There we go, some actual, fluid, well paced and just plain well written story telling! One of the glaring weaknesses with a majority of the “Supernatural” scripts over the last four or five seasons has been the inability to juggle multiple overlapping stories at once. Heck, they aren’t even good at tackling two strong character arcs at once for two strong lead actors. One writer in the last two seasons though has been able to consistently avoid that trap, and that’s Robert Berens.
Just in case you haven’t noticed (and if you haven’t maybe I need to be more direct), but in my reviews I tend to be more critical of the writing than anything else. I’m a stickler for solid construction, great dialogue, emotional storytelling, and characters that actually don’t get sucked in by the background. I swear the most tedious aspects are my reviews when I have to constantly point out these missing basics in a script. Well Mr. Berens just gives me a reason to smile. It makes the story more enjoyable and in the end we all win.
Castiel and Hannah’s story was touching, surprising, and in the end made perfect sense. It’s stunning that in all this time of angels, not one angel was so in touch and sensitive to the needs of their vessel that they gave their vessel their life back. It’s a really fascinating arc. It goes to show that Hannah was indeed sincere about her commitment to the mission, protecting humanity as God commanded. Her purpose was better served in Heaven, and her vessel Caroline needed to go home. The fact that it really affected Castiel too, getting him to think about Jimmy Novak again, is quite an eye opener and long overdue after season four’s “The Rapture.” It also opens up fascinating possibilities for episodes to come. How will Castiel respond to seeing Jimmy’s family again?
I did roll my eyes a bit over Crowley’s band of stupid demons again coming up with yet another hare brained scheme of recruitment, forcing girls into prostitution to get men to sell their souls, but luckily Berens didn’t run with that bit too long. Instead it let to a brilliant twist, a Scottish red-headed witch named Rowena comes along and liquifies one of the demons instead into black goop. I got to admit, that was pretty wicked. But then it gets bad when she starts boiling brains of people where ever she goes. She’s bad news but dammit she’s so charismatic and fun to listen to. Her recruitment scheme seems a little weak, but at least she knows how to weed out the dumb ones.
Yes, Rowena’s cheeky behavior was a pretty good hint for that ending reveal, but it still didn’t make it any less precious. Another massive kudos to Mark Sheppard, selling Crowley’s stunned reaction when interrogating a captured Rowena. It took him a bit, but he finally figured it out when he took that Scottish taunting. “Mother?” Yes, I cackled. Crowley has met his greatest foe yet. It’s been said that Rowena is the new big bad this season and if she’s as entertaining as Crowley has been, I’ll all for it. I even hope she hooks up with her grandson that’s out there somewhere. Or maybe that’s the reason she’s back. Oh, the possibilities with this! I’m very happy to see this twist happen.
But while I was really enjoying the those two side stories and how they easily cut in with the main story, the heart again fell on Sam and Dean. There were smiles when Sam teased Dean about being on a dating website. When was the last time we saw them this light hearted? I like it when Sam can relax and smile. The boy just doesn’t do that enough. However, when Dean left Sam for a hookup, suddenly I’m taken back to the season premiere. Demon Dean was using sex as an outlet and I had to wonder if his new found interest in dating was because of that last kill. Is it the MOC stirring up again? I like how this show likes to raise just enough doubt to make you wonder, but not confirm. We also got the action with Sam and Dean going against the demons and witches, working the case the way these boys do so well.
On the otherside is Cole, who in since we last saw him has really caught up on his demon lore. He has one caught in a Devil’s Trap and he’s finding out all he can about Dean Winchester. I absolutely love his tenacity and ability to track. He’s just as compelling a character this time as he was in the first two episodes. By far the best scene of the episode is when Cole cornered Dean in that alley, forcing the re-confrontation between those two. Dean may have been the better fighter, but that was enough to get Cole to listen before he goes unconventional. He asks Cole for five minutes and then hands him his gun. If Dean doesn’t convince him, Cole can have his revenge. Dean that’s when he finally sets the record straight, Cole’s father was a monster. He remembers the case well. He killed Cole’s Dad to protect those in the house that he went back to harm. Cole believes him, or at least knows that there’s enough doubt after what he’s seen.
But that conversation really sparked something that told us all how rattled Dean really is by the re-awakening of the Mark of Cain.
I get it, that was your story. Look man I got one of those too, okay but those stories that we tell that keep us going, sometimes they blind us. They take us to dark places, kinda place where I might beat the crap out of a good man, just for the fun of it. The people who love me, they pulled me back from that edge. Cole once you touch that darkness, it never goes away. Now the truth is, I’m past saving. I know how my story ends, it’s at the edge of a blade or the barrel of a gun. So the question is, is that going to be today, it gonna be that gun?
Aside from the fact that is a gorgeous piece of dialogue, Sam heard every word, standing behind Cole ready to jump in and save his brother. Sam and Dean were able to convince Cole to back down by mentioning his family. As mentioned in our reviews before (as well as several of you sharp commenters), family seems to be the main theme this season. Cole gave up because this experience showed him what darkness has turned him into. Maybe he doesn’t want to be Dean Winchester. Or who knows, by walking away, maybe he does. Anyway, it was enough for him to re-evaluate priorities and know what’s important. It was beautiful.
Is Sam’s devotion right now the only thing keeping Dean in check? How bad is he falling apart inside? I’d like to think that Dean is carrying on as well because he still believes in fighting the good fight with his brother by his side. That’s why he resorted to Sam being possessed by an angel to keep him alive. But Sam’s devotion to him is his strongest reminder, the one thought that gets him through the day. He is also wondering how long that will be enough before he gives into the darkness. That’s why he’s turning to sex and booze again to cope rather than talking about it.
Dean told Sam later after Cole left that he was just telling Cole what he needed to hear. No, I think he was honest with Cole. He was telling Sam what he needed to hear, which is he won’t give up the fight. But Dean is already wearing thin and Sam is no dummy. Sam’s distraught reaction said it all, he doesn’t believe Dean. The question is, how often can Sam bring his brother back from the brink? What if Sam doesn’t get away from the monster in time to be there for Dean? Dean sees a bad end coming to this Mark of Cain business and he’s just waiting for the blast wave. I can see why he doesn’t want to talk honestly about it with Sam, because Sam still believes he’s worth saving. Sam is the only one right now.
I really like Cole and I’m not convinced his story is over. Because of that, I don’t share the criticism out there (yet) that his story ended on a very flat note. For one, they left the mystery out there about what his father was. Dean was convinced that he was a monster but was Dean right? What does that make Cole? There’s an origin story there we need more about! We need to see more of Cole the newbie hunter. Of course, that’s the dreams a spinoff is made of.
So all in all we got a little movement into the main arc and got some great storytelling to boot. I would call that a win. I give “Girls, Girls, Girls,” a B+. Next week, given the characters coming back, I’m interested. I’ll entertain one more light week before we get to the meat of the midseason finale.
(Screencaps from screencapped.net)