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Sweatpants & TV | Supernatural, Season 14, Episode 1: “Stranger in a Strange Land”

What would Supernatural be without Dean Winchester? In this episode, sadly, we find out, as the archangel Michael begins his play for world domination while Sam, Cas and the Bunkerites try to keep the world worth saving.

Shut Up and Drive

It was just a brief moment, seeing a bearded Sam at the wheel of Baby, shutting off the rock music that Dean loves so much, but it said it all. Sam will continue to do the job, bury himself in it to the point of self-neglect, but it will be quiet and empty without Dean by his side. As we knew it would be.

Kneel Before Me

I must say, I was confused as to what Michael’s ultimate goal is, going to holy men/leaders/killers/et cetera and asking, simply, “What do you want? Is he searching for allies? Servants? That said, seeing our Dean (but not) speaking Arabic in a measured voice, saying he simply wants “a better world” and casually determining who is worth saving? Eerie.

I’ll Be in My Bunk(er)

I like that all the Apocalypse World refugees have found hunting based jobs, be they in bullet making, medical assistance or making grub. With Sam as their “Chief” they are fighting, and sometimes even succeeding, in making the world a safer place, if not from the Michael they cannot find, then from rawheads and vamps.

It’s interesting, too, to see how Mary and Sam interact. She’s still trying to be his mom while being a member of the crew he leads, and he’s not really having it. It’s Mary who is keeping the faith for Sam when he is so doubtful. As Mary said, “Something will break. It has to.”

Wanna-Be Crowley

From the moment the demon Kipling entered the bar with a “Castiel, darling,” it was clear that he was trying to be the new King of Hell by mimicking the old—and failing miserably. (No one will ever be Crowley but Crowley. Period.) Cas consorting with demons to find Dean? I can see it. He’s made worse deals. Of course, this attempt led to his beat down, and I gotta wonder—can an angel only smite by touching the forehead of the demon? Because it seems that, on the ground anyway, Cas had a lot of ankles he could have grabbed.

Average Jo

Has anyone else been waiting for Michael and Jo to have a scene together? C’mon, admit it—we were all curious to see what would happen in an Ackles vs. Ackles acting showdown. Admittedly, it was a bit…expository…when Jo said that Michael was from another world and possessing Dean’s body (a fact we are all too painfully aware of) but it was really cool to see her see Michael glowing out in his angel form.

“Why would he say yes to you?” she asked, and Michael answered simply, “Love.” And there it is—what we all knew—as interested as Dean was in saving the world? He was more interested in saving Sam. I like the way Danneel Ackles plays Jo—tough, smart, selfish—and I like the way Michael knew that what Jo wanted was a very human existence with love and family. I thought he was going to kill her, when he said she was a fallen thing perhaps not worth saving, and was glad, later, when he hadn’t. I think Jo has more to do, and could be a valuable ally to the Winchesters. Here’s hoping she sticks around.

You Don’t Know Jack

Alterna-Bobby (yes, I will take Jim Beaver on my screen in any way I can get him) tries to train Jack with his fists, but it looks like what Jack needs more help with is his spirit. Sam tries to instill Jack with a confidence he doesn’t seem to have himself, still trying to be dad-like to the orphan of the bunker.

I was a bit disgruntled that Mary interrupted their heart-to-heart. I like seeing this nurturing part of Sam, like seeing that it still exists while he is wracked with pain over Dean. And Jack? I like that, despite his lack of grace, he still wants to try to contribute to the family business.

Nick of Time

Seeing Sam swallow hard, sigh, and shudder a little as he turned the knob gave us a clue as to who was in that room—someone wearing the one face in the world he didn’t want to see. It appears, much to everyone’s surprise, that Nick (Lucifer’s meatsuit) survived being stabbed in the heart somehow (I have questions…so many questions…about how this happened, but let’s go with it.) Not sure what that means for Nick’s future (or Mark Pellegrino’s as his portrayer) as Nick has little to offer Sam in terms of information. Remembering how Nick became possessed made me feel bad for him, and seeing Sam’s psychological scarring and his having to put that aside to help Nick made me admire Sam all the more. Sam still manages to stay strong and kind when faced with his biggest fear. Jared Padalecki acted the crap out of those small moments.

Posse Up

In order to get Cas back from the throng of demons that managed to kidnap him, the gang weapons up and walks right into Kipling’s trap.

(Side note? When Cas asks why he is being used as bait and Kipling answered “it’s kind of what you’re for” I did shrug in acceptance. Please, badass Cas of Season Four, come back. We need you.) The little talk with Mary and Sam in the car made me like Mary more than I have in a long time. Sam needs her to give him hope. Sam (and Padalecki) was great when talking to “Kip”, just fed up with the denizens of hell and ready to take them down.

At first I was perplexed as to why Sam, Bobby and Mary would bring Maggie to the rescue (Jack made sense, as he needs to start putting his practice to use) but once the plan played out and they “got nabbed” it made more sense. And I loved when Sam responded to Kip’s ticking down of Crowley and Asmodeus with “I don’t care.” It was great when offered the Crowley deal Sam said a firm no, reminding Kip that he’s no Crowley and the other demons know it.

And the fight? The pacing was a little jumpy at times, but it certainly had its moments. At first it looked at little Joss Whedon-esque when our heroes were all getting their assess handed to them (and Sam even got kicked in the junk, which surprised me, even though it shouldn’t have) but the way it ended? Made me shiver with glee.

Sam killing Kip and shouting, “ENOUGH!” and ending the fight by saying there would be no new King of Hell, and if they wanted the job they could come through him? Delicious. I love it when he’s both brainy and brawny. I knew there was a reason I was a Sam girl.

Aftermath

I like seeing Sam talking to Cas, bonding some. These two have come a long way from the guys that wouldn’t even hug.

And Mary and Bobby clinking glasses? Did I sense a little flirty tension between the two of them? I can see it.

But the shining moment was Cas talking to Jack, letting him know that he isn’t useless, despite his lack of powers. Letting him know he has a family, and how important that is. I know Jack is polarizing as a character, but I love him, and I love Alexander Calvert’s portrayal of him. And I love what he brings out of the boys, in the ways that they care for him. The fatherly vibe? Makes them even sexier.

All Bite

Jo’s alive! I’m still not sure why Michael left her that way, but I’m glad—especially when she calls Sam to warn him. Of what? I’m not sure she knows, but we do. Michael’s pairing up with vamps to cleanse the world he sees as imperfect. And that just can’t be good.

So what did you think of the dawn of Season Fourteen? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll see you next week for episode two, “Gods and Monsters”.

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About Barbara Doyle (199 Articles)
Barbara Sirois Doyle is a Contributing Editor for Sweatpants & Coffee. She is a writer, mixed-media artist, and, most important, a wife and mother to her boyos three. She is a voracious reader, unapologetic uber-geek, and lover of all types of music, from Public Enemy to Rachmaninoff. If she's not watching Supernatural or Doctor Who, she is likely trolling the internet for amusing cat photos. She takes her coffee light with no sugar.

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