Supernatural: Damaged Goods
January 27, 2019 1:14 PM - Season 14, Episode 11 - Subscribe

Dean spends some bonding time with Mary and Donna while Sam worries about him. Nick finally finds the answer he has been searching for.


- Nelson Leis, who played Jeff / Abraxas, previous played Esper in s8e21 "The Great Escapist".
- The ingredients to the "Winchester Surprise" were named in the episode, but edited out. Samantha Smith tweeted this out:
3 lbs pork
3 lbs beef
3 lbs american cheese
Fritos to garnish
Plus, if you’re Dean (or @JensenAckles), a gallon of hot sauce.
- This is the first episode where a Winchester brother directly tells the other they love them. Dean previously told Mary he loves her directly in s12e22 Who We Are.
- The books Dean takes from the Bunker include Fallen Angels and Historia Achengeli by Maria Prophetissima, who was also known as Mary the Jewess and Mary the Prophetess, was an alchemist that many consider to be the first true alchemist of the Western world.
- The Book of Jubilees that Sam was reading is an ancient Jewish text, not considered canon by most churches. The book classifies angels into four groups: angels of the presence, angels of sanctifications, guardian angels over individuals, and angels presiding over the phenomena of nature. It also covers the genesis of angels and the rise of the Nephilim.
- The box Dean made is called a Ma'lak Box, Ma'lak is the Semitic word for "angel."
posted by numaner (17 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It's hilarious that demons basically keep track of the Winchesters to not be where they are. So great!

I'm surprised that Nick was able to overpower Mary somehow. Did he pick up some fighting skills while Lucifer possessed him or while he was out murderin'?

I'm glad Sam, and the show, isn't playing any softball with Nick. Any sympathy we might have had for him being Lucifer's victim was essentially erased with Sam's "You can burn." The show tends to redeem some of the recurring villains, like Crowley and Rowena, but while I was surprised that they took Nick down this path, I'm glad they're not portraying him more sympathetically. Also, it's to Mark Pellogrino's credit that he played Lucifer with such charm and Nick with such sociopath likeness.

I teared up a bit when Dean told Sam he's the only one that could talk him out of getting in the box. In these final moments he's really wearing his emotions on his sleeves, and it's a nice pivot from all the times he shut down and retreated.
posted by numaner at 1:25 PM on January 27, 2019 [2 favorites]

Boy, they just can't stop using the one-of-the-brothers-sacrifices-themselves-to-stop-the-apocalypse plot, huh? I liked this episode more or less. I'm a bit confused about whether Nick was a serial killer before he was taken over by Lucifer. I sort of thought the big twist was going to be that he actually killed his family and that's why Lucifer took him over.
posted by runcibleshaw at 2:45 PM on January 27, 2019

they really didn't explore Nick's life before Lucifer, but my impression is that being Lucifer's ride broke him as a person, to where he didn't care about hurting people.
posted by numaner at 3:01 PM on January 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

Well, I'm happy to see Donna back, at least. God, I wish Wayward Sisters had made it to series instead of more fucking Charmed.

I would somewhat assume that Lucifer was attracted to NIck as a long term vessel for a reason...maybe that Nick wasn't the best dude ever. Not that I know really, but the sympathy is gone at this point.

That ending was pretty sad, but we all know that kind of plan can't work or last, so....?
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:23 PM on January 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

Nick did seem to have some pretty impressive fighting skills here, handily taking down a hunter AND a sheriff. I suppose it could be some of Lucifer's mojo... or, we don't really know who Mick was before his possession, do we? Maybe he was in the military or he had some other job with combat training. I have the impression that being inhabited by Lucifer for so long is what messed him up, that he wasn't an evil person before. But who knows? Frankly I was surprised by the "you can burn" because Sam is such a bleeding heart that I would've thought that even now he'd kind of pity Nick.

I sort of got the feeling Nick was being written off the show here, that he was off to prison and that was that, and if so that's a bit of a surprise. He's a compelling character but maybe they felt they'd taken him as far as they could. If Lucifer does come back, maybe they're planning to have him inhabit a new vessel. That'd be a mixed blessing, if so. Pelligrino was fun in the role, and he pretty much IS Lucifer on this show, but if they want the character to be scary again maybe they feel like he'd need a new face. The Pelligrino version had perhaps become a little too funny and a little too pathetic to be truly scary. The Rick Springfield version was actually a lot scarier, which is a weird sentence to write.

In the event that Dean did end up in the box under the sea, could he take a gun along and commit suicide? That'd be a grim fate, sure, but it'd be worse to spend eternity in an airtight box with Michael! Or, since being in the box apparently makes you never age and die, maybe you can't kill yourself either. Could they do a thing where he gets in the open box and shoots himself, then it's immediately sealed shut before Michael gets out? I also wondered if there'd be some weird alternate universe where Dean could exile himself on a tiny planetoid, but I suppose Billie's death books would spell out how that wouldn't work. It seems like there's gotta be some option better than Dean spending eternity in a claustrophobic nightmare, but I guess that's the only one of Billie's books where Michael doesn't get free.

This season feels different in that they seem to be giving dramatic moments some more room to breathe. I've been struck a few times but how there have been these long, rather quiet stretches where the characters just kind of hang out together, and the show trusts us to go with that. They did it in the episode where Jack was dying, they did it here, and they've done it elsewhere. I'm impressed. Dean's farewell here also felt like a more mature take on the character. The Dean of a few seasons ago probably would have chosen to go out with a few days of strip clubs and pie, but this is a more grim, grown up Dean.

Yeah, Donna's mention of visiting the WS clan did give me a pang. They're off having all these adventures we're not seeing. But, who knows? Maybe they would have been this show's Lone Gunmen, a thing that sounds like a good idea until it actually happens and it's kind of a botch job.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 7:04 PM on January 27, 2019 [2 favorites]

The amount I still care about this show and these characters (who I've spent close to 14 years with?!) defies logic.

Most of my other thoughts have been covered above, but I'm mostly just in awe that I still care at all. And not only do I care, I care very much for these brothers. Would have never in a million years guessed that I'd still be watching in 2019, but here we are.
posted by terilou at 1:08 PM on January 28, 2019 [5 favorites]

The tension in this episode worked for me to a degree that surprised me, considering none of the stuff they're doing is really groundbreaking per se. The pacing feels a little different, but in a good way. Even little stuff like the long shot of Nick in the driver's seat getting pulled over didn't look like something this show would've done a few seasons ago. (Also Mary/Samantha Smith are a a gift.)

I looked up the writer, and it turns out Davy Perez also did Mint Condition (Panthro attack!) and Stuck in the Middle With You (weird Tarantino pastiche!), both of which I also liked a lot. I hope he gets another script or two this season.

I agree this felt like writing Nick off the show, and if so it's not a bad end for his story. I don't think it was ever played up as THAT big a mystery for the show who'd killed Nick's family or why; I read it more as fuel in the tank of his ongoing breakdown. ("It was demons" and "to ruin his life and make him say yes to Lucifer" are kind of the most immediately logical answers to those questions, which is basically just a dumbed-down version of what Lucifer and Azazel did to Jessica Moore.) It probably would have been a stronger story if we had any more hints about what kind of person Nick was before the murders, but I think he worked as a guy who was messed up in some of the same ways and for some of the same reasons as Sam, but didn't have the inclination, temperament, or support to really overcome that damage, let alone his own worst urges. Or maybe Lucifer really did break Nick, and he doesn't know and now no one else ever will either, which is honestly maybe worse.
posted by jameaterblues at 7:05 PM on January 28, 2019

I didn't have the impression that being in the box would keep Dean from dying. If they said anything that implied that, I must have missed it. The book Billie showed him was about his death, so I assumed being shut in the box would be the cause of his death.

My Destiel-obsessed daughter was pissed off that Cas wasn't even in this one. It was pretty weird that Cas and Jack were just gone and no one even mentioned them. And what about Garth? Last we heard he was shut in a car trunk. Is he still there or what? And Charlie? It sounded like she was going to keep hunting but she wasn't involved with the whole Kansas City thing. Did she go off to live alone on a mountaintop after all? Apparently none of the people from the other world live in the bunker anymore. Where are they living and where are they getting the money to make that possible?
posted by Redstart at 8:00 PM on January 28, 2019 [2 favorites]

I only assumed that Dean would be immortal in the box because there was some line about him spending an eternity in there. I don't know exactly how it was phrased, but me and my girlfriend both got the same impression there so I know I didn't make it up! Maybe he can die but his soul/ghost can't escape?

I didn't remember where Jack or Castiel were, when we last left them. The show has always just dropped Castiel from the narrative at random and now I guess we can add Jack to that too. As for Charlie (and the alt-universe hunters, and alt-Bobby, and Myra, and Katch, and everybody in Heaven or Hell) I think we just have to accept that this show has so, so many players on the board that we can't possibly keep up with everybody. Unless we NEED to know what somebody's up to, we won't find out. It's frustrating and I do wish they did a better job of keeping us informed about various characters, but after 14 seasons I guess we should just be grateful this show still has narrative momentum and its continuity isn't a total mess!

In hindsight it's kind of remarkable how many things have been introduced that seemed like they'd change the show in a big way, but then they didn't. Alternate universes seemed like a big deal, but now it's just this plot element they bring up sometimes. Chuck coming back seemed like a big deal, but then he was around for a (standout) season and now he's gone and that's that. Killing the original Death robbed of us of a cool character, but that seems to be all it did. I really thought the return of Bobby and Charlie would be a bigger deal, but they're not quite the same characters we knew and they don't have the same bond with the boys, so they've just kind of wandered off. The show should feel a LOT more stale than it does, given just how many times they've made big changes that didn't end up changing much!
posted by Ursula Hitler at 3:02 AM on January 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

Non-Lucifer-possessed Nick was much scarier to me than Lucifer-possessed Nick. Super creepy. I feel like they really couldn't decide what to do with him, though -- not that long ago he was enjoying killing people, and now we're back to him only doing it because he wanted revenge?
posted by sarcasticah at 5:42 PM on January 29, 2019

Having thought about this episode more, I'm confused as to how putting the box at the bottom of the ocean is going to solve anything. If Michael escapes, what, he can't swim? An Archangel can drown, or be crushed by the pressure at the bottom of the ocean, or whatever?
posted by sarcasticah at 12:54 PM on February 2, 2019

Hm, yeah, that's a good point. I guess maybe it's to prevent anyone from opening the box from the outside.
posted by Redstart at 2:53 PM on February 2, 2019 [2 favorites]

Yeah, I think Redstart has it. The box will contain Michael as long as no one opens it.
posted by terilou at 5:36 PM on February 2, 2019

Just now catching up on the last couple episodes...

I guess maybe it's to prevent anyone from opening the box from the outside.

But people still dig things up from the bottom of the ocean, right? Shipwrecks and stuff? Wouldn't the best thing be to just, like, launch the box into space or something? Of course, that may be a little outside of everyone's pay grade.

As far as Nick is concerned, my personal theory is that pre-Lucifer, he was more or less a normal guy. But I also have a feeling there must have been some of this darkness in him, because that just seems like Lucifer's "type".
posted by litera scripta manet at 6:54 PM on February 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

Oh, also, the confirmation that the demon killed Nick's family because Lucifer ordered it puts an interesting spin on Nick's introduction in S5.

Because Lucifer's whole pitch was basically that Nick's family dying was all God's fault and Lucifer can help him get justice/revenge/whatever, and Lucifer will never lie to him, etc, etc. But now we know that Nick's family was killed at Lucifer's direct order.
posted by litera scripta manet at 6:56 PM on February 9, 2019 [2 favorites]


Sam: Sorry, I’m just – I’m worried, you know? Ever since we locked Michael up, Dean’s been acting strange, and he just packed up and left, and then, uh…
Mary: And what?
Sam: He hugged me.
Mary: That’s sweet.
Sam: Mom, we don’t hug. I mean, we do, but only if it’s literally the end of the world, you know?

[Dean arrives at Donna's cabin, where Mary is staying]
Mary: Everything alright?
Dean: Yeah, no. You know what? I just – I’m – I’m hangry, okay? Long drive, haven’t eaten, and, uh, I’m starving, actually.
Mary: Well, uh, the delivery options are a little limited this far out, and we both know I’m not much of a cook.
Dean: Well, there’s one thing you can cook better than anybody on the planet.
Mary: [thinks it over] Winchester Surprise?
Dean: Yeah.
Mary: I can’t believe you remember that. I can’t believe I ever fed that to you and John. It was so greasy, like… heart attack on a plate.
Dean: A delicious heart attack on a plate, okay? I would like mine with extra cheese.
Mary: Alright, then.
Dean: Yes!


The combination on the lock that Mary used was 1-24-79: Dean's birthday. Also this episode aired on January 24th, 2019, which was Dean Winchester's 40th birthday.

When Mary looks in on Dean, he is in his favorite sleeping position, the "Marty McFly" position right arm behind his back, face down into the pillow as in the Back to the Future movies.

While Mark Pellegrino is breaking into the lockers, he comes across a Chucky Doll from the 1988 movie Child's Play, which is about a murderer/demon trapped in a doll.

Donna pulls over Nick while he is driving a van with Montana plates that start with 5, and learns it was stolen from an old lady in Missoula. MT issues license plates based on county number. Missoula is 4. 5 would actually be from Helena.
posted by orange swan at 10:45 AM on March 24, 2022

Not a bad episode. I found it had a lot of dramatic tension, between Nick's storyline and Dean's plan to safeguard Michael. Or that could be me... the shit has hit the fan in my life lately, and I've been taking time away from Supernatural to watch non-violent fare, such as Shrill and The Good Fight.

Samantha Smith was so underused on this show.

I see others have speculated on what Nick was like before his wife and infant son were murdered. The show doesn't explore this. Nick says on the night his family was murdered, he was at a bar, which could mean he was there drinking alone and indicate he had a drinking problem, or could mean he was simply having a rare night out with friends.

Loved the use of The Guess Who's "No Time" on the soundtrack. Incidences of Canadiana are rare for this show.

Donna's cabin looked pretty awesome -- much nicer than cabins usually are on this show, although Jody also has a comfortable rustic cabin.

I wonder if Jensen Ackles had any welding skills or if he had to learn them for this episode. Actors do often wind up having to learn a crazy variety of stuff for roles.

Dean sealing himself in a box with Michael and having the box dumped into the ocean is a particularly terrible plan. Why don't they go with the cage in hell idea? It's worked to contain Michael before (and Adam). That would at least give them the possible option of getting him out again.
posted by orange swan at 10:56 AM on March 24, 2022

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