When doing the right thing feels so wrong.
After Sam enters the rebel human camp, everyone's first thoughts are elation that Sam is alive but it quickly melts away now that Lucifer has tagged along. Dean wants Jack to kill Lucifer immediately but the son of the devil is conflicted and teleports away during the anger and confusion. When Jack is alone, he remembers the message from his mother and decides that he wants to listen to Lucifer rather than shut him out. Meanwhile, time is running out and the boys are ready to take their mother home – but there's a catch. Mary isn't willing to leave everyone behind so Sam suggests that they take everyone with them back to earth prime and then help them regroup to mount a new attack on Michael. It's risky but Mary agrees to help convince the rebels that this is the best hope they have of surviving. On the journey to the rift, Lucifer tells Jack his side of the story but Gabriel calls him out for blaming everyone but himself. Gabriel explains that God always knew that Lucifer would infect everything which is why he locked him away in the cage to stop the cancer from spreading further. During the journey, the boys learn that Charlie and Ketch have been taken captive by the angels and end up staging a last minute rescue to save them. Things were touch and go but now they have even less time before the rift seals them into bizarro world forever. It's a race to get home and Michael isn't willing to let them go so easily.
While not always on point, Exodus was another good episode from Supernatural. What Exodus established so well were the stakes and what was at risk throughout the story. The pressure to return home before it was too late was constant, the corruption of Jack by his father always loomed and the boys rescuing all of the rebels added another twist to the plot when Mary refused to leave them to be slaughtered. In the middle of everything was Jack: the young boy with more power than anyone that still desperately wants to understand who he is and his place in the world. What Exodus did so well in the writing was make every perspective ambiguous on good and evil. Lucifer's arguments to Jack were valid and his logic was sound but it was only Gabriel that was able to call him out on his true nature. More than anyone else, these lines had to come from Gabriel, largely due to their relationship since creation, but he understood why God threw Lucifer into the cage with no hope of ever getting out. God understood that Lucifer is the corruptor and that was his nature due to his own jealousy. Rather than kill his son, he abandoned him because he couldn't be saved. The scene between the two was the high point of the episode and the emotional grounding Exodus needed during an episode that was always hurdling towards the next beat of the story.
Another high point of Exodus was showing how the two opposing aren't as different as they originally seemed. During the interrogation of the rebel traitor, Dean had Castiel torture him for answers. While Charlie and Ketch were captive, gestapo Castiel (Gestapiel?) did the same thing to Charlie before the Winchesters stepped in to save the day. All of this worked very well and had a great finish when Castiel admitted that he was the same as Gestapiel before he killed him. The real detractor for this scene was Misha Collins's performance as Gestapiel. I'm not certain if it was the writing that called for the German accent or if it was just added in the performance but the nazi accent and subsequent parallel was over the top. It weakened the scene and didn't add anything to the story. The angels are already terrible and slaughtering humans wherever they find them but it wasn't necessary to include the master race card in the episode as his outfit already had the desired affect but in a more subtle way.
Just like last week's episode, Supernatural is good at ignoring their own continuity when it suits the story. Let's not forget that for starters, Jack is the one with the power to create rifts. While he doesn't yet have the ability to make them at will, a few lines to explain that he can't do it would have gone a long way to raise the stakes that the closing rift is the only way home. The other major sticking point with Jack is the strange uncertainty that he suddenly has around Lucifer. When he was born he knew exactly who Lucifer was and that he chose Castiel as his father while still in his mother's womb. This is a stark contrast to what we got in Exodus and goes against everything that Jack told us in the beginning of the season. It's a pretty big gap between that and what we have here. While Exodus does make for a more interesting story, it only further confirms that Supernatural is willing to make big shifts to a story during a season.
Exodus was, overall, another good episode from Supernatural. The motivations of every character were well clear and Gabriel gave his life to help the Winchesters, probably for real this time. Sam betraying Lucifer will only come back to haunt him when Supernatural returns next week for the season finale, Let the Good Times Roll.