Thursday, October 23, 2014

Supernatural, Season 10, Episode 3: Soul Survivor

Last season the Winchesters found out how to cure demons (blessed human blood, lot of shouting, lot of drama, a few other niceties) which is now Sam’s plan for Dean who is locked in the Winchester Cave, in the same cell they used to keep Crowley. Only Dean looks far more evil (and, I have to say, evil looks gooood on him).

Sam has apparently also called Castiel to come help and he and Hannah go on a road trip. In a role reversal, he also has to tell Hannah about the intricacies of human interaction – like if someone tells you they’re fine you accept it and don’t keep asking. Castiel clear isn’t fine – and he hasn’t told Sam that either.

It’s exorcism time with Dean, complete with spooky demon voice, hissing and black eyes and lots of taunting – including that Sam is no better than Demonic!Dean. That faintly ambiguous statement is explained with a flashback showing Sam getting an angry, desperate, drunk man to make a deal with a Crossroads Demon – having a man sell his soul in order to capture a demon to question and torture. Ouch, Sam tries to justify with his intentions but Dean is even less impressed by that excuse than I am.

To Hell and Crowley is now chief bureaucrat (looks like a whole lot of work) but he has an evil advisor! He has a vizier! Vizier guy has heard about Castiel fading and Crowley sends a demon to have him watched – the Vizier thinks to have Cas killed (who knows with Crowley?). Crowley fades out reminiscing about the little holiday he took with Dean which inspires his fawning Lackey to be Crowley’s new “wing man.” Lackey gets vaporised for his impudence.

Things aren’t going all Crowley’s way. One of the demons speaks up with quite a list of grievances against Crowley; he ran off and was completely absent indulging his human blood addiction for a substantial part of the last season. He then took a little holiday with Dean to try and bring him to the dark side – and failed to actually achieve that (but did get more demons killed) and now he rules Hell with pretty frank indifference. One of his demons dramatically suicides in protest.

Over to Castiel and Hannah - who can’t read a map, but the delay gives her another chance to appeal to the dying Cas (with lots of bond-y arm holding entreaty) to get more Grace; Castiel still refuses to kill an angel for a charge up. Argument over, Sam calls worried that his blessed blood treatment is actually killing Dean – which Cas thinks is highly likely but since the options are a) possibly killing Dean for a cure or b) killing Deamon!Dean so he doesn’t run amok or c) let Demon!Dean run amok… well not much choice

Call ended, Castiel tries to give Hannah a gentle let down, telling her he’s focused on saving Dean, they can’t be distracted – and basically telling her to drop her crush because it’s not happening. Which is great but they get another distraction – Edina, not happy about Daniel’s death, holding Hannah hostage with an Angel Blade. With Hannah injured and out the fight (AGAIN. The minute people draw blades Hannah kind of just crumples in a corner), Edina is bound by a classic villain trope to “kill Castiel slowly”. She beats him savagely – until a bleary eyed Cas looks up to see Crowley.

Edina moved on to torture Hannah a little before Crowley intervenes, kills Edina and steals her grace (hey, remember when Angels were the nuclear weapons of the supernatural world?). Naturally he uses this to heal Castiel. His excuse is he needs someone to fix Dean because Demonic Dean is a problem (apparently?)

Dean goes back to evil taunting –bringing up everything from the times he’s saved Sam to their dead mother – he’s got 10 seasons of Winchester angst to throw at Sam and throwing in some extra blame at their dead dad as well (which John deserved for a looooong time).

Sam takes a break to mope in Dean’s room and finds a collection of old family photos Dean has kept before going back in to find Dean has escaped. Time for cat and mouse in the Winchester Cave. Sam runs and hides, Dean taunts – seems the blood was somewhat making Dean human. The problem with that is all the anti-demon traps then don’t work on him. Oh Moose, that was not a well thought out plan. He also forgot the Winchester rule – if you leave a Winchester tied up and don’t STARE at them unblinkingly They. Will. Escape. Always. Houdini’s got nothing on these guys.

Sam tries to lock Dean in a room with a wooden door. Dean is carrying a hammer. It’s not a very effective plan. Sam does fight Dean with a knife – and even has it at Dean’s throat… but can’t kill his brother. Dean moves into the attack – and Cas grabs him from behind. Dean’s eyes turn black, Cas’s eyes glow blue. Blue eyes and hugging wins.

Dean ends up tied back in his chair and Sam despairs that Dean doesn’t want to be human – but Cas can get it, being human is hard and painful. Dean wakes up – and the black fades out of his eyes. A splash of holy water and it seems Dean isn’t a demon any more.

Lots of relief and Sam willing to go get junk food but Castiel warns him that the Mark of Cain didn’t go away. It’s still an issue.

Dean is a little concerned that trying to kill Sam with a hammer may drive him off, but Castiel thinks that a little hammer murder is far too minor a reason to break up the Winchesters. Even Dean recognises that that’s not entirely healthy.

Now we need a new villain – over to Tulsa Oklahoma where a woman has nailed two hotel employees to the ceiling. As you do.

I continue my previous comment from the last 2 episodes – Sam here says they don’t get to quit in this family. But that’s what Sam has done – on more than one occasion. The show started in season 1 with Dean recruiting Sam back into the family business after he’d quit. When Dean was in Purgatory, Sam quit. Sam has talked about a “normal life” and leaving it all behind repeatedly throughout the show’s duration. Sam is virtually quoting what Dean said to appeal to him on those many many occasions. It’s an interesting role reversal and I really want to know what it will mean for both characters. Has Sam changed – or has not having Dean to bring them back together actually forced him to step up?

Those family photos – beyond the fact Sam should have found them a long time ago – speak volumes when you consider Dean has been on the road with no fixed abode for, what, most of his life? Before the Winchester Cave, even before the show began, Dean was a wanderer either alone or with his dad or with his dad and Sam living on what he could carry in the car. But he kept those photos

Does anyone even know whose side Crowley’s on any more? Or is he just doing random stuff for giggles?

I’m a little unsure about Dean being cured. On the one hand, another week of Dean in the basement while Sam agonises would have been annoying. On the other, I like evil Dean, it had potential – and I hoped to see more of it and how it made Sam, Dean and Castiel evolve. I hope Cas is right that the Mark of Cain will still be relevant otherwise it all feels just too neat.

Also, every time they cure a demon I have the same nagging discomfort I have with the fact they’ve completely given up on exorcising demons. When did “saving people” fall so far off the Winchester’s radar?