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Quick Reaction: 13x18 Bring 'Em Back Alive


This week there was no drinking, because I am sick... so... it means that you get an earlier than usual Quick Reaction, but you miss out on the tipsy version of the synopsis... instead, you get the mildly delirious(?) version...

Usual rules still apply though: I've only seen the episode once, no quotes - or really anything I say - is meant to be 100% accurate, so don't correct me unless I specifically ask you to do so.

Let's get into it...

We begin where we left off, with Dean and Ketch going through the rift. They arrive and get their bearings. They are, however, seemingly in a completely different location than previously - someplace in snowy mountains.

I was surprised that Dean acted as though Ketch was going to abandon him right away, like the plan hadn't been for Ketch to serve as back-up. Because, I'm PRETTY sure that was explicitly the plan put forth to convince Sam at the end of last episode. But whatevs. I guess this is a RossLeming venture and I should be thankful for whatever coherency I get. (Okay, that was mean, sorry - it was actually a fairly decent episode, and they actually did a few things that I REALLY liked.... and we'll get to those.)

Ketch wants to save Mary, says that he owes her, so re-iterates that he'll ACTUALLY be Dean's back-up, like I'm PRETTY SURE they JUST told Sam. Dean is like FINE.

Then they go for a walk and come across an execution squad of angels... who is FOR SOME REASON, marching humans to a bridge to kill them instead of just doing it wherever they were beforehand. Also, they're blindfolded for some reason? It's SLIGHTLY BIZARRE, since, you know, angels can fly here...but, again, WHATEVER. Dean wants to save the humans, but Ketch tells him it's not the smart play, and he actually listens?! Which I think is REALLY out of character for Dean and I guess is my first MAJOR point of complaint against the episode.

But we also get our first really cool surprise of the episode, in that we get to meet AU!Charlie! And I was indeed surprised!! At this point, Dean REALLY should have just leapt out of the bushes and been like shooty-shooty-save-save... but instead he listens while the angel commander recognizes Charlie, tells us that she knows things about "the nephilim and the otherworlder-Mary" and then flies off with her for interrogation instead of executing her on the bridge with her compatriots.

Back with Sam and Cas, who I frequently refer to as "Sam and Dean" in my notes, because I cannot write "Sam and" and not follow it up with "Dean" apparently... even in short form. I've got "S&D" written instead of S&C" or "S&DC"...anyway....


Cas is super unimpressed with the idea that Dean has gone into the apocalypse world alone... and states that knowing he has Ketch as back-up does not make it better. They're so married.

Sam wants Cas' help with Gabriel... where was Cas last episode, we still don't know... but the point is, he's suddenly conveniently here now. Yay!

Gabriel isn't talking. Sam tries to remind him about their history together. And I love that he used their last names - like, sometimes, I think, the writers forget that the characters don't have the same familiarity with each other as we have with them... so it's nice when they actually remember the relationships, and how it has been 8+ years (actually nearly 10 years) since the Winchesters last saw Gabriel. 

Sam wants to feed Gabriel his own grace, in the hopes that it'll help heal him - but when they try to coerce him into drinking it, he flips out. 

Then we go to Lucifer and Jo/Anael in Heaven. The angels can't find Jack, and they still don't really have the manpower for the search. Anael is not impressed with Lucifer, who is whining about how he doesn't get enough respect. She points out that if he wants to be respected like God was, then he should act more like God. 

Meanwhile. in Fall River, Michigan - Asmodeus is pissed off that Ketch stole Gabriel from him... which ruins my theory from last week that it was all a set-up and way too easy a theft. Apparently, it was just way too easy a theft! Huh. Anyway, Asmodeus can't find Gabriel though... can't "sense" him, and he should be able to because he's been feeding off his grace.

Dean and Ketch are tromping through the forest. Ketch being stealth and Dean trying to get things done. Ketch doesn't get why Dean's so hardheadedly wanting to save Charlie, and wonders if it's "personal".

Then Dean gets shot - by a human, who is looking for slaves for the angels, apparently. Between Ketch and Dean, they rescue Dean and interrogate the human to find out where he would have taken Dean... turns out, there's a POW camp 4 hours north of them.

Back in the Bunker, Gabriel has written on all the walls of his room. Castiel comes in and reads it for Sam... apparently, it's the story of his life after he was "killed" by Lucifer. In that it was a fake death, then he was truly free of responsibility, and he went and lived with pornstars in Atlantic City (or Monte Carlo or somesuch) until Asmodeus captures him, tortured him, and then started feeding off his grace.

In Heaven, Lucifer decides to try to be God, and listens in on humanities prayers to God... which he immediately finds annoying, until he stumbles upon an exorcism. He then goes down to earth to intervene, because they're doing it wrong. He knows the demon that's doing the possessing and gets him to vacate the body. But when he tries to tell the two priests who he is, they flip out and start trying to holy-water him, etc... so he gets frustrated and kills them. and it's all very much a bad job at being God.

In the AU, Dean is VERY injured... and soon collapses. Ketch looks at the wound and discovers that it was poisoned... very wolfbane-in-Teen-Wolf-style. 

In the Bunker, Cas tries to jog Gabriel's mind back into place, but reminds Sam that angels can't heal archangels - and sure enough, it doesn't seem to look.

In the AU, Ketch quickly comes up with an antidote, after having recognized the poison being used as something the BMoL used to use as well. Dean reiterates that the BMoL were the worst - Ketch shrugs in agreement. He then dabs the antidote onto Dean's wound, calling him a "good lad" the whole time, and it's vaguely sweet? Like... god, I'm too much of a sucker for hurt/comfort, aren't I. This is just, pathetic.

Back in the Bunker, Sam has one more trick up his sleeve for getting through to Gabriel...that's right, it's time to pull out the big guns...puppy dog eyes AND a heartfelt speech. Sam explains how he too tried to flee responsibility once, but that his family needed him, and in the end, he recognized that being responsible, fighting to save the world, was the best thing he could do with his life... and now the world needed Gabriel, that SAM needs Gabriel... and it works!

Of course, as soon as the spark of life comes back into Gabriel's eyes, Asmodeus can sense him.

Once up and walking again, Dean's still not the best - and it's now nighttime, so MAN this is a long four hour walk apparently? Maybe I had gotten that number wrong. BUT, the point is that they are somewhat forced too take a five minute break, at which point Ketch presses Dean to figure out what Charlie is to him. Ketch is clearly believing that she's a former girlfriend... and I kind of really like how they have this misconception that they then correct - because it's a real problem with our society that people always interpret love as romantic love, when it doesn't NEED to be. So, yes, it's quite clear that Charlie is someone that Dean love(s/d) - and it's a surprise to Ketch when Dean explains that she was like a sister. Ketch feels for him though - and Dean wonders why. Ketch then expresses regret not for those he couldn't save, but for all those that he didn't even TRY to save, out of duty. Dean once again reiterates that Ketch is a horrible person.

Meanwhile, Charlie is being interrogated (somewhat tamely?!) and she's not giving anything up. Then they decide that she's useless and they should kill her. But, for some reason, they're going to wait until morning, I guess?

Back in the Bunker, they finally feed Gabriel his grace back. But Asmodeus calls and puts the fright back into Gabriel, telling Sam that if he isn't returned, then Asmodeus is going to attack the Bunker.

Lucifer, meanwhile, is still being a whiny jerk. He tells Anael/Jo, that he tried being God and it sucked. And he likes his plan of finding Jack, combining their powers, and remaking the world together so that people worship Lucifer instead of God... then Lucifer doesn't have to reverse his bad press, he can start with people already loving him. Anael reiterates that if Lucifer would actually follow through on the good things he promised - healing the angels, making more angels, restoring Heaven's power, etc. then people WOULD start to like him... and Lucifer has to finally admit that he doesn't have the power to do any of that and those were all lies. 

Anael is NOT IMPRESSED. And berates him - telling him that the real reason he's just sitting around Heaven is because he's afraid that when he finds Jack, Jack will hate him - and that he's useless, and might as well go back to the cage. At this point, Lucifer starts strangling her, but surprisingly doesn't kill her. So, she walks away the victor in the conversation really.

Dean and Cas make it to the POW Camp in time for the angels to have their public execution thing - I guess they waited until morning in order to have it all be ceremonial? *shrug* - they launch their rescue and it is a success.

Sam re-affirms the wardings on the bunker, but no one is quite sure if it'll be enough (and I take issue with this, because the Bunker is SUPPOSED to be the most secure place in all creation, etc. So, it really SHOULD be enough, but whatever.) And sure enough, there is an attack and Asmodeus and a few goons ARE able to break in. 

Sam and Cas dispatch a few of the demons, but then they're disabled by Asmodeus - who has two of his other goons begin to cart Gabriel away. Gabriel, at the last minute though, snaps back to reality and surely realizes that if he doesn't fight back now, this is it - so he kicks ass, and then BURNS ASMODEUS TO DEATH! And my notes say "Wow!" because I did not see that coming, and I am AMAZED AND THRILLED, mainly because I'm sick of Hell storylines, I gotta be honest. One less leader of hell means one less villain storyline that I'm forced to follow. Though, I'm sure it'll soon be replaced with another and everything will remain terrible forever.

On the way back to the rift, Dean tells Charlie how they were friends in the other world, that they were close. Charlie is concerned by what he means by "close" as well, and Dean assures her that she was a lesbian - which Charlie implies she is in the AU as well. I don't like the misunderstanding as much here - on the one hand, I can see it as Charlie being careful that she's not about to break this poor guy's heart, but on the other hand, I guess I'd imagine that all alternate me's would be the same as me, you know? So, it shouldn't have been a question? Maybe I'm just being nitpicky, and it's actually way more in character for Charlie to be like "oh man, am I going to have to break the news to this poor dude that I'm gay?"  Anyway, Charlie tells Dean that last she saw Mary and Jack, they were around the Dayton Ohio area of the world. And Charlie can't get over the fact that Mary is Dean's mother for some reason? Is Mary bi? Now THAT'D be an interesting story. Maybe it's just because Mary is technically younger than Dean at this point, so it doesn't make any sense to Charlie age-wise.

Back at the Bunker, Sam and Cas finish catching Gabriel up on everything he's missed while he was disassociated... but then as soon as Sam mentions that he's now on their team, he flips out and leaves, going back to his responsibility-free life... and in so doing, taking all his arch-angel grace with him.

In the AU world, Ketch wants to stay behind. I'm not sure why Dean is even surprised by this - Once again, I was pretty sure that was half the plan last episode - like, Ketch wanted to hide out, and he's good at killing things, so why not go to an apocalyse world? In any case, he's staying behind, and so is Charlie. Dean is more concerned that Charlie wants to stay behind - mainly, because she'd be safer in his world. But Charlie points out that it's her home, and all her friends are there, and she's OF COURSE the bad-ass that she always was, so she's going to stay and fight because it's the right thing to do. So, Dean goes back alone...

...only to discover that there's now no way to reopen the door. He gets super mad about that, but I'm REALLY thankful that he's just mad in general and not mad at Sam or Cas. I DID think it was dumb for them to feed Gabriel what was obviously reusable arch-angel grace? Like, just keep that because you need it, folks. BUT, I also recognize that I'm an amoral self-serving dick sometimes, and that Sam is a better person than I am, a better person who BELIEVES in people, and sometimes that bits him in the ass, but it's still better than being a prick... probably? Hahaha

Anyway, some high points, some annoying parts. I'm glad Asmodeus is dead. It was cool to see Charlie. Nice that Gabriel is out there again. 

My fear for the season finale is that it's going to be a success on Michael's part - and that S14 will be Apocalypse Take 2... but, I mean, I'll take it if it means Lucifer dies eventually?

As usual, let me know your thoughts in comments.... sorry I may not have been as funny this week? Like I said, I AM sick, and my brain is kind of working at 50% capacity here. I'll be better by next week I'm sure.

This entry was originally posted at https://hells-half-acre.dreamwidth.org/556078.html.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 13th, 2018 05:38 am (UTC)
It seems lately that these writers get the multi-storyline episodes...maybe if they only write for 10 minutes of each arc (Dean & Ketch, Sam and Cas and Gabe, Asmodeus, & Lucifer & Jo) they can't mess up anyone of the characters irreparably?

Sorry, that was terribly snarky...

So, Dean & Ketch--liked the general idea, but as you noticed, the angels' behavior makes no sense...also, Ketch is clearly getting a redemption arc (which will probably end with him dying saving someone important to Dean) and he was such a well-written psychopath in season 12 that his sudden change of heart is a real stretch, unless last week's total beat-down by Asmodeus forced a complete personality realignment?

Dean getting shot...That was a gun, right? He should have had a bullet wound? Cause that did not look like any bullet wound I've ever seen depicted...where was the blood and the exit wound and the hole in his jacket? If it had been something like a poisoned dart it would have made sense...or was that what it was and it just looked like a gun???

Major points for keeping Charlie's return locked down so tight there wasn't a whisper of it in fandom!

Sam & Cas & Gabe--Just going to go with the catatonic PTSD victim happened to find all the black sharpies and stand on a chair to write all over the walls in such neat rows...Did Sam put Gabriel in his own room or just a random one? If it was Sam's, I wonder if he will repaint the walls when this is all over?

I can accept the retcon of how Gabriel didn't die when Luci killed him 8 years ago, it was a believable setup given Gabe's expertise at being the Trickster...

Sam's heartfelt speeches to Gabe were all excellently done by Jared. I was expecting Sam to reference something along the lines comparing what Sam endured in the Cage to Gabe with Asmodeus, and saying that if Sam could battle his way back, so could the angel...it would have been really nice to get a Cage reference in there along with the rest of Sam's speech...

Feeding Gabe back his own grace...I am picking up the idea that archangel grace is very different than regular angel grace in that it renews itself when siphoned off or it can be replenished effectively with another angel's grace or your own fed back or something like that? What would happen if Lucifer imbibed Gabriel's grace since they are both archangels? Are there any rules for angel grace now or is it just being made up to fit what it needs to do in each episode? Are fans not supposed to be paying attention to that?

It was really convenient that Gabe powered up right when Asmodeus was killing Cas and Sam...

Confession: I yelled 'YES!' at my TV when Asmodeus went up in flames...(I also yelled 'Damn!' when Dean got shot and 'Go through the rift!!!' when he was dallying at the end, and I don't usually verbalize to the show while watching...)

Asmodeus--he's dead (see above comment.) However, as you point out, for the most securely warded place in the world, the bunker security system is crap nowadays...(Amara, Crowley, Ketch, the Stines, Lady Toni, Asmodeus & his demons...did I forget anyone?)

Lucifer--Just one question: why is Jo not dead??? Anyone else who had dissed Lucifer like she did would have been smoked instantly...

I realize this sounds like a complaint list, but actually the show hit a lot of satisfying emotional beats tonight--Dean's 'save everyone' drive, Sam's 'empathy with the abused' concern, hurt/comfort all over the place, Charlie, Dean's outburst at the end--speaking of which, that hurt to watch, Jensen killed it...

It's just that the plot machinations to get those emotional beats were so clumsy. Oh well. Sigh. Five eps left--wonder if we will get another one from these writers or if they're done for the season? Fingers crossed...
Apr. 13th, 2018 06:05 am (UTC)
Unfortunately these writers usually do either x21 or x22 as well. So, we'll get them again, at a pivotal moment too. The last few years, they've insisted on fridging someone in those episodes - so, place your bets.

And yes yes yes to EVERYTHING.

Ketch should have stayed dead, period. There's no point for him here - especially if it's JUST to give him a redemption arc and he'll die saving Mary or something. Like, dudes, if you wanted to turn him good, do it when Mary was actually begging him to at the end of last season, not after some hard-to-believe, not to mention completely-against-character, resurrection shenanigans.

I too was confused by Dean's apparent bloodless bullet wound that did not damage his clothing. It'd make far more sense if it was a poison dart - and you could have had the same beats AND it would have made sense.

I assumed Gabriel like...magicked the writing up there, but you're right, it's a cool visual, but also doesn't make entirely too much sense.

Sam's speech would have been far better if he had referenced the cage - of being a torture victim himself. Not only that, but another fan has pointed out that more and more, SPN is using "family" as a sort of trite crutch that is inherently meaningless and also voids a lot of the earlier themes about how even family has to earn and deserve your loyalty, that they're not just automatically entitled to it.

And ugh, the amount of non-rules for angel's and grace, and the actual machinations of the world... don't even get me started. A good mythology has constraints - anything else is a mark of a lazy writer, and RossLeming are two of the laziest writers I've ever seen, and unfortunately they've got seniority and Dabb is either lazy himself (the charitable reading), a pushover (my take), or he's forced by Singer to bow to their wishes (the most cynical view).

You and I were yelling similar things at similar times! I believe mine was "Wow!" "shit." and "DON'T DILLY-DALLY!" respectively.

At least with Amara, she was god-like power. Ketch&Toni had the key. The Stines had knowledge. And other than that, some writers were good about showing us how the Winchesters purposefully lowered the wards if they agreed to allow Crowley in to help them with something, etc. This was the first time it was actually ASSAULTED by demons and the fact that it didn't stand up to the threat was pretty damn disappointing. I was even just disappointed by the fact that Asmodeus could sense Gabriel while he was in it - I thought he couldn't sense him because he was in the bunker, not because he was "offline" or whatever the heck.

And yeah, I'm curious as to why Lucifer didn't kill Jo either. I mean, she's one of the more interesting angel characters, so I'm fine with it. But, it IS weird.

Jensen really did an amazing job with that last scene. His anger was palpable and terrifying... and I mean that in a good way. It didn't seem contrived at all... which, I think Sam's speech WAS a little, though Jared did a really good job with it as usual, so I'm not complaining that hard.

But yes, you hit the nail on the head with the plot machinations being clumsy excuses to get to the emotional beats, instead of them occurring organically because of actual GOOD plot.
Apr. 13th, 2018 09:47 am (UTC)
Points to both previous comments and agrees heartily with every word. You said it, ladies.
Apr. 14th, 2018 01:46 am (UTC)
I am so glad that Colonel Sander...er, Asmodeus is dead that I could forgive some of the ridiculous stuff.

I loved that Gabriel was our world's Gabriel, and that his "death" was explained coherently. I hope he will show up again this season. I hope he just needs some time to recover and reassess. I did wonder about the emphasis on "copies". For a bit I thought that the Colonel was going to drag a copy of Gabriel out of the bunker, and that real Gabriel was going to show up all recovered. I'm glad they did it this way though. I only hope that The Colonel that burned wasn't a copy.

I'm getting really tired of Lucifer. Does his story add anything to the narrative? I don't think so. I wonder if Jo will show up again or if she walked out for good.

Aside from the angels Very Convenient Actions For Our Heroes (tm) in the other world, I liked everything else. :)
Apr. 14th, 2018 10:35 pm (UTC)
Agreed. I too thought that they might be dragging away a copy and it was all a ruse from the beginning to trap and kill Asmodeus (which I would have preferred, because it is less "convenient" and also makes out heroes intelligent people.) But, with these two, I'll take what I can get and a "our world" Gabriel and Asmodeus dying are both good things... but, as you say, let's all just hope that Asmodeus wasn't a copy.

I'm so tired of Lucifer, I'm a broken record at this point. I really hope that he dies at the end of this season - I'm keeping my fingers crossed. He might be replaced with Michael as the big bad, but at least it wouldn't be Lucifer anymore.

Apr. 14th, 2018 10:15 pm (UTC)
I didn't mind Charlie thinking Dean and she might have been involved. We don't know how the culture moved in this AU and Lord knows, it's not like lesbians aren't "closeted" and possibly dating guys either as a cover or as a way to convince themselves that they just need the right guy, even here today. So not wanting to break Dean's heart by revealing that yeah, his girlfriend may not have been as into him as he thought was not unimaginable.

The press release for 21 is out and Berens is writing that, so Ross-Lemming will probably do 22 with Dabb rounding out the season. I'm not thrilled they will get the penultimate mytharc episode, but they were always going to write one of the big end of season episodes, so at least it's not the finale?
Apr. 14th, 2018 10:31 pm (UTC)
Yeah, that's always the solace that I take "at least they don't write the finales or premieres" but they always get the second-to, and that's still annoying. I'd prefer if they stuck with MOTW.

Well, the AU is exactly like Sam and Dean's world, except that John died in 1972 (or was it 73?) and Sam and Dean were never born- and judging by Charlie still using Charlie, I'd say her life was exactly the same up until the apocalypse. BUT, I also agree with you - she doesn't know what Sam and Dean's world is like when it comes to LGBT rights or acceptance.
Elaine McCourt
Apr. 17th, 2018 08:22 am (UTC)
Plot hole?

In 13x17, Ketch rescues Gabriel. We don't see him steal any grace at the same time, but we can assume he gets some either on the way out or directly from Gabriel, as he gives the boys a vial in the bunker. The boys use - presumably - the vial of grace to open the rift, although we don't see them put it in, just the bowl glowing with grace.

Sam and Cas feed Gabriel a vial of grace in 13x18. So where'd that second vial come from? Given Gabriel's reaction at the end of 13x17 when the boys say they need his grace, I wouldn't have thought it came directly from him then.
Apr. 17th, 2018 07:17 pm (UTC)
All good questions! I didn't have my eyes on the grace, where it was coming from, where it was going - so I can't answer any of them. BUT, without even having definite answers, I'm confident in saying that the logic in this episode is weak at best, so I wouldn't be surprised if this is another plothole.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )


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