Doppelgangers and flashbacks. Old faces and new souls. This episode had a lot happening, past, present and even future (in some roundabout ways) and yet by the end, were we very much different from where we began?
Time will tell.
Okay, I’m going to start with the alternate universe Sam and Dean because they were definitely the most fun aspect of this episode. The entrance was perfect. Savage Garden’s “I Want You” plays as alternate Sam and Dean congratulate themselves over the top of their Fiat with a fist bump. We see Sam in a manbun and lovely scarf and Dean’s catch phrase is, “ah nuts!”
There is also the ghostly Rock-Paper-Scissors game they play later, that seems to have different rules to ours, since Dean wins with scissors to Sam’s rock.
Yes all kinds of wonderful.
Of course the next meeting is even better because we learn so much about them in such a short time: John incorporated. They have private planes. Dean has never had beer.
“Dad is still around?...and he spoils you?”
Jared and Jensen, as usual, are incredible playing both versions of Sam and Dean, respectively. In particular though, Jared, who plays a Sam that’s incredibly prissy in each hand gesture, tuck of his jacket and purse of his lips. They definitely had fun with this and it shows.
So, I could go on and on about how much fun this is to watch.
But….I have one tiny, issue, I suppose, with the whole thing.
I cannot for the life of me figure out why Sam and Dean (ours) needed “decoys” at this point just in case Chuck checked in. At any point in the game, presumably when Chuck “checks in” he looks in on the so-called characters themselves, not a location. And beyond that, why has it not occurred to them prior to this point that Chuck might take a peek in the looking glass and noticed Jack wandering around?
This was a weird and superfluous way to use the doppelgangers that had me going, huh?
It’s a small thing I’ll grant you – and I liked the alternate Sam and Dean a lot – so I can let it go, but not without raising the point at least.
An Angel and Demon Walk Into A Room
After fifteen seasons, the wives are finally on screen, together no less. Was it everything we imagined?
I can’t say I was disappointed. It was kind of interesting to bring Ruby back in flashback form and have her and Jo be old frenemies from the season four apocalypse days. The chemistry of these characters (and actors naturally) came through. Sister Jo is and has been very self serving and Ruby was devoted to her cause, and the two of them are equally manipulative: so that the two of them would work together when mutually beneficial all those years ago makes sense.
I appreciated the efforts to sell the flashbacks from a visual perspective as well, like changing Jo’s hair. These are tiny things that can make all the difference and Supernatural is strong when it comes to the details. It is also worth noting that this is one more callback to season four/five in a growing list - a season that was all about brother killing brother, free will verses fate and defying the grand plan. Coincidence? Hmm.
But let’s talk about the Occultum for a minute. This was pretty glossed over as far as origins and how Ruby came to learn about it. I don’t have specific issues with it from a mythological stand point so much as a plot point and execution within the show – there was a degree of “rush” to the entire explanation around the Occultum, Ruby and Jo. It all felt a shade too hasty, which is unusual for Supernatural.
Friendly Faces of the Enemy
So everyone got to take a trip in this episode! Sam and Dean head to Hell on bad information from Jo, who set them up to be killed.
Why? She doesn’t want to be on God’s bad side? Sorry this was a bit fuzzy to me, too. If God is planning on ending the world, don’t you want to help the guys most likely to keep it turning?
Angels be crazy.
Meanwhile, outside of a Hell where Rowena’s minions can be manipulated by an angel…(seriously?)
Castiel suspects Jo is lying and decides a side trip to the Empty is appropriate. This is questionable timing for SO MANY REASONS – and again, I have to ask about the logic of having the doppelganger Sam and Dean hang out in the bunker on the off chance of Chuck peaking in, but that isn’t even a blip on the radar for them at this point. Suppose Chuck looks at Winchester Bunker TV right now – he’ll see Castiel’s empty vessel and Jack nervously watching it.
In the Empty we see an old, familiar face – Meg! Or The Empty in Meg’s form.
It was a surprising treat to see Rachel Miner and listen to the banter with Castiel, even if this was the Shadow and not Meg technically. The throne was an excellent touch as well.
Ruby tips off Castiel as to the truth of the Occultum location in exchange for a promise that he will try and get her out of the Empty.
So maybe this isn’t the last we’ll see of Ruby?
This exchange with Ruby was interesting of course – but what struck me the most critically was Cas’ final exchange with the Shadow, and how Billie’s plan doesn’t need Castiel alive.
Talk about foreboding.
Luckily that prophecy wasn’t manifested. At least, not in this episode.
Next Steps: The Occultum
When we last saw the boys, Billie left them hanging on the information that they would be the “messengers of God’s destruction” and Jack of course was the means of that destruction. This time, they are looking for signs of Chuck ending universes and discussing what it means to wipe Chuck out completely – will it throw everything out of balance and if yes, it must mean wiping out Amara is also in the plan too.
So, maybe I am mis-remembering but if this is the case, why didn’t the reverse cause an issue when it came to ending Amara? The Soul Bomb everyone was set to deliver in season eleven would have left Chuck without Amara? Granted this would have been light without darkness – but an imbalance nevertheless.
It also seems foolish to make Amara an enemy along with Chuck. We already know she doesn’t care for him – so she feels more probable as an ally.
Phase two of Jack’s Kill-God challenge was, of course, to locate and consume the Occultum, courtesy of Jo and Ruby.
Jack figures out to swallow the Occultum and ends up in Eden.
I love this scene.
It is beautiful. The moment comes suddenly, cuts moments of quiet, bright lightness against the dark chaos of what’s happening with Sam, Dean and Cas back in the church.
“God loved them so. His prized creations. Until He banished them and all of mankind from the perfection of the Garden.”
It’s also fitting on so many levels that it’s the snake that triggers the transformation in Jack.
The snake Felix was significant when Jack lost his soul (shown here in flashback) as Jack kills it. And, as we all know, the serpent is a traditional manifestation of Lucifer.
But here the snake seems to be something else, neutral but spiritual, posing questions central to the being that is Jack:
“Who are you really? Who are you meant to be?”
So perhaps the snake is an apparition of sin (killing Felix – the first sin without his soul) or fear (becoming Lucifer) and that is why Jack sees him when these particular questions are posed – is he soulless and meant to me Lucifer’s son or is he a Winchester, in spirit if not name?
The final scene that we are left on is undoing: Jack truly is a child and in this moment, with his soul restored he can now fully and completely comprehend the gravity of what happened with Mary:
“Why didn’t I get it? I mean, my mother died, too. Why didn’t I understand. It was my fault…Please. Just please forgive me.”
Jack is so earnest, so devastated by the weight of what’s happened, even though it’s a short scene – it feels like it’s been a long time coming and it isn’t over. The sincerity of this moment is beautiful, even if the material is sad, because Alex delivers on the emotions of a young child truly understanding the gravity of their offense and asking for reconciliation with their parents.
Hopefully, he gets a hug in the next episode. Heaven knows I need one after watching that.
This was a good episode with a lot of information and nuggets that I am certain will be brought to bear in the future, not the least of which will be Castiel’s promise to Ruby, the role Castiel does or doesn’t play in Billie’s plan and of course, Jack’s new soul.
We also know that Chuck is nearly done with the other world wipe-out, meaning soon his focus will be entirely on our world (though, if the news headlines are any indicator, it seems he’s already begun!) and then the real fun and games begin.
One other tidbit: Sam and Dean of Hunter Corp. mentioned they came through with John but he wasn’t with them, so he was who-knows-where now. Hmm. Do I see another cameo in the future? PLEASE!
Let’s hope that Amara isn’t on the Winchester hit list – and doesn’t put them on hers either – because in the plot against Chuck, more friends are better.
It might be a while before we are able to get another new episode, but on the plus side it just means a little bit more time with our boys before the final goodbye. In the meantime, go watch Sam and Dean meet themselves again and have a conversation about planes and manbuns.