“Isn’t that what we hunters do? Kill the bad thing.”
Sometimes the chaos works.
Early on in this week’s Supernatural, my initial thoughts was that the narrative was a bit too crowded. Things started with a visit to Alt-Earth where our pal Lucifer was being tortured by his Alt-reality brother, Michael. From there we glimpsed Asmodeus’s futile attempts to home in on Jack while Castiel touched base with his angel contacts for the same reason. Meanwhile, Sam and Dean investigated the torture/murder of several witches only to run smack dab into a very familiar face. Now, that’s a lot of singular threads to get through in sixty minutes but since many of them coalesce as we go through the episode, it works.
Two of the biggest reveals this week are the specific motivations of Alt-Michael and Earth’s angels as it pertains to Jack. On the Michael front, he wants Lucifer (and his Grace) in order to bull his way through the rift and into our world to—you guessed it—rule it as he does his world. Though Michael’s badassery and ruthlessness is a nice change, there’s just something about his “I wish to rule this place” attitude that’s a bit too by-the-numbers, if you will.
What’s not so stagnant, however, are Heaven’s angels need for Jack. Cas discovers that, without God winking more angels into existence, said celestial species is going extinct. They believe the only chance they have to make more is Jack’s limitless potential. Jack’s personal opinions about such a plan don’t matter as the angels are focused on the big picture rather than the thought and will of a sentient being.
Separately, the two plotlines would have been nothing more than hints at a future payoff but with the way the met halfway through the episode brought a lot more intrigue and some much-needed panache to “War of the Worlds”.
Using a word like ‘panache’ and lauding the dialogue is a dead giveaway to who comes to the forefront—none other than Mark Pelligrino as the scene-stealing Lucifer. Hopping back to Alt-Earth, Michael, with the help of a methy Kevin Tran, uses Lucifer’s Grace to open the rift back to our world. Lucifer squirms out of his restraints (two angels holding him) and charges through. While he reaches Earth, temporarily stranding Michael, Lucifer’s powers don’t quite transfer. He runs into Castiel moments before our friendly angel is taken down by his contacts in search of Jack. It’s here that the Morningstar’s silver tongue gets put to work. Notwithstanding his “we’re sorta all gonna die” introduction, the two angels discuss all things Jack and the end of the world. Rarely do you see Castiel nearly bursting with rage but Lucifer’s able to bring out the anger in Cas. More than that though, Lucifer has to be one of the few characters in television that can channel his inner arrogance and narcissism while also quietly taking offense and being indignant all at the same time.
So how do we go from all that to Alexander Ketch popping up on the radar? The Cliff Notes is that Alexander is the twin brother of Arthur Ketch, sociopathic attack dog of the Men of Letters. He’s taken the call as a mercenary hunter for hire, killing the “bad things”. Thankfully, it was all a ruse, one Dean saw through from the start. Turns out that Arthur, thanks to Rowena, had a resurrection charm sewn into his flesh that made him as good as new, despite taking a bullet to the head. More interesting is the fact that Ketch is a new employer; the same one that wants Jack for his own purposes and, now that Lucifer’s running low on juice, the most powerful player in the Jack sweepstakes…
Asmodeus, last prince of Hell.
- Whenever Mark Pelligrino gets real screen time, he shines as Lucifer. His ability to make Lucifer both likable and loathsome at the same time is uncanny. With the less than sunny tone this season has gone by, his Lucifer can be that break we need to put smiles on our faces.
- As mentioned, there were plenty of moving parts in this episode and though it works because they all converge at the end, the real payoff is the setup for the season going forward. Michael still wants to get to this Earth to rule, the angels want Jack to create more of their kind, Asmodeus has both Lucifer and Cas, needing Jack for his own devices. And Sam and Dean…well, they’re in that all too familiar role of trying to play catchup.
- Though all the many threads more or less work, it wasn’t without some clunkiness. The Alt-Earth scenes were a bit boring (as is that entire plane of existence), and the “I’m Alexander, not Arthur, Ketch” ruse went on a bit too long.
- While we get Lucifer and the return of Ketch, there’s no sign of Mary. We know she’s holed up in that barren Alt-Earth by Michael but it would have been good to see her.
- So angels are becoming extinct? That’s one line of thought I would never have pursued but, considering only God has the power to create the celestial beings and factoring in the death of so many during the wars and the Fall (thanks for that, Metatron), it makes sense that angels are in short supply.
- Despite his psychotic tendencies, it’s great to see Ketch back in action. I would never have guessed he’d be working for Asmodeus but, when you think about it, those two crazies are peas-in-a-pod. Their partnership, combined with Lucifer, will add some much needed pep into Supernatural, pep that an overly (but good) morose season sorely needs.
- Speaking of familiar faces, it was great to see Kevin Tran again. Granted, this version seems a bit loose in the head but working for a tyrannical archangel in a wasteland of a world could crack the best of us. My hopes is that we’ll see more of him in the future.
Supernatural: “War of the Worlds”