Column: Gods and Monsters: Recap and Review: Supernatural 9.02: Devil May Care

[spoilers ahoy for several seasons]

Tagline: Abaddon returns with a refurbished meat suit, intent on finding the King of Hell and gaining dominion over the newly fallen angels.

Recap: Long (minute and a half) recap of Abaddon, the Trials, and Dean’s deal with Ezekiel. Cut to Now and a body bag being dragged through an abandoned house that looks as though it was previously the set for “Of Grave Importance.” Whoever is doing the dragging uncovers one charred arm.

Cut to Dean lying on his back in a very similar “coffin” pose to that of the body. He’s stretched out on a picnic bench while he brings Sam up to speed on what Sam missed (during the week Ezekiel erased from his memory, though Sam doesn’t know that). We find out that Castiel is still on his way to the bunker, as Dean makes a reference to the show, Breaking Bad (a storyline that may be the template for Dean’s mytharc this season). We won’t see our favorite ex-angel until next week.

One very important thing Sam doesn’t know about is that Crowley is still alive – and that Dean has him in the trunk of the Impala. As Dean demonstrates.

Cut back to the creepy old house, where we see that the person who brought in the body bag is a possessed young man with dark hair, an auto mechanic (looking rather like John Winchester). He has placed the charred body in a bathtub and drawn signs in blood on the wall, while black smoke circles his head. Cutting his wrist open with a knife, he bleeds into the tub. A bright white light, like angel grace, blasts out of the tub and the smoke dives into it. The demon and his host are knocked back against a wall.

We see a familiar hand come over the tub, with red nails. Then a very naked Abaddon, in her old Josie Sands host, stands up and smiles down at her demon servant, as dramatic, scary music plays on the soundtrack. Ooops. This could be a problem.

Cue title cards.

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Cut to the Bunker. As Dean enters, he encounters a crossbow bolt that embeds itself in the bannister. It’s Kevin, who is not in the greatest shape. Seems the whole place went haywire and then locked him in. He couldn’t call out and believed the world was ending, which he claims left him constipated. Dean tells him he’s not far off and mentions the angels falling.

After some Hunter Games snark (calling Kevin “Katniss”), Dean tells him to get a gun the next time the world ends. He also discovers that the lockdown is no longer in effect. Kevin speculates that Dean entering from outside broke the lock and Dean says, “Yeah, let’s go with that.”

Sam enters with Crowley, manacled and hooded, with noise-cancelling headphones so he can’t see or hear where he is and give away the Bunker’s location. Even so, Kevin realizes who it is and freaks out all over again (You really need to work on that anxiety disorder, Kevin). Kevin wants to kill Crowley immediately, but the brothers talk them down. Dean tells him Crowley is important and that they are going to torture the names of every demon on earth out of them. After that? Kevin gets to kill him. Apparently mollified, Kevin backs down and Dean puts him on finding something in the Angel Tablet that reverses Metatron’s spell, thus sending angels back to Heaven.

But first, the brothers install Crowley in their dungeon and have a brief conversation with him. Sam lays out the terms (after Dean punches Crowley in the face, just for fun): Crowley will give up every demon and host currently on earth. Sam makes a small misstep by referring to Crowley’s breakdown in “Sacrifice” and Crowley bluffs that he’s not impressed. Any torture they subject him to wouldn’t be any worse than he has seen in Hell and anyway, what leverage they had is gone now they decided to stop the Trials.

But the brothers are on top of that one, too. They aren’t going to do anything to him, really … except leave him alone in the dark, in the dungeon. That ought to be the worst possible torture for a fast-talking salesman like him. This doesn’t really sink in until they just leave, closing the door behind them.

Meanwhile, Abaddon is giving a rousing recruitment speech to a set of new demon minions about how she’s going to train them and give them new bodies, that they will march into Hell to liberate it and turn humans and fallen angels into slaves.

She also criticizes the way they’ve dressed down in the host department during the Crowley administration, claiming that the King is dead, “long live the Queen.” Abaddon reminds them that they’re demons and they’re supposed to be evil and scary. What happened?

A grandmotherly CRD type mouths off to her that the Knights aren’t as impressive as their rep, bragging that she got 72 kids to sell their souls to her just in the past month. Unimpressed, Abaddon grabs her by the throat and exorcises her back to Hell, telling her to herald the new Queen’s coming.

At the Bunker, Dean is on the phone to a Hunter named ‘Irv,’ bringing him up to speed on the new fallen angel situation. He fills him in on holy oil and angel blades. Irv, like any self-respecting Hunter, is hanging out under two bridges with his old model car. Irv mentions some siamese twin werewolves he and Bobby once hunted, a story Dean remembers Bobby telling.

At a military base, three soldiers are talking about how one of them has set another up on a blind date at a bar. Too bad for them that they get on a bus with three of Abaddon’s demons. The doors slam shut, eyes turn black, smoke fills the bus, and the demons possess the soldiers, discarding their old bodies. When it’s all done, the conductor leans over and smiles in appreciation. It’s Abaddon.

We then meet a young girl wearing not very much, whose VW bug appears to be on the blink. A guy in a van stops to help, but it turns out he’s a vampire. She gets in the van, we see it rock around to The Doobie Brothers’ “Rockin’ Down the Highway,” then she gets out, shoving his headless body onto the ground. But she herself gets bagged by the possessed soldiers.

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At the base, the brothers arrive in suits, commenting on the smell of sulfur, the lightning storms, and the dead cows in the area (The show has never really explained that last one). They get an officious young female soldier, who gets territorial about “her” crime scene. When they call Kevin, he’s able to magically hack into her files and discover some embarrassing info on her involving some leave-gone-wild, after an equally embarrassing start (for him) in which he takes the alias, “Kevin Solo.” She’s forced to back down.

On entering the bus, Sam finds that the host bodies have been dead for years. Dean speculates they were kept going by the demons inside them, who must now be inside the missing soldiers. Then the female soldier shows them some security footage, which has Abaddon smiling up at the camera. Dean is furious – didn’t Sam deep fry her meatsuit? Sam says yes, so Dean swears to chop off her head again. Gee, Dean, say that a little louder while you’re on a military base.

Abaddon, though, is still busy. Her demons are beating up another male Hunter, but she tells them how it’s done (and isn’t she supposed to have the ability to interrogate someone just by blowing smoke into their mouths?). She strings him up and forces him to tell her how to reach the Winchesters. Then she lets him hang. Exit Hunter We Barely Knew.

Going back inside a building, she calls the Bunker and gets Kevin. As she talks to the very nervous young Prophet (though he’s smart enough not to tell her who or what he is), she walks up to two people tied to chairs. One is the older Hunter (Irv) Dean was talking to on the phone. The other is the girl Hunter with the VW bug and the ridiculous wardrobe.

Kevin calls Sam, in full freakout, and says Abaddon gave him coordinates to go to in Eugene, Oregon, as well as the names of the Hunters – Irv Franklin and Tracy Bell. Dean tells Kevin to find anything he can on how to kill a Knight of Hell – permanently. Sam warns Dean it’s a trap. Dean says, well, duh, but they have to go, anyway.

In the dungeon, Crowley is having some mighty nasty flashbacks to the interrupted Third Trial, including his begging about deserving to be loved. They’re interrupted by Kevin coming down to the archive to retrieve info about the Knights. Kevin unwisely takes the bait, supposedly to force Crowley into telling him how to kill a Knight of Hell. But we all know it’s about revenge.

Crowley then starts screwing with Kevin’s head, bringing up his own twisted desire for love (though Kevin doesn’t spot the subtext, of course). He also teases Kevin with the possibility that Mama Tran is still alive, which prompts Kevin to start torturing Crowley. Though it’s hard to say whether Kevin’s physical torturing of Crowley is nearly as harsh as Crowley’s mental torturing of Kevin. Crowley’s ultimate goal is to get Kevin to let him go in exchange for restoring his mother to him. Will Kevin fall for it?

In a ghost town outside Eugene, Sam fills Dean in on why it’s deserted – seems there was a chemical spill a few years back. This makes Dean very nervous about his family jewels.

Anyhoo, they soon find the two Hunter hostages. Irv tells them Abaddon’s been torturing Hunters to get information about the brothers. Uh-oh. After giving them some holy water, the brothers cut them loose. And the very first contribution Tracy makes is to be a complete cow to Sam, her face looking as though she just bit into a lemon. Good to know the stupid wardrobe choices were a red flag she was a moron.

As it turns out (about a scene later), she has a beef with Sam. Seems it’s now common knowledge amongst all Hunters that Sam broke the last Seal (maybe thanks to those losers from “Free to Be You and Me,” or Walt and Roy from “Dark Side of the Moon“?) and her family was killed by a bunch of demons celebrating Lucifer’s rise. Yes, she actually takes time out from a tense and fraught situation, where they really should be running not yakking, to infodump all over Sam about something that happened to her years ago. After four seasons and two jumps, she just can’t wait until they get to safety to unload. Did I mention she’s stupid?

Dean lays out their weapons, which include “Jesus juice” (holy water), devil’s trap bullets and angel blades. When they hear a noise outside and Sam spots the three soldiers with rifles, though, those mystical weapons suddenly don’t seem so great. But Dean quickly comes up with a plan to lure them into the diner with a recording of his yelling a challenge at them. Outside, Dean splits them up, telling Sam to go with Tracy, while he goes with Irv. When Sam makes the mistake of trying to hurry her along by putting a hand on her back, that’s the inopportune moment Twit for Brains in Slut Gear chooses to have it out with a very confused Sam. God, I wish she’d just shut up and die.

Dean decides to take Tracy with him, instead, and gives her a nicer talking to than I would (I would have just slapped her and told her she could stow it until we were safe or take a bullet right then and there, her choice). She sullenly allows that he’s got a point about this whole survival-before-revenge thing.

Too bad things aren’t going nearly so well for Sam, who is discovering that Irv was tortured by Abaddon into giving everybody up. Before Irv can make a big expiating sacrifice, though, he ends up shot by the soldier demons. Sam, finding himself outgunned, busts through a door into one of the buildings again, only to find he’s in their hangout. Though he puts up a credible fight, he’s seriously outgunned and they proceed to kick his ass.

Meanwhile, Dean and Tracy round a corner, only for Dean to get knocked down by Abaddon. Tracy gets off several shots, but Abaddon is wearing a vest. Now, I know they always tell you to aim for the center because it’s easiest, but you’d think Tracy would do something a bit more clever than standing there with her mouth open while Abaddon shows her she’s wearing a Kevlar vest. Like shooting her in the head from all of ten feet away.

Oh, but I forgot – Tracy is stupid.

Fortunately, Dean is smarter. Pulling out a flask of holy water, he splashes Abaddon in the face with it. While she is thus temporarily incapacitated, he gives Tracy his car keys and tells her to go get the Impala. There’s something very forced and awkward in the staging of this scene. I don’t believe Abaddon would just stand nearby, temporarily blinded, while Dean did this with Tracy. Still, it gets Tracy off my screen, so it’s all good.

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Then Dean turns to face Abaddon, who, it turns out, wanted to get him alone all along (Great lighting in this scene, by the way). Knowing he’s physically outmatched, Dean pulls out the angel blade, anyway. As we see him go for Abaddon, we spot his anti-possession tat. Laughing, she disarms him and forces him to his knees with a martial arts hold. Maybe it’s because Alaina Huffman is so tall, but this scene is very believable, even though Jensen Ackles is neither small nor weak.

She gloats over how “obedient” and “suicidally stupid” the brothers are, coming to an obvious trap. He snarks back about the off-the-charts hot chemistry between them. She demands Crowley. He balks. She calls him “the perfect vessel” and threatens to peel off his tattoo and possess him. Actually, I think it’s more than just a threat, more like a plan.

Still defiant, Dean tells her it’s “a horror show” inside his head. She might not be able to do any more damage there. But Abaddon’s clever and zeroes in on his lack of self-esteem, talking about all the horrible things she can get him to do once she possesses him. Dean’s bravado starts to wilt. Fortunately for him, Sam is getting knocked out inside the building – and Ezekiel wakes up to kick some demon ass, complete with skeletal wings. Are they still degrading as they drop feathers or slowly growing back? You decide.

Seeing the huge burst of light from the nearby building, Abaddon falters in her own Evil Overlord bragadoccio. Dean immediately grabs the advantage of the moment and pretends it was part of the Winchester plan. With a growl, Abaddon throws him into a display case window full of abandoned models and flees.

Inside the building, Dean enters to find Ezekiel pulling the Spork out of one of the demon hosts’ necks. Ezekiel explains that Sam was in imminent danger, so he had to act. He also assures Dean that he killed the demons with the Spork not his angel powers (like burning their eyes out), so as not to raise any alarm with Sam. He also will scrub Sam’s brain of any inconvenient memories of what happened. Though shaken, Dean tells Ezekiel he understands. He’s just having trouble wrapping his brain about this latest permutation of Sam Done Come Back Wrong.

Predictably, he also blames himself, not just for getting Sam to say yes to Ezekiel, but for stopping the Trials. This supports the idea that Dean was the one ruthlessly prodding all the players into place last year to close the Gates of Hell. Now he feels he’s failed and that all subsequent deaths at demon hands are on him.

To his (and the audience’s) surprise, Ezekiel refuses to accept his guilt. Ezekiel insists that these things are not Dean’s fault, that Dean is trying to save his brother and is “doing the right thing.” Ezekiel admits that a “bad guy” would probably say that, but says it, anyway.

These two scenes have been discussed separately (the red-hot Abbadean one more than Dean and Samekiel), but equally important is that they are paired opposites and should be also examined together. Both scenes are very important to the mytharc and full of hints to its future (like the reference to Dean being a vessel and Ezekiel pushing the idea that Dean’s devotion to Sam is why he chose to answer his prayer). One is about demons and one is about angels. Both are heavily focused on Dean and both involve temptation, a character revelation, and a great virtue in Dean that also exposes a potentially fatal flaw.

In the case of Abaddon, she zeroes in on his stunning good looks and also his poor self-esteem. Dean is greatly tempted to just give up (though he doesn’t) and Abaddon makes the curious statement that Dean is “the perfect vessel” rather than “the perfect host.”

In the case of Ezekiel, he zeroes in on Dean’s filial loyalty, extolling it as a great virtue while the subtext makes the audience uneasy that Ezekiel will use this against Dean (as bad guys have done in the past). Is Ezekiel a good guy or a bad guy? Hard to say. We’ve heard the “It’s your destiny” argument before. It led to a dark road, indeed. But keep in mind that the one who pushed that the most (Castiel) of the angels, in the most positive and impressed way, turned out to be Dean’s first, great BFF.

We’ve also heard the “It’s not your fault” statement before. In that case, it was how Dean realized his father was possessed. And it was one way Ruby snookered Sam. But then again, Azazel was only able to keep the act going for a few moments and we have never seen Ruby be this nice to Sam, let alone Dean. The closest she came to sincerity was in “Malleus Maleficarum” and even then, she was mostly a bitch. So, the jury’s really out on Ezekiel.

Another interesting thing is that in both cases, Abaddon and Ezekiel zeroed in on traits (or personae) in Dean that they greatly admired. Abaddon greatly lusted after the hot badass, seeking to possess him both in body and in mind (to his extreme discomfort). Ezekiel seemed very attracted to Dean’s devotion to his brother. If you think about it, this is a trait that should appeal strongly to an angel, since they are all about their brethren and their devotion to God.

This does not necessarily mean that Ezekiel being on the up and up would automatically mean Dean will like what Ezekiel’s end game is, let alone what favor Ezekiel wants in return for all this help. Ezekiel can be a good guy and still create a whole lot of drama and trouble for Dean.

Anyhoo, Sam wakes up a little later and Dean spins him a tall tale about surprising the demons and getting the drop on them. He even swaggers a little to hide his own nervousness about lying to Sam. Sam appears to buy it.

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Tracy drives up in the Impala, having come back rather late. Fortunately, it seems she has gotten over her snit at Sam. Not very realistic, I’ll grant you, but I’ll take it. Everybody leaves, Dean snarking, “Burgers and Silkwood showers on me!”

The brothers return to the Bunker with a large bucket of chicken and some juice (prune juice?) for Kevin. However, Kevin is nowhere to be found. They rush down to the dungeon, where they find Crowley still in place and willing to give up the names of two “underperformer” demons (the two guys from “The Great Escapist,” maybe?). Crowley admits to having goaded Kevin into torturing him and claims it was fun, so he’s trading in the two demon names. Not too convinced, the brothers leave and I’m not too convinced, either. I think Crowley is lying to himself as much as he is to the brothers.

Dean tells Sam to check the names, while he goes to find Kevin. He catches the kid heading out the door with a backpack (’cause that worked so well for him last season). Kevin tells Dean about Crowley’s offer to give him back his mother if he let the King of Hell go. When Dean asks whether Kevin believed him, Kevin’s not sure, but points out he didn’t take the deal.

Dean tells Kevin that his mother is either already dead or as good as dead. He then gives Kevin an impassioned speech that they are family. This gets through to Kevin and he backs down. I sometimes wonder if the writers intend to have Dean be Kevin’s mysterious baby daddy, since that would be a guaranteed way to ensure Kevin flipped out and ran off to parts unknown at some critical future moment (also very much the kind of Star Wars moment this show’s writers love). On the other hand, Crowley saw whoever Kevin’s father was inside Mama Tran’s head and I don’t see him holding onto that juicy a bit of info for so long.

Anyway, the speech gets through to Kevin, as Dean says that he, Sam, Kevin, and Castiel are the only family they all have left, and Kevin starts to cry. After bedding Kevin down, Dean returns to the library where Sam is moping over Tracy’s nasty digs. Going straight from bucking up Kevin to bucking up Sam, Dean pours them both a drink and tells Sam he’s also done a lot of good.

He then asks Sam how he’s doing, physically. Sam says he feels great. In fact, he hasn’t ever felt this good. Meanwhile, Dean, who of course knows why Sam feels good, looks really stressed. Hmm, don’t see this going anywhere good.

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Review: Rather against type, especially for this particular writer (Andrew Dabb), this sophomore episode of the season came back with a roar rather than the usual anemic, disjointed cough. Despite a few relatively minor exceptions (like the new girl Hunter, Daisy Dukes Dipwad), this was well-organized, clipped along at a good pace, and was a great return/re-introduction of Abaddon, now as a potential Big Bad.

I must pause for a bit to discuss just why I think Abaddon is one of the better things, by far, this show has introduced and why she is arguably the best female villain they’ve had since Meg was evil. And no, I don’t care that her getting her old body back was a bit ad hoc, seeing as how she is already perfectly cast. This is a show about black magic and far weirder things, and I think it demonstrated Abaddon’s power in a subtle way, that she was even able to do this and get someone to do a ritual for her. I’m sure a goat and some ex-network head was sacrificed to make sure it was done right.

For a start, she is a wonderful foil to Dean. We even see this in an eerie and almost in-your-face juxtaposition in the teaser between her charred body pre-resurrection and Dean lying in the same position in the very next scene that is clear even on first watch. No idea what this foreshadows, but it’s foreshadowing something.

Both of these characters are scrappy, fierce, brave, and out-of-the-box thinkers. Nor is either one afraid to turn the world on its ear and upset the Natural Order, or set it on fire just to watch it burn. Death has even had a word with Dean about it.

It’s easy (and a deadly mistake) for ostensibly more powerful characters to underestimate them, yet one of their greatest powers (almost a superpower) is to persuade others to do precisely that. They balance each other quite nicely. Even leaving aside the massive show-mytharc implications of her speech about wanting to possess him, and referring to Dean as the “perfect vessel” rather than the “perfect host” (hardly just misspeaking in a season that’s so far all about angels and their search for vessels), it makes perfect sense she’d want to. Not only does she appreciate male pulchritude (I laughed when some fans were trying to figure out why she had her henchdemons take military hosts – it’s because they’re hot guys, people! She wanted better scenery!), but Dean has a head full of Hunter lore and (perhaps most importantly to her goal of dominating angels) is almost certainly the biggest human expert on angels outside of Castiel. Maybe even more than Castiel, who is rather easily bamboozled and has been brainwashed in the past.

I will get to the mytharc implications in a minute. We’re still on Abaddon.

For another thing, some bright soul realized that Abaddon needed her own story. Yes, it’s possible to create a vengeful villain who is focused entirely on your protagonist. However, it’s hard to do that without creating a one-note character. It’s usually better to remember that your villain (and all other characters) exists even off-stage, when the Hero isn’t around, that she/he might have other things to do in life besides kill/cripple/embarrass your Hero.

Thank God somebody remembered this oft-forgotten lesson, ’cause Abaddon now has her own storyline, something that is about her and not about the Winchesters, at least not directly. They might well be concerned about her goals, if they knew about them, but they don’t – yet. And Abaddon is mostly interested in wresting information about the fate of Crowley, the current King of Hell, from them at the moment.

This means viewers like me can enjoy Abaddon’s rise to power without worrying about her constantly wanting to kill the Winchesters and either failing in some mojo-losing way or winning in a way that makes us dislike her. Instead, we can sit back and enjoy her rise to the top, which comes with certain plot-perks.

Namely, that we’re departing the petty realm of Kafka and reentering the Grand Guignol realm of Dante and Milton, even Bosch. I know Crowley still has his fans, and that some really loved Crowley’s original idea of Hell as an endless line of bureaucracy, but personally, I was bored. And I didn’t find it scary.

Abaddon, however, found this equally boring and wants to get back to the scary, the grim, the gory, the Gothic. And I say, bring on the medieval torture.

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Now I did appreciate how Grandma CRD stood up to Abaddon and challenged her authority, demonstrating loyalty to Crowley. It’s a nice plot block thrown into Abaddon’s way that gives her a chance to prove her mettle as a character, rather than turning her into Evil Sue Demon who has everything go her way until her final and inevitable defeat.

In addition, Grandma CRD is an interesting concept and a reasonably feminist one, albeit not terribly scary, at least as presented. It’s creepy when she talks about all the young kids she’s successfully damned by persuading them to sell their souls for things that are probably quite small and petty. But of course everyone responds differently to different people and I’m sure a kindly grandmother figure is going to be able to make lots of deals a hot chick in a little black dress or a middle aged guy in an expensive suit could not pull off.

Her attitude also demonstrated how much the hierarchy of Hell has changed. The CRDs, who previously appeared to be at or near the bottom of the heap in Hell, are now its elite. And they have no interest in what Abaddon is selling. So, the encounter was fun, even if I also enjoyed the way Abaddon grabbed Grandma’s host by the throat and forced her back down to Hell. And one wonders why Abaddon can’t just go back there, herself. Why need a herald?

Unfortunately, the third time was not the charm with the third female character in the episode (though at least we had enough of them for this to matter). Whatshername Angry Black Woman Hunter was a total cliché, both of the ethnic and of the female variety.

First, let’s talk clothing. Now, it may surprise you to hear this, but I actually quite liked the original Daisy Duke. She was my favorite character on Dukes of Hazzard, being by far the most sensible. I kept wishing she’d get more to do and she never quite did. I didn’t particularly care for the way she dressed, but it was the early 80s, when women got laughed at for complaining about that sort of thing, and I will say the actress carried it off well.

Problem is, this is 2013 and it’s a show based on a realistic idea that if you’re going to hunt monsters and you’re human, you wear protective clothing. Yet, here we are with the Daisy Dukes.

Leaving aside the sheer embarrassment factor of a character who exists entirely to be ogled by young boys who still can’t find free porn online and to make Sam feel bad, it was painfully obvious how inappropriate the clothing was for the setting and to the show. The actress clearly was limited in what stunts she could safely do in that crap and didn’t come off with the least bit of growl or gravitas when teetering around on those cowboy boots. Why the hell we are still doing this in the 21st century, on a show not really noted for doing that sort of thing (Yes, there have been women dressed like that on the show before, but there was a point to it and it didn’t endanger the actresses playing them)? End Part 1 of what the hell was the point of her character?

Enter Part 2: What was up with her random story about being angry with Sam about the Apocalypse? This was a really obvious way to make us feel sorry for Sam, but it just felt, well, random. Inigo Montoya she was not. Yes, I do think having Sam do a little penance for past actions that were swept under the rug, even things he did in season four, would be good for the character. But having a brand new character pop up and be pissed off about something that happened four (six, if you count the two now-ignored time jumps) years ago, and that Sam did not directly do, ain’t the way to pull it off. Talk about old news.

Now, if she’d been mad about something that had happened during Sam’s year off, or as a result of his trying to shaft Benny, or had even been related to one of Sam’s onscreen victims, like that poor nurse in the season four finale or the two dead hosts in “Swan Song,” that would have been topical. But backstage at the Apocalypse? Pretty old news, now, writers.

It didn’t help that she was the very stereotype of Randomly Angry Sassy Black Woman.

Pleased was I most greatly, though, to see another Deancentric episode. Already. Dean was the clear leader, the clear driver of the plot. His fight with Abaddon (in which she deliberately separated him out from the pack, first) and the way he was able to turn the tables on her by coolly using Samekiel’s sudden display to his advantage, was a thing of beauty.

Some have complained that Abaddon should have been too badass to flee at the approach of an angel, but I disagree. Yeah, Abaddon is badass, but she’s also smart and she has learned to be wary of Dean. He’s bested her before by bringing a new and unexpected element, a gun to a knife fight, as it were. So, it made sense she’d create a distraction and toss him into a display case window before fleeing, instead of engaging with an unknown element, however subdued he may have seemed. That made both her and Dean look clever.

But Dean better watch his sweet ass when she shows up again, because I think she’s going to have an even bigger and more subtle snare out for him next time. She may even try allying with an angel to do it. This trap was never for Sam. It was for Dean. That was why Abaddon had her heavies “distract” Sam, killed off the Hunter she’d forced to become her informant, and didn’t care when Dean told Daisy Dukes to run. She says it herself when she chortles about their finally being alone – Dean was always the target.

This brings us to the mytharc element I brought up before. Abaddon reiterates the idea of hosts and vessels in her desire to possess Dean. She actually doesn’t mention Dean’s knowledge as a reason to possess him, but she does comment on how she’s never met such an attractive host, which may or may not mean that he’s good-looking, but implies that Dean is a strong host, her “perfect” host (The scene itself is highly charged with sexual tension and threats of rape).

Dean retorts by saying there’s nothing she can show him that he hasn’t already been through. She sees a bit through his bravado, but he may be right. She must still be unaware of his apprenticeship to Alastair, or even his entire sojourn in Hell. Once again, the idea that Dean suffered repeated rape in Hell is implied, as is his own skill at torture of the physical and mental variety. As I said before, these two are well-matched. I’m not sure Abaddon could get the upper hand, even if she did manage to possess him. That hasn’t stopped people from shipping these two.

This idea of Dean as a perfect vessel leads nicely into what was going on with Samekiel. I am not convinced that Samekiel is a bad guy and he does seem gentle and beneficial with Sam so far. But he also has zero respect for his current vessel and no sense of boundaries when it comes to things like erasing Sam’s memories. Dean is a whole other ballgame. Ezekiel sure does respect him.

In point of fact, Ezekiel is obsessed with Dean. He may well have good intentions, but I very much doubt he is sticking around Dean (who basically put out a flare asking every angel on the planet to show up and say howdy, thus putting any angel who sticks around Dean in grave danger) just out of the goodness in his feathery heart. And since he’s already inside Sam, but still doing favors for Dean beyond healing Sam, I don’t think he’s doing all this for Sam, either. Dean is the endgame, not Sam. Is this potentially very sinister and a dark road for Dean? Yup. Isn’t it fun?

Finally, there’s Kevin. I’ve noticed that there hasn’t been a whole lot of discussion of Kevin’s confrontation/torture session with Crowley, this despite it being a fairly large B-story for the episode. To be honest, I thought it was rather blah on first watch. It read better on second, mainly because I already knew Kevin wasn’t going to do his usual shtick and be allowed to run off to parts unknown in a conveniently plot-stupid huff. Osric Chau is a good actor, but man, they really need to up their game on consistent writing for him.

For example, in this episode, Kevin played right into Crowley’s hands and gave him exactly what he wanted – a toy to play with, a release from the boredom and mental torture. I understand he was really angry about his mom and Channing and the rest of it, but it made him look really stupid. It’s hard to sympathize with that level of stupid.

Which is not to say Kevin had no growth this week. In fact, the same writer (co-writing with Daniel Loflin) wrote Kevin in a very similar situation last season at the same point in the season. And Kevin reacted very differently. Crowley taunted Kevin about how Dean and Sam would use and ditch (or kill) him in “What’s Up, Tiger Mommy?” and Kevin ran. This time, though, Kevin didn’t run. He stayed just long enough for Dean to catch him leaving and convince him to stay. This time, Crowley didn’t win. That’s huge progress for Kevin.

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Fun lines:

Dean [to Sam about Crowley]: He’s the junk in my trunk.

Crowley [to Dean]: Can’t wait to see Sam in stilettos and a leather bustier. Really puts the S-A-M into S&M.

Abaddon [to her new minions]: What the hell happened to Hell?

Dean [to Irv]: [Angels] are just monsters with good PR.

Kevin: You tortured me!
Crowley: I torture all my friends. It’s how I show love.

Dean [to Abaddon]: Are we gonna fight or make out? ‘Cause I’m gettin’ some real mixed signals, here.

Abaddon [to Dean]: You know, I’ve loved this body since the moment I first saw it. You’re the perfect vessel, Dean. You give a girl all sorts of nasty ideas. So, go ahead and play hard to get – and I’ll peel off this “no demons allowed” tattoo and blow smoke up your ass.
Dean: Oh … I gotta tell you, between you and me, it is a horror show up there.

Abaddon: An angel?!
Dean: What, you think we rolled up to this mousetrap without some backup?

Ezekiel: You are troubled, still.
Dean: Yeah, it’s just that … uh … you know, this is on me. I was the one who talked Sam out of boarding up Hell, okay? So, every demon deal, every kill that they make, I mean, you’re looking at the person who let that happen.
Ezekiel: You were protecting your brother. I am inside Sam’s head. Everything he knows, I know. And I know that what you did, you did out of love.
Dean: Yeah, uh, look, Zeke – I’m gonna call you ‘Zeke’ – I’m not really with the whole love and, um … love.
Ezekiel: But it is why I said yes.
Dean: Yeah, and if that goes sideways, that’s on me, too.
Ezekiel: That is not going to happen.
Dean: This is nuts. I mean, you’re Sam, but you’re not Sam and normally, he’s the one I’m talking to about all this stuff. I’m trusting you, Zeke! I just gotta hope that you’re one of the good guys.
Ezekiel: I am – but I suppose that is what a bad guy would say. Dean Winchester, you are doing the right thing.

Dean [to Kevin]: If [your mother] is alive, she’s dead. In every way that matters, she’s dead. I’m sorry. I know you’re dyin’ to bolt, man. I get it. But out that door, it’s demons and it’s angels. And they would all love to get their hands on a Prophet. So, even with Crowley here, this is still the safest place for you. It just is. And we need you, man.
Kevin: ‘Cause I’m useful.
Dean: Because you’re family. After all the crap we’ve been through, after all the good that you’ve done, man, if you don’t think that we would die for you, I don’t know what to tell you. Because you, me, Sam, and Cas, we are all we’ve got. But hey, if none of that matters to you, then I won’t stop you.

Next Week: We catch up with Castiel, who is homeless, on the run from angels, and learning about sex and toothpaste.

You can watch (or download) this episode, in standard or HD definition, on Amazon.com.

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About Paula R. Stiles

Paula is not at all paranoid about government conspiracies after six years in EMS, two years in Africa for the Peace Corps, a few summers with the Park Service, and ten years studying the Knights Templar. She's seen governments in action. They couldn't cover up a toy picnic table, let alone evidence of alien visitation. Writes about science for fun, history for money, and zombies for the company. You can read her sober-as-a-judge book about Templars in medieval Spain, Templar Convivencia, on Amazon. You can find her homepage at: http://thesnowleopard.net.

Paula R. StilesColumn: Gods and Monsters: Recap and Review: Supernatural 9.02: Devil May Care