Fried demon delivery, an uncomfortable Dean and Ketch team-up, and a familiar face returns in this week’s Supernatural
This week’s Supernatural, “Bring ‘Em Back Alive,” picks up roughly where last week’s episode left off. Dean (Jensen Ackles) and Ketch (David Haydn-Jones) rush through the rift and find themselves in the apocalypse world. With only 24 hours before the rift closes, the two of them set out to try to find Mary and Jack. The problem? They’re nowhere close to them. After running into several angels who are executing members of the human resistance, Dean spots a familiar face: Charlie (Felicia Day)! Since Dean can’t bear the thought of watching another version of Charlie die, he convinces Ketch that they need to save her life, even if they don’t have a lot of time.
Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Castiel (Misha Collins) attempt to get through to Gabriel (Richard Speight Jr.), who still won’t talk. Gabriel eventually writes his story in Enochian on the walls of his room. Sam eventually gets through to him and gets him to talk. He’s given the rest of his grace and he begins feeling better. Asmodeus (Jeffrey Vincent Parise) calls Sam and shows up at the Bunker to reclaim “his” archangel. After being taken once again by Asmodeus, Gabriel fights back and burns Asmodeus alive, destroying him. Gabriel runs off once again saying that it isn’t his fight. Dean returns without Mary or Jack after he leaves Ketch and Charlie behind to help prepare to fight against Michael. Much to his horror, Sam and Castiel used the rest of Gabriel’s grace, which once again leaves them stuck without a way to open a rift.
Charlie’s return is an unexpected surprise this week. Even though it isn’t “our” Charlie, the personality of the apocalypse world’s Charlie is almost identical to the original’s. Despite Dean and Ketch still hating each other, the two of them find some common ground through the mutual guilt they feel about the deaths of their fallen friends and comrades. Ketch is initially hesitant to help Charlie, but once Dean explains how much the original meant to him, Ketch gives in and agrees to help out.
Both Lucifer (Mark Pellegrino) and Anael/Jo (Danneel Ackles) both return this week as well. Lucifer’s difficulties leading in heaven and being ineffective at, well, everything is at the center of his story. By the end of the episode, it’s revealed that he doesn’t have the power to restore the angels’ wings, nor is he able to create more of them. He loses his last ally when Anael decides to abandon him as well.
“Bring ‘Em Back Alive” is full of subplots and major developments, and naturally, that gives us a lot to discuss. Let’s meet our roundtable!
Tricia (@tricia_16_) – Wayward wife and mother of two who found my people, my passion, and myself through Supernatural and its fandom
Kristen (@MishaMishaps) – I’m a lover of books, a fan of angst, Misha Collins fan. Adult with the heart of a child.
Nadine M. (@iamjustnadine_) – Day time paper pusher and irreverent fangirl by night.
Lena (@lenastiel) – Hopeful optimist and lover of peanut butter who is passionate about Supernatural and its amazing cast members.
Lindsay (@lindieface) – Beleaguered grad student, unrepentant fangirl, whiskey aficionado
1. Dean and Ketch ran into a rather unexpected person in the apocalypse world: Charlie! What are your thoughts on them bringing back a version of the character?
Tricia (@tricia_16_): A version of the character is better than no version of the character! I feel like it’s an understatement to say I was excited because excited doesn’t even begin to cut it! I was also really pleased that they kept AU Charlie’s personality in line with original Charlie. They just better not kill her…
Kristen (@MishaMishaps): My favorite thing about the AU stories is that we get to see them bring back loved characters. I think it’s also fun to see how they differ from our versions. It’s also very fitting Bucklemming brought back Charlie. They took and gave back. I really hope we get an AU Castiel.
Nadine M. (@iamjustnadine_): My only note when I saw that scene was: RED HAIR and I’m hoping she stays alive this time.
Lena (@lenastiel): Not gonna lie, I screamed at my TV screen when I saw Charlie! She was one of my favorite characters and her death felt very undeserved. I. did. not. expect. this. So far, I’m elated and I’m excited. She has these very badass vibes around her, just like good ol’ original Charlie. I kinda feel confused though, of why they didn’t use Charlie’s real name, Celeste Middleton, since she has no reason to hide her identity in the AU. I hope that’ll be explained later because so much was happening in this episode!
Lindsay (@lindieface): As soon as I saw the red hair when the masked people were being led onto the bridge, I really hoped it was Charlie – I love Felicia Day. I really wish it was our Charlie, though. That’s how I’ve felt about a lot of the AU versions of the characters: glad to see the actors again, but it just makes me miss the “original recipe” characters more.
2. We found out that Gabriel is indeed the Gabriel we knew from earlier seasons. After making Asmodeus extra crispy and destroying him, he did what he usually does. He ran away to hide again. Do you think that the Winchesters and Castiel will be able to get him to come around and help in time or is he a lost cause?
Tricia: There’s no way they’d bring him back just to let him disappear again. Team Free Will need an arch angel’s grace in order to get back to the AU, so they must find their way back together again! My guess is some kind of trade, but I don’t know what Gabriel might need in return.
Kristen: First I want to say I knew it! The Trickster tricked us. I for sure think that he will come back. He rooted for them once and I think he has it in him again. I think he’s been through some stuff and right now he’s lost but he will see the importance.
Nadine M.: My take is that Gabriel is up to something. While I was disappointed my theory didn’t play out, there is always fanfiction.
Lena: I think it’s in Gabriel’s character to run away and hide, especially bearing in mind that he’s endured one of the worst tortures – worst enough to break an archangel. In earlier seasons, we see Gabriel’s character as this archangel who really hated conflict and chose avoidance as his method to cope, turning into material things in order to shelter himself from his pain. He’s not a lost cause. He stepped up before to help Sam, Dean and Cas. So yeah, I think he’ll come around pretty soon and help the team in time.
Lindsay: Nice Colonel Sanders reference. One, I’m so glad Asmodeus is finally taken care of. Two, I feel fairly confident that Team Free Will will be able to get through to Gabe. Maybe if Cas spoke to him? They could use a brotherly heart-to-heart, and that might be a really nice parallel to the broments that Sam and Dean have, too. But yeah, he’ll come around!
3. Dean’s guilt over Charlie’s death hasn’t been something he’s verbalized often or in such strong terms before. Ketch, on the other hand, also admitted that he felt guilt in his own way about his fallen comrades. Do you think the two of them finally found some degree of common ground?
Tricia: Honestly, as much as I dislike the character of Ketch, I think he and Dean have a lot in common. They were both basically raised and groomed into being what they are today, Dean just had the opportunity to get away from the thing that groomed him a lot earlier in life than Ketch did.
Kristen: Dean and Ketch, I feel on some level relate to each other. There are parts of them that are alike. I do think that they do have common ground on this. I mean I’m sure Ketch feels just as bad about Mick.
Nadine M.: For some odd reason, these two characters respectfully mistrust yet trust each other. I think Dean recognizes Ketch isn’t all what he says he is and that the dude is up to something.
Lena: I think both Ketch and Dean are similar in some ways. Both feel bound by duty and
expectation, and both feel like they have failed their fallen companions. It’s interesting
that they can bond over this feeling and Ketch sympathizes with Dean’s desire to save
Lindsay: I’m not sure. I still don’t trust Ketch, and I sincerely hope the guys don’t start trusting him, either. This episode just made me even more convinced that Ketch is going to be redeemed (even if slightly) and then die. I’ve gotta say, though, I prefer when Dean and Ketch are snarking at each other.
4. Sam was able to get through to Gabriel by briefly talking about what he has gone through in his life. What did you think of that scene overall? Did you find it believable that Sam was able to reach him in that way?
Tricia: No, I didn’t. What he said had the possibility of getting through to him, yes, but I’m not sure that we’ve seen any proof of Sam meaning anything to Gabriel. It would have made more sense to have that speech come from Castiel, who has had a much longer relationship with Gabriel than Sam has. Jared killed the speech, I just didn’t think it made sense for the characters.
Kristen: This scene was beautiful. It never once hit me until Sam talked about it that him and Gabe both wanted out of the family business but got pulled in. I think this is the sole reason Gabe was able to be reached.
Nadine M.: Ok hard take. Gabe is scared and angry with his family. All that constant running around? He doesn’t care much at this point which is seriously fair enough. I think he said some things just to get Sam to stop monologuing. I love Sam for trying.
Lena: I get the point of that dialogue but I personally feel that it’s rather forced and clunky. The
concept behind it is good, but the execution and the finesse required to approach the
matter was rather hurried and forced. That being said, I still can apply suspension of
disbelief and let it pass. I feel that Sam deserves a more thoughtful dialogue than what’s
given, but many different plot arcs were happening at the time so it’s understandable
due to time constraint.
Lindsay: I thought it was a strong scene, and who doesn’t love Sam feels? While Sam and Gabriel aren’t extremely close, I did think it was a nice touch that he was able to get through to him. And it was very satisfying to see badass Gabe back – even if he scarpered right after.
5. Lucifer ran into his own series of problems in this episode. No matter what he does, he can never measure up to his father. He can’t even give the angels back their wings, let alone create more of them. Where do you think they’re going with Lucifer’s story?
Tricia: This was the most boring part of the episode for me. Even Sister Jo, who I loved last episode, fell flat for me this time around. I’m hoping with Gabriel’s return and Jack’s powers the show is finally inching towards getting rid of Lucifer for once and for all. Other than creating Jack, his character hasn’t added anything to the show in a long time, as far as I’m concerned.
Kristen: For me, it’s hard to read at this moment still. Part of me really thinks redemption but then part me sees Lucifer going away again. I hope it’s him going away. Of course, they could be keeping his story open for season 14. Um, get back to me at the season finale. I’ll have an answer.
Nadine M.: Lucifer is a contentious cretin. I hope it’s back to Hades. Although Hades in this show could also mean a pagan god. So I mean maybe Hades doesn’t want him either.
Lena: I think that Lucifer is going to fail spectacularly if he continues on this quest for power. In that scene, Lucifer lamented how the “bad propaganda” from his father made him fail to get the respect and admiration he wanted. He’s approaching this in a wrong way. It’s not
bad propaganda’s fault, but it’s the fact that Lucifer doesn’t have an ounce of care for humanity and his father’s creation, unlike Castiel. That’s why he wanted to start all over (read: destroy the current world) and re-make it in his own image.
Lindsay: Oh, Lucifer. There’s only one way he can go, and I don’t think it’s up. He’s an ineffective leader, to say the least, and he can’t help but alienate his one pseudo-ally. Personally, I feel like Lucifer’s time is coming to a close – and I would LOVE to see Anael/Jo take over heaven, personally. She’s a fun character, unpredictable and strong-willed, and I think it’s high time a woman took over. (Plus, I really love seeing Mr. and Mrs. Ackles sharing the screen – it’s time she runs into Team Free Will again!)
6. Ketch and Charlie stayed behind on the apocalypse world as angels were closing in on them. Do you think Ketch will honor his promise of helping Charlie, Mary, and Jack prepare to stop Michael? Regardless of whether you think he can be redeemed, do you think this is a good direction to head in with the character?
Tricia: I do think Ketch is going to help Charlie, Mary and Jack, but not because he’s a good guy, but because that’s his best chance of survival there. So far everything we’ve seen from Ketch indicates that he does what’s best for himself and himself only. I think it makes sense for the show to stick him in the AU where all of his BMOL training will come in handy, yeah.
Kristen: Ketch will honor his promise to help the gang prepare to stop Michael. With Ketch coming back and then working with Asmodeus, who is now dead, he has nothing to run from if he finds out. I think this leads the story to Ketch being the good guy with the tragic ending.
Nadine M.: No. Point blank. No way José. Apart from his unhealthy fascination with Mary, Ketch is already plotting or has plotted ways to get to his objective. More power in the form of Jack. Ketch only rescued Gabriel because of that plus he doesn’t do well being beat up by crispy fried whales.
Lena: I think the writers want to give Ketch a redemption arc, and so far, it’s working. Therefore, I’m quite sure Ketch will honor his promise of helping Charlie, Mary, and Jack. It feels that his ability to relate to Dean in the previous scene resonates strongly within his psyche. I do hope for a full redemption after all the bad things that this character has done. It would be interesting to see what they have in store for Ketch next.
Lindsay: That remains to be seen. It looked a little bleak when we left them in tonight’s episode, but I don’t think he’ll have an off-screen death. I don’t think he’ll make it to the end of the season, though – but I really hope Charlie makes it out alive this time.
7. Sam and Castiel used up the rest of Gabriel’s grace to help restore him to some of his former strength. That once again leaves them without a way to the apocalypse world. Now what? Will all of this hunting for spell components be for nothing? Or will Ketch, Mary, Jack, Charlie, Bobby, and Kevin find a way to open a rift on their own? Or will Michael do it for them?
Tricia: You know, I hadn’t thought about the AU crew figuring it out on their own, but I actually like that idea a lot. Between Jack, Mary, Bobby, Mary, Ketch, and Kevin they definitely have the brain power to accomplish that. If that doesn’t pan out, then I think the Winchesters will get more grace from Gabriel. I just don’t know how.
Kristen: Personally, I think that Gabriel’s not out of the game yet. I think he still has a shot at helping the boys. What I can see happening is the boys and Gabe start getting ready to open rift but Michael opens it before them to start the war. Or Ketch, Mary, Jack, Charlie, Bobby figure it out first. I really hope it’s them. I’d love to see Bobby stick his head out and make a sassy comment about their world.
Nadine M.: I don’t know at this point what will happen. I mean there are other ways to other worlds. Like fairies. Hello. Wizard of Oz.
Lena: The only option left for Team Free Will is to pursue Gabriel and convince him to help. I believe the course of action Castiel and Sam took in helping Gabriel is the right course of action, but of course, Gabriel’s refusal to help took them two steps farther from their goal. As for Ketch, Mary, Jack, Charlie, and Bobby, I think it is unlikely that they would open a rift on their own. While Ketch and Charlie might want to quit the apocalypse world, Mary, Jack and Bobby would be more inclined to stay and not abandon humanity. So my bet would be in either Gabriel coming back to help them, or Michael literally bringing the war to their doorsteps – the latter of which is bad news for Sam, Dean, Castiel, as well as the world they’re living in.
Lindsay: Where there’s a will, there’s a way! If we’ve learned nothing else in all our years of watching Dean, Sam, and Cas, we know that they’ll find a way to make it work. They’ll figure out a way back – it may not be safe, it may involve some kind of tenuous deal, but they’ll work it out. And if not, at least there’s a nice group of people to hang out together in apocalypse world? Maybe the people stuck there will remain there – to try and fix it, or make that world a better place?
Final Verdict: It’s unfortunate that Dean and Ketch are unable to rescue Mary and Jack, but the return of Charlie and Gabriel helps soften the blow
Charlie is back! Charlie’s return was an unexpected twist but highly a welcome one this week. Despite the fact that she isn’t “our” Charlie, we can’t help but feel relieved and excited that a version of her is back on the show. Dean and Ketch are at the center of the episode and their continued mistrust of one another along with their snarky interaction is consistently entertaining. Even though they don’t trust each other, the way they’ve begun to find common ground in feeling guilt over the deaths of their friends and comrades is surprisingly effective. We aren’t completely certain that redemption will work for Ketch but after this episode, it seems to be within the realm of what’s possible.
Asmodeus is dead! Or so it seems. While the character has had his moments, it was time for him to say goodbye, and he goes out in a highly satisfying manner. Gabriel burning “Evil Colonel Sanders” alive is both fitting and darkly amusing. Having Gabriel back to his usual self is also a nice development. It would have been better to have him stick around for a bit longer, but Gabriel has never been a character that has stayed in one place for too long and it’s unlikely he’ll remain out of the fight forever.
The apocalypse world has given the writers the opportunity to bring back versions of long dead characters. While that is a good thing, we can’t help but feel that this approach makes us miss the original characters that much more. If Charlie is killed off once again, that might be more than we can bear.
It’s great to see Sam able to get through to Gabriel but we aren’t completely convinced that it was believable in the amount of time the scene is given. Granted, a lot goes on in this episode and there isn’t a lot of time for an extended recovery period for Gabriel. Still, a little more time for that scene would have helped. Lucifer’s continued involvement in the story has become increasingly questionable. Mark Pellegrino is in top form throughout but Lucifer has lost his edge and it’s time to move forward with the character.
Now that Dean is back home and they’re once again without a way back to the apocalypse world, we’re left wondering how the Winchesters and Castiel will move forward. Will they have a run-in with Lucifer and successfully take some of his grace? Or will Gabriel return and offer some of his? Alternatively, will Michael himself open a rift? There are a lot of different ways forward and all of them offer intriguing possibilities for the remainder of the season. Bring on the last five episodes!