Sunday, February 4, 2018

Supernatural, Season 13, Episode 12: Various & Sundry Villains

So after the wayward sisters pilots, we’re back to the main cast with a huge flashback that reminded me of just how much is happening re Lucifer, Jack et al

This week we have a couple of witch sisters running amok, using love spells to compel men to do whatever they want (like killing and stealing) and then killing them messily with hammers. The mundane way of murder helps keep hunters looking the other way

At the Winchesters, things are not good. Sam is despairing and bleak, Dean is trying to keep spirits up. But Dean’s idea of spirits up is just keep plunging on. That’s kind of what Dean does, kind of what he’s always done. Head down, keep hunting, keep fighting while he’s all bleak and dark, until finally things come right. Sometimes because of a plan or idea Sam has - Sam is the research guy. So the best Dean can do is keep poking Sam into researching since it’s not his forte while fumbling for a way to keep moving and keep Sam moving. This is not Dean’s strongpoint

He goes for booze and is ambushed by those love spell using witches, they whammy him and convince him to go and get them the Grimoire. The Big Bad Book of Scary Magic they have hidden in the Bunker.

Dean under a love spell is surprisingly fun and bright and happy and smily and damn cute. Yes yes he is.

Sam rather quickly realises There Is An Issue (because Dean is happy and happy Dean just doesn’t happen) but that doesn’t stop Dean knocking him out and stealing the book in a cloud of glee and lovestruck nonsense

Sam follows them when the sisters plan to apply the hammer to Dean’s head, but Dean instantly turns on Sam still completely zonked on love. The witches escape and Dean is only rescued from his enchantment by another witch


Yes, ever since we had the mention of a resurrection spell out there as a get out of death precaution witches could use, we knew Rowena wouldn’t die. We knew it.

At this point, that big dramatic cliffhanger in which everyone died has led to Mary surviving, Lucifer surviving and coming back, Castiel being resurrected, Rowena being resurrected, no-one really caring about Kelly and only Crowley still being dead. So far. I’m not convinced he will not return.

Rowena is horrified to hear that Crowley died, her only son. Sam tries to comfort her that he died a hero, sacrificing himself for the rest of them: she snaps angrily that she’d rather have a living son than a dead hero. It’s moving

It’s also clear Rowena is more than a little traumatised by her own death experience - because Lucifer didn’t just kill her, he brutally murdered her in a terrible fashion and it took her a long time to heal. She’s terrified about repeating it and part of that means she wants the Black Grimoire back. Among the spells in it is one that will remove a binding put on her powers by the Grand Coven way back in the day.

The Winchesters aren’t a fan of working with her obviously but she assures them that her death experience has changed her. Honest. She’s also very very snarky - and can still poke the brothers (her calling Dean a “poor sheltered boy” was especially good). They do bring her investigating since she put a tracking spell on the book. While Dean goes speaking to the locals (Rowena advises speaking to women as they’re near certainly not popular with local ladies) Sam babysits Rowena

They pretty much sum up Rowena when she asks if she can just enslave locals and question them with:
“I’m very sure you can, but I’m also very sure you shouldn’t.”
“Bless your precious heart, you just described my entire life.” Which is Rowena in a nutshell

But Sam and Rowena also share the truth depth of her horror. Like Sam, she has seen Lucifer’s true face and she has been traumatised to her core by it - she feels completely helpless and terrified all the time. Sam tries to tell her she will continue to feel that way no matter how powerful she becomes - how he feels that way all the time it’s only by keeping moving and focusing on the apocalypse of the day. Basically he hasn’t dealt with it. And he has no advice for Rowena on how to do it, only that power won’t fix it.

Dean does find a woman who hates the witch sisters even more than she loves Dean’s backside and gives him an address, which he takes back to Rowena and Sam. And Rowena promptly drops a hex bag freezing them in place so she can go after the book on her own.

Because she’s still Rowena

Only Sam managing to reach the hex bag and Dean burning it gets them free. Yes Sam can reach it, as Dean points out, he’s 8 foot tall.

The witches are trying to use the book to resurrect their mother who they love dearly. In fact they’ve got a really nice supportive family feeling to them which would be much nicer if it didn’t involve, y’know, murder.

Oh and they’re working for Rowena. Rowena agreed to cast the spell to resurrect their mother if they’d get the book. Only they tried to double cross Rowena and instead raised mother as a magic proof brain eating zombie. Despite this they’re not willing to turn back to team Rowena again and sick the zombie on her and Rowena is reduced to panicking screaming and fleeing

C’mon Rowena. The zombie may be magic proof but you have proven telekinetic abilities and who knows what else. You can’t throw some furniture at them

The brothers arrive shortly afterwards and there’s a witch Winchester battle that doesn’t go well because of the large amounts of impressive combat magic the witches are packing. They do manage to tell Rowena how to kill a zombie

And No - stop. She is a centuries old witch who, as she just said, has dealt with more than one zombie in her time. She’s also not an ananchronism, we’ve seen her engage in the modern world comfortably more than once. She knows that killing zombies involves head trauma. My father knows how to kill zombies and he asked me what “The Walking Dead” is.

But she does it which then frees her to go magic vs magic with the Junior Witches. The witch sisters stab each other to death most brutally because Rowena is the most magical one of them all.

To which Sam and Dean take the book, though Rowena does make a plea to Sam, she doesn’t try to take it from them. Oh and she is accused of double crossing them but she points out she triple crossed so she ended up on their side, all good.

Which could be seen as a little strange because she just murdered the other two witches so there’s a fair to decent chance she could take on Sam and Dean. But in a way this is sort of how Frenemies like Rowena and Crowley enter Dean and Sam’s circle. They’re definitely evil; but generally prefer not being TOO evil in front of Sam and Dean. They rarely openly confront Sam and Dean and similarly and certainly not violently. In general they make killing them, on some level, an aggressive act on Sam and Dean’s part - not to defend anyone, not to defend themselves, but to kill the evil one who is sat there with a snarky quip and a “who me? I’m just a loveable rogue!” look on their face. Also they tend to be useful and a friendship grows

How close that has grown becomes apparent when Dean confronts Sam back at the bunker- he let Rowena tear a page out of the Grimoire. Dean isn’t amused he let Rowena under his skin but Sam begins to talk about how utterly helpless he feels. Again, Dean just does a bad job of dealing with this or offering anything like supportive advice.

Rowena uses the page to unbind her powers - which looks suitably ominous.

Meanwhile Castiel and Lucifer are still imprisoned by Asmodeus, the Kentucky Fried Demon Prince. Lucifer is annoyed because he’s low powered and, as he frequently tells everyone, he could totally slaughter everyone if he was at full power. As it is he can’t even get out of his angel prison. He also expects Alternate World Michael to slaughter them all because that’s what Michael does

His escape plan is to east Castiel’s grace. Castiel says no. He’s also not riled by the guard. Or by Lucifer. Or anyone. Castiel’s looking damn centred and rational. He does amuse himself by expertly poking every single last one of Lucifer’s sore spots with expert precision. Especially about Jack

This turns out to be useful because the angrier Lucifer becomes the more of his Grace he’s able to charge back up and as Castiel works him into a rage he manages to break them out and Castiel kill their warder (with the angel light touch thing. Which I can never remember if he has or not because there are a whole lot of times, like healing, where this magic nuke would be useful and he never uses it. Same with angels in general in fact - they all tend to fence now when they’re literally capable of killing with a touch. It was why angels were so damn scary).

A small army of demons arrive. And dies. Because Angels are Big Deals. This episode anyway.

They escape and Lucifer again makes his plea for Castiel to give him Grace - and Castiel stabs him. Because Castiel has learned all the lessons needed about trusting Lucifer… I doubt he’s dead. Because I pretty much doubt anyone’s dead on this show

Except Charlie. Charlie is still dead. Not that I’m bitter.

Rowena’s story is interesting because in some ways it hasn’t changed. Even before her latest death experience, Rowena wasn’t necessarily seeking power for power’s sake - but for security, safety and freedom. Admittedly, part of that was to be free to be as evil as she wanted to be, but power was always Rowena’s crutch. And when at the most scared and vulnerable she’s ever felt, of course she’s going to turn to power again

I said after the great cliffhanger that there’s no way this many people are dead for it to be meaningful. I said that a lot of it would be walked back and I wasn’t overly bothered by that since I liked the characters and didn’t want any of them to be gone really. But at the same time, it feels hollow to walk it all back. Mary coming back and Castiel and now Rowena? A grand finale in which all but the central two characters were killed was dramatic and horrifying. EVERYONE being back but Crowley (yet?) feels… cowardly?