caranfindel (caranfindel) wrote,

Initial reaction 14.02: “Gods and Monsters”

Before we get started, let me point out that I love this show. I love this show the way you love a child, whose early years were precious and beautiful and full of promise, and then they turn out to be a surly teenager whose room smells of dirty socks and half-eaten bowls of cereal left to rot, who doesn't want to work or go to school or learn a trade or backpack around Europe, but instead decides to hole up in that stinky room and play Fortnite because they think they're going to be a professional gamer someday, and every once in a while they come out and they're precious and beautiful and so perfect that you want to weep, but other days they come out of their room and do some stupid dance they saw on Fortnite and say look, Mom, isn't this funny? Isn't this clever? And you look at that child and you sigh and you think I will always love you but dammit, Stewart, you are better than this.

THEN: The "Then" is exclusively footage from 13.23. Exclusively. Apparently nothing noteworthy happened last week. On first watch, I skipped part of it because I didn't want to sit through the Flying Squirrel fight scene again (if Jensen doesn't have to pretend to like it, neither do I) but on rewatch I suffered through the whole thing, just to make sure I didn't miss anything. And I didn't.

NOW: An old, abandoned church. People are handcuffed. Is one of these people the vampire from the end of 14.01? Maybe. Some guy is bleeding into a chalice. Michael - having lost the hat, thank you baby Jesus, and acquired a leather apron - seals the guy's neck shut, mixes some grace into the blood, and feeds it to him. He promptly burns out. Whoops. Disappointed, Michael adds him to a pile of bodies. "All right," he says jovially, "who's next?" Jensen is more animated than he was last week. It's an improvement, I think.

So, what's Michael up to? Creating new angels? Since he knows how to open the rift, why doesn't he just bring some of his crew over from AU Land?

Title card!

Bunker. Bobby (who I am going to stop calling AU Bobby because (1) I'm lazy, and (b) we all know who he is) is complaining about Michael going to Duluth in October (I assume they're going to Minnesota and not Duluth, Georgia), and Mary points out that "Jo was pretty specific." I have to admit that on first watch, I thought Jo Harvelle? And then no, that's stupid, it's just some AU refugee named Joe. It's not until rewatch that I realized she meant Anael!Jo. Bobby points out that Jo might have been lying, because angels are liars, just as Cas walks in. Awkward! But Cas agrees, so no harm done.

Meanwhile, Sam is investigating reports of deaths in Duluth. A pile of corpses was found with their necks cut and their eyes burned out. Well, this can't be Michael's pile of corpses, because he healed their neck wounds. Must be someone else leaving a pile of eyeless corpses in Duluth. (Also, I think Sam's search algorithms, which are allegedly running all the time, would have picked up on a pile of corpses with burned-out eyes even before he thought to search Duluth, but in hindsight, this is a VERY MINOR quibble with this particular episode.)

Sam reminds the brand new Team Free Will (3.0? 4.0?) that this isn't just Michael, it's Dean. Because they might have forgotten. He reminds Cas that he can't come because Michael would sense his angelic presence. Oh, do angels do that? They can sense the presence of another angel? Without having to, like, touch him or anything? Good to know. Too bad it doesn't work for demons.

Cas also points out that he has to be there to babysit Nick and Jack, because they both need to be supervised. Sadly, he and Sam do not discuss the definition of "supervised." Cas expositions for us that Jack is lost without his grace and Nick is "just a mess." Because none of this was in the "Then." Sam, being Sam, tells him that Nick deserves a chance at rebuilding his life, and Cas complains that "every time I look at him, all I can see is the supreme agent of evil." Oh, Cas. It must be awful for you. You must be more traumatized about this than ANYONE ELSE IN THE BUNKER.

Oh. Hi.

Jack walks in just in time to hear this last bit, because we needed this to happen twice in the same scene for some reason, and says "you talking about my dad again?" and Sam looks distressed and embarrassed, but Jack says he understands, because it's weird for him too. In other words, this is not a thing. So why are you trying to make it a thing, Show? Mary tells him he needs to stay home this time, and he says "I know the last time I sucked when it mattered, and I need to improve." And everybody goes to great lengths to reassure him that he didn't suck at all, he's just inexperienced. Oh, no, wait, that would be the sane and logical thing to say. Instead they just silently agree with him. That's cold, guys. Sam cocks his gun, or whatever it is you do to a gun that makes that noise that indicates you're ready to shoot it, because that's what you do when you're about to drive 11 hours to Duluth. You get your gun ready to shoot something right now. (But it's kinda hot so I'm handwaving it.)

Dungeon. Nick's sitting on his bed. (Was Nick in the dungeon last time? Does the dungeon have a room number on the door?) He's having flashbacks of Lucifer in action. Cas shows up with food and does the whole "I can't look at you thing," which is so obvious that even Nick notices it and comments on it. Oh, and if we haven't figured it out yet, we get the warning that this is a Buckleming episode, directed by Richard Speight. I wish they wouldn't do that. I like Speight's directing, but it's wasted on a Buckleming episode. They did the same thing in s13. Come on, guys, give him something he can work with.

(Sidebar: Last week I was watching a documentary about John Belushi and they were interviewing someone who had been a member of Second City with him. For those of you who don't know, Second City is an improv comedy group that brought us Chevy Chase, and also brought us many great comic actors/writers like Belushi, Bill Murray, Steve Carell, Tina Fey, etc. Anyway, this woman was talking about Belushi and I kept thinking why do I know her, why do I know her, and it took a long time for the penny to drop because she was so out of context but it was Eugenie Ross-Leming. Half of the Buckleming. And then it suddenly made sense. This woman thinks she's funny. At least half of the Buckleming considers themselves a comedian. Oh, and it also explains how they got Brian Doyle-Murray to play Robert Singer in "The French Mistake.")

Carrying on. Cas's excuse for being unable to look at Nick is that he remembers everything Lucifer did, even if Nick doesn't. (What about the stuff Lucifer did while you were his vessel, Cas, do you remember that? I bet Sam does.) Nick doesn't understand why he would have agreed to be the vessel in the first place, so Cas kindly informs him that he was in a lot of pain because his family died. Because Nick didn't remember his wife and child were dead? Until just now? And yet hasn't asked about them? (Dammit, Stewart.) He refers to them as Sarah and an unintelligble name. Teddy? Katie? Do we know his child's name?

Nick flashes back to the night Lucifer came to him, to the hallucination of the blood pouring out of the crib, of "Sarah" asking him to say yes, but they still don't show Lucifer promising revenge, which I think is a pretty important bit of rationale here. When he comes back out of it he says "who could do that?" and I assume he means "who could say yes to Lucifer," but Cas assumes he means "who could murder my wife and child," and tells him that a man came to his house while he wasn't there. Nick says that wasn't a man, it was a monster, and then Lucifer came and made him a monster too. (FORESHADOWING???)

We cut to a morgue in Duluth, and a clever overhead shot of a drawer being opened to reveal an eyeless victim of Michael's experimentation. The coroner says they've got victims here, and in the hall, and in a storeroom, and that's gross. These people need to be under refrigeration. But I don't care because we've got bearded Sam in a suit, y'all!

I’m dead.

Bobby says "If they were DOA, do you have an ETA on TOD? Any sample DFA? DNA?" Sam gives him the chill, Bobby throat-clearing and smile. It's cute. I understand all of these TLAs (heh... three-letter acronyms) except DFA. Could be Department of Foreign Affairs, could be Down For Anything (oh hi bearded Sam in a suit), could be Doctor of Fine Arts, could be Death From Above. Anyone?

The coroner says they don't even know the cause of death, because in addition to the neck wounds (which this guy doesn't have) there was internal trauma (even though this guy hasn't been autopsied.) And let's not mention the burned-out eyes. No, really, let's not mention it, even though it's a coroner talking about cause of death and injuries that don't exist and the guy has big black gaping wounds where his eyes should be. Let's ignore that.

Hush. Just look at beardy suited Sam until you feel better.

The coroner gets a convenient phone call and leaves. Sam mocks Bobby's use of "DFA," so maybe it really isn't a thing, and Bobby says "I've been fighting a freaking apocalypse for 15 years; my FBI might be a little rusty" and Mary finds him adorable, which is very sweet, but the important thing here is GODAMMIT SAM LOOKS AMAZING.


Oh, and I guess it's also important that we learned how long the apocalypse has been going on in AU Land. Or did we already know that? I don't think we did. So, 15 years was long enough for many of the roads to completely disappear? For Dayton to become a wilderness? Huh.

Sam does some male model tugging on his suit jacket (GODAMMIT) and Mary suggests they give the corpses a quick once-over to see what was missed, and considering that none of these people have been autopsied, I'm going to say probably a lot. Sam is more observant than me (because Sam is better than me at all things) and notes that the victim actually does have a throat wound, but it's healed. If all the throat wounds were healed, why would they be considered part of the potential cause of death? Why wouldn't the coroner wonder why all of the victims happened to have years-old scars at the same place on their throats? WHY? Mary somehow discerns that these victims were kept alive for a while, and Bobby somehow determines that it was a big-time angel who killed them, not a grunt. But Sam's the one who figures out that his victim is a vampire. They all are. Huh!

Sam knocks on the door of the coroner's office and enters with his hand out, as if he's afraid of scaring her, which is odd. He asks if anyone came to claim or identify the bodies. She says a young woman came, having heard about the killings on the news, and said she thought she might know one of them. But she didn't, and she disappeared without giving them a last name, because when you show up at the coroner's office to look at a pile of newsworthy corpses, they just say "sure, come on in," and show you the goods, and don't ask you for ID or your last name or nothin'. (Seriously, Stewart.) Sam asks about surveillance cameras.

Back to the bunker. Cas walks into the library, where Jack is doing research. "Looks like about two centuries of Biblical lore," he points out. Jack is researching how long it takes archangel grace to replenish. Because who would know better than the MoL? No one, right? No one in this bunker, anyway. There's no one in the bunker who would have ANY FUCKING IDEA how long it might take angel grace to replenish. The books say it can take a month to a century, and oh wow, Cas knew that too! Shocking! Cas says Jack being part human might make the process slower. So why is a nephilim more powerful than its angel parent, and yet slower to regenerate. I'm sure there's some completely logical reason.

Hush. Remember how nice Sam looked last week, in his dark shirt, sitting here in the library? Let's just think about that for a while.

Cas gives Jack the Cas version of a pep talk, which is to tell him that mourning what he's lost is wasteful. Jack says he doesn't understand, and Cas says yes, he does, because he lost his grace once and felt hopeless and useless. But luckily he had Sam and Dean, and he also had himself. Okay, Cas, but you were how old at that time? Millenia? Jack is one year old. He doesn't have himself yet. Cas does finally tell Jack what I've been wanting someone to tell him, which is that Sam and Dean have been hunters since they were children, and it takes a lot of time and experience to become that kind of badass. He also tells him that where he came from isn't as important as where he's going. Jack looks thoughtful.

Cut to Michael, looking awfully dapper in a tux (mmmm, nice) and admiring himself in a mirror. Oh, wait, are we getting the patented Jensen Ackles Angsty Mirror Scene (TM)? Yes! The figure in the mirror becomes Dean, and I don't know if that's because he's forcing his way to the surface, or if Michael is letting him have a peek. Dean tells him to get out, and Michael's all "ha ha nope, I own you."

And I make you look fantastic, now that I've lost that ridiculous hat, so stop complaining.

Back at the bunker, Cas is on the phone with Sam, bewildered that Michael is killing vampires. Nick enters, which I guess means he wasn't actually being held captive in the dungeon. He was just there because it's so damn cozy? He's been looking for info on his wife and son but there's no information, no one was caught. He blames himself for not being there and forcing the police to keep working on the case. Cas comes forward to comfort him, but as he moves a hand toward his shoulder, Nick says "don't" and snaps his fingers and it's menacing. Very fucking menacing. Cas puts his hands up and backs away quickly, and Nick doesn't seem to realize that he just pulled a Lucifer move. Cas asks why he did that, and what went through his head, but Nick has no idea what he's talking about or why he's upset. Or does he? It's hard to tell if this is Nick being confused or Lucifer being sneaky, isn't it?

Cas says that even thought Lucifer is "departed," some of his "influence" might still be in Nick, and he puts a hand on him to check for Lucifer's "influence" (his grace?) and oh, wait. Wait. He hasn't already done this? When the guy with Lucifer's face woke up and said "hey, what's going on here, and who are you guys, and why am I on the floor of this church," no one thought to check to see if he was still Lucifer? NO ONE? WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK, SHOW?

Remember Sam yelling "enough" last week? Wasn't that awesome?

Cas says Lucifer may have "inflicted more damage on your psyche than we suspected," and again, WE PROBABLY SHOULD HAVE CHECKED THAT EARLIER, and Nick doesn't have time for this so he's leaving. He's going to find out who killed his family. "And then what?" asks Cas. Nick doesn't answer but the music becomes VERY DRAMATIC.

Cut to a dimly-lit apartment. We know it's in a seedy part of town because there's a police siren and lights outside. The chick who we last saw waiting for her turn in the church is lying on a bed. (Or is it laying? I can never remember. I hate that.) There's a knock on the door and someone (spoiler alert: it's Sam) says they're the FBI and demands that she open the door. She tries to escape through the window, but Sam breaks the door down and TFW 4.0 enters, guns drawn. (Although these guns won't kill a vampire, will they?)

Bobby expositions that they got her license plate off the security camera, and she should have ditched the car when she first got turned. But what if she wasn't doing anything illegal, Bobby? What if she was just living her life and wanted to keep her damn car? She knows they're hunters, and when Bobby draws out a machete (so at least someone here knows how to kill a vampire), she says she hasn't done anything wrong, her nest fed on animals, and they led quiet lives until HE showed up. She tells them about the others dying, and that she escaped. She doesn't think he meant to kill them, just that his experiments seemed to go wrong. Bobby's all "cool, thanks, gotta decapitate ya now" and she says she knows where he is, and she'll tell them if he lets her go.

Cut to the Supernatural version of a swanky hotel room (really, guys, you always do such an awful job on the "nice" rooms) as Michael leads a woman inside. They flirt and drink wine and he describes his hometown as "empty, windswept, dead bodies laying around" (or are they lying around?) and she assumes he's joking but he's not, honey, he's so not. Apparently they met at a bar, and I wonder which bar in Duluth has a dress code that calls for a tux. She bares a set of nasty teeth, clearly thinking she has the upper hand (and I thought she was just a very dramatic vampire but she's actually a werewolf) and Michael grabs her by the throat and show her how wrong she is. I actually quite like Jensen in this scene. Is his Michael growing on me, or is he just not quite as flat as he was last week? He flings her across the room and tells her to summon her master.

Bunker. Nick is talking to the police in Pike Creek, Delaware, which answers a question that I didn't really have, i.e., where is Nick from. They hang up on him, and he's pretty angry that no one cares about his dead wife and son. He says no fingerprints or DNA were found (but what about DFA, Nick?), and a witness said they saw a man leaving the house, but then recanted. And they're all dead. Cas has gotten over his inability to look at Nick, apparently, and he tells him he's been given a second chance, because he's not dead, and that's just weirdly unsupportive, Cas. And he understands how Nick feels, because he is occupying someone else's body.

Okay. Cas knows how it feels to be a vessel, because Cas... has a vessel. That's even less supportive. It's actually kind of the opposite of supportive. "Yes, it's awful that you were a powerless vessel, and I should know, because I have a powerless vessel!" If Cas really wanted to commiserate with Nick, couldn't he point out that he had also been Lucifer's vessel, that he also fell for his promises, that he also knew how it felt for Lucifer to do awful things while wearing your body?

Nick immediately realizes how ridiculous this is, calling Cas "a stone cold body snatcher" who is no different from Lucifer. Cas says he's going to go check on Jack, but as he leaves, he says "in all my thousands of years, what happened to Jimmy Novak and his family is my greatest regret." Really? Not the Leviathans? Not trying to be God and killing so many of your brothers and sisters? Not lying to Sam and Dean, and releasing Sam from the panic room, so that Lucifer was uncaged in the first place? Your greatest regret is Jimmy Fucking Novak?

Shhh. Let's remember happier times. Let's look at bearded Sam in a suit again. All is well, all is well.

Cut to Michael's hotel room, where he hands a strange man a glass of 100-year-old cognac, which gets way too much discussion. Dude is the leader of a werewolf pack, and I started to say "are werewolf packs even a thing?" but then I remembered Garth (which, in my defense, I've worked pretty hard to forget) so I guess this is okay. Michael finds a purity in the werewolves' lifestyle, and wants to make them even better. Why be the hunted when you can be the hunter? Duh duh duuuuuh!!! I'm actually not seeing any reason why Michael would want to do this - why would he prefer a world of werewolves to a world of humans? But I don't care enough to get into it so let's move on.

Moving on finds us with Jack knocking on a door and calling a friendly, very familiar-looking woman (has she been on the show before?) "Mrs. Kline." Oh dear. Cas must have felt pretty stupid when he went to check on him. Jack tells her he's a friend of Kelly's, and his name is Jack, and Mr. Klein shows up to say "so is mine!" Aw, he was named after his grandfather. The Klines are thrilled to see someone who knows their late daughter, and invite him in for lemonade and cookies and a look through the family photo album. They talk about Kelly in the past tense, because she's dead, and Jack pretends he was some kind of intern, because "I'm your one-year-old grandson" would be kind of awkward. And then Dad Jack says "we haven't heard from her in a long time" and I hear the sound of brakes screeching. These people think their daughter is alive? They haven't heard from her in over a year, and someone shows up at their door claiming to be a friend, and they don't immediately say "OMG, do you know where she is, is she okay?" Really? This whole scene is so astonishingly stupid that I'm not going to discuss it further.

That's not true. I am going to ask a question. Where the hell do these people live? How did Jack get there? Do they live in the woods behind the bunker, where the vampire cabin was, and the convenience store in walking distance, in 13.23? Or is Jack somehow able to zap there, even though he has no power left?

(Thanks, Buckleming!)

Back at the vampire girl's apartment, sirens are still going. Or they're back. She's packing, but it's not going to do her any good, because Michael shows up and tells her he knows she told the hunters where he can be found, but that was his intent all along, because she and the pile of corpses were bait. And then he kills her with his angelic powers. You know, it's nice to see an angel who remembers how to do that.

Bunker. Jack has returned (how? when?) and Cas is angrily berating him for leaving, knowing that so many critters are after him, and he's "not himself." "Weak and defenseless you mean," says Jack. Well, yes, sweetheart. You're a year old and you don't have nephilim powers any more and it's not a personal slight to point out that you are relatively defenseless. Jack just thought he needed to meet "the only real family I have left" because all of a sudden Cas isn't his "real dad" any more and what about Sam, dammit Jack, sharper than a serpent's tooth, I swear to god. Cas is furious and then calms down and asks if it helped, and if he told them who he was. Jack says they love her so much, and he couldn't tell them she was dead, and Cas says he was kind, and there are worse ways to be human than to be kind. They seem to be coming back together again, and then Jack asks if he's heard from Sam, and completely out of nowhere starts yelling about how they have to kill Michael, even if it kills Dean. "Dean doesn't matter," he says. "If he can't be saved, if it comes down to him or Michael, Michael has to be stopped." And if it means Dean dies, "then Dean dies."

Okay. This is supposed to be horrifying, I guess. Maybe it's meant to be a big red flag letting us know that Jack is going down the Wrong Path. But the thing is, he's not wrong. Dean would agree. Dean would be the first to say "if the only way to kill Michael is to kill me too, then do it." So whatever shock value it's supposed to have is completely lost on me. Although I am disappointed with what they're doing to Jack.

But daaamn, didn't Sam look nice in his suit?

Now we're at a strange house, and a strange man is pouring a cup of tea. "It's so good to see you after all these years." Oh, the recipient of the tea is Nick. Except he's acting awfully Lucifery. He interrogates the guy, whose name is Artie, and asks him why he changed his story about the man he saw leaving the house. So how did he find out Artie was the witness? Artie acts suspiciously weird about recanting his eyewitness report. Nick asks Artie if the man had a hammer, because that's how his family was murdered - their skulls were smashed with a hammer. Oh, come on, show. Don't bring up comparisons to much better episodes. It's not helping. Nick grabs Artie by the throat and pushes him up against the wall and he's pretty sure Artie knows something.

Cut to Michael's church. TFW 4.0 is poking about with flashlights, when they're attacked by werewolves. We know they're werewolves because Bobby shouts "werewolves!" even though it's pretty dark and he shouldn't be able to see anything. Sam tells us the silver bullets aren't working (why did they have silver bullets when they were hunting for vampires?) and they discover that the only thing that works is cutting their heads off. And it's another unnecessarily long fight, but at least there's no slow-motion.

Then a door opens, and Michael appears. He walks in slow and stiff, like Michael, reaching out in front of him like he's going to smite someone, but then he just leans against a post and takes off the stupid hat. Is that our first clue? "Sammy," he says, "it's me." (Aw. We haven't heard "Sammy" in a long time.) He looks completely wiped out. Sam asks if he's okay and he angrily says "no, I'm not okay," which makes Mary smile because yeah, it is very Dean. He says he didn't do anything to make Michael leave - "he just left." And he doesn't know why.

Hmmm. Yeah. Do we believe this? What's really happening here? Our possibilities are (1) just like Dean said, Michael left spontaneously, (b) this is Michael pretending to be Dean, or (3rd) Michael is hiding in Dean, just like Gadreel hid in Sam. Honestly, I'm going to be very disappointed if it is (1), because that's just plain stupid. And does TFW believe it? And couldn't they test it with a quick angel banishing sigil?

And finally, back to Nick, in Artie's now-darkened house. He's splattered with blood, and holding a bloody hammer. And Artie is quite dead.

And I should have some kind of wrap-up here, but... I don't want to think about this one any more. All I'm going to say is that Cas is literally the worst babysitter ever.

Godfuckingdammit, Stewart.

Let's just remember better episodes involving hammers, okay?

As always, no spoilers in the comments, please!
Tags: 14.02 gods and monsters, initial reaction, pretty, sam's beard, season 14, supernatural

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