‘Supernatural’ 13x18: ‘Bring ‘em Back Alive’ brings back Gabriel’s grace and humour

By @chelean on
Richard Speight Jr as Gabriel and Jared Padalecki as Sam Winchester in "Supernatural" 13x18 "Bring 'em Back Alive"
Richard Speight Jr as Gabriel and Jared Padalecki as Sam Winchester in "Supernatural" 13x18 "Bring 'em Back Alive" The CW

“Supernatural” season 13 episode 18 had a lot of surprises for fans. “Bring ‘em Back Alive” brought back the power players of the show, plus a few more.

Spoilers alert: The following recaps and reviews “Supernatural” 13x18, “Bring ‘em Back Alive.” The episode aired in the US on The CW on Thursday. It will air on Monday on Eleven in Australia.

Dean and Ketch’s rescue mission

Straight from last week’s episode, Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) and Mr Ketch (David Haydn-Jones) set out to rescue Jack and Mary (respectively Alexander Calvert and Samantha Smith, who are not in the episode) from the apocalypse world. But they weren’t able to get to the nephilim and the Winchester mama. They did, however, see an AU (alternate universe) version of Charlie Bradburry (Felicia Day), who led the rebellion against the angels. Dean obtained gunshot wound, which turned out to be some sort of deadly infection, but he pressed on, not wanting to leave Charlie in the hands of the murderous angels.

After they rescued Charlie, Dean had to go back to his world because their 24-hour time was closing. Ketch decided to stay, and so did Charlie. The plan was to have Dean return with a rescue gang, but Dean learnt, upon returning to his world, that Gabriel (Richard Speight, Jr) left and that they couldn’t open another rift to the alternate world without his grace (more on that below).

Gabriel’s story

Castiel (Misha Collins) was fuming when he found out that Dean went to the other universe with Ketch. He knew it was a dangerous mission, so he wanted to be there at least. But Sam (Jared Padalecki) explained to him that Dean’s way made more sense as they were needed in the bunker to take care of Gabriel.

The traumatised archangel still wouldn’t talk and wouldn’t even take his grace back. Castiel, being a seraph and therefore inferior to an archangel, couldn’t heal him. Gabriel was able to write his life story in Enochian on the walls, though, allowing Cas to read what happened to him.

His story started when he faked his own death at the hands of Lucifer (Mark Pellegrino) in season 5. He then went onto hiding in Monte Carlo, shacking up with porn stars (…”Well, he goes on and on for a while about porn stars.” – Cas reading Gabriel’s writing) before Asmodeus (Jeffrey Vincent Parise) captured and tortured him for years.

Gabriel was still unresponsive, so Sam tried to coax him out of his stupor and asked him for his help.

“And sure, yeah, hookers and Monte Carlo sound great, but your family needs you. Jack, your nephew, needs you. The world needs you. We need you. Gabriel, I need you. So please help us,” Sam begged. When Gabriel remained silent, Sam started to leave.

“Porn stars,” Gabriel suddenly spoke. “They were porn stars, Sam.”

Of all the things he could say, Gabriel, true to form, broke out of his reverie to talk about porn. That’s how they knew he was starting to feel better.

When Asmodeus came to kidnap him again, he was first fearful but eventually overpowered and killed the former weakest prince of hell. Gone was his wounded form, and it appeared he had healed almost completely. Although he was grateful for their help, Gabriel left Castiel and Sam after hearing that the AU Michael planned to invade their Earth, saying he wasn’t a team player.

Dean, upon returning from the AU, was enraged to find out Gabriel left and there was no other way they could open the rift without him. He now regretted even leaving the other world without their loved ones.

Disillusioned First Lady

Anael or Jo (Danneel Ackles) finally learnt that Lucifer didn’t have the will or the power to lead the angels. Lucifer tried to be a “god” that the angels and humans looked up to, but apart from not having his strength and full power back, he just didn’t care, and Jo realised that.

“It’s not the humans. It’s not the angels. It’s not your father’s propaganda that’s killing you. It’s your complete failure. You say you want to find your son, you don’t. Not really. So you sit there because you’re afraid of him. Afraid of looking into his eyes and seeing nothing but contempt. You can’t replace your father; you can’t create anything. You have nothing. You might as well go back to the cage,” Jo said. “And now you don’t have me.”

‘Bring ‘em Back Alive’ review

First off, bringing Charlie might be a gimmick, but it’s a very good one. Charlie is a fan favourite, one whose death shouldn’t even have happened in the first place. With the AU Charlie more focused and serious, fans are seeing a different side of her (not the one that’s evil).

It’s also great to see Jo leaving Lucifer. God’s favourite son’s story should have ended in season 11, but it keeps dragging on and on. And if anyone needs a redemption arc, it’s definitely not him. He had used up all his chances at redemption, and now he is just a bratty rebel without a real cause. Jo, on the other hand, has so much potential without him. So it’s a good thing she separated from him. Maybe this time she would have the time on the spotlight that she so deserved.

Gabriel being back and the first words that came out of his mouth were “porn stars” were just too funny. It’s just the type of thing that one would expect from an unbroken Gabriel. This is why fans can’t get enough of him. Even in his gravest moments, he was able to make people laugh by being his incorrigible self.

In the apocalypse world, the humans were caught up in the middle of the fight between heaven and hell. But still it doesn’t make sense why the angels needed to kill humans or even antagonise them to fight back. It’s not the smartest move and it goes against everything that God has asked them to do: protect humans.