There may have been a festive flavour to this mid-season finale but merry it wasn’t, as Sam, Dean, Cas, and Jack set out for a showdown with Michael, paying plenty of homage to a certain Christmassy action film along the way…
Things started out in an optimistic vein. Jack and Castiel spent some quiet time together, midnight feasting on contraband sugary cereal while Jack came to terms with his death and rebirth, and Castiel mused that his deal with The Empty would probably never come to fruition, as he couldn’t envisage a time when he’d be truly happy. Poor wee thing.
Meanwhile, Sam had sent hunter-turned-werewolf, Garth, on an undercover mission to infiltrate Michael’s pimped-up monster army at his new HQ in Kansas City, Hitomi Plaza – the first clear nod to Die Hard. But Garth soon found himself in over his furry head when he was forced to drink a mixture of blood and Michael’s grace, something we soon found out not only gave Michael an insight to the hunter’s mind, but enabled the archangel to control him as well. Garth’s unwitting passing on of false intel was the beginning of the Winchesters’ upper hand rapidly losing its grip!
After managing to work around Ketch’s failure to get the Hyperbolic Pulse Generator needed to evict Michael from his vessel to them on time, Jack and Sam found themselves ambushed and the golden egg destroyed. While Sam was knocked out (seriously, that guy’s cranium must be made out of the hardest substance known to man), Jack was kidnapped by the archangel, who took the boy up to survey the Kansas City skyline and explained to him that they weren’t so different. Robert Berens‘ writing of Michael’s monologue was almost enough to negate how inexplicable it was that Michael would keep anyone associated with the Winchesters alive at this point, although one could argue that Jack, Cas, and especially Sam are good leverage for making his ‘true’ vessel compliant, especially if he no longer views them as a threat.
On the surface, it seemed that Dean and Cas were having more success procuring Kaia’s spear, although Dean’s promise to return her to her own dimension with Jack’s help was completely, knowingly hollow, and is bound to come back and bite him on the ass. Dean trying to get to grips with handling the spear was a patch of light relief, as was the brothers, Jack and Cas marching towards their face-off with Michael to the strains of ‘Ode to Joy’, another reference to the Die Hard films. But things took a sinister turn once the boys entered the plaza penthouse and found Michael more than ready for them. After getting an early jab in, wounding the angel, Dean faltered, and it was all the window of opportunity Michael needed to repossess his best meat suit.
It made sense that Michael had plans to reclaim Dean, given the lack of fanfare surrounding his departure earlier in the season. His rationale was fairly believable too, that he’d given Dean just enough freedom, like a cat lifting its paw, confident it can catch the mouse again at its leisure, to ensure he was thoroughly broken this time around. A solid performance by Felisha Terrell helped to make Michael’s cruelty seem organic and gave him the gravitas so often lacking from the show’s angels these days. While this episode was more about wrapping up several threads from recent weeks, the onset of war in the city below, started in the episode’s final frame by a snap of the fingers (a device which must still trigger traumatic flashbacks in Marvel fans) promises to be a super-charged kick-off to the second half of this season, and I hope the hijacking of Dean allows us to explore new territory, with higher stakes than ever before.
Final Grade: C
+ With Lucifer having shifted his attentions away from Sam and onto Nick, it’s good to know that some version of Michael is staying faithful to his MFEO human.
+ Jack having learnt to pick locks on YouTube and being scared of what Sam would think about his nutritional choices was precious.
+ I’m looking forward to seeing some more of the Dean!Michael fallout, and Jensen Ackles having a chance to stretch himself.
– It drove me mad that Sam promised Dean he’d wait for them before rescuing Jack then went ahead and did it anyway.
– I’m glad Garth survived, and DJ Qualls is always fab, but I feel a bit like this is a case of bringing back a secondary character to dispatch them imminently!
– I can’t believe no one made a ‘yippee Kaia’ joke!
Extra Thoughts: Now Kaia is trapped in a world she despises with the things she fears most, without her beloved weapon, will she join forces with Sam for protection, or cash her chips in with Michael? And, more importantly, will Sam’s grief beard return?
What did you think? Was this yippee ki YAY or yippee ki NAH? Sound off in the comments or over on Twitter.