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Initial reaction 14.12: “Prophet and Loss”

THEN: Donatello. \o/ Nick. /o\ Michael. The box.

NOW: The bottom of the ocean. Dean in the box. Banging on it with bloody fingers. Water dripping. Creaks. Panic. Calling out for Sam. Phone dying. Darkness!

Title card!

Oh, it was just a dream. Were you fooled?

Speaking of dreams, a door opens and we see Sam clad in sweatpants, a t-shirt, and socks.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: if I get nothing else from this episode - and there's a good chance I won't (YOU KNOW WHY) - at least I got THIS.

Sam apologizes for waking Dean, who (strangely enough) admits he was having a nightmare. And whose real-life fingers are also bloody, from scratching the wall in his sleep. Sam asks if he wants to talk about it and Dean tells him to go to sleep. Sam switches to I know you're scared, and I know we're always maybe gonna die but this is even worse because Michael's gonna keep you buried alive forever and I kinda love the way Sam isn't bothering to sugarcoat the situation at ALL. He's convinced they have to find another way. Dean's convinced there isn't one.

So, if your vote in last week's poll was that Sam would agree to go along with Dean's plan but would look for a Plan B the whole time, ding ding ding!

(Sidebar: The guys are in a pretty nice (for them) hotel room. I wonder if this was deliberate. I wonder if Dean said I want a decent hotel room for once, just like he wanted to finally celebrate Christmas, or if Sam picked it.)

Elsewhere, a guy dumps salt into a tank of water and drowns a woman in it, carving her arm up while he's at it. When he's done, he gazes skyward and listens to the voices inside his head.

Cut to Nick in the hospital. Do you care? I don't either. Let's cut to the chase and say he ends up escaping. On to better things.

The Impala pulls up at a rest area. She's pulling a trailer? Oh no, I don't think that's a good idea. Dean asks Sam if he's still with him on the plan, and again, Sam isn't sugarcoating ANYTHING, telling Dean that he gave him his word but he hates the plan and Mom hates the plan and Dean needs to tell Cas and Jack about the plan. Dean's stalling on that because he's afraid they'd "shake" him, and Sam says that being shook "wouldn't be the worst thing" and SAM, YOU MAGNIFICENT BASTARD, I LOVE THAT YOU ARE SO NOT DOWN WITH THIS PLAN AND NOT HIDING THAT AT ALL. I love that Sam's attitude is yeah, I told you I'd help, so I'm helping, but it's really a stupid, stupid plan and you shouldn't do it. Dean tells him to "put the end of this trip out of your head," so I guess they are actually on their way to the coast right now, towing Dean's coffin. I wonder how they convinced Mary not to come along? (Ha ha I don't think it was actually that difficult.)

What did Mom say?
She just said "bye, love you," and went back to shooting pumpkins."

(Sidebar: Every time I say I wonder why a certain character isn't around, several of you kindly point out that the show can't afford to have these guest stars appear in every episode, and I love you for it, but I know the Doylist reasons; I'm looking for the Watsonian ones. And usually there are none.)

Dean gets out and heads for the bathroom, and Sam (whose hair is adorably fluffy today) immediately goes for his phone and calls Cas and we learn that he already told Cas about the awful, awful plan (BECAUSE OF COURSE HE DID). Cas has been looking for a way to eject and destroy Michael but hasn't found anything. He reports that Rowena went through the Book of the Damned to try to find a solution, "and I told her to do it again and see if she missed something, and the woman has a remarkable command of profanity." (BECAUSE OF COURSE SHE DOES. AND IN A SCOTTISH ACCENT. I WANT TO WITNESS THAT.) Cas suggests that he could speak to Dean, as if he has more influence than Sam (NO) and Sam says it won't matter, he's never seen Dean this set on something.

Cut to Drowny Guy picking out his next victim, muttering about striking down the first born in the land of Egypt, and carving up his next victim. More voices. "I am the Lord," he says. Huh.

The Impala drives through the night. Dean is either feeling or remembering feeling Michael banging on that walk-in door in his head, so he decides it's conversation time. He starts out by apologizing for not always being the greatest brother, and I want Sam to say no, you were a great brother, you were just a crappy mother, but that's not your fault because you were four years older than me and shouldn't have been forced into a parental role. Instead Sam tells him he was always there for him. Dean continues in this vein, apologizing for taking John's side and admitting that sometimes he was gone because John actually sent him away. Sam says he left all of that behind, and then shuts Dean down by saying he needs to keep his mind off the end of this trip, just like Dean said. "So if we could not have conversations that sound like deathbed apologies, I would really appreciate it."

DAMN. I know some of you are thinking Sam should be more supportive and let Dean talk, especially since he's the one who's always trying to get Dean to talk about his feelings in the first place. But I love the way he's not making this easy on Dean. And I also love that he's insisting on what HE needs, but I suspect that he's focused just as much on not letting Dean play out the Deathbed Apology Tour in his head.

Not only is he doing that, but he's actually looking for a case. And he found one. Dean's all, a case? On my Deathbed Apology Tour? And it does seem like a really odd thing for Sam to do. Unless, of course, you accept that he's stalling his little heart out. Dean decides it would be nice to work one last case together, which is a sentiment Sam does NOT appreciate. Anyway, it's our two victims, who both had "graffiti" carved into them. Enochian graffiti.

(Sidebar: Remember that time someone carved Enochian graffiti on the Impala and neither Sam nor Dean recognized it? Ha ha ha ha continuity.)

The next scene is in broad daylight and the guys are in suits. Or at least Dean is in a suit. We can't see Sam because the person whose door they're knocking on won't open it all the way. So, Dean took his suit on his Deathbed Apology Tour? And when Sam decided to run after him, he grabbed his suit as well?

Eh, it gives me Winchesters in suits and overcoats, so I'm willing to handwave it.

The guy who finally opens the door is the twin brother of the second victim. There's a heavy-handed little scene here where the surviving brother (the younger brother, it turns out, because he's four minutes younger than his dead twin, and if that reminds you that Sam is four years younger than Dean you're not alone) talks about how close they were and how "losing him was like losing a part of myself" and Sam looks sad and Dean looks guilty. It turns out the dead brother had a super-religious friend named Tony, and a convenient picture reveals Tony had an Enochian tattoo which translates to "the word." Duh duh duuuuh! So, who else knows Enochian? Time to call Cas!

Cas immediately reveals that Sam told him about the Deathbed Apology Tour because, like Sam, he has zero chill about Dean's plan. He also reveals that Tony is the next prophet in line, after Donatello. Sam doesn't make any excuses or apologize for spilling the beans, and if you haven't figured it out yet, I LOVE THAT. The guys wonder if the apparent emergence of a new prophet means Donatello is dead (spoiler alert: we see him on life support so probably not) and Dean calls his doctor, pretending to be his nephew. Using his real name. I have a feeling Sam would have done a better job, because Dean just asks "How is Donatello? He's still alive, right?" which I find funnier than I probably should. So, if he's still alive, how was Tony activated? Let's go ask him.

Apparently the guys took a long time changing out of their suits, because it's dark when they break into Tony's house. They find his bedroom covered in writing, much like Gabriel's redecorating in the bunker except some of it is English. And some of it is about the killing of first-born sons, and I think that's going to mean something for Dean, but spoiler alert: it doesn't. They also find pictures of his two victims, and a clue as to where the killings happened and what the next one will be.

The next one is actually happening right now, with a guy getting doused with gasoline. Luckily the Winchesters break in and save him right before Tony sets him on fire. Sam gets maybe a little too rough with Tony, and Dean calls him off. Tony claims he's doing God's work according to His orders and Sam's all, yeah, no, whatever you heard wasn't God. Tony immediately believes them, apparently. If I thought God was talking to me, I'd think these guys were heretics or the devil or something. But Tony believes them and gets Dean's gun and kills himself. So, I guess that one took care of itself!

Don't tell a Winchester you're doing something awful because God said so. Just don't.

But it's not over, because the next prophet could come online and do the same thing, since Donatello being between "between life and death" might be causing prophets who are "wired wrong." Sam asks how they can stop the next prophet from going loco, and, well, there's one way to get rid of someone who's between life and death, isn't there?

(Meanwhile, Nick breaks into his old house and doesn't recognize his dead wife's ghost, but I can't blame him because she's changed A LOT since she died. He hopes she's Lucifer, and somehow he sacrifices her ability to move on because he'd rather have Lucifer and that's all the time I'm spending on that.)

At the Happy Daze (ugh, really?) Nursing Home, Donatello's doctor tells his loving nephews that they're making the right choice to let him go. And luckily, Dr. Novak is here to help! Hee! The doctor tells them Uncle Donatello is occasionally babbling, just as a reflex, and I don't think actual words are a reflex but okay. Cas and Dean have a sidebar about how much Cas regrets what happened to Donatello, but he had no choice, and Dean's all, I know exactly how you feel, and Cas is all, no you don't, because MY plan was the only choice, but YOUR plan is stupid.

Sam interrupts this with a video the doctor took of Donatello's "reflexive babbling." It's actually him speaking Enochian, saying he'll strike down the first-born of Egypt. Apparently Tony got wrapped up in Donatello trying to rewrite the Bible or whatever (Buckleming!) but somehow this means Cas can fix him, because "if there's a spark of hope, then I have to try; you taught me that." Boom. Take that, Mr. Deathbed Apology Tour. (Although I think Sam would have had something to do with that lesson, but whatever.) They rudely kick the doctor out of Donatello's room, and while Cas does his work, Sam and Dean have a quiet talk.

"If Cas isn't right about Donatello," Sam says, "then where does that leave him? Trapped. Trapped in his own body, somewhere between life and death. It's just tough to think about somebody going through that." Oh my God, Sam, you are the least subtle person on earth and I can't get enough of it. Dean doesn't rise to the bait, but just tells Sam the plan is still on. Then they go check on Cas and watch him work. His eyes go glowy and Donatello wakes up, confused but alive.

The real doctor comes in and says wow, that's weird that you came here to take him off life support and he miraculously came out of his coma. No, he doesn't, but I would. Then Donatello eats Jello and Dean leaves Cas to tell him what he's missed.

Dean goes out to where Sam is leaning on the Impala, drinking beer. And Sam is SO angry. (Sidebar: What was Dean remembering when he said Sam was always a "happy drunk," because it's nothing we've seen.) Let's just enjoy this conversation, shall we?

Where's the party?

It's right here. I mean, we're celebrating, right?


Yeah, but not too much! Tomorrow morning we're back on track. No rest for the self-destructive.

Well, I will call this a win. Kinda nice. I'm going out on a high.

"Going out" being the operative phrase.

I'm sorry.

You're sorry. {laughs} How sorry are you? Sorry that you planned to keep Donatello alive, but when it comes to you, you just throw in the towel? Are you sorry that after all these years, our entire lives, after I looked up to you, I learned from you, I copied you, I followed you to Hell and back? Are you sorry that all of that means nothing now?

Who's saying that?

You. When you tell me I have to kill you. When you're telling me I have to throw away everything we stand for. Throw away faith. Throw away family. We're the guys who saved the world. We don't just check out of it.

Sam, I have tried everything. Everything! I got one card left to play, and I have to play it.

You have one card today. But we'll find another tomorrow. But if you quit on us today, there will be no tomorrow! You tell me you don't know what else to do. I don't either, Dean. Not yet. But what you're doing now, it's wrong! It's quitting! I mean, look what just happened. Donatello never quit fighting, so we could help him because he never gave up. I believe in us, Dean.
{Sam rears back and HITS DEAN!} I believe in us! {Sam HITS HIM AGAIN AND THEN PULLS HIM INTO AN ANGRY, TEARFUL HUG!} Why don't you believe in us too?


Dean can't handle it either. He's only human. "Okay, Sam," he says. "Let's go home." Sam says "what?" in disbelief. HE IS STILL CLUTCHING HIS BROTHER IN HIS ARMS, BY THE WAY. Sam finally pulls away and Dean says "Let's go home. Maybe Billie's wrong. Maybe. But I do believe in us. I believe in all of us." (Because yeah, this is when Cas shows up.) "And I'll keep believing until I can't. Until there's absolutely no other way. But when that day comes, if that day comes, Sam, you have to take it for what it is. The end. And you have to promise me that you'll do then what you can't do now, and that's let me go. And put me in that box."

Sam says "all right," just like he did at the end of the previous episode but DAMN this one is different. Dean PATS SAM'S FACE and says "Don't hit me again, okay?"


And I don't know how Cas got to the Happy Daze Nursing Home, but whatever he drove, he's leaving it here. He gets in the car with the Winchesters and we fade to white.


I don't know about you guys, but I had pretty low expectations for this episode. And some of it met those low expectations (lookin' at you, Nick) but some of it BLEW ME THE FUCK AWAY. And by "some" I mean SAM AND SAM AND DEAN AND SAM. Because Sam loves his brother SO MUCH and is SO ANGRY and HURT and BETRAYED and Dean is SO HELPLESS in the face of that anger and hurt and betrayal and he's thinking I thought it was safe to tell you I loved you, since I was about to die, but you are using that against me and it's hardly fair and then he's doing what he can't always do when his little brother wants something, which is GIVE IT TO HIM.

I'm trying to think of other times when Sam hit Dean out of anger. Not in a mutual fight, not when he was trying to stop him from doing something stupid then and there, not when he was under someone else's control, just Sam lashing out in hurt and anger and hitting his brother. The only one I can think of is the hotel room fight in When The Levee Breaks, but I'm sure y'all will remind me of others, as you do.

Dammit. This is one of those episodes where a few minutes of wonderful makes up for a whole lot of nonsense. What did you guys think? And as always, no spoilers in the comments, please!

Posts from This Journal by “initial reaction” Tag


Sam has been overwhelmed this whole season with the Dean/Michael thing, and training all the new hunters, and Jack, and he's been stuffing it down and plowing through...and he hit the wall (and Dean) here and let everything out and it killed me. (I am writing this from the great beyond.)

Given how low the expectations were for these writers, this episode was doubly amazing!

Although clearly there is some plan in the works for Nick/Lucifer that none of the fans want/care about but TPTB think will be terrific...

Also, a little tidbit--at the last con of 2018, which was right after this episode was filmed, Jensen and Jared were talking about not liking when it says to cry in the script because they want to go where the scene takes them and not force tears, that the organic emotion of actually doing the scene is more effective. Then Jensen said that they had just filmed a scene where Dean was in 'physical distress' and he got unexpectedly emotional, and brought the crew to tears. It had to be the scene in the coffin.
I agree. I was seriously surprised at the writing. I suspect there may have been someone else involved, but I don't care. Jared and Jensen had good stuff to work with, and they were amazing!
Yes, to all you said. But I keep looking at that long 6'5" stretch of human, and that angry-hurt, little brother *face* and I don't know if there's a soul on earth who could stand against it. I saw Sam at three, at eight, at 12--the same expression, the same anger, the same desperation, the same thwarted hero worship. And now I'm dead.

Not that Jensen didn't knock it out of the park in this one, too. But Jared just devastated me, the whole way through the ep.
YES, EXACTLY! -- the angry-hurt, little brother *face* Sam had said in the car that he'd put "all that" behind him a long time ago, but that little boy had just been buried under years of trauma and maturity and experience. Sam once had faith in God; now he just has faith in them, and Dean quitting would destroy all that -- everything that kept him going. It was tearing Sam up in inside, and Dean finally got it, really got it. Dean couldn't say no to his little brother. How could anyone not be swayed by that face and those tears?
Yeah, Buck-Lemming did good, for at least part of the episode. I don't care about Nick, but we seem to be stuck with him. I hated the ultra-violent deaths by loco-prophet. I really hated that the woman who was killed got the long drawn out, watch her struggle and die slowly and painfully, while man who was killed was a quick stab and die and other man escapes. I just reminded myself that this WAS Buck-Lemming and the need to get that out of their systems apparently.

The Sam/Dean stuff was perfect. I too love Sam refusing to cut Dean any slack and let Dean go gently into that good night. I also loved that when Dean dreams of the horror facing him, it's Sam he calls out for. The end scene was just sublime.

That woman's torture angered me as well. I'm not bothered by violence when used appropriately, but that was just horror porn. There are some things of which Buck-Lemming just can't let go, and violence toward women is one of them.

No one else has mentioned Dean crying out for Sam, and yes, I loved that too.
I like your comment (paraphrasing) that Dean always wants to give his little brother what his little brother wants, because I was thinking that in the final scene, Sam's bangs were in hanging down, which they never do, and that made him look so young and Dean wasn't giving in to Sam, he was giving in to Sammy.

Great review.
I don't think Sam's ever hit Dean because he was that frustrated, that angry, and that hurt--not when he's not been under the influence of anything. I thought it was right on time, and fit that scene perfectly for the people they are. The whole scene made me wibble. I was thrilled beyond compare that the scene WAS JUST THEM, thank you.
::clunk:: "Ow!"

But yes, I agree! One each. But...maybe without the throwing. (grin)
Oh my God, yes, yes to every one of your assessments. I even think that the Sam/Dean scenes was some of the best dialogue performance since the Kripke years (and I missed the writers credit accidentally on purpose so i was unprejudiced, but I'm doubly impressed that this is a bucklemming episode, altough I suspect the invisble hand of a showrunner behind those scenes, heavy on the set editing by Jared and Jensen or both).
I like a lot that Cas wasn't excluded out of them but had his proper place, as a friend and supporting character - especially the almost by the way portrayal of his relationship with Sam that we so seldom get to see on screen which has been more balanced this season as I've ever seen it I think.
Poor Nick, though... I love Mark Pellegrino as a terrific actor but I absolutely do not care for his story one bit. I wish they'd find a different B-Plot to give the boys some time off to play with their kids and let him rest. Just for the Lucifer thing, I thought he was talking to her as Lucifer because that's how he first appeared to Nick at all, so it didn't feel incongruent to me, *shrugs* whatever.
Btw, has anybody noticed how casually Sam claimes the title "Saviour of the world" lol, used to be he was too modest and had to little confidence in his ability to do that. I like (even though let's be real, about half of the apocalypses the boys faced - just like this coming one will be - have been the result of the Winchester Co-Dependency of Doom... But I don't care because this one feels different somehow, more deliberate and nature, as has been the whole season. I like)
I hated the ultra-violent deaths by loco-prophet. I really hated that the woman who was killed got the long drawn out, watch her struggle and die slowly and painfully, while man who was killed was a quick stab and die and other man escapes.

Yes to all of that. But you are right, it's what I expect by now from BuckLemming. It was all too graphic for me.

However. even with Nick being back and apparently the expectation that we're supposed to care about his haunted house, this whole ep was SPN gold to me. Sam and Cas refusing to let Dean get away with glossing over anything, and repeatedly telling him how dumb his plan is, that really rang true and honest to me.

The end scene, though. SAM. I believe in us, Sam! And the way Dean's voice broke on that line about "you have to promise", my heart was just twisted. I was full on crying, one of my kids came to check on me and I was yelling DEAN WINCHESTER YOU LISTEN TO YOUR BROTHER so she was like oh, Supernatural and went back to her room.

Man, if Dean and Sam end up having to de-haunt Nick's house, it will be either the worst or the best salt and burn they've ever done.

Cas' line at the hospital about learning from Dean about hope was a home run.

Anyway, I loved it, so very much, and am looking forward to next week.
I loved the brother moments so damn much!!! I think everything was perfect about that last scene; seeing Sam break down, the punch, the tears, the speeches - it was everything that I loved to see.

I don't hate the 'is Nick really evil' story line as much as most people do, but I think they could have condensed it here. It really feels like they're building a Lucifer comeback (I hope not!), but maybe it's more about Nick being a vessel. Or maybe the writers just don't know how they're going to solve this yet, so they don't want to get rid of anyone prematurely, just in case.
I also suspect they don't want to rule out a Lucifer comeback, so they're keeping Nick around. Honestly, if we had to pick between the two, I'd rather have Lucifer. Nick is just boring.

Maybe in season 15 we'll figure out how to keep the lights on in Heaven. I don't love the angel drama but it seems like too important a subplot to just let it twist in the wind.
As always, a great, funny, spot-on review! So much wit! (BECAUSE OF COURSE SHE DOES. AND IN A SCOTTISH ACCENT. I WANT TO WITNESS THAT.)

I watched this last night. The opening--even though I knew it was a fakeout--was disturbing af. The tiny little gulped "Sam"s rather than the usual scream was way too effective.

But the killing of the woman made me wince. Torture porn is one of the greatest failings of this show, and why did the woman have to get killed so slowly?

Unfortunately I watched this On Demand so I couldn't fast forward through the Nick scenes. Bleecccch.

But of course that last scene KILLED ME. I watched it three times, choking up more each time. Damn you, Supernatural! How dare you sneak up on me after I have basically dismissed you having any emotional grip on me? And SAAAAAAAAAAAM! All through the episode, he is So Done With Dean's Crap. I'm amazed because usually a Buckleming episode makes me want to clean the carpet afterwards.