Thursday, March 27, 2014

Supernatural, Season 9, Episode 17: Mother's Little Helper

The death for this week – a wife coming in from work and beating her husband to death after he criticises her meat loaf.

Totally justified. I’m just saying.

Sam thinks this is a case though and wants to go investigate – but Dean is all silent and pouty, again. Dean has apparently become entirely obsessed on finding Abaddon to the exclusion of all else. (Except drinking). I’m going to go with First Blade/Mark of Cain angst-causing-woo-woo.

Sam goes to the case and questions the local police being even less subtle than usual – only to find the murderer hanged in her cell – something she apparently did after painting on the walls with her own blood. There’s no sign of anything supernatural – as he tells Dean who is well on his way to finishing a bottle of whiskey.  Some flashbacks confirm that, yes, the Mark of Cain is working angsty woo-woo.

Brief flash of the next victim – a guy hitchhiking and is picked up by a nice normal guy – then there’s screams and bright light

And the hitchhiker enters the diner where Sam’s getting dinner and stuffs food from a plate into his mouth with his hands, much to the waitress’s shock (who knows him). She tries to talk to him – and he stabs her hand before Sam knocks him unconscious.

Going to the police station he finds there are several locals – normal, law abiding people according to the sheriff, all of whom are in the cells and writing on the walls in blood. Holy water does nothing and asking only reveals that the victims are “clear”. Talking to Dean, Sam remembers that this is what it was like for him when he had no soul – no restraint, acting on his own impulses. Dean, again, refuses to come, still drinking and still pretending to research. Only now he’s joined by Crowley.

Time for Crowley to play amateur psychologist with Dean over the First Blade et al. Including him being afraid of it, of the power of it and that he’s too much like Caine. When he spots a praying hunter with a knife clearly stalking Crowley. Dean hurries in to talk him out of it. He talks to Crowley and we learn that he’s still injecting human blood, that he considers Dean’s need for the First Blade an addiction (do we have to do that? Really?) and that everything’s as they planned. Except Crowley’s playing his own game – and the hunter is actually a demon who reports that Dean saved Crowley’s live (well… Dean’s explanation actually sounds credible too).

Sam goes to the police station and hears and older women talking about demons, he takes her, Julia, aside and she’s not just talking nonsense – because the Men of Letters visited in the distant past. Flashback to Henry Winchester (grandfather of the brothers) and Josie (the woman Abaddon possessed and whose body she is now using) introducing themselves to young Julia (a nun) as members of the Inquisition (well, that was unexpected. Yes, I went there) dressed as a nun and a priest.

Apparently a nun went on a bit of a killing spree before throwing herself out of a window. Showing just how bad they are at maintaining their cover, Henry talks about his angst about becoming a full Man of Letters, putting his life at risk when he has a family to worry about. They go to the murderous nun’s room, find the walls daubed in bloody writing and the crest of the knights of hell carved into the wall.

That night Julia spied on a demonically possessed nun and gets captured along with a load of other people – each of which is dragged into a room from which comes glaring white light. Julia is served by Henry and Josie who exorcise 2 of the demonic nuns – but the other 2 are less impressed. The head nundemon – Abaddon - plans to possess the unconscious Henry to spy on the Men of Letters, but Josie offers herself (hence the earlier scene about Henry having a family and Josie not).

Abaddon accepts and assures Henry that they succeeded in defeating the demon nuns (Abaddon leaves a minion behind).

In the present Sam gets the location of the abbey and goes there to find a number of jars full of glowing white gas and an easily killed demon. And a less easily killed demonnun who helpfully tells Sam how to send the souls back to their bodies; though she’s now reduced to drive by kidnapping to claim souls rather than just setting up a church and waiting for people to come. This demonnun loves her exposition and promptly spills the whole plan to Sam – many like her are capturing souls and then turning those souls into demons loyal to Abaddon, rather than waiting for the existing demons to choose between Abaddon or Crowley.

Sam banishes the nun with an exorcism recorded on his phone (and a knife when she’s crawling to destroy the phone). Really? I thought the last time they pulled that it was fake and a joke! You could banish a demon army with a loud speaker and a smart phone?

The souls all return to their rightful owners now facing, no doubt, very confusing long prison sentences.

In the aftermath, Julia reveals she held her tongue about Abaddon because she was afraid of the demon – and she left the order because she was ashamed of that.

Sam returns to Dean to warn him about Abaddon’s nefarious plot.

I have something of a narrative glitch in that none of these people are acting like Sam did. Sam, without a soul, didn’t become berserk or start writing on the walls in blood. Sam tries to force the link by saying that everyone acts differently if they lose their soul – maybe… but if they’re acting differently then how can you draw a link based entirely on their behaviour… that isn’t the same?

Stealing souls is apparently Abaddon’s plan to defeat Crowley. That she set in motion in… the 1950s? When Lilith should still have been in power and so solidly in control that this shouldn’t have made a whole lot of difference?

And recorded exorcisms? Yeaaaah, not running with that. In all, Meh. Demon has an evil plan which is moderately mundane as far as grand evil plans go (Abaddon, the angels are out evil-ing you). Dean is angsting over his new super power which would probably have more impact… if he wasn’t pushing Sam away after us having the best part of, what, 5 episodes? – with Sam pushing HIM away and him trying to get close to Sam again. Supernatural, you have reached your brother-relationship-angst quota this season. Behave.