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Quick Reaction: 14x02 Gods and Monsters

 Well... that was an objectively terrible episode, I'm not going to lie.

BUT, there are rules around here - and so now is a good time to remind you... and myself... about them: I like to keep things positive - so for every negative thing you say, you've got to say one positive thing too.

Mainly though, I'm probably going to just be recapping this episode without much commentary if I can help it, because... yikes. BUT I WILL DO MY BEST TO BE FUN! I mean, in good news, this episode drove me to drink a lot... so I'm intoxicated enough for this to be a good time for everyone (title of my sex tape.)

I mean, the first positive thing is that The Glamor Boys by Living Color came on my iPod on the way home - I didn't even know I owned that song! I was flooded with vague childhood memories and filled with nostalgia for a time in which my life still had limitless potential and we were not yet doomed.

But let's talk about the actual episode...

We begin with some dude tied up, being drained of blood into a goblet - at first I was like "super slow demon call?" but nope, it's Michael doing experiments - mixing vamp blood with angel grace and then feeding it back to the vampire to see if it'll make him do something besides explode. Spoiler alert: He explodes. Eyes burnt out - so, too much angel grace, obvs.

Back in the Bunker, Bobby has noticed strange happenings in Duluth. Who wants to hang out in Duluth in October? He asks. To which the answer is Micheal, but meanwhile, I'm like "You do realize that last episode happened in June, right? Did 3 months just pass?" And then I sigh, because either 3 months did pass, or this throws out my timing for the season finale of last year.

Bobby then says something insulting about angels, which I miss, because I'm making timeline notes, and Castiel walks into the room and Bobby says "no offense" and Castiel says "None taken, I tend to agree with you." Which is a nice Castiel line. There's a few of those in here, spattered around the general carnage.

We then get a ton of needless exposition - Castiel tells Sam, when prompted, what they all, obviously, already know - that Castiel has to stay behind and can't go after Michael, because Michael would detect his "angelic presence" and also he has to babysit Nick and Jack.

"Is this episode going to be all exposition?" my friend asks. "Is it written by BuckLeming?" I counter - because I don't read credits, and they just finished. My friend looks it up. "Yes." "Then yes. That's how they write, they are the worst writers on staff."  "Ugh."
- The positive here, is that I have time to have a cookie while we talk.

They talk about how hard it is to have Nick around - Castiel reiterates that he's associated with "the Supreme agent of evil" at which point Jack enters to remind them all that there talking about his father. Also, that it's hard for him to be around Nick too. And also that he understands he needs to improve before he can go on hunts.

My friend points out that Richard Speight Jr. directed this episode. We agree that we love that guy, and we're sure he did the very best he could given the material, and we're both appreciative of his efforts.

Sam, Bobby, and Mary leave.

We then see that Nick is having nightmares/visions where he remembers being inside Lucifer (we assume - this better not the fuck be Lucifer - pardon the swearing.) Castiel brings him food. Castiel then reiterates to Nick that it's hard to be around him because of what he did when he was in Lucifer's "thrall" - at which point I need to have another cookie, because being in THRALL and being possessed are two ENTIRELY DIFFERENT SUPERNATURAL THINGS. And Castiel wouldn't use one word when he meant the other. UGH. AT LEAST GET YOUR WORDS RIGHT.  BUT, in positive, they talk about how Lucifer took advantage of Nick's pain, and Nick is all like "what do you know about it" only he doesn't ACTUALLY say that, and then we all (hopefully) remember that Castiel also said yes to Lucifer once. And it's a good moment, because it's not actually explicitly said in exposition-y dialogue.

We are then reminded that Nick's wife and kid died in a home invasion. FUN FACT: Back in S5, when Kripke wrote that episode, it never had to be explicitly stated how they died, there were actually NO WORDS USED AT ALL, and yet we all understood, because we are not idiots.

I'm doing a bad job of this write-up.

Back with Sam, Bobby, and Mary - who are at the Morgue in Duluth, there's some charming dialogue here between them and the mortician, before she's conveniently called away on a phone call. They discover that the bodies are vampires. They wonder what the heck is going on. They question the mortician again and she tells them that there was a lady who came to see the bodies, but she didn't claim them. They ask for security footage.

Back with Jack and Castiel, Jack is looking into biblical lore to see when he might grow his grace back. There isn't much information on it, and it's going to be either a month or a century, but since Jack is a nephilim, whatever the process is, it'll be slowed. Jack's not impressed. Castiel tries to tell him not to dwell on mourning what he lost, and Jack is all like "WHAT DO YOU KNOW?" and Castiel is all like "Let me explain S9 to you." BUT, the positive thing here is that when Castiel tells Jack what he HAD even when he didn't have his grace, he lists Sam and Dean first, and then more importantly, himself - so, that's a nice bit of positive message, and also reiterating of the importance of Castiel's bond with Sam and Dean.

He then goes on to use Sam and Dean as a parable of sorts, explaining how they weren't born with their expertise, they had to grow and learn and have patience. That the past is important but not as important as the possibilities of the future.

In a NON exposition scene, we actually get to see Dean fighting Michael very briefly. YAY! Go Dean! He's not successful, but it's nice to see him try... I kind of wish that was the whole episode.

Back at the bunker, Castiel fields a call from Sam, and repeats everything we've learned so far in the episode.

Nick then comes into the room obviously distraught. Once again, repeating everything we could have already guessed about his family - that the case isn't solved and their killer unpunished. When Castiel goes to comfort him, he suddenly straightens and snaps (literally) at Castiel as though he were Lucifer - this, obviously, is worrying, and Castiel concentrates really hard, and realizes that Lucifer may have damaged Nick's psyche a great deal (... I'm shocked.). Anyway, Nick storms off to go find their killers or something.

Meanwhile, Sam, Bobby, and Mary, interview a vampire girl, who tells us everything we have already seen in the episode, just in case we needed it in words, not images. "Please tell, don't show" my friend quips, as she takes the opportunity to check her email. I have another cookie and some more wine (I was the only one drinking tonight, because my friend's allergies were acting up...you'd think that would cause me to drink less, but somehow I ended up drinking more.)

Back with Michael, he is seducing werewolves now, while wearing a tux and a bowtie... in Duluth? Anyway, I guess vampires weren't good enough?

Nick is talking to police detectives from Pine Creek Delaware (I wrote "Pipe Creek" in my notes... recreational cannabis is now legal in Canada, perhaps my subconscious wanted some) on the phone... "that's not how the police work" my friend mutters, reaching for a cookie. It occurs to me that Nick is probably a missing person by now. He was dead for 7.5 years and possessed for 1 year before that... you'd think he'd show up on some radar somewhere as, you know, having abandoned a 3 storey house, his job, all his furniture, etc, shortly after his wife and kid were murdered. You'd think maybe him calling the police 10 years later would cause some ruckus... apparently not?

The cool thing here though, and I do think it's cool, is that we get to explore Castiel's relationship to Jimmy a little bit more - as Castiel tries to tell Nick that he understands by relating Jimmy's experience to his - only to have this bring the fact that Castiel is also a "body-snatcher" to Nick's attention. Castiel has to explain that Jimmy is dead, and then says that what happened to Jimmy and his family is Castiel's biggest regret.... and although we already knew all that too, Misha does an excellent job with the dialogue and it's a heart-wrenching grey area, given our love for Castiel, but also the reality of what Castiel's presence meant for the Novaks.

Michael negotiates with the werewolves, telling them that God's on permanent vacation and he likes their purity of living, and that he can "enhance" their "talents" and that keeping humans for slave labour and food supply IS possible. My friend wonders "I didn't think werewolves works that way...?" and at this point I'm a little too defeated to explain that they completely ruined the werewolf mythology somewhere between S8 and S12... instead I have more wine and another cookie.

How hard is it for Castiel to keep track of only two people in the bunker? Apparently VERY hard. Also, where did everyone else in the bunker go? No one knows.

The point is, Jack has somehow absconded to an unknown city and is meeting Mr. and Mrs. Klein - ie: Kelly's parents. ie: Jack's maternal grandparents. He posses as a former intern/subordinate of Kelly's. They show him pictures and ask after Kelly - explaining that she only said she was traveling and it was confidential. They then tell him that she told them she was pregnant. Jack tells them she had the baby, and that she was a good mother, and repeats some of the things she told him while he was in the womb (though he doesn't say that last part.) He excuses himself when they get emotional, unable to bring himself to tell them that she's dead.

The actors who play the Kleins did a great job, and this was a really emotional scene and very well done.

Then we return to the vampire girl, who is packing her things only to have Michael show up - apparently it was all part of the plan to use the dead bodies as bait to attract the hunters, and then he kills her. Thanks for telling us, Michael.

Castiel takes Jack to task for going out. He's afraid that with Jack's diminished powers, he may be captured if demons or angels or whoever caught wind of him. Jack says that the Kleins are the only "real family I have left" which OUCH JACK, your adoptive father is STANDING RIGHT THERE. Jack then is sad about how he couldn't bring himself to tell the Kleins that their daughter was dead. Castiel tells him he withheld the information out of kindness, and there are worse ways to be human than to be kind.... and I DO like that line.

Then Jack and Castiel get in a fight, because Jack thinks that Michael should be killed at the expense of Dean, if they can't rescue Dean on the first try. Castiel disagrees. Jack argues that Dean wouldn't want them to let Michael escape and he'd prefer to die if it meant Michael died too. Personally, I agree with Jack. I mean, I understand Castiel's upset about it, but this isn't at all dissimilar to the choice Sam made to die in order to defeat Lucifer, and I doubt Dean would make a different choice in the same circumstances. But again, I get where Castiel is coming from.

Speaking of Castiel being horrible at keeping track of only two people. Nick is now visiting the only witness to his family's murder. He claims that he didn't really see anything. Nick doesn't believe him. He thinks he saw a man with a hammer, because his family was killed by having their brains smashed in with a hammer. Fun unrelated fact: There's a local stand-up comedian who survived a home-invasion hammer attack. I saw him perform once where he talked about it. He lost an eye, but he's still alive, so that's pretty good. Apparently, it was a case of the home invaders having the wrong address - I bet they were embarrassed. Canada: we don't have as many guns, but we'll still try to kill each other with hammers sometimes.

Sam and Dean and Mary go to the church, only it's a trap! Werewolf attack! Also, attack of NARRATING YOUR ACTIONS AND THE REACTIONS OF OTHERS AS THOUGH WE DON'T HAVE EYES (or descriptive video, in the case of the blind). What is this, a radio program?

Thankfully, although the werewolves are supercharged and don't seem to respond to silver, decapitating them works. Yay.

Then Michael/Dean suddenly shows up, and seems to be Dean? For no reason? "It's a trap!" my friend and I both say, imitating Admiral Ackbar. "IT'S A TRAP"

But we don't get to see why this weird extremely convenient solution to their Michael-problem is a trap or not, because we then cut to Nick, who has a bloody shirt, because he's obviously killed his neighbour with a hammer... but JUST IN CASE WE DON'T PUT THAT TOGETHER ON OUR OWN, there's a shot of the dead body, and the bloody hammer... and a positive here is that BuckLeming refrained from writing a line where Nick tells his reflection or the dead body "oh no, I seem to have murdered you with a hammer in a fit of rage... could this be a clue as to who really killed my family? Or am I only now insane because of Lucifer's influence... DUN DUN DUN."

A positive here is that the episode is over.

Here are a list of positives from my friend:
-The boys and Mary looked great
-The grandparents were excellent actors
-lots of exposition for those just tuning in
-Nick exposed as a murderous jerk-?

We watched Baronness von Sketch as a chaser - and it's HILARIOUS.

The other good news is that next week's episode is going to be written by someone else! Yay! And that's one of 4-6(?) BuckLeming episodes in the can, so we have one less episode from them to dread look forward to.

So, now the challenge falls to you, if you choose to comment. I am sorry if I failed at my own rules, but at least they're my own rules, so if anyone can break them it's me!

This entry was originally posted at https://hells-half-acre.dreamwidth.org/565109.html.


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 19th, 2018 06:50 am (UTC)
How hard is it for Castiel to keep track of only two people in the bunker? Apparently VERY hard. Also, where did everyone else in the bunker go? No one knows.


The writers being who they are *nods* that explains everything.

Edited at 2018-10-19 06:52 am (UTC)
Oct. 19th, 2018 04:13 pm (UTC)
I am looking forward to next week, when we will have different writers! Yay!

Glad you enjoyed the recap. :)
Oct. 19th, 2018 12:35 pm (UTC)
Positive comment: It's wasn't the worst Buck-Lemming episode--they wrote Taxi Driver...

I loved the Jack and Cas scenes. I could feel Cas' empathy for Jack. And Jack visiting his grandparents broke my heart (though as a parent myself I found it odd they weren't more frantic about not hearing from their daughter in over a year...)

Note to Winchesters: never let Cas babysit people who are supposed to remain put--first he lost Charlie, now Nick...Which, how did Nick get from Lebanon to Delaware with no i.d. and no money??? Yeah, who wrote this? And what is the point of Nick's presence anyway???

I am not familiar with Duluth to know if going to bars there requires a tux but not going to quibble about the resulting visual...

How long will it take till Sam figures out Michael is using Dean as a Trojan Horse? 'Cause Michael didn't just vanish--he needs to infiltrate the hunters because they are the one obstacle to his werewolf/vampire takeover.
Oct. 19th, 2018 04:09 pm (UTC)
Ugh, that's a good point about Nick getting to Delaware with no id and no money... also, getting to delaware takes a heck of a long-time from Lebanon. Maybe he stole fake ID and flew? I can't be bothered to adjust the timeline for this nonsense.

I liked Taxi Driver better than this. Maybe that's a positive comment: BuckLeming, making previous episodes seem better in comparison to their latest crap.

I was thinking the same thing about Duluth - the name itself doesn't aspire much thought of black-tie bars.

Yeah, if Michael (ie: the writers) wanted to make it look real and not obvious, they should have staged WAY more of a SCENE... like have Dean visibly fighting Michael, and then stumble into another room, and then have everyone else see a flash of light, and then Dean comes out believing Michael is gone... rather than seemingly Michael opening a door with his mind, then staggering a bit, then Dean claiming he was gone - that's not how angels work, my friends - you see them coming and going, it's quite obvious, what with all the blue or gold light (depending how VFX is feeling that year.)
Oct. 19th, 2018 12:40 pm (UTC)
I'm going to say this before I read your review, but I saw the text before the cut tag, and I just had to say it. But I felt this was one of the best eps in years.
Oct. 19th, 2018 12:52 pm (UTC)
Mostly cause it's one of the first eps in years that actually had me care about Castiel. It also made a greater division between our Bobby and the other world's Bobby. Not to mention some awesome scenes with Jack. So all in all, I was pretty happy with this ep.
Oct. 19th, 2018 04:12 pm (UTC)
I'm honestly glad that SOMEONE is.

Feel free to not read my review at all! You might just get annoyed at me for not seeing what you saw. :P
Oct. 19th, 2018 01:27 pm (UTC)
this was such good reading :D
Oct. 21st, 2018 06:55 am (UTC)
I'm glad you enjoyed it! :)
Oct. 21st, 2018 02:53 am (UTC)

Your cookies and wine sound good?

Next week will be better.

There. Positive!
Oct. 21st, 2018 06:55 am (UTC)
Good job!!!

I think you actually did a better job than I did, but then I couldn't really write a recap that just talked about the cookies and wine I had. :P
Oct. 22nd, 2018 03:39 am (UTC)
"The positive here is that the episode is over."
Hahahahaha. I'm sorry you did not enjoy this episode. I THOROUGHLY enjoyed reading your recap of it, though. :)

This was a classic BuckLeming clunker - but to be honest, it didn't seem much worse than anything they served up in season 12. I'm still stuck on these angel mythology continuity screw ups - I know, I know, it's pointless, that way madness lies - but Castiel has basically reverted back to being a de-powered human this season, and I wish we at least were creating a canon explanation for WHY.

"Every time I look at him, all I can see is the supreme agent of evil." This line - besides just being terribly written and awkwardly phrased - makes no sense to me. Of all of them, Castiel is the one who should be able to see Lucifer's true form inside Nick, right? So when Lucifer is dead, Castiel should be the one who is least perturbed by seeing Nick, because he (unlike REGULAR HUMANS) can see a clear difference between possessed people and un-possessed people. We KNOW that angels still function that way, because in the VERY LAST EPISODE Anael saw Michael and immediately knew he wasn’t Dean, could tell that he was an archangel (or at least something powerful).

So yeah. Canonically, makes no sense. Also, it’s REALLY rich coming from Cas, who ALSO SAID YES TO LUCIFER AT ONE TIME. As you mentioned.

My takeaway from this episode was that Cas is the worst. :( I hate when they make him stupid for no reason. (But I agree that it was nice to see him reflect on Jimmy Novak and how he ruined his life. Though again...maybe not the BEST idea to do that in front of Nick, who was recently possessed…?? GEEZ Cas.)

I did not like the whole “top monsters as politicians” meeting. Extending the corporate bureacracy approach from demons/angels to other monsters...nooooooo. I liked how Jensen was doing his best to build in some kind of American Psycho vibe to Michael - in line with the observation about late-stage capitalism from the previous episode. But ultimately I felt that the writers didn’t give him nearly enough to do.

On the positive side, it is a testament to Alex Calvert and the actors playing his grandparents that I care about them, and Kelly, at all. I am very uninterested in any plot line that doesn’t directly connect back to the Winchesters, so I was surprised at how successful that little scene was in making me feel for them. Really solid acting from those guest actors, and Calvert continues to impress.

Is Berens writing the next episode? My guess would be yes, so there's another positive. :)
Oct. 23rd, 2018 07:02 am (UTC)
Glad you enjoyed the recap!

It's true - that way madness lies - and yet we can't help dwelling on these things, it seems. I'm not sure what I expected from the episode, I KNEW it was BuckLeming. And maybe it IS better than some of their previous episodes, but I also have a little bit of distance from those episodes, so maybe I'd forgotten or something. :P

But yes, basically I agree with everything you say here.

I did not like the whole “top monsters as politicians” meeting. Extending the corporate bureacracy approach from demons/angels to other monsters...nooooooo. I liked how Jensen was doing his best to build in some kind of American Psycho vibe to Michael - in line with the observation about late-stage capitalism from the previous episode.

I agree with you, but I also think the trend towards turning the monsters into corporate bureaucracy is really interesting from a cultural zeitgeist point of view. It's fascinating to me that there HAS been this shift in SPN from it's conception back in 2005. In 2005, it was about the working class protecting the middle/upper classes from random unpredictable evil (*cough*terrorists*cough*) and then over the past 14 years the enemy has shifted from random unpredictable evil to organized corporate entities that prey upon society by taking advantage of their naivete. It's definitely an imperfect metaphor for our times, but I think that's because it's an unintentional one - the writers' perception of what makes something scary or what makes someone a villain has shifted subconsciously and they're writing to that now instead, even if they don't realize it.

Now, that all being said, I agree that I liked it better when it was random unpredictable evil... that comes out of no where and rips you to shreds.

Anyway, that does all go to your comment about how Jensen's American Psycho homage with Michael fits in with this late-stage capitalism critique of our society (which, yeah, was what American Psycho was 30 years ago - the only thing that's changed is we've replaced cocaine with opioids and Patrick Bateman would be a contractor/entrepreneur instead of an employee.)

Berens is indeed writing the next episode, so yay!! :)
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )


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