Back from the break and down to demon hijinks and mark of Cain business. Supernatural returns with an in depth look at Dean’s continued digression into something potentially worse than a demon. Crowley’s mother, Rowena hatches a plan to secure her place with her son and Castiel once more tries to offer Claire a chance to have a sense of fatherly care in her life. Disjointed and angry over the deaths of her “family” she leaves Castiel and meets with a pair of misfits who offer to kill Dean after what she’s been through because of him.
The meat and potatoes of “The Hunter Games” deals with a returning Metatron who Castiel borrows for the sake of finding out how to remove the mark of Cain from Dean’s arm. Metatron goads the Winchesters but offers up a breadcrumb by explaining the need to have the first blade back. Sam and Dean convince Crowley to find the dagger but not before Rowena initiates an personal agenda and has the dagger stolen with a plan to unhinge Crowley against his own kind.
Parts of this episode worked rather well and for once I thought Metatron’s role was useful and not too over the top. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Dean act in the interrogator/torturer role, only this time he’s holding himself back rather than forcing himself to do unquestionable things. Did Metatron truly believe he could bargain his way into a luxurious escape, or something worse? There are sprinkled clues about what removing the mark of Cain will entail, the dagger being the most important ingredient. Sadly, Dean forces Castiel’s hand and the latter returns the scribe back to Heaven, who forsakes the Winchesters denying them any help in the future. It wasn’t an unexpected result, but it did show Metatron had some moxie left in the tank. For a split second I was convinced we’d see the last of Metatron and Dean’s one and only chance to remove the mark would be a memory. With Metatron alive, it satisfies the possibility that we’ll see him again for this distinct portion of the season’s arc.
On the other side of this episode’s coin is the growing machinations of Rowena and her quest to use Crowley for her own means. She plays at heartstrings and dabbles in necessary fortitude regarding the choices she made centuries ago before engaging in superior witchcraft. When such efforts fail, she resorts to scheming and use nearby demons to cast doubt in the company Crowley keeps. She’s resourceful and cunning, and to be honest, I’m a bit disappointed that Crowley is falling for these acts. Not to say he isn’t acting accordingly. He has bits and humanity stored and seeping through on certain occasions ever since his demon aspect was almost absolved back in the day. Their banter is lively and a much better mix than having Crowley attend to boring henchmen and demons who have nothing to offer the scene. Unfortunately, we’re still not given the grand scope of Rowena’s design, and in truth, she could be making it up and she goes because there’s escaping, then there’s convincing the king of Hell to let the mom rule by his side. That kind of power is seductive to say the least.
Our third subplot returns Claire and Castiel to the fold and it was the weakest segment of the episode. While I’m glad there was resolution between the two at the end, It took two episodes to manufacture it and that was one episode too many. Adding the last bit with the pair of friends helping Claire by attempting to dispatch Dean had me raising an eyebrow as to why this was even brought up as a climax. On paper it makes sense that Dean can’t control his urges and only by truly listening to Sam’s advice that he find the power to abstain from killing those who would try and kill him, humans of course. The delivery was very poor, though and only served to show us that he can stave off the craving for now, but in the future it won’t work. Claire’s cold feet in the end only served to show that she’s super confused as a character and was right to leave Castiel again, only this time with an obligatory better sense at wandering the Earth. I’m suggesting we don’t hear from her again, because a worried fatherly Castiel is a less funny Castiel. Even his attempt at humor with the texting comment came off as a bad rub.
Watching Metatron handle his torture and shun the Winchesters was a deserving moment. He tried to play the cards in his favor and it backfired horribly which was what I wanted to see. I could see a scenario play out where he becomes the desperate entity and attempts to earn favor with the brothers by furthering their quest to rid the mark from Dean. It’s possible, but small doses of Metatron work better than dealing with him as an arc villain.
Dean continues to capitalize this season with stern glares and a sure sense of impending doom to himself and his family. He’s not quite resigned to his fate and there’s good struggle he’s showing between becoming the beastly killer and staying the sure-footed human that Sam needs in his life. There’s a big shadow he’s casting and he’s using it well so far. It’s hard to predict if and when he’ll lose all the marbles he has left, but so far it’s been interesting to watch him revert as he tends to do.
LONG TERM THOUGHTS
Is Crowley’s bones really in Guam? Seems like an odd place to store them.
I wonder if the full force of the mark is something akin to becoming a soulless destroyer, someone who no longer feels but must fill acts of death to maintain existence. As a demon, Dean savored his vices and performed vicious acts as they were unavoidably presented. When dealing with mark related problems, his attitude is much more stone-faced and vicious at the core of it, rather than the pleasure of inflicting pain. As least as a demon his soul is corrupt but functional, as a subject of this mark, it could be dissolving it completely.
Do Sam and Dean continue the quest to remove the mark or do they deal with it and move on to more episodic storylines? Considering we haven’t even hit the halfway point of the season, my guess is more episodic plots are coming.
Crowley needs to get out of that dump he keeps hanging around in. All this talk about changing Hell and we still haven’t really received a good glimpse of its condition.
Rowena is starting to grow on me as a despicable character. For now let’s hold off on any redeeming qualities and stick to the sheer buffoonery that is her anti-motherly attitude.
6 out of 10. While pursuing a necessary piece of Dean’s main problem at hand, there was literally no development of it behind a short term belief that he can handle the mark’s power by simply believing in himself. It postpones the inevitable and allows the brothers to gallivant around in more one-off’s that are sure to include some well deserved comedy themes. Had Metatron given the brothers a full list of what to do or grab, the next series of episodes would be focused on that and that alone and the show isn’t clearly ready for that next step. Maybe towards the final arc, but in all fairness I still don’t know what is supposed to happen this season. Is the mark the main plot or are the demons still the main enemy? The brothers no longer are trying to close Hell and Metatron isn’t breaking out any time soon to repeat last season’s angel debacle. There needs to be a strong focus on what this season is meant to be and it needs to happen soon. They could have capitalized on a season long arc with Dean as the demonic bad guy, but that’d be pushing too outside their comfort zone. We’ll.
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