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Supernatural - Devil's Bargain - Review

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Supernatural “Devil’s Bargain” was written by the team of Eugenie Ross-Leming and Brad Buckner and was directed by Eduardo Sanchez. This episode marked the entry of Jensen Ackles’ (Dean) wife, Danneel Ackles (Sister Jo/Aniel) into the Supernatural fold. Danneel Ackles is an accomplished actor in her own right and delivers a more than solid performance here. I really loved that the story – we’d been prepared for “Sister Jo” and I was expecting a nun – really went in what was for me an unexpected direction. I loved the electricity between Aniel and Lucifer (Mark Pellegrino)! Somewhat sadly, I think Danneel was upstaged by the return of fan-favorite Richard Speight Jr as Gabriel.

Castiel (Misha Collins) is injured after his fight with Lucifer, but after some kids in the woods find him, he finds his way back to the scene of the fight, discovering that Lucifer has disappeared – so clearly not dead. Lucifer is still weak, however, and is determined to recharge himself by preying on angels – and Cupids (Robert Rozen) and sucking out their grace. I have such an ambivalent relationship to angels in this show that I’m not sure whether to be disturbed or happy when the Cupid tells Lucifer that there aren’t many angels left.

Castiel makes his way back to the Bunker and fills Dean and Sam (Jared Padalecki) in on what’s been going on, including that they’ve been talking to Asmodeus (Jeffrey Vincent Parise) on Cas’s own phone. He also tells them about the other Kevin Tran (Osric Chau) and that the Apocalyptic world has an angel tablet. He also tells them that that world’s Michael wants to come through the rift and conquer our world. Cas also tells them that Lucifer wanted to help and was scared – until they escaped and Lucifer tried to kill him.

Lucifer wanders the streets, looking for angels to feed on – and realizes that he’s human enough to feel human sensations like cold and hunger! He tries to get begging tips from another beggar – Tim (Neil Webb). Tim tells Lucifer that he’s not getting any money because of his vibe – but then offers to get him dinner. Lucifer is not impressed when Tim takes him to the dumpster behind the restaurant. Tim is saving his money to pay Sister Jo to heal his leg. Lucifer is sure she’s a fake until Tim describes the glow when she heals people.

Asmodeus does not command a lot of respect from Ketch (David Haydn-Jones), but he does have to take his orders – to kill Lucifer. He tells Ketch to do it fast – “before he fills the tank” – and is still weak. If he gets recharged, they’re all dead.

Dean apologizes to Cas for not realizing that Asmodeus wasn’t him. Cas lets him off the hook, declaring that he’d gotten himself into it. Cas is sure that if Dean had realized he was being held captive he would have come for him, but Dean wonders if Cas is sure – is Dean doubting it? Or is he still feeling guilty for getting Cas killed and not helping to pull him back? Cas tells him that it doesn’t matter – all that matters now is getting Jack and Mary back because he promised Kelly that he’d protect her son.

The episode also sees the return of Donatello (Keith Sxarabajka). Their plan is to grab Lucifer while he’s still weak and use his grace to open the door between the two universes. They get in, grab Jack and Mary and get out, slamming the door before Michael can follow them. They still need the spell though and that’s where Donatello comes in – they need him to decipher the only tablet that they have – the Demon tablet. The only thing Donatello wants are chicken wings – real brain fuel!

Cas gets notified through angel radio about the dead Cupid and the body confirms that it was Lucifer. But at least now they’re on the trail of Lucifer. Dean points out that if Lucifer powers up they’re “boned” and Cas confirms “epically.”

Lucifer goes to see Sister Jo work, and she seems sweet and happy in her work. Her demeanor changes, however, when Lucifer goes to her when she’s alone. He knows she’s an angel – but she knows he’s Lucifer. He’s a little disappointed that she’s not quaking at the sight of him, but he’s already recognized that she’s not like most angels. And he kind of likes that she’s taking money for doing good works. She points out that they’re not in Heaven, and we discover that she – like Lucifer – doesn’t have a terrific relationship with Heaven.

She tells Lucifer that when she fell, she took time before claiming a vessel and took the happily offered body of a woman who was desperate to save her dying husband. This taught her that people are desperate to hold on to life and will do – or more importantly pay – anything to keep living. She tells Lucifer she might have been a so-so angel, but she’s an excellent businesswoman! And she ends up striking an excellent deal with Lucifer.

When he pins her, about to drain her grace, she points out that it’s not very cost effective. It would be better to keep one premium angel handy, taking sips and gradually getting stronger. I loved that they’ve made this character smart – let’s hope that they can keep it up. Lucifer is clearly impressed with her plan that benefits them both.

I loved how sensual they made Lucifer’s draining of Aniel’s grace. Lucifer tells Aniel about draining the Cupid, and she immediately realizes the danger. It’s been all over angel radio – she asks if Lucifer told anyone he was coming to see her. Again, I love that she’s smart!! Did anyone else notice the background on the stage? Didn’t it look like a shot right out of Supernatural? Are they staging the musical? There is also a road sign with Lawrence and Sioux Falls!!!

Jared talks to Tim who instantly recognizes Lucifer’s picture and tells him about Sister Jo. They head to the church and find… Ketch! Aniel and Lucifer are long gone. Ketch points out that last time they saw each other, Ketch saved them and Dean shot him! They should be even. Ketch admits that he’s also there to kill Lucifer, but they want to know who he’s working for. He denies he’s working for anyone. He proposes they team up, share intel, cover more ground… and Cas simply puts him to sleep.

Cas likes Dean’s plan of taking Ketch back to the bunker, find out what he knows, put a bullet in him, and flush his ashes! Ketch had footage of Sister Jo who Cas immediately recognizes as Aniel. Sam points out that Sister Jo’s body isn’t there, so Lucifer can’t have killed her. They find them in a motel because Sister Jo uses her credit card to pay! Surely she’s not that stupid! Did she want them to find her? It’s a pretty stupid mistake…

Aniel does urge Lucifer to go slow and take his time. Again, very sensual – followed by pillow talk about being close to being human. Lucifer can’t understand how humans keep going, but Aniel envies humans sometimes. There may be pain, but there’s also love and hope. They can be anything. Aniel tells Lucifer about being dismissed in Heaven when she had ideas about how to fix Heaven – she was relegated to simply pushing her button. She felt the fall was a liberation.

Lucifer’s experience wasn’t the same. He always wanted to get in to Heaven – to please his father. Now he’s going to be a father, and he’s worried that he’ll screw it up the way God did. Aniel is touched – but Lucifer isn’t pleased – it’s a weakness. Soon he won’t feel anything. When he’s truly back, he’ll find his son and then the “fun” really starts.

Asmodeus’ demons find Donatello going out for wings, and he shape shifts as Cas to get information out of Donatello. Donatello tells him that there’s definitely a spell to open the door, but he’s got to figure out the ingredients yet. Asmodeus puts a forget spell on Donatello and then also spells him to report to him with whatever he finds on the tablet.

They lure Aniel out of the room by calling as the front desk with a problem with her card. She tells them that Lucifer hasn’t hurt her yet. He’s still in the room and still very weak. Cas is clearly skeptical – and of course, her half-truths seem to indicate that she’s on Lucifer’s side – but as a businesswoman, she’s no doubt waiting for more information before really playing her cards.

She calls him “Lord Lucifer” to try to tip him off, but he simply enjoys the appellation and opens the door. She does tell him that they forced her to tell them where he was and how weak he still is – this time he gets that she’s trying to tip him off. He still stalls – by commenting on Sam’s beautiful hair – hilarious! Sam tries to tell Aniel to leave to protect her, but of course she doesn’t go and instead helps Lucifer by slamming Sam.

Aniel urges Lucifer to go but he’s determined to enjoy torturing Dean, Sam, and Cas. They’re interrupted by Ketch throwing a demon-bomb. Of course, technically, Lucifer is an angel, so would that have even worked on him anymore than on Cas? Regardless, Aniel and Lucifer vanish before it goes off – begging the question of how. I thought they couldn't teleport without wings...

Lucifer still isn’t used to getting help, but Aniel reiterates, she helps him, he helps her. He asks where on earth they go next – and that’s not in Aniel’s plan. Her plan is to go Heaven. They meet with Duma (Erica Cerra), whose first instinct is to kill him, but of course, they can’t. Why? Lucifer’s big offer is to make more angels. Aniel asserts that he can do it – and Duma wants to know who Aniel is to speak to her – dismissing her. Lucifer insists that she’s with him. Duma laughs when Lucifer wants to be the undisputed ruler of Heaven. Lucifer points out that they don’t want to lead – angels were made to follow. He sweetens the deal by offering to give them back their wings.

Ketch points out that he put his own escape on hold to save them when Dean is pissed he helped Lucifer escape. Sam wants to know how he got out of the trunk, and Ketch gets the award for best one liner of the episode for his explanation: “I’m Ketch.”

They have figured out that Aniel is Lucifer’s “gal-pal.” Cas says she was nothing in Heaven – just a low-level angel. Ketch reveals that he’s working for Asmodeus and that it’s an advantage for them because he can pass information on to them. Ketch tells them that even if they think he’s a monster, even he has a line that he won’t cross. Letting Lucifer lose on the Earth is that line. He always seems like he’s having a moment of sincerity to me – does he really feel guilty about Mary? He certainly seemed to have genuine feelings for her. He points out that he’s the lesser of at least three evils! He tells them that all he asks is that they wait to kill him until after he proves useful. Let’s see if he tells them about Asmodeus’ meeting with Donatello…

Back at the Bunker, Donatello has chowed through a lot of wings. They can’t trust Ketch, but Sam points out that they need him for now. Donatello is stressed over the translation – it’s hard! Sam finally seems to be coming out of his depression – they know the spell is in the tablet and they have a plan!

In the final scene, Lucifer sits on the throne of Heaven: “Hail to the King, baby!”

Ketch reports to Asmodeus. Ketch points out that as good as he is, he can’t defeat the Devil at full power. Asmodeus is also keen not to let Michael through the portal. Asmodeus reveals that he’s acquired an artifact thought lost forever – the arch-angel blade! Ketch points out that the blade has to be wielded by an arch angel – and Asmodeus reveals he also has Gabriel in a cell with his mouth sewn shut! Clearly, he can’t be letting that trickster spin his tales!

This was a great surprise. However, I hope that we get the Richard Speight from the earlier episodes. I found his last appearance did nothing for me. Danneell Ackles is a welcome addition to the Supernatural family. It’s fun to have her on the opposite side from the Winchester brothers, but more importantly, I really like that she’s playing a smart woman. Her intelligence is much more important than her looks. This was a very exposition heavy episode, but it definitely sets up the action for the rest of the season. Dabb – and frankly every other showrunner since Kripke – has had trouble stretching out the end of the season in a satisfying way, so let’s see how all this good stuff plays out. What did you think of the episode? Was Danneell Ackles more than stunt casting? Are you thrilled to have Richard Speight Jr back? Can Ketch be trusted? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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