In the first two episodes of season 14 of the epic story of the brothers Winchester, the repercussions of Dean saying “yes” to Michael continue to unfold in frightening ways.
**********CAUTION********** SPOILERS DEAD AHEAD **********CAUTION**********
Supernatural 14.01 – “Stranger in a Strange Land”
The archangel Michael wants answers, but he doesn’t seem to like any of the answers he is getting. His conversation with Jamil Hamed in the first scene shows that in many ways, this version of Michael is scarier than all versions of Lucifer. I’m not sure how I feel about this take on Michael — he’s a lot more somber and judgmental that I expected — but we’ll see where it goes.
We find a grizzled and weary Sam leading a bunker full of hunters in the day to day tasks of hunting evil and saving people while he and a select few continue the long search for Dean / Michael. The atmosphere is part Men of Letters bunker, part Harvelle’s Bar as a safe haven for hunters and it works.
Sam is steady and razor-focused in his search for Dean. I have to give kudos to Jared Padalecki in his handling of Sam at this point in his life. He is more mature, grounded and confident in himself (even if he isn’t always confident about what is going on around him). This Sam takes on the mantle of leader naturally — no flourish, no fighting, no dismay — it just is how it is. When I look at this version of Sam, I see the closest persona I have ever seen to John Winchester, even more than Dean has ever been. I like it. It makes sense.
And thank you to the PTB for letting Sam grow a beard. It is about time we see that. I mean, we have seen these boys clean-shaven through everything from fighting wendigos on a camping trip to the apocalypse. Really, who has time to shave everyday during the apocalypse??!
Castiel forges out on his own in an attempt to find Dean by any means necessary — meaning dealing with demons. I like the slight nod to Mark Sheppard as Crowley when Sam says to the demon, Kipling (played by Dean Armstrong), “All right, you’ve got some good lines, I’ll give you that much… but you’re no Crowley. I know that. And so do they.” It’s true, there is no replacement for Mark Sheppard as Crowley.
And speaking of the King of Hell — did we just see Sam become the de facto King of Hell? I mean, he basically told them that he is in charge and that there will be no other King of Hell since Crowley is gone… Go, Sam!
Finally, we get to poor Jack. He is really hitting bottom with this loss of nephilim powers. I really do love his bonding moments with Castiel and Sam. Right now, it is Cas who can help him deal with his human limitations and find his human strengths. Let’s hope Jack gets to a point where he can see this.
Michael’s final scene with the vampire and his talk of pure instincts reminds me of Purgatory Dean and his appreciation of the purity of existing and fighting there. Perhaps there is something more than the Winchester/Campbell bloodline that makes Dean a suitable host for Michael.
And how is Sister Jo / Anael going to figure into all of this? I can’t wait to find out.
Supernatural 14.02 – “Gods and Monsters”
Michael is cooking something up. This can’t be good.
And while Dean/Michael is working on finding just the right ingredients for his secret, scary, magic potion, Sam, Castiel and the rest of the hunting gang are harboring their own secret, scary thing in the MOL bunker. And that thing looks a lot like Lucifer, but apparently it is just his vessel, Nick (though my money is on there being a little bit of good ole Luci being in there somewhere). Poor Nick is trying to wrap his mind around what his body was up to while being driven by Lucifer and it is not going well.
Nick also can’t understand why there has been no news on the murder of his wife and child. Since this was what Lucifer used to convince Nick to say “yes” to vessel sharing, I am wondering if there is more to the story of the horrible fate of Nick’s family than what we know so far. Did Lucifer have something to do with the murder of Nick’s family? Or did Nick? And if Nick did, is that what made him such a suitable (and durable) vessel for Lucifer? Questions, abound.
At least Castiel is witness to a flicker of Lucifer still being a part of the fabric of what makes Nick tick. That finger snap and steely gaze Nick flashed when Cas tries to comfort him are pure Lucifer and show that he is not that far beneath the surface of the tortured persona of Nick. Of course, Cas thinks it is the result of the damage that Luci inflicted on Nick’s psyche, but I think it goes a little deeper than that. We’ll see.
While Sam and the hunters investigate the growing trail of demon / monster bodies that Michael is leaving in his wake, Castiel is back at the bunker, not only taking care of Nick, but watching over Jack as well. And boy does Jack need him now. I love the talks between these two and it seems like Jack is finally starting to be able to take in some of the lessons that Cas is trying to teach him.
Meanwhile, back on the Michael trail, Sam, Mary and Bobby are making progress. It’s great seeing them working together, but I do have to remind myself that this is not the “original” Bobby. I am glad that he seems to get the importance of finding Michael and saving Dean before anyone else gets to him, though. At least that part of our original Bobby is there.
I was glad to see that Dean is fighting to get back control of his body and cast Michael out. Michael’s cool calm (almost serial killer-like) demeanor in this episode is chilling. I am liking Jensen’s portrayal of him more or more. Scary. It was also cool to see Jensen Ackles play a scene where he has a conversation with himself as two different people. Mind blown.
Jack’s visit with his mother, Kelly’s, parents (who are essentially his grandparents) was so bittersweet. I really like that they had Jack reach out to them as he struggles with his overwhelming “humanity.” It is an important step toward building his inner strengths and realizing that his human side has great value without his grace. Of course, all that took a 180 degree turn later when later, in his conversation with Cas, Jack declares that if Dean has to die in order to destroy Michael, then so be it. So much for family sentimentality — although, I have to say, he was a chip off the old “Dean” block when he said it.
Michael’s seeking out the werewolf master and circling back to kill the vampire that Sam, Mary and Bobby found just adds to the mystery around whatever diabolical plot he has cooking. I don’t understand why he would be trying to make a monster-controlled world, but it’s looking like that is exactly what he is doing. I know he did something like that in the alternate universe, but I would think he would try something different since that didn’t work out so well for him before.
Finally, we are left with our “We Need To Talk About Nick” scenario. He is driven, ruthless and out for blood (literally) in finding out what happened to his family. Did his neighbor really know who the killer was? Well, we won’t be finding out from him without a Ouija board since Nick went all avenging angel on him. I’m beginning to wonder if the killer was good old Nick, himself. Seeing him with that arterial blood spray pattern all over his face and body did stir memories of Lucifer in his prime when he first met the Winchesters.
Oh, and, by the way, Dean shows up while Sam, Mary and Bobby are searching an old church that vamp girl said Michael was hiding out in. Yep, the gang had just fought off some of Michael’s super werewolves and lo and behold, he walks through the door — rather Dean walks through the door. He looks a little worse for wear (well, as worse for wear as Jensen Ackles can look — which still looks pretty good) and he doesn’t seem to know why Michael just left. But he is back and that’s all that really matters, right? Yeah, I don’t think so. I’ll be looking for signs that Michael (like Lucifer) is just taking a little hiatus somewhere inside of his vessel until just the right moment to make a grand entrance.
One of the fun facts about this episode is that it was directed by Richard Speight, Jr. who we all know and love as Gabriel on the show. Great job, Mr. Speight!
Supernatural airs Thursdays on The CW at 8/7c.