Season 12, Episode 12 “Stuck in the Middle (With You)”
Written by Davy Perez
Directed by Richard Speight Jr.
I find this style of storytelling extremely irritating. I’m not talking about the Western flavor of the ep, complete with the final shootout in a barn. I’m talking about jumping back and forth in time for no apparent reason but to hide or reveal information. I’m sure they could have revealed the secrets in the episode if it was told in a straight line without all the hopping about.
We open with the boys, their mom (Samantha Smith), Castiel (Misha Collins) and an unknown hunter in a cafe. We even hear all of their orders. The extra hunter is Wally (Donovan Stinson), a friend of Mary’s. She asked her sons to help them out because Wally is facing a demon and hasn’t done that before. We find out later from an earlier scene that she is using Wally as a front because she doesn’t want Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) to know that she is working with the British Men of Letters. The waitress flirts with Cas and Dean takes the opportunity to tell him about waitresses. It gets a bit raucous and Mary uses the mom voice to get them all to shut up. It’s a fun scene.
They go to the demon’s house. He likes to fish. And I don’t mean a fisher of men, or some euphemism. He just likes to fish. They get in the house before he gets there. Mary disappears for a moment. Cas asks where she was. She tells him she was in the bathroom but we see later that she was getting into the demon’s safe and she took something.
Things go badly as soon as the demon (Jerry Trimble, Jr.) gets there. Sam and Dean go after it with everything they have, to no effect. Two other demons show up and kill Wally on the porch. The demon goes after Cas and stabs him with a spear, causing severe injury. Mary gets Cas into a truck and drives off to an abandoned barn with him. She calls Sam and Dean and tells them where they are. Sam and Dean show up. Mary doesn’t know why there were more demons. She’s freaked out because the demon has yellow eyes, like the demon who killed her. Castiel is still in bad shape because he can’t heal himself.
Crowley (Mark Sheppard) suddenly appears and predicts their imminent demise. This is a good thing because they have no idea what’s going on and Crowley does. In the only legitimate flashback of the episode, we see Crowley bringing gifts to Ramiel, a Prince of Hell. He was created by Lucifer himself. One of the gifts was Michael’s lance, which is the weapon Ramiel used on Castiel. It kills demons quickly and angels slowly and surely. Ramiel just wants to be left alone and Crowley makes a deal with him to that respect. The other demons were his, part of honoring that bargain. Crowley says there is nothing to be done. He and Dean have a face off and Dean tells him if he can’t help to get out. Crowley disappears.
Surprisingly, Crowley went to talk Ramiel out of taking his revenge on them, so when Crowley comes flying through the barn doors, they know the fight is on. The three Winchesters surround Ramiel and fight. They get the lance away from him and Sam uses it on him. Ramiel disappears with an evil laugh in an explosion of smoke.
Cas is still dying but Crowley figures out that breaking the lance might break its spell and it does. Cas is suddenly okay.
Afterwards, Mary talks to Mr. Ketch (David Haydn-Jones). She tells him the story. He doesn’t seem impressed. She tells him that if anything like it ever happens again, she’ll burn them down. All of them. She stares him down. It looks like a little fluffy dog staring down a rottweiler, but he blinks first. I don’t know if it’s because her resolve is stronger than his, or because he thought backing down was the politic thing to do. She shows him what she stole from Ramiel. It’s the Colt pistol.
Crowley is concerned about the Colt as well. He has his people searching the house for it. There’s a shadowy figure in a cage by his throne that looks like Mark Pellegrino. It sounds like Mark Pellegrino. He may be back as Lucifer. That would be cool.
So, Crowley is back in play. We haven’t seen him much this season. They should be nicer to him. With Lucifer whispering paranoia, the fact that he is not treated like family the way that Cas is will hurt a lot. And he did go above and beyond the call of duty this time.
Cas gets to tell the Winchesters he loves them again. He has a brave death scene where he gets to tell them to leave him and save themselves. It pulled at my heartstrings, especially the way that the Winchesters responded to it. It’s sort of an answer to his saving one of them from Billie the Reaper. It shows that they love him as much as he loves them. I am really worried they are going to kill him off. We haven’t even gotten to the cosmic consequences for killing Billie.
I’m not sure if Mary is going to continue to work with the Men of Letters, London Chapter, or not. Just because she was angry and betrayed doesn’t mean that she won’t still think there’s an advantage to working with them. I hope she doesn’t. I hope she keeps the gun and comes clean to Sam and Dean about what she did.
Ramiel says that Asmodeus and Dagon are still alive. Asmodeus is busy with his hobbies and Dagon with her toys, but Dagon has taken some interest in the fact that Lucifer is having a child on earth. We may be seeing her as part of that plot line. Azazel and now Ramiel, of course, are dead, both killed at the hands of Winchesters.
Mary has the Colt, which we haven’t seen in a long time. It can kill anything but five beings in creation. I believe that the five are God and the archangels. Dean dragged off the Lance of Michael, which had better be able to kill archangels, because Lucifer is the one Michael wanted to kill. This is appropriate, since Dean was supposed to be Michael’s vessel but refused. I’m sure these weapons will be needed soon.
As for the non-linear way the story was told? Irritating. It produced bits of scenes that we saw more than once, which is repetitious and boring. The scenes weren’t changed enough to be interesting, as they would be if we saw them with really important information that changed the way we look at the scene entirely. They weren’t done from a different point of view. It makes it look like they were randomly thrown together and then explained. Ultimately, it’s confusing and made it difficult to figure out what was going on.
Yes, I know that it’s an homage to Reservoir Dogs, including the title of this episode, but I still don’t like it.
If the show ever feels like doing the story this way again, and with the titles showing the time, or something cutesy-don’t do it. Just don’t.
Supernatural airs on The CW at 8pm/7c on Thursday nights.