Jared Padalecki as Sam and Jensen Ackles as Dean in SUPERNATURAL - Season 15 - "Gimme Shelter" | © 2020 The CW Network, LLC./Colin Bentley

Jared Padalecki as Sam and Jensen Ackles as Dean in SUPERNATURAL – Season 15 – “Gimme Shelter” | © 2020 The CW Network, LLC./Colin Bentley

Stars: Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Misha Collins Alexander Calvert, Emily Swallow, Steve Bacic, Nicole Munoz, Sara Southey, Meghan Drew, Adam Beauchesne, Mark Dozlaw
Writer: Davy Perez, series created by Eric Kripke
Director: Matt Cohen
Network: The CW, Thursdays @ 8 PM
Original Airdate: October 15, 2020

With so few episodes left to go, it’s a little odd that the SUPERNATURAL segment “Gimme Shelter” seems to inch the series arc along only slightly. Yes, the case of the week kinda/sorta has something to do with Castiel’s (Misha Collins) emotional journey, but a lot of it moves Dean (Jensen Ackles) and Sam (Jared Padalecki) in a circle.

At the Patchwork Community Center in Missouri, an older homeless woman is deemed to be “weird,” even though she’s not doing anything. Two of the female servers, pastor’s daughter Sylvia (Nicole Munoz) and her friend (Meghan Drew) tell young male server Connor (Mark Dozlaw) to eject her. Connor heads toward the woman, when he’s stopped by Pastor Joe (Steve Bacic). Spirit is more important than cleanliness, Joe says. Connor winds up giving the woman extra food instead of ejecting her. The pastor is pleased. Sylvia and her friend are not. Pastor Joe is Sylvia’s dad.

Later, Connor is walking alone through the city at night, when he hears a call for help in an alley. He goes to investigate. The voice calls his name. Connor trips backwards over what turns out to be a teddy bear – that speaks to him. Then Connor is grabbed by the neck by a grappling hook and dragged away.

In the bunker, Sam is reading online that Connor’s dead body had been found in the alley. But the guys don’t think it’s a case. Dean wants to investigate a blackout in Atlantic City, where there’s going to be a big Keno tournament. Dean remembers that Chuck said Amara (Emily Swallow) loves Keno. Dean and Sam believe that they have to kill Amara – the Darkness in order to maintain balance when Jack (Alexander Calvert) kills Amara’s brother Chuck, aka God. Dean wants to use Amara to trap Chuck. Sam isn’t so sure about this plan.

Castiel arrives. Once filled in, he thinks he should go with Sam and Dean. Dean is confident that this can be handled without Cas, and says he and Amara still have “a thing.” When Jack wonders about the news story about Connor, Dean suggests that Cas and Jack go check it out, just in case. It will keep them busy, keep Cas babysitting Jack, and keep Cas and Jack away from Amara until Dean and Sam figure out exactly what they’re doing. Castiel is exasperated, but Jack is excited.

Castiel and Jack arrive in the alley as FBI “Agent Swift” and “Agent Lovato.” Local cop tells them someone carved the word “liar” into Connor’s body, and cut off his fingers one by one, then shoved them down his throat. All that was found at the scene was the teddy bear, which had a speaker in it. The police found a second speaker in a fake rock further down the alley, and security footage picked up someone in a SCREAM-type mask crouched over Connor’s body.

Jack thinks the kill may be demonic. That night, at a crossroads, Castiel and Jack check it out. A crossroads demon, Zack (Adam Beachesne), shows up. Apparently, nobody is allowed to make deals these days. Rowena (now Queen of Hell, remember?) has a “people will end up where they belong” policy. It’s nice not to have quotas, Zack says, but he’s desperately bored with no souls to barter. He asks if he can help solve the case. Castiel refuses and determines he and Jack will stay and find the now-presumed-human killer. Jack likes this idea.

Misha Collins as Castiel and Alexander Calvert as Jack in SUPERNATURAL - Season 15 - "Gimme Shelter" | © 2020 The CW Network, LLC./Katie Yu

Misha Collins as Castiel and Alexander Calvert as Jack in SUPERNATURAL – Season 15 – “Gimme Shelter” | © 2020 The CW Network, LLC./Katie Yu

A woman, Valerie (Sara Southey), steals from the Community Center donation box. Outside, she hears her name called. She’s confronted by someone in a doll mask.

Dean and Sam are still on the road. Castiel checks in with Dean, gives him the update about Rowena having Hell on lockdown. Sam asks how Jack is doing. Jack is focused. Castiel also fills them in on the investigation so far: Valerie was part of the same church group as Connor.

Sam is concerned about them trying to kill Amara. They kind of like Amara, and now they have to lie to her and try to lure her to her death. Dean (no surprise) doesn’t want to talk about it, but says that at least this time, it won’t be him and Sam doing the deed.

Per Dean’s recommendation, Jack signs up as a new congregant at the church group, while Castiel does the FBI agent thing. He tells Pastor Joe that Valerie Jones never made it home.

We see Valerie is tied up, gagged, with a device poised over her hand to cut off her fingers. “Greed” is written on the wall in front of her. A video screen in front her runs the word “thief” over and over. Okay, so we’re in SAW territory. A blinking red light shows that Valerie is being recorded.

At the soup kitchen, Sylvia’s friend declares that the new guy (Jack) is hot. Jack talks to Sylvia, who is grieving Connor’s death. She says Connor was always there for her. Jack says he lost his mother. Sylvia lost her mother three years ago. She says her father a better preacher than he is a dad. Jack says he has more dads than most, and he always feels like he’s letting all of them down.

In his office, Pastor Joe tells “FBI” Castiel that he thinks it’s possible this faith-based community is being targeted. Others have left – former techie Brother Rudy went to join a different church. Joe says that his wife was brought up in this church, which used to believe that everything that happened was the will of God. Now they believe – Castiel interjects, “God just doesn’t care.” Joe is slightly startled and concludes that they all have to take care of each other (a good philosophy whether one believes in God or not). Joe says that as long as people are willing to do what they can for one another, everyone of all faiths and backgrounds is welcome.

Castiel opines that probably not everyone from the old church accepts the changes. Joe says this is true, but “a saint is just a sinner who keeps trying.”

While Sam and Dean are stopped at a gas station, Amara shows up. She says she smelled them from two states over. She also heard about Castiel’s “angelic APB,” so she knows they’ve been looking for her. She says they should talk over lunch – Pennsylvania deli pirogis it is!

Valerie is still being tortured. The monitor shows the words “Time is running out” and provides a new three-minute countdown.

Pastor Joe gives a multidenominational welcome to his flock, and asks Jack, as the newest member, to give testimony. Seeing Jack about to flounder, Castiel volunteers to do it instead. Pastor Joe is surprised, but amenable. Castiel talks about having done some terrible things in the name of blind faith. Then one day, something changed. He found a family, and he became a father. (We see Jack is touched to hear this.) This led him to rediscover his faith, and his identity.

Later, serving at the soup kitchen, Jack asks Joe how he manages to bring together so many diverse people. Joe says he likes to think of people as God’s hands – they lift each other up. Suddenly, the monitor in the dining room comes on with a four-second countdown. It then shows the bound Valerie having another finger cut off. The video goes out, and the screen shows the words, “You won’t save her.” Jack pulls a flash drive from the back of the screen. Castiel realizes who has done this.

At the Pennsylvania deli, Dean tells Amara they want her help in taking Chuck down. Sam has seen into Chuck’s mind and knows that Amara refused to help her brother. Amara says that not helping Chuck isn’t the same as betraying him. She acknowledges that she can feel Chuck snuffing out universes, and doesn’t seem happy about it. However, she says there’s nothing Dean and Sam can do, Dean tells Amara how Jack the Nephilim is getting stronger every day, and they can trap Chuck, they just need her help.

Amara tries to explain that Sam and Dean can’t comprehend what Amara and Chuck really are. They are twins, Creation and Destruction, Light and Dark. When the twins first split apart, all this – the universe, the Big Bang – came into being. Even though Chuck caged Amara for ages, she believes it hurt him deeply, and trapping him would be agonizing for her. She won’t do it.

Castiel and Jack burst into a rundown apartment. They find the dead body of Brother Rudy shackled to the bed. It’s been there quite a while.

Dean and Sam get ready to leave the diner, but Dean goes back in to talk to Amara alone. Dean wants to know why Amara brought Dean and Sam’s mom Mary back. (Jack accidentally killed Mary in Season 14.) Mary is dead again, so what was the point? Amara says that she wanted Dean to see that Mary was just a person, better than his childhood idealized version of her, because she was real. Amara wanted to see that now is always better than then. She also thought that having Mary back would release Dean from his lifelong anger, but, Amara says, “We both know I failed at that.”

Dean tells her that he’s furious. Finding that he’s a character in one of Chuck’s stories, that everyone is, including Amara, makes him livid. Dean accuses Amara of refusing to do anything to stop Chuck. Amara asks if she can trust Dean. He says he would never hurt her, which is literally true – he expects Jack to kill Amara. She says she’ll think about helping Dean and Sam.

Sitting on the front steps of the community center, Sylvia and her friend are talking. “The FBI guys” told Pastor Joe not to call the police, but Sylvia’s friend posted online about the death. Sylvia stabs her friend, then runs off. Pastor Joe arrives on the scene, administers first aid. Castiel and Jack push through the gathering crowd. Sylvia’s friend tells Pastor Joe that Sylvia stabbed her. Joe goes after his daughter. Castiel sends Jack after Pastor Joe and does a quick, surreptitious healing on the friend.

Sylvia pulls a knife on her father. She’s angry with him for changing everything, angry that his parishioners “don’t worship God – they worship you.” Joe says that’s not true. Jack comes in, says he can feel how distraught Sylvia is. He wants to help her. Sylvia calls Jack a scared little boy, just trying to make his daddies happy. She stabs him. The wound glows gold. Sylvia is startled.

Castiel and Pastor Joe enter. Castiel quickly gets the upper hand in a scuffle with Sylvia, and tells her to sleep. She passes out. Valerie is still alive, tied to the chair. Castiel heals her mutilated fingers, making them whole again. Pastor Joe sees and asks Castiel, “What are you?”

Joe, now knowing that Castiel is an angel, talks to him as Sylvia is put in the back seat of a police car. Nobody notices that the driver is demon Zack, whose eyes glow red. Joe says he’s spent his life taking care of other people, when he should have been taking care of his daughter.

In the truck on the way home, Castiel, in fatherly mode, says he knows Jack is shouldering a great burden, and he doesn’t have to do it alone. Jack says that he does have to do it alone, and that he’s been lying to Castiel. Jack says he is going to die – killing Chuck and Amara will kill him, too. (How killing Chuck won’t destroy all Creation is a good question nobody’s addressing.) Billie’s spell has been turning Jack into a bomb, and he won’t survive the detonation. Jack begs Castiel not to tell Sam and Dean. He thinks this is the only way they’ll forgive him for killing Mary. Castiel says he watched Jack die once, he won’t do it again. Jack tells Castiel it’s not his choice. Ah, SUPERNATURAL angst at its most thorough.

Back in the bunker, Dean prepares to start drinking heavily. He sees Castiel preparing to leave. Dean says he thinks they’ve got Amara on board. Castiel says the case went okay, they saved a few people’s lives. Dean wants to know where Castiel is going. Cas says he’s looking for another way, but if he doesn’t come back, there’s something Sam and Dean need to know …

What we don’t know here is whether Castiel is preparing to tell Dean about Jack’s doomsday detonation status. It seems unlikely that Castiel is going to spill about his deal with the Empty, which is that if he experiences a moment of true contentment he’ll turn into Angelus – wait, wrong show – er, he’ll have to go back to the Empty. Especially because it looks like the closest anybody is going to get to true contentment for a while is Dean eating a cheeseburger, this doesn’t seem like an immediate danger.

We hope that Castiel can find another way, because of course we don’t want Jack to die, we’re starting to like Amara, and we don’t want Dean and Sam to descend into lying, murderer-adjacent jerks. So that aspect has us engaged.

We see Pastor Joe’s transformation of his congregation from hardcore right-and-wrong to welcoming family that forgives trespasses as analogous to the Winchesters and to SUPERNATURAL itself. It’s a nice parallel, even if the non-supernatural case brings up a lot of questions (how did the sulky Sylvia manage to set up all that tech stuff, and why is she obsessed with SAW, for starters). It’s decent, and kind of sweet, but it feels like it’s time for a little more narrative propulsion.

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TV Review: SUPERNATURAL – Season 15 – “Gimme Shelter”

 

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