There was so much anticipation leading up to the start of Season 10 (10!), that it’s almost hard to believe I didn’t feel let down by the premiere this week. The night before, the CW did something it’s never done for SPN – ran an hour long special ‘retrospective’, looking back over the past nine years of Supernatural. The special was an emotional and heartfelt tribute, not just to the Show, but to the fans who have kept the Show on the air for ten seasons. Seeing Eric Kripke back in the SPN Family was enough to make me reach for the tissues – add to that Rob Benedict’s narration, the voice of Chuck himself, and I needed multiple boxes. Before the airing, fandom made sure that writer and S6 and 7 showrunner Sera Gamble wasn’t left out, tweeting about favorite Sera-penned episodes and her lasting contribution to the Show with the hashtag #thankyousera. (We may have let her know that was happening after the fact, and she may have said thank you.) Throughout the special, the cast talked about what they owe to the fandom, with clear appreciation and respect. Mark Sheppard commented that he wasn’t so sure about people who aren’t passionate about something (which is pretty much the plot of Fangasm: Supernatural Fangirls) and fanworks even appeared in the special itself. So we went into Tuesday night already at a fever pitch of excitement and full of love for Show.
And guess what? It didn’t disappoint. Season 10 started out with a ‘Road So Far’ that had a ton of momentum, with Pat Benatar’s “Heartbreaker” moving things along quickly. It didn’t occur to me at the time, but I love how the lyrics could be seen as an encouragement to fandom to take the source material and run with it.
“You’re the right kind of sinner, to release my inner fantasies…”
Demon!Dean? Um, yeah.
The theme is repeated in Dean’s choice of karaoke song, “Imaginary lover.” Having Dean Winchester sing about, as Jensen so suavely put it, “self pleasuring”, is an invitation to fantasy if I ever heard one.
Also, big kudos to @christopherspn for that amazing title card. Every year we all wait to see what the new season’s will be, and the Show never lets us down. I think this is one of my favorites.
The episode itself was a win in my book, though not entirely. The first flashback scene would have been much better if I hadn’t seen the promo – I’d had too much time to see it and realize she was talking about Sam and not Dean, so the pull-back reveal didn’t pack the emotional punch it should have. I’m trying to stay away from promos from now on. That scene was filmed and edited to include an element of surprise that was ruined by the too-long promos. Of course, this will require some self control on my part. We’ll see how it goes.
Reaching For The Tissues
The best parts were the ones that evoked an emotional reaction, which is so much of what I watch this Show for. The most poignant scenes were of Sam. When he walked into Dean’s darkened bedroom, frozen in silhouette in the doorway for a moment, my heart was in my throat. It was a scene that evoked loss so perfectly – the way we don’t want to change anything about the places that were theirs, the way we want to linger and touch whatever they last touched. I found myself tearing up as I watched Sam slowly walk across the room and pick up Dean’s note – the last thing Dean touched, the last message he had for his little brother. How many times had he done that? Every night? Multiple times a day? After all that time, the note was still there, carefully folded as Dean had left it. That scene broke me. Kudos Jared, for making me feel every ounce of Sam’s pain.
The other times that Jared did a stellar job of conveying Sam’s emotions were both phone calls (and both attempts at manipulation) – by Crowley and by mysterious new ‘hunter’ Cole. Sam’s face when Crowley torments him, telling him that he and Dean are now together, that Dean completes him. The rage all mixed up with the hurt – considering the depth of Sam’s grief, how agonizing must it have been to have Crowley twist the knife like that? Sam has lost a piece of himself, is incomplete, as we all are when we lose someone so important. And Crowley is rubbing salt in the wound. Everything that Sam has lost, Crowley is insisting that he now has.
The fact that it turned out that Sam was manipulating Crowley emotionally to keep him talking was a brilliant reveal. The fact that Crowley was in fact manipulating Sam to manipulate him because he wanted Sam to track them down was doubly brilliant! I love you when you’re smart, Show.
The actual taunting conversation between Sam and Crowley was priceless.
This tweet coming across my dash made me laugh out loud in the middle of it:
“You can’t stand the fact that he’s mine.” — Crowley during the weirdest phone call between ex wife and new lover ever #Supernatural
Dean and Crowley’s weirdly out-of-place exchange of “Jerk” “Bitch” was meant to sting. But it also made it clear that Dean is missing the camaraderie with his brother, and to some extent trying to recreate that with Crowley. It also made it quite clear that the relationships are not the same – at all. Despite the whole doing things with triplets thing. (Dean has a thing for sleeping with siblings, doesn’t he? Twins, triplets…hmmm).
The phone call that Cole makes to Dean was the other emotional highlight for me, for both Sam-related and Dean-related reasons. Sam’s reaction to Cole making the call said so much about his complicated feelings about his brother right now – he looked horrified that Cole was calling Dean and Dean was answering, as he refused to say anything. And yet, the entire time Cole held up the phone, there was such a look of longing on Sam’s face. Like, my brother who I’ve been missing so horribly is on the other end of that phone, and I want so badly to be able to talk to him — imagine someone you’ve lost, and cried over for months, and longed for, and now someone has them on a phone line right in front of you. But with a big horrible catch. Poor Sam – my heart broke for him in that moment. When Cole finally punches Sam to get an audible response, it breaks Sam’s resolve to be silent, and he calls out for his brother like we’ve heard him do so many times in the past nine seasons.
“Dean!” he yells, and you can hear the desperation in his voice. There’s so much pain there, and so much longing – how many times in the previous months has Sam wished he could call for his brother and have him come running one more time? What would Sam give for an answer from his brother? That scream of his brother’s name hit me hard, an echo of Sam’s scream of rage and agony in 9.23, which was an echo of Dean’s scream in 2.21 as Sam died in his arms.
Sam Winchester Is Back
Sam had my favorite lines of the night, specifically every single time he said the words “I’m going to save my brother.”
“I will save my brother or die trying” felt like the Sam Winchester I know and love was finally back. It was positively healing – for me. I’ve been bothered by the first part of Season 8 for a long time, maybe more than I realized. I still have trouble integrating the whole Sam-hit-a-dog-and-went-off-to-live-in-a-dreamworld-with-Amelia thing with the rest of canon and with who Sam is as a character.
I have to give Crowley credit for finding a way to skewer Sam right off. “Moose, took you long enough. Your brother and I were beginning to wonder if you’d hit another dog,” was perfect, and pure Crowley – go for his emotional weak spot. But it was also, to me, an acknowledgement that sometimes the Show I adore makes miscalculations, and I think that arc was one of them. I’m reading Jeremy Carver’s insertion of that line as an admission that yeah, sometimes we don’t get it right, but hey, we keep on trying.
I can’t help but think about the parallels between Sam’s current situation and Dean’s at the start of Season 9. Dean’s note said “Sammy, let me go,” which is what Sam asked of Dean in Season 9. And what Dean couldn’t do. Sam can’t do that now. Dean’s desperation and his willingness to do anything to save his brother ended up driving a wedge between them that lasted virtually the entire season, and tore most of fandom apart emotionally just as it did the characters. Sam’s now where Dean was, and he’s acting like I always thought Sam would – he’s willing to do whatever it takes to save his brother. Has it occurred to him yet that he now knows what Dean felt like, when he made that terrible desperate decision?
I always thought that Sam would have known a bit anyway. Mystery Spot Sam was as desperate and willing to do whatever it took as Gadreel-inviting Dean in Season 9. But the parallel is clearer now. Not justifying – in either case – the whole doing whatever thing, including something that someone else didn’t agree to. And human Sam being saved through possession by an angel is not the same as demon Dean being saved from being a demon. But Sam may be putting himself in Dean’s shoes more than he has in the past.
After going through a painful Season 9 when it was up for grabs whether the Winchesters were in fact still brothers, hearing both of them refer to “my brother” repeatedly was healing in itself.
Are You Still In There, Dean Winchester?
The other fabulous part of that phone call with Cole needs kudos to Jensen. Demon!Dean (I refuse to call him Deanmon because seriously, it hurts my ears every time someone says it. Also I can’t help but hear it like Bob Marley. Even Jensen’s tweets hurt my ears.) Anyway, Demon!Dean before that point had been equal parts amusing and acting like a jackass, but he hadn’t been horrifying. Or terrifying. I admit I spent much of the episode looking for signs of Dean’s lingering humanity, even after hearing Jensen tell me to my face that there’s not much of that left. I don’t think I can believe that, and I don’t think Sam – or Crowley – can either. There were moments when he just seemed like early seasons carefree sort-of-a-jerk-sometimes Dean, drinking and singing and playing foosball and jumping into bed with whoever caught his fancy. He didn’t seem so much demonic as disinhibited, like someone disconnected his frontal lobe functioning or he’d been smoking a lot of something other than cigarettes.
There were moments when he did seem to care – about Anne Marie, and about Sam. But that last scene of Dean driving, staring straight ahead and speaking with a chilling lack of emotion, was horrifying. I still want to read caring there, because he seemed pretty sincere when he informed Cole in no uncertain terms that if he killed Sam, Dean would absolutely positively kill him. But I’m not sure – and that, to me, is the most horrifying thing of all. I have always been sure of Sam and Dean. Even when Sam was soulless, I read some caring underneath. Even when Sam was addicted to demon blood and half demonic himself. I still read caring now, but it is as buried and twisted as I’ve ever seen it. And that is truly terrifying.
A part of me wants to interpret Dean’s “If my brother knows one thing, he knows I’m a man of my word” as a traditional Winchester coded message, something Sam will understand even if Cole doesn’t. Or to believe that Dean only told Cole he wasn’t coming for Sam to give himself the element of surprise when he does. But perhaps that’s wishful thinking, me desperately wanting to see Sam and Dean be Sam and Dean again. I know we’ll get there, but I fear we have to go through some more horror first. As much as Sam has wanted Dean to let him be independent and acknowledge him as a grown up, it was chilling to hear Dean say that he wasn’t going to untangle Sam from his own web. I hated hearing it, but it was a perfect way to portray the demonic in Dean.
Yay For Passion? Or Maybe Not
Other things I liked for the most part: Anne Marie. Though I wasn’t the only one who thought she looked a lot like Mary Winchester. That one moment when drunken Dean is waking up bleary and blurry-eyed, it almost looked like he was confused about who was coming over with some water and some of that caretaking that Dean is always missing (and always denying he wants). I won’t do any psychoanalytic pondering on why Anne Marie is the one disinhibited Dean takes to bed, but Emily Fonda does remind me of both Samantha Smith and Amy Gumenick. Casting agent preference, perhaps?
Anyway, I thought Emily did a great job and I liked the character. She teases Dean about taking too long (which nobody who has ever actually seen Jensen Ackles believed she would complain about for a micro second) and isn’t shy about letting him know that she enjoyed every minute of it. At first we think that she’s taken in by Dean’s display of machismo and “protecting her honor”, which would have been a disappointment, but it turns out she sees through it easily enough and realizes that it wasn’t about her at all, it was about him. She also turns him down when, defenses dulled by drink, Dean invites her to ‘go somewhere’ with him – rightly pointing out that a) they are somewhere, implying that running somewhere else never changed anything for anyone, and b) they barely know each other. She’s not romanticizing their sexual relationship or falling for his altruistic white knight façade. Good for you, Anne Marie. She says that she’s seen good guys and she’s seen bad guys, and knows what kind he is. The line that Ackles delivers (perfectly) next is the most cutting of the episode – “The kind of guy who sleeps with every skank in every dive he passes through? You really do know how to read people ‘cause that sure does sound like me.”
Ouch. That stung right through the television screen. That was the first time the extent of how much Dean has changed came through loud and clear. At the same time, Ackles flinched as he delivered the line, which seemed to be as much about Dean’s internalized self-loathing as his view of Anne Marie. He lashed out in anger in a way that was horribly cruel when he felt rejected, which made Dean at that moment a very unlikable character indeed. Her reaction made it even more painful to watch, and perhaps negated a bit of the message that I wanted to take from their previous scene.
Show has a bit of a tangled history when it comes to messages about female sexuality (actually perhaps it’s even broader than that, but that’s for another meta…) – suffice it to say, Anne Marie’s near-acceptance of Dean’s characterization of her made my stomach bottom out. Urgh. I thought she might turn around and say, “And what does that make you?” Pretty sure even Demon!Dean would say he’s right there with her, because the comment was as much a condemnation of himself as her. Instead she acknowledged that she’s so messed up that she’s going to think she deserved that. If that was intended as a biting comment on internalized misogyny, then okay, because it’s a serious issue. Was it, Show?
My twitter dash gave me this:
“Ah, excellent! A character to celebrate internalized misogyny. I wanted this!!”
Let’s hope it was more pointed social commentary, less celebration. At any rate, Anne Marie was a memorable character and fleshed out enough to leave an impression. And I do think we saw some moments of caring from Dean – he seemed to retain actual Dean’s generosity in bed and his invitation to come away with him seemed genuine enough at the moment. The look he gave her when she approached the bed with the glass of water and aspirin was the most telling – Jensen played it with some real emotion, in a moment of obvious vulnerability. Here too, doesn’t Dean look like a little boy, raising his eyes to someone he cares about?
The other times I think (hope?) I saw some evidence of caring was when Crowley casually mentioned that he’d spoken to Sam. Dean spins around immediately, more interest on his face than we’ve seen up until then. He seems to be trying hard to feign disinterest, but it’s not entirely working. When Sam calls at the end of the episode (well, it’s Cole, but Dean thinks it’s Sam), he picks up the phone and tells Sam : “I left you an open tab at the bar, knock yourself out.”. That’s not exactly warm and fuzzy, but it’s civil and, for a demon, almost friendly. Or that could just be me wanting it to be that way.
Open Robes and Fish Metaphors
The angel arc was confusing to me, as the subtitle suggests. I’m still having a hard time integrating the two vastly different story lines. Every time they cut back and forth between them, I lost the momentum of the one I’d been invested in. I don’t know what the answer is, but it’s jarring.
The first angel arc scene opens with Cas laid out on his bed in what looks like a very seedy motel room indeed. It’s a really nice scene though, complete with slowly rotating overhead fan that Show is fond of, and Misha sprawled out in an opened robe with one leg enticingly out of the covers.
Not sure why he’s sleeping in a robe, which seems very uncomfortable, but apparently poor Cas is pretty out of it. He’s coughing like he has a terminal disease, which is pretty accurate, and still trying to soldier on anyway.
Hannah (Erica Carroll) shows up, Cas answers the door in his open robe and Hannah ogles his junk (totally understandable) which it takes Cas an implausibly long time to understand.
She says some rogue angels have killed the angel tasked with forcing them back to Heaven and she needs his help, and for some reason I’m not entirely clear on, Cas says okay. The entire time, he doesn’t seem at all invested in this goal – it’s almost like he’s just going along with Hannah.
I had the odd feeling that Cas and Hannah were mirroring Dean and Sam at times – driving along in a big classic car (not as cool as the Impala at all, but…), stopping to have a conversation across her hood, arguing about taking the turns too fast/slow/what was that about? Castiel said “Hannah” as often as Dean says “Sammy”, which also struck me. I’m not sure what the relationship is supposed to be between them, other than they clearly respect each other as “soldiers” and for the part each played in defeating Metatron.
I liked Hannah last season, but she didn’t come across as favorably in this episode. I was just starting to like fish-metaphor-guy-angel (Daniel?) when Hannah instigated a fight and he ended up dead. His question that now that the angels have fallen, why couldn’t he and Adina exercise the free will they’ve learned from humans, made sense. I think that Cas thought so too, but his loyalty to Hannah made him defend her and kill Daniel instead. Now they’re both wounded, Cas’ grace is failing, and I’m not sure what Hannah’s game plan is. What’s worse, I don’t much care. I care about Cas, and found myself yelling at him as they’re driving and he’s talking about the good that can come from the chaos that is humanity, urging him to stick with what he’s learned and not be swayed by angelic propaganda. I feel like Cas has struggled with this before, though. Go with your gut, Cas!
My favorite Cas scene was his telephone conversation with Sam, in which they both haltingly tried to convey that they cared about the other, and Cas finally blurted out the obvious: “I miss him.” Kudos to Misha for investing those few words with so much emotion.
Mysteries: Cole and Crowley
The other new character was Cole, who was introduced with a montage that made me think he was a cross between a “good family man” and John Winchester, driven and revenge-fueled. Also, he has a fax machine, which implies that he’s so driven he’s gotten stuck in the 90’s. Travis Aaron Wade did a great job with the character, who came off as both menacing and fascinating. He can pull off humor and then turn it into chilling behavior on a dime, which fits in well with our Show. What’s his story? What did Dean do to him or his family that set him on this path to revenge and turned him into a self-professed monster?
As much as I enjoyed Cole, the way in which he overpowers Sam both intellectually and physically really rankled. Sam had just been allowed to be Smart!Sam, my favorite flavor of Sammy, and I’d been reveling in that very happily. Then his car inexplicably dies on a deserted stretch of road in the dark and a guy appears instantly and offers to help, and Sam just shrugs and says oh yeah thanks and then lets himself be slugged unconconscious? Seriously?
I’ll have to put it down to the fact that Sam is sleep deprived, distracted with worry, and only has the use of one arm (thanks to Jared’s insistence on wrestling with Osric Chau at a con over the summer – read the whole story in our interview with Osric here — http://fangasmthebook.com/2014/09/19/osric-chau-on-his-emotional-last-scene-as-kevin-and-the-perils-of-wrestling-with-jared/ ). I love that they had to worm it into the storyline. Boys.
I just had a long discussion with my daughter about the premiere, and was (pleasantly) surprised to find out we agreed on just about everything. Is the moon blue? (Oh wait, that’s blood red, isn’t it?) The one thing we weren’t entirely in agreement about was Crowley. I think he has some genuine affection for ‘Squirrel’ – and for Moose – although he’s primarily motivated by his own selfish aspirations. Emily thinks there’s no affection for anyone but Crowley in Crowley, and that even his caring about his son was a result of the human blood he was addicted to at the time. Who’s to say that’s all out of his system though? Or that he wasn’t changed permanently by that experience? Hmmm. I guess we’ll see.
What we do agree on is that Crowley is the undisputed master of manipulation. All that warning Dean that “you have to feed the mark, keep it sated” as the reason Crowley’s been chumming the waters with demons for Dean to kill? Nope. I don’t believe it. It seems more likely that Crowley’s been making sure Dean uses the blade on a regular basis, so he stays as demonic as possible. After all, when Cain threw the blade away for the love of his wife, he was a lot less demonic over time. Crowley wants Dean as demonic as possible. Has Dean figured this out yet?
I enjoyed the karaoke scenes, though I kept getting distracted thinking that Demon!Dean with his longer hair and different wardrobe looks more like Jensen than Dean. I half expected Rob Benedict and Louden Swain to be playing backup at the bar! Kudos to Jensen for managing to sing so poorly when we all know he can sing for real. I loved the foosball scene too, because it was ridiculous and unexpected and Crowley actually was getting into it. It was a nice way to show the odd camaraderie that has developed between the two of them, at least from Crowley’s side. I’m not sure Dean is feeling anything akin to affection for Crowley at all. Maybe he just doesn’t want to be alone – as Sam has rightly pointed out, Dean can’t stand to be alone. He needs to be away from Sam right now, so Crowley has stepped in as a sort of replacement brother figure. By the end of the episode, however, Crowley has manipulated Dean once too often – he drives off, alone.
More of My Favorite Things
The sheriff guy’s comment that “We don’t know if this guy’s a hero or a psychopath.” I feel like that weirdly sums up the first arc of Season 10. And that the same thing has probably been said about the Winchesters before.
Jensen’s ability to make Demon!Dean seem like Dean and yet set apart from Dean, with all those subtle changes he made to the character. Not just the hair (I actually prefer regular Dean’s hair, and I never thought I’d say that since I’m always complaining that they cut it too short – but I miss those iconic spikes!), but the way Dean moves, the way he carries himself, his expressions. The deadness in his eyes, the coldness in his smile. He keeps insisting he’s having the time of his life, but I don’t quite believe him. The fact that he needs to keep escaping with sex and alcohol seems to suggest that I’m right.
Mark Sheppard’s continuing amazingness as Crowley. How can I love a character who’s the King of Hell so damn much? Nobody does snarky and witty like Sheppard.
I’ve already raved about Jared’s ability to portray Sam’s loss and grief – but his rage and determination came through just as loud and clear. Misha gave us some clear glimpses of Castiel’s grief too, in his quietly understated conversation with Sam. I love Cas best when he’s allowing his humanity to shine through; his voice even softened when he talked to Sam.
Fandom LOVED Gas ‘N Sip clerk guy. I mean, LOVED him. He was refreshingly real, responding to Dean killing a guy ten feet in front of him with a totally understandable “code brown” moment, and refusing to be intimidated by Sam’s questioning. Then he calmly hands over the cell phone he’s retrieved. Hah! Also, the fact that he insisted on calling Dean “Porn Guy” was priceless. Not only did it cause Sam to make wonderfully uncomfortable faces, but it just seems… relevant. To me, anyway. Let’s go back to that inner fantasy theme we’ve got going, shall we?
Staying up for a rewatch during the West Coast airing was worth being a little tired at work the next day, as Jensen did his first live tweet. His attempts to bust Misha Collins with “close ur robe…seriously. Family show. Come on!” were mitigated by him using a hashtag instead of an @, much to fandom’s fond amusement. Meanwhile, he probably got about ten million tweets reminding him to hashtag #supernatural. Robbie Thompson has taught us well.
My favorite Jensen tweet was a kudos to Mark Sheppard. “And here I thought only Dean and Sam had angsty bromance arguments.” Jensen tweeting about angsty bromance arguments kinda makes my day. I did have to put my hands over my ears every time he tweeted about #Deanmon though. Ouch.
Where Do We Go From Here?
This first episode set up some of the themes for the season, it seems. Cas and Hannah are struggling over the relative merits of free will versus obedience, but their disagreement really comes down to an examination of humanity. All the story arcs are considering what it means to be human, and in contrast, what it means to be a “monster” (a favorite theme of Carver’s considering the title of his last show). Dean has called Sam a monster in the past and in this episode Sam refers to Dean as a monster (perhaps in part to dissuade Cole from going after him). Cole also refers to himself as a monster, and the demon Dar in the opening scene implies that Sam has become one in his quest to find his brother. Dean himself is a mix of nearly heroic (most of his violence has been targeted to someone who was a ‘bad guy’ or a demon) and monstrous. It’s part of the hero’s journey, after all, to descend to the depths of darkness and then crawl your way back out, to understand the darkness in yourself so you can live with that shadow side instead of splitting it off in denial and having it keep rearing its ugly head. I’m intrigued. Who will Sam and Dean be when they come out on the other side? Will they find Cas more human than angel?
The episode ended on that chilling expression on Demon!Dean’s face.
Then there was the preview. The one we got was about ten seconds long, and the dialogue was Dean growling, “What I’m gonna do to you, Sammy, you have no idea…” No context, just that. I literally dropped my phone. Not because it was ominous, but because it sounded like a random clip from something that was definitely not a sci fi genre show on the CW. I know we’ve been calling Dean “Porn guy”, but come on!
The extended promo is a bit less innuendo filled, but even more intriguing. I won’t give it away, but let’s just say that when even a mainstream site like TV.com is conjecturing about the horrifying and yet awesome possibilities of Dean being a demon and Sam being a recovering demon blood addict, you have a fandom that is on pins and needles for next week.
And that is just as it should be. As Jensen Ackles keeps tweeting, to the immense glee of literally everyone, “Let’s get it on!”
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25 thoughts on “Back in ‘Black’ – Supernatural Season 10!”
I really enjoyed a lot of this ep. I was a little underwhelmed by Demon!Dean at first, but I have faith that Jensen and the writers are going to ramp it up in new eps. And of course Jared and Sam just stole the ep for me. I’ve been waiting two years for this Sam to make an appearance again, and Jared did an amazing, heartwrenching job. I wanted to cry all the tears he was holding back–by the end of his convo with Crowley I was willing to take on the King of Hell myself to make Sam feel better. I can’t wait to see what comes next.
Mark Sheppard was, as usual, perfection. Crowley is the epitome of a villain you love to hate for me–right up there with Zachariah and Uriel. Mark plays him with such relish and zeal, every emotion right on the surface, but such cunning underneath. I love it. We are truly fortunate as an audience to have him with us.
Like you, I’ve been dreaming of the possibilities of a recovering demon blood addict and a demon teaming up all summer. I don’t have a lot of hope Show will go there, but oh if they do….I’d love to see what Sam and Dean could accomplish if they are both superpowered–cleaning up heaven and hell would top their list, I hope. Even if they don’t revisit Sam’s addiction, I do hope to see Sam curing Dean with his blood, and a much needed heart to heart between the brothers. It’s about time!
As usual, I’m sitting here nodding along with every word including the awful “sound” of Dean**n. I have been thinking of him as “Deamon” but realize the cast and crew is saying it out loud and have to know which demon, yadda yadda. Still!
Having avoided the promo I was shocked, and gasped!, when they swung the camera from Dar to Sam. I watch Show on Hulu+ now so have to avoid Twitter and miss the live tweeting which is a first world problem . . . Anyway. 🙂
Dean’s attitude reminded me of Meg’s: Her matter of fact, dry humored, practical approach to evil/opportunism. I’m kind of surprised his howling at the moon would be so banal? Triplets aside, he’s sexing up one woman, driving responsibly, terrorizing barflies with karaoke — almost like the dark version of his life with Lisa. Show would be able to get crazier on cable but they may be showing how boring it is to have everything one wants, or how underwhelming evil is when all one’s wants are met. Crowley craves power so he can’t understand why Dean would be depressingly content with so little?
So . . . Angels. I loved Cas in bed and that his bathrobe (biblical attire, allusion to Chuck?) was blue and seeing bits of Misha. (Thank you for using that pic of Dean, btw!) I imagine Hannah is continuing the attempt to groom Clarence as a leader, along with the obvious closing angel ranks. I can’t recall if anyone has said officially that Cas’ grace got used up in Metatron’s spell: Could it still be hiding in a test tube somewhere? I’m also wondering why Cas can’t just be healed like when Met stole it in the first place. And Hannah getting carsick? I hope she was faking for a Winchesterian “moment.”
Thanks for the excellent thoughts!
I didn’t mean to go on so long. I’ll blame The Overlord’s gracious knee.
So much good in this episode, which I will start with first!
SAM. I have missed this Sam so, so, so much. This is the Sam I knew & fell in love with – his relentless pursuit for his brother, & his dedication to finding (& saving) his brother just gives me warm fuzzies. I know we are suppose to question whether Sam ventures into morally-ambiguous waters during his Dean quest, but I just don’t care. I’m too busy fist-bumping the return of our Sam Winchester.
Gah – the look on Sam’s face when Crowley referred to Dean as his “best friend, and partner-in-crime” just BROKE me. Sam/Jared truly made this episode for me.
I also loved demon!Dean. I know demon!Dean will not last forever, so I’m really enjoying seeing this different flavor of Dean.
I know he is a demon, but it was so nice to see “Dean” being carefree again. I loved his karaoke bits – Jensen 100% sold it! I needed that little bit of humor sprinkled in this episode.
Aside from the “bitch/jerk” exchange, which I will never forgive the writers for (EVER!!), I loved the demon!Dean/Crowley dynamic & Crowley’s attempts to wrangle demon!Dean. Plus I got a kick out of watching those two play foosball.
Cole intrigues me to a point, but @ this point, he is just too unsympathetic as of now. He did kidnap Sam, & wants to murder Dean after all!
& now for the bad. Angels.
Over ’em. I just have NO interest in the angels whatsoever. I have a really hard time understanding & accepting why so much time is being spent on them, especially now – if Sam & Dean don’t care about angels & heaven right now, why should we?
In the preview for season 10, we saw Sam looking @ Dean’s photos in his room @ the bunker – now I do not know for sure, but my guess is that it was probably around the same time that Sam found Dean’s note. So where was that scene? Was it cut? & if so, why? Who in the SPN editing room thought that angels fishing or Cas/Hannah scenes were more important than that moment?
I love what Kripke & Carver & Mark & J2 had to say about the brothers in the lovely Retrospective – about how the show begins & ends with these two brothers & their relationship, & yet I’m not convinced that is being translated onscreen under Carver’s reign. GIMME ALL THE BROMENTS!
I don’t need Sam & Dean to be center stage all the time (not @ all!), but Sam & Dean and the angels are on completely different playing fields in terms of audience investment, emotional depth etc. – so the when the brothers story line is split 50-50 with the angel story line, the entire episode just comes off feeling really uneven. I had very similar feelings about the Season 9 finale.
Onward to Cas. I’m torn on this. I am super invested in Cas’ failing grace, but he is way to tangled up in the angel story line right now so I was REALLY bored with him this week.
While I am against Cas ever becoming fully-human, I REALLY hope the personal journey he is on the season is a non-angelic one. No spoilers, but there is non-angel character on the horizon for Cas that I’m so, so, hopeful about.
I also didn’t get the urgency for Cas having to pull himself out his sick bed in order to go reign in the two rogue angels either – it just seemed silly. Like he was too sick to help Sam on his Dean quest, but he rallied for Hannah? And what were those two angels doing (aside from killing another angel), that was so different from what Cas was doing by continuing to hang out on Earth?
I’m just not convinced the writers are utilizing Cas’ character properly – or honestly, know what to do with him. He can’t simply be inserted into Sam & Dean’s world full-time, but I am desperate for the writers to get him away from heaven & angels as I feel he is main reason heaven & angels are still playing such large role on the show.
Overall, I enjoyed the episode & will definitely re-watch it – lots of goodies for sure! & it (most importantly) succeeded in getting me pumped for all the stories this season shall bring! Minus the angels’ story, obviously 😉
Spot on–especially about the Angel storyline and the missing Sam with photos scene. Although I keep hoping we will see that scene later in another flashback…
Perfect Review is Perfect. As always.
Kudos for Jensen’s acting! Demon Dean is so amazing! The best scenes!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thanks for the great review! Did anyone notice the Mt Rushmore mural behind Dean playing darts? But they were in North Dakota! Since I am from South Dakota just have to point out how often the states get mixed up! They have oil! We have Mt Rushmore! 😉
i loved the episode but bit upset coz i was expecting dean to be a bit more demony. we have 2 more epi left for demon dean so i hope we will go there. and i really really not like cass-hanna storyline.its boring and seems forced to me.i really wish they get rid of all the angel storyline. give cass his angel mojjo back and then let him again work with the winchesters. or if they wanna give cass a new or better storyline then can even start a new spin off for himself coz i am certainly not a 1% interested for cass or whats going on in heaven.
You’re back! I have seriously missed your wonderful reviews and look forward to reading them every week to help me make sense of each episode!
Nothing to add except, how did Sam get Dean’s cell number? Did he hack it from Crowley’s phone somehow when he traced his call to Crowley? Presumably Dean changed his number as soon as he left the bunker since he’s obviously running away from Sam.
Shocked to see Demon!Dean slumming it so badly. North Dakota? Really? I figured he’d head straight to Vegas! Seems to me somebody still has a lot of insecurity and self-loathing, even as a demon.
And I totally agree that Crowley is doing his best to play Dean, hard. Lies lies and more lies. But what is the deal about turning into a demon six weeks ago? I watched and rewatched that scene and I still don’t get it. If he doesn’t feed the Mark he turns into a demon? But…
Just going to leave some quick thoughts. I pretty much agree with everything you said about the boys and their storyline. And, in Meg’s words, “Crowley is always the problem.” ~LOL~
Cas on the other hand, I think I’m beginning to understand better what they are trying to say. Angels can’t just run around they have to have vessels, they take over people’s lives and … go fishing? Not quite the “God’s work” that the vessels were lead to believe now is it? Not to mention these things are super-charged and seem to have a knack for violence as a solution to problems. Hannah also had a valid point about angels realizing how powerful they really are and deciding to use that power for selfish needs (Lucifer anyone?)
As for Cas getting out of bed, he just had the conversation with Sam where Sam basically said he didn’t need Cas’s help. So yeah, he jumped (or coughed and walked) at an opportunity to feel useful again.
I’m not so much bored with the angel storyline as I am upset that they didn’t do more with it, last season and, so far, this season. As with the Leviathans, they down-played the threat, and that kinda sucks.
Also, I’m very wary of this new Cas storyline with the new (old) character that will be coming back. I suppose if they do it right, it could be cool, right now though…
Cas is a writer’s worst nightmare, he’s too powerful, even the show runners and Misha have acknowledged that fact. So far, they’ve done probably as well as they could have to keep the character around. But there really is only two ways his story will end, he finds his grace and eventually goes home, or dies. Or, Chuck fixes things. ~L~
My 2 cents.
You had a lot to say about this episode! I agree utterly and completely with everything you said, so much so that my review said almost all the same things – down to using the same quotes and the same screencaps! I took the speculation about Dean’s torn loyalties one step further, though. See what you think! I love that we agree, though. I think this episode bodes well for the season.
I agree with 99% of your assessment – and I too am sure there is more going on with Crowley than we have yet seen. I’m wondering if Carver has it in his head that Crowley’s actions since the start of Season 7 have all been leading to something we aren’t aware of yet. I don’t believe he believes Dean is his best buddy, though I do think maybe Dean is a completing piece in Crowley’s end game… I hope so, anyway!
I agree with everything in your thoughtful review–well done!
QUOTE: “As much as I enjoyed Cole, the way in which he overpowers Sam both intellectually and physically really rankled. Sam had just been allowed to be Smart!Sam, my favorite flavor of Sammy, and I’d been reveling in that very happily. Then his car inexplicably dies on a deserted stretch of road in the dark and a guy appears instantly and offers to help, and Sam just shrugs and says oh yeah thanks and then lets himself be slugged unconconscious? Seriously?” UNQUOTE
I thought the same thing! Where was Sam’s ‘spidey-sense’?
And the Angel story line was not interesting and disappointing and indeed did interrupt the more interesting scenes with Sam and Dean.
Thanks for your terrific review!
I re-watched this episode and upon second viewing I came out with even more appreciation for Jensen’s acting than I had before, which I didn’t think was possible. Upon re-watch, I realized what a wonderfully nuanced performance Jensen treated us to. It was an amazing progression from this Demon Dean at the beginning of the episode to what we saw at the end of the episode. I thought Jensen owned this episode for mw, his Dean carried over into scenes even when he wasn’t on the screen. Kudos, Mr. Ackles! Stellar performance!
I don’t really understand how Ann Marie’s comment can be misunderstood…? How is that celebrating? She clearly states that it’s messed up to think she deserves that kind of treatment, but she feels it anyway, showing a serious lack of self-worth – like we see it in Dean all too often, even though maybe not in that area (at least until now, if demon!Dean’S comment was about Dean’s flings in general). To me that was clearly a social commentary, not a celebration. If people see it that way, then maybe because they want to see it like that, or expect it?
I definelty have no idea how a woman struggling with self-worth and admiting that it’s messed up is a celebration in any way.
Great review and I agree with most of it, especially about how stupid that moniker is. Seriously, it’s hard to believe that someone in the writer’s room didn’t tell whoever came up with that to shut up. They are a bunch of 12 year old boys, I’m telling you.
Anyway, I’m still on the fence about Demon Dean because I’m not sure if he’s supposed to be menacing or just on a bender. It looks like he’ll get more scary in the next ep’s so I’m looking forward to that. But Sam broke my heart and Jared just really pulled out all the stops. And as much as I would never wish an injury on him, Jared’s loss of muscle and weight really just added to his aura of desperation. I also agree with you about the promos and I’m trying to stay away from them as well because they really gave away too much.
Loved Mark Sheppard, but I really want Sam to get to stab him in the brain, for what he did to Sarah and for what he’s doing to Dean. I love Crowley, but Sam deserves to get his revenge.
The angel storyline didn’t bother me, but it smacks of desperation. I know they don’t want to let Misha go, but they’re really having trouble coming up with a reason for him to stay. I like Castiel, and I’m glad they’ve started having him interact with Sam as much as Dean because I feel like he has great chemistry with both of them, but I agree with the previous poster who said that having a separate angel storyline just doesn’t work.
Looking forward to your Torcon reports and to all of your reviews.
Great recap as always. Jensen owned this ep, he was Amazing .
The Demon Dean storyline is the most interesting for me. Dean has had the weight of the world on his shoulders and more responsibility since he was a child than he ever should have had. So, I want to see Dean free of this burden and all these responsibilities. It’s about time. He’s always been told to suck it up and that he needs stuff his feelings down, so it’s needed for Dean to count, for his feelings to count. Jensen is doing a wonderful job conveying all of this!
The Demon Dean storyline is the most compelling to me. Dean has had the weight of the world on his shoulders and has had so much responsibility, too much, since he was a child. He’s too often told to ‘suck it up’ and that he needs to bury his feelings. He himself needs to count and be important, his feelings should count, it should not be all about everyone else. It’s about time he doesn’t care, he needs this. I thought Jensen was brilliant in his portrayal.
Hi Bella and Kellie. How interesting- you both have nearly identical opinions. Do you have meetings?
Thank goodness Dean’s feelings finally count- he certainly is making wonderful use of his free time.
I really loved the episode. It had a wonderful balance between all the storylines, and I’m equally invested in all three. The acting was on point with all the main cast (J2M2) and there was a good mix of comedy and drama that kept me with the episode the whole time. I can’t wait to see what’s coming for our boys – all of them bring so much to their roles and are so talented.
Demon!Dean wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but Jensen did a wonderful job with it and has made his demonic form a lot more layered than I initially expected. He’s a mix of fun and self-loathing, and even when he was behaving badly, I couldn’t hate him. I wasn’t a huge fan of Ann Marie, but she definitely served her purpose in showing us how different an untethered-from-his-emotional-baggage Dean is. I’m more interested to see what Crowley has in store for him, and how much he’ll regret his decision to try and control Dean. Also, can we please have more karaoke before Dean is cured? Even when Jensen is trying to sing badly, it’s just so charming.
The interactions between Sam and Cole had me on the edge of my seat (though I’m not completely sold on the character yet – he makes my skin crawl, though that may be intentional). I never want to drive by myself at night again. Curious to see how Sam manages to get away from him. The scene with Sam and the Gas N Sip cashier was some much-needed comedy and his reactions to the guy made me laugh.
I actually really enjoyed the angel plotline in Black. Misha is doing a brilliant job portraying Cas’s burning grace (though I know they’ll find a fix in the end, I still worry for him), and his phone conversation with Sam was so touching. Their shared commiserating about missing Dean tugged at my heartstrings. I’m interested to see if Hannah is all that she seems – I’d like to see Cas help her appreciate humanity as much as he does, and it would be nice to see her take that new understanding to go lead heaven and leave Cas to remain on earth with the Winchesters, where he truly belongs. I can’t wait to see what’s coming for Cas, based on the spoilers we’ve gotten – Misha is going to absolutely knock it out of the park, as he always does. Can’t wait to see him have a more personal story.
Long time lurker, first time poster…
I realize that ‘The End’ was a Zachariah thing (now there’s an angel I liked watching!) but now that we’re officially past August 2014, I somehow want that acknowledged. And, as we watch Cas get more and more human, maybe, just maybe there’s some slightly less orgy-oriented version of 2014 Cas on the way. Back in season 5 he said the angels left and he stayed, and that’s when he started to get more human. While there isn’t a Croatoan virus outbreak the angels are trying to leave and Dean and Sam are estranged. This could also help with that annoying ‘too many angels in the story’ problem if most of them fly away home. Keeping a few rogue angels on Earth would be enough to make most Cas plotlines plausible. And we’d only have to see them occasionally.
Are people getting into Heaven again? Or is the veil still overcrowded?
Speaking of Deamon (I’ll meet you halfway on that moniker, Supernatural) I think that his low-key howling at the moon does play into that whole “Righteous” thing. He has a chance to go wild and it’s actually pretty tame. (Not counting the murder. Okay, that’s big thing.) He might be demonic, but his deepest wants are still more or less for normalcy. And deep down he wants his brother back, so that plus Sam’s ‘how to cure demons’ training could be the keys to reclaiming his humanity. If this wasn’t Supernatural I’d be concerned about his body having died, but once you survive the botulism tacos, you can come back from anything.
Of course, that discounts that Crowley won’t do something evil to change that. And if Sam does cure his brother do the Gates of Hell close? Or was there a time limit to completing the trials?
I’m banking on Crowley just being full on King of Hell evil. I don’t think there’s a single “I kind of like you” besties thing at all. He’s just playing the long con. I look forward to him being more and more terrifying. Although I was disappointed when he offhandedly said “I lied” to Dean. It undid a bit of that fantastic monologue in the finale – “I never lied to you Dean.” For one thing that was just a perfectly delivered line that haunts you. But it was also such a great parallel to Lucifer saying the same thing to Sam. I also enjoy that the angels will lie to your face (or in your subconscious when they show up there) but the bad guys? They don’t lie. They don’t have to.
I also immediately saw the fax machine and thought “new guy is stuck in 1996.” I’m guessing he’s supposed to be Dean’s age… although Jeffrey Dean Morgan played his dad and was only around 11 or 12 years older, so who knows. But if he is Dean’s age and something terrible happened to him around their senior year maybe we can finally find out why Dean dropped out of high school. That’s always bothered me because Sam kept going, and Dean didn’t ride out the last few months. Maybe he had to drop off the grid in more of a hurry than usual? Yes, it’s easy to say that John was a horrible dad (because he was) and let him drop out because it was easier on him, but he was devoted enough to Mary that it seems like he would’ve wanted Dean to finish school for her. (Yes, there’s a ton of conjecture in that. Just tons.)
I could not agree more about the previews. If ever there was a show that should approach the “Mad Men” level of ridiculously vague previews it’s Supernatural. I knew that the opening scene was going to be Sam, not Dean, and the impact was lost. Even had I guessed that while watching it on Tuesday night that would’ve held some excitement. I think they did the same thing with the Snooki cameo. They teased that weeks ahead and people dreaded it. Had they kept it quiet and just had her show up, it would’ve been huge.
On the most superficial of notes, I like Deamon’s hair. Although from a practical standpoint I’m guessing it’s longer because Sam cut it for him. Who else would have? It’s like the laundromat, they obviously need haircuts (well not so much Sam) and clean clothes, but it’s not interesting enough to show up on screen more than maybe once… preferably with brooding and pensive shoulders.
I thought the premiere was good. I just would have liked to have been given more DemonDean scenes because I thought that Jensen stole the episode in those scenes that we were given. But then again, Jensen has always made this show for me. I am again loving the layered and nuanced performance that he’s gifting us with in DemonDean. Loved all that chemistry with Mark Sheppard. I liked the Ann Marie character very much. I feel that she and Dean(demonized or not) have much in common as far as damaged individuals are concerned-and I think that THAT was predominantly what their last exchange was meant to convey.
The jury is still out on the new character of Cole. He seemed and a little OTT in his portrayal of obsession to me, although I DID appreciate that he was set back on his heels when Dean refused to meet with him just because he was holding Sam hostage. Jensen was chilling beyond words in that very last scene and I think we’re in for more of that in the next two. I hope so.
*I* need to see a lot more from Sam if I’m to believe that he cares about his brother even a fraction of how much Dean has always cared about Sam, especially after the last two previous seasons-and Sam saving Dean from demonhood would only be the tip of the iceberg in that regard for me. There’s that pesky Purge speech that needs redressing also. And I loved that Crowley called Sam out on some things in that telephone conversation of theirs.
The angel stuff was the weakest part of the episode, IMO. I wish they would allow Cas to interact with Dean and Sam more-and especially Dean. I miss that aspect of this show terribly.
Thanks for the review.
I thought the episode was dark and intense, but the opening was ruined by the fact we had already seen that is was Sam torturing the demon – CW need be more careful with their trailers. There wasnt much humor in this episode – which was understandable, but I still missed it. The humour was suppose to be supplied by the angels, but really that was all a bit sad.
What was interesting was how Dean, both for Anne Marie and Sam, said he didnt care about them, but he sure wasnt going to let anyone else (AM’s Ex and Cole) hurt them.
As a demon, why should he care? Does this show Dean does care (a bit), or is it just he considers that only he can “hurt” them. This was really fascinating to me, and I wonder whether this will be explored further, or is just the hint, for Dean’s salvation
I thought that Sam/Jared was excellent in this episode. I loved when he phoned Cas and started out all enthusiastic about finding Dean, and then finally finished up by apologizing for disturbing him. Sam was on his own.
I did get a strong sense that Sam was really looking hard for Dean, including injuring his shoulder (!) in the process. I did like how the writers explained the injury, but did it quickly and with a bit of intrigue. And while I know they would have been careful while filming, but I kept thinking Ouch, every time Sam was jostled.
It did strike me a little odd about how the car broke down, and I thought surely Sam would see how coincidental this all was, but I can only assume he was preoccupied.
Cas needs to get his grace back, or someone elses – why didnt he take Daniel’s? Cas is suppose to be looking out for Dean (and Sam), and why was he in some hotel room, and not at least with Sam in the MOL. I know it allowed the scenes for the Sam phone call and Hannah, but it just seemed odd. I would have expected some dialog to say Cas was looking for Dean and he was there (where ever that was) for that reason, not as he appeared to be, just lying there.
Crowley was just Crowley, playing people against each other. Im glad that Dean as a Demon, isnt Crowley’s lapdog.
And I love any scenes in the MOL, I love the old books Sam was looking through, I would love to spend a week in that library!
This ep was BORING. I guess that’s an improvement over the betrayal of the fandom that last season was, but not by much. Castiel and the angel crap couldn’t get more tedious.
Almost as boring was Deanmon- here he is singing badly, now he’s beating someone up, then sex. Now singing again, now beating someone else up, now calls the chick a “skank.” WOW, I hope I can keep up with all the plot twists. There’s a big focus on his drinking, and I just think- what’s new? Because now he’s having fun in North Dakota, and doesn’t give a damn anymore? Yawn. And this whole “you have to keep killing so you don’t become evil,” stuff, yeah right- that makes sense.
Then there was what’s his name- the tall one. For someone clueless about what’s happening, he sure is mad. He had some nice intense scenes, up until he was trussed up again, like usual. Ho hum.
Then there’s Crowley- I think he is the only one who actually said something this ep, even if it was as stupid as, “Oh Sam, you just hate it when Dean has any fun.”