This episode was directed by the lovely Serge, and looked like it was filmed mostly in flooded Boundary Bay DoD land.
So let's talk about it!
We open with Crowley...no, wait, we don't!
We open with Dean trying to phone Crowley. Dean has had no success, but Crowley DID drunk dial him once...which yeah, should have been a bad sign.
THEN we see Crowley, who is living it up hedonism-style, but that also means indulging in what is, quite obviously, a really bad human-blood addiction. It has officially crossed the line from casual drug use to harmful addiction, since it's affecting his work. Oh man, and I love that the name for Dean in his phone is "Not Moose" hehehehe.
His sex-partner/drug-runner is a spy for Abaddon. Plus, I was kind of bummed that she was a woman. Crowley's always been so flirty with men, I guess I was hoping for a scantily clad hunk. Anyway, thanks to DEAN'S voicemails, she tells Abaddon's man (who was attractive, IMO, despite unfortunate facial hair) about the First Blade.
Crowley, though, spies the treachery and kills her...oh, I guess I should mention that Crowley's also been indulging in empathy by watching movies and reading books, and it's kind of awesome and hilarious.
Anyway, his drug-runners dead, and he's surrounded by corpses, so, he calls the Winchesters.
Oh, I also forgot to mention that I like the fact that we see Sam researching Cain in the bunker. It was annoying me that he didn't seem to be more worried about what Dean might have gotten himself into, and well, it STILL kind of bothers me that he's not more worried, but at least he's researching.
I loved the shot of Crowley coming into the hotel room and the camera swinging around like his POV to reveal the Winchesters. I just really really love reveals like that. I think the last good one was in LARP and the Real Girl.
Anywho.. they want to know why Crowley's surrounded by corpses, and they discover the blood-bank blood that he just went to fetch... and yeah... so, it's off to the bunker again to chain Crowley up.
Crowley blames them, because they're the ones that got him hooked on human blood and then kept him chained up while his kingdom fell apart (not to mention they're the ones that put Abaddon back together again.) And he sort of has a point, but at the same time, he's the King of Hell and their enemy, they don't actually WANT him in charge or alive, they don't really care if he's King of Hell or not. They want to kill him AND Abaddon. They aren't actually going with the devil they know here permanently, they're just using the devil they know in order to get close to the devil that they don't know and they plan to kill them both. Or well, I'm guessing, anyway. And actually, they're plan in the beginning was to keep Crowley locked up so they could torture information out of him that would give them an upperhand against ALL demons... so yeah, like I said, they aren't going to regret anything thing that they've done to Crowley.
Crowley, meanwhile, tries to play to Sam's empathy or compassion or soemthing.... claiming they had a moment in the church, and then getting "sentimental" and giving Sam a long contemplative look. I'll get to this later...
They find out that Crowley DID trace the path of the First Blade, but lost it along the way...
Then there's something with a buyer so they they can get information about who it was sold to or something... I forget the setup to this part, but it doesn't matter. Crowley does the whole momentary-possession thing to get information. And I find it a LITTLE bit odd that the dude didn't even notice that he was possessed. I mean, it's the King of Hell!
Wait, was the Snooki scene before that? It must have been. So, here's the thing with that scene and I'm going to be really polite about it, because that's the kind of LJ I try to have here: 1) It seemed odd to have a "stunt" guest star and just have them be a weird forgettable cameo. 2)I think Snooki's acting strengths are probably in reality TV and not scripted TV.
Okay, back to the plot...
The first blade is supposedly at a museum... but alas, this gets to our "second victim" of the episode, and both guards get possessed, kill a nice girl bringing them lunch, and open the vault only to discover that the First Blade isn't even in it.
Cue Sam and Dean sweeping in as FBI agents, they see the security tape, figure it was Abaddon, and then interview the curator. First - did the security cameras not catch the original possession? Just the murders? I wonder if possessions show up on security footage.
The curator takes a liking to Dean... and I kind of love it. She shuts down all his threats, making him try to back them up so that he splutters, because he doesn't have any good follow-up lines rehearsed. And yeah, I just... it kind of gets a bit D/s-y and although I don't usually go for that, well, I sometimes love it when it's done well, and I think the dialogue and acting here was done really well. And Dean DOES tend to go for women who are...formidable... so yeah, I loved it.
Anyway, she sold it to a dude named Magnus. ... ALBERT MAGNUS PERHAPS?! Sam asks.
Then it's off to get information from Crowley on the Men of Letter's Massacre of 1959. Dude, I just realized that as a history buff, if I ever met Crowley, I'd probably just keep asking him questions like "So, I did a paper on this particular event and I want to know if I'm right..."
Crowley refuses to help them until they give something to him in return... in this case, he seems to want to be allowed upstairs to sit in a comfy chair and drink scotch. I'm kind of surprised they let him up into the library, to be honest. But they did.
They go through files until Crowley clues them in that the guy they're looking for would have been an active member at the time... and sure enough, he's in the "dishonoured and forgotten" file box. Cuthbert something-or-other... someone who appears to be a witch! Or at least, super super good at spells. It's hard to tell in Supernatural what qualifies you as a witch. They're mythology on that (as with werewolves and apparently shapeshifters) has apparently gone even muddier than when it started.
Nevertheless, they track
So, it's through the magic portal into Magnus' house... which, correct me if I'm wrong, is the same house they used in the French Mistake for Jared's mansion.
They're attacked by vampires! Yikes! What the heck?! But they kill them.... and it was all a test to see if they knew their stuff. Which, they obviously did.
We find out that Magnus has spells to stop himself aging (again, witch!) and that he has a zoo... he is a collector. And yeah, ZOO is a bad sign, because those monsters have to eat.. does he have a spell for that too?
They ask for the blade, and Magnus says it's useless without the Mark... and Dean shows him the Mark... and then, yup, it's a "ST:TNG: The Most Toys" situation, where Dean has just become a prize in Magnus' collection. Magnus sends Sam out of the house with a spell and then he has Dean all to himself.
Sam, meanwhile, makes his way back to the car and starts going over the files in the hopes of finding a way to get back in to save Dean, because he totally realizes what just happened.
So, now we get into the interesting bits with Crowley and Sam... Crowley keeps trying to argue that he wants to help Sam, and keeps trying to point out that he HAS helped Sam a lot... and Sam keeps shutting him down. But Crowley seems REALLY desperate to have Sam like him... and I do wonder how far Crowley's new found empathy goes and if he knows full well what the side-effect of the Blade is....
Magnus, meanwhile, ties Dean up and monologues at him about how he taught Dean's grandfather and how it'd be nice if Dean could stay with him forever and be his companion... and Dean is very creeped out.
Magnus also gets Dean to hold the blade for the first time though, and it's obviously AN EXPERIENCE... because the mark glows and Dean's arm shakes, and he's obviously overcome with SOMETHING. But what?!
Finally, in the outside world, Sam realizes that there's a spell to get in - Crowley fetches the ingredients, in seemingly another attempt to ingratiate himself to Sam, and Sam agrees that Crowley can be his back-up on the inside.
Once inside, the manage to hide from what Sam thinks is Magnus... but it's a shapeshifter! And yeah, okay, why no gross skin-shedding? I accepted it with the alpha-shifter, but I kind of really LIKED the gross skin-shedding, because it made the SPN monsters more... grounded in reality, somehow. Like, you need something really visceral and gross sometimes to get that gritty real-world feel... and I don't want them to lose that with shapeshifters.
Anyway, Sam gets himself tied up too. Nice one. And Magnus decides that he'll get Dean to comply by torturing his brother? Since when is that a good idea?
Thankfully, Magnus didn't expect Sam to have brought in Crowley, and Crowley sets Dean free - and Dean uses the Blade on Magnus... and then stands there CONSUMED WITH BLOODLUST...
But bloodlust for whom? I was wondering that, when my friend kindly pointed out that perhaps it's NOT a good idea to be the brother of someone who has the Mark of Cain, because PERHAPS the Mark of Cain is compelling Dean to KILL HIS BROTHER?!
Thankfully, Sam yelling at Dean to put the blade down finally gets through to him... or was it Crowley who got through to him? (you can answer this one). And Dean drops it.
Then it's off to the Impala to find that it's been RANSACKED BY DEMONS! It's a good thing they warded the trunk, but that didn't stop poor Baby from being keyed in Enochian. Also... uh, another criticism: I think at this point, the boys should PROBABLY be able to recognize frickin' Enochian. They've been dealing with angels for at least 5 years now.
Sam makes the mistake of taking that opportunity to point out to Dean that Crowley has come to the end of his utility and Dean promised that they'd kill him - and yeah, he probably should have not said that while Crowley was standing right there. Also...In they're haste to get to the car, they've dropped the Blade on the grass, and Crowley ceases his opportunity. He pins them to the car and takes the blade, explaining, seemingly only to Sam, that he KNOWS that they can't trust each other... and that he's taking the Blade until the point at which Dean needs to use it to kill Abaddon, and only then will he give it back.
So, here's my theory, which I'm sure you've guessed... I think Crowley knows that the Blade will compel Dean to kill Sam... I think that Crowley, in his new found empathy, actually doesn't want Sam to die... and I think that he's taking the Blade in order to try to make sure that Sam stays safe. Now, I KNOW that theory ascribes a LOT of good will to Crowley and therefore seems KIND OF far-fetched, but at this point, I can't really tell where Crowley's head is at, or Dean's... but I DO know that whatever that Blade is doing to Dean is nothing good.
So, thoughts? Let me know in comments!