Like a house of cards collapsing in on itself, Season 14 of Supernatural seems determined to fold its past and present together into something that’s vast… and a little messy. Does it sound like I’m complaining? Well, I don’t mean to. Really, I’m used to the ever expanding and contracting worldview of this show, which struggles between the twin impulses of giving the Winchester boys a bigger sandbox to play in, and paring it all down to just the two of them again. It’s a familiar cycle, and generally the show makes it work precisely because it IS so familiar. Too many characters? Ignore some, or sideline them! Too much plot? Hit pause, then go fight some toys! There may be a
demon apocalypse archangel waiting to be defeated, but there’s a whole lotta episodes to fill before THAT season finale.
Take this week’s episode, for example. There’s no mention of Castiel or Jack, or even Lucifer’s murderous vessel, Nick. For now, their plots are the ones that are paused. Sam’s been playing Giles to his Bunker fulla Buffys, and his latest innovation is having all of them wear body cams (how topical!) — which comes in handy when one of those fresh-faced alt-world hunters goes missing: Maggie, the one that Lucifer killed and brought back last season, and the only one that’s been given a name at this point, I think. Anyway, Sam and Dean follow the bodycam footage to an estate in Oklahoma, where it at first appears that a ghoul has captured Maggie. Except, as we all know, ghouls are scavengers and aren’t prone to attacking the the living. DUH. Also, the “ghoul” sure looks like the owner of the estate — a man who is in a coma, being tended by an overeager nurse named Neil. Oh, and Mary and Alt-Bobby are there too! Everybody had the same “Let’s pretend we’re from a historic preservation society” plan, apparently.
Bobby’s got a bone to pick with Sam over his mismanagement of Maggie (HOW DARE YOU, SIR!), so Dean takes Bobby to hunt the grounds while Sam and Mary go the opposite direction. And for those of you who were wondering if the chemistry between father-figure Bobby and actual mother Mary was real or imagined, don’t worry — they are DEFINITELY into each other. But since lasting happiness is the biggest myth in the Supernatural canon, clearly their relationship isn’t without its problems. Mary confesses her concerns to Sam, and while she says Bobby’s closed off and is hunting all the time instead of sharing his feelings, I say… uh, he’s a hunter. Aren’t they ALL kinda like that? And speaking of hunters, Mary finds a hunter’s wallet in the woods (the multiple falsified IDs are a dead giveaway), while on the other side of the property Dean find the hunter’s dead body, hidden away in a shack. And then he gets attacked by the old man ghoul, whom he “dusts” (Dean is SUCH a Buffy):
And it’s here that things get screwy, because back at the main house the owner’s daughter, Sasha, gets chased by a vampire, prompting Sam to explore the attic — where he discovers Maggie, hung up by her wrists and with a blood tube coming out of her neck (don’t worry, she’s alive). And in the woods, Bobby encounters the source of all his pain — his dead son, Daniel, who was killed by angels during the war on the other Earth. Yup — we’re dealing with multiple monsters! Or are we? While everyone is running around dusting different baddies, Dean figures it all out. That overeager nurse, Neil? He’s a Djinn. Dean even has a flashback to the second season episode where he first encountered these evil genies. But this isn’t merely a callback, because THIS Djinn has made a bargain with Michael: get super-charged powers, in exchange for trapping and killing hunters.
The Djinn thinks Dean is Michael (a reasonable assumption!) and that this has all been a test to see if he’s been upholding his part of the deal. Apparently his new juiced-up powers allow him to not only tap into people’s dreams, but their nightmares — and then manifest them in reality. Which explains why everyone has been facing different monsters. But when Neil goes to read Dean’s brain for nightmares, he gets freaked out — ostensibly because Dean has SEEN SOME SH*T and really, what even IS his nightmare scenario anymore? But there’s another possibility: he’s still got Michael hiding inside of him, which is a very extreme form of protection. Who knows! Point is, Dean is able to overpower and kill the Djinn in the confusion, and everyone is saved.
Back at the Bunker, Sam and Dean start calling all their hunter friends to warn them about the dozens of other Djinn traps Michael has set, not to mention the supercharged monsters he’s created. Bobby finally opens up about the loss of his son to Mary, and the pair decide to take some time off of the hunting gig to go play house in a cabin in the woods. The writers seem to be coming up with a lot of ways to whittle down the characters around the brothers — which naturally means next week it’s time for another appearance by Charlie Bradbury (Felicia Day)!
This episode was sort of a microcosm of every standard maneuver in the Supernatural playbook: encounter an old threat with a new twist, learn a bit about the big bad’s overarching plan, dredge up all kinds of family drama (this time mostly Bobby’s), ignore the existence of some of your cast, and find a way to get rid of a few others for the next few episodes. And give Sammy some sh*t. And on that note…
Beard Joke of the Week: Dean, in trying to explain how hard Sam has been working, says he even “grew himself one of those Kenny Rogers beards” which… yeah. Never forget, Dean. And never let your brother live it down.
Header Image Source: CW