If Supernatural keeps this up, season 10 will be a contender for the best season in the last 5…eh, who am I kidding, I’ve enjoyed this season more than 6-9 combined. But we’re not here to talk about the season as a whole, yet. Tonight’s episode, “Book of the Damned” repurposes a few of our supporting characters and introduces the Winchesters to a new force that are associated with this reality’s basic version of the Book of the Dead. With enough dated pop-culture references, a snazzy soundtrack, and a compelling plot, there’s enough grace to keep this franchising going for another millennium and a half, easy.
The meat of the plot deals mainly with Charlie escaping a man and his henchmen who represent the Stein family, an old bloodline who are looking to reclaim an old book bound in flesh and written in blood that contains the oldest spells and how to undo them, including the mark of Cain. She meets with the brothers as they try to decrypt its contents. Meanwhile, Metatron lures Castiel to a library where he uses his blood to subdue him long enough to uncover a demon tablet and escape, but not before Castiel finds his grace and becomes a full angel once more. Jacob, the villain of this episode tracks Charlie and Dean to the cabin where a battle of bullets and knives ensue. under Dean’s orders, Sam “burns” the book to keep it from corrupting Dean any further only it was a ruse and Sam takes it to Rowena with plans to convince her to remove the mark from Dean.
First and foremost, props for continuing Charlie on this much more gritty and serious path. Giving her a small sword probably works better than a gun and she seems to be able to take care of herself better than the demure, hacker-type of previous seasons. It’s showing character change and development beyond her socially accepted nerd-cliché’s. This really occurred last episode and I’m starting to realize more and more how well the dual persona metaphor worked in her favor. My only nitpick is that her constant use of the word “bitches” as a greeting and send off just doesn’t roll right for me. Maybe I watched too much Breaking Bad. Other than that, she’s doing great.
One of the absolute greatest things they did this time around was have Sam and Dean actually discuss their seasonal issues when it comes to what Dean did to save Sam back in season 8 and how it’s affected him since then. For Sam, this was the start of a natural catharsis he really needs. Every time he stammers at Dean’s negligence at accepting what’s in front of him or when Dean keeps something from him, it impacts him more and more. We know he can’t hunt without his brother, he’s tried, but at least now he admitted it in a way that for him, it’s eye opening. Good conversational topics.
Even though it elevates the stature of witches, spells, and the use of that kind of power, I think attributing the mark as a curse deflates the mystique a bit. Witches are not directly associated with the demon and angel war and yet, somehow the near root of spells is now trumping the aspect of the demon as a whole. I suppose something was going to tie everything together eventually on this show, I just wasn’t expecting it to be on this caliber. We’ve already done the mythical mother of all creatures back in season 6 and that worked out so well in the long run. This ties into Rowena who is prepared to assist Sam for a price. We all know this is going to do some serious biting in the keester for him and her for certain.
Metatron attaining a demon tablet means he’s still in a position to make plays. I disagree with this direction. Metatron was never more annoying than he was with this episode and it’s the only gripe I have with it. He’s more than served his purpose and unless he has some monumental part to play in this witch plot, he needs to be taken out of the equation. Another demon tablet raises a few questions, but for now I’ll settle with keeping him out of the picture until absolutely necessary.
The last two scenes. A great song was played showcasing the brothers enjoying an evening that Sam helped preserve because he needs his brother to feel some sense of victory as they’re definitely overdue for some. It’s not often we get the familial montage of characters laughing and enjoying their food and company. Most times its Sam and Dean in the car lamenting the foreboding and the storms to come while either conversing or not conversing about their current aches and worries. Tonight it was different and vastly inviting. Plus Sam’s engagement with Rowena which was a super plus considering that book was too important to be destroyed in just one episode. It’s crucial and there’s more to unearth on its power and link to this Stein family that’s existed for the ages.
Tonight, Sam takes the reigns. He needed that scene with Charlie more Dean needed his moment to digest his situation. Sam hasn’t had a lot of opportunity to really sink his feelings into the situation and talking with Charlie helped remind him why the last year has been so taxing and evasive for him. He’s confronting the harsh truth about his reality and finally caved in, vocally about what really drives him and how much it’s vital that Dean become normal again. He needs to open more and not rely on creased eyebrows and head tilts when something bothers him.
LONG TERM THOUGHTS
The Stein family introduction wasn’t all that impressive but at least it’s something new and not treading on old plots. I don’t know why but I get the sense Jacob and his family were going to be some sort of plot thread on the spin-off that thankfully got cancelled.
I can’t imagine Rowena doing anything remotely trustworthy with this temporary alliance with Sam. Not to mention, how did he get a hold of her at all? Maybe Castiel helped, doubt it though.
How will this intact demon tablet play a part in the final arc of the season? Metatron has an ace up his sleeve, but what it he going to do with it? Does it include the way to close hell for good? Or will he use it to ruin or usurp heaven once again? I hope not the latter.
Is Castiel fully healed at this point. Having his own grace back means he’s back to being a potential force but is it just another piece of borrowed time and what will he do after hearing Metatron’s haunting message about his purpose beyond hunting rogue angels?
8 out of 10. Almost a 9 but Metatron was really bad this time around. Charlie was reenergized and the rest of the episode worked out to the season’s benefit. Good tunes, and great dialogue were had while interjecting another piece of history into the mix. A book is the key to taking the curse away and I’m rolling with this development for now even though I disagree with how this makes the mark of Cain look as an entity. The origin of spells and witchcraft could lead to some Lilith character showing up, but since we’ve already had a Lilith demon and an Eve caricature show up, I can’t imagine anyone knew and older than demons and man being called anything of old. Still, this show isn’t slowing down and that’s fantastic. Keep up the good work, fellas.
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