Episode: Supernatural 8.17 – “Goodbye Stranger”
Original Air Date: March 20, 2013
Screencaps by spn-caps
Rogue angels, dead demons, and two Winchesters who are pretty much out of their depth. That’s the wealth of adventures we got this week on Supernatural. We had to say goodbye to a beloved character, who I still mourn, and question where the future will take the boys as they deal with Sammy’s failing health and a heavenly weapon of mass destruction that is currently hiding somewhere in the world. Fun times.
Note: This recap may contain spoilers!
Let’s just get the big one out of the way first, because I can’t deal with anything else that happened in this episode until I do. Crowley killed Meg! He didn’t maim her, he didn’t kidnap her for more torture, no — he stabbed her and she went bye-bye forever. And I don’t know how to deal with this because it was so sudden and shocking. For a character who has been with us the entire run of the series, since “Scarecrow”, I don’t know if I was hoping for a larger deal to be made about her death or if I thought maybe she’d just escape again like she had all those times before. Neither of these things happened. Instead, we got a budding romance between her and Cas cut short and one more soldier killed because of their association with the Winchesters. It’s a sad situation.
But before she left us, we got a lot of reminiscing and some gleams of hope at what might have been. I loved that Meg got to have a conversation with Sam separately from the group, reminiscing about the time she possessed him and her knowledge of his inner thoughts. She knows what he wanted, way back when, and maybe he still wants it now — the normal life, the girl, and the white picket fence. And, maybe, Meg wanted to hold onto that pipe dream, too. What Sam wants is as unattainable as Meg’s fantasy of delving into a deeper relationship with Cas. He is her unicorn, just as Amelia was Sam’s. I’m sorry that we never got to see the angel and the demon have more than a passing kiss and some flirty dialogue picked up from a porn film.
Cas, on the other hand, wasn’t quite in a place to go full force into a romance at the moment anyway. As much as he was flirting with Meg, he was also still being controlled by Naomi. His will was not his own. And the entire episode kept us holding our breath, wondering if he would just kill the people we loved most simply because Naomi told him to. We even opened the episode with Cas practicing his killing skills on Dean, many Deans, killing him over and over again until there was no hesitation on committing the act. It was a frightening image, one made even more nerve-wracking when the showdown actually happened. Cas didn’t just beat up Dean, he pulverized him, reminiscent of how Lucifer!Sam beat up Dean in “Swan Song.” Dean kept trying to reach out to Cas, remind him that he was family and he didn’t have to do this, but it took quite a while before Cas could break free of Naomi’s hold on him. Unlike in “Swan Song”, when Dean was willing to die at his brother’s hands, this time around Dean was honestly afraid that Cas would kill him and he didn’t want to die, not when he has a sick brother outside who needs him and loves him. In the end, Sam’s the only one he can count on, since Cas has gone off the rails and disappeared with the angel tablet to parts unknown.
And, yes, that whole situation is bad and they need to deal with that on top of the health issues that they’re up against now. We knew that Sam was coughing up blood, and that he was continuing to hide it from Dean. Thankfully, that truth was revealed in this episode when Dean discovers a bloody tissue in the trash can back at the Batcave. And it hurts him, the fact that Sam’s been essentially lying to him again, but they reach an uneasy truce. Sam promises to not keep secrets from his big brother anymore, a promise I can’t quite believe, and Dean promises to be the rock Sam will need to carry out these trials.
But it’s not just a few bloody coughs that they’ll have to worry about, it’s what the long-term effects of these trials might be doing to Sam. Cas admits that Sam is broken in ways that even he can’t fix, which leads us to question if anything can fix Sam. The trials are going to be doing much worse damage as they proceed and his health’s going to continue to deteriorate. Will they close the gates of Hell only to lose Sam in the process? And if he does survive it, what kind of life will he have? One where he’s confined to a bed with Dean looking out for him? There’s got to be a miracle around the corner, but right now I don’t see it shining bright. Instead, there’s just more death and destruction, darkness and lies, before the final battle is waged. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars