TV reviewer Katie Young cackles in demonic fashion as she reviews this week’s episode of Supernatural, Reichenbach…
Things get dark and bloody this week, just the way I like it, as Sam catches up with his demonic brother. While Dean must pick between his humanity and Hell, Castiel faces a similar dilemma when it seems his lost grace is within his grasp.
We open with a flashback to teen Cole finding his father with his throat slashed from ear to ear, apparently courtesy of a young Dean Winchester. Cole still has Sam tied up, and the younger Winchester tries to explain that Dean must have had a good reason for ganking Papa Cole. But while Cole has witnessed the very worst of human atrocities, he isn’t buying the whole ‘monsters really exist’ shtick even when Sam gets out his holy water.
Meanwhile, Dean is being handsy with a stripper and beating seven shades out of bar security. We cut between Dean and the bouncer, and Cole torturing Sam in some of the crunchiest fight sequences I’ve ever seen in the show. Sam having his shoulder dislocated made me squirm (even more so as I was present the weekend Jared Padalecki actually did bust that arm and saw the pain etched on his face in person, poor love), and his “shove it up your ass” made my Sam Winchester-loving heart swell with pride. Luckily, Cole gets a phone call from home just as he’s about to smash Sam’s kneecap with a hammer. Cole steps outside, leaving Sam in the barn with his keys and a suspiciously fortuitous chance to escape.
Crowley and Dean meet in a bar. Crowley tells Dean he needs to kill to sate the Mark of Cain, and suggests he makes himself useful by taking out those chosen to die in deals people have made with our King of Hell. Dean reluctantly agrees, but goes off piste on his first assignment, and ends up killing the asshole husband of the woman he’s been sent after. This is interesting as it shows there is some kind of morality at work in Dean, however warped, something which Sam picks up on later, even though Dean denies it. Crowley is unimpressed that Dean has whacked the client and not the mark. They fight and Crowley tells Dean he is neither human nor demon so he needs to pick a side.Out on the road, Cas and Hannah are making doe-eyes at each other as she heals his wounds, but their little moment is interrupted by a call from Sam, explaining that Dean has gone dark side, and has been spotted with Crowley in Beulah, North Dakota. Hannah makes the mistake of telling Castiel that the Winchesters are a bad influence on him, and Cas berates her, telling her they are the best men he’s ever known. Damn straight. Girlfriend needs to learn you can’t come between the Winchesters and their angel. An exhausted Cas falls asleep at the wheel, and narrowly avoids getting them creamed by a truck. They are rescued by an extremely trusting female mechanic, who invites them to stay in her home, eat her food, and bond with her young daughter. Clearly this mechanic has never seen the show, and I worry for her mortal soul.
Hannah goes to Heaven in the ‘express elevator’ which is inexplicably in a children’s sandpit. She considers freeing Metatron when he tells her he can retrieve Castiel’s grace, but Cas stops her, realising Metatron will say anything to get free. I am pleased that Castiel is the clear-thinker in this scenario. Since his introduction in Season 4 as a winged badass, arriving in a shower of sparks and broken glass, he’s been painted as increasingly passive and gullible, and it’s good to see him taking charge despite his physical weakness, and to see that he’s learnt from his mistakes. His speech to Hannah harks back to the ideals of Team Free Will back in Season 5, and shows willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good.
Cole has let Sam escape, knowing he will go after Dean, and is tracking him. Having been through his messy break up with Dean, Crowley approaches Sam and offers him his brother in exchange for the First Blade. Sam finds Dean in yet another bar. Dean tells Sam he warned him to let him go, but Sam tells his brother he knows he can’t do that. As I mentioned last week, I am thrilled that Sam is getting his chance to be the one to fix things and bring his brother home, especially after the strains placed on their relationship over the last two seasons. Still, my heart leaps a bit when Dean threatens to tear Sam’s throat out with his teeth, and I hope there’s a lot more of that next week. Dean’s “You don’t know what I’ve done” echoes Soulless Sam from Season 6, and Sam admitting he doesn’t care is the crux of Supernatural for me. Ultimately it’s about how far two people will go for each other, and we do seem to be getting back to that notion this season. Thank Chuck! Sam busts out the demon-trapping handcuffs, because we all know those Winchester boys like it rough, but Cole ambushes the brothers with a smoke bomb, and knocks Sam out. Cole tries to fight Dean but is humiliated in defeat. Dean lets him live, but not before revealing that he’s a demon. I suspect there will be another hunter with a grudge on the circuit now.Here’s the problem though: human vessels for the angels and demons only work on Earth. Every time we visit Heaven or Hell, it makes a nonsense of the vessel system. We know Castiel’s true form is a ‘multidimensional wavelength of celestial intent’, so why is Metatron still Booger in a grubby jail cell? In the same way that Hell only works as an abstract idea, flashes of fire, meat hooks, and never-ending queues of miserable souls, Heaven only works when we experience it from a human perspective, as beloved memories, a garden, or a gilded room. But I digress…
We wrap up with the first Winchesters in the Impala scene of the season, but things inside Baby are distinctly less than homely. Dean has let the car get dirty and when Sam pulls him up on it, he retorts that it’s “just a car”. OUCH. This isn’t going to be an easy fix. Sam tries to get his brother to admit that sparing Cole was merciful act, but Dean says it was the cruellest thing he could have done, and tells Sammy that what he’s going to him “ain’t gonna be mercy either”. By far the best line in recent memory, it’s both chilling and delicious, and makes me ridiculously excited for next week. Bring on the painful home truths, Latin and blood injections!Sam douses his brother with holy water and finally gets those cuffs on him. He hands the First Blade over to Crowley, who says he’ll toss it into a volcano or leave it on the moon. Sam has to keep up his bravado, and he’s probably still smarting from those taunts last week, so he informs Crowley this still doesn’t make them square, and that he will kill him next time they meet, prompting my second favourite line of the episode. “Oh stop it, Samantha. No one likes a tease.” I also love Crowley openly mourning the end of his fling with Dean in front of his demon aides, while gazing lovingly at a picture of them together. Poor Growley.