Before I get into my thoughts and feelings about this episode, I need to give huge thanks to Nightsky and the people here at The Winchester Family Business, for allowing me to write a few reviews while one of their usual people is out of town. I am honored to be able to contribute my thoughts about this episode.
Speaking generally, I loved "Ouroboros". I felt like everyone got their own story line, which in and of itself doesn’t often happen. It is also gratifying to see these characters staying true to themselves while also developing and changing. One of the main reasons that I keep watching the show is because of the constant and interesting character development. None of these characters are the same as they were when the show began, or even last season for some of them. They’ve all grown and changed, which makes them not only more compelling, but more rounded and honest people. Because I feel like each of them was so wonderful, let’s talk about them specifically.
To all the Dean people, you have been blessed. Throughout this whole season and over the last several seasons we’ve seen so much development in Dean. My heart is so happy that he feels so comfortable sharing his emotions and not taking on the burdens all on his own. That scene in the restaurant with Cas was proof that Dean has learned from his experiences and is willing to tell Cas how concerned he is about Michael and keeping him locked up in his head. It's mind blowing to think that only a few seasons ago Dean wouldn’t have been willing to say anything, let alone admit that he was worried about the thing he was doing.
I think Sam is so interesting. It’s kind of hard for me to explain my feelings about Sam because there are so many. I find his unwillingness to give up on Dean admirable and I think that it gives him the perspective he needs to understand Dean in times of desperation and fear. Throughout the show’s history, we’ve seen both Sam and Dean unwilling to give up on each other, but they both get angry at that because they find themselves to not be worth the trouble. While I’m certain Sam still believes that, I think the predicament he’s in with Dean makes him realize their worth, and allows him to realize that while they’ve both made many mistakes in the lives that they’ve lived, they’ve done far more to help the world than to harm it. He said it in season 12 and again two episodes ago: “We’re the guys who saved the world.” He’s not wrong. Sam and Dean have given so much to save the world and Sam seeing that there is inherent worth in that, and trying to convince Dean of that, is not only compelling, but a mine filled with opportunity for character development.
Cas has always been a bit of an anomaly for me. A lot of people have strong feelings one way or another about Cas. I’ve always been kind of in the middle. I don’t have super strong positive or negative feelings about Cas. I think that he is always a fascinating study on humanity and what it means to be human. This episode is a fascinating thought experiment on Cas, because we see him doing his best to get Jack to understand why he can’t use the power that was given to him through the soul magic, but also seeing things from Jack’s point of view and understanding his desperation to save the people he cares about. Cas has made many decisions out of love for the Winchesters and while not always the right ones, they were made for the right reason and with the right intention. Seeing Cas trying to convince Jack shows not only how far he’s come in his understanding of humanity, but also in his understanding of how he relates to the people with whom he surrounds himself.
I love Rowena. There. I said it. I haven’t always, but in the last three seasons or so, I’ve grown to love her and I’ve loved watching her development. From an enemy of the Winchesters, to a begrudging ally, to a full blown almost friend, watching her grow is a fascinating look into the Winchesters and their ability to trap people in their orbit. It’s happened before, with people like Crowley and others, but Rowena is an interesting case because she had a relationship with Crowley and was totally miffed with him over his relationship with the Winchesters, but now she’s grown to feel the same as Crowley did. Sam and Dean have this weird magnetism about them. Without much trouble, they seem to pull people into their orbit from enemy to ally. I also love seeing the genuine concern and frustration that flits through her over the actions of the Winchesters. She is genuinely concerned for them and wants them to stop being idiots. As much as I wish the Winchesters would take her advice, we’ve seen people before her try and fail, so I don’t see why Rowena is any different. Also, super credit to the makeup department for Rowena’s gorgeous makeup every episode. She looks amazing and I am jealous of her looks.
Oh, Jack. My precious child. I was worried about Jack the whole episode because we’ve seen the price of using souls and I didn’t want Jack to pay that price with his own soul. It’s clear that Jack is a Winchester through and through, and even if he wouldn't have said it explicitly at the end of the episode, it would have been clear from his actions. Jack is a really interesting character because he is the most perfect study of nature vs. nurture. By all accounts, as the son of Lucifer, he should be evil. He should have turned out bad, because of his DNA. But because of the influence of Sam, Dean, Cas, and others, Jack has become a wonderful person and a true and honest hunter. At the potential price of his soul, he pulled Michael out of Rowena and took in his grace, in order to save his family. He burned away part of his soul to save Cas from the gorgon venom and he did it knowing that Cas, Sam, and Dean would disapprove. He put his own well-being at risk to save someone else. He’s a Winchester - now there’s no doubt about it. I’m also happy to see Jack back to being himself, although I’m worried about the price of Michael’s grace. I get the feeling we’re not done with that.
There are two more things I feel the need to call out. The first is the relationship between Sam and Rowena. Over the past few seasons, the writers have been pairing Sam and Rowena together, not only because of the Lucifer trauma, but I think because of their seeming diametric opposition to each other. Sam and Rowena seem to be the most different people out there, but if we look closer, we can see that they are actually quite similar. They both are willing to give what they need to give in order to get the job done. They are both brilliant and are willing to use their wits to their advantage. They both have seen the worst of the worst through Lucifer, but have come out the other side of it, not only better people, but more honest people. Seeing Lucifer like both of them have makes them not only want to be better, but it makes them realize that anyone could be like Lucifer, thus making them more forgiving of themselves when they make mistakes. I also love the banter that we see between them. Because of their wits, we see conversations with few words but a ton of meaning and layering. I also cannot get over the constant references to "Funeralia" and the idea that Sam is going to be the one to kill Rowena. Because she knows that Sam is going to be the one to kill her no matter what, it makes her more willing to face beings like Michael and others. She and Sam both understand each other, and I think that Rowena is of the opinion that if Sam is going to be the one to kill her, then she might as well do what she can to take care of the big bads who seek to put an end to Sam.
The other thing I need to call out is the constant use of humor as a counter point to the heaviness of these episodes. Because Supernatural often deals in the topics of life, death and humanity, I’ve always loved the way the writers work humor into every scene. From turning Jack into a dog in order to get into the vet, to the verbal quips that all of the characters get to have, I have to give credit to the writers for being willing to go there. Jack’s line about wishing they’d done something before his temperature was taken was hysterical and very much in character for Jack; or Dean’s constant references to Clash of the Titans, and Sam being totally and completely over it. Each of these characters has their own brand of humor, and they each stay true to that, which I find impressive when the writers are different from episode to episode.
So, there are my thoughts on Supernatural Season 14, Episode 14, "Ouroboros". I hope you enjoyed them! Please share your comments on my review and the characters' growth this season!
Read all The WFB's reviews of "Ouroboros" on the Feature Articles Page!