The Road to War is Paved With Good Intentions: Supernatural Review

Supernatural is back! After the squick-worthy Grace sucking scenes in the last episode (which, according to Mark Pellegrino at a recent convention, were supposed to be a lot more nekkid but he asked to dial it back a bit, so thanks for that, Satan) and the Olympics, it’s finally time for our boys to be back on the hunt! And that of course means all our boys, as the one (okay well two) and only Bobby Singer is back this week, along with our favorite spawn of Satan and our favorite angel!

Last episode, the boys came up with the no-fail plan of “Hope the Demon tablet has the recipe we need to get Mom and Jack back” which Castiel seemed super unimpressed by. In Good Intentions, the first thing we see is Jack, sleeping in his bed at the bunker, awakened by Dean and Sam talking about how much they love and accept him. It’s enough to make me cry, especially when the Red Lights of Death come on, and Dean and Sam pretty much burn to death with Jack standing helplessly by on the other side of the door. Obviously this isn’t real and it’s confirmed when we see Michael glare at Hot Zachariah, who is trying to “unlock” Jack and get him to open the door to Earth so they can rain… Heaven upon the masses.

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Back in the real world, Donatello is still angrily working on getting the recipe translated and on the fried grease stained paper as quickly as he can, but it doesn’t seem to be going so well. There are a lot of demonic and growly voices in his head, but he manages the least convincing “okay” ever uttered when a breakfast-bearing Cas (my dream, by the way) asks how he’s doing. After Cas leaves Donny with a lingering suspicious glare, he finds Sam and Dean “If Bacon Kills Me I Win” Winchester in the kitchen. The three talk about the slow going of everything, and it’s clear that Cas is impatient. Honestly, I completely understand why. Cas is apparently the only one who is focused on the very real threat of Michael coming to their dimension. This is the crux of the issue between the Winchesters and Castiel, and why Cas is an important member of this team. Sam and Dean are both so hyper-focused on getting Mary and Jack back, that they cannot see the larger picture. Much like what happened in earlier seasons with Castiel and the boys, Cas has consistently had to remind them that there are bigger stakes than their personal feelings or issues, and the brothers consistently don’t listen. Focusing on family and loyalty is wonderful, and it’s a major basis of this show, but it goes hand in hand with another basis: codependency and questionable sacrifices for the greater good. Both Dean and Sam have sacrificed so much, but generally not until they don’t have any other choice, because for the past 13 years they have been mostly reacting to what happens to them, rather than pro-actively trying to solve the problems that they themselves tend to create. Good Intentions sees both of them falling into that same pattern, with Cas once again trying to get them to see the much larger threat looming.

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Speaking of looming problems: Jack is chillin’ by a lake with Cas, who tells his adopted son how nice it is to see nature before the filthy humans destroy it all, because that is what they do. Clearly, Hot Zach has never met Castiel and knows nothing about him, because he plays Cas as though he views the Winchesters as a burden (but without the fondness and love), and after showing Jack the atrocities from our world (which,I’m not sure how they would know about, but I guess I’ll give them a pass and say they got those from Mary, even if she’s been dead a while), Jack catches on, too. We pop out of the creepily smiling Cas hallucination and back into alternate reality. Michael decides he’s done playing nice which, wow he’d be fun at parties, and smacks Jack and Hot Zach around for good measure before throwing Jack into a cell with none other than Mary. Mary and Jack get to talking, and Jack catches her up on the whole “Why I’m here alone and also not an infant” thing, and Mary tells Jack that Michael has been mind-fucking her, too, so he can come to our world and conquer it, because why be the ruler of one Earth when you can have two?? Jack’s all innocent naivete when he tells Mary that he won’t open the door no matter what Michael does to him, and Mary gently informs the young nephilim that he’s not the one they’ll be torturing.  

Back in the Bunker, Donny get super happy, even with more growly and demonic voices in his head, and runs to tell everyone that he has cracked the spell!! After Sam reads through the list and mentally checks their inventory, they conclude that they have pretty much everything except for the hearts of Gog and Magog: Ancient warriors and kinda sorta people, but hella dangerous. Cas volunteers to snag the hearts, and Dean offers to go with him because that’s their thing. Donny and Sam decide to stay behind and get everything ready for the party, er spell-casting, and Donny is not acting suspiciously at all.

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Dean and Cas are heading out the door, when Dean again asks Cas how he’s doing. Cas replies “fine” like I do when there aren’t enough words to express how annoyed I am with my husband, and then tells Dean he feels like he was brought back for a Reason. Dean, who is aces at reading the room, replies that of course he was! He was brought back because they need him! Once again Dean isn’t seeing beyond the scope of his personal feelings and motivations. Cas agrees, but also adds on that there is BIGGER SHIT HAPPENING than the Winchesters needing him. He tells Dean that he thinks he was brought back to prepare for war. This makes a lot of sense, actually, since Cas is a Seraphim and is known by Heaven and Hell alike to be a brilliant tactician and strategist. Who better to prepare the Winchesters and the world for war? Dean brushes off Cas’s very real and pressing concerns with a blase “Well, we’ll do what we do: whatever it takes!” and I’m pretty sure I can feel Castiel’s mental eyeroll.

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In the field where Dean and Cas have decided to summon the ancient warrior brothers, Cas gives Dean an angel blade, since the only things that can kill Gog and Magog are weapons touched by God and proceeds the summoning. When nothing happens, Dean suggests that may Cas got a word wrong, and the two bicker like an old married couple while some impressively large men come upon them from behind. Gog and Magog start competing with the Winchesters for title of “Meg’s Favorite Bro Duo” by bickering about who between Dean and Cas is prettier (they decide they’re both equally pretty, these are progressive AF brothers) and how rude it is to interrupt someone when they are making a declaration. This is all in ancient Canaanite, which Dean obviously doesn’t understand, and so he sniggers about their loincloths while Cas tries to tell him how serious this is. It’s brought home when the brothers charge, and Dean’s dancing buddy immediately destroys the angel blade. Thank God Dean is one quick little fucker, and the two fight until Dean eventually overpowers his foe, chopping his head off with his own blade. Cas shows us why he is a tactician and not a battle hardened infantryman, as he and the other brother fight, with Cas soon ending up on the ground. (Ma)Gog hates to kill Cas, what with him being so beautiful, and turns out he doesn’t have to, since Dean runs him through. Cas goes for his heart, only to find that he (and his brother) are actually made of sand and not at all human, which doesn’t make Donny’s translation seem too reliable.

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Meanwhile, Mary tells Jack to let Michael kill her and not open the door, no matter what. Jack is aghast at this and laments that his powers aren’t working, and about his headaches. Mary tells him her head hurts too, but she figured it was just from all the torture which, fair. The two figure out it’s just hella strong warding and Mary tells Jack there is a weak spot conveniently located by the window. Jack is able to melt the bars with his power and the two scamper off, much to Michael’s chagrin. He tells Hot Zach to find them, and kill the pesky human slowly and painfully in front of Jack. While on the run, Mary and Jack run into some men on patrol, and one of them happens to be Bobby Singer! The apocalypse isn’t enough to completely extinguish the older man’s snark and sass, and he recognizes Mary Campbell. They talk a bit, and after Mary vouches for Jack as a friend of the family, the group heads off to Bobby’s camp, where Bobby assures them that they’re as safe as can be, given that this is an extermination.

While Dean and Cas are killing some old bros, Sam and Donny are still getting their spell ready, except for the fact that Donny declines Sam’s call from Dean and whacks Sam across the head with a liquor bottle. Dean and Cas eventually come home to a mess, and a bruised but not worse for wear Sam icing his noggin. Sam tells them what happened and that he managed to overpower Donny and put him in the dungeon, which is a surprise to no one except Dean, who is mostly shocked the little old dude got the drop on Sam in the first place. Sam shows them the security feed in the dungeon, where Donny is completely unhinged, reminding me of another Don. Dean and Cas tell Sam that Donny pretty much set them up to die, and the brothers go into the dungeon to see if they can help a very much bonkers prophet. Sam offers to help Don “beat this,” But Donny doesn’t want a cure and accuses them of being covetous of his power, even wielding some magic to choke Dean, which pisses Cas off, and Sam gets Dean out of the room so he can breathe again.

Later, the three are trying to figure out what happened to Donatello, since prophets going mad isn’t exactly a thing. Cas says that the Word should flow through them fairly naturally, and he’s never seen a prophet corrupted before. Sam lets it slip that Donny doesn’t have a soul, and I can see that Team Free Will needs to have more communication lessons. After telling them that “the prophet is soulless” is probably an important detail to inform him about, Cas decides the best thing to do is probably put Donny out of his corrupted misery and in doing so, allowing another prophet to be called upon. Sam and Dean are suddenly squeamish about killing monsters (which make no mistake, Don is), and Sam laments that they just needed the spell. Cas storms off saying he’s doing what he has to and locks himself in with the psycho prophet.

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While in Bobby’s camp, Jack shows off his mad shadow puppet skills while Bobby and Mary chat a bit over some whiskey coffee. Mary asks about her other self, and gets something extremely rare in return: absolution for the deal she made so long ago. Bobby tells her about “his” Mary and how she was always sad and full of regret for not making the deal to save John’s life, and Mary replies that, in her world she made that deal and as a result Dean and Sam were born and they in turn averted the apocalypse. Bobby assures her that she made the right choice, though her family has suffered for it, and we go back to the whole “personal vs universal” weight and choices from before. Yes, Mary and her family have had a hard go of it (well, she’s been dead most of the time, but it wasn’t a pretty death), but the world as a whole is safe and protected. Bobby then tells Mary that Dean and Sam tried to get him to come with them to their world, but he’s all the people here have. After marveling at Jack’s shadow puppets, he asks Mary if Jack is a witch. Mary tells him Jack’s a nephilim and Bobby decides visiting time is over, telling her that they both have to be out by morning.

The next morning Mary and Jack are getting ready to leave, and Mary breaks it to him gently that it’s because she told Bobby what Jack was. It’s so sad and heartbreaking, because Jack seemed to truly find some happiness and dare I say peace at the camp. Watching Jack slowly become disillusioned and jaded is heartbreaking, and something I really hope Mary helps him with. I really like their dynamic and think it could be healing for both of them. Jack has no mother and needs the maternal guidance that let’s face it, are not Dean and Sam’s strong suits, and I think Mary teaching and helping Jack could heal some of the wounds she has from missing her own sons’ lives. Jack may look like an adult, and is powerful beyond measure, but in reality he is still a child, innocent and in need of reassurance. Before they can head out, however, the angel alarm goes off and Hot Zach shows up with some buddies, and Mary tells Jack to run.

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Jack runs for about a minute, but the sounds of people dying is too much for him, so he heads back just in time to see Hot Zach smack Mary around a bit. Jack doesn’t like people hurting his family and so uses his powers to turn Hot Zach to angel dust. He also kills the incoming angels mid-air. Bobby thanks him, and Jack says he did what Dean and Sam would have, but the world won’t be safe until Michael is dead, so that’s what he plans to do.

In the real world, Cas has no time for Donny’s shit, and after confirming that Donny has the spell, proceeds to extract it from him, frying his brain in the process. Cas is not here to play with anyone who would hurt the people he loves.

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After he whammies and walks, Dean and Sam take Veggie Donny to the hospital, where he’s pronounced brain dead and put on a ventilator, so no more prophets, it seems. Cas shrugs their incredulity off saying “Hey, I told you I wouldn’t kill him and I have the spell now.” Dean and Sam get self-righteous in the way only people with myopic focus and short memories can. Neither understands what “gives” Cas the right to decide that Donatello couldn’t be saved. Cas again tries to stress to them how royally fucked everyone is if Michael finds a way through. He’s not about to apologize for doing what needed to be done if the alternative is that the three of them waste precious time they don’t have moping and talking in circles. Donatello was a necessary sacrifice for the good of all humanity, and now Castiel knows what their grocery list is: The Grace of an archangel, fruit from the Tree of Life, the Seal of Solomon, and the blood of a most holy man. Cas is not about to apologize. He took Dean’s advice to do whatever it takes, and tells them that getting Jack and Mary back, and defeating Lucifer and Michael is the only way they can win or even survive. Has it sunk in yet for Dean or Sam that the stakes are higher than just getting their mom back? Who knows, because we’re all out of show!

Alright, well I don’t know about you, but I loved this episode. The Gog/Magog duo were a much needed comedic relief when the stakes are getting higher, and it’s nice to see my BAMF Cas back, I gotta admit. I feel like everyone, Dean and Sam included, has forgotten that Castiel is above all else, a warrior and strategic tactician unlike any other. I also found it pretty damn hypocritical that the brothers are gonna get all holier than thou about who decides who is worth saving, when they both have some murdered skeletons in their closets.

Tell me what you thought of Good Intentions! Are they paving the road to Hell?

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