TV Reviewer Katie Young is the only person alive at the end of her review of this week’s episode of Supernatural – Soul Survivor…
So it’s au revoir to Demon Dean this week, or maybe it’s just a bientot, as he still bears the Mark of Cain, and Castiel gets a stay of execution courtesy of some ‘borrowed’ grace from a surprising benefactor.
Also a welcome reopening of the Winchester dressing-up box, as we kick off with Sam playing doctor in a hospital. He watches a priest recite some Latin over a blood bank before making off with a large supply of the blessed claret. I briefly wonder what he told the priest. Is the Catholic Church in the habit of consecrating blood donations? But I decide it’s not important because hello there white coat and cassock! Never let it be said that this reviewer is one to look a gift horse in the mouth.
Sam takes his haul back to the Men of Letters bunker where Dean is chained in Crowley’s old room, held in place by the devil’s trap. It pleases me immensely that Sam bothered to get Dean’s blood type. It’s these little details, the implication that of course they know each other’s blood type because they would have had to patch each other up on so many occasions, which adds depth and colour to the brothers’ decade hunting together. And Sam’s face when Dean asks him why he cares if Dean disappears is priceless. Sam proceeds to shoot Dean up with the first dose of blood, despite his protestations.
Back in the bunker, Dean tells Sam there is no difference between them in terms of monstrosity because he knows how far Sam went to get him back. These are long-running themes of the show; what makes a monster? What keeps you human? Do the ends always justify the means?Meanwhile, Cas and Hannah are still traversing the country in their car. Hannah is confused by her fellow angel’s claims that he is okay when he looks like hammered crap, and Castiel explains that humans always say they’re fine when they’re not to avoid talking about their issues. Hannah tells Cas Sam can’t be much of a friend if he is asking for his help when Cas is in such bad shape, but Cas admits that Sam doesn’t know how bad things really are.
We flashback to Sam in a bar encouraging Lester, the jealous husband Dean ganked last week, to make a demon deal for revenge on his cheating wife in order to summon one of Crowley’s cohorts without giving himself away. We see them at the crossroads with the female demon from the season premiere. Sam tries to intervene before the deal is sealed with a kiss, but he’s too late to save Lester’s soul. Again, I’m reminded of the single-mindedness Sam showed during Mystery Spot and after Dean was dragged to Hell at the end of Season 3, and it’s good to see him acting as we’ve come to expect, because, right or wrong, the whole point of the Winchesters is that they are incapable of objectivity and adhering to their own codes when it comes to each other. I also love impatient Sam correcting Lester’s Latin.
Down in Hell, Crowley is presiding over his kingdom with a palpable sense of ennui hanging over him. A very posh demon who looks like an evil Santa tells him Castiel is weak and it would be a good time to get rid of the angel once and for all. Crowley tells Bad Santa to follow Cas and report back. He then slips into some black and white memories of fun times with Dean. I have to say, the show is really pushing the quite explicitly non-platonic nature of Crowley’s feelings for the older Winchester brother. Crowley smites an over eager minion who offers to replace Dean, and I do quite like that the demon seems to be legitimately grieving the end of their time together, because so often in Supernatural, allusion to male homosexuality and gay subtext is merely a source of humour. While Crowley and Dean’s ‘fling’ has mostly been portrayed as tongue in cheek, Crowley’s treatment of the young demon shows a level of complexity and genuine emotion from the King of Hell. And there are serious repercussions. Crowley’s preoccupation with his Winchester ‘boy toy’ doesn’t go over too well with one of Hell’s legion, who makes that point with self-immolation by holy oil. I like this scene. It’s shocking and unexpected, almost a reimagining of the fall of Lucifer, with the demons dissatisfied with the current regime, and having their loyalty shunned in favour of human trappings. Will the rumblings of rebellion be enough to snap the king out of his infatuation?Dean tells his brother that he killed Lester himself and that Sam cost a man his life and his soul. He asks Sam if he’s got the stomach to end his if the cure doesn’t work. We all know the answer to that one.
Sam calls Castiel, and admits he thinks the ritual is killing Dean. Cas tells him to keep going regardless. Dean tries to distract his younger brother with cruel jibes about Mary and John and how Sam’s always just been a burden to him. Dean tells Sam he is quitting him, and Sam responds with, “We don’t get to quit in this family. This family is all we’ve ever had.” I love the way Sam gestures between the two of them when he says ‘family’, underlining how little they have left, and how that word has always been so loaded with meaning for the brothers. It’s also heart-breaking to see Sam’s hallucinatory fears from his blood-drinking days come true, with Dean incapable of loving him in his current state.
At a gas station in the middle of nowhere, Cas, lets Hannah down gently, having noted her attempts at flirtation. I note that her hair seems to get bigger in each scene. Hannah finds the attendant with his eyes burnt out, shortly before the pair are ambushed by rogue angel, Adina. Adina tortures Hannah and does a number on Cas before help arrives in the unlikely form of Crowley. He kills Adina and steals her grace to feed it to Cas. Crowley tells the angel to deal with Dean as he can’t have him being a demon anymore.
So it seems that Dean is human again for now, although Castiel’s warning about the Mark of Cain implies his troubles are not over. I get the warm and fuzzies at Sam going on a fast food run and saying he’s going to personally feed it all to Dean, and then he’s going to get drunk. And I positively flail around the room when Dean asks Cas if Sam wants a divorce. Your bravado is fooling no one, Dean. While I’d have quite liked another week or two of Dark Dean, and I think they could have had some even more twisted and visceral moments between the brothers given the amount of bloody water under their bridge at this point, it’s good to see the boys reunited and on the same page for the first time in an age. It would also have been nice to see them interact a bit more once Dean was back in the room, but hopefully we’ll get some nice broments in the weeks to come.Back at Winchester HQ, Sam looks fondly around Dean’s room. He finds some copies of Busty Asian Beauties, some half eaten pie and photos of Mary, John, Bobby, and Season 1 Jared and Jensen, apparently. He returns to the cell to find Dean has escaped, the blood injections having made him just human enough to render the cuffs and devil’s trap useless. What follows is a pulse-raising game of Winchester cat and mouse in the bunker. Sam puts the place into lockdown and Dean stalks the corridors with a hammer in his hand, bathed in red light. Sam lures him to the generator room, but Dean smashes his way out in a scene which pays homage to the The Shining. He swings for Sam but finds himself with a blade held to his throat. Dean goads his little brother, but Sam can’t make the kill. Cas arrives in the nick of time to restrain Dean, and they give him the final dose of human blood.
A tantalising glimpse of the potential season big bad at the close too, as Cas tells Dean he should take a break as Heaven and Hell are reasonably quiet. Famous last words, Cas. We end in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with another redhead in the Abaddon tradition, who has two men pinned to the ceiling. Looks like it won’t be quiet for long…