caranfindel (caranfindel) wrote,

Initial reaction 14.14: “Ouroboros”

THEN: Michael. The box. Jack's death, and the soul-burning magic that brought him back. WE'RE THE GUYS THAT SAVED THE WORLD. WHY DON'T YOU BELIEVE IN US TOO? SAAAAAAAAAAMMMMMMMMM!!!!!! When that day comes, Sam, you gotta put Dean in the box. Ha ha ha like that's gonna happen.

NOW: Cheerful music. Cooking. This guy starts boiling his pasta before he finished his sauce? No, dude, that's the worst thing you could do. Oh, no, wait. The worst thing is that he's plucking the liver out of a dead guy spread out on the kitchen island. I stand corrected. He fries the liver (with neither fava beans nor a nice Chianti) and then tells his pet snake Felix that he needs to make sure they're not going to be interrupted again. He plucks out one of the guy's eyes and eats it, which gives him a vision of Dean and Sam coming in through a door. His door, apparently, which means it's time to go. He wraps Felix around his neck, retrieves the other eye as "a snack for later," and heads out, leaving his food cooking and a shed snakeskin on the floor. Dude, your pasta is already mush, and now your liver is going to burn. What a waste of that dead guy.

Title card!

(Y'all, that scene made me miss Hannibal so hard.)

We're still in the kitchen from earlier, which is going to smell like burnt liver now, gross. (And also dead guy, but I bet he doesn't smell yet). Dean and Sam come through the door just as we saw in the earlier vision, along with Cas and Jack, who weren't in the vision but were probably just a few steps behind. (OR WERE THEY. But I'm getting ahead of myself.) They find the kitchen abandoned, and Jack informs us "he's cooking the body parts again." Looks like we've got a pattern of victims who don't fight back at all and aren't restrained and are being cooked. Dean blames witchcraft.

"Always blaming witches" says a familiar voice. Rowena? Hunting with the boys? BE STILL MY HEART. Sam complains that her tracking spell isn't doing what it was supposed to do, and she complains that she was pulled away from a glorious rosewater and vanilla oil massage, and Sam says "I'm sorry, I'll finish that for you when we get back to the hotel." (No he doesn't but A GIRL CAN DREAM). She gives Cas a flirty hello but she's not fooling me, I know who she wants a massage from. The guys figure out that this is actually the victim's house, and then Jack finds the snakeskin. Dean theorizes it could be the victim's pet, but Sam has already scrolled through every picture on the guy's phone and noticed a distinct lack of snake, and also this house doesn't scream "snake guy."

"Not enough Pantera posters, for one," says Rowena, AND I LOVE HER. And if anyone wants to fanfic that Samwitch rosewater and vanilla oil massage scene, I would like to be notified when it's posted, please and thank you.

This delightful train of thought is interrupted by Jack implementing Chekov's Cough. "There was some pepper on something," he says, annoyed that everyone is staring at him with concern. "I'm not dying." Oh, Jack. You poor, sheltered boy.

Back to the dead guy. Victim number six in New Mexico alone. Rowena asks if they all had blackened lips, and Dean's all, yeah, but we've been focusing on the missing eyeballs and them being eaten. Which is remarkably shortsighted. Why would they not recognize blackened lips as a clue? Jack asks her if they mean something. "Darling boy," she says, "everything means something." Like, for example, your cough. Ahem.

Hotel. Oh, this is a lovely surprise - Sam and Rowena, all alone in the hotel, sitting at the table together, researching. She oh-so-casually mentions that the last time she saw Jack, he was dying, and now Sam expects her to accept "just some magic" as the reason. He assures her that Jack is fine and she doesn't need to worry. She says she's curious, not worried, and she's also curious about how Dean is keeping Michael locked in his brain-fridge. "Because he's Dean, and Dean is Dean," says Sam. "He's fine." Oh, Sammy. What's the difference between absolute faith, and blind stubborn refusal to accept that which you find unacceptable? Asking for a friend. He claims keeping busy is good for his brother. Rowena's short "okay" makes it clear that she doesn't agree at all.

"Now, Samuel, about that massage you owe me..."

The rest of TFW 2.0 is at a diner. Dean tells Cas he's got "a pretty good feeling about bringing Rowena in on this one," and I agree, Dean, I agree so hard. He thinks she and Sam have a good chance of solving the case, which explains why he and Cas are sitting in a diner instead of helping. Then he's struck by a bad case of the Michaels, which makes Cas talk about how difficult it must be to deal with Michael banging away at that door all the time, and how much willpower it must take. And since the door staying locked relies on willpower, he wonders what would happen if Dean were unconscious. "Luckily, Sam's the one who usually gets knocked out, not me," says Dean. (No, none of this happened. But it should have.) Dean admits he doesn't know if he's fine. "But that's what I'm supposed to say, right? I'm fine, keep on movin'? That's what we all say." (Sidebar: would Dean have answered this question so honestly if Sam were there? Discuss.)

He tells Cas that the pounding in his head never stops, he can't let his guard down for a second, and he barely sleeps. (Sidebar: How is sleeping different from being unconscious, when it comes to asserting your willpower? Discuss.) "That's not sustainable," Cas points out. "No, it's probably not," Dean agrees. He blames himself for the situation, and reminds Cas about Plan B. "Coffin. Ocean. Done."

While this is happening, Jack is in the bathroom, washing his hands and coughing up blood. He uses a little bit of his soul-magic to heal his throat. But the thing is, Jack, that you're generally not coughing up blood from your throat. Look to your lungs, dear. He joins Dean and Cas in the booth, and his sweet little unsettled face prompts Cas to ask if he's all right. He claims he's fine, which makes Dean say "See, look at that. Everybody's fine." This is kind of deliciously meta, because Dean knows he's not fine, but he doesn't know that Jack and Cas aren't fine, and he thinks he's only talking about himself when he says I'm dying but I'm going to claim to be fine because that's what we do since he has no idea that Jack and Cas are also dying/doomed and are doing the exact same thing.

Back to the case. Cas says there's a ritualistic, almost liturgical quality to the crime scenes. Dean and Jack look confused, and he explains that "liturgical" means "religious," which is not really correct, but okay. So maybe it's just a crazy person, not a monster. Oh, hey, like that prophet? But Jack says anyone who did this is a monster, even if they're human, and Dean agrees. Haven't we had this conversation already this season?

Never mind. Have some pretty.

Dean gets a call from Sam - he and Rowena have something to share. We next see the guys sitting in a row in the hotel room as Sam and Rowena give their presentation, complete with visuals, and there's a joke about A/V club being a special club for people who can't play sports. Rowena tells them they're hunting a gorgon, a being that likes snakes and eating people. She's surprised at Dean's comparison of the gorgon to Medusa, which is odd because knowing about Medusa and her snake hair is pretty basic. It's like knowing Pegasus is a winged horse. But Dean knows about her from Clash of the Titans. Because Dean watches all kinds of movies. (Except It's A Wonderful Life. No, I'm STILL not over it.)

She explains that turning victims to stone is an exaggeration, and in fact, they're just paralyzed by venom, which explains the black lips. They've found several more deaths, stretching from Florida to New Mexico. And this one is probably eluding them because some say gorgons can "glimpse the future" by consuming human eyes. Which means there's no way to sneak up on the guy. Distressed Sam admits he doesn't know how they're going to get around that.

They can barely fit these two in the same shot. I love it.

Truck stop! Our friendly neighborhood gorgon is waiting in the dark by a truck, where asks its driver for a ride or some food. The driver tells him he's not a taxi, and not a cook either. The gorgon says he'd find a way to pay him back, and the driver is all, well, I'm not a taxi driver or a cook but I do happen to be a coinisseur of a good blowjob, so he lets the gorgon into his truck. The gorgon gives the driver a chaste peck, transmitting venom that paralyzes him and makes it easier to yoink his eye out. Snack time! We know he's having a vision but we don't get to see it.

I still haven't caught the gorgon's name, but doesn't he look like Ash and Giovanni Ribisi had a baby?

The next scene is at the same truck stop, but now it's daylight. Dean and Cas are investigating, which leaves me torn. Because I love Sam and Rowena together, but I hate Cas taking Sam's place with Dean. They're Agents Page and Jones, and I'm glad to see Cas gets his own Led Zeppelin identity instead of taking Sam's. (Also. Is this the Agent Page badge Sam made for Dean in Advanced Thanatology? Did we ever confirm that before that episode, Dean was Agent Plant and Sam was Agent Page?) Turns out there was a note on the body "made out to some guy named Dean." Oh, hey, we know a guy named Dean! The note says I see you standing alone by the truck, reading this note. I see you and the tall man and the red-headed witch chasing me. I will always see you. Stop or I will make you stop. Regards, Noah.

Well, it's EXTREMELY convenient that Noah (thanks for the name) told Dean that he sees him "standing alone by the truck," because that allows Cas to realize that since he's standing by the truck next to Dean, he's apparently not part of these visions. Nor is Jack. But it also raises some questions. How does Noah know Dean's name, and yet apparently doesn't know Sam's or Rowena's? And if he can't see angels, doesn't he notice that the people he does see are sometimes talking to empty space? If he knows Dean's name because he heard it in a vision, why didn't he hear any other names? Why doesn't he wonder about Dean's invisible friends Cas and Jack? If he can't see angels, why is Jack and his tiny bit of remaining grace invisible to him, and yet Dean, with an entire archangel in his head, is not?

It doesn't matter, because Dean looks awfully nice out here in the sunlight, doesn't he?

But the important thing, as Sam realizes, is that this means they have a shot, since Cas and Jack can sneak up on him. (Also, Jack proclaims he's not an angel, just as he proclaimed earlier that he's not dying. Just saying.)

Rowena says she'll need to whip up an antidote to the gorgon's venom just in case, and all she'll need is a wee bit of antivenom. On first watch I was disappointed that she said antivenom and not antivenin, and I was even more disappointed that Sam didn't say antivenin when he pointed out that it's a controlled substance. But Google tells me I am perhaps being a bit too pedantic. However, I am correct when I say it's actually not a controlled substances. Apparently you can even buy it online. (Sidebar: How much time did I spend googling antivenom today? WAY TOO MUCH.) But our heroes don't have time to buy it online. Never fear; Rowena has a plan.

The next thing we know, Sam and Rowena are running into a veterinarian's office, a tiny dog in Sam's arms (!), begging for help. Sam tells the woman at the front desk that their wee doggie is lethargic and not responsive, and might have eaten something. The woman working the front desk is apparently the veterinarian, which isn't how any vet's office that I've ever been to works, but OH DEAR GOD I DO NOT CARE BECAUSE THIS IS AMAZING. Rowena says Sam blames her and Sam mutters "can we not fight in front of the vet" through clenched teeth and Rowena wails that he blames her for everything and "I let his mother ride the Jet-Ski ONE TIME" and THANK YOU BABY JESUS FOR ALL OF THIS. The vetceptionist takes the dog and asks his name. Sam and Rowena obviously haven't discussed this beforehand, and I'm expecting some kind of Bobby John situation, but they look at each other and say "Jack" because THIS DOG IS JACK. ROWENA TURNED JACK INTO A DOG.

"I will kill you."

After the vet whisks Jack into an exam room, Sam gives Rowena a confused look and asks what's she's doing. She mocks his usual "pretending to be the FBI" shtick and he rolls his eyes so hard they almost fall out of his head (ready to become a tasty gorgon snack). Rowena calls her performance "quite magnificent" AND SHE IS NOT WRONG.

Back in the exam room, the vet takes Jack's temperature and calls him "the sweetest boy" (YES HE IS) and then LEAVES HIM ON THE EXAM TABLE while she goes out with forms for Sam and Rowena, and THIS IS NOT OKAY. When she leaves, we see Jack take his own form (clothed this time; I wonder if Alex put a "no more nudity" clause in his contract). Sam and Rowena have left, and I don't know why they'd do that. They should stay there to stall and keep the doctor busy while Jack finds the antivenom. But he gets it, and they all meet up outside, and Jack wishes he'd missed out on having his temperature taken, and I don't know what I did to deserve this but it must have been good.

(Also, if anyone wants to continue this little domestic performance in a fanfic, maybe with Sam and Rowena having to pretend to be a couple for much longer, and then they check into a motel and THERE'S ONLY ONE BED, I would once again like to be notified when it's avaialable.)

Jack gets in the car they've somehow acquired, but Rowena pulls Sam aside and asks what they did to that poor boy, because when she cast her spell she felt some other nasty stuff going on in there. And she's worried. Sam tells her again that everything's going to be fine. And this happens:

You're using dangerous, mysterious magic regardless of the cost. That's a very on-brand thing for me to do.

Well, thank you.

Of course, Samuel, until very recently, I was the villain.

JUST SHOOT ME NOW AND I CAN DIE HAPPY. Sam's pleased to be compared to her? She used to be the villain? She called him Sam AND Samuel? Life is good, friends. I mean, sure, if Rowena can make Jack look like a dog, she also could have made him look like the vet tech, or even made him invisible, and just let him stroll into the exam room and take what he needed. But then I wouldn't have had this.

I'll say it again... thank you, baby Jesus.

(Alternate fic prompt: Jack finds being Sam's lapdog very comforting, and occasionally asks Rowena to cast the spell again, so when he's upset Sam can just carry him around and rub his belly and say "It's okay, buddy, it's okay.")

That was fun. Now, back to our gorgon. Noah has his next victim, who apparently has been promised he won't die if he stays quiet. But then why do you want the vegetable oil, Noah, huh? He claims he doesn't really even like eating people, but sometimes fate is "cruel and boring." This is a profound truth. He says "ask them in New Mexico if I'm serious," which makes me think he's not there any more. Isn't that what it sounds like to you? (Does it matter? MAYBE.) He also says he goes after men because women are too cautious now, which, again, is a profound truth.

Hotel. Sam's on the phone with (ugh) Maggie, who says the only way to kill a gorgon is to cut off its head with a silver blade. I hope you packed your silver blade, Sam. There are a few refugee hunters milling about in the bunker, and Maggie says Mary is on her way back from a case. Sam thanks her for handling things while they're gone, and she tells him to be safe, which (1) isn't gonna happen, and (b) is Dean and Sam's way of saying "I love you" and I WILL NOT ACCEPT IT FROM FUCKING MAGGIE. MAKE THIS STOP. (Spoiler alert: hee.)

Rowena has tracked Noah to "less an hour west of us." All right, let's fire up Mapquest. The first victim we saw was in Raton, New Mexico. The police car at the truck stop said Colfax County, which is the county Raton is in, and the gang is still in their original hotel room, so presumably they're still in Raton. There actually isn't anything except mountains west of Raton, so he must be in a cabin in the mountains. Let's go with that. Rowena gives Cas the vial of gorgon antivenom, which will "theoretically" protect them, and sends them on their way.

Remote cabin in the mountains of New Mexico. There's a knock on the door, and then Cas bursts in, with Jack coming in through a second doorway. As Cas uses the antivenom on the paralyzed (but not yet de-eyed) victim, Noah tells Jack he "sees" him (hmm) and then tells him a parable. There's a black snake who keeps eating a chicken's eggs, sliding them into his throat and crushing them there. But he can't crush the last egg, because the chicken hard-boiled it to choke him. Noah can't tell if Jack is the chicken or the snake. Cas has had enough of this story, and attacks Noah, but he gets a kiss that leaves him paralyzed. Then Jack attacks, but doesn't do much better. Dean and Sam run in, and I guess Noah's vision didn't show them pulling up outside his remote mountain cabin and waiting outside. It must only extend to his front door and not beyond. Well, and to truck stops.


Noah grabs Dean and knocks him into the wall and few times, and he falls unconscious to the floor. Sam gets knocked around, and Jack ends up decapitating Noah. Yay Jack! Jack uses the antivenom on Cas, but it doesn't work on angels for whatever reason, so he has to use up some more of his soul. Dean is still unconscious. Jack doesn't use his soul magic on him, for reasons that I'm sure will become obvious.


Bunker. Sam and Cas carry Dean into the infirmary and put him on the bed. Maggie asks why he won't wake up, like she's new here, and Sam says it's a head injury. "I'll get ice," she says. Which is useless. You know what would have been useful? An ER. Sam and Cas (and Jack, but let's face it, Jack ain't a decision-maker around here) drove NINE HOURS to the bunker rather than ONE HOUR to the ER in Raton. With a head injury. Not a supernatural injury that a hospital wouldn't be able to fix - a simple closed head injury. COME ON, GUYS.

Sam tells Cas to "do it" and Cas puts his fingers on Dean's forehead and wait. They're only trying to heal him NOW? Nine hours later? Oh, no. Cas says he "still can't heal him," so okay, he’s been trying. He can't even see what's going on in his head. Sam is so very distressed, which is so very enjoyable to me (hi, I'm Caranfindel and I have a problem). Jack offers to help, apparently for the first time, and Cas tells him no, he can't afford to burn up any more of his soul. Sam says nothing. (Does anyone else think maybe Sam is kind of hoping Jack will insist on doing it anyway? Just me?)

Rowena overhears this little tidbit about what's keeping Jack upright and is appalled, and Sam's all, not a good time (understatement). Cas leaves and Sam asks Rowena what he should do. She tells him to clean Dean's wound, make him comfortable, and wait. And I love this because (1) Sam looks to Rowena for guidance because he literally has no one else and because she's an ally now and in case you missed it I LOVE THESE TWO AS PARTNERS, and (b) what she says strongly echos what she said when they were waiting for Jack to die.

Sam does this thing where he clenches and releases his hands (AND MY HEART) and then rubs a hand down his face and gets a cloth to clean Dean's face, and I'm not crying. You're crying. But Dean reacts violently, while remaining unconscious, and we get a glimpse of Michael beating on the door. SAM IS IN MORE DISTRESS. ALL IS RIGHT WITH THE WORLD. (Well, my world. Sam's is going to Hell.)

And also distressed Sam is so pretty.

Rowena sequesters herself in the library, and Jack retreats to his room. He brought Felix the snake with him. Cas comes in, and they have a conversation about the risks of hunting, and the fact that all humans will eventually die. Jack asks "what's the point of being cosmic being if everyone I care about is just gonna leave?" And Cas says "Everyone? What am I, chopped liver?" (No, but he should.) He says it will hurt when they're gone, but you get to love them while they're here. It sounds awful, says Jack, and he's right. And then Cas assures him that Dean will wake up, as if he didn't spend this entire scene explaining that someday, maybe today, Dean won't wake up. Jack asks what will happen with Michael if Dean doesn't wake up, and Cas has no answer for that. Huh. It's too bad you guys don't have someplace safe you could put him just in case Michael gets out. Jack asks what's the use of having powers if he can't use them to help the people he loves. (A question... what powers does Jack actually have any more? Discuss.)

Jack contemplates Noah's parable and asks Cas what it means. Cas says it's mostly about greed, but it's also about being willing to give up the thing you love in order to kill the thing you hate. (I don't actually think it's about greed all that much. Is it greedy to want to eat every day?) They're interrupted by the sound of yelling and banging from the infirmary.

Dean is freaking out, throwing things around and yelling "where is he!" Uh oh. Michael is gone. Dean blames himself for letting his guard down (while he was unconscious?) and then yells at Sam for not letting him go with Plan A. Sam uses the Single Raised Finger of Reasonableness and tries to talk to him, but there's a bloodcurdling scream from elsewhere in the bunker.

I love the way Dean's expression reminds me of right after Lucifer took off with Sam in Detroit.

They run into the war room, which is full of bodies, and are met by Maggie. She yells for Sam and then bursts into angelic flame and falls dead. The camera pans up the stairs to the library and we see... Rowena with glowing blue eyes? "Hello boys," says Michael!Rowena. Oh snap.

Sam takes out his angel blade, even though we know it does nothing against an archangel (not now, anyway) and we get a flashback of Michael (ugh, in the hat again) confronting Rowena in the library. He tells her he'll kill her unless she agrees to be his vessel. She's not afraid, because she knows Sam is the one destined to kill her, not Michael. Okay then, how about, he'll kill everyone in the bunker if she doesn't say yes? "Everyone you care about." BECAUSE SHE CARES ABOUT THEM NOW, GUYS.

Problems with this: (1) he doesn't actually promise NOT to kill them if she does say yes, so there doesn't really seem to be any incentive, and (2) why doesn't she think her fated death at Sam's hand could change? I mean, ALL of Dean's endings changed. Why does she think everyone except Sam is now incapable of killing her?

Anyway. Dean tells Sam to get the cuffs, presumably planning to toss the Mikewitch in the box, and Michael says that if they won't be nice, neither will he. First he takes away their ability to breathe (and by "they" I mean Sam, Dean, and Cas, but for some reason Jack is left out of this), and then blinds them, and you kind of have to love that when Dean finds himself blind and suffocating he immediately tries to call out for Sam. Finally he just inflicts a lot of pain, and then decides it's time to kill them outright.

Jack surreptitiously grabs something - an angel blade? - and then says "Michael," because that's what you do when you're trying to be real sneaky and kill someone; you call their name to notify them. Michael blasts him, but Jack blasts back, freeing his dads from Michael's torture. Michael says he won't be "challenged by a child," and Jack says "I'm not a child! I'm the son of Lucifer. I'm a hunter. I am a Winchester!" \o/ He claps his hands onto Rowena's head and yanks Michael out of her. Michael's white cloud goes up in flame, and Jack sucks down the remaining grace. The guys look terrified, and Jack says "Michael is dead. I'm me again." His eyes glow gold and he gets a wing reveal. Um, happy ending? Yay?

Does this face say "nothing to worry about, I'm going to stay my sweet nougat-loving self and not destroy anyone" to you?

So. Kind of an uneven episode. Is Michael really gone for good? Because if he is, that leaves an opening for a Big Bad, doesn't it? And I don't like that our potential Big Bads are pretty much limited to Jack, Nick, the Empty Guy, Lucifer (please Chuck no) or someone new. Don't like it at all. But we got a tasty Samwitch, we got the end of Maggie (who I don't actually hate as a character, but I hate the way they kept trying to make her into a leader) and a bunker full of random hunters (unless Jack brings them back), we got an end to the tiresome storyline of Jack's decline, we got ultra worried Sam and freaked-out Dean, we got “I am a Winchester!” We got some good things.

Oh, and let's talk about the title. Ouroboros is one of those words I have to look up every few years, because I see it, look it up, and forget it until I see it again. It's the symbol of the snake biting/eating its own tail, and it can represent unity, infinity, and rebirth. Well. Who does that sound like? So is Jack the chicken, the black snake, or the black snake as an ouroborus? Discuss!

Thank you for coming to my TED talk. In conclusion, let me remind you of my fic requests. No spoilers in the comments please!
Tags: 13.05 advanced thanatology, 14.14 ouroboros, initial reaction, pretty, season 14, supernatural

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Posts from This Journal “initial reaction” Tag

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