I mean… where do we even begin? There is so much to unpack in “The Rupture” and for the most part, it is all tragedy. I can’t say I enjoyed this episode since it was full of such pain from start to end. What I will say, is that it held me until the end and left me wanting more. Oh, and weeping in the corner too. But we’ll get to that…
Ketch and Release
Seeing as this was the most brusquely handled part of the episode, I’ll start with Ketch: his death was not right.
That is to say, I don’t think it was handled right. Ketch died by the hands of a demon who was name dropped last week and dispelled nearly as quickly this week. And all within the first third of the episode to boot, with barely a ripple across the team.
Yes, Ketch did die with…I can’t say dignity, but I will grant nobility. He did not give up the Winchesters, or “his friends” as Ardat called them. I appreciate what was being said about his character here – the growth he’s had since we first met - but the fact remains that it was shoehorned and rushed.
Nevertheless, watching Ketch get his heart ripped out was sad. Not just for the loss of a (newish) ally, but for the loss of a charismatic character. One I’m not sure we got to see completely realized, especially in death.
RIP Arthur Ketch.
Hell’s Siren Song
“The Rupture” opens with the team heading toward a mausoleum near the Rift, where Rowena assures them she should be able to fortify Belphegor’s failing wall. This fails of course, but leaves Rowena with a powerful sense of all the spirits they’re actually dealing with – it’s impossible to lock them down completely. Except Belphegor has a solution.
So, here I again wonder at the timeline. It appears to be immediately after the last episode, except Rowena has had time to conceive this solution. This is a minor thing in the grand scheme, I suppose, but the sense of urgency could be better helped by establishing, and sticking with, a clear timeline.
The biggest red flag is, of course, that Belphegor never mentions the Lilith’s Crook until this moment. Castiel is immediately chosen to accompany Bel to get it, whether he likes it or not (more on this dynamic later).
Small comment here on the visuals of Hell. Umm, the falling graphics were a touch lackluster. And Cas and Belphegor walking through the stony pits, somehow didn’t read as ominous as maybe it was meant to. Am I nitpicking? Sorry. Onto something positive.
The interaction between Bel and Cas is wonderful. They are snarky, passive aggressive and antagonistic – completely opposite from Jack’s relationship with Castiel. Alexander Calvert does a fantastic job in this role, which is (at least in this viewer’s opinion) made more challenging by the fact that Belphegor is always wearing very big glasses and doesn’t have the benefit of expressions. I loved the entire sequence of our angel and demon venture into Hell together. Was I the only one wondering if Castiel would be stuck in the treasure room or somehow trapped by something, once he read (sung) the Enochian?
Belphegor’s outing is a scene I both loved and hated.
My major issue came down to his plan: suck in the souls and be all powerful. Okay, it is simple enough I guess. But, why bother to admit it in that moment? I never understand bad guys who give up the goods before they’ve won.
Ardat also became a superfluous player by and large. Not only does she not kill Belphegor, she barely does more that tell Castiel that Belphegor is a “bad demon” before she’s killed, when Cas was already highly suspicious. For this we had Ardat name-dropped last week, murder Ketch this week and catfish Dean for plan details? That feels really overthought, guys.
But here is was I loved about this scene: the confrontation with Castiel. It was powerful and emotional and there was some release. The moment that Belphegor impersonates Jack in an attempt to have his life spared, the look on Castiel’s face was tragic. I thought he’d waiver and Bel would trap him.
Wasn’t I surprised then, when those eyes flared and Castiel burned Belphegor to ash.
For Castiel to have to do that to Jack’s body, when he was the one who couldn’t let go of Jack’s body in the season opener? Wow.
This scene had impact, without question.
Again though, I can’t help wondering at the point. I expected Belphegor to stick around longer. His departure seemed…abrupt and to what end did it serve, really? Fuel for Cas and Dean to end their friendship? Maybe to push Castiel where he needed to be to walk away.
All of this I appreciate, though in terms of the narrative it felt hasty. But maybe that was just me.
Red to the Rescue
In the final move of the bloody swath “The Rapture” cut through our characters, there is Rowena.
So. Many. Thoughts.
Ok, well, if you saw the “Then” this probably wasn’t a shocker for you. It really primed what was coming by the callback to Sam being the one to kill Rowena in Death’s book on her.
That aside, it didn’t make Rowena’s death any less upsetting. Rowena didn’t die in the name of saving the world or the brothers – or that’s what she said – but rather, she believed she was fulfilling the prophecy of her own death in this moment, in these actions. Like Ketch, I want to say Rowena died a noble death. She certainly sacrificed herself for the cause. But the burden she put on Sam was a high one:
“I know we've gotten really fond of each other. But will you let the world die — your brother die — just so I can live?"
This line is devastating and encompasses everything Supernatural is about: the hard choices for the greater good. Unfortunately, by making Sam a complicit actor in her death, we can only speculate about the repercussions this will have on him going forward.
These exchanges were beautiful despite the heartbreak they conveyed. Ruth was at the top of her game, delivering a passionate and powerful performance as Rowena convinced Sam of why it was her time to die, by his hand.
The final scene of Rowena walking to the rift and finally falling in was ethereal and reverent.
A final note about Rowena’s demise.
In what I’m certain is not coincidence on the part of the writers, Rowena dies to close a Rift (different kind, I recognize) much like Crowley, her death is in a way a suicide similar to Crowley and her final words echo her son:
If this has to be the end for Rowena (and I hope it isn’t), then it wasn’t unworthy. She died on her terms, serving a purpose she came to believe in and not as an enemy, but rather a dear friend.
One Rift Closes, Another Opens
The chasm that Chuck split in the world is closed and we end this episode finally back in the bunker. Only the surface damage to the earth is repaired though – everything else is ravaged.
Sam is mourning and swallowed by his guilt over Rowena.
Dean is simmering in anger and barely coping with the world – completely in denial about the reality that this is in fact not the final apocalypse.
Castiel is isolated and lonely. And done with it all.
Let’s start with Sam, our pour devastated Sam. Someone just needs to hug him. Though he didn’t say much in his room at the end, his expression during the check in with Dean really said everything. He is struggling. There is simply too much to process, too much loss, too much grief. Where do you even begin? There will be fall out, undoubtedly, from everything that has and is happening – the only question is what will happen when we hit break point.
Speaking of break point: Castiel and Dean.
As a fan of this friendship, this splintering physically hurts me. The tension is unbearably palpable.
My one criticism is that, I don’t understand why Dean couldn’t recognize Belphegor was an issue and Castiel made the right move doing what he did. It felt like he’d missed information and was angry without knowing the situation. Preventing Belphegor becoming an unstoppable deity certainly seemed reasonable enough.
Now, it’s entirely possible that it didn’t matter, because Dean was ready to fight Castiel for taking the wrong bottle of water out of the fridge at this point. This outcome was inevitable, set up over several episodes up to and including Dean’s hasty volunteering of Castiel to head to Hell.
Dean cannot let go of Mary’s death and Castiel’s role. Castiel knows this and can’t bear it anymore. He has nothing left here.
One of the saddest lines of the episode came from Castiel:
“You used to trust me, give me the benefit of the doubt. Now you can barely look at me. My powers are failing and I've tried to talk to you, over and over and you just don't want to hear it. You don't care. I’m dead to you.”
Castiel is not angry or sad when he says this, simply matter of fact – which is worse. He has accepted that he has lost Dean’s friendship, that his offense is too great to recover from and he has nothing left here anymore.
“Jack’s dead. Chuck’s gone. You and Sam have each other. I think it’s time for me to move on.”
Castiel is dripping in loneliness and grief. Like Sam, he needs a hug. Not too long ago, the Winchesters were people he characterized as his family and he staunchly refused to let these people he loved be hurt. Now, he’s been totally isolated in a time of anguish.
Yup, if you weren’t crying when Rowena died and you didn’t feel your heart tugging as Castiel walked out of the Bunker, leaving Dean alone – are you even human?!
Dean, in what I assume is blind denial, was determined that this was the final frontier and they’d won. Yay! Come on, dude, you can’t really think that.
I do think we need a breather from the world ending battle, just to deal with the emotional fallout. Remember, (if I am understanding this timeline) it’s only been about a week since Jack was slaughtered, and now Rowena and Ketch. Not to mention Mary.
So Sam needs to recover, Dean needs a little perspective and Castiel needs his family back.
(Oh, and we need to know what is happening with Jack!)
It was a solid episode that pushed us forward. The rift is closed and our characters are emotionally devastated in ways they don’t even know about yet. The episode shortchanged some significant character deaths, like Ketch's, but definitely serviced Rowena well. In spite of the emotionally charged energy, “The Rupture” didn’t lack for humour or action either. Who knew Castiel could sing?
Last week I said that our characters were splintered off, and this week they are completely disintegrated in their relationships. Yes, Sam and Dean are together physically, but I reserve my judgement until I see some serious check ins. Both are holding it together in tenuous ways – because they are disconnected from their family unit, the strength of Supernatural.
Who knows what next week may bring!
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