By Paula R. Stiles
Tagline: Castiel moves to open Purgatory, distracting Dean by smashing the wall inside Sam’s head.
Recap: Recap to “Carry On Wayward Son” of the previous season. If you blink, you’ll miss the fairies. Remember them? But you won’t miss Death, who gets a surprising amount of recap, considering he only guested in one episode and has been scarcely mentioned again.
Cut to Sam running down a street, fleeing from a police car. He kicks open a gate and then hides in an alley down from a place called “Castle Storage” (The place where John kept his stuff, that we see in “Sympathy for the Devil“). He finds his way into the back of a bar, where a young, dark-haired woman (Erica Cerra, looking much more fetching than in her usual role as Jo in Eureka) is closing up. He makes her very nervous and she starts to go for a baseball bat she has near the cash register. But he turns on the puppy charm and persuades her not to kick him out. When she asks him his name, he can’t remember. He has amnesia. Already, I suspect he’s having a dream and this is all going on inside his head.
Cue title cards.
The bartender gets Sam an El Sol beer (from “What Is and What Should Never Be“) and quizzes him on what he remembers…which is jack squat. He woke up on a park bench (like Dean in “In the Beginning“). Two cops were shining a flashlight in his face, so he coldcocked them and ran. The bartender thinks he’s nuts and wants to take him to the hospital, but he insists that he doesn’t have time, even though he doesn’t know why. He does, however, find an “important” clue (in case any of you were wondering if the Mythos connection would extend beyond 6.21) in the bar’s bookshelf – “The Haunter of the Dark and Other Tales” by H.P. Lovecraft. I don’t really see why a bar would have a bookshelf, but eh, forget it; he’s rolling. Sam realizes he’s a “horror fan”, right before he has a multi-flashback to last week and the Nite Owl Motel. He wakes up what seems seconds later, but (the bartender tells him) was more like a minute. He borrows her computer and looks up the Nite Owl Motel’s website.
The bartender is strangely helpful (“I’m dying to find out how this all turns out”), offering to drive, even though Sam is a complete stranger. At the motel, Sam remembers that his room is on the ground floor in the corner, near a fire escape, because it’s a “quick getaway”. As the bartender watches incredulously, he expertly jimmies the lock to the room. Inside, they find the walls covered with monster research and articles about missing persons. Nervous, the bartender picks up several IDs with various rock band aliases and Sam’s picture on them. As she finally decides she’s “freaking out”, Sam notices that one of the missing persons articles is of Dr. Visyak and is floored by another, longer flashback.
In the flashback, Sam is in an alleyway in daytime with Bobby and Dean. They’re looking for Visyak. By calling her, Bobby gets her cell phone to ring, which directs them to where Visyak is hiding behind a dumpster. She is mortally wounded, with a great deal of blood coming out of her abdomen. Both Crowley and Castiel tortured her, she says, but it was Castiel who got her to crack. She told them how to open the door to Purgatory with virgin’s blood and that of a “Purgatory native” (i.e. herself), but they won’t open it until tomorrow. The ritual has to be done during an eclipse. She dies apologizing to Bobby, but before she can tell them where Crowley and Castiel are. I notice nobody seems too fussed that she “killed” an innocent mother to get that body 75 years ago.
As Bobby is closing her eyes, Castiel appears behind Dean and Sam, saying that he’s sorry it came to this, Crowley really hurt her, blah, blah, blah. Bobby lunges at him, but the brothers hold him back. Dean tries to get through to Castiel, saying that the angel doesn’t “see how off the rails you are”. Castiel just tells him to shut up, that he doesn’t understand, and urges the three of them to go home. When Dean refuses, Castiel reassures him that he will “save Sam when this is all over, but only if you stand down,” and blows Sam’s drywall.
Sam comes back to the motel room, crawling on the floor. The bartender is worried (I like Erica Cerra, but she’s stuck with a lot of repetitive, on-the-nose dialogue mostly there for background noise). Still, at least Sam knows his name now. He doesn’t recognize either Dean or Bobby from the flashback (calling Dean a “male-model type”. Har har), but he does remember hearing Bobby’s name. He happens to have a Little Black Book where he looks Bobby up and finds his address, then finds some keys. They are to the Impala, which Sam calls “my car”. For some reason, out of the entire night’s – hell, the entire season’s – worth of giving Sam all of Dean’s greatest hits, that was the most annoying.
Outside, someone shoots out the Impala’s window, aiming at Sam. Sam pushes the bartender to the ground and looks up. It’s Sambot, smirking down at him. As he does so, Sam starts hearing echoes of the bartender asking him if he’s okay and we flip over to Dean sitting at Sam’s head in the panic room, which is now covered with angel-be-gone sigils, saying the same words (like the beginning of “All Hell Breaks Loose, Part 2“). Yep. Sam’s in a coma.
To the tune of The Rolling Stones’ “Play with Fire”, Dean is freaking out when Bobby comes in. Bobby points out that “this is exactly what Cas wants – for you to fall apart.” So, Bobby pours Dean a glass of booze to calm him down…and Dean takes it. And calms down. Man, I don’t even know where to begin with the levels of dysfunction that shows for both of these characters. But never mind, because once they get properly lubricated, they start to come up with a plan, the first order of business being to find Castiel. The world is being saved by a couple of soused drunks. Good to know.
Back in his dreamscape (sigh…again? Really?), Sam smells Dean’s whiskey and hears the music while driving down the road, but the bartender tells him he needs to “focus”. Sam is determined to find “my friends” (i.e. Dean and Bobby) and the bartender wants to go to the police. Sam reassures her that she’s safer with him. She asks how he knows that. At that moment, a bright flare of light (Dean is shining a light in Sam’s eyes to see if his pupils react) whites out Sam’s world and causes him to pull over. Suddenly, it’s daylight, but only Sam noticed the change. The bartender thinks it’s always been daylight. Curious that Sam is so greatly affected by things Dean is doing externally and annoying that Sam keeps picking out and using things normally connected to Dean. For example, when the bartender figures he’s too nuts and wants to walk off (in the middle of nowhere?), Sam persuades her to get back in the car because he senses danger. She does and he goes to the trunk, looking for something to use as a weapon. He’s startled to find it stocked the way it is supposed to be and even pulls out Dean’s pearl-handled pistol at one point. That kind of annoying.
Finally settling on a shotgun, he goes off into the woods (doesn’t everybody? Why drive off to safety?). As he does, we see Sambot hiding behind a tree. Sambot comes up behind him, pulling a gun on him. Sam turns and knocks the pistol aside, but Sambot disarms him and unloads the shotgun before throwing it away. Sambot starts monologuing about how strong and smart he is and how souls are a “liability”, blah, blah, blah. The one really crucial piece of info he has is that Sam is dreaming and his psyche has been split into pieces, with Sam being one (Pre-Hell Sam, maybe?) and Sambot being another.
Mercifully, Sam cuts this short by running. Sambot pursues him to a river, mocking him in an echo-y voice. In the middle of the pursuit, Sam mysteriously discovers he is now holding Dean’s pistol. At the river, Sambot sees Sam’s jacket as Sam is hiding and shoots him…or rather, he shoots the jacket (and a five-year-old could have seen that one coming, Sambot. Really. Mighty hunter? Don’t think so). Anyhoo, Sam shoots him from behind. As he dies, Sambot says there’s a worse one than him coming after (Oh, writers, you do love your Dickens refs for Sam, don’t you?). A bright white light bursts from dead Sambot into Sam. There can be only one! Let it be…Sam Winchester! In the real world, Dean rushes to Sam’s aid as Sam convulses, but then Sam goes limp.
Back in his dream (Man, this dream is taking forever), Sam walks back to the car and to the bartender. He tells her that he remembers who he is and the entire past year (Hmm. Letting Dean get turned into a vamp, too?), including her. She was a damsel in distress being held hostage by a Crossroad Demon. Sambot coldly shot her dead to get at the demon. In the dream, she reminds him that she kept telling him to turn back, that he would regret continuing on. Sam apologizes to her, but she says (with genuine sadness) that he’s about to be even sorrier. She then disappears.
Back in the real world, Dean is sitting by Sam’s comatose body, drinking whiskey, when Bobby comes in with Balthazar. Balthazar can only come to the door because of the “angelproofing” (on which he compliments them, referencing the “mudfish” from 6.20). Dean asks him why he waited so long and the angel answers that he was “honestly” teetering between helping and disemboweling them. He then gives them an address: 221 Piermont Ave., Bootbock, Kansas. But he won’t take them there, figuring he’s already risked himself enough (Hate to break it to you, Balthazar, but you might as well hang for the sheep as for the lamb, as you’re bound to hang, either way). He flies off and Bobby and Dean are forced to drive themselves.
Cut to Castiel, sitting morosely in Crowley’s cellar lab. Crowley enters with the blood mix of virgin and monster. He hands it to Castiel. Castiel tells him he’s “renegotiating our deal”. Uneasily, Crowley says that even he, the King of Hell, doesn’t welch on a contract like this and tries to pull rank he doesn’t have. Castiel shrugs this off, telling him he can either flee or die. Outmaneuvered, Crowley retreats, leaving Castiel alone with the jar.
Cut to a house lit with candles and stocked with sheet-covered furniture. Yeah, it’s back to Sam’s dream again, just when things were getting interesting on the outside. Sam enters with Dean’s gun loaded and ready. There’s a shadow in the kitchen, sitting at a table with a knife. Sam calls out to the man and asks who it is. The pitiful-looking and bloodied figure, standing up, seems surprised he doesn’t already know. It’s the Sam who remembers Hell.
Cut back to the panic room, where Dean and Bobby are loading up. Dean leaves Sam with his gun and a note where to go, begging him to wake up. Inside Sam’s head, Sam is talking to HellSammy, who says he shouldn’t have come. Sam says he didn’t have any choice. Since he keeps smelling “Old Spice and whiskey”, he figures he must be at Bobby’s and he has to find a way to wake himself up. HellSammy pitifully says that’s a problem since “Humpty-Dumpty has to put himself back together and I’m the last piece.” Eh, whatever. Move it along, show. Let’s wrap this storyline up.
After some back-and-forth about how Sam should turn back, hang out in his head with the bartender or find Jessica again, that he’s too weak, Sam persuades HellSammy that he’s determined to regain his Cage memories and wake up. His reasoning is that he’s not going to leave Dean alone out there. Which makes me roll my eyes a bit because that’s never seemed to bother Sam before.
Anyhoo, HellSammy helpfully hands Sam a knife to stab HellSammy to death, more white soul light comes out (By the Power of Greyskull!), and cut to a lit-up house in Bootbock, Kansas that is being guarded by angels. Inside, Castiel is sitting with the bottle of blood when Balthazar flies in. Castiel has called him there because he suspects “a Judas in our midst.” Dean has been alerted to their location by an angel and is approaching. Worried and guilty-looking, Balthazar tries to put blame on the cherub from “My Bloody Valentine” and then asks if he should take care of Dean for Castiel. Castiel (clearly lying) says he doesn’t know who the traitor is and that he’ll take care of Dean himself. Castiel then starts babbling about traitors and not knowing whom to trust, sounding pretty unbalanced. Balthazar, scared, says he’s got Castiel’s back, right before Castiel flits behind him and stabs him from behind. Balthazar dies, his light flooding Castiel. It’s unclear whether Castiel absorbs it, as he creepily says that Balthazar will always be with him, right before he stabs him.
Outside, Dean and Bobby pull up on a ridge overlooking the house, in the light of the rising full moon. Bobby says there’s no way to power their way in past a dozen angels, so they’ll have to “ninja”. This ignites some snark from Dean about Bobby’s creaky knees. Bobby suddenly tells Dean to be quiet as he hears something, a booming noise that makes a nearby puddle quake. Dean makes a Jurassic Park reference right before they turn and see the same multiple demon contrails streaming across the beginning of the lunar eclipse (I’m guessing that’s all Crowley and he doesn’t appear with an army every time, since we never see that army). Dean yells to get in the car and they do, but then the contrails flip the Impala over into a puddle, crushing it.
Inside, Castiel hears his followers being horribly killed upstairs. Crowley appears, mocking Castiel and talking about how the King of Hell has a lot of tricks Castiel doesn’t know. Castiel tries to white-light him, but it doesn’t work. It turns out that Raphael is there, too, and has teamed up with Crowley to open Purgatory. Some really nice acting here from Lanette Ware, I should add, that contributes a lot of subtext to Raphael’s dialogue-limited presence in the episode. I have no trouble believing in Raphael’s arrogance and contempt for Castiel in Ware’s scenes.
Outnumbered, Castiel tosses the bottle of blood to them and flees. They begin the ritual, Crowley reciting Latin with a heavy English accent, as the eclipse covers the moon (an astronomical goof, here – it should be dark-red not black, even at complete eclipse), while outside, Dean and Bobby wake up in the smashed Impala. They sneak in, Crowley and Raphael having made it a lot easier by taking out the guards. Figuring he has nothing to lose, Dean throws an angel sword at Raphael from behind.
Unfortunately, Raphael catches it. Crowley tumbles Bobby down some stairs then throws Dean over the bannister and onto a bloody table that appears to be holding a ritual Black Mass of some type. Then he mockingly tells them to hang on while he and Raphael finish up.
Out by the car, Sam, still suffering from Hell flashbacks, is staggering up with Dean’s gun. What I want to know is how he drove from South Dakota to Kansas in so short a time.
Back inside, Crowley completes the ritual…and nothing happens. He and Raphael look surprised, Dean and Bobby also confused. Crowley speculates that maybe he said the ritual wrong, but Castiel, appearing behind Crowley and Raphael, says that no, it went fine. They just didn’t have the right jar of blood. And his is empty. He sets it aside, casting a creepy and proud smile over at Dean, and muses at how it feels to have millions of souls inside of him. It’s clear from his body language that this is a big showcase to “prove” his love for Dean. He reminds me a bit of Christian Slater’s psychopathic boyfriend from Heathers in this scene. As he and Bobby get up, Dean looks…freaked out.
Crowley has to use small words in order to explain to Raphael what has happened – they were working with dog blood while Castiel did his own ritual with the real stuff and grabbed all the souls. To confirm this, Castiel blasts out a huge flash of light. Now Raphael is beginning to look really scared. Crowley decides it’s time to retreat and Castiel lets him go. But not Raphael. He has no use for his older brother, so he blasts Raphael in the same way Raphael and Lucifer had killed him. Even though I was looking forward to seeing Raphael get whacked, I actually felt sorry for him in this scene. Did I mention Lanette Ware’s really good acting in the role? I did? Well, it bears repeating.
Castiel now turns to Dean, saying that “I saved you.” The singular “you” is very clear. Frightened, Dean agrees, thanking him. Castiel says that Dean “doubted” and “fought against” him. Dean shakily agrees and apologizes. He tries to talk Castiel down, saying that he should return the souls to Purgatory before the eclipse ends and/or he explodes, that they “were family once”. Dean says he’s already lost Lisa, Ben and Sam (Keep in mind that’s all because of Castiel), and doesn’t want to lose Castiel, too. Castiel doesn’t think it’s necessary to return the souls. He has to go hunt down all of Raphael’s many followers now (It’s going to be a bloodbath in Heaven), so he can’t just give up the power. He’s clearly juiced up and not thinking straight, especially when he tells Dean he has no family now. Sure makes you wonder if the episode’s title refers to Sam or to Castiel, doesn’t it?
In the middle of Castiel’s rant, Sam stabs him from behind with the angel sword (Dean looks very surprised, so I don’t think he was in on it). Nothing happens. Pulling out the sword, Castiel informs Sam that while he’s happy Sam “made it”, an angel blade will no longer work on him because he’s no longer an angel. I wonder, with all those monster souls inside him, if Castiel is now a version of Eve. Which would mean that Dean’s phoenix blood is likely toxic to him.
Castiel doesn’t think of this wrinkle, though. On his new power trip, he is convinced that he is the new God and the first thing he demands is Team Free Will’s unquestioning worship, on pain of death. Now there’s irony for you.
Review: At this point, I feel like Jensen Ackles – get through this season, hope the next one doesn’t suck. It’s not that “The Man Who Knew Too Much” was terrible, because it wasn’t. Certainly, it wasn’t the utter trainwreck that “Swan Song” quickly turned into. But as a season finale, it was very “meh” and its cliffhanger was weak. In theory, Castiel getting a ton of monster souls inside of him should have been extremely scary, even as we cheered his getting one over on Crowley and Raphael. But apparently, the show couldn’t afford to show us any of that beyond a commercial-divided Bright Light (I guess that CGI of demon souls blowing in and flipping the Impala over was far more important [eyeroll]). So, instead, we got half an episode of Sam reintegrating himself while the others first dithered over him and then, thankfully, went off to save the world as best they could.
The DreamSam stuff was excruciatingly dull. As far as I could tell, Kripke seemed to mistake meaningless shout-outs to previous episodes for subtext because the bulk of these scenes was all surface. The bartender, who looked a lot like both Madison from “Heart” and Ruby 2.0, turned out to be just a random victim Sambot had murdered in the course of a hunt. The most I got out of her thankless character was that she was perhaps meant to be a dream avatar for Dean. Sometimes, we saw that when she spoke, Dean was trying to speak to Sam and wake him up. Also, Sam kept using symbols representing Dean, like the car and the gun, to anchor and “save” himself. But in the end, none of that went anywhere.
Sambot blew hard and died quickly without giving up any info on his motivations we didn’t already know (like why he chose to recruit Dean back to hunting when he did). HellSammy whined and wept without revealing anything about the Cage (except to confirm that it really was as boring as it looked). And none of this ersatz Hero’s Journey tied into the overall plot because Sam ended up about useful as a sieve in a monsoon at the end. It’s as if Kripke only learned from “Swan Song” that making Sam a deus ex machina was bad, without learning that stealing yet another classic storyline from Dean (the djinn dream) and giving it to Sam – in the middle of the season finale, no less – was equally bad if nothing tied it to the uberplot.
The writers were already working under the gun to tie together a random and lazily paced season. The priority shouldn’t have been such a minor plot (just as the Sambot/Drywall storyline had no business dominating the middle third of the season, either), especially when nothing important came of it save Sam’s improbable reintegration. Kripke said at the Paley Festival that Sam drooling in a corner wouldn’t be any fun to watch. This wasn’t any better.
Saying this season’s plot was solidly written would be like watching your drunk friend jerk around the dance floor at a rave, screaming, while trying to get a spider out of the back of her shirt, and calling it “interpretive dance”. It promised many things and delivered on few. Mark Sheppard has been quoted as saying that we would know everything we needed to know about season six by the end of this finale. Well…I don’t. I still want to know who killed H.P. Lovecraft and his friends, what kind of monster Dr. Visyak was, what the hell was going on with the fairies (and is that a whole new realm altogether?), the whole point of Dean getting vamped and having his vision, why Sam and Samuel came and dragged Dean back out onto the road when everyone (including Castiel) except Crowley wanted him to stay retired, where’s Death in all of this, what the relation of angels using souls for power is to humans being vessels, and so on. There are still a lot of unanswered questions and they’re pretty major ones.
I also had a hard time buying Castiel’s sudden-yet-inevitable betrayal of Team Free Will and conversion into the Big Bad. Talk about a rushed storyline. Nor am I on board with some of the fan justifications going round for Castiel’s actions, that he’s not really the Big Bad just because we were rooting for him to double-cross Crowley and Raphael, and it’s all somehow Dean’s fault (Wouldn’t that make Dean the Big Bad? Doesn’t that sound a bit silly?). I’m pretty sure that if you’re summarily executing your best angel friend and your big brother, torturing to death a friendly monster who used to date one of your human friends, hanging out with (and double-crossing) a demon who tormented the human you love more than anything, wrecking that human’s brother’s mind, and demanding obedience from everyone, you’ve become the new Big Bad.
Yes, it seemed obvious they were going there after “The Man Who Would Be King” and even as far back as “My Heart Will Go On“, but it required a whole lot of contortion of Castiel’s personality and actions to make that happen. It just didn’t work. And the main two reasons it didn’t work (at least for me) were that Castiel wasn’t on screen enough of the season for us to see his transformation and because we had already been seeing another character go dark all season – Dean Winchester. The season played up hard Dean’s alcoholism and drug abuse, OCD behaviour, ragged temper, savagery (especially toward the demon hosts in “Let It Bleed“), and increasing paranoia and isolation from the rest of the universe. This went nowhere. Instead, we got Dean as the inadvertent femme fatale, being “punished” by the corrupted detective protag for his duplicity and betrayal. Except that Castiel wasn’t any more the protagonist of the season than Bobby was, since he was in even less of the season than Bobby was. And Sam wasn’t even around for half of the season. As for Balthazar, he had potential and I like Sebastian Roche, but the writers kept inserting him into episodes where he simply didn’t belong. That only left Dean, who should have been the “intrepid detective”, not the femme fatale.
In fact, a major problem with both seasons six and five has been that the writers keep pushing the brothers off to the side of the story. Look, guys, you don’t have the budget to do a show with angel protagonists and anyway, Sam and Dean are more fun. So, stop sidelining them and make it their story again. That way, it’s more satisfying and you can show more on the budget you’ve got. Speaking of which, I have a feeling part of the problem is that the writers are piddling out a storyline in anticipation of going another five seasons. Just write as if it’s the last one and if you get a renewal, keep going.
Also, the Lovecraft stuff, which obviously was intended to be central to the plot, due to all the references to “Haunter of the Dark” in particular (and may well be setup for next season), remained unresolved. We never found out what got out of Purgatory that killed Lovecraft and his friends. And it was unclear whether Castiel was completely Castiel at the end when he was claiming to be “God”. He sounded a lot more like the Black Pharaoh Nyarlathotep to me. But where was the Shining Trapezohedron?
I hope for a few things next season, to raise the quality once more out of Ed Wood B-Movie Land. Here are my suggestions. Take ’em or leave ’em or use ’em for mental toilet paper:
1. Suck it up, writers, and make Dean the protagonist of the uberplot for at least the next season. For real. There are some good reasons for this. First, Dean and Jensen Ackles are both popular with the fandom and the show needs to exploit that resource more effectively than it has until now. Second, and most importantly, Dean has a huge amount of story potential, due to storylines of his that have been built up and dropped over the years. He is a character loaded with secrets and mysteries, all of them plot-generative, from why his eyes bled in “Bloody Mary”, to how he got a faceful of dying seraph in “Point of No Return” and was unharmed, to his amulet, to why Death is even remotely interested in his paramecium life and times. Of any character left on the show, his is the most fertile in terms of story.
By this, I do not mean drowning Dean in angst. One of the biggest problems the writers make of him is that they leave him in story hell and don’t give him any way out.
2. Stop making Sam the showrunners’ alter ego. For one, this has always resulted in Sam being forced on the audience as the showrunners’ Special Snowflake Gary Stu and halting his normal character growth. Which annoys the hell out of some of the audience. For another, Sam’s main plot finished last season (and was already looking pretty worn by then). What remains ahead for Sam is redemption. Unfortunately, the writers of this show have demonstrated that they can’t resist the pull of making Sam a Gary Stu whenever he is front and centre in the plot, and I’m sorry, but that’s boring as hell. So, giving Sam a storyline of redemption, where he is struggling with being second banana to Dean and trying to learn, for real, to put Dean’s needs first, is really the only way to do it. Having Sam be about other people while still abusing Dean would only be a huge step back. Been there, done that.
3. Give these guys some peace. And some hope. Mo Ryan is right – it’s getting way too dark and depressing on this show. Granted, most horror shows start to implode with the tragedy of it all around season two, but that doesn’t let Supernatural off the hook. There’s gotta be a rainbow somewhere, guys. Give those crazy kids something to fight for. Something real.
4. Stop killing off recurring characters for a while. Killing off characters for shock value is juvenile writing. It’s not bold; it’s lazy. It lets you off the hook from actually developing those characters. Let some of them live so that we can broaden out the SPNverse (and knock it off with the woman-fridging). Sam and Dean can still be important and central to the story while the story includes other characters. While I didn’t love the way Bobby’s hunt in 6.21 was shoehorned into a jumbled box of other undercooked plots, I did like the idea. And I also liked “Weekend at Bobby’s“. It is also possible to have Sam and Dean be protagonists in the storyline, but use the side characters to expand the world – like the Hellhounds/Ghostfacers, Missouri and Pam to represent psychics, the Roadhouse, other hunters (though the show really needs to start raising the average hunter’s IQ), Lisa and Ben, Bela’s trade in magical items, and so on. While some of those storylines suffered greatly from authorial sabotage, the idea of using other perspectives on this world (and the brothers) remains sound.
5. Upgrade the brothers a little. While I’m not hot to see Sam’s demon blood plot ever again, it seems ridiculous to have the brothers constantly outgunned by much more powerful supernatural foes. Come on. At least give them some more powerful knowledge to use, like that Campbell library. Or continue some of the storylines involving powers and skills Dean has had – for longer than an episode. Do something more, say, with the fairies and Dean being able to see them. Which leads us to…
6. Figure out what the show’s attitude toward powers (especially superpowers) really is. The writers can’t decide if they love the powers or hate the powers. Take a stand on it. One week, powers are bad and inherently corrupting. The next week, some dipwad demon is mocking the brothers for not having any powers and the story seems to support the demon. It’s past time the showrunners stopped portraying their two protagonists (who are powerful and intelligent in their own right) as weak and stupid to build up whatever new supernatural guest star is acting as a misguided Authorial Insert for out-of-character, badly written snark this week. Stop channeling your Inner Smartass and focus on writing characters that are what they need to be for the story.
7. And finally, experimenting with styles and genres is great. Comedy is also great. Meta is friggin annoying. Knock it off. By all means, bring back the Ghostfacers, do a Hammer Horror sequel to “Monster Movie“, spoof Scream 4. But please stop with the “wink-wink, nudge-nudge at the audience” crap. We already know it’s a TV show. We’re not stupid. Stop writing as if we are.
Bobby: Oh, El, what did they do to you?
Dr. Visyak: Everything. The demon I coulda handled, but when the angel stepped in, I…I told ’em, Bobby.
Sam [remembering]: I was with two guys. One was a male-model type and the other was an older guy named “Bobby”.
Sambot [to Sam]: You think I’m bad? Wait ’til you meet the other one.
Balthazar: Well, at least you mudfish finally got the angelproofing right. [to Dean] How’s Sleeping Beauty? You didn’t steal any kisses, did you?
Crowley: Have you forgotten that you’re the bottom in this relationship?
Castiel: Here are your options: you either flee or you die.
Crowley: We made a pact. Even I don’t break contracts like this.
Castiel: Flee. Or die.
Raphael [to Castiel]: If anyone’s going to be the new God, it’s me.
Castiel: You can’t imagine what it’s like. They’re all inside me. Millions upon millions of souls.
Dean [to Castiel]: Listen to me. Listen. I know there’s a lot of bad water under the bridge, but we were family once. I’d’ve died for you. I almost did a few times. So, if that means anything to you…please. I’ve lost Lisa and I’ve lost Ben. And now I’ve lost Sam. Don’t make me lose you, too.
Castiel [to Dean, Sam and Bobby]: I’m your new God – a better one. So, you will bow down and profess your love unto me, your Lord. Or I shall destroy you.
Next week: Bloody Mary: As we hove into the summer hellatus, let’s jump in the Wayback Machine to season one and check out a case where the brothers encounter an evil ghost who lurks in mirrors and kills people.
You can watch (or download) this episode, in standard or HD definition, on Amazon.com.