Dean and Ketch have made it to Apocalypse World, and with no clue which way to go, they chase their best lead – the unexpectedly familiar face of a human rebel. Meanwhile Sam and Cas do their best to put Gabriel back together….
Supernatural – “Bring ‘em Back Alive”, Season 13, Episode 18
Airdate: April 12, 2018
Director: Amyn Kaderali
Writers: Brad Buckner and Eugenie Ross-Lemming
Created by: Eric Kripke
What You Should Know:
Over the years, Dean and Sam have met and then lost a lot of friends. Among them is Charlie Bradbury, a young woman who wove her way into their hearts and became like a sister to both before being brutally murdered by another of their enemies. A death for which Dean will never forgive himself.
Dean and Sam have been searching for a way to rescue Mary, and now Jack, from Apocalypse World since they learned Mary was still alive. They found a spell, then they found the ingredients – with a little-unexpected help from Ketch – and then Dean left Sam to remain in the bunker while he and Ketch went off to perform the rescue. Or die trying.
Before bringing the broken and beaten archangel, Gabriel, to the Winchesters as a peace offering, Ketch had struck a deal with Asmodeus. Gabriel’s captor. A deal that never included apprehending Asmodeus’ pet drug and helping the Winchesters achieve their goal.
All the while, nobody is yet aware that Lucifer has gained control of Heaven. With the quick-thinking angel Anael at his side.
What You’ll Find Out:
Dean and Ketch step through to Apocalypse World, landing in an area vastly different than the one Dean saw before. Instead of a war-torn wasteland, they’re surrounded by seemingly untouched mountain wilderness covered in snow. Ketch declares they should get moving, which catches Dean’s attention. Dean suggests he follow his own earlier plan and they split ways, but Ketch declines. He wants to help, and he figures helping rescue Mary is the least he owes her.
Reluctantly accepting Ketch’s allegiance, they start traveling, looking for anything to point them in the direction of the fighting. And they find it as they near a bridge. Armed angelic soldiers marching out several human prisoners, all in cuffs and under black hoods. Dean and Ketch move into a hidden position to watch what happens as the angel in charge announce that the humans – part of the rebel group standing against Michael – are to be executed. One by one the hoods are ripped off and an angel burns out their souls. Until the last human remains and her hood is removed as well. Revealing the fearless face of Charlie Bradbury.
Dean is taken aback at Charlie’s appearance and has to be restrained by Ketch. The angel hesitates to execute her, as she’s “not the usual human scum.” She’s known to have met with Jack and Mary, as well as herself being a central figure of the rebellion. He believes she could have intelligence on the other rebellion locations and, more importantly, the Nephilim. Information Michael would want. So instead of killing her he chooses to take her to his base and see what sort of answers he can pull from her. All the while she promises to personally be the one “grind [his] feathers into dust.” Her attitude angers the angel, but he doesn’t kill her. With Dean and Ketch watching from the sidelines, the angels take Charlie and vanish.
Dean leads the way, full steam ahead, as they trudge through a barely-discernable path in the snow. But he stops when he realizes he can no longer hear Ketch’s own footsteps crunching behind him. He turns, unable to spot him, and calls out. Ketch steps into view from around a tree, lecturing Dean on the advantages of practicing stealth versus barging in like a bull in a china shop. Irritated with Ketch’s lecture, Dean argues that they need to hurry to find Charlie before the angels kill her. Prompting Ketch to question Dean’s real motive for switching gears and suddenly being so focused on Charlie. Dean insists she’s important because they both heard the angel declare she knows something about Mary and Jack. But he can’t quite deny it when Ketch asks him point-blank if it isn’t more personal than that.
Instead, Dean checks his watch, declares they need to keep moving, and speeds ahead. After a few yards, he loses sight of Ketch again. Ketch doesn’t respond when he calls out this time and Dean gets aggravated. Dean fails to see the gunman stepping into his path until he turns back around, and then it’s too late. He takes a shot to the shoulder that knocks him to the ground. The shooter doesn’t waste time pushing his lead. As Dean rolls over and attempts to reach for his dropped bag the shooter runs and jumps on him, attempting to tie him up. He comments on Dean being “a strong one” and that he’ll be “paid double” for Dean. With his new injury and disadvantageous angle Dean struggles to get free, but then Ketch is there, tackling the man off him and pressing a knife to his throat.
Ketch demands to know where the shooter planned to take Dean, threatening to kill him if he doesn’t talk, but instead the shooter manages to roll Keth off and take control of the fight. During the wrestling match, Dean managed to get hold of his gun and fires two shots into the air, startling them both and getting the shooter – who’s since been disposed of his own firearm – to raise his hands in surrender. Dean aims the gun at him, repeating Ketch’s question. The shooter refuses so Dean shoots out his knee. Recognizing his defeat, the shooter offers up the intel: he was going to deliver Dean to a POW camp known as The Silo.
Making their way to The Silo, Ketch examines the weapons they confiscated from the man who shot Dean, commenting that he doesn’t even recognize some of them. Dean identifies the ammunition in Ketch’s hand as angel killing bullets – items he’ll definitely want to hold onto. With that cleared up, Ketch returns to asking about Charlie. He guesses that the other Charlie was perhaps a former girlfriend of Dean’s, maybe even one who broke Dean’s heart. Instead of commenting, Dean collapses, falling against a tree. Ketch rushes over, certain Dean’s bullet wound is worse than they’d originally thought and shuts Dean down when he tries to insist that he’s fine. Instead, he tears Dean’s shirt enough to get a clear, unobstructed view of the wound in Dean’s shoulder, and he goes a little pale. The skin around the wound is black and appears to be spreading, like some sort of poison or virus. Definitely more than your average bullet hole.
Ketch has extracted several supplies from his bag, mixing something together quickly while Dean remains unwillingly resting in the snow. Ketch explains he recognizes several of the symptoms Dean’s going through as a poison of sorts the Men of Letters used on monsters to “hobble their prey.” Leading him to believe these individuals use at least a very similar poison as well. In which case they only have a short window within which to administer the anti-toxin before the prey, in this case, Dean, dies a particularly gruesome death. The conversation reminds Dean of horrible the British Men of Letters were, a fact Ketch can no longer deny, but as he has the anti-toxin ready it’s time to stop talking. He warns Dean that it’s going to hurt before applying the first coat, forcing Dean to draw in sharp, shallow breaths.
Dean and Ketch, with Ketch taking point, continue in their search of The Silo. It’s grown dark and they’re running short on time. Dean’s still suffering the effects of a gunshot wound to his shoulder, as well as whatever lingering – though diluted – poison may be in his system. His over-exertion forces him to rest briefly against a snow-covered tree stump and Ketch suggests they both stop and rest, given Dean’s condition. Dean thanks him for the help with the poison treatment but insists that with time running out he can’t afford to rest. He needs to find Charlie. He offers instead for Ketch to rest while he himself keeps going and resumes walking, getting an entire three feet before falling face-first to the ground. His duffle the only thing that keeps his face from landing on the rocky ground.
Ketch takes a seat on a tree root and brings up the “Charlie issue,” pressing the larger need of finding and rescuing Mary and Jack. He thinks at this stage it would be wiser to go back home, regroup, and try again. Dean of course refuses, rolling over and propping himself up against another tree stump. When he swears Charlie won’t give the angels the information they want, Ketch corrects him – Dean’s Charlie wouldn’t have. Ketch asks, again, what the story there is. And though Dean doesn’t want to tell it, he eventually relents, admitting Charlie had been like a sister to him and Sam. He says “she was butchered,” that they weren’t able to get to her in time, and Ketch recognizes that Dean sees her death as his own personal failure. A fact Dean makes no effort to deny.
Dean takes the opportunity, after Ketch admits at least understanding Dean’s perspective, to ask for Ketch’s story. Ketch admits he’s got many similar ‘failures.’ He explains that the difference is he made no attempt to save them. He did it all in the name of duty, of course. But in a lower tone he declares it “rubbish.” Nothing is said for a moment before Ketch uncharacteristically states “Oh, what the hell,” and stands up, offering his hand to Dean. At the look Dean gives him he adds that he’s on board with rescuing Charlie – in the hopes that perhaps doing so will wash away just a portion of the blood on his hands.
Meanwhile, the angel who’d previously chosen to take Charlie for interrogation is fast losing his patience as it seems she’s refusing to give him what he wants. He has her restrained and kneeling on a concrete floor, with two other angels as guards. He asks her, not for the first time, for the location of rebel bases and how many there are. She mimics the opening of his question, looks him in the eyes, and says “bite me.” He grabs hold of her hair and tugs back sharply, causing her to cry out, so she quickly apologizes as he shouts that she’s pushing the limits of his patience. She promises to try harder, he loosens his grip, and she repeats, more pointedly, “Bite. Me.” Losing his patience, the angel backhands Charlie, knocking her unconscious, and informs his guards that she is to be executed after all.
As morning rises Dean and Ketch finally come upon The Silo, spotting a row of what appear to be human captives lined up shoulder-to-shoulder before the lead angel at the base. The angel informs the captives that the rebellion is being torn apart, one by one, as Charlie is dragged from a smaller building. Two angels tie her to a single post with several slices in it, surrounded by bloodstains. Upon seeing it Charlie begins to struggle, but she has no leverage. Once she’s tied up the lead angel loudly declares that for her crimes against Michael, she is to be executed. An old-fashioned looking executioner steps out, covered almost entirely in black and wielding a machete. He steps up beside her, lines up his blade with her throat, and draws back for his swing.
Dean pulls a grenade from his bag, pops out the pin, and launches it into the group. It blows just moments before Charlie’s head would have been severed. As soon as the chaos erupts, Dean and Ketch leap in, guns blazing. Angels fall with each angel-killing bullet, but the lead angel takes shelter long enough to flee. While Ketch returns fire with the remaining combatants, Dean shifts gears and cuts Charlie free.
After escaping The Silo, Dean and Ketch take Charlie back to the rift while Dean explains why they’re there in the first place. In possibly too much detail. As they near the rift he tells her they don’t have much time and they need to find his mother and Jack – whom she knows better as the Nephilim. Charlie seems more shocked to refer to Mary as Dean’s mom than to hear about her own alternate reality self, or an alternate reality at all. Though she does say she’d heard Jack and Mary were somewhere near Dayton, Ohio. Finally, she asks why she should believe them at all and Dean shows her the rift. It’s shrunk, as their time is nearly expired, but it remains.
Recognizing that the time to leave and regroup is nigh, Dean declares it’s time to go, but Ketch interrupts him to say he’s staying behind. Ketch tells him to gather Sam, Castiel, and whatever army they can manage, and come back, but in the meantime he’s staying behind. Charlie says she’s staying as well and when Dean actually seems surprised she reminds him that this messed up world is her home. So she tells him to go, and that if he really has a way to stop Michael, then he’d better come back. In the meantime, she has to stay and fight. Dean doesn’t argue further.
A group of angels, led by the one who escaped previously, appear just yards away. Ketch shouts at Dean to go as he and Charlie turn to return fire at the angels. Dean takes their hint and leaps through the rapidly closing rift.
Lucifer is sitting cross-legged on the floor of his throne room, playing Solitaire, when Anael returns. He not-so-casually asks where she’s been and is less than satisfied with her response of “out.” He reminds her of the “sweet deal” she’s got and how she ought to stop giving him attitude and should probably stay at his side. She doesn’t give him the response he wants, but instead argues that he should be out doing “kingly things.” She doesn’t understand why he’s not making good on his promises of helping the angels, or inspiring mankind, or anything of the sort. Lucifer moves to his throne with the argument that at least he’s around and “available to be worshipped.”
Duma strides into the throne room, interrupting their argument, much to Lucifer’s enjoyment. He takes the opportunity to use Duma to suggest that his “First Lady,” Anael – whom he still refers to as Jo – should be more appreciative and embracing of her role. To which Duma carefully answers with a non-answer that Lucifer takes as confirmation. When he then asks her for an update on their search for his son, Duma emphasizes “the few angels we could spare” as she explains they’ve found nothing. Lucifer reminds her finding Jack is priority and when she hesitates he pushes, showing her the ominous glow in his eyes to threaten her into obedience. After she leaves he expresses his shock and dismay at her treatment, knowing no angel would have hesitated to leap to action if God had made such a request. Anael stands again and suggests that if he wants to be treated as God, he should try first acting like God.
Taking inspiration from Anael’s words, Lucifer dons a spiffy black suit complete with shiny shoes and sunglasses. All in the name of embracing his role as “New God.” He appreciates his reflection in a tall mirror before reclaiming his seat on his throne, sitting up straight and arms out in the classic meditative pose. He opens himself up to prayers and his mind is flooded with the voices of humanity “whining” to him – to God. After a few seconds he slouches, unable to believe “Pop” put up with that headache for so long. Then a particular voice catches his attention.
Down on Earth, two priests attempt to perform a classic exorcism. The younger one holds a cross and prays aloud while the lead priest splashes holy water on the young woman tied to the bed, her body arching and flinching with each splash. The priest invokes Archangel Michael and the girl, with an echoing demonic voice, taunts him in response, causing him pause before he renews his seemingly fruitless efforts. Then, off to the side of the room, Lucifer appears. He interrupts the shouting and chaos and when the girl sees him she obviously recognizes him. The priests, of course, do not.
Lucifer walks up, informing the priests that, of course, Satan is not possessing the girl. It’s just a nobody, getting the “day rate.” He looks down at the girl, addresses her as Anthony, and snaps his fingers, forcing a stream of black smoke from the girl’s mouth and chasing it down an air vent. Much to the shocked confusion of the priests. He introduces himself as Lucifer, which earns him a fearful reaction from the younger man, and when he interrupts the ‘propaganda’ speech to quip about his father’s “perfect marketing” and how he’s running Heaven now the priests take immediate offense. They begin shouting and throwing holy water on him. Lucifer tells them to “calm down,” and even “relax,” but when they do neither he kills them. Then he sighs in exasperation.
Back in his throne room, Lucifer is venting. He fails to see how anyone alive is worth his “time or talent.” He blames God for fouling his name for centuries, so that humans and angels alike refuse to trust – let alone follow or worship – him. Anael, watching his temper tantrum, asks if this means he’s throwing in the towel. Lucifer tells her no, he’s simply readjusting his focus. All he needs to do is find his son, join their powers, and then together they can create a new universe. One where everyone worships him. Which, of course, is an awesome plan. Astounded by his reaction, Anael walks up to him, pointedly making fun of him for being so bent out of shape because the humans don’t like him. Without adding an actual ‘get over it,’ she instead tells him to step up and do what he’d said he was going to do. Fix the angels, create more angels. Confronted now, Lucifer checks to make sure no one’s coming and admits that he can’t do those things. That he lied.
Upset by this revelation, Anael deals out some harsh reality as she sees it. That it’s not the humans, or the angels, or his father’s stories. It’s him. She doesn’t think he even really wants to find Jack, because underneath it all he’s afraid to look into Jack’s eyes and see contempt. She tells him he has nothing, basically tells him he is nothing, and that he “might as well go back to the cage.” The last remark causes Lucifer to snap and he grabs her by the throat, his eyes flaring red. He chokes her, holding her there, Anael unable to breathe, for several long seconds before he releases her. Without a word. She backs out of reach, gathers her breath, and declares “now you don’t have me” before striding from the room.
Sam brings Castiel up to speed as they head to Gabriel’s room and Castiel isn’t happy that Sam allowed Dean to head off to Apocalypse World alone. When Sam points out that Ketch went with him Cas displays Dean-like sarcasm in his opinion of how “that makes it so much better.” Sam defends Dean’s decision to go solo, regardless of his actual opinion of it, but they don’t have time to argue over that, because Gabriel needs their help. A point Cas relents to when they reach the room to find Gabriel tucked in the back corner, on the floor, behind the dresser. Making himself as small and invisible as possible. Cas is genuinely surprised to his brother, a powerful archangel no less, in such bad shape.
Sam sets down the small, covered tray he’d brought with him and cautiously approaches Gabriel in order to get the archangel back to the bed. Once that’s accomplished he uncovers the tray, revealing another vial of Gabriel’s stolen grace. He attempts to encourage Gabriel to drink it as one might a medicine but Gabriel leans away as if fearful of it. Seeing this, Cas tries a more forceful approach, and Gabriel freaks out, forcing both of them to step back as he rolls himself backward and off the other side of the bed in order to tuck himself between the wall and nightstand. Leaving the vial of grace still unconsumed.
Asmodeus sits on his throne, rolling two large marbles in his hand, outraged that he still can’t find Gabriel. He reasons that “Ketch is wily” and could feasibly have fallen off his radar, but that shouldn’t be possible for Gabriel. They have some kind of connection he believes should enable him to find the archangel, wherever he may be.
Cas comes back to check on Gabriel and finds the walls and ceiling covered in Enochian. Gabriel is still crouched in same spot where they’d left him. Cas calls to Sam, who is just as surprised at the change. He asks Cas what it is, what it means, and Cas explains that it’s Gabriel’s story. He says it starts with his death – or what had appeared to be his death. He continues to narrate allowed most of Gabriel’s retelling. Of how he’d tricked Lucifer into believing he’d killed the real Gabriel, but it was really just another illusion. And suddenly Gabriel found himself truly free. With no responsibilities or expectations. So he’d done “what any angel would do,” and gone to Monte Carlo, hooked up with porn stars – where Cas begins his skimming summary as opposed to direct narration – until he was captured and become Asmodeus’ drug of choice. Gabriel wrote that Asmodeus, once the weakest Prince of Hell, became strong by feeding on his grace.
Now Sam and Cas know that Gabriel, the Gabriel they remember, is still inside there somewhere. He’s just not talking. They don’t know why, so they can only theorize. Perhaps he can’t, perhaps he’s too scared, perhaps it’s something worse.
Having moved Gabriel to the bed once again, Cas has placed his hands around Gabriel’s head in an effort to heal … something. Clearly at Sam’s request. Castiel informs him, not for the first time, that it’s physically impossible for an angel to heal an archangel. All he can do is attempt to jolt Gabriel’s mind, to give it a push into restructuring itself. Into “thinking straight.” Throughout all of this, Gabriel sits perfectly still. Staring determinedly ahead, unflinching. Cas cautions Sam, as he drops his hands from Gabriel’s head, that it’s always possible Gabriel is just “lost.”
Sam sits with Gabriel after Cas has left for a while, but eventually gives up and moves to leave. Before he exits the room, however, he turns back to Gabriel – who hasn’t changed position or stopped looking ahead – and decides to speak his mind. One on one. Sam tells Gabriel about the similarities he sees between them. How both of them have their differences with their fathers, both tried to get out – and thought for a while they had. Then Sam says his family needed him. He explains he eventually realized that this, what he does, is how he fits in and why he’s there. What he does is how he contributes to making the world a better place. Sam comments about how strippers sound nice in comparison with real responsibility, but adds that the world needs him (Gabriel). That he needs Gabriel. But Gabriel shows no sign of comprehension, let alone actual response, so Sam turns to leave once more, his speech done.
Gabriel’s first spoken words since his rescue. Sam turns back around and, with a flicker of an angelic glow in his eyes, Gabriel properly corrects him. “They were porn stars, Sam.”
Meanwhile, Asmodeus continues to twirl his marbles until he suddenly stops. He grins. He’s found Gabriel.
Castiel has returned with the progress of Gabriel’s speaking, and this time Gabriel willing takes back his grace when presented with it. Cas asks if he feels any better but it’s too soon to tell. Sam’s phone buzzes and he answers on speaker, unprepared for the caller to be Asmodeus. Gabriel immediately reacts, flinching and backing into the headboard as if the wall will protect him. Sam attempts to deny any knowledge of what Asmodeus is looking for, but Asmodeus doesn’t pretend to fall for that and instead very angrily gives him ten minutes to choose: return Gabriel, “no harm, no foul,” or Asmodeus will burn Sam, the bunker, and everyone else inside to ashes.
Sam does what he can to bolster the warding around the bunker while Castiel stays with Gabriel, who seems to be barely not panicking. Mere moments after Sam is done with the additional warding, however, the bunker’s emergency alarm blares. Sam and Cas draw their angel blades and make their way down the hall, hoping to intercept their intruders. The extra warding on the walls flickers in and out as they pass it, indicating the strain being placed on them. They make it to the main room and are immediately attacked by several demons. Though the resulting fight only takes a minute or two, the distraction is enough for Asmodeus to sneak up on them.
Asmodeus pins them against the computer console with his power, informing them that he’s come for what belongs to him as two more demons drag a frightened Gabriel into the room. Asmodeus examines Gabriel, declaring he’s going to have to “punish” him, before instructing the demons to take him out. The demons begin hauling Gabriel up the stairs as Asmodeus returns his attention to Sam and Cas, seeking to kill them before he leaves. With a small gesture both men nearly double over – as much as they can – as Asmodeus opts to start with their insides.
Gabriel sees this from the landing of the stairs as he struggles with his captors and finds the strength to throw them off him. Asmodeus turns in surprise, sharply reprimanding Gabriel, reminding him of who’s boss. Reminding Gabriel which of them is weaker. Gabriel stands straight as his eyes glow again and suddenly his injuries are completely gone. He rolls his shoulders back and a shadow of his wings appears, the threat clear. And to make it extra clear just which of them is stronger, Gabriel knocks aside Asmodeus’ energy-type attack, before extending his hand and burning Asmodeus to ashes. Just as Asmodeus had promised to do to Sam and the bunker.
With the attack over, Sam and Cas sit Gabriel down and tell him presumably everything. Castiel informs him about the other world’s Michael, and how he plans to travel to their world and destroy it. Gabriel seems to be shocked uncharacteristically speechless for a moment, but Sam comments “welcome to the team,” and Gabriel gathers himself. He informs them he’s not a ‘team’ kind of guy. He thanks them for helping him, and for the “redemption arc,” but makes it plain he has no interest in entangling himself with the rest of this massive battle. He goes to leave and Sam calls out to him, reminding him that the world could die if he doesn’t help fight Michael, and Gabriel replies “and the last time the world was ending, I put my money on you.” Castiel takes offense at Gabriel’s intent to abandon them, arguing that he can’t turn his back on their father’s creation. But Gabriel disagrees; if it was good enough for God, it’s good enough for him.
Dean lands back in the bunker just seconds before the rift closes, with Sam and Cas waiting for him. Sam rushes up, noticing the evidence of the gunshot wound on Dean’s jacket, but Dean brushes off Sam’s concern. With the portal then closed Sam realizes Dean came back alone. Dean explains that their mother and Jack have gotten away from Michael and that Ketch stayed back with Charlie to help look for them. The mention of Charlie throws Sam off for several seconds, long enough for Dean to notice the mess and remaining demon vessels. Sam and Cas do their portion of explaining about Asmodeus attacking and how Gabriel killed him, which Dean takes as great news. Gabriel’s back on his feet.
Until Castiel carefully informs Dean that Gabriel left. Dean’s tone shifts as he takes this information in and he asks what happened. They tell him how they asked for Gabriel to help and Gabriel declined, which Dean finds absurd. But at least they still have his grace. Except they don’t. Sam very guiltily admits he used Gabriel’s grace to heal him, and that it’s gone. Meaning they can’t open the rift again. Dean finally loses his cool, shouting how if they can’t open the rift, then he shouldn’t have returned at all. He throws the books and whatever else was on the table nearest him to the floor with a cry of rage, visibly adding to Sam and Castiel’s guilt.
Dean turns his back to take a breath. Thinking out loud, he says how it seems like “every time” they take a step toward rescuing Mary and Jack, and stopping Michael, it gets screwed up. Something happens. After a minute of uncomfortable silence, Castiel assures Dean that, somehow, they’ll find Gabriel. Something which Dean agrees they “had better.”
What Does This Mean for the Future?
More people in Apocalypse World are learning about the interference of people from our main reality. That plus Ketch staying behind is sure to only further enrage Michael and increase his drive to cross realities that much faster. Although he may want to first find and kill either Jack or Mary – or both – first. But this angel v. human war is almost certain to spill over into Sam and Dean’s reality before the fight is over.
Asmodeus may be really dead. In which case Hell will once more be up for grabs, leaving the door wide open for a new villain for next season. Or for Lucifer to return to his original throne in the wake of his struggles with Heaven. He may even want to unite Heaven and Hell and really throw a kink into everything. But that’s all assuming Asmodeus is actually dead. Time will tell.
With Gabriel back in the game, it’s unlikely we’ve seen the last of him. Though whether or not he’ll turn up to help in the big showdown is uncertain, as that’s not generally his style. And if, or when, Lucifer hears he was duped in regards to Gabriel’s death that’s a whole different face off for future tension.
Lucifer has chased away his most loyal companion, Anael. But she isn’t the type to simply walk away and leave it be, not with a betrayal and an attack like that. She could go to the other angels and tell them of his lies. Unite them in booting Lucifer back out of Heaven. Or she could leave Heaven, return to Earth, and seek revenge on Lucifer by looking up the Winchesters – who currently have no idea Lucifer’s taken over Heaven itself.
In short, this episode opened up a whole lot of possibilities, while at the same time furthering the main driving plot. The confrontation with Michael, which is the one thing that remains inescapably certain before season’s end.
Final Thought: Wow. An episode with all but who I consider to be three of the current major players (Mary, Jack, and Michael). We got three different, semi-disconnected storylines that all take us straight in the direction of confronting Michael. Touching base with what’s going on in Heaven with Lucifer while focusing on Gabriel’s situation and following Dean and Ketch in their rescue attempt was unexpectedly great! Not to mention a little Charlie for the soul and a possible end to “Creepy Colonel Sanders” himself, Asmodeus.
I’ll start with Lucifer, since his portion of the episode was easily the most disconnected. I was surprised to see so much ‘trouble in Paradise’ between him and Anael so quickly, I admit. I thought we’d get at least another half episode of them united before she started becoming skeptical of him and his false promises. Or, you know, he killed her. I wasn’t at all surprised, however, to have confirmation that he lied to the other angels about being able to create more – or even restore the wings to those who remained. I suspected that from the moment the words fell from his lips. I just didn’t realize Anael hadn’t at least had a similar suspicion as well.
It was more interesting, to me, to see the actual fracturing between them. Lucifer still showed trust in her, despite the signs of challenge and discontent wafting from her. He even responded when she put the idea in his head that perhaps he should try behaving in some form of Godly manner if he wanted the respect that came with it. One could even argue he put in more effort than he usually would have to pull it off. A crisp suit, an out-of-his-way trip, an attempt at some sort of conversation with two priests. He asked those priests twice to calm down before he killed them. Totally unreasonable by normal, moral standards. But for Lucifer? It felt like effort. Like a (small) step in a better direction.
Rapidly undone, of course, by his next conversation with Anael. Telling a temperamental, murderous archangel that he should’ve stayed locked away for all eternity probably isn’t the smartest thing to do when standing within arms’ reach. But he let her walk away, something I suspect he’ll regret later. It’s only a matter of in what way will she betray him.
Now I’d like to switch gears to Dean and Ketch’s journey in Apocalypse World. I’m going to fangirl for a brief moment to declare that Dean landing (on both sides of the rift, as a matter of fact) on the classic ‘hero’ position of one knee, crouched and ready, was awesome. All on its own. As for the rest, I think this was done fairly well. I’m pretty sure we all knew the ‘24 hours to rescue Mary and Jack’ mission was going to go off-rails somehow, and I did not see this being the reason, so that was nice. Before I get into alt-Charlie’s appearance, though, I want to talk about Ketch and Dean.
Perhaps it was naïve of me, but I had already mostly assumed Ketch intended to help Dean find and rescue Mary – and possibly Jack, but at least Mary. Dean, obviously, had not made this assumption. I thought their interaction as they trudged through the snow on their adjusted mission of rescue alt-Charlie was not only good, but entirely believable. Dean doesn’t trust Ketch (for good reason), Ketch knows this and he’s naturally shady and I suspect he just plain enjoys keeping other people on their toes regardless. They’re both alpha-male types by nature, so left alone they’re bound to butt heads. They have vastly different styles of doing … everything. Making what will happen a complete guessing game. Do I think we can safely trust Ketch? Ha! I will never fully trust Ketch. I do trust that with the British Men of Letters out of the picture (thank you, Chuck), his priority is himself. He will lie, switch allegiances, manipulate who- or what- ever he may have to in order to stay alive. And preferably under the radar. Do I think he feels any guilt or remorse for the things he did as a puppet for the British Men of Letters? I do, actually. I also think that if he had a safe, convenient, or otherwise beneficial opportunity to make some of that guilt go away, he’d do it. You know, like help Dean rescue the alternate reality version of a friend he failed to save. I am also at least 75% convinced of the legitimacy of his fear of Asmodeus….
Moving along to Charlie. Charlie! Who cheered with me? I know you’re out there! That was an unexpected, but entirely satisfying, twist to the episode. And she was so much like the Charlie we knew before that I was halfway convinced she was our Charlie, somehow stuck in Apocalypse World and using her ‘real’ world knowledge gained via Dean, Sam, Castiel, and Supernatural to help fight Michael. Some personalities just stick, I guess! It was fun to see her, great to see her stick to her guns, and heartwarming – and breaking – to watch Dean’s desperation to save her. Knowing all the while she isn’t technically the Charlie he knew before. Those flashbacks, that conversation with Ketch, it was powerful. Impactful. I’m sad it wasn’t our Charlie somehow! What a twist that would’ve been! But hopefully we’ll get to see some more of her by the end of this season, if nothing else.
As for the episode’s most significant plotline, well … Gabriel’s back, baby! And okay, we all wanted him to stay and help fight in the upcoming battle everyone’s anticipating. But honestly, how could Sam and Cas be surprised he bailed like he did? Wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. Watching the self-confident, always joking archangel so frightened and somber was jarring. It’s a bit hard to believe he could have been that badly tortured without being noticed. But then again, he was dead, right? Still, to be afraid of retaking his own grace was telling. Very, very telling. The writing on the wall trope has been done, sure, but it’s within Gabriel’s style and that’s why it works. Not to mention it’s how we, the viewers, learn how he went from dead to captured without having him monologue it entirely. And as a result of learning this story, and then Sam’s later commentary, Gabriel finally speaks. I mean, he’s gotta correct Sam on his facts about those porn stars.
Fast forward to Asmodeus’ attempt to reclaim Gabriel. Instead Gabriel hurled the men restraining him to the ground below and with a show of his repaired wings, burns Asmodeus completely out of existence. (We hope.) Let’s take a small breath of fresh air while that monstrosity’s gone, because it’s not likely to be long before Michael makes his arrival. A fact that, once everything else is explained to Gabriel, Gabriel promptly backs away from. He wants no part in a fight. Fighting’s not his style. It never has been. And that is why Sam, Cas, and Dean shouldn’t have been so shocked that Gabriel ditched.
So now it’s back to the drawing board. They need more angel grace and the clock is nearing its proverbial midnight.
Supernatural airs on The CW on Thursdays. Check your local listings for times.
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