“An unstoppable monster who don’t know right from wrong gets put down—or the closest we can get to it.”
With the Season 14 finale nearly upon us (next week, in fact), Supernatural has slowly—over the past few weeks—fumbled its way towards the inevitable: Cas and the Winchesters versus the now soulless Jack. The aptly titled “Jack in the Box” takes a massive leap in the narrative, setting the stage for the confrontation that has seemingly been the endgame since Jack was ‘born’.
Still reeling over their mother’s dead, Sam and Dean host a final goodbye with their hunter peers. After weeks of being off stage, Bobby returns and he’s ready to exact vengeance on Jack. But Bobby’s mindset is not just of vengeance but practicality. Without a soul and as powerful as he is, Jack is a wildcard in the class of a broken arrow nuclear bomb. But there’s something even worse than an all-powerfully naïve and soulless Jack walking through the world unchaperoned…
That same Jack being directed by a delusional angel wishing to solidify her power base, create more angels, and bring humanity to heel. In this case, it’s Dumah who attempts to become Jack’s puppeteer, convincing him that everything she directs him to do will make Sam and Dean happy. Dumah represents one of the worst kind of people (or, in the case, angel)…using someone else’s shortcomings and/or fears to control them. Her idea that Jack needs direction is not wrong, rather her manipulations of him to get what she wants. Unfortunately for Dumah, her blindingly arrogant attitude gets her killed at Castiel’s hands.
But back to Jack; as he continually struggles with his swirling emotions, the devil on his shoulder—the manifestation of Lucifer in his conscious mind—continues to deconstruct Jack’s emotional armor, emphasizing Jack’s greatest fears and doubts. And like the original, this aspect of Lucifer is no different, never outright lying, rather feeding those kernels of uncertainty until they become everything in Jack’s mind. When the Winchesters trick Jack into getting into the Ma’lak box by promising to get his soul back, these fears overwhelm the terrified Jack, giving him the strength to break free. Though not yet a straight villain, such a betrayal by those closest to him cannot be good for Jack’s current state and, as Cas and the Winchesters arrive and watch a glowing-eyed Jack walk through the dust and rubble of his escape, one cannot help but wonder if they’ve made a grave mistake.
The Good, the Bad, the Supernatural
- My chief complaint with this season has generally been the uneven nature of the primary villain. But the jaggedness has also been present in how it’s handled other characters, Bobby chief among them. Present for only a handful of episodes, they originally had posited that he and Mary were exploring something relationship-wise that never came to pass. Instead, both characters were written out of much of this season (most likely due to contracts) and that absence was felt, especially when such a big part of the narrative was initially built on the family coming together.
- Continuing down the disjointed character road, Jack’s journey has been such an up-and-down affair. Granted, the use of Lucifer as the negative aspect of his consciousness has been brilliant. Not only have they continued to make use of the national treasure that is Mark Pelligrino, but they have given us greater insight into the character’s conflicted mindset. Even now I’m still not certain as to what Jack will ultimately do. Such uncertainty does add a layer of suspense to the eventual outcome. Jack is like a child, albeit a nearly all-powerful one, whose moral center is skewed by inexperience and the inability to completely grasp the emotional spectrum of himself and others. It’s difficult to call him bad, like an animal that attacks when it feels threatened, but at this moment, it’d be difficult to call him good either. Unlike Donatello, who seems to be getting along without a soul, Jack has not graduated to the level of emotional maturity where he’s able to completely work out what’s right and wrong. And unlike Donny, if Jack gets a burst of emotion, people can be wiped off the map in the blink of an eye. That type of power cannot go unchecked but it may ultimately be out of Cas and the Winchesters’ hands.