Although last week’s episode had me slightly concerned about where this season of Supernatural might go, “Reichenbach” was a pleasant surprise. I think my favorite element of this season so far is that it’s a Dean-driven storyline, in a way that we haven’t really seen before.
We’ve never really seen Dean (Jensen Ackles) as out of control as he is now. Even when he was struggling with the effects of the Mark of Cain last season, he still wanted to help his brother and Castiel and maintain his humanity or die trying. Now, however, he seems to be fully embracing his status as a demon.
Part of what makes demon Dean so dangerous is that, as Crowley (Mark A. Sheppard) pointed out, he hasn’t chosen a side. He uses his new abilities for whatever makes him happy (which is actually an interesting parallel for what Crowley has done for years now). Last week it was mentioned that he’s only a demon when he doesn’t keep the mark sated by killing, and we saw him kill two demons. This week, he was constantly flashing his black eyes, owning up to his demonic nature, and only killed one man. He seems to be embracing this new, darker side.
Yet, at the same time, he spared the woman Crowley ordered him to kill, in favor of dispatching her husband, who very much seemed to deserve it. This seemed to be in direct contrast to his disparaging remarks towards Ann Marie in last week’s episode, which might suggest that he really hasn’t gone completely dark side – there may be some humanity left in Dean after all.
Sam (Jared Padalecki) clearly believes that Dean can be saved, as we watched him hunt down his brother accordingly. It’s an interesting twist on previous seasons, as we’ve seen the Winchesters hunt down bad guy after bad guy, Sam and Dean search for their father, Dean and Castiel (Misha Collins) hunt down a demon blood-addicted Sam, and even Sam and Dean pursue Castiel when he thought he was God, but we’ve never really seen everyone chasing after Dean as a main story arc of a season. It’s refreshing, after his detachment from family in the last season, to see Sam trying so hard to save his big brother. Of course, Dean’s interactions with Sam are also the best indicator of just how much he’s changed. I have to applaud Jensen Ackles for being able to portray such a twist of a character that we’ve all come to know and love. It’s all at once terrifying and incredibly intriguing, as I’m really enjoying the development of demon Dean, but I’m also dreading just how far he’s going to take our beloved Dean Winchester.
This was especially true of his fight scene with Cole (Travis Aaron Wade) – a character whose newly revealed storyline is heartbreaking, to say the least. Now, in speaking of the fight scene, I have to first acknowledge the awesome-ness that was Dean quoting The Princess Bride. Demon though he may be, Dean Winchester always has some great lines. And yet as Dean-like as that reference was, his attitude throughout the entire fight scene was another beast altogether. While we’ve always seen Dean keep up his cocky, “give ‘em hell” attitude during fights, he’s never quite stared down the barrel of a gun as casually as he did in last night’s episode. Of course, he can’t exactly die now, but his nonchalance not only shows that he’s starting to accept that immortal demonic side of himself, but it also hints that he might have some huge power resource in his newfound state that we have yet to see him really tap into.
Perhaps the most chilling part of the whole fight scene, however, was the fact that it set Dean up to essentially be Cole’s Yellow-Eyed Demon, and he knows it. To see such a twisted parallel makes me think that there is a much darker side to this Mark of Cain business that we’ve only barely glimpsed at this point.
Age-old being that he is, Castiel may be the one “good” character who truly understands what the Mark can do to Dean. Of course, he’d actually have to reach Sam and Dean to be able to do any good.
The car accident seemed far too obvious in its keeping Castiel from reaching the Winchesters, and yet, there were some interesting elements that came of it. Firstly, it gave us new insight into where the Supernatural writers might be taking Hannah (Erica Carroll) and Castiel’s relationship, as the woman who helped them commented on how Hannah was lucky to have a man like Castiel. I have to say that, personally, Castiel and Hannah as a romantic plotline would very much not work for me. For one thing, Hannah seems very similar to Season 4 Castiel – a being ruled by reason and orders, not feelings or humanity. It would be incongruous with her character, for me, if she were to end up with Castiel. Additionally, reminiscent of early-Castiel as she is, I can’t help but feel as if she’s going to be the one to trigger something bad this season, as she almost did with Metatron.
Which brings me to the second interesting result of Castiel’s car accident: his confrontation with Metatron. This particular baddie wasn’t shown in the premiere, so it was unclear just where his character might be headed this season. It seems clear now, however, that his reign of terror may not be over just yet. Still, Castiel’s confrontation with Metatron and Hannah showed what I thought was a great bit of character development for our angel. He’s learned from the mistakes of the past and is willing to go to such great lengths as sacrificing himself to prevent them from happening again in the future.
Is it just me, or does he almost sound like a Winchester?
It’s clear that I have many thoughts about “Reichenbach,” but I have just as many questions about next week’s episode: What’s Crowley’s plan B? Is Cole to make a reappearance, this time as a demon hunter? Will Castiel finally reach the Winchesters? And, lastly, are Sam and Dean in for a brutal confrontation next week?
Only six short days until we get to find out – I hope you’re all as excited as I am.
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