So much done right… and yet still things going wrong…
As usual, start off with the negative and end with the positive.
My complaints from the previous episode still stand and if anything, get stronger here. The show would just work so much better if Sam & Dean were flipped right now. Heck I could maybe – MAYBE understand Sam being the compassionate one IF the show was using his shared experience with Jack as a bonding point. i.e. “I had Lucifer inside me. I know what it’s like to fight his nature.” But the show doesn’t. It’s barely doing anything to establish much of a connection between the characters in the first place. At the end of the episode when Jack screamed “you’re hurting my friends!” I wanted to ask whether the characters were actually Jack’s friends, or if he was speaking for the audience because we consider them our friends. It doesn’t take much to fix this. Remember awhile back when Dean was chilling and laughing at the 3 stooges in the bunker? So in this episode, why wasn’t he the one laughing along with Jack at the Scooby-Doo cartoon? Then have Sam come in and be the buzz kill shutting it off. Heck, the meal we see Jack eat this episode is – as far as we can tell as the audience – the first real, full meal Jack has ever had. Why not see more of it? Mealtime has a lot of significance in just about every human culture, it’s almost primal for us. Where was Dean recommending to Jack the bacon-double cheeseburger while Sam insists they get a side salad? Maybe a sly remark from one of them that if the angel blades can’t kill Jack, maybe a heart attack will. The moment with the beer was the closest the show came to a real “moment” but it was still the boys being a bit hard on Jack. Yes, guys will rib and be rough to each other in creating friendships, but it isn’t just that. At some point I’m wondering how the demons will treat Jack any different from our main characters. This doesn’t mean they have to coddle Jack or give him constant affirmation, but they could at least not argue about how he’s going to destroy the world right in front of him. Heck the Prince of Hell – a DEMON – at least figured out he should talk to Jack in disguise and encourage him and be positive to the kid (even if it was all a lie).
While nice to see the latest Prince of Hell, I’m not sure how sold I am on the idea that he can just smite demons with a gesture. That’s not a problem with canon, but one with writing as it starts blurring the lines with things like Lucifer’s treatment of demons or a demon-blood powered Sam. Even Cain had to smite by touching. They’re going to paint themselves into a corner with all this escalation. Also that he has apparently added shape-shifting to his repertoire is… weird. We know PoH can take over different bodies like any other demon.
And Nephilim become stronger than angels? Ugh. I would ALMOST accept that if Jack was Michael’s child (as I wished) because then it would add more meaning to Michael wanting to possibly create a replacement God. It would just be more interesting. Still at some point you have to wonder why Chuck just didn’t make angels sterile and unable to make Nephilim.
Also, they STILL haven’t quite got the Bible right. A bit like Moriarty in Sherlock Holmes, Satan doesn’t actually show up in the Bible as often as you might think. He just tends to show up at the most important, dramatic moments so people remember him better. But really if you look it up, he does not appear near as much as Dean implied.
Otherwise the rest of the episode was pretty solid. Nice to see Donatello again. They do establish here that neither Amara NOR Chuck bothered to clean up after themselves so people still lack souls. Which seems odd because you would think a prophet’s powers & abilities would maybe be tied to their soul. Oh well, I’m just glad they remembered that bit of canon and utilized it. Back in S11, the guy had such a minor role I actually forgot about him when he first appeared this episode.
I like that they’re expanding the taxonomy of Hell again. Back in the early days there was this implication of Hell being this large, diverse place. Over the seasons, it had gradually shrunk until it was little more than a hallway Sam could visit in an afternoon, making it all seem very small. The implication that there are other things locked up that Asmodeus wanted out got my attention – even though the full impact is lessened with the DarknessTM having already been dealt with. And the Leviathan. Ok, the execution this time was poor since “great-super-mega-wicked-evil locked away” has now been done by every post-Kripke show runner, but at least they worked within the bounds of the show instead of inventing yet another afterlife or cage. At least now when the show messes up, it still feels like Supernatural instead of some abomination.
Nice to see fights again and Dean getting a moment with him throwing the angel blade. It’s great to see the boys being badass again while still maintaining something of a challenge.
I’m still ambivalent about Lucifer & Mary in the other dimension, but at least it seems like they are going to try to do something interesting about it. I still wish it had been Michael all along instead of Lucifer but Mark Pellegrino is entertaining enough to watch that it’s hard to complain. With the new Michael arriving I’m actually interested to see what the current show runners will do as I’ve said before, Mike was given very little characterization so there is a lot there the writers could explore. And the current crop has earned just enough good will to keep my interest.
All in all episode 13.2 gets…
out of 5.
The show is still holding steady right now, establishing where on the curve it’s going to be. Nothing exceptional yet – good or bad.
Still so much of the show is just starting to feel like it has more character whether the sets or the guest stars. The people running the show now just seem to get the broader picture so much better than the previous folks – they just need to nail a few details and if this is the last season, we might be able to go out on top.
UPDATE: I was intending to but forgot to mention that in the SPN comic line, the second miniseries was actually called “Rising Son.”
Here are my reviews on it:
It was also adapted into an episode of the anime.