Warning: This post contains spoilers for the Supernatural season 12 episode, “Stuck in the Middle (With You).” If you haven’t watched it yet, jump into the Impala and drive away.
Homages are tricky business. You have to tip your hat just enough so audiences understand what you’re going for, but if you go too far, the result can be jarring. The latest installment of Supernatural, “Stuck in the Middle (With You),” went in the latter direction. On one hand, the Quentin Tarantino nod did give a different style to the whole chasing-a-monster business. But on the other hand, it was heavy-handed and distracted from an important and intriguing new threat.
I get wanting to pursue something fresh. We’re in season 12, new ideas are welcome. In fact, I’m often surprised by the inventiveness of the writers and directors this far into the game. Because the formula’s straightforward–save people, hunt things–you can change the type of monster, the scale and power of the enemy, but at the end of the day, it’s the Winchesters fighting through and coming out on the other side successful and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Some of the best Supernatural episodes are marked by their decidedly unique qualities. Episodes such as “The French Mistake” and “Baby” come to mind. So, yay for being creative and taking risks! This one didn’t pay off for me though.
I found the cuts and jumps between time and perspective took away from the introduction of the Prince of Hell, Crowley backstory, the reveal about Mary teaming up with the British Men of Letters a whole heck of a lot more than I realized, the return of the Colt (!), and the fact that Crowley has Lucifer locked up in hell. What. Yeah, it all happened in a single episode. So, the hour still packed one hell of a punch even with the jarring format. Those punches could have landed harder, but I’ll take it. Heck, maybe a non-linear approach was the only way to make all those puzzle pieces come together.
Where to start and what to focus on? Let’s discuss the Prince of Hell, Ramiel. He almost became king. I’m not sure why, but it made me happy to see Crowley attempt to follow proper procedure six years ago and go down the line of succession after the whole Lilith, Azazel, Lucifer business. Crowley showed ambition, of course, but Ramiel handed the crown to him. Seeing the history, I don’t think Crowley expected to attain quite such a high level of power. Having that information makes me consider the character in another light.
There was a sort of parallel between Crowley and Castiel, too. Remember when Cass took out Billie and talked about how the world needs every Winchester it can get? Crowley did his own version of the “the Winchesters are awesome” speech to Ramiel. He pointed out how the Winchesters have rescued the world again and again.
I shouldn’t have been surprised by Crowley assisting, but I was. With Ramiel’s power and the whole fancy archangel lance of death business, I assumed the situation was going to require assistance from the British Men of Letters. Then Mary’s dealings with them would be revealed, an argument would ensue, blah blah blah. Her secret’s still safe, but she was clearly not pleased about how things went down. Mary’s pissed off glare seemed to get to the ruthless and violent Mr. Ketch. I’m throwing a little of the pissed off glare back at Mary because she’s lying to her boys and dabbling in dangerous territory.
Ramiel is no longer a concern, but it sounds like his siblings are going to be an issue. Perhaps their threat combined with Lucifer’s kid still being in the world is what will force the Men of Letters’ hand. Either way, I’m ready to find out more about how the threads are going to intertwine.
Finally, did you notice the part where Mary called Castiel “one of her boys”? My heart. Oh geez, and Castiel telling the Winchesters: “You’re my family.” I like how this family is becoming all about expressing emotions. It’s healthy for everyone.
What did you think of the Tarantino style of the episode? Did you like it? Share your thoughts in the comments or over on Twitter.
Images: The CW