I should say I loved the acting in “Black.” All the actors delivered, as usual. Jensen took us on a real ride as Demon Dean started out kind of fun as he wiggled while warbling karaoke and flirted with a cute waitress. Dean as a demon seemed like a carefree Dean, reveling in honky tonk bars, singing, sexing, . . . he reminded me a bit of season 8 Sam, determined to leave hunting behind because he didn’t need to take responsibility for the big picture any more.
But Carver mapped out a circular route for DDean, and by the end of the episode, the karaoke wasn’t fun anymore, the girl could see he was broken, and his buddy Crowley was nagging him to look at the big picture. And we see the extent Dean is really trying to be free of any care, as he refuses to negotiate over Sam with Cole.
“Reichenbach” picks up all those threads. DDean is still trying to fill his life with alcohol and strippers, and unlike the Dean we know, he’s getting less fussy about how he gets consent. He’s fighting a growing urge for violence, which Crowley is only too pleased to point out.
Yet Crowley also knows DDean is still struggling against going full on demon. He offers his newly minted buddy a way to satisfy his urge to kill without smiting any civilians, knowing Dean still cares enough not to want to kill indiscriminately. I suspect Crowley thinks it will be a slippery slope and once Dean starts killing, he’ll lose his hold on that piece of his soul.
What Crowley hasn’t thought through as well is his assumption DDean will take orders from him. DDean is no ordinary demon. He has the Mark of Cain and the knife, which made Cain powerful enough to create the Knights of Hell and immortal to boot. DDean may be on an extended tour of stripper clubs, but he’s the most powerful demon out there at the moment.
I think we’re supposed to see Crowley really believing, because he wants to believe, that he has the kind of relationship with DDean that Sam had. He wants them to be a team. In fact, he tells Dean that if he kills, he will be killing for them. Crowley’s brush with humanity is still affecting him. He still wants to be loved.
But DDean’s twisted soul is not looking for love. He’s walked away from his greatest bond because he feels he’s no longer worth saving. He’s wallowing in all his superficial pleasures because that’s all he has left. Crowley doesn’t often get the wrong end of the stick, but he does with DDean. He may be able to be “jerk” to Dean’s “bitch,” but they’re just words to this version of Dean. The underlying emotion is not there.
Dean is still struggling with some emotions, though. Crowley tells him he has to make a choice: demon or human. Writer Andrew Dabb shows us that struggle as DDean first is crude and violent toward a stripper, but then doesn’t want to kill a woman who cheated on her cheating husband. Both sides of his nature are duking it out and I think it’s a hopeful sign he gives in to his humanity more than his demonhood.
Sam is all about hopeful signs for Dean, but of course everything is a lot murkier than he and I hope. Sam in season 10 is very different from Sam of season 8 and 9. He’s not looking to accept DDean’s advice to let him go. He’s not looking to pick up the normal life he left behind with Amelia. And most of all, he’s not prepared to accept DDean is no longer his brother.
It’s a nice callback to season 9, when Sam told Dean they were only partners, because their bond as brothers had only hurt them and others. I think Sam was hurting when he said that to his brother, but I also think as the younger brother, he’s always counted on Dean being there, no matter what Sam says. A Dean who would actually not care about him is unthinkable. And that’s exactly what Sam has to take on with DDean.
Jared is doing an incredible job showing Sam’s hurt and determination. Sam’s always been able to concentrate on the goal, and he’s not giving up on his brother, no matter what DDean says. I think we’ll get some worrying fall out from that determination, because we’ve seen before that obsessed Sam can get tunnel vision. But we’ll also get to see Sam hold on to his belief in his brother, helping Dean find his humanity, just as he did in season 5. I’m looking forward to seeing how the brothers process the last two years, as each made poor decisions for the right motivations. How will they decide where the line is?
I’m completely caught up in Sam and Dean’s story, but less so with Cole and Cas. I like Cas’s story so far and am enjoying Hannah. But especially in the premiere, trying to tell three stories at the same time meant nothing much happened in any of them, and the angel story line drags the most. I was glad to see the writers knitted Sam and Cole into Dean’s narrative quickly, so now they are only balancing two stories. I expect Cas’s story will now pick up speed as he grapples with impending death.
Cole I’m struggling with because there are so many logic issues with him. He’s obviously much older than he should be, but if he was the age his back story suggests, he couldn’t have a son of the age he has. It’s this kind of sloppy writing that I find aggravating. It’s not enough to dim my enjoyment of the episode, but it does keep me from enjoying the character as much as I’d like. I wish the writers could hit all the notes, like they did with Gordon and Hendrickson. I expect we’ll see more of Cole now that he knows Dean is a demon, so I’ll build a bridge and get over the casting problem.
Thanks to homeofthenutty.com for the photos.