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Supernatural - Funeralia - Review

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Supernatural “Funeralia” was written by Steve Yockey and was directed by Nina Lopez-Corrado. This episode moves us along nicely to what will no doubt be a big battle to finish the season. I loved seeing Amanda Tapping back and doubt we can trust Naomi, but I’m also enjoying seeing Cas (Misha Collins) really digging back into his soldier’s roots. We also return to a favorite theme in the show – fate versus free will. And finally, performance of the week has to go to Ruth Connell.

As the episode begins, Dean (Jensen Ackles), Sam (Jared Padalecki), and Cas (Misha Collins) call Rowena (Ruth Connell) to enlist her – as one of their most powerful allies – in the coming fight. I loved Cas preening when she singles him out. She tells them that she’s busy pursuing her own project. Ackles face is also priceless when Cas agrees with Rowena’s assessment that they never go to parties!

We are treated to Rowena doing the tango with Bernard (Jason William Day) when her song comes on as she’s talking to Elizabeth Mahler (Sherilyn Allen). Rowena punctuates the dance by bursting Mahler into flames… part of her “to-do list…”

Dean and Cas brainstorm ideas to help find Gabriel (Richard Speight Jr), and Cas finally suggests the Angels – as a “Hail Mary.” Dean is a little taken aback – plus it resonates with using angels to get Mary (Samantha Smith) back – and Cas stumbles through it being a sports term! However, Dean isn’t wrong to point out that the angels want Cas dead. Cas insists that he has to try. Dean brings up what Cas did to Donatello – he’s clearly worried about how Cas is behaving. Cas defends himself by saying they got the results that they needed.

Sam interrupts them with news of Rowena’s exploits. Dean immediately blames Sam for letting Rowena have the page out of the Grimoire. Barbecuing someone is not simply protecting yourself! Sam says he’ll deal with it because he said he would. Dean tells Cas to try the Angel idea – but tells him not to get dead again.

Cas finds Indra (Luc Roderique) “guarding” the gate. Indra doesn’t want to fight. Cas is shocked that he’s drinking and not taking guarding the gates to Heaven seriously. Cas becomes truly concerned when Indra offers to let Cas stab him with an Angel-blade. He tells Cas to just go find out for himself what’s going on.

Duma (Erica Cerra) finds Cas in the empty throne room. He tells her that he needs their help, that Gabriel is alive, and that another Michael is coming. He also mentions Lucifer (Mark Pellegrino) and Jack (Alexander Calvert). The lights also seem to be failing in Heaven – is Lucifer draining all their power? Duma is ready to join forces.

Dean and Sam head out after Rowena. Dean tells Sam that he’s hoping for the fun and flirty Rowena who mostly helps them, but Sam has to be prepared… and then he’s interrupted by reaper Jessica (Kayla Stanton)! She tells them that she’s been hovering around them like a baby monitor. There’s some fun banter in this episode about Sam’s hair products and Dean’s Asian-tentacle porn. She tells them that people have been dying out of their time in Portland – 4 so far. She’s been assigned to act as a resource for them. Sam refuses her help – but Dean thinks they could have used her help. He doesn’t trust her, but he’s worried about what Rowena has gotten them into. I can’t say that I was impressed by Stanton.

As a fun fact, that’s the Vancouver Aquarium dressed up as the Art Gallery. The brothers investigate the crime scene, and Sam discovers that Mahler made a fortune selling drugs that killed people and her lawyer got her off on a technicality – it’s a story somewhat ripped from the headlines, but without the poetic justice of an ending. Dean isn’t happy that Sam seems to be defending Rowena again, but maybe she is working for the side of the good guys! While they investigate the remains, they notice a shadow next to it that Sam determines is the remains of a reaper! So maybe that is Jessica’s interest. It doesn’t make sense that they’d be concerned about people “dying out of their allotted time.” After all, remember how many options Dean had on the shelves in the veil.

Dean calls in Jessica. She doesn’t know why Rowena is killing the reapers too, but if she doesn’t stop killing people out of their allotted time – which effects fate – she will throw off fate completely – the whole machinery of death. Jessica brings up the Butterfly Effect. If things go to badly off track, they’ll have to do a re-set – like the black plague or a war. Billie (Lisa Berry) has a firm no interference policy, so stopping Rowena is completely up to the brothers. Jessica does tell Sam about the notebooks with all the ways a person might die, depending on their choices. Dean mentions that he has a whole shelf. Jessica, however, says that Rowena’s death is always the same – and always at the hands of Sam!

Cas is made to wait, and when Duma comes back, she says that they’ll help as soon as Cas brings Gabriel back. Cas points out that’s why he needs their help – to find Gabriel. And then there’s the big reveal that Naomi (Amanda Tapping) is apparently still alive! She tells them that it’s not that they won’t help but that they can’t.

Naomi tells Cas that he should have known a drill in the head wouldn’t kill her. Tapping is delightful as always – and it’s nice to have her back in front of the cameras. Cas is still furious with her – and she ignores his request for an apology. She tells him that it took her a few years to recover – and that’s where she’s been. Naomi has the shocking news that there are only a few angels left – 9 in heaven and one or two on earth. They are what power Heaven – and their batteries are running out. They can’t leave or the lights will go out. Heaven will crumble without Gabriel – and all the souls they care for will fall to earth, which will be flooded with ghosts.

Rowena takes out James Melford (Blake Stadel) – the CEO of the pharmaceutical company – and we finally get an inkling that she’s not actually playing good Samaritan. She may be killing people who deserve to die, but her real reason is to summon the reapers – in this case Martin (Franckie Francois) to try to get an audience with Billie.

Rowena calls the brothers to set up a meeting – which the brothers are sure is a trap. Rowena makes sure to put a hex bag or two in her purse before leaving… Surprisingly, Rowena tells them the truth. She wants Death’s attention because she has something she wants – Crowley! Connell is actually very good as she reveals that she had an unexpected reaction to Fergus’s death. She feels responsible for everything that happened to him and wants to make it right.

Rowena is sure that they can’t stop her. Dean tells her that in every version of her death, it’s Sam who kills her. Sam tells her that it won’t be today, but when he goes to handcuff her, it turns out that she’s just an astral projection! The brothers run after her, and Bernard takes on Dean. He tells Dean that Rowena is powerful, gorgeous, and paying him a small fortune – no spells necessary!

Sam gets Rowena in his sights. He tells her that she has to stop because she’s messing with the machinery of the universe. Sam empathizes with her, but when she says she can’t stop, Sam takes the shot. And discovers just how powerful she is, when she stops the bullet. Rowena is upset that he really would have shot her, and spells him to sleep.

Jessica shows up in the middle of Dean’s fight and tells him that he needs to hurry. By the time Dean makes it to the alley, all that’s left is Sam’s gun.

Sam is sure that the power is making Rowena crazy, but she thinks just the opposite. It’s given her clarity. She’s trying to redeem herself. She’s decided that if Sam’s dead, Death will have to grant her an audience because there will be no way to kill her. Again, Connell is really outstanding in this scene as she apologizes but asks Sam what he wouldn’t do for his family – and we all know the answer to that question.

Billie shows up and tells Rowena that she’s upsetting the natural order. There’s some nice banter between the two – who have already met – before they really get down to business. Billie refuses to “do” blackmail, and tells Rowena to just do it – she’s curious to see what happens.

Sam pleads with Rowena not to do it – this isn’t her anymore. Rowena directs all her power at Billie as she screams that it’s not fair. Billie knows that Rowena never intended to kill Sam – Sam was right. That isn’t who Rowena is anymore. Billie tells her that somethings just aren’t fair, and you just have to live with that.

Dean bursts in with Jessica. Billie says hi – before saying see you again soon and disappearing. Because that’s not ominous at all!

Naomi sees Cas out at the gate. She asks Cas to tell Gabriel what’s happening in Heaven. They’ll keep things running in Heaven as long as they can. Cas assures her that they’ll find a way to fix things, and then Naomi echoes Billie and tells Cas that this might be one of those things that can’t be fixed. Everything ends. The question remains as to whether Naomi is telling the truth or simply manipulating Cas again. The bigger question, of course, is where is Lucifer??

Sam, Dean, and Rowena share a moment in a terrific scene. Sam plays caregiver, checking in on Dean – who feels like he got punched in the face… a lot – and Rowena. She feels weaker after fighting Death and losing. She is also feeling guilty on some level. Sam points out that she had a chance to kill him and didn’t – that’s progress! Sam also tells her that Crowley’s choices are not her fault. Dean points out that they’ve all made choices that they have to live with.

Sam asks for her help to save their family and the world. Dean points out that it’s a way for her to redeem herself – and he tells her that he thinks she can be redeemed. Sam tells her that Lucifer is back. Rowena is taken aback and scared – but now she knows that he’s not the one who’d going to kill her. Sam points out that she changed other people’s fates, so maybe they can change hers too. Dean asks if she’s in… but the episode ends before we get her answer.

This was an interesting episode, with questions of fate running through both storylines. It seems that everyone is finding clarity in what they are fighting for. It was nice to see Tapping back, and Connell gives, perhaps, her best performance to date on the show. This certainly sets us up for the run to the finale. It seems like a pretty big hole not to explain where Lucifer has gotten off to – and what about Jo? What did you think of the episode? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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