Filed under: Recaps & Reviews
Has the son of Lucifer decided to follow in the footsteps of his father or become something greater?
After an artist turns up with his eyes burnt out, the Winchesters get a call from Sheriff Jody. She tells them that the suspect in question matches Jack's description so the two head to Bismark, North Dakota where they speak with the victim's girlfriend. She tells them that her boyfriend, Derek, wasn't just an artist but a dream walker. Meaning that he wasn't just painting landscapes but rather the other worlds that he could glimpse. It's while they search for clues that Dean spots one painting of the world where they left Lucifer. With no idea what Jack is up to, Dean assumes the worst – Jack is searching for his father. Sam is reluctant to make that leap but knows that they will have to stop Jack if that is what's happening. Derek's girlfriend mentions that Derek was helping a girl named Kaya with her abilities to that gives the boys their next clue. Elsewhere, at a rehabilitation clinic, Jack has found Kaya and springs her from the facility. He needs her help but she wants no part of her powers or dream walking. When Jack insists that she help, Kaya tries to escape. It's then that Sam and Dean find Jack. The distraction allows Kaya to get away but it's out of the frying pan and into the fire as the angels take her as bait. Now that they have found Jack, Sam and Dean finally have the chance to ask him what he was thinking after killing Derek. Jack confesses that he saw Derek but he didn't kill him. Instead, Jack is trying to do something good and find Mary Winchester in the other dimension. He has the power to make a doorway but can't see into the reality where she's located. Just then, he gets a call over the angel radio that they have Kaya and will kill her unless Jack shows up. Now that they know that there mother is alive, the Winchesters will stop at nothing to save her.
As far as mid-season finales go, The Bad Place definitely had a lot going for it with only a few minor distractions that prevented the episode from reaching its full potential. To begin, The Bad Place set a good pace in the opening of the episode and then quickly connected Sam and Dean with Jack. After searching for weeks, the episode wasted little time reuniting the three of them and showed that the real story was about to begin. From there on, the episode maintained an almost frenetic pace that lead to the eventual conclusion and cliff hanger with everyone being separated in different realities. Before all of that, we got to see the angels spill their dastardly plans to Kaya for no apparent reason and then watch the gang make a daring escape from the angels that Jack had dispatched of with no effort. While the escape was cool and showed the angels do something we have never seen before, why didn't Jack just handle them like he did before now that he knows how to use his powers at will? The other question that came up was why no one was asking about Castiel? Sam and Dean didn't mention him and Jack didn't seem to care about where his father was. It was strange that this didn't come up once for someone that came back from the dead and is also supposed to be Jack's father.
What originally started as a cool moment suddenly became very strange when Dean was willing to do anything to save his mom. As long-time fans of Supernatural, we have seen Dean Winchester desperate on more than one occasion but we had never seen him pull a gun on a person and take them hostage against their will. Although Sam mentioned this in the car ride, there was very little resistance or conflict on his part when only moments ago he said that they could find another way. This came across even more when Kaya only had blame for Jack (for Derek's death) and zero resentment of Dean for taking her hostage at gunpoint and forcing her into the Impala. This wouldn't have changed how Jack managed to change her mind but it was surprising how much of a non-issue this became as soon as they started driving.
While the pacing, action and story all delivered, one thing big part of The Bad Place fell flat - Patience Turner. Without a doubt, Patience and Sheriff Jody could have been cut from this episode entirely and the story would have bene better for it. It's great that Supernatural is thinking ahead for the long game but all of her scenes did nothing to serve the story of the episode. Rather than have any payoff or tie into the plot, the story ended with more foreshadowing that could have been saved for the opening of an episode when Supernatural returns in January. Also, considering how we had previously left the Turner family, James Turner appeared that he was willing to do anything to keep his daughter safe but then had to reach an acceptance of who his mom was and the abilities that his daughter has. It came across as wildly inconsistent with his character that he would turn his back on Patience after she wanted to help Sam and Dean. But again, none of this needed to be shown. Even if it was presented in a future episode, Patience could have told us all of this just to keep the story going.
Besides that, there were some odd directing choices that just seemed redundant on the part of Phil Sgriccia. After Sam and Dean finally caught up with Jack, he recapped what he saw and we saw that as the audience; but then he showed Sam and Dean the exact same thing just a moment later. Why show the same shots twice in one scene? This came up again on the boat when Kaya screamed three times rather than one long scream. The two instances in one episode made some scenes feel repetitive and only diminished the impact that they were intended to have.
The Bad Place was easily one of the most entertaining episodes of season thirteen and leaves the show in a good place for the back half of the season. If the Patience Turner wasn't in the episode, it could have been a much better story extra time. With the gang spread out across multiple realities, I'm excited to see what Supernatural can deliver when it returns on January 18th with Wayward Sisters.