So this week we have an episode featuring Richard Speight, playing a character opposite one played by Richard Speight, both of whom are directed by Richard Speight. Talk about multi-tasking! Fortunately, my favorite moments from this week featured yes, Richard Speight, but also a whole lot of others. Let’s get into ‘em.
Who has more panache than the archangel Gabriel? Not many, that’s for sure. I love that he’s back with a vengeance, literally, and the snazzy fight we opened with as he killed one of (the real) Loki’s sons (earning himself some nasty slashes in the process) set off the whole Tarantino-esque vibe of the whole episode. Stylistically? It was slick.
Loves me the Winchester brothers in a seedy motel. As always, the set design was impeccable as the boys hunkered down to wait out the finding of Gabriel. Dean’s happy discovery that the bed was a literal good vibration was a delightful little hearken back to the earliest of seasons. And Gabriel coming to them? A welcome surprise. Gabriel’s lack of apology for ditching them was note perfect, and Dean’s annoyance with him was too. Sam, ever the calculator, gets over his irritation enough to try to see how they can win Gabriel over to their team.
To the Victor Go the Spoils
Jack and Mary—who realized they’d team up to make such a fierce pair? I loved that Mary is such a mother to Jack, proud of his victorious battles but worried about his place in the war. Alexander Calvert and Samantha Smith have great chemistry, and feed off of each other well. The balance of her wary soldier to his confident (cocky?) new recruit makes for a great parlay. And when Michael leaves his stronghold behind, Mary thinks it’s a trap but all Jack can see is that he’s winning. And Jack’s problem is he feels he just can’t lose.
So it turns out? It’s Gabriel that needs the Winchesters. When Loki’s two remaining sons come to find Gabriel and take him out there is a lovely knock-down-drag-out and Gabriel emerges half-victorious, taking out one before the other escapes. It works that Gabriel is weak enough to need help (again, as we will see later in the episode) and that Sam will try to exploit that while Dean just wants to cuff him down.
Side note? Dean Winchester? With handcuffs? Did anyone else’s mind just wander a little?
Kevin Tran, AP (Abused Prophet)
I make no secret of how much I love Osric Chau, and he was wonderful in this episode. This is an alternate version of our beloved Kevin, but so much was the same, shaped by circumstance. Still high-strung, still a Mama’s boy (in the sweetest and saddest of ways), still confused by his role and what it all means. But Chau brought an almost manic energy to this Kevin, making him desperate and edgy and panicked. Ever the sucker for a motherless boy, Mary clearly felt sorry for the imprisoned traitor, and when he revealed Michael’s “plan”? She believed him. Who wouldn’t?
So Here’s the Thing
Gabriel seems reluctant to tell his tale (we should know better) but when Dean reminds him that he and Sam just broke into a junkyard and stuffed a demigod body into a car crusher, Gabe fesses up.
Man, he can spin a yarn, and man, was Dean’s impressed face adorable as he did! Turns out (the real Norse god) Loki’s boys helped Gabriel hide, complete with booze, gambling and, as he mentioned before, porn stars. Unfortunately, they then sold him to Asmodeus and now Gabriel is getting his revenge. Since he’s not full strength, he needs the boys to help him finish off the last of the sons and then go for Loki himself.
It all made sense, and gave Speight the opportunity to play two reasonably distinct characters, and even showed a new side of Gabriel himself—the angry angel. Side note? Dean telling both Sam and Gabriel that revenge isn’t the answer? Yet another example of Dean’s character development. He’s grown so much over the years, in the best of ways (and I’m not just talking about that glorious face.)
Mary didn’t just feel for Kevin. Her pity and love extended to Jack, too. My heart twinged when Mary said she couldn’t lose another boy, and then filled with a bit of dread when Jack assured her she wouldn’t. And it was dread well placed, because as Kevin’s tear-filled, pathetic desperation for his mother caused him to activate a spell to kill everyone while Jack watched, Chau was electric, even as he painfully apologized.
And then? The reveal of Jack’s wings as he cloaked Mary in protection? AWESOME.
Even amidst Jack’s sadness that he had been tricked, and inadvertently gotten people killed. Mary tried to console him, but like so many others on this show Jack knows what he owns, and his heart is broken. The question is: can he learn from his mistakes?
Fistful of Feathers
The modernized Spaghetti Western vibe continued as Gabriel presented his Kill (Bill) List, and the boys got on board with the plan (Dean, reluctantly.) The shots of them in Loki’s hotel, walking down the hall and then getting into the elevator? Classic—perfectly framed. Speight did an excellent job directing this one, as usual, balancing comedy with tension.
Another example? The scene with the lights out gunfight. Scrolling through it frame by frame showed how much care was put into the filming, as we saw Sam and Dean firing away, Dean sneaking away to take on Loki, and, ultimately, Gabriel taking down son #3. (Side note? Jared Padalecki was wonderful, as always, in this ep, and I loved his worry and frustration as he realized Dean pared off to spare him the big fight. He plays Sam so well. Always has, always will.)
He’s Up All Night to Get Loki
Two chuckles as Dean confronted Loki? One: Loki’s custom lollipop case. Two: the delivery of Dean’s “I don’t care” when Loki asked him why he thought Gabe wanted him dead. (Man, Jensen Ackles is spectacu-lacu-lar.) Speight also had some gravitas as Loki that Gabriel doesn’t—didn’t?—have, at least before his need for revenge. I could almost see Loki’s side of things, and I would have liked him to stick around, especially when he delivered his lines to Gabriel (in some terrific face-off scenes for Speight) about how Gabriel constantly needed a bailout and stood for nothing. Loki called Gabriel out on the carpet, and Gabe needed to hear it.
It was kind of a bummer when Loki, thanks to some Winchesterian interference, ended up on the end of the wooden sword.
Loves Me a Broment
Yes, it’s nice that Gabriel seemed to join the team, but let’s talk about the most important part of the effort: united brothers. I loved, LOVED, the last scene, where Sam confronted Dean about his constant need to protect him.
It broke my heart a little when Dean told Sam he didn’t care about himself and never really had, but it was filled once more when Dean once again expressed his desire to keep his brother safe. And it nearly burst when Sam said, “Dean, we’re going to that place. And we’re going to save Jack and mom. Together. And if something happens, we will deal with it. Together. And if we die? We’ll do that together, too.” Dean’s little bittersweet smile matched my own at this display of sibling love.
Only three more episodes to go! See you next week for episode twenty-one, “Beat the Devil”.