A slow episode answers a series-long question and reminds us what makes the Winchesters special before a 6-week hiatus.
The ending of “The Gamblers” — the eleventh installment of Supernatural’s 20-episode final season — sets the table for some exciting things to come (“Then I’ll be able to kill God”) once the show returns from a ridiculous 6-week long break, even though, you know, we just came back from another hiatus. Unfortunately, the build-up to that final scene left something to be desire, because this was a very slow episode, which was kind of a disappointment after last week’s fun one. That being said, “The Gamblers” does answer a mythology question I know I’ve had for a long time and shines a spotlight on the Winchesters’ best qualities: their heroism and compassion.
Going off of Garth’s tip, Sam and Dean head to Alaska in search of a mythical pool hall where desperate souls go to increase their luck. In this bar, though, you don’t buy into a game with money, you buy in with luck, which you transfer into a coin. If you win a game, the loser’s luck jumps over into your coin. You can keep playing until you chose to leave or until the luck in your coin runs out, at which point you’ll likely die in some unfortunate fashion. Dean’s confident in his skills and decides to play despite Sam’s protests.
First up is a woman named Moira, whom Dean beats pretty quickly; his luck increases at the end of the game. Next, he goes up against a man named Joey 6. The episode began with Joey 6 savagely defeating a man named Leonard, who promptly died by truck when he stepped out the pool hall, so there’s supposed to be some tension as Dean faces him. Unfortunately, I didn’t think there was any because I didn’t find the pool sequences visually interesting; they kind of fell flat for me. While Dean plays, Sam chats with Evie the bartender, who explains that everyone else in the hall is essentially stuck there and can’t stop playing.
Dean beats Joey 6 and takes all of his luck, and Joey 6 dies from lung cancer shortly after. Unfortunately, Dean’s luck doesn’t increase with the victory and the boys realize someone is skimming luck from each game. It doesn’t take them too long to figure out they’re dealing with goddess of luck, Fortuna — who turns out to be Moira. Shocker!
Dean challenges Fortuna to another game, but she turns him down because he’s too easy to read. Instead, she picks Sam, who agrees to play but only on the condition that she let everyone else go if he wins. This was probably my favorite moment in the episode because I love that Sam cares more about saving people than recuperating the luck he and Dean lost; it’s like he’s putting an emphasis on the first half of the family motto. Alas, Fortuna says she’ll only play for luck.
So Sam goes head-to-head with Fortuna. As they play, she learns that the boys were cursed by God and explains why she and the other gods exist. Apparently, when Earth was created, humans started praying to things like harvest and luck instead of Chuck, which of course pissed that narcissist off. But Chuck eventually decided to create all of the gods (Greek, roman, etc…) so that humans had someone to blame when things didn’t go their way. Ever since season 5’s “Hammer of Gods,” I’ve wondered why these deities exist and now we have an answer. Of course, it turns out Sam’s plan was to get Fortuna talking, which leads to her losing the game.
Fortuna offers them another bet: If they win a second time, she’ll give them the luck of heroes like Hercules. Sam takes the offer but adds that she must also free everyone there because while they might not matter to her, they matter to him and Dean. Unfortunately, Sam ends up losing. Luckily, Fortuna lets Sam and Dean go without killing them. Not only that, but she also frees everyone who was trapped in the bar and gives the brothers a buttload of luck because the Winchesters’ compassion reminded her of the true heroes of yore. Damn right it did. With that new luck acquired, the boys take off, and Dean’s now free to eat as many bacon cheeseburgers as he likes because screw lactose intolerance.
While all of this was going on, Cas busied himself with his own case. A sheriff calls the bunker looking for Dean, but Cas picks up instead and learns that someone Dean was tracking a year ago has turned up: Jack Kline. Apparently, there’s video of Jack killing a doctor and eating his heart (this is not what I meant by “It’s Jack time, baby!” a couple weeks ago). Short story shorter: Cas discovers that Jack killed a Grigori and then saves Jack from being killed by another Grigori. You would think Jack’s return and reunion with Cas would be a momentous event, but there’s no dramatic tension and it feels like a footnote in the episode.
When the brothers finally make it back to the bunker, Cas reveals Jack’s return. Sam rushes in for a hug and lets out a sigh of relief. Dean, on the other hand, takes Jack’s face in his hands, with Jensen Ackles conveying the many mixed emotions Dean’s feeling at that moment. Once the reunion is done, Jack reveals that Billie hid Jack in the Big Empty until God left this world, brought him back, and told him to eat Grigori hearts to start building his strength. It’s all part of her plan to make sure he’s strong to kill God. Remember how the original Death told Dean that he’ll be there when God dies and reap him in “Two Minutes to Midnight”? Well, it seems like Billie is going to fulfill that promise.
- Supernatural recap: Garth gets a visit from the (very normal) Winchesters
- DJ Qualls on his Supernatural journey and Garth’s ‘beautifully written send-off’
- Supernatural final season will contain a flashback episode
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