Supernatural: Various & Sundry Villains
February 3, 2018 6:01 PM - Season 13, Episode 12 - Subscribe

Dean falls victim to a couple of witches, sisters Jamie and Jennie Plum who manage to steal a powerful book of spells from the Winchesters. When Dean and Sam go after the book, they get help from a powerful and surprising ally.

Rowena's back, and apparently sad about Crowley being dead? Even though she basically made it her mission to kill him? I've generally enjoyed Rowena when she wasn't in that whole undermining Crowley as king of Hell storyline, but I'd rather just have Crowley back. Maybe now that she's back at full power, she can bring Crowley back.

Have we ever seen a witch - or anything that's not an angel or demon - with the glowing eye thing? (And did anyone else think "white walker" when her eyes glowed blue?)

Aside from that, I thought this was an okay episode, but not great. At least Cas is free again. I'm hoping we'll see him reunited with the Winchesters in the next episode.
posted by litera scripta manet (10 comments total)
I wasn't too surprised they brought Rowena back because her death just seemed so underwhelming before, but I was a BIT surprised because it sometimes seems like I'm the only fan of the show who actually likes her character and even I don't like her THAT much. Maybe having an untrustworthy witch around is just too useful for plotting purposes, so they can't let her go. I was glad to see her back, but I could hear the fans gnashing their teeth across the land.

I thought it was entirely consistent that Rowena would be upset about Crowley's death (or, it fit Rowena's consistent inconsistency about him.) I think she and Crowley were kind of... familial frenemies? Even if she hated him, I can buy that actually losing him would stir up some of her maternal feelings.

There was an interesting moment where Dean muttered that he was humiliated by being beaten up by a couple of girls, Sam pointed out that they get "beaten up by girls all the time" and Dean kind of shrugged like that was a fair point. It stuck out, and made me realize that they've dialed Dean's casual misogyny WAY back the last few seasons. He doesn't routinely call evil women "bitch" anymore. He also doesn't constantly ogle attractive women the way he used to. A kind of old-fashioned, bro-ish sexuality was always a big part of the character, for good or ill, but when he mentions sex at all these days it seems to be references to watching porn. (Maybe I'm wrong, and somebody will mention a recent scene I've forgotten where he was waking up beside a waitress or something. But given how he used to carry on, the guy is practically a monk now!)

The last time I remember him trying to pick up a woman she said something about him having a "dad bod," a line that was memorable to me because Jensen Ackles sure doesn't strike me as your typical roly-poly dad type! It almost seems like we're meant to assume he's stopped having flings because he's just gotten "too old" for it, which is kind of sad. Dean had the hots for God's sister and in this episode he had a love whammy put on him, but otherwise it seems like he's had a really long dry spell. Sam used to have a disastrous romance every three seasons or so, but it made sense that he was alone in between those because he was kind of an old-fashioned guy. But these days the bros are BOTH going seasons at a time without ever kissing anybody, and it's getting kind of... odd. Not odd like it's wrong for people to be alone, but odd in the sense that it just never comes up.

I feel kind of creepy pointing it out and it's not like I'm demanding lots of sexy sex on the show, but it is weird how it's just not really a thing anymore. Did the writers decide that Dean was just getting too old to be hitting on the waitresses anymore, so they dropped his sexuality completely?
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:44 AM on February 4, 2018

Did the writers decide that Dean was just getting too old to be hitting on the waitresses anymore, so they dropped his sexuality completely?

I hadn't noticed this until you pointed it out, but now that you mention it, this does seem to be the case. From a character motivation perspective, it makes me wonder if Dean is distancing himself from his demon/Mark of Cain persona, because that's the last time I remember him having a fling (not counting his weird thing with crush on Amara, obviously), although maybe I'm forgetting something that happened since. His demon fling also ended with his really nasty rant to her face. So maybe he's consciously or unconsciously taken a step back from that side of himself because it reminds him of when he had the mark?

Sam had that flirtation with Eileen, and I could have definitely seen that blossoming into if not a full blown relationship than at least a friendshunters with benefits arrangement, but sadly she was killed off too quickly for us to see much come out of that, although I like to imagine they hooked up a few times on the down low.

(After glancing through summaries of episodes from the last few seasons, I'm reminded that Dean had a few flirtations in S10 after his Demon Dean bender, most notably when he dragged Sam off so that they could meet a woman from a dating app who turned out to be a sex worker, leading to their first run in with Rowena, but it does seem like he's been on a dry spell since Season 11.)

Or maybe the writers did just decide Dean was too old for this. I know that they enjoy making cracks about Dean being old, but he's not really that old, and he really doesn't look old or like he's got a Dad bod or anything like that.
posted by litera scripta manet at 10:01 AM on February 4, 2018

I guess Dean IS at an age when one-nighters tend to lose their allure and people often settle down. But he's not the settling-down type, so it leaves him in a limbo. Maybe they thought the scene where the lady shot him down with the "dad bod" thing would establish that he's lost his looks and is too old to be hitting on women now, but Jensen Ackles still has legions of besotted fangirls and fanboys and it's not as if we're watching him fall apart before our eyes. If they're going this route I'd at least kind of like a scene where some girl hits on him and he says something about how all the hook-ups were leaving him feeling unsatisfied, or SOMETHING to suggest it's not just that he's too old and ugly now for anybody to find him attractive.

I guess they've already done the plot where Dean meets a woman he'd like to settle down with but then ultimately he goes back to hunting. (Jeez, was that like eight seasons ago, now?) At this point I'd kind of like to see him settling in for a long-term hunter friends-with-benefits thing, ideally with a lady close to his age. Maybe some lady he'd like to be more serious with, but she always insists on putting the job first! That's a spin they've never done. Maybe they do plan to have him think about settling down with somebody eventually, but they're saving it more for the series endgame when it might carry more weight.

(And yes, I know: He's really in love with Castiel. There, it's been said.)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 1:38 PM on February 4, 2018

I'm not sure I really see Dean as the friends with benefit type, exactly. I could definitely see Sam doing this (and in my personal head canon, he and Eileen were totally a thing before stupid Ketch killed her), but I feel like we've only ever seen Dean do no strings attached hook ups or like super serious, all in romances (Cassie way back in like Season 1, and then of course Ben and Lisa). I'm not sure if he could do the middle ground very well.

(And yes, I know: He's really in love with Castiel. There, it's been said.)

Well naturally, he's saving himself for his one true love, Castiel. Although I feel like Cas in recent seasons has seemed kind of off to me. I miss Season 5 Cas with his sort of love able awkwardness and deadpan delivery of his lines. It's like, instead of getting stoned end of the universe Cas, we just ended up with snarky, totally over everything Cas. Oh well.

On a completely different note, I know Sam and Dean wouldn't actually go for this, but considering just how powerful all these witches seem to be, I'd be seriously tempted to try to convince Rowena to teach me how to do a few useful witch tricks. They could really come in handy. Like they could use that attack dog spell on Ketch to get him to go after Asmodeus (sp?). Not that he would actually be able to take on Asmodeus probably, but it would be one way to get rid of Ketch.

Also, I just wanted to mention that I just binge watched all 13 seasons of this show over the last couple months, so I'm super excited to be able to finally discuss an episode in real time on fanfare! Supernatural isn't a perfect show, but considering how many episodes have aired, it is impressive that it manages to stay relatively watchable after 13 seasons.
posted by litera scripta manet at 4:29 PM on February 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

These are really interesting points on how the show's handled sex in the past few years that I honestly hadn't noticed. I don't have a ton to add, though I think one side-effect of the MoL bunker as a setting is that it feels like you have fewer scenes of Sam and Dean out in the world in random motels/bars/gas stations/places they run into other humans because a lot of that exposition happens in the Brocave now. You still have some of that, obviously, and I don't think the bunker is *why* you don't see Dean still macking on twenty year-old waitresses, they're just both parts of how the show feels different than it did five or ten years ago. (As an aside: I giggled pretty hard at a Twitter post this week about how CW's next reboot is going to be Supernatural, because they are unaware they are in fact still producing episodes of Supernatural.) But in terms of character motivation, I could totally buy--for Dean a little more than Sam, actually--how picking up random women for a night is just not that appealing anymore, but it's funny that I hadn't noticed how completely it dropped off the show's radar.

I'm very much one of the people who'd have been happy not ever seeing Rowena again, but the moment with her and Sam opening up about how they'd seen Lucifer's real face and it wasn't something they could talk about with anyone else was a nice touch. I hope they leave Crowley where he is, though, at least for a while.

Is it my imagination that Castiel was acting more...I don't know, human? Not necessarily in his decisions, but Lucifer's always had a more or less casual, conversational way of talking and seems to know how to talk to other people, and Castiel seemed to be a lot closer to that when he was talking to Lucifer directly. The two of them are more fun together than I would've expected. Which is good, because I honestly forget Asmodeus exists if I'm not looking right at him on screen.
posted by jameaterblues at 9:14 PM on February 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

heh whoops, i totally made a post without checking My FanFare! glad we have another one to make posts for this show!

I like Rowena enough, too. I don't mind her being back. Her conversation with Sam was an important character development, and I hope it leads to her actually staying good with her restraints off (i really liked that scene, btw, with the chains appearing and then getting bent and shattering). I think she'll have more to do with Lucifer in this season, but I could also see her becoming the big bad of the next.

Archangels are such wild cards on this show that I never know what to expect. We do know that angel swords don't kill them, but I wonder how it effects weakened Lucifer, although he was regaining some power, even though regular angels don't when their grace gets drained.

I also have noticed the sex stuff dropping off a lot lately, and i wonder if it's because of a new showrunner, or just different directors focusing the episodes on more story stuff, or the recent outing of that Arrowverse producer affected how CW operates as a whole, or a mixture of all that. I personally appreciate it, but I also don't mind if the boys get more love interests since those are always a good source of drama. Of course I would also hope these future love interests don't get fridged.
posted by numaner at 3:57 PM on February 5, 2018

Yeah, to be clear, it isn't that I'm crying out for the return of lothario Dean! It's more that it was this big part of his personality every week and now it's gone away without any comment other than (AFAIK) the line about him having a dad bod. I think there's probably something to some of the ideas offered here, that the show is more serial than it used to be and the MOW headquarters cuts back on the need for the cheap hotels and dive bars that used to be a regular part of the show. But my cynical side wonders if they decided it didn't look right for Dean to be hooking up with twentysomethings, but thirtysomething women were "too old" for the network demo, so they decided to just scrap that whole aspect. I tend to doubt it, since the actress who played Amara looked to be about Dean's age and she did a lot of sultry smoldering at him.

But it was weird to suddenly realize that the show's perspective on sex and gender has changed a lot. It used to be this constant thing that Dean was hooking up and Sam wasn't, and Dean's go-to insult for Sam was to call him a big girl. Dean's casually chauvinistic comment in this episode stood out, because it doesn't really feel like who he is now. He has definitely matured in some ways, but it seems to be at the expense of him having a sex life at all.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 8:45 PM on February 5, 2018

Honestly, I think Dean has lost his mojo/care/what have you. He is generally depressed these days, they've been through enormous amounts of shit, and he can never, ever settle down with anyone who isn't Sam. Anyone they like of either gender dies horribly. Why bother? There is really no point in having either guy have more disposable love interests. Jensen is still hot as hell and does not have dad bod, but...I can see why the show wouldn't bother any more, which is why Dean's brief stint at love was fun/refreshing for about seven minutes. He'd have to be magically deluded to believe any more.

Wow, that was some sad commentary about a filler episode with bimbo witches and ugh, Rowena again (never stays dead).
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:20 PM on February 8, 2018

I wouldn't call this one filler, although I suppose it might look that way if you were unhappy to see Rowena back. I'm also not sure I'd call the witches bimbos. They certainly used their sexuality to lead men to ruin, but I thought it was interesting how they were doing all this in a misbegotten effort to bring their mother back. They were evil schemers, but surprisingly sweet to each other.

You may be onto something with the idea that Dean is just too depressed to chase women anymore, although in the past his hedonism was part of how he coped with despair. It may also be that he just kind of burned out on all that stuff during his spree with Crowley a few seasons back. He spent much of a season with no soul, hanging out in strip clubs with the king of hell. I'm not sure if he's ever gone back to his partying ways, since then.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:27 PM on February 9, 2018

You may be onto something with the idea that Dean is just too depressed to chase women anymore, although in the past his hedonism was part of how he coped with despair.

I feel like the hedonism is more for his baseline level of "The world is shitty, we're constantly almost dying, so who gives a shit." When he's gone beyond that into his full on despair mode, he's not into all of that. I'm thinking specifically of the Cupid episode in Season 5 (I think), where we see Dean explicitly turn down the opportunity to go pick up women on Valentine's Day, and later he has that showdown with Famine, who says that the reason Dean is the only one not stuffing their face with food/drowning themselves in alcohol/etc is because he's dead inside.

But I do agree that it would be nice if the show actually acknowledged this change, one way or the other.
posted by litera scripta manet at 7:07 PM on February 9, 2018

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