A return to the more classic horror story-style structure with some familiar faces for a dash of nostalgic flavour, Supernatural was almost an old-school installment this week with a basic storyline, peppered with Jack’s journey and Sam’s role as a mentor. Not to mention Dean’s further descent into grief and depression via anger. A top episode? Maybe not. But certainly had some worthwhile moments. Plus, there’s that ending….
Let’s talk about our main plot: a wraith who has developed a taste for psychics. This storyline was fairly simple and straightforward – the villain was identified from the get go to both the audience and our intrepid team, so it wasn’t a question of a who or a what, but rather a when and how it would strike. For me, this worked around the other elements of the story. There was a bit of a retro-horror movie feel to some of the jump scares and the wraith was such an ego-maniacal baddie that he was amusing to watch. Our wraith even went so far as to have an evil-bad guy explanation speech to his victim, detailing his long term plans.
It was a given that he would be caught and killed of course and by the end, that he wouldn’t kill Jody or Dean as the vision by Patience predicted (more on this later) so the simplicity of the plot was counterbalanced by the entertainment value of the villain and environment built around him.
Old and New Friends
The plot outside of the wraith was character driven by a familiar face: Missouri Mosley, played just as brashly by the wonderful Loretta Divine. Though it was entirely too short of an appearance of this character after over a decade, it was wonderful to see Missouri again. Her interaction with Dean was just as snarky as the first time, and Missouri was as bold with the wraith as you would expect.
I will say that the family drama between Missouri and James felt contrived for plot. There were a lot of reasons that these too could have fallen out, but his allegations of fraud on her part having been raised to see everything seems out of sync. I appreciate the basis was she gave an inaccurate reading about a sick wife’s future health (again this was a shakily established backstory, in my opinion) and he was grieving, but I still felt information was missing for twelve years of silence between these two. Especially since James then so readily accepted Dean and Jody at his door when they say Missouri sent them and Patience was in trouble. Are these secondary characters? Yes. Was this a sloppily conceived back story? Just a touch. Does it make much difference in the grand scheme? Probably not. Missouri was still a great character in and of herself.
Turning to Patience, we didn’t get much from her, just a taste of the character. She appears to be a strong character – snarky enough, and she spoke up to her father when the truth about her grandmother came out. I appreciate she didn’t dive directly into the hunter lifestyle at the end of the episode, though curiosity was there. The foundation for more with this character is there, hopefully she is cultivated well. Her visions leave a bit to be desired and hopefully they won’t be so on the nose moving forward. I will say of her vision, even knowing what it was, I took issue with how easily Dean was apparently killed by the wraith. I mean, really? I suppose one could argue he is doing the careless, reckless grieving-hunting thing we’ve seen him do in years past, but still. Thoughts? As I said, we knew Jody and Dean wouldn’t be killed by the wraith, and visions like this would make Patience a cure-all on a hunt, so maybe let’s vague them up a bit. Thoughts on this?
Wings On, Wings Off
I’ve said it before, and I’ll probably say it again: Alexander Calvert is impressive as hell in this role of Jack. There were a lot of elements to this week’s performance and Jack was exposed to a spectrum of emotions. First was the brief but touching “encounter” with Kelly via that video recording. Jack’s reaction to watching with video was beautiful, in particular to hearing his mother say that he could choose who he was, given the number of people lining up to dictate to him which side he is supposed to be on. And of course, was that all-important line about “an angel watching over you” that we can’t overlook.
The biggest moments for Jack involved Sam: week by week (or day by day in the Supernatural universe) the bond between these two appears to grow. Sam is determined that Jack will be good, that he can control his powers and he wants to teach him focus. The identity issues are complex and being well handled with both Jack and Sam, who recognizes in Jack his own past struggles. It’s interesting that Jack struggles so much with the fact that Dean doesn’t like him and can’t accept what Sam offers him as readily. The conversation with Jack and Sam is very telling on both sides:
“I know what it feels like, to feel like you don't belong, to feel like there's this darkness inside of you. To be scared of who you are, what you can do. Dean... Cas, my family helped me through that. So now I wanna help you”
Jack is such a tragic character and so sympathetic. In spite of knowing how much power he has, you can’t help but identifying with and recognizing the depth of his pain. Sam does, clearly, and works hard to fill the mentor role. All told, even given the sadness of circumstance, the new relationship between these characters is captivating to watch.
Say What You Mean
Long overdue (and still cut short), Sam and Dean finally have a confrontation in “Patience” that calls out a few of the elephants in the bunker. Before we look at that particular encounter, let’s talk Dean during the episode. In the opening we see a collection of beers and Dean listening to music, looking unhappy in his bedroom. This is the theme for Dean throughout the episode – anger and misery – and a break point was inevitable.
“This life, hunting, monsters. There's no joy in it. There's nothing but pain, horror and death. So if you get a chance at normal, take it.”
I was expecting a conversation with Dean and Jody where she perhaps called him out on his comments about the hunter lifestyle to Patience, or his very obvious depression. This was something missing from the episode, unfortunately. Alas, it all erupts between Sam and Dean in the end:
“I didn't end bad when I was the "freak," when I was drinking demon blood…Because you could've put a bullet in me. Dad told you to put a bullet in me, but you didn't. You saved me. So help me save him.”
Hopefully this isn’t the end of the conversation – because nothing was truly resolved. Is it possible Sam is overidentifying with Jack? Maybe. Is Dean so soaked with grief and anger he is blinded to anything else? Maybe. What worked about this conversation was that it did away with any subterfuge and stated outright that Sam’s demon blood experiences were directly impacting his desire to help Jack, and Dean identified he can’t get past the loss of Castiel being at Jack’s feet. Never mind the comment about Sam’s hope Jack can help save Mary (and Dean believes she’s gone). Both Jensen and Jared were fantastic in this scene – even off screen – the emotion and rage (particularly in Dean) was palpable. The brothers may have been fighting, deep and serious fighting, but it was a strong moment regardless.
Finally, the cherry is of course Jack overhearing everything. No words needed to convey how Jack felt about what he was hearing, the expression said it all. And once again Jack heard that magic word: Castiel. Jack hasn’t stopped hearing about Cas since he was born – especially today. Cas is a key to Dean’s belief that Jack is evil, how Cas kept Sam from going dark-side and of course in Kelly’s video too. Obviously there is a one-stop solution to all Jack’s problems: RESURRECTION.
For some of us it may not have been a shock that this was going to happen, more a question of when and how. This moment – heightened by the intense emotions of anguish, rage and sorrow – it was powerful. Jack’s eyes alight and Castiel is reanimated in an inky black nowhere. And hat’s off to the team for including Misha’s credit at the end and keeping it a surprise until the last second. My favourite scene from “Patience” unquestionably, was this last three minutes combined.
Almost everything in this episode is eclipsed by the final moments – the argument between Sam and Dean that’s been building for three weeks and has needed to happen (even if we’re only three episodes and a few days in). Plus, Cas’ resurrection – finally, in my opinion! Once again, the delicacy with which the emotions are being handled is impressive; neither rushed nor overstated given the magnitude of the situation for Sam, Dean and Jack. The episode plot in and of itself was a decent vehicle to separate our characters for a while before the culminating action and to lay foundation for some future excitement too. Overall, not a bad episode with a powerful punch ending.
What did you think of the resurrection? Ideas about those psychic visions? Who is suffering along with our boys in every other scene? Share your thoughts below!