Supernatural: A Most Holy Man
March 9, 2018 7:07 PM - Season 13, Episode 15 - Subscribe

Sam and Dean are close to collecting everything they need to open a rift into the Apocalyptic World and possibly rescuing Mary and Jack. The one missing ingredient leads the Winchesters to a black market for religious relics where everything is not always as it seems.

A few episode highlights:
- Sam flirting with the relics dealer/facilitator, and especially Dean's facial expressions during that whole scene.
- Sam and Dean spend so much time doing the fake cop thing, it was amusing to see that get turned on its head with that other guy pretending to be a cop.
- After a long dry spell, Dean gets back in the flirting game, only to be interrupted by Sam.
- This exchange:
Dean: "You're such a boy scout"
Sam: "You're such a...I don't know"
posted by litera scripta manet (15 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The fact that this is the second heist episode this season makes me wonder if they're running out of ideas or just getting tired or coming up with Supernatural mysteries. I'm always up for a good heist, but I thought this was a lot more muddled and less entertaining than the previous one. Although I guess maybe this wasn't exactly a heist. And man, was there a lot of double and triple and quadruple crossing.

Oh, and no Castiel and no Gabriel, which makes me very sad. And after the last episode, I would have thought they'd be a little hesitant about just sending Cas out on his own. I bet they're really missing Crowley right about now, or at least when Cas still had his wings. That would have made the whole trip to Syria thing a lot easier.

A few details that really bugged me:

1. This is obviously not the first time it's occurred, but that was clearly an active crime scene, and Sam is just in there touching everything without gloves on. In this very episode they brought up the fact that these guys are officially dead, so wouldn't there prints showing up at a crime scene be a bit of a problem?

2. I feel like this show is usually better at being subtle, and also, the guys are usually pretty sharp about putting things together, so I wish they hadn't needed it spelled out for them quite so much that the guy trying to recover his parish's skull was their "most holy man." I kept thinking in that first sit down when Sam agreed to help recover it, he was going to be like, "Dean, this is the guy." But no, it took until the very end of the episode.

I didn't hate this episode, but it seemed pretty weak overall.
posted by litera scripta manet at 7:14 PM on March 9, 2018

Oh, I forgot to include one of my favorite episode moments:

When Sam asks Dean what he would do if someone stole the Impala. Dean, "Murder" *pause* "Torture...If I can't have her, nobody can."

Also, I really thought the hot girl in the coffee shop reading the supernatural book was going to be there to spy on the guys or a demon or something, but I guess she wasn't?
posted by litera scripta manet at 7:59 PM on March 9, 2018 [2 favorites]

I wouldn't call it a heist episode. The direction and editing definitely gave it a parody feel of mob shows and movies. I enjoyed that. They went full cliche on everything, from all the double-crossing, to the mob boss stroking a cat, to the shadows in an alley.

Yeah Dean with "I'd murder them all" was fantastic.

I wouldn't have pegged a priest who did a lot of charity as a "most holy man". These relics are usually steeped in lore and are very specific, so yeah, unless the friggin' pope says he's a most holy man, I wouldn't think of him as one that was needed for the spell.
posted by numaner at 8:04 PM on March 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

This one kind of bored me, to be honest. It seemed like we were being served up a LOT of mob movie cliches, but without any real spin being put on them. Like, the mobster has a big fluffy cat, like mobsters in old movies do... and that's it. That is not an interesting character quirk or even a joke, it's just a trope that's so played out nobody does it anymore. The music struck me as kind of overwhelming, too. They literally named characters Astor and Greenstreet, and I got the reference but I was just like, "So..?"

Unless I missed something, there was nothing supernatural in this entire episode. The characters were all human, there were no monsters, no magic. Maybe they felt like that was daring and I think it COULD have worked, but the way they played it just made me flash back to the formulaic, middle-of-the-road mystery shows my mom watched in reruns when I was a kid. Barnaby Jones and Murder She Wrote so on. I didn't despise it or anything but there was nothing special or memorable about it and it almost felt like an episode of some whole other, less interesting show.

I'm more interested in the Scooby Doo one. That will either be great fun or a train wreck.

It was kind of nice to see Dean ready to flirt again, after his weird drought the last few seasons.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:18 AM on March 10, 2018 [2 favorites]

I'd say this was going for more of a noir feel. It didn't succeed spectacularly, but I liked it.

I do expect the Scooby Doo one to be amazing, even (or perhaps especially) if it's a train wreck.
posted by Pryde at 6:57 PM on March 10, 2018

Well, yeah, I guess when I said it was full of "mobster movie" cliches that tends to call to mind stuff more like The Godfather and Scorsese. That's not what I meant. And I muddled things further by comparing it to old mystery TV shows, because it wasn't really a mystery either. It was indeed more of a noir parody, with a lot of noir gangster tropes. But something about it made me flash back to older, formulaic TV shows. The whole thing felt very Stephen J. Cannell, and not in a good way.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 10:04 PM on March 10, 2018

1. This is obviously not the first time it's occurred, but that was clearly an active crime scene, and Sam is just in there touching everything without gloves on. In this very episode they brought up the fact that these guys are officially dead, so wouldn't there prints showing up at a crime scene be a bit of a problem?

They've been touching stuff with no gloves for 13 years. At this point I think we have to assume they get their fingerprints burnt off like annually or something.

I stopped watching this show years ago and have caught a few episodes this season. Pleasantly surprised that it's actually kinda good again.
posted by fshgrl at 11:07 PM on March 10, 2018

Anyone else notice that the episode was directed by Amanda Tapping, who used to play Naomi and of course, Samantha Carter on Stargate? I checked IMDB and this is the third Supernatural episode that she's directed.

It was a fun episode. As noted above, it's getting hard for them to spin up anything new in terms of plots and I sometimes have to just shut up and ignore plot holes but I was entertained. I know we'll never see the gravitas of seasons 2-5 again but I am certain we'll see Fergus Crowley soon enough. And I do a fist pump at the mere thought of Gabriel being back.
posted by Ber at 8:11 AM on March 11, 2018 [2 favorites]

They've been touching stuff with no gloves for 13 years.

Yeah, I'm not sure why it bugged me particularly in this episode, because I know they've been doing it forever. Although notably in a Season 1 episode, they go through a whole thing about wiping down their prints when someone died, but I guess that's too much work to keep up with. I think it jumped out at me this episode because Sam was moving much more haphazardly than they usually do.

I wouldn't have pegged a priest who did a lot of charity as a "most holy man". These relics are usually steeped in lore and are very specific, so yeah, unless the friggin' pope says he's a most holy man, I wouldn't think of him as one that was needed for the spell.

I guess the reason he seemed like a good fit to me was because I was thinking back to the spell they did to get rid of the Leviathans/Dick Roman in S7, and they needed a "holy bone" or something like that, and I remember Dean and Sam going through the records of a convent and explicitly picking someone who seemed like more of a humble, holy type (like this guy) rather than a big name religious figure.

Okay, looked it up on the wiki, and in season 7 they were looking for "a bone of a righteous mortal", so a somewhat different phrasing than for the current spell.
posted by litera scripta manet at 12:53 PM on March 11, 2018

I zoned out for most of this. But oh....that's where they got the blood was from the random priest? I...guess that works.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:16 PM on March 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

Anyone else notice that the episode was directed by Amanda Tapping

I did, and even though I never watched any of the Stargate shows I somehow remembered that she was on Stargate and she's directing now. My mind is weird like that. (Well, my mind is weird in lots of ways, but that's one of the ways it's weird.)

it's getting hard for them to spin up anything new in terms of plots

I haven't had that feeling, until just now. Somebody in another thread mentioned that Murder, She Wrote was on for 12 seasons, which seemed like forever when I was a kid, and it made me think about how very, very old this show really is. Their run has outlasted MASH and Cheers and The X-Files and all these other classic, long-running shows, and if they can keep it going another seven seasons they'll outlast Gunsmoke! And I think it's remarkable how the show doesn't usually show its age. Most of the time it's pretty good, occasionally it's great, every once in a great while it's just bad... but it's rarely dull.

This one stood out to me because it did feel routine, in a way the show usually doesn't. It felt like somebody ELSE's routine, like some tired CBS show from 1979, 1986, 1993. Maybe that's nostalgic for some people, but to me it was a flashback to the TV that bored me when I was a kid.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 10:57 PM on March 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

oh the scooby doo episode is March 29th. I can't wait to see how terrible and/or awesome it will be!
posted by numaner at 1:49 PM on March 12, 2018

I'm watching this episode now, and it's... wow, is it ever boring.
posted by sarcasticah at 4:19 PM on March 30, 2018


Dean: This is Sam. I’m Dean Winchester. We were told that you might have something that we need.
Greenstreet: What might that be?
Sam: Blood of a saint.
Greenstreet: Blood of a saint. Why… yes. I do believe I possess such an item. Cost me a small fortune to obtain.
Sam: Right. We need some for a worthy cause.
Greenstreet: I gave up on worthy causes years ago. And as I said, the blood cost me a fortune. Judging by your Montgomery Ward suits and your cheap ties, I’m guessing you don’t have a small fortune, or for that matter, two nickels to rub together. So I’m quite afraid this has been a waste of your time, and more importantly, mine. Good day, gentlemen.

Dean: Look at you. You're like a Boy Scout. You're always prepared.
Sam. You're like a... yeah? I don't know what you're like.

Sam: If somebody stole the Impala, what would you do?
Dean: Murder. I'd murder 'em all.
Sam: Right. My point being, I... I don't want a dick like Greenstreet or Scarpatti to win. Not this time.
Dean: There'll be torture first. There'd be, like, a lot of torture, and then there'd - it would end up with death. If I can't have it, nobody can.
Sam: Were you even listening to what I was saying? Scarpatti and Greenstreet? What did I say? [waves hands in front of Dean's face]
Dean: [stares fixedly into space]
Sam: [sighs, walks away]

Dean: Yeah, well, the world's a screwed up place, padre. What are you going to do about it?
Lucca Camilleri: Change it.
Dean: Yeah, good luck with that.
Lucca Camilleri: It's not about luck, son; it is about effort. All the time I hear people saying the world's not perfect. And they're right. It's not. But do you use that as an excuse? Do you use it to excuse your own sins? Your failings and your laziness? Do you use it give a bad man power because the world's not perfect? Or do you work? Do you try and improve things in whatever way you can? Guys, the world will never be perfect, but if good men do good things, it can be better. Every day can get better.

Dean: Ah. The Internet. Not just for porn anymore.

Dean: The blood, where is it?
Greenstreet: It, uh... doesn't exist.
Sam: You... What? Wait a second. You told us...
Greenstreet: Exactly what you wanted to hear. It was just a bit of...
Dean: Chicanery?
Greenstreet: Exactly.
Dean: Well... chicane this. [punches him]

Greenstreet: [to Cromarty] Hand me the relic, and I will pay you $1 million cash right now.
Margaret Astor: Mr. Cromarty has been working for me for years, and I can assure you...
Cromarty: [guns her down] Really should've talked about that raise.

Dean: Look, this isn't a perfect world we're trying to save, okay? And if I'm not perfect trying to save it, so be it.


This episode is the third in the series to be directed by Amanda Tapping who formerly played Naomi in season 8.

This episode is a salute to film noir movies of the 1940's into the early 1950's where there are twists and turns at every corner. More specifically, this episode is a homage to the classic 1941 film The Maltese Falcon and there are references to the movie throughout the episode.

The original source Sam finds is named Miss or Ms. Astor. The love interest in The Maltese Falcon was played by Mary Astor. Ms. Astor has her hair styled in a 1940's style. She wears a string of pearls and pearl earrings, also common in the 1940's. In a later scene, she wears a 1940's style suit with a fox collar, an unusual and unlikely choice of look for a young woman in the 21st century.

Ms. Astor ignores Dean but seems quite taken by Sam. In The Maltese Falcon, she falls for the detective, also named Sam (Sam Spade, played by Humphrey Bogart.)

Much of the background music in this episode is the type used in the classic noir films of the 1940s. A song from 1944 also plays, "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive".

In The Maltese Falcon, Sam Spade finds a paper clue (a newspaper) by searching a hotel suite. Sam Winchester also finds a paper clue (a tracking number) by searching a hotel suite.

Sam and Dean are sent to "Richard Greenstreet", an unscrupulous character who reminds the viewer of Sidney Greenstreet, who starred in Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon.

Sam and Dean meet Ms. Astor in San Francisco, the city where The Maltese Falcon is set.

In both this episode and The Maltese Falcon, the object everyone is seeking is from the island of Malta. (Maltese refers to something or someone from Malta.)

Father Camilleri was erroneously depicted as Italian and NOT Maltese. He responds to Sam and Dean using the affirmative "si", which is Italian for "yes". However, he should have answered using "iva" in Maltese.

In the beginning of the episode while Sam is going through the internet looking for saint's blood, Dean pulls out a pizza box and starts munching down on a slice. When Dean finally agreed to go after the blood he says, "I don't think I could take another piece of cold Papa Giovanni's." Giovanni is Italian for John, so apparently they have been eating Papa John's pizza.

The words sung as a Latin chant during the shoot-out are "vita nostra brevis est, brevi finietur," which means "our life is short, it will soon end". The lyrics are from the (usually) third verse of the song "Gaudeamus igitur", however the melody is entirely different. "Gaudeamus igitur" is an upbeat, humorous song often heard in school and university settings. It has several verses detailing the importance of making the most of life, and is often sung at graduations and other formal and semi-formal student occasions. The sombre melody of the chant has either been repurposed from a chant with different lyrics, or was written specifically for this episode.

Sam and Dean tell Mr. Greenstreet that they're from Rhode Island, and Greenstreet asks them about fictional Manchin twins from Newport. This is likely a play on words, as Newport, Rhode Island is home to many mansions along the coast.
posted by orange swan at 5:19 PM on February 15, 2022

I rather enjoyed this one. I love film noir, and I'm down for film noir done with Supernatural-style meta goofiness.

Here's a clip of the "what would you do if someone stole the Impala" exchange for everyone's viewing convenience.
posted by orange swan at 5:27 PM on February 15, 2022

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