The darkness returns.
At Patchwork, a community place or worship, the weary can take shelter within its walls because all are welcome, regardless or circumstance, faith or creed. While walking home from volunteering, Conner hears someone call his name in the alley for help but when moves closer to get a better view, he's attacked and taken. Back at the bunker, the Winchesters are slow for leads but Dean remembers hearing Chuck say that Amara is a big keno fan and there just happened to be a blackout in Atlantic City. It's a bit of a reach but they don't have much else to go on. Amara is the darkness and Chuck is the light. If one goes, they both have to die to maintain the balance. But how can they trick Amara into helping them kill her brother without her knowing. As they are about to head out, they suggest that Castiel take Jack to investigate a potential case in Missouri. Castiel isn't sold on the plan but it gets Jack out of the bunker and hopefully a chance to help others. After their plans to hits the casino buffet fall through due to bad weather, Dean and Sam are nearly out of luck until Amara herself makes her presence known to the boys and is willing to talk. Back in Missouri, Conner's body was found shortly before another volunteer was taken. Jack and Castiel have their work cut out for them.
Following Last Holiday, Gimme Shelter was a somber episode that lacked focus due to disparate plot lines and a hollow murder mystery. Starting with a strong premise, the ongoing search for Amara is one of the major points of the season but Supernatural failed to have a proper build up to that. Amara is the darkness and every bit as significant of a being as Chuck but doesn't get the same reverence; either through intention or because Supernatural perceives her as a tool rather than a character. With the other half of Gimme Shelter, we were got an elaborately grotesque murder mystery with Sylvia that felt forced and lacking any significance. What drove Sylvia to murder? Why did she slip up so carelessly in her anger with her friend rather than abduct her like he had already done with Valerie? Had Supernatural combined the search for Amara with the murder, they could have told a unified story where Amara shows up to see the Winchesters after Jack and Castiel left. This would have given them a reason to solve a human case and make just as much sense for Amara to find the Winchesters from a few states away. Given how there are only a handful of episodes left for Supernatural, Gimme Shelter didn't do enough to tell a good story in the time that it had.
As messy as the episode was, Gimme Shelter did have its moments that inched the final season of Supernatural closer to the end. With Amara, Dean was able to look the darkness in the eyes and not blink. He lied to her and may pay dearly for that. Even so, Amara is a cosmic entity and is now seriously considering betraying her brother for the first time. Following that, Jack's plan with Billie has finally been revealed as the suicide bomber that will destroy Chuck and Amara. It's tragic, painful and heartbreaking to see him as a character trying to redeem himself by sacrificing his life. In true Castiel fashion, he refuses to accept that and is determined to find another way. With little time left, can he and the Winchesters save their friend and the world? Or will they have to choose one other?
Overall, Gimme Shelter left a lot to be desired. Throughout its fifteen seasons, Supernatural has always had a hard time simplifying their stories to the crucial elements rather than focusing on the cool monster or killer of the week that have little to say. Gimme Shelter was no exception. We'll see what happens this week in Drag Me Away (From You).