Ugh. You know, I went into this rewatch with an open mind. After all, I vaguely remembered Abaddon being a real bad ass, a wicked Ezekiel reveal, and some crap with Crowley. After revisiting, it’s all quite a downer. Still, “Devil May Care” wasn’t a total loss. Why don’t I do a “Good, Bad, and Ugly” type review? There was a little of each in this episode.
For what it’s worth, there were some good ideas in here. Running into a hunter with a grudge against Sam for his past actions? That should happen more. I mean after all, the Winchesters have really affected lives by their actions. Kevin confronting Crowley and getting his head messed with? That was well done. I love that Crowley took advantage of an opportunity, which is such a Crowley thing to do. Yes, he’s affected a little by his experience, but it’s not enough for him to remember who he is and what he does. It’s the art of the deal. Kevin too is vulnerable right now, just reminding us that he’s a prophet on the edge.
The return of Abaddon was the highlight of the episode though. She is one wicked bitch and it’s awesome how they set her up as the big bad for season nine. She’s wicked and ruthless, aka exactly the way a Knight of Hell should be. Her hair and nails though look amazing. She wants Hell to go back to the way it was, killing and conquering. Her problem was spelled out early though, too many demons like the Crowley regime, maybe because they’re afraid of him too. She has a lot loyalty to earn. It’s going to be brains vs. brawn in this season’s Hell fight and I like the setup (delivery is another story, but we won’t address that here).
Abaddon’s confrontation with Dean was chilling and so delicious. Threatening to burn off the tattoo and possess him, spelling out in horrific detail the helplessness and terror of being possessed by a demon, it was a pretty damned effective speech. You could tell Dean was rattled by it. Granted, it was a heavy handed reminder of Dean’s deal with Ezekiel to possess Sam, but it was still compelling.
Speaking of Ezekiel, the whole taking over an unconscious Sam and blasting the place, and the demons along with it, to smithereens was a nice visual. It rattled Abaddon enough to leave, so that’s something.
Oh, and one more thing. Kevin Freaking Solo. That is all.
The pacing and overall construction of this episode was atrocious. Too much exposition, very slow in too many spots, not enough action until the end, and that action didn’t last long. I kept looking at my watch several times going, “how much of this is left?” It continued the lament I had with the previous episode, what is going tonally wrong here? The editing was terrible, bouncing wildly from thing to thing without adding cohesion to the individual stories, aka another short attention span theater episode. All in all, it became a random sequence of events that really missed the emotional beats when needed.
So, instead of closing the gates of Hell, they capture Crowley and are going to force him through torture (really, Crowley?) to tell them where all the demons are so they can send them back to Hell? THAT’S THE GRAND PLAN? Ugh, give me a break. It has epic fail on so many levels. Sam and Dean are smarter than that. Worst plan B ever.
Then there’s the two hunters that they brought in so Sam and Dean would walk into Abaddon’s trap. Were we supposed to care about these one off characters? With a little sharper writing, I could have, but I didn’t. Were we supposed to feel something about Irv because he knew Bobby? One quick little story about a hunt is supposed to form a connection? Tracy was a potentially good idea that didn’t go anywhere. Perhaps her presence would have made more sense if she ended up a recurring character, but that never happened. She got a long unnecessary vamp hunt scene (that too much exposition thing) to show she’s some kind of badass, she instantly treated Sam rudely without explanation or background (at least one sign or a comment in her intro scene about it?), and then she disappeared during the action just so she could show up with the Impala and then drive off with the boys. Tracy’s time done. She was also swayed a bit too easily by Dean’s words given her hellbent years long vendetta against Sam for letting Lucifer out of the cage which led to her family getting killed. Come on man, pick a lane. What a waste of a potentially strong young and female hunter, someone who got into this life like so many others, because her family was killed by demons.
Even the conversation between Dean and Ezekiel seemed scattered and off, which was probably the point, but it didn’t stick. It also dragged on way too long. Sure, “Zeke” saved the day and that was pretty awesome to watch, but Dean’s discomfort and the whole “are you a good guy” thing is foreshadowing hitting you in the head with a mallet. It was hardly subtle. Isn’t it a little late to be questioning this after you agreed to this desperate deal and this angel just saved your ass? Andrew Dabb’s scripts were often missing the art of “show, don’t tell,” and this was no exception.
“Honestly, I feel better than I have in a long time. I mean, I realize it’s crazy out there, and we have trouble coming for us, but I look around and I see friends, and family. I am happy with my life, for the first time in… forever. I am, I really am. It’s just, things are… things are good.”
WHAT? I’m disturbed by Sam’s comments at the end. I’m probably supposed to, but the message sucks. He has to be possessed by an angel to feel good? I know this is supposed to be a warning sign that things aren’t right for Dean, but the conversation in general was just wrong. That is a nice harsh warning that Sam just hasn’t had a good life. You know this is going to go bad, but do we also need this reminder that the guy can’t catch a break? I found it more off-putting than effective.
(I felt the Sam way Dean)
Also, at the end, Sam throws out one line about what Tracy said and then drops it? That is not a good way to tie in what happened earlier to this final scene. It only justifies that the idea of meeting Tracy may have been a good idea but was executed very poorly story wise.
Then there’s Kevin. At this point, he wants to find his mother, but does Dean say he’ll help? No, he gives her “she’s dead even if she’s alive” speech? Sure what Dean said was practical, but it was hardly reassuring. If Dean was in his shoes he’d be tearing off to find Mary. It felt like he wants Kevin around because he’s useful. He sold Kevin the whole “you’re family” speech but why didn’t I feel like he really meant it? Dean’s words were mechanical and felt manipulative. Maybe I have a bias though because of what actually happened to Kevin. I would have thought that Dean would have done more to help, because that’s what family does.
Overall grade, a C-. So far, season nine isn’t getting off to a good start. Next episode, “I’m No Angel?” Oh crud, that one is even worse! The things I do for the sake of this show.