Sam and Dean face off against a tentacled goddess from another universe in this week’s Supernatural
After obtaining fruit from the Tree of Life from Castiel (Misha Collins) in last week’s Supernatural, Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) continue their search for spell ingredients in this week’s episode. This week the brothers search for the grace of an archangel. Their hunt leads them to the bunker of another Men of Letters chapter. While inside the facility, they hear a woman screaming for help. It turns out that Sandy (Magda Apanowicz) has been restrained in the bunker for almost one hundred years and was part of a Men of Letters ritual. The Winchesters run into two other Men of Letters legacies, Ophelia (Tiffany Smith) and Marco (Ivan Wanis-Ruiz), and learn that Sandy isn’t actually Sandy. She’s a tentacled monster from another universe that claims to be the goddess Yokoth.
Meanwhile, Asmodeus (Jeffrey Vincent Parise) continues extracting some of the archangel Gabriel’s (Richard Speight, Jr.) grace and injects himself with it in order to gain additional power and a high. Ketch (David Haydn Jones) talks back to Asmodeus and receives a brutal beating in response. After that, Ketch frees Gabriel and steals the archangel blade that Asmodeus had obtained from him. Ketch brings the frightened and weakened Gabriel as a peace offering to the Winchesters. With all of the components of the spell in their possession and a special crystal from Ophelia and Marco, Dean pushes to open a portal to the apocalypse world and heads in with Ketch to rescue Mary and Jack.
It’s unclear what the main inspiration was for the monsters in “The Thing” but Yokoth and her mate Glythur have a distinctly H.P. Lovecraft-like feel to them, right down to the titles Yokoth has given herself (Star of Madness, Ravager of Galaxies, Mother of Faceless Hordes). The use of monsters from another universe gives the episode a familiar yet fresh feel. Despite the darkness of the episode, which involves ritual sacrifices, torture, and life-sucking tentacles, Davy Perez injected a lot of the usual Supernatural brand of dark humor and witty dialogue into “The Thing.” Dean also starts playing pranks on Sam again.
Asmodeus using an archangel’s grace as a type of supercharged drug also raises some interesting questions about the origins of many of his abilities as a Prince of Hell. Gabriel’s newfound freedom also potentially gives the Winchesters a new powerful ally even if he’s currently in a severely weakened and damaged state.
“The Thing” has more tentacles than even Dean is comfortable with and helps push Supernatural into the final acts of the season. With Dean and Ketch headed to the apocalypse world and Sam, Gabriel, and Castiel strategically left behind, this week’s episode gave us a lot to discuss. So let’s get right to it and meet our roundtable!
Nadine M. (@iamjustnadine_) – Day time paper pusher and irreverent fangirl by night.
Kristen (@MishaMishaps) – I’m a lover of books, a fan of angst, Misha Collins fan. Adult with the heart of a child.
Rae (@reviewsbyrae) – Star Wars and Supernatural fan and avid writer obsessed with all things storytelling
Sarah (@mishdestiel) – Writer, reader, student. Cornered by Supernatural eight years ago.
Cat Bow (@Pathryn34) – Wife and mother who tries to be loving and kind, but traffic…
1. Richard Speight, Jr. returned again as Gabriel! Unfortunately, he didn’t have any actual lines again this week. What’s your current theory for how Gabriel survived? Was it one final trick? Is he even the same Gabriel we knew from earlier seasons and he just happens to have the same vessel?
Nadine M. (@iamjustnadine_): My heart is in distress over Gabriel. I think that Asmodeus was a busy cretin. It wouldn’t be a stretch that an alt-version of Gabriel was used in alt-Kevin’s otherworld experiments. It’s possible angels can do energy/grace transferrences and if this isn’t ours – he flowed into our Gabe’s body when our Gabe died. It’s possible Asmodeus took advantage of Gabe’s dead body after Lucifer killed him. I’m still upset over Gabe.
Kristen (@MishaMishaps): First I want to say Rich’s acting was amazing. I felt his emotions, deep hurt by his looks and moves. When it boils down to it I think Gabe did trick us all. I mean he was first known as the Trickster. If Rowena and Ketch can find away back from dead, I’m sure he can fake or come back. I really do think it’s Gabe. I mean he’s just had a rough time.
Rae (@reviewsbyrae): Gabriel has always been my favorite angel in the show so seeing his return made me both ecstatic and terrified because of his condition, and what Asmodeus was doing with his angel grace. As for how Gabe is still alive? The logical conclusion is that he pulled some Trickster stuff in season 5, hid himself away and Asmodeus captured him. Rowena and Ketch have come back, too, so anything is possible. I think it would be interesting if it wasn’t the Gabriel we know and love. I wasn’t sure whether he knew Sam and Dean. Either way, he’s broken and suffering from some serious PTSD. I hope we see Sam’s sensitive side getting Gabriel to talk in a future episode since Dean was Dean and immediately ran off to the Apocalypse world already.
Sarah (@mishdestiel): I’ve been waiting since S9E18 (“Meta Fiction”) with sheer hope that eventually he would return. I always thought Gabriel faked his death to Lucifer back on season five, and I’m still holding onto that theory. He is the Trickster after all. The idea of him hiding in heaven also makes sense to me, since he could totally be in disguise, hidden in someone’s personal heaven. Considering we didn’t really get more explanations, I believe it still is the Gabriel we know (and I love).
Cat Bow (@Pathryn34): Richard Speight, Jr. did an excellent job portraying Gabriel without using words. Every whimper, every scurry, every fearful glance, showed us exactly how broken and tortured Gabriel was. And, honestly, that makes me believe it isn’t our Gabriel. Our Gabe was brash, confident, and bold. It could be that time being constantly drained and tortured could do that, but it seems unlikely. He didn’t seem to recognize Sam and Dean. So I think Asmodeus retrieved him from somewhere (or somewhen) else.
2. The monster the Winchesters were up against this week felt almost like a Lovecraftian goddess. Do you think Davy Perez was inspired by H.P. Lovecraft when coming up with the god and goddess or do you see another inspiration? What did you think of Yokoth as a threat?
Nadine M.: Davy’s work is amazing. I stan him. I can’t say too much on Lovecraft as I haven’t read much of his work although movies with creepy tentacles seem to be a thing. Yokoth is scary AF but may be a one off creature but mind, now that they have a reason to get to our world, she might try to reenter. That is certainly a possibility.
Kristen: Don’t hate me but I haven’t seen much Lovecraft so I can’t speak much on that. What I was reminded of was that one Doctor Who alien that “killed” dream Rory but it mostly reminded me of The Magicians playing with gods and how they are not all great. I think Yokoth was an interesting character. Something different for a normal monster.
Rae: Nah, as soon as someone tweeted Lovecraft during the show, I was sold, but would love to hear Perez talk about his inspiration for this episode. As for Yokoth, it would’ve been interesting to see how Sam and Dean would’ve dealt with a “god” from a different world, especially since they’ve relied on lore in our world to defeat gods before. But thankfully Dean can dodge tentacles like a pro and honestly, we have enough going on this season.
Sarah: Davy being inspired by Lovecraft sounds very plausible to me. Perez is one of my favorite writers and probably one of the smartest ones. It makes sense that he brought back that feature. Yokoth seemed very eager to get what she needed, but then again I think being locked up for almost 100 years does that to you. If she happened to have succeeded, she could be considered a very dangerous threat, especially with Michael trying the same thing. Two people trying to conquer our world wouldn’t end up well.
Cat Bow: I’m hoping it was Lovecraft and not hentai, to be honest. I would much rather it be a call back to the Cthulhu. I also got serious Eternal Darkness Xelotath (maybe Mantorok) vibes. The way she took out all those robed guys weakened and her plans for our dimension were definitely terrifying. And her plans for Dean, let’s just say I agree with her taste in men.
3. Asmodeus has been extracting and injecting archangel grace into himself to enhance his abilities. Do you think he’s the first demon that’s ever done that or is it some sort of old Prince of Hell trick to give themselves a boost in power? Do you think he’s addicted to it?
Nadine M.: He’s definitely not the first nor the last who knows of how angel grace works. Angels know how it works; which is why they fear losing it. It also seems to be like pure energy which is possible that he is.
Kristen: I think that Asmodeus was the first one to take an archangels grace to power up. I personally don’t think he’s as strong as the others are. I do think he’s addicted to archangel grace. The look he gets when he injects it says it all. It’s his high. It reminded me of Crowley and his human blood high.
Rae: Of course, he’s addicted. We saw it with Sam and demon blood and again with Crowley and human blood. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that he started with regular angel grace and moved onto archangels once he needed more of a kick.
Sarah: I believe it is an old trick, but Asmodeus is the first one to effectively go through that. Dagon would probably do it as well if she was alive and had Jack on her hands. Crowley would’ve done that when he had Lucifer if he wasn’t worried about other things. The possibilities are endless and interesting. If Asmodeus is addicted, I think we might see the lack of grace weakening him eventually and get a scene similar to when Crowley was addicted to human blood. It could be good for plotting.
Cat Bow: Hmmm. Maybe that is how Lucifer made them so powerful? I doubt it though. I can’t see him sharing. I think Asmodeus was the first one. Lucifer did say that Asmodeus was doing things he didn’t give him, like shapeshifting. And oh yeah, Asmodeus is addicted. Not just to the feeling, but to the raw power it gives him. He was shamed by Lucifer. He probably felt wondrous flicking Lucifer like a bug episodes back.
4. Despite the darkness of the episode, it was full of the usual Supernatural witty dialogue and entertaining moments. Dean even started playing pranks on Sam again. What was your favorite moment and/or scene?
Nadine M.: Too many. Post it stickers on Sam, inappropriate porn humour, callback to where there’s a key there must be a door and how quickly they react for cries of help instead of going: “Wait – this could be a trap since hey we’re in another abandoned bunker by Men of Letters renegades.” Dear Chuck, someone at least please take the books. Don’t leave them there to rot.
Kristen: There were so many funny scenes. I give credit to Davy for actually remembering the boys are older and not inhuman with a high cholesterol joke. The demons being distracted by the video was great but Dean on the table and his sassy mouth was great. “It’s like a Hallmark movie with tentacles.”
Rae: My favorite moments are when Sam and Dean are brothers! So when Dean started putted post-it notes on Sam’s back while he was sleeping, I lost it.
Sarah: My favorite moment was actually seeing more about the Men of Letters and their legacies. Despite having been introduced a while ago, we don’t know that much about it, and the Men of Letters (and British Men of Letters) are interesting to me. So I love when we have glimpses and explanations about their history and what they left behind.
Cat Bow: I love how Supernatural can bring lightheartedness to the darkest places. I loved the post it notes, “jinkies,” the defending himself with a baking sheet, and the banter over food. But my favorite part has to be how determined he was to save Sam. How worried he was. That is just quintessential Dean. And that it was reversed with Sam worrying for his brother, also made my heart sing. I love when we get the protective brother scenes.
5. “The Thing” introduced some new potential allies in the form of other Men of Letters legacies. Would you like to see more of Ophelia and Marco?
Nadine M.: I would love to see more Men of Letters legacies. I feel like there’s got to be a chapter house in almost every state and/or province (sup Randy Ketch). Seriously though, I’m not the only one who went Polo when Ophelia said Marco’s name right?
Kristen: For Ophelia and Marco, I am neutral on them. If they come back on the show, I think it will be great to learn more. If they don’t, I’m ok with that too.
Rae: I’m indifferent. It was fascinating to see another chapter house and obviously Sam and Dean have allies if they need them when they’re in that area of the country, but I wouldn’t be upset if Ophelia and Marco don’t make another appearance.
Sarah: I would love to see Ophelia and Marco again. They seemed very efficient and professional on their task as guardians, and they could be powerful allies to help deal with Michael and the Alternative Universe threat. I honestly hope to see them again.
Cat Bow: I thought that was very interesting. I liked them. I respected the way they felt it was their duty to protect the world from a mistake their ancestor made. It is slightly reminiscent of the Winchesters themselves. I definitely wouldn’t mind seeing them again. They could be useful.
6. Mr. Ketch decided to rescue Gabriel and betray Asmodeus. Do you think that was a believable plot twist? Is there any hope at all that he’ll be able to redeem himself? Even a tiny amount?
Nadine M.: For Ketch’s character yes. He’s a survivalist and always has been. He will go where he has more chances to live. He might even relish the alt-verse or even the Bad Place because he doesn’t seem to know of anything outside of violence/death. Mind I do think a Bobby vs. Arthur better be in the works. The Supernatural crew would cause a riot.
Kristen: First, I am a sucker for a British accent so Ketch has me there. I do believe this plot. Ketch works for what is best for him at the moment. I do want him to be redeemed. I like him unlike most people. As much as I want a good end for him, I don’t think he will get one.
Rae: Definitely. As much harm as Ketch has done, it’s believable he’d want some form of redemption, but from who is the question? He wants to survive so if he’s as scared of Asmodeus as he claims, I won’t be surprised if this is part of his larger plan to satisfy Asmodeus so that he’ll leave him alone. I’m just sitting here waiting for the reunion with Mary so she can kick his ass.
Sarah: It’s been a while that Ketch’s redemption arc is being hinted at in the episodes, so I found it believable that he betrayed Asmodeus. He doesn’t wanna be a slave to anybody’s will, so escaping (and taking Gabriel with him as revenge for the beat up) makes perfect sense to me. There is hope that he might redeem himself, thought personally I wouldn’t like to see that. Some villains are supposed to be villains.
Cat Bow: Not only was it believable, I felt it was inevitable. Ketch never seemed loyal to Asmodeus, he was just a client. Asmodeus did not have Ketch’s loyalty like the BMOL did. And when Asmodeus started beating him, and telling him he would never be redeemed, I knew Ketch was going to free Gabe. While I’m unaware if he can redeem himself, I sincerely get the feeling he longs for it. Even if he’s not sure how to achieve it.
7. Dean decided to go through the portal to the apocalypse world without Sam and Castiel. Instead, he decided to go with Ketch because he doesn’t care if he dies. Is that a good plan? Is bringing the violent, double-crossing, expendable warrior smarter than bringing the experienced hunter and angel along?
Nadine M.: Winchesters apart is NEVER a good idea. Only sometimes it is when they’re all on board and this season we’ve seen them revert to some old ways in times of trouble. Honestly though, why didn’t they call Cas? To help put together a working plot modus? Sometimes…
Kristen: NO. NO. NO. Honestly, it’s not even Ketch that I object to. It’s how rushed Dean made it. They should have called Castiel and told him about the rift and Gabe. You don’t enter an AU without your angel. Also you should wait until your archangel is ready for extra power. And for your brother. It was all too rushed with no thought to it. The only part of episode I got frustrated with.
Rae: As usual, Dean frustrates the entire fandom. By rushing into the portal with Ketch and not calling Cas, it’s obvious this tension is building to something. While Ketch is formidable, he’s in way over his head and we know that splitting the brothers up rarely ends well – except last season when they took down the British Men of Letters and saved their mom. But I disagree that it’s because Dean doesn’t care if he dies. It’s more that he wants to protect Sam, per his usual big brotherliness.
Sarah: That plan definitely goes to the top 3 of the worst, most reckless plans they ever had. Two teams to “cover ground” is a good idea, though the teams shouldn’t have been separated the way they were. The writers could’ve waited and used more characters (Jody and all the girls, for example) to create a solid, intelligent and safe plan for their trip to the AU. It all felt out of character, not to mention just a way to place Dean in the AU as fast as possible so that they can fit the plot in this season…
Cat Bow: He didn’t choose Ketch over Sam. It was strategic. One needed to go through and one needed to stay behind because the spell requires something that has been there. No way Dean would let Sam be the one to go to a hostile world alone. Ketch decided to tag along, and Dean doesn’t care. It’s not that he trusts Ketch, at all. Also, Dean was in a hurry. He even mentioned that they were wasting time. Which, I fear, means this trip will not be successful. TFW works best when they decide things together. Bad things tend to happen otherwise.
Final Verdict: Dark, twisted, and funny, “The Thing” is a highly entertaining monster of the week episode that also advances the main story
From the witty dialogue to the humorous prank Dean plays on Sam to a tentacled and powerful new monster, “The Thing” has a lot to love about it. The introduction of Yokoth, Glythur, and their universe of dark gods and powers give the episode an almost H.P. Lovecraft vibe. Seeing another chapter of the Men of Letters and a small part of the history is also always a nice addition to the show, and “The Thing” handles it beautifully. It’s unclear if Ophelia and Marco will be making additional appearances but their introduction opens the door for the Winchesters meeting other Men of Letters legacies.
Davy Perez’s writing is sharp and smart throughout and his dark humor helps lighten an otherwise dark story. Overall, “The Thing” is a smart, highly entertaining outing of Supernatural with just the right amount of humor and seriousness. Oh, and tentacles. So many tentacles.
With so much working in its favor, “The Thing” rarely has a weak moment. Despite that, Dean’s rush to open a portal and head to the apocalypse world to rescue Mary and Jack feels, well, rushed. To make his plan even more reckless, he doesn’t wait for Gabriel to recover. Given that they now have an archangel on their side, rushing in without a clear plan isn’t high on the list of smart Winchester plans. That being said, the window for opening the portal is only 24 hours. Still, the plan is rather reckless.
“The Thing” introduces interesting and entertaining new threats from yet another parallel universe, further fleshes out the history of the Men of Letters, and still manages to advance the main story arc for the season. With Dean and Ketch off to rescue Mary and Jack and Sam, Gabriel, and Castiel left behind as a contingency plan, all of the pieces are in place. That means Supernatural is rapidly charging headfirst toward the season finale. We can’t wait to see what happens next!