There was a lot of interesting stuff in tonight’s Supernatural. A lot more moving parts than usual, which I like; though I’ve really enjoyed the Winchester-centric episodes of the last two or three I thought it was about time to dive back in, if only because three relative stand-alone episodes are a bit of an impediment when it comes to creating story-telling momentum.
A lot of things are taken for granted in this show; they’ve either already been explained or ‘solved’ or whatever and we just go on about our business. Castiel is a perfect example of that sort of thing. Cas is not a human. We know this. We know, deep down, he is a parasite inside the body, mind, and soul of one Jimmy Novak. And yet, we really haven’t discussed that since Jimmy willingly went back with Cas in Season 5. Shouldn’t we, though? I mean, Jesus H. Christ: Novak has been Castiel’s meatsuit for like six years now. Is he even still in there? Is he even human anymore? I wouldn’t be surprised if, say, Cas were to vacate and the Jimmy that returned was a mindless husk. You also wonder: with that much time inside, does Jimmy have any sort of control? Some sort of influence? What about when Cas was fully human? How much of Jimmy was left, then?
Hannah, apparently, had those things on her mind this episode. After meeting her vessel’s husband, from whom she disappeared from when Hannah took over her body, she felt compelled to give Caroline her life back. I’m fully in support of this exploration, because this is something that has been ignored for a long time. How can Castiel say he’s a good person when he is literally leeching the life out of an innocent man?
Presumably, Castiel will eventually abandon Novak for Heaven again. He’ll probably be a mindless husk, like I said before, or, hell, worse: his family will be old and gray and dead and he’ll have to live his life in a world that he isn’t a part of. Novak would be Brooks Hatlen, and we all know how that ends.
Though I like this line of thought, I felt it was rushed in its presentation. Hannah went from gung-ho to deuces in a (briefly naked) flash. It was super-duper quick. That is probably the most frustrating thing about the Supernatural writing staff: big, meaty ideas, but too impatient to let them build. I wanted more. Let’s drop the “Ask Jeeves” episode do something cool. Let’s dive deep into character, or plot, or something. Erica Carroll did good work as Hannah and I hope she comes back; she sold the rapid character change as well as anyone, and you can never have too many good actors.
The Winchester half of the episode was much stronger, and much, much weirder. The way that they are introduced to the witch Rowena is actually very interesting; a human prostitute. It’s not surprising that demons are operating in the sex trade, of course, but it is interesting that they would use human women instead of possessed women to do their bidding. Not really sure why they didn’t to be honest; is there a demon shortage?
The sex trade thing is so skeevy, too. It’s so gross. Prostitution, especially the kind in which people are forced into it by desperation or otherwise, really sits heavy on this episode. Sam and Dean do not take kindly to the idea. It seems to affect them more than most of the ways demons have taken advantage of humans. I appreciated that kind of gravitas, even if it was only for a moment.
But the whole point was to meet the witch Rowena, who’s old as hell and just as dangerous. She’s been practicing arcane magicks since the 0 hundreds. She is Scottish, and she is petty. I can’t even imagine the amount of bodies left behind in her wake; with her propensity for the finer things (and then not paying her bills), it has to be in the low millions at this point. Eventually, though, it’s not the Winchesters that get to her, but Crowley; though he’s angry about being involved in the sex trade (an operation done without his permission) he’s more angry about a super-powerful witch knocking over his stuff. But when he goes to see her, he recognizes her. As his mother.
Let’s put a pin in that for now and come back to it in a few episodes.
The Winchesters are forced to deal with Cole, the oldest-looking early-twenties man in the entire world. The gist of what goes down is that Dean tells him the truth; that his dad was a monster and out for blood. Cole, after some convincing (Dean says that he was pulled back from the edge by the people that love him, Sam and Cas), goes home.
Now, that seems like a pretty lame ending to the story, and it is. But there is hope: Dean mentions that the monster that was Cole’s father was a total unknown. As Dean put it, he’d “never seen it before and never saw it again.” So, a few possible outcomes here: either Cole is the same type of monster but hasn’t quite yet manifested, or his father wasn’t a monster and Dean made a terrible mistake, or (I literally just thought of this wow) it was the mother who was the monster, or Cole actually is the monster and it’s just laying dormant. So that adds a layer of future intrigue.
This was a solid, above-average episode of Supernatural. Not great, still flawed, but on a flight plan that I can appreciate.
Also, Sam mocking Dean for Impala67 was perfect.
Grade: B+ (ish)
Photo via The CW