The Super Sleepy Dispatch
Recap and Review: Supernatural 10:14 “The Executioner’s Song”
By P.S. Griffin
Okay then… my love for the show runneth over! And my heart swells with gratitude for Robert Berens who gave us a layered, meaty, glorious mytharc episode that brought Team Free Will together as victorious co-conspirators once again, all in gorgeous prose. Mr. Berens will you be my fantasy Mister Wife?
The directing by Phil Sgriccia and the acting by everyone was simply superb. See what happens when this team is given a script worthy of their talents. Seriously though Jensen Ackles ‘ performance, the fight choreography and the cinematography all left me breathless.
Did I say it was a mytharc episode!!! Before I start the Recap I am going to revisit an old theory that I postulated after Cain was introduced in “First Born”. We have Crowley’s word that Cain is a demon and we have Cain’s word that he trained the demonic Knights of Hell. We know also that killing Abel was to save him from becoming Lucifer’s vessel, that he believes he saved Abel by killing him, and he was changed into something inhuman by the deal he made with Lucifer which included being given the Mark of Cain. The Mark powers the Blade, incites the bloodlust and transfigures the human bearing it into something supernatural.
We saw Dean was transformed into something he and Crowley believed was demonic by the Mark of Cain after death; however it is implied that he was being altered before his death (“Do You Believe in Miracles?”) and that the changes were happening regardless. For instance, Dean utilized telekinesis during his fight with Abaddon (“King of the Damned”).
Neither Demonic Dean or Cain acted much like the typical demon. Both hated the death they wrought and sought to control the kill impulse. Demonic Dean explicitly killed demons to avoid killing innocents. Neither Cain or Dean have shown any interest in Hell’s agenda or its power hierarchy. Rather both continued to occupy themselves with mundane human pursuits when they weren’t killing.
Finally neither Cain or Dean exhibited typical demonic powers. Dean flashed black eyes when it suited him but both he and Crowley acknowledged that Dean was different and not fully demonic (“Reichenbach”). Both were much stronger than any demon that they fought. Cain had angelic red smiting powers. Dean exhibited angelic healing powers. Both appear to teleport like angels and powerful demons without being summoned first. Cain’s teleportation is obvious. Dean’s teleportation is implied in “Reichenbach” and “Soul Survivor” by him appearing suddenly in a different location. Cain can easily teleport a passenger which has also been a power reserved for angels. Both exhibited telekinesis.
In other words Cain and Dean were not created like other demons since they were transformed in situ and occupy their own body. They have a heightened bloodlust but otherwise retain their personalities and morals, and possess abilities that are high level demonic powers and/or purely angelic in nature. They are a different beast altogether with aspects of their humanity retained. At this point I think that Cain and Dean are chimeras possessing attributes that are human, demonic and angelic. Oh my! Oh my my! They are a breed apart.
The episode opens on death row. There is no doubt that the inmate is a nasty piece of work and a bloodthirsty predator.
The block is on lock down and lights out for the night. Suddenly a tall, lethal figure in black blinks in and saunters down the hallway flicking off the lights as he goes. He is doing this for effect and not to disguise his appearance. The camera lingers as we see that Cain is walking on the yellow line that bisected the hall, a visual metaphor for the fact that Cain is neither good nor evil (angelic nor demonic). In addition, because of his electotechnics Cain is also walking the line between light and darkness, another allusion that he is both angelic and demonic.
He wants to be seen. This much is clear. He poses in front of the inmate’s door before teleporting inside to scare the bejeesus out of the killer inside. Cain recites the inmate’s resume of murder seemingly able to read the man’s mind. The Father of Murder takes his progeny in a close embrace and stabs him to both punish his crimes and save him. Talk about an avenging angel!
The scene ends with a deliberate and gratuitous shot that pans up framing Cain and his ward against the shadowy ceiling. The shadows emanate from Cain’s shoulders like an angel’s wings. Like I said y’all… avenging angel… human-demon-angel hybrid. Cain and Dean are part angelic.
In a nice twist the Winchesters are already in the car and talking serial killers, the study of which is apparently (peculiarly) a fun hobby of Sam’s. It takes all kinds I guess. Once inside they review the security tape and Dean recognizes Cain and starts reflexively massaging his Marked forearm. Sam asks if the inmate’s escape was some sort of magic or a “dark miracle”. I am going with a dark miracle by a dark angel myself. Swoons at the though of my deepest desire, Dean as a dark angel of vengeance: my righteous winged killer, my hunter of evil, my demonic lover, my sweet Dean.
Meanwhile Castiel has been busy too. Too busy to talk to Dean! He’s apparently done with the riverboat gambling (“Halt and Catch Fire”) and is back to his great work, torturing demons for information. Castiel appears to be an old hand at it by this point. The framing of the long shot is carefully composed so that Castiel is standing in a beam of light so that the light almost emanates from his form. He learns that Cain has repeated visited a nearby field called Bog’s Meadow and that demons steer clear of him because he kills them. His captive informant earns a quick thrust of Cas’s angel blade. Oh baby!
Yawn. Now, we cut to Crowley at court. He is so bored with the yammering of his subjects that he’s playing a game on his phone. It looks like chess or checkers based on the board configuration. Rowena is still around and she convinces him to brutally torture a whining demon after Crowley had actually granted the demon’s request. He appears to do it to please her, ever the good son, despite the fact that it makes him look weak by kowtowing to a witch and being a little Momma’s boy. Crowley is so over Hell. Pity that he’s not yet over Mama.
Dean is eating again at a roadside food truck whilst Sam researches. Between bites Dean mentions that Cas isn’t answering his phone. Sam has found out that the missing inmate’s father has disappeared as well; law enforcement assumes he’s skipped an arrest warrant. They wonder if Cain had some vendetta against the entire family.
Castiel calls from Bog’s Meadow with the educated guess that both men are dead. The camera pans away from Cas’s serious face as he stands to reveal a field of graves. Cas deadpans that Cain has been busy. He signs off quickly, obviously sensing danger, as a sudden breeze ruffles his feather. We hear a noise and a thump as if something has landed on the ground, a hallmark of teleportation angel style. Cas looks around and is surprised and concerned to see Cain standing there. They face each other in a stand-off with Cain’s dark duster versus Castiel’s familiar light colored trench. This is Mano a Mano folks! Or rather angel versus dark angel. The breeze and the thump which heralded Cain’s arrival reinforces the suggestion of wings in the opening sequence. The dude really does have wings. Sometimes my gut tells me wondrous and true things.
Cain says “Hello Castiel.” Castiel is frankly horrified by the mass graveyard and wants to know what happened, “Cain, I know what you were, but you’d resisted for so long.” Cain says that fighting Abaddon’s minions gave him the taste for killing again, demons… humans… it really doesn’t matter to him or the Mark; he just liked how it felt and “the Mark thirsts for all kinds.” He stoops to the ground to pick up a battered teddy bear punctuating the depths of his bloodlust and depravity. He’s killed children.
Castiel reminds Cain that he was Adam and Eve’s firstborn. Cain cushions his actions by saying at most he’s culling one in ten. Castiel is incredulous at this idea of mass global slaughter to which Cain firmly states that “(he) has the time.”
Cain then turns the tables, asking after Dean and expressing his pride that Dean “did good” and ganked Abaddon; he did so with abandon I might add… LOL! Castiel’s face provides the answer, prompting Cain to note that, “He’s not well.” Castiel admits that they need to cure Dean before it’s too late, “Even with the First Blade hidden, Dean is losing his fight against the Mark. If we don’t find a cure…” Of course Cain gives the obvious answer and then some, ” here is no cure. I’m living proof of that.” He reassures Dean’s pet angel telling him that, “But don’t worry about Dean. I’ll get to him, in due time. ”
This is no veiled threat; Cain’s delivery makes that abundantly clear. So Castiel draws his trusty blade because any threat to Dean is a reason to fight. Cain seems amused by Cas’ s gallantry. He disappears after telling Cas that he’s not on his list. Am I the only one that thinks Cas has just dodged a lethal bullet?
It’s obvious that Cain is far more powerful than Castiel and so far above his supernatural pay grade that Castiel’s bravado amused him. Anyhow, the message will be delivered to Dean Winchester which is one of Cain’s objectives. Why else allow himself to be seen and why else suffer Castiel’s righteous indignation? Cain could have squashed him like a bug methinks.
Mayday! Mayday! Hell must have just frozen over because Rowena actually called Crowley by his chosen name. Of course she wants something and he calls her out on flubbing her long con by asking for something too soon after being helpful. She spins her latest machinations as being motherly manipulation and a sign of how alike they are. In fact she likes sending time with her wee sausage telling him that, “We had fun today, didn’t we?” She tells him that they could do so much more by working together. Crowley stares at her and walks away a sad and lonely little man reminiscent of Charlie Chaplin’s Little Tramp.
Meanwhile our intrepid trio of heroes has rendezvoused at the bunker to talk about the Cain situation. Castiel remains seriously concerned. Sam remains hopeful. Dean recognizes that his number may be up. He also has a subtle manic quality in this scene that bespeaks of a secret jonesing to hold the First Blade in his sweet man hands. If there ever was a reason to give Dean the Blade again… this is it! The Father of Murder getting his kill on begets Dean getting to kill as well. Dean immediately decides to stalk the lone child of the inmate believing that he will be the next target. Sam is horrified, thinking surely Cain won’t kill a child. Of course Cas agrees with Dean since he and the audience knows that Cain will happily kill a child. Dean takes Castiel’ s agreement to the bank… and he’s off! Dean rushes out of the room as Cas side eyes him and Sam looks concerned.
Dean is adamant that “(he’ll) do what (he has) to do. He (He’ll) kill Cain.” Dean Winchester was once daddy’s blunt little instrument, then heaven’s servant and Michael’s, sword. Whatever he is now he still sees himself as a weapon for good and a means to an end.
Sam follows Dean to his room to tell him that he doesn’t have to kill Cain. Dean retorts that he’s the only one that can and Castiel agrees because only the First Blade can kill Cain and Dean is the only person besides Cain that can yield it. Sam’s face shows resignation then concern. Cas’s face shows abject sorrow.
Dean notes that, “When he gave me the Mark, Cain said this day would come, that after I killed Abaddon I would have to come and put him down… He wasn’t mad then… Cain resisted the Mark for a long time. Then I came kicking up trouble about the Blade. I sent him down this path. This is on me.” Dean darling somehow it’s always on you. I love your outsized sense of responsibility. It’s what drives you and makes you so tragically heroic. I just wish you saw yourself as more than an instrument of death.
The others are already in Ohio stalking the boy. Dean and Cas assume that they will lay in wait for Cain to attack whereas Sam is horrified about using the boy as bait because this is a “rescue mission”. Crowley shows up to find a lack of consensus and a weak plan. He’s concerned about the risk to “us”. Dean retorts, “There is no us,” prompting Crowley to keep the Blade until Cain has been captured.
There’s time for a brotherly moment before Cain attacks. Sam wants to know what happens after Cain has been captured. Dean looks fragile, strong, serious, hopeful and regretful… all at the same time. He replies, “You know last week when I said that I would go down swinging when the time came? I meant that. I was at peace with that. I just didn’t realize the time would come so soon… like right now…. I’m scared, Sam.” Dean’s face conveys that he knows HE is not coming back from this fight, although he’s trying to hide this knowledge from Sam.
So the tween of the hour is walking outside when he stops and calls out asking if someone is there. There’s a thump and the boy turns to see Cain who doesn’t mince words, “Hello, Austin… I’m here to kill you.”
Castiel appears and says, “No, you won’t,” as if it’s a fact. It’s thrilling to watch him express his angelic mojo, his eyes lit from within with blue fire. He throws everything he has at Cain and watches in shock and horror as it gently ruffles Cain’s hair. Cain looks at him with pity and disarms him with one flick of his fingers and throws the angel through a fence with another flick.throws. Compared to Cain, Cas is a bug that is easily squashed. When Dean turns Cas and Sam are in for a world of hurt.
Sam and the kid are holed up in the barn. Sam is trying to block the door when Cain teleports in behind him landing with a soft thump. The tween says, “Please don’t” as Cain summarily guts him. Cain doesn’t seem surprised as the boy dissipates into purple vapor.teleported Sam is pretty smug about this small victory, I guess because they have Cain in a devil’s trap painted beneath the straw. Cain seems to know that the illusion is 18th century magic using the Rune of Amaranth which Crowley admits he borrowed from his mother. Sam actually smiles at Crowley because he’s the man now dawg! No… but seriously it’s a little weird. When has Sam not wanted to kill Crowley. He threatened him earlier this season (“Reichenbach”).
Cain tells them that he won’t be trapped for long. Sam gives him a snarky reply, “Won’t need to.” As they leave Dean reveals himself to Cain. Somehow I think that this was Cain’s plan all along.
Team Free Will confers under the stars. Castiel is obviously injured but claims to be fine. Dean announces that it’s his turn. Sam naively says “we want to help.” Dean won’t consider it. He tells Sam that he would be a liability and then admit, “I be too worried about what he could do to you… Or what I could…. Plus, I need you three out here to take out whatever comes out of there, and I’m serious, whatever comes out.” Dean is focused on Cas and Sam during his speech, however Crowley is focused on Dean, looking at him with such intensity that I feel he’s trying to memorize every line on Dean’s face. Crowley is the only one that assures Dean that he will do what is necessary. It’s a poignant scene because so much goes unsaid. Dean has to know that whatever he is now won’t survive… or rather that he will be forever changed or dead.
Cain greets Dean as if they’re old friends, “Hello, Dean. At a loss for words, my son? Allow me. This is the part where you tell me it’s not too late, that I can lay down arms, abandon my mission, we don’t have to fight.” Dean replies with bravado, “I’ll spare us the formalities. You’re past talking down. Cain, you’re fully mental.”
However Cain disagrees, claiming that he is finally thinking clearly, “When I made my bargain with Lucifer, killed Abel… I released a stain upon the earth, a stain deeper and far more lasting than mere precedence.” Cain goes on to say that killing his progeny is the least that he can do, “Can you honestly tell me that humanity’s not better off with fewer Tommys… fewer yous?” Dean’s realization that he too is of Cain’s issue is painful, and feeds into his long held belied that he’s no good and the best he can do is hope that he manages to do enough good by hunting things (killing things) before he dies to outweigh the bad. The irony of course is that this mindset lead him to take on the Mark in the first place.
Cain asks Dean “How does it feel Dean, holding the Blade again?” Dean downplays its effect, claiming “It feels like a means to an end.” Sadly that sentence is a two-edged sword. Both killing Cain and transforming Dean into something other are the likely ends in this fight.
After this wordplay is finished, the hand to hand combat commences. They are more evenly matched than Cain versus Castiel, however Cain easily has the edge, repeatedly tossing Dean to the ground. Finally Cain realizes that Dean is not accessing his Mark fueled abilities, Cain starts thinking out loud as he easily, almost effortlessly spars; “That seems a bit weaker than I would expect from you with the Blade… I think you can do better. Unless… You’re holding back… You think if you hold back just enough you won’t succumb? That you’ll leave this fight the same that you entered?” At this point it looks like Dean was hoping for death at Cain’s hands lest he too become a murderer of innocent children. There is no other explanation for him not giving this fight his all.
Cain throws Dean to the ground in anger and shouts, “Look to my example, boy! There is no resisting the Mark or the Blade. There is only remission and relapse!” Then Cain begins to fight in earnest, easily knocking Dean to the ground yet again. Suddenly Dean decides to remind him that Cain wanted Dean to take him out as the price for giving him the Mark. Cain uses his telekinesis to toss Dean through a wall before replying, “I’m afraid you’ve misunderstood my intentions here Dean. When your pet angel found my burial site, I thought about ending him… about swatting him like a fly. Then I thought about you. Your biggest weakness… I noticed the moment I met you… your courage, your reckless bravado. I let him go, knowing that he would report back to you… knowing that you would bring into battle the one thing that could kill me… the one thing I truly want. ”
Unfortunately Dean lost hold of the First Blade during the last skirmish. He lunges for it as Cain completes his monologue, however Cain uses telekinesis to claim it for himself. Cain’s arm reacts to the blade’s touch and he seems triumphant as he exclaims, “Oh, it’s been too long… That old feeling makes me wonder how I ever had the strength to resist.”
Dean tries to reclaim the Blade whilst Cain is transfixed; however Cain is no slouch. He grabs Dean by the throat and begins a personal version of his usual spiel in preparation of killing Dean, “This may be hard to believe in light of what I’m about to do to you, but I care about you Dean… I truly do. I know I’m doing you a favor. I’m saving you.” Dean wants to know from what. Cain answers with the obvious, “From your fate”; he throws Dean to the floor before launching into a terrible prophecy.
“Has it never occurred to you, have you never mused upon the fact that you’re living my life in reverse? My story began when I killed my brother and that’s where your story inevitably will end.” Dean is horrified and argues against Cain’s prediction. Cain continues, “It’s called the Mark of Cain for a reason,” and he outlines what awaits Dean if he lives: “First… first, you’d kill Crowley. There’d be some strange mixed feelings on that one, but you’d have your reason. You’d get it done, no remorse. And then you’d kill the angel Castiel… now that one, that I suspect would hurt something awful.” By this point Cain is kneeling on top of Dean with the Blade at his throat. “And then, then would come the murder that you’d never survive, the one that would finally turn you into as much of a savage as it did me… your brother Sam. The only thing standing between you and that destiny is this Blade. You’re welcome my son.”
Cain positions himself for the deathstroke. However before he can strike, Dean manages to grab Cain’s abandoned knife and cuts off the hand holding the Blade. Cain kneels in shock as Dean stands with the Blade in hand. With tears in his eyes, Dean begs Cain to stop, “Tell me I don’t have to do this. Tell me that you’ll stop. Tell me that you can stop.”
Dean must see his future in Cain’s end. He wants Cain to have the strength to resist the bloodlust, to resist killing. Dean’s last hope dies with Cain’s last words, “I will never stop.”
Cain kneels as Dean walks behind him and cleanly executes him with a single downward stroke of the Blade. The camera lingers on Dean’s face which looks absolutely lost, as if he’s no longer present, and we hear the First Blade enter and leave Cain’s body accompanied by the sound of thunder. We are not shown Cain’s corpse. This is the final hint that lends credence to my theory that Cain and Dean are part angelic as well as demonic and human. They have hidden his body after the deathstroke because they do not want to reveal the wings… yet.
Let’s re-examine the evidence. Cain/Dean inhabit their own body unlike demons. Cain’s powers include red smiting and a teleportation that creates a visible breeze and audible thump as if he flew in on wings angel style. The framing shot in the introduction showed him with wings created by nighttime shadows. This shot was so carefully framed that its purpose was to show the faux wings. Demons don’t consider Cain to be like them, much like they considered demonic Dean to be different. Cain was shown to be so much more powerful than Castiel and he knew it suggesting he’s had the pleasure of easily besting powerful angels before. Have I left anything out?
The camera follows Dean as he makes his way back to his posse. Dean looks to be utterly spent… practically dead really. Certainly he’s lost all hope and is using every ounce of strength he has to keep himself together and his true nature hidden from his friends, both to protect the rest of Team Free Will from his bloodlust and to shelter them from the certain and bleak future that awaits them all.
Sam says his name and Crowley asks for the Blade. Dean wearily starts to hand it over then seems to change his mind, giving it to Castiel instead. Crowley accuses Dean of lying. Dean agrees and then tells him that he also lied about Crowley being on Cain’s kill list. And Crowley is gone. I think Dean was honest with Crowley to protect him by forcing him to watch his back with Dean, and to stall Cain’s prediction from becoming reality.
Poor Crowley. He’s betrayed by his bff and fantasy lover only to return home to a tongue lashing from his all too real mother. She’s in rare form too as she builds him up before tearing him apart. She tells him of her joy at this second chance, her pride at what he’s achieved and her heartbreak that he’s “a colossal numbnut”. She cuts him to the quick before delivering her final blow, “You’re no king… not anymore. You’re their bitch.” Her bags are packed and she’s ready to leave him until he grasps her arm in a silent plea for her to stay. Poor Crowley is missing his Dean and craving connection.
Back at the bunker Dean is slowly sipping coffee and trying to pretend that he’s normal as Sam makes hopeful small talk. Sam notes that “What you did back there? It was incredible…. If you can do that without losing yourself, that’s cause for hope even without a cure.” Dean’s response is odd. His eyes still retain that same vacancy as he slyly smiles before he responds with an unconvincing “Yeah. Maybe.” When Cas enters Dean immediately asks where the Blade is. Cas replies, “Somewhere safe.” Dean nods and says “Good, ” but I think he really wants the Blade by his side. I wonder if he believes he can con Cas more easily than Crowley.
His business concluded, Dean gets up claiming the need for about four days of sleep. Everyone maintains their facade until Dean leaves the room. The look on Dean’s face once he passes Cas is awesome and terrifying. I don’t even think that demonic Dean was this scary or looked that unhinged. Of course Sam is terrified for Dean, telling Cas that “Dean is in trouble. ” I am too and just a little bit thrilled.
So besides my prediction that thar be wings… Dean’s face at the end makes me wonder if something left Cain and entered him. I assume that the Mark is transformative but what if it is a, symbol that brings a dark passenger with it.
I don’t think that Cain’s prophecy was a true premonition. He is making an assumption that Mark fueled bloodlust will cause Dean to kill everyone in his vicinity. However, it was Cain’s predilection to save Abel and many others by killing them before they become evil. Cain saw evil within Abel and his issue. In contrast, Dean sees evil without and therefore his propensity is to save people by killing the evil things that hurt them.
Demonic Dean effectively hunted save Lester who was a proto demon and killing him saved his soul and his wife’s life. Demonic Dean wasn’t that different from normal Dean. I think Dean 2.0 would be a phenomenal hunter of all things that go bump in the night. Dean really needs to accept that he’s good at killing, he likes killing, and now with the Mark he lives to kill. Let Dean get back to work in earnest.
Speaking of Lester, I think that Sam will continue to show poor judgment in his quest to fix his brother. Again we have evidence that magic could affect Dean despite the Mark. I think its another red herring myself and a tool for Sam to dig himself an enormous hole. Sam’s ultimate mistake will inevitably be turning to Lucifer for help. Lucifer gave the Mark to Cain and Metatron will steer Sam in this direction in his quest to undo all Dean has accomplished. See my reviews on “Black” and “The Hunter Games” for more of my thoughts on Metatron’s motivation and endgame.
Also, will Dean start to see Sam as evil because of the callous and selfish things he does to save his brother. What will Dean do if Sam’s plans put more innocents at risk? Will Dean’s loyalty and deeply held belief that his ultimate job is to save Sam of killing him hold strong? Will he even remain Dean in any sense of the word?
If they stick to the mytharc things should become very interesting and exciting.