“Unity” is the Supernatural episode I’ve been waiting for since October 8: real plot movement, soul-deep conflict, raw emotion, cosmic forces at play. That’s the Supernatural I love and it was back tonight. I suspect that I’m not alone in feeling this way. I’d guess that “Unity” is bringing all of SPN fandom together and, with its cliffhanger ending, we’ll all be on the edge of our seats until next week. The episode is dense and textured with drama and emotion. It’s all there. So, on with the recap and commentary.
BEWARE: This post is super-charged with spoilers so if you care about such things, step away from the laptop, pack a backpack, and head to the nearest crystal shop.
Signs and portents
Amara (Emily Swallow) is in Reykjavik enjoying a hot soak and a book under a beautiful, star-studded sky when meteorites streak across the firmament. She knows it’s a sign from her brother. Chuck (Rob Benedict)—God—is back.
Jack’s a bomb without a fuse. We already know, because Billie—also known as Death—told Jack (Alexander Calvert) that he needs to complete only one more task to prepare him to go off. And once he goes off, in the right place at the right time, Chuck and his sister Amara, the Darkness, will end.
Searching for answers
Castiel (Misha Collins) and Sam (Jared Padalecki) are searching for alternatives to Jack’s demise. Dean (Jensen Ackles) is convinced that Billie’s plan—turning Jack into a cosmic explosive—is the only way to stop Chuck. Dean is bound and determined to get the job done. He wants to be free of Chuck’s machinations, and if Jack’s death is the only way, then he’s all in.
Amara turns up in the bunker kitchen to tell Sam, Dean, and Jack that Chuck is back. She wants to know how they plan to trap Chuck. She doesn’t know—because Dean lies to her—that Team Free Will 2.0’s plan is to kill both her and her brother. Dean maintains the fiction because they need her. She meets Jack for the first time, and seems genuinely sorry that there’s no time for them to get to know each other. Amara and Dean have a moment together: “You and I will always help each other,” she tells him, and then she disappears.
Fate and choices
While Dean and Amara are chatting, Jack and Sam have a moment together as well. Sam tells Jack that Jack’s sacrificing himself for others takes a lot of courage, but Sam thinks it’s wrong. Dean appears and sends Jack off to pack some things for their road trip to find the fuse that will complete Jack’s transformation.
In Jack’s absence, Sam tells Dean he won’t be joining Dean and Jack on the road to Santa Fe, where the last ritual will take place. They argue; something about the whole situation is setting off Sam’s Spidey-sense.
“Billie’s sending you to Santa Fe to meet up with her mystery guest that’s gonna perform the final ritual, whatever that is, and turn Jack into a suicide bomb? . . . Blindly following orders, lying to Amara, sending her to her death: does any of this feel right to you? . . . Last I checked, we don’t give up on family.”Sam
Jack is in the room when Dean declares that he cares about Jack but that Jack’s not family. That’s got to be a blow for the kid; Castiel and the Winchesters are the only family he’s ever known. As he walks out of the room, he looks numb. He and Dean hit the road.
Chuck: narcissist as usual
Amara and Chuck meet in a park. Chuck tries to persuade Amara to join him in his decision to end this world—the last world standing—and start over again. He can’t do it without her. She’s not having it. When Chuck suggests that Dean’s gotten to her with their connection, Amara is surprised and asks him if he didn’t write that into the story. Chuck says he didn’t. It’s our first hint that things may not be going according to Chuck’s plan. Amara parries, trying to get Chuck to see the perfect beauty in his creation. Spoiled child that he is, he’s not having it. He wants to start fresh.
Amara snaps them to Heaven. “What about your first children?” she asks, and angels descend upon Chuck, fannishly asking for autographs. Chuck’s not having their love, either.
Amara wants balance, neither of them ascendant. She wants them to work together, and again, Chuck’s not having it. Amara snaps them to the bunker armory and traps Chuck there.
Why the first man?
Baby rolls up to Jim’s Gems in Santa Fe. A dark-haired, dark-eyed hippie greets them at the door by name and introduces himself. He’s Adam (Alessandro Juliani), “first dude off the assembly line,” and his girlfriend Serafina (Carmen Moore) is an angel. Adam’s got a test for Jack. While they’re in the back room, Serafina tells Dean it’ll all pass and not to worry. Adam tells Jack that he’s been waiting for Jack for eons; this idea of killing God is Adam’s plan (no love lost there) and Billie’s just helping them out.
Adam shows Jack a case full of raw gems and tells him one of them was touched by God. If Jack can identify which one, then they can go forward with the plan. Jack examines each stone. He points out one and Adam looks disappointed. Then Jack says, “And all of them. Their existence makes them divine because God is in everything.” “Right on,” Adam says with satisfaction. They go back into the shop’s front room.
The final ingredient
When Jack confirms that he passed the test, Serafina takes an impressive knife and plunges it into Adam. She reaches inside him, breaks off a piece of his rib, and places it on the counter. She heals Adam. They explain that Adam’s rib will turn Jack into a black hole for divine energy, absorbing the Darkness and God. Adam hands Jack the rib in a Ziploc baggie. Once Jack touches and activates the rib, the process can’t be stopped.
On the road home, Dean stops the car. He explains to Jack why what’s about to happen is so important to the Winchesters personally. He wants to be free of Chuck’s manipulation once and for all, and he thanks Jack for his sacrifice. Then he gets a text message: it’s time. Jack takes the rib out of the bag and activates himself.
Sam and Castiel are still researching, but they’re having no luck. Sam remembers that Sergei mentioned a key to death; Cas remembers that Sergei said it would open the door to Death’s library. They rifle the bunker’s archives until Castiel finds a box with a key inside. Sam reads the Latin inscription on the box and a door appears on the wall behind them. Sam unlocks it and, with Castiel’s vote of confidence, walks through.
Sam finds bodies strewn about the library floor. He follows the sounds of voices to find The Empty (Rachel Miner) forcing humans to pray to Billie, trying to make her appear. The Empty realizes Sam is there and greets him. She tells him she’s been trying to have a word with Death, but Death is ignoring her. All the Empty wants to do is go back to sleep. Death promised her that when this project—getting rid of Amara and Chuck—was done, Death would put everything back the way it was: angels in heaven, demons in hell, humans on Earth, and the Empty fast asleep. Death would then be in charge. She’s playing for the God seat.
Sam convinces the Empty that Billie sent him. The Empty is skeptical, but Sam manages to get Chuck’s death book from her and heads right back to the bunker.
Cosmic forces still in charge
When Sam arrives, Castiel tells him that Chuck and Amara are there. Dean and Jack arrive at the same time. Sam tells them all that they can’t go through with the plan; Billie is playing them. But Dean is too driven to destroy Chuck and Amara. He drags Jack down the hall toward the armory as they argue until Sam steps in front of him.
Back in the armory, Chuck reveals that everything is going according to his plan. He can hear—probably see—the conflict in the hallway. He tells Amara that Dean lied to her; he orchestrated it all. She is clearly hurt. Chuck convinces a broken Amara to join him and achieve the balance she craves. He absorbs her completely.
In the hallway, Dean finally pulls his gun on Sam. That was a shock, and that’s when I knew that Chuck was pulling all the strings. After some back and forth, Sam tells them the truth he learned in Death’s library: That with Billie in charge, everything is reset. Dean says they don’t have a choice; Sam says they always do. Dean says he can’t live as Chuck’s puppet anymore. It’s wrenching, watching all of Dean’s trauma surface in this one scene. Ackles gives it his whole heart here. Sam gives a moving monolog—Padalecki knocks this one out of the park, too—and convinces Dean to put the gun away. They’ll figure it out together; they always do. Unity at last: Dean and Sam, Castiel and Jack.
“My entire life you’ve protected me. From Dad. From Lucifer. From everything. It’s the one thing I’ve ever known that was true.”Sam
Chuck blasts out the door of the armory, frustrated, exasperated. No matter what he does, Team Free Will won’t do what he wants them to do. When Dean tells him to screw himself, Chuck throws it back at them and tells them to watch as Jack dies.
Chuck hates all the things we love about the Winchesters
In “Unity,” the thing that’s driving Chuck crazy is that no matter what he does, this Sam and Dean just won’t bend to his will. Their bond is too strong, their drive to protect each other and this world is too great.
I loved hating Chuck’s quoting Castiel’s very first words to Dean, taunting Cas about his affection for Dean and his rebellious streak. Our Castiel: the only one, in all the multiverse, that disobeyed Chuck. Are we seeing here that everything that’s happened since season 4 is Cas’ fault? Hmmm…
I also loved hating Chuck for calling out Dean’s brokenness. (It’s hell being a Dean stan, I’m just sayin’.)
I want to believe that with Amara inside him, Chuck will have a fight to come that he’s not expecting. Their unity may not be all it’s cracked up to be. I’m looking forward to Billie’s return next week, her bad-ass self turning out to be the true villain in all of this madness, cold in her calculations and single-minded in her quest for order in the universe. I’m terrified of what’s going to happen to Jack, to Castiel. No time machine for me or the rest of Supernatural fandom though. See you next week!
Supernatural in the media
Entertainment Weekly: How ‘Carry on Wayward Son’ became Supernatural‘s unofficial theme song
Entertainment Weekly: Supernatural‘s Misha Collins previews a ‘damn desperate’ Castiel