There are some episodes of Supernatural that I have to immediately re-watch. Then there are episodes like last week’s: episodes where I feel like whoever wrote this doesn’t actually watch the show. So, without further ado, let’s get into the hot mess that is The Rising Son.
We start in Hell (and honestly, do we ever really leave?), where some lonely, leaderless demons are wondering what to do with themselves now that Lucifer is MIA and Crowley is KIA. Personally, I’d be drinking like Demon #2, rather than guarding the throne like Ass Kissing Demon, but hey that’s just me. The slacking off is short lived, however, since a Jeff Bridges cosplayer saunters into the room, claiming to be the fourth Knight of Hell, Asmodeus. He looks and sounds like a tent revival preacher man who has a Colonel Sanders fetish, and says that he’s going to be ruling in Lucifer’s stead. Then he smokes the disloyal demons. I’d still be the smote drinking demon, to be honest.
Topside, the boys are driving back to the bunker, with a long way to go. Jack is sleeping in the back seat, while Sam tries to have a heartfelt conversation with his emotionally scarred and stunted brother. Again. Sam tells Dean that Jack may be their only hope to save Mary, but Dean has already written her off as dead. Dean points out to Sam that every time they try to give bad guys the benefit of the doubt, people end up dead. Apparently Dean doesn’t watch Supernatural, either.
Speaking of Mary, she is tagging along with Lucifer in Alternate Universe. She basically exists to slow the devil down with her human-ness, and that’s about it. They talk about how Lucifer would kill her and the boys in a perfect world, but he needs to trade her for his kid, so… there you have it. A fireball comes hurtling towards them and Mary is nowhere to be found when the smoke clears.
Back in Hell, Ass-Kisser tells Amadeus– er, Asmodeus, that he can’t find Lucifer or his son, then makes some snarky comment about how you do not want to see Lucifer upset. No shit, son, he’s the fucking Devil. The Col Sanders of Hell doesn’t appreciate the sass, so he does the Demon Stomach Cramp Move on the sycophant while telling him all about how he and Lucifer are bonded over his torture and humiliation at Satan’s hands. It’s a beautiful bonding moment for them. He then orders the worker demon to find Jack so he can rule (with Asmodeus as advisor, of course) until Daddy comes home. That doesn’t smell of ulterior motives at all.
Meanwhile, Sam convinces Dean that they need to crash for the night, so the boys get a motel room. Dean isn’t exactly warm and fuzzy towards Jack, and relegates him to the couch. Jack tries to watch cartoons, but Dean makes him read the Bible, instead. Dean is a dickhead dad. Jack continues to be irritating and adorable while they eat dinner and he imitates everything Dean does.
While they’re talking about Jack’s possible powers and complicated family history, a shadowy figures walks down the hall. There’s a knock on the door and… it’s Donatello? The soulless prophet shows up to tell us that Jack is powerful. Thanks, bud. He also is here to tell the boys that Jack’s power isn’t “evil or toxic” like Lucifer’s. Writers Buckman and Leming are of the “tell, not show” school of television writing. Donatello tells the boys that they need to protect Jack, because (shock) everyone in Heaven and Hell is looking for him. They take the newborn millennial to a tattoo parlor to get him warded, but things don’t work out as they intended. Tattooes hurt, and no one thought to warn Jack of that fact, so he accidentally zaps the poor tattoo artist when the needle touches. Dean then doles out some super helpful toxic advice, telling Jack to “man up and deal with” the pain. It all proves to be for naught, however, when Jack’s fresh ink heals up immediately.
This leads to some more arguing back at the motel around Jack as if he isn’t there. Dean clearly blames Jack (rightfully or not) for Cas dying, and Sam’s words about how they can help Jack get control and not be evil fall on deaf ears. Jack is upset, and poofs out. Guess he can teleport, after all. Later, Sam finds him in an alleyway, where he’s mournfully remembering his mom. It must be so lonely to be him. The only two people who love him are dead, he has no control over himself, the people who’ve appointed themselves as his guardians are mildly sympathetic at best and aggressively angry at worst, and no one to explain things to him. Sam tries to explain away Dean’s resentment and general shittiness towards Jack, but the words seem hollow.
Dean thinks hanging out drinking is a better use of his time and decides to chat up the bartender about his woes. He doesn’t spill any supernatural beans, but he says enough for Asmodeus (who has assumed the appearance of the female bartender he killed just for this interaction) to get info about where they’re staying, and to ascertain that Jack is with them. The next morning Donatello, who is literally just here to move plot along and spew exposition, pops into Sam and Dean’s room (Jack got booted from the couch and into the prophet’s room) to chat/tell us more stuff. He and Sam talk about how powerful nephilims become, which is to say they are more powerful than their sires. Sam tells DonaTELL-o that Jack is more attached to his mom than Lucifer, so there is a chance he could be good.
Back in the worst AU ever, Mary is on her own, having gotten away from Lucifer when she runs into another human. He inadvertently tells her about the “wars” going on, and since it’s a BuckLeming episode, we get the required attempted sexual assault. It turns into regular assault, though when Mary fights back, but soon Lucifer kills him. Yay.
Sam and Dean are chatting and debating (again) about how they need to be on the same page, but aren’t. Dean can’t move past the repercussions of Jack existing, and Sam can’t get past Dean’s stubbornness. The arguing is getting really repetitive when hey look, it’s Donatello again. Wanting to talk about Jack, again. When Sam tells him that he was just there Donatello says that he was out getting breakfast burritos. Uh-oh. They run to Jack’s room only to find him missing. It’s okay though, because Donatello can sniff his powers or something. He’s a soulless bloodhound.
They get ready to find Jack when they’re attacked by demons. Asmodeus must be a hermit or something, because he only sends two demons to kill the Winchesters. The men who have defeated Satan twice, not to mention killing all the other Knights of Hell. They quickly dispatch the demons and are on their way.
Jack and Donatell-no are in a field chatting about God’s soldiers and whatnot, and the false prophet convinces Jack to mentally dig a hole and free some buddies from underneath the earth. Dean and Sam are on their way and I half expect the real Donatello to be sticking his head out the window. They see that they’re near Jasper and with a quick peek in Dad’s journal (you’d think they’d have it memorized by now) they learn that there’s a Hellgate there. This is the second Hellgate in Wyoming, guys. Must be why nothing else is there. Donatello tells us that there are really bad demons there and that they need to stop it and off they go. Thanks, Don.
In the Winchesterless world, Lucifer and Mary are again strolling along, when they’re attacked by robo-angels. Not really, but sheesh, they may as well be for all the charisma we get from them. Lucifer quickly gets bored with them (as do I) and snaps them to death. Soon, another fireball hits and BAM! It’s Michael. New Michael. Hot Michael. I’m Team Michael. He and Lucifer decide to fight because, why not? But Michael stops short of killing his annoying brother because he needs him. Oh, and Mary is there, too. Because she has zero agency or story right now.Back in the field, Faux Donny is yelling at Jack to “FOCUS!” as creepy ass hands are clawing up from a growing hole in the ground when the boys show up. Donatello tells Jack and everyone else that that isn’t the real Donatello and Asmodeus turns into his previous form. He does his little “extreme gas pains” trick on Donatello and the Winchesters, but this time he just manages to piss Jack off for hurting his friends. The gate closes, and Asmodeus vamooses before Jack can destroy him.
In the bunker, the brothers are having their weekly recap of the current events, which means more debating over whether or not Jack is evil. Sam argues that Jack saving them is evidence of his goodness, and Dean counters that it was reflex which, okay? Dean heads to his room when he hears a disturbing squishing sound. This is where I will say that the CW really needs to learn what a fucking trigger warning is. So: Trigger Warning:self harm Dean looks into Jack’s room and sees him stabbing himself multiple times in the chest, and then healing immediately. Jack tells Dean that he’s scared, and he and Dean talk about Jack’s lack of control. Dean reassures him that he can’t be saved and if the time comes, Dean will kill him. And that is the end of the episode.
I don’t know about you, but this whole episode seemed both slapdash and completely unnecessary. Why the hell bring Donatello back? Is it just me who feels like he was only there to sniff out power (something that only Cas has been able to do thus far) and to tell us shit that the writers were too lazy to show? If the only reason he was there was so that Jack could manifest his teleportation powers without Dean and Sam having to put in much effort on their own into finding Jack, well, maybe the writers need to think a little harder about their plot lines. I mean, honestly. And, Dean is being crueler than usual, but we have never seen him experience loss of quite this magnitude. He always drinks his grief and lashes out, and if his brand of “coping” seems a bit more pointed this season, it’s because he has both zero hope that he can make the situation better and the responsibility of dealing with the cause of his losses, whether by “raising” him or by killing him. I gotta say, I’m just not digging this at all.
I’m pretty much just clocking this as a time marker: one episode closer to Team Free Will reuniting. It doesn’t have much more worth than that, except for some more cute Jack moments, which kinda make me wary of what the writers plan on doing to him.