It’s now impossible to talk about Supernatural without also talking about the end. For a show that seemed like it was going to last well beyond our years, last Friday’s announcement from stars Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, and Misha Collins made the end more tangible. All shows end at some point. Now, it’s Supernatural‘s turn.
This makes watching the rest of season 14 feel like a long goodbye. So when I sat down to catch up on the three previous episodes — “Ouroboros,” “Peace of Mind,” and “Don’t Go in the Woods” — it was with the knowledge that we’re on the last leg of this wonderful, complicated, frustrating, hilarious, and beautiful show. Suddenly, 14 (and soon, 15) seasons just doesn’t seem like enough.
But there will be time for reminiscing later in the year. For now, let’s get down to business: I’ve missed the last three weeks of episodes. Oh, the horror (and professional development commitments). I did take the time this weekend to catch up, though. So here’s the run down from Supernatural‘s mid-season stretch:
“Ouroboros” (referencing the circular symbol of a snake swallowing its own tail, meaning wholeness or infinity) does some interesting things mixing its monster-of-the-week story with the multi-episode arc of Jack and his powers. The monster this time is a Gorgon, a Medusa-like creature who’s calling card is a snake. For the monster-of-the-week, the Gorgon is charismatic enough, but Supernatural misses the mark in one scene. The show hasn’t been great with representation across the board. Here, the Gorgon tricks one of its male victims under the guise of sleeping with him. For a show that’s struggled with LGBTQ representation, this scene, which sees the victim accept the offer and is immediately killed by the Gorgon, felt like a gross exploitation. There also doesn’t seem to be a motivation for the Gorgon. He’s just killing people at random. If it’s for food, he seems awfully sadistic just to keep himself alive.
The Gorgon is dispatched fairly early on in the episode due to the other main plot — Jack’s power. Jack uses his power to save Sam, Cas, and Dean from the Gorgon, but with each use, he loses a part of his soul. After the Gorgon dies, some Michael drama pops up to close the episode out. We get more screen time with Maggie and the nameless hunters that occupy the background of the bunker, but by episode’s end, all those hunters are dead once Michael leaves Dean. It’s an unfortunate demise for all of them, especially since they felt underutilized the whole season. If they had been established more, I would feel more sad about their brutal deaths here. Alas, I don’t, but mourn their potential. Maggie deserved better, though.
Michael, too, is dispatched this episode. I would say it feels a bit premature, but perhaps Supernatural is going to pull a Buffy the Vampire Slayer season two switch and make Jack the Big Bad for the rest of the season. He absorbs Michael’s grace, but in doing so he uses up all of Lily Sunder’s power and potentially his soul.
Really loved the moments with Sam and Rowena. Considering Rowena is supposed to die at Sam’s hand, every scene of them together feels more weighted. Especially when Michael reveals that Rowena considers the Winchesters her friends. It’s a touching revelation and I’m glad Sam has found a friend in Rowena.
14×15: “Peace of Mind”
“Peace of Mind” definitely has that Twin Peaks vibe. The whole small town weirdness works on so many levels and is appropriately weird without feeling like a parody of other shows that have tackled this trope. I also appreciated the pairings this episode. Cas and Sam don’t often get to go on their own adventures together, so it’s really great to see them working this case.
Dean and Jack visit Donatello to discuss being soulless, something I’m still not sure why they aren’t talking about to Sam as well. Regardless, Jack’s scenes with Donatello are some of the best moments of the season. The show has had soulless people before, but this is the first time two characters sit down and talk about what a soul is. One of the most profound moments of the show, both thematically and cinematically, is the bit with the coffee. As Donatello speaks to being soulless while still living his life, the camera lingers on his coffee multiple times. It’s one of the most still moments of the show and a great example that even in a show with as much action as Supernatural, sometimes it’s best to just sit with a moment.
Sam’s journey this episode would have more weight if the nameless hunters and Maggie who died last episode has been more established. Sam is struggling to cope with their deaths, feeling like he failed them as their leader. Sam’s leadership role this season, while starting off strong, never felt like it carried through after Dean returned. So it was hard this episode to connect with his guilt. However, it wasn’t difficult to understand his need for escape since we’ve seen him turn to cases as a way to avoid what he’s feeling before. The whole brainwashing scam in the small town is another great metaphor for Sam’s avoidance tactics.
It’s also incredibly funny. Jared Padalecki is so good at micro expressions (his bit with the milkshake) and comedic timing (the whole Justin part) makes me think he should take on more comedy roles after this.
The small town is interesting, too. It’s basically a metaphor about the need for and the inevitability of societal change. Progress isn’t a bad thing. Wanting things to stay as they are, as the mayor of this town does, is a selfish motivation (especially considering the mayor stuck his town in a ’50s nightmare, complete with outdated gender stereotypes and expectations.
This episode had some great one liners, so here ya go:
“Yeah, I know, everyone’s good.” Actually, this whole bit with Cas and Dean is great.
“Maybe they’re Mormon.”
“Oh, no. His head exploded, like a ripe melon on the sun.”
“He has beautiful hair.”
“”Oh, no, something terrible’s happened.”
“What would Mr. Rogers do?”
“God has a beard.”
14×16: “Don’t Go in the Woods”
A quick thought before we get into this episode: Michael’s only been gone for a short time, but these post-Michael episodes are really interesting. We’re done with the plot-heavy stuff and now we’re getting more into the emotional, character-driven journeys. If the season does go the Buffy season two route, this slow build to Jack’s breaking point will be infinitely better than watching Michael try to take over the world again.
What I really loved about this episode was that it brought back those townie kids from “Lebanon.” Plus, there’s a Ghostfacers! reference. We get to see Jack make some friends, which is touching and heartwarming and hilarious … until it isn’t. While I enjoyed another example of leaving the plot stuff behind and getting to explore how Jack would act in a normal setting, it does make me sad to see him lose those friends so quickly because they’re afraid of what he can do. To be fair, a girl did end up with a knife in her stomach. However, this seemed needlessly cruel to Jack, who just wants to bond with people.
The monster-of-the-week is not the greatest thing ever. It’s actually rather boring, except for the creature design. The episode does give us an unfortunate backstory for the creature, which felt unnecessary considering we’ve had creature episodes before that didn’t include a backstory. Sam walks an odd tune this episode, stemming from the fact that the brothers lied to Jack about why they weren’t taking him along on this case, uncomfortable about keeping the truth of his powers from him. This leads to Sam telling the local sheriff on the case with him to tell his son the truth about the death of his girlfriend (who’s killed by the creature in the cold open).
The brothers return and come clean to Jack, but Jack keeps it to himself that he almost killed a girl that could have been his friend.