“Dean, after everything we’ve gone through. We just lost people we love, people who have been in our lives for a long time; everything’s upside down, I get it. But we’ve been down before. I mean rock bottom. And we find a way. We fix it because that’s what we do.”
The funeral’s done, so it’s time to move on. This week’s Supernatural has our unlikely trio of Sam, Dean, and Nephilim Jack are joined by a fourth wheel in Donatello the Prophet and it’s none too soon as Hell has “a new sheriff in town” who has our heroes directly in his sights.
We’re introduced to Asmodeus, the last (and baddest) Prince of Hell very early on and, I must say, this man has style. Not only does he stride into the throne room in a crisp white suit and gnarly facial scar, his southern accent gives off this weird mixture of confidence, contempt, control, and deceit. There are a few more adjectives I could attribute to Asmodeus’s character but, suffice to say, he’s one of the best things in “The Rising Son”.
Speaking of son, we also tag along for the Adventures of Mary and Lucifer on Earth-2 (sorry, wrong show)…let’s say Alt-Earth. The battle between angel and demon still rages on even with the death of Alt-Earth’s Lucifer at the hands of the powerful and confident Michael. Truthfully, we don’t spend much time with the duo—which towards the end becomes an interesting trio—but Lucifer’s goal becomes clear. He wants to trade Mary for his child. He’s straight-forward in his sincerity, one that Mary questions. Lucifer’s biting reply “You have no idea what I care about” strengthens my thoughts that Lucifer is truly being sincere and yet…I can’t fully trust what I see or hear from the Morningstar.
As we’re on the topic of Lucifer’s child, the heart of this week is Jack and how the spawn of Satan finds himself in the middle of two brothers who’ve been side by side for so long and yet we are reminded just how different they are. Taking up his cause from last week’s season premiere, Sam continues on with the thought that Jack is an unfinished product, one whose purpose has yet to be gleaned and, more importantly, can be influenced by the positives around him—the teachings Jack’s mother was able to pass down to him before her death, the mystical connection he shared with Cas while still in the womb, and the influence Sam and Dean could have on him. For his part, Dean is adamant that Jack, despite saving their asses (I’ll get to that in a tic) is a danger, one that can’t really be trusted or tamed. It’s a sentiment that is shared—albeit in a more scientific manner—by Donatello the Prophet.
After the disappearance of God, Donny was ready to retire but then came the birth of the Nephilim and now Donatello finds himself drawn to Jack’s power. During one heated exchange, Donatello remarks upon Sam’s thought that they can teach Jack—“the nature vs nurture conundrum. Speaking not as a prophet but as a scientist,” he tells them, “I don’t think teaching him is in the cards. It’s like asking a lion not to be a lion.” It’s a grim thought that this young man, one who is confused by his power, his purpose, his very sense of self is being argued over like a bomb in the corner of the room. That’s not to say there isn’t cause for concern, there is. We’ve seen enough from shows like Supernatural and The Gifted or comics like the X-Men to know that, with power there comes the responsibility to keep it in check but in a way that is as fair to all involved as you can get. That’s not an easy task but it’s a mindset I believe Sam, despite laying himself bare in his thoughts on Jack, truly understands. As much as I love Dean, the elder Winchester cannot get past Jack’s heritage, even after he saves them from certain death at the hands of Asmodeus.
So where do we go from here? At this point in time, no one really knows. Sam is cautious but optimistic that with a bit of Winchester influence, Jack can become a force of good, like any child nurtured the proper way. Dean (and to a lesser extent, Donatello) see Jack as that lion, one whose nature is the driving force behind his future. He may have saved them, Dean remarks, but that was more a happy accident than any sort of active choice. As the introductory quote from Sam highlights, Dean is so used to the pain and loss, of monsters and demons and an unhelpful On High, he dares not hope when it’s much easier to expect. And yet could there be a sliver of doubt in those convictions?
As for Jack, who is afraid and disgusted by what he is—even if he knows not what this is—stabs himself over and over and over, almost probing for his own weaknesses, Dean intervenes. For a moment you see horror written on the elder Winchester’s face as he stumbles over his words, taking the knife from Jack. He’s not only picked up on the tension between brothers but his own doubts about his purpose. Dean holds nothing back when he admits to Jack that, if he’s right about the Nephilim, “and it comes to killing [him]…I’ll be the one to do it.”
- With Crowley gone to that place where demons who sacrifice themselves for others go, Supernatural needed another mouthpiece, but one decidedly more threatening than the former Crossroads demon turned King of Hell. We got that in spades with Asmodeus. He brings a funness about him that hides a much darker edge—in both power and spirt—than Crowley has in some time. He’s old school, even remarking that “the grand old days of fire and brimstone are back” in addition to his plan to use Jack to release the sha’deem. And despite him preaching his loyalty to Lucifer, methinks Asmodeus has his own designs of rule he won’t be too keen to abdicate.
- The time we spent on Alt-Earth was required yet not terribly interesting. And though I really like the new Michael, his fight with Lucifer had to be the most anticlimactic bout since Mayweather/Pacquiao.
- It’s episode two and Cas is still dead…that is all.
- While an emotionally heavy episode, one cannot forget the smattering of humor. Jack mimicking Dean’s every little movement as they ate only highlighted the fact that this Nephilim is so very young.
- In addition to Asmodeus, we are introduced to another set of creature the brothers will soon have to face: the sha’deem. “Hell’s most savage,” Asmodeus explains early on, “Things most dark and base God Himself would not allow them into the light.” Asmodeus is a strong, charismatic character.” Strong introduction—now, let’s see if they live up to the hype.