Gods and Monsters
Credit: Robert Falconer/The CW
Devil's Bargain
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So here’s the thing: I really like Michael. Obviously, I realize that he’s a bad guy and I want Dean to be okay, but I like Michael the way that I liked Lucifer, which is to say that I like Jensen Ackles’ performance as Michael. I can definitely see the changes he made from episode one to episode two as he got to spend more time with the character, and it really feels like he’s having fun, which in turn, makes the character fun. And if you’re going to have a character who intends to kill all humans, you might as well make him fun, right?

Speaking of Michael, we start the episode with one of his latest experiments: In an old abandoned church, he slits the throat of a vampire just enough to get some blood. Then he heals the vampire and adds some grace to the vamp blood. Step three? He gets the vamp to drink the blood concoction. But like I said, this is an experiment, and Michael hasn’t quite found the right radio of blood-to-grace, so the vamp is burned out seconds later. So the experiment failed. But soon enough, Michael will get this right.

Back at the bunker, Sam is looking into Jo’s tip that Michael is hanging out in Duluth, Minnesota. And when Sam finds a police report about a pile of corpses with their eyes burned out, he, Mary, and Bobby get ready to hit the road. Castiel has to stay behind to watch Jack and Nick. Plus, if he tagged along, Michael would be able to sense his angelic presence — an excuse I’m now going to use whenever I don’t want to go on a trip.

First things first, Castiel brings Nick some food as he continues to remember things from his time as Lucifer. (Right now the highlight reel includes killing Gabriel in “Hammer of the Gods.”) Nick can’t seem to wrap his head around what would make him say yes to Lucifer in the first place, and that’s when Castiel reminds him of the reason for his pain all those years ago: Nick’s family was murdered. A man broke into his house and killed his wife and child … with a hammer. Lucifer came to Nick after it had happened, and in his desperation, Nick said yes.

Of course, this story only gives Nick a new purpose: He now wants to find the man who killed his family, which won’t be easy considering it’s now a cold case. But here’s where things get interesting: When Castiel tries to calm a very upset Nick by touching him, Nick’s reaction isn’t to hit Castiel … it’s to snap. It’s a Lucifer reaction. But Castiel doesn’t seem to sense any of Lucy still left inside Nick. And yet, that doesn’t mean Nick’s psyche isn’t torn to shreds.

From Nick to Jack, Castiel’s babysitting gig is anything but a walk in the park. Jack is reading Biblical lore to try to figure out how long he has to wait to get his grace back. Considering the rarity of archangels, there’s not a lot of information. It could take a month or it could take a century, and that’s before you consider that Jack’s half-human, a fact that only slows down the process. Castiel tries to bond with Jack by telling him about the time that he lost his grace and how he focused on what he still had left: Sam, Dean … and himself. He tells Jack that it’s not about the past, it’s about where he’s going. And that gives Jack an idea.

While Castiel has his hands full with Nick, Jack sneaks off and pays a visit to Kelly Kline’s mom and dad, his grandparents. He never tells them who he is or that Kelly’s dead, but he does get to talk to his grandparents, look at old photos of his mom, and get a sense of the family. He tells them that Kelly had her son and that, from what he knew, she was a great mom. I’m not going to lie, the Kline’s seem like quite possibly the loveliest parents this show has ever seen. And poor Jack has to walk away from them. (Next: Is that … Dean?)

Meanwhile, in Duluth, Mary, Sam, and Bobby pay a visit to the coroner, where they discover that all of the dead bodies are vampires. It’s also where they discover that Bobby’s FBI talk is a bit rusty. But Sam’s isn’t, and he asks the coroner if anyone came to claim the bodies. The answer points them to the apartment of a female vampire. She explains that Michael — although she doesn’t know him by name — came into her nest and tied them all up. She talks about the experimenting and how she escaped when a number of her friends attacked him. And in exchange for her freedom, she gives them the location of the church where Michael had been keeping her.

But while they head to his old stomping grounds, Michael’s enjoying himself at a new hotel room. As he puts on a tux for a night out and stands in front of a mirror, we get to watch as Dean fights his way out. Dean, who can be seen in the mirror — think Sam and Lucy chatting in season 5 — yells at Michael to get out, but Michael isn’t ready yet. Michael breaks the mirror, which gets rid of Dean, as he says, “I own you, so hang on and enjoy the ride.” Which, of course, we know Dean won’t do.

Michael returns to the room a few hours later with a hot date. And by “hot date” I mean “werewolf.” He orders her to summon her master, and when she does, he explains that God is on “permanent vacation.” So if God was the one who put humans in charge, no one’s stopping them from changing things. Michael explains that he appreciates the purity of werewolves: They kill to live, not for sport. Michael tells the werewolf leader that he has ways to enhance their talents. It seems he finally found the perfect ratio in his little experiments. And now, he wants to wage a war against humans. “Why be hunted when you can be the hunter?” Michael asks him.

As for the vampire who ratted Michael out, he pays her a visit and reveals his great plan. What? Did you think he dumped all those bodies in plain sight and let her run free without a plan? Nope, he was planting a trap for his favorite hunters … and it worked. After Sam, Mary, and Bobby arrive at the church, they’re ambushed by Michael’s special werewolves. What makes them special? Silver doesn’t work on them. Thankfully, decapitation does. And once they take them out, Michael comes stumbling into the church. Or is it Dean? Whoever it is, he’s claiming to be Dean. He says Michael “just left,” but if this was all a trap to get the hunters here, I’m not believing it. Not yet.

As for Castiel, he ends the episode by confronting Jack about his impromptu road trip, which Jack claims was his way to learn more about his past before moving forward. But when Jack asks about their plan to kill Michael, the entire mood changes. Castiel tells him that they’re not looking to kill Michael. They’re looking to subdue him in order to get him out of Dean. But as far as Jack is concerned, “Dean doesn’t matter.” Jack has seen what Michael will do to a world, and if it comes down to stopping him or saving Dean, Jack thinks they should let Dean die. Castiel clearly disagrees, though when Jack asks “do you think he’d want it any other way,” there seems to be a little part of Castiel that knows Jack is right. (But that won’t change Castiel’s plan.)

And that brings us to Nick, who pays a visit to his old neighbor in Delaware, otherwise known as the man who claimed he saw someone leave Nick’s house the night of the murder until he later changed his mind. Nick wants answers, and he wants them so badly that he ends up killing his old neighbor … with a hammer. So either he was already a monster before Lucy found him and he killed his own family or he’s still Lucy OR Lucy messed him up so badly that he’s now a murderer. I NEED ANSWERS. (But also I really like this story.)

All in all, this felt like a very performance-centric episode. More so than a typical episode, we had a lot of emotional speeches. Mark Pellegrino was fantastic as always, and I loved all of his stuff with Castiel. I thought Misha Collins did a particularly good job with all the talk of Jimmy Novak. And I’ve already talked about my enjoyment of this Michael. And even though the episode was much more character-driven than others, it still managed to move along the Michael plot and plant some new mysteries. Two episodes in, and I’m really enjoying season 14.

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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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