Supernatural: Ouroboros

"It's worth the cost."

All of this episode's plot lines came together perfectly, but I was still surprised by the unexpected denouement. I often plunge in and talk about the end, but maybe this time I'll start with how we got there.

Noah the Gorgon was a gourmet cannibal, bored with the evil human-eating requirements that kept him alive. (I'm sure everyone here knows the meaning of "Ouroboros," but wiki link, just in case.) The clever thing they did here was that the Gorgon's situation was an obvious parallel to Jack's, who has found that he can't stop using his powers, even though it is burning through the soul that is keeping him alive.

I'm not sure if they're just trying to make filming easier on our stars, but I liked the way they partnered Dean with Castiel here, and Rowena with Sam. Dean couldn't tell Sam that he's barely slept and is having tremendous difficulty keeping a lid on Michael; Castiel is exactly the person Dean would confide in under these circumstances. Understandably, Castiel is also Jack's confidant. Castiel was the one to tell Jack that as non-humans, the two of them might just have to live with losing the Winchesters because hey, they're awesome, but still only human.

Sam's relationship with Rowena keeps getting more interesting. Not only do Sam and Rowena hit the books together, but they talk truth to each other. I think that started way back – was it season twelve, that scene in the car? – when they unexpectedly connected over how they were both victimized by Lucifer. And Rowena is clearly proud of no longer being a villain. That said, Rowena isn't exactly a good guy, either, even though she cares enough about people now that Michael was able to manipulate her into saying "Yes." Her decision to continue hanging around Sam even though she knows he is destined to kill her says a lot. Pretty much anyone else would move to another hemisphere to avoid Sam, but not Rowena. I bet she is is actively trying change her fate by getting close to Sam.


All of this set-up came together in that final scene where Jack essentially cannibalized archangel Michael. Which was a shocker. While there's nothing I'd like better than Michael dead and Jack all better, that's not how this show works.

What just happened to Jack's soul? It was what made Jack who he is, or was. What will Jack be like if he is all archangel now, like his terrible father? Jack even acknowledged this time that he was Lucifer's son and a Winchester. He had Noah's snake in an aquarium in his room, some obvious symbolism there; like the chicken in the story, Jack sacrificed his "egg," his soul, to kill the monster. Is Jack the chicken or the snake? I most certainly don't want Jack to die – and his solution was definitely better than Dean in a coffin – but I'm not happy.

This episode was bookended with eyes. Noah the Gorgon ate the eyeballs of his victims in order to see the humans coming after him, but his snake eyes couldn't see angels. Maggie and the other alternate universe hunters met their end when Michael burned out their eyes. (I knew Maggie was going to end up dead again, but that was harsh.)

And since the beginning, Jack has had those distinctive yellow eyes, a sign of his immense power. They were gone. Now they're back. Initially, Jack was more powerful than his father. If he's now soulless, this won't end well.

Bits:

— Sam and Rowena as a couple at the vet's office was pretty funny. So was Jack as their transformed dog who didn't like having his temperature taken.

— Please tell me this is the end of the Ma'lak box. Okay, I'm sure it's not. Someone will eventually end up in it.

— We almost never know what the police have to clean up later, but what happened to the fortunate guy they saved? How did he deal with a headless gorgon in his living room? If he were smart, he cleaned up the mess and said nothing. But how many people are that smart?

— Rowena has been hanging around the Supernaturalverse for a long time. I checked, and this is her 29th episode, starting with 2014's "Soul Sacrifice."

— Dean kept mentioning the old movie, Clash of the Titans. I assume he wasn't referring to the remake.

— This week: Raton, New Mexico, and other New Mexico locations. They stayed in a motel with literally no name on the sign.

— Dean and Castiel were FBI agents Page and Jones. Led Zeppelin. Easy one.

— I like Rowena's new hairdo. It becomes her. I also like that she survived the episode. Although I'm sure there's a reason they keep reminding us that Sam is destined to kill her.

Quotes:

Sam: "This place doesn't exactly scream 'snake guy'."
Rowena: "Not enough Pantera posters, for one."
Google tells me there's a song by Pantera with the lyric, "I'm born again with snake's eyes." I kept thinking of Panera. Not the same thing.

Castiel: "These killings. Seems like there's a ritualistic quality to the crime scenes, right? It's almost liturgical. (Dean and Jack look blank) It means 'religious'."

Sam: "Okay, so we've made some progress."
Dean: "This is like an AV club presentation."
Jack: "What's an AV Club?"
Castiel: "It's a special group for people who do not play sports."

Rowena: (to the vet) "He blames me for everything! I let his mother ride the Jetski one time!"

Rowena: "Using dangerous, mysterious magic regardless of the cost, that's a very on-brand me thing to do."
Sam: "Well, thank you."
Rowena: "Of course, Samuel, until very recently, I was the villain."

Noah the Gorgon: "Honestly, it's not like I enjoy eating people. It's a lonely way to live, and there's only so many ways you can cook human. But sometimes fate is cruel and boring."

Noah the Gorgon: "Women have become so cautious lately. Must be all that finally waking up from centuries of misogynistic oppression."

The verdict? Grosser than usual, even on Supernatural's scale, but a well-constructed episode with a surprising ending. Three out of four eyeballs,

Billie
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Billie Doux has been reviewing Supernatural for so long that Dean and Sam Winchester feel like old friends. Courageous, adventurous, gorgeous old friends.

6 comments:

percysowner said...

It's Chekhov's Ma'lak box. You don't introduce it in part one (and spend a fair portion of an episode building it) and not use it in part two. Although we are still waiting for those cosmic consequences from breaking the deal with Billie that haven't shown up yet, so they could forget.

Louise said...

I did it! After 6 months of very committed binge, I (we, my lovely better half stayed with me all along and that's a first in our book) finally reached the end! So, first things first, I'm experiencing the feeling that anyone who's ever binged on a still-on-air show has feel, the "WTH how am I gonna wait until next week/how am I going to use my time" but I will get over it (we have a loooong list of series that are waiting for us to finish SPN, so yey to some other bung-watching).

I liked this ep a lot, for a hole lot of reasons.
1) I'm glad Michael is over and I'm glad that Jack was the one who ends him
2) the Gorgon plot was nice, and different and interesting, even if, as for almost every MOTW in the last seasons, it feels a little rushed in a crowded episode. I love gore, so I laughted at the cannibalistic bnquet scene, even making comments that seriously scared my husband (I have a twisted sense of humour).
3) I love Rowena more and more. I think Crowley's death was good for the character and allowed her to grow. I like her interactions with Sam (Sam-the-one-who-is-going-to-kill-her), even if I will never ship them, like, never. I'm over ships anyway after Eileen.
4) Jack is a nephilim again, YEY. I am absolutely terrified about the soul thing, but I fell in love with the most powerful being in the universe and human!Jack wasn't enough.
5) I love that we are 6 eps left and I really don't know where we are going. Is Jack going to be the big bad? Is Nick going to reunite with Lucifer (god I wish Nick was dead already, I hate this plot)?
6) there was 1 plot start to finish, and I really like it like that.
Thank you, Billie, for the reviews, they really help me put things in perspective!

Billie Doux said...

Congratulations on finishing your binge, Louise! I so agree that Rowena has come into her own. I got the impression from the comments that she was initially quite unloved, but that has changed. I don't ship her with Sam at all, but their relationship has become really interesting.

Leah said...

I had to watch the episode twice, because the first time the ending shocked me so much that I didn't know what to think. I wasn't expecting Michael's arc to end like that, and thought it was rather anticlimactic at first.

But when I went back to watch it a second time, it actually really worked well. I think it might have been a bit more effective if it had been Michael!Dean instead of Rowena, but it was still good. I'll miss Michael!Dean, he had great clothes and angelic snark, but it's going to be so nice having the normal Dean back. :) Also, Cas' heavy sigh at Dean and Jack's blank looks before he said "It means religious", lol.

I didn't know that the snake eating its own tail was called Ouroboros, thanks for that! Great review. :)

TheShadowKnows said...

I would guess Jack is going to end up in the box after he goes bad.

Josie Kafka said...

After name-checking Hannibal just a couple episodes ago, SPN goes full people-eating!

I didn't love this episode; it just didn't click for me until things got interesting in the last 10 minutes. But I did love Sam and Rowena at the vet's office. There was such Freudian nuance in the way they were fighting not only about their dog, but also about Rowena having let Sam's mom ride the jet-ski.