With the knowledge the Chuck may be weak, Sam and Dean look for his weakness in answers from The Cage.
On Supernatural Season 15 Episode 8, Sam and Dean work to find their next step against Chuck. Looking for answers, they must confront both Michael and Adam, who were freed from the Cage when Chuck opened the gates of Hell.
Going Against God
After Sam’s revelation last week that Chuck might not be at full strength, the Winchesters have been working hard to find his weakness. Dean suggests that the answer may lie in the Demon Tablet, which holds the “emergency protocols” for what happens if God is out of commission. They recruit the very reluctant prophet Donatello to translate, and learn that Chuck might have given some valuable information to his favorite son, Michael.
Unfortunately, before they can learn anything else, Donatello is high-jacked by Chuck. As a prophet, he can speak the word of God indirectly or, in Chuck’s words, “through [his] Bluetooth.” Chuck only has a few words of caution: Drop their investigation, or Chuck will obliterate everyone they’ve ever cared about. Though the threat shakes them, Castiel and the Winchesters proceed with their plan to find Michael. After all, it’s only a matter of time before Chuck gets bored and starts offing people for plot fuel anyway.
I understand that the first chunk of this episode was necessary for plot reasons, but I can’t say I was very interested. I’ve never been all that interested in Donatello, maybe because my biased heart wishes we’d gotten more Kevin instead. But he also doesn’t seem like a natural choice for help at this point. His storyline has been a string of nonsensical loopholes acting as plot devices. I was confused when he lost his mind in Season 13. I was more confused when they somehow fixed him in Season 14. He only seems to come into play when the plot needs a prophet to make sense.
I would have been fine without Donatello being included the final season. As far as I was concerned, his plot line had been wrapped up when we were shown he was still living safely and happily without his soul. It wouldn’t have been a huge leap of logic to realize that Michael is the last living archangel and might know a thing or two about God. But perhaps after forgetting about the Cage for ten-odd years, the writers would disagree.
Sam, Dean and Castiel venture down to Hell in order to find the Cage, but are immediately halted by demons. Luckily, the demons are under the unyielding rule of the new Queen of Hell—Rowena. When she sacrificed herself to save the Earth, her soul did go to Hell. However, Hell was familiar territory, and she’d already acted as a de facto ruler in earlier seasons. So she quickly climbed the ranks, earned herself the crown, and whipped Hell back into order.
My question, though, is how? Don’t get me wrong, I screamed when Rowena showed up on the screen. I was so excited to have her back. But her reappearance was so short lived, that I was left with more questions than answers. In a lot of ways, I feel more robbed than I did when they killed her.
None of Rowena’s scenes explain how she rose to the top of Hell. Presumably she’s not a demon, but I don’t know if she can still use magic. More than that, after all her development with Sam—training him to take her place, leaving him all her earthly possessions, sacrificing herself just as he did in “Swan Song”—their reunion falls utterly flat. When Sam tries to apologize, she brushes him off with some quips about how wonderful it is to rule Hell. And then she has him fetch her a drink. I can only hope that if Rowena’s back, she stays back, and that we get a more moving look into their relationship later on.
Like Donatello, Rowena’s inclusion this week seems to amount to necessity. With all Hell’s demons at her command, she can send out an army looking for Michael. In a moment alone with Dean and Castiel, she preaches to them to fix their problems and live life with no regrets. I’m thankful for her hand in their development, but still. She could’ve sent a demon with a fruit basket to let us know she was okay!
Michael and Adam
By far, the most anticipated part of this episode was the return of Adam Milligan. The Winchester’s half-brother, Adam hasn’t been seen since the Supernatural Season 5 finale, “Swan Song.” When Dean refused to be Michael’s vessel, Adam was swept onto the scene to take his place. He was pulled into the Pit with Sam and Lucifer, and has been trapped in the Cage ever since. The show has barely acknowledged Adam in the past ten seasons, beside the odd joke about how he’s barely acknowledged in the past ten seasons. It’s become something of a fandom mission to remember him in their stead.
After years of waiting, Michael and Adam are finally free from the Pit. They’ve formed an unlikely bond during their confinement. Their first scene shows Adam going to a diner to enjoy some food and converse with Michael, who fondly tells him to knock himself out. He almost seems excited to let Adam be his guide to life on Earth. This kind-hearted Michael isn’t something we’ve seen on Supernatural before. I desperately wish we could explore more of it. However, judging by how the swiftly the season has been burning through cameos, I won’t get my hopes up.
Speaking of cameos, Lilith shows up at the diner with the intent of bringing Michael to see Chuck. Michael disagrees, and without lifting a finger, smites Lilith all the way back to the Empty she came from. Talk about dropping a plot line.
The blast of power allows Donatello to locate Michael, and ultimately the Winchesters are able to trap him and bring him to the bunker. In a lot of ways, this scene did not go at all the way I expected. I anticipated Michael not wanting to listen to their slander against God. I did not anticipate Michael seeming angrier at the Winchesters for abandoning Adam than Adam was. Adam called them out and asked for an apology, sure, but it was nothing like the scorching rage most of the fandom has been imagining for the last decade.
In fact, when it came down to it, Adam spent more time counselling Michael on his family problems than confronting his own. It’s partially through his bond with Adam that Michael accepts that the Winchesters are telling the truth about Chuck being the enemy. (And partially Castiel’s Vulcan mind meld, which would have been very useful at the beginning of the interrogation.) I’m almost proud of how well adjusted Adam seems. At the same time, I wish we could have seen more of him.
I have a lot of thoughts about Adam and Michael in this episode. Enough that I’ll need to expand them in a different article. Suffice to say that this complicated relationship was a real asset to the episode, and I wish we’d gotten more than forty minutes to explore it. For now, welcome back from Hell, Adam. Hopefully, this isn’t the last time we see you.
Castiel and Dean
To no one’s surprise, local grudge-holders Castiel and Dean Winchester are still not getting along. All of their scenes are filled with heavy tension, side glances, and biting wit. They are working together for the greater good, but don’t seem to be making any progress solving their own problems. But Supernatural Season 15 Episode 8 says that enough is enough!
This episode was full of tense moments for the boys with the profound bond. Castiel heals Dean’s hand before they go to Hell, even though Dean has been repeatedly snide with him. I particularly enjoyed the scene with Rowena, which held the same feeling as a deeply reluctant couple in relationship counselling. Rowena warns them to air out their feelings and fix things, because there’s nothing worse than the regret of not being able to change the past. Through all of their scenes, the two men can barely look at each other. It’s equal parts maddening and heartbreaking.
More than anything, this episode sets up the future for Dean and Castiel. After being shown the truth by Castiel, Michael agrees to give them a spell to stop Chuck. The ingredients are simple, with the exception of one—venom from a Leviathan blossom. Presumably, this was the ultimate reason Chuck locked the Leviathans in Purgatory. Michael opens a door to Purgatory with suspicious ease, seeing as the archangel Raphael needed to work on a complex spell with the help of Crowley to open it in Season 6. Then he tells Dean and Castiel that they will have twelve hours before the door will close.
There’s no doubt that big things are coming for Dean and Castiel. Whether you enjoy their profound friendship or ship them romantically, there’s sure to be good content on the way. Purgatory was a very sensitive subject for the two the last time they were there, and returning will certainly open old wounds. One way or another, I’ll be happy to get some quality scenes so the grudge match can be over with.
Sam and Eileen
Another important development this week is between Sam and Eileen. It doesn’t look like they’ve solidified their relationship after being angel-blocked last week, but there’s definitely something between them. Sam tails Eileen on her cases because he’s worried about losing her. The two have an agreement on how to operate independently without being overprotective. But still, it seems like Sam is afraid to move forward.
Thank God for Dean Winchester, captain of the S.S. Saileen. In a wonderful, downtime scene with Sam, he voices what the rest of us have been thinking. Dean’s been reluctant to say anything serious in case he jinxed it, but he’s happy for Sam. He reflects that while his past attempts at serious relationships and family haven’t worked out for him, it doesn’t have to be the same for Sam. Eileen is different because she’s a hunter, and she knows all too well what danger their life entails. Despite all the drawbacks and the danger and the obstacles, he thinks Sam should take his shot.
Hopefully, Sam will take Dean’s advice to heart. It’s baffling to me that in fifteen years together, it’s never occurred to either of them that the reason they haven’t settled down isn’t because they’re broken. Sam and Dean’s past relationship haven’t failed because they’re not family men. They’ve failed because they’ve refused to allow family and hunting to coexist. Sam, Dean and Castiel all made great parents to Jack when they were hunting. I’m sure Sam would be a great husband if he and Eileen were out hunting too.
But any hope of a coexistent future will have to wait. When Eileen catches a vampire case from a friend in danger, she and Sam rush to the rescue. Only to find out, of course, that they’ve been played by Chuck. The episode ends with Sam and Eileen trapped, and their odds aren’t looking so good for the next episode. To find out, though, we’ll have to wait until January.
I didn’t mind this episode too much as I watched it. I was excited about the return of Rowena, thrilled by the return of Adam, and relieved to see some development in my favorite characters. But sitting down to reflect, I can’t help but be a little disappointed in the lost potential. It’s nice to have returning cameos like Rowena and Donatello, but with so much else going on, the subplots seemed rushed and unfulfilled.
Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. Scripts get edited down for time, plots are changed because of scheduling issues, and shows have a limited amount of run time per week. There are so many factors that go into making these shows. But in me perfect world, this episode would have delved deeper into the possibilities and history with the Winchesters and their half-brother. For my thoughts on that, keep an eye out for my article next week.
What did you think of Supernatural Season 15 Episode 8? Which was your favorite subplot? Do you have any burning questions in the face of the hiatus? Leave them here in the comments, or share your thoughts with us on Twitter!
Supernatural will return on the CW Thursday, January 16 at 8/7c.