‘Supernatural’ Review: “Captives”
‘Supernatural’ season 9 summons its 14th episode of the year in “Captives,” as Sam and Dean follow a surprising request from the ghost of Kevin Tran (Osric Chau) to free his captive mother Linda (Lauren Tom), while Castiel is confronted by the angel Bartholomew and forced to make a difficult choice.
Last week’s ‘Supernatural’ installment, “The Purge,” saw the boys go undercover at a health spa to investigate a series of murders that ended with victims mysteriously dropping hundreds of pounds. So, what does the 14th season 9 episode bring? What strange and unexpected challenges will the Winchesters face next?
Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Supernatural’ season 9 episode 14, “Captives”!
The bunker lights begin to flicker with the signs of a haunting, interrupting Dean as he listens to music. Sam hears the commotion and goes searching for his brother, unaware of a ghostly figure following him, though Dean blasts it with rock salt before it materializes a face. Afterward, the brothers attempt to figure out why a ghost would suddenly have appeared in the bunker, as Dean insists it couldn’t be a recent death like Kevin Tran’s, but the mention of his name causes the coffee pot to boil over, confirming his identity.
Elsewhere, Castiel accosts a man leaving a funeral, revealing the stranger as an angel in attendance of a fallen angel named Rebecca’s funeral. The man insists that Rebecca’s “Penitence” faction had only wanted to live in harmony with humans, before Bartholomew slaughtered the majority of them. Back at the base, Sam and Dean take turns waiting for Kevin’s ghostly form to materialize more solidly, before Dean’s passionate apology for letting Kevin down seems to do the trick. Kevin reveals that Heaven has been closed entirely, leaving all those who die trapped in “The Veil,” though more important than that is that he’d heard his mother Linda Tran might be alive after all.
As Castiel finds himself cornered and brought before Bartholomew, Sam and Dean follow Kevin’s lead to Wichita in search of a ghost named “Candy,” who alerted Kevin that she’d seen his mother a week earlier, before her own death. Sam and Dean spend several hours attempting to contact Candy’s spirit, while Crowley apparently refuses Dean’s calls, before Candy’s voice finally materializes over a radio. Meanwhile, Bartholomew relays his admiration for Castiel in their past battle against Raphael, but claims only to have been following orders in a previous slaughter of captive angels Castiel had taken.
Sam and Dean learn from Candy’s spirit that she and Linda were kept in adjoining cells, likely that of storage units from a nearby facility, lorded over by Crowley and another demon, at least until Crowley vanished. On the way to the facility, Dean reasons that Crowley kept his captives for human leverage, though it wouldn’t have made sense for him to kill Candy. Meanwhile, Bartholomew shows Castiel how his group of angels took over the Boyle ministry to hunt down Metatron, proposing that they partner against the renegade angel Malachi, despite disagreement over their methods.
The Winchesters arrive to a a storage facility to find pasty young employees Del and Barry ready to help, before Dean notices a Crowley in-joke (rental under “D. Webster”), confirming they have the right location. Sam heads off to investigate a row of three storage lockers, while Del takes Dean to another of “Webster”s rented properties, with nothing of value. Sam indeed finds a captive Linda Tran inside one of the lockers, but Del closes it by remote, and knocks Dean out before he can react. Meanwhile, Bartholomew shows Castiel his impressive tracking equipment that has caught Metatron on Earth multiple times, though Bartholomew insists on torturing the angel Castiel had earlier cornered to cement their alliance.
Sam frees Linda and gets to work on undoing the lock, Sam just barely holding back news of her son’s fate, before Linda figures it out and continues working. Meanwhile, Dean awakens to find Del killed his fellow employee, and has grown increasingly dissatisfied with his boring job managing Crowley’s assets, while Crowley himself has been absent. Elsewhere, Bartholomew tortures the angel, handing Castiel a blade to finish him off, though he refuses. Castiel offers the dagger back, preferring to end the angel on angel slaughter as a martyr, but Bartholomew instead kills their captive.
Castiel refuses to fight Bartholomew, even as he deflects attacks and declines the opportunity to kill his aggressor. Bartholomew produces another blade, and goes to attack Castiel for leaving, for which Cas finally retaliates and kills his opponent, after which Bartholomew’s followers reluctantly allow Castiel to leave. Meanwhile, after escaping from the storage locker, Sam easily overpowers Del and releases Dean, though the brothers leave the ultimate kill to a vengeful Linda, who then asks to be taken to her son.
Back at the Men of Letters base, Sam and Dean prepare Kevin to greet his mother, who rejoices to see the ghost of her son. Awhile later, Linda deduces that Kevin’s spirit is most likely bound to his father’s ring, and takes the item with her until the Winchesters can finally reopen Heaven. Meanwhile, Castiel apologizes to Rebecca’s grave for causing all the chaos, before being joined by Bartholomew’s followers, who now wish to follow Castiel’s leadership.
Kevin makes his peace with Sam and Dean, but asks the two of them to simply get over their recent fighting, given the petty conflicts he’d observed in his time at the base. Once Kevin and Linda depart however, Sam wordlessly retreats to his room, as does Dean to his music collection.
Now that casting has been steadily moving in the direction of proposed spinoff 'Supernatural: Tribes,' and the last we saw from the Winchester brothers involved a Peruvian fat-suction clinic, with future episodes promising Snooki, of all guest stars, we felt safe in assuming that "Captives" wouldn't be any great shining hope for the series to come. Still, we've got to hand it to the old series, whether or not producers decided to scrap the Snooki cameo, or if we'll be treated as such next week, 'Supernatural' can surprise us every now and again.
Fan-favorite Kevin Tran certainly ended his role on a dour note, though given how common such a fate has been for peripheral characters, we hadn't necessarily expected to see the lost prophet again, let alone his similarly written-off mother, much less earn some kind of happy ending for the pair. No doubt fans will have an easier time imagining Kevin tethered to his mother as a friendly ghost for the moment, especially as the character ended things out with a righteous plea for the Winchesters to simply stow their crap. It was a heartfelt moment from an altogether unexpected source, making the decision to immediately ignore said moment somewhat baffling, but that's a matter for another day.
The season to date hasn't quite known where to take the renegade angels plot line, given especially sparse appearances for a central villain like Bartholomew, or the primarily exposition-laden factions, paired with a never-ending roster of forgettable angel names. Since the end of season 5, 'Supernatural' has increasingly drifted toward characters in search of a story, and while Castiel's confrontation with Bartholomew didn't quite drive the stakes home in a way that felt particularly grounded in the season to date, we at least have a new avenue to explore. The last thing we need is to see Castiel going down the wrong path once more, so hopefully the writers can find something meaningful to do with the rebellious angel as the newest leader of a faction.
And that's it, really. No Snooki, no Crowley, and a few questionable moments in between, but "Captives" offered a surprising coda for the Tran family that hit quite a few nails on the head, even if it seemed like Sam stubbornly refused to honor the last request of someone he'd inadvertently, you know, murdered. Hopefully we'll check back in with Crowley next week, somewhere amid renewed "Ghost Chasers" shenanigans, or at least get a sense of what Metatron and Gadreel intend to do by locking souls out of Heaven.
Well, what say you? Did you get your fill of scary ‘Supernatural’ action? What did you think about the surprises “Captives"? Give us your take in the comments, and join us again next Tuesday for an all-new recap of ‘Supernatural’ season 9 episode 15, “#THINMAN,” on The CW!