Filed under: Recaps & Reviews
In the battle for control of Dean's body, Michael will use his most devastating angel ability yet – guilt.
Michael may have pulled a fast one on the Winchesters but it was Sam and Castiel that came prepared with special angels cuffs that would neutralize the powers of an archangel. Unfortunately, that isn't enough when the monsters are trying to law their way into the room and save Michael. In a last ditch attempt, Sam calls out to the reapers and is given safe transport to the bunker. Elsewhere in Dean's subconscious mind, he's living out a fantasy where he owns a bar that's tended by his old friend, Pamela Barnes. That would all be great if it were real, Pamela wasn't dead and Dean wasn't tapped inside his own mind. Now that they have Michael in the bunker, Sam and Catsiel still need to do something to save Dean. Now that Michael has a link to all of the monsters that have accepted his grace, he has told them exactly where he is and what needs to be done to save him. With a bit of ingenuity and a whole lot of luck, Sam has rigged an old device from the Men of Letters that may allow him and Castiel to save his brother. Time is short and they are about to enter his brother's mind with an archangel bent on destroying the world.
As a mid-season premiere, Nihilism was a pretty good episode with only a few drawbacks. The opening inside Dean's dream was a good way to kick off the episode as it started paced Nihilism into the inevitable build up of getting back to what happened in the building with Michael. From there, the stand off with Michael felt intense and even through the reapers were used as the MacGuffin, it really showed how quickly Sam could think on his feet for a desperate cry for help. The reapers may strictly adhere to the rules but it's growing on me here. After that, the rest of the episode felt pretty good. The one drawback hat continues to be an issue in season fourteen is Jack. Though he was once a great addition to Supernatural, Jack has replaced Castiel as the character that screws up more than they help. On top of this, his constant self-pity always drags down the momentum of a show when everyone must inevitably cheer him up.
While it's good to finally understand what Michael's long term plan is, there are so many parts of it that don't make sense. For starters, Michael is powerful. Really, really powerful to the point that a maniacal plan to turn all of the monsters is one thing but then he is also a manipulator with guilt in a way that is far too similar to all of Lucifer's methods across the seasons. If Michael intends to destroy god, why does he need to use every detail against someone to expose their doubts and fears; like what happens to Jack every week? Michael doesn't need to be that kind of character as he already has the plan and knows exactly what he needs to do. The manipulation feels retreaded from many seasons ago.
Another strength of Nihilism is what it has done to set up the next four or five episodes of the season. Dean now has Michael trapped inside of his mind and Billie has given him the playbook on what he needs to do in order to save the world. It's a bold spin for Supernatural and one that I hope they can pay off. On top of that, Jack had his first real taste of power since losing all of his abilities. It's clear that he will use them again bit will he be able to stop before he loses his soul in the efforts of saving the ones he loves. I do also have to commend Nihilism on its great use of flashbacks and bringing back Pamela Barnes. Pamela is a great character and this was a perfect way to bring her back without it becoming cheesy and having her appear as Michael.
Overall, Nihilism was a good return for Supernatural. It had just the right amount of twists but too much sulking. Maybe once Jack becomes a real member of the gang he can stop wearing Tom Welling's outfits from Smallville and get back to kicking ass.