Davy Perez is my new favorite writer on Supernatural. He’s written four episodes of the show, all from season 12. What “American Nightmare,” “Lily Sunder Has Some Regrets,” “Stuck in the Middle (With You),” and “Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell” all have in common are their care for their secondary characters. I’m not just talking about recurring characters such as Cas, Crowley, and Lucifer, but the case characters, or as Dean says, “the girl of the week.” They’re compelling on their own, not just because something supernatural is happening to them, but because we get to see their perspective. There was Magda in “American Nightmare,” the girl with psychic abilities who has a heart to heart with Sam. “Lily Sunder” had Lily Sunder, of course, a prime example of just what exactly grief can do to someone who’s hellbent on revenge. “Stuck in the Middle (With You)” had a charismatic villain in Ramiel. This week’s episode, “Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell,” didn’t put a whole lot of focus on Gwen, but it did have one of the better cold opens we had in a while. For a brief moment, we got to see a part of Gwen and Marcus’s life, right before Marcus was torn to pieces by a hellhound. That glimpse makes Marcus’s death all the more tragic, and Gwen’s grief and guilt that much more palpable. Davy Perez understands characters, that much is clear.
It’s because of Perez’s handle on the character moments we don’t get much in terms of plot, especially this week. While the idea of Ramsey, the first hellhound who is only loyal to Lucifer, was a neat idea, it merited more time to fully understand the extent of Ramsey’s viciousness. I could almost see her as a recurring monster. With Lucifer set to possibly free himself, having Ramsey by his side would have been great. Ramsey’s anti-climatic death by Sam felt too easy and didn’t hold much weight. Sam just killed the first hellhound, right after he killed the Alpha Vampire. Sam’s on a roll alright, but Ramsey should have felt more like a fight than she ended up being. Regardless, there was a lot of time for character stuff. Sam once again connects with the person they’re trying to help. Gwen admits that she lied to Marcus about the potential for their relationship, making her indirectly at fault for his death. Gwen’s admission leads Sam to come clean to Dean about working for the BMOL, but I’ll get to that in a second.
The episode is titled “Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell.” This title works on multiple levels. The episode itself goes back and forth between Crowley and Lucifer in Hell, and Cas being swayed by his brother Kelvin to return to Heaven. The scenes with Cas are probably my favorite from this week. He’s still conflicted about what he should do with Kelly once he finds her. All of his instincts say he should kill the baby because that’s what he was taught to do. If he does, he’ll be welcomed back into heaven, his true home. This is Kelvin’s deal, perpetuated by Joshua, who Kelvin claims “has a plan.” On the other hand, after his ordeal in “Lily Sunder,” Cas understands the emotional turmoil of everyone involved if he were to kill the baby. Misha Collins had a very understated performance this week. He can sometimes be over the top, when Cas is boiling over with anger or fear. But Cas’s exasperation with Herb the Diner Guy and his melancholic chat with Kelvin are more indicative of his head space. Which is why it didn’t surprise me when his last scene showed him following Kelvin back to heaven. It seems everyone is picking a side in this fight for the supernatural world. Quite possibly, all of our main characters may be on different ones.
In hell, Crowley continues his taunting of Lucifer, claiming that for every escape plan Lucifer tries, Crowley will be 10 steps ahead. I liked the sort of business vibe hell has going on. The stuff with the two minion demons was a delight, and they are further evidence that not all demons in hell are fully behind Crowley. Crowley may have the upper hand on Lucifer for now, but Lucifer still has a stronger backing.
The title is also a meta commentary on Sam and Dean, and I’m glad for the conversation between Sam and Dean at the end. One of my biggest issues with Supernatural is Sam and Dean themselves. No matter how much I love them, their constant arguing over the same things drives me crazy. They are both hypocrites when it comes to getting mad at the other for working with sketchy people. Dean stills sometimes brings up the Ruby thing, while never mentioning he was friends with a vampire once, or that he killed Sam’s friend Amy. Sam was mad at Dean about Benny, not taking into account his alliance with Ruby and Amy. It’s a circular argument that gets exhausting. So when Sam admitted to Dean he’s been working with Mick, I expected the same argument from Dean. Instead, Dean admitted they work with the enemy all the time, a revelation he had while him and Crowley strolled through the woods together hunting Ramsey. The brothers are constantly calling Crowley for help. For Dean to grudgingly admit this, it’s a step in the right direction. If only he could have had this conversation with Mary last week, I’d feel more secure in Dean’s apparent character development.
Supernatural airs Thursdays at 8/7c on The CW.