I think I've said it in every review I've ever written, but I love Sam. I think he is the most wonderful, interesting, and also consistent character I've ever seen, with Dean being a close second. I am consistently impressed with Sam's strength of character, his willingness to put himself in the line of fire, and his ability to face his fears. Seeing him realize the situation and analyzing what could be done about it is always interesting to watch and it always gives amazing insight into how brilliant Sam is, not only in Lore, but also in his knowledge of people and how to make them do what he wants (I don't think he manipulates, but if he had worse morals, it could be seen that way). I would also be remiss if I didn't bring up Sam's amazing monologue at the end of the episode. His conviction that he and Dean have done real good for the world is something that I think transfers between them from season to season. It seems that in Season 13, Dean was the believer that they do good, and Sam was the one that needed the reminder. This time, it's Dean who needs the reminder, and Sam is there to provide. He says, "That's what he does. He gets bored and and and and pulls the ripcord. I mean, that's what he did with Apocalypse World and probably with all of them. He moves on, starts another story. But you know what? Good. 'Cause if he bailed, it's just us. For the first time. It's just us." This is the essence of the story of Supernatural. Chuck said it at the end of Season 11, "It has you," when Dean asked how the world was going to be defended. Sam and Dean have always been defenders of humanity, whether from monsters or other Apocalypses (Apocalypti??). Also, yo what's the deal with these visions? I don't like it and I just need Sam to be okay.
I am constantly impressed with not only the writers' ability to add to Dean, while also keeping him consistent. He acted in character, while still remaining as open as he needs to be. He has that conversation with the demon about Jack and who he was to them, and Dean addressed Jack as his son. If this was the beginning of Season 13, that wouldn't have even crossed Dean's lips. As he has grown over the past few seasons, we've seen him finally rid himself of the black and white thinking that he was raised with. He has finally learned to see each person and monster as an individual, rather than as a monolith. I am also intrigued by the conversation between Dean and the demon about Hell and what Chuck did. It makes me excited because a *spoiler* has already been revealed and I'm intrigued to see how that plays out. I am also intrigued by Dean's interactions with Cas. We've seen Cas and Dean at odds before, and we've seen grudges held on both sides, but I don't think we've ever seen a situation like this one. It made itself clear at the beginning of the episode when Cas was holding the demon and Dean forced Cas to let it go and hear him out. Not only did Cas not like that, but it was clear he couldn't understand the idea that Dean wanted to hear a demon out. But Dean listens and makes a judgment call. Then at the end of the episode, Dean asks Cas how he's doing and doesn't really wait for a response. He clearly isn't in the right frame of mind to hear Cas, not only because of where they ended up at the end of Season 14 but also because of the situation they're in because of Chuck. Dean tends to place blinders on all but the situation he's dealing with, and his drama with Cas is not on his immediate list of problems. But still, Dean forges on and continues to make sure that Sam is well. Consistency is something I love, and Dean has been consistent in his care for Sam if nothing else.
Cas has always been an anomaly for me. He wasn't super present throughout this episode, but what we did see of him was interesting. One thing that I love about Cas is his fierce protection of Jack's body. Clearly, he wants Jack to have dignity in Death, and a demon most certainly isn't dignity. I also see the way the guilt weighs on Cas' shoulders. It is clear the amount of guilt he feels for not only not protecting Jack from Chuck, but also from the box. Cas was against the idea from the beginning, but Dean just needed to get his way. Not only did that potentially ruin Dean and Jack's relationship, but it also puts a strain between Jack and Cas (when Jack returns), like when a child feels caught between two fighting parents. Jack is lucky he has Sam in his corner and despite Sam's betrayal with the box, I think that relationship will be easier to repair. Both Cas and Dean, despite how they might want to seem the opposite, are incredibly emotional, thoughtful people. Cas, in particular, has always been a little bit different. Because he doesn't truly understand emotions in the way that humans do, I think they still continually confuse him, which causes him to act a little differently. But, I always love Cas' weird and dry sense of humor. Another consistent and also developing character.
Jack (or his body):
I really love this new Demon. Alexander killed it in this new role and I think it's always interesting to see how the actors can stretch themselves while remaining themselves. Jack is one distinct character and this new demon is a totally new one while being the same actor. We've seen it before with Lucifer!Sam and Soulless!Sam, along with Demon!Dean and Michael!Dean. The ability to change into someone completely different while still looking like the character we know is amazing. I also love the weirdness of this Demon's personality. Clearly he's an OLD soul, and clearly it's been a while since he was outside of Hell. But he is still knowledgeable about the Winchesters and their story. I'm sure rumors spread quickly in Hell, but I'm impressed with this demon's knowledge.
I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge the consistent callbacks, not only to the pilot but to the series as a whole and the story of the Winchesters. Dean's comment about what he used to do to Sam as a kid is a small tidbit that we didn't know about the Winchester's story, and 15 seasons in, I love that there are still little details that we don't know about Sam and Dean's relationship. Plus, the inclusion of footage from the pilot with the Woman in White and the, "We got work to do," reminds me that this story is one long saga, and this is not necessarily the end, but a closing of this book. Because nothing ever really ends, does it?
As always, I'm happy to engage here in the comments, or on the internet. I hope you all enjoyed the episode and my thoughts.