Supernatural: Beat the Devil
May 5, 2018 9:36 PM - Season 13, Episode 21 - Subscribe

Sam, Dean, Castiel, and Gabriel must work together to bring Mary and Jack home; Rowena's encounter with Lucifer may change someone's life.

Episode highlights:

- Sam's dream, featuring Cas and Dean as an old married couple
- Way too many jokes about grace extraction as a euphemism for masturbation/erectile dysfunction
- It felt like an unusually high number of recurring characters were in this episode - Cas, Gabriel, Rowena, Lucifer, Mary, and Jack. Is that like a record for a non premiere/finale episode?
- Gabriel and Rowena having their own Casa Erotica moment
- Dean, Cas, and Sam's reaction to Gabriel and Rowena's Casa Erotica moment
- Sam died...for five seconds and then Lucifer resurrected him
posted by litera scripta manet (11 comments total)
I know that I shouldn't get into dissecting Supernatural plotholes, but doesn't it seem like it would make way more sense to just take all of Lucifer's grace at once, kill him once he's human, and then leave Rowena behind to tend to the spell and keep the rift open.

It seems like it's been established that it takes awhile for angels to replenish they're grace when some it is extracted, so it's unlikely that Lucifer would have been able to re-stock his grace while they were using him to keep the portal open, unless they were planning on spending weeks/months in apocalypse world.

Oh, and given their terrible track record with keeping Lucifer locked up, shouldn't they have left someone behind to help guard Rowena? Or at the very least, shove an IV in Lucifer's arm with whatever Gabriel used to drug him in the first place.
posted by litera scripta manet at 9:41 PM on May 5, 2018 [2 favorites]

doesn't it seem like it would make way more sense to just take all of Lucifer's grace at once, kill him once he's human, and then leave Rowena behind to tend to the spell and keep the rift open.

I don't think they've ever explicitly spelled this out, but the sense I get is that angelic grace has a very short shelf life once it's been removed from the angel. They wanted the possibility to keep the rift open for multiple days, maybe weeks, which presumably would've meant that Lucifer's grace would've....gone flat, or curdled, or evaporated, or whatever it is that happens to angel grace when you leave it sitting around too long.

They still should've left at least one of either Gabriel or Castiel back to keep an eye on Rowena and Lucifer though (they know that having angels in tow is not going to be a huge asset where they're going), and not done such a half-assed job subduing/securing Lucifer. But they were in a hurry! Why were they in such a hurry? No idea. But they were definitely in a hurry.

Also: after all the shit that Dean has done to save and/or resurrect Sam...I just don't buy that this time, he can be persuaded by Cas to just walk away in under a minute. Again, though, Cas's insistence was that they didn't have time - even though, as far as they know, the Lucifer-on-tap plan was still a go - so once again, where is this mysterious urgency coming from?

I have no objections to the writers spending most of the season on standalone episodes and leaving the main plot on the back burner until the season finale approaches. But you can't have "the season finale is approaching" be the only reason why suddenly the main plot's super-incredibly-urgent.
posted by mstokes650 at 10:38 PM on May 5, 2018

I'm not sure if part of my soul finally died around the fourteenth impotence joke, or if it hung on till the extremely essential, not weird or dull voiceover to ""set" "up"" that Rowena and Gabriel are heading into the bone zone. But not for nothing, if I had to name two currently-alive characters on this show who don't need any particular reason to drop whatever they're doing and bang a total stranger of a different species on somebody else's living room floor, it's Gabriel and Rowena. (Dean, obvious third, but I feel like at this point it's honestly a pretty distant third.)

Man, the pacing of this season is so weird. And I just remembered, didn't it start with a mysterious presence in the void who's never been mentioned again, nor hinted to be relevant in any way?
posted by jameaterblues at 10:53 PM on May 5, 2018 [1 favorite]

I got the feeling that the slow trickle of Lucifer's grace was integral to keeping the rift open. They weren't just bleeding him out to be sadistic. As for the urgency, I guess they were really worried about Michael coming through, and the fate of their mother and Jack, plus they can't be sure how long the rift will stay open. Those are pretty urgent concerns... but yeah, the writers needed to do something to up the urgency a bit before they had the gang abandoning Sam to die!

So, are we just not going to deal with what happened to Lucifer up in heaven? He just up and left, the end? And where's his scrappy angel girlfriend? There's been a lot to like about this season, but sometimes it feels like we're skipping entire episodes of plot. I'd agree that we kind of need to follow-up on Mr. Inky (as I insist on calling the mysterious void entity) but I have a feeling it'll never come up again. Too much time has gone by without a mention. But then again lately they've been digging out old characters I barely remember, so maybe Mr. Inky will make a surprise return.

Leaving just Rowena to watch Lucifer was pretty dopey, but sometimes with a show you just gotta shrug and go with it. I feel like I've been doing that a lot with Supernatural this season.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:24 AM on May 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

-They really opened up a ton of space this season for future plots. I'm really curious to see how the season ends and what the cliffhanger will be. I wonder if they will toss any of the stuff they brought in to the spin-off.

-I definitely thought they were going to go for Micheal for a second when they said they needed another archangel to power the spell, instead of Lucifer, but I guess L makes more sense.

-I was thinking about Sam's death, it could have been interesting to show Sam in Heaven, to get an idea of what it's like up there with everything going pear-shaped up top. It seems kind of wasted somehow.
posted by Query at 10:05 AM on May 6, 2018

the brothers and Cas have plot armor, so I couldn't buy Sam really dying for even a second, and I guessed right away that it would've been Lucifer to bring him back somehow. The buffet of Apocalypse World angels on his way to Sam was a good enough reason for me for Lucifer getting his mojo back. I don't think at this point that sequence could be written to be surprising, but it was too hacky to fake Sam's death just to give Lucifer a way to get to them.

My one gripe was that they fell into the usual trope of having the hostage tricking them with words. So many shows do that at some point while also have situations where the mouth is taped shut. Like, even Rowena could've done a spell to shut him up if she didn't feel like looking for duct tape in the bunker. Also, agree about putting him on that IV drip of the drug they used in the bar.

The pacing is ramping up quickly, and I have a feeling there's going to be a lot of questions left open at the end of this season. Probably another crazy cliffhanger.
posted by numaner at 2:45 PM on May 7, 2018

My one gripe was that they fell into the usual trope of having the hostage tricking them with words.

It was weird, when he was literally just singing (badly) to annoy Rowena, it really seemed like they were setting up a joke where she did a spell to make his mouth sew shut or something. But no, they needed her to fall prey to his mind games for plot reasons, so it never occurred to her to just slap some duct tape on him. Lately it kind of feels like this show is lacking somebody in the writer's room to ask the obvious questions that the audience is going to ask. The writers are still capable of fun scripts, but sometimes there will be these weird plot problems they never seem to consider. (But who knows, maybe they're furiously arguing about these very things and what we see is the best compromise they could agree on. Sometimes TV production is messy like that.)

The den of hissing vampire freakos was genuinely spooky, and it was kind of nice to see Lucifer evil it up again. I was glad he didn't kill Rowena again, though.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:43 PM on May 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

Same here! I hope she makes it to next season!

The vampire nest was probably the first spooky thing I've seen from the show all season, since they've moved away from MOW stuff.
posted by numaner at 1:31 PM on May 8, 2018

I can't believe that I've missed Richard Speight Jr.

The bar that Lucifer gets roofied in is Yaggers in Kits. Terrible place, I have no idea how it has lasted as long as it has unless the owners actually owned the property since from forever ago and have just been taking out loans against the ever skyrocketing property value.

Now, aside from the actor, why is Gabriel so attached to Loki's appearance?

As for Rowena, love betrayed is a pretty strong emotion so I don't expect her to betray Team The Boys. I'd be more concerned if she tried to off Luci when no-one was looking (hooking up with Gabe, notwithstanding) - and she fucked up out of hubris.

Whether she turns back from fear that The Boys are competent enough to overcome or out of actual conscientiousness...

Not sure if Mark Pellegrino is made up to it, but the character is looking appropriately rough.
posted by porpoise at 7:51 PM on January 20, 2022


Castiel: Dean, you can't possibly eat another. That's your seventh piece.
Dean: No, it's not.
Jack: Castiel's right. I counted.
Dean: Okay, first, don't be a narc. And secondly, seven pieces is perfectly normal.
Sam: Uh, no it's really not.
Dean: It's not even a whole pie.
Jack: Was he always like this?
Mary: Even as a baby. John and me, we used to call him our little piglet.

Gabriel: [defensively, because the grace he was able to produce wasn't enough to keep the rift open] It’s not always like that.
Rowena: Gabriel, please.
Gabriel: Just ’cause I take a little extra time to recover --
Rowena: I don’t need to hear your excuses.
Gabriel: It doesn’t make me any less of an archangel.
Rowena: Mm, right.
Gabriel: You know, it could have been you --
Rowena: Uh?
Gabriel: -- who screwed up that spell. Just sayin’. I heard your, uh, magical unbinding didn’t take, that you got knocked back down a peg. Maybe it’s you who are off your game.
Rowena: A drunk 6-year-old could execute that magic. It wasn’t the spellcaster or the spell. It was the ingredient.
Gabriel: Think they’ll be much longer?
Rowena: The Three Amigos? With their bro hugs, pep talks, and melodrama? Count on it. [voiceover as she thinks to herself] Quite a tidy, wee tush he’s got going on there. Sort of… cute.
Gabriel: [voiceover] Oh, she’s so tiny… so angry. That milky white skin, dancer’s body. God, I bet she’s flexib--
Rowena: So... we've a little time. How would you like to fill it?
Gabriel: To fill what?
Rowena: I know a thing or two about wounded masculine pride.

Lucifer: Look at this. All the people I love to torture in the same room. What's the occasion, guys?

Lucifer: Okay, you could've done this back at the bar. Could've drained me, killed me. What's this really about? Humiliation? Revenge?
Sam: Ah, those are just bonuses. See, we got a lot of work back in Apocalypse World, but not a whole lot of time to do it. So I realized something. I realized we could use you.
Rowena: [says an incantation and opens the door to Apocalypse World]
Sam: Use you to just not crack the door open, but to keep it open. So we're gonna drain you. We're gonna keep on draining you.
Dean: Like a stuck pig.
Gabriel: Grace on tap. Sorry, bro.
Sam: And then, when we get back, then we'll kill you.

Castiel: Have you, uh, thought about what's next, after we get back to Earth?
Gabriel: Uh, yeah, not so much, seeing as we still gotta find Jack and Mary. Ah, not to mention survive Michael and his super angel army.
Castiel: Right.
Gabriel: Although, I did tick off some, uh, bucket list items recently. Got some revenge. Had sex with a 300-year old redhead. But what's next for me? I don't really know.
Castiel: This world is, um, obviously glutted with angels. But back home in our world, you know it's -- it's just Naomi and a handful of others. They're trying to keep the lights on, but Heaven's dying, Gabriel.
Gabriel: Are you serious?
Castiel: Very.
Gabriel: And you think I could fix it? Gosh. I skipped out on Heaven, Castiel. They wouldn't want me back. As far as they're concerned, I'm a screw up. Hell, as far as I'm concerned, I'm a screw up.
Castiel: Well, Heaven's been run into the ground by upstanding angels. Perhaps a screw up is just the change we need.


The beasts/vampires that the team comes across are changed due to being more feral, savage, and not feasting on human blood, which causes them to lose all remnants of their humanity. The show Van Helsing also features vampires that starve in the wild, which causes them to turn feral.

Gabriel says that Rowena has a "dancer's body", referencing the fact that Ruth Connell, who plays Rowena, is a professional dancer who was with the Scottish National Ballet.

When Lucifer is in the bar talking to the bartender about his problematic relationships with his father and his son, the song playing is "The Cat's in the Cradle", a song all about a poor relationship between a father and son.

Lucifer sings the wrong lyrics to "Camptown Races". He should sing, "Somebody bet on the bay" but instead he sings, "somebody bet on the gray".

Morehead, KY is in Eastern Kentucky, and doesn't have a tunnel leading north on any roadways.

This episode marks the seventh time that Sam Winchester has died and been resurrected on-screen.

Gabriel grabs a book titled Laying Pipe: A Beginners Guide to Plumbing and Pipe Fitting. "Laying pipe" is a euphemism for having sex, which Gabriel engages in with Rowena soon after picking up the book.

There are a number of references to the fantasy novel The Lord of the Rings. In the novel, the Fellowship has to choose between taking a safe route around a mountain, or the more treacherous path through the tunnels. They choose the tunnels, where they are attacked by Orcs. One of their members, Gandalf, succumbs during the attack, but is later resurrected. During ADR for the episode, Richard Speight Jr. did the line, "You shall not pass!" which Gandalf says during the climactic battle. The clip was posted on Mary Manchin's twitter account.

Castiel says other than Gabriel the only other source of archangel grace on Earth is Lucifer. However they seem to be forgetting that the Archangel Michael (the characters' universe's Michael) is still locked in the cage in hell. Rowena knows how to open the cage and with her newly enhanced powers it shouldn't be hard to for her to open the cage and bind Michael long enough to take some of his grace. After-all Lucifer said that Michael couldn't deal with being locked up so he just went into a catatonic state, he said "Michael just sits there in the corner humming and touching himself." While our Michael's power is slightly greater than Lucifer's with the state he's in it would be easier to try and extract his grace than to try and take on another Archangel who is at full power and in full possession of his mental faculties.
posted by orange swan at 3:53 PM on February 25, 2022

The rift petering out in less than a minute was hilariously phallic, a fact that was not lost on Rowena. Leave it to her to say so, and then take the opportunity to cater to Gabriel's wounded masculine pride in a way that happens to suit her. But then leave two such amoral hedonists in a room alone for ten minutes, and they were bound to bang.

I never found the vampires in the usual Supernatural universe frightening, but the feral ones in the bad place are terrifying. Seems to me they drew on Nosferatu to create them.
posted by orange swan at 3:58 PM on February 25, 2022

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