“The point is, parents keep secrets. Does it hurt to ask the question?”
It’s December and, for TV fans, that means those extra juicy, cliffhanger-y mid-season finales. For Supernatural, it’s even more special considering tonight’s affair is the final midseason finale. Ever. For Team Winchester, it means more of the same; visiting with allies, some thought dead, planning a trip to Purgatory, and an unexpected face-to-face with the man (or God) himself. Basically, just another Thursday.
Even though Chuck’s gas tank may be running low, he’s still the God of All things, a reality the Winchesters understand, and it drives them (or Dean) to a forgotten artifact: the Demon Tablet. Dean suggests to Sam and Cas that Chuck created the Tablet as a fail-safe for humanity, in case anything ever happened to him. Paying a visit to Donatello (Keith Szarabajka, Angel, Argo, Sons of Anarchy), whose translation of the Tablet mentions that, yes, God has a secret fear, one he only shares with his favorite. ‘Favorite’ in this case, is Michael (Jake Abel, Percy Jackson, The Host, Another Life). Of course, he’s been trapped in the Cage for the last decade, thus a trip to Hell is in order. Using some magical mojo and anchored by Eileen, Sam, Dean, and Cas head to the fiery Down-Under to find that there’s a new queen in town and she’s looking quite righteous in red.
When Rowena sacrificed herself for the good of the world, I hoped that with this being the final season, we’d get to see her at least once before the curtains closed. I didn’t expect to see her so soon, never mind the fact that she’s dressed to the nines and ruling the underworld with a ruthless efficiency. Despite her minions finding no trace of Michael in Hell, she does an even better service to Dean and Castiel, doling out some heartfelt advice. “Fix it,” she tells the two, the tension between them clear to anyone with eyes, let alone a perceptive sort like Rowena. She may be ruler of Hell but even she can admit to her regrets and, considering the fight they’re looking to take on, it’s probably wise for the two to squash the lingering resentment still floating between them.
Rowena’s return, like Donatello, was a welcome yet brief treat. But the guest of the hour is Michael. The ten years in Hell have softened him a bit. He still exhibits the same pomposity that comes standard in most angels but, as far as Adam is concerned, Michael is more like a partner, sharing Adam’s body in what appears to be an amicable agreement. This is an important fact and plays well into the story.
Once the Winchesters finagle Michael into their custody, he initially refuses to aid them in discovering God’s weakness, understandably sore at being left in Hell for all this time. But the real victim is Adam, Sam and Dean’s half-brother who they left to rot. His name has been scarcely mentioned since he and Michael were thrown into the Cage but the brothers’ share in the guilt for not doing more to save him. I’m not sure if they’ll ever be able to clear the air but after Michael gives them the spell and ingredient list to take Chuck down (only after Castiel shares with him the truth of God’s actions over the years), but before he and Adam leave for good, Dean offers up a heartfelt apology to his half-brother, adding that he didn’t deserve it what happened to him. “Since when do we get what we deserve,” Adam shoots back before he and Michael walk out into the world. Though it seems a bit pessimistic, no one knows the truth of those words better than the Winchesters. As Dean said many moons ago, when you’re in this life, there’s only one way it ends.
Unlike winter finales of the past, “Our Father, Who Aren’t in Heaven” didn’t rain down fire and brimstone or leave us with an OMG! moment. It’s a solid effort and takes advantage of Supernatural’s strong reserve of supporting characters. Thanks to the rift opened by Michael, Castiel and Dean are left to ponder their upcoming trip to Purgatory (necessary to gather one of the ingredients for the spell). As for Sam… well, he and Eileen win the trophy for most unwanted surprise when they come face-to-face with Chuck. Their only chance of survival is hoping that the Creator is in a giving mood. And considering His crankiness lately, odds are He’ll be making the pair suffer in some creative way, shape, or form.
No wonder angels are so douchy…they learned it all by watching Chuck!
The Good, the Bad, the Supernatural
• Having Ruth Connell sliding back into Rowena so soon after her death was a welcome surprise. In her short time down there, it looks like she’s really got the ball rolling. Considering their adversary, I put good odds that this won’t be the last time that we see Rowena because the Winchesters are going to need all the help they can get to survive a confrontation with Chuck.
• Speaking of Chuck, why does he have to be such a bastard? Other than “because he can”, I mean. Killing (?) an entire casino so he can play slots that he’ll win 100% of the time; dude has no chill. The more he’s onscreen, the more Chuck is getting back in touch with his Old Testament side. Putting that together with Dean’s little spiel to Sam about how maybe the latter should think about settling down with Eileen does not bode well for her. We can only hope that Chuck decides to be a bit more merciful and give the two would-be lovebirds at least a chance to explore the connection between them. Please, Chuck…for once, just chill out.
• In some way, I feel sorry for Michael. For eternity, he’s been the dutiful son, never questioning his Father’s orders, always believing that God’s way was the right way. To find out that he’s been lied to and used — hell, he even learns that he isn’t the only Michael — is a punch to the gut. There’s a saying about never meeting your idols, lest you be disappointed. The same can be said for parents: when we grow older and see that the same people who seemed like gods when we were young, weren’t perfect and were trying to learn the ropes as they went along can hit some people hard. Take a person’s response to that and multiply it by infinity. That’s what Michael feels. There may not be a character on television who’s experienced a betrayal to this level and, despite him being an arrogant ass, I still empathize for the guy …uhh, angel.