WARNING: This review contains spoilers
In ‘Beyond the Mat’, Sam and Dean take a break from their research to attend a wrestling match like the one John used to take them when they were little. Meanwhile, Lucifer starts having some problems in Hell.
Despite ‘Beyond the Mat’ being a monster-of-the-week episode, there were some elements that made it feel different. For starters, Sam and Dean weren’t looking for a case, but happened to run into one while taking a short break to relive some childhood memories. The case was entertaining for the first half and it had an interesting plot twist, but the best part about this case was seeing the return of fanboy!Dean. You can tell Jensen Ackles really enjoys playing this side of Dean, and his exchanges with Gunner Lawless (Aleks Paunovic) were also on point. Finally, it was also quite nostalgic that we got to see demons, hellhounds and demon deals again. As a matter of fact, it does make sense that demons would go a bit crazy after what’s happening with Crowley and Lucifer.
The B plot of this episode featured some conflicts in Hell between Lucifer and Crowley. Lucifer has become obsessed with the idea of finding another Hand of God, and so he puts all his demons to work on it. One of them, Simmons (Bethany Brown), seemed to show some compassion towards Crowley. I thought it was very interesting that there were some demons who were actually truly loyal to Crowley over Lucifer. Except not because it was all a trap by Lucifer himself to get Crowley to take him to the Hand of God. And then, the weapon’s only hit lands on Simmons, who was protecting Lucifer. I struggle to see the point of this turn of the events other than saying ‘it’s not that easy to trick Lucifer‘. I believe it would have been more interesting to go down the Crowley-team road in a race to find the Hand of God against Lucifer. Instead of that, Crowley continues being a mere shadow of what he used to be.
Nothing much really happened in this episode when it comes to the overarching plot of the season. The wrestling case seemed to be a bit random, but it worked nonetheless. It was fun, it brought back some nostalgia and it served as a parallel for Sam and Dean’s job of getting their hands dirty for no money and no glory. Probably the best outcome of ‘Beyond the Mat’ was Dean getting a new-found strength and motivation to keep fighting against what’s coming next.