Supernatural “Rock Never Dies” Review (Season 12, Episode 7)

Welcome back my fellow Supernatural fans. I trust everyone had a great Thanksgiving holiday and I hope you didn’t overdo it with the pie. If you did, I’m sure Dean would understand. Supernatural came back with Team Free Will (plus one) finally getting a line on Lucifer. Apparently, it takes a little bit more than being stuck at the bottom of the ocean in a disintegrating vessel to keep Lucifer down. But it looks like that might not be such a good thing for humanity.

The show decided to take Lucifer in a different direction than I expected, and I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it. Instead of having Lucifer out to restart the Apocalypse or take over Heaven, the show decided to continue with the story they gave him last season so that means massive Daddy issues. Lucifer is furious at God for abandoning him again, and he’s decided to throw the ultimate temper tantrum. On the one hand, I can see why they went that direction because this isn’t exactly new territory for Luci. He’s hated God for a long time for one reason or another. The show did a bit of retconning last season when they said the root of Lucifer’s issues with God was God casting him out after he saw how The Mark was corrupting Lucifer. Back in season five, though, Lucifer said his issue was God casting him out after he refused to bow to humanity. Perhaps it’s a bit of both, but the bottom line is that Lucifer’s anger, hurt, and feeling of betrayal isn’t new. The only real difference now is that he’s not confined to The Cage thus allowing him to wreak all kinds of havoc on the world. On the other hand, they’ve taken a character that was one of the best Big Bads the show has ever had and turned him into a cry baby. He’s always had Daddy issues, but I was much more sympathetic to them back in season five than I am now. Perhaps it was the way Lucifer decided to “get back” at Daddy. Perhaps it was that he was much more intimidating and deliciously evil. Even when Lucifer changed a bit after we saw him as Sam’s hallucination, he was still powerful and intimidating. He was intelligent and imaginative. That’s not the case now. Now he’s basically just crying into his beer about how his Dad walked out on him again. That’s disappointing for a character that I enjoy as much as I enjoy Luci. Although, I agree with Sam that it makes Luci much more dangerous not to have any real plan for world domination. It also makes his moves much harder to anticipate thus more difficult to track. But if Luci holds true to form, he’s going to leave quite a few bodies in his wake.

Despite my apprehension about the way they’re taking Lucifer’s character, I have no complaints about Rick Springfield’s performance. In the interest of full disclosure, Mark Pellegrino will always be my Luci. That being said, Springfield did a really good job with the material he was given. He played Lucifer exactly as he was written: a whiny brat who is misbehaving in an effort to get his Daddy’s attention. He did really good job with Luci’s monologue at the end of this episode, and the effects department also deserves massive props because watching Lucifer literally decay as he was talking was amazing.

One of the things that really bothered me about this episode was the narrative decision not to hold Castiel accountable for Lucifer’s release. At the end, Sam said THEY let Lucifer out, but that’s not true. Lucifer is out of The Cage because of a decision that Cass made on his own. I was disappointed at the end of last season that the narrative had Dean telling Cass that saying yes was the right decision because it wasn’t. Not by a long shot. I will allow a bit of room because everyone thought they were going to die at the end of last season, but now that the threat has passed, it’s time for Cass to be called to the carpet. Castiel is making the same mistake over and over again and he has yet to be held accountable for it in the narrative. For example, after Sam chose Ruby over Dean at the end of season four, the narrative held Sam accountable for his decision. Yes, Sam felt guilty and blamed himself quite a bit. But there was also Dean being hurt and angry and telling Sam so in the hospital parking lot. Hunters also blamed Sam for making the choices he did, and they hunted him down and murdered him. That was the narrative holding Sam accountable for the bad decisions he made. It wasn’t just Sam’s guilt. It was Sam also being confronted by other characters with the hurt, pain, and loss his choices caused them. With the exception of the angels blaming Cass for causing them to be cast out of Heaven, he has not been brought to task for his poor decisions. Castiel choosing to say yes to Lucifer is the same thing as Cass choosing to listen to Metatron back in season eight thereby causing the angels to be cast out of heaven. It’s the same decision he made back in season six to work with Crowley and open Purgatory thereby bringing the Leviathans into the world. The narrative has dealt with Cass’s guilt ad nauseam, but it has yet to hold him accountable beyond that. It shows a frustrating lack of growth in the character. People, and in this case angels, are supposed to learn from past mistakes then move forward and make new ones.

Something else that was moderately annoying was no one having any real plan to capture and/or kill Lucifer. Dean had the handcuffs, but Luci is an archangel. There’s no reason to think the same cuffs that worked on Cass would work on Lucifer. There had to have been something in the MoL files to give them something more than showing up and getting beat to a pulp by Lucifer. Sam and Dean are smart, and I really would appreciate the show remembering that more often. They have access to more information than they’ve ever had and it doesn’t make sense they wouldn’t have searched the MoL files for something before attempting to face Lucifer. Also, Crowley always has something up his sleeve and it seemed out of character that he had nothing to offer either.

Dean playing Words With Friends with Mary left me scratching my head a bit. Why? Because it’s completely ridiculous. I mentioned in my review of the last episode that the narrative has not provided any legitimate reason for Mary to still be off doing her own thing and only checking in with the boys sporadically. There were several opportunities for her to explain herself to the Boys (and me) in the last episode, and the fact that she didn’t was worrisome. Now we’ve gone another week or so and (without explanation) Dean, who was so hurt by Mary’s refusal to come home, is now enjoying playing a game of WWF with her? I call shenanigans. Even if their breakfast (with all the bacon) helped mend fences, it occurred off-screen and as such doesn’t count. On a practical level, I understand that the show cannot have Samantha Smith in every episode. However, all it takes is a little exposition to make Mary’s absence make more sense.

Reading this review, you may think that I disliked this episode. I didn’t. Not exactly. There were moments I enjoyed. Dean and Sam driving out the California was a perfect brother moment. Especially Sam’s increasingly desperate attempts to distract Dean from what he was listening to on his phone. Cass’s annoyance with Crowley was also entertaining. I also appreciated the callback to season two’s ‘Hollywood Babylon.’ So there were individual moments throughout the episode I enjoyed. It’s just that the whole wasn’t greater than the sum of its parts. Which is kind of disappointing since Robert Berens usually does a much better job of writing a coherent, engaging episode. On a purely shallow note, can we all stop and appreciate Sam and Dean in those leather jackets? Especially Dean. Holy hotness, Batman! So what did y’all think of this week’s Supernatural?