What happens when Nightsky attends an academic conference that runs from Wednesday through Saturday on a week when a new Supernatural episode airs on Thursday? Of course the conference schedule doesn’t allow for critical prior commitments, such as watching and live tweeting the episode with the Supernatural family! The answer: five Supernatural fangirls huddle around a hotel room TV watching “Devil’s Bargain” together the best they can - three sitting on beds, one leaning forward on the edge of an air mattress, and one (me) sitting in the only chair near enough to an wall outlet to power the laptop needed for live commentary on Twitter and Facebook – with pirated plates of fruit, crackers and cheese precariously situated nearby (“dinner” from the networking event we’re all ignoring)! Being careful to not get cheesy finger prints on my PC’s touch screen and continually brushing the cracker crumbs off my key board, the watch party begins!
Follow along with the conversation that ensued between WFB’s Nightsky, FangasmSPN’s Lynn, and 3 other acafans (academics who are also passionate fans) during one of the busiest, most confusing episodes in Supernatural’s history!
The THEN came on and the room falls silent. For a minute anyway.
Lynn: KEVIN! Is Osric in this episode? Please let Osric be in this episode! (Alas, Osric was in fact NOT in this episode…)
The NOW begins, which repeats the scene we saw last week of Castiel and Lucifer having a tussle, and Lucifer full on lunging at Castiel and stabbing him in the stomach.
Wait, what? Is that what we saw last week?
Nightsky: Hold on, when did THAT happen??
Lynn: He stabbed him last week but not like THAT, am I right?
Susan and Mandy (who remember things much better than the two of us): Lucifer did stab Castiel last week, but he swiped high! It was a high slice not a gut stab!
Cas staggers through the woods, clearly way more injured than he seemed to be last week when he prevailed and stabbed Lucifer.
Castiel falls to the ground – to be found by the shocked teenagers of the week who of course do what? Poke him with a stick.
Everyone in the room: WHAT IS HAPPENING??
Two minutes in and we are all confused (turns out, that didn’t ease much during this episode).
Cas wakes up, seems to be feeling a lot better, and for some reason goes right back to where he escaped from Asmodeus and starts yelling at the top of his lungs for Lucifer.
Nightsky: Why the Sam Hill would he go back there and yell like that? They just got away from Asmodeus and his goons!
Everyone else: I got nothin’.
Switch gears (there’s a lot of that in this episode too, as in hang on or you’ll get whiplash from the constant back and forth) and we’re in Missouri. Danneel is roller skating down the sidewalk and meeting cute with some guy with a wedding cake.
The guy catches Danneel, the cake smashes to the ground.
Nightsky: Some wedding is going horribly wrong somewhere…
Turns out Cupid is trying to match skater girl and cake guy but, uh oh Cupid, Lucifer is standing right behind you! Lucifer questions him about where the angels are, roughs the poor guy up, and steals some of his grace.
Cupid begs for his life, sobbing, and Lucifer momentarily seems to soften.
Lucifer: Ok, ok Cupid.
Lynn: (giggling) OK Cupid?
But no, we end up with a poor dead Cupid.
Three minutes in and everyone is still massively confused.
Nightsky has lots of questions.
Nightsky: Lucifer just happens to be in the city that Cupid is in? Cupid is the symbol of love and kindness, and that’s who Lucifer kills? Wouldn’t some random angel do? Perhaps it’s just to prove how despicable Lucifer is, seeking out love and goodness just to kill it. And wouldn’t Cupid recognize that skater girl is an angel? He is not on earth to match up angels with humans (bad things like Nephilims result from such pairings). Are you sure that’s Danneel?
Lynn: I got nothin’.
The conversation between Lucifer and Cupid reiterates the ‘heaven is running out of angels’ thing that seemed to come out of nowhere in Season 13.
Nightsky: I find that hard to swallow. All those legions of angels and now there’s just a handful? Yes, there was the fall, but really, there are that few now?
Everyone agrees that the lack of angels seems to be a major motivating theme all of a sudden, but now that it’s important, it bothers us more. But okay.
Scene change again, and the Winchesters finally make an appearance!
Castiel is suddenly back with them in the bunker. He fills them in on Asmodeus and the bad news that they’ve been talking to Asmodeus impersonating Cas all that time.
Sam and Dean do a lot of “huh?” and look grumpy about everything.
Castiel goes on. And oh there’s an AU version of Kevin Tran and Michael out there and he’s trying to get to this world to wreak havoc. All this is very bad news indeed, and Sam and Dean are definitely facepalming.
Nightsky: I absolutely love the confounded look on Sam and Dean’s face because they are mirroring the look on every viewer’s face right now watching this episode.
Then Cas casually mentions that he’s been working with Lucifer.
This is one of Lynn’s favorite scenes, even though it is small.
Lynn: OMG the look on Sam’s face. The look on DEAN’s face! When they realize that Lucifer is no longer in the AU and he’s back -- and a threat. After what Sam told us about his fear of Lucifer last week, this is tough to see.
Dean is definitely not happy about this turn of events.
Dean: Cas, I told you not to do anything stupid.
Cas is defensive, and his retort is delivered in an uncharacteristically biting way.
Cas: Well, he was weak and given the context of our imminent annihilation, it didn’t seem stupid. Lucifer wanted to help fight Michael.
Sam: (clearly unconvinced) Sure…
Cas: (still defensive) If he were lying, I’d have known it.
Lynn: Wait, he didn’t know when Metatron was lying, though…
Nightsky: But Lucifer’s without his grace, which makes him mostly human and Cas has been able to tell when humans are lying. Even after Lucifer took Cupid’s grace, Lucifer was still mostly human. Maybe that’s why?
Sam: (suddenly sounding vulnerable and about ten years younger) He say anything about our mom?
Cas: She’s alive, that’s all I know. I’m sorry.
Like I said, this is one of our favorite scenes.
Nightsky: What I saw there was an excellent continuity in character. Sam’s a little boy worried about his mother. Dean is being strong for him, which is consistent with the last couple of episodes. That was phenomenal acting on both their parts, Jared especially picking up from last week.
Lynn: That little scene broke my heart. We know how terrified and traumatized Sam is because of Lucifer and both he and Dean thought that they had neutralized that threat – how horrible to find out that he’s in their backyard again. Every abuse survivor’s worst nightmare. Also the worst nightmare of every protective person who cares about someone who has been abused.
Scene change, and we pick up seeing just how human Lucifer in fact is, as he shivers in the cold and his stomach growls with hunger watching people dine al fresco (even though it’s apparently very cold, so weird…)
Scene change, and we switch to Asmodeus having a testy conversation with Mr. Ketch.
Lynn: Do we even know why Ketch is working with Asmodeus and how that came to be? Also, gotta say, Ketch does not seem very intimidated by Asmodeus. He just called his plan to capture Lucifer monumentally stupid.
Asmodeus for some reason doesn’t seem to hold that against Ketch. Instead he changes the plan to kill Lucifer instead and sends Ketch on his way.
Nightsky: I’m sympathetic to Ketch…
Lynn: (incredulous) What now??
Nightsky: He has the courage to stand up to Asmodeus, but he seems very intimidated by the assignment to go kill Lucifer.
Lynn: Nope, not sympathetic to Ketch. Sorry, David Haydn-Jones, love you. But I hated the whole British Men of Letters thing and am not a fan of any of them, even the charming on the surface ones.
Asmodeus tells Ketch that an angel blade to the heart should kill Lucifer.
Nightsky: So… Cas clearly stabbed Lucifer to the gut with an angel blade but Lucifer walked away with not even a wound?
Lynn: Maybe because it wasn’t to the heart? Honestly I have no clue what happened in that first scene.
Everyone: (shaking heads in confusion)
Scene switch, back to Lucifer, who has decided to take up panhandling. Except he’s not very good at it.
Lucifer: Give me money, come on, what’s the matter with you?
We all are amused by Mark Pellegrino’s portrayal of Lucifer – he does comedy very well. But the cost of those comedic moments is a dilution of the terrifying threat that Lucifer is supposed to pose.
The nice homeless man who is also panhandling takes Lucifer to do some dumpster diving, which he doesn’t appreciate in the least. He does, on the other hand, appreciate the man’s description of a powerful healer named Sister Jo who can heal people with ‘glowing hands.’ Uh oh. We all know what that means.
Lynn and Nightsky are absolutely convinced that Lucifer is just going to kill that nice homeless man and take all his money. Glad to be wrong though.
Scene switch, back to the bunker, and a little more Winchesters.
Dean apologizes to Castiel for not knowing it wasn’t him on the phone. Cas, for his part, is focused on finding Mary and Jack and unconcerned about the Winchesters not coming after him. He’s almost dismissive, which again doesn’t seem exactly like Cas.
Cas: I’m fine, Dean.
Dean: You sure about that?
Lynn: I’m not sure about that! Is Cas okay? Is Cas really Cas? Honestly I haven’t been 100% sure since he came back from the Empty. He’s definitely seemed different since then – those little evil smirks, the way he’s defensive with Dean and Sam….I dunno. I’m just not sure.
Nightsky: In my Threads reviews, I’ve already gone “all in” on the theory that Cas is the Empty Entity.
Anyway… enter Donatello.
Everyone: Donatello is back??
Nightsky: My eyes are starting to gloss over. Another player on the already crowded chess board?
Lynn: I have a headache…
Sam tells Donatello that they don’t have an angel tablet, that’s on “Earth 2”.
Nightsky: So we now know that Sam is a fan of The Flash because that’s what they call it on that show!
Everyone else: Who knew? (Answer: Not the rest of us…)
But they do have – the demon tablet!
Lynn: Wait, when did they get the demon tablet? They’ve had it for a while, right? How come they didn’t have Donatello work on it earlier if they knew how to contact him and that he could read it?
Nightsky: I have a headache too.
No one remembers (or had time to answer because they are concentrating so hard on what’s happening), so on we go.
Lynn: I like Donatello. He likes chicken wings.
Annnnnd scene change, we’re back to Sister Jo, healing people and looking serenely – dare I say angelically – beautiful. And making a very good living too, charging desperate people for the privilege of being healed. Lucifer is impressed. He still intends to drain her grace and kill her, but he’s impressed.
Scene change, and we get a tiny bit more Winchesters and Castiel.
Sam, Dean and Cas investigate Cupid’s death, which means we get a minute of the boys in their fed suits. They figure out that Lucifer is powering up. And if he manages to do that?
Dean: We’re boned.
Cas: (deadpan) Epically.
Scene change, back to the Lucifer and Sister Jo story line.
Lynn: I’m so dizzy…
Sister Jo is notably not intimidated by Lucifer.
Nightsky: That’s a parallel to Ketch not being intimidated by Asmodeus; she’s also not intimidated.
Lynn: Nightsky’s good with the parallels, gotta say. Also, is that backdrop from "Fan Fiction"??? Is that The Road So Far? Why does the road sign say Lawrence? Is this a bit of meta crammed in here??
Nightsky: And it’s a stage…what does that mean?
Lynn: OMG I have such a headache.
Sister Jo is a fascinating character, on that everyone agreed, and Danneel Ackles is doing a bang up job portraying her. A businesswoman, an angel who hated her lower level job and wanted more – and found it after the fall, on Earth. We appreciated the attention to giving this new character enough backstory that we could understand her motivations. She coolly negotiates with Lucifer even as he’s about to drink her dry – and convinces him!
Here’s where it gets weird. Like, really weird. Lucifer drinking from Sister Jo isn’t like any other grace drinking we’ve ever seen. It’s downright erotic is what it is.
Lynn: Not sure how I feel about that…
I’m also confused by Sister Jo. She’s a "smart businesswoman" but she legitimately seems to want to help Lucifer. It doesn’t seem just like self-preservation, more like admiration. She sees him as a way to rise to the top by clinging to his coattails.
Lynn: I think that’s accurate.
Nightsky: What’s confusing me is her figuring out that someone may have followed Lucifer – she’s actively thinking on his behalf already in that scene. That was a very fast switch to the “enemy” side, isn’t it?
Lynn: Hence the headache…There are so many players on this board! But I think that’s part of her character. She is quick, can think on her feet and figure out who it’s most advantageous for her to ally herself with at that moment.
Meanwhile Sam finds the nice homeless man and figures out where Lucifer is headed – and now the Winchesters and Cas are also on their way to Sister Jo… but instead they find – Ketch!
Ketch: (disappointed) It’s only you.
Lynn: Definitely not my reaction if Sam, Dean and Cas walked in.
Sam, Dean and Cas do not fall for Ketch’s attempt to convince them he’s able to be trusted. One of the best moments in the episode: Cas losing patience and just zapping Ketch into unconsciousness!
We are all fans of the badass version of Castiel who we don’t see nearly enough. His two finger zaps have not been used as often as they should be, and his disgusted fed up face when he does it? Priceless.
Smart!Sam set up an alert for when Sister Jo uses her credit card, which allows them to track her to a motel. Interestingly, the motel’s ‘Restaurant’ sign is burnt out – except for the ‘AU’ in the middle. Good catch, Nightsky! Nice little nod from the set dec people.
We have to sit through more weirdly erotic Lucifer and Sister Jo grace drinking, with Sister Jo whispering “we don’t have to rush, we can do this slowly”.
Nightsky: Didn’t Ruby say something very similar when Sam was drinking her blood?
Susan: Maybe eventually we’ll have Sam killing Sister Jo (Jensen’s real life wife) while Dean holds her, the same way Dean killed Ruby (Jared’s real life wife) while Sam held her….
Lynn: lol that’s exactly what Jared said at a recent con, because Jensen will also then have to explain to his kids why Uncle Jared killed mommy the same way Jared has to explain to his kids why Uncle Jensen did!
Gotta say, no one in the room was a big fan of the Sister Jo/Lucifer pseudo sexual encounter, which was eventually made not so subtle when they fall back onto the bed together, winded and seemingly satiated.
Nightsky: I’m confused again. When Cas lost his grace to Metatron, Metatron took it all. Anna gave up all of her grace too. Was there ever an example of someone taking only part of another angel’s grace?
Lynn: Michael didn’t take it all from Lucifer in the AU, right?
Nightsky: So why can’t Lucifer regenerate it as fast as Sister Jo is? She says she’s losing enough to feel almost human and yet regenerating it very quickly, but Lucifer can’t seem to regenerate at all?
Lynn: And why didn’t Lucifer enjoy it like Sister Jo seems to be…
Nightsky: And what makes an archangel an archangel? I assumed their grace was different.
Lynn: More powerful, right.
Nightsky: Now Lucifer is filling up on the bargain brand version of grace – will that work to make him back into an archangel?
Lucifer opens up to Sister Jo in their sort of but not really post coital state, saying he always wanted to fit in, to please a father he couldn’t please. Then he tries to take it back, uncomfortable with the intimacy. Much like Crowley, with his blood-fueled temporary humanity, Lucifer has started to feel things that he doesn’t want to.
Sister Jo also opens up to Lucifer, saying she’s envious of humans for their ability to love. She also confesses her resentment about being stuck on the lower rung of the very hierarchical heaven. A nobody. Again, the backstory and explanation of the character’s motivations is much appreciated.
Lucifer gets out of bed and tries to push away his burst of emotionality, saying he will soon get back to being the “King of Lies”.
Nightsky: Wait a minute, didn’t Lucifer swear to Sam that he never lies?
Lynn: I thought the same thing - he totally did! Why is he suddenly saying he’s King of Lies??
Everyone: I got nothin’.
Next thing we know, Donatello has unwisely gone out for more chicken wings. Asmodeus, in the form of Castiel, intercepts him, gets way too much information, and then zaps his memory and makes sure he will report his progress.
Lynn: Wait, why did the Winchesters let him wander around by himself when they know Asmodeus is a shape shifter?? Why didn’t they even warn him? That made no sense. Convenient but nonsensical. I hate that.
Also lol at Evil Colonel Sanders holding a chicken wing.
Scene switch, back to Lucifer reading the bible and asking why nobody fact checked it, and more Smart!Sam tapping in to call Sister Jo and lure her outside. She immediately makes the decision to lie to them, telling them pointedly that Lucifer is still very weak. Confusingly, Castiel clearly doesn’t know that Sister Jo is lying to them.
Nightsky: So wait, her grace regenerated enough in one night that Cas can’t tell she’s lying (because maybe he can’t tell when angels are lying?), and yet Lucifer’s grace hadn’t regenerated in all that time they were in jail for Cas to tell that he was lying??
Lynn: Oh Sister Jo, what are you doing warning Lucifer like that?
What follows is a priceless scene though, as Lucifer pretends to have no strength and Sister Jo pretends to be on the Winchesters’ side.
Lucifer: Dean, nice jacket there Dean. Your hair, Sam, is magnificent. Is that a leave in conditioner?
Sam, bless his heart, tries to protect Sister Jo, telling her “we got this”. She repays them by tossing Sam across the room, and then Lucifer tortures the Winchesters and Cas for the fun of it before Ketch arrives and tosses a demon bomb at them. Lucifer is strong enough to teleport him and Sister Jo away, and she reiterates her loyalty to him, at least as long as he’s able to help her.
Lucifer: Okay, where do we go now?
Lynn: Lucifer sure isn’t much of a master planner anymore, is he? Sister Jo is clearly calling the shots and coming up with the plans here.
Nightsky: I didn’t expect him to ask her either.
We get it, Show, Sister Jo is smart. Lucifer isn’t usually clueless though.
Back to the Winchesters, Ketch has another go at convincing the Winchesters to go after Lucifer together with him.
Sam: Dude, why would we ever trust you?
Ketch comes clean about working with Asmodeus and offers to pass information to the Winchesters.
Nightsky: So that’s the third double agent we’re tracking. Donatello is now a mole, Ketch is offering to be a mole, and I’m not entirely sure Jo isn’t playing some long game.
Lynn: Agreed. I think Sister Jo could switch allegiances at any time if it benefits her.
Nightsky: So Donatello and Ketch cancel each other out [Donatello telling Asmodeus what the boys are planning, and Ketch telling the boys what Asmodeus is planning]. I totally believe Ketch. When they shot him a few episodes ago, that wasn’t an honorable thing to do. I still feel sorry for the guy.
Lynn: (incredulous again) Honorable? That is not Ketch!
(Clearly Ketch is a point of disagreement for Lynn and Nightsky, much to the amusement of the rest of the room.)
Ketch insists that letting Lucifer free is his line in the sand that he won’t cross.
Ketch: I’m the lesser of at least 3 evils.
Nightsky: 3 being… Michael, Lucifer and…Asmodeus?
Lynn: I don’t know, I’m too busy laughing because David Haydn-Jones has a less than three thing for his charity campaign and he just said less than three.
Scene change, and Lucifer (with Sister Jo at his side, clearly the mastermind of this plan) is trying to convince the remaining angels that they need him.
Nightsky: We’ve seen that angel before [referring to the waitress Sam abducted in his soul-reconstituting ep].
Lynn: (always terrible at recognizing people, but in her defense there have been like a zillion characters in this episode) We have?
Lucifer offers the angels what they want the most – the ability to make more angels and to get their wings back. Duma (okay, Lynn remembers her now) disses Sister Jo, and Lucifer demands respect for her, which is exactly what she most wants.
Scene change, back at the bunker. The Winchesters have a tiny bit more dialogue.
Donatello goes off when Sam tries to be encouraging about his progress
Donatello: It’s like pulling friggin’ teeth!
Nevertheless, Sam is relieved that at least they now have a plan. They’ll work with Ketch for now, but aren’t going to trust him, and then they will… (Dean cocks his gun meaningfully, which was kinda hot)
Scene change, and there’s the reveal of Lucifer sitting on the throne of Heaven, Sister Jo at his side.
Lucifer: Hail to the King, baby.
Nightsky: That’s repulsive.
Lynn: Don’t mince words, Nightsky.
We end not with the Winchesters and Cas, but with Ketch reporting in to Asmodeus. He admits that even he doesn’t think he can beat the devil at full power. Asmodeus, however, has another big reveal. He pulls out a certain lost (and conveniently just found) artifact which turns out to be an Archangel blade – the only known weapon capable of destroying an Archangel.
Nightsky: So there’s only one then? Like the First Blade?
Lynn: It’s exhausting having so many reveals in one episode!
At this point the confused look on Ketch’s face was the same look we all had on our faces. The archangel blade? What now? We are all waiting for Ketch to say exactly that so we could all agree with him.
Ketch: But the blade is only effective when wielded by an archangel.
Asmodeus, and this episode, much to the chagrin of Lynn’s aching head, is still not done with the reveals.
Asmodeus: Allow me to make an introduction. Mr. Ketch.
There’s a dramatic pause, as everyone waits to see who the mysterious bent over figure in Asmodeus’ cell really is.
Everyone in the room: Who the hell is it????
Asmodeus: Meet the archangel Gabriel.
Everyone in the room: LOSES IT
Our heads are already spinning and now we have the return of Gabriel – and Richard Speight Jr??? Approximately 200 scene switches and multiple reveals is all too much for a room full of fangirls exhausted from an academic conference.
Nightsky: But we saw Gabriel’s wings when Lucifer killed him!
Lynn: Wait, so Lucifer didn’t know he had to stab him with an archangel blade to kill him? Was that just an angel blade so it didn’t work?
Nightsky: Wait, it’s not the only thing that can kill an archangel, because when Michael was trying to kill Lucifer during the apocalypse, this never came up. When Adam showed up in Stull Cemetery, he didn’t have an archangel blade. Or does every archangel automatically have an archangel blade? If that’s so, then did Luci use his own archangel blade to kill Gabe? Or is there only one and Gabriel had it hidden away so his brothers couldn’t kill each other?
Lynn: Look, I’m super glad that Gabriel is alive, but how is Gabriel alive? Oh, my head hurts…
Susan: Remember how back in “Hammer of the Gods”, Kali had a vial of Gabriel’s blood? What if she…
Lynn and Nightsky: (are reaching for the Advil)
Later, back in their hotel room, Lynn and Nightsky did a lot of exclaiming “I’m so confused” and trying to figure out what the hell happened in that episode. They are the only two who write weekly reviews in that group, so figuring this stuff out becomes slightly more important (and urgent) for them.
Lynn: Was the kitchen sink in that episode? Pretty sure it was.
Nightsky: I’m still trying to figure out how Gabriel is alive.
Lynn: And what was up with the Winchesters? They weren’t even memorable players in this episode. They were oddly wooden like “Hmm”, “Huh”, “Yeah” – it was like the Rocky Horror Picture Show Scene when Rocky just keeps going “Uhh” every time the camera is turned to him. “Janet!” “Brad!” “Rocky!” “Uhh!”
We were still scratching our heads the next day when we did a rewatch. We agreed on liking Sister Jo, both the writing and characterization and the portrayal by Danneel Ackles. We were amused by Lucifer and Mark Pellegrino’s comedic talents. We were sad that Osric was in fact not in the episode, glad that Richard Speight Jr. was, and confused about whether canon had been expanded, amended or altered by some of the events that took place.
What do you think? Do you have an explanation for some of the things that confused us? Tell us in the comments if so!
Screencaps courtesy of Home of the Nutty and Supernatural Fans Online.