After thirteen seasons, and multiple deaths (of everyone), you would think those scenes and the impact they have on the audience would lessen. You’d be wrong. Last week delivered another blow to our found family when Sam was brutally killed. Even knowing as a viewer that there is no way Sam (or Dean, for that matter) would *actually* die and stay dead on the show, didn’t stop the skip of my heartbeat, or the heartbreak of watching Sam’s family try to comprehend the devastating loss.
Beat the Devil (the one thing they can’t seem to do) starts out too good to be true, which should be the first sign that we’re gonna be traumatized. Cas, Sam, Dean, Mary, and Jack are all sitting together, happily eating pizza and razzing Dean for his appetite. For the record, I’m on Dean’s side: eating seven pieces of pizza is not so hard. Ill-advised, maybe, but definitely doable. Sam and Mary start to talk when Sam’s alarm goes off, waking him from the dream we’ve all been lulled into, and Team Gonna Have to be Enough gets to work on getting Jack and Mary home.
Rowena is in the library, getting the spell ready while Gabe is “Extracting his Grace” in private in Dean’s room. The dick and masturbation jokes abound while Rowena casts the spell (with some very limited amounts of archangel Grace) and that, combined with the warm and fuzzy opener, has my spidey senses tingling. Even if they get to Apocalypse World, they only have 24hrs until the portal closes to find Jack and Mary and get them home.
None of that matters, though, since Gabriel’s “juice” ain’t enough to keep the portal open (or firm) for twenty-four seconds, let alone hours. Poor guy, sometimes it takes a bit more for some angels. After more sex jokes, Cas announces that they have no choice but to go after Lucifer, since he’s literally the only archangel alive with the, ahem, stamina for the spell. I’m telling you man, so many dick jokes.
While Dean, Cas, and Sam are having one of their epic Big Picture discussions in the kitchen, debating whether or not Lucifer is their responsibility (he is) and whether they’re ready this time (they’re not), Gabe and Rowena are in the library, and I shit you not, Gabe is reading a book called LAYING PIPE. Honestly. I love it. It’s too damn much. He and Rowena get into an innuendo-riddled conversation about whether it was the fault of the spell or the ingredients that caused the spell to fail. Smooth, cheesey porno music starts to play while, through ridiculous voiceovers, the two think about ways to pass the endless amounts of time it takes for the Melodramatic Men to finish their talks.
For once, though, Team Free Will makes a choice fairly quickly, because OH MY GOD they communicated!! Holy shit guys, imagine how much time they would save if these powwows were a regular thing?! Sam reluctantly agrees to go get Lucifer, and they head back to the library, only to catch Gabe and Rowena goin’ at it like the centuries old horndogs they are. Dean awkwardly announces that Sam has a plan, and so the adventures begin! Okay, so the reactions in this scene were perfect, and I never knew I needed Rowena/Gabe until now. Also I’m 100% certain that the reason Cas was looking straight down at the floor is because they literally could not film a scene in which Misha did not break. This was the best he could do, and it makes me love it even more.
We cut to Lucifer having a pity party in a bar and color me shocked. He whines and moans a bit to the bartender about how all he wants is a relationship with his son, and before you know it, Lucifer is magically roofied and the bartender turns into the trickster himself. Gabe and Rowena bind the Devil and bring him home. Once they’re back at the bunker, Cas slits Lucifer’s Grace Throat (his glory hole, if you will. I’m sorry. The dick jokes rubbed off on me, and I’ll take the joy where I can get it this episode), and it starts draining into Rowena’s spell bowl. Sam tells Lucifer that they’re gonna drain him to keep the portal open longer, and then kill him when they get back. Always good to tell your prisoner/enemy your plan, guys. Thirteen years, they’ve managed to survive. Damn. Rowena stays behind to keep an eye on Lucifer and the rest of the team heads into the portal to get Mary and Jack.
Everyone crash lands in Apocalypse World and, if you’ve ever wondered what Cas looks like getting an awkward and uncomfortable blowjob, this is the episode for you, since Gabe lands facedown in the angel’s crotch. Dean tells them that Other Charlie told him Mary and Jack were holed up in Dayton. Cas uses his Spidey Sense to determine that they’re in Kentucky, and off they go!
Meanwhile in the bunker, Lucifer is trying to annoy Rowena with mock outrage that the “little lady” was left behind while the men went to fight, but our witch isn’t having any of it. So, being the master of torture that he is, Lucifer starts to sing Camptown Races at the top of his lungs. Well played, Satan.
Back in Apocalypse World, Cas asks Gabe about his plans once this is over, and when Gabe dismisses anything serious, Cas tells him of Heaven’s plight. The angels are all but gone, and Heaven is literally dying. Though Gabe initially shrugs off the idea of returning to and running Heaven (which must be really suffering now that Gabe and Cas are gone), he seems to begin giving the idea some thought when Cas points out that the “good” angels have run Heaven into the ground, so maybe a fuck up like Gabe will be a nice change of pace. And, I gotta say, if anyone knows about well-intentioned angels fucking up, it’s our boy Cas. It pains me to say it, because I love the feathery assbutt, but a lot of blame for Heaven’s destruction falls squarely on Cas’s shoulders. Between Godstiel and Metatron (even if the fault doesn’t directly lie with Cas), Cas has decimated Heaven. That being said, I’m really happy he’s trying to help Gabe decide to run things, rather than feeling it’s his responsibility to do it. Cas may be a leader, but I think Samadriel was right when he said Cas has too much heart, and that heart is too focused on Earth and humanity to efficiently run Heaven. Gabe, on the other hand, would be a good ally to have in charge.
While the team is walking, they hear a scream in the distance and, being the Winchesters, can’t follow the “not my world not my problem” motto Gabe has going on so they go to help. They find two people being attacked by starving vampires, and the pair introduce themselves as Maggie and Floyd. They give us some exposition about the angels not thinking through how wiping out their food source would make the monsters somehow more monstrous, and then tell the boys they were heading to Mary and Jack’s Rebel Camp in Dayton before the entire rest of their group was eaten by a nest of vampires. Turns out this nest is right in the tunnel our boys are needing to get through, and like any well thought out plan, the boys offer to protect their new charges and go headlong into basically a snack time tube for vampires! Yay!
Back at the bunker, Lucifer is seeming to actually be getting to Rowena and I can’t help but wonder how this most powerful witch, with sense and sass out the wazoo didn’t think to just render the devil mute? I mean, that seems like a pretty basic spell. Or hey go to another room, get earplugs, turn the TV on. Anything but sit there and listen to the man who tortured and killed you savoringly reminisce about it to the point that you stop thinking. And that’s what she does.
He pisses her off the to point that she tells him that Jack is in Apocalypse World, the boys are going to get him, and that Jack considers Cas and the Winchesters to be his fathers, having no care or thought to the angel who spawned him. This pisses Lucifer off enough to break the weakening binding, which begs another question as to why Rowena didn’t check on it and reinforce it? I mean, I don’t know this seem like basic hostage taking 101 here. Lucifer breaks free and chokes Rowena for a hot second before she blasts him away… right into the portal. Rowena, realizing her colossal mistake, makes to leave before having second thoughts and deciding to stay and research a way to keep the portal open without grace. And that, my friends, is what I like to call character development.
Dean, Sam, Cas, & Co head into the tunnel, and I gotta give some major props to episode director Phil Sgriccia for bringing what until now has been a kind of goofy episode with heavier overtones into full on horror mode. The tunnel is dark, and the silence just amps up the tension all the more, so even when we hear the gross crunching of a vampire feeding, seeing it is still a surprise. Sam quickly dispatches the lone vampire and the group keeps inching forward, with only their flashlights to guide them. They get to an opening with a little more light and Dean tells Cas and Gabe to clear some rocks from a cave in when WHAM! A shit load of vampires attack the group. Floyd’s killed pretty quickly, and while Dean is fighting and protecting Maggie, Sam is ambushed by a group of starving vampires who literally shred his jugular, and Dean can’t reach him. A very much bleeding out and dead in moments Sam is dragged off, and Cas runs after him while Dean kills the vampire attacking himself and Maggie. Dean runs after Cas as soon as he can, but Cas stops him from going after Sam.
He’s clearly dead, and there is nothing to be done. I know there are a lot of opinions about whether or not Cas should have let Dean go after Sam’s body, but this is my take: Low powered or not, Cas is still an angel, and as such can feel the life forces of those around him. He knew Sam was dead and beyond help. He is clearly devastated, and you can see the loss on his face when he has to somehow keep the rest of his family from getting themselves killed for a lost cause. I think in that moment, Cas did what Sam would have done, and what he would have wanted Cas to do. That’s it. That’s my take on it.
Once they’re out of the cave, Dean is on scary autopilot, rerunning what happened in his mind, and this is why the deaths on Supernatural still have an impact on me. We all know that the Big Three aren’t going to stay dead because, on a show like this, they can’t. Too much depends on too few characters to be able to withstand a loss of any of them. However, although we as the audience know they’re coming back, the characters don’t, and when you have Jensen Ackles on your team, even temporary loss can be devastating. They get to Dayton and find Mary, who learns of her son’s death by Dean’s silence, and the tattered remains of the group go for some rest.
Back in the tunnel, we see a Very Dead Sam until… he’s not. Sam gasps for breath, and we learn that none other than Lucifer has resurrected the younger Winchester. Lucifer had been tracking Sam because he knew they would be going to find Jack, and when he came upon Sam’s body, the Devil hatched up a deal. Sam doesn’t want to hear of or be any part of Lucifer’s plan, but Lucifer makes him an offer he really can’t refuse. See, Lucifer wants to meet Jack, but thinks, rightly, that if he wants a chance to talk to his kid at all, he’d better come bearing gifts.
That gift is an undigested Sam. When Sam makes to leave, however, Lucifer literally shines the light on a fuckload of vampires kept at bay only by Lucifer’s stolen power (long story short: Luci made himself a Grace-ful snack of some of Michael’s stray soldiers). If Sam doesn’t agree, Lucifer will let the vampires at him. Now, he doesn’t say it, but I absolutely think that Lucifer would do this over and over and over again until Sam said yes. And, even if he wouldn’t I don’t blame Sam even a little for not wanting to be eaten alive again. It’s one thing to die in battle full of adrenaline, it’s another entirely to willingly walk into a hoard of starving beasts intent on killing you. And so Sam makes the only choice he really can.
Almost immediately after they get to camp, Dean gets ready to go get Sam’s body. As he makes to leave, however, the alarms ring, announcing an arrival. Before Jack can even process the news that Sam is dead, Sam walks into camp and if my heart didn’t break at his death, it does when we see his face as his whole family lights up at the sight of him, only to dim when Lucifer strolls in behind. Sam goes from joy to shame in a heartbeat, and then the credits roll.
So. Wow. This isn’t even the finale and we got some big happenings with our boys. I’m so glad they’re finally reunited with Mary and Jack, and can’t wait to see what happens, but holy shit that was an emotional rollercoaster. I gotta say though, I can’t help but feel kinda bad for the vampires, though. It’s like being mad at a lion for being a lion, and hey we all gotta eat. Now, I’m not so sad for the ones that killed Sammy, but in general they’re just animals who are starving and desperate.