Sam and Dean go after the blood of “a most holy man” and everything goes off the rails in Supernatural 13×15
Last week’s story arc-intensive episode of Supernatural is balanced out in this week’s “A Most Holy Man.” While the episode focuses on Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) searching for the blood of “a most holy man” for the spell to open a portal to the Apocalypse world, most of it plays out like a standalone episode. With Castiel off looking for the Tree of Life, Sam and Dean attempt to track down the blood component of the spell. Their search brings them to Margaret Astor (Leanne Lapp), a wealthy sacred relics and religious artifacts dealer.
After meeting with Margaret and agreeing to help her, the brothers meet up with Richard Greenstreet (Dominic Burgess). Greenstreet agrees to give them the blood of a saint if the brothers first do something for him. This leads the Winchesters to a mob boss named Santino Scarpatti (Al Sapienza). One thing leads to another and the brothers end up running into Father Lucca (Massi Furlan), a priest in search of a sacred skull. Multiple betrayals occur, which causes a major firefight and the deaths of Margaret and Scarpatti. Father Lucca reveals that he’s been named “a most holy man” by the Pope and gives the brothers some of his blood for use in the spell.
The style of “A Most Holy Man” is quite different from the usual episode of Supernatural. Without any supernatural threats for the brothers to deal with, the show takes on more of a mob movie/detective story look and feel. Even though the main plot deals with searching for a component of the spell to open a portal to the Apocalypse world, there isn’t much forward momentum in the main story other than the brothers obtaining the blood. Father Lucca’s introduction is one of the more notable parts of the episode as he helps restore the brothers’ faith in searching for Jack and their mother.
Supernatural may have gone with less of a main story-drive episode this week but that doesn’t mean we don’t have anything to talk about. Let’s meet our roundtable and discuss “A Most Holy Man!”
Lindsay (@lindieface) – Beleaguered grad student, unrepentant fangirl, whiskey aficionado
Snowlantern (@sisselauisk) – Swedish translator, TV enthusiast and lifelong nerd.
Tricia (@tricia_16_) – Wayward wife and mother of two who found my people, my passion, and myself through Supernatural and its fandom
Cat Bow (@Pathryn34) – Wife and mother who tries to be loving and kind, but traffic…
Mery (@Sasstiel_) – Italian fangirl maybe a little too obsessed with Supernatural.
1. “A Most Holy Man” had a lot of references to mob and detective stories. Did you have a favorite reference? If not, what was your favorite scene?
Lindsay (@lindieface): Some of the shots and soundtrack choices had a very film-noir feel to them, which I thought added a nice touch to making it feel cohesive. The scene with Margaret hitting on Sam was a nice change of pace, too – his reactions always amuse me when people throw themselves at him like that.
Snowlantern (@sisselauisk): In the ’90s, I watched the TV show Wiseguy. That was a GOOD mobster story. This just felt very campy to me and I didn’t enjoy it. But then I’m usually not too crazy about these kinds of referential episodes. I can quickly summarize what I enjoyed in this episode: Sam and Dean, Father Lucca (Massi Furlan), and the mob boss (Al Sapienza).
Tricia (@tricia_16_): Mob and detective stories aren’t something I generally choose to watch, so I’ll have to go with my favorite scene. I think it was when Dean and Father Lucca were talking about God (Dean telling people what a jerk Chuck is always entertains me) and afterward when the two of them work together to take out the guard outside. Dean can really work a choke hold. Whew!
Cat Bow (@Pathryn34): I loved all the references, though I admit to many of them going over my head. But I loved the scene in the mafia boss’s parlor. From petting the cat to the talking about respect by Scarpatti. I loved Dean talking back. He knew that would get him the boss’s respect. Plus, he has threatened Lucifer, mouthed off to Cain, and scolded God. Who is this low life compared to them? Another great scene was the gunfight set to Italian opera intercut with father Lucca praying. It was so cinematic.
Mery (@Sasstiel_): I liked the brothers using Bond as an alias when they met Greenstreet and the Godfather reference at Scarpatti’s, where he holds the cat.
2. Dean is very protective of the Impala and said he’d torture and then murder anyone that tries to harm her. While the exchange was most likely written for comedic effect, do you think he’d actually take it that far?
Lindsay: Oh, he’d definitely take it that far. It’s Baby. No one hurts Baby and gets away with it – after all, he even threatened haunting Sam if he didn’t take care of it in “Faith.”
Snowlantern: Jensen knows just how to deliver lines like that, it was hilarious! Nah, he wouldn’t torture. But he’d be much more inclined to kill someone who stole the Impala and then also provided a legitimate reason. Dean was full-on Murder Face when he handed over the keys! Not just murder, but psycho murder. That little smile was downright scary!
Tricia: No, absolutely not. In his lowest moments, he himself has even put the Impala through some major damage. He absolutely loves his car (probably more than is entirely healthy to be honest) but I really don’t think he’d kill somebody over her.
Cat Bow: I think that greatly depends on who stole her. A kid? Some other desperate human? No. He didn’t kill Kelly, though he was upset. If it was a mobster? More likely for that person to die. An angel, demon, or other monster? Oh man. Yes. There would be death. And it wouldn’t necessarily be quick, though depending on circumstances it might be. Baby has been stolen before with varying survival rates. From the shifter in 1.06, to Andy in 2.05, of course, the big thing is he always got Baby back.
Mery: Not to the point of murder for sure, but I think Dean would give the same treatment to whoever would harm the Impala. He does have a weird relationship with his car.
3. Out of all of the antagonists the Winchesters were up against in this episode, which one was most effective? Regardless of who lived and died, are there any you would have liked to see fleshed out more?
Lindsay: Greenstreet was interesting, in a slimy sort of way. He definitely kept the story moving – though I don’t know that I’d necessarily need to see any of these characters fleshed out more. They fit the film noir style well, but those kinds of movies aren’t exactly known for being subtle!
Snowlantern: The mob boss Scarpatti worked best for me. Al Sapienza is a good actor who made the guy seem quite believable. There was a lot to think about in his performance. There were layers. Like, the mob boss himself was also putting on a performance, with a chilling amiableness designed to corner people. I really enjoyed it. Seeing an actor of that caliber play against Jensen and Jared is always a treat.
Tricia: I wasn’t a huge fan of any of them, to be honest, but if I had to pick, I would go with Margaret. She kind of came off as another Bela (who I loved) and I liked that she was so flirty with Sam. A lot of us can relate to that. haha
Cat Bow: I liked Margaret Astor the most. Though I hated her end (apparently just flirting with Sam causes death now), I love how sneaky and underhanded she was. She reminded me of Bela. I would have loved to see more of her. Not that I ship it, but I would have liked to have seen her and Sam’s relationship develop.
Mery: I liked the boss, Scarpatti. He has men, he has resources, he incarnates the perfect Italian mafioso, Catholic to the point of stealing relics. I would have liked to see him more.
4. Sam mentioned that no matter how many monsters they kill and people they save, there will always be more. Do you think finding a way to eliminate all monsters will ever be a possibility on this show? Or is that too much of a happy ending?
Lindsay: I think that’s too optimistic for Supernatural – there will always be another baddie lurking around the corner, be it monster or demon or human, and if there weren’t, well, the boys wouldn’t have anything to do, would they? They’re way too wrapped up in the hunting world to really walk away, but I don’t think monsters will be eliminated in this world anytime soon.
Snowlantern: That would be too neat, I think, but I also don’t believe in a tragic ending anymore. In the context of the current storyline, I think Sam is struggling a bit, but Father Lucca in this episode helped him remember who he is at the core, how he wants to live and fight. Sam is someone who needs to feel that there is hope, a goal, and a right way to reach that goal. I think Dean’s “I have faith” helped with that too.
Tricia: I actually really hoped that was the direction they’d slowly start going in last season with the British Men of Letters. Mick seemed to have a pretty good system down that would have worked if executed correctly. So I don’t think they could get rid of every monster that exists, but I do think there’s a more orderly way to tackle hunting them. I think Sam and Dean being in charge of that would be a great ending.
Cat Bow: No, I do not think they ever will get rid of all the monsters. And, honestly, I don’t think that’s the point of the show. The point is to keep going, not reaching a destination. Keep saving people, keep killing the monsters. To keep doing good, your best in an imperfect world. Though I do hope they get rid of all the big threats lurking, this is Supernatural. I very much doubt that happy of an ending.
Mery: Eliminate all the monsters? I don’t think they’ll get it that far, probably the closest to a happy ending we’ll see is the boys retiring, maybe Sam becoming the new Bobby? I would like to see that.
5. After spending most of the episode trying to obtain the blood of a saint, it turned out that Father Lucca fit the description. What did you think of the twist that Father Lucca was “a most holy man?” Is he a character you’d like to see again?
Lindsay: I liked Father Lucca, but I personally like him as a one-off character. He fit this specific story but having a priest around frequently might start to feel a little weird? I figured he would be the holy man as soon as it was revealed that he was a priest, though.
Snowlantern: Very interesting and lovable character! His a good heart, adorable bluntness (“What are you doing?” “Providing a distraction”), holiness, and willingness to bleed for the Winchesters made him a Cas parallel. He was Sam’s Cas-figure – Sam ran to his side when he was hurt the way Dean does when it’s Castiel. But he also gave a counterpoint to Cas’ “whatever it takes” speech from the last episode. There is an interesting discourse flowing through this season about why we fight, and the importance of how we fight, and for what.
Tricia: I think mostly everybody who was watching the episode saw it coming shortly before it actually happened. For me, it clicked when the shootout started and we heard the church-like music playing in the background. I wasn’t totally enamored with Father Lucca, but I saw a lot of people were. So I wouldn’t mind seeing him again.
Cat Bow: Oh, man. I saw this coming and I loved it. I very much doubted that the blood of a saint would work. And as soon as we discovered more about Lucca, the more I thought he would fit the bill. I would love to see him again. Because, honestly, his wisdom and heart were what was needed. Plus, he was super adorable with his “distraction.”
Mery: When Sam mentioned Luca doing all kind of charity work and whatnot, I had the feeling that he would be the most holy man, turned out I was right. I’d like to see him again, he was funny and so pure in that way to not even lie for the sake of his life and soul.
6. In his own way, Father Lucca helped restore Sam and Dean’s faith (or Dean’s at least) in being able to rescue their mother and Jack. Did you find that to be a believable development?
Lindsay: I’m not sure. There was a moment when he was talking in that scene that the whole thing felt way too on-the-nose and unsubtle but that was more an issue I had with the writing rather than the characters. Dean is usually more pessimistic, and he’s certainly not religious, so I was surprised that he had such a quick change of heart.
Snowlantern: That was the part of this episode that I loved the most. I think Father Lucca said some things that especially Sam really needed to hear. Dean’s faith was restored when he got Cas back, but Sam is still reeling from losing Jack and Mary. Thanks to Father Lucca, Sam made the heart choice instead of the “smart” choice, and in the end, they were rewarded with what they needed – the holy man’s blood, which they wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.
Tricia: Hm. I’m not entirely sure Dean had lost faith entirely. Dean seemed to think everything would work out once Cas came back, and it’s really been Sam lately who’s been the party pooper. I like how Sam and Dean take turns being the rock for each other depending on which one of them needs it the most.
Cat Bow: I think he did more than that. I think he restored Dean and Sam’s faith in their life’s mission. It seemed to me that Dean was shaken to his core with what happened the last episode. He believed Cas was right. Doing “whatever it takes” is the only way to go. The world is imperfect. And so is he, and even Sam. Sam was struggling. But Father Lucca’s speech about doing good anyway really resonated. That God isn’t going to come down and save you, but doing good is God’s work. That and you have to have faith in something. It renewed Dean’s belief that had been so shaken.
Mery: Dean’s faith has been crushed and restored many times in the years (may it be with Cas’s death and resurrection, lately at least). Maybe this is it.
7. “A Most Holy Man” didn’t appear to advance the plot very much beyond obtaining the blood. What did you think of the decision to devote an entire episode to find a single component for the spell? What did you think of the episode overall?
Lindsay: I’ve got mixed feelings. It had several fun moments with the brothers, but I felt like the pacing was off. The whole thing dragged and felt like a zag to the left when the story should have focused on obtaining more than one component. They could have had the B plot focus on what Cas was doing in Syria, rather than inevitably coming back next episode with him having found the item? I’d like to see that play out, too, not just be solved offscreen. And the film noir, while fun, felt a little off with the rest of the season. It was a fine episode, but nothing memorable.
Snowlantern: I like standalone episodes. They can have an appealing specific character, like “Monster Movie” or “Hunteri Heroici.” This one was clearly intended as a mobster homage/spoof. That part didn’t work so well for me, but I think the holy man’s blood came with a little more than just platelets. Sam, Dean, and Cas are all working their way toward a sense of how the approaching war should be fought. Faith is a keyword.
Tricia: Honestly, this was easily my least favorite episode of the season so far. If I wanted to watch a show where the heroes were mobsters, stealing important items, and having shootouts with a bunch of (human) bad guys, I would do that. I watch Supernatural for the relationships between the three main characters, yes, but also the supernatural aspects – of which there were almost none this episode. It almost felt like an alternate universe fanfiction story in episode form. So it was a huge let down for me, and not an episode I will ever re-watch.
Cat Bow: Hey, they got the ingredient. In season 5, many episodes were devoted to getting the rings that were the key to locking up Lucifer. But, honestly, I think the problem is the lack of a defined arc and MoTW. They seemed to be mixed with this new hybrid muddying the season. That being said, I loved this episode. I needed this episode. I needed to see them being brothers. I needed the laughs, the teasing, the caring for each other. I needed more of finding out how Sam’s head was, both emotionally and physically. I needed them to know they can still do good. And I got it all.
Mery: It reminded me of that time Sam and Dean were trying to close the Gates of Hell back in season 8, with one quest at a time. Overall, it was weird, but not in a bad way. Most likely in a “no monsters at all for the entirety of the episode” weird.
Final Verdict: “A Most Holy Man” is an entertaining outing with the Winchesters but it doesn’t leave much of a lasting impression
The introduction of Father Lucca in “A Most Holy Man” is arguably one of the episode’s greatest strengths. Not only is the character highly memorable but he also helps restore some of the lost faith of the Winchesters. His approach to acting as a distraction for Dean is especially well-done. His grounded faith is exactly the kind of thing the Winchesters needed to hear, even if they know the truth about God/Chuck and the way he’s abandoned humanity. Al Sapienza as the mob boss Scarpatti and Leanne Lapp as Margaret Astor are especially noteworthy as well and help create some fairly entertaining scenes with the brothers. The mobster/detective story vibe will likely be quite divisive among fans. It’s fun if you like that kind of thing. It probably won’t be too thrilling if you don’t.
“A Most Holy Man” is an odd episode and a somewhat strange fit for Supernatural. The episode doesn’t feature any supernatural threat for the brothers to face off against and plays out more like a detective show or mob movie. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it’s a questionable choice. The lack of much forward momentum in the main story other than obtaining the blood is also a bit disappointing. The episode is entertaining enough on its own. But overall, it isn’t particularly memorable beyond the introduction of Father Lucca.
Supernatural may have opted to go in a somewhat questionable direction this week but with one of the major components of the spell to rescue Jack and their mother now in their possession, the Winchesters still made some progress. Unfortunately, the show is on hiatus for another few weeks. But when it returns, it’s crossing over with Scooby-Doo in what should be a highly unique episode!