Supernatural: The Devil in the Details

"Instead of choosing the world, you choose each other. No matter how many innocent people die."

The Christmas-related preview that followed the mid-season finale, "O Brother Where Art Thou", was so bizarre that I couldn't imagine how they could possibly make an episode out of it. What clever misdirection.

I loved this episode. It had everything that makes Supernatural such an outstanding series: it was clever, rich in detail, faithful to the characters, and in line with the extensive and complicated series mythology. But mostly, I loved that Lucifer managed to get out again. And how he did it.

Although this wasn't actually a Christmas episode (except for Rowena's whacko dream in the teaser), the basic structure was patterned on A Christmas Carol. Lucifer did his level best to get Sam to say yes to vessel-dom by taking him through the ghosts of Winchester past and present. I was so pleased to see Colin Ford again as dashing teen beanpole Sam getting some smoochies from a small-town girl, as well as flashbacks to Sam and Amelia (and the dog), and even the season five showdown with Sam's heroic descent into the Cage. Lucifer suggested that the reason Sam went overboard to get rid of the Mark of Cain was guilt over not rescuing Dean from Purgatory, which made sense.

The central theme of this episode, and what Lucifer was getting at with the memory lane crap, was Sam and Dean as heroes sacrificing their lives to save the world, instead of continuing to sacrifice innocent lives to save each other. Lucifer was certain he could talk Sam into sacrificing his body in order to let Lucifer defeat his auntie, the Darkness. I was downright proud of Sam for realizing the obvious and completing the thought -- as in, yeah, Lucifer beats the Darkness, and then he pops a brewski and brings on the Apocalypse just for the hell of it, pun intended.

Lucifer promptly lost his temper and started beating the boys, but clearly, he never stopped thinking. I guess he's not the prince of lies for nothing. I was pretty sure Lucifer would make it through the episode and get out somehow, but I never once considered the possibility of Castiel as Lucifer's vessel. I absolutely loved Misha Collins doing a practically perfect imitation of Mark Pellegrino. Whoever in the writers' room thought of this particular twist should get a bonus. The only sad part about it is that we won't see Mark Pellegrino again. Okay, I suppose there could be flashbacks, but I doubt it.

(Okay, I probably also need to mention that we absolutely have to get the real Castiel back. You can consider it implied.)

Castiel saying yes to Lucifer was set up so well, too, with cute little Ambriel, Heaven's statistician, telling Castiel that Dean and Sam were the real heroes, and she and Castiel were expendable. She reminded Castiel of all the things he's done wrong, and that his fellow angels despise him. Of course, Castiel would sacrifice himself to save the world as well as Heaven, just as the Winchesters would. Lucifer's ultimate goal was to take over Heaven. I bet that's still on the agenda.

And finally, Rowena. I knew she was toast as soon as she confirmed Lucifer's guess that she was the only one who could open the Cage. That's gratitude for you. And as they usually do, Supernatural gave Rowena's character some closure. Rowena admitted she hated Crowley because he was a reminder of her humanity, of love, and she saw love as weakness. At least she and Crowley got to spend a little quality time together sparring over tea with honey and a splash of milk before Lucifer/Castiel broke her neck.

The big question for me is, what happens to a witch who dies in Hell? One would assume that she would... go to Hell. I'm metaphysically confused. Any theories?

Bits and pieces:

-- Billie the reaper returned. I love that there is now a continuing Supernatural character named after me. What comic book was she reading when Castiel showed up?

-- Rowena said that Crowley's father was a rich man who abandoned her. I thought Crowley was conceived during a bacchanal?

-- Dean went down a stairway to Hell. Not a Zeppelin song.

-- Dean vomited from "smiting sickness". I don't remember him ever vomiting before, but hey, eleven seasons.

-- The forest where Amara was smited (smitten?) was dark during the day, I think because all the souls Amara had sucked were freed. The souls going back into her body looked cool. Sort of like Willow in Buffy season six.

-- A lot of the camera work in Hell showed Crowley and Rowena *through* the fire place. Very nice, like implied hell fire.

-- This week: Kenesaw, Nebraska; Hell; the MoL bunker; and wherever the angels smote the Darkness.

-- And the password is: Camptown Ladies.


Crowley: (holding up a Sam Winchester doll) "Mom! Mom! I got a Sam!"

Lucifer: "You're betting on Dean?"
Sam: "I always have."

Lucifer: (to Sam) "By the way, I thought I had daddy issues. But you? Wow."

Rowena: "Lucifer has a plan, and..."
Crowley: "And he's the devil."
Rowena: "You say that like it's a bad thing."
Crowley: "Oh, I'm a bad thing. He's a worse thing."

Dean: (on Sam's voicemail) "Sam can't talk right now 'cause he's waxing. Like everything. But leave a message."

Crowley: (voicemail) "Thank you for phoning Crowley, King of Hell. For demon deals, press one. To report a sighting of that ginger whore Rowena, press two."

Castiel: "The last time there was a smiting of this magnitude, Lot's wife turned to salt."
Dean: "Awesome."

Lucifer: "Ass butt. I still don't get that."

Lucifer: "Snapping necks and cashing checks. It's what I do."

Ambriel: "I don't hate you, Castiel."
Castiel: "Thank you."
Ambriel: "I mean, we have a lot in common. Our names rhyme, and that's a big one. I look good in a trench coat, too. And we're both expendable."

Crowley: "Don't worry about Sam."
Dean: "I'm sorry, have you met me?"

Amara: "My brother always did have horrible taste in men."
Laugh out loud. I have no idea why this struck me funny, but it did.

Crowley: "A little tip, Mother. Never accept a cup of tea from someone who loathes you."

Lucifer: "Prison life hasn't really agreed with Michael. These days he's usually sitting in a corner singing show tunes and touching himself."
Okay, but what about Adam Winchester?

Sam: "Let's say you gank her. Then what?"
Lucifer: "Move to L.A.? Solve crimes?"
A reference to the new Lucifer series?

Wonderful episode. Four out of four witch catchers,

Billie the reviewer, not Billie the reaper
Billie Doux loves good television, especially science fiction, and spends way too much time writing about it.


Anonymous said...

I believe Death was reading a comic about Death...
I must say i loved old Death but Billie is not a bad replacement.

Profe said...

Just a side note, Dean has puked on camera before. In Live Free or Twihard he puked in reaction to the Vampire cure. In Wishful Thinking he puked off camera after eating the E. coli tainted sandwich. And now I feel like a supernatural Becky Rosen superfan 99 level Nerd for knowing that off the top of my head.

Billie Doux said...

Thanks, Profe. Lol. :)

audrey L said...

Nice review
I loved the episode too, the show is back on track this season.
I was so sure Rowena would dye this episode, I would have prefer through one of the winchesters hands or Crowleys but she had it coming. And she was right, love made her weak, her crush on Lucifer was her end.
I am glad they found a plot for Misha, can't say Cass anymore since he now plays Lucifer. The 3 seasons lng storyline of the rebel angel was tiredsome.
By the way where is Castiel, do they share the host or did they swicht and he is now in the cage with Michael ? But thinking about it, it wasn't really Lucifer in a body since Nick didn't fall in the cage. That's confusing.
Loved seeing Colin Ford but he is getting too old for the role unfortunetly and don't look so much as a joung Jared.
Unlike you I didn't like at all the way Misha played Lucifer. When I watched it, sure I knew right away he was Lucifer but I thought "is he trying to parody Mark". Mark has a way to play Lucifer showing he is sarcastic, it's fun and scary but subtle. There was nothing subtle is Misha's acting, it was too much and laughable. I truly hope it was just because it was to show who he was for his first Lucifer's acting and that he won't do so much next time. (just my opinion here, not starting a war).
I suppose he wanted to have fun after paying the constiped Castiel for so long.
Then I loved how Sam stayed strong, saw through Lucifer game, kept faith in his brother. That was the best of the episode.
Now the redemption will be hard for Castiel, because we all know, we will see him again. For the first time, a character chose the release a very bad guy on earth.
Previously, it was always under good intentions( Dean breaking the first seal, Sam, the last one, Castiel releasing the leviathans, Sam rescuing Dean from the MOC, they knew there would be consequences but couldn't know how bad). This time Castiel knew there was a plan to send back Lucy in his cage in a few minutes and knew what Lucifer will do once on earth. Does he even care about the darkness or was it just a plot. ? Wouldn't be surprise if these two work together against God instead of against each other. Bad bad decision Cass, even stupid.
Oh how I love when so many questions come through following an episode. It means they have a good storyline.

TJ said...

Yes!!The Amara/Darkness storyline needed some oompf and here it is!! Lucifer's back. And Misha Collins was terrific in playing the part. Will Lucifer try to hide his identity to Sam and Dean? I love a good bodyswap story. Can't help but thinking of Sarah Michelle Gellar/Eliza Dushku and Enver Gjokaj playing Topher. Aah, those were the days...

Rowena is gone:( I knew she was toast when she gave that I-hate-you-speech. But is she really gone? Maybe she becomes some kind of ghost witch roaming the halls of Hell for eternity? And driving Crowley crazy to the point that he's considering converting to higher places??

I really think this was meant to be a Christmas episode, but CW made some changes to the schedule. Same think happened to iZombie. Still, it didn't matter.

Mallena said...

Liked many parts of this one. The Christmas dream, Colin Ford back as young Sam,(almost didn't recognize him)Mark P. as Lucifer, Rowena's death. Cage match!! The things that didn't work was Castiel wandering around looking for Amara with random angel for too long, seeing Amelia again, ick, the too short, dark cage match. I had to crank up the brightness on my TV to even see anything. The Casifer twist was nice. I just wanted more drama in Sam's rescue somehow. Crowley, Dean and company were just in the next room when Sam yelled? Good thing it is so easy to get to hell these days. Maybe that was just Hell's waiting room. It was great that Sam said no to Lucifer, yeah Sammy, that's my boy.

Anonymous said...

Yes, that was a real comic book.

Neil Gaiman created the brilliant series Sandman. In wit, he created 7 personifications of ideas including Dream (Sandman), Destiny, Desire, Delirium, Despair, Death, and seventh one.

Gaiman wrote a couple of mini-series about the character Death who is usually seen as a beautiful goth girl wearing an anyk. Death the High Cost of Living was the second mini-series. This was the comic book Billie was reading.

Everyone should try Gaiman's work. Aside from Sandman, he wrote the novels "American Gods", "Good Omens" with Terry Pratchett, "Anasti Boys", etc. He wrote "Coraline" which became an animated film.


Nicole said...

I Think they will get to Michael/Adam in the final, with season 12 being about Them trying to get the story back to the showdown between Michael and lucifer

Juliette said...

It's kind of adorable that Sam's reaction to being bullied is still "my big brother's gonna beat you up"

Lucifer seemed pretty concerned to check only Rowena could open the cage, so fingers crossed for Adam and Michael returning in the finale!

Profe said...

Ditto Juliette. I thought it was absolutely adorable that he's basically like "Wait til my big brother gets here. You're gonna get it then." And we all know in the Supernatural world, that threat actually carries quite a bit of wait. Don't mess with Sammy or you'll have to deal with Dean. I'm so glad the brothers are getting along this season. Reminds me of the fun of seasons 1 and 2.

magritte said...

Another fascinating episode. Really didn't see Castiel becoming Lucifer's vessel coming--I thought maybe he would grab Rowena as a temporary vessel. God, Castiel's judgment is even worse than the Winchesters...but I guess we knew that, already. Sigh. Though it was interesting hearing Amara comment that God had taken a special interest in Castiel.

While obviously getting Lucifer out of Castiel will be a plotline at some point, I'm guessing Lucifer continues to pretend to be Castiel, and leads a Crowley/Winchester plot to foil Amara. Maybe he won't show his true colors to Sam & Dean till next season.

I just had a scary thought: could Amara actually be working with Lucifer? She sent Castiel right to him, after all.