Supernatural "Goodbye Stranger" Review: Requiem for a Demon

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Supernatural S08E17: “Goodbye Stranger”


Well, it wouldn’t be the second half of a Supernatural season if the entire story hadn’t devolved into a big giant angst-fest. You know, more so than the show's usual angst-fest. Sam is probably dying. Again. Castiel is being weird and evasive. Again. And once again, Dean is stuck in the middle, wondering why he doesn’t get nice things. Welcome to the homestretch, ya’ll!

Also: MEG! MEG, NOOOO! COME BAAAAAACK!

More on my bitter tears later. Fresh off of a trippy adventure in his own personal “Mystery Spot,” Castiel caught up with the Brothers Winchester when they invaded his turf in search of whatever was randomly killing demons in a small town. That "something" turned out to be Castiel himself, so I guess in actuality they all caught up to each other. How quaint!

From the jump, Dean and Sam suspected that there was something off with Castiel, which leaves Dean 2 for 2 with the knowing-his-family-members-are-lying-about-stuff record. Earlier, he spotted Sam’s bloody tissues in the trash bin back at the Batcave and between Sam’s supernatural black lung and the really great job the makeup people are doing making Jared Padalecki look like he’s perpetually fighting off the flu, it wasn’t hard to figure out that Sam isn’t as fine as he claims-- but really, is he ever? Cas further elaborated on Moose’s condition by claiming that Sam was “damaged in ways he can’t heal” and implying that it was electromagnetic (!?) in nature. Thanks for your insight, Cas. I guess. But brownie points to the Supernatural crew for making an effort to at least show a gradual progression toward...whatever we’re working toward. I’d rather have details dangled in the dialogue and Sam discretely hacking up a lung than the usual modus operandi of ignoring everything until it suddenly becomes relevant again. It makes me think that this story is being thought out and planned, as opposed to slapped together over hellatus. I like it. It makes up for the blah cases of the week that preceded this wangsty adventure and the general clusterfuck of the first half of the season. Amelia even kind of sort of made sense once Meg compared her to a unicorn during her and Sammich’s little heart-to-heart.

Man, oh man, I’ve been waiting years for Meg to put everything she learned when she possessed Sam waaaaay back in season 2 to good use. I had always assumed she’d go for blackmail because, well, because it’s MEG, but given her recent fast track to heroism, using Sam’s “sad little thoughts” to make him feel better about the whole Amelia thing was also totes appropriate. I liked how she had to ask why he stopped the car after running over a poor, defenseless dog. That’s my Meg.

But apparently my Meg is dead now and I’m not okay. Maybe if she had gone out with a bigger bang instead of the rush job we got during Sam and Dean’s great escape, but the bros just sitting there watching it happen just kind of rubbed me the wrong way. Sure, sure, she’s a demon. She’s been pretty nasty in the past. Okay, REALLY nasty. But this has been a season for returning to the gray areas of hunting—being pals with Benny, letting him go after he ate Martin because he was totally justified in eating Martin, letting that werewolf chick from the episode that was sponsored by Dramamine go. Over the past few seasons, Meg has, however reluctantly, ended up as a sort of associate member of Team Free Will. She even pointed out the change herself and was appropriately grossed out by it. The argument can be made that she acted largely out of opportunity to join the winning team and her overwhelming hatred for Crowley, but then there was her relationship with Castiel, which “Goodbye Stranger” confirmed to be romantic, sexual-ish, and completely canon. This was followed up by her comparison of Castiel and Amelia as her’s and Sam’s respective “unicorns” who got them to leave behind the lives that had once consumed them.

I really should have known that she was a goner with character development like that, but Meg’s been around since the beginning. She gets smacked around and sent to the time-out corner, but she always comes back. She’s like a sardonic cockroach.

With that said, this is Supernatural and what’s dead doesn’t tend to stay dead. So you never know. Meg could very well pop up a season or two from now in a new meatsuit. (I hope, I hope, I hope.)

Meanwhile, in Lucifer’s Crypt, Dean and Castiel tracked down the demon parchment—I mean the demon tablet—I mean the ANGEL tablet. Months of conditioning and brainwashing, and Castiel is still a sucky liar. Cas needed Dean in order to bypass the angel wards protecting the angel tablet from intruders. Once Dean grabbed it, Naomi’s programming kicked in and compelled Castiel to steal the tablet and flutter back to the soulless corporate heart of Heaven. Dean was, understandably, not on board with that particular plan, and the epic smackdown Naomi’s conditioning prepared Castiel for commenced. There were quite a few parallels between Dean’s fight with Manchurian Candidate Castiel and his fight with  Lucifer Sam in “Swan Song”—from the relentless beating to the positioning of the more physically powerful party towering over Dean, but in the end he was knocked down not by a fist or a spell or a magic weapon, but by the reminder that they are family, and on Supernatural, family is everything.

Free of his programming, Cas came clean about Naomi’s tampering, which was welcome because between that and Sam’s sniffles, the lying and the sneaking were getting old. But then Castiel decreed that he had to protect the angel tablet, which is all well and good because Naomi is totally skeevy, except that protection apparently also extends to the Winchesters. Great. Well, at least Sam owned up to feeling like dog food and promised not to lie about it anymore. Dean continued to be uncharacteristically mature about Sam screwing him out of his latest quest for martyrdom and sort of quoted The Lord of the Rings.


Glad to have you back, Supernatural! Now, more like this and less like the last three episodes leading up to this.


What did you think of Supernatural’s return?



CASE NOTES

– Dumb Winchester Sighting? I felt uncomfortable with Dean Winchester just wandering around the Batcave, rooting through boxes of possibly mystical weapons with labels he couldn’t read. I just feel like he should know better? And I honestly thought a fairy was going to jump out of that little egg and punch him in the face. I was actually disappointed when one didn’t.

– “I can hear you both. I AM a celestial being.” You tell ‘em, Castiel.

– Crowley bleached Meg’s hair as a form of torture. How very Crowley of him.

 There was some pretty cool editing this week. Even though it gave me whiplash, Cas going back and forth between Naomi and Dean during their big fight was well done. Castiel on the Greyhound was also one of those instances of Supernatural just nailing it with the perfect soundtrack and the perfect visual teaming up to make a scene resonate. 

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