If “Last Call” were a latte, it would have a whole lot of froth on the top and a little, very dark espresso on the bottom. This episode was a curious mix of fun and brutal reality, finally leaving us in a position to move forward, with seemingly everyone on board in knowing the key information.
Let’s break it down.
Breakfast at the Bunker
Alright, this was brief but oh so sweet. It’s nice to have some new blood in the bunker for a change. Just like Jack injected some lighthearted innocence when he was around, Eileen seems to be bringing some fun to boys. Sam in particular, if margarita night is any indication.
The breakfast scene was a nice, albeit tame, opener to give us some indication of how Eileen is settling back into life. Easily and eagerly, it seems. Sam needed this win, so even a glimpse of the payoff in the long term is worthwhile.
Itching for a case, Dean heads out only to run into old friend Lee, played by the charming Christian Kane. As a viewer, I’ve enjoyed Christian in many roles, starting with Lindsay MacDonald on Angel and more (or less) recently on Leverage and The Librarian. He always brings the Texas swagger and affable allure – even when he’s playing an undercover villain.
I have a few thoughts on Dean’s reunion with Lee; this is the part of the episode I would call the “froth” – it was fun, nostalgic and mostly lighthearted. Since this is the final season, I can’t object to walking down memory lane a bit, with references to “Yellow Fever” or a toast to John Winchester. What can I say? I’m a sentimentalist and it made me smile.
Let’s talk about the song. Another throw-back reference in here, as Lee teases Dean to mic by saying “You can’t sit around lip-syncing ‘Eye of the Tiger’ while no one’s watching.” Ah, memories. So the boys sing the theme to Dukes of Hazzard and it’s a pretty entertaining performance: lights, air guitar, duets, ovations.
Now lots of people have issue with Dean singing on key here, when back in his demon days he couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket (which he references in a round about way, noting he’s never had a standing ovation before). I personally think Deanmon just sang off key because it was annoying – and our Dean (quite bashful to step up to that mic, very endearing) is not so inclined.
Okay, so there are about a thousand moments and nuances from this engagement with Lee that could be gushed about: it was a delightful reunion after so much moping and hopelessness in recent times, and it was full of references to “the old days” which always lands well, at least to me.
Here are a couple nitpicks though, and they aren’t even nitpicks really.
First, it surprised me how readily Dean handed over his phone. Like, his actual phone, and then later left the bar without securing it again. That seemed carelessly out of character, especially on a hunt. Apparently he got it back at some point, since he tells Cas he got his messages, but I just didn’t buy that.
Second, Lee was broadcasting so hard as the villain here, I was surprised a neon arrow wasn’t flashing over his head. It was enough coincidence he was in the town - that is sometimes just a coincidence when it comes to the Winchesters. But when he said he didn’t know the girl (seriously – these lies are gimmicky tropes in television and movies, so why bother?) and the waitress outed him, that sold it. Of course, the icing when he didn’t mention the scrapyard and that helpful waitress popped back up with the information to his utter dismay. Oh yeah, he’s the villain.
Probes and Prods
Cas came back to the bunker with a fire and a mission. To the chagrin of our interrupted [potential] lovebirds, Sam and Eileen. The same idea that occurred to Sam earlier, the wound may connect Sam and Chuck, so why not see if it can be useful?
Alright, I’m just going to say it. Aside from being adorable with Eileen, Sam didn’t have a huge active story this week. But that’s alright, he did his part for the team even while unconscious.
Naturally, Castiel’s probing idea backfired in the most epic way and sent Sam to death’s door (again), which left Castiel to call Sergei, our old friend from “Unhuman Nature” who contributed to hastening Jack’s deterioration, at the time.
Sergei was up to some tricks here to and it was wonderful – and a bit unexpected - to see how this went down. After making Sam worse (really, I’m thinking we shouldn’t call Sergei again unless we want to take it from bad to worse), Sergei offers to barter for the key to Death’s library that the Men of Letters have somewhere. Cas, who evidently found some iron will in his recent sojourn away from the Bunker, says straight up "no."
I admit, this caught me off guard. I thought for sure we were going to go down a bargain rabbit hole – and we all know how (terribly) those turn out. Especially when the word “soul” is flying around. Instead, Bad ass Cas, newly rediscovered, whips out a picture of Sergei’s aforementioned niece and lets him know Bobby has been spying on her. One phone call and… well, no college for her.
About freakin’ time, Castiel. This is the angel we need in the final battle against Chuck.
Fight the Good Fight
Getting down to the nitty-gritty of Dean’s storyline, Lee is not such a stand up guy (I know, I know. We’re shocked).
After being cold-cocked in the junk yard, where he finds the missing girl’s car and body, Dean wakes to find himself attached to a blood IV and tied up. Lee is super apologetic, but wants to keep his snazzy life. As long as he feeds the djinn-esque creature he calls marid, it keeps him in health and wealth. Issues abound from this point forward.
First, how did Lee take the girl and her car in the first place? It was literally there and then gone in an instance, without her friend hearing a thing. It was also unnecessarily confusing to add the extra bar location, which furthers the oddness of how Lee managed to get Angela (and her car) from location A to B, unseen and unheard.
My other issue, though it worked out for Dean, has to do with how marid was secured. That paltry door and nail system was weak and failing long before Dean got there. Apparently, this creature was primed to escape and strong enough to do it. What stopped it before now? What kind of a hunter doesn’t secure it’s super-secret, magical beast with more than wood and nails?
These…glitches in reasoning…aside, there was some worthwhile material in the final fight.
I have to appreciate Dean dealing with marid offscreen and the creatures head rolling out to Lee. There is something so Dean about this, and in a way it echoed the earlier fight between the drunk bar patrons and Dean and Lee – where we only see the two men flung out the window and door, respectively, between by the hunters easily.
Dean and Lee have a short exchange of bullets and it all comes down to fisticuffs. We don’t often see human fights, equally matched, on Supernatural, so there is something refreshing in this. The fight is well choreographed around the pool hall and bar, ending of course with Dean killing Lee. I appreciated especially the exchange between the old friends where Lee is asking to forget everything and walk away:
“What do you say we act like this never happened….you just walk out that door?”
“I can’t do that.”
“You really want to do this?”
“No, I don’t. But I kill monsters.”
The crux of this episode, for Dean, comes down to: who will fight if you don’t? Dean has been struggling with the overwhelming idea that God is an insurmountable enemy and it’s all pointless, because it’s predetermined. Here, reflected in Lee, is an example of a hunter who took that attitude, “I don’t make a difference, so why try?” and ran with it (perhaps in an extreme) and Dean sees selfishness and can answer the question, “Why do you care so much?” with “Because someone has to” and that someone is him. Dean kills monsters, whatever shape they may take. This line is also an absolution from killing a human, not that it’s the first time. But Lee was, for all intents and purposes, weaponizing the marid and therefore just as bad – if not worse by virtue of having a conscious and soul – as the creature.
[And here is presumably when Dean remembered he didn’t have his cell phone, ran to the bin and realized he had 47 missed calls and 18 voicemails about Sammy dying. Yeah, I’m still harping on it, because a bar taking your cellphone at the door is weird to me. I don’t go out often but, I can’t imagine that’s common practice. Am I wrong?]
We Can Beat God
Back at the bunker, Dean and Cas have an awkward, terse exchange. But hey, Sam’s alive so all is good. What’s more important is that Sam got to learn what we, the viewers, have known for weeks (is it weeks? I admit, the timeline is a bit wonky to me…): Chuck is weak. Very weak.
During his down time, Sam was privy to some? All? Chuck’s conversations with Amara, and maybe some of the encounter with Becky too. Enough to understand that Chuck isn’t operating at full God strength and Team Free Will has a chance.
“I think we can beat God.”
The episode closes on this hopeful note, with (presumably) the core of our team taking in the information. Each member has renewed optimism toward their mission and are prepared to fight. Time to start assembling now.
I enjoyed this episode: it was flirty, fun and dramatic too. I like a walk down memory lane and this new, darker Castiel is a refreshing sight to behold. Sure, it had some execution problems but on the whole “Last Call” was enjoyable as the penultimate episode of 2019. The call to beat God, when everyone is completely primed and ready to focus enthusiastically on this mission seems well timed as much as it is a “FINALLY!” moment, since the audience has known this information for a while.
Who knows where this will leave us next week, as the team acts on this realization.
What did you think of “Last Call”? Did you know Lee was our bad guy? Do you love Christian Kane – and if yes, what do you know him from originally? Is Cas’ more “Russian” style overdue?