Review : Supernatural S10E20/21

Supernatural Review S10E20

 Supernatural sees the return of Claire and Amelia; in an episode that explores what the Winchester Bros would be like if they were angry, sullen teenage girls. Spoiler alert: they’d be pretty much the same.

There’s not a lot in this episode that justifies its place so close to the season finale, but that’s okay, because we are treated to Daddy!Castiel and Babysitter!Dean, which are just about the most adorable things ever. Castiel is still cautious about flexing his “I-possessed-your-father’s-body-so-that-sort-of-kinda-makes-me-your-surrogate-daddy” muscles, to the point where he is terrified of the prospect of talking to Claire without his back-up present, but is totally willing to buy Claire a grumpy cat plush toy for her birthday (she prefers the dead body at the crime scene, to be honest). Dean, meanwhile, proves that he has the best babysitting rules ever: Guns = okay. Underage drinking = bad.

Kathryn Newton continues to bring a nuance to the role of Claire, who is fast heading down the Winchester path: dead parents and a whole lot of anger. It’s refreshing to see a character try to resist the Hunter path, although there is definitely the sense that Claire is too far-gone to turn back to a normal life, especially when the boys decide to ship her off to Jody Mills by the end of the episode. If you want to keep her out of the hunting game, that is perhaps not the best place/person to send her too.

The episode gives us a bit of closure about the Jimmy-Castiel-Claire-Amelia storyline, with Claire finally finding her mother with the help of the Winchesters and Castiel, only to have her snatched away from her moments later. Angst, thy name is Supernatural. Amelia is then shown to be reunited with Jimmy in Heaven, although the sappy, clichéd dialogue drags the calibre of the episode down a little: perhaps this is the reason the writers prefer to rip out the hearts of the characters and/or audience rather than give emotional reunions: they just aren’t that good at writing them.

Dean continues to suffer from the Mark to the point where Sam and Castiel attempt to bench him for the time being. That goes about as well as could be expected, and the final confrontation between the monster Angel and Dean is further proof of just how strong the Mark really is. Whatever the boys are planning, it best happen soon and it best be good – else that Mark is going to rip them to shreds.

All in all, the episode is a nice (sort-of) farewell to Claire and Amelia, and allows a further glimpse at Castiel’s humanity. The episode definitely feels like the last calm before the storm, though, and things are definitely going to be heating up from there on out.

Supernatural Review S10E21

 The latest Supernatural sees the return of the Stynes, who are totally not fooled by Sam’s burning of the “book”, and are carrying a serious grudge against the Winchesters and Charlie.

We’ll jump straight into the most important part of the episode: Charlie appears dead. I say ‘appears’ because this is Supernatural and there are about a billion and one different ways that Charlie could return, or not be dead, or be dead and still return as a angel or a demon or…well, you get the picture. I’m firmly planting myself in the denial camp that she is truly gone, because the dynamic that Felicia Day adds to the show is once that shouldn’t be pushed aside for another cheap death shock. And yes, I do think it was a cheap death: there are other ways to push your characters into the final confrontation rather than killing off another female character, show.

Rewinding about forty-three minutes and change, the episode sees Sam recruiting Team Save Dean – including Charlie, Castiel and a rather reluctant Rowena – into deciphering the Book of the Damned. The catch: Dean doesn’t know, which clearly Castiel and Charlie weren’t aware of when they signed up and got their group t-shirts. Charlie delivers a rather wonderful line regarding the secret keeping that sums up all my exasperations with Supernatural in five little worlds: “Jeez, the two of you…”

Me too, Charlie. Me too.

Despite the distinct déjà vu feeling of Sam keeping secrets from Dean (again), the dynamic between Charlie, Castiel and Rowena is fantastic. This is perhaps the best threesome of characters that the show has had that doesn’t directly involve one (or both) of the Winchester brothers. Castiel plays the role of reluctant babysitter who just wants everyone to get along, please and thank you, while Rowena tries to charm Charlie over with grand declarations of how alike they are. Charlie isn’t having any of that, thank you very much, and decides she needs some alone time at the Motel of Death where she is tracked down by the Stynes and killed in a bathtub.

Nope, still not over it.

Meanwhile, Sam and Dean are off hunting down one of the Styne brothers. The ‘Monster of the week’ storyline progresses much as it usually does, but the sucker-punch comes when the Styne brother announces he’s a descendent of that old, proud House of Frankenstein.

Biological engineering and organ harvesting makes the Stynes pretty much Superman (Supermen?) and the fact that the Styne brother is able to hack off his own arm, escape the Bunker and then butcher Charlie (so much bitterness) lines him up as being fairly good competition for The Mark of Cain. Maybe Sam should put the whole removing the Mark plan on the backburner for a while, because it sure as hell seems like the brothers are going to need Berserker Dean in the not-so-distant future.

The interrogation of Styne has a rather unfortunate drawback for Sam, however, as Dean discovers that Sam has lied about the book. I’m pretty sure Dean is as about as fed up with the whole circle of keeping secrets-fucking things up-soppy reunion that ends in a Winchester death-resurrection as everyone else.  The knockdown, gloves-off match between Sam and Dean is interrupted by Charlie who calls from Death Motel: the Stynes are beating down her door just as she has a breakthrough on the codex and emails it off. Sam and Dean urge Charlie to give them whatever they want, as if that means that the serial killers who jump started Hitler won’t kill her, but she refuses.

And then she dies.

I kind of hate you right now, Show.

Review by Hannah Fitzpatrick

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