The Super Sleepy Dispatch
Recap and Review of Supernatural 10:18
“The Book of the Damned”
By P.S. Griffin
For me, Robbie Thompson’s “The Book of the Damned” was damned from the start since I have grown increasingly tired of his out of control fanboying of his author insert avatar the fantabulous megaspecial Charlie SuzieQ. Yes I find her so not awesome that I am forced to make up words to convey how absolutely unfab she really is. Anyone that spends time online knows that Charlie hate is legion.
Yuk. We open with super ninja Charlie awkwardly running around and spectacularly dumpster diving to hide from some super baddies that just don’t die and have a tracking device, presumably for the Book of the Damned (BotD).
The poor girl was forced to travel across international waters without the requisite duster in which to hide her trusty decapitation device, a Japanese katana. Whatever happened to her special little OZ sword. Did the mean men take it? Boo hoo princess.
So she fights these two supernaturally enhanced brutes, insults the leader’s accent with a lame X-Men reference, and makes her getaway only to be shot anyways… because she’s OUT OF HER LEAGUE!
I feel no pity for her because she’s so spectacularly out of her league, and has been since she was introduced. Then this hacking genius and so-called specialist at disappearing uses a well lit public phone booth to call the Winchesters to whine and infodump about her awesome field surgeon skills. I am sure that there’s an app for that.
OMG! It’s only the teaser and I am dying of boredom and my eyes are wobbly from rolling in my head so much. When did Supernatural become must self-medicate TV?
Back at Chez Winchester, we are treated to an honest Dean telling Sam what he learned about Rowena and the Mark in “The Inside Man”. You know stuff like Rowena tried to kill him with some major magical mojo and the Mark is the only thing that saved his ass. Sam only hears that Rowena thinks it is a curse that she can remove with magic.
This is exposition from one character to another and not an obvious anvil yet… the Greek Chorus inside my head knows where Sam will go with this. Just say no Sammy. Please say no to working with wicked witches and evil books.
Also it’s clear that Dean believes it’s bizarro day because not only is he being uncharacteristically honest and forthcoming about Mark stuff, he’s dressed in a hoodie and holding bottled water because he’s been working out. Is Crowley running Hell topside now because it done froze over?
Sam in a typically Sam fashion says nothing because he knows best and Dean is just too weak and stuff to know what he’s been doing. This is so 2007-2008… because it’s season 4 all over again. It’s actually a tender mercy that Charlie’s call interrupts this scene before the audience self-destructs.
She tells them about her most excellent, best ever adventure; specifically that “The Book of the Damned is a spell book for creating or undoing any kind of damnation there is. If we translate this thing, I think we can that can get the Mark of Cain off you Dean.” Yep. Charlie believes that she has saved the day. Of course she does. She walks on sunshine.
According to our so-called cursed book expert, “This book is old and scary and I’ve never seen anything like it.” Duh. That’s because you have never seen a dark grimoire before you utter newbie. The only witch that you have dealt with was Good (The Good Witch Glenda natch) or a larping wannabe that stumbled into magic backwards (“Larp and the Real Girl”). This episode should be called Lark and the Faux Hunter.
As if this BS wasn’t egregious enough, the Winchesters tell Charlie that she’s near one of Bobby’s safe houses for Hunters… you know those abodes that no one has used or mentioned in ten years, even when they were maintaining a low profile off of the grid because of the Leviathan.
We get a nice happy Dean moment in the car as they listen to Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys Are Back in Town”. He is dreaming of smooth skin and smooth sailing to some beach paradise. Maybe there will be beaches during the next Apocalypse if one doesn’t mind the smell of oceans red with blood.
Somehow Dean’s optimism seems manic. His sudden happiness is too good to be true. Meanwhile Sam tries to enjoy Dean’s joy, however he really can’t because he is worried about Dean’s behavior in the here and now, and in the future. Sam’s face seems to say OMG! My brother is hopeful and happy… he must be ready to murder me in my sleep.
Oh and in this episode the brothers’ mindsets are switched so that Dean is positive there is a cure and Sam is positive that it is a pipe dream. Hahahahahaha… how long ago was “The Executioner’s Song”. Is it still opposite day?
Oh hey! It’s the angel buddy comedy that we always wanted, The Odd Couple featuring that annoying, manipulative slob you love to hate (Metatron) and that sad sack angel that used to be so exciting and dynamic (Castiel).
Castiel and Metatron drive whilst Metatron just talks and talks about pop culture and humanity which really bothers Castiel despite the programming upgrade he received last year (“Meta Fiction”) because he just wants Metatron to be over. He calls Sam asking if he can just kill Metatron now and be done with him.
Sam is one note about curing Dean and when Cas reassures Sam that they will find a cure, Metatron pipes up with “I don’t know why you’d wanna cure that little firecracker now. He’s finally interesting,” This earns Metatron a resounding punch… POW! This pleases me to no end because it’s a reminder of the profound bond and his relationship with Dean… Dean the righteous dude who likes to punch his snarky nemeses just to punctuate his hatred.
Metatron keeps yammering earning another punch from Castiel who has no interest in bonding with him over the wonders of humanity. Metatron wants to be “besties” however Castiel is adamantly opposed because Metatron killed Dean. Metatron replies, “Oh phfft, Dean is fine… mostly. Can’t you get past that?” Of course Castiel’s reply is a definitive “Never.” Metatron is obviously toying with Castiel to annoy him and disarm him so that he can escape.
Poor Castiel has to watch Metatron eat waffles in an orgasmic frenzy of spittle, moaning and non-stop yammering. Castiel is more disgusted at how much Metatron worships himself. “Oh My Me” indeed.
As annoying as Metatron is these scenes are funny because of Castiel’s reaction. His skin must be crawling at the proximity of this man that caused damage to every angel in existence, caused the fall and exacerbated the angelic wars leaving countless dead. This is the man that duped Castiel and who killed Dean and ruthlessly engineered Dean’s emotional fall, leading him to take on the Mark and become nothing but a big blunt instrument of death. Sadly Castiel is not observant enough to suss the complexity of his crimes against Dean because if he knew the whole picture he would surely slaughter Metatron and gladly give up any chance of recovering his grace in order to avenge Dean.
Metatron needs to eliminate his bowels so Cas must escort him to the men’s room. Along the way they pass a nondescript guy with an angel sword. Is Hannah already tracking them?
Nope. He’s a deranged cupid that wants to kill them both for ruining heaven. We know he’s deranged because he’s dressed. Happy cupids are nude and never wear plaid (“My Bloody Valentine”). Maybe he just needs a hug.
The redneck cupid knocks Metatron over and lunges for Castiel. They tussle and the cupid loses his sword in the melee. Somehow the cupid is besting Castiel until Metatron backstabs him with his own sword.
I am dumbstruck that the the once nekkid cupids are sword carrying members of the heavenly host. I guess angel swords are a dime a dozen these days.
Sigh. Charlie reaches the cabin before her boys. Aww. She’s so frail and injured and bossy. I guess the boys work for her now.
Delusional much Mr. Thompson.
She shows them the BotD which is patently evil despite being written by a nun. The nun was obviously possessed because she got herself away from the nunnery to an isolated cave where she didn’t go all furry like Mary Magdelene out of some devout need to live like a hetmit in the wilderness. Naw this lady spent decades skinning herself for the skin on which to write her visions in her own blood. This sounds like self-sacrifice for a lower power.
Princess Celeste keeps talking so I do not have time to ask myself how Charlie has learned everything about this book which was buried long ago in some monstery, which is where all crazy nun writings go to die apparently (“Paint It Black”).
Yada Yada Yada says Charlie in her infinite wisdom, “Okay, here’s what I’ve learned so far. About 700 years ago, a nun locked herself away after having visions of darkness. After a few decades squirrelled away by herself, she emerged with (the BotD)….”
As she yammers she hands the book to Sam who looks through it. Charlie continues, “According to the notes I found, it’s been owned and used by cults, covens, and the Vatican had it for a while. There’s a spell inside that thing for everything. Talking some black mass, dark magic, end-of-times nastiness. As far as what language it’s written in, I’m thinking it’s some kind of…uh…”
Dean is out to lunch, probably thinking of Herve Villechaize (“The Inside Man”) whilst Charlie droned on. I suspect boredom until Dean somehow has the book in his hands and he’s physically shifted across the room. It’s almost as if he called the book to him and teleported. Anyhow Charlie and Sam are gobsmacked.
It is clear that the BotD was communicating with Dean because he’s gone mentally bye bye and is difficult to rouse. When he comes back to the present he informs Sam and the heavenly Charlester that the book is bad juju, “I don’t think it’s a good idea that I touch this.”
No kidding! The damned Book of the Damned is… well… damned! So color me surprised that as soon as Dean is out of the room Sam blames it all on the Mark. Yeah I am sure his trance had nothing to do with the evil book with “damned” in its title. That backstory that Charlie gave for the book was so warm and cuddly… NOT! Only an idiot would put their faith in this book… or someone so desperate that the risks they are willing to take make them dangerous.
The book appears arcane and esoteric, so much so one wonders if the infamous occultist Aleister Crowley would be able to read it. Boss Charlie puts Sam to deciphering the text and Dean on researching the southern tattooed baddies that chased her.
Dean actually has a MOL tome on evil occult families or dark dynasties or somesuch. Who knew such a phenomenon existed. Other than The Addams Family I cannot think of a single occult dynasty.
So pre-law Sam figures out the language that the text is written in far too easily for a guy with one world civilization course under his belt (“The Great Escapist”) instead of a degree in Near Eastern Archaeology. It’s Sumerian and he’s easily able to translate it although his translation is gibberish.
Charlie glances at it, immediately realizes that it’s in code and carelessly compares herself to the brilliant Alan Turing. Why must Thompson’s episodes so loudly project what he’s been watching. This year it’s “The Imitation Game”, two years ago it was “Tron:Legacy” (“Pac-Man Fever”) and last year it was Game of Thrones (“Slumber Party”).
Sam doesn’t have time to feel frustration at the situation because he sees Dean giving the BotD a funny and intense look. He isn’t even bothered that Dean mockingly refers to them as nerds. Sam sensibly puts the BotD into the warded and lead-lined lockbox that Dean brought to hide their location from the baddies that shot Charlie.
Luckily he did so in the nick of time because finally the baddies decided to use their special compass again. It leads them to a gas station parking lot. Mr. Fancypants with the compass realizes that the BotD has been hidden from them magically so they must start searching the surrounding gas stations for information about Charlie’s location.
So it turns out wondergirl can’t crack the code with a blink of her eyes. She throws out another “The Imitation Game” reference to the Bletchley Circle of code breakers; The Bletchley Circle is also a wimmen centric BBC series by the way.
Dean has used the tattoo to identify the family of baddies chasing Charlie. Dean says not being able to translate the book is for the best based on what he’s learned about the Styne family. Dean notes that they’re “All kinds of wrong. Talking multi-generational, centuries old wrong. The Styne family. Men of Letters’ files have them dated back to the early 1800s. They used spells to create disease, to destabilize markets. Hell, they even helped the Nazis before they came into power, and they profited from all of it… All the spells they used came from a book of ‘unspeakable evil’ which they lost nearly a hundred years ago.”
Charlie calls them the “supernatural Duponts” which makes me bristle. I once worked with a Dupont who was an archaeologist and the nicest, most unaffected fellow; his father headed Dupont for years and spent his spare time perfecting photographic film so he could film hummingbirds. There were brains in that family far more prodigious than those of the insufferable Charlie, as well as people devoted to knowledge for the betterment of all.
One doesn’t need to be a Dupont or Charlie to understand the lost book is the Book of the Damned. Okay then… the Book of the Damned is a book of ‘unspeakable evil’ created from human blood and skin and is considered to be the property of a nasty family of unkillable, well dressed thugs. Run Charlie run. Listen to the smart Winchester and ignore the tall one.
Dean valiantly tries to explain that the book is dark magic, the kind of magic that will come at a very dear price, “The way the book works, is when you use it, there is a negative reaction. I’m talking biblical negative. Dark magic always comes with a price. We know that. We’ve been down that road before.”
When the two so-called geniuses continue to pooh pooh getting rid of the BotD, Dean becomes emotional, “You guys don’t understand. The book’s been calling out to me ever since I laid eyes on it, okay? Calling out to the Mark. I can hear it like it’s alive. It wants me to use it, but not for good. Look, I wanted it to be the answer too, okay? I really did. But we have got to get rid of that. Burn it, bury it, I don’t give a damn. We’ll just have to find another way to fix the Mark.”
Charlie still wants to translate it and accuses Dean of giving up. No, I’m not giving up. Charlie, I don’t have a death wish. Okay, even if I did, I can’t die, not with this thing on my arm. What I can do is I can fight it as long as I can until….
I like Dean’s honesty in this episode. He cannot die with the Mark on his arm. Unfortunately the truth doesn’t set Dean free because Sam will not listen. He is adamant that he cannot sit back and watch Dean become a demon again. He wants to translate the book and “If there’s a cure, we’ll do it and deal with the consequences later. I can’t lose you.” One might think that starting the Apocalypse would make a Winchester gunshy about causing biblical disasters, but hey Sam is apparently good to go with his usual shoulder shrug. He’s cool.
And the truth is that Sam cannot accept Dean as a demon because of his guilt over Dean’s demon deal to save Sam’s life and I suspect because demonic Dean walked away from Sam. Remember how mad Sam was when Dean left for one day to help Benny (“Blood Brothers”). As a demonic entity Dean walked away for life.
Dean coldly calls Sam out on his insistence that he cannot live without Dean, “You change your mind on that, cause that’s not what you said last time.” Sam tries to talk his way out of his cruel and hurtful speech from “The Purge”, however Dean isn’t really buying it. Dean reiterates his stance on the BotD, “This is my cross to bear, Sam. Mine. And that book is not the answer. Now we got to destroy it before it falls into the wrong hands, and that includes me.” Dean leaves in frustration although he pretends it’s just to get Charlie’s snacks.
Charlie thinks that Dean may be right, however Sam still obstinately refuses to listen to Dean. As we have noted more than once, Sam is mired in his season 3-4 mindset of desperation, hubris and Machiavellian no holds barred… the ends justify the means ethics. Sam simply doesn’t care what the price is or who gets hurt.
Anyhow Charlie is nosy and a conversation hog. We learn that Sam was deliberately hurtful in his “The Purge” rant because he was angry. Charlie whines about how hard it is to be a hunter. In my mind the littlest violin is playing “Taps” because she is ridiculously unqualified to hunt, especially since she viewed it as an adventure (“Slumber Party”). Can’t say that Dean didn’t try to talk you out of it (“Pac-Man Fever”). Hunting isn’t really synonymous with larping or gaming. People die. I had really thought that her bad experiences in Oz would have shaken some realty into that manic pixie chick head of sparkles and rainbows (“There’s No Place Like Home”).
Of course that little violin is also playing Taps because the writing is already on the wall. Sam doesn’t care about biblical ramifications of using the book. He doesn’t care that it’s helluva evil. He doesn’t care that Charlie is injured and being chased by an evil “Dark Dynasty”. She is so going to be collateral damage from Sam’s terrible decisions born of desperation… just like Kevin (“Holy Terror”). However in my opinion what Dean did and what Sam will do are not morally comparable. Sam Winchester is terrifying me at the moment.
We are treated to Charlie’s thoughts on hunting because of course now she’s an expert on that too. She notes, “You know, I haven’t been a hunter for very long, but it feels like this is the life. Mostly ends in Sophie’s choices, death, or tears. Usually, all of the above, huh? How did this become my life? I mean, I was gonna own my own start-up, marry ScarJo, invent something cool. Now I’m just….I’m just happy to be alive.” OMG!
I don’t like the character yet I feel major chills at this obvious gaslighting. Yikes. She will be Sam’s Kevin, the innocent that dies because of a Winchester’s choices and lies. And it’s so much worse for Sam because Dean and every bit of Intel they have are screaming at Sam to lose the EVIL book… The magic is too dark, the price is too high, the Stynes are too powerful and evil. It’s too dangerous.
For perhaps the first time ever in ten seasons Sam talks about his feelings on hunting, and it all makes sense and works with show canon that Sam wasn’t really invested in hunting until somehow now? “Yeah. I guess I really understand now that… this is my life. I love it. But I can’t do it without my brother. I don’t want to do it without my brother. And if he’s gone, then I don’t…”. Sam all of a sudden loving hunting strikes me as weird but hey… whatever… I guess Sam didn’t know what he had until he lost it when Dean died and became a demonicthingamaDean.
Charlie tells him that he’s the “Dread Pirate Roberts of hunting” which is actually a terrible comparison. There’s only one Sam Winchester, brother to Dean and perfect meatsuit to Lucifer. This is why Mr. Thompson shouldn’t be able to have shiny red-haired things. He’s too interested in giving them witty things to say regardless if they make sense.
So meanwhile that angelic buddy comedy of errors has arrived at a library that may or may not hold Castiel’s grace. Apparently Metatron had a minion hide the grace and leave clues in books. According to Metatron, “No one goes to libraries anymore. It’s the safest place in the world.” This is the fourth joint they’ve been to and Castiel is testy because he’s about had it with Metatron’s schtick. Cas is threatening to get medieval on Metatron’s ass which means pretty darn violent.
Let’s cut to the chase because Metatron is getting on everyone’s nerves. Metatron claims that he doesn’t know where Castiel’s grace is because he told another angel to hide it. This angel left clues in books. He finds two clues and gives one to Castiel to figure out. Then he yammers endlessly, asking Cas about his identity and purpose, all to distract from the blood sigil spell that he’s casting to weaken Castiel.
Metatron wants Castiel’s grace and the demon tablet which was also hidden in a book. Luckily Castiel has figured out that the clues are quotes from books. He finds his grace and in a brief exciting scene regains his badassery amidst bright light and an avalanche of books; however per all angels his wings are damaged. Metatron scampers off with the demon tablet before the powered up Castiel can catch him.
Now there’s some meta madness within the library scene which I will try to unravel for frequent poster Alycat (http://m.imdb.com/title/tt0460681/board/threads/242962746/).
Castiel’s clue, “What is the maddest thing a man can do” is a quote from Cervantes “Don Quixote” which is about a nobleman inspired to become a wandering knight to better the world despite being considered addled by his fellow man. The fact that Cas’ grace is found inside this book is extremely meta and really needs no further explanation.
The first book that Metatron grabs is Kurt Vonnegut’s “Breakfast of Champions” which gave me a bit of meta deja vu because the prophet and author Chuck described the events of “The Monster at the End of the Book” as being Kilgore Trout Vonnegut; Trout being both the author of the story and a character. One of the books that Kilgore Trout appears in is “Breakfast of Champions” in which he acts as a catalyst for the other characters. Sound much like Metatron… HELL YES!… because he’s clearly been engineering the story and has manipulated events to rewrite the Winchester Gospels.
Metatron finds the second clue in Jean Baudrillard’s “Simulacra and Simulation” which is a philosophical treatise that deals with the nature of reality. I have no idea really how this fits except that the quote, “What two things do you need to succeed in life?” is a bon mot from Mark Twain, and Mark Twain was a pseudonym for Samuel Clemens. Is Metatron a pseudonym for someone else?
According to Wikipedia, Metatron was assumed into heaven and became one with God. Some religious texts even say he shares a name with God ( http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metatron). So perhaps Metatron is really God, or he’s Chuck gone stark raving mad. Neither possibility excites me and the former paints the Supernatural universe in a very bleak way. We know Metatron likes to say he’s God, for instance the “Oh My Me” comment over waffles and his actions in “Do You Believe in Miracles?” However, he has always seemed like an opportunistic poser, a “simulacra” of diety perhaps?
Mark Twain also wrote a time travel book, “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court”, in which the titular Yankee engineer becomes a veritable magician by introducing technology; nonetheless King Arthur still dies. We don’t know what book Metatron grabs, however it’s reassuring to think his machinations may come to naught in the big picture… even as it’s scary to think about what he might do with the demon tablet.
Back at the A plot, Dean walks into the local Gas n’ Sip for snacks and brew. He finds murder in the form of Mr. Fancypants Styne who has just killed the clerk. Dean sees the tattoo and pulls his gun. Another baddie creeps up behind him and manages to restrain him.
Styne sees the Mark of Cain on his arm and monologues, “Nobody had seen that redheaded girl. And then a man bearing that Mark comes in here, to me. Well, there’s coincidence, and then there’s just Providence. See, The Book of the Damned, it wants to be found. It wants to come home. Let me guess. You want to use it to get that gift off your arm, don’t you? Power is wasted on the weak. Now, the book… can remove that Mark. But you mess around with that, you’re gonna do far more harm than good. So, why don’t you do the right thing here, boy, and tell me where that book is?”
Mr. Fancypants Styne! Dean Winchester is anything but weak… which he proceeds to show by breaking free and inflicting some righteous damage. These dudes need a full clip to stop them. YEEHAW! And we got confirmation of the BotD’s badness as well as that it can remove the Mark… whatever that means. Anyhow, the Stynes seem to think that the BotD belongs to them. The BotD has indicated that it wants to belong to Dean. I somehow think that the book has no interest in removing the Mark or returning to the Stynes.
Dean heads back to the cabin and warns Sam and Charlie if the impending infestation of Stynes. Dean tells Sam to burn the book which he appears to do whilst Dean and Charlie kill the Stynes. It’s over quickly because now Thompson needs them dead. It’s rather obvious that Sam doesn’t burn the book because he didn’t burn the other nun’s book in “Paint it Black” I don’t think the little win against Isabella is foreshadowing for a big win now. There’s too much wrong with the book. There’s too much wrong with Sam’s Plan to save Dean.
Back at the bunker, Castiel tells Sam that he regained his grace, but unfortunately lost Metatron and the demon tablet in the process. That’s a very bad combination however Sam doesn’t seem that worried because his only concern is fixing Dean.
Dean and Charlie come in with pizza, and beer. Charlie fangirls and gushes over Castiel whom she rushes to hug. He cures her wound and her carpel tunnel. Yeah! She wonders if they have just become “best friends”. Hells No! That honor still belongs to Dean.
Dean is happy that Cas has found his grace. Castiel lies about how he obtained it. The unease of the lie tells us that Castiel is conflicted about his role in Sam’s plans because he knows that keeping their actions from Dean is wrong.
The group eats, drinks and laughs as The Who’s “Behind Blue Eyes” plays. Sam is distant and in a series of flashbacks we see him save the BotD and meet with Rowena. Sam seems to be making one bad decision after another. This will not end well. They will be lucky if the only negative outcome is Charlie’s inevitable death. Sadly, at this point I don’t see Charlie’s death stopping Sam from his quest to fix Dean. The price for Sam’s hubris and arrogance, the price of his Machiavellian choices and his blindness to their costs… I fear that the end will be so much worse than season 4…
“No one knows what it’s like to be the bad man, to be the sad man, behind blue eyes. No one knows what it’s like to be hated, to be fated, to telling only lies. But my dreams they aren’t as empty, as my conscience seems to be. I have hours, only lonely, my love is vengeance that’s never free….” (“Behind Blue Eyes”). Oh No. This is so not good…