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Supernatural - Gimme Shelter - Review

 

Supernatural “Gimme Shelter” was written by Davy Perez and continued the “old home week” of the final season by giving Matt Cohen (Young John Winchester) his first television directing gig. Cohen does a fine job, resisting getting too artsy. I did find the episode a bit choppy – but that is likely down to the writing as much as any directing choices. The episode features two storylines as Cas (Misha Collins) and Jack (Alexander Calvert) go after the monster of the week while Dean (Jensen Ackles) and Sam (Jared Padalecki) go in search of Amara (Emily Swallow). Ackles gets the nod for best actor in this episode. I have to admit that I was never a fan of Swallow, but she’s impressed me this season and she is really good in this episode. I was also happy to see Nicole Munoz (Sylvia) guest star as I quite liked her on Defiance. Now let’s dive in to the details!

The teaser begins in the soup kitchen at Patchwork with Sylvia, her friend (Meghan Drew), and Connor (Mark Dozlaw) are serving. The friend doesn’t like the look of a homeless woman and sends Connor to throw her out. He’s intercepted by Pastor Joe (Steve Bacic) who tells Connor to have compassion – there may be rules about cleanliness, but they also have spirit. Connor gives her a bowl of soup instead of throwing her out. There’s a strained look between Pastor Joe and Sylvia – who turns out to be his daughter. That night on his way home, Connor hears something up an alley and goes to investigate. He trips over a Teddy bear that seems to talk to him and then he’s choked by what looks like an animal restraint tool! And of course this was a call back to “Wishful Thinking!” FYI, if Pastor Joe looks familiar, it’s because he also played Dr Sexy in “Changing Channels!”

Back at the Bunker, Sam has gotten wind of Connor’s murder but doesn’t think it’s their thing. Dean is convinced that a blackout in Atlantic City was caused by Amara and wants to go and investigate. Sam thinks it’s weak but agrees in the end. Cas tries to convince them to let him go with them, telling Dean that he can’t just charge in and lie to one of the most powerful beings in the universe. Dean wants him to stay back with Jack in case Billie (Lisa Berry) shows up “for his thing.” Dean is also relying on the fact that he and Amara “used to have a thing.”

Jack sees the case Sam was looking into and wants to check it out. Dean thinks it’s a good idea to keep busy – and Cas is not impressed. I loved Collins and Calvert in this scene. Cas appeals to Sam for good sense – NOT to go investigate a murder – but Sam agrees with Dean! Cas is not happy. Jack asks if they can wear matching ties – and Cas resignedly says that blue is a good color on him. 

It’s hilarious when they show up at the crime scene. Jack’s tie is tied exactly the same loose way that Cas wears his AND it’s the same color! Then his FBI badge is upside down! I love that Cas gave him the side-eye about it! Sheriff Adams (Beatrice Zeilinger) immediately notices that Jack looks a bit young to be an FBI agent – comparing him to Baby Yoda! LOL! Also? There cover names? Swift and Lovato? LOL! Is that Jack’s or Cas’s musical taste? 

 

      Of course, they start asking inappropriate questions about sulfur and chicken bones. There IS something unusual though – someone carved “LIAR” into Connor. And cut of each of his fingers and shoved them down his throat! I loved Jack recognizing the talking Teddy and saying he had one – before quickly covering and saying it was for his stepson. It turns out that there is a speaker box in the Teddy and they found one in a rock – so nothing supernatural about those voices. The Sheriff also has security footage of someone in a mask moving the body. Cas remarks that it is all horrific, and Jack calls it demonic. 


I loved that we got Cas calling a demon via a crossroads call – something we haven’t seen in a really long time – even including a picture of himself! Jack, meanwhile, follows Sam’s advice to get information on Connor via social media. Cas tried it once – but he was overwhelmed by all the cats!

Zack (Adam Beauchesne) shows up and tells them no more deals. Zack talks with a fake British accent because he has style! He drops it pretty quickly, however, when he – like Dean – also references Highway to Heaven in describing Cas and Jack investigating regular murders. Zack tells them he had nothing to do with the murders – just some wacko. He goes on to tell them that Rowena has a hard “people end up where they belong” philosophy – so no deals. Zack is having an existential crisis about what he is if he can’t make deals. Cas clarifies: “You’re a deviant soul corrupted by Hell.” Zack offers to help – he’s bored out of his mind. Jack is disappointed that Sam was right. It’s not a monster, but Cas points out that humans can be the worst kind of monsters. Jack is ready to go back to the Bunker, but Cas still believes that they can help.

Back at Patchwork, Valerie (Sara Southey) steals money out of the collection box. Valerie also hears her name in the dark parking lot before being accosted by the masked figure.

Cas checks in with Sam and Dean. They’ve learned about Valerie and the connection to Patchwork. Dean suggests dividing to conquer – Jack can do in undercover and Cas can go in with the badge. And then we get the requisite car scene with Sam and Dean….

Sam is wondering about whether two days in the car is worth it. Dean assures him that even if they don’t find Amara, the casino buffet will be worth it. Sam wants to talk about what they’re planning on doing – killing Amara. They have to lie to her to set her up for her own death. Dean points out that Billie called them “Messengers of God’s Destruction.” He knew there’d be a catch and he’s just glad it’s not them this time.

Jack speaks to Sylvia about signing up to help and gets a pretty chilly welcome. Cas comes in and Jack directs him – with a less than subtle head jerk – towards Pastor Joe. As Cas tells the Pastor about Valerie, the camera cuts to Valerie tied up in a basement with the words GREED on the wall. It’s all very Saw. A tv sits in front of her and the word Thief flashes across the screen. There is a little guillotine machine over her fingers and one is chopped off – and then a clock starts counting down. 

When Jack mentions Connor to Sylvia, she gets very upset. Jack tells her that he’s “no good at this.” Sylvia confides that she sort of dated Connor a long time ago. Jack confides in her about losing his mother. Sylvia tells him that her mother died 3 years ago. She calls her father Pastor Joe, telling Jack he’s a better Pastor than father. Jack also confides that he has more fathers than most and feels like he’s letting all of them down most of the time. Sylvia also connects with Jack over this feeling. Sylvia tells Jack that he’s sweet and that he should put his faith in God because people suck – if she only knew…

Pastor Joe tells Cas about Rudy as a possible suspect. When Sylvia tries to interrupt to talk to him, the Pastor brushes her off. She leaves clearly not happy. When the Pastor asks if Cas has kids, Cas says it’s complicated. The Pastor says it always is. The subject turns to his wife who was involved in the church when it was a bit more “hardcore.” The Pastor starts to say something about relying on God, and Cas interrupts to say “God doesn’t care,” but the Pastor’s point was that everyone needs to look after each other. We learn that Connor was gay. The Pastor tells Cas that a Saint is a sinner who keeps trying.

Sam and Dean are still on the road and being delayed by snow. Dean has been starving himself to be ready for the buffet, but on learning of more delays, he’s ready to get some pork rinds at the convenience stop they’re at. He turns around only to find Amara, who asks if he missed her!

Amara tells them that she found them by following Dean’s very distinctive musk – and she got wind of Cas’s angelic APB. Amara wants lunch – perogies! She likes new earthly experiences…

Pastor Joe definitely preaches unconventionally. He calls God by all his names, encompassing all religions and telling them that their real mission is to look after those less fortunate, before asking Jack to testify as his welcome to the Church. This is a great scene. Jack is taken aback, but Cas has showed up at just the right moment, and offers to testify in Jack’s place. He tells them that he used to have blind faith. He did some really terrible things by never looking past the plan. When it all came crashing down, he lost his way. And then something amazing happened. He found a family and became a father and he rediscovered his faith and who he is. 

Pastor Joe later tells Jack that he hopes he didn’t put him on the spot. Jack asks how Pastor Joe brought all those different people and religions together. It’s not about what they believe but what they do. People are God’s hands. Suddenly, the tv in the dining hall switches to show Valerie – and her hands being mutilated – it’s a nice segue. Jack finds a usb stuck in the back of the tv – and that makes Cas think of Rudy – the tech guy who left the Church. 

Back with Amara – “lunch” is suddenly after dark – Sam and Dean tell her that they want her help stopping Chuck. She’s disturbed by Chuck destroying everything, but she tells them there’s nothing they can do. Dean tells her about Jack and that they have a way to trap Chuck. She thinks about it, but says no – she won’t betray him in that way. She also tells Dean that he doesn’t get it. He looks at her and sees a woman. He thinks of Chuck as a squirrely weirdo, but he can’t imagine what they really are. Sam says that Chuck said she was the oldest. She tells him he only heard what he needed to. She and Chuck were twins. Light and dark. Creation and destruction. Balance. And when they split apart, everything was created. Dean points out that that was when Chuck threw her in the cage. She tells them that she thinks that putting her in the cage hurt him deeply. Doing it to him would be an agony for her. She tells them that she can’t help them.

Jack and Cas break into Rudy’s and find him dead. He’s also a victim of the murderer with LUST written over the bed where he lies handcuffed and dead – for a long time.

Dean and Sam are about to leave with Sam thinking maybe it’s for the better. Dean leaves Sam in the car to go and ask Amara why she brought Mary back. And this is the best scene in the entire episode. Ackles and Swallow are both fabulous in this – but Ackles really knocks it out of the park. The pain in losing Mary all over again is palpable as he asks her what the point was in bringing Mary back. Amara tells him that she wanted to show him two things. 

She wanted him to see that his mother was just a person. The life he’d imagined was just a myth. That the real Mary was better than the myth, that now is always better than then. She wanted him to be able to accept his life. Cohen gets the camera just right here, capturing Ackles as his eyes tear up and Swallow as she tenderly tells him what she’d done. The second thing was that she thought that having Mary back would release him from his anger. But we all know that didn’t work – and Dean channels it now. He tells her that she’s just another cosmic dick, rigging the game. She tells him that it was a gift, not a trial. Dean tells her that he’s not mad – he’s furious to learn that he’s been trapped his whole life – and they all have. They are all just pawns of Chuck who doesn’t care about any of them, including her. Amara asks him if she can trust him, and he tells her that he’ll never hurt her. She tells him that she’ll think about it. Is Dean lying??

Sylvia has gone outside and her friend joins her, telling her that she’s posted about Valerie on social media and she’s getting a lot of frowny faces. Sylvia then reveals herself as the murderer, stabbing her friend accusing her of never believing, while she always did. 

Everyone runs to the friend’s help. Somehow she knows that Sylvia is in the storage room. Pastor Jim rushes in and finds Valerie. Sylvia puts a knife to his throat. It seems she’s furious about her mother’s death – and it’s a nice parallel to Dean’s story. Pastor Joe was upset that she wouldn’t get help, just trusting in God to save her. Sylvia insists it was just God calling her home. She’s disgusted that people worship him instead of God. Jack bursts in and wants to help her. She calls him just a scared little boy trying to make his dads happy. Cas comes in and puts Sylvia to sleep. He releases and heals Valerie and sends Jack for the police. Pastor Joe wants to know what Cas is – and he tells him an angel, but denies being a good one.

The police take Sylvia away and Pastor Joe vows that he’ll take care of her – he’s spent his whole life looking after others when he should have been looking after her. And we see that it’s Zack behind the wheel taking her away.

We get a Cas/Jack car confession. Cas tells him that he knows he’s shouldering a great burden, but he doesn’t have to do it alone. Jack tells him that he does – and he’s been lying to him. He finally confesses that he’s going to die when he kills Chuck and Amara. Billie’s spell has been turning him into some kind of bomb – and he won’t survive. Jack asks him not to tell Sam and Dean – they won’t understand. Jack is convinced that this is the only way that they will forgive him. Cas is distraught – and Collins is excellent in this scene – as is Calvert. Cas tells him that he watched him die once and he won’t do it again. Jack reaches across and squeezes his shoulder as he tells Cas it’s not his choice.

In the final scene, Dean is getting a drink – he can’t sleep – when Cas walks by. He tells Dean that the case went fine, and Dean says he thinks Amara is on board. Dean asks him where he’s going, and Cas says to find another way. And then he tells Dean that if he doesn’t make it back, there’s something that he and Sam need to know…

And splitting up team will with so few episodes to go? Blerg. This was an ok episode. Cohen does a solid job directing though I did find some of the dialogue a bit hard to hear at times. I liked the ultimate parallel between Dean and Sylvia over trauma over their mothers. I also really liked the emphasis on not relying blindly on others but to be active in your own – and others – stories/lives. Again, some really good performances here from Ackles, Swallow, and Collins. What did you think of the episode? Did you like this latest twist? Didn’t you see it coming? Of course Jack has to die – or could he learn to be a more empathic God? Do you think Cas will be able to find anything that can help? I feel like this is just a goose chase to take Collins off the table for a bit, which is annoying. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!




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