Supernatural – Season 14 Episode 9
Supernatural closes out 2018 with the return of Michael and a ticking clock before his master plan begins.
Castiel was given the location of Michael last week so Sam and Dean are bursting to take advantage of that to put an end to this threat permanently. To do this they need the right tools to stand a chance against him. One of these is the hyperbolic pulse generator or “The Egg” that has been retrieved by Ketch and is on its way to them using priority shipping. It can potentially exorcise Michael from his Human host. The other is Kaia’s spear because it can injure Michael though Kaia’s whereabouts aren’t known early on.
Thankfully the Winchester’s have a man on the inside in the form of Garth who has infiltrated Michael’s ranks with the story that he wants to be on the winning side of the coming conflict because he has a family to think about. The episode doesn’t spend any time entertaining the possibility that Garth could betray Sam and Dean as he is shown feeding Sam information almost immediately. He has definitely put himself in a really risky position and will end up suffering for that.
Garth’s intel gives a location on Kaia so the team split up to collect what they need as quickly as possible. Sam and Jack head to break into the sorting office to retrieve the egg while Dean and Cas go after the spear. It makes sense as plans go and is a good use of the available characters to keep the plot momentum going while giving characters a chance to interact in meaningful ways. Dean and Castiel’s conversation is the most effective as it allows both of them to take stock of the current situation. In Dean’s case he’s celebrating having achieved a win for once by having Jack back. He feels good about the fact that they won without any strings attached which of course forces Cas to recoil because he’s keeping the truth from Dean and likely feels that he really needs to believe that they managed to win without losing anything for a change. I find the secret keeping very tedious though can somewhat understand where Cas is coming from given the situation.
Sam and Jack have a less meaningful conversation though the intent is more around showing how Jack is growing as a Hunter. He shows off his breaking and entering skills which impresses Sam in a somewhat fatherly way. It’s also endearing to see just how dorky and optimistic Jack can be. Alexander Calvert’s delivery of the “Happy Holidays!” line is a perfect encapsulation of how grateful Jack is to be alive and reinforces how much he enjoys the simple things in life as a continuation of what was recently explored.
Even though aspects of the recent “win” are artificial it is still noteworthy that some success has recently been achieved so naturally that has to be countered by an even larger failure. Sam and Dean are slightly complacent based on their assessment of the situation as they feel that they have the information that they need to bring down Michael while not seeming to entertain the idea that they are being tricked. The first indication that Michael knows what they’re planning comes when Garth’s intel points them in the direction of Kaia but there is a distinct lack of Michael’s forces. It’s clear that Michael isn’t really interested in Kaia and is engineering the situation to get what he wants out of it.
Dean and Cas’ conversation with Kaia clarifies why Michael isn’t interested in her specifically. She talks about having access to magic in her own universe that she can use to protect herself but not being able to use it here so she wants to go back. As far as she’s concerned her existence in the supposedly safer universe is no better because she is still constantly being hunted by monsters. Her condition for giving Dean the spear is for him to help her return to where she came from because it’s a universe she understands and has learned how to survive in. It’s an acceptable condition so Dean takes the spear and makes the promise to help her at a later date even if that promise is currently a lie as Jack no longer has the power to travel between universes.
Sam and Jack’s quest doesn’t succeed as Michael shows up and destroys the Egg meaning that everything is reliant on the spear. Michael also kidnaps Jack to make everything just that little but more complicated but also to have a conversation with him about his place in the universe. Michael sees them as family even though they aren’t technically related due to the universal gap but Michael sees beyond that and tells Jack that they are related through the scale of what they both represent. They are both cosmically powerful beings connected to the beginnings of the universe itself which makes for an important kinship. Michael sees Jack’s loyalty to Sam, Dean and Castiel as something that grew out of his limited experience of existence. Jack has been alive for less than two years so has a very limited understanding of what time is because he hasn’t lived long enough to experience what it does to the world. Michael sees Jack’s connections as inconsequential because by his reckoning they mean nothing considering the amount of time he has experienced. Jack will apparently learn this as time goes on and those he thought he cared about fade away. It appears that Michael wants to take Jack under his wing and teach him the ways of the universe. One thing is definitely clear; he doesn’t feel that Jack, Sam, Dean or Castiel represent a threat to him in any way.
Felisha Terrell plays a great Michael. She embodies the casual arrogance as well as the calculating demeanour that we have come to associate with this character. She brings a great deal of gravitas to the role as well as a lot of unpredictability thanks to her casual performance. It’s always clear that she’s in full control of the situation and doesn’t see anyone else as being equal. Hopefully this isn’t the last we see of this version of Michael as she was really engaging.
Garth’s return was something of a surprise and he was used well in this particular episode. His actions tie into the overall idea that Michael has thought of everything. Leaking information to Sam and Dean is exactly what was expected of him so lies were fed to him by making him think he was eavesdropping. Meanwhile Michael was able to assume control of him through the Archangel Grace/blood solution that removes the weaknesses from the monsters she has recruited. This is something that someone should have been suspicious of but in the context of the story itself it works.
All of this leads to the confrontation with Michael that he has expertly orchestrated throughout the episode. Michael reveals that this has been his plan all along and takes control of Dean once again before breaking the spear. The explanation for why he left Dean in the first place was that the constant resistance was irritating so he had to set up a scenario whereby Dean would no longer resist. In order to do this Dean would have to be broken to the point that he doesn’t consider fighting back to be worth it. Over the course of the season so far Dean has been struggling with feelings of inadequacy while also dealing with the guilt associated with the terrible things Michael did while in control of his body. It could be argued that everything Michael has done since leaving Dean’s body has been in service of intensifying these feelings to the point that Dean all but gives up. Based on this episode I don’t buy that Dean is at that point so it doesn’t quite wash with me that Michael can take control of him and expect no resistance but it could be that Michael has underestimated Dean and will come to regret it. Even if that is the case this episode doesn’t make a strong enough argument for Dean being at his lowest point because he clearly isn’t.
Michael’s plan to position his tame monsters so that they will begin a large scale attack on the city is perhaps the most ambitious thing this show has done. It’s no secret that Supernatural is a relatively low budget show but it usually hides this very well. I can’t imagine how they full scale attack on a city will be visualised and it will be disappointing if it’s something that is talked about while Hunters fight a couple of Vampires in a nondescript alley somewhere. Time will tell but the idea that Michael has set up a coordinated attack on the Human race is definitely a big deal and the Thanos style snap makes for an excellent cliffhanger. The suggestion that he did all of this simply to break Dean’s spirit is interesting in itself as it confirms he doesn’t really care what he has to do in order to get what he wants.
I’m surprised that this episode didn’t lean into the Die Hard references more obviously as the setup was all there for there to be some sort of riff on the classic Christmas film. Hitomi Plaza is so close to Nakatomi Plaza that this can be no accident so I’m surprised that Dean at the very least didn’t reference that in some way. The most overt reference was “Ode To Joy” playing as the group marched towards their inevitable confrontation with Michael. I’m not calling the lack of Die Hard referencing a flaw with the episode as such but it was the best opportunity to do so and it’s hard to thing anything other than the opportunity was squandered.
A strong episode that makes good use of the available characters and plot movements to deliver a tense confrontation. Michael’s plan is wonderfully intricate in the way it comes together and the fact that everything he’s done seems to be in service of breaking Dean’s spirit says a lot about how Michael sees the world. His conversation with Jack where he suggests that the way Jack perceives time will change once he experiences more of it is compelling and shows how little regard he has for the Human race because of the brevity of their existence. Before this point the splitting of the characters was a good way to keep up the plot momentum while highlighting how in control of the situation Michael was. Kaia’s desire to return to her own universe because she sees her life in this one as no different was an interesting development and Dean lying to her about being able to send her back is pretty much as expected. Sam and Jack’s quest failed because Michael destroyed the egg but it did further the notion that Jack appreciates the simpler things in life.
Garth’s appearance in the episode was a nice surprise and tied into the story nicely. The fact that he was feeding the information that Michael wanted to was a fun twist that once again reinforces that Michael is completely in control of the situation and Garth being under her control works in context though all of this is something that should have probably been suspected. Michael taking control of Dean because his spirit has apparently been broken to the point that he will no longer resist doesn’t entirely work as I don’t get that impression based on this episode but it’s possible that Michael has underestimated him. The large scale attack on a city feels like something the show won’t really be able to deliver on on the scale that it deserves. It’s also disappointing that the opportunity to reference Die Hard extensively wasn’t taken full advantage of.
- Dean and Cas’ meaningful conversation with the subtext of Cas’ deception
- Jack’s youthful optimism
- the conversation between Jack and Michael about the scale of their role in the universe
- Felisha Terrell’s engaging performance as Michael
- Michael’s plan casually falling into place
- failing to capitalise on the Die Hard referencing opportunity
- Dean not seeming as broken as Michael apparently thinks he is
What did you think? Select your rating in the “User Rating” box below
User Review( votes)
We’d love to know your thoughts on this and anything else you might want to talk about. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter or just leave a comment in the comment section below. You’ll need an account for Disqus but it’s easy to set up. Don’t forget to share your rating in the “User Ratings” box
If you want to chat to me directly then I’m on Twitter as well.