Supernatural: S13E09 – The Bad Place

Wow! This episode was exciting and had me glued to the edge of my seat the whole episode! Between a brisk pace, suitably high stakes and enough twists to keep you guessing, it all added up to one compelling hour of television. It was everything you could want from a mid-season finale.

Before we get started though, I’d like to add a trigger warning to this review. This episode features people forcing other people to do things against their will, through physical force and threat of weapons and emotional manipulation. I’ll be talking about these incidents in the show, but will also be relating it to the wider conversation of sexual harassment and assault that our society is currently engaged in. None of what I will be discussing will be graphic, but it could still be disturbing to those who are sensitive to this topic.

The Road So Far:

I didn’t notice any direct callbacks to previous episodes this time, but two of the topics I’ll be touching on, how women are treated in this series and in society in general, and how the boys tend to directly or indirectly pull people back into the hunting life who want nothing to do with it, are themes throughout this entire series. If I went to pull all episodes that dealt with these themes, I’d be posting most of the episodes this show has made. As for the plot, most of the action comes from what has occurred this season, so you should be caught up.


We begin the episode with Derek Swan kissing his wife Paula goodbye (for the last time!) in his artist’s studio, before she leaves for work. She’s having trouble getting into it due to one of Derek’s creepy pictures “staring” at her. I have to say, I actually really liked this painting, though maybe not looming over me while kissing my man, so she has a point. Derek’s waiting for someone to come for a studio tour, and is hoping it will turn into a sale. I think most artists, of any kind, can relate here. Lots of interest in the art, not so much interest in the paying for the art. We don’t know it yet, but Derek’s paintings are reflections of the different worlds he sees as a Dream Walker, and given some of these paintings, not all of the worlds look warm and fuzzy. (Could the hooded figure “staring” at Paula be related to the hooded figure Kaia sees in her flashes of the Bad Place later in the episode? I’m getting ahead of myself here.)

So the client shows up for his studio tour and it’s Jack. Derek immediately knows he’s not making a sale here. And he’s not making a sale, but not for the reasons he expects. Jack is here because he knows Derek is a Dream Walker and he knows a scary amount of information on Derek’s Oglala Sioux ancestry (guess the boys really taught him well about researching!) So there’s no art sale, but Jack offers Derek money to Dream Walk for him, and Derek agrees. Jack directs him to look for one world in particular which he points to in one of Derek’s paintings, and it’s clear to us it’s the world Lucifer and Mary were stranded in. Right from the start, I knew Jack was looking for Mary, because when we last saw him, he wanted to prove his goodness, prove his worth to Sam and Dean and what better way to do that than bring them their Mom back from the other world that Jack opened the portal to in the first place? However, I do wonder if Jack thinks Lucifer is still there as well, or does he know Lucifer is back? Lucifer was weakened when he got back, but surely he tried to contact Jack? Did nothing get through, or is Jack just “new body, who dis?” Asmodeus felt Lucifer’s return from the other world, did Jack? Or are his half-archangel powers different from the demon’s and he’s not connected to Lucifer like Asmodeus is, so didn’t feel his Dad come back? The angels are now currently aware that Lucifer is back in “our’ world and Jack can hear angel radio, did they not discuss this ‘over the air” so to speak? Maybe Jack is aware and just doesn’t care. He does state that Team Free Will is his family and he doesn’t care about Lucifer, so it’s possible. Still, you’d think if he knew, he’d at least mention it. So maybe he really doesn’t know that Lucifer is back. Either way, we will find out when the show comes back! (Jan. 18th by the way)

It seems Dream Walking is harder than you may think. Now, I know next to nothing about the tradition of Dream Walking, but it seems that they handle its use here respectably, certainly better than they handled First Nations people and their mythology in season 1’s “Bugs” (1.08, though that whole episode is just terrible) but please let me know if I’m wrong here. Derek keeps getting closer to the information that Jack needs, but it’s obviously draining and possibly painful, so Derek wants to stop. Jack keeps egging him on, encouraging Derek to ignore his body and keep going in order to give him what he wants which is not a good look, but Derek at first keeps going. When Derek really can’t do any more and is ready to stop though, Jack steps forward and uses his power to augment Derek’s, but it also puts Jack in the driver’s seat and leaves Derek unable to stop, even as he protests. It’s quite disturbing to see a white man standing over a man of colour and forcing him physically to do what the white man wants him to do. It’s meant to be disturbing. It’s also, at the same time, effective and Jack sees Mary in the other world as Derek is yelling in pain. The picture fades to black and we hear Derek utter one, last, pained scream. This juxtaposition between Jack getting information that we want him to have, but in a way we don’t want him to get it, is especially disconcerting for the audience, and is something we’ll see more of in this episode. It makes us complicit in this abuse as we root for characters to get what they want, even as we condemn their methods, yet knowing they likely wouldn’t get what they want (and we want them to get) without them using these methods.

So what did that last scream mean? Well Paula comes back to Derek’s studio at the end of the day and finds him dead, with his eyes burned out. Uh oh, what did you do Jack?

At the bunker, Dean is leaving a message for Patience (Missouri’s psychic granddaughter) for help finding Jack because Dean is hypocritical. He told Patience to get out of the hunting life while she had the chance, to try for normal if she could. He has no idea right now if she did that or not. For all he knows, calling her and getting her involved in this could be the thing that leads to her death (and then he’d feel so guilty about it, but after a suitable amount of time, he’d be pulling more people in if it were for something he needed.) That’s the thing, Dean is all about advising people to choose the “normal” life if they can, until he really needs their help, then it’s normal life be damned. I know that part of this is a show issue, not a story  choice. They need recurring characters, but actors for past recurring characters aren’t always available, so you sometimes need to create new characters to fulfill different roles. Sometimes the easiest way to do this is to find a character they interacted with previously, but went off to live the apple pie lifestyle. Sometimes, like with Patience, it’s about setting up a spin-off. Whatever the reason, I understand the constraints from the real world, but they really should find better in-world reasoning. Dean ends the call and Sam comes in from “talking to Cas.” Clearly Asmodeus is doing a decent job of imitating the angel somehow and neither of the boys suspect anything for now. I wonder if that would be different if Dean had been talking to Cas? Dean’s phone rings, and it’s Jody with a tip on Jack’s whereabouts.

We cut to Patience in her room, at a desk with homework spread out over it, but she’s looking at her missed call alert from Dean. Her Dad comes in to confront her about getting a C on one of her tests and Patience reminds him that’s not the end of the world and he reminds her about how much of a helicopter parent he is and she makes a vague remark that is clearly about how she wants to be part of a different life than this, but of course denies it when grilled on it directly. So it seems Patience did what Dean told her and tried to go normal. Clearly, she is regretting that decision and anxious to jump back in the mix. This is fine with me, since it’s what she wants and isn’t because Dean dragged her back in. If this is the direction it was going anyway, why have Dean call at all? This whole scene works without Dean’s phone call and makes Dean look better and gives more support to Patience’s autonomy. It’s just a setup to justify Patience’s decisions later in the episode and instead of gazing at Dean’s phone call, she could be reading a book on psychics that she hides when her Dad comes in. It would also fit with her bookworm image. It seems they are setting Patience up to be a regular, or at least recurring character on Wayward Sisters, the Supernatural spin-off coming next fall. (Which, depending on the schedule, I may take on reviewing as well!) I’m not a huge fan of Clark Backo (the actor who plays Patience) right now, she’s a little too stiff for me yet, but there’s a chance that with a little more time in the role, she could relax into it. I’ll reserve judgement until we get a litter further on with her character.

Sam and Dean arrive at Derek’s studio and while questioning his wife, Paula, Sam discovers Derek was a Dream Walker and Dean comes across Derek’s painting of the apocalypse world they visited the night of Jack’s “birth.” In the car afterward, Sam is ready to discuss Dream Walker lore, but Dean’s more intent on talking about the painting of the other world they found and what it means. Dean thinks Jack is after Lucifer. No, Dean, Jack is trying to impress you like you were always eager to impress your Dad. He’s not going to go after Lucifer! Now, I have to say that I never bought the Lucifer thing, but I did think at this point that Jack had killed Derek, either accidentally, like the security guard, or because his desire to do this one thing to impress Sam and Dean and prove how good he is made him put too much pressure on himself so that he pushed forward, ignoring the warning signs, intent on pushing to the limit and got too close to the line between acceptable and not. What about you guys? What were you believing at this point? Dean thinks they need to be prepared to “take care” of Jack when they next come across him. Soft-hearted Sam is (rightly, in this case) willing to give Jack the benefit of the doubt until they get more information. In order to find out what Jack wanted with Derek, they track down another Dream Walker Derek had been e-mailing, named Kaia, in order to find out more about Dream Walking.

Speaking of Kaia, we find her in a residential, apparently legally mandated, drug treatment center. This is another way the system can control the bodies of minorities against their will, through forced incarceration through the legal system. Prison or treatment center, they are still locked up and in disproportionate numbers to white people. It seems Kaia landed here after an almost fatal drug overdose.

Now, I have to say this is one of my least liked conceits in fantasy, the “No, you don’t understand, I don’t really belong here, my problems are real and independent of myself, it’s just they’re magical/supernatural in nature so no one believes me/I can’t tell you because you won’t believe me.” It’s usually used in the setting of a mental hospital or drug addiction setting and makes it that even though they seem delusional or high, or addicted, it’s really that they are actually seeing supernatural things, so are completely normal/only using drugs to deal with a magical affliction. I don’t like it because first, it makes it seem people with mental illnesses/drug addictions are bad, something you don’t want to be or be seen as, which is messed up. Second, because it sets it up that although they are in all ways so similar to people with mental illnesses/drug addictions in the way they talk about their problems or present in real life, yet their problems can be quickly and easily fixed by someone else seeing the magical thing, or by someone showing them how to handle their powers without the use of drugs. It kind of minimizes the amount of work people with mental illnesses and addictions have to go through to deal with their problems. What do you guys think? Does this kind of story work for you? In all fairness, this is usually just the beginning part of the story and what follows can actually be pretty good and I think what eventually follows here is (and will be) pretty good.

In Kaia’s story, the beginning is she’s been using amphetamines, in significant doses. Significant enough that she overdosed and almost died. But she’s not really a drug addict guys, she’s just trying to stay awake because her magical powers take her to a very bad world when she falls asleep. Of course she can’t tell her group that, so it’s all lies and evasions that make her actually sound like a real drug addict. I really did like the way this scene was filmed, so kudos to Phil Sgriccia on his directing here. At first, we aren’t focused on Kaia’s face while she’s talking, we aren’t focused on the group or the counselor leading the group while she’s talking, we’re focused on her fidgeting fingers with chipped polish, restlessly tearing apart a styrofoam coffee cup. Her face is hidden behind her hair or her hood or a combination of both. There’s a flash of a sarcastic sense of humour, calling her dealer “a small businessman just trying to make it in Trump’s America.” She’s avoiding, deflecting, refusing to engage with the process, which I think anyone who’s been a part of any kind of group therapy can recognize. We don’t fully see her face until she confronts the counselor, telling him that he knows nothing about her. The first honest and direct thing she’s said and it’s telling him (and us) that we know nothing about her right now. It’s a nice visual that is absolutely what one might see in that kind of a situation, yet it’s also a nice storytelling method to give us her backstory while hinting that it’s not really telling us anything about this character. And it holds true though the episode, other than her name and the fact she’s a Dream Walker, we still don’t really get to know anything about Kaia…yet.

After the session is over, Kaia is approached by a new resident who apparently likes cocaine. If we have to have Jack around, this is the version I much prefer, the goofy, fish out of water Jack. Much better than serious or broody Jack. I don’t think Alexander Calvert has nailed down that side of the character yet, but when he gets stuff like this, I find his portrayal of “quirky” Jack absolutely delightful! Kaia has no patience for addict Jack, so he dumps the pretense and reveals he is looking for her, and got her information from Derek. He tells her he knows she’s a Dream Walker and that he needs her help and he’s willing to help her in return by getting her out of the treatment center. As she follows him off, we see Baby pull up outside. Now it’s a race, will Jack the (so we’re meant to think) Dream Walker killer get away with Kaia or will the boys be able to save her?

Sam and Dean get out of the car and are going over Kaia’s history as they walk into the center. They’re still at the believing the official story stage, which maybe should have clued me in that the boys don’t have the full story on any of this yet. It cuts to Jack and Kaia fleeing down the hallway. The counselor comes out and confronts them, but Jack just drops him with a touch. He tells Kaia the counselor is just sleeping (yeah, turns out he probably was, but we aren’t trusting Jack right now, so we aren’t sure) and Jack tells her that she isn’t the only one with powers. Kaia wants out, so she hesitates, but she follows.  Jack breaks open a locked door to get them outside, but when he keeps going, expecting Kaia to follow, she shows her smarts and decides to part ways. Just then Sam and Dean find them and in Jack’s surprise, Kaia is able to get away.

As soon as Jack is all “Hey guys! Nice to see you, but now she’s getting away!” I knew then that he hadn’t killed Derek, and sure enough, he didn’t. They had me just long enough to raise the stakes in order to make the drama of “who will get to Kaia first” work for me. So job well done! So Team Free Will takes some time to get everyone on the same page, but then Jack tells the boys he saw Mary, alive, in the other world and shows them what he saw. BIG MISTAKE! It’s almost like these characters don’t know Dean at all! Mary is alive, and Dean has dismissed her as dead since she disappeared with Lucifer. In his head, all he’ll be thinking is how if he hadn’t written her off as dead, and had spent all this time looking for her instead, she may have already been found and at home. So he will now see himself as responsible for any more time she may have to spend in the other world. He’ll be responsible for any pain that may come to this woman, his mother, who he lost at 4, spent the next 30-some years mourning and avenging only to get her back, for her to have trouble with returning and so (in his eyes) she abandons him for a year, and at the end of the year, he finally confronts her and they are just starting to be able to heal and maybe have a relationship when she risks her life to save him and Sam, and disappears into another world with Lucifer, this woman. Yeah, no absolutely complicated feelings are going to be happening here. Dean’s guilt ability doesn’t just go to 11, it goes to 11 with a very large number of zeroes following. And when Dean feels guilty he makes bad decisions. When he feels an obligation to keep someone safe he makes bad decisions. When the two combine? Whoo-boy! They did a good job showing that Dean didn’t really take the news well here by showing him staring off while Jack’s conversation with Sam behind him becomes muted and secondary. This is the point in the story that I stopped worrying about Jack becoming a bad guy and started worrying about Dean instead.

We check in with Kaia, who is off the wagon and hitchin’ a ride. Okay, so far you’ve proven you have a good head on your shoulders Kaia, so maybe next time the person who stops for you has to get out of the car to open a “wonky” door where you will be sitting that doesn’t open easily? Maybe don’t get in. So Kaia has been captured by a couple of angels.

We’re now treated to one of Patience’s visions that shows a forest, a weird bone skull, someone getting stabbed with a blade that kind of flickers between being made of bone and a more normal looking blade with a slot missing up the middle. Jody’s face is featured, with an odd expression, so it seems like she’s the one being stabbed, but Sam and Dean’s faces are also there and the torso being stabbed looks more male than female, so maybe it’s not Jody. Patience “wakes up” to a horn honking and her half pulled out of a parking space. Hmmm, maybe don’t drive if you’re prone to having visions that make you lose time like that? Just sayin’.

Speaking of waking up, Kaia is waking up to find herself tied up in a chair with a couple of “people” who tell her they only want her to catch Jack, and oh, by the way, he’s Lucifer’s kid. Talk about giving away information unnecessarily, angels! Learn to keep your traps shut if you want to keep your existence (for sure) secret from the masses! Oh, and these guys are the ones who killed Derek. Nice. Angels really are the biggest dicks.

So Sam and Dean learn the cops are looking for the escaped Kaia too, so there’s a bit of a time crunch on finding her first. Sam learns Dean is (of course) stewing in his guilt over not looking for Mary from the start and that he should have listened to Sam. Sam tries to placate him by saying it was just wishful thinking and he didn’t really think she was alive. Like that will make any difference to Dean, who holds himself to such an impossible standard. If this was Sam, Dean wouldn’t even think there was anything to forgive right now, but since it’s himself, he feels he should always make the right choice at every turn and if he doesn’t, he doesn’t deserve forgiveness. How is it no one else can see we’re at Dean Red Alert right now? Dean’s “We find her, no matter what it takes.” should have Sam’s hair standing on end right now while he forces Dean to promise to run all “no matter what” ideas by him first before acting on them. (Seriously, Jensen Ackles’ delivery of this line gave me chills.) But Sam is completely oblivious to the ball of tightly bundled danger sitting next to him in the front seat and is just like “yeah, ok.”

I really should write an article at some point on how it’s obvious that Sam is like Dean’s conscience and is the more moderating influence on Dean, and Dean needs him for balance. What’s not always so obvious on the show however, what’s inherent in that balance, is how Sam equally needs Dean to do the dirty work for him. (Other than the time of the Demon Blood of course.) Sam is often more than content to sit back and let Dean do what needs to be done, after a token protest. It gives Sam that level of deniability that he apparently needs. It’s an interesting dynamic, to be sure. What do you guys think, would you be interested in seeing articles like this that are outside of the episode reviews?

Back to the tension in the car…no, not Dean, no one notices that, I’m talking how Jack is upset that Sam and Dean could have possibly thought he could have killed Derek. Sam tries to smooth it over by telling him that they thought it could have been an accident, like the security guard. I mean, that’s absolutely not what Dean had been thinking, but it seems to mollify Jack. Dean and his quick jumping to conclusions. Jack’s a monster, no, man, you aren’t a monster, I thought you were, but I was wrong, oh, maybe he is a monster after all, oops, yeah, guess he isn’t a monster. I know it takes Dean forever to trust someone implicitly, but he’ll say he trusts them almost immediately! It’s such a strange dichotomy of character.

Sam further clarifies by telling Jack that they weren’t sure exactly what was going on in Jack’s head after he left them, especially since he was in such a “dark place” when he left.  (Ha, episode title has more than one meaning…see how we are totally being subtle by using dark instead of bad!) Dean tells him they thought he was looking for his Dad. Jack doesn’t really understand. He tells them that Lucifer means nothing to him and that they and Cas are his family. (D’awww!) Dean says “yes we are.” (D’AWWW!) And Dean then praises Jack for finding Mary and Jack smiles at Dean’s praise. (D’AWWWW overload!) I think there might be another article in how Jack is like a young Dean, running around, aping Dean in what he does and what he likes and how he acts, so eager to please and desperate for the rare praise he might get, and Dean is like John here (without any abuse, which…that’s a whole OTHER article) but he’s gruff with Jack, sparing with praise, teaching him the hunting life. It’s especially apparent to me in this episode when Dean is so desperate to do anything to get Mary back and John was so desperate to do anything to avenge her. Anyway, right after Jack absorbs Dean’s praise, he gets a message via angel radio that they have Kaia, and where. It’s a trap! I always think everything could be a trap, which is why I’m still alive! Okay, quote off over.

We don’t immediately get to Kaia, but instead check in again with Patience, who is home after her vision and is packing to leave. Her Dad comes in and guesses she has had a vision again. He was under the belief she hadn’t had any more since Sam and Dean left, but Patience tells him they never stopped, she’s just been lying about it. Apparently all of the visions have been small, unimportant things until now, so that’s why she feels compelled to act, because people are in danger. Her Dad, understandably, asks that she not get involved, as it was getting involved in these kinds of things which killed his mother, her grandmother. She says she was raised to do what’s right, and helping people in danger she knows she can help is the right thing. Then her Dad veers off into not so great territory by threatening her that if she leaves, she can’t come back. This kind of emotional manipulation is another method of control this episode demonstrates. It doesn’t actually work in this situation, but I’m sure there will be ramifications to come, especially since it seems Patience will be part of a whole other show and this will make for good drama.

The angels are waiting for the boys to show up to save Kaia, but she’s convinced they will not be coming for her. Her speech that follows is amazing:

I'm not the kind of girl folks come for.
In this world, I don't even rank a milk carton.
No one is gonna come for me.
I'm not white, rich, blonde.
No one's gonna fight for me.
I don't matter.

Which is a lot of truth right here. In this society, sadly, women of colour often aren’t the kind of girls the system comes for. Their stories aren’t front page news, the police are more likely to note them as runaways than missing, too many of them are lost and forgotten. This especially hit home for me here in Canada where we have a real issue with missing and murdered First Nations girls and women that the police have done next to nothing about. There is currently a two-year independent inquiry underway to investigate these cases but at the halfway mark, it is also facing its share of criticism. This speech highlights another way to control, by taking away access. Access to proper police investigation, access to needed exposure in the media and access to  representation in entertainment and in government. This speech was a powerful one for me, and kudos to Yadira Guevera-Prip for selling it. It’s especially poignant because what the angel says afterwards “Of course you don’t matter. But they think you do.” is actually true and Kaia isn’t about to be treated much better by her rescuers than she has been by her captors.

The boys do show up because Kaia does matter…to their plans to get their Mom back. The angels beg Jack to come with them to heaven, to be at home with his “own kind.” Jack makes it clear he has chosen Cas and Sam and Dean as his family and his home is with them, so they fight. Jack kills one of the angels, but the other gets away. Worried she may come back, they need to leave. They explain the whole “angels (dicks), hunters, yeah he’s technically the son of Satan” thing to Kaia, then tell her not to worry, they’ll protect her. Kaia continues to show good sense by declining their offer, preferring to take her chances alone. Sam tries to explain why she should come with them and how they need her to save their Mom. They ask Jack what the plan had been to try to get to Mary and he says he had been planning on taking Kaia to the Wind Caves to Dream Walk, as it’s one of the places where the barriers between the worlds are thinner and easier to cross over. Dean’s ready to leave, but again Kaia says no. When he tries to emotionally pressure her with the whole “we just saved your life” thing, she responds that she wouldn’t have needed saving in the first place if it wasn’t for them. She explains that Dream Walking isn’t a good or easy thing for her and that instead of seeing all the worlds in all of their beauty, she only sees one world, and it isn’t a good one. She says every time she crosses into the Bad Place, she comes back bloody and scarred, so #sorrynotsorry but she can’t help.

At this point, Dean no longer cares what Kaia wants and forces her to come with them at gunpoint. AT GUNPOINT! “Dean! What the hell are you doing?” Is what Sam should be saying, right after he gets the surprise jump on him and wrestles the gun away from him. Because let’s be honest here, getting the surprise jump on him is the only way Sam beats Dean and Dean would also never shoot Sam, no matter what, so it’s totally safe for Sam to fight him for the gun. But like I said earlier, Sam wants Kaia to do her thing so they can get Mary back. The only way that was happening was by force. He may not have been able to force her at gunpoint himself, but Dean is, so he’s content with a few feeble “Dean!”s and then just lets his brother continue on with what he was doing. Bad Dean! Again, another great acting moment by Jensen Ackles here, he actually made me afraid of Dean in this scene, and that is…almost impossible to do. (I love Dean and would support him through almost all of his insanity!) Since no one is stepping in to stop him, Dean gets everyone into the car.

In the car, Sam asks Dean if he’s taken leave of his senses he’s okay and Dean reminds him that they promised to do everything to get their Mom back, no matter what. Yeah, sure Dean, that’s totally rational thinking you’re engaging in right now! Meanwhile, in the back seat, Jack is apologizing to Kaia about how everything has gone down. (Reminder that by the end of the episode, Jack has apologized, Dean has even sort of apologized, but nothing from Sam.) Jack tells Kaia that the reason Derek gave him her information wasn’t just because he thought Kaia could help Jack, but because he felt Jack could help Kaia. She rightfully points out that Derek is dead because of Jack and is too nice to also point out the situations she has been in today because of Jack. Jack asks her to give him just 5 seconds to show her how he thinks he can help her. (Maybe get me out of the car with the psychos holding me at gunpoint? No?) She allows it and Jack shows her, through her power, all of the different worlds there really are that she could have access to. We don’t see what exactly she sees right now, but it seems very good as Kaia looks astonished but also happy afterwards. Jack tells her that her powers can be a good thing, that they both could use their powers to do good things in the world. Kaia is still not ready to be all in on this, as she is BEING HELD HOSTAGE RIGHT NOW! (Bad Dean!)

Suddenly, they’re ambushed by the angel that got away and they head for the nearest shelter, an old, dry-docked boat. Sam takes Jack and Kaia inside to make fortifications to protect themselves while Dean stays outside to fight and buy a little time. Jack is being bombarded by angel radio as Sam leads him inside. The angel shows up and tells Dean that the reason they need Jack is because they’re headed for extinction. Dean gave away his last fuck about the time Mary last told him there were angels watching over him, right before she died, and Dean has no more fucks to give. So, he’s about ready to exterminate one more angel right now but uh oh, she brought reinforcements. Dean has to abandon the plan to fight, and he runs into the boat where Sam is spray-painting sigils to ward off the angels.
Jack to Kaia: “Don’t worry, we’ll be fine!”
Dean: “We’re screwed!” (Ha ha ha!)

So Team Free Will (except when we need to take you hostage to get what we want) climbs the levels of the boat, warding as they go. Apparently they can’t just do the blood spell that banishes angels because plot, I mean Dean said by the time they let them in close enough for the spell to work, they’d be in too close for the boys to trigger the spell before the angels killed them. Okay, this is purely plot driven nonsense, but at least they addressed it and gave us an explanation instead of just having the boys completely forget the existence of a spell they’ve used on angels multiple times. I think a better explanation was that the spell could do something to Jack due to his half-archangel nature, but again, at least they gave an explanation. Dean asks Jack if there’s anything he can do to fight them off. Jack says he can try, but they’ll probably just blast him with angel radio again to stop him. So, it’s looking like this is a blaze of glory type of situation. (Unless they do what they wanted in the first place and travel to a different world.) Dean apologizes for dragging Kaia here to her death as this wasn’t her fight. (1st, pretty cold comfort to her right now, I’m sure Dean! Would you have apologized if there were no death threat? Bad Dean! 2nd, yeah, remember Kaia, who you dragged here because you wanted her to take you to another world? Maybe she could be helpful!) So wow, so sad, nothing they can do. (Hey, you can travel to another world!) Well, at least they’ll all go out together. (OTHER WORLD!) Finally, since no one else thought to ask her about trying to cross to another world, Kaia is like, hey, wanna try crossing into another world now?

Surprisingly (or not) it’s Sam who is the first to be like “Another world? Like the one where our Mom is?” though Dean isn’t far behind. Yeah boys, instead of just hightailing it out of this dangerous situation into the easiest world to travel to so we can regroup and THEN try to get to the world Mary’s in, let’s insist Jack and Kaia find one specific world while doing something they’ve never done before, while in danger and under a time crunch. That makes sense! It’s not like you’ll all be killed if the angels get in before they can figure out how to pick out and travel to one specific world. Jack, however, thinks they can do it, so he and Kaia work together to cross them all over as the boat is under attack from the angels as they break the wards.

Kaia starts in the Bad Place (is it wrong that every time she flashes to the Bad Place I was looking for Eleanor Shellstrop? Or Janet? I really want that crossover episode!) The Bad Place looks like the same forest from Patience’s vision and it definitely has the large, weird skull from the vision. Jack coaxes Kaia to “let go” of the Bad Place to travel to other worlds. She does, but not before seeing some kind of shadowy, hooded creature in the Bad Place. I’m curious about this Bad Place, what is the thing that’s different there, like John dying before becoming a father is what’s different in the world Mary’s in? If people we know from this world could be in the Bad Place, who might be there? Is there a Sam and Dean in that world? Other people from our world? People who are dead here who might be alive there? I’m so excited to find out!

So Kaia is able to “leave” the Bad Place under Jack’s guidance (so yeah, again Jack is standing over a person of colour, being the one to guide and control their power in a manner of his choosing. Just because we “want” this doesn’t make it any better here, it makes us complicit, and again, I think that’s the point.)  Kaia is able to briefly see some of the other, beautiful worlds before Jack directs her towards the apocalypse world where Mary is. The problem is, Kaia is still strongly attracted or attached to the Bad Place (Why? I hope we find out!) so she continues to flicker between the Bad Place and the Apocalypse World. During some of the flickers to the Bad Place, we see the hooded figure run by the weird skull carrying what looks like the knife (or maybe sword or spear?) that was in Patience’s vision. Then just close-ups of the hooded figure, who looks like maybe a woman in black warrior garb with the hood obscuring their face. Who could this be? Perhaps she was looking for Mary and this is Mary in the Bad Place. Maybe since Kaia has always been attached to this one world out of all the others, this is a different version of Kaia? Maybe the magic of the Dream Walker was calling to magic of a different sort in this character. There is a red-headed witch out to kill Dean…maybe an alternate Rowena? AN ALTERNATE CHARLIE! (OMG!) How soon until Jan. 18th gets here?

Finally, as Kaia continues to flicker between the two worlds, they’ve run out of time, the angels are on the way, so they Must. Jump. Now! Suddenly all is quiet, with just a bright glow coming from the room where Team Free Will (+1 Hostage) were. Looks like the glow is coming from a rift similar to the one Jack created the night of his “birth.”

We cut to Jody’s house, where she’s trying to get in touch with Sam and Dean and having no luck. Probably shut off their phones to avoid roaming charges in the Bad Place. Should have gotten in inter-dimensional phone plan instead! There’s a knock at the door and it’s Patience. She tells Jody that something bad is coming.

We go back to the empty boat (and a poor, abandoned Baby) and we see wings burned into the junk around the boat where the angels were. Guess they’re all dead. Gee angels, if there are so few of you left, maybe save a few lives by not going up against the Winchesters anymore? Then we flash to: 1) Kaia, unconscious in a ditch in a world that looks like ours (road, power lines) 2) Mary, tortured and delirious and barely aware of a young man (Jack) suddenly appearing underneath her cage (Will Jack be used for Michael’s crossing spell? Is nephilim of an archangel grace as good as archangel grace? How will he and Kevin get along? How about Jack and Mary? Will she see him as family too?) Then 3) Sam and Dean (Yay! They aren’t split up! Boo! They aren’t with Mary!) The boys seem to be in the Bad Place, which may have dinosaurs. Awesome! (As Dean would say.) And that’s the end of the episode.

Since Kaia seems to still be in “our” world, I’m guessing she will find her way somehow to Patience and Jody (and hopefully she’ll find her way to the spin-off too! I really liked the character and the actor who played her.) I believe the next episode is called Wayward Sisters, so I’m expecting a back-door pilot where we’ll get some answers of who may or may not be in the show and what the direction of that show is going to look like.

Overall, I really liked this episode, and have to give props to the writer Robert Berens (who it seems also worked on the next one and will be a writer on the spin-off) and director Phil Sgriccia for making it such a great episode. It was tightly paced, had high enough stakes to drive the plot, make you worry about the characters a bit and fuel conflict. It also had a lot to unpack when it comes to social commentary. Two women in this episode had people around them trying to control them. Patience had Dean at the beginning trying to pull her back into hunting, not for her benefit, but for his while her father tried to force her into the normal life, not because that’s what she wanted, but because that’s what he wanted. Neither one asked Patience what she wanted and when she finally made up her mind, and decided to act on her vision, her Dad tried to emotionally manipulate her to control her and keep her home. Now, he did it because he was afraid for her, which is understandable, but still not acceptable. Maybe there is a redemption to be had for him in the next episode or the new show, we’ll see, but his manipulation didn’t work and Patience was able to get free.

Kaia wasn’t that lucky. Right from the start she had people controlling her, from the world controlling her for who she is as a woman of colour as well as who she is as a Dream Walker, a power society will not admit she has. This leads her to seek ways to control her power outside of societal norms, with amphetamines to keep her awake instead of sleeping and falling into the Bad Place. So, she’s caught and the legal system controls her freedom by putting her in mandatory residential drug treatment where the counselors try to control her experience inside. Finally, Jack shows up, offering her a means of escape. Sure, he wants to control her too, but she figures she can get away from him once they’re free. And she manages to do that when Sam and Dean show up intending to use her to find Jack. Of course they find Jack with her and in the surprise, she gets away, right up until she’s captured by angels looking to control her to get Jack. She’s again rescued but again only because all three of the boys are looking to control her powers and they take control with a gun when she won’t give her help willingly. Then, even when she chooses to work with Jack to try to move them into another world, it’s still Jack who gets to stand over her and control her power with his own. (How many women who have had their ideas stolen in a meeting because they get heard coming from a man, but not from her can relate?) Jack is also the one who gets to force her on when it seems using her power is at best uncomfortable and at worst painful. Him forcing her body to do what he wants it to do is also sadly relatable for many women. This episode felt really relevant to the wider discussion that is occurring  currently in our society and it really resonated with me. Most of the control in this episode was in the hands of Jack, Dean and Sam, white men (or half-men) and the least control in this episode was with Patience and Kaia, two women of colour. Patience was able to take control back, we’ll see if Kaia is able to do the same in the upcoming episode.

There is a wider topic here of how women are treated in this show, but in order to do that one justice, I think that will have to wait for it’s own, separate article. I think we have more than enough to talk about here already. There were a lot of people in a Bad Place this episode. Besides the people who literally traveled to the Bad Place world, there was Kaia who started the episode off in a Bad Place in “our” world too, then just kept trading one Bad Place for another. Hope she can get to a Good Place eventually. Jack was in a Bad Place after he left Sam and Dean previously, but through his journey, was able to get to a Good Place where he was reunited with Sam and Dean, his family, and even got praised by Dean for finding Mary. Mary herself is in a Bad Place, being tortured by Michael in apocalypse world (another woman being controlled by a “man” in this episode), but maybe not for much longer? Patience is in a Bad Place where she can’t really escape her visions and though she tried the normal thing, doesn’t seem very happy there. She also gets to a Good Place at the end by acting on her vision and doing what she felt was the right thing. And Dean is definitely in a Bad Place after he realizes Mary is still alive and he’s wasted all this time he should have spent looking for her. This leads him to make some very poor choices and wind up in the actual Bad Place. Sam went with him because though Sam wasn’t in a Bad Place, he was okay with letting Dean be there and letting Dean act from there to do the dirty work Sam wanted done but didn’t want to do himself. They’re gonna have to do some work to earn their way back to the Good Place of our world.

The Road Ahead:

  • Did you think Jack killed Derek?
  • Did you think Jack was looking for Lucifer?
  • Do you think Jack knows where Lucifer is?
  • On rerun weeks, or during hell-atus (the hell of hiatus) how would you feel about articles touching on some broader themes within the show or in-depth character analysis?
  • Who might we see in the Bad Place universe (or any other alternate universes we may visit this season)? Different versions of people we know well, similar versions of people we’ve lost, different versions of people we’ve lost?
  • Will the other universe characters we may see stay in their own universes or will any come here to “our” universe?
  • Will Baby be okay abandoned outside of that old wreck of a boat? I’m worried about her.
  • Who do you think goes to Wayward Sisters and who stays at Supernatural?
  • Okay, seriously, is it possible that the red headed witch who could burn Dean to death be some alternate version of Charlie? Or still Rowena? Our Rowena or another Rowena?
  • Am I giving too much importance to the red headed witch?
  • Where the hell is Ketch, it makes me nervous I can’t see what he’s up to.
  • How do you guys feel about the “I’m not really an addict, I’m magic” story conceits?
  • How did you guys feel about the larger theme in this episode of white men using those around them to get what they want? Was it done well do you think?

As always, leave your answers and opinions and even your own questions down in the comments. Sorry this went up a little late, life! Until next time, be good to each other! XO