bring about utopia, and wouldn’t it be a final middle finger to have Dabb’s self insert original character be the one that not only saves the world, but also closes out Sam and Dean’s story forever?
I always enjoy reading your reviews, but I did disagree with a lot of the things abt this one. Which is fine, everyone can have their opinion, I just wanted to share mine
My main disagreement, is the idea that Dean was apologising for his feelings, and that Cas should’ve recognised Dean wouldn’t forgive him quickly.
1stly – I don’t think Dean was apologising for having feelings, I think he was acknowledging that he has anger issues. Which… I think he does. When he smashes things. When he pulled a gun out on Kaia. When he yells. Its underatandable that dean is angrg – I can agree with that.
But its not healthy, and he often takes it out on people. Cas made a mistake. But that in itself did NOT cause Mary to die. Mary’s death was a result of a cumulation of factors. Jack burned off his soul thus rendering him moraless. Cas didn’t tell them Jack killed his snake. At the same time, neither Sam, nor Dean seemed too concerned with the state of Jacks soul, despite the fact he killed an archangel with it. Thats on them.
That being said, We can recognise Cas made a mistake,, but he doesnt deserve to “wait it out” when hes told, “youre dead to me,” sent down to hell despite the fact he could die down there, and then be told that basically hes the reason averything goes wrong.
Cas had to watch His father kill essentially his son, and had to burn the body of said son, and no one… cared. No one cared about how HE was feeling.
Cas does not have to wait on dean to stop treating him like a punching bag, especially when hes dealing with his own emense grief.
thank you Lynn, I think I agree with almost everything you said about this strange episode. So much was off kilter it was hard to process and make an opinion. I think it would have worked better as a 2 parter I think so that everyone would have had the luxury of actually processing all of their emotions and circumstances. I’m also of the strong opinion that Chuck was completely manipulating Sam with those visions and outright said that they were visions of other Sams and Deans, not the actual future if they lock him up. I’ve read and heard on podcasts that some people are totally buying the prophecy thing. Chuck was totally lying about being the one that kept the monsters at bay, since when. phooey. I also am disappointed in that whole killing Sam’s hope freed Chuck from his wound and the bond with Sam. sorry, too easy, too pat, and a copout and waste of half of the season.
Deans prayer to Cas was ridiculous. To feel guilty and as if he has to apologize for his anger. Hell yes he should be angry at Cas – shall we count the ways? I think I’d run out of comment space. Over all the years culminating with Mary’s death? The crap he’s done to Sam alone! His arrogance and belief that he needs to fix things when all he does over and over is screw things up or make them worse? He’s betrayed them, he’s put Sams life on the line, he endangered them all with his saying yes to Lucifer. He’s a celestial being eons old but you’d think he is a perpetual baby in a trench coat. Yes, fine, have Dean forgive him but he has nothing to apologize for when it comes to the justifiable frustration and anger he feels. That prayer was over the top and out of character. Dean breaking down in the middle of Purgatory over Cas? Half hour left let’s have ourselves a little cry. And yet not a thought for his brother who is being ?held/tortured/killed? whom he loves more than life itself??? Nope it’s all about Cas and his little hurt feelings. You know, the Cas who left him unconscious and vulnerable to all Purgatory comers? Yeah. I buy that. They ruined Castiels character some time ago. Dean forgiving him doesn’t make that better.
☝☝☝☝ So much this.
Love your reviews Lynn. My take about Dean and Cas isn’t that Cas expected to be forgiven in 48 hours, but more that for the first time, he was hurt too. He was angry because not only does Dean blame him for Mary’s death, but Dean is threatening Jack, Cas’ son. If it was just Cas I think he would realize how Dean uses anger as an outlet fo grief and pain, but this time Dean blamed the one person Cas loves as much (or maybe even more) than the Winchesters. Anyway, just my two cents. Jack makes the difference to Cas.
I too hated this episode and had serious issues with Dean’s prayer that everyone else who has issues has already voiced so I won’t rehash them.
Am I the only one who is confused about the return of the Mark? Did I miss something somewhere? How is this even back in play?
So now Cass has it. Okay. He could just inhabit a new vessel that isn’t the body of Jimmy Novak and the Mark would be gone.
I hated the kiss between Sam and Eileen. It was in unnecessary. I liked her character until they resurrected her to be a potential love interest. The Show never had to go there with her character. She could have served the story as Chuck’s spy without being a potential girlfriend to Sam. I hope that’s the last we see of her character.
I’ve lost all hope in the show. I thought next episode- “The Heroes Journey” had potential but I was wrong. I won’t say anything else about that episode here.
I would love to get J2 alone with a bottle of whiskey and see how they really feel about this season. Maybe someday they’ll spill the beans.
This has to be awful for J2. Clearly their meeting with the writing staff was just to appease the “talent,” and they were completely ignored. It’s not like they can say, “We’re not doing that” when they’re under contractual obligation and it’s the last season. I haven’t seen last night’s episode (putting it off as long as I can), but from the chatter I’ve seen it’s like Dabb & Co. are actively trying to see who can write the worst episode and how far they can push the actors before they just show up plastered at a con and start throwing out f-bombs about the final season.
Cas doesn’t have the Mark because they never successfully completed the spell – Chuck destroyed it.
Another ridiculous writing idea. You have the Mark and you have the Mark! And you! And you! Everybody gets to bear the Mark! Thanks for nearly ruining/watering down another past story Dabb.
Wow. Everyone has strong opinions about this one. Next week, I am reading your review just before watching the next episode, as I had almost blanked The Trap from my mind before watching Heroes Journey. I didn’t think it was the best episode, and was left feeling confused over more than a few things. I think I have now got to the point of just accepting that canon barely exists anymore, and the writers just change it to suit themselves – how long has it been since Cas’ powers were consistent? It makes me sad, – really, really sad – but I know when the show is over and I look back and feel like binge watching, I will probably stop way before these last few seasons. They promised us a great season to go out with, but so far there have only been odd moments that were great.
I always read your episode reviews, though I very rarely comment.
Something about this ep reminded me of “Abandon All Hope” and the middle of season five, not emotionally but in the game the writers play. At that time, we were being teased by the idea of the Colt being the answer to the Lucifer problem, only to have it go up in smoke during the mid-season finale, plus losing two beloved characters in that ep in a way that didn’t accomplish a Hail Mary for anything other than the peril presented in that episode. I was pretty bummed about Show in the middle of Season 5, thinking it was coming to an end, and not happy with how it was going down at the moment.
I’m really hoping the parallels I’m seeing to season five in season 15 pan out, because…once again we have the Big Bad luring the Winchesters in, there seemingly being a quick fix for the Big Bad, and then it all going up in smoke at the threshold of success, right around mid-season. That is the only thing really giving me hope for a finale that will knock my socks off as satisfyingly as the end of season five did.
So, I’ll be over here, crossing all my appendages that we still get a good sendoff, but really, really nervous and uncomfortable…
Hey Lynn. Sorry it’s been so long since I responded to one of your reviews. I always love reading them and they always make me think. It’s really helpful hearing another perspective on this show we love. And I like that you are open about what you like and don’t like about the show, while still being a diehard fan. A few of my reactions:
I agree with you about Chuck and found his manipulation of Sam and Eileen getting together absolutely horrifying and devastatingly cruel to both. I guess it was too good to be true, but we all wanted it for them so much.
Like you, I was taken aback by Cas’ telling Dean not to be stupid and Dean not going to Sam and then accepting not splitting up with Cas in Purgatory. Dean’s primary directive (character growth and maturing, notwithstanding) is ‘watch out for Sammy’. And he is also a born leader… so his actions seemed… off. Hmmm.
In fact, all of the characters seemed somewhat off this episode:
– Cas angry and holier-than-thou
– Sam not thinking things through and then giving up
– Chuck small and petty (but perhaps this was the point?)
– Eileen tearful and without agency (grrr), and
– Dean indecisive and not willing to lead…
I guess the writers wanted the plot to reach a certain point, so had to bend the characters somewhat to get there? Hmmm.
The Chuck digging out the bullet thing while remaining unhurt seemed weird to me, too. Hmmm. And the connection of Sam’s hope to the bullet wound seemed to come out of nowhere. Hmmmm.
Your point about mental gymnastics being required is a good one. I mean I don’t want things oversimplified and spelled out for me, but equally I don’t want to have to bend over backwards to understand a character’s choices and the consequences of those choices. I think good writing is when the story walks between those two lines without needing to contort itself or the characters within it to maintain its balance.
The Harry Potter time-turner watch was interesting, though one couldn’t help but think of Hermione! I’m still not sure if any of the glimpses of the future were real or simply Zachariah/The End/Dark Side of the Moon-esque manipulations of possible futures by Chuck to get Sam to give up and his wound to heal. Or that they were not memories of what happened to other Sams and Deans. Like you, the whole ‘writers lie’ thing made believing the visions hard. The acceptance of no cure for vampirism and that all vampires are evil and must be killed was particularly odd. Hmmm.
Your point about anger being explored overall in this episode was really interesting and made me think. And the point about Dean only just having lost his mother so very recently and lashing out to deal with the raw grief being understandable, makes complete sense to me. And Cas’ lack of understanding of that is … because he’s grieving the loss of a child? But then so is Dean to some extent…
I don’t remember the relationship between Eve and the Leviathans myself… I know Cas let them out of Purgatory and then helped kill Dick Roman…but Dean was equally involved in that, AND as you say it was Dean who killed Eve, so why would she and they leave him untouched in Purgatory… Plus, Purgatory is about everything killing everything anyway, isn’t it? And then Cas escapes off-camera and gets the flower and appears gently dishevelled at the door in the nick of time…hmmm…
The one place where I differ with you is that I found Dean’s prayer to Cas absolutely heart-breaking (though it being about Cas not Sam is strange, on reflection). I think that was down to Jensen Ackles’ acting. He wrecks me in scenes like this and I sobbed (as usual!)
I also loved how Dean talked about not understanding why he is angry all the time. I guess as a hunter with you and yours in constant danger, anger being better than fear becomes a way of life and you forget what you are like without your shield of anger?
But, I found your point about Dean being over-ready to take the blame for things and apologise for things that are not wrong, for his FEELINGS, to prevent abandonment, devastating. How terrible. How appalling.
Again, your point about the oddness of Dean accepting Cas would take the Mark is something I agree with…and the Mark of Cain? What? Since when? Did I miss this being mentioned before? Hmmm.
And why can’t Cas destroy the orb thing? Dean was not incapacitated by the Mark…why would Cas be? Hmmm.
This episode seemed a bit like the writers said. OK. By the end of this episode, we have to get rid of both God’s bullet wound and Eileen and fix Dean and Cas’ relationship to set up the second half of the season. Doesn’t matter how. OK, go.
(Which is understandable from a writing-a- TV-show point-of-view, but not from Sam-and-Dean—are-people-who-make-authentic-choices-that-are-true-to-their-characters-and-in-the-context-of-their-experiences point of view.)
Jensen and Jared were as brilliant as usual and the scene where Dean faced down Chuck was fantastic and losing Eileen that way was clever and upsetting (luckily I didn’t notice the music you mentioned!). And I too love how Dean unquestioningly accepted Sam’s explanation of why he couldn’t smash the orb.
And so much yes to this!: ‘while I enjoy Jack as a character, I’m not on board for this being the Jack-saves-us-all show.’ Seconded. Thirded.
I’m here for the Winchesters.
Sam ‘n’ Dean.
Let’s go, boys 🙂
Go team Winchester, I stand with you on that. Also very excellent point and I believe you are the very first to pick up on it, of course Dean will be grieving not only Mary, but Jack also. Despite everything, he took Jack into his heart, as angry and hurt as he was , he’d not have wanted Jack to die. That was exactly why he stood down, he couldn’t kill him , because he still cared.
Those other AU Sam and Dean’s always had Castiel with them. Team Free Will always works together. Without the Trinity-Sam, Dean, and Castiel-they destroy each other in our worlds.