Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell – Supernatural 12.15

WB/The CW

Last week’s episode of Supernatural had something that never fails to make me a very happy fan indeed: The Winchesters listening to each other and trusting each other and telling each other the truth. THANK YOU, SHOW! (And writer Davy Perez). That alone is enough to make a good episode imho. But actually there was one more thing that will always make me happy – Winchesters in glasses. Is it hot in here?

So let’s talk about what I liked first, and then I’ll get to the things that didn’t quite work for me. I really really loved that last conversation between Sam and Dean, where Sam comes clean about working with the BMoL and Dean, instead of flying off the handle and feeling threatened and betrayed and thus shutting down, instead hears Sam out and they come to an agreement. Dean isn’t anywhere near trusting them – and I don’t think Sam is either – but the brothers are on the same page about cautiously taking what they can from the BMoL while still retaining their independence as hunters. How easy that will be I’m not at all sure, but the important thing is that the brothers are together in the decision. I don’t know if I’ve ever loved Sam more than when he steeled himself and told his brother the truth.

Sam: Either way, I shouldn’t have lied to you, and I’m sorry, man.

Dean: (not walking away or even looking away) Well, okay. What do you want me to say? Do I like it? No. Do I trust them? Hell no. But you’re right.

And Sam, in return, waits to pick up the next call from the BMoL until Dean gives him the go ahead.

That conversation, and its upshot, are emblematic of where the brothers are this season. It’s because Dean feels some sense of security in his relationship with his brother that he’s able to not run away or panic, as he would have in other seasons. He knows Sam isn’t going anywhere; as much as he told Sam to pick a side, I think he knows that Sam will always choose Dean. In fact, Dean’s comfort with telling Sam to pick a side in the first place is indicative of that sense of security. And I LOVE that. With all they’ve been through, I hope they know what we as viewers know – they will always pick each other.

cap by @s_verasani

I loved their brotherly banter throughout the episode too, from Sam’s disgust over Dean’s post-hunt skeeviness to knowing how many boxers Dean brought and just how dirty they are, inside out or not, to their playful jostling over whether to tell Gwen the truth about what happened.

Dean: Trying to make you feel better. It was his idea.

Sam: eyeroll

Sam: Ewww

I will never not love a glimpse of domestic Winchesters, so Dean threatening to use the fancy shampoo that Sam (tries to) keep hidden from him was much appreciated. And Dean not wanting to let Sam drive, that was a nice piece of continuity, hearkening back over all twelve seasons.

I also loved Crowley’s arc in this episode. I may have leapt up off my sofa when he ended up outsmarting Lucifer after all – in part because go Crowley and in part because I love love love when Show can still surprise me! Mark Pellegrino and Mark Sheppard remain absolutely delicious together, every scene crackling. Including Lucifer in a bridle, which necessitated his comment of ‘kinky.’ I mean, what else could he say?

WB/The CW
Kinky

I also love that Crowley’s relationship with the Winchesters and Castiel continues to evolve. Dean and Crowley teaming up again (shades of their epic bromance a few seasons back!) was wonderful – pretty sure Crowley thought Dean looked as hot in those hellhound glasses as the rest of us did. Their conversation was just the right amount of snark and ribbing.

Dean: Maybe I’ve rubbed off on you.

Crowley: Maybe I’ve rubbed off all over you.

Not entirely the same thing, Crowley. I may have laughed out loud.

But there’s also truth underneath – and Dean’s thank you for saving Cas was clearly heartfelt, even if Dean himself is still too smart to entirely trust the King of Hell. And then we get Sam’s thank you to Crowley too, with the brothers once again on the same page. This was a big move forward in Crowley’s story – but of course, Sam and Dean don’t know that Crowley isn’t telling them that Lucifer isn’t actually in the cage. Or that he has ‘big plans’ for the imprisoned-in-his-lovely-Mark-Pellegrino-vessel Lucifer. What are you up to, Crowley? I can’t wait to find out!

WB/the CW

I also liked the guest stars, including Kelvin the angel (Nathan Mitchell) teaming up with Cas (though he needs some coaching on how to pronounce Castiel). Castiel’s story arc also took a surprising turn in this episode, as Kelvin urges him to come back ‘home’. To Heaven. He makes a compelling case, and Cas makes the surprising decision to go hear Joshua out – without telling the Winchesters. I feel for Cas, never truly at home, always feeling like an outsider no matter how often the Winchesters assure him that he’s family. I don’t blame him for wanting to hear Heaven out, but I also don’t trust the angels, not even one who seems nice enough like Kelvin.

I loved the character of Gwen (Angelique Rivera, who did a great job), an obvious parallel for Sam – smart, courageous, determined – so that when she talked about lying to the person she’s closest to, both Sam and the viewers knew that this was a parallel for Sam and Dean.

Gwen: Why couldn’t I just tell him the truth? But I didn’t. I lied to make things easier.

We find out in the last scene that Sam heard her – and stopped lying to his brother.

I particularly loved that she kicked the Winchesters out of her house when they insulted her intelligence by trying to tell her that Marcus was killed by a bear. Their “you’ve been through a lot, sometimes the mind plays tricks on you…’ sounded way too much like ‘stop being a hysterical female’, and I loved that she wasn’t having it. Kudos, Davy!

Other things I liked? Dean’s small soft smile when koalas are mentioned. I’m guessing that was Jensen, and I loved it. Gifs please, fandom!

The final showdown with the renegade hellhound was beautifully filmed by Serge Ladouceur and directed by Nina Lopez-Corrado, who did the hellhounds justice throughout the episode. They could so easily be cheesy, but Nina never lets that happen. She did a fabulous job of amping up the suspense every time we saw things through ‘hellhound vision’, especially as Sam and Dean meet with Gwen and Ramsey is watching the whole thing. I had goosebumps! Seeing the hellhound through the lens of Sam’s glasses on the ground was brilliant! And I love that Gwen saved Sam using the iconic green cooler, and that Sam ended up killing the hellhound blind. We’re getting a lot of Sam F—king Winchester this season!

I didn’t love everything about the episode, though. As much as I enjoyed Sam ribbing Dean about needing a shower, Dean is usually more of a neat freak, and he hates having ‘fluids’ all over him. I’m not sure he would have been so blasé about being covered in monster guts, or so gleeful about it, let alone flicking it all over the room. I guess maybe he just wanted to gross Sam out, but it didn’t seem entirely Dean. And while I usually love love love the meta episodes, I think I love them more when they’re just that – episodes. This episode infused some in jokes and meta comments throughout, which sometimes jarred me. Give me an entire meta episode ala Robbie Thompson and I’ll eat it up with a spoon, Show!

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love The Walking Dead crossover as Dean comes in swinging Lucille – and commenting that his dad loved it – perfect shout out to Jeffrey Dean Morgan. But it did throw me out of the story for a minute.

And were the Queen of England references a GISHWHES shout out to Misha??

Also I don’t understand why Sam keeps giving the BMoL so much credit. THEY killed the Alpha Vamp? Umm Sam, pretty sure that was YOU! Unless he just wanted to convince Dean to work with them, but I’d really like to see someone give Sam the credit he deserves for saving the day like that. Including Sam himself!

And it does stretch my giving Show the benefit of the doubt to buy that Sam, even though he doesn’t trust the BMoL and knows that they risked everyone’s lives and got a hunter killed by sending Mary after Ramiel blind – even though he knows all of that, he would still take cases from them without telling his brother. After they endangered the Winchesters and almost got Cas killed, Sam would take cases from them and leave Dean vulnerable from not knowing, just like Sam and Dean were both vulnerable with not knowing the truth about Ramiel??? That is hard to believe. I’m trying, because Show is clearly expecting me to, but it’s tough. The whole BMoL story line has stretched believability repeatedly, and that’s not something I enjoy.

So we’re left with a lot of questions. Where is the Colt now? Does Dean know it’s back in play? What will Cas decide about Heaven, and what does it want with him? What are Crowley’s big plans for Lucifer, and how will they affect the rest of the world? And who are the ‘old men’ pulling the BMoL’s strings?? So many questions going forward, but with Supernatural, that’s usually a good thing.

The episode was aptly titled, and I think implies more than we know right now – where is Heaven in this big board game? And where is hell, with Crowley once again truly in power and able to make changes. Are the BMoL aligned with either, or a separate force to be reckoned with?

That leaves the Winchesters perhaps truly between Heaven and Hell. And, if Supernatural plays out as it always has, the only ones who can save the poor humans caught in the crossfire.

Tweet by Angelique Rivera, with Mark, Jared, Jensen and director Nina Lopez-Corrado

–Lynn
Pre-order our new book, Family Don’t End
With Blood: Cast and Fans on How Supernatural
Has Changed Lives, at familydontendwithblood.com

18 thoughts on “Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell – Supernatural 12.15

  • Right? All the stuff about the alpha. I was sitting there thinking, “I’m sorry, what? The bmol did nothing but sit there and die horribly”

    I loved the glasses. Hipster glasses for Dean and sophisticated professor glasses for Sam. Such nice eye candy this season.

    I was also really interested that they are throwing Joshua’s name around again. And it kind of hurt when the angel asked Cas to come back to his “family.” Deliberate and very meaningful choice of words there. Hopefully Cas can come to understand that he has a family that loves him and he doesn’t have to settle for merely being tolerated by the angels.

    • Seriously, it was SAM who saved the day and killed the Alpha Vamp! I wish someone would tell it like it is. I really feel for Cas, it still clearly hurts him so much to be rejected and blamed by his family in Heaven. I wonder what Joshua will say…and what Cas will believe. So many questions going forward!

  • That line about the BMoL killing the Alpha Vamp rubbed me the wrong way also and I found myself yelling at the tv that it was Sam F__king Winchester that killed the vamp gosh dang it. Then there is the mystery of the Colt again. Where is it now? Sam should have it but then also, did he tell Dean yet that it is back in play? I don’t think so.

    Cas and Kelvin, yea that I don’t see going the way everyone seems to think it is. I wonder if Joshua really is even in play here or if maybe it is just some of the angels up in Heaven making a pass at getting back at Cas for getting Hannah killed last year. I just don’t trust that Kelvin is on the up and up and we all know that Cas is just way to trusting, especially when it comes to Heaven and the angels because he wants to fit in and be wanted again so badly.

  • Amen to everything you said! I was actually really annoyed about a few things after watching the first time, but came to appreciate a lot about the episode after having seen it a few more times. I get the feeling that this season there’s sometimes a little too much “writing for the audience” going on, especially with meta jokes or comic relief scenes (but also with melodramatic ones), and sometimes the story itself suffers from it (or the characters’ credibilty). Like the beginning scene with gore-covered Dean (how did he drive in Baby like that- sitting on 50 baby wipes???).
    However, it’s still fascinating to see how they manage to always answer one question to give us three more to angst about!
    Thanks, Show!

    • Yes, exactly! No way would Dean drive his Baby covered in monster guts! He even showed his extreme care of her later in the episode as he warns Sam to be careful with her!

      • Yup. And that’s the sort of sloppiness we are not used to from spn writers. Sacrificing a character’s integrity/continuency for the shortlived effect of a scene (which is even worse than getting details like the Grand Canyon thing mixed up- cause that sure can happen in a show running for so long!) But well. Everyone can make mistakes once in a while I guess. And the writers get other things so well this season!

  • The hell hound’s name is Ramsey. Obvious reference to the character in Game of Thrones who gets devoured by vicious hounds after feeding his enemies to them. The weakest part of the script is the two demons who let Ramsey out to free Lucifer. Yes, it is necessary to unbind Lucifer, but their demise seemed so silly- maybe it was the sycophantic characterization- how else does the episode explain Lucy’s “freedom”? Much to like in the episode.

    • There were a few weak points, where the plot felt manufactured, a means to an end. That was one of them. But yes, much to like too.

    • I’m so sick of demons being used for comic relief. Crowley’s two henchmen were a perfect example. We haven’t had truly terrifying demons in years. They’re always delivering one liners and whining. I wish this would change.

      • It’s true, they tend to be portrayed as rather bumbling idiots recently. Hard to be scared of them at other times – which I think is why I enjoyed Ramiel so much. He wasn’t one dimensional and he was truly scary just in the seriousness of his portrayal.

  • My problem is yes Sam came clean in the end you knew that by the way that the girl was going on and on about lying that well he is going to tell the truth finally and stop lying to Dean about the computer all of sudden generating new cases really best he could come up with? But he hasn’t told Dean everything and that is what frustrates me does he want mom to come clean about the colt? is he afraid he tells Dean mom stole colt that he would be even more mad at her? Fine you got him to work with the Brits but really is that going to end well Dean does not follow orders Sam maybe likes going wherever Mick sends him but what if a case shows up in paper and mick send them somewhere else what is Sam going to do? See this is not going to go well at all. And like I said Sam still has secret of the colt and the brits having that so what happens when mick blows that secret because tension between the boys good or bad? Sam is getting along with mom taking her calls now also??? so not sure everything is rosey with the boys I think Dean went along but be interesting to see what happens further on.

    • I agree, very interesting to see what happens going forward. Sometimes I get frustrated because Show assumes that we’ll assume that conversations take place offscreen even though we don’t hear them – perhaps that’s the assumption about the Colt? But that’s a conversation that I think is way too important for the viewer not to witness! I like that Show has been highlighting Dean’s excellent intuition and judgment this season – he tends to know when something is “off”. Maybe that will come in handy when dealing with the BMoL.

  • Sam made the shot that killed the alpha vamp, but the alpha vamp was there to be killed because the BMOL had systematically killed all the vamps in the region and drawn him out of hiding to protect his “children”. So, no matter who actually fired the shot, the alpha vamp is dead because of the work of the BMOL. With one storyline they demonstrated the effectiveness of organization in hunting as well as the dangers of compartmentalization, showcasing both the strengths and weaknesses of the BMOL system. All of that shows pretty clearly why Sam would find the system attractive, and why the system needs people like the Winchesters. All of that aside, I’m hopeful that Cas visiting home may FINALLY shed some light on the status of heaven since the defeat of Metatron. Apparently they are still using the single portal for access. What does that mean for the Veil, reapers, and the delivery of souls? What possible explanation is there for not fixing that? Exactly what level of power do the angels possess post-fall? Did Chuck stop by on his way out of town and sort stuff out, or did he just ignore his angels and their issues completely? If he blew them off, how pissed are they about that? This gaping hole in the storyline has been frustrating me for most of four seasons now. I understand leaving story options open for the writers but this is getting ridiculous.

    • More questions! And good ones. It certainly leaves Show with alot of places to go – let’s hope they actually do!

  • I just watched this episode again ( ok, maybe for the third or fourth time ) and a couple of random thoughts wandered in. First, Mick Davies’ name on Sam’s phone is Frodo. I found that quite funny, is it because Mick is shorter?
    Second, for a supposedly superior organization, the BMoL isn’t that good. They didn’t realize that Ramiel was a prince of hell (bad intel). They thought the alpha vamp was in Morocco for the last decade. What else don’t they know? Also (a small point I know) Sam didn’t see the alpha in Hoople, North Dakota. They drove from Hoople to where the alpha was staying. Come on show! Don’t be lazy. I know this covers the last two episodes but like I said, wandering thoughts. Killing time before a new episode.

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