Supernatural: Prophet and Loss
February 2, 2019 6:03 PM - Season 14, Episode 12 - Subscribe

Sam and Dean must solve a bloody mystery about future prophets. Nick comes face to face with his past.


-Nick Hunnings, who played Tony Alvarez, previously played Vampire in 7.22 There Will Be Blood.
-The Impala is seen towing a trailer for the first time in this episode. The trailer contains the Ma'lak Box.
-Nick is revealed to have at least four jurisdictions that want to try him for his murder spree.
-Sam and Dean use their real names at Donatello Redfield's nursing home, though they claim to be Donatello's nephews. Castiel uses the alias of Dr. Novak. Jimmy Novak is Castiel's vessel and was previously used as an alias by him in 12.23 All Along the Watchtower.
-As part of his disguise as Dr. Novak, Castiel switches out his trenchcoat for a lab coat and stethoscope, though he keeps his usual suit on underneath. Castiel is wearing his trenchcoat again when he meets up with the Winchesters at the Impala.
-Like Donatello before him, Tony Alvarez was not one of the future prophets named and kidnapped by Crowley in 8.07 A Little Slice of Kevin.

Next up is Episode 300 of the series, with a special guest star. You've probably been living under a rock if you don't know, but just in case, click here for the reveal. Airs February 7th.
posted by terilou (18 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I live under a rock and don't know and my daughter (who does know) recommends that I stay away from spoilers and wait to be surprised. So thanks for not revealing it here.
posted by Redstart at 6:11 PM on February 2, 2019

I hope it’s okay as is (labeled as a spoiler). I came across it without even remotely trying (possibly in these threads?) but I’m pretty serious about spoilers.

300 episodes is a huge milestone, though!
posted by terilou at 6:44 PM on February 2, 2019

It seems fine to me as is. Just knowing there will be a special guest star doesn't seem too spoilery.

My daughter loved this episode. I thought it started out well. Really managed to build a lot of tension even though we all know Dean isn't going to end up stuck forever in that box. (Turns out Ursula Hitler was right and Michael can keep Dean alive indefinitely in there. But Billie's book must describe how Dean eventually dies in that scenario. How long does it take and how does it happen, I wonder?) Being shut in a coffin-sized box underwater is pretty much the worst thing I can imagine, so the first scene was terrifying. And then those murders were pretty horrific. It seemed like some important new thing was happening. Was Chuck back and really pissed off? Was Lucifer or Michael somehow hijacking the prophet system?

And then everything just fizzled out. It turned out the murders weren't the result of any evil force at all, just a glitch in the system that was easily fixed. And then Dean suddenly switched from being dead-set on his box plan to being willing to give it up, for basically no reason at all.

Maybe the most interesting part was the part with Nick. I still think he'll probably end up calling Lucifer back somehow.

Where the heck was Jack? I get annoyed when they just drop people from the story like that. My daughter pointed out that as far as we know no one has ever bothered to tell Kaia that she's not getting her spear back. And I keep wondering about Garth. What did they do with him?
posted by Redstart at 7:28 PM on February 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

I watched this episode and for some reason all I could think about is how the two stars have had basically the same haircuts for almost 15 years.
posted by runcibleshaw at 9:16 PM on February 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

I think Nick might figure out how to summon a Lucifer from another dimension.

He said last episode that Sam was the only one who could talk him out of it, and that's exactly what happened. Sam's pleading was what he was dreading because he knew he would give in. Whether he intentionally knew it or not, Sam knew precisely what to say to get Dean to stop.

posted by numaner at 11:07 PM on February 2, 2019

I think Nick might figure out how to summon a Lucifer from another dimension.

Oh, that's a good idea! I like that. Maybe Kaia's world. Everything seems bad there. Maybe it's a world where Lucifer has taken control. Nick said he wanted to go to the darkest place, where he can find Lucifer. Maybe that's Kaia's world.
posted by Redstart at 7:13 AM on February 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

I got spoiled on the guest star while I was on a date with someone who ghosted me thereafter. Look alive out there, friends. (Also, three hundred episodes, goddamn. I still remember the agony of waiting to see if it'd get a second season.)

I wasn't that into the A plot this week. The violence felt a little more graphic and mean-spirited than usual, the bad guy was exceptionally flat and boring, and he needed extra plot-dumbness to be threatening to Sam and Dean in any way, and the combination was not that enjoyable. (Maybe there's hypothetically a TV show out there that could make insane religious serial killers compelling to me, but it is for sure not going to be this one.) And we don't really know if he was actually a proto-serial killer who took his chosen-ness as an excuse to go off on a murder spree, or a basically okay but unlucky guy whose sanity was just collateral damage of a prophet's brain trying to piece itself back together, or a little of both, which isn't a million miles from Nick's situation, but I'm not sure the show itself is even interested in those kinds of questions.

I forgot where things left off between Nick and his wife before the episode was even over, and I'm not going back to check. No idea what we're supposed to be getting out of this arc/character at this point.

I'd forgotten the backstory of John randomly sending Dean off to other places, and I wish they hadn't brought it up. I'm not that attached to a particular interpretation of John, but for me that pushed him over the line into wildly awful, even beyond some of his other more legendarily bad parenting decisions. For something that got thrown in years after John was an immediately relevant character, it made that whole family dynamic less interesting to me. I also get the feeling that Sam and Dean have been very careful how they talk about John with Mary, for a lot of understandable reasons, and that they'd both rather eat glass than have that particular conversation in front of their mother. But I wonder why that, of all things, was what Dean wanted to tell Sam right then.

I'm not sure about Dean's insistence that the angel box is the only solution and that he's tried every other possible alternative. I know that's what Billy told him, and sure, let's assume for the moment that a) she's telling the truth and b) there's no way for Dean's death books to be rewritten again. In practice, it looks more like a defense mechanism--he's decided this is the way to go but is understandably freaked out by what it will mean, so he wants to just get there before he loses his nerve or Michael gets out and makes the whole thing immaterial. (I don't really get how him dying because of the box works with Michael keeping him alive indefinitely in the box, but I can also imagine that being a question Dean does not want to think about in any great detail either.)

The last scene was weird till I realized that I think Sam was supposed to be drunk as hell for it. (Or that's how it ended up seeming to me, don't ask me how that works on what looks like the half a beer Sam drank in the two minutes he had to drink it.) It makes sense for Sam and Dean to be respectively near their boiling points on this, but the fact that Sam cannot even a little bit handle the idea of Dean abandoning him gives Dean a way to take care of him, which all by itself can still get Dean 51% of the way to okay. (I don't think Sam was lying about his other objections, just that frantically getting hammered in the parking lot of a nursing home and then walloping his brother was coming from a very specific place.) Not super healthy, but probably the roles they're most comfortable with, and why Dean planned to never tell him in the first place.
posted by jameaterblues at 9:34 AM on February 3, 2019

I dunno what happened with my comment above, but the italics was in response to this line in redstart's comment:

And then Dean suddenly switched from being dead-set on his box plan to being willing to give it up, for basically no reason at all.
posted by numaner at 1:35 PM on February 3, 2019

I kept zoning out during this one. Feel like we've had this kind of plot before.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:07 PM on February 3, 2019

Huh. I liked this episode a lot more than most of you. This was the second episode I can remember this season (after the one where Nick kills the former cop) where the violence was absolutely horrifying in a real world way, without that heightened horror movie feel we'd expect from this show. In both cases humans were doing the killing instead of werewolves or whatever, and maybe that inspired the show's makers to go darker, but I like to think it's connected to the show's heightened focus on character this season. It's as if they've said, "We've done so many apocalypses, so many big arcs, so many betrayals and secrets between the brothers... Instead of just trying to amp up the threats and plot twists again, maybe it's time to go a little deeper and try to make the audience feel something." So we get more quiet moments, more hangout moments, and when the bloodshed happens it's more real and awful.

After last week I was surprised to see Nick back so soon, and also a little puzzled by his insistence that the killings weren't his fault. (After all, last week he was telling Sam he didn't want to be fixed!) But Nick is a compelling mess and I was glad to see him again. When he said he was going to the darkest place, or however he phrased it, I assumed he meant the Empty. I guess Nick's poor ghost wife is just gonna rattle around that house forever. (I wonder if somebody else is living there now. If so, poor folks!)

I totally bought Sam punching Dean. All the emotions in that scene worked for me... and it reminded me that it's been a little while since Sam and Dean have had one of their angsty roadside chats at the end of an episode. Those used to be a weekly thing!

It may be that the box needs to be under the sea to make it as inaccessible as possible, or the location may be part of the spell. But I wonder, if Dean got in the box now and it was just in the MOL bunker and he had a phone and food and stuff, could they use that to trap Michael just in case he got out, while they keep working on another solution? (Of course, the magic of the box could make it so that once Dean's in there, they can't open it again.)

If I was gonna give this show's creators a note, it'd say, "Give us little updates on where the major players are, even when they're not onscreen." Even having Cas say, "I didn't tell Jack about any of this. He's back at the bunker doing such-and-such" would have been enough. We don't need to hear about Mary, Bobby, et al right now, but Jack is part of the main cast and he lives with the brothers so his continued, unexplained absence feels a little weird. As for Garth, they presumably let him out of the trunk and sent him home. I don't think we need a scene to explain that, but a line would be nice!
posted by Ursula Hitler at 9:01 PM on February 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

Yeah, it's distracting that Jack and the other-universe folks, Maggie and the rest, just go poof when they aren't needed to push the plot along.
posted by sarcasticah at 4:41 PM on February 5, 2019

I'm liking the naturalism this season, but the murders in this particular episode were too much for me. It felt too torture porn-y, especially that poor girl in the beginning.

Nick makes sense as an interesting character on paper, and I like that he's on an incredibly spooky/disturbing quest to be reunited with Lucifer -- but I just can't get invested in him. I got so utterly sick of Lucifer that whenever his horrible and broken meatsuit shows up on screen, I immediately start wishing that he'd go away, too.

Maybe it would have worked better for me if they'd brought back Adam as an incredibly fucked up version of his pre-possession self! It honestly isn't anybody's fault, I just don't want to see Lucifer/Nick's dumb face anymore regardless of what his storyline is.

Soulless Donatello's fate is so sad, same as for all the other prophets. I mean, he's just a shell of a human that they have to keep alive in order to stop other even more fucked up prophets from being produced? It just really sucks to be a prophet in the Supernatural universe. Still over here pouring one out for Kevin and Alt!Kevin.

I got what the show was going for at the end when Sam was breaking down and punching Dean and finally Dean was like, fine, we'll take things as they come. But I felt like how it played out was too disjointed and theatrical. In general, although this was a good episode, the emotional beats rang kind of false. The actors were really selling everything as hard as they could, but eh.

I can hardly follow what all is going on with Michael and the box and the underwater drop site and blah blah blah. It seems like a big tower of McGuffins all the way down, to me. Dean's farewell tour is sad, but I guess I don't really buy that this is really goodbye, so it's hard for me to take it seriously.

I also was weirded out when Dean asked Sam if he remembered how their dad would claim that Dean was constantly running off as a kid when really John was constantly kicking him out of the house. Wasn't running off THE worst thing that you could do according to John? If he was acting like it was ordinary for Dean to run away while they were growing up, then why did the whole family act like it was the crisis of the century when Sam left as an adult? And isn't repeatedly kicking your child out onto the street just such a terrible thing for a parent to do? The show has been making the Winchesters' childhood more and more Dickensian over the years, which I dislike. Aren't monsters, rootlessness, a dead mother, and a father half-crazed with grief enough as far as Maudlin Childhood Backstories go? Do we need Dean to be the Poor Little Match Boy thrown out onto the street, too? And it seems like bizarre timing for the show to emphasize that anyway. I also get kinda offended by how grim the show makes their childhood out to be because, while obviously every family and every life story is different, growing up a working class kid in 90s America was generally pretty nice! Let people who didn't grow up completely "white picket fence"-style have a little childhood nostalgia for once lol. This show likes its melodrama and so do I, but honestly, I would really appreciate more Funyons and less implied abuse from time to time.
posted by rue72 at 10:38 AM on February 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

But I wonder why that, of all things, was what Dean wanted to tell Sam right then.

I think Dean's point was that he wasn't running out on Sam this time, either -- he was being forced to go.

That said, Sam apparently either doesn't understand that Dean doesn't have a choice or doesn't care. OR he did manage to convince Dean that he has a choice in the matter after all.

It's really hard to tell because the writing in that final confrontation scene was sloppy, and Dean was maybe just appeasing Sam or maybe really did have a change of heart, could go either way. I thought Jensen Ackles played it like a change of heart, for what that's worth.

This is reminding me of S3 but in a way that makes me wonder if our current writers saw or remember S3 themselves. Hahaha
posted by rue72 at 2:42 PM on February 7, 2019

Dean's revelation about his father didn't seem that out of left field to me. We know from that episode back in S10 (I think) that John left Dean at that group home for awhile because he was pissed about something that Dean did. (Stealing? Gambling? Can't remember what exactly.) It's also heavily implied that he used his kids, especially Dean, as bait.

But I don't think this was about John Winchester. I feel like it's about Dean, and him feeling guilty about leaving Sam, and wanting Sam to know that he wouldn't just abandon him by choice. (After all, in the flashback of that group home episode, Dean is basically ready never to go back to his Dad so he can have a normal life, until he sees little Sammy in the back seat of the Impala.)

I also think it's an important and interesting moment because for such a long time, Dean was the one who basically shut down any conversation that was remotely negative about their father.

I feel like Dean could go either way. He did sell the change in heart, but I wouldn't be surprised it turns out he's just placating Sam.
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:38 PM on February 9, 2019

Also, that opening scene was brutal. I mean, I knew from the start it was going to be revealed to be a nightmare, but it was just so visceral and terrifying.

I mean, even if it was to save the world, I'm not sure that I could force myself to jump in a box and allow myself to sink to the bottom of the ocean. Especially knowing that I could be stuck there forever with a very angry, vindictive archangel in my head. I mean, giving up your life to save the world is one thing, but committing to being essentially buried alive forever is another.

Oh, and how strong is this magic box? Will the magic in it keep it from being crushed by the pressure at the bottom of the ocean?
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:44 PM on February 9, 2019 [2 favorites]

Oh hell no, I would not be going in the box. Unlike the Winchesters, us normal people have something called a survival instinct. Of course, I don't have a superhero brother who would move heaven and earth to get me out of that box, either! I feel like if Dean does go in the box, it's just a matter of time before Sam finds some other way to get him out (or he'll kill himself trying), so Dean might as well start trying to come up with new plans if Sam is so absolutely not on board with this one.

Regarding the group home: I think Dean gambled away the money John had left them, and since he couldn't buy food, he tried to steal bread and peanut butter and got caught. The cops took him to the group home as a consequence of the shoplifting, but then John just had him stay there for some extra time because he was mad that Dean had been so irresponsible. It is a crying shame that I can remember all this and yet studying for actual exams is such a struggle.
posted by rue72 at 10:20 PM on February 9, 2019 [2 favorites]


Castiel: I did as you asked. I’ve looked for any possible way to forcibly extract Michael and destroy him. But so far, nothing.
Sam: And what about Rowena?
Castiel: She went through the entire Book of the Damned and found nothing. And I told her to do it again, see if she missed something, and uh… well, the woman has a remarkable command of profanity.


Castiel uses the alias Dr. Novak in this episode. Jimmy Novak was the name of the vessel Castiel possesses.

During a convention panel after the airing of this episode, fans praised Jared Padalecki for his emotional performance in the final scene. Jared then revealed that the scene was extremely difficult for him to film; he couldn't get the lines out or connect the emotion to the characters. After receiving support from Jensen, he was finally able to get the scene done. He described it as "the lowest point" of his career, and stated that it had never happened before and has never happened again since.
posted by orange swan at 11:09 AM on March 24, 2022

That cop was not smart. Nick was just one injured human being with no special powers, and he still let him get loose.

Donatello's nursing home was called the "Happy Daze Nursing Home", heh.
posted by orange swan at 11:10 AM on March 24, 2022

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