“This life, what we do…it’s not easy. We’ve all done things we regret…”
After some depressing—albeit great—episodes, Supernatural finally decided to embrace its whimsical side when Sam, Dean, Jack, and the newly resurrected Cas head to Dodge City to track down a grave robber/ghoul.
“Welcome home, pal.”
For the first time all season we get to see Dean Winchester at his finest. This newfound joy comes in two parts: the biggest of which is Castiel’s return. He asked for a win after the haunted asylum case last week and got it. The return of Cas lifts a gigantic weight of despair from Dean’s shoulders and adding to that joy is immersing himself in a world he was born to live in.
The wild, wild west.
“He really likes cowboys.”
As mentioned, the fearsome foursome make the trip and with Cas back in the fold things are looking up for the first time. It’s not only that Sam and Dean have their brother in all but blood back, but Jack also has his pseudo-father back. The reunion at the Bunker is a heartwarming treat, where Castiel embraces Jack, something the young Nephilim has not had since he came into this world. Even with the hunting case Jack picks up—and how excited was he that it could be the work of zombies?—there is a lightness in the air, one that only gets better when Dean and the gang fall into their suite. With all the portraits of cowboys and outlaws lining the ways, Dean is like the kid in a toy store that gives out free candy at the end of every aisle. It’s his attention to the Old West details that puts them on the trail of the weekly fang face; a ghoul named Dave.
If you may recall, I had nothing but good things to say about the monster-of-the-week tilt from the previous episode. Unfortunately, as good as the ghost of Avery Meadows was, Dave the ghoul is a throwaway baddie who, save for one moment that pays homage to westerns, is as forgettable as they come. While he wears the face of Mysterious Dave Mather, a gunfighter of the Old West, Dave the ghoul has been keeping time in Dodge City while dating an undertaker named Athena and…well, to be honest, it’s not all that interesting, save for the gunfight.
When Dave realizes Athena wants to move to LA for cosmetics school he decides that robbing a bank is the way to go. The ensuing gunfight between Dave, Sam, and Dean is the highlight action scene. Revolvers, pistols, and shotguns booming all over the place with everyone taking cover. And just as I wondered why Cas and Jack thought they needed to as well the latter realizes bullets aren’t going to hurt him and instead of hiding he confronts Dave, taking two insignificant bullets in the process. Just as he’s about to KO the bank robbing ghoul, the security guard decides to intervene.
And the once easy-going “Tombstone” gets turned on its head.
“Maybe I’m just another monster.”
Though Dave the ghoul is taken down by Dean and Sarge in the end, it’s not without lasting effects. The security guard caught in Jack’s super-powered retaliation dies and though it was an accident, Jack can’t get over what he’s done. This isn’t the first time he’s hurt someone with his powers and being as young as he is, it’s understandable that he’d be a bit down on himself. Nothing Cas or Sam says can get through to the self-loathing Jack is putting himself through. Even Dean, who’s been all on the ‘kill Jack’ train offers support for the Nephilim, reminding Jack that every single one of them has hurt innocents and friends. But Jack only sees the blood on his hands…
“Every time I try and do something good, people get hurt. I thought I was getting better. I’m not. I don’t know what I am. But I know I can’t make the world a better place, not like this. I can’t even do one good thing. And I know that if I stay, I’m gonna hurt you. All of you…and I can’t. You’re all I have.”
And with those final words, Jack leaves Cas and the Winchesters behind.
- Last week disappointed me in that we really didn’t get to see Cas reunite with the brothers. We got a chance this week to revisit that scene and though it was muted, all three actors brought everything they needed, a reminder that small choices in acting can often steal the show better than over-the-top responses.
- More than anything though it was great to see Dean falling in line closer to what we’ve seen over the years. Cas was the win he needed but despite a much lighter attitude, there still seemed to be a bit of a shadow trailing him. Whether that’s from the loss of his mother or the multitude of other losses he’s suffered we’ll never know.
- For an episode I would call middling, there were quite a few memorable lines. But the best had to be Castiel’s talk with Jack about Kelly’s hopes for her son:
“Jack, your mother…she believed that you would do amazing things. She said that you would change the world for the better. And now, looking at you, talking to you, I know that she was right. That we were right. Kelly would be so proud of you.”
- I’ll admit that the ghoul wearing the skin of Mysterious Dave Mather was a pretty neat touch, there wasn’t much else about this particular monster that caught my attention. After so many years of compelling standalone episodes, we’ve had more and more forgettable filler beasties these last few seasons.
- It was disappointing to see our fearless foursome together for the first time only to have Jack peace out on the team at the end. Even though he believes he’ll hurt one of them, the last thing he needs right now is to be alone.
- With an episode titled “Tombstone”, there was never a doubt in my mind that there’d be a reference to the movie of the same title. Though I would say to Castiel, such a great movie was about more than just guns and tuberculosis.