This review contains spoilers.
14.9 The Spear
This mid-season finale starts feeling like a slow burn, bringing together various elements introduced in previous episodes and tying them back with the expected confrontation with Michael. Jack is still dealing with the anxiety of having been brought back to life, while Cas continues to hold his deal with The Empty secret. This episode wraps up the previous eight episodes nicely… in a package that contains an unavoidable destiny.
There are a couple of light moments that kept the episode from being too gloomy. Ketch’s video call about sending the weapon the boys need via mail (“but I paid extra!”) being met with derision was enjoyably naive. This was not the kind of faux pas I expected from this British Man of Letters, but it also makes sense given he doesn’t have the resources he once had.
I also enjoy that Castiel tells Jack that coming back from the dead is a bit of a right of passage for these guys, since they’ve all done it. It’s a fun nod towards our characters’ habits of dying and brushing it off later.
This episode brings back Garth, the hunter-turned-werewolf, for a special mission to see what Michael has been using monsters for. Garth has always been a little spot of sunshine in the drab and tortured world of hunters. Although he’s gone through some serious stuff himself, he’s never lost that shine, so seeing him in the presence of Michael, undergoing this experiment, makes one so nervous. You just want to scoop him into a hug to protect him from the evil, crooning, “You’re too special for this world!” That said, Garth’s predicament leads Sam to more guilt about who he sends on missions, and it makes one wonder how this might change Sam’s leadership and decisions in the future.
As the episode title suggests, the main focus for the boys is to obtain Kaia’s spear, the only weapon they know can seriously harm Michael. When Dean plays with the spear like a kid trying out for colour guard for the first time, we know there’s a problem here. Dean’s not exactly trained in the art of spear wielding – I imagine it wasn’t covered in Daddy Winchester’s Guide to Ganking Monsters 101.
Before we worry about Dean’s lacklustre spear handling, we get a fun moment when the boys are ready to step up to the challenge. As the Winchesters, Cas and Jack march forward to take on Michael with impossible odds, a Christmassy version of Ode To Joy plays triumphantly in the background. It’s the kind of moment you see in a blockbuster action film, packaged into a midseason finale.
During the final confrontation (of this half of the season), Dean’s spear wielding is better than at first advertised, but still doesn’t achieve much more than a scratch. But that is not what ends up tripping Dean up. It’s his own hesitation, brought on by a PTSD-like mental lapse as he faces Michael. And suddenly, Dean-Michael faces us again, broken spear tossed aside as a symbol of the futility of resistance.
Michael’s plot to eventually take over Dean again makes a lot of sense. There was no rhyme or reason to him abandoning Dean earlier this season, and there was always a little threat inherent there. But as the episodes progressed and we got sidetracked, it became less clear that this might have been a setup. It was really smart – and makes me wonder how our heroes will ever outwit a foe who plays the world like a game of chess.
A snap of the fingers signals Michael’s order to start an all out assault on a major metropolitan area. And we have to wait until the 17th of January to figure out what happens next.
Read Bridget’s review of the previous episode, Byzantium, here.