Supernatural: Stuck in the Middle (With You)

"What the hell did you get us into?"

Episodes like this one are why, even after twelve seasons, Supernatural can still bring the awesome. While filling in yet another bit of mythology, this episode finally explained what the Yellow-Eyed Demon was, and brought back one of my favorite guest stars. And they did it while effectively parodying the films of Quentin Tarantino.

Like Garbo, Ramiel just wanted to be left alone so that he could go fishing and whistle opera. Simple. Clearly, the British Men of Letters don't know what the hell they're doing, pun intended. They sent Mary to steal the Colt from a demon, not knowing that he was a very special and practically unkillable demon, a Prince of Hell. If the Winchesters hadn't been allies with Crowley, that would have been all she wrote. The unfortunate Wally, an unwitting victim of Mary's lies and I'm very sad to have to say that, got thrown into the deep end, so far out of his depth that it killed him. Wally did observe that the offer he received from the British MoL was too good to be true, and he was right. And Dean and Sam still don't know that their mother is working for these idiots.

How about the fact that Azazel, the Yellow-Eyed Demon, was introduced in the pilot episode, and now for the first time we know what he was? And that, while Ramiel is now toast, he still has a brother out there named Asmodeus and a sister named Dagon? And Dagon is very interested in the fact that Lucifer's girlfriend has a bun in the oven, a really fun metaphor in this particular instance? Do you think we'll meet that other Prince of Hell, or more likely, the Princess? Of course we will.

Seeing the Colt again was like running into an old friend. (Please tell me Mary didn't give the Colt to Ketch?) I'd always wondered what happened to it, and there it was, a coronation present for Ramiel, who turned down the throne of Hell. I'd always wondered how Crowley got the job, too, and voila. The Lance of Michael was also cool and amazingly powerful. Dean was carrying the pieces of the Lance at the end. Will they be able to reconstruct it? Now that they have his weapon, are they finally working up to resolving what happened to Michael the archangel?

This was the best use of Crowley in a long time, too, and now we know that he became the King of Hell only because he was in the right place at the right time. Again, I have to ask, does Crowley actually care about Moose, Squirrel and Feathers? He went on and on about how important allies are to Hell, but really, come on. Castiel would have died horribly if Crowley hadn't figured out how the Lance was powered by runes, and that breaking it would reverse the rot that was traveling up Castiel's body. Wouldn't Crowley have benefited more by simply walzing off with the Lance?

The way Castiel told the boys that he loved them while he was dying actually choked me up — very nice performance by Misha Collins. "The things we've shared together, they have changed me. You're my family. I love you. I love all of you." I'm relatively certain they won't write Castiel out any time soon, but hey, it could still happen. This could be the season that they kill him. Honestly, I think at this point that the fans would rebel, though. I'm also a fan of Mark Pellegrino's and I was so pleased to see him in that dog cage at the end, bitching about the Winchesters. Pellegrino's credit was at the end so that we would all be surprised. Which I was.

And I haven't even discussed the distinctive style of this episode yet: the spaghetti western music, the droll title cards, the slomo group shot, the repeated scenes from each character's perspective that made more sense with each iteration. I especially enjoyed the wonderful diner scene with the camera going in a circle (what's that called?), the overlapping dialogue, and Mandy the waitress hitting on Castiel (and the way he leaned over to smell her arm).


This episode was a joy to watch. Although it probably would have been more delightful if I were a fan of Tarantino's. Personally, I hated Reservoir Dogs. Maybe it was the ear.

Bits:

-- This episode was directed by Richard Speight Jr., the still very much missed Trickster/Gabriel. I thought the flaming circle of holy oil was a fun reminder of his character.

-- We saw Wally three episodes ago ("First Blood") being unsuccessfully recruited by Ketch. Poor Wally wasn't the sharpest tack in the box. Everyone knows cheese isn't a carb.

-- Castiel listens to radio evangelists in the car. For fun, or is it work-related?

-- The way Ramiel pulled the Lance of Michael out of the air behind his head reminded me of the immortals and their swords on Highlander. Ah, Highlander. So long ago. Adrian Paul, I miss you.

-- We were told again that the Colt can kill everything but five things in creation, but I'm pretty sure we never found out explicitly what they were. I thought they were God and the archangels, but now I'm wondering. Any theories?

-- Much of this episode took place in Raul's Coffee Diner, no idea where, Ramiel's house, and a barn down the road.

-- One nitpick. Wouldn't Castiel have noticed that Mandy was a demon? Angels and demons see each other's true faces, don't they? Mandy was the demon, wasn't she? Did I just confuse two actresses?

Quotes:

Dean: "Cas, here's the thing that you need to know about waitresses, okay? They get hit on all day long, so you gotta bring your A game. But, upside, they always smell like food."
Wally: "They always smell like food."
Sam: "Why is the upside they smell like food? Why would you want them to smell like food?"

Wally: "Look, I was just passing through and I heard about cattle mutilations."
Sam: "Classic demon sign."
Wally: "Started to dig. A lot of virgins go missing around here, too."
Dean: "Classic horny demon sign."

Dean: "My shy but devastatingly handsome friend here was just wondering, when do you get off?"
Mandy: (smiles at Castiel) "Whenever I can."

Dean: "All right, ramblers. Let's get rambling."
That's from Reservoir Dogs. Did I mention that I hated Reservoir Dogs?

Wally: (confused) "Lucifer has a kid?"

Castiel: "Where were you?"
Mary: "Bathroom. I get nervous sometimes."
Castiel: "Urination. I understand."

Crowley: "Every kingdom needs allies. Even Hell."
Ramiel: "Allies? Is that what you call three humans with one good liver between them and a busted up angel?"
Crowley: "I admit they don't sound like much. But every Armageddon, every bloody 'This is the end of all things,' a Winchester stopped it. Like it or not, they're an asset we can't afford to lose."

Lucifer: "Sam and Dean have got you down. You know, I still can't believe you are working for the Dukes of Hap-hazard."

Loved it. Four out of four broken lances,

Billie
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Billie Doux loves good television, especially science fiction, and spends way too much time writing about it.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Billie, glad you like the episode.

Mandy was not the demon. Mandy's hair is longer, the demon's hair is slightly below shoulder length. The actress who played Mandy is Donna Benedicto while the demon is Jennifer Cheon. Yeah, you confused two actresses, lol.

jenallday said...

Lovely review for a great episode! I remember just enough of Reservoir Dogs to catch the reference. I hated it too, definitely the ear.

I loved this episode even before Lucie showed up. I absolutely love Mark's Lucifer and would have never dreamed we'd get another go round with him. So excited!

Nicole said...

According to imdb it was two different actresses playing mandy and the demon

Billie Doux said...

Thanks, Anonymous and Nicole. My mistake! And much agreement, Jenallday. With the possible exception of Misha Collins, Mark Pellegrino was, and fortunately is again, the best Lucifer.

Anonymous said...

At last the writers are moving in an interesting direction: the classics. I am excited / worried that Mary is keeping secrets, but boy, it's making her a more interesting character. It was WONDERFUL to see Mark Pellegrino again, especially in his shadowy darkness! (Shades of Dante!) (And BTW, I also got the two actresses confused as being one also, and was confused until the clarification.)

As a side note, I have to say that I love this forum. I started my note by criticizing of one of the elements of this episode, and the longer I wrote about it, the more I realized that I was wrong. As someone who writes, I enjoy having my pre-conceived notions challenged and eradicated. Thanks to your brilliant contributors, and to you for providing such an excellent opportunity for us!

Billie Doux said...

Anonymous (the last one) -- you're so very welcome! And now I'm curious about what you were criticizing that you changed your mind about.

Mallena said...

I'm liking the direction that this season is starting to go in, finally. Mary has been so cold, and that has bothered me, but hopefully we will know what she is thinking, soon. I liked Maternal Dream Mary better than I am liking Complicated back-from-the-dead Hunter Mary.

I did like the style of this episode, even if the music was grating at times. The demon was scary and Princes of Hell sound interesting. I miss Abaddon. I'm so glad Mark P is back, I didn't like Springfield's portrayal very much. I do wish we knew more about the British MoL's.

Jason said...

I thought it was very interesting to have Mary retrieve the colt. You would think that the British MoL would have known that the Winchesters have a history with that gun, and to ask a Winchester to find it is pretty risky. Makes me wonder if Mary knows the whole story with the colt. Overall great episode.

Anonymous said...

Jason - As far as I recall, Mary's really only gotten small tidbits of information about what's happened in her sons lives since she died, and somehow I doubt that the BMoL would tell her anything. so no, I don't think she even knows all that much about the Colt, much less that Sam and Dean have a history with the thing.
Personally, I'm a little upset that she doesn't know anything yet. I'm hoping the Powers That Be decide to tell her everything sometime or other, bot so she knows exactly what she's dealing with and so we get a good reaction scene.

Anonymous said...

Hi Billie! It's anonymous -- the last one -- again. At first, I didn't care for the Quentin Tarantino-esque structuring of the episode, as I've never cared for any Tarantino movie. However, upon reflection, I realized that this structure, for this particular episode, worked very well. I'm a writer, (and a teacher) and structure is a very exciting concept and challenge for me. Because I have a prejudice against Tarantino's movies, I didn't give the structure fair consideration until reading the comments and trying to write my objections. At that point, I realized that my objections to the structure itself were based on poor foundations, and thinking about the comments made by you and your readers helped me reconsider my reaction. Thanks again for your great forum. It makes the episodes so much more fun for me!

Anonymous said...

Oops. I guess I was the second to the last one...

Patryk said...

The episode filled some blanks that I didn't even know I needed filling. That's always a good sign. It's great to see the Colt back as is seeing Mark Pellegrino back.

I like to think Crowley is on Team Winchester but with Lucifer seeping poison into his ear that might change soon. Btw. how did Crowley catch the devil after he was banished from the president? They should be putting him back in the cage not keeping him captive...