“Nothing about our lives is real. Everything that we’ve lost, everything at we are is because of Chuck.”
Still trying to figure out a solution to the ghosts pouring from the fissure in Hell, Sam, Dean, and Cas are joined by two familiar faces while Chuck pays Amara a visit in Reno with ulterior (and desperate) motives.
It’s only been two days since Belphegor warded the town of Harlan, trapping any of the souls spilling from Hell in the ward’s one-mile radius. It’s only a stop-gap because, like any magical spell, it won’t last forever. Enter Rowena. When she arrives on the scene, Sam tasks her with making another soul bomb (like they used on Amara) for the sole purpose of trapping the ghosts inside. It’s a dangerous prospect, but she gets on it, even if Ketch, who’s taken his time away from State Farm commercials (the actor, not the character), and was hired to kill Belphegor, catches her eye and vice versa. The flirtation between the two is the only real levity “Raising Hell” and all that the episode really needs, with their smoldering looks and wholly unsubtle double entendres emphasized by the cheesy porn-like music pumping in the background. It’s not a spoiler to say that the plan works, even capturing Rowena’s ex, Francis Tumblety, aka Jack the Ripper (Lane Davies, The Bay, General Hospital) in the process. But as straight-forward (and a mite rushed, to be honest) the primary narrative is, “Raising Hell” tackles that simmering animosity Dean still carries towards Castiel and their conversation hints at the emotional drama that will play a pivotal role in this final season.
Ever the one that keeps his rage ‘a bubbling, Dean releases his anger at Cas and how he kept quiet on Jack’s descent towards soullessness. But as angry as Dean is about that and how it led to his mother’s death, it’s the realization that everything that’s happened in their lives from the very beginning has been, in Dean’s eyes, nothing more than Chuck moving them around like pieces on a game board.
Cas takes an opposing view; so what if the obstacles placed in their path were drawn up by Chuck for his simple entertainment? They were the ones that did the running and the hurtling, the diving and the jumping…they navigated these dangers of their own free will. That, Cas points out, is life.
It’s a powerful sentiment, one we often need to be reminded of. We can’t control the people or events in our lives—even if sometimes we believe we can. We can only control how we respond to the impediments sprinkled along our path. It doesn’t matter where they came from or why; we can blame others for our circumstances or rise above them. Easier said than done, but that doesn’t change the truth of it. The pain’s a bit too raw for Dean to accept this notion, and his hesitation is understandable considering how Chuck has blown everything to Hell…or out of Hell, as the case may be.
As the orchestrator of the burgeoning pandemonium, Chuck hangs a left over to Reno to visit to Amara and rekindle their siblinghood. He suggests they explore other worlds but, despite their promising reunion at the end of Season 11, Amara’s not too keen on spending that much time with her little brother. She’s changed, finding a better version of herself. More than her loathing of the “petulant, narcissistic” Chuck, Amara also discerns his ulterior motives. The God-Killer which he created in last season’s finale for Sam to kill Jack—only for Sam to shoot him and share the wound—has severely diminished his power. He’s hurt and afraid and, for the first time in his existence, trapped in this world. This knowledge spurs Amara’s choice and she leaves him, as he always wanted…on his own.
The Good, the Bad, the Supernatural
- Based on how they left this world back in Season 11, I thought Chuck and Amara were well on their way to making amends. I guess letting go of the anger from being locked away for eons isn’t that so easy after all. Though Amara abandons her brother, despite her words sounding as if she enjoys the reversal of fortune, her face and tone tell a different story. It hurts Amara to leave him so powerless and alone, and though she may derive a sliver of satisfaction from being the one in power, it seems that she pities Chuck more than anything. This suggests that she will return, her guilt (if the Darkness can feel such a thing) leading her back to Chuck when he’ll need her most. Then again, maybe she won’t…
- It was great to see Kevin Tran (Osric Chau, Blood and Water, Demon X) back in the fold, though the circumstances behind his return—Chuck dumping him in Hell despite telling the Winchesters he was headed to the pearly gates—were less than favorable. As he’ll be a ghost with no attachments, odds are he’ll go insane but if Chuck does return to Team Winchester with his tail between his legs, maybe all is not lost for Kevin.
- Back to the Chuck thing, I have a strong feeling that, if he still has the power to do so, he’s going to swoop in and close the doors to Hell and say “tada! See, I can be team humanity!” While we all know what Dean’s initial reaction will be, could they truly say no to such an offer, considering they have no real answer on how to close down the opening? Add in the connection Sam and Chuck now share, thanks to the bullet wound, they’ll all be reunited much sooner than our white hats would expect.