Supernatural S10E14 Review
Dean and Cain go head-to-head in this week’s Supernatural, while Crowley is manipulated back into his mother’s arms after he is betrayed.
We jump headfirst back into conspiracies and the ‘bigger picture’ storylines this week, with the whole gang (Castiel and Crowley included) getting back together for one last big showdown with Cain. Cain, not to be outdone by Dean’s previous acts of violence, has been running around Earth killing off all his descendants in order to rid the world of the evil he feels responsible for. As Cain says, not all killers are his descendants and not all his descendants are killers, but the odds apparently fall pretty much in favour with wiping them all out, just in case.
The entire episode builds up to the eventual confrontation between Dean and Cain. I felt rather underwhelmed by the pre-battle angst floating between Sam and Dean, but that is likely because I am dead inside from the last ten years of similar emotional rollercoasters and have built up a rather blasé attitude where these particular boys are concerned. Dean angsts at Sam about how he had to do this, how he would accept his destiny (because the Winchesters’ are so good at accepting destiny. Not), and Sam angsts at Dean about the possibility of death and Dean’s destruction.
I, meanwhile, angsted about the possibility of the entire show messing up what could be one of the iconic fights of Supernatural. Spoiler alert: they kind of did, and then again, they kind of didn’t. The entire fight sequence seemed to lack that passion, that fire, that bloodlust that has been shown to drive the Mark of Cain (and by extension, both Cain and Dean). Apart from an unfortunate loss of a hand (Jaime Lannister should really take some lessons from Cain on stoicism and pain management), the fight wasn’t nearly as gruesome or confronting as it should’ve been. Dean seemed rather in control – a direct contradiction to his massacre a few episodes back.
The saving grace of this confrontation was definitely Timothy Omundson’s Cain. His determined yet calm persona, his captivating ability to reason out madness and massacres, made for a powerful screen presence. I’m fairly certain that it was Omundson’s performance that made me so disappointed in Ackles’ control – the last few weeks of episodes hammered home the idea of fighting against something (Dean) verses accepting and embracing it (Cain). Although Dean had come to accept the Mark much more over his little ghost-hunting sojourn, I feel like the show runners missed a massive opportunity to pit hulked-out Dean against the controlled power of Cain.
I’m fairly surprised that the writers did decide to kill off Cain. He had the makings of a great villain: the kind you drag out every now and again when you need to knock the heroes down a peg or two. Or, alternatively, the kind you bring back at the last minute as Dean’s saving grace, a reformed Obi Wan Kenobi or Yoda to guide Dean to salvation. Although Omundson will be missed, I admire the show for having the guts to kill off Cain in what we can assume is a fairly permanent manner.
The ramifications of Cain’s death are definitely going to be felt for a good while. Dean is clearly broken when he emerges, victorious but not really, from the barn. Ackles’ portrayal of a hero beyond repair is touching in this scene, as is Padalecki’s final scene where he admits to Castiel that Dean is Not Okay. Kudos to both actors.
It’s pretty clear that the show-runners are pushing the whole desperation, no-light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel angle for the Mark of Cain storyline, with Cain’s speech on remission and relapse and his revelation that Dean’s story is Cain’s in reverse (unlike Cain, he won’t start with killing his brother, but rather that will be his end, the moment when all hope is lost). I realise that this is aligned with the cardinal rule of storytelling (step one: get your character stuck up a tree, step two: throw rocks at him), but I’m hoping they have a pretty damn surprising (and, most importantly, rewarding) way out digging themselves out of this mess that isn’t a repeat of previous storylines. From Cain’s speech, we are heading to (another) showdown between the Winchester brothers, but I’m holding out for something a little fresher, a little newer, than the heroic self-sacrifice bit that Supernatural favours.
Whatever the outcome, it is time to strap in and hold on because this definitely feels like it’s going to get worse before it gets better.
Review by Hannah Fitzpatrick.