Supernatural Review S10E19
Sam makes a dangerous deal with Rowena and the brothers prove they are stronger together than apart in the latest Supernatural.
Continuing on from last week, Rowena agrees to help out Sam and lays out her terms: Sam will find the Grand Coven witch’s Codex, which will help Rowena decipher the Book, and kill Crowley. For these small payments, Rowena will help Sam find the spell to remove the Mark of Cain from Dean. Simple, right?
This is the point where, say, someone who had previously trusted a bad guy which lead to him opening the gates of Hell might take a step back and consider the intense warning signals going off in his head, but alas, Sam agrees to the terms. Character growth is apparently pushed aside in favour of drama in the world of Supernatural. Having the brothers make the same mistakes over and over again feels like sloppy writing and perhaps it is time for the show runners and writers to really take a good hard look at giving Supernatural a bit of a story face lift. Ten seasons of recycled story is a bit much.
This leads to Sam going on a solo mission to track down the Codex, which has been housed in an enchanted safe on an old Men of Letters site. In a shocking disregard for well-cemented character development, Sam neglects to actually research the site and ends up almost sans-genitals and Dean, again, shockingly, shows up and informs Sam about the house’s reputation for suicide. Although Dean showing up to assist Sam serves the overall theme of the episode – that the Winchester brothers are stronger together than they are apart -, it felt a little like cheating to see Sam, in possibly his most important case ever, neglecting to do some basic research. Google is not that hard to operate.
Brenda Bakke was well cast as Suzie, the owner of the house who had managed to keep the curse under lock and key safely for many years before the brothers rock up and shove that straight to hell. Her accusation against Sam and Dean – that they don’t care about who they hurt in their efforts to get what they want – is a warning for things to come that they would be wise to heed. Alas, suicidal tendencies and willingness to sacrifice the world and themselves for their brother are the top character traits for both Winchesters, so it is unlikely we will see them heed said warning until it is too late.
Possibly the best part of the episode saw the return of Ty Olsson as Benny, or at least as a close approximation of Benny in Dean’s illusion. I’ll admit to a certain amount of squealing when Dean’s illusion sent him right back to purgatory and Benny’s southern drawl sounded. Olsson and Ackles continue to have a great chemistry and Benny provided a great character moment for Dean, which shows just how tired Dean is with the lack of purity and honour above ground. After ten seasons of hunting and conspiracies, Dean is yearning for the simple life.
Sam, meanwhile, is hallucinating about Rowena and has sliced himself open in order to feed the vault his blood. Rowena encourages him to continue to bleed himself dry, and Sam is pretty willing to do so. After all, the key to saving Dean is inside that safe. Dean, naturally, wakes from his own hallucination just in time to stop Sam and to step in and provide the rest of the blood to quench the safe’s bloodlust. This is a great moment for the brothers in which they actually work together to achieve a goal, instead of working against each other. The contrast between this small moment and Sam’s deceptions is interesting and if both the brothers weren’t so thick skulled, maybe they would take the hint and actually start to work together on the Mark problem.
Sam proves he is not completely brainless when he delivers the cypher to Rowena and promptly locks her up. He’ll still kill Crowley, but he’s not dumb enough to let her have free reign with the Codex. Rowena seems a little put out by Sam’s distrust, but it is nice to see that even though Sam is playing a very dangerous game, at least he isn’t playing it blindly.
Although Sam’s lies to Dean are getting a little stale and overused as a plot device, and character growth and well-documented character traits were disregarded in favour of drama, this episode was reasonably strong. It provided some great character beats, especially between Dean and Benny, and proved that Dean would be incomplete without hunting and without his brother. The Winchesters are better together than they are apart, at least in theory, and the episode progressed the main story arc nicely. Everything is narrowing in and driving towards the upcoming finale and if the show continues this sort of successful blend between character moments and story moments, it is sure to be a good one.
Review by Hannah Fitzpatrick.