Stranger in a Strange Land
Credit: Bettina Strauss/The CW
Devil's Bargain
  • TV Show

We made it, #SPNFamily! Season 14 is here, and Sam has a beard, and Michael has a newsboy cap, and Bobby is bonding with Jack. What more could you want?! I know, I know. You could want Dean, but until we have him back, let’s dive into what just happened in that premiere…

The season opens on Sam (and his beard) driving the Impala alone, a shot that’s symbolic enough before Sam turns the radio off. He’s alone, and he misses his brother. That much is clear.

Cut to his brother — who’s currently still acting as Michael’s vessel — paying a visit to a praying man. Michael doesn’t exactly answer the guy’s prayer as much as pose a question. For three weeks now Michael has been traveling the world asking all kinds of people one question: “What do you want?” But no one seems to know. Either that or like this guy, they lie. When the man claims he wants “peace and love,” Michael calls him out on past actions that say otherwise. Ultimately, Michael decides this guy is lost, and like everyone else he’s come across, “not worth saving.” As for what Michael wants, he knows his answer: “A better world.”

Back at the bunker, Sam returns home — he was in Atlanta where a woman falsely claimed she saw an angel — to all kinds of action. Now that the bunker is full of Apocalypse World hunters, there are people everywhere. One guy is getting a wound patched up, and another is showing Mary how you can make a bullet to hurt just about any monster. When Mary catches up with Sam, we get an update on where some key players are: Ketch is in London and Castiel is in Detroit. As for Jack, he’s in the bunker’s workout room where Bobby is trying to teach him how to box. It’s … not going well. (Jack does not like boxing as much as he likes nougat, y’all.)

Things aren’t going to great for Cas, either. We catch up with him in Detroit where he’s meeting with a demon named Kip in the hopes that the demons know something about Dean’s whereabouts. But considering they didn’t even seem to know that Dean was missing, it’s clear they’re not going to be a major help. And when Cas realizes he’s walked into a trap — the entire bar is full of demons — things take a turn for the worse.

But before we get into that, let’s catch up with Sister Jo, who has left behind her amazing pink blazer but not her ways: She’s still healing people for money. And that’s where Michael finds her. He asks her the same question he’s been asking everyone — what does she want? — and when she makes a crack about Chanel, Dior, and Louis Vuitton, Michael calls her out. He knows about her because Dean knew about her, and he knows that what she really wants is to belong. She wants a home and family. “It’s very, very human of you,” Michael tells her. “And so, so disappointing.” With that, Michael decides that angels aren’t worth saving either. (Next: A surprising return)

Back at the bunker, Sam pays Jack a quick visit to try to lift his spirits about this whole “being human” thing, but personally, I think Sam should tell him to take his shoes off when he gets into bed. But that’s not important. What IS important is who’s in the next room over. IT’S NICK!! As in Lucifer’s vessel!! It seems the angel blade killed Lucifer — or so we hope — and left behind a very confused vessel. Nick claims he doesn’t remember much, except for Michael telling Lucifer that he “wanted to do it right this time.” Whatever that means. Personally, I love this twist for two reasons: 1. It shows that Dean can survive Michael, and 2. It gives us more Mark Pellegrino!

When he leaves Nick’s room, Sam gets a call from Kip, the demon who has Cas, and just like that, Sam has a rescue mission on his hands: He grabs Maggie, Mary, Bobby, and even Jack, and hits the road. On the drive, Sam finally cracks a little bit when he asks Mary to stop saying everything is going to be “fine.” Poor Sam isn’t even sure Dean is still alive. But Mary informs her son that she has to keep a positive attitude because she will either think about the good “or drown in the bad.” They have to hold out hope … for Dean.

By the time they arrive at the bar, Sam heads in alone to meet his biggest fan. Kip tells him, “You are a damn legend, Sam, an icon … the shoulders, the hair, you are my Beyoncé.” Once he’s done buttering him up, Kip tells Sam that he wants the Crowley deal. Basically, Kip wants to be the new King of Hell and work with the Winchesters. But Sam is not a fan of that idea, and when he says no, Bobby and Mary bust in, guns blazing.

The fight ultimately ends with Sam killing Kip and declaring that there will be no new King of Hell unless they want to go through those shoulders and that hair, but the other demons know they’re no match for Beyoncé — they’re Michelle Williams at best — so they run off, and Sam and company head back to the bunker. That’s when Sam and Cas get to have their first chat of the episode. Sam reveals that Ketch was trying to locate the device they used to kick Lucifer out of the president, but he can’t find it. It’s another dead end. A concerned Castiel asks Sam how he’s doing, and he admits he’s been better … but he’s also been worse. The two of them agree on one thing: They’ll do anything to get Dean back.

After a quick glimpse at a possibly flirty(?) exchange between Mary and Bobby, we head to Jack’s room, where Castiel tries to help him through this feeling of helplessness. “You have all of us,” Cas tells him. “You have your family.” Cas, then filling the Dean role, promises Jack they’re going to find Dean and beat Michael, and they’re going to do it together, because that’s what they do.

The episode ends with Jo calling Sam with “a problem,” and us figuring out what that problem is: Michael has finally discovered the one creature whose want is pure and simple and therefore, the creature he deems worth saving. Michael is building an army, and he’s starting with vampires.

Altogether, I thought this episode had a bit of a slower pace than most, but in a way that I really liked. It’s been a while since the show jumped time, even by a few weeks, and they had to reset some stuff because of it. The pace also allowed me to really feel the emotional impact of missing Dean, while also setting up a number of promising stories. Plus, as far as bad guys go, I have high hopes for Michael.

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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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