For all of Supernatural’s emotional baggage, it’s always excelled in bringing the laughs when it needs to. Keeping the balance between the angst and the humor has been a juggling act, but it’s one that the team has perfected over the years. Very little of substance happens in “Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell”, but it does manage to take the bite off the last episode’s drama while giving us a bit of a break before the emotional fallout over the British Men of Letters.
Except that emotional fallout never comes. Dean is clearly angry, and Sam obviously apologetic, but there’s no explosion. No yelling, no throwing things, no drinking away feelings, just a semi-healthy conversation. Could it be that after twelve seasons our boys are finally starting to grow just a hair? That can’t be right, can it?
Before all of this confusing emotional stability is, well, the rest of the episode. But, as mentioned, nothing really happens. The Winchesters and Crowley save the girl of the week from a hellhound on the loose. Though “Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell” sits firmly in filler-episode territory, it does still manage to deliver something interesting.
Last week we talked about how insane it was that Crowley was talking tough to Lucifer. I thought for sure the second he got out of those chains that our favorite King of Hell would be dust, but it turns out Crowley’s hubris was totally justified. The same cannot be said for the two minions who thought they’d make demands of Lucifer before letting him out, unfortunately, but the warding on Luci’s vessel remains. Who would have thought that Crowley would best Lucifer himself? The glaring problem with this arc is that Lucifer will get out from under Crowley’s thumb. Crowley, for better or for worse, is one of the best characters in the show, and there’s no one there to bring him back when literal hellfire reigns over his head. It’s concerning to think about his potential demise, but it’s nice to have a storyline that’s both surprising and engaging for the time being.
The same cannot be said for the direction Cas is going. While Sam and Dean seem to be growing, and Crowley’s bested the Devil himself, Castiel is making the same mistakes. It’s frustrating, but it does continue the allegory of heaven being Cas’ abusive situation. People in those scenarios often return back to them despite knowing how toxic they are. While there’s something to be said for keeping true to that commentary, it does grow stale after a while. That said, this is all coming from the lady who was cracking up at how adorable Crowley was for talking tough to Lucifer, so, maybe ol’ Cas has something up his sleeve as well? Either way, the Cas portion of “Between Heaven and Hell” could have been left out and the episode would have been just fine.
While some stories can grow stale after twelve years on the air, that sort of tenure does allow room for taking chances. Supernatural has never had unfortunate cinematography, but as the seasons have progressed we’ve seen them take more creative chances in their choices. In “Between Heaven and Hell” that was shooting through the hellhound hunting glasses. The effects on the hound themselves weren’t the greatest that the show’s put forward, but the shot choices made up for it.
That’s about it for this week’s adventure with Moose and Squirrel. There wasn’t a whole lot that was noteworthy, but Dean got to be funny again. While that doesn’t make this any less of a filler episode, it did make it more fun to watch. The eldest Winchester may be an emotionally stunted disaster who doesn’t wash his underwear near as often as he should, but hey, he’s funny!
So, where does an episode of (mostly) nothing leave us? Still on the hunt for Kelly and Satan-Spawn with absolutely no further acknowledgment of the “cosmic consequences” that are supposed to come along with killing Billy the Reaper. Then the side stories season twelve has going: Crowley and Lucy, Cas and his abusive family, and the inevitable fallout when Team Winchester sees the British Men of Letters murder a good creature that doesn’t deserve killin’ just because they’re not human. That’s a lot to wrap up in eight episodes, and Supernatural has struggled through some pretty terrible finales. Hopefully we’ll see some things start to wrap up here soon!