Rowena attempts to get the attention of Death by changing people’s fates and Castiel returns to heaven in Supernatural
Last week’s episode of Supernatural left Sam (Jared Padalecki), Dean (Jensen Ackles), and Castiel (Misha Collins) without a way back to the apocalypse world. Sam and Dean get a visit from the reaper Jessica (Kayla Stanton) and she informs them that Rowena (Ruth Connell) is up to no good. She’s going around killing people as well as their reapers to change their fates. Her goal is to get the attention of Death (Lisa Berry) and blackmail her into changing the fate of her son Fergus/Crowley.
Rowena’s attempts to get Death’s attention eventually pay off and Death appears. After pleading with Death to bring back her son, Death outright refuses. Before leaving, Death tells Dean, “See you again soon.” They also learn that Rowena’s fate is to eventually be killed by Sam. Rowena claims that she wants to change and be redeemed. Sam tells her that they’ll do what they can to change her fate.
In a desperate attempt to get help from the angels to fight off Michael’s impending invasion, Castiel goes to heaven to make his case. Once he’s there, Lucifer is strangely absent. Instead, he comes face to face with Naomi (Amanda Tapping), who didn’t actually die. During their conversation, Castiel finds out that there are less than a dozen angels left in existence.
In order to protect heaven from collapsing, the remaining angels have to stay present at all times. To ensure that that happens, Naomi closes the gates of heaven after Castiel leaves. Castiel heads off in an attempt to search for the archangel Gabriel and convince him to take his place in heaven to help stabilize it.
Rowena is back and wants to be redeemed! Do our guests agree with the Winchesters that she can and should be redeemed? Let’s meet them and find out about that and more as we discuss “Funeralia!”
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
Kristen (@MishaMishaps) – I’m a lover of books, a fan of angst, Misha Collins fan. Adult with the heart of a child.
Snowlantern (@sisselauisk) – Swedish translator, TV enthusiast and lifelong nerd.
Cat Bow (@Pathryn34) – Wife and mother who tries to be loving and kind, but traffic…
1. Rowena decided to change the fates of numerous people in an attempt to get Death’s attention and bring back Fergus/Crowley. When she finally came face to face with Death, she was immediately denied her request. Do you think she genuinely misses Fergus/Crowley? Or is she just used to fighting against him and doesn’t know what to do with herself without him around?
Lena (@lenastiel): I think she genuinely misses Crowley. There was an underlying pain and desperation motivating her actions because, after all the fighting and feuds, she still had a mother and son relationship with Fergus/Crowley, albeit strained. I don’t think it’s purely because she doesn’t know what to do with herself without him. She genuinely grieved for him a few episodes back and despite their rivalry, Crowley was still Rowena’s only son.
Lindsay (@lindieface): I think you might be onto something, that she doesn’t know what to do now that he’s gone. I don’t think she actually misses him – I don’t think she even loved him, given that amazing “If I didn’t hate you, I’d love you” speech of hers in season 11. I do love that Billie told her a resounding no, though.
Kristen (@MishaMishaps): I truly think she does miss him. It might be one of those you don’t miss it till it’s gone. The things she was doing in order to even get to speak to Death was something of desperation. I think if it was the latter she could easily find a new friend to do this with.
Snowlantern (@sisselauisk): I think she genuinely grieves for him. The Winchesters seem to have a “humanizing” influence on supernatural beings. It affected Cas, and Gabriel back in the day, it affected Crowley, and it’s affecting Rowena. She had burned away any love for her son and hated him at times, but now that he’s gone she has realized that she misses whatever he was to her. She feels pity for him, and she feels guilt for how she treated him. She’s feeling human emotions.
Cat Bow (@Pathryn34): I truthfully believe Rowena loved Crowley. She tried to deny it. But she did. She admitted this in 11.11. So, when she found out what happened she was devastated. And, like people with integrity do, she blamed herself. She felt it was her fault he had the life he did because she abandoned him. And, honestly, what is the point of power if you can’t bring back your loved ones and fix your mistakes.
2. Once Castiel made it into heaven, it was revealed that the number of angels left in the universe is less than a dozen. Is that number lower than you expected? With so few angels left, how can “our” Earth possibly defend against Michael’s forces? Will God return at some point and help solve the problem? Or would that be too easy?
Lena: So much lower than I expected! I’m really surprised, and saddened, to see how the situation in heaven has gotten that bad. I guess the answer is clear: there is no way “our” Earth can possibly defend against Michael’s forces if it’s a contest of angelic forces. Honestly, there are so many possibilities this storyline has given, as well as a real sense of urgency to fix this somber reality. I personally hope God will return sometime and explain everything. There are just so many questions we all have since his disappearance. However, I suppose it’ll get worse before it gets better.
Lindsay: I actually said, “gee, might be a GREAT time for Chuck to come back” when Naomi revealed how low their numbers were. I’m surprised by that – but I also think it’s something either Gabriel or Jack should handle. I definitely don’t want to see Cas go all noble and go up to help – he belongs on earth, with his adopted/real family. I was relieved that he was able to leave at the end of the ep! But I feel like it won’t be the angels who defeat Michael – it’ll be Team Free Will and pals.
Kristen: They have stated many times in the show that the numbers were small. I just never thought it was down to nine. The angels can’t help with Michael because they need to just keep those alive. I actually think that’s where Jack comes in for maybe season 14, helping the angels grow in numbers again maybe with help of God. By the way, this story broke my heart. Poor Castiel. At one point this was his family.
Snowlantern: Much as I love Rob Benedict, I don’t think I want God to come back and fix things, that would feel cheap. It’s a shockingly low number. Every angel Cas cared about must be gone. No wonder he looked so sorrowful. I wonder if Jack can make more angels. Or maybe some angels in the AU who don’t like Michael can be persuaded to help. Maybe there’s an AU Castiel?
Cat Bow: That number was super low, but I’m not entirely shocked. Angels started dying in Season 4. In Season 7, even Meg pointed out that “a lot of angels have died this year.” And all of that was before The Fall and the resultant angel war. I do think this means that they will be unable to defend against an incursion by AU Michael. And, no, I don’t think Chuck will come back and fix things. It has been discussed repeatedly season that that isn’t going to happen.
3. Amanda Tapping returned as “our” Naomi! Were you surprised to see the her return? Was it a good idea to bring her back? Or would you have preferred to see her stay dead? Where do you think they’re headed with her?
Lena: Her return was surprising and unexpected! For one, I was not expecting her to be “our” Naomi, but the alternate universe version of her. It’s a pleasant surprise, though. The explanation for her return actually made sense to me. I remember that when she died back in Season 8, there was no wing print and she looked catatonic after her brain was jammed with the memory-wipe syringe. Plus, her being back gave a chance for Castiel to confront his torturer. It was an incredibly cathartic scene. I think Cas will have to work with Naomi for now due to the urgency of the heaven situation, but I hope wherever they’re heading, they will not let Naomi rest easy for her past crimes.
Lindsay: A photo was posted on Twitter a while back with Amanda in what looked suspiciously like Naomi’s costume. So it wasn’t a complete surprise, no! I loved Cas’s reaction when he saw her – almost a “hell no!” At the very least, she owes him a massive apology, but I can’t forgive her for what she did to him back in season 8. Nope, no way.
Kristen: The Naomi surprise for me was ruined when a set picture came out and she was in an angel-like outfit. But still, when I heard her voice I was like OMG. I’m glad we got her back. Cas got to deal with some stuff she did to him and I am glad he was able to. I think she’s just trying to do damage control at this point.
Snowlantern: I love Amanda, and Naomi was one of SPN’s best baddies! I’m overjoyed to see her again. Naomi and Rowena and Billie all in one episode – what a trio! But was it really Naomi or was it Lucifer in disguise? I’m leaning towards real Naomi (although that begs the question where Lucifer is). And if she’s ruling Heaven now, that’s an interesting situation. She’s ruthless, brutal and without compassion, but she’s also honest and dutiful. As long as she and Cas have the same goals, I think he can trust her. But the second they don’t – watch out.
Cat Bow: Though I’m not overly surprised she returned, I wasn’t clamoring for it. This is the second “the rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated” resurrection story in as many episodes. So it makes me wonder. Also, where was Lucifer? This seems fishy that suddenly he is gone, but she is somehow back. But, if she is Naomi, I think she will be the de facto leader until an archangel returns.
4. With heaven barely staying in existence, Naomi decided to close its gates until Gabriel returns. What do you think of the concept that angels need to stay in heaven to keep it operational? Do you see the writers deciding to go there with the story and having all of the souls of humanity being unleashed?
Lena: Given the explanation and established canon in the past, I think that angels are like the grid to the raw power of souls. Both are needed for heaven to survive AND operate. Yes, I see this as a groundwork for a future story arc. Having all the souls of humanity being unleashed would mean an unpreventable break down of heaven. I’m not sure I’m ready to see that. This episode alone has brought so much angst through Castiel’s POV to the loss of heaven (his once home) and many angels (his once siblings, comrades, and family), but hey, what’s Supernatural without all the pain?
Lindsay: Most of the angels can stay in heaven to keep it operational – but like I said earlier, Cas firmly belongs on earth with the Winchesters. I’m intrigued by the thought of all the ghosts basically returning to earth. That could make for a VERY interesting plot next season.
Kristen: I understand why it’s closed. I think it’s a smart move. I mean button it down. I also think this takes away one of the boys’ moves. They can’t get heaven’s help. No lies. I am very interested in seeing all souls being unleashed and Cas dealing with no heaven. I hope that will be a season 14 story arc.
Snowlantern: That sounds like an awesome concept. Like having all the angels fall in the season 8 finale, one of SPN’s best finales. What a shocking, enormous rearrangement of the SPN universe that would be. I kind of want to see that happen now. How in the world would the Winchesters deal with that?
Cat Bow: I think it makes sense that the angels power heaven. They are very powerful. And they guard souls, so they wouldn’t use them like Hell might. I don’t see the souls being unleashed. But I do see it as being a future threat. The next world ending event the Winchesters have to solve. I hate the idea of Heaven ceasing to exist, but this would be a way to bring back more characters.
5. Death told Dean, “See you again soon.” Those aren’t typically words you want to hear from Death. Do you think that means Dean will be dying again this season? Or do you think she was referring to a future point in the series? Given how many times Dean has died, would his death carry any weight at this point in the series?
Lena: Definitely a foreshadowing! It’s getting pretty clear by now something is going to happen to Dean by the end of the season. Maybe it’s death, but I feel like it’s an old and constantly re-used storyline. I think when a main character dies in this series, the weight will be on the reactions of their loved ones and how it will affect them, as well as how they will inevitably find a way to bring this dead main character back.
Lindsay: Oh, I feel like something big is coming for Dean at the end of the season. You never want to hear Death tell you “see you soon” though, even if you’re a Winchester with unlimited lives. I’m not sure he’ll die this season, though. I think a possession (finally Michael?) is more likely.
Kristen: As soon as she said that I was like nope. I do think she will be back by end of the season. I hope it’s not for Dean for many reasons. Personally, I do not like the idea of another major character death already. I hope it’s for other reasons. Plus Sam or Dean dying is…not a cliffhanger.
Snowlantern: That was a death warrant for Dean. I now believe he will die, or perhaps miraculously escape his fated death, in the season finale. And remember, last time Billie talked about Dean’s deaths, she mentioned one where he’s killed by a red-haired woman… We all know Dean will not stay dead, so the impact of his death would be all in how it affects others. Like Dean’s grief for Cas at the beginning of this season, which was portrayed so well and made Cas’ death so heavy even though we knew he’d be back.
Cat Bow: I so hope that Dean doesn’t die, again. I know it’s happened before, and he comes back, but it still hurts and I get emotional about it. However, maybe Death didn’t mean Dean will die. He wasn’t dead this time and he saw her.
6. We learned that Rowena’s fate is tied directly to Sam and that he’s the one that’s supposed to kill her. Seeing as she was able to change the fates of others, do you think her fate can be changed? Should it be?
Lena: As long as she makes the right choices? Highly possible. If there’s one thematic message that Supernatural tries to convey, is that you can rip up the ending, the rules, and destiny – leaving nothing but freedom and choice, isn’t it?
Lindsay: I’m not sure if her fate will change. I think they included that fate can change for a reason, but I could also see things going a few different ways with Rowena. Depending on how the rest of the season plays out, things could go sideways for her by helping the Winchesters. She could get hurt, she could sacrifice herself, she could ask Sam to kill her. So many options. I’m on the edge of my seat for the rest of the season.
Kristen: I hope that Sam doesn’t have to kill her. They have a connection and I can tell Sam doesn’t want to hurt her. I really hope her fate can change.
Snowlantern: Fate can always be changed on SPN. Team Free Will rips up pages and breaks prophecies. SPN has two cornerstones: family is important, and no one is bound by fate. But it’s wonderfully interesting to tie Rowena to Sam in this way. Darkly intimate and ominous. Echoes of earlier seasons where Dean was “fated” to either stop Sam or kill him. With this growing bond between Sam and Rowena, beautifully played by both actors, it’s intriguing to see where this setup will ultimately lead.
Cat Bow: We don’t call them Team Free Will for nothing. Fate can always be changed. As Dean says, “Screw destiny.” The only reason I would like it to be changed is that I saw the tears in Sam’s eyes as he thought he had to kill her. I don’t want Rowena’s death added to the weight already on his shoulders.
7. Rowena claims that she wants to be redeemed. The Winchesters think she can be. Do you agree with them? Can Rowena be redeemed? Does she truly want to be or is she after something else? Would you like to see her appear more frequently on the show or would it be better to only use her on occasion?
Lena: I agree. Rowena can be redeemed, but in what way? I’m not sure. Oftentimes, redemption means death in the show. However, Rowena is truly a complex character. I’m not sure she will quickly lose what defines her as who she is: her manipulations, her ego, and her ambition – but she has also changed a lot from who she used to be and has displayed genuine heart on occasions. I would love to see her appear more frequently. She’s a delightful addition to the cast.
Lindsay: Yes, I think she can be redeemed. That being said, I don’t think we can trust her. She feels a lot more dangerous and unpredictable than her son did, and she’s SO fun when she’s bad. However, with the reveal that her death will be caused by Sam, I do wonder if she’ll either sacrifice herself or get wounded.
Kristen: The way the redemptions have been going I say I’m with Dean and she can be saved. I’ve never seen Rowena how she is now. I think she’s tired. She lost her son. She even said the bad thing wasn’t only hurting more. I don’t care either way. I think her appearances are spot on, but if they added her more I’d be ok.
Snowlantern: I think she’s honest, and I think she can be redeemed. I just don’t know if I want her to! I loved Rowena just the way she was – gleefully indifferent to everyone but herself, sometimes helping, sometimes hindering, always with an agenda of her own. But characters need to change and evolve if they stick around long-term, as I want Rowena to do. So I’m looking forward to seeing Rowena try to become human and vulnerable again, and how her relationship with Sam and Dean, and Cas, will change in the process. Ruth is a wonderful actor who is going to rock it. More Rowena!
Cat Bow: I believe she can be redeemed. And she wants to be. She found out that what she had chased all her life isn’t going to bring her happiness. And it seems that her previous sins are weighing on her. She has been an ally of the Winchesters in the past, she tried to help save the world. As Dean told her, that’s a big step toward redemption. And helping again, would further her redemption journey. I would love to see her periodically, with more frequency.
Final Verdict: Rowena’s return is highly entertaining and opens the door to her becoming a potential ally of the Winchesters in the future
“Funeralia” brings Rowena back into a major role in the storyline and, if she can be trusted, gives the Winchesters a powerful ally that will be needed in the inevitable fight against Michael. Rowena herself is always a highly entertaining character whenever she appears, and her appearance in “Funeralia” is certainly no exception to that. While the character gets up to her usual behavior in this episode, her apparent desire to redeem herself and completely change going forward is a new and interesting development. Lisa Berry’s return as Death is also a highly welcome addition to the episode. We’d definitely love to see more of her commanding presence on screen.
The situation in heaven is both alarming and interesting. “Funeralia” floated the idea of heaven collapsing and releasing all of the souls contained there into the world. While that’s horrifying for the innocent souls contained there, it presents an intriguing possibility for the premise of season fourteen. Naomi’s return ended up being a nice surprise for those who didn’t know about Amanda Tapping’s return. After her relentless torture of Castiel several seasons ago, her return presents a great opportunity for Castiel to finally confront her.
While it’s always nice to see Amanda Tapping return to the show, there’s a risk that her return may undermine where her character was left when we last saw her. Still, Naomi’s story is full of potential if it’s handled well.
There are only four episodes left in the season and we’re both dreading and looking forward to seeing what kind of trouble the Winchesters find themselves in. Will heaven collapse and unleash all of the souls contained there into the world? Will Michael start his invasion? Where is Lucifer and what is he up to? How does Jack fit into all of this?