Supernatural 5.19 "Hammer of the Gods"
Dean and Sam arrive at a very luxurious hotel in the middle of a rainstorm, only to quickly discover that it's not what it appears to be. Apparently the hotel has been rigged and is overrun by numerous of gods, including Kali the Hindu goddess, and the Winchesters were specifically brought there as these gods try to find a way to stop the Apocalypse from occurring in fear of getting pummeled in the middle of the wreckage between Heaven and Lucifer's battle. Just then, Gabriel appears and tells the boys that he's there to save them. Unfortunately his cover is blown by Kali, who attempts to kill him, but Gabriel cleverly disguises the version she stabs as a decoy. Dean talks with him about standing up in this fight against Lucifer, and just as that happens guess who shows up to unleash some deadly wrath? Just as the Winchesters seem to be cornered Gabriel shows up to face-off with Lucifer, allowing the boys enough time to escape. During this confrontation Gabriel tells his brother about the mess of the apocalypse and tells him straight up that he's fighting for humanity's side. With a few emotional words from both, the confrontation ends when Gabriel tries to trick Lucifer but, his brother is much quicker than that, and winds up getting stabbed and killed by his own sword. The end of the episode has the boys being told through a prerecorded message from Gabriel about having an alternative way of defeating Lucifer through the rings of the Four Horsemen, which then leads to us being introduced the the disgusting Pestilence before the credits roll.
This episode is more or less about the emotional ties between the siblings in Heaven and how utterly dysfunctional they really, truly are. This episode also prompted interesting, if not frustrating, emotions about where the story is heading with only three episodes left of the season.
Tribute to Gabriel, Our Favorite Archangel: "That was me standing up."
There were no words to describe how emotionally drained I felt after watching this episode. I never was this wrecked after a character death on this show before, so this was like a punch in the gut especially since Gabriel was a character I was really beginning to love, particularly after such an awesome retcon reveal about his true nature earlier in the season, only to have him return to be sacrificially killed off. It's a moment that leaves you gaping and just completely in a dull state between screaming and crying.
I definitely had strong feelings about what happened to Gabriel, however I'll return to that momentarily. Here, I just want to discuss the character and his evolution from his first appearance on Supernatural to where he ended up in this episode, all the way from his progression as a character right to the end.
When we first meet Gabriel he was known to us as the Trickster, a demigod who pulled deadly just desserts on people to teach them lessons, sometimes even for pure shits and giggles. The Winchesters encounter him twice during season two and in season three, when he appears again to repeatedly killing Dean and torment Sam in a Groundhog Day style, which was all in order to teach Sam a lesson about accepting fate. This second meeting with the Trickster becomes highly relevant when he appears once again this season in 5.08 "Changing Channels" where he's teaching the boys a lesson in accepting their roles in the Apocalypse, thus revealing his identity as not a Trickster, but rather the archangel Gabriel who had, long ago, left Heaven and was underneath "witness protection" so to speak by hiding his true guise from other paranormal beings, including other angels, because he wasn't liking the familial fighting upstairs. This was definitely a retcon, but it was an awesome retcon of all retconning the show has ever done. I honestly can't explain why that is, I guess because all-in-all it just makes sense. In that moment when the Winchesters are confronting Gabriel about this, we learn more about the ins and outs of his character then from his previous two appearances on the show, which in my opinion is absolutely awesome. Gabriel went from being just a recurring character on the show to having an in-depth, compelling character storyline that is attached to the greater mytharc of the series. That, to me, is absolutely fantastic to build that off of such a character like the Trickster. I don't know if Kripke was planning on doing that exactly, but we knew from "Mystery Spot" there was something else going on with the character that even without the angel storyline he would have brought him back anyway, to fill in those blanks about his involvement with the boy's lives.
The thing is, none of what was revealed was inconsistent with his already established character. From before he was neither on the good side nor the bad side, and here we learn that he left Heaven so he couldn't choose sides between his brothers, Lucifer and Michael. Gabriel's always been neutral, although it might have seemed cowardly considering his actions to leave and abandon his family in Heaven all because he couldn't deal with their issues, that's just who he was. Well in this episode, that certainly changed, and again it wasn't a surprising decision of his to choose to fight alongside humanity. He finally stood up, took Dean's words into consideration from "Changing Channels", and I think that's precisely what Gabriel needed to hear.
You could definitely tell he didn't want to choose sides, but in the end he kind of had to, because from Dean's words he needed to stand up to his family, stand up to Lucifer, make his stance and decision rather than hiding or running away from such confrontations. The thing I loved the most, though, was how fucking emotional his confrontation with Lucifer was. Both of them were getting teared up, because they're still brothers despite all this hoopla happening and I think that's perhaps the best scene from this entire episode, honestly. The fact that these angels aren't just going after Lucifer just because; Lucifer might have been disowned by Heaven but they're still family, still siblings that love each other. Gabriel says this to Lucifer and you could tell it was sincere, but he needed to make his position on this war absolutely clear. It's what got him killed, and while I have greater thoughts on the subject itself, I think the emotional parts is what justified such a sacrifice.
While I feel like his character potential and growth had been cheated from this episode somewhat, I really loved what it brought us about him as a character having gone from a simple Trickster facade to a very three-dimensional character that was slowly becoming a fan favorite, if he wasn't already from before.
Gabriel proved himself worthy of fighting the good fight in this war. He is officially an honorary member of Team Free Will and will always be remembered for his sacrifices. He won us over in the end, from his reveal to his complete turnaround and alliance with the Winchesters. His heroic action for standing up and stepping it up was of such bravery and courageousness. Gabriel, we love you and you will always be remembered for all that you did, how you stood up and just went all out. ♥
Sacrifice in Supernatural: Well-Deserved or Waste of Opportunity?
Despite his heroic acts I felt rather cheated by having such a fascinating reveal of his character to having him being brought back again only to be killed off without any further development in between to add more insight to his character growth. There seems to be a common trend on Supernatural that with recurring and secondary characters which are brought back are killed off, and this gag seems to be getting old and tired and, quite frankly, kind of irritating. Particularly when you have such characters, like Gabriel for instance, that have a chance to develop and evolve further when they are a huge contributor of the main mythology.
So the question is, when does self-sacrifice stop being heroic and start becoming repetitive for plot devices?
When we think about earlier in the season with Ellen and Jo Harvelle and their deaths in "Abandon All Hope", while tragic as it was, I understood why it had to be done. It was drawn out, so their deaths together was an inevitable sacrifice in this war and they did so honorably. It was sad and it also provided the emotional point for Dean as he continued down that path of despair and hopelessness over the course of the next several episodes, which that too is understandable for part of his character development this season. Not that I didn't want more of Ellen and Jo, but it was an understandable choice which I still felt was handled beautifully. Although with Gabriel's, it seemed like we were cheated from further exploring his character development because we'd just discovered who he really was, his involvement with everything and bringing him back for his second appearance as the archangel Gabriel only to kill him off without thinking of a Plan B (and there could have been a Plan B, him using a decoy as a distraction for the boys to escape and all of that) and to use his final words as kind of a last-minute "oh by the way, this is how you can defeat Lucifer!" which, in all honesty? Sounds like a deux ex machina route to take, particularly with only three episodes left.
Not that I didn't understand why they had the standoff between Gabriel and Lucifer, I thought that was brilliant and genius and seeing an archangel versus archangel conflict and confrontation has been a long time coming, let me tell you. It brought up a lot of emotional points between the brothers and what's been occurring with this Apocalypse, and seeing that despite Lucifer's reputation he really is just a child wanting to be loved and having a temper tantrum and that he still loves his family despite having been disowned. But I felt like there could have been something else, an alternative of him dealing with Lucifer rather than going on an obvious suicide mission just to prove himself by standing up to his family. Shouldn't he be able to do that while being alive?
Or perhaps, had the show given Gabriel a few more episodes prior to this one instead of just two this season, would his death have been more rightly justified. As it stands right now, it seemed like they had such an amazing opportunity of setting up a potential ally amongst the Winchesters but they wasted it just so they can wrap up the Apocalypse storyline. It makes me wonder if they're purposefully trying to make it seem like the brothers can never have any allies on their side, that they're always by themselves, alone. Which that is both sad and annoying. I felt if there was a perfect opportunity for them to have an ally on their side besides Castiel, then Gabriel would be the perfect candidate for it because, with his character and his journey and background that we learned, especially from Dean's words to him in "Changing Channels", it makes sense. He would have been that recurring character that would annoy the boys at times but still help them out from time to time when necessary. But they didn't do that, and it was painful to watch because you just don't want to believe what happened. Because it's Gabriel. Not only is he an archangel, but we've been tricked before into thinking his character had died but he always came back. I was hoping for that gag to run at least again this time, but alas we saw his angel wings around his body. ;___;
So yeah, those are my thoughts. I understand that this is the Apocalypse and sometimes sacrifices are necessary, but there are other times when the writing could have done something different, there could have been more explored with certain characters. Gabriel was brought back this season to be revealed of actually being Gabriel, only to find his second appearance as the angel would be his last, and that's highly disappointing that they would waste such a great opportunity of a character we've known for a long time to not further explore his character background or at least have him help in a not!suicide mission. I mean, when you have episodes like the previous one where Castiel had just sacrificed himself through the carved sigil on his chest to this having Gabriel sacrificing himself with Lucifer, knowing all too well that there was zero chance of him surviving. It just makes you think what is secure anymore? Who is safe, who isn't? How many more are going to be sacrificed for the sake of the Winchesters? It seems like so many have done so already, sometimes without really knowing it. I think that's the main issue here, with characters that are secondary all bets are off on whether they live today or die tomorrow.
I also think part of me is disappointed because this would have been a great opportunity for Castiel to regain his hope and faith that not all members of his family have hidden agendas and are against him, that having another ally beside him with fighting alongside the Winchesters can be that silver lining that not all is lost with what he's been fighting for. Because honestly, from their last encounter, it seemed like there was hope for having a reunion of Castiel and Gabriel, and I think Castiel would have been proud of Gabriel for standing up for what he believes in. Yet another opportunity wasted and lost.
My heart aches for Gabriel, because he really turned himself around and only to end like this? Emotional scene for both him and Lucifer definitely, which I appreciated, but still. I don't know. My feelings and emotions were all over the place concerning this.
Memorable Moments of the Episode:
++ The title of this episode was originally called, "OMFG!" I think that would have been the more appropriate title given the general reactions to it. Seriously.
++ More BSG alumni to guest-star on Supernatural to add to the list. That more than a dozen they've had on the show, and they have yet to make a BSG joke? I find this all too funny.
++ It's also funny that Dean has yet to get with a Cylon. He didn't flirt with Number Six when she was on the show, and Tory pretty much shot him down hard here. lol
++ With having Lucifer killing all the gods effortlessly left and right it made me think of the allegory used in BSG: "the One True God shall drive out the many", and seeing as how we already have a former BSG cast member coming from a show where monotheism versus polytheism was commonly known, who was playing a Hindu goddess in this episode, it makes that scene much more interesting. More with my fandom parallels, let me show yous them.
++ Speaking of which, I, like many others I'm sure, are displeased with the treatment they had of these many different gods from different religions. Although I understand it was Kripke's homage to Neil Gaiman's American Gods book, and this is, after all, the apocalypse and showing us the power of Lucifer, that still doesn't excuse that having a room full of powerful gods being tossing around and swatted like flies. I know, it's fictional, but it just didn't sit right with me that that's all it took to take out these powerful gods. I'm actually surprised that Kali was spared after all that bloodshed. And she's a woman too, shocker! But yeah, you'd think that a building with that many powerful deities they would have been able to stop or weaken Lucifer at some point, but no. Instead they were killed instantly. It just didn't make sense and I'm still not pleased with that turn out.
++ Needless to say though, I loved seeing Lucifer's bloodshed being seen after all this time. A long time coming really, I've been wanting to see this powerful and merciless Lucifer since the beginning of the season, so having him in the episode like that was a pleasant surprise.
Besides, SURPRISE!MARKSHA BRINGING IN THE BADASS AND BLOODSHED WILL NEVER NOT BE AMAZING IN MY FANDOM. \O/
(lol that last gif makes it look like Marksha is going "now gimme mah jam!" lolforever)
++ Richard and Marksha completely made this episode, honestly. They really knocked their performances out of the park, particularly with their scene together which was superbly done, even if I didn't like the outcome and it hurt like whoa and I cried like a little bitch. Nonetheless, they worked so well on the screen. Could you imagine if Misha had been there also? A Castiel/Lucifer/Gabriel standoff? Holy shit, that would have been too awesome for words.
++ STILL CRYING OVER GABRIEL, OKAY PPL? STILL CRYING. THESE ANGELS ARE BREAKING MY HEART WITH THEIR ISSUES, BETTER THAN THE WINCHESTERS THAT'S FOR SURE. D:
++ I will say, Gabriel had the best lines this episode. ("Lucy. I'm home." A+++!) So hilarious, and he enunciates these lines perfectly for the effect, did y'all notice that? Amazing. ;D Anyway, I think what I loved about this episode was that this wasn't about the Winchesters, this was about Gabriel and what he was going to be standing up for. You could tell he really did have a soft spot for the Winchesters that I think grew overtime, and his affection for the human race plus Dean's words to him previously really brought his final decision that hey, he likes people. He likes Earth. He's not willing to allow either brother destroy something that's so precious just because they can't deal with their own family dramatics. He's for humanity, perhaps the first angel since Castiel we've seen that's willing to fight for humanity, and THEY FUCKING KILLED HIM AND THAT IS JUST F;LASJDFKASDF NO. JUST NO SHOW, NO. YOU DON'T DO THAT. *seethes*
++ SURPRISE!GHOSTFACERS WAS SURPRISING AND LOLARIOUS! XD XD XD LOL WHUT SHOW. NICE PROMOTION THERE.
++ The gods bitching at each other was kind of hilarious to see, and then we see Tory!Kali using THE FORCE DARTH VADER STYLE on one of them. Awesome stuff. I think I like Rekha Sharma better as Kali than Tory, because at least she's not annoying and she's pretty kickass. And she got to make-out with Richard which, that lucky bitch I is jealoouussss.
++ THEORY: Tory!Kali captured some of Gabriel's blood so he's thereby forever bound to her, although that was just a irrelevant device used in the episode that had no further significance, so despite everything that happened between Gabriel and Lucifer could it be that, if she still has those vials, that she could use some of her goddess mojo and bring Gabriel back? Since he is bound to her and she's definitely more powerful than the other gods we saw (unfortunately) that could be one possibility right? I know I'm reaching here, BUT I STILL HURT M'KAY LEAVE ME 'LONE.
++ It's kind of sad that Sam and Gabriel didn't have much scenes together. Or much Sam scenes at all this episode, really. I admit, I do like Sam/Gabriel as a pairing because I think it's pretty damn adorable and so many fics have proven that adorableness. If only there was more screentime with them. :( It did seem like it was more leaning of Dean/Gabriel though than Sam/Gabriel, with how Dean and Gabriel's scenes were and how they interacted ("Bite me, Gabriel." "Maybe later, big boy.") Which we all know though that Castiel would be pretty pissy if he learns his older brother might have a hankering for his human boyfriend. ;)
++ I love that, despite it all, Gabriel got the last word and the last laugh. That DVD insert was just awesome, and I love Sam and Dean's expressions. Casa Erotica will never be the same for them. Well, I think Dean might return to the DVD because, well, he's Dean.... ;)
++ ANOTHER THEORY: Gabriel is still alive and inside the DVD! ;D Okay, that's a bit much, but you can't blame a girl for trying. Heh.
++ PESTILENCE!! Disgusting and very vile, nasty shit, but still. YAY FOR PESTILENCE! Also, I think this was the first time in a long while that we ended an episode without the boys going over their issues. It was left with a cliffhanger, which I liked. That has resemblance to a certain S1/S2 format which that kind of formatting I enjoy. The cliffhangers, having it not end with just the brothers. It's a nice change.
++ The Horsemen rings reveal was kind of meh, only because I think it would have been more effective had they introduced that concept episodes ago, not when we have only three episodes left. The planning of that seems a bit misguided and it doesn't work that well I think, but then again we aren't that sure. What if they're a red-herring? What if the rings do have a significance but it's not what defeats Lucifer, at least not in the way they think it will? I have said that I'm feeling apprehensive and worried only because I know they're trying to wrap things up this season, but knowing this show there might be some more hidden surprises for us. I just hope it all makes sense because right now I'm not as strongly convinced with how the story is going like how it was in season four. Just saying.
++ GABRIEEEELLLLLLLLL!!!! ;________; I MISS YOU SFM, COME BACK TO ME!
Overall: It was a good episode, a nice blend of comedy and emotional points when the preview was misleading it to be a pointless filler episode about a "hotel hell" of sorts. It could have been better with how they organized it honestly, or at least concerning the writing of the gods and how they dealt with that aspect of the episode. But I think the strongest points was definitely Gabriel and Lucifer, their involvements and how Gabriel rose up and his and Lucifer's standoff in the end. It really showed just how emotionally fucked up Heaven's angels really are, and how they really are more fucked up and dysfunctional than the Winchesters. Richard and Marksha blew their performances out of the park, they were extraordinarily perfect onscreen together, showing that brotherly love but at the same time independence of them and how sad they were. They just ripped out my heart, stomped on it and just broke it into a thousand pieces. ;___; It was a fantastic scene between them, but I'm torn because Lucifer killed Gabriel and I just can't believe they did that. I just, I can't. That's not supposed to happen. SORRY KRIPKE YOUR CANON IS INVALID TO MINE LALALALA I CAN'T HEAR YOU! *plugs ears* But it makes for great emotional drama between the archangels, and the angels in general because despite everything they're all still siblings, still family. It's just, whyyyyyyy?!? I did enjoy this episode even though I had issues with parts of it. This is why my emotions are a wreck right now, I am so conflicted! DAMN YOU SHOW! DAMN YOU KRIPKE!
In case anyone else hasn't heard or gone to it, here's a SPN 5x19 FIX-IT MEME! for those that reject certain parts of canon and live in your own fantastical head!canon, like I do.