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Supernatural - The Bad Place - Review

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Supernatural “The Bad Place” was written by Robert Berens and was directed by Phil Sgriccia. It was great to have Jack (Alexander Calvert) back, but I found this episode really didn’t gel all that well for me as it was clearly more interested in setting up the spinoff pilot than furthering the season storyarc. I did like the introduction of the dreamwalkers, but it really felt like the Patience (Clark Backo) portion of the episode was particularly forced. What I really didn’t like about this episode is how out of character the brothers are.

The episode opens with dreamwalker-painter Derek (Nathaniel Arcand) being visited by a new buyer – Jack. Derek is only interested in selling his paintings, but Jack wants him to dreamwalk – he wants him to go to another world – and Derek has a painting of the landscape we’ve seen Mary (Samantha Smith) and Lucifer (Mark Pellegrino) in.

Derek is clearly not enjoying the world and doesn’t want to stay there. Jack lays hands on him and is able to see through him. Jack’s eyes glow and we see the lines glowing through Derek’s head. The next we see Derek, his wife Paula (Ella Cannon) finds him with his eyes burnt out. It’s eerily familiar of Pamela Barnes having her eyes burnt out by Castiel in season four. We eventually learn, however, that Jack didn’t do this.

Back at the bunker, Dean (Jensen Ackles) calls Patience and apologizes for telling her to stay out of the life. It’s pretty self-serving as Dean wants her to help them find Jack. Asmodeus is still covering for Cas (Misha Collins), so the brothers aren’t worried about him. Jody (Kim Rhodes) calls with the news about Derek – and a description of Jack from Paula.

Patience is ignoring Dean’s calls – and flunking tests at school. James (Adrian Holmes) is disappointed in her grades, and clearly doesn’t want her to be having visions or helping Dean and Sam (Jared Padalecki).

Dean and Sam visit Paula, and Dean rolls his eyes when Paula explains that Derek preferred his art to be referred to as reportage – not imagination. Sam – let’s not forget his Art History background – picks up a bit on the terminology and asks reporting on what. Paula explains that Derek was a dreamwalker. Dean is a lot more impressed when he sees the painting of the other world.

We get a really nice nod to earlier seasons as Sam checks the lore on dreamwalkers in John’s journal. As Dean gets in the car with coffee, there’s also a gorgeous First People’s mural. Sam tries to focus on the lore, but Dean insists that they talk about the painting. Dean is sure that Jack has given up on them and is going after Lucifer. Sam insists that they get more information. Derek has been corresponding with another dreamwalker – Kaia (Yadira Guevara-Prip).

Kaia is in court ordered therapy after having tried to kill herself. Kaia is terrified of her dreams – which take her to the “bad place.” Guevara-Prip delivers a really strong performance and is one of the best casting choices the show has made in quite some time. I do like Backo as well, and both will be strong additions to the spinoff.

Jack shows up and introduces himself to Kaia, saying he likes cocaine. Kaia wants nothing to do with him, so Jack says that he’s a friend of Derek’s and that he knows she’s a dreamwalker. Jack tells her that he can help her and get her out of detention center. Sam and Dean show up, and Sam tells Dean that Kaia never knew her dad, her mother died in an accident and then the aunt who took her in died of cancer. Even Dean admits she’s had a rough go of it.

I loved Jack walking Kaia out and just casually tapping the Counselor (Milo Shandel) to sleep, and telling her she’s not the only one with powers. Kaia doesn’t want to go with Jack. Dean and Sam arrive and Kaia kicks him and punches him and takes off. Sam and Dean won’t let Jack go after her because they still think he killed Derek. He tells them that he’s doing it for them. He’s been trying to get to apocalypse-world, but couldn’t get past the edge without help. Derek was alive when he left him. He’s trying to rescue Mary – she’s alive but in danger.

Sam and Dean are still confused, so Jack offers to show them. He takes them to apocalypse-world and they both see Mary in the building in the iron maiden. Dean is clearly utterly overcome, while Sam asks for more clarification from Jack. Meanwhile, Kaia is taken captive by angels.

Patience has visions of Kaia’s bad place, Jody being stabbed, and Sam and Dean. Patience packs her bags to go to Jody. She tells her father that she has visions all the time. It’s who she is, and he raised her to do what’s right. This is right because if she doesn’t go, people will die. It was utterly stupid for her father to suddenly tell her that if she chooses that life, she doesn’t come back. Sounds a lot like the ultimatum that John gave Sam when he left for school – too much re-tread for me, and doesn’t really fit in with the caring Dad we’ve seen up until now who has only been about his daughter.

The angels who have Kaia admit that they killed Derek. And they’re using her as bait for Jack. Dean is upset that they haven’t been focused on finding Mary all along. Jack is upset that they thought he killed Jack. Sam tells him that they didn’t know what happened. They were worried – it might have been an accident. Dean even admits they were afraid he’d gone looking for Lucifer. Jack is surprised they’d even think he’d go after Lucifer. He tells them that they and Cas are his family. Dean tells him he is family and that he did a good thing finding Mary. Jack is clearly pleased.

Angel radio tells Jack where to come. Dean holds an angel blade on one (Brahm Taylor) while the other – Elewon (Elfina Luk) tries to persuade Jack to come “home” with them. Jack takes her out – much to Kaia’s astonishment. Jack also saves Dean. Elewon gets away. Kaia is equally incredulous that Jack is the son of Satan. I loved how matter of fact he is about it.

Sam, Dean, and Jack leave the warehouse with Kaia. I have no idea why this scene was shot with a handheld camera, but it’s distractingly jerky. Kaia doesn’t want to help them because dreamwalking is a horrible burden for her. Derek was free to go where he wanted to and to visit nice places, but she only ever goes to one horrible place – the “bad place.” The scars on her body weren’t self-inflicted. When she is hurt in the bad place, she is hurt here.

And at this point the episode went completely off the rails as Dean pulls a gun on Kaia and tells her to get in the car. Sam looks concerned and upset but does nothing to stop him. This is not Dean – certainly not the Dean Winchester of the last 13 seasons who was all about protecting the innocent. The Dean Winchester I’ve come to know would not terrorize a young girl even to save his own mother – and Sam would never condone it.

Jack apologizes to Kaia. He tells her that he used to be afraid of his powers too. Derek told Jack that he thought Jack could help Kaia. Jack asks her to give him five seconds to show her what Derek saw. Jack touches her, and her face lights up. He tells her that their powers can be good and they can do good in this world.

The angels are back on their tail, so they get out of the Impala and run onto a boat. Jack tells Kaia they’ll be fine as Dean runs by saying they’re screwed because there are too many of them. Sam wards the boat. It is actually pretty cool how all the angels work together to blast the wards. Dean finally decides to apologize to Kaia for dragging her in to what wasn’t her fight.

In desperation, Kaia agrees to help them all get to another world – apocalypse-world – which really doesn’t seem like a great plan. Kaia ends up in the bad place and Jack gets her to let go. I really loved that this part looked like the place in The Magician’s Nephew – the world that lead to all the other worlds. Kaia can’t keep concentrating and as she screams, the angels are all blasted. A single filament is left on the boat.

Jody is trying to call Sam when Patience shows up at her door. She tells her that she had a vision and something bad is coming. Back at the boat, angel wing shadows are everywhere, along with melted angel blades. Kaia is unconscious at the side of a road. Mary is still in the Iron Maiden, and Jack wakes up under it.

Dean and Sam wake up in the bad place. Dean still has an angel blade in his hand – and so does Sam. The two of them jump down into a hole, which we see from above as a giant footprint. Apparently, they are also crossing over with Land of the Lost

There were moments that I really liked in this episode, but I felt it could have brought the threads together a lot more seamlessly. They could have handled Patience and her father much better. Will anybody be surprised when he’s killed off in an early episode of the spinoff? On the other hand Backo and Guevara-Prip are both better than Katherine Newton’s Claire. Most disappointing in this episode, however, was having Dean threaten a young woman – and Sam let him do it. These aren’t the heroes of the show – and no amount of emotional angst over their mother is an excuse. Maybe that’s just me, but this is my opinion. What did you think of the episode? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Are you excited for the spinoff?

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