Friday, February 19, 2016

Supernatural, Season 11, Episode 14: The Vessel

Nazis… ok I cringed, after the last depiction I wasn’t particularly thrilled with Supernatural using Nazis again. But then we get a stabbing – and I’m always here for some stabbed facists.

In 1943 we have our hero, French Resistance member and Woman of Letters, Delphine, stabbing said Nazi in order to grab a powerful artefact (yes, these Nazis are Indiana Jones style magic hunting Nazis) and get is back to Men of Letters HQ

And in the present, Sam has done some research and decides they really need this magical item – it’s one of the objects known as the Hand Of God because it was fondled by the divine hand at some point in the past. Unfortunately this object went down with the American war ship that was supposed to bring it across the Atlantic. The only realistic way to get it is… time travel. Yes, we’ve all remembered that angels can do the time travel thing: yes it’s risky but Dean points out that they’re grabbing an object from a submarine that sinks. It’s not like they have much scope to change the time line here

In hell, Lucifer, in Castiel’s body, is now in control. Naturally Castifer became king of hell very quickly because there’s no way Crowley could stop him and, well, Lucifer. Crowley is tormented and humiliated (and plotting. Of course he’s plotting) and recognises the simple truth: Castifer is not powerful enough on his own to bring down Amarra. He needs a boost

A boost like the Hand of God. That’ll do – so he goes to the Winchesters and plays Castiel (a moment of praise for the acting here – he does a really good job of playing Lucifer trying to be Castiel – that takes skill) for the brothers and agrees to take Dean back (yes, Dean, because he has a whole martyrdom complex over Amarra, woe woe is his Manpain).

And hits a snag – Delphine is a crafty Woman of Letters and has warded the submarine against supernatural stuff – and that includes Castifer. Castifer ends up back in the present, sopping wet, while Dean spends approximately 10 minutes sneaking around a submarine, 5 minutes convincing Delphine he’s legit and then being captured.

Being captured does result in everyone listening to him – and, even if the rest of the sailors don’t believe him, Delphine seems willing to go along. Ok, I’m a little dubious at how quickly Delphine was willing to believe him. I mean, really, she is trying to guard a magical artefact of doom: so sure she may believe in woo-woo but surely that doesn’t mean utter naivety and believing any woo-woo. I mean, Dean could be a shapeshifting Nazi (just as plausible as angel time travel).

I’ll give most of the crew a pass on account of them being far far more distracted by the Nazi war ship trying to kill them so yeah, less questioning the weird guy and more getting ready to die. Delphin has less excuse but she’s also facing death and desperately hoping to do something and about to die anyway

Which is why she is willing to have Dean kill her (the anti-angel wards are connected to her life) so he can get an angel ride home. I think it’s supposed to be good and noble and it kind of feels that way largely because of her great acting – but she’s asking Dean to stab her in the heart with little real purpose, ok it saves her from horrible drowny death I guess.

He doesn’t stab her, because emotion – Dean would also now like to save them with the Hand of God, but she warns him that that will totally mess him up. So she’ll do it and kill a lot of Nazis in the process and die so Dean can go home.

Ok, again she’s well acted and they’re really really pushing the noble sacrifice, but it’s feeling a little less like “noble sacrifice” and more suicidal ideation. That’s some desperate hunger for a noble death right there. I can see her in her daily life, looking for an opportunity to die nobly. Spilled your coffee? Delphine will be there to die for that spilled caffeine!

Back in the present Sam wants to send Castifer back to rescue Dean – so they need to get past the ward. The only thing he can find is a spell that needs an archangel. Shame he doesn’t one of them lying around, right?

After a few more rounds of pretending to be Castiel, Lucifer realises he doesn’t need Sam so he might as well just kill him. Castifer reveals himself, starts with the Sam killing (and I just say that Castifer is awesome and great fun), except Castiel isn’t on side with that and can juuuust about stop Lucifer mangling a Winchester

Castifer is willing to go back and rescue Dean and the Hand of God… but he doesn’t get the shiny magical artefacts because it turns out divine artefacts are one shot only and Martyr Lady just used its only charge. Well, damn. And Castifer gets his secret revealed to all – and banished by Dean who quickly pulls off an angel banishing spell.

He is deeply moved by Delphine’s sacrifice though. Which is important because it’s really needed to try and sell her sacrifice (and the acting really does despite the shakiness). I would make snarky comments about how the women on this show are just so eager to leap into Dean Winchester’s fridge but for once I do feel that it wasn’t all about Dean’s pain and about her… noble martyrdom. Which is almost sold except for the lingering sense that she’s never seen a cliff she hasn’t wanted to jump off heroically.