So okay, nothing will ever match the perfection that was Episode 300, but I’m wondering how Dean is doing keeping Michael locked away in his mind and there’s a Monster of the Week to be bagged, and the show must go on. Let’s jump right in!
It may be a character flaw that the MotW eats people’s organs and eyeballs, but man, you cannot fault his mise en place. Top Chef would be proud, provided, you know, he wasn’t eating Padma or Tom. Also? He wears a serpent around his neck, has a certain flair, and oh yeah, sees the future with his snake eyes. Curiouser and curiouser.
Team Free Will version 2.0 breaks in and finds the organless cadaver and the meal in process of (over)cooking. It isn’t until Dean blames witchcraft that we see it’s more like Team Free Will version 2.5 (?) with the addition of our favorite spellcaster, Rowena MacCleod. She’s provided them with a tracking spell after weeks of this monster eluding them, and she wants a little gratitude, even if they are late for supper. Rowena has chemistry with all of them—she and Sam geek out over books, she and Dean fight like a married couple, she flirts with a confused Castiel and Jack just looks up to her, in his puppy-eyed way. And I love it.
Jack finds a snake skin and also starts coughing and everyone looks at him, concerned. “I’m not dying,” he says, exasperated, but c’mon—Three Men and a Nephilim wouldn’t be the same without you, Jack! Rowena notices black marks on the vics, and while Dean snarks at her about the bigger issue being the missing eyes and cannibalism, she keeps her cool, tells Jack to be a dear and bring the snakeskin and sashays out of the room. Have I mentioned lately that I love her, and her portrayer? Ruth Connell, you slay me.
Rowena and Sam research, and she tries to find out what happened with Jack. Why he’s alive. And also? How is Dean keeping Michael locked away? “Because he’s Dean,” replies Sam. “And Dean is…Dean.” Fair enough!
I love the interactions between Rowena and Sam. They have a mutual respect I admire. If it weren’t for the pesky future of Sam killing her? I’d say they were quite the couple.
Michael Knocking Down the Door, Hallelujah
Dean and Cas talk about the struggle of keeping Michael locked up, and Dean says he’s fine, because he has to be. He reminds Cas of his promise of Plan B—that he goes in the Ma’lak box if Michael makes any sort of an appearance. Meanwhile wee Jack coughs up more blood in the bathroom and ends up using a little of his power (and his soul) to heal himself. Is Jack going to die the death of 1000 cuts? ‘Cause is he keeps using his soul this way it looks like he might.
Union of the Snake
While Dean calls them an AV Club (which Cas helpfully defines as a place for people who can’t play sports—and I feel personally attacked) Sam and Rowena figure out that the monster is a Gorgon, who is sadly not like the Medusa in Clash of the Titans but is paralyzing vics with a venom and then gorging on their bodies (like the feeding habits of a snake). And also? It sees the future by consuming human eyes. Oh. And ew.
Dean and Cas go Fed suit and Cas is stern, which we need more of, TBH. The gorgon leaves Dean a note telling him he sees him doing the investigation (and him and the tall man and red-headed witch chasing him) and to back off, but, weirdly, doesn’t mention Cas or Jack. Sam deduces that the gorgon can’t see angels, and that this is their chance to have the element of surprise.
And They Call It Puppy Love
Rowena wants to mix up an antidote to the gorgon’s poison and needs anti-venom to do so. And how will they get it? She and Sam, in a performance (at least for herself) that Rowena deems “magnificent”, act as bickering couple to a cute doggie, which is actually a transformed Jack, thanks to a Rowena special spell. Jack, after suffering offscreen a bout with a rectal thermometer, manages to steal the anti-venom and Rowena is suitably proud of him. Which he eats up. Jack’s growing up, for sure, but his little boy need to please and to help is ever present.
Rowena also asks again about Jack’s current state, and Sam tells her they are being careful and that’s all she needs to know. “Fine, don’t tell me. But using dangerous mysterious magic regardless of the cost—that’s a very on-brand ‘me’ thing to do,” she says. Sam, smirks and says, “Well, thank you.” “Of course, Samuel,” she says, and her sass is killer as usual, “Until very recently I was the villain.” HA! Don’t care what anyone says—Rowena is the best.
So the gorgon takes another victim and I’m going to confess—I didn’t really care for this monster of the week. He left me cold, knife skills or no. Sam calls Maggie and she tells Sam that they have to behead the gorgon with a silver blade to take him out. (Side note: I still like Maggie. She’s sweet and, is portrayed well, and I like her evolution.)
Anyway, Jack and Cas burst in on the gorgon (who says he is actually a demigod) and he stalls by telling Jack a fable of a chicken and a snake and the snake steals the chicken’s eggs by swallowing them whole and then the chicken boils an egg and chokes the snake and this may be one of the longest run-on sentences I have ever written. It seems to shake Jack, and the gorgon manages to paralyze Cas (sigh…can Cas get it right the first time even once? PLEASE?) and throw Jack around before Sam and Dean come to assist. Unfortunately, the gorgon repeatedly smashes Dean’s head into the wall, knocking him out cold, and what does that mean for keeping his guard up to keep Michael trapped????
When the gorgon tries to escape Jack beheads him (GO JACK!) and then checks on Cas. When Rowena’s remedy doesn’t work Jack heals Cas with his powers, to Cas’ dismay. Cas is alert. Sadly? Dean is definitely not.
They get Dean back to the Bunker but Cas can’t heal him (Due to Michael? Or just Cas being…Cas?). Jack wants to help but Cas says no. He cannot burn off any more of his soul to help them. Jack is helpless. And no amount of Cas’ soothing him, telling him to cherish the people he loves while he has them, helps. Jack hates having powers he can’t use.
“I can’t think about losing him, or Sam, or you,” Jack says to Cas, and the little boy he still is shows through. I have to say, I know there is a faction of fandom that doesn’t like Jack, but what Alexander Calvert has done with him has made me love him. He balances innocence and frustration and hopefulness and all of it so well. Finally, Cas and he discuss the chicken and the snake story and Cas tells him it’s about being willing to give up the thing you love to kill the thing you hate. And the foreshadowing is strong, my friends. Strong indeed.
Search and Seizure
Dean interrupts their talk by freaking out and trashing the med bay, shouting “Where is HE?!?!”, because Michael is gone. Broken free, out of his head. Everyone knows that can’t be good. Dean starts to rant about how they should have sunk him in the bottom of the ocean and then they all hear the scream. Maggie’s scream. Oh, man! CHUCK DAMN IT!
Maggie runs to Sam before she is burned out and killed, reminiscent of my beloved Kevin Tran, only one body of many, and then emerges Michael’s new vessel. And it’s none other than Rowena herself.
Dude Looks Like a Lady
Michael explains that Rowena said yes after he convinced her he would kill everyone in the Bunker, even those she cares about (and she does care, doesn’t she?) if she didn’t let him in.
(Side note of appreciation for one last look at Jensen Ackles’ Michael, eh? So dapper. So charming. So evil.) Maybe Rowena let him in thinking she could control him. It didn’t matter. Michael never intended to keep his word.
Rowena causes Cas, Sam and Dean to not be able to breathe, to go blind, and then to just hurt, all while Jack watches, trying to get an angel blade into his hand. And this? This is when things get VERY interesting.
Michael tries to floor Jack, but it doesn’t work. Jack’s eyes flash yellow—he is willing to burn off his soul for all of them—and he knocks Michael to the ground. “It’s worth the cost,” he says. “I should have killed you when I had the chance,” Michael says, and Jack replies, just confident enough, “I feel the same.” Michael is furious, and man, Ruth Connell is portraying him well, with Alexander Calvert presenting Jack as a more than worthy foe. “I am the commander of the host!” Michael shouts, blasting Jack to no avail. “The cleanser of worlds!” Again, an ineffective blast. “I will not be challenged by a CHILD!” Boom. Nothing. “I’m not a child,” Jack spits, approaching, and Michael is stunned. “I am the son of Lucifer,” Jack says. “I’m a hunter. I am a WINCHESTER.” And did anyone else cheer? Or was it just me?
Jack, eyes aglow, casts Michael out of Rowena into a swirl of angelic light that he burns away. “You won’t hurt anyone. Ever again,” Jack promises, sucking the remaining grace into his body, stunning Cas, Dean and Sam.
“Jack?” Dean asks, when the room has gone quiet. “Michael. He’s dead,” Jack says. Sam stumbles, trying to ask him if he’s okay, and Jack interrupts with a little smile and blazing eyes. “I’m me again,” he says, his wings unfurling, and we close on the glowing face of the nephilim boy who now seems to be a man.
What an ending! What can this mean for our beloved Jack? Can this much power even be controlled? Maybe we’ll find out more in next week’s episode, “Peace of Mind”. See you then.