The title of this episode says it all “Ouroboros”- a snake that is devouring its own tail forming a circular shape-symbolizing infinity, self-reflection, and a few other interpretations. Yockey’s script takes us to what seems at first to be a graphic monster of the week hunt with Dean,Sam,Castiel, Jack, and Rowena (who seems to have formed the ability to care for the Winchesters et al) . They trek across New Mexico to capture a monster that is devouring people and at first it feels like an homage to t.v. cooking shows.
Despite Rowena’s location spell, the monster has the foresight(by eating eyeballs), to see the hunters coming and he makes quick escapes. It is Rowena who recognizes the residue on the victim’s lips as the most significant clue. Long story, the monster is a gorgon-snake like demigod, Noah, who paralyzes its victims in order to consume the body parts. As a stand alone, the gore, tension, humor, and drama would have been sufficient to give us a great episode. Yockey gives us a master class in writing-highlighted by director, Amin Kaderali, who understands this genre and lets the camera show just enough gore of the victims,beauty in screen shots, and vulnerability in his characters. There also seem to be some rather good recipes. Be careful what you consume, perhaps.
In one episode, we see how Rowena and Sam have a bond, at least in her mind, held together by the knowledge that Fate has Sam being her downfall. There is strong conversation between Castiel and Dean as two dear friends who share truth about the Michael situation and its impact on Dean’s health, and of course there is Jack who continues to spit up blood and is not fine despite his protests, just like Dean feigns to be fine. All the while Michael is pounding in Dean’s head waiting to escape once Dean lets his guard down. The conversation between Castiel and Jack about signs of being an adult and loss of loved ones is particularly tender and on point, ( it hit home with me for personal reasons); we watch as Jack matures in front of our eyes. There is humor as well, when Jack shape shifts into the cutest Brussels Griffon puppy to get an antivenom serum from a veterinarian. Sam and Rowena have a bond that emulates the late Crowley and Dean, but she is more transparent. (How many camera takes were used for Alex to say the temperature line while Jared is in the frame?) Listen for it or you will miss it.
Since it appears the gorgon, Noah, cannot sense angels. Castiel and Jack make the move against it with Dean and Sam following. Dean is seriously hurt in the head, but Jack manages to behead the gorgon and save the day. It would seem that the episode is over because the monster is” ganked”, but wait, there is so much time left to the episode. Sam, Cass, and Jack get an unconscious Dean back to his bedroom. In this state, Dean is not in control and as he awakens in a screaming mode, we find out that Michael has indeed escaped. Well, at least Dean does not have to be buried at sea in that coffin, but one wonders if the remaining 6 episodes will be Michael’s apocalypse?
Suddenly, Rowena appears. It seems she truly has bonded with the Winchester gang and has said yes to Michael in an effort to save them all. Ruth Connell gives a stunning performance as Michael inflicting pain on everyone, killing some of the alternative world humans including Maggie-if that is her name- and ready to off Dean, Sam, Castiel, and Jack. That’s a convenient way to empty out the bunker. It is a disturbing scene-but stop and notice the beauty of the make up on Ms. Connell. Despite any use of Jack’s power reducing his soul and his being, he steps up and takes Michael on in an epic archangel fight- no wires and suspensions- just a power struggle. Jack announces he is a Winchester-and so he risks it all. He vanquishes Michael and consumes what is Michael’s grace. All are saved and the Michael arc is resolved. Boom. Again, I ask, should one be careful of what one ingests?
Jack stands tall after consuming the grace stating he is back to himself, eyes glowing in a golden hue and he shows his newly earned angel wings. Yes, Jack is an adult now, but one wonders if it all Jack or if somehow Lucifer has infiltrated his way back into his son’s life. For now, we take the win. Dean is Dean. Sam is Sam. Michael is dead. Jack is restored. Rowena is unscathed physically and Cass is well….Cass.
It is brilliant how one episode contains so much misdirection, then resolution of the episode arc, the larger arc, and deeper character development. With 6 episodes remaining, there feels like a new arch enemy must be on the horizon. The last frame of Jack standing with his wings, larger than life, is both beautiful and frightening. What does this show have in store for us?
Each scene, piece of dialogue, and visual artistry leaves the viewer in a tense condition throughout the episode and beyond. Not only has the episode become an Ouroboros, the character of Jack has come full circle, and the show called Supernatural goes on for a few more episodes and then on to season 15 in an continuing circle. This show is far from stale despite its age as it continues to be the Ouroboros’ of self reflection and continuity. I can’t help hearing Cass’s speech to Jack about letting things go and how humans( and their creations–such as a t.v. show perhaps) have a natural end and we must all grow up. Is it foreshadowing?
Love the puppy.
Just as we are revving up for a large finale, we get one, but we are not done with this season, so what are your thoughts ? This episode and what the future holds.