Yep, I’m still trying to process this one.  Don’t take that as a negative though.  This is a good thing.  I haven’t been this stunned in a while.  Not even last season’s finale left me as shaken as “The Executioner’s Song”.  It was an emotional script, but they put so much more into this episode than that.  It was a return of all the elements I loved in the older episodes, the whole package.  The acting, writing, direction, cinematography, editing, set decoration, and even the score all came together to tell one powerhouse of a story.  And it’s about freaking time we got something like this.  

The pacing was intense, the tone somber and suspenseful, and the perfect mood was set for the gravity of the story being told.  There were no gimmicky lines or feeble shoutouts to get fans stirred up.  Just good old fashioned story building and it felt like every second mattered.  Well, every second with that didn’t involve Crowley and Rowena that is (more coming on that).  I felt a big pit in my stomach for not only Dean the whole time but Sam as well.  Every glance at Sam and Dean told the story that something wasn’t right.  It scared me just as much as Dean’s fear during his showdown with Cain. 

There are multiple moments where I just yelped out loud.  The first was Dean staring into that security monitor at the prison, knowing from a mere silhouette of a man and the pain in his arm that Cain was the culprit.  Sam noticed.  The second was Dean in his room, packing for the inevitable confrontation with Cain.  It reminded me in many ways of Sam facing the daunting task in “Swan Song” of taking on Lucifer.  Dean would have to confront Cain, and the end result wouldn’t be pretty.  Sam spelled out the stakes for us.  “Dean, wielding the blade against Cain himself, win or lose, you may never come back from that fight.” Dean only broke our hearts with his answer.  “I know.”  Wibble.  The memories are still fresh of what that ordeal with Lucifer did to Sam.  He really hasn’t been the same since.  Dean this time is staring down that same fate and it scares me. 

ES 5

The third moment was Dean and Sam in that barn, watching the kid play basketball, waiting for Cain.  “I’m scared Sam,” ripped me to shreds, as did something I noticed last week.  Whatever resolve he had made to live with the Mark ended as fast as it began.  “I didn’t realize that time would come so soon, like right now.”  Yes, if the promos hadn’t given that away, we would have been realizing that with you too Dean.  

Everything after that was more than a yelp.  It was a heart crushing blow, but it was also classic “Supernatural” aka tragically poetic.  I just about lost it when Dean took the blade from Crowley, trying to convince Sam he was good, while Sam watched Dean with total fear and worry.  Sam didn’t stop him though, even though every expression on his face showed he wanted to, because he knew this had to be done and it was Dean’s fight alone.  It’s the role reversal to Dean standing by Sam’s side in “Swan Song”.  I do think Mr. Berens (who turned in a near masterpiece here) had that episode in mind when constructing this story.  Sam, Castiel and Crowley faithfully played their roles to trap Cain, and the rest was up to Dean.  

The grand event though was clearly Dean’s confrontation with Cain in that barn.  What a stunner.  First, how perfect was that setting?  Dean standing in that gorgeous barn setting, the ghostly lit ceiling in the background, the straw covering the floor, the wide open dimly lit space for these two men to engage in a final confrontation behind closed doors.  It’s epic.  Second, Tim Omundson as Cain was stunning this go around.  In “First Born” he was just awesome, here he was master class.  It was inevitable that he was going to come back to Dean and force his hand, but it had to be something extremely horrific.  It had to be so bad that Dean would have no other choice but to go down that road. Now the burden of the Mark of Cain takes on a whole new meaning.  

03

This scene was Jensen’s turn to take his acting to a master class of his own and I got chills seeing just how great he was with Tim Omundson.  He played it as if Dean wouldn’t be coming back from that fight and it hurt. Every bit of Dean’s anxiety pored into that confrontation with Cain, and Cain tragically anticipated every move.  He knew Dean perhaps better than Dean knew himself, and no matter what the outcome, Dean wasn’t coming out of it unscathed.   

Every inch of this scene was brilliantly constructed, both verbally and visually, the back and forth like a ballet (yeah, that sounds hokey, but it’s true).  I’ve read various theories on why Cain returned, and I don’t think his mission was to defeat Dean.  I think it was to push the right buttons to get him to kill him.  Cain’s lust to kill was too great and his fight had gone one long enough.   He provoked Dean in every possible way, including taking the First Blade away as a challenge to fight for it.  

Dean anguished over the idea of killing Cain no matter what was said to him, mostly out of resistance to losing himself in this process.  No matter what he tried though, Cain forced his hand.  He even pulled the one card that was sure to get Dean, mentioning that Sam as the end recipient of his very dark fate.  It’s the worst case scenario that’s popped up time and time again in this series and it’s Dean’s worst nightmare.  Dean had to choose, kill Cain at accept a very dark fate or be killed and let the genocide continue.  Obviously he wasn’t going to choose the latter, despite the personal cost.  It was the no win scenario.  Cain even called Dean out on his courage and reckless bravado, knowing exactly what Dean would choose.  

Even after Dean cut off Cain’s hand though and the vulnerable man was kneeling, passively accepting his fate (gorgeous visual), Dean gave him another chance.  “Tell me that I don’t have to do this, tell me that you’ll stop.  Tell me that you can stop.”  Cain had already made up his mind.  “I will never stop.”  Dean fought every urge, knew every consequence, and he killed Cain anyway.  The thunder as he did so was the most ominous of signs.  The wrath has begun.  Dean Winchester as we know him is dead.

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The question is, did everything that Cain say to Dean an attempt to provoke, or does Cain really mean that Dean’s story was playing out in reverse?  How much truth exists in that prophecy?  I feel like there’s something missing there that hasn’t been revealed yet.  Dean had no choice.  Judging by the bodies Cain’s been killing for a while, so perhaps this is exactly what he’s been doing since he went off on all those demons last season.  It was long enough for him to grow that gorgeous head of silver streaked hair (Yes, Sam Winchester, you’ve been out coiffed).  Dean has always resisted fate, insisting to be in control of his own destiny, but will the curse of the MOC prove to be too much?  He’s strong, but how strong?  Ah, that’s why this is the story of the Winchester brothers.  With Sam in his corner, there’s no telling how this will turn out.

No one has been leading the “Sam has no plot line” parade more than I, but that wasn’t the case here at all, and I’m not talking about Sam not playing the damsel in distress this week.  Sam played a very vital role here, every bit as vital as Dean did the afore mentioned “Swan Song.”  I think back all the way to the pilot when Dean confessed that he can’t find Dad alone.  Or when Dean declared in “Swan Song” to Bobby and Castiel that he wasn’t letting his brother die alone.  Neither can fight these weighty battles alone.  That’s the one constant of “Supernatural,” the thing that takes us to our happy place, no matter what the ordeal, one brother is there for the other.  Together they stand, divided they fall.  

The part that got me the most was when it was all over and a both physically and emotionally exhausted Dean came down those stairs.  He remained strong in front of Crowley, handing the blade over to Castiel so Cas could make good on that promise in “The Things We Left Behind.”  Once Crowley was gone, Dean collapsed in Sam’s arms.  There it is, the icing on the cake, the symbolic moment that has so defined this series - one brother holding up the other.  We’ve seen this so much in this series, yet such sentiment has been so rare of late.  It got me as emotional all these years later as it did back in “All Hell Breaks Loose.”  Or in “Sacrifice.”  Bravo, bravo show.  You haven’t forgotten.  

normal SPN1014HD2436

Sam knew exactly what the consequences were before Dean entered that barn with Cain.  All that research had to reveal something about the wrath of killing Cain.  He didn’t believe Dean’s “I’m good.”  The eyes said it all.  He didn’t stop Dean either.  He knew there wasn’t any other choice.  The parallels to “Swan Song” are amazing.  Sam remained the faithful and supportive brother all the way through, even though he knew something was wrong.  

“If you can do that without losing yourself, that’s cause for hope, even without a cure.”  I adore Sam the optimist in front of Dean, but Sam is also pragmatic.  After an exhausted Dean went off to bed and the facade came down, the real truth emerged.  Sam’s expression told the harsh reality seconds before his answer to Castiel was uttered.  I didn’t need to hear “Dean is in trouble.”  Sam had already shaken me hard with his devastated look.  Both Jared and Jensen nailed every cue this week with perfection.  

Other Thoughts

All through the story, the angles and shots used were classic “Supernatural” and no wonder given it came from director since season one Phil Sgriccia.  His biggest gift to this show is knowing how to set tone, and the odd angles told us something wasn’t right and things are about to change.  He also captured shots in just the right way to maximize the emotional impact.  Couple those long lingering shots from his brilliant actors with a touching score and it’s another exceptional outing from the production team.  

There is one thing though that did prevent this from being a perfect script, but I don’t hold Robert Berens responsible.  So far he’s the best writer to do something with this whole Crowley and Rowena mess, making their story mildly entertaining this week, if not far less annoying than normal.  Still, the two killed some of the momentum of the drama with their antics.  Sure, this was probably the catalyst for making Crowley a feared foe again, since I don’t think that Crowley will take Dean double crossing him this time lying down, but having Rowena by his side to help with the deed isn’t exactly thrilling me with the future prospects of this story line.  I honestly didn’t need to hear about Crowley, aka Fergus, having his treats held back as a child since he was a little on the pudgy side.  I definitely didn’t need to hear Rowena’s pride about her son being the King of Hell, even if it did accomplish the goal of giving Crowley a kick in the pants.  Luckily the rest of the drama was so powerful, I was able to gloss all this over.  It also helps to have a fast forward button.  

06

Another criticism, I adore Castiel’s faithful assistance to Sam and Dean in this matter, and it was more than thrilling to see the entire cast together for the first time this season, but if there’s any character who really is suffering from lack of plot, it’s Castiel.  I LOVED the scene between Castiel and Cain in the eerie field of bodies in the woods.  It was a reminder of Castiel in the woods during “Point of No Return.”  The two together were amazing and Cain clearly spared Castiel because he’s leaving him for Dean.  But Omundson owned that scene.  Cain was fearful, commanding, overpowering, and poor Castiel was somewhat neutered in the whole experience even if he stood defiant.  Even later his angel mojo couldn’t stand up to Cain.  I still long to see Castiel the warrior, but at least he was in this episode.  

ES 4

There were so many great lines and most came from Cain.  My favorite strangely was, “If the mark wants blood I’ll give it mine.”  Chilling!

Overall grade, an A.  Crowley and Rowena knocked this down from an A+.  This is the powerhouse the midseason finale should have been and for me this is so far the best of the season.  I vote for Robert Berens writing the cliffhanger scripts from now on.  

Comments  

Barbara Maake
# Barbara Maake 2015-02-21 14:39
Alice, I agree with 99% of your review. I loved almost everything about the episode except for the Crowley/Rowena parts. And as a frustrated Sam fan, I agree that Sam was given more to do here than look concerned and that he played an important role in the episode. However, I really wish the script didn't have him standing there mutely after Dean confessed his fear. In my mind, Sam would have said or done SOMETHING after seeing Dean so vulnerable and scared. It just seemed OOC that he would say nothing. That last line of Sam's, however, was so ominous and heart-breaking that it gave me chills. I think it strongly suggests that going forward Dean will be in terrible trouble and we will finally see Sam take drastic measures to help him. I cannot wait to see what happens and I pray that the other writers don't squander Beren's brilliant set-up for the remaining episodes.
ParadiseHeat
# ParadiseHeat 2015-02-21 16:17
I really thought for the first time this season that Jared hadnt wasted his time showing up to film scenes of a show/writers that no longer cared for him. I feel like this season they're writing Sam for Dean fans, the ones that have hated Sam and have always wanted to see Sam become the quiet, supportive, submissive little brother who knows when to shut up and disappear and to do as he's told. I dont want or like that Sam. I like the strong focused Sam who isnt afraid to speak his mind, do what needs to be done and doesnt put up with Dean's crap. Sam needed to be the supportive, quiet brother in this episode but going forward it seems like thats no longer what he can be. If the writers have any sense and this season is to actually start to show it is about to brothers and not just Dean and all his friends then the focus should now shift from whats wrong with Dean to What is Sam going to do now. We should be getting a more Sam focused last 9 episodes of the season because we know whats wrong with Dean, how he feels, what the stakes are, now we need to build the how is SAM going to fix it? How does he feel? How far is he willing to go? I hope that Sam fans havent been duped in to sticking around on a false promise of a story arc that never materializes and I hope that Carver and co can deliver a storyline that isnt just about Dean but is about Sam too.

Kudos to Jared (and Misha) for that last scene, the best of the episode. It isnt often that Sam shows emotions so seeing it was a true sign of how bad things have gotten in Sam's eyes/heart.

The idea of Dean killing Sam at the end of the season driven by the MOC does surprise me, this show has always hinted at Dean having to kill Sam at some point. It wont happen unless its the end of the series and I'm not worried for Sam because I know he will do what he has to to make sure it either doesnt happen or he will take his fate and die a hero, he'll get to go to heaven to be with loved ones. But it wont happen, Sam is going to save everyone like he always does, he's the guy that saved the world after all. Just hope he doesnt sacrifice too much of himself in the process.
sylvia37
# sylvia37 2015-02-21 17:26
Excellent comments. You expressed everything I've been thinking in such better terms than I could ever state it.
Barbara Maake
# Barbara Maake 2015-02-21 18:41
I agree with every word you said! Especially "he's the guy that saved the world after all." I'm just not always sure that the writers remember that.
Sharon
# Sharon 2015-02-22 02:27
They do not remember alot of things when it comes to Sam . I have gathered this episode went down very well and Sam was all that he was meant to be which is what people wanted , considering apparently he was the one 'in the wrong' from last season and was not ''supportive'' and ''concerned '' enough of Dean and his actions. And should of understood why Dean did what he did.

Berens seems a decent writer and less of a Dean wannabe which others come across as which is a plus
E
# E 2015-02-21 19:49
Agreed, agreed! Very well said! Even if the episodes do shift slightly in Sam's favor for the remainder of the season he's still have been given the shaft story wise, POV wise and sympathy wise under the Carver administration. And that ridiculous "bigger monster" idiocy had better not rear its ugly head again. How come Dean can do all manner of shady, immoral and hurtful things in the name of "love" and is called a hero, but when Sam does the exact. same. thing. he's "the bigger monster?" It's almost like they wanted us to think negatively about what Sam might do before he even did anything but putting his potential actions into a negative light. That's a far cry from an episode like Bad Boys which was specifically designed to make Dean look extra good so that we wouldn't mind too much what he had done to Sam. Ugh. Having said that though, does anyone thing that we'll actually get anything truly Sam centric in the upcoming weeks? I'm not going to hold my breath. Probably most of what Sam does and/or goes through will be off camera and then merely commented on by others.
ParadiseHeat
# ParadiseHeat 2015-02-26 15:42
Off course I dont expect much on the Sam storyline front this season or next. I just think that it would be fair to Sam fans to now shift the focus from just Dean to the 'hey Sam's a main character too'. The season would be much better balanced if they now stepped back from Dean Dean Dean all the time to Sam doing what he has to do in order to get rid of the MOC and ultimately set up next seasons storyline. Because if its just more of Dean angsting, sometimes MOC-ing out and then just living with the MOC for the next 2 season I can see the ratings dropping more. I do expect anything Sam does to be mainly off screen, happen with virtually no insight in to Sam/POV from Sam, only be the focus of an episode or two and set up another Dean is right Sam is wrong scenario. I expect lots of judgment/self righteousness from Dean, lots of focus on how Dean feels about whatever Sam does and a lot of Dean angst. IMO Carver and the writers owe Sam fans a decent story arc and some real focus after two years of being shafted. Theres been what 2 actual Sam centric episodes in the past season and 14 episodes?

Being a good brother apparently involved being a passive by stander with few lines. Maybe thats why I never rated Dean as a good brother before. He was never this supportive, compassionate, never listened, been silently strong or this focused on Sam in his big brother role. Notice how Sam hasnt taken what happening to Dean and made it all about himself? I think Dean may need to pay attention to what Sam's been doing for him this season and learn by example. Sam the 'big brother' is kinda putting Dean to shame this season.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2015-02-22 01:33
Quote:
I feel like this season they're writing Sam for Dean fans, the ones that have hated Sam and have always wanted to see Sam become the quiet, supportive, submissive little brother who knows when to shut up and disappear and to do as he's told. I dont want or like that Sam.
I agree.Quote:
but going forward it seems like thats no longer what he can be.
I hope so.Quote:
now we need to build the how is SAM going to fix it?
agree.Quote:
I hope that Sam fans havent been duped in to sticking around on a false promise of a story arc that never materializes and I hope that Carver and co can deliver a storyline that isnt just about Dean but is about Sam too.
I have stopped watching and am following the show through review.I do not like getting duped .
nicknicknicknick
# nicknicknicknick 2015-02-22 22:00
Quote:
I really thought for the first time this season that Jared hadnt wasted his time showing up to film scenes of a show/writers that no longer cared for him
Isn't that tremendously disrespectful to Jared? If he's still more than happy to be part of the show, who are you to say whether or not he's wasting his time showing up to do his job?
Ann
# Ann 2015-02-21 14:58
Great review Alice. I had been losing some interest in the show but this episode brought me right back in. Robert Berens has been such a great addition to the writing staff but, like you mentioned, it wasn't just the writing that shined, it was the all around production. Although, at this time, I'm not overly excited about the Crowley/Rowena part of the story, I do see it having some great potential. If Dean does have to kill Crowley, I hope it isn't any time soon because Mark Sheppard is so entertaining to watch and the dynamics of Crowley's relationship with both brothers is fascinating. I know people, including myself, have been a bit hard on Jeremy Carver, but I appreciate the direction the show is going in and look forward to seeing what happens next.
njspnfan
# njspnfan 2015-02-21 15:10
Great episode and great review, Alice. This is the first episode since Sacrifice that I've gladly rewatched a couple of times. So nice to see what Jared and Jensen can do when given top notch material to work with. IMO this is the best work Jensen has done on the show to date; a truly stellar performance. Now, we just need to convince Robert Berens to forego sleep and a social life so he could write more episodes each season.

It looks like we'll be getting earlier season Crowley back; he's been sorely missed since before Sacrifice. And Rowena didn't even annoy me that much this episode. I do wish they'd give Sam and Castiel more to do, but suspect that will happen as they look for a cure the rest of this season.

If I have one concern, it's how they'll be able to stretch out the MoC storyline in to Season 11. Right now, it doesn't see to be substantive enough. We can only have Dean grabbing his arm or hulking out so often. But... I do think Crowley has had other plans that involve both the Winchesters since Dean took on the MoC, and we'll start seeing that play out over the rest of the season.
E
# E 2015-02-21 20:46
Quote:
This is the first episode since Sacrifice that I've gladly rewatched a couple of times.
I said the same thing…. that was 37 episodes ago… just sayin'
LEAH
# LEAH 2015-02-21 17:07
HA. "Yes, Sam Winchester, you’ve been out coiffed". Loved that. Excellent episode and even for those of us who have been enjoying the season (mostly) it was such a treat to have such a lovely episode that hit all the right notes. My judgement of the quality of an episode is measured in the "re-watchabilit y factor" I often like or enjoy episodes but haven't had much interest in re-watching for a long time. There were so many things to love, you mentioned them all. My favorites were Dean dropping the facade and admitting he was scared. Sam doing his damnest to support Dean even as he is worried sick about him. The end scene was stunning. Dean showing the surrender to his fate and fear for what is in store in his eyes and Sam baring his crushing realization about Dean to Cas. :( Those actors can deliver when the material is great and even when it isn't but this episode was the former and boy did they come through! The lighting, scenery, camera shots were all so incredible. Phil S was outstanding. Berens is awesome. Fine work by all concerned.

About Rowena and Crowley, I do have a feeling that what is going on there will have an impact and will tie into the MoC story in a more direct way soon. I think maybe Crowley has some cards up his sleeve that will be revealed soon. Or I dearly hope so because defanged Crowley and Mommie Dearest are getting on my nerves!!
E
# E 2015-02-21 20:38
Quote:
Yes, Sam Winchester, you’ve been out coiffed"
Never! Blasphemer! :P
Leah
# Leah 2015-02-21 21:18
Heh heh, I didn't say I AGREED but it was an amusing turn of a phrase! Cain's wild ass mane was pretty awesome though, I have to say!;)
Alice
# Alice 2015-02-21 22:23
Perhaps we'll have to let to public decide and do a "hair off." We've got some time to kill during this hiatus.
sylvia37
# sylvia37 2015-02-21 22:52
Jeez Alice, Sam's barely got anything going for him this season besides "Most supportive brother" can't he keep Best Hair? ;)
LEAH
# LEAH 2015-02-21 23:36
I'm up for it!:)
E
# E 2015-02-21 20:37
Alice, great job. You've pretty much echoed my sentiments exactly. I know we have all been noticing (commenting on, complaining etc…) about the total lack of Sam story, in the past year especially. But you've pointed out something that I believe to be true that no one much notices. It's not that we Sam fans want or need or even expect Sam to have all the myth arc all the time or be the center of every plot development exclusively, we just want him to be involved in a logical and fair way with anything that is going on on the show and for him to stop being used as a plot point so that Dean has something to react to. So, Dean has the MoC and a meaty myth arc story line. That's great! I just want Sam to be involved in that storyline in a way that makes sense for SAM as a character without ignoring him, having in act OOC for the sake of the plot or having him look inept. Dean has always been a large part of whatever's been going on with Sam over the years.. so why can't they do the same for Sam now that the myth arc has shifted over to Dean? Sam has become all but invisible and pretty nearly ineffectual in the past year and a half. He's either silently concerned, a damsel in distress in need of saving, unconscious or openly hostile to Dean. That's what made this episode so special for me. Yes, Sam is still concerned, but he was openly so, commenting on things, being actively supportive and worried as hell. So, Berens didn't really alter what's been going on with Sam this whole season, but still managed to make his contribution to the episode crucial, memorable, important. It was so nice to see. And I said this on another thread; all the acting was stellar, the fight scene between Dean and Cain was one of the best, most gritty and painful looking we've seen in a long time, but that one line of Sam's at the end of the epode "Dean's in trouble" nearly undid me… it practically stole the whole episode for me it was that powerful. Can we just fire the vast majority of the writers and basically just keep Berens, Carver, Thompson and Jenny Klein (I know she's newish and a bit rough around the edges, but I think she has potential) and maybe even Andrew Dabb…(he's inconsistent but Reichenback was excellent) then maybe this season will add up to something, go somewhere. I am dreading what the remainder of the writers will do with the momentum that this one episode generated.

And you are spot on about Crowley and Rowena. I can't believe that they hired Mark Sheppard and are doing THIS with him. He's so good… why are they emasculating his character? Turning him into a bad soap opera whiner who's doing nothing? What a waste of such a good actor. And I am sorry, but Rowena is nearly intolerable to me. I can't even begin to take her character seriously. Maybe it's the writing.. or the acting.. or both, but she grates on my very last nerve. I expect her pull out a broom and fly away like those witches in the Halloween movie Hocus Pocus. It's like she's playing everything for laughs but isn't supposed to be funny. There's no menace there and I have a hard time finding a 300 year old witch more threatening than say The King of Hell, Cain, Death, Lucifer and pretty much every other demon out there. Hell, I find DEAN more threatening and potentially dangerous than Rowena. Anyway… awesome review as usual. :)
BookLady
# BookLady 2015-02-21 20:46
Alice, thanks for your review! I've been waiting for it. I figured your reaction would be similar to mine and it was. Thank Chuck for this episode! It shows the quality of Supernatural at its best. Kim Manners would have been proud, especially of how well Jensen and Jared found the nuances. They are actors who do so much with their faces and bodies, it's amazing. Great dialogue only adds to the overall quality of their acting. It's a privilege to see it.

Just some thoughts on Cain, Dean and the MoC -

It's difficult to know if Cain started out with murderous tendencies and if he gave into them because he was tricked or not, but either way, we can all agree that at some point he hated what he had turned into and tried to put it behind him. Then he relapsed and did his killing to satisfy the Mark while ridding the world of his tainted bloodline. I think he would have gone on doing so and eluded the Winchesters and Castiel for as long as he wanted to, but once he found out that Dean was faltering under the effects of the MoC, he moved up his timeline. He saw that if the only person who could kill him was failing then he had to create the opportunity to be killed sooner than later. I believe that Cain always intended for Dean to kill him and relieve of his endless suffering, but during the battle his blood lust was up and he couldn't help but give into throwing Dean around and taunting him. Perhaps he was warning him as well because I do believe that Cain felt compassion for Dean. He wasn't simply an unthinking, evil, murderous bastard. He was centuries old and he seen much, lost loved ones, tried to escape his fate, and in the end he was selfish. He wanted to die no matter what it cost to the other person who was doing the killing. Rather like the suicides who throw themselves in front of train and trucks and don't think about what they are doing to the driver or their pain is so great that they choose not to. Cain knew the burden he was leaving with Dean and Dean knows it, too. Now Dean is alone in both bearing and understanding that burden. Perhaps the only other person who could in any way understand Dean and what he is dealing with is Sam who was possessed by Lucifer. And, Sam knows the no-win choices that Dean now has to make. Oh, these heroic Winchester brothers and the burdens they must bear! But, they do have each other. And, if they love and trust and stand by each other, there is no ancient evil they cannot defeat. But, they are going to be just about killing us fans in the process! What fun!!
AlyCat22
# AlyCat22 2015-02-21 21:46
I don't think Cains intent was to have Dean kill him. Initially when he saved Dean and Crowley from the horde of demons he had to wipe out, yes. After that Cain said Abaddons demons came gunning for him so he reacquired the taste for it once more. He knew he had to satisfy the MOCs lust so he decided he would give it "his" blood - his line. He had no intentions of stopping. He also was not in possession of the FBlade so when Cas tracked him down he used him as a means to an end. Cas blurted that Dean was losing the fight even though the FB was hidden. Cain said himself that he knew if he let Cas go that he would report back to Dean and that Dean would bring the blade. That's all Cain wanted. He was going to kill Dean to spare him the agonies to come. When Dean defeated him that's when Cain gave in. Maybe getting his arm sliced off brought him back to his senses? Maybe Deans reckless bravery touched something inside him? Maybe he isn't really dead? Who knows. One thing for sure Dean can't ever count that as a win. Not for all he had to give up for it.

I keep reading people saying Dean gave Cas the FB so that when the time comes he can use it against him. Cas cannot use the FBlade on Dean. Unless you are the Bearer of the MOC the FBlade is just a bone. Unless they rewrite/ignore canon, it ain't gonna happen that way. Could Cas kill Dean like Metatron? Yes, but then we are back to angst free, kareoke singing, KOH. I think he gave Cas the FB because obviously he couldn't give it to Sam (where's he gonna hide it? Plus if Deans hurting too bad he would be too tempted to give in) but mainly so that Crowley could no longer use it as leverage. The other thing I keep reading is why not destroy the FB but Cain said it couldn't be destroyed when they first met and thats why he threw it into the deepest ocean. The one thing I find odd but then it may just be how Cain talked - Cain never told Dean when he called, and he would, for Dean to come back and use the FB to kill him, he said 'use the First Blade ON ME' - Nitpicking? Grasping at straws you say? Mayyyyybe... Who knows with this show. Just an interesting observation in an observationally interesting way.

Me? I'm going to wait till Charlie returns from Rome to save everybody... kidding.
Alice
# Alice 2015-02-21 22:34
Hi Alycat22! I didn't say that Castiel would use the First Blade on Dean, it's just that Dean likely gave Castiel the blade based on the conversation they had during that episode. He trusts Castiel to stop him even though I'm not sure why. It's the only thing that makes sense to me. I'm a "connect the dots" person myself.

I'm still sticking by my story that Cain's intent was for Dean to kill him. Sure it's always possible Dean wouldn't embrace his destiny and Cain would have killed him, but I think Cain knew he wouldn't do that. Cain had zero intention of stopping. He even said so. However, he knew Dean was the only one that could stop him and that he couldn't control his need to kill anymore. Cain accepted his fate pretty easily when Dean stood over him. I think he was tired of fighting anymore and his time was done. I believe that's exactly why Cain engaged Dean in the first place. He knew Dean had what it took to stop him. I'm still wondering why he embraced Dean so easily though in both this episode and "First Born." I still say Crowley has something to do with all this.
AlyCat22
# AlyCat22 2015-02-22 01:39
Yes, I see your view point too. Guess it could be read either way. I wonder if Dean will ever give his interpretation? I think Dean trusts Cas to stop him because that is the last hope he has. I don't see how he is managing to put one foot in front of the other right now. He was so wrecked and devastated after the fight with Cain and his new found knowledge. Do you think he is going to let Sam and Cas in on Cains prophecy? Wow. Show said that it was going to be a very emotional episode for Dean and this time they lived up to the hype. Ouch.

You have to wonder since Crowley was the one to initiate this in the first place.

This hiatus is almost worse than the summer break - at least we knew Dean was a demon, here we have no idea and its driving me crazy trying to puzzle it out! But in a OMG it hurts so good way!!! :)
E
# E 2015-02-22 05:58
Quote:
I think Dean trusts Cas to stop him because that is the last hope he has.
I keep seeing this idea (you aren't the only one AlyCat, I am just responding here because it's convenient!)… this idea that Dean gave Cas the first blade so that Cas can take Dean out or stop him if/when the time comes. However, I don't think that it works that way or maybe I am missing something? What makes anyone, fans or Dean think Cas can stop him or kill him? He can't, at least not in the way they have currently set the blade/mark combo up (unless of course tptb decide to change those parameters, which they have done several times already). I mean, the blade/mark basically make Dean unkillable and immortal. Right now Dean is human and needs to stay that way if he as any hope of hanging on to even a shred of his self control. If he dies he becomes a demon once again and he will lose the last thing that is keeping him from being just as off the rails as Cain had been for millennia, his humanity. He can only be killed by someone holding the mark and with the blade: Cas couldn't kill Cain and he can't kill or even stop Dean. So I am not sure why people keep referring to this idea that Cas will stop Dean or kill him if it needs doing, because he can't; I thought that was the whole point of having the mark and the blade… Dean would be unstoppable by man or angel. So the way I look at it, Dean doesn't have a last hope in Cas, he only has himself and his self control and what's left of his humanity. Although after killing Cain, I am wondering how much of that is even left?
AlyCat22
# AlyCat22 2015-02-22 20:48
Exactly. Tho I didnt mean last hope as in Cas will kill him because like we both said, he can't. I think Dean knows Cas is his best shot at assuring the FBlade stays hidden and out of Deans hands. It was funny that the first thing out of Deans mouth when he sees Cas is wanting to know where the blade was. First off - why would Cas reveal its location? Secondly - why would Dean ask such an obvious question? Even I knew the answer before it left Cas lips!!! I also thought it was telling that Cas kinda side eyed Dean throughout the whole episode. Hmmmm....
AlyCat22
# AlyCat22 2015-02-22 02:01
Couple other things... I realized reading another persons post that besides this episode having the feel of a Supernatural ep of old, the other thing I appreciated was that it had been written for adult viewing, mature - none of this teenage pandering and that made me aware of how much I truly miss that aspect of our show. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come.

The other - Alice I pointed this out I'm just not sure if it was this site or not but what did you think of the audio in the final scene? Deans slurping of the coffee, the sound of Sam pouring the coffee and the noise of the caraffe being replaced, the tink tink on the coffee cup... it was all elevated. I was reading it as Deans hearing has increased, almost like a demon trait. When he was DemonDean tracking down Sammy in the bunker, it almost looked like he was using his sense of smell and hearing to zone in on him. How did you see that scene? I haven't read anyone discussing it... It was so obvious, there has to be a reason.
eilf
# eilf 2015-02-21 23:09
Hi Alice, it was nice to have an episode of SPN once again wasn't it? I decided to give it a miss until I got some idea of how it was going to be and I was glad honestly that I did, it was more entertaining that way, it is a bit worrying that only one writer on the show can juggle both characters AND canon though.

I liked the episode a lot, it was very Season 3 and rather a lot X-files. I think you are right, I didn't realize it at the time but Quote:
There were no gimmicky lines or feeble shoutouts to get fans stirred up. Just good old fashioned story building and it felt like every second mattered.
was really the thing that made the difference.

I felt that Sam was a living breathing person in this episode, why is that normally so difficult for the writers? Jared gives it his all but there is only so much he can do when his lines get cut on a regular basis so that the writers can mess around.

Jensen of course knocked it out of the park, and I am just so impressed with his stunt work. Cain was epic and imposing, and I think that he was literally torn between needing to remain a ripper and kill his entire bloodline and the desire to be stopped. Leah and I were trying to work out how Cain's bloodline could possibly be 10% of the population and it really can't, according to lore Cain's ENTIRE bloodline died in the Flood, Abel never had any kids and Seth is the father of everyone
Cain wanted the blade, he had the lust for killing again, and it was partly a scheme to get it back, but on another level he wanted to be defeated, and so he pushed Dean until Dean (maybe) gave in and embraced the power of it. Honestly I can't really see how Dean could possibly have resisted the lure of the blade. I think he was ok until the point where he gave it up to Castiel (from whom he could very likely get it back with a little manipulation) and then it almost instantly started to pull on him so that by the time he was in the kitchen he really started to want it back.
Again you can watch the scene in the kitchen 2 entirely different ways:
1) Dean is exhausted, and barely functional, Sam is trying to encourage him, and is impressed how well Dean is after he should have been affected by the blade. Cas comes in and looks Caslike. Dean asks a question about the location of the blade and when he is reassured it is somewhere safe he is relieved and decides to sleep. Cas asks how Dean is and Sam is so worried about Dean's being so quiet and resigned that he admits that Dean needs help.
or
2) Dean is feeling the removal of the blade. He sits drinking his tea but his eyes (which we get a close up of) are looking over his cup at Sam in a calculating sort of way. Sam is slightly turned away and can't see the look. He turns back and rather hesitatingly puts it to Dean that he did an amazing thing - like Sam is trying to find out what Dean will say, and feeling like he is not getting genuine Dean replies. Dean acts like normal Dean, but he is very calm like he is acting a role (a little like Soulless!Sam used do before he was found out), he agrees. Castiel comes in, the expression on his face is somewhat suspicious and considering of Dean as he looks at him, like he can't entirely work out why Dean is not more crazed. Dean's question is about the blade, Cas answers and Dean covers his interest by saying 'good' then he instantly leaves because that was what he was waiting to find out, to see if Cas would give anything away. Sam sits there, clearly very disturbed, but why? As he just said if Dean can kill Cain and not have any effects then, surely Dean is safe? What else could possibly be a bigger jolt to Dean's system than killing Cain .... Nothing! That's what, and there is NO WAY Dean can just be exhausted with no reaction, the episode where he slaughtered all those people he had to 'calm down' before he was ok again... Sam KNOWS that Dean is faking, and not faking being ok, he is faking being Dean.
What sells this point for me is the look Dean gives after 'casually' patting Cas on the shoulder, he looks like he is rolling his eyes that the other two are simple enough to fall for his routine.

I really think it can be seen either way. It is very like Cas in season 6, pretending to be with them while also plotting with Crowley.

I have come down on the side of Rowena, which is an unpopular opinion but I find her antics entertaining even if some of her dialogue is a bit cringeworthy (which is not the actress's fault). I am not sure why this is another case of in every conversation one character gets to talk and the other one just stands and listens, does SPN lack boom mikes or something? Crowley's silence was not really very in character. Anyway part of her role (possibly her entire role) is to make Crowley want to be the bad-guy again, but I sort of feel that what might be important for the show storyline-wise is this plot that she keeps trying to hatch about the other coven. Has anyone else paid any attention to what her plot is and why she has it in for this other witch? I know I haven't, but I think that it is being deliberately made seem like a scheme that doesn't really matter, like a spat between neighbours, that we can all ignore, and it is actually this other witch that is going to play a biggish role in the Winchester/Crow ley storyline (whatever that is).

I wish the show would give Cas Hannah back and they could try being human together for a bit.... that would be nice.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2015-02-21 23:29
Quote:
I wish the show would give Cas Hannah back and they could try being human together for a bit...
Misha kind of talked about that today. Maybe something in Cas' future.
eilf
# eilf 2015-02-21 23:43
Really? I hadn't heard anything about Misha's panel, what was he saying?
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2015-02-22 01:01
I don't know if this would be considered a spoiler so for those who don't want to be spoiled stop here. Misha said that Hannah returns but in an unexpected way. Most of Misha's panels were on video and the audio was awful. I haven't seen to many transcripts yet. The J's should be at the Sat night party right now though. So hopefully some vids and pics are coming.
Amruta Karve
# Amruta Karve 2015-02-22 07:07
Hi Alice! Nice review. It was great episode. I loved the fight scene between Dean and Cain so much. It was gorgeous as u put in ur review. But i have doubt that if Cain is trully dead. I mean yes its Supernatural, noone's really dead here.;) But seriously i have doubt.
Firstly, they didnt show Cain get stabbed and die in full view. They just showed Dean stabbing the Blade. And even if Cain did die what is the guarantee that he won't wake up as demon as Dean did due to the Mark?
Secondly, remember what Crowley said in those last moments of Season 9 finale? He said that Cain killed himself with the Blade. But he didn't die because the Mark doesn't let go. And Cain definately had the Mark when Dean killed him.
So....what do you think?
elle2
# elle2 2015-02-22 08:56
Well, Alice, this review was worth the wait! This was a great episode and you hit all the high points -- and even the low ones, a/k/a Rowena and Crowley scenes slowing the pace. And yes, Sam, you have been out-coiffed -- but that's a good thing. I much prefer Sam with shorter hair. Great review of a great episode. :)
AlyCat22
# AlyCat22 2015-02-22 23:37
I know it's blasphemy but the magnificence of Cains locks (hair seems so inadequate) and beard... There are no words... and when he brushed his hair over his forehead during the Dean/Cain dance off??? Priceless. And I'm not really a fan of beards!!!
st50
# st50 2015-02-22 12:54
I agree, Alice. First episode since Sacrifice I've been even remotely interested in re-watching. I'd even stopped watching the show live - maybe there's hope? We'll see....
LOVED Dean in this one. Jensen and Jared were both on top of their games.
I would still like someone to be better able to write Sams voice, intelligence, and strength.
Cas hasn't interested me in ages, sadly.
Add me to the list not impressed with Rowena. She's too OTT comic book to be interesting. And the dumbing down, emasculating of Crowley lately is annoying.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2015-02-22 13:05
How much more gushing can I do for this episode. Probably a lot more. This is what happens when you give your incredibly talented cast a script worthy of their talents. Even Rowena was watchable (I think Berens writes her the best so far). This is the show I want to watch. An adult show for adults. This is a mature script beautifully acted, directed and written. I loved your review (I was kind of hoping for one of your epic re-caps) but I will have to give this episode an A+. Although I do agree with you about Castiel. He needs to be Angel Warrior of God again. I'm glad to see Crowley getting back to being the ruthless foe that he should be. It's hard to come up with more praise for Jensen and Timothy for that electrifying scene in the barn (I agree Cain was goading Dean into killing him). Every moment of Jensen's performance was perfect. Jared's Sam being the rock that seems to be centering the other characters is another Sam that we don't get to see often (PONR maybe?). Just loved loved this one. Big smiley face!
eilf
# eilf 2015-02-22 14:41
Poor Jared. Apparently Jensen accidentally stabbed him in the leg during the hug-catch scene.

Jared needs to stop getting injured now, for reals. :P
LEAH
# LEAH 2015-02-22 14:44
What ever happened to taking sharp objects away from the boys? Or rubber prop knives? :D
eilf
# eilf 2015-02-22 14:52
Jensen was still holding the 'real' one. It does appear to have been somewhat of a joint effort if the bit of video I saw is anything to go by... Thing is, that thing doesn't look all that sharp really! I think I need a rerun of the event from lots of angles. For science. By the looks of things the con will provide :D

In the best internet tradition this picture is called 'invisible knife'
Leah
# Leah 2015-02-22 15:15
I know! That blade looks ridiculously non-sharp. Those two, honestly. :D
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2015-02-22 15:32
https://38.media.tumblr.com/2467dfad5b9230af94b964441dd3d5d6/tumblr_nk6u37DJbU1rk6wwbo1_400.gif Looks like Jared brought his knee up as Jensen was bringing his hand down. But yes elif there must be studying.....fo r posterity.
LEAH
# LEAH 2015-02-22 15:37
Oh right, the blade I am thinking of Dean had already given to Cas! So yes more research must be done!;)
E
# E 2015-02-22 18:54
Heh.. .that boy sure is accident prone. He's had a broken hand, a broken wrist, a broken rib, a broken shoulder, a bad slice to the palm, a good whack to the head and now this.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2015-02-22 23:07
http://media.tumblr.com/bc850850dfeea94873379646d6df9673/tumblr_inline_nk6zbjEt7G1qdugr3.jpg in the next episode....
E
# E 2015-02-23 07:19
Hah Cheryl!!! Absolutely. Oh, I'd also forgotten that in season 7 he also did something to his neck.. something to do with that stunt where he was hallucinating Lucifer hanging him from the ceiling by a chain. I thought that it looked painful on screen and I guess it was.
PaintedWolf
# PaintedWolf 2015-02-26 01:13
Hi Alice, bit late to have got around to reading this, but just wanted to say, my heart was actually pounding just reading this review, which is pretty crazy, but also pretty powerful, considering my reaction to almost all of the rest of this season. Our show's still got it.

How about, instead of just writing the cliffhangers, why not have Robert Berens just write the whole of season 11? Or only allow writers with "Rob" in their names to write anything other than filler? ;)
amyh
# amyh 2015-03-01 22:12
I had a thought about Cain and Dean. When Dean kills Caine and there was the sound of thunder i had 'Highlander" flashbacks. There can be only one. Could Cain's demony-ness have been merged with Dean? Maybe Sam has to seperate the two in order to save Dean?

Crowley- the demon who killed so many friends and family nad plain innocent people. He should NOT be treated like a buddy. Or someone to be trusted. Or turned into a whiny mama's boy being spurned by his crush. He killed Sarah Blake and for that i wish Sam would gut him like the evil being he is. Rowena......as Willow once said "Bored now."

Sam....His brother willingly takes on a mark that symbolizes fratercide without asking a single question...and then Dean is surprised when he learns the mark wants Sam dead. Maybe Sam should look into witness protection and work from behind the scenes.