The Hardy Boys are together again, fully in sync and comfortable. Thank you, Eric, thank you, Sera, thank you, Jeremy, thank you, Ben, thank you all the writers.
As they faced off with Crowley they were comfortable in each other. Sam and Dean held equal ground with Crowley and it was Sam who coldly raised the Colt and pulled the trigger without a glance to Dean, without hesitation. It was a move we’ve seen Dean do before and it was one worthy of the new relationship the brothers have. They’re together in the plan.
Even better was the scene at Bobby’s as Dean and Sam strategize for their date with Lucifer. Dean clearly has been stepping up into the role of leader as he’s gathered data and background to ascertain Lucifer is in Carthage, MO. There’s a bit of a slip into big brother mode as he suggests that Sam remain behind but it’s quickly brushed aside by Sam who in essence reiterates what Dean said in The End and even farther back in Dead Man’s Blood --- “We’re stronger together.” It’s Sam who echoes Dean’s sentiment from No Rest for the Wicked when he says, “Haven’t we learned anything?” Good for you, Sam. You clearly have learned a thing or two. A testament to Dean’s acceptance of Sam’s stature as equal in this partnership is that he offers very little resistance other than a snarky comment that’s more for his own benefit to calm his nerves than it is to inflict harm.
Even their banter at the beginning of that scene as Dean teases Sam about finally doubting demons is back to the brotherly jabs and teasing from seasons’ past. There is no rancor there and Sam recognizes it as he thanks Dean (sarcastically) for his continued support while simultaneously raising his beer to clink the bottle with Dean. The brothers are all right. That alone is reason to keep a handle on hope.
Dean may have been knocked out during Sam’s verbal confrontation with Lucifer but I’m not concerned for a moment that there are any secrets about that time. Once Dean got a few aspirin in and the cobwebs out, I’m sure Sam filled him in on all that transpired. The brothers are sharing what’s going on and it shows by how together they are in what they do and say. No secrets are best.
Behind the scenes
I give kudos to Phil Sgriccia for shooting the scene between Sam and Lucifer, after Dean is knocked out, in such a way as to maintain the continuity of Dean’s presence. Unlike On The Head of a Pin where there was no way to tell if Jensen was still on set (and he likely wasn’t) during Sam’s face off with Alistair, here there’s no doubt that Jensen, or perhaps a stand in was present. I like that for it keeps the flow of the surroundings strong. I don’t need for Jensen to be lying on the cold ground while the scene plays out but it maintains the overall feel by giving us those shots back down to Dean as Sam worries for his brother and faces off with Lucifer. Thanks, Phil.
The music was superb here. Again, I’m not the big classic rock fan so the choices for music mean very little to me other than I’m glad they were there. The original scores, however, really drew me in. The few notes on the piano, haunting and unsettling are a wonderful backdrop for Lucifer. Slow yet jarring set an overall disquieting feel. Then the fast-paced, somewhat evocative of a Moroccan/Indian sense in the hardware store as Sam and Dean gather the supplies and build the bombs with Ellen lent the urgency to the situation that was necessary. Another great job by the music folks.
I really wasn’t surprised that the Colt couldn’t kill the devil. First of all because it’s only mid-season and if you kill Lucifer off now, what do you do for the last twelve episodes? Why I’m really not surprised is because we learned back in OTHOAP that the only thing that can kill an angel is another angel - and that really cool knife thingy that Uriel used - and apparently Cas got back from Anna. Plus, it’s really nice not to have Sam and Dean holding the weapon that can kill their big, bad, enemy right now, because like weapons on a bungee cord, we’d be wondering why they didn’t aim better.
Crowley was excellent. I really like the idea that similar to the angels, not everyone is on board with the big plan. It makes for the opportunity to see him again and that also puts him in the category of potential wild card, like Gabriel.
Bobby continues to amaze and the continuity from The Curious Case of Dean Winchester to Abandon All Hope is appreciated. From Dean telling Bobby that he needs him and can’t do it without him to Bobby telling Dean -"That’s why I’m here, boy." That’s right, Bobby, that is why you’re here. I wasn’t worried about Bobby dying in this episode because I’d read an interview Jim Beaver did a few weeks back where he stated that he’d gotten the call that he’d be in Episode 14. Hey, that’s all he said so it’s not like I know anything about the plot of that episode, I’ve been pretty good at staying off the spoilery stuff this season.
Also, I like how Rachel Miner has improved on her playing of Meg from Sympathy for the Devil. She’s no Nicki, but no one is, she’s her own actress and I like her as Meg. There’s enough of the Meg I’ve come to know, perhaps not as nuanced as before but that also makes sense as time has passed and I would assume that demons change as do humans. Clearly Meg is under Lucifer’s charms and that in itself is interesting because I wonder will she continue to be a thorn in the Winchester’s sides or will she pull a Crowley as she learns that like the demons on the Carthage battlefield (appropriately adorned with cannons) that she is just â€¦ well, cannon fodder. More goodness for the second half of the season.
All in all, Abandon All Hope earns a Damn You, Kripke, from me - stated with all the fondness I do hold for the creator of the series. It’s a long wait for the back side of the season but I’m all right with that. Patience is a virtue and I’m game to practice some. In the meantime there’s Thanksgiving to prepare for, Christmas to ready for (and to be enjoyed), a puppy to continue in obedience class, and much, much more.
I’ll have some other comments that I’ll feed throughout upcoming articles on Bobby, Ellen and The Road So Far of Season 5 but I’ll be eagerly looking forward to your thoughts.