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Review: Supernatural 13×09 “The Bad Place”

So, it’s Hellatus for the Supernatural family already, and time to bid the Winchesters farewell for this year as we leave them dangling from that metaphorical cliff for the holiday season. But not before we examine the events of the action-packed mid-season finale, which saw the brothers catch up with their wayward (adopted) son, and introduced another key player for the upcoming spin-off, Wayward Sisters.

After an Oglala Sioux dreamwalker named Derek Swan was found with his eyes burnt out, the boys got a tip off from Jody Mills that the victim’s girlfriend identified Jack as having visited the man before his death. While Dean jumped to the conclusion that the kid had reverted to type and gone looking for Lucifer, Sam wanted more proof. On discovering that Derek had been corresponding with another young dreamwalker, the Winchesters tracked Jack to the rehab centre where she was being treated for amphetamine abuse.

Enter Kaia – a young woman plagued by nightmarish visions of other worlds in her sleep which left her injured and terrified, forced to stay awake at any cost. She refused to help Jack with his quest to find Mary Winchester in the Apocalypse World, and soon found herself kidnapped by angels seeking the Nephilim. Meanwhile, Sam and Dean had caught up, and established that Derek had been alive when Jack left him. Jack showed the boys images of their mother trapped in the iron maiden via telepathy, and the knowledge that Mary has been alive all this time sent Dean into a tailspin.

After hearing on ‘Angel Radio’ that the angels had taken Kaia, the Winchesters went to save her, and Jack got to show off his impressive powers, which he seems to be getting pretty good at controlling now. But on freeing Kaia, Dean decided that they needed her to jump between dimensions, and reacted to her fear and reluctance to help by pulling a gun on her. On the one hand, I am fully aware of the extreme things Dean Winchester has done to save or bring back Sam. He loses all rationality when it comes to his brother. He was prepared to kill Bobby Singer more than once if it meant getting Sam back, and that man was like a second father to him. However, I do feel like Dean’s character has been done a disservice this year. He gave Jack the hardest time for weeks, based on a pre-conceived notion of what he was, and now he’s threatening scared teenagers into doing his bidding. Perhaps his behaviour is the manifestation of his guilt at not having looked for his mom, but it’s still very far from excusable.

On a sweeter note, Dean did accept that Jack sees him, Sam, and Castiel as his family. And Jack helped to allay Kaia’s fears by showing her that not every place in creation is like The Bad Place. By the time the angels found them, Kaia appeared almost willing to help and at least she got to remain on Earth, safe and relatively unscathed. She lives to fight alongside Jody and her all-female posse of hunters, survivors, and psychics, joined too by Patience Turner, who walked out on her father and her Ivy League college future to warn Sheriff Mills about the premonitions she’d been having.

While Jack succeeded in transporting himself to Mary’s prison, Sam and Dean somehow got flung into Kaia’s ‘bad place’, which – unless I’m very much mistaken – looked to be populated by giants and…dinosaurs?! Is Supernatural about to jump the shark (again) big time, or is there another explanation for the humongous chicken footprints?

“The Bad Place” was another decent installment which looked fabulous and gave us another compelling new character in Kaia. Having learnt from the ill-fated Bloodlines, the creative team have taken care to lay the foundations for Wayward Sisters, setting it in the familiar world of the parent show and populating it with characters the audience is already invested in. In terms of the series arc, it’s good to have the Winchesters and Jack back on good terms, and I look forward to the Nephilim getting the chance to prove his mettle. I’m intrigued by the place Sam and Dean have ended up. This far into a long-running series, it can pay to take risks, and with the back-door pilot and a Scooby Doo episode to look forward too in the New Year, Supernatural is certainly still capable of delivering something different.

Final Grade: B-

+ This episode had a really great aesthetic and cinematic feel to it.

+ Jack being in the family gave me the warm and fuzzies.

+ Kaia was well rounded and instantly believable. She’ll make a great addition to the spin-off.

– I wanted to know more about Derek and his spooky paintings!

– It seemed odd to have no update on Cas, Lucifer, and Asmodeus at this point in proceedings.

– While I enjoy the idea of multiple worlds/universes, the GFX as Jack was searching Kaia’s mind left a lot to be desired. It’s hard to recognise such grandiose and abstract ideas on screen, so I think there might have been a more effective way to do that…

Extra Thought: Is this really the end of the line for the angels? I doubt it, but it would be an interesting development.

What did you think? Are you excited for Sam and Dean in Jurassic World, or was it all an inter-dimensional step too far for you? Sound off in the comments, or over on Twitter!

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Katie Young

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