A friend of mine said it best: “I’m always a little worried when the second-to-last episode feels like the finale.” Indeed. This was a roller coaster of an episode that crashed into an ending that left me wondering one thing: If this isn’t the Season Eleven cliffhanger, what the hell is?
The banter between Our Father and son was decidedly—how should I put this? Normal. Chuck and Casifer (aka God and Lucifer) playing Cats in the Cradle while Sam and Dean tried to referee could have been any absentee father and his rebellious son talking it out as grown men (ish.) Although I felt the total confrontation of Chuck and Lucifer went on a little too long, causing the coming together of the showdown at the end to happen in something of a rush, I did appreciate the chemistry between Rob Benedict and Misha Collins as Lucifer tried to get the apology he felt he was owed. My favorite moment? Lucifer, the pukey teenager, retreating to Sam’s room, blaring music and sulking, refusing to come out. As Dean said, “It’s like the worst episode of Full House ever.” Never has the epic battle between Heaven and Hell been more adorable.
All the King’s Men
Another rallying speech from Crowley about how “Together, we can make Hell great again!” An obvious nod to another ego maniac, Donald Trump. The demons all know that, much like Trump, Crowley’s main priority is himself, and his speeches just make them scoff (or outright laugh.) One of the demons calls Crowley’s speech mere dinner theater. So why listen at all? “We wanted to see the monkey dance. One last time.” Poor Crowley. What is a bellowing King without a court? A mere jester. I love Mark Sheppard enough that it almost hurts to see Crowley so weak. Almost.
Season of the Witch
Awwww. Rowena made a fwend. Rowena visits her witch sister Clea when she needs a second for a spell to go back in time. The world is ending, Rowena says, and Clea, with her Celtic Cross showing all Death cards knows it is true. And this time? There’s more on the line. “When I looked inside her I saw it. Not just the end of the world, Heaven and Hell—the end of magic.” The thought of that is enough to make Clea deal. Which is a good thing, because Rowena (played impeccably, as always, by Ruth Connell) needs all the power she can get.
Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word
Lucifer won’t settle for anything less than an apology. Dean suggests using “I feel” statements (he learned that from Dr. Phil) so Chuck says he’s sorry Lucifer “feels” he betrayed him and that he can’t see he left God no choice. Sam asks him to be a little less “Lordly” which puzzles Chuck. “But I am—I’m the Lord,” he says, and there’s that adorable again. Chuck argues that he had to protect humanity from the Mark corrupted Lucifer. Lucifer counters that he was given the Mark to help capture Amara, and when it corrupted him God just threw him away. Sam, shockingly, agrees with Lucifer, leading to the following hilarious exchange.
Sam: “Apologies aren’t always about being right. Sometimes they’re just about apologizing.”
Dean: “Yeah. And the great thing about apologies is you don’t have to mean ‘em. You know, I lie and tell Sam I’m sorry all the time.”
Dean: “I’m sorry. See?”
Eventually, as it needed to, the apology comes. God admits Lucifer was his favorite and he gave him the Mark because he loved him the most and thought him strong enough to bear it. “When I saw that I was wrong, when I watched my choice devour my most cherished son, I hated myself,” Chuck says. “And so I punished you. And I am so sorry.” It’s a powerful moment, and Rob Benedict delivered it beautifully. Glory to Chuck in the highest.
Once Chuck and Lucifer are back on the same team it’s time to assess what else they have to fight Amara. Last time, it took God and all of the Archangels combined to take her down. And there? The show sucked me in to believing that if God could return, my beloved Gabriel could, too (and thus I would get Richard Speight back to play him), and maybe we would finally find out how Michael/Adam was doing in the cage. In the biggest of bummers, however, Chuck says that Michael is incapable of fighting in the state he is in and, unfortunately, rebuilding Gabriel and Raphael isn’t as easy as resuscitating Cas was—it may be outside his power and it would definitely take too much time they don’t have to spare. And what did I take away from that conversation? Gabriel could be revived at a later date. You know, provided Amara doesn’t destroy God or anything. I know I’m crossing all the things that our beloved Trickster comes back someday. Are you?
Team All Stars
With no archangels, they need power. Lots and lots of power. Dean goes to Crowley to recruit him into the fight. Lucifer concedes the vessel to Castiel to convince the angels that God needs them once more. And Sam gets a little convenly by going to Rowena and telling her to round up her circle of powerful witches. The last was my favorite of these intercut scenes, especially when Rowena got all defensive and Clea, a believer in multiple higher powers, didn’t have her back.
Rowena: “You walk right into a powerful coven…”
Clea: “Uh, takes three for a coven.”
Rowena, irritated: “…witches den without a weapon? I’ll turn you into a moose. An actual moose.”
All of the groups need to know God is involved, and it’s up to Sam, Dean and Cas to convince them all they are backing a winner. And convince them they do. The plan is simple—weaken and trap. Everyone’s on board. Or are they?
Codependent No More
Dean’s having trouble with the plan and at first Sam cannot understand why. Dean doesn’t want to trap Amara, he wants to kill her. Scratch that—he doesn’t want to kill her, he wants Chuck to. He’s tried. He’s failed. Chuck suggests that Dean didn’t kill her because he didn’t want to. The two are still so entwined Dean doesn’t even know if he can personally hurt her at all. It’s up to Sam to convince him that they have God on their side—literally—and thus there is no other choice to be made. I’m sure there’s nothing about this that can go wrong. Unless, of course, it’s Wednesday.
Man, Emily Swallow, you give Amara such a commanding, compelling presence I almost want her to win. After beating and tormenting poor Donatello the prophet, she sucks his soul from his body (sadness) to find the location of her brother. All the warding of the HuntCave? Useless when it comes to the sister of God. She searches the Bunker for Chuck, stopping to look at the picture of Mary and young Dean that he keeps in his room with something akin to fondness. What she and Dean share has always been so mysterious—so alluring. I think, in the end, he will have to be the one to take her out, as much as it will pain him to do it.
Sounds Like a Plan
It’s all in motion. The witches will attack first, then the angels, then the demons, all to weaken Amara. Then Lucifer will fight her one on one to get her to succumb to God’s trap. And then God will transfer the Mark to Sam and–wait. What? I guess the Mark has to go somewhere, but to Sam? What the hell kind of sucky plan is that? A truly dynamic one, it turns out. Rowena starts, channeling the power of her sisters to zap Amara with lightning that barely knocks her down, and frying all of them in the process, barely surviving herself. The angels are up next, blasting her as they did before, weakening her enough that when the demons (including the powerful Crowley) slip in to toss her about, she is bloodied and battered. What a show, and what a performance. Swallow staggers and stumbles, somehow still strong even as Lucifer’s spear pierces through her, spitting her words with hatred and betrayal such that I almost felt sorry for her. Though, of course, it turned out Amara didn’t need my pity at all.
Amara falls off the spear and Lucifer makes to kill her, but Chuck won’t allow it. She tells Chuck of the eons she spent in the cage praying for death rather than being alone and afraid, and we see Dean stagger a little in sympathy. She also accuses him of needing lesser beings to be Lord to. Chuck admits it’s true, but it isn’t the whole truth. There is a glory in creation that is more important than both of them combined. “Well, you’ve won again. Finish it. Kill me,” she says. Instead both she and Sam feel the Mark burning into them and she knows her imprisonment is upon her, and there is nothing that scares her more. She strikes out, lashing into Chuck, choking him, burning Lucifer right out of Cas, tossing Dean aside like a bundle of sticks. “I’d die a million times, murder you a million more, before going back there,” she cries, and the Marks disappear. She tears Chuck into a burst of white light and he falls, nearly dead, to the floor. “Amara, what have you done?” Dean asks, as Rowena wakes to an eerie light. What she has done is turned the tables on their plan. It is God who is weakened, powerless. “Welcome to the end,” she says, and everyone is left waiting for just that.
How do they possibly top that cliffhanger? We’ll see next week in the series finale, “Alpha and Omega.”