Sam and Dean call on some old allies to assist in their standoff against the ghosts. But the united forces of the undead prove to be a bigger problem than they thought.
On Supernatural Season 15 Episode 2, the Winchesters and Castiel face the ongoing threat of the spirits they trapped in Harlan, Kansas. With the help of some friends, some very unexpected, they work to diffuse the situation. Meanwhile, Chuck visits his sister with a plea for help.
When it comes to facing unlikely odds, the Winchesters have no shortage of connections. Along with the vast network of hunters Sam had a hand in training last season, the boys also call Rowena for help. Though they’ve had a delicate truce with the witch in the past, the last two seasons have solidified her genuine relationship with them. Though she makes no promises about what she’ll be able to do, Rowena does what she can to help.
There is also a sudden appearance from Arthur Ketch, who until recently was said to be traveling Europe as an assassin for hire. Though I’m reluctant to admit it, Ketch’s character has really grown on me since his introduction in Supernatural Season 12. From his humble beginnings as a merciless member of the Men of Letters, he’s grown to be a somewhat off-beat ally, the likes of Peter Hale from Teen Wolf or Loki of the Marvel movies. I was surprised to find myself cheering at his reappearance. Hopefully, he’ll stay a morally ambiguous ally.
The most important return, of course, is Osric Chau’s appearance as Kevin Tran. Previously a prophet of the Lord, Kevin died back in Season 9 and has already made a handful of appearances as a ghost. Last we saw him in Season 11, Chuck supposedly sent him on to Heaven. In Supernatural Season 15 Episode 2, we learn that was just another one of God’s falsehoods. Kevin does his best to spy on the other ghosts for Sam and Dean, but ultimately, everyone seems to know just how much he means to the Winchesters. At the end of the episode, he leaves to roam the Earth with what is probably his final goodbye.
Rowena and Ketch
While Rowena’s morality has been questioned throughout the seasons, there’s one thing that remains constant. Rowena MacLeod is a flirt! She’s conned several wealthy men into giving her their fortunes, along with a brief tryst with the archangel Gabriel in Season 13. Her latest conquest is none other than Arthur Ketch.
For the most part, this relationship is played for laughs. Obviously the two have chemistry, both acting as enemies-turned-allies to the Winchesters, and called upon for their extremely specific skill sets. Still, some parts were so over the top I had trouble watching with anything but awkward laughter. Rowena and Ketch might have been disappointed when Dean’s phone call broke up their moment, but I was a little bit relieved.
My instinct is to ask for more development of this relationship. After all, Ketch previously had deep feelings for the boys’ mother, Mary, who died at the end of last season. She was an integral part of his character arc, and he’s yet to express any opinion on the subject of her death. Similarly, Ketch had previously been hunting Rowena down to perform a spell that would save him from death a second time. This isn’t mentioned at all in the episode, which focuses instead on their lighthearted chemistry.
However, my gut feeling tells me it won’t last. Rowena’s fling with Gabriel was written very much the same way—that is, light on development and heavy on innuendo. At the end of Supernatural Season 15 Episode 2, Ketch is short with iron bullets and taken away in an ambulance. It would stand to reason that he won’t reappear for some time, if at all. As for Rowena, the preview for next week doesn’t seem promising. Who knows if she’ll be around long enough to do anything more than flirt with Ketch?
The Soul Catcher
The Winchesters have a solid plan for dealing with the ghosts. They call Rowena and ask if she can build another “soul catcher”—a crystal they used to collect spirits in Season 11 while fighting the Darkness. Rowena warns them that it’s complicated magic, and by no means a guarantee. Still, I was incredibly impressed with the logic. It really did feel like a logical plan based on the Winchesters’ past experiences.
Unfortunately, nothing is ever that simple. The team is up against the clock with Belphegor’s warding failing, and the ghosts unionizing on the other side. They’re led by a spirit Bel recognizes as Francis Tumblety, otherwise known as Jack the Ripper. His plan is to storm the warding with a concentrated force of ghosts in order to break free. In a confrontation with Rowena, he reveals that the two have a complicated history, before possessing Ketch in order to get close to the Winchesters. Tackling Rowena, he steals the Soul Catcher, explaining that it doubles as a powerful weapon…right up until Dean shoots him and picks up the dropped crystal.
I thought the resolution here was extremely underwhelming. There wasn’t much tension in the scene to start, so the abrupt end didn’t read as a relief or as comedy. Also, the idea that Ketch gets shot and throws the stone right into Dean’s hands is a stretch. It can be explained away, but in the moment it felt like a necessary conclusion more than a logical one.
While the rebellious ghosts are trapped inside the Soul Catcher for now, it’s by no means all of them. The episode ends with a pan of the sky, as more ghosts fly high and attempt to break through the warding. Ultimately, we’re in the same place we were last week. There are a bunch of ghosts trapped, and we still have no concrete way to stop them.
Chuck and Amara
While the boys are dealing with the ghosts in Kansas, Chuck is busy in Reno looking for his sister. Amara is not pleased to see him, despite their family reunion at the end of Season 11. Even though they put the bulk of their differences aside, Amara reminds Chuck that she does not intend on being around him. Chuck insists that he wants to bond, but Amara sees through his lies easily. He needs her, and he’s scared.
This was by far the most interesting part of the episode, as it addresses God’s actual injury from the Equalizer. Sam is suffering from pain and visions with his gun wound, but it seems to have taken a solid chuck on energy from Chuck as well. Inspecting the mark in the mirror, Chuck pokes it and winces, just as Sam winces too. Because of the nature of the gun, the injuries are still linked. At best, this could mean that when Chuck heals from the wound, Sam will too. At worst, it could be a dangerous way for Chuck to keep an eye on Sam and Dean and overhear their plans.
In my series breakdown of Supernatural, I rated Season 11 as my least favorite. That was in large part due to Amara, her characterization, and her relationship with Dean. All that aside, I was happy to see her this season. I had feared that the writers might forget about her, or write her off with a throwaway comment. Amara’s conscious choice to abandon her brother made a lot more narrative sense, and was surprisingly satisfying. Just like he locked her away at the dawn of time, Amara chooses to leave Chuck trapped on this Earth, injured and alone—for now.
I didn’t like this episode as much as the premiere. So much of this episode felt like relentless exposition and set up for the rest of the season. I understand that we needed to take time to reintroduce Rowena, to explore the link between Sam and Chuck. Trying to fit that info in another episode might have made it crowded. Still, it’s frustrating to end an episode with the same objective as the one before. There was little to no progress made, which is disheartening.
Catch Supernatural Thursdays on the CW at 8/7c.