A Sashurai’s Review: Supernatural – Season 9×17 (Harsh punishment for any who complain about repeat meatloaf night)

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Abaddon’s possession of Josie is explained as Sam investigates a series of murders and attacks by a random group of residents in Milton, Illinois. Meanwhile, Crowley manipulates Dean into giving into his quest with hunting Abaddon regardless of the consequences. Sam discovers through an older woman, Julia, that in 1958, Henry and Josie investigated a church filled with demons and encountered Abaddon who knocks Henry out and plans to take him over. Josie offers herself instead and Abaddon possesses her with plans to study the Men of Letters group. In the present, Sam searches the old church and finds a demon who was instructed by Abaddon to steal souls and transform them into demons that will be loyal to Abaddon when she decides to take over Hell. Sam stops the demon and returns the souls to their human bodies. Afterwards, he returns to Dean and admits that they need to find Abaddon as soon as possible.

To begin, this was a very well rounded episode. This time, it was Dean’s turn to shy away from explanation and fear, even giving into more drink than usual. It makes sense that he’s entirely too hesitant to tell Sam what he’s going through, which spells an obvious disaster segment soon to follow. Crowley plays to his strengths and subtlety sways Dean to a stronger cause to find and kill Abaddon. The structure hear is that Crowley wants Dean to embrace what the mark of Cain is doing to him. It will make it easier for Dean to do what he needs to do, and with consequences not an issue, it stands to reason that Sam will be very caught in the middle of this mental struggle soon enough.

It seems that Crowley is making sure he has a sure bet with Dean as his only true weapon against Abaddon and her quietly growing army. I didn’t think Crowley’s “embracing” his addiction line was very useful. Since we didn’t see Crowley reaction, we have no way of knowing if he’s really playing it cool or if he’s really still suffering inside. One would think if he keeps injecting human blood into his body he’ll eventually begin to change, but that doesn’t seem to be the long term goal here. Maybe Crowley is doing less evil things, but his mannerisms and attitude suggest he’s the same old Crowley. Perhaps a selfless act is in order to show us what’s really happening to him.

It was good to see Sam on his own battling the case. He’s still proving to be resourceful, inquisitive, and clever especially with the phone carrying a chant to expel the demon. Although, I swear the chant changes all the time, both in words and length. It brings up an interesting subject on how human vocals play a part in the expulsion of demons. If all it takes is a recording of the incantation, there could be smarter ways to combat demons without relying on their own vocals to perform it. How close does the demon need to be to be affected by the words? Can Sam and Dean simply play the incantation over a bunch of radio broadcasts or TV news channels and expel demons that way? Or was this simply a one off situation?

Josie and Henry’s moments leading up to Abaddon’s slaughter of the Men of Letters was insightful. It showed us Josie’s human side before being taken over and even a bit of sadness with finding out that Henry wasn’t “in love” with her. All of Henry’s hope for the future will be crushed and we all know it and can do nothing except accept the inevitable. Will there be a chance to return Josie to normal if Abaddon is stopped? I’m not counting on it, but it would be interesting to see another character out of time returned.

Also a nice throwback to Sam’s soulless state back in season six. After nine seasons, those brothers have experienced a few mountains of chaotic events including a run with soulless Sam. Random flashback, or strategically placed reminder?

As far as supporting characters go for singular episode arcs, Julia was a bit of a tragic person. Fear and shame can have a lasting effect on a person and in her case there was little she could do on the matter even after the situation was resolved. It goes to show that even if characters survive, they may continue to suffer from their choices that haunt them.

Overall, it was an enjoyable episode. Dean’s slippage and reminder of Magnus saying he’ll begin to like what using the blade did to him will only grow exponentially leaving Sam an unwilling target. Crowley’s addiction is left ambiguous, but I’m hoping there’s still room to showcase a positive change in his behavior. Maybe we’ve been seeing it all this time and don’t fully understand it. Sam is showing that he understands the need to destroy Abaddon which leaves their situation a bit more enlightened. Will they actively search the other factories to stop Abaddon’s minions from creating her army? There’s been little development with the angel-plot, which I imagine is time to reinsert into the big picture. In a way Castiel and Crowley are physical representation of Dean’s angel and devil on the shoulders. Both trying to convince him with what he should do. I realize Cas hasn’t made much of an impact in that regard, but I think there’s fragments of that concept floating about. Bit of a break coming up, so we’ll return on April 15th. Two more episodes until “Tribes”.

 

No more words

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