Supernatural – Season 15 Episode 15
Supernatural has Castiel and Jack work together on a case while Sam and Dean try to track down Amara.
One consistently strong element in this show is Castiel’s naivety about how the world he interacts with works. Over time he has gotten better at navigating it but there’s still a lot he doesn’t understand and it often makes for a strong episode when his naivety forms the basis of the narrative. This episode takes things a step further when Jack accompanies him on a case meaning there is no token Human to help them deal with any barriers to understanding. Their lack of understanding gets in the way as it means they don’t pick up on obvious signs because they take the situation at face value.
There are some amusing moments to be found here such as Cas and Jack awkwardly explaining themselves to local Law Enforcement or Jack’s hilariously unorthodox introduction when he asks where he can find “the Kool-Aid” which offer a welcome contrast to the emotional intensity that the episode leans on elsewhere. A particularly strong scene is where Jack comforts Sylvia (Nicole Muñoz) over her recent loss by digging into his experience of losing his mother. Even though Kelly died as he was being born he feels that loss on a deeply personal level because there is an entire relationship that he will never have. He understands what it’s like to long for that connection and the hole the absence of someone important to you leaves. Having his soul returned has only intensified those feelings for them as he’s experiencing them all over again.
This conversation contains a strong yet subtly delivered hint that Sylvia is behind the recent murders. She makes a point of telling Jack to put his trust in God rather than people which ties into the fact that the murders are themed around sins. It’s an obvious reveal when it comes but the episode does an excellent job of setting it up and Sylvia’s motivations make sense thanks to some strong character work done on her in the time available even if it does take too long for the episode to pay it off. She isn’t anywhere near being a threat to Cas or Jack because she’s Human so she’s at a massive disadvantage but the whole point of the case is to serve as a reminder of how horrible Humans can be and how dangerous having a single minded view of religion is. Sylvia is a devout follower of God to the point that she believes there is a plan for everyone that has to be followed. Her mother died because she refused to accept medical help for her illness and she blames her father for not supporting that decision.
Sylvia’s belief is that God called her mother back which in fairness is comforting to her but the way she goes about sharing that belief by violently forcing it on others is far from the right way for her to express herself. Her devotion to her religion has taken her down a dark path and with the show being near its end it’s appropriate to remind the audience that there are threats out there beyond the supernatural. Not only that but there’s a strong message around how important understanding actions actually is. Sylvia is a bad person despite being the daughter of a Pastor where Jack is a good person despite being the son of Lucifer. The origins of the two characters make for a strong commentary about personal morality having nothing to do with where you came from and everything to do with the choices you make. There’s also a tragic aspect to the whole thing as the mythology of this show has made it clear that God doesn’t really care what people do in his name and no amount of deeds done in his name will make him take notice when you’re not someone of interest to him to begin with.
Pastor Joe (Steve Bacic) made for an interesting character. His relationship with his daughter was something the viewer was encouraged to fill in through contextual clues and through dialogue exchanges with limited actual interaction between them. It works well because it adds to the notion that the relationship has become fractured since Sylvia’s mother died. His ethos is about promoting togetherness and inclusivity with religion acting as the basis of this. The community he built is founded on the idea that everyone can work together to protect each other and his recognition of the other religions within that without losing sight of his own faith is a fascinating angle. He is also flawed as his focus on building the community blinded him to what was happening with his daughter but there’s a real sense that this experience acts as an awakening for him. For such a briefly featured character there was a real richness to him and the perspective he embodies was really compelling.
The final conversation Cas and Jack have about what Jack will inevitably have to do is played perfectly. Jack confesses that taking down God and Amara will mean the end for him as well. He tells Cas this in confidence and asks that he not tell Sam and Dean. Cas would rather not keep this a secret but Jack owns responsibility for this by pointing out that it’s his decision. This suggests a willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice for the greater good and he probably wants to keep it a secret because Sam and Dean wouldn’t accept this outcome. If they found out they’d likely waste time they don’t have looking for a solution that lets them win and keeps Jack alive. Jack clearly doesn’t believe such a thing exists so would rather they have to deal with his loss after it happens. There’s no chance it’ll end up going down this route but the sentiment behind it is powerful and shows how well Jack knows those who helped raise him. It’s unknown whether Cas is breaking Jack’s confidence or has decided to open up about the fate that has been laid out for himself but the intensity is definitely ramping up in anticipation of the end.
Sam and Dean’s plot involves them going after Amara so they can lie in her face and arrange for her to set up her own demise. Dean thinks it’ll be possible because of the connection they shared but Amara has changed a lot since then and has gained an appreciation for her own life that has allowed her to massively come into her own. The conversation she has with Sam and Dean is fascinating for a number of reasons with a lot of ground covered. No time is wasted in asking for her help to trap God the way he trapped her but Amara isn’t willing to betray him. Dean trying to push her buttons to inspire her to desire payback for him doing that to her doesn’t work because she’s so far above petty Human concepts such as vengeance; at least at that point. She tells Sam and Dean that they couldn’t possibly comprehend what she or God really are because they are beings that brought the universe as they know it into existence. Smart as the Winchesters are they couldn’t even to begin to understand what they are. I loved this reminder that God and Amara are cosmic beings unlike anything else with an unimaginable level of power; it really highlights the magnitude of what they’re facing. Dean is naive in the sense that he sees a woman in front of him so thinks she can be reasoned with in Human terms but that just isn’t the case so his plan is flawed from the start.
He does make headway when he calls Amara out on bringing Mary back to life and demands to know why she did that. The end result of that was losing his mother all over again and experiencing an entirely different sense of loss attached to the same person. Amara calls it a gift and tells Dean she wanted to show him that there was a person behind the myth he’d built around the mother he lost when he was a child. The point was to show him that the reality was so much better than what he could imagine and to give him a relationship with the complicated person that was his mother. Instead of the perfect figure from his past that he didn’t really know she was a flawed and nuanced person who challenged him in different ways which makes his connection to her much more real and tangible. The real question is whether the second loss was worth that and in Amara’s judgement it absolutely was.
She wanted Dean to accept his life and let go of the anger associated with that loss but it didn’t work as Dean is facing her down far angrier than he ever was. His point is that he’s furious because he and everyone else he knows are being manipulated by her brother for his own amusement. Dean’s current state of rage comes from the knowledge that he’s a pawn in a cosmic game and he’s at the end of his tether currently so is refusing to continue accepting it. Pointing this out makes Amara willing to at least consider what he’s saying which is a massive step forward. The implication is that she didn’t realise that she is a part of God’s amusement based games and really doesn’t like that so might be willing to take steps to reclaim some of her own agency. Whether Dean will follow through on his plan to kill Amara or if they’ll actually end up working together is unknown for now but the conversation they have is very raw and loaded with visceral emotion from Dean’s point of view. There’s a catharsis associated with facing down one of the creators of the universe itself and telling them how unhappy you are with the way they do things. Dean and Amara’s connection has always been interesting and to see it evolve in this way is endlessly fascinating.
A strong episode that offers some compelling perspectives in Jack and Cas’ case and evolves the connection between Dean and Amara in fascinating ways. Castiel and Jack make for a strong pairing with their shared naivety around how the world works allowing for some amusing moments as well as some really compelling moments. Jack bonding with Sylvia over understanding her loss makes for a really strong moment that links in with Jack experiencing his emotions all over again with the return of his soul while also providing well placed hints to the identity of the murderer. Pastor Joe and Sylvia are interesting characters who are really well developed in the time available. There is a strong sense of their fractured relationship and their motivations are made clear with each of amounting to a memorably presence. Jack confessing to Cas that defeating God and Amara also means his end is played perfectly and Cas being asked to keep the secret only adds to it. The reasons for Jack wanting to keep it to himself make sense and it remains to be seen if Cas has decided to break his confidence.
Sam and Dean tracking down Amara provides some excellent moments as well. Amara pointing out that there’s no way Sam and Dean could possibly fully comprehend the beings that created the universe was a great reminder of the magnitude of what they’re facing. Dean naively assumes that he can manipulate her on Human terms but Amara is really far beyond that. When they have an open and frank conversation about her reason for resurrecting Mary things change significantly as she tells Dean that she brought Mary back so he could let go of the myth he had built around her and see her for what she really was. It was so that he could have a real relationship with her containing flaws as well as happiness but Dean sees it as another manipulation and is at the end of his tether with being manipulated. When he tells Amara that she’s also a pawn in God’s game it’s enough for her to consider what he is saying and perhaps change her stance on helping them. This solo interaction between them is filled with visceral emotion and the evolution of their dynamic along these lines is endlessly fascinating.
- Castiel and Jack’s lack of awareness of how the world works providing both amusing and meaningful moments
- Sylvia and Pastor Joe making for interesting and well developed characters in the time available
- hinting at the murderer throughout the episode
- Jack and Cas sharing a really powerful moment where Jack opens up about the cost of killing God and Amara
- Amara telling Sam and Dean that they’re unable to fully comprehend what she and God are serving as an effective reminder of the magnitude of what they’re facing
- the raw and visceral emotion in Dean and Amara’s one on one interaction
- evolving Dean and Amara’s dynamic
- taking a little too long to pay off the murder mystery
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