Jensen Ackles as Dean and Stephen Huszar as Pax in SUPERNATURAL - Season 15 - "The Gamblers" | ©2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved/Colin Bentley

Jensen Ackles as Dean and Stephen Huszar as Pax in SUPERNATURAL – Season 15 – “The Gamblers” | ©2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved/Colin Bentley

Stars: Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Misha Collins, Alexander Calvert, Lynda Boyd, Hanneke Talbot. Brent Stait, Kahlil Ashanti, Stephen Huszar, Lelo Espejo, Rob Bruner
Writer: Meredith Glynn, story by Meredith Glynn & Davy Perez, series created by Eric Kripke
Director: Charles Beeson
Network: The CW, Thursdays @ 8 PM
Original Airdate: January 30, 2020

In a pool hall, nebbish Leonard (Rob Bruner) loses to the cowboy-esque Joey Six (Lelo Espejo). Two coins are in a device above the pool table. When Leonard loses, his coin goes blank and Joey’s glows green. Leonard’s luck has run out, and he’s told to leave. He is almost immediately hit by a truck.

Castiel (Misha Collins) returns to the bunker to find a note from Sam (Jared Padalecki) saying that the boys have gone to Alaska.

On the road, Dean (Jensen Ackles) drives while Sam is texting with Eileen, who is skeptical of their plan. Sam is unsure himself. They’re searching for a casino that is not even in the lore, in hopes of changing their luck, all on a suggestion from their friend Garth. Even if they find it, will just luck help?

Dean counters that it can’t hurt. He can’t take much more of being normal and having car problems and constant indigestion. Sam attempts to talk to Dean about his eating habits, but surrenders after a few words. (We sympathize, Sam, with both your intentions and in exercising the better part of valor.)

Castiel gets a call from Sheriff Jeb Evans (Kahlil Ashanti) of Cushing, Oklahoma. Jeb thinks he’s talking to the FBI; Castiel identifies himself as “Agent Lizzo.”  Jeb was asked by “Agent Watts” (Sam or Dean) to keep an eye out, and now he has information about Jack Kline. Castiel is stunned.

In Alaska, Dean and Sam stop in a diner. One shared piece of pie and a cup of coffee is all they can afford. Asking the waitress, who’s a local, about what’s up a seemingly empty road. She tells them an urban legend of a pool hall that can bestow luck or death. Dean gets excited. And then the waitress tells him their car has a flat.

Jed shares with Castiel a video that seems to show Jack (Alexander Calvert) ripping out the heart of a doctor and eating it.

Sam and Dean arrive at Lurlene’s, the isolated bar and pool hall. They get water from Evie (Hanneke Talbot), the bartender. Dean asks how they can get a game. She calls for Pax (Stephen Huszar). Max explains the rules. They don’t play for money (which is good, since the Winchesters are broke). Instead, they use a coin.

Max produces a very odd, battered silver coin, which glows green when Dean touches it. The glow, Max says, is Dean’s luck – not great, not the worst, just average. You put the coin on the pool table and you play. If you win, your luck improves; if you lose, you can keep playing. However, if the coin goes blank, you’re literally out of luck and have to leave.

Dean is ready to play. Sam wants to know more. Who owns the pool hall? What’s going on here? Max says he just works here. Dean wants to know if he can split the luck. Max says Dean can do whatever he wants. Sam is still wary. Dean tells Sam that Sam is better than Dean at practically everything. That makes Dean proud. But Dean is better at playing pool.

Misha Collins as Castiel in SUPERNATURAL - Season 15 - "The Gamblers" | ©2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved/Cate Cameron

Misha Collins as Castiel in SUPERNATURAL – Season 15 – “The Gamblers” | ©2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved/Cate Cameron

In Oklahoma, Castiel goes to the clinic where the doctor was killed. He finds a case containing a sword that belonged to “a perfect being.” Castiel heads out with the case.

Dean finally gets a game with Moira (Lynda Boyd). Sam talks to Evie, who tells him Moira is playing to get her sister out of a coma. Sam is trying to figure out exactly what kind of magic is in play. Evie says she doesn’t know. All she knows is that people get on a winning streak, could leave lucky, but instead they keep playing until their luck goes bad and runs out.

Jack is following another “perfect being,” Kabriel (Brent Stait) who gets the drop on him. Why is Jack following him?

Sam fills Dean in on the info. Dean wants to hustle somebody. Dean plays against pool hall regular Joey Six, who says he used to be a professional bull rider. Dean wins. His coin glows; Leonard’s goes blank. Sam and Dean follow him outside. Joey tells them he’s been here a year, trying to beat his cancer. He starts coughing blood.

Back in the pool hall, Dean is sorry but philosophical about Joey. They got the luck they came for, they should leave. (Yay, Dean.) Now Sam’s the one thinking maybe they should stay to rescue everybody else. Also, he’s not sure that what Dean won will make up for what Chuck took from them. (Boo, Sam.) Dean says he’ll take Baby for a drive, and if the car works, they’ll know the luck holds and they’ll leave. Good thought, but yeah, right.

In Oklahoma, Castiel meets up with Jeb. Jeb says Jack was spotted in conflict with another guy who had a sword. No sign of Jack or the other guy now, so Castiel goes to search the nearest church.

Back in the pool hall, Sam is trying to talk people out of playing. Dean comes back and reports that Baby didn’t even make it out of the parking lot. Sam realizes that this doesn’t make sense – if Joey got the luck of thirty or forty people, and Dean got Joey’s luck, he should be doing great, or at least the car should work. Sam thinks someone is stealing luck out of the coins. The coins are stamped with the image of the goddess Fortuna. Maybe she’s behind all of this.

Dean and Sam question Evie. Evie admits that she played and lost. She’s alive because Fortuna let her stay; she can stay as long as she works. So instead of playing herself to death, Evie is working herself to death. Evie says she doesn’t know who Fortuna is, but hall manager Pax is her son.

Kabriel has Jack tied up in a church and is questioning him. Why did Jack kill Kabriel’s brother? Jack says Kabriel’s brother was pretending to be a doctor, feeding on the souls of those he’s supposed to heal. Kabriel, Jack adds, does it as well, only he likes children. Who told Jack that, Kabriel asks. Death, Jack replies. And then Castiel shows up and kills Kabriel. Castiel hugs his long-gone adopted son.

Dean holds a knife on Pax and calls for Fortuna. Fortuna, who’s been posing as Moira, readily admits her identity and that she’s been skimming luck. However, she doesn’t care if Dean kills Pax – she can always make another half-mortal son. Fortuna insults Dean, but says she’d be interested in playing against Sam. Sam wants to play for the lives of everyone in the hall, but Fortuna says she’ll only play for Sam and Dean’s luck – and if Dam loses, they lose their lives. Sam is not a natural pool player, but (over Dean’s objections) he accepts the challenge.

While playing, Fortuna asks why the guys need luck so much. They explain about the whole cursed by God business. Fortuna has met Chuck. She says God made the world, but humans made the rest of the gods, sort of. When primates first evolved into humans, they prayed not to God, but to the sun, wombs, the rain, etc. God at first was angry. Then He created the multitude of gods worldwide so they could take the blame when things went bad. But then finally, He decided he wanted all the credit, and now most of the old gods are forgotten, surviving on scraps if at all. Fortuna holds a grudge. And since she’s been talking and not concentrating, Sam wins.

Fortuna is interested to hear that the guys want to fight God. She offers them the luck of heroes if Sam will play again, double or nothing. But Sam wants to play, not for more luck, but for the lives of the rest of the people in the bar. Fortuna says no one is stopping them from leaving. They’re losers – why do Sam and Dean care about them? But Sam and Dean do care. Sam says that if he wins, Fortuna needs to return the luck she stole from the other people, and then shut the joint down.

However, Fortuna wins. As she puts it, challenge the goddess of luck on her home turf, what did they think was going to happen?

Outside of the hall, Sam and Dean ponder their options. Fortuna didn’t have to kill them – their bad luck will do that. Dean says they need to get online and see what they can find out about Fortuna. But then the other humans come pouring out of the bar. Evie says that Fortuna is closing the place down, that she thought she’d seen the last of the Winchesters’ kind, i.e., heroes. Fortuna told Evie to give the boys a message – don’t play His game, make Him play yours. Evie gives Sam and Dean their playing coins back. The coins glow green. Baby starts and drives off.

Back at the bunker, Sam and Dean review. They didn’t win the lottery, but the car drives, the credit card works, and Dean’s eating habits haven’t killed him. And then Castiel comes out of a doorway with Jack.

Once Sam and Dean are over their shock, Jack and Castiel explain what’s being going on. Jack can’t use his powers, for fear of attracting his grandfather’s (that is, God’s) attention. Billie, aka Death, kept Jack hidden in the Empty until Chuck went off-world. Chuck is afraid of Jack, but Jack doesn’t want to risk Chuck trying to kill him again. Jack had to eat the hearts of the beings in order to gain strength. He’s not strong enough yet, but if he follows Billie’s plan, he’ll get stronger and be able to kill God.

Well, that’s an episode finale. The mythology in “The Gamblers” is intriguing and works within the SUPERNATURAL-verse. We’ve been wondering about all those god pantheons ever since we found out Chuck’s secret identity, and this explanation fits as well as any. It’s also good to have Jack back again. The structure is sound, but the episode can’t entirely avoid the fact that we’re stuck in a pool hall for quite awhile.

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TV Review: SUPERNATURAL – Season 15 – “The Gamblers”

 

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