Supernatural “The Vessel” Review (Season 11, Episode 14)

Supernatural -- "The Vessel"

I’m a bit reluctant to say this because I don’t want to jinx it, but Supernatural seems to have gotten its mojo back. Seasons six and seven were a rough patch for the show because it was trying something a bit different than the formula it used for the first five seasons. I respect Sera Gamble’s efforts to go in a different direction, but not a lot in those two seasons worked for me. There were so many storylines that were introduced, had potential, and were then dropped like hot potatoes in favor of much less interesting stories. Seasons eight through ten weren’t a whole lot better because the characters were written to fit the story instead of the story being written to serve the characters. Not to mention the fact that by that point Sam and Dean didn’t really seem to like each other very much. However, the powers that be seem to have remembered that the foundation of the show is Sam and Dean’s relationship. If that’s not working, then the show isn’t working. So this season has spent some time triaging Sam and Dean’s relationship, and it’s yielded fantastic results. We’ve had much tighter storytelling than we’ve had since season four, the Boys’ relationship is on more solid ground than it’s been on since season three, and even the one-off episodes like this one are enjoyable.

This episode accomplished two very important things. First, it revealed Casifer to the Boys. Second, it provided a means for the Boys to fight Amara. To the first point, the big Lucifer reveal was an important moment for both of the Boys but for different reasons. Sam is terrified of Lucifer. Given what Lucifer put him through while he was in the Cage, I can’t say I blame him. Knowing Lucifer is free can’t be easy for Sam, and Sam has already stretched himself pretty thin with trying to find a way to stop Amara. Not to mention that Lucifer likes to screw with Sam just for the heck of it. For Dean, Sam and Cas are really the only family that Dean has left. We all know how protective Dean is of his family, so the fact the one of the people he cares about is in danger isn’t going to sit well with him. Dean has already lost so much and so many people that he loves, I don’t know how well he would cope if he were to lose Cas right now. Judging from their different reactions to the news, I have a feeling the issue of Cas may be a cause for concern later. It’s not that both of them don’t want to save him. Of course they do. But, as Sam pointed out, Cas made this choice for himself. It wasn’t a good choice, but it was his choice nonetheless. Dean, on the other hand, doesn’t believe Cas willingly made the choice to allow Lucifer in. Or rather, he just CAN’T believe Cas would make that choice. Hopefully, the show will continue to build on the emotional progress Sam and Dean have made this season and as they’re moving forward with trying to save Cas they won’t fall back on some of the bad habits that caused them so much trouble in the past.

To the second point, the Boys finally have a viable means of taking down Amara. If they can find any more Hands of God, that is. Although I like the idea of The Darkness, I was a bit concerned that it was too big. There isn’t very much lore about it, and since it turns out she’s God’s sister, it makes her significantly more powerful and challenging than anything else the Boys have faced. The idea that there are items still on Earth that contain some of God’s power provides a means for the Winchesters to actually contend with Amara without straining credulity too far. It also provides more opportunities for the Boys to dig into the MoL history, and I’m always excited to do that.

I’m pretty sure we can all agree that Cas allowing Lucifer to possess him was a spectacularly bad idea. There is likely no good way for this to end. As it stands, I can only see a few things happening. First, Casifer goes up against Amara alone and gets killed. Second, he attempts to ally with Amara so he can find God and get some payback because Lucifer is petty like that. Third, the Boys are able to reach Cas and he does expel Lucifer but not before a whole lot of innocent people are either hurt or killed. That last point got me to thinking that even if the Boys do reach Cas and have him expel Lucifer, where are they going to put him? The Cage is closed and they can’t open it. Unless Rowena was lying which, let’s face it, is a very real possibility. The more pressing issue is the fact that Cas doesn’t want to expel Lucifer. I would imagine that by now Cas has to know that Lucifer was lying about being able to beat Amara without God and the other archangels. Lucifer even admitted to Crowley (who we’ll talk about in a minute) that beating The Darkness the first time was much more of a team effort than he led Cas to believe. Maybe Lucifer is keeping that information from Cas somehow. I don’t know. But either way, Cas seems to have decided that this move was the only way for him to be useful in the fight. As long as he believes that, it’s going to be difficult for the Boys to convince him to get rid of Lucifer. When the Boys to save Cas (and I firmly believe they will) I hope the show spends some real time exploring why Cas made the choice he made. It looks pretty clear on the surface, but there’s got to be more to it than that. In the meantime, Misha Collins looks like he’s having a marvelous time channeling Mark Pellegrino’s version of Lucifer. He’s doing a fantastic job of it too. He’s got much of Pellegrino’s body language, speech patterns, and facial ticks down. Collins seems much more comfortable in Casifer’s skin, and even though he’s clearly basing his portrayal off what Pellegrino did, he’s added his own flair to it as well. It’s much less over the top than the first time we saw it, but no less hammy. Nicely done.

I never thought I would say this, but I actually felt bad for Crowley. In addition to watching Lucifer kill his mother right in front of him, Lucifer has literally made Crowley into his pet. He has broken him, and to further Crowley’s humiliation, Lucifer keeps him in iron chains and a ridiculous outfit right there in the throne room for all the other demons to gawk at. Talk about adding insult to injury. Watching Crowley cower away and flinch every time Lucifer touched was really kind of sad to watch but exciting at the same time. This is totally new territory for Crowley. Even when Crowley was at his lowest in the past, it was never this. Crowley has always maintained a certain sense of decorum and poise even as things were spirling out of his control. Furthermore, Crowley is usually at least three steps ahead of everyone else. It wasn’t until Sam’s aborted attempt to cure him and Rowena’s appearance that we saw Crowley thrown off his game. But even then, he wasn’t broken. He wasn’t defeated. He was still powerful and feared. The same can no longer be said for him. Even if that one tiny ounce of defiance Crowley still possess affords him an opportunity to break free from Lucifer, I doubt he’ll be able to regain control of Hell. At least not the kind of control he had before Lucifer re-entered the picture. Especially if no one is able to re-cage Lucifer. I’m really interested to see how Crowley plays the hand he’s been dealt.

Once again, Supernatural delivered a solid episode. I didn’t talk much about what happened on the submarine, but all of that was very well done. The sub’s crew were brave even though they knew they were going down, and Delphine is my new hero. She was a total BAMF and then she sacrificed herself to help Dean get home and win his war. Dean was pretty much a bystander for this whole episode, and that was weighing heavily on him. The whole reason he insisted upon going back in time to retrieve the weapon is so he could feel like he was actually doing something. Dean is a man of action. When you take away his ability to take action, he feels useless. To be clear, he’s absolutely not useless, but try telling that to Dean. Robert Berens packed a lot into this script, and I was quite literally on the edge of my seat for almost the entire hour. Nicely done. On a shallow note, Dean Winchester in a 1940’s squid uniform. Just ponder that for a few moments. Ok. Moving on. Next week looks like we get to take a little bit of a breather and watch Dean geek out about WWE. I am sinceriously looking forward to it. So what did y’all think of this week’s Supernatural?