I honestly did not think it was possible to be even MORE emotional and off-balance while watching the last episodes of “Supernatural” – but for this week’s episode, that turned out not to be true. Not only are we in the midst of a global pandemic and in the last eight episodes of the series, we learned shortly before the new episode aired that it would be the last one to air for an indeterminate amount of time.
Showrunner Andrew Dabb broke the news, saying that while they had filmed through episode 18 of 20, the post-production was only finished through this week’s episode, 15.13. So Monday’s episode, Destiny’s Child, will be the last episode of “Supernatural” to air in its regular planned manner. The last one perhaps to air in this season, with no clue when it will be safe to finish the ones that are filmed or to film the ones that are not. Dabb, along with producer Jim Michaels and Misha Collins by video yesterday, did reassure the stunned fandom that they would, at some point, return to “finish what we started.”
A fandom that was already dealing with a lot is now dealing with a lot more! All those things made watching this week’s episode a different experience than it usually is for me. I was incredibly grateful to HAVE a new episode to watch, to pull me out of that always lurking anxiety that keeps threatening to overwhelm me, and to give me a healthy and welcomed escape for an hour. “Supernatural” has been both an inspiration and a healthy escape for me for going on fifteen years, and once again, I was acutely aware that I need it more than ever. There was a little bit of panic at the thought of not having it anymore as we go through this very difficult time in isolation, I’m not gonna lie. New episodes are all encompassing for me in a way that rewatching old episodes is not, though rewatches are definitely going to be part of my plan going forward!
Destiny’s Child was a mixed bag, as pretty much of all Season 15 has been, but there were quite a few parts that I thoroughly enjoyed – enough to pull me out of the present reality and make me forget for some precious minutes that we’re living in a real life apocalypse! I’m so grateful for that.
So, let’s wade in. The THEN included both Rachel Miner as Meg and Gen Padalecki as Ruby. The entire fandom knew that Gen and Danneel would be in this episode thanks to tons of promotion, but huh, why was Meg in there? I was not spoiled for that return at the start of the episode, so I just filed it away as maybe. I adore Rachel Miner and have wanted her to be back for a while. Also there was a whole helluva lot of pizza in the THEN, which made me kinda hungry. (That’s a good sign that you don’t have COVID19, so yay)
As the episode begins, Sam and Dean are startled out of doing research by a weird noise, so they run down the hall to see what’s going on. As they open the door to the Armory, a bright flash of light appears, and then a lovely little Fiat. And Savage Garden’s “I Want You” starts to play!
This is an idiosyncratic detour, but I LOVE that song and it is, for me, a “Supernatural” song. That’s because it was the music to one of the very first “Supernatural” fan vids that I discovered when I first fell down the rabbit hole of loving the show way back circa 2006. I had a youtube playlist of maybe 20 videos that I used to watch over and over and over, and that was one of them. (As I recall, it was pretty much still photos of Jensen Ackles that someone had collected and put to music. As you do.)
I sat there grinning happily at just the music cue, and then it got better. Close shot of one sockless ankle in a snazzy shoe stepping out of the Fiat; close shot of yet another snazzy shoe stepping out of the other side. Pull back to AU Sam and Dean from another universe (which we were all also spoiled for but I didn’t even care because I was just GIMME!)
AUSam to AUDean: Bro, we did it!
Actual Sam: Dean?
Actual Dean: Sam?
It was a Rocky Horror Picture Show moment, so I expected a “Rocky?” “Uh” but honestly, it was just a wonderful little moment thanks to the comedic talents of both these actors.
Actual Winchesters: What the hell?
AU Winchesters simultaneously: What the heck?
Then poof, they’re gone.
Me: Noooooooooooooooooo bring them back!
I have a conflicted relationship with the writers of this episode (Eugenie Ross-Leming and Brad Buckner), who have written some things that make me furious but who also have written some solid episodes – or parts of episodes. This scene and its dialogue were A+, so credit where it’s due. (That won’t be the case for all of the episode, alas). But I’m all for what some of my timeline was calling the “Fancychesters”.
Sam and Dean run off to tell Castiel, who responds with a very understandable response: I’m not understanding you.
One of the things I loved about this episode was that it gave the cast the opportunity to really show off their considerable gifts for subtle humor. Misha Collins, in just that one line, made me laugh out loud. They are all SO good at it, with their facial expressions and delivery. And credit too for the writing that gives them the chance.
In pops Death to explain it. Sort of. The AU versions of Sam and Dean were trying to escape their dying world as Chuck made good his threat to wipe the slate clean and leave only this one standing. (I mean, it figures the Winchesters would be the ones to escape, if anyone would!)
Billie: I have the next step. For Jack.
I cringed a bit at that, because while I enjoy the character of Jack, I don’t want him to be the one to save the day at the end of it all. He can help, but if it’s Jack-saves-us-all I will not be a happy camper.
Jack walks in at that moment, munching on a sandwich.
Jack: I’m ready.
Billie seems skeptical, saying that he needs to find something called the Occultum. Which she doesn’t explain and says she has no idea where it is.
Dean: (deadpans) Okay thanks. Big help.
Honestly, she isn’t. I’m not sure really what game Death is playing or whether she really is on their side at all. I guess we’ll see…
In the next scene, Dean and Sam sit at the table of research, Sam on his laptop, Dean playing with a rubber band and being uncharacteristically quiet. Honestly, I’m not that hard to please, Show. Give me lots of Sam and Dean being Sam and Dean and I’m a pretty happy camper. Especially if we get to listen in on some actual substantive conversation. So this scene made me happy.
Sam tries to get his brother’s attention, and Dean finally turns to Sam, saying he’s been thinking.
Me: Oooh. Yes, please.
Dean puts words to what most of us were saying last week – why is no one worrying about this whole “kill God” plan knocking the universe out of balance re Amara? We’ve been told over and over again that the balance needs to be maintained. Finally Dean puts that out in the open, suggesting that maybe Jack needs to kill her too.
Sam: Who takes over? Jack?
Jack strolls in having just learned how to blow a bubble with his gum.
Dean: (deadpan) Probably not.
Score another hit for the humor and the acting in this episode.
Castiel joins the discussion as he hangs up the phone with Sergei, who it sometimes seems like he chats with more often than anyone else nowadays. He tries to tell Sam and Dean the history of what happened to the Occultum, but Dean keeps interrupting.
Cas: Then it was…
Dean (interrupting excitedly): Plundered by pirates?
Dean: Dug up by tomb raiders?
OMG I was laughing out loud. Misha and Jensen were both perfect in conveying Dean’s little boyish almost-glee and Castiel’s growing impatience with said little boyish almost glee. Add to that Jared making Sam’s perfect bitch face and the whole scene was perfection.
Turns out it’s Sister Jo who had the Occultum – so we get to see Danneel Ackles once again.
I wrote last week about understanding how important it probably is for the cast and crew to have the people they’re close to in real life on the show one more time before it ends, so I get it. I still sort of wish we had gotten a final season that was just tightly focused on wrapping up the actual story instead of multiple guest stars in every episode, but it is what it is. Danneel did a great job as always, and there was a cute little wink wink nudge nudge exchange with Sam and Dean.
Sister Jo: You want me to be on your side? Against God?
Dean: Well, we are better looking…
Sister Jo: No.
I laughed out loud again, Danneel’s delivery as comedically excellent as everyone else’s. I sort of felt like defending the adorable Rob Benedict though!
Sister Jo tells the Winchesters that the demon Ruby has the Occultum, and we see a flashback of the two of them back in the early seasons timeline for Ruby – which makes very little sense. Anael was in Heaven doing some clerk level job until the fall, so how was she also co-conspirators with early seasons Ruby?
Anael to Ruby: Suits you better than the blonde.
So, she and Ruby were ‘buds’ even before Ruby was in this meatsuit?
It doesn’t mesh well with canon either in that Ruby was terrified at just the rumor of an angel being on Earth back in the early seasons. They also talk about Lucifer and Michael in a flashback at some point, and someone on my timeline pointed out that Ruby bragged about being so awesome because no one knew about her working with Lucifer except Lilith. And now, I guess, her buddy Anael?
I’ll have to handwave because there’s nothing else to do, but it made it seem like Gen and Danneel were sort of shoehorned in. Which, again, I get the appeal of that, but it’s tough for me to have to try to forget the show’s actual canon to appreciate it.
That said, Gen and Danneel were good together, crackling with that mix of insults and mutual appreciation that always makes for the best fanfic. If there’s not some out there already, I’m surprised.
Sister Jo tells Sam and Dean that Ruby stashed the Occultum in hell, and for some reason I can’t fathom, they believe her and decide to go to hell to retrieve it. Yes. Just like that.
Meanwhile, Jack and Castiel have a nice chat while Jack chows down on all the food in the bunker (pizza again!) and makes me even MORE hungry. It was helpful to hear Jack’s state of mind now that he’s back about being soulless, which we haven’t gotten that much insight into recently.
Jack: I can’t feel things the way I used to…
Alex Calvert did a great job of portraying Jack as soulless but still striving to do the right thing and make sense of it all.
Jack: I understand joy and sadness, but those things are not in me. I understand why Sam and Dean are sad about what happened to Mary…
Cas: What you did to Mary.
Jack says yes, but it’s clear he has only an intellectual understanding of what happened and why things are so different with the Winchesters. As Jack says, especially with Dean.
Castiel tries to explain.
Cas: Dean, he feels things more acutely than any human I’ve ever known.
[Honestly, I think Sam and Dean BOTH feel things very acutely, they just react to them differently behaviorally]
Also meanwhile, Cas discovers that the AU Winchesters are trapped between worlds, amusing themselves or trying to make decisions with Rock, Paper, Scissors just like their counterparts – except AU Sam throws scissors and wins!
Very cool special effects as we see the images of AU Sam and Dean stuck in between worlds. At least they’re together!
Castiel weighs in on what Sister Jo said about Ruby.
Cas to Sam: Ruby? The demon you were sexually intimate with?
Dean: Sexually intimate??
Sam (flustered): Yes.
That’s a totally weird thing for Castiel to say, because everyone in the conversation most certainly knows exactly who Ruby is. Even more weirdly, Dean seems to be hearing this information for the first time – except we all know Sam told him this many seasons ago. Lolcanon.
Maybe he’s just still upset about it. Reluctant hand wave.
Castiel is doubtful about their plan (wisely) but Dean and Sam are determined to go to hell.
Sam: We have Rowena’s notes for the spell…
Dean: (teasing) Okay let’s do this, Samwitch!
I loved that we got a tiny moment of brotherly teasing in the midst of everything.
Off to hell they go – it’s now easy as pie. But then again, going just about anywhere is easy as pie in Season 15, when it was all kinds of complicated and nearly impossible and abjectly terrifying in earlier seasons. They are predictably jumped by three demons. At least they came armed though, so there’s a nicely choreographed fight scene and the Winchesters prevail.
Dean: That bitch set us up!
Castiel, waiting for them to return and keeping the spell going so they can get back, confides to Jack that there are too many holes in Jo’s story. (Ya think?)
PS – it bothers me that another angel would call her “Jo.” Castiel knows her as Anael, surely. Why does everyone call her Jo? Is Anael just too hard to say or what?
Cas comes up with an impromptu plan, instructing Jack to “almost” kill him so he can put one foot in the Empty and try to find Ruby. Jack is skeptical, saying he might not have a soul but he knows killing Cas is wrong, and furthermore Castiel is not a favorite of the Empty, but Cas insists.
Cas: I’m far from happy, so I should be fine.
Jack: Are you sure?
Cas: Not at all.
Once again, nice delivery, boys.
Cas wanders around the Empty calling for Ruby, and then suddenly we hear a familiar voice purring “Hello, Clarence.”
[I had checked twitter during a commercial break and gotten spoiled for this literally a minute before it happened. GRRRRR. Why did I do that?]
Castiel whirls around, clearly hopeful, asking “Meg?”
Sadly it’s not, it’s The Empty – but it was still wonderful to see Rachel Miner back, sitting on a throne as befits her. I also watched Rachel do an amazing guest spot on another television show last week, and I am beyond thrilled that she’s back to acting – and kicking ass at it!
I don’t quite understand why The Empty is using all Meg’s endearments for Cas – maybe just to torture him? – but she’s snarky and kinda scary, so good job, Rachel.
Empty: Go get her, pizza man!
Cas confronts Ruby about what really happened between her and “the angel Jo” – and I got thrown out all over again. Why would he call her that?? It makes no sense!
Anyway, Ruby tells a very different story, with Jo being the one to contact her and enlisting her in a plan to ride out the apocalypse together in “the safest place that exists”.
She also smiles when Sam and Dean are mentioned.
Ruby: Aww Sam, how is the big lug? I liked him…until he killed me.
I’m not at all sure she ever liked him – that certainly wasn’t what their ‘relationship’ was about – but she offers to tell Cas where the Occultum is in return for him trying to get her out of the Empty and that does sound like Ruby. He agrees and she whispers it to him (for some reason). And then poof, she’s gone again.
Cas, however, is still stuck there, and The Empty takes the opportunity to torture him just for fun, still calling him by Meg’s pet name for him, “Feathers”. She points out that, while she’s working with Death, Death didn’t say anything about needing Castiel. Nice job being scary, Rachel Miner!
Dean and Sam return from hell and find Cas “almost dead”, much to their understandable upset.
Dean: What the hell?
Jack: He’s dead….kinda…for now… hopefully… but not for long… hopefully…
Sam: That’s way too many hopefullys!
Jack attempts to give Cas back his grace, while Sam and Dean look on anxiously.
Dean: Come on, wake up, pal!
Cas starts to wake up, disappearing from the Empty.
The Empty (ominously): See ya soon…
Cas is okay, but he clearly spooked Sam and Dean.
Dean: You’re an idiot, by the way.
Cas: And I got the location. Am I still an idiot?
More priceless dialogue delivery by Misha and Jensen.
They decide to head out to find the Occultum, but Jack makes the good point that if Chuck checks on them, he’ll know something is up if they’re not there.
Dean: I’ve got a dumb idea…
It’s actually a brilliant idea – open up a rift and let the AU Winchesters out of where they’re stuck so they can stand in for Sam and Dean! This, like everything in this season, is way too easy, but I like the results so whatever. A little of Castiel’s grace, and out they pop.
And then we get introduced to two characters who made me LOVE this part of the episode.
AU Sam and Dean are still Sam and Dean, but their lives have been very very different. Their dad, for example, who they got separated from in the escape, “spoils us”.
AU Sam and Dean: To Dad!
They’ve inherited a sweet hunting set up from John, including planes to fight monsters all over the world.
Dean: You guys have your own plane?
AU Sam: You don’t? Oh,dear.
AU Dean: Two…
They also get paid for hunting as part of Hunter Corp. which apparently “does very well.”
Our Sam and Dean are pretty dumbfounded, but also a bit defensive about their own life and how well they do despite having no planes. They describe their plan to their counterparts, who are dumbfounded as well – mostly by the fact that our Sam and Dean actually know God. They agree to the plan, since our Sam and Dean saved them from the rift. But how will they pull it off?
Sam: Well, first off, you need to lose the man bun.
AUSam: (horrified) I will not!
By this time I was laughing out loud. I want AU Sam and Dean to stay forever! Fancychesters spinoff?
Jared and Jensen were amazing in making the other version of Sam and Dean absolutely distinct from our Sam and Dean, and yet bringing out the similarities that made them Winchesters anyway. Also? I adore Jared with a man bun and Jensen with that hair, so let’s just say I was very happy to just stare at the Fancychesters for as long as they were on my screen. Mmm.
It was also amusing that the AU versions were a little more like Jared and Jensen with the manbun and scarf and the sweater and bracelets and different hair. Somehow that made it even more enjoyable.
While the Fancychesters change into plaid flannel, Team Free Will Plus climb into the Impala and head to the church where Ruby says she stashed the Occultum – which looks like one of those churches in the middle of nowhere that “Supernatural” is famous for, so I had a pang of sadness knowing we won’t be seeing those amazing sets for much longer.
As they approach, Jack is once again the voice of reason.
Jack: Guys, I know I haven’t been doing this as long as you have, but doesn’t this seem a little too easy?
And then they hear them.
Jack: Is that a…. bear?
I rarely get truly scared by “Supernatural” anymore – which I’m sad about – but the way they portray hellhounds still scares the crap out of me. We don’t see them so much as hear them and sense them, so we don’t know exactly where they are, and I am still traumatized after all these years by original Jo being torn up by them and Dean being shredded to death by them.
Knowing Dean’s terror of them just increases my terror. Dean frantically starts picking the lock and thankfully all that stupid is-it-luck-or-Winchester-skill stuff has been decided, because he manages to get in just in time. My heart was in my throat – and I’ve missed that! Kudos to director Amyn Kaderali for making sure that tension came through loud and clear.
We then get a really weird scene, because Sam wraps a chain around the doors and holds them closed. Dean asks “you got it?” and Sam says “yeah” and then for the next five minutes no one helps him AT ALL. They just leave Sam to barely hold the door closed while the other three have all kinds of conversation. When I first watched it, I was like, what the hell? Why is no one helping Sam? I only realized later, when someone smarter than me pointed it out online, that clearly they filmed the scenes with Jared at a different time – so they weren’t in the same room and thus nobody could help poor Sam hold the door. It threw me out of the moment, though.
Cas, Dean and Jack move ridiculously slowly to find the Occultum and then stand around trying to decide what to do with it, making it even more silly that Sam is holding the door alone. Castiel reads the inscription, which says “In order to be in the Occultum, the Occultum must be in you.”
For some unknown reason they give it to Jack, who turns around for a second.
Dean: Where’s the thing?
Jack: I ate it.
Dean: WHAT? Spit it out!
I laughed again at that, maybe inappropriately, but it was so Jack-is-a-toddler-like. Jack soon collapses and disappears, and then he’s in the Garden. Like Eden. A young girl appears and tells Jack that God banished humanity and hid the Garden away – and that it would only help Jack if he was the one who was meant to find it. (Cryptic much?) A serpent appears and speaks to Jack – which sounds like parseltongue and makes most viewers wonder how much Harry Potter the writers had just been watching when they wrote this – and Jack falls to the ground, looking anguished.
Also, was that the snake from Yellow Fever?
Back to the church and hapless Sam, still single-handedly holding the door, when BOOM, the hellhounds blast through the door, sending Sam flying. Nobody helps poor Sam even then, and as the hellhounds bound in, suddenly Jack is back – and the hellhounds are gone.
Meanwhile, back at the bunker, AU Sam and Dean do some exploring – now wearing Winchester flannel – and discover first cat videos and then Busty Asian Beauties porn on Dean’s (presumably) laptop.
AUDean to Sam: They said, lose the manbun, Samuel.
Sam draws the line at that though, adding “my hair is sacred.”
I laughed out loud – and it was made even better by knowing that apparently Jared ad libbed that line. Honestly, every scene with AU Sam and Dean was gold. Sam drinking his beer with his pinky out, Dean starting to develop a liking for beer, joyous about finding all the porn…
Sam: Can you imagine if Dad caught us with this? Goodbye trust funds.
But, both of them are seeing the appeal of it all, clearly.
Sam: They’ve got this place of their own…
Dean: No investor calls…just hunting monsters….watching porn…
Sam: Yeah, they’ve got it made.
I love that Winchesters, wherever they are, just wanna do their own thing.
Alas, when our Dean and Sam come back, Dean is eager to kick their doppelgangers out.
Dean: All right, fellas, time to go.
AUDean suggests they could all live there together.
AUSam: Yeah, like a club…
AUDean: What he said!
Me: Sounds like a plan!
But Dean insists it would be too weird, and encourages them to go to Brazil. This I would pay money to see also, btw. New show, CW? As they climb the stairs, they have another bit of information for Dean, though.
AUDean: We saw it. The car.
Dean: You didn’t touch it…
AUSam: Oh, we drove in it.
Dean looks adorably furious, which sends AUDean hurriedly up the stairs.
AUDean: Annnnnd we’re leaving…
AUSam: Ouch, my arm, you’re hurting me, Dean!
I kept laughing even after the scene ended, it was just so much FUN.
(Never mind that I have no clue how the AU Winchesters were driving around in Baby when the real Winchesters and Cas and Jack drove it to the church….}
The last scene was not fun at all. Jack, who has his soul back, now realizes fully how much he hurt Sam and Dean when he killed Mary, and he’s agonized over it. Alex Calvert does a wonderful job conveying Jack’s guilt and sadness, as he tearfully asks for forgiveness.
Jack: I’m so sorry. Why didn’t I get it? My mother died too…. It was my fault. Please, please forgive me.
The last close up is on Dean, but I hope we get some exploration eventually of Sam’s feelings in this too. He was soulless and knows exactly the remorse of having done some things he regretted when he got his soul back; he could so relate to Jack. Though I do think sometimes it’s the person who we’re most at odds with that we most want to make it right with – and for Jack, that would be Dean. Sam has been the more forgiving of the two, though Mary’s death hurt them both tremendously.
And THAT is where we ended. Who knows when we’ll get another episode, and that was the last scene we got.
I kinda wish we’d ended with the AU Sam and Dean going up the stairs and me still giggling.
So now we wait. It’s incredibly weird not knowing when the show will be able to resume or how – it feels like another piece of uncertainty in the midst of a world that is full of uncertainty anyway.
The “Supernatural” cast has been generously sharing videos and photos and messages from their own self-isolation, so that helps. And you can preorder the new book written by the actors and fans of “Supernatural” (There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done) that will be released in May and will hopefully be another way of getting through the wait – and celebrating “Supernatural” while we do!