I didn't have that much wine this evening - but the rules still stand: I'm not going to remember everything, and I'm going to get things out of order. All quotes are paraphrased. Don't correct my mistakes unless I ask you to or they are major plot or character points.
Now, let's get started...
I'm going to talk about the storylines separately, so, first off...
Sam, Dean, and Cas
We begin... um... I can't actually remember where we begin. OH! We begin with Cas and Sam chatting, right? I love Cas and Sam scenes!! And I love the fact that they aren't talking about Dean right away, they're talking about Claire... and I just love that Cas is venting his problems to Sam, because it makes them more like the friends that they've always claimed to be but that we never really get to see all that often, except for a little bit last season and this one, when Dean is momentarily not hogging all the bro-time.
Talking about Claire does lead them to talking about Dean though, and the fact that Claire doesn't understand why Dean killed Randy, or even that Randy was a douchenozzle that gave someone permission to rape her. It didn't occur to me that no one KNEW that he did that - that there's no solid connection between Randy and the fact that his enemy assaulted Claire - besides the fact that Cas perhaps momentarily saw Randy NOT at gunpoint downstairs and seemingly uncaring about the noises coming from upstairs.
Anyway, yeah, so Sam and Cas start talking about Dean and how it obviously that what he did wasn't cool... and Dean of course enters the conversation there (awkward!) but he agrees with them... with special looks to Cas, because he DID make Cas promise that Cas would kill him if it came to it. (But can Dean even be killed? That's what I want to know - did Dean make himself immortal? If he's a knight of Hell now, can he only be killed by the First Blade and someone else with the MoC? After all, Cain said that one day he would send for Dean so that Dean could kill Cain - implying that only the MoC and the Blade can kill Cain too.)
It doesn't come to that though - instead, Cas suggests something else drastic - go to someone who might know what the demon tablet said... Metatron.
Firstly, wow, Castiel still has a lot of pull in heaven if he can get a prisoner temporarily released (either legitametely or smuggled out - still impressive). Also, we get to see a really cool punk angel who is currently watching the gate and her adorable (angel?)daughter.
So, they get Metatron locked up in the bunker - and I do worry about them bringing the baddies into the bunker - I mean, maybe they put a hood on him, but who's to say they can't get in later on their own.
Sam tries with him first. And there's some great scenes with Metatron and Sam. I love how cold Sam is. Sure his question reveals that Dean is a)alive, b)not a demon, and c)still going MoC'razy - but he also drives home the point that just because Dean is alive, doesn't mean that Metatron is off the hook for killing him. And we all know from S4 that Sam doesn't forgive Dean's killers just because Dean lives.
Metatron tells them that they need the First Blade. Dean calls Crowley, even though Sam is against the idea, given that he wants to keep the Blade as far away from Dean as possible and they shouldn't trust Metatron anyhow. Also, why didn't they just get all the steps out of Metatron while he was being generous with info? Why go off to argue about the Blade and THEN ask? Seems weird.. but maybe it'd come to the same end anyway. Metatron probably always planned to clam up after the first hint... and really, who knows if he's actually telling the truth or not.
Anyway, they meet Crowley in the rain - and hello wet Winchesters, I like the way you look...especially Sam. Crowley also thinks they're insane, but he agrees to get the Blade for them, because he too wants Dean to lose the MoC. I guess because he learned the hard way that his plan to have a Knight of Hell as his righthand man is not going to work if said Knight is Dean Winchester. So, now he just wants to make Dean a less unpredictable powerhouse of rage.
They go back to bunker, and wait for Crowley's call, meanwhile, Castiel comes in and starts yelling at them about their stupid plan to get the First Blade again. And I do love that he just comes in yelling... it's so human of him, really. Of course, it then leads to Cas venting his Claire problems again (which I'll talk about in a minute) and then asking if maybe Dean would try phoning her and explaining what happened and why he killed Randy. I'm not sure what his plan is here, but maybe he just thinks Dean is pretty good at talking to people.
The exchange about how Cas likes texting because of emoticons seemed kind of weird to me at first, but then I realized that it's Cas trying to cheer Dean up, because he knows Dean loves to make fun of how much of a dork Castiel is with "human" things...of course, Dean is too upset about everything to really crack a smile, but it was a sweet attempt.
He goes to the kitchen to make a sandwich and then gets Crowley's call saying that Crowley has the First Blade again... and Dean has had that same ringtone since S2... that's actually about 10 years now, narratively. (the show is in its 12th narrative year.)
So, of course, Dean abandons his sandwich and goes to get more answers out of Metatron. Metatron tries to make a deal - saying that more information, each new step, is going to cost Dean something... but Dean is having none of that. And I don't blame him... he lists Metatron's crimes, and this is where the psychological torture begins - which is what Dean usually fails at - and always what his toture-victims use against him. Metatron reiterates the things that are Dean's fault... a lot of which are actually Metatron's fault. Like, if Dean hadn't tricked Sam into saying yes to Gadreel, then Gadreel could never have killed Kevin on Metatron's orders... and Metatron also brings up something that Dean himself has mentioned before...the fact that he makes tough decisions for "the greater good" but lately its getting harder to see what "the greater good" actually is or if his decisions are really for the greater good or for himself.
Dean, of course, responds to this by beating the shit out ot Metatron - which I have to wonder if maybe that's what Metatron wants? I mean, you don't goad a wild animal unless you want them to strike. So, when it comes to trusting Metatron, can we? What's his play? Does he want out of heaven? Does he WANT DEATH? Does he want to rule Heaven again and kill the Winchesters and all who apose him? What is his gameplan here?
Of course, at this point, Sam and Castiel are heading to bed.... or, maybe Cas was going to drive around and look for Claire? I don't remember - but the point is he doesn't immediately head for the stairs, they walk around the corner past the kitchen first, and Sam realizes both that it doesn't take that long to make a sandwich and also that Dean is NOT making a sandwich....
So then it's a mad sprint to the dungeon to stop Dean. And they do get there just in time, because Dean is starting to get too rough - that being said, it ALSO appears as though he's finally getting answers, as when it looks like Dean's going to kill him, Metatron says "the river ends at the source!" like it might stop Dean. So, what WAS Metatron hoping to accomplish by goading Dean? Was he counting on being rescued before it got that far and then got terrified at the last second that the rescue wasn't coming? When Cas drags him away, Metatron says that he chooses death over helping Dean... is that what he had already done or is he just trying to save himself, now realizing that Dean could have actually killed him and Metatron needs to find another way to escape prison and regain his power? So many questions.
Also, they keep breaking those antique doors in the bunker! ANTIQUE DOORS! Granted, they're not made like doors actually WOULD have been made in the 1930s, but that's besides the point. :P
Cas takes Metatron to deliver him back to prison.
Dean and Sam have a discussion in the library - and I love the body language of this scene. I love how Sam sits down right next to his clearly homocidal-maniac brother, and not only that, he turns so that his body is completely facing him and open. And then Sam floats the suggestion that maybe the source of great power has to come from DEAN - that it's a matter of will. Cain was able to ignore the blood-lust for years, so that might be the answer for Dean as well. Sam even recognizes that part of the problem might be that part of Dean LIKES the murder and destruction - which, isn't actually OOC for Dean - we've seen in seasons past that Dean deals with being upset by becoming more violent/agressive to the point where he scares Sam. It was his reaction when John died.
(...and I mean, if we're going to get meta about it - it's also a pretty common reaction to strong emotion in males who are under a lot of pressure to perform their masculinity to social standards. Our society is messed up. Girls can only ever be happy ("smile, sweetheart!") and boys can only ever be happy or angry - so, if they're feeling anything but happy, odds are they're going to express it through anger.)
So, Sam thinks that maybe the first step is Dean fighting the MoC himself - getting to a point where he can control the rage and bloodlust the way Cain can. Now, of course, Cain shut himself off from society, and I'm not sure that's what Sam is suggesting here, or if that's strictly necessarily, but I guess we'll find out as the episodes progress.
Dean gets his first test when Claire calls him and agrees to meet, but Dean walks unknowingly into a trap where two people come at him with a bat and an axe. Claire gets cold feet, because she's not actually a murderer, and warns him - and Dean ALMOST kills the two of them, but Claire's screaming seems to make him pause and calm down, and let the two attackers run off instead. So, hopefully that gives Dean a bit of encouragement that it might actually be possible to beat the bloodlust through will alone. (Also, Sam DID let him out of the Bunker, alone, to go meet Claire - so Sam is continuing to be Sam and showing Dean he believes in him by actually believing in him.)
Cas and Claire
Now, let's talk about Cas and Claire. You can feel for Claire, because obviously it'd be pretty hard, pscyhologically, to hang out with a guy who looks like your father, but isn't...and is actually the guy who inadvertently as it may have been, took your father away and got him killed. And then there's the fact that the guys' BFF just killed your replacement father-figure...who was a scumbag and emotionally manipulative, but Claire doesn't realize that yet. So, yeah... you understand why Claire wouldn't want to hang around with Cas or his friends.
(Also, they were staying in the Astoria! They didn't even change the sign.)
Also, I liked what Cas said to Sam about how the fact that Claire saw Randy as kind, spoke to how unkind the world had been to Claire. It reminds me of when I first met my bestfriend, who was super nice to me - and I told him so, and he was like "How mean are other people?! I'm HORRIBLE TO YOU!" (He wasn't though. He was great. I just come from a very "everyone for themselves" type of family - so I wasn't used to someone offering to take my empty plate to the kitchen for me... or getting me a drink too, when they got one for themselves. I should note that I have absolutely no social graces as a result of my upbringing... and I often come across as really cold... because my family also never hugs, so like, just for example, earlier today I said goodbye to friend of mine by saying, "well, that's my car across the road, so see you next week!" and then I ran across the road to my car...and then heard her say behind me, "oh...right...next... yes... bye?" as though she had stopped walking when I had spoken for some reason, and then I remembered that she was one of my huggy friends, and had probably expected a goodbye hug. Ooops.)
Anyway, Claire proves that she SHOULDN'T be on her own, and also is the absolute worst judge of character, by immediately meeting too really sketchy people - who, when she tells them about how someone MURDERED her father and her father-figure, don't say "wow, you should really go to the cops", but instead are like "we can totally kill him for you, if you want."
I kept trying to figure out if they were demons or something - but no, they were just scuzzy humans. Also, fine, they were a little creepy in the bar, but when they get back to the trailor and are like "remember when that housewife pulled a gun on me..." I mean, that's a pretty good sign you are hanging out with CRIMINALS...and probably it's not a good idea to do so. But, I suppose criminals are what Claire is used to by now... at least petty ones.
Still, Claire lets them talk her into calling Dean so that they can kill him for her, or maim him for her, or something... and either she's terrified of them and agrees, or she agrees when it's all talk, because she thinks she can handle being an accessory to murder (or a murderer, since it's basically a revenge-hit for Randy's death.) I'm thinking it's the latter, based on what she tells Castiel after.
I was also thinking that that couple were totally hoping for a threesome.... and who knows, may have gotten one, since the hit on Dean took place the next morning. Gross. Claire is underage. I do not like this thought.
Anyway, Dean shows up to talk to Claire, and luckily Claire gets cold feet and runs out to warn him before bat-girl and axe-man can strick. Dean takes them down efficiently, but doesn't kill them... and Claire just runs away. I would have liked SOME scene between Dean and Claire... but I guess Dean just let her run away, maybe thinking it was for the best, given his recent problems with bloodlust.
Cas is able to track down Claire though - because apparently she's unknowingly/subconsciously praying to him a little bit. Cas suggests maybe there's something that she wants to tell him. I wonder if at this point, Cas knows Claire almost had his BFF killed and is hoping for an apology or an explanation or a confession... and he kind of gets that. Claire admits to discovering that she too could be a bit of a monster. Cas is hopeful that maybe she understands enough to come with him, but she still wants to be alone - she does, however, offer the olive branch of saying she'll call him every once in a while. Cas is beyond thrilled, which is great, because in a situation like this, you really do have to let the injured party dictate the terms of the relationship.
Claire then tells him that she likes him better in a tie... so, we figure Cas is going to start wearing a tie all the time again. I do wonder about the reason behind Claire's preference though - the last time she saw her father was in a suit and tie, after all. It could be less about who Cas is, and more about who his body once was.
So, Claire's off in the wind... being a poor judge of character.
Crowley and Rowena
Meanwhile, in hell, Crowley's mother is trying to do SOMETHING... drive her son into being paranoid and insane? Perform a coup? Destroy the power structure of hell? Get him to trust her and only her... for some future reason? To escape hell? To rule? For power?
Anyway, she spies on Crowley with the Winchesters and uses the information to get Crowley's right-hand-man to get the First Blade - then she kills him... and it's hard to tell whether she wanted Crowley to walk in then, or if she wanted the First Blade, but in anycase, she makes it appear that he was conspiring behind Crowley's back and that she killed him to save Crowley.
So, at the end of the episode, we get Crowley who may or may not be starting to doubt his hold over his hell, may or may not be beginning to trust his untrustworthy mother, and definitely IS sitting with the First Blade within easier reach until the Winchester's call him for it... but by then, who knows if he'll give it up so easily?
So, lots of stuff set up for the back half of S10... lots of motivations that we don't know - Metatron, Rowena, Crowley. We have Dean still under the sway of the MoC, Cas still dying, and Sam, ironically, still the most stable of Team Free Will - and the one we might all be depending on to save the day (unless Dean truely can save himself though the power of his will alone.)
So, let me know what you thought in comments!
Next week is going to be a little different, because I'm busy that night going to see a friend of mine do stand-up. So, I'll be downloading the episode when I get home, which hopefully won't be TOO late, but who knows.