A Sashurai’s Review: Supernatural – Season 10×23 (I am become Darkness, eater of Death)

SN 10x23

Symmetry is a powerful tool when relating opposite events and in cases like these, the potential armageddon or apocalypse. Back in season 5, It was Sam, under the control of Lucifer who pounded and beat Dean, the last person that could stave the end of the world. Now, in season 10, it is Dean who is beating Sam in the effort to save the world from ending, yet the emotions play out in similar fashion. Under brilliant moments, the tale as a whole has the weight, but the sheer speed it took us to get to this season’s cliffhanger sacrificed some of the necessary impact on the second half by bloating the first half with a rather redundant plot.

What stylistically worked was the rigid and crumbling personality of Dean throughout the start of the episode. His hungover awakening sold the status of his decaying mold, yet later on he’s relatively calm as a cucumber except when it came to having any feelings toward anyone at all. While I don’t feel this was an accurate picture of the mark of Cain mythos, he was fairly consistent with the attitude he was showing and even if it weren’t for the mark, Dean would probably say a few of the same things in regards to the vampire murder. As a whole, there were times I applauded the depth of field certain characters showed including a very frustrated Sam, but the shocker moments and overall reveal of the next big evil fell very flat in my view.

After Dean recovers from solitude and drinking, he attempts to solve a vampire murder case that also involves a kidnapping. Sam renegotiates with Rowena and has Castiel fend for the unique ingredients needed to remove the mark from Dean. Castiel engages Crowley for help and he uncharacteristically agrees when he learns the third ingredient is someone the spell castor loves. Crowley finds and brings Oscar, an immortal who’s family once helped and cared for Rowena hundreds of years ago. After the unfortunate death of a fellow hunter, Dean saves the kidnapped girl but decides he’s finished with the mark’s hold. He summons Death and wants to be killed, but Death explains that Dean can’t die and the mark is a lock keeping an ancient primordial evil called “The Darkness” at bay. Realizing what’s at stake, he calls Sam and the two meet. Dean reveals that he intends to live forever in solitude with the mark but has to kill Sam because his brother will never stop at getting rid of the mark. The two fight and Sam finally gives in, giving Dean his family pictures to remember and hopefully return to good someday. Dean, unable to kill Sam, slews Death with the reaper’s scythe and seemingly kills Death. Meanwhile, Rowena completes the spell even after sacrificing Oscar the immortal she loved. The spell works and Dean’s mark is removed. Rowena then departs with the book and codecs as she casts a spell that puts Castiel in a murderous frenzy as he tries to eliminate Crowley. In the final scene, spears of light strike around Sam and Dean’s location and furious pillars of smoke emerge all converging into a huge wave of smoke that engulfs the Impala with Sam and Dean in it.

I’ll have to pepper the good with the bad in this episode as it felt far from perfect, but had very much the potential to be exceedingly epic. Dean’s spiral started off great, but then it reverted back into sarcastic careless Dean who resembled more of his demon visage than that of a hungry killer. There seemed to be some inconsistency with the demon aspect and being immortal as Death told Dean he couldn’t die. From my perspective earlier on, it was established that if Dean died he’d revert to demon Dean again, or possibly that was the perception but only Death knew the absolute truth. In any case, Dean was mostly in control of his persona but lacked the empathy to save Rudy which was one of his tipping points in summoning Death.

And then there was Death. In the grand scheme of pure awesome characters, Death was the pinnacle of suave and sincere. Yet, in his final scenes, this was a very different Death as he spoke of a war that predated the physical universe. He had urgency in his mannerisms and in the end, he handed Dean the one weapon that could effectively kill him. And Dean slew Death, reaper of souls. This just doesn’t add up in any real way. I get the idea that Death’s weapon can kill him, but it was literally brought on screen two minutes before it was used, so the impact there was barely resonating. Not to mention, actually killing Death was positively the worst thing to do. If it weren’t for Death saying he could kill Sam if Dean didn’t, I doubt Dean would have specifically cut into Death. Now they have nobody to explain what The Darkness is and what it will manifest into, even though it’s fairly obvious they are the primordial demons before humans became them. I don’t want to believe that this was Death’s final episode, but I get that they need to sell the validity of these new villains, yet why take out Death in this matter. In his first episode he had a presence that told the watcher, he was forever and beyond the realm of Earth and God. Now he gets eliminated as easy as this? And what’s the repercussion of losing Death to Death? It just felt entirely too off.

Rowena did her best to sell the idea that she loved the child that grew into Seth/Oscar but it was very difficult to buy into. If anything, it seemed like she was faking the emotion just to throw Crowley off, yet she did the deed and performed the spell as intended. Which also begged the question, did she immediately do another spell to free herself and why didn’t she just do that to begin with? She might have even been able to save Oscar with other potent spells now that she’s rooted in the book’s power. The good news is she’s still around to be a threat and it’s the smart move to have her continue on the show. Crowley was also rather indifferent after his revelation from Sam’s inability to kill him. This didn’t feel like the Crowley that was ready to revel in the demonic role he was born for. Instead Crowley played the docile sarcastic wit he’s always been and not a darker shade of himself from evil’s past.

It was almost comical that they introduced a hunter we barely heard about then killed him like that would in some way matter as much or more than Charlie’s death. What would have had more impact was if that was Garth on the receiving end, but since Garth is happy as a werewolf, that wouldn’t have translated as well here. The vampire subplot really did take precious time away from the finale at hand, and I would have easily traded those minutes for more screen time with Death or an extra few dozen punches from Dean to Sam just to sell the importance of the scene like they did in season 05.

And finally, there’s The Darkness itself. I read Top Cow’s “The Darkness” so it’s very amusing to see this entity(s) get introduced with the same basic background and lineage. While I’m interested in the shape these Darklings will be taking, I also feel this came dangerously close repeating the start of season 7 when the Leviathans were introduced. It borders on paralleling so much in fact that I’m just hoping The Darkness characters don’t wear suits and work on fattening humanity up to eat them. If The Darkness was a powerful force that the archangels couldn’t really stop, they should be able to make Earth a pin cushion in no time. Too bad there are no archangels left. If only Gabriel’s cameo was really him before.

FAVORITE MOMENT

Everything with Death up until that strange kill scene. Though off, he still had the presence he’s known for. His love of certain foods followed him which is an endearing trait, but most of all, he was the oldest character retelling events that essentially shaped time and space itself. Any character that gets to reminisce on such things has to command the screen when they’re there, and he did so brilliantly, even if it did kind of shadow the aspect of the Death persona into a character that actually cared that something beyond Death was locked away for fear of what they would unleash in the universe.

CHARACTER MVP

Go Sam Winchester. He showed some heart tonight and delivered a clutch performance from beginning to end. His snippet with training a gun on Rowena was somewhat lackluster, but his performance outside of that was golden all around. His words to Dean were nearly as poetic and striking as Dean’s were to Sam when Lucifer nearly beat him to death. There were interesting similarities, but each brother fell to an object that brought them back to reality.

ENDING THOUGHTS

Thank you very much for keeping Metatron out of the finale. That’s one expectation I had and they followed through with it. Now his access to a demon tablet could be handy especially if it relates anything to The Darkness.

I’m certain Death would have been just as happy with Chicago style pizza. And too bad the scythe wasn’t left behind. That would have been handy against The Darkness. And I don’t believe for a second that Death is truly gone.

The Darkness smoke could have been more layered in otherworldly effects unless the goal was to showcase them as similar to demon smoke as possible. Could that mean they have the same limitations on Earth as demons do?

Nice little throw there with “Seth” as Oscar’s alias. It had no bearing on the mark of Cain, but there were some quick nods to the lore and that’s always cool to see.

Nice try but the last scene with bloody-eyed Castiel about to kill Crowley isn’t even close to believable. Neither character will expire, but whether Castiel’s condition is long-term or not remains to be seen. I’m sure he’ll be right as rain by the premiere.

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. Very solid work by the brothers and Death. Rowena and Crowley were great supporting characters and the cliffhanger did stir up the franchise by introducing the literal beings that transcended the light. Seeing them in human form will probably not be as impressive. The main plot was engaging aside from the vampire segments. I nitpick that the intro should have had the normal start to Kansas’s beloved Carry on My Wayward Son,” but the sentiment was just as well received. Season 11 will carry forth the next chapter to Sam and Dean as two humans who now must battle the literal first beings of evil. This could force some interesting groups of allies especially if the Earth crumbles around them. Until next season, thank you for reading.

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: Supernatural – Season 10×22 (The Dean we need to wreck shop has arrived)

SN 2x22

Demons sometimes need a bit of fine tuning before they can come out just right. The basics have come back to a revenge-hungry Dean as he mows through the Styne family to annihilate the one who murdered Charlie. And just when things are looking their worst for Sam, they get even more difficult to deal with as his efforts to kill Crowley are in vain leaving the king of hell newly rejuvenated in his evil ways.

What started off as a play at sympathy toward the youngest of the Styne family became a blood bath that took too long to get to, from a seasonal perspective. Dean’s whirlwind of death finally spun up to give the audience a show of chaos and carnage befitting a wearer of the mark of Cain. All of Dean’s scenes were feverish but necessary to finally tell the story on his decline in human kindness. I’m less impressed with Sam’s half of the plot as he fails to take down the familiar devil with a piece of humanity stuck between his teeth. It’s since been dislodged thanks to Sam and frankly I’m perfectly good that call. Sam’s bumbling yet tireless efforts don’t earn him any badges this time as he’s sitting on failure after failure with getting the mark removed from Dean.  Now with only one episode left, it’s do or die and meet the madness head on.

After burning Charlie’s body, Dean leaves alone to hunt the Styne family. Sam is pressured by Rowena to kill Crowley or she won’t use Charlie’s code cracking symbols to decipher the book. Dean is eventually taken in by local police but he escapes and raids the Styne house only to be captured. Sam lures Crowley to a secluded building and attempts to use a hex bag to slowly kill Crowley, but it fails and Crowley escapes, allowing Sam to live for the time being. Dean escapes his bonds and kills all the members of the Styne family including their leader while Eldon and others raid the men of letters HQ. Dean arrives and kills everyone just as Castiel finds him. Unable to talk down Dean’s bloodthirsty mood, he is beaten and left severally wounded with Dean threatening to kill him should he try again.

To begin, I think it was a horrible idea to include some up and coming prospect who didn’t quite fit in with the Styne’s. All he got for his efforts in the end was a bullet in the head. I get why they did it as he in some small way represented a mirror for Dean (Very loosely) and was also meant to be a sympathetic character so that when Dean killed him there was weight to his acts. As it stood, his rampage was relatively justified considering the rules by which the brothers are governed by (Or lack of). As such, murdering evil people doesn’t necessarily sound like something he needs to be talked down from. Luckily there was more and it came much more smoothly when Castiel and Dean fought at the end. That struggle was much more poignant and carried enough hurt that for a split-second, I honestly thought Dean was going to stab him and I’ll say that would have been such a monumental scene. Not just the act but the image of looking at Dean while he’s engulfed in angelic light the entire time. That would have caused youtube to skyrocket with “Castiel dies-Reaction vids” In the end, Dean held off and left with a warning that he won’t miss next time. All in all, I was happy with how easy he took out everyone especially the last two Styne’s. He didn’t care about punching the bad guy several times, he just wanted him dead. As for Cyrus, well Dean spoke about himself more than anything but thought he proved his own point. Is he wrong? That’s never the point with Dean since the beginning. The point is the grip of evil remains unless one detaches that grip with death. Good riddance to the Styne family. Four seasons ago they might have fit in better, but not this late in the rotating feud between angels and demons.

On the other side, Sam’s scenes didn’t hold up very well against Dean’s “Terminator” vibe. His desperation is sympathetic, but his fear and constant stumbling with decisions made his portion of the episode somewhat difficult to watch. Crowley made up for it with his monologue and what was really tragic was his realization that being evil is the better outcome than his attempt that keeping hell civilized, so to speak. What’s funny is I never got that impression from Crowley at all this season. His attitude in his domain episode after episode suggested his acts were nothing short of boredom and being melancholy. It was always obvious why but I never attributed it to him trying to subjectively be a better person. In any case, Crowley’s eyes are red once more and in a mirror of Dean leaving Castiel alive, so to did Crowley leave Sam alive. Rowena still expects Sam to kill Crowley even though he failed and at this point, it seems like a moot issue. Crowley won’t be fooled twice and Sam is fresh out of ideas. He’s still too easily afraid of Crowley considering what he’s been through his whole life.

FAVORITE MOMENT

Dean and Castiel in the last scene. It was brutal and bloody and brought on all the right feels to really sink in the darkness that’s emanating from Dean once again. I didn’t want Dean to truly end Castiel’s life, but still the act would have made the finale that much more crazy and otherworldly for Sam. He’s essentially all alone in this with no real allies. Luckily Cass is still there to try and patch up what he can, but for that one brief moment, we simply didn’t know what Dean would do and that’s good TV.

CHARACTER MVP

It’s that time to give credit to Dean Winchester for hunkering down and ripping through bad guys with that dead-pan style of delivery. He even made jokes at the expense of his victims showing at no point did he really feel threatened aside from that bag that went over his head, but that was incidental. He carried the weight of the episode and finally let loose that mark’s personality that Sam has been swearing up and down was making him worse. Now we finally got to see what that was.

LONG TERM THOUGHTS

Keep Metatron out of the finale. It’s great he has some heavenly endgame going on, but it’s not the time of place to unveil it. Unless he does something surely wicked like depose Crowley with that tablet and becomes the new king of hell himself. Hmmm, that’s a sound theory, I should run with it.

I wish I hadn’t watched that promo for the finale. I did. Now I’m beyond elated because my all-time favorite character is coming back one more time, and he brought a scythe! But now I can’t be surprised.

Will next week be Rowena’s final episode, or will they turn her into a supporting character for next season? Tough to roll the dice either way, but I think she’s interesting enough to keep around. Maybe somehow she and Crowley can part on good terms.

Charlie’s send off was relatively well done. Flashbacks to precious moments while she burned away ala Darth Vader was appropriate though I’m surprised the brothers stood each other long enough to accomplish such a viking task. They loved Charlie, their 1000 yard stares were proof enough of it.

With season 11 in the bag, it means the cliffhanger has every potential to outdo itself from last season, and it better. There needs to be OMG’s slicing through the internet with how it ends. Don’t dull it down, make it rain blood.

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. Dean’s scenes capitalized on mayhem and put him in the mindset that truly threatens any future with Sam and Castiel. This is much darker than demon Dean calling on the chaos and what’s more sinister is whether or not Dean’s attitude will change if the mark gets removed. His bloodthirsty habits may dissipate, but his emotional state is ironclad. Sam will continue his noble efforts but will they be enough to turn everything around? I’m convinced he’ll do what he has to, but again, at what price? Enjoyable episode and thanks for removing the Styne nuisance from the show. That didn’t help matters much. 22 down, 1 to go. See you next week.

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: Supernatural – Season 10×21 (Well that just ruined my night)

SN 2x21

After ten seasons, the writers came around and decided to insert the lore of Frankenstein into the mix. The Stein’s are in fact of that bloodline and chalk full of body parts and strange extremities that set them apart from most humans. While an ensemble cast came to usher in the final arc of the season, one of their own has fallen and it doesn’t look like she’ll be rising up to fight alongside the brothers.

There was something amiss in this episode and I’m currently blaming the Stein family because of it. I’m not sure if it was the southern accents or the overuse of suspenders or the main family member just appearing as an awkward villain, but in any case, I’m not overtly impressed with their style or reveal as the quintessential heirloom to the Frankenstein franchise. It’s clever, there’s no argument there, but somehow it feels very separate from the Winchesters and their day to day struggles that tend to encompass apocalyptic feels.

After acquiring the help of Charlie and Castiel, Sam instructs Rowena to play nice while he and Dean investigate a murder in Omaha in regards to a young college student. The Steins are still after the book and send a few of their own to continue looking. Crowley speaks to Olivette as a rat and sends a demon to find someone Rowena once loved. Eventually, Charlie calls for a break from studying the coded text of the book and returns to her hotel to research alone. The Stein family discover her location just as Dean uncovers what Sam has been up to. As they race to the hotel, they find Charlie massacred in a bathtub, seemingly dead.

And that’s the gift that Supernatural keeps on giving to their supporting cast. While Castiel maintains seniority among the core group, Charlie was not spared this time. I honestly felt she’d always be one of the few who’d be a survivor, considering her keen senses and newly honed instincts. But shows like these have to continue upping the anty and performing acts that many fans may not agree with. A death like this isn’t particularly necessary, but if the damage control involves Sam and Dean having serious issues of trust and even, dare we say, complete lash outs, then maybe there’s a purpose to this choice after all. The effect has to be dire, and I’m certain it will be.

Crowley’s moment should essentially have a payoff, but I’m not certain how this will effect Rowena. A former love and we don’t know the identity, so it’s essentially a surprise for us, although it can’t be anyone we already know, at least I hope it’s not. The bit with the darts was pretty humorous. Chuckles were had.

The banter between Charlie and Rowena was also one of the highlights of the episode, although toward the end it seemed rather forced how Charlie needed to leave to collect her thoughts. It was all leading toward something dark and it was telegraphed rather poignantly especially since Castiel was brought on as a protector. Still, Rowena has been relatively solid with all the major cast members and can manage herself quite well with the snickering and jabs to boot.

One aspect that wasn’t really painted very well was Sam’s desperation in saying that Dean’s getting worse. In the past few episodes, there really hasn’t been any deep rooted moments that told the audience that Dean was slipping back into that demon frenzy. Nothing matched his slaughter back during the season break when he murdered everyone in that home. I just wasn’t sensing Dean’s control issues causing Sam to run his own plan off the grid. To me, there should have been more moments where Dean was losing control and I don’t count the interrogation a couple eps ago, that was normalcy after 200 hundred episodes.

FAVORITE MOMENT

While I was hoping for Charlie to throw in some beat down on Elton, considering he had one arm to work with, the stare down was very pinnacle. My brain and heart were at odds with how that was going to play out and my brain won in the end, because by uploading the decrypted symbols it was a one-way ticket. But with that knife I was sure she was going to dish out anything coming her way. Who knows, maybe she dealt rolled a natural 20 and crit at the end.

CHARACTER MVP

I was more influenced by Rowena this time around. She has flair and sass with everyone she was in contact with and it was a better selling point than most everyone else that appeared tonight. She has pride in her evil and it shows for the most part.

LONG TERM THOUGHTS

The death of Charlie needs to have lasting repercussions for the brothers. The only other outcome I’d accept would be Sam and Dean cleaning house with the Steins and taking every single one of them out including their leader.

Dean needs to start showing serious signs of control issues now. Having accepted what’s happened to him worked out great to stave off the coming demon rage, but with two episodes left he needs to slip further than he’s ever been.

I wonder if the Stein’s have any more power aside from body parts that augment their abilities and longevity.

Is the book really indestructible? Seems like a challenge that I bet Castiel could figure out.

No sign of Metatron and his endgame yet. While I’m fine with this, I also worry that he’ll show up at the last second and wreck shop just as the brothers finish with the Mark.

OVERALL SCORE

6 out of 10. It wasn’t their finest hour and Charlie’s death wasn’t something that was going to boost the score for me this time around. The overall premise was meant to bring in more of the Stein lore and pit them as a mainstream villain group toward the end of the season. It was coming and so far they haven’t impressed. This really doesn’t cheapen Charlies final episode, but with Supernatural death is never certainly the end, just as Sam said in the last episode. I’m not truly convinced she’s gone, but if that happens to be the case, she went out on her terms and that’s something most supporting characters on this show don’t get to say. Thanks for kicking ass, Felicia. You brought some wicked girl power to the all boy band and dished out your own uniqueness as a bright individual. As Charlie would buoyantly say, “So long b*tches.”

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: Supernatural – Season 10×20 (Swordmaker, make me an angel sword)

SN 2x20

Before they could strike at the heart of this season’s mark-causing-chaos, one last extra-special detour needed to be made involving Castiel’s vessel’s family. Claire returns as she searches for her mother, Amelia, who disappeared two years prior. The Winchesters intercept and uncover the existence of a watcher angel who had survived extinction and has been feeding off of humans for decades. The bonds of family run much smoother this time around with Claire finally understanding Sam and Dean’s plight as well as the role her father played in helping Castiel save the world.

There was a lot of good heartfelt moments in this episode, more so than I expected when I hear the jazz-organ intros that have canonically been placed in episodes that tend to be more lighthearted as a rule. Even more impressive was how long it took the writers to come up with a type of angel that hadn’t been introduced as of yet. I won’t lie, I first thought Tamiel would be the equivalent to a knight of hell, and one could probably argue they could be similar, but in all fairness to Abaddon, I shouldn’t compare the two.

After Claire is wounded from searching a contact about her mother, the gang discover the possible existence of another renegade angel who is feeding off of humans. Claire’s mother is one of these individuals and has been trapped for quite a while. While Castiel and Sam track down the angel in question, Dean and Claire engage in a putt-putt bonding ritual that helps settle old nerves about her father and what his sacrifice to Castiel meant. Collectively, everyone discovers that Tamiel, an old watcher angel had survived and turned on humans for a long time, collecting and feeding off of them. Amelia is saved but sacrifices herself to save Claire from being stabbed by Tamiel’s angel sword. Everyone fights Tamiel but it is Claire that impales him from behind killing him. In heaven, Amelia reunites with Jimmy and the two are at peace. Sam and Dean send Claire off to Jody Mills and she finally accepts Castiel in her life.

To start with, I’m glad wiki has a really quick summary on these watcher angels and it appears Tamiel means “perfection of God.” He was a fallen angel mentioned in the book of Enoch, so the lore fits like a glove. It was handy that Dean gave Claire that Enochian myth book as well. I can see a future episode where she’s hunting down some other renegade angels with that sword. How bad-ass would that be? She could have her own spin-off even. And it could co-star Jody Mills and everyone else who’s survived on Supernatural after ten seasons. That’s a lot of surviving.

My one tiff with the episode is how Castiel felt Dean was overreacting. I’m completely on Dean’s side. The amount of pressure and technique used to get the name from the bar contact was hardly as gruesome and crazed as Dean being in a real bloodthirsty state that really would show he’s getting worse. I felt that was just thrown in to keep the brothers separate and as a plot device to remind us that the mark is ever still the cause of woe in this season. They could have done a little better with this or actually had Dean go maniacal on the guy with a beatdown that Castiel would have stared wide-eyed at. I just didn’t see that this time around.

What really did stand out the most though was how Sam and Dean interpreted growing up alone. On one hand, Dean believes growing up alone makes you stronger, while Sam believes going it alone is no way to live and having support whether they want it or not is good for everyone. Now the belief wasn’t really tested between Sam and Dean but rather for Claire who, in the end realizes what having that support means and finally investing in the concept. So, basically Sam is right in the long run. Dean’s attitude still makes sense, and even in his own way he warns Claire that his lifestyle doesn’t make for healthy long lives. I think Claire still has a lot to learn and may continue to believe in Dean’s way of things as a basic rule-set but for the moment, there’s hope that she’ll turn her life around and be that force for good that can rely on others for help and support. It’s a positive message for youth and an excellent parable to tell it in this realm.

FAVORITE MOMENT

Everything from Jimmy’s reunion with Amelia to the end. It was an uplifting moment and a promise of good directions for Claire, even though she now owns a stuffed grumpy cat, but hey, angel sword. They’ve been ending some episodes without the dismal drive with two brothers wailing in silence and these are healthy steps in the right direction. I’d like to see them pair up with Claire again but this time, on equal ground.

CHARACTER MVP

Claire gets the award tonight. She showed courage, strife, and most of all growth in her personality which had been a long time coming. Her banter with Dean rivals that of most minor characters that get to banter with the man and together they have great chemistry. I just don’t get the grey colored nails.

LONG TERM THOUGHTS

It is very much all down here from here. This was the last episode that gave us warm fuzzy feelings and now from here on out, downhill, very fast. Blood-soaked mayhem, mark of the butcher-everything-Cain is on.

With as many rooms as they have shown of heaven, it’s interesting how often and willing the show is willing to explore the finality. The theme was echoed more than once that goodbyes are not forever and no matter what death isn’t always goodbye. The aftermath is just as thought-filled and existing as any person’s life can be. I wonder if the show is preparing us for something very strange in our future regarding this.

I kind of wish the angel sword had more meaning behind it’s look and those who wield it. I mean, if angel swords are just wide and longer than angel blades, why didn’t every one get one? It seems it was more a status symbol than anything and angels rocking swords since the beginning would have had a cooler look, my opinion anyway.

It would also have been interesting if Jimmy and Castiel had one more scene together, more of reflection on Claire and what taking care of her or looking after her would mean. Jimmy could have imparted some fatherly advice, but then you’d have to have Claire and Jimmy have a scene together and for some reason they didn’t want to do that this time around.

The Caddyshack/Happy Gilmore generation gap was actually well done. Taking two equally funny golf movies (The only ones I might add) and showing how Dean and Claire make fun of each other. Dean still gets the edge because he’s seen both movies and knows which is the superior.

OVERALL SCORE

9 out of 10. Fantastic episode. The lore of Tamiel could have been a teensy bit better but we got the gist of it and for the most part I didn’t feel this angel plot was luke warm or watered down. Claire got the send off she needed even though the cost was a bit high with losing her mother. I felt they kind of glossed over Claire’s grief with losing her but the scene in heaven made up for it. We got perspective from the brothers that shows the two still have a different way of approaching certain aspects of life, which really isn’t new, but at least it’s consistent. Now it’s on to the final episodes of season ten and the bitter climax that’s sure to keep us on edge until season 11.

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: Supernatural – Season 10×19 (Devil in a blue dress)

SN 2x19

When character A requires item B to accomplish task C, item B tends to be one or more of a few things; well guarded, well hidden, and contained by some elaborate trap. Tonight’s episode of Supernatural pits the Winchesters against a deadly device handcrafted by the ex-men of letters, Magnus as Sam searches for the means to decrypt the text within the book of the damned.

By keeping the general plot simple and guiding, “The Werther Project” combines older plot threads and weaves them together without suffering the basic premise and direction style, which was done creatively for the time given. Rowena and Sam’s alliance proves to be at the moment, fruitful in their attempts to get what they want while Dean proves his curse comes with certain iron-clad benefits.

After a brief flashback regarding a device uncovered in the 70’s by a young girl in a house, the present continues the conversation Sam and Rowena started last episode. She needs specific codecs that will help decrypt the book of the damned and Sam learns that Magnus had created a device to protect it, but it took the lives of two men of letters which led to his banishment. Sam finds the house keeping the device and Dean follows him. They infiltrate the house and the girl living in it, who is now decades older and still suffering from watching her family take their lives due to the device. Sam unknowingly release the device’s trap and both the woman, Suzie and Dean are infected by it. Suzie falls victim to the ghosts of her family and Dean finds himself back in Purgatory with Benny, his subconscious ally. Rowena appears to help fend off the trap while Sam uncovers the means to deactivate the device and open it. It requires men of letters blood which he sheds freely. Benny attempts to persuade Dean to end his life, but Dean admits the curse won’t let him regardless of his choice and he fights off the hallucination just in time to give some of his blood to the device to shut it down before Sam passes out. After the codecs are recovered, Sam chains Rowena in an abandoned location with incentive to translate the spell needed in exchange for killing Crowley. Rowena is distraught by her capture but Sam is resolute.

The men of letters may not be the most inventive and entertaining plot device, but the details of certain elements of their past has proven to put Sam and Dean through creative instances that so far have been rewarding. Tonight, there’s just enough to show that a simple “find item B to accomplish task C” can be just as entertaining as your typical end-of-the-world storyline. In his prime, Magnus was at best, an egotistical bedlamite who’s deranged creations led to several deaths of people who didn’t deserve it. I’m not dismayed they took an entire episode to get something that could just have easily been in a drawer at HQ, but hopefully it doesn’t drag on from there. All the pieces for the mark’s removal are shuffling into place with the exception of Sam’s agreement to kill Crowley.

The other few wildcards are Dean’s eventual discovery of said plan and Metatron’s demon tablet that may or may not be a vital element toward the finale. Will it take a lot to convince Dean to kill Crowley, or will Sam even follow through with it, knowing Rowena is the greater of two evils? And even more, what’s to say the road to removing the mark comes with a steeper price than Sam is even aware of? Will he pay it, and almost as importantly, will Dean fight against it because the mark will make him?

Even with all these unknowns, Sam and Dean handled a self-contained artifact for tonight that played as well as any old school episode from years past. There were mysterious elements that came and went, but the crux of the Werther project was how it almost fooled Sam into killing himself. When Rowena touched Sam to help expel more blood, I was still convinced she was real, because at that point the yellow-ish apparition hadn’t made physical contact. I would have thought Sam’s death should have played against turning the device off and the entity would want to maintain it’s own survival rather than play at killing another human that threatened it. But because it didn’t have real consciousness (Speculatively) it played it’s role as it was supposed to. Would Dean have survived if the mark wasn’t keeping him in check? Benny made a heck of an argument for him.

FAVORITE MOMENT

I liked Dean’s realization that the mark wouldn’t let him die the way the trap wanted him to. He’s always been the kind of person to accept full responsibility and while Benny argued what staying alive would do, Dean stuck to his guns and proved he was more powerful than his subconscious desire to thrive in a way of life that Purgatory demanded. Now his actions with killing the vamps suggests he’s taking things in stride, but overall it was good to see him interact with someone he considered to be a close friend, even if he wasn’t real.

CHARACTER MVP

Dean and Benny get a co-award this time. It’s easy for Dean to revel in his revelations and see him making the effort and fighting the good fight because that’s his nature, but Benny is a good reminder that in Purgatory he needed a friend like Benny and his essence still managed to help him, even if it was only to be the thing he needed to hear for his decision to be made.

LONG TERM THOUGHTS

I can easily see this as a Dean and Crowley versus Sam and Rowena finale. It’s not an ideal way to go about it, but tension and release is what makes for good storytelling. Especially if Dean doesn’t understand the whole picture, or worse, he does.

I almost don’t want Metatron’s demon tablet endgame to be a factor for the rest of this season. His existence has seemed little more than an afterthought for season 10 and to swoop in with some crazed new hell-fire plan at the crux of the mark’s removal will just seem tacky.

How does Sam plan on killing the king of hell? Will he go about it alone or will he in fact convince Dean to help him. Or, is Sam just bluffing?

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. The best part about this standalone episode is that it wasn’t a stand alone episode. Many elements fulfilled what it means to have a self-contained story, but the object in question had such a significant purpose that you simply can’t leave this out of the main arc. In all the dark corners between the brothers, Sam managed to keep his secret for now and Dean for the moment accepted that there’s just nothing he can do for the mark, but at least he’s a shield to certain threats and that makes him dangerously powerful. Only a few more episodes left. Good track record toward the end. Keep em’ coming.

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A Sashurai’s Review: Supernatural – Season 10×18 (To cure Dean’s mark you must say these three words “Klaatu, Barada, Nhhejuahbmn*cough cough*)

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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.

FAVORITE MOMENT

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.

CHARACTER MVP

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?

OVERALL SCORE

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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A Sashurai’s Review: Supernatural – Season 10×17 (Heaven isn’t so much a bliss as it is a ‘meh’)

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No stalling on fancy words or awkward metaphors, tonight’s episode “Inside Man” brought back a rare appearance by Bobby Singer and he was utilized in exemplary fashion. The third act of a 22-23 episode season usually starts to let loose and create problem scenarios that drag our passionate characters into their worst moments. Sam and Dean have been doing this rodeo for a decade and it looks like once more Sam is playing at saving Dean without Dean’s knowing or permission. What do brothers do if not what they feel they have to?

Our excellent scripted episode marks the return of both Bobby, Castiel, and Metatron as Sam goes behind Dean’s back to break out the latter from his angel prison. In planning, he and Castiel find a median and speak directly to Bobby who turns out likes chilling in a cabin reading. Bobby lends his support and helps Metatron escape but Metatron confesses he doesn’t know how the Mark of Cain can be removed. He does however entice Castiel into finding what’s left of his grace. Meanwhile, Rowena attempts to take on Dean herself, but fails in the attempt and tries to convince Crowley to handle Dean. Instead, Crowley drinks with his old friend and eventually casts Rowena from hell due to her nature to lie and deceive him.

Bobby much-loved reunion, albeit verbal only, was a hopeful and conscious way of thanking the fans for their long support. Bobby is and always will be a father figure to the brothers and his caring and soft-spoken letter showed that sentiment as much as any moment he’s displayed in the past. He eloquently remarks on what’s necessary and the price with doing what’s necessary. Bobby strikes at the heart of the show, it’s reason for existing, and the constant battle the Winchesters go through just to survive. It’s a shame Dean won’t be able to read that same letter. Maybe he knows, slightly more than Sam just what kind of role that entails through thick and thin.

You’d think Heaven would be a little more guarded, but honestly, if Bobby had to cut through a slew of angels to break Metatron out with Castiel, that wouldn’t have been very Bobby-like. I can’t honestly say the idea of a heaven where people and their name-sakes are given single-room-access-heaven’s makes a whole heck of a lot of sense, but then again, is hell really any better off designed? Never enough fire.

On the flip side, Rowena strategically attacks Dean while he’s off pool-sharking at a bar. A spell of some sort deflates and Rowena is left wounding herself to convince Crowley to stop Dean. We don’t know enough about Rowena’s magic or how magic really works in SN in general to understand what she was trying to do or whether there’ll be an affect later on that Dean will have to deal with, but alas, she’s finally been thrown out. I believe Rowena’s ties with Crowley had run their course and I’m glad for that. Any more chastising in front of the demons and I would have given up on Crowley completely at fighting back. He needs to be one step ahead, even if he’s feeling all sorts of human emotions.

I’m still not keen on seeing Metatron playing the third wheel here, but at least he’s finally been put in a place that he can’t out-leverage himself with. Castiel took his grace which should have been done a long time ago. Will getting Castiel’s grace come at a price, something akin to what Bobby stated in his letter? What I think this was missing was Castiel losing his lifeforce again. Right now he’s stable and coherent which doesn’t stress too much his need to get that little grace back. Maybe that will change the closer he gets.

The episode ends with Bobby’s narration overshadowing our core cast and the road that lies ahead of them. The concern for Dean’s well-being is at an all-time high, even if he staved off killing Rowena’s controlled bar-henchmen. He’s going to lose that battle and soon.

FAVORITE MOMENT

Dean and Crowley drinking at the bar. Everything played out in almost a perfect dialogue, though more of a monologue from Dean about what makes family. Crowley sat there with convincing looks of affirmation and appreciation for what Dean had to say. It’s little moments like these that really connect the show with the audience. Dean cuts to the heart of how he thinks and feels, and Crowley, ever the growing supporting member, absorbs that attention and tries to make sense of it in his own dark world. It was a well written and acted segment. Props.

CHARACTER MVP

Bobby, plain and simple. He had enough time to get in most of his verbal cliche’s and provide some comedic moments while traversing through a rather boring display of heaven’s hallway. Yet, still in his robust manners he still manages to captivate with words of wisdom and an understanding with what the brothers are going through. He offers his insight even at the expense of being hauled away by the angels and if we’re lucky, we haven’t seen the last of him.

LONG TERM THOUGHTS

Now that Rowena is postulating that the mark is nothing but a curse, does that mean it’s rooted in magic that can rid it? Metatron more or less corroborated the information even though he doesn’t exclusively know how to remove the mark. There’s definitely information that’s floating around the ether that Sam needs to get to, which leads me to my next point.

Why are we so quick to determine that Lucifer isn’t accessible or able to help in a case like this? I get that putting Lucifer in a state to wreak hell on earth is always a bad thing, but realistically, why should a character like Lucifer be silenced forever? Everyone else has cameo’d a bit since the early seasons including Death. Seems like a waste of a good concept.

Will the angels in fact punish Bobby for what he did? It’s seems very doom and gloom considering the situation. Are they planning on revoking his cabin rights? Is a less fancy room of heaven just an upstairs hell? Hopefully he isn’t going to go through any suffering.

With Metatron now running around as a mortal, there’s a good chance he gets taken out before or by the finale. I’m entirely okay with this premise.

This is a little off topic, but I noticed it in many many many bar drinking scenes where the loner of the moment pours their own drink. If the plan is to drink several shots in a sizeable glass, why not just fill the glass? I don’t drink so this concept is completely foreign to me, but is it a pace thing, like the alcohol burns too hard if you gulp too many in a row, so you portion control your amount until you can’t stomach it anymore? I saw Dean doing this and it just seemed more of a device at visually showing lack of restrain or deep problems rather than a practical way at drinking.

OVERALL SCORE

The core of Supernatural’s old school atmosphere was alive and well tonight. 9 out of 10. I never realized how much a character like Bobby could be missed until he was there again, fresh and lively like always was. Crowley pushed his mother away giving him some more development to work through which is a plus and Sam is trying his hardest to uncover a way to save Dean. All the while, Dean is struggling as always to keep that mark from turning him into a demon again. Very good moments, and a lot to look forward to. Thanks for giving us an episode to be proud of. Don’t stop now.

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