“Why do you care so much, Dean?”
“Because someone has to.”
Supernatural is fast approaching this season’s halfway point which means that a major development towards the season’s primary arc is on the horizon. “Last Call” is the episode before that occurence, a narrative that has a filler type plot but, from a character-driven perspective is a relevant examination of the seasonal growth for both Dean and Castiel.
While Dean heads out solo on a missing person’s case, Sam and Eileen continue their research on Chuck and Lilith. When Eileen showed up quite literally out of thin air, the chemistry between her and Sam was apparent. On her return this week, just as it seems like they’re about to explore that bit, Castiel crashes the mood, espousing on his theory regarding Sam’s connection to Chuck. The angel surmises that due to the Equalizer gun using Sam’s life force, a part of Sam’s soul is entangled with Chuck, a prospect that is proven true after Sam nearly dies from Castiel’s attempt to study the wound.
Cas forces the shaman Sergei (Dimitri Vantis, Kick Ass 2, Suits, Siren) to help return Sam from the brink, only to have the shaman try to blackmail him. Castiel’s response—threatening Sergei’s niece like some angelic mob boss—highlights just how much he’s changed this season. The play works and during his comatose state, Sam brings home the news that, yes, he is connected to Chuck and was privy to the Creator’s recent memories. More importantly, Team Winchester now knows that Chuck is weak and maybe, just maybe, he’s weak enough to take down.
As vital to the narrative as Sam’s revelation is, Dean is at the forefront of“Last Call”. The missing woman case leads him to Texas where he runs into Lee Webb (Christian Kane, Angel, Leverage, The Librarian), a former friend and hunter who’s given up the life and settled down as a bar owner. Kane and Ackles work well together, creating the chemistry of long-time compadres who haven’t seen each other in years. Their rendition of “Good Ol’ Boys” (for the Dukes of Hazzard fans out there) was great, bringing back my own memories of that classic show.
For the first half of “Last Call”, some time out alone seems to be the break Dean needs; knocking back shots with an old friend, singing on stage, and even beating down some wannabe tough guys. But this is season 15 and by now we all know that what seems too good to be true usually is.
Dean finds out the hard way that Lee’s responsible for the young woman’s death, draining her to maintain the wealth and health deal he has with a marid, a monster we’ve never seen before. But it’s the conversations with these two—both before and after Lee’s betrayal, that gives us a glimpse into Dean’s frame of mind. Try as he might, Dean can’t leave this life, even if Chuck was out of the picture. Hunting is the family business and giving up the game would be like stopping his heart from beating. Whether he wants to or not, Dean does what has to be done, a conviction put to the test when he and Lee square off. “I kill monsters,” he tells his former friend before the two go toe-to-toe. It ends up like we’d expect it to but the layover in the podunk Texas town may have been exactly what Dean Winchester needed to edge him back onto that hope train.
Whether it be silly fun or just cool hunt plots, Supernatural is the king of poignant fillers, a positive title considering the dearth of episodes in the series’ history. I hesitate to label “Last Call” filler as it expands upon the season journeys Castiel and Dean have taken thus far and, including the capper where Sam lays down the news about Chuck, there’s enough here to see this as an essential building block towards the overall season narrative. In that regard, “Last Call” may not be bursting at the seams with its focus on the primary story, it does move us a step closer to that inevitable confrontation between Chuck and the boys.
The Good, the Bad, the Supernatural
- If there was ever an actor that could have been a great addition to the Supernatural family, it’s Christian Kane. I’ve been a fan of his since he burst on the scene as cocky attorney, Lindsey McDonald on Angel, he exudes similar qualities as Dean that would have made him such an asset to the series in a recurring role. Instead, we only get him in a one-off that gives us a glimpse of what could have been.
- Knowing this show and its Game of Thrones-like propensity to eliminate amazing characters, the odds that Eileen dies (again) before her and Sam can explore the sparks between them are trending towards extremely likely. With next week being the mid-season finale, I don’t see the series taking too much time out of the upcoming narrative-heavy episodes to give Sam a much-deserved love interest. The Supernatural gods are just not that benevolent.
- I still can’t get over the change in Castiel this season. Two weeks ago, he brutalized a djinn (the thing needed killing) and this week he went full on dark angel. First, he threatens to burn Sergei alive should the shaman not come to Sam’s aid and when the bastard goes for the double-cross, Cas has eyes on his niece and says without saying what’ll happen to her should he choose not to help Sam. While this behavior is nothing new with angels (remember Zachariah giving Dean stomach cancer to force him to say “yes” to Michael), Castiel has never shown such absolute ruthlessness. Even with his grace running on fumes (and the tension between him and Dean), he’s still as good an ally as the Winchesters could hope to have on this road leading to a showdown with God.