To create a grand presentation, one needs a foreboding musical theme that increases its ominous style, a few glorious camera power shots, and a few dedicated characters representing their polar opposites or their mirror-like qualities. Tonight’s Supernatural killed it in one of the best episodes this season as the arc of Cain comes to a head.
Cain is finally returning to old roots but tries to justify his need to kill by eliminating those of his bloodline, whether guilty of innocent of murder. The brothers track him down and with the help of Cass and Crowley, Dean fights the oldest demon and is forced to kill him, but not before being told that eventually Dean will kill everyone closest to him ending with Sam. Finally the heart of the matter is recognized and pushed to the surface. Dean holds his own but Sam suspects that Dean is suffering now more than ever. And in the midst of a derailed plan to kill the leader of the grand coven, Rowena leaves Crowley, confessing a boatload of disappointment over what Crowley has done with his position as the king of hell and how he’s treated by the Winchesters.
From the start of the opening, everything worked. It was a little different than the typical murder of an unknown element in the middle of a low-populated town. Cain returns and satisfies his need by killing a deathrow inmate. I mention the music being important earlier and you can tell that something prominent is brewing even as the scene takes place. The music played a large role in the formation of this episode and I appreciate the effort the composer took to make this plot feel enhanced and relevant.
The comedy was practically nil except for Rowena’s performance at the beginning as she continues her machination with controlling Crowley. As the two finally drop the curtain on their acts, he agrees to help his mother dispatch the leader of the grand coven. I knew this threat would eventually take a back seat to the Cain arc, but I’m still interested to see where it goes. Though it’s hard to tell where Rowena’s lies start and stop, but she manages to remain integral and interesting rather than a bothersome nuisance that sometimes Crowley sees her as. And I agreed with everything she said at the end. Crowley has squandered his role as the king of hell and hasn’t brought anything new to the table except a bored ruler’s attempt at the day to day duties of demon-kind. There are ways to make hell interesting and it’s been weak as of late.
The crux of the episode is the fight between Dean and Cain. It was very well handled and not overtly brutish. There was a lot to juggle in a short amount of time, enough that Cain and his aikido had to continually subdue Dean and explain what the mark will eventually do to him. In the end, Dean cuts Cain’s hand off with a knife and summarily executes him via the first blade by way of a gladiator’s honorable death. At least that’s how it was usually done back in the day. We didn’t see Dean lose it or succumb to darker emotions, but he still felt the pain of knowing if Cain could no longer fight against his own nature, how could Dean possibly do it. Well that’s easy, it’s called “Main Character Syndrome.” But it doesn’t always work like we think it does. What’s fascinating was how detailed Cain spoke of Dean’s eventual end. He says Dean will kill in the order of Crowley, Castiel, then Sam and explores how each death will affect Dean almost in a precognative state. Now while I doubt any of those three deaths will occur, I have to say I actually believed it for a moment and still wonder in the back of my mind if Crowley will in fact be the first to go.
This show is nothing if not critical with who remains as a supporting character and Crowley has become a mainstay and a temporary ally at best. If Rowena’s summary of Crowley’s performance as of late has any resonance, than we can expect to see Crowley become a thorn in the side of the Winchester’s once more just to prove a point. I however hope that Crowley thinks on a much bigger scale and tries to restart some new apocalypse. That’s not his style, but Crowley needs to go big or go home at this point. That would at least escalate Dean’s prophecy that Crowley will die first. Then we can handle Castiel and Sam later. Now I don’t want to see Crowley die, but at the expense of keeping the show on its toes, it may be a necessary pivotal moment that the show needs.
The big fight was definitely the highlight. While there were plenty of well shot scenes, such as Castiel finding Cain at the burial site, and the intro to the episode, I liked how Dean and Cain handled their final confrontation. There was a lot of desperation in Dean’s voice and his cry at the final blow was one of regret and sorrow than any battle cry one may elicit in such a heated moment. It was a fine cap to the scene and I enjoyed it a lot.
I’m giving this to Cain. He motivated every character to do what they had to do and had a presence about him that was far improved since his appearance last season. I wondered if there would be a moment where Cain would try and fight his need, but he didn’t at all and accepted that role. It was also bittersweet and Cain really didn’t know anything about a cure, which means Metatron is the only one left who can shed any light on the subject. In any case, Cain proved to be a valiant villain and went down swinging, much as Dean would have done.
LONG TERM THOUGHTS
Will Rowena try to eliminate the grand coven leader herself, or will Crowley do it for her? Will this even involve Sam and Dean? I expect it’ll have to, but I’m not sure how evil this grand coven really is.
Demons should know better that when they get interrogated, they’re going to die regardless if they spill their information or not.
Lucifer is mentioned and every fan wonders if he’ll make an appearance again. Sadly, I doubt it.
There really hasn’t been a Sam-centric episode as of yet this season. I’m wondering if they simply don’t have a place to put one or if they’re waiting because they have something in store for us. Either way, the brothers need to share a little main character spots.
Just a little odd that Cain’s knife was able to detach his own hand. I suppose any knife could do the job, but I would have thought Cain was a little more durable than that and it was never explained if Cain’s knife had any special power to it or if it was just a normal large knife.
Very good episode. I was captivated for almost all of it except for the little scene with the crossroad’s demon getting his own end based on Rowena’s suggestion. That didn’t add anything to the episode but the rest was superb. Huge 8 out of 10. For now, SN will be taking a bit of a break but I’m sure once it comes back there will be a flurry of final episodes that will continue to tackle Dean’s urge to control the mark and more on how he might be cured of it. I expect Metatron to be tasked once more with revealing that cure and perhaps one of our main four will be permanently put to rest. Not counting on it, but you never know.
No more words