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Sweatpants & TV | Supernatural, Season 14, Episode 19: “Jack in the Box”

What can be done about the formerly smol and sweet Jack Kline, who is now the most dangerous being on Earth? Dean has a plan. And Cas won’t like it. Read on!

Something Without Mary

We open on Mary’s memorial in the Bunker and man, that black and white photograph of her haunts, doesn’t it? Her boys are crushed, but Dean takes his role as host seriously, eulogizing her beautifully. I loved what he said about Mary—touching and funny and sweet and admiring.

It’s all very bittersweet until a hatchet cuts through the air impaling a guest fatally. And it is wielded by no other than alterna-Bobby Singer, who greets the assemblage with his trademarked tiny wry grin. Only a Winchester would have a wronged wraith in attendance at their funeral.

You Know Jack

Bobby worries about the boys, but Dean seems fine, according to Sam. Dean demurs against an offer to continue talking about Mary with Bobby, and it feels off. Wrong.

Later, Bobby, Cas and Sam sit together and talk Jack, while Dean leaves to go get a drink outside the HuntCave. Bobby liked Jack—fought with him—but he knows he needs to be put down. Cas disagrees, and Sam looks torn. Cas wants to help Jack. Bobby wants to help all the people Jack might inadvertently hurt.

Alone Again, Naturally

Jack, alone and tortured about what he did to Mary, wants his Mom to be there to help, and I’m not sure if he means Kelly or Mary. Unfortunately, he gets neither. He gets Phantom Lucifer, his evil subconscious, who continues to convince him that Sam and Dean will never, EVER, forgive him and he may as well give up on them ever loving him again.

Speaking of tragically alone, here come the waterworks, for both Dean and me, as Dean, gasping with pain, cries alone in the woods for the mother he lost not once but twice. Jensen Ackles is such a fine actor he conveys a raw and broken Dean perfectly, heartbreakingly, and I’ve asked it before but I’ll ask it again: where is this man’s Emmy? HUH, ACADEMY???

Heaven Sent

Cas talks to Dumah, who has imprisoned Naomi for negligence. Dumah is now leading Heaven (all credit to Erica Cerra, who plays Dumah, for the delivery of the line “Oh, I’m not my first choice either, but here we are!”) intending to be more biblical, more merciless, although Cas doesn’t know that yet. He asks for help finding Jack and Dumah craftily says she’ll see what she can do, and that can’t be good.

Aftermath

Dean heads back to the Bunker, where Sam is trying to find Jack before Bobby does (I think because he is worried about what Bobby and his crew might do, while Dean is worried about what Jack might do to them.)

They talk Mary, and Sam tries to be happy that Mary is in a good place, with John, but Dean reminds him there wasn’t even enough left of Mary’s body to try to revive. And with that he stalks off, and you know—Dean is in a bad, bad place emotionally.

Send Me an Angel

Dumah tracks down Jack, wanting to use him for her own mission to restore Heaven to its fiery glory. She tells him that helping her save Heaven will please Sam and Dean, that he can redeem so many people and improve the world. It doesn’t take much to sell Jack, and he accompanies her to meet an atheist that writes bestsellers about Heaven and God being fake. He turns the man into a literal pillar of salt, pleasing Dumah, and once again, Jack Kline shows his immaturity and naivety. He’s a kid, screwing up and being led astray. In his case, the damage is quite literally biblical.

Team Free Will 1.0

Sam, Dean and Cas meet, talking Jack, and discover what happened to the professor. Apparently—Jack’s on a streak, sinking a fake faith healer into the earth, like the punishment in Numbers 26.10.

Meanwhile, Dumah, with her big, fake smile, convinces Jack to sit in God’s seat, listen to people’s prayers, and find the faithful who are willing to become angels and convert them. Literally. Jack, ever wanting to please, does just that to a congregation, causing their dubious pastor to become filled with worms that eat their way through his flesh. (Man, that Bible had some seriously gruesome stuff, huh?) Jack seems so happy with himself, convinced he is on the path to redemption, but slightly empty too. Alexander Calvert does an excellent job making Jack sad and unnerving at the same time. Kudos to him.

FB-Why?

Sam, Dean and Cas go Fed suit to interview the pastor, who confirms that it was indeed Jack at fault. Cas tells the boys privately that it was another biblical punishment. Dean is wondering what the hell is going on. And so is the pastor who becomes infested with worms once more.

Good Cop, Bad Cop

Dean tells Sam that Jack belongs in the Ma’lak box, telling Sam that they have to convince Jack to get in under his own power, and that the way to do it is to lie that they are trying to heal his soul and he must wait in the box for them to be done. Dean tells Sam it is essentially on Sam’s shoulders to convince Jack, as he has always been on Jack’s side and never steered him wrong. Jared Padalecki plays Sam’s reluctance and defeat superbly as he comes to agree with Dean’s plan. Ever deferent to Dean, he goes along, though you can see his heart isn’t in it.

Heaven Sent

Cas uses the guardian angel Eremiel to get into Heaven once more, where Jack is busily making angels for Dumah. Cas takes Dumah aside and finds that she is making Heaven all brimstone again, and he tells her to stop or he will stop her. She threatens John and Mary’s slice of Heaven and Cas KILLS HER! Like, without warning! Go, Cas!

Sam prays to Jack, saying they understand and they want to talk to him and move forward. He begs Jack to see him, invoking the love of both of their mothers, and Padalecki’s face still betrays his doubt about the plan. His prayers are heard by Jack, who returns to the Bunker, sans Cas.

According to Plan

This whole scene, where Jack comes back, and the boys listen to his feeble and child-like explanations of “accidents”, was masterfully acted. Ackles as Dean, composed if angry, dangerous even, unshed tears glistening in his eyes at points. Padalecki as Sam, trying to do what’s right when it feels wrong, convincing Jack of their understanding while grimacing a little. Calvert as Jack, manipulated by so many and not really understanding the gravity of what he has done, even as he says he does. All so well done.

They convince Jack that the only way to be safe and keep others safe is to get in the box, and it’s painful, if you are a fan of Jack (which I am). His doubt assuaged by the fathers he trusts, he gets in the box and Dean locks the latches, telling him he won’t be in there for long. The way Jack smiles at them and says a little “okay” when Sam assures him “we got this” breaks my heart. And I don’t approve of Dean’s plan AT ALL, but I get why he’s doing it, even if I think it’s partly just revenge.

It’s All in Your Head

Jack is panicking a little when his inner Luci comes back. He convinces Jack that he has been betrayed and he needs to break out, and not with a whimper, but with a bang. It’s hard to watch, at least until Lucifer starts cackling like a Bat-Villain and then it’s a little weird.

Cas comes back and tells the boys that Jack was manipulated by Dumah. When he hears what they have done he protests vehemently.

They all argue about it until the banging begins, then the crashing, then the red lights go off letting them know the Bunker is warning them of danger. They run to see what has happened and see the box totally exploded out. And in the fog, the red, ominous looking fog, a pair of yellow eyes glow bright, Sam whispers, “Jack?” and we crash to black.

One more episode left of the penultimate season, and I’m not crying at the thought of hearing “Carry On Wayward Son” for the second to last time as a season recaps in the background—you are. See you next week for the season finale, “Moriah”.

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About Barbara Doyle (221 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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