And you thought last week it was a joy to witness the return of a strong woman? What are your feelings like this week, as Supernatural brings back several? They featured prominently in my favorite moments this week, as the Winchesters dealt with a massive amount of literal girl power.

Three to Tango

I love Rowena, and her charismatic portrayer, Ruth Connell, so I was happy to see her return. And her phone call with Team Free Will? Delightful. I loved when Cas said they needed her help to rescue “our family” and when she called him the handsome angel and made him all shy.

Her parlay with the boys was playful and sassy, as is her way, and the elegant dance she performed with her bodyguard Bernard almost distracted us all from what was bound to come. Chaos. Murder. Exactly the kind of things that follow Rowena around.

Angel on a Mission

Watching Dean and Cas trying to briefly puzzle out the whereabouts of Gabriel was sweet—until Cas suggested that he go to the angels for help. Even though his reference to sports terms like “hail Mary” and (to Dean’s amusement) “ball handler” was worth a chuckle, laughter died when he suggested entreating those who wanted to murder him. Dean, hesitant to go along at first, worried about Cas’ safety and the possibility of him getting “dead again”, finally acquiesced, but you could tell he didn’t like it. I know a lot of people see Destiel everywhere they look, especially in moments where Dean is concerned for Cas’ safety, and if that’s what they take from it then go for it. I see it differently. Actually, I think one of the things that is so great about the show is how they portray men who love each other as best friends, as brothers—emotional love that isn’t physical. There isn’t enough of that on TV.

Two Wrongs

I loved the character development of Dean shown in his holding of the grudge of what Cas did to Donatello, and in his upset at Rowena burning someone alive. The journey he has taken as he has matured in determining that situations like Donatello aren’t black and white, and that it doesn’t matter what Rowena’s cause is—there is no need to kill, show how much Dean has changed from shoot first, ask questions later Dean from the early seasons. Dean always protected innocents, don’t get me wrong, but he has become markedly more flexible about what “innocent” means as he has aged. As we all do.

An Angel Walks Into a Playground…

Castiel going to the gates of heaven and meeting the literal guardian angel Indra was well done. Seeing that the keeper of the gate was getting drunk—feeling hopeless—set us up for the reveal that Heaven is beginning to fall. Cas has been so out of touch with everything going on up above that he honestly still saw the incredibly broken Heaven as a powerful source of aid. So to see so few angels greet him, and to see the light of Heaven literally fading in and out? And, noticeably, no Lucifer sitting on the throne? Lets us know something is seriously wrong.

“…Everything, everything?”

Learning the Billie has had Jessica the Reaper watching the boys’ every move, quite literally, was amusing. Especially when she referred to Sam’s “impressive… extensive” collection of hair products (her little pause made me think she’s seen other impressive things, if you get my drift), and Dean’s emergency cheeseburger and VHS tape of tentacle porn. Embarrassed Winchesters are adorable Winchesters. And admit it, you were jealous of Jessica’s entertainment options, weren’t you? I know I was. I thought the boys were a little foolish to refuse her help, especially when they found out Rowena’s been on a bit of a killing spree, but I get that Sam doesn’t trust her. Their experiences with Billie? Always a little chequered.

Don’t Kill The Reaper

Of course, their reluctance to let Jessica help fades as soon as they come to the realization that Rowena is also killing reapers. I liked Jessica’s explanation that Rowena is causing a butterfly effect that could lead to a real disruption of fate. (Was anyone else hoping Fate would show up here? Just me? I miss that little librarian looking nerd.) And that disruption could lead to Death needing to even things out with a plague or a mid-size war. I also liked that Billie is sticking to the rules, as she has always done, and won’t directly interfere, so she needs the Winchesters to help her.

And the revelation that Sam will be the one to kill Rowena in the end? No matter what she chooses? Simply intriguing. (Side note: Jessica’s popping up in Baby and scaring Dean? Hilarious. I loved her little smirk.)

The Bitch is Back

NAOMI’S BACK?!?!? I must say, I never saw that coming, but it was truly welcome. Amanda Tapping is a great actor, and Naomi was a complex and interesting character—another case where it was convenient that a character didn’t die but I was willing to go with it. It was well done that she was the one to tell Cas about how there are nine angels left in Heaven, including Cas, and only a couple on Earth. It made sense that it is the angels that power Heaven, and that without them, if Heaven fell, all the souls housed there would return to Earth as ghosts, and that would be no bueno.

Cas, once again, is again beholden to two entities—the Earth and his found family that needs him, and the brotherhood of Heaven that needs him. It also made sense that Dumah and the others accepted Lucifer—they needed an archangel to help keep Heaven operating. The whole thing explained so much, and I appreciated it all.

The Heir Witch Project

It turns out Rowena is going all vigilante because she is trying to get Death’s attention because she wants Crowley back. Again, didn’t see that coming but it makes sense. I liked that she wants redemption and that she thinks Crowley deserved it too—that she finally recognizes she helped create him. And I loved Dean’s reveal that Sam is the one who kills her, leading her to need to capture Sam and kill him first. Also? Bernard’s loyalty to Rowena being based on her power, looks and money (and not mind control) was a nice touch.

Sam cornering her in the alley, not wanting to kill her but knowing he has to stop her and shooting none the less surprised me. Jared Padalecki and Connell have great chemistry, and Sam and Rowena’s complicated relationship is so interesting. (And the ferocity of Dean’s shout in that alley? “Where the hell is my brother?!” Gave me chills.)

It’s No Sacrifice

I’d love to tell you that Rowena ripping open Sam’s shirt to reveal a peek of his anti-possession tattoo was less hot when it was revealed she did it to kill him but alas, I cannot. (Swoon.) I loved that Rowena didn’t seem to want to kill him, but he understands she will when she cries, “What haven’t you done for your family? What wouldn’t you do?” And though she apologizes as she applies her magic, she goes through with it just the same.

This, of course, summons the incredible Lisa Berry as Death, who stands her ground and tells Rowena to kill him (prompting a “Hello?” look from Sam that was kind of cute).

The chemistry between Connell and Berry as Rowena doesn’t kill Sam and ultimately ends up crying on the ground when Death won’t negotiate is electric. What a great scene between these two. Death knew Rowena has changed—that she wouldn’t kill Sam. Not now. She tells Rowena some things can’t be changed—they just are—and that she won’t take her but someday Sam will. Dean bursts in and Billie says calmly, “Hey, Dean. See you again soon.” And Berry makes those six words truly chilling.

Everything Ends

Misha Collins and Tapping’s scene, discussing their continued hope that Heaven can be fixed but wondering if maybe it can’t, was a good one. “Everything ends, Castiel,” Naomi says, and we’re left to wonder what life would be like without Heaven. The show has made angels into such dicks so many times it’s easy to believe we could live without them, but Heaven is still needed. Angels are still needed. No one, as Dean well knows, is all good or all bad.

War and Peace

The boys, Sam especially, being gentle with Rowena in the end, was lovely. Sam explaining to her that Crowley’s death wasn’t her fault was a given but Dean chiming in to release her from blame was an unexpected kindness. Connell, Padalecki, and Jensen Ackles all have such a presence in this scene, but it is so balanced—no one outstages the other.

The Winchesters’ conviction that Rowena can be redeemed is believable. And Sam clearly conveys that he doesn’t want to have to kill her, that he hopes they can challenge fate once more. The question to Rowena is left hanging in the air: “You in?” I, for one, think she will be.

And what of Mary and Jack? How do they fair in their fight against Alterna-Michael? Guess we’ll see more next week in episode twenty, “Unfinished Business.” See you then!

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