We had all four principal characters here--Castiel, Crowley, Sam, Dean--all geared up to battle Cain. But they--and we--knew it would come down to an epic battle between the two biggies with the Marks--Dean and Cain. I stopped breathing while Cain and Dean were fighting. I knew Cain would die - didn't he say when he left the Mark on Dean that he would see him again, and would expect Dean to kill him? This was destiny, like so many other happenings in the brothers' lives.
As subplot, we had Rowena, her crown for Mother of the Year nowhere in sight. She had some fun butting in on council business, convincing Crowley to overturn a decision and kill one of his demon constituents instead of rewarding him. She also called her son "chunky" and other cruel names, undermining him in front of his underlings. But mama witch wants her son to help her get rid of Olivette, an old enemy, and she's righteously pissed when Crowley dumps her project to help the Winchesters.
1. That burial ground was soooo creepy! Did it make the hair stand up on the back of you neck, too?
2. Crowley is now going to be Dean's enemy, big time, and with Rowena's backing. Do you think this combo--let's call it Crowena--is going to be even more dangerous than the Mark? Could Crowley know of ways to incite the Mark and make it harder for Dean to resist it?
3. I got a catch in my throat when Dean admitted to Sam that he was scared. That's not an easy thing for Dean to say, and Jensen pulled it off so well. What did you think?
4. I loved the way the brothers, angel and demon worked together to save the child. Sam protected the child, Cas stalled for time, Crowley created the illusion that enabled them to prevent Cain from murdering him, and Dean fought with and killed Cain. The whole scenario made me proud, gave me chills and had me on the edge of my seat. I know Dean won't die, even if he DOES, lol.
5, Cain really played with Dean before they got down to business, hitting him so hard (and sending him flying through a window) I was surprised Dean wasn't knocked unconscious. He claimed he was saving Dean from his fate--killing Crowley without remorse, then Cas, with uber remorse, and finally Sam--with the blade. And before Cain could strike the killing blow, Dean grabbed Cain's own knife and cut off the arm with the Mark. Dean gave Cain a chance to stop killing, but when he said never, Dean stabbed him with the blade--in the back. This scene made me scream! What about you?
6. And then, Dean gave the blade to Cas, told Crowley he had lied to him twice today, and fell into Sam's arms as his brother said, "Dean, you did it," I cheered and cried. What did you do?
7. "You're their bitch," Rowena tearfully told her son, Crowley, the King of Hell, referencing the Winchesters, after also calling him a numb nuts and other insults. If that doesn't light a fire under his ass that bodes evil for the brothers, nothing will. Crowley has mama issues as much as Sam and Dean have father issues, and he's going to let her help rain a lot of trouble on them after the break. I can't wait. I just wish I had less trouble understanding what Rowena says sometimes. What do you think? I also think Crowley is hurt by Dean's lying and screwing up their friendship. Thoughts?
8. Sam tells Dean he believes he can control the Mark, given what he was able to do to Cain. When Dean retires to "sleep for four days," however, a early-eyed Sam confesses to Cas, "Dean's in trouble." What do you think he meant? He lied to Dean about his ability to control the Mark? Crowley seeking revenge? Rowena? All of the above?
9. I give this ep a solid 9. I've certainly seen better and more exciting winter breaks, but I am and always will be a fan of this show, first episode to the last.
If a supernatural creature is really killed - demons killed by Sam (I think) or with Ruby's knife and possibly angels killed with angel swords, and maybe monsters when they are killed in Purgatory, they don't get to come back and I think they go to a sort of outside ring of realms further away from ours. These realms are called 'Auditions' or sometimes 'Twitter' and there they are punished for a while (eventually being reincarnated as different people if they are good, sometimes they can even be reincarnated back into the Supernatural universe due to a confluence of events known as actorus reuseii). If they are very good they get to go to a third realm called 'Conventions', which seems like a fun place to be.
Or to put it another way, the show hasn't really explained 'permanent death' as it applies to the show ;)
There isn't really any CLEAR indication what happens to humans. We don't know for sure that the heaven that Sam and Dean ended up in is really heaven or an invention by Zachariah to screw with them (though I don't at all deny the soul-mates thing because it is sweet and I like that bit :p), we also don't know if any humans end up in hell except for those stupid enough to make deals, and no humans at all seem to end up in Purgatory.
Thus it seems like actual, ordinary, human people who don't mess with the supernatural may not find themselves in any of these places - possibly only Death knows where they go.
My thinking is that it is a really poor choice for humans after they die - go to hell to be tortured, go to purgatory to be eaten or go to heaven to be despised by angels and generally have to toe the line and possibly get caught up in angel wars. If you have managed to piss off enough angels while alive they may hunt YOU. When the majority of humans go to their rest it ought to be a little bit restful, therefore I think that it is a red herring that these three realms are the only choices and most humans ought go somewhere else. maybe when God comes back he will reopen access to this other place.
I believe that the monsters have souls, nobody has said they haven't as far as I know. As an aside, I wonder are all supernaturally affected people accounted as 'monsters' because Sam doesn't seem to end up in either purgatory (ever) or hell (usually) when he dies, except on special occasions (only on this show can you say these sorts of things). So this is probably definitive evidence that Sam is not and never has been a 'monster'. Yay for extrapolatable evidence! Someone tell Sam he isn't a monster :(
Purgatory was trying to spit Dean out, I thought it was because he didn't belong there because he was human? It was why he could escape and was why Benny was working with him?
I agree with you that the three choices in the Supernatural-ve rse for the afterlife are all unpleasant. Hell of course is the worst, but Supernatural adds the extra-horrific touch of humans being turned into demons. The thought of eternal torment is hideous enough; I thought nothing could be worse, but becoming an evil creature that wants to possess, torment, and kill humans on earth is the worst ever.
And while the attic is better than the basement, Supernatural's heaven is pretty blah too. Living your own memories seems a bit claustrophobic to me: you're just "trapped" in your own mind forever. I'd rather interact with others (admittedly some do like in Ash's roadhouse). And with the potential for angels to actually HURT you while you're there -- that's not exactly the place Jesus describes as having no pain, no crying, no death, no sorrow. The Supernatural world is pretty grim, fitting the description Dean gave early on in "Faith": he believes in the evil things because he's seen them but not in the good things (because he's seen what evil does to good people.) What a dark world to live in! That's why loving your family becomes SO important.
My theory (as far as SPN is concerned), for a long time, has been that actually heaven, hell, earth and purgatory are all in one plane of existence - ie earth is the human realm. This is why each type of being can move between each of them with relative ease and that when each creature actually dies for real they move on to an afterlife that is a different dimension (to mix up metaphysics and sci-fi) and can't come back. So John and Mary couldn't be found in heaven because they have moved on, Balthazar, Ruby, Rufus (maybe) anyone who is an exorcised ghost, anyone killed with the knife etc., they are all gone. While Ellen, Jo, Bobby, Adam, Lucifer, Michael, Benny, they are all still 'here', just not on earth.
I'm going to explore that "river" quote a bit more in the next Threads. I have my own theory, but I like your creative idea of Purgatory's river. That would be a very unexpected , exciting twist. I don't think it would involve Cain, but it WAS a river. I think I still subscribe to the figurative interpretation, but I've bookmarked your idea...
I liked that Dean admitted that he was scared too, I just wish that they had had Sam respond in SOME way; that was a big thing for Dean and Sam what? Just stands there? I know that the writers have a hard time with Sam on a good day, but geez… a simple "I know" or "I'm here for you" something wouldn't have killed them to add to that scene and made Sam look a shred more sympathetic to what Dean's going through.
What made this episode so good for me is that we all knew Cain was going to die; I mean, it's a no brainer right? It's not like they are going to kill off Dean. And often that kind of pre-knowledge can kill the tension in a scene like that, but Robert Berens really kept the tension going the whole time… that's pretty hard to do when the outcome of a battle is a forgone conclusion. That fight was gritty and tough and Dean managed to win through a combination of quick thinking and sheer luck. I just wish Sam had had a chance to talk to Cain for a moment to give him something relevant to do in this episode and/or that Dean had been able to get a bit more information out of him, but that's the way it always goes for these guys.
As far as Crowley and Rowena I am still not on board with anything regarding them unfortunately. Crowley actions since season 9 have boarded on the preposterous and he's all but emasculated in season 10. From the first Crowley's infatuation with Dean has made no sense to me and the entire set up of the MoC (Dean being so stupid as to accept it in the first place) has always felt contrived and unrealistic to me. I don't buy into it. And how Crowley could be so stupid as to think that Dean was somehow his "friend" and that now Deans' actions will push Crowley back into being a mortal enemy once more also doesn't work for me because he should never have considered either Winchester a friend to begin with. I so dearly want to see Crowley get his evil back and for him to off his mum once and for all. If he's going to be a big bad, then let them get on with it. Friendly, infatuated Crowley is no fun, and not interesting in the slightest. And as for Rowena, the less the better; can't stand her.
And as for Sam… poor "I guess I'll stand here and silently worry" Sam. Its pretty telling of the writing for Sam in general that this was the best episode for him in ages, and he basically still did nothing much and we still learned nothing new about Sam other than he's scared for dean which we already knew. Jared is such a good actor that he's turned standing around in the back ground of a scene into an art form and single lines into entire stories unto themselves. But he shouldn't have to and he's still not actively involved in the current storyline.