The season is winding down (winding up, really—with suspense building for the finale in just two short weeks and with no more hiatuses in between!). “The Great Escapist” had Castiel, Crowley, Naomi, and more, but was it any good? Hit the jump to find out.
Let’s do a quick recap. This episode starts off in a vaguely confusing way, with Kevin safe and sound on the houseboat and Sam and Dean popping in with a new piece of tablet to inspect. Of course it’s all really a trap—Crowley has him in an oubliette, sending in demonic Winchester impersonators to try to get more info out of him. Then we cut to the Winchesters: Sam is basically falling apart under the stress of the trials, and Dean is trying to keep him put together long enough to figure out what the Third Trial is and complete it. Finally we cut to Castiel, who’s hopping from Biggersons restaurant to Biggersons restaurant across the country in an attempt to stay under the radar to protect the angel tablet from both Crowley and Naomi.
Over the course of the episode, Kevin dicks with Crowley, eventually revealing that he was hip to Crowley’s scheme the whole time; Sam and Dean, while attempting to piece together the scraps of Kevin’s research, accidentally track down the Metatron in a remote Native American hotel; and Naomi traps Castiel and interrogates him. (In a weird turn of events, Crowley shows up, figures out where Cas has hidden the tablet [FYI: warning for body horror like goddamn], and steals it.) Sam and Dean convince the Metatron, who’s been too sucked up in his own world of stories and books and fiction to notice what’s happening in the outside world, to save Kevin. He does, pulling him out of Crowley’s grasp just in time, and they find out what the Third Trial is: to cure a demon, whatever that means. Just as the episode’s about to end, we cut to Cas, who has poofed his injured self into the road in front of the Impala.
So I was really excited for this episode because it brought back Kevin and Castiel, but in the end I found it sort of blah. The plot felt like it was all over the place, and this episode seemed like it existed more to set up for the next two rather than to tell a story in and of itself. It does introduce the idea that Sam is being purified by the trials rather than poisoned as it appeared, although it’s still not doing his body any favors.
I did love how smug and clever Kevin was about pulling one over on Crowley, and I also appreciated his desperation in the video that the WInchesters found—not everyone’s as jadedly self-sacrificing as them, after all. We also got some interesting backstory on Cas, Naomi, and the angels in general.
Furthermore, although it was by no means as explicitly racist as “Man’s Best Friend with Benefits”, “The Great Escapist” was still really annoying on the race front. First of all, we have some near-silent, mysterious and nameless Native Americans, who have been sheltering the Metatron for apparently generations. They don’t have a backstory or character outside of that. On the other hand, we have the Metatron. Was it really necessary to cast an old white guy for the role? Like, didn’t Supernatural have enough of those already? You could have cast literally anyone and you went with grizzly white guy, and made it so some Native American peeps have been waiting on him and treating him as a god for centuries? And no one even thought that was a little bit of a problem? Stay classy, Supernatural. *frustrated noise*
Also, on the storytelling front, I feel like the Metatron was a bit of a letdown—he seems really boring compared to the rest of the angels we’ve met, and the fact that he’s so out of touch is a little hard to believe. For one thing, all those books and he never came across the Winchester gospels? Still, if the guy they’d picked had been a really stellar actor then I might have side-eyed the ‘another white dude’ casting a little less, but he didn’t exactly have me seeing stars or caring about his character either way. This lackluster reveal combined with the rest of the episode just just cemented my apathy-bordering-on-displeasure, and, like, I really wanted to like it.
I dunno. After last week’s Robbie Thompson-penned emotional masterpiece, I had really high hopes for this week as well. In my eternal optimism I will transfer those hopes to next week’s “Clip Show”, where the episode promises the return of S1’s “Provenance”‘s Sarah Blake (and Abbadon, maybe), Cas in the Batcave, and, just possibly, an explanation of what “curing a demon” is supposed to mean, because seriously, what does that mean.