‘Supernatural’: Season 15 Episode 15 – “Gimme Shelter” Review

It’s the fight of the century: Faith VS Family! But who will win!?

Fun fact: this episode was directed by Matt Cohen who played the young John Winchester! Maybe that’s fitting for the theme we’re exploring, since Matt not only played John but also Michael possessing John. He’s had the duel perspective.

The way this episode is set up you think you’re looking at two simple stories: You’ve got Pastor Joe (Steve Bacic) and his daughter, Silvia (Nicole Muñoz), and then Amara and Chuck. But pay close attention and you’ll find Dean, Jack, and Cass all thrown into the mix.

Where’s Sam? Allow me a brief tangent while still saying mostly on point. Sam and Dean are symbolic figures in this series. When the story focused on their respective counterparts (Lucifer and Michael) it teetered between the brothers. Lucifer heavy episodes favored Sam, while Michael centered episodes leaned towards Dean. Specifically, Dean’s conflict about how to deal with Sam. Way back at the start of the series, John pit his sons against one another by telling Dean he might have to kill Sam one day. John, in the beginning, was as close to God as we were gonna get. Then actual God entered the picture, or, at least his army of angels. The angels then pit Sam and Dean against each other again. Mind you, “pit against one another” isn’t even a good way to put it. From the get go it always seemed to be Dean against Sam. Dean was the one who had to make the choice to kill his brother. Sam had a few instances where he clearly went against his brother (thanks a lot Ruby), but overall its been mostly Dean being told he needs to kill Sam. Finally, you’ve got Chuck and Amara.

Amara, conveniently a lady, is tied to Dean. Dean, while being extremely loyal to their father, always lamented the loss of his mother, which Amara knew due to their bond. It’s part of the reason why she brought Mary back from the dead. Sam, conversely, never knew their mother that well – being a baby when she died – so while having her back gave him a chance to form the bond he’d never been able to, I feel like her death didn’t devastate him the way it did Dean. Now, Sam is tied to Chuck. Literally, they were bound once Sam shot God with the equalizer.

I find this setup very interesting given the boys’ relationship to their respective parents. Sam loved his father but didn’t agree with him in many ways and had more or less left the family. He didn’t view his father in the same way Dean did. Dean, on the other hand, loved their father deeply and (according to Sam) followed his will blindly. See where I’m going yet?

Sam has, roughly, no strong connections left in the series save for Dean. Dean, has all of the connections. Dean is tied to Cass, Jack, Chuck, Amara, and Sam. Dean is the star of the show right now. Not that Sam doesn’t matter or isn’t important, but his major contribution was to be a moral quandary for Dean. If his baby brother was the monster, would Dean still follow the will of his father? Only now, we know Sam isn’t a monster. We know Lucifer is dead, which means all of Sam’s future “monster” potential is gone. Chuck showed Sam a hypothetical where it’s brother vs. brother, but I think he ultimately gave up those conjectures because he sees what we all do now: Sam isn’t a threat. Sam’s off the board.

Even in this episode Sam’s major input was to stir up doubt about their plan to kill Amara. Dean’s the one who did all the talking when they actually met up with her, which makes sense since, again, he’s the one who has the strong connection to her. He’s also the one who goes back to fully convince God’s sister to betray him.

Which brings us back to my original point: family vs. faith. Will Amara choose “family”? Or, will she have faith in Dean’s promise not to harm her in order to stop her brother’s reckless destruction? How’s that for irony, eh? The darkness is trying to save people. We know that Silvia, Pastor Joe’s daughter, ultimately chooses faith over her family. She resents her father’s non-committal form of worship, going so far as to gank John Doe’s style in Seven. Finally, there’s Cass and Jack. Cass is extremely pro family, given that his faith has been ripped apart and exposed as the whims of a cruel and petty god. His speech to the Pastor’s followers that being a “father” allowed him to find himself again is what makes Jack’s confession later so painful. See, Jack has faith in the plan. He loves his family, but he understands that the best way to save them is to sacrifice himself. He also feels like he owes Sam and Dean his death, as recompense (thanks Avengers!) for killing Mary.

I’m wondering if this is shaping up to be a Hunger Games situation, where the new guard will be just as bad as the old guard. Why is Billie so keen on killing God? Does reaping God have the same side-effect as reaping Death did? Will Billie become the new God? And what happens to a world without darkness or light? I get the idea of cutting the puppet strings, but despite Dean’s resentment, didn’t he live his life as if there was no god controlling his actions anyway? And, when he did find out there was a Heaven what did he think that meant?

Most people are pissed because they think God is too hands off, Dean Winchester is mad because God is too hands on!? Ha ha ha, and we close with The Prophecy.

Next week’s episode looks pretty cut and dry, but who knows. One of the best parts of final seasons is that a lot of shows will really take chances and do wacky things. Unfortunately, one of the worst parts of a long running series is that they’ve already done that. Still, Supernatural has had some real gems over their fifteen seasons, I find it hard to believe they won’t have at least one in these last five episodes (and yeah, the Last Holiday, definitely showed promise).

 

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