PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.


Supernatural: Season 11, Episode 14 - "The Vessel"

Jessy Krupa

The show lays out a path for the season finale in another above-average episode.


Airtime: Wednesdays, 8pm
Cast: Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, Misha Collins, Mark A. Sheppard
Subtitle: "Season 11, Episode 14 - "The Vessel"
Network: CW
Air date: 2016-02-17

One of the best things about the CW's Supernatural is that it works on two different levels: one as an extremely intricate multi-verse that contains many canonical rules and theories, and the other, as a horror-themed dramedy that rewards viewers with beloved secondary characters and inside jokes. In other words, it can be as complex or as simple as you want it to be.

The complicated plot of Amara/The Darkness (Emily Swallow) and its effect on the warring divisions of angels and demons bogged down the first half of season 11, but the series returned from the fall hiatus with several fanciful stand-alone episodes that have lightened the mood. Tonight's episode managed to tie those two halves of Supernatural together, with a time-traveling adventure that was simple enough for a first-time viewer to enjoy, yet still managed to advance the plot.

Sam Winchester's (Jared Padalecki) research into ways to defeat Amara led to something we'll likely hear a lot about this season: the Hand of God, or more specifically, objects touched by God Himself that retain some of His power. When Sam discovers that one of these objects was lost in US submarine sunk during World War II, Dean (Jensen Ackles) gets the idea to time travel back to 1943 in order to retrieve it.

Supernatural fans -- recently voted by readers of Entertainment Weekly as being the best fandom of all time -- likely remember that angels have the ability to transport people through time itself, although the show oddly doesn't use this concept much. Still, the Winchesters call upon Castiel (Misha Collins) to transport Dean, who finds himself alone on the submarine due to an angel/demon barrier put up by a (Wo)Man of Letters.

Castiel, still possessed by Lucifer (Mark Pellegrino), has being ruling Hell with a lazy fist. He spends his time playing Angry Birds and torturing Crowley (Mark Sheppard), who appears here both as comic relief and a way to show you that his character isn't dead yet. Stuck at the bunker with Sam, Castiel/Lucifer's lack of interest makes Sam suspicious.

Naturally, Dean Winchester doesn't fit in very well on a World War II-era sub. The captain of the ship doesn't trust him, and the men abroad don't understand his lack of future baseball knowledge or the strange blinking object he calls a phone. Only one person believes his story, French Resistance member and Men Of Letters member, Delphine (Weronkia Rosati). She’s the one who put up the angel/demon barrier and is carrying the Hand of God, but a symbol on her chest connects her to the object. Continuing the show's tradition of strong, self-sacrificing women, she volunteers to use the object to strike back at the Nazis who will sink them, even though the force of its power will kill her.

Back in the present day, Lucifer clearly can't stand another second of pretending to be Castiel, so he actually tells Sam what we've known all along. His plan is to use Sam's soul to get into the sub and take the Hand of God for himself, but Castiel manages to break through and overpower him long enough to save the day.

Upon his return, Dean finds out the truth about Castiel/Lucifer. Sam banishes him/them away with a blood symbol, but all involved are disappointed to find that all of the power has gone out of the object. Despite that, the episode did a good job of pointing the way forward: the pieces seem to be falling into place for Sam and Dean to find something that can defeat the Darkness.

Coming Soon:

Next week, the Winchesters' are drawn into the world of semi-professional wrestling in a new stand-alone episode.

In another episode later on this season, Bobby (Jim Beaver) and Rufus (Steven Williams) will appear in flashbacks, as Sam and Dean investigate one of their old cases.

It's also been announced that Chuck the prophet (Rob Benedict) will appear in this season's 20th episode, sparkling speculation as to whether or not he’s actually God.


Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.





The Power of Restraint in Sophie Yanow, Paco Roca, and Elisa Macellari's New Graphic Novels

The magical quality that makes or breaks a graphic novel lies somewhere in that liminal space in which art and literature intersect.


'People of the City' Is an Unrelenting Critique of Colonial Ideology and Praxis

Cyprian Ekwensi's People of the City is a vivid tale of class struggle and identity reclamation in the shadows of colonialism's reign.


1979's 'This Heat' Remains a Lodestone for Avant-Rock Adventure

On their self-titled debut, available for the first time on digital formats, This Heat delivered an all-time classic stitched together from several years of experiments.


'The Edge of Democracy' and Parallels of Political Crises

Academy Award-nominated documentary The Edge of Democracy, now streaming on Netflix, lays bare the political parallels of the rise of Bolsonaro's Brazil with Trump's America.


The Pogues' 'The BBC Sessions 1984-1986' Honors Working-Class Heroes

The Pogues' BBC Sessions 1984-1986 is a welcome chapter in the musical story of these working-class heroes, who reminded listeners of the beauty and dignity of the strong, sooty backs upon which our industrialized world was built.


Mary Halvorson Creates Cacophony to Aestheticize on 'Artlessly Falling'

Mary Halvorson's Artlessly Falling is a challenging album with tracks comprised of improvisational fragments more than based on compositional theory. Halvorson uses the various elements to aestheticize the confusing world around her.


15 Overlooked and Underrated Albums of the 1990s

With every "Best of the '90s" retrospective comes a predictable list of entries. Here are 15 albums that are often overlooked as worthy of placing in these lists, and are too often underrated as some of the best records from the decade.


'A Peculiar Indifference' Takes on Violence in Black America

Pulitzer Prize finalist Elliott Currie's scrupulous investigation of the impacts of violence on Black Americans, A Peculiar Indifference, shows the damaging effect of widespread suffering and identifies an achievable solution.


20 Songs From the 1990s That Time Forgot

Rather than listening to Spotify's latest playlist, give the tunes from this reminiscence of lost '90s singles a spin.


Delightful 'Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day' Is Good Escapism

Now streaming on Amazon Prime, Bharat Nalluri's 2008 romantic comedy, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, provides pleasant respite in these times of doom and gloom.


The 10 Best Horror Movie Remakes

The horror genre has produced some remake junk. In the case of these ten treats, the update delivers something definitive.


Flirting with Demons at Home, or, When TV Movies Were Evil

Just in time for Halloween, a new Blu-ray from Kino Lorber presents sparkling 2K digital restorations of TV movies that have been missing for decades: Fear No Evil (1969) and its sequel, Ritual of Evil (1970).


Magick Mountain Are Having a Party But Is the Audience Invited?

Garage rockers Magick Mountain debut with Weird Feelings, an album big on fuzz but light on hooks.


Aalok Bala Revels in Nature and Contradiction on EP 'Sacred Mirror'

Electronic musician Aalok Bala knows the night is not a simple mirror, "silver and exact"; it phases and echoes back, alive, sacred.


Clipping Take a Stab at Horrorcore with the Fiery 'Visions of Bodies Being Burned'

Clipping's latest album, Visions of Bodies Being Burned, is a terrifying, razor-sharp sequel to their previous ode to the horror film genre.


Call Super's New LP Is a Digital Biosphere of Insectoid and Otherworldly Sounds

Call Super's Every Mouth Teeth Missing is like its own digital biosphere, rife with the sounds of the forest and the sounds of the studio alike.


Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.


15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.