Editor's Note: Occasionally an episode strikes us so deeply that we have to find an outlet for our shock. "Dark Dynasty" was that kind of episode, especially for Winchester Obsessed, who told us "I was so shocked and horrified and saddened at Charlie's death that I immediately wanted to write about it, but with the next episode looming, I thought there would not be enough time. Still, I could not NOT write." Please welcome our Guest Writer who shares the very personal experience of watching and coping with "Dark Dynasty". Did you have a similar experience?
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There are few things I have been unprepared for, especially when it comes to the end of an episode. Even at the last episode of season Nine, knowing that there was going to be a showdown between Metatron and Dean, I was better prepared for what I thought might happen to Dean. For those not having seen this specific episode yet, rather stop reading here.

You probably have watched this episode three times already, so I will keep my synopsis and impressions as short as possible, rather keep them observations. Perhaps you have noticed and seen the same things I have.

The revision-intro of the past episodes before the actual start of this episode provides a good background to what is to follow, especially Bobby’s voice over and prediction of “doing a little bad to do a lot of good, but sometimes the bad’s real bad, and the good can come at one helluva price.”

Should have seen it there, right?

Sam is really desperate to cure Dean. Why is he so keen on killing The King of Hell? Because getting rid of evil is The Job? Or is it perhaps that Sam is jealous of the relationship that might linger between Dean and Crowley? Or because Crowley said he will ‘gladly’ kill Dean? Sam really does not seem to cringe at the prospect and seems honest when promising Rowena that he will kill her son. But then, the last two episodes, Sam has been mostly dishonest (for good reason), especially to Dean.

The Styne family sure is a bunch of good-looking men…The Frankenstein-gene really seems to have done them well. Yet it seems that the good looks got rid of all their possible virtue and good-naturedness. Self-centered and self-righteous bunch of muscles, if you ask me. This doesn’t spell good for our Winchester boys, as we all know that avoiding a show-down with them is now out of the question. Interesting how the writers and producers of the show can come up with hereto-un-introduced baddies, make them fit in and realistic, and built them in to the lead up to the finale in such a short period of time. Kudos to Robert Berens and co. (Is ‘The Frankenstein Family’ the spin-off we have all been clamoring for?)

Sam is seriously strict with Rowena, and very smart (always smart, our Sam), about not allowing her out of the chains and able to do witchcraft. I found it fascinating that the usually whining, scheming Rowena was the one to provide us with comic relief in this episode. Well-written and well presented, it never missed a beat or felt out of place, although this whole episode was dealing with serious issues.  For once, it seems Rowena is also honest, wanting to help Dean for her own benefit, and doing it to see her revenge on Crowley. I love that she addresses Sam as Samuel. It really fits. It suits him in the position of decision-maker and her in the position of prisoner. Our Sammy has grown up over the last couple of seasons, and he has become quite the man. Yes, Samuel is good, and ‘quick’.

Eldon Styne’s father (Monroe) calls him arrogant and foolish, and his arrogance shows very clearly while Dean and Sam have him tied up. His stance is collected, calm, and he never seems fearful, even though he recognizes the mark and must know the implications of it on Dean’s strength. Eldon is a prisoner who arrogantly stands around with his hand in his pocket, bragging about his family, spilling the family secrets, possibly certain that he (or his family) would be killing the Boys soon. Perhaps that IS foolish, as he has no idea what Dean is capable of, but I was in no way prepared for his willingness to rip off his own arm in order to be able to escape… The scene with Eldon using his torn and bloody arm to bang on the motel door signifies his determination and stubborn strength, and was a chilling moment. Still, I had no foreboding of what was to happen…

Let’s not put anything past Dean. He is ‘getting worse’ but definitely not stupid. He suspects that Sam is hiding something from him, but in true older brother-style, he tries to look for reasons for Sam’s uncharacteristic behaviour: a women he hasn’t mentioned, snuffing vamp’s nests…Dean opts for acceptable reasons for Sam’s behaviour, although we all suspect that he suspects that Sam is not going to give in to the curse of the mark so easily… He tests Sam on occasion: “unless you have bigger fish to fry” and when he refers to the ‘damn book’ having burned – bait that Sam doesn’t take, dodging the questions.

Charlie is awesome, as usual. She calls things as she sees it, being straight to the point and anti lying-to-Dean. This girl has been my favorite female nerd of all time, and her calling the bunker ‘The Death Star’ and herself the ‘Queen of Moons’ just have me love her all the more. She agrees that it ‘reeks’ to be going behind Dean’s back and be messing with the Book of the Damned. At least it seems that she’s lost her fascination with witches… Don’t you just love how Charlie seems to be dressing like The Boys with every passing episode? The check shirt and t-shirts underneath appeals to the hunter in both Charlie and me, or am I just fantasizing here?

Sam literally begs Charlie and Castiel to help him, and Rowena’s observation about keeping it from Dean almost sinks the boat, but Sam uses his lawyer skills to convince them to cooperate. His plea, and the fact that they are doing it ‘for Dean’ sways the decision, with Rowena abstaining as she ‘barely knows the man’, hehe…

Crowley still hasn’t got his mojo back. Sure, he is cruel and rude and still tortures people, but I find it sad that he has to use an angel blade to get rid of his ‘messenger’ demon… He would’ve been back on form if he could rather have snapped his fingers and have his villain go up in smoke (as has been done before).  Perhaps he is holding on to the angel blade as he has a true enemy in Castiel, or perhaps just because it is a link to Dean and the good memories they made together… His ‘chat’ to Collette, the hamster, is pitiful, especially when he complains about not having a bed, or the need for sleep, and desperately trying to get dirt on his mother. Crowley just does not seem intimidating anymore, tired, rather.

Rowena warns Charlie that her foolish loyalty to the Winchester boys will bring her calamity. She says that Dean and Sam are the family Charlie never had. Charlie confirms: they are like her brothers. When Rowena describes Charlie, she seems to be describing herself, and it seems she has learnt herself that steadfast loyalty can be one’s undoing. Another foreboding: how did I not see what was coming? A little later, Charlie confirms this to Cas: “something bad is going to happen here.” Yeah, I’m a half-wit!

There are a lot of hints at unity between the boys: they wear matching shirts, Sam buys, Dean flies. It’s nice to see Sam eating with Dean for a change. Yes, they dine together often, and Dean knows how to make messy eating look attractive. In the car, Sam is actually, visibly, eating for a change. I think it’s a subtle hint at about how much he is with Dean, and this is confirmed when Dean is honest about the effect the mark is having on him: dark thoughts, creepy visions, violent urges. Perhaps it’s the directors’ way of cementing the concept of brotherly unity in our subconscious; openly, we are aware of the deception that is going on.

I have been mesmerized by the roles honesty and truth play in the series. Crowley doesn’t lie to Dean, Dean doesn’t lie to the King of Hell, but Sam and Dean who love each other, lie to each other, often. Currently, Dean is being honest with Sam (remember where his dishonesty got him in season nine?), and this time it is Sam who is lying. When Dean answers Sam’s phone, he is honest to Castiel, admitting that it is Dean who has answered the call. Castiel has always been terrible at lying, poor angel, and Dean now knows for sure that Sam is hiding something: he starts playing the lying game himself by pretending not to have answered Sam’s phone and asking Sam trick questions – of which the answers confirm his suspicions that something’s going on behind his back.  Castiel’s next call gives the game away to Dean, and when Eldon confirms that the Book is eternal and can’t be destroyed, it’s game over.

Happy to see that the strong Stynes are no match for our Dean and The Mark. His bloodlust is evident though – Dean kills very quickly without thinking about it too much nowadays. The warning shot is very out of character for Dean, perhaps it is his attempt at not giving in to The Mark, hanging on to the vestiges of killing only when necessary. He ends up killing the Styne he warned less than ten seconds later anyway – with a knife. No sympathy for the Styne from me, though.

Charlie feels she is betraying Dean by going behind his back. But she does it “for Dean”. She risks her life to be able to work in peace and quiet.  “Dean is my buddy, I cannot screw this up. Sam and Dean are like my brothers.” Helping her through the trauma with her mom, setting her off on an adventure to Oz, accepting her as the enigma she is - these are the reasons why she cannot give up her task of helping Dean, no matter the personal cost, even though Dean instructs her to. She can’t give up on helping him, as she loves him. Like “we all love” him. There: Sam finally said it.  I am horrified, saddened, robbed by the death of Charlie. I didn’t see it coming.

But then, aren’t we all willing to die for our Boys?