I’m happy to say that, for me, much of this episode worked, even as the end to Demon Dean, a refreshing story arc for this tenth-season show, was at hand.
Overall, I love these first three episodes. I rejoice at Sam’s laser focus on saving Dean. I’ll take a page from Jared’s recent comments regarding Sam saving his brother: About damn time! I think this three-episode arc was the perfect length for this aspect of the story. Soulless Sam took eleven episodes to conclude, which I despised, and the after effects dragged on for another season plus with a poor resolution. Here, I am given to think the writers may have actually learned something (dare I hope?) and that is: less is more. Also, transparency: We now know pretty much all of what both Sam and Dean while they were separated after Do You Believe in Miracles, and they both know it too. Refreshing!
I wonder how long it will take for the brothers to realize how much Crowley manipulated the events surrounding Lester. Sure, Sam found the guy and talked him into summoning a CRD, but it was Lester himself who made the deal, not Sam. Also, it was Crowley who set Dean in motion to close the deal – only to have Dean go off on his own tangent and kill the client. Crowley has manipulated the First Blade away from Dean, as well as Sam, and managed to get Cas some new grace – and concluding a dumb revenge Adina story that is better left closed. I don’t know what Crowley is up to this season, and I’m not sure he does either at this point. Keep him conniving and manipulating, and less sitting around smiting people and having flashbacks. Those scenes did not work very well as they slowed down the momentum and took away time from what I wanted to see: more Sam and Dean.
Cas’s scenes with Hannah continue to bore, bore and bore. I get that he’s showing us his humanity and his understanding. I even enjoyed the anvil-like nod the writers gave as Hannah asked how he was and he said fine. Sam to Dean much? But the conversations are pointless as I could care less about her growing attraction to Cas, his inability to gently let her down, and all the other blah, blah, blah. Get back to Sam and Dean. Cas got interesting again when Crowley was force-feeding him stolen grace and he interacted with Sam and Dean.
Aside from the momentum dulling Crowley and Cas scenes, except when they were together or Cas was with the brothers, the rest of this episode actually worked. Yes, even the ending. I read some fan comments that felt it insensitive to skip any meaningful brother interaction and instead add a new element, but I think it’s the show’s way of contrasting Castiel’s last comments regarding things being quiet and the brothers taking some time to heal with the reality that evil is always on the march, and there truly is no rest, for the wicked or the weary alike.
While I love a good bro-moment, after all the intensity between Sam and Dean during the episode — granted it was more Demon Dean than actual Dean — I feel that them taking a few moments to breathe separately makes sense. For once, it wasn’t done in anger, but rather in love and the need for rest. Sam is going to get Dean something to eat. Actions speak so loudly that many times words are not necessary. Sam was basically giddy with the thought that he was walking out of the bunker to get Dean some food, not just any food, but likely Sam will come back with Dean’s absolute favorite foods: bacon cheeseburger and pie no doubt. After the last several weeks of loss, doubt, fear, uncertainty, he is leaving the bunker to get his brother something to eat. It is a labor of love right there, and no words need to be expressed.
Did you notice how many times Sam said brother in this episode? He was going to save his brother, it was not his brother talking, he feared he was killing his brother, he was going to get food for his brother…I’m not sure Sam has said brother that much in a long, long time. After his words last season of not being brothers anymore because that was so much the root of their many problems, there is hardly a scene this season without Sam saying the words my brother. I love it!
I like what the writers had each brother focus in on in their quiet moments with Castielat the end. Sam could have focused on the hurtful words Demon Dean said, but he didn’t. Sam knows that is not his brother. Sam has no doubts of his brother’s absolute love and devotion. No, Sam wonders at Dean’s desire, which is more Dean’s than Demon Dean’s since the blood cure was well in effect, not to be saved. Cas proves his insight into humanity, much as he did earlier with Hannah, as he recognizes that Dean’s desire to stay lost stems from the desire not to shoulder all the pain and guilt again. It’s a nod to what Sam went through as Soulless Sam and his back and forth of did he want his soul back or didn’t he. Sam will help Dean find a way – I hope – to live with his burdens and not let them crush him. After all, that’s what brothers do. The J’s have said that the brothers will have some talks, but not likely constant and/or even deep talks. But, if they do things for each other, support, stay near, take care of each other, those actions will speak to their love, and their closeness.
Similarly Cas was the perfect character to convey to Dean that yes, even though he attacked his brother with a hammer, Sam still loves him, and he’s not going to leave him. Demon Dean had all his memories, just none of the emotions (read guilt) that come with it. Restored Dean similarly has all his memories,and, yes, that pesky guilt. Going forward, hopefully he learns how to carry that without being crushed by it. Sam’s presence and support – not literally carrying his brother, not with Dean so broken he is unable to function, but in 1000 different ways, least of all bringing some food and grabbing some coffee, will help Dean know that Sam’s got his back.
Both brothers will benefit from the presence of the other, and through interviews by Carver as well as both J’s I have hope that this search for identity and reconciling oneself to who they are and what they’ve done is done together. It would be about time.
Other moments I loved:
• Sam in Dean’s room looking at the photographs while the show’s theme of family played in the background
• Dean sitting on his bed leafing through those same photos at the end
While Demon Dean is essentially over in three episodes, and the next looks like a straight up hunt, I think this arc was very successful.
Season 10 is off to a very good start.
I don’t plan on reviewing this every week, but hopefully (if I stay inspired and find the time) I’ll let you know what I’m thinking. I usually do a mid-season article on where shows are, and who knows, I may devote one just to SPN, but thankfully, mid-season hiatus is in the fair distance. PoI remains my firstpriority in reviews (even as I was very late last week) and Grimm bows this Friday, and this season I plan on reviewing all through the season, not giving up at the end because time got away from me. But, the pup I got in January is almost a year old, so I cannot use her as an excuse for not reviewing anymore.
Until next time, thanks for reading, Elle2