Supernatural: Proverbs 17:3
November 14, 2019 8:16 PM - Season 15, Episode 5 - Subscribe

Sam and Dean's routine case turns out to be anything but.
posted by oh yeah! (11 comments total)
The title proverb (NAB):

The crucible for silver, and the furnace for gold,
but the tester of hearts is the Lord.
posted by Fukiyama at 9:03 AM on November 15, 2019

I liked this one - we acknowledged that Cas is gone, Winchesters didn't keep important secrets from one another for TOO long, and the MOTW that felt a bit pat from the beginning had a great payoff. Plus we got into God's propensity in this universe to obsess over family murder.

See, the most poetic ending for me was for a Winchester to use "the equalizer" as a sacrifice to kill God/themselves. You get the death of winchester, Billie comes and reaps God, as the original Death foretold that he would do one day, and Billie gives a Winchester reprieve and reaps the other Winchester too to give them peace. Instead of individual heavens, the boys are reunited with everyone they lost along the way.

Because the boys seem like they're telling everyone that the supernatural is real, the world rises up and treats monsters as part of every day life and there will be peace when they are done.
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 9:40 AM on November 15, 2019

That was a real shocker when the sympathetic victim girl got impaled on the antlers, and even more shocking when she turned out to be a baddie... but Lillith was so long ago I've honestly kind of forgotten her whole deal. Guess I'll have to hit the Wiki.

I doubt Billie will reap God. For one thing, last we saw Billie was in league with the Shadow, so I think she's gone full baddie now and they'll have to take her out too. Unless the Winchesters end up teaming up with Billie and the Shadow to take down God. I wonder if the show would be bold enough to have the Winchesters team up with Lucifer to kill God. If they have Lucifer (and presumably a resurrected Jack) and maybe Amara and Billie and goodness knows who else on their side, if they team up with all their previous big bads, I think Chuck would be toast. It would be like a flip of when they teamed with Chuck and Rowena and all these other characters to take out Amara. It would kind of make sense, given the story's current trajectory, but the fundies would sure go nuts over a story where Lucifer is a good guy and God dies!

Dean talking about how he's actually content hunting monsters kind of puts the kibosh on my theory that the series ends with him tending bar someplace. I now have a hunch it ends in tragedy, with some noble sacrifice that splits the brothers up for good in different dimensions or something. It probably won't be some thing where the bros get to go live normal lives. And I still think Castiel is doomed, he's gonna end up in the Empty.

They're back to the jokes about how Dean looks so old now. I don't think those jokes land, because Ackles is actually aging remarkably well. (Nobody would really ask if that was him in that blurry old season 1 photo Dean was using for an ID!) It seems kind of mean and weird how they keep coming back to that gag, how Dean supposedly looks like hell now. Ackles must be a REALLY good sport.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 3:30 PM on November 15, 2019

They're back to the jokes about how Dean looks so old now. I don't think those jokes land, because Ackles is actually aging remarkably well.

I think that is the joke? I do agree with you that it is kinda mean, but the only way to read it as funny is that it's supposed to be self-evidently absurd.
posted by Pryde at 6:12 PM on November 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

Once Chuck started writing again, the monsters of the week started killing themselves. (Vamp teen declared himself a monster and went willingly to his beheading. Werewolf bro killed his brother, said they were both monsters, then killed himself.) At the same time, Sam keeps having dreams of the Winchester brothers killing each other. Ten bucks on Dean “Free Will” Winchester coming up with a plan where they each commit suicide to prevent Chuck’s endgame of killing each other. Except the suicides were Chuck’s endgame all along. I don’t know if they’ll actually go there or if it would be just a plan, but if they did, Billie’s already said they’re headed for the Empty, which happens to be where Jack is and where we know Cas is going (did he find happiness on his own?) I know Billie said no more resurrections, but maybe just one more to stop Chuck? The Empty would be the perfect place to plan an attack since Chuck has no power there (though I’m not clear how he resurrected Lilith) and I think the Shadow would help so it can just go back to sleep.
posted by Ruki at 2:15 PM on November 16, 2019

If Sam is picking up stuff from Chuck's mind, I'm guessing Chuck is also going to be picking up stuff from Sam. Maybe that will push him in a kinder direction.
posted by Redstart at 2:30 PM on November 16, 2019

I do not think that Billie is working with the Shadow. They are just trying to figure out who gets to, 'keep,' Jack.
posted by Ignorantsavage at 5:52 PM on November 16, 2019

I really enjoyed this. It feels a little ridiculous to call it a plot twist when someone comes back from the dead on this show, but Lilith was a legit surprise, and I really felt how bad a time she represented in Sam and Dean's lives and what it meant to have her back. (Keeping the indispensable God-killing gun in the unlocked glove compartment of their unlocked car with the windows rolled down is convenient but also, let's be real, 100% on brand.)

I liked the relative warmth and wry sadness of Dean being content with his place in the world but still hating the idea of a fate being written for him, and really liked how the whole discussion turned out to just be Lilith messing with him. His hopelessness and frustration at the end feels like the closest he's been to the edge in a while. Which is striking, considering they really just lost Mary and Jack (and in a different way, Castiel); grief is terrible, but it's different from existential despair.

The werewolves whose names I've already forgotten raise some weird little meta questions because, yeah, sure, it's a cop-out to have the characters complain about the bad writing they're stuck in, but that also felt both like a Supernatural story's idea of paralleling the monsters and the Winchesters, and the kind of story the show would have Chuck write about that idea too. So did the werewolf brothers exist before Chuck decided he wanted to write about them? And if they did, was this remotely how their lives would've unfolded before they got dragged into a story where they weren't the protagonists?

I don't think this show needs a happy ending per se (even the best case scenarios, such as they are, are pretty bleak.) If Sam and Dean end up together, even if it's in oblivion, I think it would feel like a win to me.
posted by jameaterblues at 11:49 AM on November 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

I like how it feels like the boys are basically fighting against literal bad writing, which is legit one of the most interesting ideas in entertainment. Like that movie Stranger Than Fiction. How do you fight against someone writing out everything you do in a way you don't like.

I suspected something was up when Lilith had that spiel about how life would be great if it was all planned out. I thought that sounds like something Chuck would write (lo and behold, it was), but I thought she was just another mindcontrolled puppet or something, not actually a resurrected Lilith.

Also, why is it that no matter who they're facing, no matter what powers the enemy has, the boys always rush in with weapons like they're not just two fragile humans? They do this all the time against beings that can hurl them across the room with a flick of a finger.
posted by numaner at 4:30 PM on November 20, 2019


Proverbs 17:3 (NLT version) states, "Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but the Lord tests the heart."

Sam and Dean use the same Fish and Wildlife IDs that they used in "Dead in the Water" (ep. 1.3), which have the aliases Agent Mark Hamill and Agent Dean Ford, respectively. This is a nod to Star Wars actors Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford.

This is the 11th episode directed by Richard Speight Jr..

Proverbs 17:3 (NLT version) states, "Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but the Lord tests the heart." This is the first episode where the title is taken directly from the Bible.

This is the eleventh and final episode of the series written by Steve Yockey.

This episode marks the return of Lillith, one of the Winchesters' earliest and deadliest foes, since her demise in "Lucifer Rising" (ep. 4.22).

Lilltih talked of waking in The Big Empty where all the demons, angels and upper beings (not leviathans), go after death. This is a reminder of last season's final scene in which Jack is woken by Billie.

The slashes on Dean's face at the end of the episode resemble the scars on Inigo Montoya and the injuries Inigo inflicts on the face of Count Rugen (aka the Six-Fingered Man) in The Princess Bride.

As Dean is arriving at the bunker with supplies, the paper by Sam says two people were killed by a cat. As Dean is eating the jerky, he says three people were killed. A few minutes later it is revealed only two were killed and the third survived.
posted by orange swan at 2:34 PM on April 24, 2022

Nobody would really ask if that was him in that blurry old season 1 photo Dean was using for an ID!

Yes, anyone who saw that would not question whether Dean was the same guy in the photo, because he does still look substantially the same, but why his photo I.D. was so old. Government agents have their ID cards updated routinely. I think the joke was supposed to be not that Dean looks so old, but that he's in denial about having aged at all in the last 15 years.

That case did feel a little rote and paint by number, what with the doe-eyed sole survivor of the three girl camping trip, the two werewolf brothers conflicting over what to do. The moment of horror when Ashley was pierced by the stag antlers was well done, and then things got real.
posted by orange swan at 2:38 PM on April 24, 2022

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