This episode of Supernatural touched me in a way few have. I’m a Tarantino-phile and while I don’t know everything, and could very well miss a few things in this review, I’m officially placing this episode at #2 all time. Which I find interesting, seeing as how last season brought me a new #2 also, in “Baby”. What’s my #1, you ask? “Swan Song”, the season 5 finale. I don’t see that changing any time soon, but thanks for asking.
My game plan for the episode is as follows:
First, I’ll put it in order, including my feelings and conclusions. It’s going to be a little long (very) because I’m doing a full recap. And because this episode was wall to wall packed with goodies for the fandom.
Afterwards, I’ll point out as many Tarantino references as I can and their Tarantino origins. I could get into where Quentin got those from, but I think that would make this far longer than it needs to be. And besides, we’re talking about Supernatural here.
Directed by Richard Speight Jr., who you may know as the Emcee to end all Emcee’s for Supernatural conventions, who you may know as the guy in the Pepsi commercials, who you may know as the Trickster. Yes yes he was really Gabriel. Sorry, he’ll always be the Trickster to me. His chosen identity. The last episode he directed, “Just My Imagination” was nominated for Hugo award. I expected no less from this episode, and I was not disappointed.
First step: put it in order. Discuss the feels.
Mary and Wally sit in a truck, on stakeout. She has photos, photos I should have
recognized. Unless I’m mistaken, we’ve seen that painting of Michael before. But I didn’t make the connection because by the time we got to this scene I was too in love with the episode’s style to notice. Anyhow, they sit in the truck and Wally alludes to the lie they’re going to be telling Sam and Dean. Why you lying, Mary? Don’t you know lying to your boys gets people dead? I think you don’t know them very well. And I don’t like you for lying. Also, all the good she’s been able to do with the BMoL sounds great and all, but who feels OK with that? Not me.
Next, Mary and Wally meet the boys and Castiel outside the diner. Introductions made, they walk inside to have probably one of the cutest scenes I’ve seen on Supernatural in seasons. The waitress flirts with a mildly hapless Cass, who knows what’s going on but instead of asking her out, awkwardly sniffs her. Sam’s question, “Why would you want them to smell like food?” pretty much perfectly sums up everything that was good and beautiful about this scene. It ends with Mary saying “Everything is going to be alright.” Much as I love the Winchesters, if you’re hunting with them and you hear them say that, RUN. Run fast, run far.
They arrive at the demon’s house, ready to set up. While the boys are painting devil’s traps, loading demon bullets, and in general getting ready, Mary disappears. Down to the basement where, honestly, I should have known what she was getting. All the weapons in the room? The freaking thing was right there in the “Then” portion of the episode. I wasn’t paying close enough attention. And again, she lies, when Castiel asks where she was. You know what, Mary? Your boys find out you almost got Cass killed, they won’t forgive you, no matter who you are. He’s proven himself as part of the family. Just because you’re blood don’t mean you’re family.
So home comes the demon. Early, no less. Wonder why? Did someone tip him off? I find that not only possible, but likely. Probably the BMoL. Seems like something they’d do. Although it could’ve been Crowley’s demons. At any rate, he comes in and the boys hit him full force. Don’t even leave a scratch. Mary gets cornered in the kitchen and this is our first BIG revelation.
Sam and Dean fight the usual demons, Wally dies, poor guy I liked him, and Mary and Castiel fight New Yellow Eyes. This demon, he pulls some sort of spear (sorry Crowley, a lance) from nowhere. A magical lance. After he stabs Castiel with it, Mary runs his ass down. Pretty awesome. Taking Cass, she gets down the road and calls the boys. Blood in her hair and on her fingers, she somehow doesn’t get blood on her phone when texting the BMoL, asking what the hell they got her into. They claim “bad intel”. What would the Brits call that? Horse puckey? Haha, what’s the proper British term here?
The boys come to find her and Castiel. She and Sam discuss what happened at the farm, and Sam asks the same question. What did you get us into? Meanwhile, Dean checks up on Castiel. Cass says he thinks he’s dying and while Dean denies this possibility, he can hardly look at the wound. He does good not showing any cracks in the veneer though.
Then Crowley comes. You idiots, you’re all going to die.
Now, I didn’t start with this, because it is a true flashback. As such, it goes here in the episode, not at the beginning. In it, we see Crowley as he was back at the beginning of season 6. We know this due to the references he made to Azazel, Lilith, and Lucifer. It is at this point, in an incredibly enjoyable scene, we find out Azazel was not the only Prince of Hell. This is his brother, Ramiel, and there are two others. Another brother, Esmodius, and a sister, Dagon (sorry if I screwed up the spelling). Crowley plies the demon with gifts and offers him the throne in Hell. Ramiel rejects it, wishing to be left in peace, and so Crowley makes a deal for the mantle. And now we know. It wasn’t a coup. There was no war in Hell. Crowley was given the crown by the heir apparent. I must admit, I’d been curious about that.
As he explains to the Winchesters, he also explains there’s no cure to heal Castiel. He’s going to die, a slow and painful death. Dean tells him to get out if he’s not going to help, which he does.
It’s at this point, Misha made me sob. For Castiel to say that the best thing to happen to him in a lifespan of over four billion years is the Winchesters, and for him to say they’ve changed him, that they are his family, and that he loves them? Misha delivered a pitch perfect performance. I’m getting a little teary just thinking about it.
But they won’t leave him. And they begin to set up for the demon coming. Because the Winchesters always keep fighting.
Ramiel comes down the road, running into Crowley. Crowley, admitting that the Winchesters are not only an asset but are also allies (yeah sure you don’t have friends. Uh-huh.) tries to broker a new deal. But Ramiel is uninterested, and throws him through the wall.
When Ramiel enters the barn and is trapped in the flaming circle, Mary has a chance to come clean. She doesn’t, though, and instead puts her boys in direct risk of a Prince of Hell. Yeah, that’s really not the most responsible thing to do. She’s about as good a parent as John, at this point. Here we also have a reference to some future plot, in which Dagon takes or joins forces with the nephilim.
The Winchesters win the fight, of course, and Sammy finally gets to kill his very own Yellow Eyed demon.
But Castiel, still dying, calls their attention. Crowley, in a rare moment of sacrifice, breaks the lance to save Feathers. And, I don’t care what he’s done in the past, he is definitely a full fledged member of Team Free Will now. As they leave the barn, Mary has one more chance at absolution, when Castiel asks what Ramiel meant by someone stealing from him. But, she doesn’t fess up. Again. That’s three times she was asked, and three times she lied.
As she sits in the diner, telling the story to Ketch, she questions him about what the BMoL knew. He says they knew nothing about who the demon was and apologizes for putting her boys in danger. Also, Ketch is lying. Of course they knew about Princes of Hell. Give me a break. But, for all the things he does wrong, I still kind of like Ketch. I hope to see the actor at some cons. I wish the Winchesters could be friends with him, though at this point I’m sure that won’t happen. Unpopular opinion or no, I do like him. And what about what he was after?? The Colt?! After all this time, wondering where Crowley had stashed it, it appears.
The icing on the cake.
The absolute proof the people over there doing this show love the fandom. Love us, beyond any shadow of doubt.
As Crowley pours himself a drink back at the castle, a voice speaks from his dog cage. Now, we could spend a whole other blog talking about the fact that Crowley and Rowena double crossed the Winchesters back in that hotel room, but I’d rather talk about the fact that MARK PELLEGRINO IS BACK AS LUCIFER. I cannot believe this. Like, literally, I screamed. I knew Mark had been in Vancouver working, and I’d heard a rumor he was going to be on the show in the second half of the season, but I couldn’t hope to believe he’d actually be playing Luci. This was the best news of the whole episode. One that included the Colt resurfacing. I didn’t think anything could eclipse that. I was wrong.
What an episode. Applause to everyone who made it a thing, and to Rich for making it beautiful.
As promised, Tarantino references, in order of the episode. Let me know what I’ve missed, and if I got any wrong.
1-episode open, the coffee cup : Pulp Fiction, Pumpkin and Honey Bunny
2-Episode title, “Stuck in the Middle With You” : Reservoir Dogs, Mr Blonde torture scene
3-Menu in the diner : Pulp Fiction, Jack Rabbit Slim’s
4-extra cheese, the wifi password : Pulp Fiction, Royale with Cheese (? kind of a stretch)
5-revolving camera in the diner – Reservoir Dogs, also in the diner
6-every single music choice. The whistling, the western theme, the oldies. Non-specific references.
7-Part titles, i.e. ”The Wounded Angel” : Pulp Fiction, i.e. “The Bonnie Situation”
8-Entrance into the diner from the parking lot : Reservoir Dogs, of course
9-whistling demon approaching : Kill Bill, Elle in the hospital
10-the thing Mary took from the basement safe, the glowing light : Pulp Fiction, the briefcase
11-Ramiel has a pocket watch. Haha : Pulp Fiction, Butch’s watch
12-$5 Milkshake on Ketch’s placemat : Pulp Fiction, Jack Rabbit Slim’s
13-the most obvious one, the layout of the episode. 100% Pulp Fiction.
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