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Supernatural "The Vessel" Review

Posted by Arni Bergsson on

From Supernatural S11E14: "The Vessel"

Oops, the cat—or rather, the archangel—is out of the bag. Dean and Sam's botched attempt to score one of heaven's nuclear bombs forced Casifer to reveal his true identity while also trying to soul-fist Sam to death because with Castiel's meatsuit, he doesn't need to convince Sam to be his prom dress. 


As delightful and awful as that notion is, it did raise some concerns about continuity and vessels and all that messy, messy mythology. After all, wasn't the whole point of Lucifer wearing Sam to the apocalypse due to Sam and Dean's super special bloodlines making them the ultimate angel vessels? Sam was custom-fitted for Luci and Dean for Michael. Making due with Adam was an act of desperation on Michael's part, but it was always supposed to be Dean—MFEO and all that. Then there was Gadreel; the vessel he scored upon first falling from heaven was fine, but then he got the chance to rock the Sammy meatsuit and apparently Sam Winchester is the Cadillac of meatsuits. Nick fell apart when Lucifer possessed him in Season 5 because his meat wasn't USDA approved. Castiel was pulled toward the Novak family. Is Lucifer content with Castiel's vessel because of some kind of hand-waving mojo about Jimmy Novak's soul vacating the premises awhile ago, thus making Jimmy's meat all angel? Or something? 

Is Luci sick of the chase? Was he planning on taking Sam's body out for a spin after he killed him? I need to know these things. Are vessels now interchangeable? Even Winchester vessels? 

Regardless, there is one certainty that I think we can all agree on: WTF WAS CASTIEL THINKING? When this is all over, someone needs to get that angel boy in therapy because he's just not cut out for the Winchester lifestyle of self-loathing. Even in Dean and Sam's most loathsome life experiences, teaming up with a psychotic archangel wasn't the sort of life choice one made on a whim... except for Dean that one time... but he was really drunk. 

Winchester decision-making skills have always been a little messed up though and on any other show—even timey-wimey Doctor Who—time-travel isn't typically something to be taken so lightly, even in desperate times. I'm not convinced that Supernatural has taken us to truly desperate times in Season 11 yet, but with the exception of Sam playing the part of the saintly buzzkill, the idea of flinging Dean into a doomed World War II submarine and probable certain death was barely given a second thought. Let's blame that one on the little devil sitting in the MOL bunker. 

After last week's total bomb of a Valentine, "The Vessel" felt like the belated bouquet that got lost in the mail. Sure, the flowers are dead now, but this is Supernatural, where death is life and life is weird. Dean's trip to 1943 gave us a look into the Men of Letters archive, complete with resident badass Woman of Letters, Delphine, Dean in a sailor uniform, and Misha Collins being given free rein to let his Lucifer flag fly now that Sam and Dean know which angel is actually driving Jimmy Novak's body. 

I can never get enough Men of Letters stories and since its Season 8 debut, most of those stories have been restrained by a forced connection to the main storyline of the season. Some of the best MOL episodes had little-to-nothing to do with the seasonal arc: "Everybody Wants to Kill Hitler," "Slumber Party," and even "Time After Time." While "The Vessel" certainly wasn't diminished by its ties to Amara and the Darkness (even if the whole "let's go find God's super weapon" felt like a convenient plot point to kick this adventure off) there was a lot of sitting around and not doing much of anything on Dean and Sam's parts. Dean's inaction at least played well for drama, but even then: Did any of us really deeply feel the sort of loss that we were led to believe that Dean felt after spending a few hours chillin' in a tin can full of people destined to die? I just wasn't feeling it. I wanted a bigger emotional connection to the once and future dead. It's really not hard to turn me into an emotional trainwreck. This should have been an easy score for Supernatural

Still: Men of Letters, Nazis, Dean playing dress-up, Sam getting soul-fisted, and Lucifer dropping the facade—this episode brought the love that Supernatural's actual Valentine's Day episode did not and with I am so ready for Casifer on the loose. SO READY. 



– Poor Crowley. 

– Someone should introduce Sam and Dean to the wonders of Costco. I always assumed Sam drank a bag of coffee a day. 

– "You drank all the coffee. What am I supposed to do? Drink water?" Oh Dean, I've justified so much day drinking with that excuse. It's a classic. 

– This is our second World War II themed MOL episode. What other time periods would you like to see from the archives? 

Please tell us what you think in the comments below...

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