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And we’re back! After a long hiatus and a world vastly different that it seemed six weeks ago, we are back with the boys to learn more about Billie’s plans for Chuck, Jack and the apocalypse. Not to mention a quick pit stop in an alternate world and a reminder that despite Chuck’s approachable demeanor, he’s interminably vicious in every way.

Wiping the Slate Clean

The episode opened in the seemingly innocuous location of an electronics store on “earth 2” with an unsuspecting salesclerk offering to assist Chuck with all his viewing needs. As we know, Chuck needs no help and is never innocuous when he appears.

The decision by Chuck to clear the board, save for “our world” is an interesting and dark move. It offers yet another reminder of how dangerous Chuck is when all is said and done. This also furthers the narrative of the child destroying his toys in an epic tantrum. Chuck’s monologue to the salesclerk espoused that our Sam and Dean were his favourite because they simply wouldn’t do what he wanted them to do, that they surprised him. And he voted to eliminate all the other worlds because they were distractions.

“Dean says I'm not going to get the ending I want. And I don't know. Maybe -- I -- I mean that shouldn't matter, right? I've gotten what I want from hundreds of Sams and Deans. I could get what I want from a hundred more. And I don't care. Those other toys they don't -- they don't... spark joy. But Sam and Dean... the real Sam and Dean... they do. They challenge me... They disappoint me... They surprise me. They're... the ones.”

Earlier in the season Chuck was adamant that he’s seen Sam and Dean’s deaths played out many, many times before – and they always do what he wants in the end. In fact, we’ve heard versions of this refrain before during the big Michael/Lucifer vessel showdown of season five when everyone insisted the boys “play their roles.”

But if, as Chuck himself has said, what makes our Sam and Dean the favourites is that they in fact don’t do what he wants them to do, and looking back on history when they didn’t “play their roles” – I still have hope.

Soulless and Breaking the Rules

Jack is back in the fold this week. Where we last left off, Jack was with the boys, but we had had very little interaction from him. This week, we saw Jack returning and settling back at home to some degree. It feels like getting the band back together just a bit.

That said, I did have one major issue with Jack’s return: the question of his soul.

I had assumed, for some reason, that it was a non-issue. Jack was returned whole again. Until Sam mentioned he was in fact, soulless still. The problem I’m having with the statement is Jack’s demeanor belied this fact. Jack appeared concerned, caring, sad: he showed remorse especially when he looked at Mary’s initials in the table. This affect is not consistent with what we’ve come to see in soulless characters on the show (then again, maybe soulless Sam just put on too good a performance and I’m measuring against a hard standard!).

The soul issue aside, it was good to see Jack back. And the impact it had on the boys feels, yet to come. There was a lot happening in the episode, though Sam got to speak a little and appeared hurt, maybe, that Jack couldn’t or didn’t come to them when he returned. More to be explored? I hope so.

Dark Kaia

Okay, I admit I don’t understand this piece of the puzzle. I’m not saying I didn’t like it – or that I loved it either – just that it felt pretty random all things considered and where we are in the season. Maybe Kaia was a loose thread among the few that are dangling, but why pull on it now?

Perhaps it was because opening the portal to the alternate world, retrieving other Kaia and returning served a two-fold purpose in the end: allowing us and the boys to witness first hand the world-ending destruction Chuck was referencing for the audience and, at the same time, allowing Billie to the be the hammer of Big Picture Truths the Winchesters needed.

This storyline in and of itself felt…mild, I suppose. Then again, maybe Kaia serves a greater purpose and is a cog in a wheel yet unknown.

Time will tell.

Sidenote: Was this really Jody and Cas’ first time meeting?! Really? That seems impossible.

The Big Picture

“Bending the rules already…I see the big picture. I understand that one life means nothing in the grand scheme…everything dies…I told you Dean -- you and your brother have work to do. This is your destiny. You are the messengers of God's destruction.”

So the big finish is becoming ever clearer, in that fuzzy, ominously hopeful sort of way that only Supernatural can delivery. As always, Billie delivers a succinct and biting message to the boys that they need to hear: it’s bigger than the one, it’s about the many this time.

The risk with opening the portal was impetuous and, frankly unnecessary. Then again, as Sam said:

“Feels like we're taking a big, probably stupid risk. Feels good. Disobeying cosmic entities, doing the, uh... dumb right thing? Feels like we're back.”

Impetuous, unnecessary risks have been the Winchester way.

Of course, there was a lack of risk in this endeavour because for Chuck to discover so early that Jack was back, for everything to be upended so quickly wasn’t going to happen which is why I found the episode, as I said, mild overall.

Final Thoughts

As a viewer, I enjoyed the episode for what it was but had no real stake in the episode since there was never a true sense of threat to the boys. Having said that, the character interactions were good to watch, we haven’t had much group down time for a while or a simple mission.

Castiel and Dean’s cheers over drinks was charming: Cas is exuberant over Jack without question and for Dean’s part, he seems resolved for whatever is coming. I am thoroughly curious to see how Billie’s machinations play out – and was thrilled at the callback to Dean’s early conversations with OG Death (it was a scene that immediately popped into my head when Billie started talking about Death’s book and then voila! They rolled it.).

Overall, I enjoyed the episode for the reasons Sam stated: it feels like their back.

Your thoughts? How will the plan play out? What about Kaia – any opinions? Share below!

[Screencaps courtesy of: Raloria]  

Read more of Elle's "Thoughts on Supernatural'! Her reviews and other articles are all linked on her Writer's Page.