Sorry about the delay with this; I am in North Carolina for work and the added bonus of visiting my brother and new baby niece and got hit by a snowstorm. Now, typically, Midwesterners don’t get too excited about a few inches of snow and some ice…but when you're in a state that doesn’t have the infrastructure in place to readily deal with such occurrences, things get tricky. Anyway! I’m here, and hopefully so are you!
This episode was packed full of curve balls. Some I didn’t see coming; some were telegraphed from miles away; all moved the story forward with a giant step. How fitting was it, then, that the song they used in the Road So Far was called “Changing Tracks.” I don’t know about you, but I feel like we just got a big shift in approach and up-leveled the danger quotient times ten.
I totally dig that.
I recently read a quote by Mark Twain: But who prays for Satan? Who in eighteen centuries, has had the common humanity to pray for the one sinner that needed it most, our one fellow and brother who most needed a friend yet had not a single one, the one sinner among us all who had the highest and clearest right to every Christian's daily and nightly prayers, for the plain and unassailable reason that his was the first and greatest need, he being among sinners the supremest?
I thought of that quote when Lucifer was doing his level best to employ all of his many powers of manipulation to convince Sam to say ‘yes’ to being a vessel. He laid it on thick, his desperation to get out of the Cage bleeding from him. He recognized quickly that pain wasn’t going to work, so he had to begin taking pegs out of Sam’s internal Jenga tower. Early on, I started to wonder how much was about going up against The Darkness (again) and how much was just using that as an opportunity for a jail break.
The ways he chose to manipulate Sam—playing on insecurities that Sam has already displayed this season regarding not being ‘enough’, not doing ‘enough’—were less “I’m totally ready to beat down The Darkness” and more “I can’t take one more day in this Cage; I’m losing my mind.” Almost makes you feel sorry for the guy. Almost.
The thing I found interesting, though, was that as expertly as Lucifer pressed Sam’s buttons, ultimately it wasn’t external manipulation that provided his exit, but internal manipulation.
Before I go there, though, I want to swing back to a comment I made in the Ramble for Epi 9 – Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? I mentioned how I’d seen on social media and the like that there were comments about how proud folks were that Sam said no when Lucifer asked to be his vessel like five seconds after he’d trapped Sam in the Cage. It took some commenter's alternate viewpoints for me to see why that might have been a big deal. My stance was that there was no way Sam was going to be scared enough to say yes so quickly after all he’d been through and seen.
After seeing Epi 10, I’m back to my original, of course he wasn’t going to say yes so quickly position because this, THIS is what makes me proud of Sam. To be taken on that walk down Painful Memory Lane, be told that he didn’t have what it took to save the world anymore, be mocked and belittled for choosing his brother over everything, and then say no? Yes! That makes me proud. That is the Sam Winchester I know and love.
And can we talk about his speeches for a moment?
“Eventually—sooner than you think—my brother’s gonna walk through that door and kick your ass.” *cheers* That’s what I’m talking about, Sam!
“I think that whoever wins—you or The Darkness—everyone else loses. […] This is about me having faith in my friends, having faith in my family. WE will find a way. I’m ready to die and watch people I love die, but I’m not ready to be your bitch.” *confetti* I mean, come on, that was awesome.
So, yeah, now I’m proud of him for saying no. Before, I didn’t have enough reason to be.
And before we get to the two big holy crap they went there moments, I must talk about Dean. The guy has always been my hero, ya’ll know that. But there was something about him this episode—I mean, maybe it was just the whole returning from hiatus effect, but he was amazing to look at. The h/c junkie in me perked up when his vision began to waver and he had to bail before defacing the rather newly repaired Impala with his Smiting Sickness (what will they think of next?!).
And the tension radiating through him as he descended the Stairway to Hell had me drawing PTSD conclusions from his time there. By the way, nobody visit that street corner in that town in NE…since basically there’s a secret door to HELL in the back of a junk shop. *blink* Oh, and apparently Sam has told Dean about Billie the Reaper’s declaration. So, that’s good to know.
How much did I love how Dean immediately ran toward Sam’s cries of pain, despite the warning, and fought Lucifer with everything in him, protecting Sam as much as he physically could, as he always has. Even if that meant he’s nearly choked to death by the Devil. The only thing about Dean in this episode that had my eyebrows going up was the way he said to Cas, “If she’s dead…bring her body out.” Almost as though he’d need to see it for himself. Or bury her himself. Or…something.
There was just a tone there that had me thinking…hmm….
So, plot-wise, we have Amara not dead, but clearly weakened in some way as evidenced by her swaying against the tree after sending Cas away with a message carved into his chest (which…gah). We have Rowena dead after a rather shockingly naïve approach to her involvement with Lucifer and his promise to reward her. I mean, deals with the Devil? Really? How was that going to end in any other way than her death? Though, I have to say I thought her confession to Crowley about why she couldn’t (not didn’t) love him was rather movingly poignant and then to have him helplessly watch her demise…that had to be awfully conflicting.
And finally, we have Castiel. The angel who has been so many iterations of himself it’s easy to lose track. He wants so badly to make a difference, to do the right thing, to fight the actual good fight and not the fight that his fellow angels have deemed right (which, ultimately, disregards humanity entirely). He’s been humanity’s champion and the Winchester’s savior more times than I can count sitting here writing this to you. But his self-worth has taken a serious beating recently.
Then he runs into that number-crunching angel, Ambriel, who nonchalantly informs him that he’s expendable—and thought of as a murderer of angels among most of the angelic population—and he’s turned into a living message from Amara who adds cracks in his already shaky ground by telling him he reeked of fear and self-loathing and looked used up.
Is it any wonder, then, that when he and two humans are getting their asses handed to them by Lucifer, trapped in his cage, and Cas thinks he can do something—make some sacrifice—that might actually save the world, save Sam and Dean who have become his only family, he does it? The problem—I mean, other than the fact that Cas’ vessel is now rented out by Lucifer—is that he was focusing so much on whether or not Lucifer could defeat The Darkness, he didn’t pause to consider whether or not he would.
Sam did; he knew that there was no trusting the Devil. But…Lucifer had once been an angel, and I think maybe Castiel wanted so badly to believe in the good of his kind and wanted so badly to somehow, some way, make a difference, he let his internal manipulation get the better of him and made the wrong sacrifice. I wonder if he’s trapped inside the vessel as well, as Sam was when Lucifer ‘possessed’ him before, or if a vessel can take only one angel at a time and Cas is just…gone? Not gone gone, but…out there…somewhere.
In any case, the boys are seriously screwed right now (even though they don't actually know it yet). Even if Lucifer does go after Amara as he claimed he would, and even if he beats her (which he might have a chance to do since she’s weakened, at least right now), they have the whole new problem of putting the genie back in the bottle and the only person (that they know of, anyway) who can cork it is dead.
I’m excited to see where they take this. I’m enjoying this season so far. Hope they can keep it up.
Okay, ya’ll want some lists?
- The fact that in Rowena’s recurring nightmare, she can’t get the antlers to come off. I don’t know why, but that cracked me up.
- Crowley (in footie PJs no less) being delighted about getting a Sam Pop! figure
- “…my brother’s gonna walk through that door and kick your ass.” “You’re betting on Dean?” “I always have.” Annnddddd <3<3<3
- Having Colin Ford back as young Sam. I like him so much.
- Sam’s voicemail. Actual LOL moment.
- Smiting Sickness. I was with Dean in that whole, “That’s a thing?” reaction. But…I have to confess liking Dean being struck with the impacts of the ‘sickness’ and Castiel descending upon him in immediate care mode.
- Seeing the whole Stull cemetery scene again. First, I couldn’t believe how YOUNG Sam looked in that scene compared to now. Second, Dean…beat to hell, gasping, just…. Third, seeing Adam/Michael grab Sam and fall into the Cage with him—acknowledging Michael’s existence.
- Castiel calmly pointing out to Ambriel that the fact that it’s dark in the middle of the day is not normal.
- Discovering that Sam had, in fact, told Dean what Billie the Reaper said about keeping them dead.
- Lucifer telling Sam that the worst thing he ever did was decide to stay with Amelia—yes, I know, it was part of his manipulation tactic, but I kinda agreed with him on that one.
- Crowley and Rowena discovering they take their tea exactly the same (which, incidentally, is how I take it as well…hmmm…)
- “Where’s Sam?” “Don’t worry about Sam.” “I’m sorry, have you met me?”
- “Oedipal Fifty Shades thing….”
- Sam’s whole speech when he says ‘no’ to Lucifer.
- “Move to LA, solve crimes.” HA! Nice shout out to the new Lucifer show, Show.
- “You’re an old dog and that’s your old trick.”
- “Scared?” “Not even a little.” I <3 you, Dean.
- “We can’t win.” “We don’t have to win; we just have to last a few minutes.”
- “Bite me.” “I can make her do that.”
- Rowena’s speech about why she can’t love Crowley. She kinda made me feel something for her.
- Rowena actually dying. I really didn’t think they’d go there—but it was time. If Lucifer had kept her around, it would have weakened his stance as The Big Bad Devil and would have been hard to buy, really. Though, I will miss her sass.
- Disco music for the Cage Match 2016. I mean, there’s torture and then there’s torture.
- Ambreil. For just…reasons. Maybe her grace poisoned Amara or something. Which would actually be a good thing, but…eh. Didn’t really like her.
- Okay, how do vessels work again, exactly? I mean, Lucifer took the dude we all recognize as Lucifer, but that body began to burn out and die around him, which is why he really needed Sam, his chosen vessel. Jimmy Novak’s vessel was good enough for Castiel, an angel, so will it be good enough for Lucifer? Or will it start to burn out on him, too, the longer he stays in there?
- Where did Cas go??
- Do you guys think that Lucifer will try to defeat Amara? Or do you think they will team up? Because unlike last time when Lucifer was God’s favorite angel and fighting alongside his brothers, this time he has a lot in common with Amara. What does he get out of risking possible defeat going up against her when they could join forces? *ponders*
I have to say something about Misha Collins’ turn as Lucifer. The moment he walked back into Hell, it was an amazing transformation. I mean, we’ve seen him as human and vulnerable, human and loopy, angel of the Lord and warrior, bee-loving angel, God!Cas, damaged and wounded…and each time has been believable, but this? This was Misha channeling Mark as Lucifer and it was awesome. I’m looking forward to seeing what he does with this role.
Okay, so lay it on me. What did you think? Thanks for reading! Slainte.