Supernatural: Byzantium
December 8, 2018 7:52 PM - Season 14, Episode 8 - Subscribe

Dean and Sam join forces with an unexpected ally to help Jack. Meanwhile, Heaven faces an attack, and Castiel must help.

note: the angel Duma's name is spelled Dumah in the closed caption, but that's wrong

- no guest actors were previously on Supernatural.
- Jack's personal Heaven appears to be the road trip to Dodge City in s13e06 Tombstone.
- At their wake for Jack, Sam, Dean, and Castiel eat nougat -- Jack's favorite candy.
- Naomi reveals that 46 billion and 750 million souls exist in Heaven.
posted by numaner (15 comments total)
!!!!!!!!! SUPER SPOILERS FOR THE GOOD PLACE but I assume the Mefites that watch this show also keep up with The Good Place even more regularly.

First off, it's hilarious to me that this episode was on the same night as The Good Place's "Janet(s)" episode, which also featured the afterlife and an accountant calculating who's going to heaven or hell. And both also featured "heaven" since that's where TGP ended last episode. I cracked up laughing when Anubis said "I'm an accountant, I don't have that kind of power.", that's almost exactly what Niel, the head accountant, said!

posted by numaner at 8:04 PM on December 8, 2018 [2 favorites]

Sooo the skeletal shadowy thing from The Empty that we saw last episode as Nick is... praying(?) rising up, that was not Lucifer coming back from The Empty? And was actually The Shadow (still don't like that name, too close to The Darkness) rising up to take Jack back from heaven? I guess that makes sense but them interweaving that scene with Nick praying was either poor editing or trying to throw us off or making us having wild speculations.

I knew Jack wasn't going to actually die, but that wake and all those emotions from the cast was damn convincing. They all have really upped their acting chops through the span of this series and it really shows.

While I appreciate the emotional stuff, it does feel better to get back to the hunt for Michael. Although for a split second I thought Naomi was going to be like "I know where he is, he's in the cage where the y'all left him!" as a gag (that would actually be a hilarious outtake). But I'm wondering how the angels know where he is. And I'm wondering if the Shadow killed more angels; weren't there only like 9 of them left? So there's even less now, including Castiel?? They better get an archangel to make more soon!

I enjoy watching both Erica Cara and Courtney Ford so I really loved seeing them both in the same scene. Now I just want Jo Lupo, the sheriff from Eureka, to go on adventures with Nora Darkh from Legends of Tomorrow. Occasionally they also join forces with Duma the angel and Portia the attorney from True Blood.
posted by numaner at 8:24 PM on December 8, 2018

Dumah talked too much.
posted by homunculus at 9:05 PM on December 8, 2018

They worked hard to sell the idea that Jack was dead, but everybody's been killed and un-killed so much on this show I just can't take death seriously anymore. They've ALL died and come back!

I have zero idea what's going on with the inky skeleton thing that Nick seemed to awake with his prayers. Was that the Shadow? Was that Lucifer? Was that Abraxas? Are we going to hear anything more about Jack giving up part of his soul? What about Dean's dizzy spells? It feels like they're going for drawn-out, Lost-style mysteries this season, rather than their usual, more straightforward storytelling. All this weird stuff is happening, and we're left with all these questions. It's all kind of frustrating, but it sure does compel you to keep watching!

My girlfriend raised a very good point: Where were all the alt-universe hunters who've been hanging around the bunker? This season they've made a big point of how the place is so crowded, so where did everybody go?

It also seemed a little weird how they didn't call Mary until after Jack died. I mean, Jack's been dying for a while! I'm guessing the actress wasn't available, or else they were writing the episode and they were like, "Crap. We've got a lot in this episode already, and we can't fit in Mary too." Too bad. Mary's been kind of AWOL lately, and dealing with Jack would give her some screen time.

Dumah talked too much.

I actually thought Erica Cerra did an amazing job portraying the Shadow, with that creepy, quavering voice and the crazy eyes. I was kind of sorry when Duma got un-possessed. Cerra instantly made the Shadow scarier than Misha Collins did... And she was way scarier than Michael!

no guest actors were previously on Supernatural.

Not quite! When I looked up Cerra's name to find out who played Duma/the Shadow, I found out that she also played Robin, a woman Sam killed back when he had no soul.

If Michael is going to be female now, here's hoping Dean can make it through the rest of the season without calling her a bitch.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 11:02 PM on December 8, 2018 [2 favorites]

I rather liked this one. When they said "Anubis" like obviously, who else, I started giggling, and when they got to the part about how Anubis is actually a subcontractor the angels hired after God peaced out, and it shouldn't be hard to find him because of how Sam and Dean fought Osiris that one time, I had to pause the episode because I was laughing too hard. I can't tell anymore when they're just randomly throwing up some new canon to get through the scene or when they decide they need to top their own previous record of bonkers cosmology, and I'm honestly happier not knowing. It's hard to get worked up knowing that, especially for white guys, death in SPN is just like...mild hazing, but for that, there were some surprisingly affecting moments.

Good eye on Erica Cerra, her voice was hella familiar but I've given up on trying to keep track of the angels on this show or how many are supposed to be around. She came close to over the top a couple of times, but I really like the hanging-on-by-the-fingernails hungry menace she brought to it. And telling Castiel she's going to wait till he's happy and carefree to kill him is messed up in a completely different way than the crossroads demon giving Dean a looming deadline or Azazel killing John almost on the spot. (This show has exhausted my tolerance on secrets for the sake of secrets, and you'd think Castiel of all people would have two brain cells of sense about keeping secret any deals that might come back to bite them in the ass at what has already been promised as the worst possible moment. Also, even if I get where he's coming from, that's a hell of a lot to put on Jack.)

The bunker was for sure weirdly empty after being crammed with extras all season. I could imagine them being given privacy in one way or other for a couple of days under the circumstances, but it was definitely noticeable.
posted by jameaterblues at 1:25 PM on December 9, 2018 [5 favorites]

Not quite! When I looked up Cerra's name to find out who played Duma/the Shadow, I found out that she also played Robin

Ahh dammit! That's what I get for relying on the wikis to fill that part of the post. I guess since Duma is recurring they don't include previous roles that Cerra has played. I should definitely start checking the recurrings.
posted by numaner at 11:03 PM on December 9, 2018

Cerra knocked it out of the park as The Empty, actually showing emotion. That was brilliant.

I did not remember that Lily person whatsoever and felt like hungover Dean myself. Though it was nice that in her final act she finally scored enough points to go to The Good Place. (And she actually had the option to get into The Good Place.) I enjoyed Anubis and his magic abacus.

Yeah, you just can't take deaths seriously on this show because there's too much coming back.
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:35 AM on December 10, 2018

This was a good episode! A lot happened, we picked up some new cosmology pieces, and we have some new things to worry or wonder about. It did bug me that they hadn't even bothered to tell Mary what was going on with Jack until after he was dead. That seemed totally unrealistic. And it bugged me last time that all the Apocalypse World people were suddenly gone from the bunker and this time they were still mysteriously gone. All out on hunting missions, I guess, due to their inexplicable new desire to devote their lives to being monster hunters in this world.

the skeletal shadowy thing from The Empty that we saw last episode as Nick is... praying(?) rising up, that was not Lucifer coming back from The Empty?

I still think it was Lucifer. I think he is going to come back and that will eventually allow Jack to get his powers back. (Though I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up deciding to sacrifice all or some of his grace for something that turns out to require it - making more angels, getting the Apocalypse World people back home, curing Dean from whatever is ailing him now.)

When we didn't find out what Naomi said about where Michael is, and then Jack asked the others if something was wrong as they all sat around the table, I figured they had probably learned that Michael was still inside Dean. But apparently there is a preview out there that shows Michael as a woman. My daughter has seen it, but she's good about not telling us anything spoilery she learns (she wouldn't have mentioned anything about it, except my husband asked her about Ursula Hitler's "if Michael is going to be female" comment), so I don't know what woman it is. I'm wondering if it's going to be Mary.

When Cas made his deal with The Empty, I thought she was telling him she would make him forget all about it, which didn't seem to fit with her desire to make him suffer. But I just played that scene back and I guess she didn't exactly say he would have no memory of the deal. It could be interpreted that way or she could just mean that she was going to wait until he was starting to relax and think he might have a good long time left and she'd take him then.

What's going to happen to Jack whenever he finally dies for real is still up in the air. He's going to have the same problem then. Maybe if he can completely get rid of his grace, then he can become fully human and go to heaven and be with his mother. (I guess it's not completely gone now, just 99.99% depleted.) But how is he going to bring about a paradise if he has no powers? Will that vision of Cas's turn out to have no real meaning in the end? That would be unsatisfying. Maybe we'll find out that getting Michael off of Apocalypse World is going to result in that world eventually becoming a peaceful paradise, so Jack has already accomplished his mission.
posted by Redstart at 7:41 AM on December 10, 2018

Sorry, Redstart, I didn't mean to spoil anything! Michael as a woman was in the preview for next week, at the end of this episode, so I assumed everybody had seen it.

Given the context, with Nick praying to Lucifer, my money would also be on the inky black awakening skeleton being Lucifer. But it is a little confusing to show an inky black skeleton like that and then have the Shadow appear this week.

Lucifer's morality was all over the place before he died, so I don't know if he'd come back roaring for revenge or determined to be a better guy or what. I'd kind of like to see him go full evil again. Given his place in the show, I think it'd be disappointing if anybody else was the big bad in the series finale!

I didn't get the feeling that Cas will forget about the deal. They didn't say anything to that effect, anyhow. Castiel is rarely happy, there's always some big mess going on and he's kind of a worrier anyhow, but I'm guessing they're setting up a season finale or something. Like, they beat Michael and Jack's situation is finally worked out and everything seems fine and Castiel breathes a sigh of relief... and then, whoops, Castiel is off to the empty. But I don't know, they've kind of already DONE Castiel being "emptied" as a cliffhanger!

I hadn't even noticed all the alt-hunters were missing last week. They really need to drop a line about where everybody's gone. Maybe they're all off looking for Michael?
posted by Ursula Hitler at 1:03 PM on December 10, 2018

That's okay, it wasn't a huge spoiler. We watch on the CW website and we don't see any previews. I didn't even realize there were previews for the people watching on TV.
posted by Redstart at 1:46 PM on December 10, 2018

I'm always happy to see Amanda Tapping (she's directed a few episodes recently, I think).

Death on this show is just...well, it's never something you can expect to be permanent; and given the Winchesters and they're war on death, Jack popping back up wasn't a big shocker.

I was a little befuddled, too, by the lack of all the hunters. Though, for the most part, (not all), a lot of the scenes of the main characters in the bunker were shot in places that were somewhat out of the way. The drinking scene would have originally been at the main table in the main room, but this was at a small table in a kitchen or something? There were hallway shots and have you. I think the only place where there should have been more people would have been whatever room they were in when they did the resurrection spell (or whatever you want to call it).

It was poor timing to have the Darkness/Blackness/Whatever pop up after the ending of the previous episode, but I agree, that was definitely Lucifer being resurrected (kind of like Castiel). The red eyes were intended to signal his return. Did we get a reveal that the guy he possessed most likely killed his own family? That's what I'm figuring, right now.

I'm also completely at a loss as to how many angels are around. The lights were literally going out on Heaven a season or so ago. So. Damn. Confusing.
posted by Atreides at 1:33 PM on December 11, 2018

Did we get a reveal that the guy he possessed most likely killed his own family?

Are you talking about Nick? The ex-cop Nick killed is the one who killed Nick's family, and that guy was apparently possessed by somebody named Abraxas. I get the feeling you're not talking about the Nick situation, but I don't know who else you'd mean.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 6:39 PM on December 11, 2018

Naw, I couldn't recall Nick's name, that's exactly what I was wondering. I completely missed the fact the cop did it (I was handling a 7 month old at the time) and just thought the cop had let someone get away or what not - kind of like how Nick killed his former neighbor. Thanks for clearing this up!
posted by Atreides at 1:15 PM on December 13, 2018


Lily Sunders returns, now aged, and is played by Veronica Cartwright, the legendary character actor known for some of the best horror and sci-fi movies/shows including Alien.

After being in worsening health for some time, Jack dies early in this episode but is later resurrected. Coming back from the dead is something often seen as a trademark for members of Team Free Will.
posted by orange swan at 4:57 PM on March 4, 2022

Kelly's childhood dog was named Roosevelt. It seems she demonstrated an early interest in politics.

The Empty haaaaaates Castiel and wants him to suffer when all he ever did to her was wake up in the Empty, in turn waking her up. And I thought I hated being woken up for no good reason.

Veronica Cartwright did a good job of channeling the original/younger Lily.
posted by orange swan at 4:58 PM on March 4, 2022

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