There’s something to say for longevity. When Dean is repossessed by Michael in “Nihilism” and locked away in his own mind, I thought of Gadreel in season nine kidnapping Sam’s body and securing him in a corner of his mind. When Sam and Cas hook themselves up to a machine in order to dream walk through Dean’s head, I thought of Crowley possessing Sam to wake him up. It’s all the same.
And yet, Supernatural is still entertaining. It’s probably due to the length of time it’s been around that the show can get away with repeating certain beats. Gadreel’s possession of Sam was five seasons ago now. A lot has happened in that time. So while all this feels familiar, there’s still some exciting developments.
We start off in Dean’s head. It’s pretty clear that’s where we are, since there have been many treks through the Winchester minds before. Dean owns a bar called Rocky’s and the whole thing has an endgame kind of vibe to it. Being 14 seasons in, it’s easy to wonder how this show will eventually end. Maybe the brothers retire and own a bar? The Roadhouse Part 2, perhaps?
Pamela Barnes (Thunderbird Dinwiddie) is there too, making her first appearance since season five, during which she also worked in a bar, but in heaven. No telling why it’s Pamela in Dean’s head, but the two show incredible chemistry drinking and fighting vampires together. What’s different from all the other times the brothers have gone mind walking is that Dean and Pamela are on some sort of time loop. They jump from scene to scene inside Dean’s head, the two oblivious they’re on some sort of Groundhog Day ride. My favorite revelation in this episode is when Sam and Cas find Dean and Pamela in the bar and see the loop from the outside. In the middle of conversations, Dean and Pamela go straight to the next moment in this narrative, without ever finishing a complete scene. Maybe it’s Michael’s influence, but I appreciate the show attempting to make these scenes feel different.
Earlier, Sam was able to call on a reaper for help escaping the office building in Kansas City, with Billie’s interference landing them directly in the bunker, with Michael in tow, handcuffed. That leaves Maggie and the other Apocalypse World survivors in Kansas City, dealing with the monster take over. As much as I loved these hunters getting in on the action, I couldn’t help but think if they had been more established in the first half of the season, their fight for survival in Kansas City would have had more tension to it. The only one that held any sort of emotional weight was Maggie, who nervously takes charge of the group, giving a wobbly pep talk about how they owe Sam before it’s cut off by the arrival of vampires. Beyond Maggie, though, the other hunters are nameless. When that one runs into the forest and later is revealed to have been changed, I didn’t care. Excusing the fact that I don’t think the change should have happened that fast, just imagine how this would have played if we had known these hunters more.
Jack is left to guard the bunker as Sam and Cas help Dean. Maggie and the hunters arrive, the monsters following in their wake. Now here’s where we start to see the consequences of Jack’s return from the dead. Jack has powers again, but I’m not so sure it’s his nephilim powers, but Lily Sunder’s powers. He’s able to dispatch the monsters with a single blow, but that amount of power comes at a cost — with each use, he’ll lose part of his soul. Maybe Sam can tutor him on this subject.
Once Sam and Cas clue Dean in on what’s going on, Dean’s able to fight off Michael. I’m not entirely sure why Dean can’t banish him like Sam did with Gadreel (what makes Michael so much more powerful?), but Dean is able to lock Michael away, a reversal of what Michael did to Dean. It’s impossible not to draw parallels between the Sam/Gadreel possession, but here, Dean knows he’s possessed. Looks like we’ve got a classic case of a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde situation for the time being.
And then, Billie appears to deliver her version of Doctor Strange’s “endgame” speech from Infinity War — all those books Billie showed Dean last time they talked all end the same way now, except one. She gives Dean the book that says they’ll win, and Dean looks worried. I think, at this point, the only plausible person to beat Michael is Michael. Break Michael from the cage, in turn finally releasing Adam, and let them battle it out.
This mid-season premiere was certainly entertaining, and I was glad to see they did something else with Michael taking control of Dean again, allowing us to have Dean but adding another layer of tension to the situation.
This Week’s Wayward Thoughts:
- Too bad Jessica the Reaper didn’t appear. She had great comedic timing and I like the idea of a reaper playing comic relief in the shadows. This moment also showed off Sam’s intelligence. Didn’t appreciate the reaper that did show up laying a lot of blame on Sam, though.
- “We don’t want your emotional support, we want your actual physical help.”
- “Put a chair against the door.” Jensen Ackles is fantastic at Michael, though.
- Before Sam and Cas go dream walking, we get a little of Michael’s perspective on the events of the season. It turns out, his beef with the world has to do with god, much like Lucifer’s. He also makes it seem like god — or Chuck — is the one god for every universe, which is interesting. This line: “Even god can die” is most likely a great foreshadow for what’s coming this back half of the season. Will Chuck pull a third act appearance like he did in season 11?
- I love the moment when Cas tells Sam both brothers have been through a lot. When this moment first started, with Sam commenting on how much Dean has been through, as if Sam hasn’t been through just as much, I was worried this was another example of the show leaning to Dean’s perspective again, as a lot of the show does. But Cas saves the moment with his exasperated acknowledgement to Sam that Sam has too.
- “I’m the cage.”
- Supernatural: Endgame.