Supernatural: Unfinished Business
April 27, 2018 12:55 PM - Season 13, Episode 20 - Subscribe

Gabriel drags Dean and Sam into his plot for revenge on the ones who sold him to Asmodeus. Jack's growing confidence leads to reckless decisions that could put others in harm's way.

I enjoyed the Kill Bill parody, and it was even more on the nose when Dean called Gabriel "Uma".

The Norse beasts are cool! Even if Fenrir ate it real quick. I'd never heard of Narfi before, but I couldn't tell what kind of beast he was. I wished Sleipner was more horse like, but him chewing on a carrot was great. I'm glad Loki was real and not just another aspect of Gabriel. The retread of vengeance not solving anything could've been overdone, but it wasn't leaned on too heavily, and Dean stated it so matter of factly it reminded me of how much they've seen it not work out. At least Gabriel seems to realize that.

It was hard for me to care about Jack and Mary, because it was one of those "this is clearly a trap why aren't listening to the experienced people and oh great now people area dead" kind of plots, but I enjoyed the nice moment of Mary being like a mother to Jack. Though it was inevitable with both of them trapped in Apocalypse World.

Man, Kevin Tran can't get a break in either world.
posted by numaner (7 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I had always wondered whether Loki was a real person who Gabriel was somehow impersonating, or if Loki was someone he more or less invented and kept it up for a long, long time. I like it better this way, even though I wasn't crazy about the episode (possibly, in retrospect, because they were going for a parody of Kill Bill, which I've never seen.) Though I wonder if that means Gabriel is in an actual human vessel, or a vessel he somehow changed to look like Loki, or Loki agreed to look like his vessel as part of the deal, or what.

But I was pretty bummed at the beginning when Gabriel made a big deal of how it was going to be a straight-up physical fight and then did exactly that. This show doesn't really need another random side character who happens to be amazing at good at hand-to-hand, but having somebody around who had powers and was clever about using them was fun.

Revenge is so baked into the DNA of this show that I wish they'd handled it a little differently, though I can't put my finger on how. Part of it was Gabriel, a super-powered near-immortal, getting shouty about revenge for seven years of torture to Dean (who Alastair had for forty years) and Sam (who Lucifer had for...longer than that) and who've managed to survive without personally exacting vengeance on anybody. (And yeah, there are other reasons for that, and Sam got Alastair and he for sure enjoyed it and I'm sure still does.) (And not for nothing, but I've thought for a while that what Gabriel did to Sam in Mystery Spot messed him up more and for longer than most other stuff on this show.)

Anyway--this is feeling pretty boring for the lead-up to the end of whatever plot was theoretically playing out this season. But I lowkey appreciated Sam telling Dean that they'd die together if it came to that, since it's pretty apparent that that's the only mutually acceptable option and somebody might as well say so.
posted by jameaterblues at 5:36 PM on April 27, 2018 [4 favorites]

Richard Speight Jr., the actor who plays Gabriel, previously directed whichever recent-ish episode was wall-to-wall with Tarantino rips. I don't even remember the particulars off-hand, just that I noticed his name in the credits and then that episode went way, way over the top with Tarantino homage stuff. So when his name showed up in the credits as the director for this one I half-seriously thought, "What, is it gonna be a Kill Bill parody or something?" And then it was.

I thought it was a fine episode, but if their arcs are going to be this all-over-the-place I almost wish they'd just go back to regular MOW stuff instead. Right now they have SO MANY PLOTS cooking, and it's all kind of fun but there's no real urgency. I didn't feel too invested in Mary and Jack either, because it seems like we've barely checked in with them for months and this little war they were fighting felt kind of abstract. They were trying to save a bunch of extras in a far-away conflict with a baddie who's hardly shown up. (Sad about Kevin, though.) I'd hardly call this season a disaster, but it hasn't exactly crackled either. I'm assuming they're planning a great big cliff-hanger, and hopefully next season will have a tighter focus.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 12:22 AM on April 28, 2018 [3 favorites]

I think opening up an alternate dimension at the end of the previous season was both the only thing they can do at that point to keep the show fresh, and also stretching themselves thin plotwise this season. I mean, without that, you'd just have another rehash of everybody against Lucifer and the angels dying out, which isn't a big enough plot to balance against the Lucifer one.

I don't know how they're going to bring a more cohesive focus into next season, but at the very least I'm enjoying seeing alternate versions of all these dead characters.

They should pull a Eureka and have everybody go into Apocalypse World and have that be the new status quo. It would actually be pretty damn brave and amazing.
posted by numaner at 10:14 AM on April 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

It'd be great if they did a whole season in another dimension or something, but as fun and crazy as this show can be they seem to have a real aversion to shaking things up in a big way. It's a big serial but they often deal with really huge stuff in an episode and then move on, never going back. A season where ALL the ghosts came back could be epic, but I doubt they'd do it or if they do it probably won't turn out to be as big a deal as we'd think. It's like there's a determination to keep things as small-scale as possible. (Remember when they introduced "dragons," and the dragons were just grouchy-looking guys?) That's why I was so surprised we even glimpsed the gorilla-godzilla monster earlier this season, because that kind of thing is not this show's MO. I think it's budget-driven to some extent, but there's a lot of epic stuff they could do that wouldn't have to cost a lot of money, but they generally don't go there. I kind of miss their era of cheap-ass but incredibly creepy creatures. It's like at some point they decided they just weren't going to use rubber monsters anymore, everything had to just be people in coats with some contacts or little tattoos or something. There's a lack of ambition, or a determination to keep things more straightforward and small scale, that's held the show back at times.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:15 PM on April 29, 2018 [2 favorites]

To your last point, it does seem that way. But then again, the fans clearly craves Castiel 24/7, so MOW stuff doesn't have a lot of room to breathe while he's around. They have to focus the stories on beings that Castiel can't just defeat easily, which means going with villains that won't drain the show's budget because they'll have a lot of screen time. And I'm sure they don't want to revert back to rubbery creatures, so CG stuff is occasional, which means with the short screen time they need to resolve (read: destroy) those monsters quickly. However, to give the show suspense, they have to let the brothers do it, since it'd be a struggle. So we end up with Cas getting tied up with something while the brothers do their thing. It's been a successful formula for the last few seasons, and I do miss seeing more mythological creatures, but I also like the characters enough to not mind. At least we've gotten at least like 5 or 6 (off the top of my head) MOW this season.

I do applaud them for barreling through with the angels losing their wings and then now dying out. Metatron made a great villain through that arc, and the plot-convenience of angels having to drive everywhere worked pretty well. And then having their wings back but dying out now creates a pretty great tension.
posted by numaner at 11:17 PM on April 29, 2018


Kevin Tran: I never used to believe in anything. Well, scratch that -- science, quantum mechanical unpredictability....


This episode is directed by Richard Speight Jr., who plays the Archangel Gabriel.

Dean compares to Gabriel's mission of revenge to Kill Bill: Vol. 1, one of director Quentin Tarantino's best known films. The dialog, action scenes, and plot of this episode were also written and filmed in the style of a Tarantino film.

The name of this episode is "Unfinished Business". Among many other references to Kill Bill: Vol. 1 in this episode, whenever "The Bride" is about to face one of the 5 people on her revenge list, she tells them they have unfinished business.

"Mano a mano" doesn't actually mean "man to man"; it's a false cognate. Instead, it means "hand to hand", though it is often used [incorrectly] to mean "man to man" as in fighting without weapons or assistance.

Dean asks Gabriel, "No tricks?", to which Gabriel replies, "Tricks are for kids", quoting the 1980s General Mills slogan for Trix cereal.

Gabriel kills Fenrir who, in Norse mythology, is one of the sons of Loki. Earlier in the series, Gabriel lived under the guise of Loki.

Sleipnir, another one of Loki's sons, is an 8-legged horse. The writers might have intended Sleipnir's foppish, Beau-Brummell-meets-Canadian-plaid attire as a "clothes horse" gag. Sleipnir's eating a carrot in this episode is possibly a reference to the fact that he was Odin's horse in Norse mythology.
posted by orange swan at 3:30 PM on February 25, 2022

Dean's "lost in fantasy" reaction when Gabriel describes his time playing poker and having multiplesomes with porn stars, heh. Those two would enjoy carousing together if Gabriel was more of a bromance type.

You'd think Gabriel would have waited until his grace was back to full power before going on his revenge killing spree. How long could that take? For that matter, I'm not clear on how those demi-gods and Asmodeus ever subdued him anyway. An archangel seems to be more powerful than anything in the universe but God and Amara.
posted by orange swan at 3:30 PM on February 25, 2022

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