Supernatural gives us lots to like in the Season 12 midseason finale “LOTUS.” Though episodes from writers Brad Buckner and Eugenie Ross-Leming can be hit (“Soul Survivor”) or miss (“Route 666”), this Supernatural writing team has certainly made their mark over the twelve seasons. Having experienced director Phil Sgriccia at the helm helped to create an intense midseason finale, in which what seemed impossible came to be. And we’re not just referring to a magical egg creating cool special effects.
Check Out the New Vessel
“LOTUS” teases us with a powerful new vessel for Lucifer—the Archbishop of St. Louis. His ability to hide the fact that he’s an unholy abomination, as Cas likes to refer to Lucifer, is hampered by his red eyes and the upturned crosses. We expected an episode about Lucifer versus the Church, but it turned out the attempted exorcism part of the story wasn’t even worth showing to viewers. The bloody aftermath gave us a glimpse of what we missed. These opening moments helped to enrich the overall story and remind us that Luci is a serious baddie. Though watching this badass Archbishop vessel battle might have made for a scarier episode, Supernatural goes in a totally different direction, giving us something new.
Lucifer is on the move. He goes from a celebrity to a captain of industry, and then to a powerful holy man. We get Vince Vincente letting Lucifer in, but some of these others are a bit surprising. Is he pulling a Gadreel by pretending to be another angel and not the fallen one? Are all of these men knowingly saying yes to Lucifer? If so, Satan is clearly the best salesmen ever. Just when you think Lucifer can’t top himself, he makes an even bigger move by taking the vessel of the President of the United States.
We won’t lie—we were unable to suspend our disbelief for a moment. We wondered, “How are the boys supposed to assassinate the President?” They may be the Winchesters, but they will need to overcome the Secret Service, which is made up of dudes like Clint Eastwood, Gerard Butler, Nicolas Cage, Kiefer Sutherland, and Colin Firth. But with a little help from their friends (and enemies), the Winchesters seemingly defeat Lucifer and even save the president. But it leaves them in a bit of a jam at the end.
Keep Your Enemies Close …
Sam and Dean manage to get to Lucifer with a little help from their friends and frenemies. The Winchesters gather their Supernatural dream team.
Rowena: “Well dear, I’m a witch, he’s an angel …”
Crowley: “And I’m the king of Hell.”
Kelly: “Oh god.”
Castiel: “No, actually, He left.”
Sam: “OK guys, not helping.”
Crowley’s information about Lucifer gains him entry to the bunker. WHAAAAA? Sam says what we’re thinking when he asks, “So now Crowley can just drop by when he wants to?” Do they have to remove the anti-demon warding or does Dean just tell him a secret password? Guess the secret bunker isn’t so secret anymore.
We can see why Crowley wants to get Lucifer back in the Cage, not to mention his strange loyalty to the Winchesters, but it’s still surprising how willing Rowena is to join the team. Then again, she was murdered by the Prince of Darkness, and she recently sent him to the bottom of the ocean. Whatever her motivation, the highlight of the episode was when Crowley kills Rowena’s cheating fiancé and, covered in blood, she tells her son, “That is the sweetest thing you’ve ever done for me.”
As well as their supernatural sidekicks, the Winchesters get some help from the British Men of Letters. Mr. Ketch (David Haydn-Jones) finally introduces himself to the boys, as Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five” emanates from his car. He’s not as menacing as we expected, but he’s got a James Bond thing going on. He’s got some supernatural weapons that might even surprise Q, including one powerful enough to exorcise Satan.
One Door Closes …
Fittingly, it’s his former vessel Sam who exorcises Lucifer, while Rowena gets her revenge by sending Satan back to Hell. Though it would have been nice if Crowley could have gotten in on it somehow. It seems like Sam and Rowena have taken care of Lucifer though we haven’t actually seen him back in the Cage yet, so we’ll hold off on declaring Satan’s character arc done.
Even with Luci in the basement, we’re expecting some big things from the spawn of Satan. Of course, Supernatural has let us down before in terms of character payoff. Back in Season 3 we were introduced to the Antichrist, but we never saw this morally complex and powerful demon spawn again. Let’s hope this once and future Nephilim fulfills its promise down the road, and that it takes after Mark Pellegrino.
In “LOTUS,” Supernatural manages to bring the Lucifer storyline to an end in a pretty dramatic fashion, even if there are a few weak story points (like Kelly escaping from Cas so easily). The connection back to the British Men of Letters is a nice tie into the overall season. Though Mr. Ketch wasn’t quite as frightening as promised, he did have a cool secret agent vibe. He’ll have the opportunity to scare the bejesus out of us the second half of the season.
“LOTUS” may have circled around to the British Men of Letters, but the writers made a good choice by not revisiting the story of Mary Winchester. Bringing Mary Winchester into this episode would’ve been too much, especially since she hasn’t met Sam and Dean’s more nefarious companions. She probably wouldn’t approve of her sons paling around with a witch and the King of Hell. This season the story of Mary’s return has run through the Monster of the Week episodes, while the hunt for Lucifer provided a parallel narrative showcasing fan favs Crowley and Rowena.
Season 12 avoids the mistakes of previous seasons by giving us an emotional arc about family conflict and connection while leaving sufficient room to chase monsters and catch Satan. The approach creates emotional depth without getting stuck in stories focused on anger, resentment, and guilt. It may not always feel congruent, but this approach gives us a season that’s both varied and engaging.
Though it’s a mystery why Sam and Dean didn’t just escape with Castiel, “LOTUS” ends on a suspenseful note as the boys are carted away by the Secret Service. It’s unlikely they’ll be tried for attempted assassination of the President, but it’s a predicament we’ve never seen them in before, or really even imagined. Supernatural—still crazy after all these years.