THEN: Lots of shit happened last season. Some of it sad, some of it frustrating, much of it very attractive. (For some reason, Priest!Chesters are not included in the "Then." For shame.) The music for the "Then" is "Nothing Else Matters" by Metallica. Is this the first Metallica we've heard on the show? It's nice. It's very nice.
NOW: We start right where we left off at the end of 12.23... Sam creeping up on newborn nephilim Jack, who is actually a teenager. Jack says "Father?" and Sam's face is like, nope, can't handle this right now. Meanwhile, Dean kneels next to Cas's body with a "fuck my life right now" expression, then suddenly realizes Sam is in the house alone with the nephilim and runs inside.
Sam is trying to be calm but is obviously scared, telling Jack that he's not his father (although, well, that's complicated, isn't it?) when Dean runs into the room, and we know he's scared because he calls out "Sammy." Dean immediately whips out his gun and shoots at Jack, but Sam says "no!" and pushes his arm away just in time, causing the bullet to go wide. Jack's eyes go big and fiery and he angrily emits some kind of power that blows out all the windows in the house and suspends the brothers in slow motion, then tosses them against the walls and leaves them unconscious.
Title card! The new title card is Jack's glowing eye and maybe this is a bad sign. Maybe it means this season is going to be all about Jack. But I don't care. I like it.
I like it a lot. Thanks to raloria for the gif.
Cut to what seems to be a flashback of Mary getting ready to punch Lucifer in the face, but she ends up burning on the ceiling instead, because this is actually Dean's dream. And let me point out how very, very lovely Dean is as he wakes up on the floor. Sam is sprawled in an appealing way as well.
Jack gave us this, so I already love the little bugger.
It's daylight, so several hours have passed. Dean grabs his gun and runs outside, asking if Jack has wings. Sam doesn't know.
Apparently either he doesn't have wings or he doesn't know he has them, because we see him walking, naked. He's got the standard CW shaved chest and an outie belly button, if you were wondering. He shows up at a fast food restaurant called Pirate Pete's, which is manned by a guy who looks a tiny bit like Sean Astin, and a very cute guy with long dark hair (in case you're new here, I have a type) who's adding the word "butt" to all the menu items because he knows he won't get fired because the boss is banging his mom. (And if his mom is as cute as he is, I'd bang her too. Just sayin'.) They're interrupted by a naked and confused Jack, saying "father" into the drive-through speaker. Not!RudyHobbit tells CuteGuy to call his mom, who turns out to be the sheriff of North Cove. (And yes, she is cute, but not on my list of Most Bangable SPN One-Shots, so let's move on.)
Oh, speaking of bangable, the Winchesters are driving furiously along the shoreline. This is a beautiful sequence. It's not the Impala!Cam, but it's one of those not-that-common shots where they're actually in the car, driving, during the day, without a green screen. The camera moves around the car as they talk and it's just really nice. The Impala is filthy, and sounds a little rough, and I think she symbolizes everything that's happening in the boys' lives right now, because it's all going to shit. Sam thinks they need to talk about what happened, and Dean isn't having it.
Let's see - Crowley's dead, Kelly's dead, Cas is... Mom's gone, and apparently the devil's kid hit puberty in thirty seconds flat. Oh, and almost killed us.
Yeah, because you tried to shoot him.
I tried to shoot the monster, Sam, it's kinda what we do.
He can't bring himself to say the words Cas is dead. Oh, Chuck. Hold me.
Sam insists they don't kill Jack because they don't know if he's evil, and Dean's all, he's the devil's son, we kill him before he can hurt anyone else, case closed. And this is where we knew they'd be, and it's perfectly in character, so I love it. Sam also asks if Cas is really dead, and Dean says "you know he is." And I guess we knew this is where they'd be as well, with Sam holding out some hope and Dean having none.
Back at Pirate Pete's, which opens at 8 am and that seems awfully early to be buying fried fish, the sheriff pulls up and confronts naked Jack and his really evil smile. She seems nice. I hope she survives this episode. Maybe she could team up with Jody and Donna.
While this is happening, Cas's body is unguarded, wrapped up and laid out on a table at the lake house. Two people who must be angels come down the stairs. Apparently the dress code for angels has loosened up a little bit, because they're wearing kind of funky suits rather than the standard boring suits they used to wear. And the female angel is wearing bizarrely wide-legged ankle-length pants. Maybe Hannah is back? No, it's some other angel who likes weirdly short pants. What's up with that?
The angels uncover Cas's face, and honestly, he looks less dead than Sam did right after he got shot in Red Meat. (Excuse me. I need to think about Red Meat for a minute. Mmmmm.) It's interesting to me that they recognize him from the vessel, since his grace is gone. I would have thought the vessel meant nothing to them, and that they wouldn't even bother to remember what it looked like once it was empty of an angel. Anyway, they confirm that he's dead. FunkyPants says he deserved better, and the other says no, he didn't. And he also refers to dead Kelly as "the brood mare," so I don't think we're supposed to like this guy. They're looking for the child and are annoyed not to find him there. FunkyPants smiles weirdly at the other angel's frustration, which makes me wonder if maybe we are supposed to like her. (Spoiler alert: not.)
At the North Cove Sheriff's Department, Jack is now clothed with items from the lost and found (like the title, get it). He's examining his new duds as if he's never even anything like them before. Because he hasn't. The sheriff (let's call her Sheriff Christine, since that's her name) tries to get information out of him, asking about his parents. He says his mom is in Heaven and his father was supposed to be here and he's trying to find him. Sheriff Christine asks a lot of questions about his father's phone number, email address, etc., but never asks his name. Huh. I wonder why. The only thing he seems to remember is "when the bad woman burned," and "the universe screamed," which both Sheriff Christine and her son CuteGuy find disturbing, and we get a flashback of Dagon's destruction. Sheriff Christine snaps on a pair of latex gloves and I think things are about to get ugly, but she's only fingerprinting Jack. She leaves the boys alone and Jack tastes the ink on his thumb, which causes CuteGuy to ask exactly how high he is. Jack says he's not stoned, he's hungry, but the two are not mutually exclusive, kid.
Meanwhile, the bedraggled Impala and her broken boys pull up in front of Pirate Pete's. Dean is skeptical that Jack said "before I destroy the world, let me just grab a bag of curly fries" (spoiler alert: Pirate Pete's does not have fries) because (spoiler alert) Dean spends this entire episode expecting the worst. But Sam points out that if Jack kept to the road, he would have come across this place. Dean thinks it's more likely he's on his way to destroy Chicago (why Chicago, and not Detroit?) and refuses to go in with Sam, staying in the car to call Jody instead.
Inside, poor Not!RudyHobbit is trying to explain to an awful customer (let's call her DrunkGirl) that they don't have fries, because they're only serving breakfast right now (which is hopefully something other than fried fish, because ew). She's carrying her shoes, maybe finishing up a walk of shame. When Sam walks in, DrunkGirl claims he wants fries too. But no, Sam says he's "looking for a guy, he's about your height, naked." DrunkGirl laughs and says "you and me both, sista." Which proves she's out of her fucking mind, because Sam is right there. Why would she be looking for anyone else?
Personally, I'm looking for a naked guy who's a lot taller than me. Just sayin'.
Not!RudyHobbit says yeah, he saw the naked guy, and we see Sheriff Christine getting a phone call from "Agent Berry" from the FBI, who's looking for her naked guy. She does have him, but she's very distracted by what's happening on her computer screen, which apparently that Jack's fingerprint is just a bunch of vertical lines. It's interesting that she doesn't assume this is a software glitch, which would have been my first thought. She tells "Agent Berry" that they'll need to talk about this in person.
While this is happening, Dean finishes his phone call, then gets out of the car. When he returns to the car, the knuckles on his right hand are bloodied. Oh no, that's his fighting hand. DrunkGirl is at the Impala, and she asks what happened to his hand. She asks him if he "punched a wall or something" but doesn't give him a chance to answer, instead going on and on about the time she punched a wall, well, a poster on a wall, a poster that belonged to her roommate Becky. As Dean pulls out a bottle of whiskey, takes a drink, and then pours it on his hand, she fidgets drunkenly and tells him that Becky was a giant super bitch who would take things and break things and do whatever she wanted; it was like the whole world was just Becky to her. Sam comes out and asks what Dean did to his hand but he doesn't get an answer either, and as Sam gets in the car, it looks like DrunkGirl has finally come to her senses and is checking him out. But no, she's just admiring where she wrote BITCH in the dust on the window. Also, she put her shoes on at some point. Good for you, DrunkGirl. Take care of yourself.
(FYI, my spellchecker doesn't recognize super bitch and wants to change it to superb itch.)
Back at the Sheriff's office, the lights start flickering, and we've been watching this show long enough to know that ain't good. Sheriff Christine looks appropriately confused and anxious, especially when she finds that Jack and her cute son (finally identified as Clark, but he'll always be CuteGuy in my heart) aren't where she left them. She walks down a long, dark, narrow hall, and the music gets creepier and creepier and she opens a door that says "Lounge Room" (what a weird name for a break room; is this a Canadian thing?) and as the music hits a dramatic crescendo, we see cute Clark and Jack, safely eating junk food from the vending machine. Because it turns out Jack likes candy, just like his uncle Gabriel. Jack demonstrates how he got the goodies out of the machine by simply putting his hand on it, and Sheriff Christine is slightly freaked out, asking how he did it. He doesn't know, and then he's suddenly hit with a high-pitched sound that causes him a lot of pain and makes his eyes glow gold. He's freaking out, but Sheriff Christine and cute Clark can't hear it, so the sheriff tries to touch him and calm him down and he does his slo-mo power thing again, slamming her against the vending machine.
With the high-pitched sound still ringing in his ears, he runs out into the hall, and I get a good look at his t-shirt for the first time. It says You mess with the bull, you get the horns which is an awesome quote from The Breakfast Club, but also, devil? Horns? Get it? Oh, SPN, you clever, clever show. Also of note is the way the overhead lights explode as Jack makes his way down the hall, much like when Castiel made his first appearance in that barn. It's a nice touch.
Hook 'em horns, kid.
Jack makes his way painfully down the hall and into the main office, where he's greeted by none other than Dean Winchester. And then quickly tased by none other than Sam Winchester. I think it shows Sam's level of anxiety that he's willing to tase the kid even though he wasn't directly threatening Dean. But someone else is - Sheriff Christine shows up, gun drawn, and asks what the hell is going on. And Sam says oh hey, I'm FBI Agent Berry, we talked on the phone, this guy is a wanted criminal and I'm taking him now. No, wait, he doesn't. Why not? I have no idea.
Sam gets locked in a cell while Dean sits at the sheriff's desk, in front of a pile of their confiscated guns, and gives her the "monsters are real" speech. Things I love about this speech:
- "That big fella in there is my brother Sam."
- The way Dean is just so done with all of this.
- The way he almost takes credit when she asks "what are you, some kind of superhero?" but then quietly says "I'm just a guy doing a job."
-The way he looks away when he says "angels are real too" because goddammit of course he's thinking about Cas.
And THIS FACE.
Cut to Jack waking up, and now I see why Sam had to end up in the cell, because otherwise we wouldn't have this completely amazing scene with Sam and Lucifer's son locked in a fucking cage together. So I forgive him (and the writers), many times over. Why is Jack also in the cell, if the sheriff considers him a victim? Why is he in the same cell with the man who attacked him? Don't know, don't care. It was just meant to be.
Jack wakes up with the glowy eyes and immediately turns on Sam. Sam tries to calm him down and says "I'm not gonna hurt you" and Jack correctly points out that he already did. Sam apologizes and asks if he's all right and oh my god, you guys, this scene does things to me. Sam is obviously scared shitless (and he's locked in a cage with Lucifer's son) and trying to apologize and reassure Jack and make sure he's okay and at the same time he's trying to press himself into the wall behind him because he is so scared of this kid (and did I mention they're locked in a cage together?) and his voice is shaky and he's got the worried forehead and the puppy dog eyes and yet he's still trying to connect with Jack, treating him as someone worthy of his concern. Jack explains that he can't help it, things happen when he gets scared, and he was scared because of the voices, and Sam's face says oh shit oh shit oh shit and Sam's body language says I really just want to melt into this wall and I'm just never, ever going to get over this. Never.
Anyway. Jack says he doesn't hear the voices right now, and Sam relaxes (but still gets jumpy when Jack moves to a cot). Jack asks Sam to "tell them I'm sorry," because he's a good boy. Or because he wants everyone to think he's a good boy, if you're a cynic. Lucky for him, he's locked in a cell with Sam Winchester, who isn't a cynic. Sam asks Jack how he learned to speak English so quickly, and he explains that his mother taught him. That he was her.
Jack doesn't understand his powers, and says it's like he's "me, but not me." Sam tells him that he opened a door to another world before he was born, and asks if he remembers and could do it again, because Sam's convinced they can still reach Mary and that's just so Sam, isn't it? But Jack says he has to find his father, who will protect him. Sam tries to tell him that "protecting" isn't what Lucifer does, and Jack says "Lucifer? No, that's not his name. My father is Castiel."
Well, this explains why the sheriff didn't ask his father's name. (That's okay, you can abandon all kinds of common sense in order to service this wonderful little scene. I approve.) Jack says his mother told him Castiel would keep him safe, and the world is a dangerous place where it wouldn't be safe for him to be a baby, so that's why he had to grow up fast. Does he mean he grew himself up fast? Anyway, that's why he chose Cas to be his father. Unfortunately, Sam has to tell him Cas is dead.
Before we have a chance to process this, we're taken outside, where cute Clark is sneaking a cigarette. He's surprised by DrunkGirl and oh, crap. Those two angels are with her. This ain't good.
Looks like Sheriff Christine believed the "monsters are real" speech, because Dean comes to release Sam from the cell. He says, right in front of Jack, "let's grab Damien here and find someplace quiet" (to kill him, obviously) and Jesus, Dean, that's not very subtle. Sam says no, he's not evil, he's just a kid. Lucifer's kid, Dean points out. Sam says they need him, but before he can explain why, they hear a cry for help. Instead of letting Sam out of the cell, Dean heads toward the noise.
Can't say I blame him. Sam in a cell is kind of hot.
In the main office, DrunkGirl is holding an angel blade to cute Clark's throat. "Hey, Dean," she says. So I guess she was an angel all along? Following the Winchesters to find Jack? But then why wasn't she asking about a naked guy at Pirate Pete's, instead of pretending to be a drunk girl who wanted fries? Oh well. Handwave!
The Angel Formerly Known as DrunkGirl says she'll let cute Clark go, if the sheriff shoots Dean. She tells the sheriff that he probably claimed to be a hero, but he's not. He's Becky. "You take things, and break things, and piss people off, and do whatever you want, no matter who it hurts. And also, you're a giant super bitch." Ow. That's mean. I mean, yeah, it's been true once or twice, but it's still mean, and it doesn't mean he's not a hero too.
Dean is so done with this chick.
Back in the cell, Sam calls for Dean, probably wondering why he didn't take five seconds to let him out before leaving, probably calling him a giant super bitch in his head. Suddenly the door to the cell area flies off in a burst of light and the two angels from earlier enter. The guy makes the noise that hurts Jack and we hear him mentally telling TAFKADG that they have the boy.. So, the painful noise is Jack hearing angel radio, I guess? TAFKADG stabs cute Clark in the gut with the angel blade, and Dean attacks her while the other two angels yank the door off Sam and Jack's cell. None of these angels seem to remember how to smite anybody, because there's an awful lot of fistfighting that seems completely unnecessary. But I like the jerky camera movements, and both brothers get thrown around and punched and kicked and what can I say, I enjoy this shit. (Again, for those of you who may be new here, I have issues.) Sam, in particular, gets really brutally kicked and ends up spitting blood on the floor. As the angels start to leave with Jack, he says "hey!" and reveals that he has drawn an angel banishing sigil on the floor. I would have just surprised them, but I guess he likes to see the look on their faces when they see they've been foiled by Sam Fucking Winchester, and who can blame him. They drop an angel blade when they disappear.
Meanwhile, Dean has managed to get TAFKADG's angel blade, and is holding it against her throat, asking why they're here. She tells him they want Jack because he can do "almost anything."
"Anything?" Dean asks, and you know what he's thinking. But so does TAFKADG. "Almost anything," she clarifies. "Castiel is dead. All the way dead.. Because of you." Ow. And damn. She head butts him and escapes, storming into the cell area. Sam grabs the dropped angel blade and says "don't."
Sam Winchester raising a single finger and saying "don't" is one of my absolute favorite things.
But the angel isn't impressed. "Or what, other one?"</i> she snarks. You know, I really like this chick. She's got spunk. She acts like she's handing her sword to Sam, and then quickly stabs Jack, who is foolishly standing right there at the bars. "If we can't have him, no one can," she declares.. Sam stabs her (aw, too bad) and then runs to Jack's aid. But Jack is actually fine. He pulls the blade out of his chest, just like Cas did the first time he met Dean (another nice parallel), and confusedly says "I'm fine."
So, let's discuss this. Why didn't the angel blade kill him? Is it because angel blades can't kill nephilim? No, I'm pretty sure Cas killed a nephilim with his own standard angel blade in s8. Is it because Jack is the spawn of an archangel, and only an archangel blade can kill him? Tumblr seems unsure whether archangel blades are actually a thing, but I seem to remember Kali targeting Gabriel specifically for his archangel blade, in order to kill Lucifer, back in s5. So I'm going with that theory. Either way, this shows Dean that he's not going to be able to get rid of Jack as easily as he thought.
Aftermath! Cute Clark is taken away in an ambulance and we're assured he should be fine. Good. Sam and Dean have a sad conversation on the hood of the Impala.
Listen, I think we should take him back to the bunker, with us. I know what you're gonna say -
So.. You changed your mind?
No. No, nothing's changed. He's still the devil's kid, he's still evil, he still brainwashed Kelly, and Cas, and even if he hasn't gone big bad yet, he will.
You don't know that.
Yeah, I do. Cause when have things ever gone right for us? So until I figure out a way to end him, we'll bring him home. At least there, the only people he can hurt are you and me.
Oh, God. This hurts. Sam's brief hope that Dean has found a way to see the good in Jack, which is so quickly crushed, Dean's utter misery and feeling of personal failure... I'm dead. Surely this is the saddest thing that will happen in this episode. (Spoiler alert: ha ha ha ha ha.)
It's painful but it's so pretty.
I was watching with a little bit of a delay, so I thought we were done, but we are so not done. Because now the boys are pulling up in front of the lake house, and Dean's getting pyre supplies out of the trunk, and Sam's trying to talk him out of it.
Are you sure about this? I mean, it's Cas, you know? I mean, we can bring him back, like you said.
No, we can't.
Chuck did - God did. Remember that? So maybe, I don't know, maybe if we prayed to him, or...
You don't think I've tried that?
And now it's flashback time, and my first thought was that we don't need this flashback. Dean's face and his bloody hand tell us all we need to know. But Chuck help me, I was wrong.
Back at Pirate Pete's, Dean gets out of the car and walks behind the building, because I guess he doesn't want anyone to see him praying in the Impala.
Who requested the bowlegs?
He bows his head and begins. "Okay, Chuck. Or god or whatever. I... I need your help. See, you left us. You left us. You went off, you said the earth would be fine, because it had me, and it had Sam, but it's not. And we're not. We've lost everything. And now you're gonna bring them back. Okay, you're gonna bring back Cas, you're gonna bring back Mom, you're gonna bring them all back. All of them. Even Crowley. Cause after everything that you've done, you owe us, you son of a bitch. So you get your ass down here, and you make this right. Right here, and right now." He looks around a bit, teary-eyed, figures nothing is happening, and then angrily punches the "Buccaneers" sign on the bathroom door.
"Please," he continues. "Please help us." But there isn't going to be any help, and he takes a shaky breath and walks back to his car and I curl up into a little ball and die.
Damn you, Jensen.
This scene is like a combination of Dean's speech over John's grave in "What Is and What Should Never Be" and Dean smashing the Impala with a crowbar at the end of "Everybody Loves a Clown." It's magical and it's glorious and it's evil and it's one more thing about this episode that I will never, ever get over.
I stole some gifs from Tumblr; I hope they work.
Back at the lake house. "God's not listening," Dean tells Sam. "He doesn't give a damn." He slams the trunk shut and takes off with his ax to chop some wood for the pyre.
Upstairs, Sam and Jack are in Kelly's room. Her wrapped body is still on the bed. (I really like the furniture in this room. I'm a sucker for mission/arts & crafts style.) Sam stands back and gives Jack his space as he gently touches his mother's body. He doesn't uncover her, though, which means the actress didn't have to come back for this episode. Gotta save money where you can.
Downstairs, Cas's body is still on the table. His face does get uncovered, and as I said earlier, he doesn't look all that dead. Sam looked deader in Red Meat, even before he "died." But maybe being an angel's vessel preserves your body. Dean breaks my heart a little more and then takes down the dining room curtains and uses them to secure the sheet around Cas's body. He has to stop once to catch himself before he breaks down crying and I just can't do this any more, Jensen, I cannot handle you any more. You need to stop.
Nighttime. Dean's sloshing gasoline on the pyre, and Sam asks Jack if he wants to say anything.
What do you say?
Right. Thank you. You say thank you. And you say you're sorry. You hope they're somewhere without sadness. Pain. You hope they're somewhere better. You say goodbye.
Sam nods a lot at the end, like he's trying to convince himself any of that is even possible. It's a lot like Dean saying "okay" when nothing is okay. Then Dean says his goodbyes.
Goodbye, Cas. Goodbye, Kelly. Goodbye, Crowley. Goodbye, Mom.
Dean, we don't know -
Yeah we do. We do, Sam. Lucifer killed her. The moment he realized we trapped his ass, he killed her, you know he did. She's gone. They're all gone.
Honestly, Sam looks like he might be thinking "No, he didn't. Lucifer doesn't swat flies. Lucifer catches them and pulls their wings off. She probably wishes she was dead, but she's not dead." And who would know better than Sam?
(Also, it breaks my heart that Dean's including Crowley in the list of people they lost.)
Then Dean tosses his lighter onto the pyre and it always bugs me a little bit when they do this, because lighters don't stay lit like that if you're not pushing down on the lever, but I'm gonna handwave it. It bursts into flame and they watch, sadly.
That's okay. I like it when they're sad.
(And then we find out Lucifer didn't kill Mary, because he needs her, but who cares? Let's watch that pyre some more.)
Seriously, guys. You both need to stop doing this to me.
So! A lot to love about this one, I think. So much grief, so much physical and emotional battering (so many issues, I have). Sam's fragile hope, contrasted with Dean's despair. Sam's intense need to believe in Jack's inherent goodness (because of their obvious parallels) and Dean's equally intense need to blame and punish someone for everything that they've lost. I do wonder why Sam didn't tell Dean about him considering Cas his father. Seems like that would help him warm up to the boy. (Or it might make him furious. This is Dean, after all.) And, of course, so much pretty.
I like Jack. I don't want this to become The Jack Show, and I don't want him shoehorned into plots that have nothing to do with him, or to have a big separate arc that doesn't involve the Winchesters (hello, Cas and Crowley, I'm lookin' at you), but I like him. I like the relationship Sam is trying to forge with him. I like a lot of things, my friends. I hope you did too. Let's talk about them. And let's remember to keep any spoilers, including casting information, out of the comments.
Also, I'm uploading caps through LJ now (shakes an angry fist at Photobucket) and I have no idea how they look on a screen bigger than my phone, so if they're too big or too small can someone let me know?