A simple werewolf case turns out to be much more when Sam and Dean discover the victim isn’t who she appears to be.
On Supernatural Season 15 Episode 5, Sam and Dean take a routine case of “mountain lion attacks.” However, their victim turns out to be a surprising enemy from the past. Sam continues to grapple with his nightmares, which leads him to a frightening conclusion.
Easily my favorite parts of this episode, this week we were treated to two alternate universes. The first assumes that Sam said “yes” to Lucifer, as shown by the ever iconic white suit that only Sam’s Lucifer ever wore. But this is a different Samifer than we saw back in Supernatural Season 5 Episode 4, “The End.” This Samifer sits in the bunker, waiting on Dean to arrive with the Colt. This would indicate that this story branched off mid-Season 5, when Sam and Dean learned the Colt was useless against Lucifer. The Colt doesn’t work in this universe either, and Samifer sets Dean aflame with just the power of his mind.
This vision turns out to be just another bad dream, and Sam wakes up frantically in the Impala. Dean is concerned, but in true Winchester fashion, Sam won’t reveal the nature of his dreams. It’s clear Dean knows something’s up, as he comments that he’s surprised Sam is have “another one” of these nightmares. He drops the subject, and we don’t get another vision until Sam is knocked unconscious on their case.
Sam’s vision is a slightly different version of the bunker scene in Supernatural Season 10 Episode 3, “Soul Survivor”. This of course, was the last appearance of Demon!Dean. In Season 10, Dean hunts Sam through the bunker, but is eventually captured by Castiel so he can be restored to himself. In Supernatural Season 15 Episode 5, no Castiel ever appears. Dean gets his demonic hands on the First Blade, and kills his brother without a second thought.
I won’t lie, this was a highly anticipated scene for me. Fans were quick to recognize Dean’s red shirt and sleek hair from trailers and promo pictures, the tell-tale signs of Demon!Dean. It was one of the most interesting parts of Season 10 for me, and one that I wish would have been explored further. In the same way, I wish this scene had played more with the possibilities of a demonic Dean. It felt like such a natural jump, and Dean didn’t even have any lines. Still, I can’t complain all that much, and I’m glad they revisited that character at all.
The case of the week in this episode is about a “mountain lion attack” which resulted in the death of two girls and the wounding of another. Sam and Dean break out some of their old Fish and Wildlife ID’s (not seen since Season 1) and go to find the real cause of the deaths. Interviewing the sole survivor, Ashley, the brothers learn the girls were killed by a pureblood werewolf. She even gives them the name of the man who attacked her—Andy May. As Sam observes, it’s all a little simple.
The werewolf, it turns out, is not working alone. He and his older brother Josh were raised by a peaceful werewolf father, whose death has put Josh all out of sorts. While he insists on attacking humans, Andy longs to go back to his quiet life of innocence. However, he goes along with his brother’s plan to kidnap Ashley and finish the job. When the Winchesters show up to save her, Josh very nearly kills Dean. However, Andy kills his brother with Dean’s gun and then, horrified by the monsters they’ve become, turns the gun on himself.
This subplot did absolutely nothing to hold my attention. But the Supernatural writers certainly did a good job covering for themselves, because the characters acknowledge in the episode how boring and systematic it is. All the bad writing is blamed on Chuck, who is turning out to be even more of a hack writer than he used to be. It’s all extremely meta, but no excuse lazy writing. The first half hour of the episode was full of uninteresting dialogue and obligatory quips. I couldn’t have been more thankful for the plot twist they dropped halfway through.
In the aftermath of the werewolf showdown, Ashley trips and spears herself on a broken deer antler. Though Sam and Dean stare down at her in horror, she is only mildly inconvenienced and stands up without a problem. Sam demands to know who and what she is, which makes Ashley laugh. Her eyes roll back to blank white, and a series of flashbacks reveals that they are face to face with Lilith once more.
Lilith, of course, died in the Supernatural Season 4 finale, killed by Sam to free Lucifer from the cage. This makes it all the more concerning to see her alive. But Lilith reveals that it was Chuck who resurrected her, and gave her a very specific objective. She wants the Equalizer—the gun Chuck made to kill Jack in the previous season. She’s not allowed to kill Sam and Dean to get it, but she’s not afraid to torture her way to an answer. Ultimately, Dean agrees to get her the gun to save Sam.
Riding in the Impala Dean asks Lilith why she’s going along with God’s plan when she vocally agrees that it’s stupid. Lilith is annoyed that her ultimate sacrifice to raise Lucifer ended up meaningless, as the Winchesters stopped the Apocalypse anyway. She’s not powerful enough to punish God for that, but she can very well punish Sam and Dean. Despite Sam and Dean’s best efforts, Lilith does find the Equalizer where they’ve hidden it oh-so-securely in the glove compartment of the Impala. But rather than keep it, she destroys it in front of their eyes, and disappears into the night.
When the episode first revealed Lilith’s return, I actually shouted in surprise. Though Crowley had plenty of close calls, Lilith is the only demon to actually be killed and resurrected on the show. Her return is unparalleled. One of my more questionable qualities as a viewer is that I’m easily satisfied with nostalgic appearances and self-referential humor. In theory, it’s great to have a villain back who was so iconic in the early seasons. However, Lilith’s return opens a world of plot holes that are impossible to ignore.
Let’s start with the smaller grievances. One thing that irked me continually is how Sam and Dean continue to threaten Lilith with the demon-killing blade. Supernatural Season 4 established that the blade couldn’t kill high-level demons like Lilith and Alastair. In fact, the entirety of Season 4 hinged on that fact, as it led Sam down the slippery slope of using his demon powers. Lilith didn’t actually come in contact with the blade in this episode, but I’m very concerned the writers might forget that tidbit of information down the road.
Onto the bigger issue. If Lilith being the only demon ever resurrected seems weird to you, it’s because you’ve caught on to a huge continuity error. Demons, like angels, are said to go to the Empty when they die—the void before and between all worlds. It’s been previously stated that Castiel is the only person to ever escape the Empty, thanks to Jack’s help. The Shadow, which presides over the Empty, said themselves that God has no power there. So Chuck being able to raise Lilith on a whim, especially when he’s not at full power, isn’t something that makes a lot of sense.
I’m already preparing for the show to cover this up with their favorite fix-all solution: Chuck is God, God is a writer, and writers lie. These things only seem like continuity errors because Chuck wanted them to seem that way until the last possible second. But when you treat established canon that way, it’s very hard to give anything any sort of gravity. Even if the Winchesters do manage to defeat Lilith again, what’s to stop Chuck from plucking her back out again? Can Chuck override Castiel’s deal with The Shadow to be taken there forever when he’s happiest? In the end, what is the point?
It’s getting a little confusing to figure out how things really work in the universe. It feels as though we’ve thrown away most of the rules just to have some cool appearances. I’m sincerely hoping that we can get back to the basics of Supernatural soon. If the story isn’t ultimately about the power of found family and the freedom of choice, it doesn’t feel like Supernatural at all.
Without the Equalizer, Sam and Dean are at their lowest. They now know that Chuck is not gone after all. He’s still interfering with their lives at every turn, and now they have no weapon to stop him. They don’t have Jack and his powers to help them anymore. They don’t even have Castiel on their side. They are more alone than ever.
Sam wonders what it is that Chuck wants, which is when Dean reveals something from his conversation with Lilith. Chuck only knows how to write one kind of story. Every iteration of their world has ended in the same way—one of the brothers kills the other. It’s this confession that drives Sam to tell Dean about his dreams, where he’s been watching all of Chuck’s different endings: Demon!Sam killing Dean, Demon!Dean killing Sam, Samifer killing Dean. All of them really do seem to end the same way.
It’s taken five whole episodes, but Sam comes to the same conclusion I predicted in my review of Supernatural Season 15 Episode 1. Using the Equalizer formed a bond between Sam and Chuck, and is allowing Sam a look into Chuck’s head. Now the Winchesters and the viewers are all on the same page, but we’re no closer to figuring out how this will be useful. Hopefully, Sam will find a scrapped in Chuck’s head where they find a way to save the day. But with all the talk of hopelessness, foreshadowing, and destruction, the outcome doesn’t look good.
I’m honestly on the fence about this episode. I was intrigued by Lilith’s reappearance, even if it doesn’t make one hundred percent canonical sense. At the same time, I didn’t like how she was paired off with Dean for the episode, when she has a much richer and more complicated history with Sam. And I don’t even have time to unpack Lilith’s throwaway comment about seducing Dean in the body of a girl twenty years his junior. It was another flirty quip that was played for laughs, and never unpacked for the disturbing, inappropriate remark it was.
The second half of the episode does open up Supernatural Season 15 to the larger issues and higher stakes. I’m glad Sam and Dean have addressed the dreams. That means we may begin to see the visions take a larger role in the plot. And Lilith’s appearance paves the way for the potential return of other villains like Azazel, Alastair, or Raphael. Still, my heart is waiting for Castiel and Jack to come back into play. Like Becky said in the last episode, we care about the characters a lot more than the Big Bads.
What did you think of Supernatural Season 15 Episode 5? Are you excited about Lilith’s return? Who else would you like to see return to the show? Let us know in the comments, and share your thoughts with us on Twitter!
Catch Supernatural on the CW Thursdays at 8/7c.