The Morning After
Questions. So many questions.
Which question is foremost on my mind after watching Supernatural's "Exodus"? Did Sam tell Jack the truth about Lucifer being left behind in the alternate universe? The answer to this question may change Sam and Jack’s relationship, and Jack’s allegiance to goodness, for all time. Did Sam tell his adopted son that he pushed an injured Lucifer back into Michael’s clutches right at the moment when they all could have been through the rift, or did Sam lie and say that Lucifer was battling Michael and that he and Dean barely escaped, or maybe that Lucifer was dead like Gabriel?
In the end, when everyone else was celebrating their escape, was Jack sad because he believes his father is dead, or because Sam denied him the opportunity to get to know his father and make up his own mind about his trustworthiness? What is Jack feeling and thinking right now? He had precious few moments with his dad and his uncle. Whether his adopted family likes it or not, Lucifer and Gabriel are Jack’s family by blood. Even with all their flaws and baggage, they could still have told Jack about their shared family history. There was some truth (just a little) in Lucifer’s claim that only he (and Gabriel, if Gabe would have taken an interest in Jack) could give Jack a sense of his ancestry, his powers & the half of himself that his adopted family simply doesn’t know. Didn’t Jack have the right to hear all that? I really liked that Jack had a chance to be surrounded by beings as powerful as him - two archangels that had been around since "the stars were made." With Gabriel dead now (more on that later), Lucifer is Jack’s only hope of learning about his grandfather. Unfortunately, without Gabriel to challenge Lucifer’s jaded interpretation of events, Jack won’t get a balanced view of what really happened.
There are other questions surrounding Lucifer and Jack's relationship as well.
Is Lucifer actually trying to change?
He was sincerely hurt by his brother’s harsh words to him:
Don't you get it? Humans were innocent and beautiful. But you couldn't stand that the old man loved them more than he loved you. So you tempted them and you corrupted them just to prove how flawed they were. Dad saw that your evil was like the first few cells of cancer; that it would spread like the disease unless He cut it out. That is why He locked you up, to stop the cancer. But it was too late then. And guess what? It's too late for you now.
Lucifer’s tears revealed how desperately he wants Jack to see him differently than everyone else sees him. Are the writers testing the waters for a redemption arc for Lucifer? When Michael proposed their “devil’s bargain”, Lucifer seemed truly distressed. Was it the thought of destroying his world, a world he dearly respects and loves (minus the humans that are an abomination), or was it because he knew he would lose Jack if he betrayed them all? Either way, for at least the second time this season, we saw honest, respectable emotion from the devil.
Family and Free Will
Will Jack choose his father over Sam, Dean, Castiel & Mary, i.e. his adopted family? I don't believe that for a moment but no doubt that Lucifer’s arrival strained Jack’s relationship with the Winchester clan. Lucifer seeing his son for the first time and desperately trying to make up for lost time in their father/son relationship was only one side of the family dynamics that were studied in “Exodus”.
If the hardest thing about parenting is letting a child go when they’re ready to be on their own (and in turn, the child letting go of the security of the parents’ presence), the second hardest thing has to be letting the children make up their own mind when the parent already knows the right answer, especially when there is a risk involved. Jack won’t believe Lucifer is evil until he see it and decides it for himself, but it’s killing Dean to allow that to happen. Dean simply doesn’t yet have enough faith in Jack:
Dean: [to Lucifer] I told you no talking! [to Jack] and I told you no listening!
[later] Jack, you have no idea who Lucifer really is.
Jack: And I never will unless I talk to him.
Jack: Dean! He's my father.
Dean’s worst nightmares about Jack are happening right in front of him. Jack is exploring a bond with Lucifer, and at least once Jack took his father's advice rather than listening to Sam:
Jack: My father makes a valid point.
Lucifer: Kids. Just gotta know how to talk to them.
Dean was trying to force Jack to do what he wanted because Dean felt he knew what was best for him, much the same way Dean has tried to "protect" Sam for so long.
Conversely, Sam was being a bit too timid around Jack because Sam was Jack’s big brother by invitation, not blood. Neither he, Dean nor Castiel are Jack’s actual dad. Jack was testing his independence, his free will, in the face of both families “knowing” what was best for him. Kids don’t always do what you want. Neither do parents.
I’m not going back. I fought beside these people. I respect them. I respect their cause. You can’t expect me to just abandon them. Sam, Dean, I know what you went through to find me but these people are being slaughtered. They need me.
I’ve been expecting for a long time that Mary would want to stay in AU world to help the rebel cause. She was raised as a hunter. She’s a warrior. She found a battle worth fighting and she’s making a difference there. When she was resurrected, she struggled to integrate herself into a world run on cell phones, the internet and computers. This world is easier to understand – a primitive fight for survival.
I read a conversation online that observed when Sam and Dean want to save a world, they are called heroes, but when Mary says she needs to stay to help, she’s a bad mom, or selfish, or has an inflated ego. The commenter observed the irony of the double standard. I totally agree. In season 12's “Who We Are”, Mary made peace with herself and her sons. This time, she wasn’t running away again to go looking for herself. She was pulled into the AU by Lucifer, and she was tortured there by Michael for at least 6 months. This is HER fight now too. It’s personal. She and Jack have given hope and a fighting chance to these people. She’s found purpose. Yes, she could go back to fighting monsters with Sam and Dean, or help them prepare to fight Michael, but if he gets to her world, he will already have destroyed the rebels. She’s making a stand. It’s just one battle sooner than her boys anticipated.
This is the opposite of a parent not being able to let her children go. In this case, the children need to understand the new world their mom had to accept when she was suddenly ripped away from them. They need to listen rather than talk. She’s their mom and they think they need her, but she’s a hunter too. Smart!Sam found the perfect solution.
Mom doesn’t want to leave these people. So let’s take them with us. I’m not saying abandon the fight. I’m saying we get the somewhere safe then we all figure out a way to take down Michael. Then once we do, they can come back and save their world.
Solve her problem and they solve their problem, too. Parent and children working together to save two worlds.
Mary, Sam and Dean trying to work out their parent/child relationship paralleled Lucifer and Jack similarly trying to figure out their relationship. Lucifer was gone for Jack’s childhood, just as Mary was gone for the boys’ childhoods. Jack was raised by surrogate parents and thrown into a war with the supernatural when he was still young, just as Bobby’s presence reminded us of the boys’ family history. Both parents were introduced to their children as adults, just as the children are struggling to get to know their mostly absent parents.
That doesn’t mean that they can’t still help and learn from each other, though. Mary was the voice of wisdom, sharing with Dean the insights of a grandparent – someone who loves the young child but is removed just enough to be able to know you can’t force them to see things your way - how you want, when you want it. They need to experience life’s lessons for themselves:
Mary: Take it easy on Jack. He's been fighting a war. He's trying so hard to prove himself, but he's lost people, friends. He'll take a minute to get through it. Dean, like it or not, Lucifer is Jack's father. He's going to take an interest in him. [echoing Kelly’s own words to Jack]
Dean: So what, we're supposed to just let Lucifer drag him over to the dark side?
Mary: Jack isn't going to the dark side. He'll see Lucifer's true nature. And he'll see it through his own eyes, not yours. [Jack seeing the truth with his own eyes was mentioned by Gabriel too]
I loved this conversation. She spoke a truth that Dean needed to hear.
The Truth, aka Who to Blame?
Who's to blame for.... "all of it"? A core theme of “Exodus” was getting to the truth of who to blame for misfortunes. When the rebels were betrayed, Sam’s first (logical) question was “Where did they hear about this execution?”, i.e. who’s to blame? Then Cas, Sam, Dean and Bobby went to work on the informant trying to learn the truth.
Lucifer was the most obvious example of someone who blamed anyone other than himself for his troubles:
Lucifer: So you’ve probably heard the stories, right? Anything ugly happens, any evil befalls the world, and it’s my fault. Fake News. Well, I mean, yes, I have done things that I am not entirely proud of. I have led the occasional soul to ruin. This is true. But, Jack, it's because humans are so messed up. They're -- they're so willing to be led [Free Will thread]. I mean, the point is, humans are not perfect. They are hardwired to fall. And when they do, they need a fall guy.
Cas: That's a vast oversimplification.
Lucifer: Okay, true or false, Cass -- Um, for almost, like, ever, I've been locked away in a Cage?
Lucifer: True! It's true. So how did I do all this evil for all these centuries, I wonder?
Jack: Who locked you up?
Lucifer: My dad, 'cause I told the truth. See, he loved humans so much, he couldn't see their flaws. And I told him about it, and he got mad. He felt like I was personally dumping on his masterpiece, and so he kicked me out. No time-out, no go in the corner, you know, anything like that. Just gone, banished. And yes, as Cass says, I have done some bad things. I had my reasons, and I just want the opportunity to get better. Doesn't everybody? Don't you?
Gabriel was the annoying younger brother telling on his big brother, though:
Lucifer: So thing about Gabe -- class clown.
Gabriel: And you're an assclown.
Lucifer: Ha! You hear that? He's such cut-up. Yeah, uh, I guess your time with Asmodeus didn't do you any favors, did it, bud?
Gabriel: Well, my time with you was worse. - You recall -- -
Lucifer: I recall, uh, nothing. I don't recall anything at all. Happy endings. All good, happy ending.
Gabriel: Okay, you think dad was a bad guy, and you were a victim? You were not a victim. That was just your excuse.
Lucifer: My excuse for what?
Gabriel: For it all, Lucifer. For it all.
Curiously, Dean provided the perfect example of what Lucifer told Jack - that humans blame the devil for all their mistakes rather than taking responsibility for their actions:
Dean: No, no, no, no! You, don’t talk to him! And you, don’t listen to him! No. Kill him. You’ve got the blade! He’s the Devil! Kill him!
Jack: Stop it!
Dean: Well, great. Does that when he’s scared. Way to go, dad!
Sorry, Dean, but you were the reason Jack got scared. Your angry outbursts have always scared Jack. You drove him away, not dad.
On the other hand, Sam accepted responsibility for something that wasn’t his fault at all.
Sam: Dean, listen, I’m sorry about all this.
Dean: Are you good?
Sam: I’m alive. Yeah.
Dean: Well then you got nothing to apologize for.
THANK YOU Dean for telling Sam that making the best choice possible when he was in a no-win situation was not his fault! In this case, the devil was to blame! He coerced Sam (if “do what I want or I’ll let you die” can be called coercion). Thank you writers for giving us their bro hug too!
Will we ever get tired of seeing bro hugs? (To be fair, that’s a rhetorical question.) For, uh, research purposes, I’ve rewatched that scene several times already because I needed to understand every nuance, every breath, every movement…
Ok. I’m back. Where was I?
Ketch: Is that all you've got to make me talk?
The word “talk” was used twelve times in the "Exodus" dialog. That a lot of emphasis on conversation, or the lack thereof!
Castiel: Jack, talking with Lucifer, it's -- it's not a good idea.
Jack: I'm not gonna talk. I'm gonna listen.
Dean: How many are we talking?
Angel: I’ve sent for an expert in these matters. No talking will be required.
As some of you have pointed out, not talking is receiving as much emphasis this season as talking. Talking is a means to being open and honest, and critical to building and strengthening relationships. Not talking implies listening, which is critical to understanding another person’s point of view. The rebels listened to the newcomers, talked among themselves then found a better way. Gabriel was a listener. When his mouth was sewed shut, he listened to all the conversations around him. In the camp, he was largely quiet, pensive. Maybe he was still traumatized and used to being by himself, but it allowed him to hear and then speak the truth to people. Jack wanted to listen to learn. Sam listened to understand his mom, and Dean listened to Sam’s advice. As a parallel, even Lucifer hear his brother’s wise words. Was there anyone who didn’t listen to reason?
When will we learn the truth about season 13's imposter thread?? Ketch and Charlie were lured into a trap by a deception. They thought they were saving a human rebel but when his hood was removed, his true identity as a dangerous angel was revealed. The existence of Castiel’s doppelganger was also a blatant nod to things not always being what they appear to be.
Nazi Cas: More than one of us. Fascinating.
Cas: I’ve gotten used to it.
I couldn’t stop laughing! Was Misha purposely trying to break the tension with his Nazi interrogator outfit and accent? Poor Felicia and David! How did they keep straight faces and feign terror when Misha was being outright hilarious? Did everyone else think of the Indiana Jones SS guy who is brought in to intimidate and interrogate Marion (then pulls out a hanger to hang his coat)?
In the camp, were you clear on whether real Castiel was torturing the human defector or trying to read his mind? I saw it as torture, since Dean’s response afterward was “Let’s try this again.” Why would Castiel torture the guy rather than read his mind, though? Nazi Cas was smart enough to know the mind meld was an effective interrogation technique, and it looked like he grabbed Charlie’s head in the same way that real Cas grabbed the traitor’s head. Real Cas swore he would never read minds without permission, but he’s been rather ruthless lately. Was him momentarily stopping the “mind reading” a “moral” respite intended to give the guy a chance to talk before his mind was completely stripped away? Per Nazi Cas, subjects can resist or lie, wasting valuable time. Saving Charlie and Ketch as quickly as possible was paramount. Everyone was aware that the pair was probably being tortured for information on the rebels’ operation. Time was also running down on the rift as a tactical retreat. Strategically, as well as mercifully, Charlie and Ketch needed to be rescued fast. There was a parallel between Nazi and Real Castiel both using painful mind invasion to find out the enemy’s location so was the “break” supposed to be the big difference? Was Castiel’s torture supposedly more respectful of the guy than Nazi Cas’ threat to rape and destroy Charlie’s mind?
The parallel allowed the subsequent comparison between two the Castiels:
Nazi Cas: You align yourself with the humans.
Cas: I vastly prefer them to angels.
Nazi Cas: Don't think that you are better than me. We are the same.
Cas: Yes. We are.
Beyond the comic relief, Cas has now faced and defeated his evil self. The real Castiel’s admission that he’s gotten used to arguing with a powerful entity who looks exactly like him was a indisputable callback to Cas’ conversation with the Empty Entity. This plus the few noted references to “the dark side” keep that storyline on a low simmer. Someday, it is going to boil over.
Lucifer: You have 31 hours, give or take?
Sam: Bobby, we’re going to have to hit the road soon. We’re running out of time.
Obviously the race against time was a big factor in every aspect of this story – the race to save Ketch and Charlie, the race to get to the rift before it closed, the race to defeat Michael before he wipes out the human race. I still wonder if there isn’t a bigger doomsday clock ticking, with a deadline we don’t yet know about. What do you think?
Fighter Andy: You want us to follow you through a magic door that's gonna blast us the hell outta here and into some kind of Fairy Tale World where everything's pretty?
Proof that the clues we’ve been detecting all season were intentional! Happy endings and fairy tales were both mentioned in this episode! This is now an official thread that I hope someday dovetails with …
The End Game
Sam: How did you think this was gonna end?
Happily, Sam. I always did and I always will.
Sadly, “Exodus” was the end of Gabriel. His courage in staying to fight Michael to save the humans was a stark contrast to Lucifer’s cowardice – or did I get that wrong? Was Gabriel’s stupidity a sharp contrast to Lucifer’s strategic, smart retreat? Either way, I’m REALLY sorry to lose Gabriel again. I loved him much more this time around than last time. He decided who he was and was willing to take a stand to help the good guys. Now Jack has lost his one decent relative. NOT happy about that ending at all!
Epic One Liners:
Misha: In case your innate evil overwhelms this newfound team spirit, you won’t mind wearing these then, will you?
Dean: Sam go back there and check what helter skelter is saying to the damn kid.
Gabriel: He’s a kid. He likes shiny objects and magic tricks. [SOOO insightful from Uncle Gabe!]
Music - The music during the rebels’ exodus was corny. Really. It was the worst match up to the moment that I’ve heard in a long time. It made the whole trip seem like a Pink Panther escapade, and getting only two shots of the convoy making the trip from Bobby’s camp (Ohio?) back to the rift in Kentucky made their trip even less convincing. “Oh, look! We’re here already!” It just didn’t work for me. Did anyone else have that reaction?
I had to include this insight from Deb Ryzley (on Twitter):
Manners – there were four apologies in “Exodus”, one each from Jack, Mary, Dean and Sam. That’s pretty interesting, don’t you think?
"Exodus" certainly left a lot of questions unanswered, but that's the purpose of a finale lead-in. If being anxious to rewatch an episode is an indication of its worth, then “Exodus” did okay because I’ve truly enjoyed replaying it. It wasn’t a masterpiece but it moved along the plotline effectively. Gabriel deserved more time. His death, as so many others, was just stupidly unnecessary and a waste of a fabulous character.
I loved Charlie, Bobby, Mary, Jack, Castiel, Sam and Dean all being together! I wanted to add Gabriel to that merry band but alas, it was not meant to be. I also would have preferred if Sam had not marooned Lucifer. It seemed, I don’t know, vengeful of Sam (without making a comment about how utterly deserved it was). Sam is smarter than that. Now we all have to deal with the fall out next week. Which brings up maybe the biggest question of all: What is that last scene in the preview trailer showing us?? I think we'll all need to be hugged soon.
Transcript quotes courtesy of : https://www.springfieldspringfield.co.uk/
Special Gif Thank yous to Wednesday for her technical assitance and :
Bro Hug: sasquatchandaleatherjacket
“How did you think this was going to end?” Sam and Sam/Charlie hug: solivagant97
“Gabe, No!” : sunshineclaire