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What I’d give right now to see what’s going on in the head of Dean Winchester…

I had really low expectations going into “The Vessel,” mostly because I wasn’t sure what to expect.   I had some hope though because of the writer.  Robert Berens constantly knows how to surprise us and pull us into a story, even when the brakes are on the main story because it’s still too early in the season.  He didn’t disappoint and now I have a new episode to add to my season eleven favorites. 

I love how this episode didn’t waste any time getting started.  Anything that starts off with the death of a Nazi works for me, but everything after that kicked off with Sam in full on research mode on a caffeine bender.  This is the Sam I love to see, digging into the Men of Letters archives and geeking out over all the information at his disposal.  The boy is so good at putting the pieces together, and this was quite a story.  It also harkens back to one of my all time favorite episodes, “Everybody Hates Hilter.”  When Ben Edlund opened up that world, he left open many amazing possibilities and I’m thrilled to see Berens tap into that. 

There’s two big aspects to this story.  First, there’s the main story itself.  Berens cleverly took that piece of continuity from “Everybody Hates Hilter,” blended it with Raiders of the Lost Ark mythos, pulled some inspiration from the German film Das Boot, then went for a little femme fatale remembering that women were an integral part of the war effort (recently depicted in “Marvel’s Agent Carter).  When going that bold, finding a way to adapt all that to the “Supernatural” universe can be tricky, but Berens found a way and the end result is fantastic.

Storytelling is all about heart and there was plenty in the submarine story.  Characters and situations should be relatable, even if they are totally foreign.  We were like Dean, sucked into these characters and their situation, even though we knew they were soon to meet their end.  We admired their spirit, their courage, their human fallacies like Petey wanting to know how long the war would continue for his friends and loved ones, the ones he would be leaving behind.  Delphine was the ideal spy and one of the strongest guest characters we’ve had in a while.  Her story of sacrifice was a great enhancement to the Men of Letters legacy.  It also proved how influential the MOL were in the matters of the “underworld” back then.  It also makes me wonder how no one ever missed them past 1958. 

The second aspect is all the hidden nuggets and clues that were given to us regarding the mytharc.  It was finally a sign of hope in what has been a dastardly situation.  There are ways to channel the power of God.  Unfortunately, we got the cartoonish form of Lucifer, but his role is important in this scheme.  I’m just not sure we see it yet.  The spell that Sam found clearly showed that in this fight, they probably do need the power of an archangel.  Yes, he’s temperamental and doesn’t play nice with others, but there’s no doubt the power will be helpful.  That’s likely why Castiel believes Lucifer is needed. 

Oh, but we were left with questions.  What was the symbol on Delphine?  What sort of spell binds her blood and heart?  What did it mean?  Was it some sort of protection against evil?  Can it be found in the MOL archives?  We knew that the Men of Letters bunker could be warded from such things but a person?  That’s kind of a game changer is Sam and Dean should ever choose to adopt something like that.  Delphine’s mark didn’t have angels in mind but it did keep Lucifer out, so I doubt Sam and Dean would ever use that specific one.  However though, Lucifer now knows the spell to override any kind of warding, so that makes the bunker less safer than it was.  Ouch, my head hurts with all the twists.    

Then there’s the Hand of God itself.  That was a rather brilliant reveal.  So there are objects out there that allow people to absorb the power of God?  There’s more of them out there?  Does this mean that the remainder of the season will end up being a Raiders of the Lost Ark type adventure?  I’m all for Sam and Dean digging more into that vast archive at their disposal for answers.  Some archeological digs sound good too (especially if it gets too hot and they'll need to go shirtless).    

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The Saga of Dean Winchester

Dean may have been feeling blue at the end, but this episode did open up some hints that Dean plays a very vital part in defeating the Darkness.  He’s the key to everything.  The last shot of a somber Dean, sitting by the water alone holding the Hand of God, really got to me.  That’s a powerful visual and some awesome foreshadowing. 

So far season 11 could be subtitled, “The season where Sam Winchester got his groove back,” but watching “The Vessel” really sparked my hope that Dean’s turn is next.  Poor Dean, who’s clearly been blindsided by the whole Amara thing, but something else is clearly happening too.  He’s having a crisis of confidence.  Part of it is because this whole experience is pushing him out of his comfort zone.  He can’t deal with these issues with guns blazing like he normally does.  It was best evident when on that submarine.  Old Dean would have been defiant and determined to save those people.  Screw history.  Current Dean though is older, wiser, and knows better.  He can’t mess with the past.  That truth though didn’t leave the situation easier for him.  If anything, it made all those feelings of helplessness worse.  A lot of that helplessness was reflected in that final scene.

I’m sure as Dean watched on the sideline and saw heroes with heart in action, he had to be thinking that this is what it would be like with Amara.  How Sam and Castiel would have to take on that fight and he could do nothing about it.  Now that Castiel has chosen to fight by being possessed by Lucifer, that doesn’t help Dean’s angst about the whole situation either.  He still clings onto hope that Castiel will come back willingly, even though we saw otherwise in his talk with Sam.  You have to wonder, what is Dean going to do?  How will he get out of this latest funk?  How will he save Cass?    

While Dean is currently seeing the connection to Amara as a curse, Lucifer said that the connection was vital in defeating Amara.  I’m starting to see things Lucifer’s way.  In the end, it will be Dean that defeats her, or perhaps just tames her.   I wondered what would happen if the Hand of God suddenly started to work for Dean when Amara was near.  Would Dean be destroyed?  Is he truly a mortal with that connection?  As Delphine warned, a mortal cannot absorb that power and will be destroyed.  Let me throw this out there though, is Dean Winchester the exception?  Remember when he killed the Whore of Babylon?  There’s something different about Dean.  Plus, with his connection to Amara, doesn’t that kind of make him immortal?    If anything, absorbing God’s power levels the playing field between him and Amara where he can keep her in line.

Can Dean live with a level playing field though?  He’s been so black and white, kill or be killed, so could he live reasonably well with this bond that will never go away?  I don’t think so.  I think that he’s already in self sacrificial mode, evidenced by him going alone on the submarine and refusing to let Sam go.  He knows he can’t kill Amara, but he also knows he can’t live with her either.  All that is reflected on his face in that closing shot.  The catch 22 from which he cannot win.  No doubt Delphine’s sacrifice is burning in his mind, and he’s ready to do the same, but he’s not convinced he can.   How Dean moves forward from this point is a setup of some great possibilities. 

The Really Strange Saga of Lustiel/Cassifer

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This whole Lucifer story is where my confidence in the mytharc wanes.  I can’t get out of my head his confession that he hadn’t really thought things out.  That disappointed me, even though I always suspected his motive was to be sprung from the cage and nothing more.  What if the Hand of God had worked for Lucifer?   Did he believe that by killing Dean he’d kill Amara or was he not thinking that far?  How else could he defeat her?  If he had gotten that power, would that make him more powerful than Amara?  I don’t think so, because it’s God’s power and she has the same power.  Despite the fact that he really has no clue how to defeat her, Castiel still believes he’s useful. 

It’s clear there are situations where his power is needed.  They wouldn’t have been able to go back in time without him.  But Lucifer is a loose cannon.  He’s easily bored, impatient, and rather insistent that things are done his way.  That arrogance has likely been the cause of his downfall ever since he was banished to Hell.  A few thousand years hasn’t seemed to change him.  Other than being the token jerk and giving Misha Collins something to do, why is Lucifer part of this?  Keep in mind though, this isn't a criticism of Misha's performance.  I'm quite impressed with how well he's mimicking Lucifer's (aka Mark Pellegrino's) mannerisms.  It's just the writing of Lucifer himself.  

So far, I see no value with Lucifer and now whatever nemesis he once was been greatly diminished.  Sam has overcome his fear of Lucifer.  Sam knows his weaknesses, and Sam saw that Castiel is capable of taking control with a soul boost.  The way I see it, Sam will probably handle the Lucifer problem, leaving Dean to handle Amara.  The question raised at the end was a good one though, how do they get Castiel back from this, especially when he doesn’t want to be saved?  I don’t think Sam is going to risk another soul touching (hasn’t it been through enough?).  Is it possible they’ll eventually have to accept the sacrifice of their friend for the greater good?  I’d like to think they would, if anything because after eleven seasons they should be learning from past mistakes.  Still, it’s super hard for these guys to let go and I don’t see them doing that without a fight and all options considered.   

The Red Headed Monster

This week’s little rant has nothing to do with Mr. Berens script or the amazing story he laid out that gave everyone involved in the production a chance to shine (everyone brought their A game).  Well, it does a little, but Berens is only following a very bad choice in continuity.  One that in my mind has damaged the series and really, really needs to end, now. 

I accept that when Mark Sheppard became a regular, they needed to give him a story.  Crowley is a character where they had endless possibilities.  Remember when he first came around?  He was brilliantly evil, hid in the shadows and would appear right at the time of opportunity.  I wasn’t interested in what was going on in Crowley’s day to day world.  I loved the mystery and enigma behind him.  This whole idea of Crowley sitting on a throne in a hideout somewhere on earth or in Hell, dealing constantly with hapless buffoons, it has really diminished this show to campy levels and ruined what has truly been a great character. 

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Remember when this show used to be cool?  Remember when there were boundaries for poor taste?  There is no way Eric Kripke would even entertain such a concept, let alone let it go this long.    I recall once that Kripke said he wouldn’t do scenes in Hell, because his vision of Hell was too expensive.  Remember when demons were like Meg?  They didn’t dress up in suits and talk about soul numbers.  They practiced dark arts and engaged in pagan rituals.  They weren’t dumb and very scary.   

I’ve eluded to this before, but watching the recent reboot of "The X-Files" has reminded me of some things.  Tone is everything.  I’m not saying that the return of "The X-Files" has been perfect, or that the story lines have been setting the world on fire, but they have in their strange simplicity been working.  It feels like the show I once knew.  The one thing the reboot has done is the show still remembers what they were. It knows its identity, even when Mulder and Scully are spending time questioning their purpose in this world.  It put the focus back on Mulder and Scully, the true heart of the show.  They’re each going through examinations of faith while coolly accepting the crazy and the possibilities around them.  They aren’t dealing with cardboard demons with a bored leader in a fake Hell lair.  They’re chasing real monsters in creepy situations, outright terrifying at times.  Sure, every once in a while something is thrown off kilter, like a very strange (and totally awesome) mushroom trip, but it’s those things that prevents a story from being predictable.  

Honestly, the Hell headquarters scenes have gotten so painful, I liken them to a poor quality Disney channel production.  All that’s missing is a laugh track.    Please, please writers, go back to the roots of this show and remember how a story can be told through solid pacing and tone, not cheap and time wasting gimmicks.   Go back to seasons one and two.  Heck, even go to five and six and remember what kind of characters Castiel and Crowley were.  It really hurts to see how they’ve been diminished to caricatures. 

Overall grade, an A-.  It was only knocked down a peg because I’ve had enough of these painful Hell scenes.  I was pleased to see Crowley get a comeuppance, but it’s still way too campy for me.  Let’s stick to the straight, compelling drama that works.   


# Mallena 2016-02-20 00:24
Hell is pretty lame on this show. Turn a corner, go down some stairs and you're there. Even I could find it and I have no sense of direction. I miss the Crowley of season eight. You're my Marnie, Moose! He has become filler since Jared hurt his shoulder and needed more time off in season ten. Are the writers out of ideas for him? I did enjoy all the bunker scenes, Casifer was pretty funny getting dunked in the ocean and then having to cope with sweet, sincere Sam. I liked him losing it and coming out as Lucifer. I'm going to hope that Misha can bring the scary. Lucifer lost his bid for an apocalypse, maybe he just needs time to come up with his next evil plan?
# YellowEyedSam 2016-02-20 10:14
Hell is pretty lame on this show. Turn a corner, go down some stairs and you're there. Even I could find it and I have no sense of direction.
I'm curious what Kripke's version of hell was, which as he said was too expensive to do.
# vince 2016-02-21 11:52
It was basically just infinite racks of souls being tortured. Basically Hellraiser, nothing particularly interesting.
# jane 2016-02-20 05:46
I always like your review Alice and usually share the same taste in episodes but this time I didn't enjoy it. It had good moments but different things really bothered me and preventing from enjoying it.
- I also think the hell scenes are a joke and hurts the show. Demons need to go back to what they were.
- I don't like Cassifer: for me he looks more like Hallucifer and not Lucifer. He is not scary, Lucifer wants to destroy the world, if they let the cat out of the cage, let him play his role. Please don't let Sam and Dean start to work with Lucifer against the darkness.
- I don't want to go back to depressed Dean he is not the less of them all.
- the worse is the "true vessel" mess. So Lucifer doesn't need Sam anymore ? No . Sam being prepare to be the only true vessel is the base of the show. This sentence destroyed the first five season and I can't accept it. Jimmy's body contening both Lucifer and Castiel, even if rebuilt, shouldn't be able to resist long. Otherwise why would Lucifer and Azekiel go to all this troubles to find THE vessel, Lucifer could have just built his own magical vessel. Or maybe we will learn Jimmy Novack is the Adam of the Campbell family, the lost half brother of Mary.
And where does it leave Sam storyline ? I am sure Dean will be the one killing the darkness too, he won't be the witness, Sam will be (again like in the two previous seasons). Oh I am very happy that we got our Sammy back, and so far season 11 has been good to give a storyline to all, but it seems to me that in this second part of the season, Sam is starting to be put aside again.
This episode has been a real let down for me, I really don't like when they touch canon.
# YellowEyedSam 2016-02-20 10:15
- I also think the hell scenes are a joke and hurts the show. Demons need to go back to what they were.
Too damn right! They act like they haven't been tortured for a long time to become demons. >_<
# AlyCat22 2016-02-20 06:54
So will Dean don Delphines protection sigil to keep out Amara? It was to protect her and the Hand of God on their journey.
Will we learn more about the sigil? Would it work against Amara? And what of the new spell Sam found. Could it be used in other ways? A lot of interesting possibilities were hinted at in this episode. Maybe.

Show really outdid themselves with the casting this time. The submariners, the German commander, Delphine, all of them were so believable and personable. You really did find yourself caring about them, knowing the sad fate about to unfold. No one was over the top or cliche. It was like a mini movie. Great job.

I have never been a fan of the corporate take for Heaven or Hell. Wasn't a fan of Naomi or the fallen angels either. I understand why they present it that way but they could dial it down a bit. We get it. There are ass kissing sychophants in Hell. Must we be exposed to the same everytime? I mean the angels and demons have worn suits for awhile - think Zachariah and his goons or Crowley and his - but for some reason it worked. Seeing Heaven or Hell run just like any corporation on Earth? It kind of made it boring.
# Vince 2016-02-20 07:21
Kripke also said angels would never be a part of the series, so I think Kripke would be all for the scenes of Crowley dealing with the monotony of Hell, it's all very Gaiman-esque. And how the demons act makes total sense, before Crowley, Hell was chaos. He brought some order to it. And we know he only allows certain demons out of Hell, he's gonna let the ones out he can control, who are significantly weaker than the demons from past seasons who had the claw their way out of Hell.
# Jen 2016-02-20 07:41
As always a great review Alice. I think like Nightsky you found so much happening and alot of new story lines (fingers crossed) that you both could have written a couple of pages. Having said that the episode wasn't dialogue heavy or story heavy they chose the right way to show us many new stories, and kept it pacing nicley. I think they could do a lot with the MOL story line, I know we have already said this, so hopefully more episodes will pop up. It would be great if while looking through the archives they came across The Winchester's name and they found out more about Grandfather & Great Grandfather Winchester that would make a fantastic episode. Anyway I have given up trying to work out Dean ? Amara, and I'm not really sure of Cas/Lucy, I wish they had let Misha find his own Lucifer it would have come across so much better. A lot of people are happy with it but like you I think they have lost the way for Misha (Cas) He served his purpose many seasons ago and should have been fased out but brought back in different stories at least that way his character would not have been destroyed. Poor Cas you wouldn't even know he was a strong solider who believed in God / powerful and determined and absolutely Grand when he made his first entrance back in Season 4. Crowley as well started as a X road demon and worked his way up to take over hell, sneaky/horrible /dark/powerful Crowley they killed him as well And I don't like this stupid camp version of anything evil. Yes Crowley should be afraid of Lucy but the old Crowley would have scampered away gathered his troops and come back at Lucy through the back door. Sadly both characters served their purpose and now they are destroying them in the most hideous way.
If they did this to Sam & Dean -- and in some form they have not so brutally but we havn't till now been happy with Sam's pov. I'm sure the Fandom Family would scream very loud. But out there in web land alot of Misha fans are loving Cas/Lucy Each to their own. I'm just disappointed ---- for every step forward they seem to take a step back.
I'm absolutely loving S11 there is so much to look forward to and discuss. loved this episode Love having my smart/caring/lo ving Sam back. My strong /confused Dean back As you said he is so Black & white -- see evil kill it have a burger and beer some good sex and move on. Poor sweetie throw a spanner in the works like something as confusing and emotional like Amara and he falls in a heap His not good in that department except for his love for his brother. Well thats black & white for Dean LOL He loves Sam simple fact.
# maryellen 2016-02-23 16:08
I totally agree with you. I really, really dislike Misha's Lucifer; he's trying to channel Mark Pellegrino and it's not working. I would be fascinated with Misha's portrayal of Lucifer, but I am really put off by Misha's portrayal of Mark, portraying Lucifer. It just seems like comic mugging and doesn't convey any sense of threat. Similarly, I think that making Mark S. a series regular was a mistake. He's also become simply comic relief, and when he is scary (as in the scene where Sam tried to kill him with the spell from Rowena), it doesn't seem all that believable and never lasts, he's right back to being a caricature again. I mean, we got the joke when we first saw his version of hell, with everyone standing in a long line for all eternity. Clever. But now, over and over they make the point "hell is boredom". We get it. It's not interesting. I'm just really disappointed in what has happened to Cas and Crowley, as characters. It must be hard for the writers because Misha has a great sense of comic timing and can be very very funny, and I understand wanting to take advantage of that... but not at the cost of his character. I am crossing my fingers that they follow up on that line of Amara's earlier, when she meets Cas and says she wonders why her brother is so interested in him. That could really be something interesting and significant for his character, as he has always insisted that he was just a footsoldier and has never even met God. I hope it wasn't just a throwaway line.
# Jen 2016-02-23 16:40
I had forgot about that line from Amara, maybe as you said there is something to it. Our first meeting with Cass was Fantastic really. really amazing they should bring that Cass back. All powerfull. winged Cass Perhaps not every ep. but as someone the Boys can call on when in need. They lost Cas for me when he fell from grace, became human then a "Pretend"god and everthing else. They played around with the formula to much. I also think they tried to replace Bobby with Cass. He is a supernatural being thats the way it should be, if they wont friends for the boys try looking for more MOL
# cheryl42 2016-02-23 17:16
Has Cas said he has never met God (he did meet Chuck :))? I know Anna said only 4 angels had ever met God. I was assuming the arch angels but I don't remember Cas saying he never met him. Anyone?
# Shante 2016-02-20 09:36
hi Alice :( i had issues with this episode that hurt this episode for me. i only liked 1 scene, that's Sam and Casifer, i was waiting on Sam to notice within 15 minutes that something was wrong while Dean was gone not 30 minutes, i was very disappointed that it took so long for Sam to notice until it was too late. that's the only scene that i liked. other than that i was bored. i didnt care that dean went back in time yet again, it happened in season 7 was much better. i wouldnt be surprised if in season 12 dean is again sent back in time to do something else. i mute my tv on Casifer, Misha cant do what Jared and Mark can im sorry, :( ive gotten tired of it, my limit is well overdue as in to the point of me muting my tv every time he's on. my grade is D. i felt that the confrontation should of been earlier, a simple *omg, how did you? and some reaction from him would have made all the difference and uped my grade even if i didnt like the end scene (which i also didnt like). its *we have to save Cas now, and defeat the darkness later*
# Shante 2016-02-20 09:49
it also seems that Casifer is still there so mute button will be on next week hoping ep 15 can make up for the weirdness that was ep 14. and i know new writer, i will be paying attention close attention to dialogue, i did that with Nancy Won and she nailed them.
# Beanie 2016-02-20 10:00
I loved this episode and I'm enjoying this season the most since Season 2 (my favorite).

I have always enjoyed shows with good supporting characters and feel a good guest actor can make or break, not only a scene, but the episode as well.

I liked Castiel/Lucifer.
The crew on the sub was awesome and those scenes were great. I really felt for them when they were dead in the water and the ship was directly over head and then....'splashes'.
And Sam. This Sam. I want this Sam. Let me keep this Sam.
I'm confident Dean will shake the doldrums off and forge ever forward........

What I didn't care for was 'doggie Crowley". I prefer Crowley as a 'frenemy'.

Cheers to the rest of the season!
# sylvia37 2016-02-20 11:33
I agreed mostly this time Alice. :) But my hope is that the theme of togetherness will have Sam and Dean defeating the Darkness together. How awesome would it be for them to come up with a plan together for a change and execute it together. Not Sam falling into hell by himself, not Dean going off to purgatory, not Dean getting a stupid mark on his arm to kill Abbadon, not Dean knocking Sam out to go off and get himself killed and turned into a Demon. Even if they both died, I would take that over one of them doing something stupid by themselves.

But saying that, I would like Sam to be the one to defeat Lucifer, you are right. He should be allowed to be the one to make his tormentor pay. I wish they had allowed Sam to be human for a bit and be angry about what Cas did, and to vent a little bit of what it must have been like to find out that the person he'd been working with so closely in the bunker was the entity who tortured him for so long and then to have his soul violated again. Just a sentence would have been nice.

I feel for Dean, which hasn't happened in a while, and I'm anxious to see if this will be an opportunity for character growth or if he will do something rash because he feels helpless, which given his track record, is the more likely scenario. I vote for character growth.
# jane 2016-02-20 11:48
I agree with you concerning Sam: I want him to be mad at Castiel to have released Lucifer on earth. Dean has to be mad too. After everything they sacrifice to stop the apocalypse, I want it to be addressed. Specially when Sam received so much hate when he did it accidentally, Castiel did it on purpose.
# Sharon 2016-02-20 12:08
The last time Sam was allowed to be 'human' and vent his feelings we got the Purge which apparently was a greater wrong than the original possession. So while it would be of been nice for Sam to be allowed to be angry I would wonder what reaction he would of got?.

Castiel in truth is not a character I have ever had feelings one way or another for but what he did was just too stupid to imagine and to easily done. When I think of the treatment Sam got for releasing Lucifer in the first place this current incarnation is harder to swallow.
# jane 2016-02-20 12:32
I agree.
The purge was wrongly done because we only got Dean's point of view, how depressed he was feeling and blam, Sam adds on it. How dare he. They could have shown him sleepless or dreaming of him killing Kevin, doing stuff without his consent to explain why he was angry. His words were also very harsh towards Dean and thanks to Jared we at least got a "I lied" to repair it. It was a mess. The show also lost a lot a viewers following this episode.
I said earlier that I have the feeling that we are going back to Sam being put on the side because we are losing his POV. How does he feel to have been locked in the cage a few hours with Lucifer ? Now he knows Lucifer is back and almost died to his hands, how does he feel ? During the last scene, it was about Dean, okay, I liked it but couldn't we get a piece of Sam's mind too.
It could be addressed in the next episode but I am pessimist here, seems to me it is a Dean episode.
# eilf 2016-02-20 12:29
The episode seemed to be hinting that a spell that binds a person's blood to a mark is incredibly strong and can defeat most things. I was puzzled about what was going to happen to Delphine when she left the ship - was the sub just permanently warded against the Supernatural until Delphine would die? If you permanently ward everywhere you go linked to a mark on your body isn't that just asking for trouble?
Anyway my thought on where this is going is that Dean is still linked to a 'Mark' currently in the form of Amara, so it looks like with a strong enough boost of power and by Dean dying the darkness/Amara might be defeated. Lucifer is a red-herring whose main role in all this is to invalidate the canon of seasons 1-5. And possibly to have some Deus ex machina information to get them to this conclusion.
Barbara Maake
# Barbara Maake 2016-02-21 09:53
eilf, this has nothing to do with your comment, but if you were so inclined to post a comment on the discussion pages describing your Con experience, I for one would love to read it.:) Either way, I hope you had a great time.
# eilf 2016-02-21 11:38
Goodness I was wondering what I did :D Actually it would cheer me up no end to tell you about my con experience as I currently have the post holiday blues... Do you want the squee version or the squee + these are the logistics of going to a con version? (I did get a personal squee moment :D - in fact I got two ...)
# cheryl42 2016-02-21 14:25
Yes please!:)
# Didi 2016-02-21 14:29
I would love to read about your con experience as well. Sounds like you had a great time.
Barbara Maake
# Barbara Maake 2016-02-21 20:45
eilf, I want to hear it ALL, in technicolor detail please. ESPECIALLY the squee parts. The sooner the better, so put it at the top of your to do list!:)
# eilf 2016-02-21 23:03
How can I resist such enthusiasm? :D Thanks all of you I hope I can do it justice! Well it is taking me a while to put it all together on paper but I will do it! I will tell you that I have a tidbit from Jared's M&G that didn't make it to anyone else's report yet (and which I have been given permission to repeat by the person who asked) so you will hear it from me first :D
# Jen 2016-02-21 23:09
Sounds great Elif can't wait to read it, Now you have teased us with thid tidbit you better type fast LOL
Barbara Maake
# Barbara Maake 2016-02-22 06:59
I have a tidbit from Jared's M&G that didn't make it to anyone else's report yet

Such cruelty to leave that giant tease dangling in the air!:o PLEASE let your post be up when I get home from work! That gives you until 6 PM east coast time. But feel free to go a teeny bit past that deadline if it means we'll get more juicy details. :D
# SueB 2016-02-20 12:35
Alice! I swear, I was about to ask for you to return my brain as I was reading your review regarding Sam and Dean. I couldn't agree more with your POV on these two characters and their season-long story. It was like you were writing down my thoughts but with much better grammar and clarity.

For Casifer, I'm okay with the broad picture. Cas needs to get HIS groove back too. I think we'll take care of Sam & Dean this year but Cas is not yet "fixed". But I'm actually okay with his instincts that Lucifer is needed. Perhaps Cas believed he could wrestle with Lucifer enough that he could win out when Amara was defeated. IDK. Maybe he knows himself well enough to know that once Lucifer goes after Sam & Dean, he will be sufficiently empowered to control the beast. Or maybe it's just a complete leap of faith. Maybe he thinks that Lucifer is required and he has faith Sam & Dean will defeat Lucifer again. I'm fairly certain Cas thinks he's expendable. Regardless, I'm waiting for this to play out and like that Lucifer's true, petulant nature is being demonstrated.

I also get being disappointed in the throne-room buffoonery. I'm personally theorizing that the lack of REAL deadly demons is because Crowley has been controlling exactly who gets topside. He's only letting out minion-class demons and keeping all the deadly players in Hell. Because while Crowley is scrappy and has the power of the King, he's just not likely to withstand a unified assault from the truly vicious. Also, I think He'll lost out in the pre-Apocalypse against the Angels and many of the "worthy" demons were killed. I'm hoping after Sam & Dean get their groove back, both Cas and Crowley get theirs (S12).

In short, excellent review. I think you are spot-on with the boys but I have more hope for Cas & Crowley.
# bjxmas 2016-02-20 12:52
Lots of great insight here! Thanks for digging deeper with all the thinky thoughts. I loved the cinematic feel of the ep, the submarine stuff was ace. I like Robert Berens and how he weaves a story, enough info to pull you in and just enough unsaid to make you ponder. Having John Badham direct and getting all the amazing actors to play their roles so brilliantly certainly upped the tension and anticipation. I knew there would be Sam fans who would be upset that he didn't make the trip back in time, even tho Sam had an integral role in the ep. It just saddens me when the like/dislike responses seem to be drawn by which brother is your favorite. Same old/same old. I don't want to get into all those arguments again, but as a Dean fan, it's often felt the opposite, that Sam gets all the attention, chosen to do the trials, yadda yadda yadda. I like the balance this season, the brothers opening up and talking more and just being there for one another. Protective Sam is a flavor I love, so whatever comes in the epiosdes left in S11, I just want both brothers playing an important role and I can honestly see that happening. I am excited for this season and the years to come, so I choose to be positive about Supernatural and appreciative of all they've given us over the years. Kripke was all about change, reversals, letting the story take us on a wild ride. I don't think we can ever go back to the start of the show, but to honor what he gave us, and what the Js bring to their roles, we can move forward in unity.

My main take-away from the ep was how much I love seeing Nazi's and the Thule, and how we need the Judah Initiative and Aaron Bass and his Golem back! Like the Men of Letters, when Ben Edlund introduced those characters in Everybody Hates Hitler, the story possibilities exploded. It's why Supernatural could go for seasons to come. I love the idea of putting Sam and Dean in new perils, with worthy foes and seeing how they persevere. To me that is the heart of the show and why it has survived this long in the fickle TV landscape. Two brothers facing the unimaginable and somehow finding a way to win.
# eilf 2016-02-20 13:17
Actually I thought the drama between Sam and casifer was more interesting than Dean's trip -possibly because I am not all that easily bought by a guy in uniform - it never seemed very likely that Dean was in much danger since we have seen that storyline before. But Sam nearly getting his heart ripped out was genuinely unnerving. Admittedly that is because by ALL previous canon there should have been no way to stop it happening (with the added shock value of 'what the hell does he mean he doesn't need Sam? What have we been doing all this time then?) So, yeah, Robbie Berens sold out the show's history for a commercial break's worth of hold-your-breat h drama. But it was, at least, drama....
# cheryl42 2016-02-20 13:23
Not-John told Sam that it would be "up to you boys" to stop the Darkness. I hold onto that theme as the one that will get us to the end of the season. The brothers have been upfront with each other and together every step of the way. I don't see separate paths for them now or any time going forward. Or ever again!
# sylvia37 2016-02-20 14:53
I didn't have a problem with who did what in this episode. Dean going back in time didn't bother me because Sam was doing something interesting as well, and I enjoyed both stories, but I do wish they had taken some time for both boys to talk a little about what happened to them and as I said, I wish they would allow Sam to be angry at Castiel for negating his sacrifice.
# Sharon 2016-02-20 13:02
If they were honouring what they gave us I would have no argument but they are not for me .And my issue is not whether Sam went back in time that is a trifle compared to for me the Lucifer situation .
# Debbie 2016-02-20 14:25
We like the episode of vessel on supernatural, my Son and I especially and enjoy the part when Cas was coming down the stairs of the bunker completely soaked from head to toe, this was great and the way Cas interact with Sam very nice. And also the way Cas is interacting with Crowley we like we hope this stay like this for some time. It's nice to see Crowley brought down a little. We like all in all nice episode waiting to see episode beyond the mat to see more interacting with Cas and Crowley and by the way we enjoy Cas being Lucifer. Good choice it's about time to see Cas do something.
# Didi 2016-02-20 14:48
In the closing scene where Dean responds to the idea of Cas willingly saying yes to Luci, "not possible"... I maintain Dean's response has nothing to do with Cas/Luci, and is instead a reaction to all the canon bashing and retcon. :)
# Didi 2016-02-20 17:28
I just rewatched this ep. I enjoyed it less this time than I did originally. Too much retcon in the one true vessel storyline - isn't the entire reason Sam was born was for Luci to use him as a vessel? I need to binge watch S4 and S5, I think. I'm also still confused by the consent, possession, expulsion thing. I don't even know what eps to rewatch to understand it because there have been so many episodes that contradict each other.

I'm clinging to the hope that Berens would not introduce so much retcon. I thought he was the overall story editor for the show (please correct me if I'm wrong) in a addition to being a writer. I always assumed that he was the writer most interested in preserving and building on existing canon. I'm hoping we get logical explanations as the season unfolds.
# Didi 2016-02-20 18:13
I remembered there's an upcoming ep where Bobby and Rufus work on a case from S5. Maybe they'll discover something new that sheds some light on the current 'any ol meat suit for Luci is good enough' storyline.
# cheryl42 2016-02-20 18:49
Yes Sam was Lucifer's true vessel but Lucifer did walk around in Nick's meatsuit for a whole season. So there's that. I imagine him using Castiel wouldn't be all that different. So far I don't think that the possession issue has been violated either. Cas did say yes and he did tell Sam that he wasn't strong enough to eject Lucifer and even if he was that wasn't the plan. When Sam said yes to Lucifer he had no intention of ejecting him either. That wasn't the ultimate goal. The possession by Gadreel was a trick and Gadreel was able to hide his presence. Yes that had never happened before on the show but I don't think it destroyed any existing canon. Sam was able to eject Gadreel because Crowley had weakened and immobilized him enough that he could. That was my take anyway. No one had ever ejected an angel before because a) they didn't want to or b)they were either unaware or unable to (and so far as I know that had only happened to Sam).

There are editors and showrunners and other producers that go over and approve the scripts. Robert Berens has to go through the same wringer as everyone else. Opinions vary but it was a fantastic script, expertly directed and produced. At least IMHO.
# jane 2016-02-20 19:14
The issue with the vessel comes from Lucifer wanted to kill Sam and telling he didn't need him anymore. That's where there is for me a big violation of the canon, it simply destroy the all base of the show.
As for rejecting an angel, I always thought that Sam could do it because he didn't really say "yes" to Gadreel, it was a trick. When he learned the truth, he just had to say no. But apart this case, once the vessel accepted, he can't reject the angel anymore. In the rapture, we clearly see that if he could have changed his mind, Jimmy would have rejected Castiel long before. It's just how I see things. But I am sure the show will play as it seems with the story and I bet Castiel will be able to take control often over a powerful archangel.
# vince 2016-02-20 21:24
Well, he knows Sam is never going to let Lucifer possess him. So, he is literally of no more use to him. While Sam may be his true vessel, he's not the only vessel.
# Sharon 2016-02-21 03:00
Not now no once the writers decided Castiel needed a sl . But there was never a way of bringing Lucifer back without it negating Sam,s original sacrifice because of the very nature of what they have given Castiel .
The show is not always right in what it does regardless of how it is spun.
# cheryl42 2016-02-21 04:14
That is an interesting question. Did Jimmy know that he could change his mind and reject Castiel? Or did he stay with Cas because of his commitment to what he thought was God's mission? Or did he stay with Cas because of the promise that his family was going to be protected? He was happy to be free of the angel possession that is true but we don't why he stayed or if he knew had a choice. He was given the choice to be possessed again in order to spare Claire and I suppose he stayed to make sure that could never happen again.
As far as Sam rejecting Gadreel whether by trick or not Sam invited the angel in. As far as we know Sam is the only character to have ejected an angel (and Andrew Dabb wrote that episode) Robert Berens wrote his episode based on existing canon. How he was able to reject Gadreel I suppose could be debated long after the show ends. I guess it is just how the viewer personally interprets different story lines past and current. I don't have an issue with adding to the lore but I know some do.
# debbab 2016-02-23 10:42
See it less as recon and more as expansion and change. The lore is the lore. Sam was to be Lucifer's vessel. It happened. It had consequences. Cas changed. Sam changed. Post season 5 the brothers have been becoming grown men, There basic purpose stays the same, but Lucifer's changed the game . That is how a show continues to grow. I liked how Berens expanded the lore to a different level in order to keep it alive and growing.
# Lilah_Kane 2016-02-20 18:41
Didi, it depends if you think story moving forward is a retcon? Actually, the thing that started the story change was on the finale of season 4. Berens didn't introduce the change in the true vessel stuff. It has been presented slowly in bits and pieces. Now, when we get into it. Sam is Lucifer's true vessel and still is. He is his "human vessel" and before the finale in season 4 and 5 they didn't know there was a possibility to have anything else. The viewers didn't know anything else either. Cas being the vessel doesn't diminish what Sam and Dean had fought in seasons 1-5. I mean this is five years later? They know more and a lot more has happened. Anyway, in the season 5 opening Cas was resurrected the first time after he had been blasted to oblivion by Raphael. Jimmy got a straight way ticket to heaven and Cas was resurrected by God. In season 5 finale he was blasted again and then with Leviathans etc etc etc. Even with Leviathans I suspect God brought him back to the river. After all the blasting to subatomic level the vessel was made for Cas and he was the only angel having a body of a human. A special case entirely. His vessel has the God aspect and that is why Cas could say yes and may be strong enough to hold Lucifer in. AND Cas is the only one with Sam that can. None other from humans and angels and what not are able. Cas could also say yes to other angels or Michael for example and in season 9 opening one angel also wanted to possess Cas. Another indication that Cas is a vessel. Everything he did against Lucifer was a great battle in "The Vessel" but if you compare it to Sam. Sam was ordinary human that did those great things. So you can't really compare the two or make a competition out of it. Cas fought hard, maybe with the help of Sam's soul or the worry that Lucifer would kill Sam. Maybe both to take control for a moment. Sam did better even with that accord as he always was mere human. Demonblood didn't help him in the last fight at all. It was his strength of will he needed. These have not been explained in detail and probably never will but we have gotten bits and pieces. :)

Oh, and I think Dabb is the story editor or Carver. Don't know for sure. But it is not Berens.

Anyway, that is my take. Season 5 is the past and nothing that happens five years later doesn't diminish it as a lot of things and new stuff have born and appeared to the story. Situations change too. I mean I can explain how I see it and I see no issues on the storyline, but it doesn't mean people see things the same way. But the proof is there. So maybe this helped or maybe it didn't, the choice is yours. Only things that bothered me in this episode was Crowley's torture really. Or well, it made me uncomfortable.

- Lilah
# Didi 2016-02-20 19:23
Thank you for your insight. It really helps getting someone else's perspective.

I'm certainly not trying to create a competition between Sam and Cas as to who is the better vessel for Luci. If I came across that way, then I apologize. I'm just trying to understand the current storyline.

I know that Andrew Dabb is the head writer, and Carver is the showrunner, but I thought I'd seen somewhere that Berens was the story editor. Which is why is was surprised by what I perceive to be so much retcon in this script. I could be wrong, apologies if I am. I'm sure everyone involved in the writing and production of the show collaborates with each other and they have a common vision for the plot and how the story is told. I didn't mean to minimize anyone's contribution to the show. I'm just a bit confused regarding Kripke's previously established canon is all. This is the first time the show has really dealt with the one true vessel storyline since the Kripke era, so naturally that's my starting point. Like others, I am creating my own head canon around this storyline because the show hasn't really explained why Luci now wants Sammy dead when Sam was born to be Luci's meat suit, why Cas can now be a vessel for an arc angel, etc. The fact that so many of us have our own ideas and head canon around this topic only further illustrates the need for further clarification from the writers. Sam being Luci's ONLY legitimate vessel was the basis of the show for the first 5 years. There should not be any amgbiguities around this topic.

I'll bite my tongue now and wait to see how all these stories unfold.
# vince 2016-02-20 21:28
Berens and Jenny Klein are both story editors.
# Lilah_Kane 2016-02-21 03:49
I think for that the only reason would be that Lucifer have noticed that Cas can handle his grace. And he generally dislikes Sam and Dean because they prevented the apocalypse and won against him. That Sam was stronger than him. And well, why Cas is holding up I explained earlier why he can do it. But like I said. I doubt they will explain it more thorough. :)

- Lilah
# vince 2016-02-20 21:27
Actually, I'm pretty sure the show has it set that Jimmy died in "Swan Song" as that's the only death they showed and mentioned.
# Sarah 2016-02-20 20:04
Great review, as always. I'm going to try to answer some of your questions. Mostly, about getting into Dean's head and where he goes with the Amara-stuff. I'll be honest, it's your reviews that made me consider his character from that perspective. I know that's where his season arc is, but I've been so pissed at Castiel for the last four weeks, that I haven't really given God's sister much thought.

I think you're right about where Dean is with Amara, at least at the beginning of the episode. He knows she has to die, and he knows it's not going to be him that beats her, so he's going to do all the dangerous missions- everything that has to be done to make sure she can be killed. Because, at the end of the day, it'll be Sam and Cass who have to pull the trigger. Also, Dean has always taken the do-the-semi-sui cidal-thing-to- save-the-world philosophy. It's a side-effect of the dangerous combination of heroism and self-loathing that is a corner stone of his personality.

As far as the Hand of God stuff goes, well maybe that's solution. Because, even if he can't beat Amara, maybe he can just hold it. If that's all he has to do. He's looking at Delphine and he's watching the power of God consume her as she uses it to destroy her enemies, and he's thinking, maybe that will be enough.

I think that you might be wrong that Dean may be protected from God's power. Dean was able to slay the Whore of Babylon because, in that moment, he was a servant of Heaven. In fact, it was that act that made Sam realize Dean was going to say yes to Michael. Amara's connection with Dean makes her his bodyguard; it doesn't make him immortal. If the Hand of God can kill Amara, it can kill Dean. However, if a mortal can't absorb the power of God, maybe an angel can; maybe Crowley can.

On the Lucifer/Cass stuff, respectfully, I think you're watching the show the wrong way. Often when I'm watching a TV showing, I'm watching on two fronts: I'm watching what is happening on screen, but I'm also trying to figure out why certain things are happening on screen. Why did the writers decide to do it this way? What does that set up down the road? There are some shows- the Vampire Diaries comes to mind- where I can't help but watch the puppeteers as closely as I watch the puppets, because too often what happens on screen is the product of the writers' desires, and not the characters. So, I think, at least for this episode, that you paid a lot more attention to the strings than the story. You said yourself that you always suspected that Lucifer's motivations were simply to escape the cage, yet you're upset- from a story-telling perspective- that there was no grand plan. That's ok, but I think, from a purely character perspective, Lucifer's actions make sense. He sees that there's is an opportunity to free himself from the cage, and he takes it. After he's topside, he tries to figure out what to do, and recognizing that Amara is a threat to his own existence, he chooses to defeat her. Sam said at the beginning of the episode (and you said it later in your review) that Lucifer is one of the few beings old enough and strong enough to defeat Amara. That's why Cass let him out.

Sam still fears Lucifer. You just have to look at his face when he realizes who's been walking around in Cass's body. He may understand him better, but the angel tortured him for almost two hundred years. He's terrified.

As far as how to save Cass, Dean is of the mindset that the angel will be saved, because he has to be saved, whether Cass likes it or not. Sam is the more pragmatic one and recognizes the limit of Dean's strategy, which is primarily based on stubbornness and recklessness. What I'm interested in is the lengths the Winchesters will go to do it. Because of the way their story has been written, the only person Sam and Dean have ever gone to the ends of the Earth to rescue (besides each other) was their father. There's no real precedence for them going that far for someone who's last name wasn't "Winchester". Even the rescue of Bobby's soul was attempted partially because it was required to close the gates of Hell. And after all, they never did save Adam.
# Grace232 2016-02-20 21:02
Thanks Alice. Great review. I expected to hate this episode - even put off watching a couple days - but loved it - for all the reasons you outlined. So excited for rest of this season! And - also agree with you on Hell scene. It was just tacky! I did not like the Hell scenes with Crowley in charge either - but they were just boring - not tacky, too. Fortunately, that was such a small part of this episode, in the midst of tons of awesomeness, that I completely forgot about the tacky Hell as soon as it ended.