This one I remember as “meh” so we’ll see what I think this time. I remember Sam revealing that he prays and Dean thinking he’s nuts for doing it and that exchange is kind of touching. But let’s see if my opinion on it overall is different this time. It’s sweet that Sam wants to believe so badly in “good forces” when he only knows for sure at this point that the “bad forces” are real. Sad knowing how it turns out (angels are douchebags and so is God), but sweet to see him at this point in his life when he still had hope.
Well, it was NOT “meh”!
I really enjoyed this one on re-watch!
I think the most compelling part is the push and pull between the brothers. We learn that Sam is either hopeful or desperate or a bit of both (desperate about his own possible destiny). It’s so sweet to learn he hopes that there is just as much unseen “good” out there (angels) as unseen (by most) evil. It seems Sam believe in the yin and yang…there has to be a balance. His challenging Dean on his (Dean’s) views is very passionate. His hope that the “thing” telling people to kill bad people is an angel and not a spirit is so palpable and when it turns out to be the spirit of Father Gregory, you can just SEE Sam’s face fall. So I give Jared HUGE credit in this episode. He really drew me in and held me. I cared about what he felt.
And yet…99% of the time, Dean is always right and he was right here as well. It WAS a spirit speaking to the murderers, but I did love how Dean had his certainty shaken with the way the final “bad guy” victim died; impaled like archangel Michael impaled the serpent.
So…what was really going on? Was God informing the dead priest? Or was the priest’s spirit working on knowledge he gained from these people in confession about the bad things they were planning to do or wanted to do? Trying to stop them before the did it. It would all have been okay if it didn’t turn other “regular” people into murderers. It sounded like the spirit of Father Gregory promised them redemption for carrying out his requests to kill bad people. Was that a real promise? Or was he promising something he couldn’t deliver?
I loved Dean’s certainty. Even in the face of Sam’s pleading, he held fast to his beliefs. Of course, NOW we know that they are going to have extensive dealings with very real angels! But back then, he hadn’t encountered one yet. I like how he did stick to what he said; he believes what he sees and when he saw something he couldn’t explain like that final death, he was open to reinterpretation.
I thought the guest cast was strong; from the first “lost” woman who killed the first victim to the older priest to Gregory. All good and believable.
I didn’t remember how compelling this one was. It kept me interested trying to figure it out as they did (it has been a LONG time since I last saw this one) and I thought Jared was incredible.
“And yet…99% of the time, Dean is always right and he was right here as well. It WAS a spirit speaking to the murderers, but I did love how Dean had his certainty shaken with the way the final “bad guy” victim died; impaled like archangel Michael impaled the serpent.”
100% this! I love that Dean saw the case for what it was pretty quickly. In that sense, the “case” wasn’t really the case, because Dean figured it out right away. The actual case ended up revealing the truth to Sam, and both brothers having their pre-conceived beliefs tested.
I like your Michael analogy. I never saw that scene that way — until now.
“So…what was really going on? Was God informing the dead priest? Or was the priest’s spirit working on knowledge he gained from these people in confession about the bad things they were planning to do or wanted to do? Trying to stop them before the did it. It would all have been okay if it didn’t turn other “regular” people into murderers. It sounded like the spirit of Father Gregory promised them redemption for carrying out his requests to kill bad people. Was that a real promise? Or was he promising something he couldn’t deliver?”
I don’t think God was involved at all. I think Father Reynolds prayed for deliverance from the violence going on in the neighborhood. Father Gregory (who can apparently read minds — a gift I don’t think I’ve seen in any other spirit in this show) thought he was answering Father Reynolds’ prayer when he decided that he was an avenging angel and started coercing people into committing murder. I think you’re right that Father Gregory got his information from confessions.
What’s always made me curious is why Father Gregory chose certain people to commit the murders. The two people we saw — the first woman and the drunk guy — were pretty messed up in life. Maybe they were in despair and/or vulnerable to manipulation, so that’s why Gregory chose them? If so, why did he choose Sam?
It was so sad to learn how deeply Sam is worrying about the chances of him going dark side. That he wants to believe that HE can be redeemed. As if he did anything to be redeemed for!!!
I also love that Dean told him Sam doesn’t need God or angels – he has Dean.
I agree with everything you said so I will start with some other points before I comment further on yours:
Can we pay homage to the motel for moment? IT IS AWESOME!!! Magic finger bed, red pleather walls, TRUCK FLAP ROOM DIVIDER (!!!) – all SO sleazy and visually great!
And Dean’s enjoyment of the bed it epic. LOVE the man!
Lots of GREAT camera work and cinematography in this episode. Right from the start with the sad, dingy apartment of the woman to the creepy cellar, to the church and crypt later – there are lots of gorgeous visuals.
I am completely with you that this was a STRONG Sam episode and Jared did fantastic getting us invested in Sam’s struggle for his own “destiny”. I think this was also the first time we find out Sam prays and actually believes in God and something more spiritual out there that he can’t prove?! I found that compelling too especially in contrast to Dean’s view of “I believe what I see and have encountered”. Especially because it’s equally heartbreaking to learn (by assumption) that Dean USED to behave in angels because his mom told him they were real, just to have that “truth” destroyed when she dies because Little Dean couldn’t believe a God or angels would allow that to happen!!! Like you I also really appreciate in the episode how it turns all of that on its head at the end.
It’s really believable to me that Sam sees stuff BECAUSE he needs something to believe in to have hope for his own redemption. It’s super touching and a little sad. And the last scene of the episode is beautifully acted between the two of them! PLUS awesome use of music budget with “Knocking On Heaven’s Door”, both from a lyric AND foreshadowing perspective!
To “WHAT IS ACTUALLY GOING ON”” I always wondered that, too. To me it had to be more than just the father’s spirit. What connected the father’s spirit to the hooker or the drunk? How could he just pop up in their places? I can believe that the priest is not at rest because of his violent death and missing his final rites. But he’s a pretty problematic father if he appears to people and tells them to kill other people. Taking judgment and execution in his own hands? Not trusting in God’s plan or forgiveness of sins? I can buy that he finds out about their sins through confession, but committing murder through a middleman especially preemptively? That’s a very misguided spirit….misguided by whom?
On a side note, would THAT behavior even after death would get him to heaven? He didn’t flame or fritz out, he actually looked like he was going to heaven, right?
So maybe it was REALLY God/ Chuck talking to Father Gregory? Or maybe Zachariah? OR some other player already trying to set the Winchesters onto the Apocalypse path? Or dividing them for later purposes?
I DO love that this episode give us the first definition of angles as FIERCE warriors.
On another side note: HOW did Dean get away from the final “accident scene” with a witness there and doubtless police on the way? They would have retained him and found out his “wanted” status, no?
Anyhow, very compelling episode to me as well. I bit of a sleeper, but in hindsight packed with important info.
“On a side note, would THAT behavior even after death would get him to heaven? He didn’t flame or fritz out, he actually looked like he was going to heaven, right?”
Great question, PNP 🙂
The way Catholic teaching goes, if you repent/apologize at the moment of death, you can still get to heaven because you repented, so God will forgive your wrongdoings. I think Father Gregory was hanging on here because he thought vengeance was his mission. But once Father Reynolds convinced him that he was NOT an angel and that vengeance was wrong, Father Gregory let go of his tether here and went to heaven.
For the record, that was NOT Catholic last rites. That has always annoyed me a little bit.
The one thing I appreciate most about this episode is how the brothers sort of switched mindsets. In the beginning, Sam admitted praying and having hope that (perhaps through divine intervention) he could somehow overcome evil and be saved. But by the end of the episode, he clearly had doubts and may have started losing hope and faith. In contrast, Dean started the episode not having faith, but the inexplicable way the would-be rapist died clearly made him wonder about God’s will.
This case was interesting. I appreciate the misdirection. Question: This priest/ghost was able to make people feel calm and experience religious ecstasy. He was also able to read minds. Have we seen a spirit before, or since, who could do anything like that? I don’t think so…
I like Father Reynolds a lot. Such a gentle and understanding soul. The actor was very good.
Plot armor alert: There’s NO way Sam saw those scratches and a single finger nail partially covered in plaster from ACROSS THE ROOM in a darkened basement. Also, Dean following a guy in a ’67 Chevy is anything but inconspicuous.
Dean is hilarious! “Magic Fingers” 😊. Give that man ALL the quarters 😊
I LOVE that moment at the very end. The brothers have a beautiful broment while “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” gently plays in the background. Simply lovely.
Speaking of lovely, the overall lighting and dark, brooding mood of this episode are amazing. SO.WELL.DONE.