Misha Collins as Castiel and Alexander Calvert as Jack in SUPERNATURAL - Season 15 - "Destiny's Child" | ©2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved/Jeff Weddell

Misha Collins as Castiel and Alexander Calvert as Jack in SUPERNATURAL – Season 15 – “Destiny’s Child” | ©2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved/Jeff Weddell

Stars: Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Misha Collins, Alexander Calvert, Lisa Berry, Danneel Ackles, Rachel Miner, Genevieve Padalecki, William C. Vaughn, Amelie Eve
Writers: Brad Buckner & Eugenie Ross-Leming, story by Meredith Glynn & Robert Berens, series created by Eric Kripke
Director: Amyn Kaderali
Network: The CW, Mondays @ 8 PM
Original Airdate: March 23, 2020

 The SUPERNATURAL episode “Destiny’s Child” is agreeable, if exposition-heavy. A fair amount of time is given to gags that seem like they may have been a long time in the making.

In the bunker, Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) are going through the books and checking the computer when they hear something weird in the armory. When they check, they find a rift –and a different Sam (still Padalecki) who is wearing a maroon turtleneck, a scarf, and a kind of samurai manbun, and Dean (still Ackles), in a riding jacket, with a white button-down shirt. When Sam 2 and Dean 2 (and the rift) vanish again, Sam and Dean tell Castiel (Misha Collins) about it. Probably due to the way they explain it, Castiel is completely bewildered.

Billie/Death (Lisa Berry) pops up and explains these new guys were indeed another world’s Sam and Dean, fleeing God’s destruction of their reality. God is wrapping up reigning apocalypses upon the rest of the other universes He created, so our Sam and Dean need to be prepared. Billie is here with the next step for superpowered Nephilim Jack (Alexander Calvert), who enters eating a sandwich, saying he’s ready.

Danneel Ackles as Jo in SUPERNATURAL - Season 15 - "Destiny's Child" | ©2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved/Katie Yu

Danneel Ackles as Jo in SUPERNATURAL – Season 15 – “Destiny’s Child” | ©2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved/Katie Yu

Billie says this will be a spiritual quest. Jack must find the Ocultum, which is hidden. Even Billie doesn’t know where (see the “it’s hidden” part). The Ocultum is not a weapon, per se, but it is powerful.

Sam tries to research the Ocultum, then sees Dean is distracted. Dean has been thinking that maybe Jack should kill God’s sister Amara, aka the Darkness, too. If Jack only kills God, then there is no balance, which means the world will end anyway. So maybe Jack needs to kill both God and Amara to maintain the balance. But then, Sam asks, who takes over? Jack? Jack doesn’t seem a great choice.

Jack enters. When Dean asks, Jack says cheerfully that Billie’s plan seems to be for him to just try to smite God. Castiel enters and says that the shifty shaman Sergei (not usually to be believed) has given him some clues on where to find the Ocultum. Long story short, the Ocultum is now in the possession of Jo (Danneel Ackles), angel turned for-profit faith healer.

Dean and Sam drop in on Jo, who seems to be doing well financially. (She healed a billionaire’s child, which has been good for business.) Jo doesn’t want to side with the boys against God – He is after all God. When Sam and Dean threaten Jo with angel blades, she says she gave the Ocultum to the demon Ruby (Genevieve Padalecki).

Turns out that Jo and Ruby, if not exactly pals, did a few jobs together back in the day. We see in flashback that Ruby didn’t care that Jo used her powers for profit, and Jo didn’t mind that Ruby would sell people back their souls for cash. Ruby told Jo that she could get a buyer for the Ocultum. So Jo gave Ruby the Ocultum, but before the buyer could be contacted, Sam and Dean killed Ruby (back in Season 5). The Ocultum is now stashed in Hell.

Back at the bunker, Jack is waxing philosophical on the joys of coming back from the dead. He is enjoying fried food, for instance. But he doesn’t feel things the way he did back when he had a soul. Jack says that sees that he has caused Sam and especially Dean pain by his (sort of) accidental killing of their mother. Will Dean ever forgive him? Castiel says Dean feels things more deeply than any human he’s ever known. Maybe if Dean can explode and let it all out …

Dean and Sam and tell Castiel what Jo told them. Meanwhile, the alternate Sam and Dean are visible though transparent in the bunker, possibly trapped between worlds, not all the way here, but not all the way anywhere else. Dean figures they can just be left where they are for the time being. Meanwhile, Dean and Sam have to go to Hell. (Dean is startled to learn that Sam and Ruby had sex way back when. Hey, whatever.)

In Hell, Sam and Dean are greeted by a demon (William C. Vaughn), who tells them that their friend Rowena, Queen of Hell, is unavailable, as she’s hosting a reception for newly-damned souls. The demon agrees to take them to see Rowena.

Back at the bunker, Castiel worries that Jo’s story doesn’t really track. Why didn’t she try to get the Ocultum back once Ruby died? Castiel tells Jack they’ll have to ask Ruby about this. Ruby is in the Empty, where angels and demons go when they die. Castiel wants Jack to almost kill him, so that Castiel can get into the Empty to talk to Ruby. Castiel instructs Jack to drain most of his life force into a flask. Jack also needs to keep the Hell rift open so Sam and Dean don’t get stuck down there. Even though Jack doesn’t have a soul, he’s got concerns about this (score one for Jack here).

Down in Hell, the demon walks Dean and Sam into a trap. (They’re not hugely surprised.) They fight with the demon, plus two more demons. The boys get rid of the additional demons with relative ease, then asks the remaining demon why he tried to kill them. Turns out Jo promised the demons she’d bust them out of Hell for killing Sam and Dean. Why does Jo want them dead? The demon won’t say. Sam kills him, but they’re no closer to getting the Ocultum.

Castiel wanders through the Empty, a big black blank space, looking for Ruby. Why he thinks this can work is a bit mystifying, since nobody is supposed to be awake in the Empty (Castiel was an exception, due to Jack’s intervention, and Billie/Death got Jack out). In any case, Castiel encounters the Empty itself, who has taken the form of Castiel’s deceased demon friend Meg (Rachel Miner). After a bit of haggling, where Castiel reminds the Empty that it and Billie are on the same side, and he’s here on Billie’s orders, the Empty produces Ruby. Ruby remembers dying.

Genevieve Padalecki as Ruby in SUPERNATURAL - Season 15 - "Destiny's Child" | ©2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved/Katie Yu

Genevieve Padalecki as Ruby in SUPERNATURAL – Season 15 – “Destiny’s Child” | ©2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved/Katie Yu

Castiel fills Ruby in on the situation. Ruby gives her version of events, which is that Jo called her in (not the other way round) and said they could ride out what seemed to be a looming apocalypse – Lucifer and the archangel Michael going at it – in the Ocultum. The Ocultum is not just a thing, it’s also a place. Ruby stashed it, and didn’t tell Jo where, as she knew Jo couldn’t be trusted. However, Ruby will trust Castiel with the info, if he’ll get her out of the Empty. The Empty, Ruby says, is full of the dreamed regrets of angels and demons who can never wake up. She understandably wants out.

Sam and Dean show up back in the bunker, returned from Hell. Jack explains why Castiel is almost dead. Sam and Dean insist that Jack wake Castiel up. The Empty starts torturing Castiel. Death has promised the Empty that once this is all over, the Empty can go back to sleep. But Death didn’t say anything about needing Castiel.

Jack revives Castiel just before the Empty can squash him. Castiel has the location of the Ocultum from Ruby. Then Jack worries that if Chuck/God checks in on them, it’ll all be over. Dean has the idea of getting alt-universe Sam and Dean all the way here, so that if Chuck/God looks for the guys in the bunker, He’ll see a Sam and Dean, and probably not know the difference. Castiel’s grace and some spellwork from Sam is enough to bring the pair all the way over into our world.

Sam 2 and Dean 2, moneyed and preppy, say they don’t drink much beer. “Dad” prefers his Scotch, and he spoils them. Original Sam and Dean try to wrap their minds around the notion of a Dad who is still around, and spoils his sons. Sam 2 and Dean 2 say that they went into the rift with Dad, but evidently got separated. They’re pretty sure their world is gone, but don’t seem too broken up about it.

Our Sam and Dean are astounded to hear that on Sam 2 and Dean 2’s world, John Winchester established Hunter Corp, which pays Hunters to fight monsters. It has been a major money-maker.

Our guys explain the situation. Dean 2 and Sam 2 are startled to hear that God actually checks in on this Sam and Dean. Our Sam and Dean explain they need the other two to impersonate them, which means Sam 2 must lose his manbun (he refuses) and Dean 2 must dress like Dean 1 (Dean 2 is less than thrilled).

Our Sam and Dean, plus Castiel and Jack, go to the old deserted church that Ruby has designated. The place turns out to be guarded by hellhounds. Everybody gets inside the building just before the beasts attack.

Inside the church, Sam tries to hold the doors shut while the others find a small sphere that has Enochian writing on it, which says something along the lines of, “In order to be in the Ocultum, the Ocultum must be in you.”

Back at the bunker, Samuel (as his brother Dean 2 calls him) is watching cat videos on the Internet. Dean chastises him for not cutting off the manbun. Samuel says that the “hillbilly clothes” are bad enough, and that his hair is sacred. Dean 2 has discovered Internet porn. Dean 2 envies the lives of our Sam and Dean. No Dad telling them what to do, no quarterly reports, just hunting monsters, drinking beer and porn. Dean 2 surmises that our guys have it made.

Back at the abandoned church, our guys are getting ready to fight for their lives. Dean thinks that both Ruby and Jo have lied in order to get them killed. Meanwhile, Jack has eaten the sphere – he took the Enochian writing as an instruction to swallow it, so he did. Then Jack starts glowing – and vanishes.

Jack finds himself in the Garden of Eden. He meets a little girl, who tells him humans can’t enter here, so Jack must not be human. Jack says he was told the place might change him. The little girl says it’s possible, if he was the one meant to find it. The little girl leaves, and a very large serpent descends from a tree and asks Jack who he is, really, and who is he meant to be? Jack flashes back on a lot of significant moments (killing Mary, killing Lucifer’s vessel, seeing his mother Kelly in Heaven).

Back in the church, a sphere of light floats through the room. The light takes out the hellhounds just as they burst through the door. Then the light vanishes, and Jack is unconscious on the floor. As Dean, Sam and Castiel gather round him, concerned, Jack wakes up.

Back at the bunker, Samuel and Dean 2 propose staying in the bunker with our guys. Our Dean thinks this is a bad idea and suggests they go to Brazil. Then Samuel mentions that they saw the car – and drove in it. Our Dean is practically homicidal. Dean 2 realizes that he and Samuel should leave, right now, so they do.

Castiel has been with Jack, and reports that he’s okay, but different. Jack is full of remorse for having killed Mary. Castiel realizes that Jack’s soul is back. Jack tearfully begs for forgiveness. It’s unclear what, if anything, Sam and Dean will say in reply.

“Destiny’s Child” is chock-full of new rules and objects, which necessitates a lot of explanation to get the characters from here to there and back again. On the one hand, it’s helpful, because there’s a lot of information here, but then again, it seems like there ought to be a way to streamline some of this.

Clearly, Jack needed to get his soul back before SUPERNATURAL ended, but despite Billie’s assertion that this was a spiritual quest, it seems more like an Easter Egg hunt: find this, swallow that, land here. Shouldn’t Jack have to actively do something and make some kind of choice to get his soul back? There doesn’t seem to be a full through-line on why a visit to Eden would be the thing that restores it. Do all worlds have the Garden of Eden, or just ours? We don’t get an explanation on this.

We also don’t quite understand the plot reason for the Empty playing at being Meg, of all people. The meta explanation is likely that everybody is understandably fond of Miner, but of all the dead demons and angels the Empty could have conjured to unsettle Castiel …?

Much of “Destiny’s Child” seems to be paying off some in-jokes. Without being clued into much offscreen SUPERNATURAL lore, this reviewer can’t be sure, but the upper-crust Sam and Dean personas appear to be something Padalecki and Ackles have been playing with for a while. It’s amusing and allows both actors to show range, but it feels like all sorts of plot elements are being ignored. Did God actually not keep track of this Sam and Dean at all? They clearly haven’t killed each other and don’t seem inclined to do so. This may be addressed in the last seven episodes of the series, in which case, this objection will be withdrawn, but for now, something that seems like it would normally launch an existential crisis, or at least a deep dive into Chuck’s master plan, gets batted away like a toy in a cat video.

It’s also fun to see Genevieve Padalecki and Danneel Ackles finally share the screen (yes, they are the real-life wives of the actors whose surnames they share) after having them recur individually over time. There’s no over-arching story reason to put Ruby and Jo together, but it works, so why not?

“Destiny’s Child” is generally enjoyable and pays plenty of service to both SUPERNATURAL’s past and the abilities of its regular cast members. It just seems to be in tell-more-than-show mode for much of the episode.

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TV Review: SUPERNATURAL – Season 15 – “Destiny’s Child”

 

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