Supernatural: Jack in the Box
April 19, 2019 11:50 AM - Season 14, Episode 19 - Subscribe

Sam, Dean and Castiel investigate a string of suspicious deaths that have a biblical element to them.

Trivia:
- Giles Panton, who played Professor Harrison Tate, previously played Deputy Cooper in 9.13 The Purge.
- Castiel says that no ordinary angel can turn a person into a pillar of salt. In 6.03 The Third Man, Balthazar uses a weapon -- Lot's Salt -- from Heaven's armory to transform Raphael's vessel into a pillar of salt in order to save Castiel. In 11.10 The Devil in the Details, it's revealed that when angels in Heaven pool their collective power for a mass smiting, one effect of the fallout can be turning a person into a pillar of salt, as with Lot's wife.
- Executive Producer and director of the episode Robert Singer makes a cameo appearance as a doctor walking past the frame as Sam, Dean, and Castiel arrive at the hospital to interview Pastor Ames.
posted by numaner (7 comments total)
 
Welp, there's another suggestion that didn't work!
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:09 PM on April 19


The wake had the same hollow checkboxy feel as last week. I'm glad they decided there are still Earth 2 hunters around this week treated it like Mary mattered to more than just Sam and Dean, but even the actors felt like they were barely trying, and I don't know why.

The atheist bro professor and the dopey blissful churchies felt suuuuper Sera Gamble-era. A random white dude showing up and talking about how we're all going to heaven and we're leaving Now feels like it should, uh, maybe not land quite that well. But, so I understood right that a nephilim can just make new angels out of humans whenever? That...sure sounds like it could be Important later, but why did no one ever discuss this possibility before? Wasn't Duma one of the fairly level-headed ones? Hasn't the lack of angels been a huge problem for Jack's entire life? Or if not Jack, did the archangels just never want to make another nephilim they could control and use as an angel factory? (Also, JEEZ Castiel, if it's that big a deal maybe killing them could be like, Plan B for a while. Killing Duma for threatening John and Mary felt interestingly impulsive on his part, but that doesn't actually stop any other angel from messing with them.)

It was an interesting character moment for Dean to push Sam into being the one to bring Jack in, on the theory that Jack would believe Sam had his best interests at heart but would think Dean was out to screw him. I wonder if that'll go anywhere; I was pretty sure Castiel could've talked Sam out of the whole thing if the box had lasted a little longer. Also interesting that Sam and Dean seemed extremely skeptical that Mary's death was accidental at all. After salt guy and worm guy, I get how that would sound like an extremely generous characterization of events on Jack's part. But I thought the show was playing it as basically a terrible accident, and I wonder where that'll land.

There was some good stuff going on here that didn't have quite enough room to breathe. It makes sense that Sam and Dean would want to bring Jack in as fast as possible, and even that he'd be so relieved to be off the hook for Mary's death that he'd go along with their plan, no questions asked. But to make such a huge deal of how he couldn't doubt their sincerity for a second, then put apparently zero thought into their cover story at all (seriously, what if Jack had asked literally any follow up question? Not even in a suspicious way! "wait so what's the plan? can I get a pillow? am I going to have a soul again? should I charge my phone first or do you think I'm good at 42%?"), feels WAY more half-assed than it needed to be, basically so the show could just rush through to the end.

Likewise, to have Jack almost immediately change his mind was maybe understandable on his part, since he was betrayed either way, but might have had more impact as a viewer if he'd been in there for longer than five minutes. I get why the box felt like the only plan with even an outside chance of giving them the control over Jack they felt they needed, and I'm glad that thread is paying off. But it was built for an archangel, not a nephilim who goes through archangels like Kleenex, and it seemed like it really didn't occur to them that if this was Plan A they might need a really good plan B. (Which again, they won't do this, but with Castiel there to talk fast around some angely stuff they could still legit be "dude be cool, we're not done yet, you were in there five minutes.")
posted by jameaterblues at 8:39 PM on April 19


Or if not Jack, did the archangels just never want to make another nephilim they could control and use as an angel factory?

I think that Jack is the first nephilim to be sired by an archangel and, as such, was not guaranteed to be able to make angels, though it turns out he can. Jack's the first of his kind all around, and the lore isn't really helping because he seems to be somehow more than and less than an archangel.

Also interesting that Sam and Dean seemed extremely skeptical that Mary's death was accidental at all. I didn't quite read it that way. It seemed more offensive to them that Jack was talking about it as "just an accident," like it was no big deal. There was no feeling or remorse, making it obvious that he's lacking a soul. A tearful confession from Jack about what happened and how he yelled and it just happened and he was so, so, so sorry would have gone a lot futher than the cold, dispassionate "The Accident" that Jack was throwing around. He wasn't even saying the words, just things like "what happened" and "the accident." THAT was what it felt like our boys were reacting to, not that they'd decided it was all intentionally.

I bought that the plan felt like their best and only option, that Sam might have a better chance of convincing Jack to go along, and I liked that he needed to get in the box willingly. They're all in uncharted territory with Jack, there's never been another one of his kind, and I'm not sure they're considering that when they make all of their plans, but what else can they do? I do think that would have landed better if they'd given it more time, but on the other hand, I'm willing to buy that Lucifer is somehow driving Jack's emotions and that's enough to send things off the rails very quickly.

I liked this episode overall. It makes sense that Dumah would try and use Jack as heaven's hired gun; it makes sense that Jack is easily manipulated. I'm still not quite sure where they're headed this season even though we're very much near the end, which, for me, is a welcome change after 14 years.
posted by terilou at 8:23 AM on April 21 [2 favorites]


I still can't get a handle on Jack's morality. He seemed genuinely tortured about Mary's death, until he talked to the brothers about it and it seemed like while he regretted killing her he didn't really care that much. Maybe figment Lucifer is right and Jack's remorse is an echo of when he cared about things. His transformation into a scarier version of himself has been compelling but it's also been confusing and kind of inconsistent. But I guess that tracks with the nebulous way this show has always treated lacking a soul. You'd think they'd just go with "sociopath" or "no emotions at all" but it always seems harder to pin down than that.

The angels always seemed to REALLY look down on humans, so they must be pretty damn desperate to be pressing humans into angel duty. Angelhood has always seemed like a really complicated affair, with millennia of arcane, mystical knowledge, so the suddenly angel-fied humans seem like they might get pretty messed up.

My only real problem with this one was that I didn't get why Sam and Dean didn't tell Jack they were putting him in the box just until they figured out how to restore his soul, and then they could actually get to work on doing that. It wouldn't have required any deceit and it seems like Jack would have gone for it. It would have been risky, but lying to Jack was risky too and now that he knows they betrayed him he'll be pissed and dangerous. My solution frankly sounds more like the way the Winchesters do things anyhow. They're always talking about how they never give up on family, and how they'll find some way.

I'm almost sure that's really Lucifer talking to Jack. I don't feel like Jack is really clever enough or emotionally developed enough to play such complicated mind games on himself. Soul or no, he's still a pretty naive, childlike guy.

I still wonder what the deal was with Billie telling Dean the only way to deal with Michael was to get in the box and bury himself at sea. Was she lying? Was she wrong somehow? Will it come up again? It was such a big thing this season and we've done such a sharp left turn from that.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 11:09 PM on April 21 [1 favorite]


I'm almost sure that's really Lucifer talking to Jack. I don't feel like Jack is really clever enough or emotionally developed enough to play such complicated mind games on himself. Soul or no, he's still a pretty naive, childlike guy.

Yeah, I agree. I think that Lucifer is hitching a ride in Jack somehow, because no way would Jack be able to create a fake Lucifer that's this much like the real thing. Even Jack seems dubious that he's talking to a figment of his imagination, and whenever he asks about it, Lucifer just shrugs like he's saying, "got me" and changes the subject.

I still can't get a handle on Jack's morality. He seemed genuinely tortured about Mary's death, until he talked to the brothers about it and it seemed like while he regretted killing her he didn't really care that much. Maybe figment Lucifer is right and Jack's remorse is an echo of when he cared about things.

Yeah, that was really chilling. I had thought that he'd been upset for Mary, but it seems like he's just worried that Sam and Dean won't forgive him and he'll be cast out of the family?

I felt for Castiel in this episode, though. I thought everyone acted in character, but his response was the most relatable to me.
posted by rue72 at 9:01 AM on April 22


a nephilim can just make new angels out of humans whenever? That...sure sounds like it could be Important later, but why did no one ever discuss this possibility before?
Wasn't Duma one of the fairly level-headed ones?

When they first lost Jack in season 13, Cas came to the playground to ask Dumah (in her first appearance) if heaven knows where Jack is. She told him then that if they had him, they would've put him to work making angels. Then she and two others ambushed Cas to capture and use him as bait to get Jack. Cas only escaped because Lucifer showed up and chased them away even though he's weak due to just returning from Apocalypse World. Dumah was always ruthlessly on the side of heaven, she's only civil with Cas if there's nothing for her to gain.

seems like he's just worried that Sam and Dean won't forgive him and he'll be cast out of the family?

I think so too, that he's going off of what Donatello said and is wholly invested in just doing what Sam and Dean would do or say, which to him means if he expresses that it was an accident and that he didn't mean to, they would forgive him, and it's the truth. But he doesn't have a soul to express remorse, which makes him seem even more dangerous to them.

I also agree that it's Lucifer in his head, not a figment of his imagination.
posted by numaner at 12:33 PM on April 22


I think it would be interesting if it turned out Lucifer was actually somehow still alive and talking to Jack, but I think it really is supposed to be just something Jack's mind is conjuring up. They've done the same thing on the show before. They did it before with Lucifer, when an imaginary version of him was in Sam's head tormenting him.

I still wonder what the deal was with Billie telling Dean the only way to deal with Michael was to get in the box and bury himself at sea. Was she lying? Was she wrong somehow? Will it come up again? It was such a big thing this season and we've done such a sharp left turn from that.

Yeah, this really bugs me. Billie did tell Dean the books had all been rewritten so that there was only one death for him that wasn't a disaster for the world. (Which seemed dumb to me - bringing in a dramatic revelation about what was in the books a moment after revealing that what's in the books isn't necessarily the permanent truth.) So we know the books can be rewritten. But how often does that happen and what can make it happen? Did it really happen this time? It sure seems like Michael is dead but that was such an anticlimax it's hard to believe it was really the end of him. I feel like they really need to revisit this and give us more information. Of course, the possibility of the books being rewritten also means that Sam isn't necessarily fated to kill Rowena. But why even throw out that prediction if it isn't going to be used somehow? It seems like they have to either have Sam kill her or have something happen that means Sam doesn't have to kill her, hopefully as part of a story line that helps us understand how the death books work.
posted by Redstart at 5:43 PM on April 22


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