“Just because God’s not with us doesn’t mean we’re alone.”
Through sheer coincidence, the first of Supernatural’s final four episodes of Season Fourteen comes just before another Final Four—the NCAA basketball championships. And just like Saturday’s semi-finals, “Game Night” gives us the (apparent) elimination of two supporting characters that have been with the franchise for years and leaves us wondering…how will it all end?
Despite the episode title and jovial beginnings, there’s nothing relaxing or fun about “Game Night”. Even Donatello’s easy-breezy cookie-baking while humming “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” is such a brief respite from the tension that draws our anticipation for badness taut like a bowstring. Much of that unease is fostered by the return of Nick, Lucifer’s favorite meat-suit who, when last we saw him, was jonesing to be reunited with the Fallen One. As it turns out, he’s found a way to do just that, to return Lucifer from the Empty and become one again.
But it takes a bit of manipulation—something Lucifer (and, by proxy, Nick) excels at. He’s able to move the Winchesters around in order to obtain Jack’s blood to begin a painfully simple ritual to foster Lucifer’s return.
One of the things shows like Supernatural have issues with is the need to rush through what could be a compelling plotline in under 45 minutes to further the story. This serialized approach could be improved if, instead of filler episodes, we’d be given more two-part entrées. “Game Night” is an example of this; where if, instead of the quick run through the main plot, it could have been spread out over two weeks. That’s not to say that Nick’s plan is bad or incomplete, but the effects could have been intensified if his story wasn’t seemingly completed at the end.
As for the end, it appears as if Nick’s time in this world is over. By using his powers, Jack is able to banish Lucifer back to the Empty and then broil Nick in a way that all but promises his end. But such an expenditure of power (which also includes saving a brained Sam) comes at a cost…at least, if Jack had any portions of his soul left. Instead, his torture of Nick suggests that Jack’s soul was fully burned away weeks ago when he went Super Saiyan to defeat Michael. In that regard, the smaller cues we’ve gotten from him play out more like Donatello’s soullessness; not overt in any fashion, rather that happy-go-lucky façade, under which hides emptiness. It’s an emptiness that is not without its own troubles.
Jack fights the apathy of the soulless and still fears the opinions of others. This is evident where he asks Mary “tell me it’s okay”. The mother in her is pained to tell him the truth, that he’s not right, that “something’s wrong”. That harsh truth sets off something in him, an all-too familiar angelic ringing that nearly incapacitates Jack until his eyes blaze and we’re left with a black screen and a single, breathless question of worry and uncertainty…
The Good, The Bad, The Supernatural
- One of the better episode cliffhangers of the year, we’re left wondering what did Jack do to Mary. Did he burn her from existence, banish her from this world? And is he losing control of himself because of the lack of soul or a more nefarious interference from Lucifer himself? With three episodes remaining, we’ll get the answers though I’m not sure we’ll like what we discover.
- While Sam, Dean, and the others were dealing with Nick, Castiel had his own mission. He met up with Anael, the angel turned businesswoman in an attempt to contact God. It doesn’t take her long to realize that Cas is trying to contact the big guy in an effort to restore Jack’s soul. Based on their conversation, Cas has known that Jack’s soul is gone and not telling the Winchesters could be disastrous. Another example of the good guys keeping secrets in order not to hurt their loved ones. Once more a big fail…
- Though Nick’s body is gone, it seems like he remains. Whether there’s a vestige of him that hitched a ride when Jack used his powers or its Jack’s own broken psyche manifesting Nick, as long as Mark Pelligrino remains on the show in some capacity, I’m good.