This Supernatural review contains spoilers.
Supernatural Season 14 Episode 13
I have so many feelings.
The heart and soul of Supernatural is not hunting monsters, it’s not hilarious moments or insane cliffhangers. The heart and soul has always been at the center of the family business — the family itself.
The importance of family resurfaces time and time again, as Sam and Dean adopt new people into their circle as brothers and sisters in arms. As two perpetually lonely and love-cursed individuals, family has always been important to the Winchesters and always will be.
But one thing the fans have been waiting on for eons has been the return of John Winchester. John’s epic return echoes another character entry into Supernatural — namely when Dean stalks through Sam’s apartment in the pilot. John’s return scene also opens with a quick fight in the dark. John’s brief fight against his sons in the dark is an homage to Supernatural’s humble beginnings.
Every hug, every revelation for John about what the boys have been up to, every discussion between family, and especially John telling his boys he is proud did my heart so much good. Particularly important was John apologizing to Sam. They’d always butted heads before, but this is an older, wiser Sam. He no longer blames his Dad for his life and is just overjoyed to be able to talk to him, hash things out, and say a proper goodbye. This episode is so downright wholesome you’d be hard-pressed to remember there was a murderous clown at the beginning of it.
Besides John’s return, the episode surrounding that big event is solid. The Winchesters apprehend an occult dealer who has murdered a hunter for his stash. They gain all the stash (lots of potential for further story material there) and end up having to chase down a teenager who stole the Impala and let John Wayne Gacy’s ghost loose. Jeez, this whole fiasco could have been an episode by itself. Add that in with the “It’s NOT such a Wonderful Life” alternate timeline stuff and we’ve got a fantastic and engaging story. Plus, John Winchester and Mary reuniting for a family dinner with the boys — I gushed like a school girl.
Zachariah also returns with a little heavenly spite and an un-Winchestered version of Castiel on his heels. Having Zachariah back, albeit briefly, was a great way to add extra tension to the mix, especially when he sicks Castiel on the boys. Castiel has no allegiance to Sam and Dean now that they’ve changed the past, so he’s not truly the Cas we know. In fact, he’s a direct callback to the vengeful “Angel of the Lord” he first introduced himself as in season four, shadowy wing display and all. Nice callback.
There were so many nods and references for longtime fans to feast their eyes and ears upon, from Dean’s original Wanted poster to Castiel telling Zachariah, “I don’t understand that reference” since he was never downloaded with pop culture trivia in this new timeline.
There’s a moment at the end when Sam and Dean talk about how they could have decided to send Dad further back, forever altering their destiny. Let someone else save the world all the time, they think. But that’s not who they are. With the weight of the world back on their shoulders, we get a tearful departure and a return to the classic “sad Supernatural theme” we’ve heard at critical times on the show.
Seeing John “wake up from a dream” at the end was magical. The fight continues for Daddy Winchester…at least until it doesn’t. It’s bittersweet. It’s touching. The only way this episode could have been better for me is if it was two episodes. It felt too short and I could have had a solid 42 minutes of just John resuming the hunt with his boys. Wishful thinking, eh?