Supernatural “Stuck In the Middle (With You)” (12.12) | air date February 16, 2017. Sam, Dean, Mary, Castiel and Wally hunt a demon that turns out to be a lot more powerful than expected.
Winchester recap: “Mom, what the hell did you get us into?”
Mary’s been working with the British Men of Letters since she heard Mick Davis’ “a new world, a better world” pitch at the end of “First Blood”. Together they’ve taken down more than a dozen vampire nests, four werewolf packs and one ghoul. She tells Sam and Dean she’s helping friends when she goes on those hunts and she uses the same pretext to enlist their help in hunting a demon : Wally, the one who called Davis a “limey paper pusher” in “First Blood”, needs backup. It actually isn’t true. Wally was never after the demon. He’s more of a rugaru specialist and he’s very nervous at the thought of facing his first demon. Mary roped Wally into her plan because she doesn’t want Sam and Dean asking questions and she promises Wally that “Everything’s gonna be fine.”
Things are not fine. Ruby’s blade, the devil’s trap bullets, the angel, nothing seems to hurt the demon. Wally is killed and Castiel is stabbed with a poisoned lance. When Mary tells Sam that she saw the demon’s eyes and they were yellow, he asks, “Mom, what the hell did you get us into?”
Castiel is on the verge of death, surrounded by the three Winchesters when Crowley makes his entrance. “You idiots! You’re all going to die.” The demon they tried to kill is actually a Prince of Hell, Ramiel and Castiel will rot away as a result of his injury.
Crowley approached Ramiel six years ago with gifts, the archangel Michael’s lance, Samuel Colt’s gun and a offer to take the throne since he was next in line, with Azazel and Lilith dead and Lucifer back in the Cage. Ramiel accepted the gifts but not the crown. Azazel was the Lucifer fanatic among them. All Ramiel and the other Princes of Hell wanted was to be left alone. Crowley took the throne at Ramiel’s suggestion and in exchange posted demons around his house to keep trespassers at bay. In an effort to save the Winchesters, Crowley goes out to find Ramiel and reason with him. They’ve been useful allies and the world can’t afford to lose them. Ramiel doesn’t budge. Not only did they trouble his peace, they stole from him. Meanwhile, Castiel tells the Winchesters that he loves them and he urges them to save themselves. They refuse to leave him behind. Ramiel finds their hideout and he attacks Sam, Dean and Mary but is killed when Sam uses the Lance of Michael on him. Remembering a comment from Ramiel about the magic being “all in the rune work”, Crowley liberates the healing energy by breaking the Lance, saving Castiel’s life.
Mary meets with Mr. Ketch. The goal of her mission was to steal an object from Ramiel’s house which she did, the Colt. She’s furious that the British Men of Letters sent her after a Prince of Hell without proper warning and Ketch apologizes, insisting they believed he was a regular demon. Mary vows to destroy the BMOL if they cross her again. The episode ends with Crowley in his throne room and someone singing in a cage nearby, taunting him about still working with the “Dukes of Half Hazard”, those Winchester brothers who will no doubt kill him one day. “Shut your mouth. Dog”. Eyes flash orange in the cage as Pellegrino’s Lucifer replies: “That’s not my name”.
Overall grade : 6.5/10
I’m not well-versed in the Tarantino-esque Method this episode borrowed from but I found the non-linear type of storytelling dynamic and easy to follow (I watch How to Get Away With Murder and gave Quantico a season of my life, I am not afraid of flashbacks).“Stuck in the Middle (With You)” also introduced new-ish elements to the mythology of the series and explained the origin of Azazel. Like Ramiel, he was a Prince of Hell, first generation of demons after Lilith, that Lucifer turned himself. There was a musical cue ― a few piano notes —, after Crowley said “they even have his (Azazel) eyes” taken from “Pilot”, and more precisely the scene where Mary and her white nightgown prepare to meet their demise at the hands of the Yellow-Eyed Demon. An eerie callback to the episode that started it all.
Seeing Ramiel eyes flash yellow was a surprise and when he called Mary “sweetheart” (Yellow Eyes was really creepy about Mary in “In the Beginning”) I thought Ole Azazel had made make a comeback. I liked the lone cowboy vibe of Ramiel. He was a menacing baddie who didn’t care to be charming or waste time explaining his evil plan. The whistling was unnerving, which means it served its purpose. Interesting that the last time we saw the Colt, we also had cowboys on screen (“Frontierland”). Finally, Ramiel’s ‘retired executioner gone fishing’ vibe also reminded me of another lonesome soldier, beekeeper Cain from season 9’s “First Born”.
There was a lot of action in the first 12 minutes between the 4-hunter trap set for Ramiel (Dean with the bullets, Sam with the blade, Castiel and Mary covering the other entrance), the fight with Crowley’s minions, Wally’s death, Dean killing the demon that was threatening Sam, Ramiel spearing Castiel and Mary running Ramiel over with a car. Then things cooled down until another player entered the scene.
Welcome back Sire, how lovely to see you.
I was also glad to see Wally again. For his last meal. I said I liked Wally in the “First Blood” Report and I definitely enjoyed the diner scene that showcased the things he had in common with Dean. They were like frat twins at that table, going on about waitresses and their appreciation for women who smell like food, and Dean was determined to hook Castiel up with a pretty girl, like he tried to do in “Free to Be You and Me”. Sam and Dean were in great hunting form, laying traps left and right for Ramiel and kicking some serious butt as they fought the Prince of Hell and Crowley’s minions.
The episode lost me when it brought up Michael, had Dean name check him, and still failed to acknowledge the connection between them. We’ll get to that in a minute. For now, let’s talk about Michael’s little brother, the cockroach that won’t die. Lucifer was mentioned so many times in the episode, I was barely surprised to see him in Crowley’s dog cage. I’ve said last season and this one that, while I’ve grown tired of Lucifer’s story, I can never deny Mark Pellegrino. My impatience with Lucifer diminishes when he’s the one playing him. That’s why I gave Lu perfect marks in “Devil in the Details” when he absolutely stole the show but could not stand the petulant Casifer of “We Happy Few”. I suppose the archangel will have to jump into a vessel when he gets loose. I’m willing to overlook a hidden twin twist for Nick this season. If Lucifer is here to stay, please let him stay inside Pellegrino thanks to some type of Bold & the Beautiful soap opera magic.
And now for another scathing segment on “Mother Mary”
Sam: “Hey mom.”
Dean: Not much of a reaction.
Wally: “Your mom’s real proud of you boys”.
Notice Dean’s “yeah okay whatever” facial expression. Not feeling the warmth there.
Dean: “We don’t leave family behind.”
Notice Mary looking like she’s just been stung. That frost between Dean and Mary? It’s been there since “Mamma Mia” and it’s only deepened since “Celebrating the Life of Asa Fox”. I cheered Dean on when he confronted Mary about driving hours for a dead guy while she didn’t bother to contact her sons. Continue to express yourself and keep dropping those truth bombs Dean. Contrary to what Bobby Singer told you, you are entitled to your feelings and allowed to express your negative emotions about situations that affect you.
On to the son who tries to get close to Mary and that scene where Sam wants to make sure she’s okay, “I mean I know you never really wanted this”, and all Mary can muster as a response is “Since when is life about getting what you want.” The camera lingers on Sam’s sadface after what was a rather cold and dismissive response from a mother to her concerned son, and the saddest part is, yes Sam, ‘she wanted this‘. She orchestrated this, the whole thing (and pinned it on Wally).
Bloody hell, Mary!
“Which is why Wally called us, asking for help.”
No, he didn’t, and now he’s dead.
Mary used Wally as Sam and Dean bait like Soulless!Sam used Dean as vampire bait. Dean survived because he’s a legendary hunter with enough self control to slice his way through an entire nest without touching a drop of blood while was vamped-up, but poor, demon-inexperienced and nervous Wally didn’t make it. Mary’s self righteous threats towards Mr. Ketch at the end of the episode ring as hollow as the chest that’s supposed to house her heart. The only way to save the character at this point is to tell me she lost something on her way down from Heaven because she is sure acting like part her soul might be missing.
“Safer that way.”
I said in the Mamma Mia Report that Mary had in lot of common with John when it comes to the way they both drop the ball as caretakers for their children when the going gets tough. She’s also exactly like him when it comes to delivering information to her sons on what she believes is a “need to know basis” (Sam threw that one in John’s face a decade ago) because it’s “safer”. And just like John, she was wrong.
“Give me back what’s mine, or I take it off your lifeless bodies.”
There’s still an important difference between Mary and John. Mary gambled with the lives of her children to deliver the Colt to the British Men of Letters. I can’t remember John ever sinking that low. When it comes to the Colt, he gave it up, in addition to his life, for Dean. I struggle to find any redeeming characteristics in Mary Winchester. The true revelation of this episode is that she’s actually like her father. Samuel Campbell. Now there’s a nasty piece of work. Sold out his grandsons too!
Amara girl, you know I love you, but umm… what’s the return policy on that “gift”?
Mythology: “What the hell is a Prince of Hell?” Asks the former Knight of Hell.
Back to the Michael business that further torpedoed this episode for me. So there’s this fancy Lance of Michael, specially crafted to kill angels slow and painful, and since “there’s only one angel Michael wanted to kill”, the weapon was made with the battle between Michael and Lucifer in mind. Then pray tell, where was it, when Crowley was running around doing everything he could to stop the apocalypse? Don’t get me wrong, I understand the concept of television series getting renewed, and renewed, and renewed, and the mythology having to expand accordingly. Then throw in two lines, for those of us who remember the canon of this show, to explain how Crowley didn’t produce the Lance of Michael when everybody was either trying to get their hands on his sword or find another way to kill Lucifer. Especially since according to this episode, Crowley had the Lance in his possession soon after after Lucifer was tossed back into the Cage!
Mercy. I’m willing to let go of the Lance business but not this. That painting of Archangel “Cate Blanchett”, I mean Michael slaying the serpent BELONGS to Dean’s storyline. It starts in “Houses of the Holy” where Sam points toward the painting, AND toward Dean who is standing at the same angle, and asks, Father “that’s Michael” right?
Then in “Lucifer Rising”, Dean sees a variation of the painting in the Beautiful Room and he demands to know exactly what Zachariah and Heaven want from him. “You are chosen. You will stop it.” Then “Sympathy for the Devil” starts with the Dean arc known as “You’re the Michael sword”. Seasons spent creating this link between the Righteous Man and God’s most powerful archangel and none of that connection acknowledged in “Stuck In the Middle”.
It was fitting that Sam be the one who shoved Lucifer back in the box in “Swan Song”. It was right, that Sam held that egg when he sent Lucifer packing in “LOTUS”. It was WRONG that he wielded the Lance of Michael also, when the human incarnation of the Michael Sword was standing right there. This reminded me of that whole tragic business of having Castiel sit next to God and not even say hello after he spent years looking for him. Devote multi-seasons arcs to a character and then blow them to shreds in one episode.
Best Winchester moments
“Oh no they won’t!” Dean handling the demon who thought she was going to become famous after killing Sam Winchester. Not today, Satan.
More action with Sam’s cool moves during his fight with Ramiel.
Sam and Dean winsynching. Everybody else has their own rhythm going and these two are marching to the beat of their shared Winchester drum.
Dean hopping over that fence. That was a nice jump there, Dean. Very nice.
… Nice everything.
“We don’t have time, okay, for your… for you! So either help us or get the hell out of here!”
Slay a bit, Jensen.
I enjoyed getting to know Ramiel the Prince of Hell in this episode. I was glad to see poor Wally one last time and very happy to see the King again. Crowley brought me back as I was drifting away and I had to tip my hat when he dropped the mic (the Lance) with his last minute save and said “You’re welcome” before poofing away. I really liked all the action in the beginning of the episode and seeing the brothers struggle as they face a challenging enemy.
The way the Michael mythology was handled in regards to Dean was unfortunately a huge letdown and I believe this episode solidified my dislike for Mary like no other. I wouldn’t mind her turning into a villain at this point. Maybe her association with the sociopath also known as Mr. Ketch and her willingness to get in deep with people Dean describes as “Yeah they got gear but they tried to kill my brother”, and Wally described as “too good to be true”, is how the character starts her journey into the dark side? I’d probably enjoy her more as a villain than having to watch her come up with increasingly creative ways of letting her sons down.
When it comes to that Colt for which Mary was ready to gamble “her boys” lives, they made sure to remind us that it can kill almost anything. The hundred dollar question then becomes: it couldn’t kill Lucifer, but can it kill his nephilim? Ladies and gentlemen, place your bets!
The Winchester Brothers Report by Vee
12.01: “If he is not in one piece I will take you apart.”
12.02: “The only thing we had was each other.”
12.03: “Family hunting trip.”
12.04: “I hate you so much right now.”
12.05: “What do you think this is? Tickle party?”
12.06: “Where is my brother?”
12.07: “The brothers that rock together.”
12.08: “Impeach LOTUS, find Rosemary’s baby.”
12.09: “We’re the guys who saved the world.”
12.10: “I can’t see, did you get a plate?”
12.11: “It was everything. It was us, it was what we do.”