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Roundtable Discussion on Supernatural S12/E12 “Stuck in the Middle (With You)”

Welcome to the Supernatural Roundtable this week’s episode was written by Davy Perez and directed by Richard Speight Jr.  The homage to Tarantino thrilled some of the panel and left others a little dizzy.  Everyone agreed that it was good to see Sam and Dean continuing to function as a well-coordinated team.  Read on for our individual opinions and let us know where you fall on the spectrum!  Spoilers ahead…..

 

Sam/Dean:

What are your thoughts on Sam and Dean?

Jackie:  I think that Sam and Dean are finally back on the right track, relationship-wise. They trust each other again and work together like a well-oiled machine–which is good, since we need a united Sam and Dean to fight the numerous obstacles coming their way. For the most part, Sam and Dean’s role in this episode is more of a supporting one than anything; this episode is really about Mary and, to an extent, Castiel, who comes face-to-face with his own mortality, but more on that later.

I did, however, love that the writers had Sam be the one to take out Ramiel, a Prince of Hell who belongs to the same class of demon as Azazel, the Yellow-Eyed Demon that killed Mary and Jess. And, to an extent, Mary helped Sam to do this, which was satisfying for both of them.

Lissy:  As always, I love these guys. They are working so well together and never give up on family.

I must say, I hope I am not the only one, but I really appreciated the Tarantino-esq format for this episode! I think it added to filling in the background and helping to understand a lot of the complex issues in this episode. Plus, it was SO MUCH better than a typical flashback episode, and who doesn’t love a slow-motion group walking scene set to awesome music?

Kelly:  There are some great moments for Sam and Dean in this episode.  When Dean saved Sam in the beginning from the demon that had just killed Wally. Sam killing Ramiel with Michael’s lance. Gave me chills how badass Sam can be.  I liked the Pulp Fiction feel to the episode.

Debbi:  Everyone knows by now I’m a total Sam girl and I LOVED the fact that Sam took out Ramiel.  What a sense of justice he must have felt at taking out a Prince of Hell.  After all that Azazel did to mess with him, it had to feel good to put the lance through one of those heavy hitters!  As mentioned above, this episode is less about Sam and Dean and more about Mary and then Cas, but Sam and Dean seemed to be back at their peak, and I really appreciate that.  Really solid brother storyline.

 

Mary:

Mary working with the BMOL?

Jackie:  I’m upset that Mary is working with the British Men of Letters despite what they did to Sam. If Mary was anything like Dean, she would’ve told them to take a hike the second that they approached her. Instead, she’s decided to align herself with their agenda, which has made her reckless with her life and the lives of those around her. As far as I’m concerned, she’s responsible for Wally’s death and Cass’s injury, and if she continues to lie and keep secrets, more people will pay the consequences.

Lissy:  I despise this working relationship. Neither of them trusts each other and Mary is being used and abused and is not standing up for herself or her family. No good can come of this, and the second they see her more as a liability than an asset she will be a BMOL target.

Kelly:  I have to wonder what is wrong with Mary.  I can’t believe she’d work with the BMOL after what they put Sam through in the first episode. I don’t care if they’ve helped them out a little bit, hurting her son should trump all that.

Debbi:  This is not the Mary Winchester I’d imagined (granted people’s memories always seem to idolize those who pass before us).  Tough hunter – yes; traitor to her family – oh hell no!  In fact, it is so repulsive to me that I have to wonder if that is really Mary wearing Mary’s appearance.  In addition to working with Ketch and the BMoL, she deliberately kept Sam, Dean, and Cas in a situation that could only end in someone’s death but not producing the Colt.  THEN, she hands it over the BMoL!  Lunacy.  I don’t understand why she’s decided to work with them after the way they treated her boys.

Continuing my comment from above, speaking of ‘her boys,’ why all the concern for Cas when Sam and Dean were still fighting for their lives?  Could she not have secured Cas away from the action and helped the boys take out the rest of the demons?  Very suspect behavior.  Additionally, she treats Sam, and Dean, like she can barely tolerate them, in fact, tells them she can’t deal with them as adults, but fawns over and calls Cas one of ‘her boys’?  When did she give birth to an angel?  And why trust him so implicitly when it seems like she doesn’t trust her true sons?  There is something about this Mary Winchester that is wrong – I’m interested to see how this plays out.

What Mary took and her inaction to Ramiel’s threat?

Jackie:  I was surprised to see The Colt resurface again and I’m curious as to how it got into Ramiel’s possession. However, as is often the case with this show, we will probably never find out exactly how that happened. What the British Men of Letters want with it is anyone’s guess. Are they hoping to take it apart and learn its secrets so that they can make a bigger, more efficient version? That’s a possibility. I suppose that we’ll have to wait and see.

As for Mary’s inaction to Ramiel’s threat, I don’t think Mary is in her right mind–at least, I don’t want to think that she’s in her right mind. It very well could be that she’s so blinded by her desire to rid the world of supernatural beings that she’s willing to sacrifice anything and anyone.

Lissy:  I was NOT expecting it to be the colt. It seems like Michael’s lance had a ton more power than the colt, why weren’t they after that? A man made the colt; I assume it could be replicated since Bobby and Ruby were able to reproduce the bullets Samuel Colt made. But either way, it seemed as though there were a lot more valuable and deadly weapons in Ramiel’s basement. But maybe we will be treated to even more of the colt’s backstory.

Kelly:  My heart broke for Sam and Dean when Mary didn’t give up what she stole for her boys.  I just can’t see how she can redeem herself, at least to me.

Debbi:  I touched on this in my first point.  I am extremely disappointed that Mary considers her deal with Ketch to be more important than building a relationship with her adult sons.  When Sam and Dean figure out that she had the item Ramiel was looking for and that she deliberately held it back despite the threat to all present, Dean will blow a gasket.  This is against everything Dean believes about family – about his family – and it will go a long way toward breaking him.

I did not think the item would end up being the Colt.  I was sure it was something along the lines of the angel and demon tablets.  I just can’t see Mary’s end-game here and hope the BMoL don’t end up using the Colt against the Winchesters.

Mary’s relationship with Sam and Dean?

Jackie:  It seems like Sam, Dean, and Mary have finally settled into a rhythm in regard to hunting; Dean no longer objects to his mother hunting and the three of them assist each other effectively on various jobs. Aside from that, however, their relationship is really in its fledgling stage. Sam and Dean are learning about who their mother is at the same time that Mary is learning about who Sam and Dean are. The fact that Mary is going behind their backs probably isn’t going to help with this relationship-building process, however.

Lissy:  I understand she is probably working with the bmol to give her sons a better life without all things supernatural, but she was given a second chance to BE WITH HER FAMILY. This deception makes no sense and will tarnish their relationship forever when it eventually comes to light.

Kelly:  I don’t think Mary has a relationship with her sons.  I don’t think she wants one. Sam and Dean have reversed their roles that they had with John.  Sam is trying to be the good son, and Dean seems to have written that relationship off already.

Debbi:  What relationship?  Well, all right, I suppose there is a collegial relationship between them and perhaps at this point that is the best that they can do given the circumstances of Mary’s resurrection.  Lissy makes and interesting point that I hadn’t considered in regard to Mary and the BMoL.  Her motivation could very well be to rid the world of everything supernatural.  I hate to think what that would do to Sam and Dean.  At this point, hunting is all they know, and each of their attempts at ‘civilian life’ have ended poorly.  Definitely food for thought.

I would say that right now Mary has a better relationship with Cas than she does with either of her sons and that is very sad indeed.  I’ve got to believe that neither Sam nor Dean have failed to notice her blatant favoritism.

 

Castiel:

Thoughts about his friendship with Sam and Dean?

Jackie:  Castiel is in some sort of limbo where the writers can’t really decide what he is or what role he is meant to play. For seasons now, Castiel has been an effective ally to the Winchesters–when he wasn’t double-crossing them, at least. He was a formidable warrior. Then, he fell from grace, and he really has never recovered. He can’t even fight like he used to be able to fight. For a short period, I thought that he’d become a hunter like Sam and Dean, but he doesn’t appear to be picking up any of their trade secrets. Which prompts the question: what future is there for Castiel? As we saw in this episode, Sam and Dean (and Mary) care about him, and he cares about them, but will we ever see a Castiel who can pull his own weight ever again? The jury is still out.

Lissy:  I love how they refer to each other as family. They have so much love and respect for each other that they are willing to die for each other. Dean and Cas have always had a strong bond; I am happy after all they have been through, they would never leave Cas behind.

Kelly:  I loved Cas in this episode.  I was so happy when he declared that the Winchesters were family and that he loved them.  It was genuine and heartfelt.

Debbi:  My thoughts are in line with Jackie’s.  I wonder where they are going with the Castiel character – is he going to become human again and stay human?  Will he regain his angel mojo?  Can he become and effective hunter – human or angel?  Right now, as of this episode, he’s not bringing much to the table in terms of the ‘Family Business.’

That said, I do think that it is amazing that Cas finally recognizes and accepts that he is part of the Winchester family (‘family don’t end in blood’) and is human enough to be able to recognize and express his love for them.  However, it adds to the confusion about what Cas is and where the PTB are taking the character.  I still love the first Cas we met, the avenging and all powerful angel.  He was terrifying and glorious.  RIP God’s warrior.

 

Crowley/Ramiel:

Crowley’s relationship with Sam/Dean/Castiel?

Jackie:  I love Crowley; Mark Sheppard is so brilliant in the role, and he always brings a certain snarky lightness to any scene that he’s in. I was glad to see him in this episode because he’s another character whose role in the show is kind of up in the air. He’s not quite an ally, but he’s not exactly an enemy either. For the most part, he’s still only really interested in his own welfare, but he seems to care about Sam, Dean, and Castiel enough to come to their aid. He’s as much as a conundrum as he was when he first debuted on this show, and I really love that.

Lissy:  I am so stoked we finally got to see how he was made to be the king of hell! I love a good Crowley episode, and I actually appreciate their building into this episode the reason why Crowley protects the boys.

This episode cleared a lot up regarding Crowley, his background, and why he swoops in to save the day all the time. One would have thought he still was aching for his Dean bromance again, but in reality, they have a symbiotic relationship and need each other to keep the world going. It makes a lot more sense than Crowley selflessly helping the boys out all the time.

Kelly:  Crowley was awesome as usual. He thinks that he’s protecting an interest, but he’s been putting himself out there time and time again for the Winchesters and Cas. I think he considers them allies and possible friends.  As much as the king of hell could have friends.

Debbi:  Crowley is probably my favorite character after Sam.  I love the guy’s snark, his narcissism and his intelligence (make no mistake, he is intelligent and crafty).  As much as he would like everyone to believe that he’s loyal to no one but himself, he’s got a soft spot for the Winchester’s and the angel.  I doubt that he’ll ever admit that, even to himself, but I’d love to see that happen!  I also really loved the flashback to how and where Crowley gets crowned the King of Hell.  Naturally, the guy jumped at the chance.

One word about the Lance of Michael.  It was beautiful, a really lovely weapon and by breaking it to cure Cas, Crowley telegraphs his feelings toward him loud and clear.  That said, when Crowley dropped the pieces of the Lance to the ground I thought the sound that the Foley guys added was too ‘light,’ the weapon bounced just a little too much as it fell and the sound was kind of hollow.  I would expect a weapon of that caliber to have made a much heavier ‘thud’ type sound.  It didn’t ruin the scene; it was just something that jumped out at me.

What did you think of Ramiel?

Jackie:  I wasn’t happy with the Canon re-writing that came along with Ramiel’s introduction in this episode. All of a sudden, Azazel is just one of many Princes of Hell instead of the unique entity that he was before. With that said, I thought that the actor who portrayed him did a wonderful job. His scenes were some of the most enjoyable of the entire episode. I almost wish he had stuck around a little bit longer.

Lissy:  I actually liked Ramiel! He was another supernatural creature who was just quietly living alone, enjoying life. If he WAS killing virgins and cows, then that is a different story, but I got the feeling that was made up information to get the boys involved in the job.

It was cool to get more of a backstory on the princes of hell, too. And now that we know there are more out there; I have a feeling we will see a few more yellow eyed demons.

Also, I hope they went back to Ramiel’s place and raided his basement! He had some cool gear down there!

Kelly:  I was sad that he didn’t get away.  The princes of darkness could have gone so many ways and opened up so many storylines.  Who knows there are two left and I’m curious to see if they seek revenge for the death of Ramiel.

Debbi:  I too loved the actor (Jerry Trimble Jr.) who played Ramiel.  He reminded me a little of Azazel in a way that made it more believable that they were brothers and he projected evil and menace very convincingly.  I enjoyed his interaction with Crowley in the past and his taunting of the Winchester party in the present.  It is a pity that he had to die and I agree that it will be interesting to see if any of his remaining ‘family’ avenge his death.

His basement is a treasure trove rivaling the bunker, and it would be great if in a future episode there is a reference to an artifact that was recovered from Ramiel’s place.  You have to wonder will the Winchesters clean the place out or will they leave it for the BMoL???

 

Final thoughts:

Favorite moment of the episode?

Jackie:  My favorite moment of the episode was definitely the final fight scene with Ramiel. It was well-choreographed as well as suspenseful. I especially love that Sam, with Mary’s help, was the one to take out Ramiel because it felt right, considering that Ramiel is a Yellow-Eyed Demon like Azazel.

Lissy:  There were a lot. I loved the way this story was told, but if I had to pick one moment, it is a toss-up between Crowley saving Cas or that spin move Sam did to get the lance away from Ramiel. (I am also a sucker for the slow-mo walking scene)

Kelly:  It’s a toss-up between Sam killing Ramiel and seeing the original Lucifer again.  Missed Mark Pellegrino.

Debbi:  My favorite scene was the meal in the diner.  The continuous shot with the camera in the round always works well to communicate a chaotic, but friendly conversation.  The meal had a very definite family feel to it and foreshadowed the later, more serious family moment.  I really like seeing a lighter side to the Winchesters, so much of the time they have the weight of the world, heaven, and hell on their shoulders; it is fun to see them relax a bit.  The dialog was very much in character across the board, and I really liked Wally!  I was sad that he was cast as a redshirt.

I also LOVED seeing Pellegrino again.

Overall score

Jackie:  C. Apart from the fight scene, this episode was a miss for me. The jumping around made it feel disjointed, the music was distracting and the overall plotline, which involved canon re-writing, was frustrating. I get that they were going for a Tarantino-style for this episode, but it just didn’t work for me.

Lissy:  A+! We Learned a lot, it was a fast-paced episode, the writers are moving the story along, and I love how the writers built all the flashbacks in without an actor having to stare blankly off into space as a lead into a flashback. Bravo!

Also, whoever is picking the music for this season is kicking butt. They seriously need to release a soundtrack for this season.

Kelly:  Solid B.

Debbi:  B-/C+ I didn’t like the too frequent jumping between past and present.  It was a little hard for me to stay focused on the dialog – the jumps were that jarring to me.  I did like the slow-motion walking scene or as I like to call those ‘hero shots’ and the fights were well choreographed and quite realistic.

I agree with Lissy about the music – well-done music editors!

 

 

That is a wrap for the roundtable this week.  We were all over the board this episode with our scores and our thoughts.  Let’s hear what y’all think about “Stuck in the Middle (With You).”  What would you like to see in future episodes?  What do you think Mary’s end-game is and who do you think she is?

Thanks for reading!  We look forward to sharing our thoughts with you next week.

 

 

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