Devil's Bargain

This episode probably should’ve been called “Jack out of the Box” with that ending. (Sorry. I had to.) But before we get into all of that, we start the hour with a memorial for Mary at the bunker. It’s been a few days since her funeral, and the boys have invited hunters who knew her to come to say goodbye. “We lost our mom once before but we got a second chance with her,” Dean says in his speech. “And we got to know her not just as mom but as someone who was tough, strong, stubborn as hell, someone who had opinions and wasn’t shy to use them. She could handle a machete. She could handle a vampire. She could handle our old man. She couldn’t cook worth a damn. Mom, you weren’t here long enough, but we’re so glad for the time that we had. Goodbye, mom.” With that, Dean, Sam, Castiel, and a room full of hunters raise a beer to Mary … and then Bobby puts an ax into someone’s head. Talk about an entrance!

Let me clarify: It seems that one of the “hunters” in attendance was really just a wraith that Bobby recognized from a hunt. And now that Bobby is here, he wants answers: What the heck happened to Mary? While Dean heads out to “get a drink” on this own — which is really code for “drive out to the middle of nowhere so he can cry alone and break my heart” — Sam and Cas tell Bobby the full story. The way Bobby sees it, Jack is an unstoppable monster who doesn’t know right from wrong. And that means he needs to be put down. In other words, the hunt for Jack is on, because if Sam and Cas want Jack to live, they need to find him before Bobby does.

With that in mind, Castiel heads to heaven for help. That’s where Duma lets him know that she’s now in charge. It seems that after the Empty invaded under Naomi’s watch, Naomi was locked up. (That seems like a not-great decision considering how few angels there are left, no?) But Duma promises to help Castiel finds Jack. Then again, Duma is a big liar. Spoiler: She does find Jack, but she doesn’t tell Cas about it. Instead, she tells Jack about heaven’s glory days, back when there was order and God would punish those who didn’t respect heaven. She tells him that he can help restore that glory and here’s the kicker: She tells him that Sam and Dean would be very happy if he helped her.

And so, our dear precious Jack does what Duma asks, punishing those who don’t believe in biblical ways. First, he turns an atheist professor into salt. Then he kills a TV evangelist with a personalized sinkhole. (Numbers 26:10 “And the earth opened her mouth and swallowed them up.”)

The only bit of good news about Jack’s new hobby is that it makes him easy to find. Sam quickly flags the killings, and when Jack leaves a victim behind, they learn more. See, Duma tells Jack that while he can’t create new angels from thin air like God, he could take the soul of a predisposed human and turn them into an angel. And so Jack finds a prayer group that says they want to go to heaven and become angels — of course, Jack doesn’t realize they’re speaking about the time when they die in the future. So, he takes them to heaven and turns them to angels. But when one person among them doesn’t believe, he leaves him to be eaten by worms. (It’s another Biblical thing.)

But the worms don’t fully consume the guy, which is why Sam, Dean, and Cas are able to visit him at the hospital (where you also might spot a Robert Singer cameo if you look closely). There, the guy IDs Jack and explains that he’s carrying out heaven’s orders. So while Castiel works on getting back to heaven, Dean comes up with a plan of his own.

Remember the box that Dean built to contain Michael back when he was going to spend the rest of his days swimming with the fishes? Well, it was built to contain the power of an archangel. So if they can convince Jack to get into it, they’ll be safe. But how do they convince him to get into it? Lie. That’s how. Dean wants to tell Jack that they’re “close” to finishing a spell that will fix his soul. In reality, there is no spell, and once Jack gets in that box, he won’t ever get out.

As much as Sam hates the plan, he knows they have to stop Jack. And so, he prays to him and tells him that he and Dean want to talk to him, to find a way to get things back to the way they were. And while Jack listens to Sam’s prayer, Castiel pulls Duma aside for a chat. He accuses her of using Jack to solidify her own hold on heaven and when she threatens Mary and John Winchester, he kills her. (Again, as much as I support Castiel, maybe we should stop killing angels?!) However, by the time Cas returns to Jack, he’s gone…

Because he’s in the bunker. Jack updates Sam and Dean on what he’s been doing and he tells them that he “regrets” the accident. “I wish it didn’t happen,” he tells them, lacking the emotion one needs a soul to express. You can tell Jack wants to feel bad, but does he actually feel it is the question. Sam and Dean do their best not to snap, to pretend that they forgive him. And ultimately, they tell him about the fake spell and convince him to get in the box. They tell him it’s their way to keep him “safe,” and a way to keep any more accidents from occurring. And much to their surprise, Jack gets in willingly. At least at first.

While Sam and Dean share a drink and try to explain the plan to a very upset Castiel, Lucifer — a.k.a. Jack’s subconscious — pays him a visit in the box and lets him know that he’s been played. “You are screwed,” Lucy tells him, encouraging Jack to use all of his power to escape. And he does just that.

The final moments of the episode see Jack escape the box and come face-to-face with his three former father figures. So … what now?

Overall, this episode feels like a solid setup heading into the finale. I love that we’re finally getting a better sense of the extent of Jack’s powers, and I’m excited to see what he does now that Sam and Dean tried to lock him up. Up until this point, he’s still been on Sam and Dean’s side. But what happens if Jack truly goes to the dark side?

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Devil's Bargain

Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki star as the Winchester brothers, hellbent on battling the paranormal forces of evil.

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