Holy shit last week’s Supernatural was intense. Let’s get right down to Stuck in the Middle (With You)
It’s a very simple story, told in a series of flashback vignettes through the brilliant, Tarantino-esque directing of Richard Speight Jr. Mary calls Team Free Will to help her friend Wally (who seems to have never hunted before) with a little night-fishing demon problem.
Things are never that simple when the Winchesters are involved, though, and before Sam can start explaining his research methods (and Dean shuts him down), shit has gone awry. Wally is dead, Cas has a pesky stab wound that he can’t heal, and he and the Winchester clan are trapped in a barn, looking more freaked out than they were when they were fighting The Darkness, or Lucifer, or Big Dick.
Through the flashbacks, we see a typical family diner dinner with Dean trying to teach Cas how to flirt with a waitress who needs no encouragement, brotherly bickering, and Mary telling everyone to “put the screens down” and listen. Sounds familiar. They decide on a plan of action, and head to the demon’s house. He night fishes, so they have some time to set up. Not that it does them any good, though, since devil traps, demon blades, and chanting do nothing to stop the Demon With Yellow Eyes (not to be confused with Azazel, the Yellow Eyed Demon, we later learn). Sam and Wally end up fighting good ol’ regular demons outside, but Wally gets stabbed in the throat for his troubles. Cas is being hunted and stabbed by a wicked looking spear, and while he is literally dragging himself away to who knows where, Mary hits demon dude with her truck and drags Cas to the car, gets the boys, and to the barn they go!
In the barn, Cas is getting worse, and the boys are freaking out. We learn from Crowley, who pops in to tell them they’re all gonna fucking die, that Demon With Yellow Eyes (again, NOT Yellow Eyed Demon) is not a typical black smoke pain in the ass, but a Prince of Hell named Ramiel, and the spear he stabbed Cas with is the Lance of Michael. Bad fucking news for literally anything and anyone it touches. Demons go “Poof”! And Angels get a slower, more torturous death by black goo. Basically Cas is rotting. Crowley knows all of this because he’s the one who gave it to Ramiel six years ago, when Crowley offered the Kingdom of Hell to him. It’s interesting to see that Crowley never actually wanted the crown, but that he took it by default. None of the Princes wanted it. They were all retired and living pretty quiet lives. Again, night fishing. We also learn that Mary knew that the lance would be here, how dangerous it was, and wasn’t actually asked by Wally to help him, but that she was sent by the British Men of Letters to steal something from said Prince. Oh, and she neglects to mention these ulterior motives to anyone. Awesome. Good to know that lying and omitting isn’t just a learned trait for the boys, it’s hereditary. I might not be so fucking pissed at Mary if she had come clean at any of the convenient openings given to her. But she doesn’t. Not about what she stole, not about the fact that she called them into this, not Wally, and not about the fact that this is a mission from the BMoL. When their lives are very literally on the line, Mary stays silent.
So, Ramiel finds them in the barn, but before he goes in, Crowley, who popped out on the boys a while ago, leaving a distraught and pissed Dean, an angry Sam, and a dying Cas, appears and asks Ramiel to spare them. They’re good allies and have literally thwarted everything they’ve gone up against. Ramiel says, “Too fucking bad, we had a deal. You were supposed to make sure we were left alone in exchange for the throne.” He knows who the Winchesters are, and gives zero fucks. Better a dead enemy than a living ally amiright?
Back in the barn, Cas literally begs them all to leave him and save themselves. Kudos to Misha Collins for his wonderful acting and to Davey Perez for writing a believable, heart-wrenching Fare Thee Well for Castiel, who says in all his life, his time with the Winchesters was the best part. Think about that. Castiel has been alive for millennia. He witnessed all of human history and then some, and the best years of this celestial being’s life have been with these boys. They’re his family, and he loves them. All he asks is to not have his last moments be spent watching everything he loves die. Dean, of course, says, “Fuck that, we’re not leaving you.” And then Crowley literally crashes the party.
Ramiel bursts in, and while standing in a fiery ring of Holy oil, makes a demand: either they give back what they stole or they die. The boys have zero idea what he’s talking about since, y’know, Mary still hasn’t bothered filling anyone in, and Ramiel’s ultimatum is met with two confused hunters and one guilty as fuck one. The thirty seconds that Ramiel gave the Winchesters is up, and the fight begins. Though the boys hold their own against him, holy water, charmed brass knuckles, and spells again do nothing as the boys fight the Prince of Hell. Eventually, they wrest Michael’s lance from Ramiel and stab him with it, killing him. That doesn’t really solve the problem of Cas dying, but it’s one less thing to worry about. While the Winchesters are gathered around their angel, Crowley holds the staff, and remembers Ramiel telling him six years ago that the magic is in the runes carved onto it. So Crowley, curious King that he is, snaps it in half, and in a burst of angelic grace, Castiel is whole again. Honestly, I was kinda hoping that grace would restore him to full power, wings and all, but I’ll take “not rotting from the inside out”. The team tries to figure out what the hell Ramiel meant by “stole from me” and AGAIN Mary doesn’t fess up about the box of glowing gold she took from Ramiel’s basement, and we move on. Mary then meets Ketch in secret and yells at him for “putting my boys in danger” and whatnot, and I can’t find it in me to feel bad for her. YOU put them in danger, Mary. And yes, they’ve done it in the past, but you haven’t really earned the benefit of the doubt yet. Either way, Ketch asks her for what she stole, and she hands over the Colt (yes, that Colt). Not the glowy box.
Back in Hell, Crowley and a caged-like-a-dog Lucifer chit chat about impending fatherhood and the fact that Crowley will one day have to just admit that he likes those mud monkeys.
BAMF: Crowley. Not so much for the badassery, but for the character development we saw. I fucking love that limey bastard.
Honorable Mention: Richard Speight Jr and Davey Perez. This was a fucking fantastic episode and my favorite kind. It’s a standalone, but ties into the larger story arc. Also the homage to Tarantino and Reservoir Dogs/Kill Bill/Pulp Fiction was wonderful.