So, FYI on tonight - 1)I haven't been drinking. 2)I've still only watched the episode once, so I might remember things in the wrong order and quotes aren't meant to be exact.
Okay, let's just dive right in...
Starting with the acapella version of Carry On... was really cool. It definitely touched different feels (that sounds dirty) than the usual Carry On... but I still loved it. It was more a "holy crap, it's been ten years!" feeling (though, in fairness, it's only been 7 years for me - I binge watched S1-3 in '08).
Okay, so... where do we actually start? With Sam? With Dean? With Sam...
We start with Sam in that room behind the glass wall. I really like that room. They should use it for more stuff than a single ominous table on which to make munitions. That being said, I really loved seeing Sam make munitions - that qualifies as a domestic scene to me, and I LOVE domestic scenes. At first, I was wondering why he had Dean's photos on the table while he did it, and then they come up later and my heart breaks... because I realize that's Sam's "prepare for battle" table, and he was bringing the bullets to coerce Rowena, and the photos to break through to the part of Dean that knows love. Those were Sam's weapons, bullets and love... and I love that boy, even though I'm inclined to agree with Dean later about them being pretty damn selfish when it comes to living... but we'll get to that.
Case comes in and he's all healed up. I'm not going to lie - I DID kinda of want a scene where Sam comes back to the bunker and finds it in shambles and Cas bloody on the floor... just because that would be a particularly beautiful devastation. However, it wouldn't make much sense, since Cas can heal, so probably as soon as he managed get over the shock of the beating, he was like "poof! better!" and then Sam walked in and was like "why's there blood all over your shirt? What's with all these dead people? Why does it smell like kerosine in here?" And Cas was like "OMG EVERYTHING IS HORRIBLE ALL THE TIME!"
Uh, sorry, I just digressed into writing fanfic there.
Cas is all like "this is a bad idea" and Sam is all like "this is my ONLY idea." And Cas is like "but consequences!" and Sam is like "if I don't kow exactly what they are, then I don't give a fuck!"
(And I just realized I forgot to respond to a comment on last week's quick reaction... I'll be right back.)
(And I'm back - holy crow, I missed THREE comments. What the heck, me?!)
So, Cas is like "Well, I guess I can't argue with that logic, so I will go along with your plans, but I will look upset about it the whole time."
Seriously though, Sam and Cas are both between a rock and a hard place here. They want nothing more than to save Dean, and they can't justify NOT saving him without knowing what that means. "Justify" is that wrong word there. They really don't have a choice... they either watch Dean murder the world... or they do dark magic and hope the consequences aren't that bad. Now, later, Sam's presented with another solution - and there's a whole other reason why he doesn't take it, but I'll get into that when the time comes...
Dean, meanwhile, is passed out in a hotel room (on the carpet no less... how often do you think carpets are cleaned in cheap motels? I am going with "never"...ugh). He wakes up and drinks more beer... it dribbles out of the corner of his mouth... fun fact, that is similar to how I drink my water when I do hot yoga. :P (and yes, it is mandatory for all vancouver residents to do yoga of some kind. They remind us in our "Vancouver - home of the urban Canadian hippie and what it means for you" welcome booklet.)
Dean decides that he's good - spoiler, he is not - and he goes out on a vampire hunt.
So, apparently, when Dean is under the influence of the MoC, he becomes an asshole slut-shamer. Ugh, definitely not our Dean... though, later, he is also kind of NOT slut-shamey in a way... so, it's a weird mix... a slightly empathetic asshole.
The Sheriff is like "YOU ARE MESSED UP!" and Dean is like "yup."
Then we find out that Dean was called onto the hunt by Rudy (Rudi?... will go with Rudy, I guess). At first, I thought Dean said "Ritchie" and I was like "Ritchie died in S3, Dean." But nope, Rudy... who HAS been on the other end of phone conversations... and also has like IMPOSSIBLE BLUE EYES. I mean, GEEZ!
We know this isn't going to go well. And sure enough, it doesn't. Dean tells Rudy to walk away - which was probably Dean trying to save him, but once again failing... then Dean goes to visit the dead girl's parents - where he figures out that the father is an abusive asshole, so Dean takes back the slut comment, because he knows where the girl is coming from...so, yay? I don't know man, Dean is such a weird breed of asshole under the MoC. It's really similar to the start of the season when he was a demon and it was hard to tell if he was really evil or if he was just playing at evil. And I guess this is a whole point, because we actually do get the debate later of whether or not Dean should be considered evil. Dean says "yea" Sam says "nay"... but we'll get to that.
Back with Sam, we find out the details of the spell - they need 1)Quince... or, well, the fruit of the tree - or the "apple" (which is actually, legitimately a translation error), and 2)a piece of the golden calf from Exodus, and 3)something the spell caster loves. Rowena claims she doesn't love anything, and Cas is like "please, everyone loves something" and mind reads her, and immediately is like "yup, you love a little polish boy named Oscar, sucks to you!"
Anyway, Rudy calls Sam and is like "Your brother is off the rails" and Sam is like "yeah, dude, where is he?" And yeah, episode title, because Sam and Dean really are their brother's keeper.
Sam gives Cas Dean's hair.... because, um, that's something that Sam just has on him. I mean, it makes sense, Sam and Dean do a LOT of spells and probably cut their own hair too. Or could you imagine them in the barbershop? "Yeah, don't sweep, I'm taking it." "What? Sir?" "Yeah, you think I'm going to let you have my hair? NO THANKS, BUDDY! It's going in the vault - only me and my brother are allowed to personalized spells. I'm no fool." *barber backs away slowly*
Cas is under orders to complete the spell, well Sam goes off to wrangle Dean. Cas is like "UGH, FINE" because that is Cas' lot in life when it comes to the Winchesters.
Meanwhile, in somewhere else - Dean finds the vampire nest and goes to town - only Rudy has found it first and is a hostage. And yeah... much like Soulless Sam, hostages have very little effect on Dean. I did wonder though, if Dean had been right, and if Rudy had just stopped panicking, if he could have simply walked away from that vampire. As it was, it was really only Dean purposefully startling the vampire that caused him to kill Rudy. I wonder if Dean had hoped that the vamp would be starteled into DROPPING the knife, rather than using it....we'll never know.
Rudy ends up dead and the girl ends up even more traumatized than she would have been, because her white knight is a pyschopath.
Sam goes to check it out and is all like "crap."
Meanwhile, Cas summons Crowley. I loved their conversation where Crowley is like "who summons anymore? You could just call me!" and Cas is like "You're not in my contacts" ... and it's really hilarious, because Cas is using A DARK SUMMONING because he doesn't have Crowley's phone number. It's just... it makes me laugh.
Anyway, Cas is like "help us with this!" and Crowley is like "No! Sam hurt my feelings." And Cas is like "Of course he did, you idiot." And Crowley is like "No, you have to beg me to help and then I'll help." And so Cas gives a really half-hearted attempt at begging, and Crowley agrees... and, I'm not sure what to make of this with last week's episode, where Crowley was all like "I AM PURE EVIL AGAIN RAR!" and now he is like "Yeah, okay, I'll be helpful." I kept waiting for him to double-cross, or have an ace up his sleeve, or have some ulterior motive for helping... but, seemingly no?
Oh man, right, so then Dean has hallucinations in the mirror and completely trashes his motel room... and yikes. I'm looking forward to these gifs being added to the "Dean hates lamps" gif-set on tumblr.
Sam is scooping out the town and sees the Impala, and reverses on the road without looking behind him... but that's okay, it's nighttime, so he would have noticed the headlights if there was a car behind him. He sees the motel room devastation, but Dean has already left, leaving Sam the keys to Impala and a "she's all yours" note.
Dean, meanwhile, has gone to an abandoned mexican restaurant that is appropriately Day of the Dead themed, and he summons Death. I mean, I KNEW he was summoning death beforehand, but even still, I think I would have recognized the ingrediants in the summoning, and I'm not sure if I should be proud or disturbed by that. :P
Anyway, YAY DEATH! I love Death.
Death shows up and DEAN HAS MADE HIM SNACKS. I repeat Dean MADE THE SNACKS HIMSELF. He made Mexican snacks, HIMSELF. Oh my heart... FYI: This also counts as domestic Winchesters. Like, Death and Dean have a tradition of "the best *snack* in America" whenever they meet up, but this time DEAN MADE IT HIMSELF. And Death tastes it and is like "Yes, this is good." AND I LOVE THEM BOTH.
Then Dean is like "kill me please" because it MAKES SENSE... Death can reap God, he should be able to reap Dean without him turning into a demon. But Death is like, "no, because I actually know how the universe works..."
And this is the great thing about Death. He's actually the only functioning God of Supernatural. Death knows how the universe was put together, Death knows pretty much everything... I mean, there's no proof here that he is omnescient (and we'll get to THE EVENT in a minute) but there's no proof that he's not either. He doesn't seem surprised by anything, that's for sure. That being said, I don't think he has the power to do much besides reap and know stuff. Obviously, he can also take Dean somewhere far away, so, fine, teleportation... but that seems to be it.
One of the reasons I've loved SPN, is because I really see it as operating in a dualistic universe - where God and Death are equal in power, but opposite in ability. God creates. Death kills. And I love the fact that SPN specifically places current events in a world that God has (for the most part) abandoned, but therefore Death becomes the only God there is.
I'm getting way ahead of myself though...
Death explains to Dean that like the seals on Lucifer's cage, the Mark of Cain is actually a lock - it's the cage for "The Darkness" that which was before God created the universe. God first defeated the "Darkness" and locked it away, and gave the cage and it's lock to Lucifer, who was then corrupted, and passed it on to Cain...and Cain passed it to Dean (though, he still had it himself, so I guess there were two cages...which might serve to explain why Dean's decline was more rapid after Cain's death - in that it might not have just been for "lost hope" psychological reasons. It might have been because he only had half the darkness as long as Cain was around.
If Dean gets rid of the MoC, then he gets rid of both the lock and the cage, and the Darkness is set free upon the earth. Dean has two options 1)pass on the MoC, and then Death will reap him (which was Cain's solution) or 2)allow Death to take him far far away... his own planet? Petit Prince style?! where he can never hurt anyone ever again, but he also has to live forever alone.
It sucks, but that's the option Dean chooses...only, there's a catch, of COURSE there's a catch.
Dean calls Sam, and I really did think it was the "suicide note" call - or, in Dean's case the "I'm never going to see you again" call... and I think Sam thought so too. But nope, Dean tells him where he is....
Meanwhile, back at the ranch... we find out why Crowley was chatting up that waiter last episode. And it's not for the sexy reasons that I was hoping... nope, Crowley had also found out Rowena's secret, curtesy of the The-Hamster-Witch (I can't remember her name)... Seth, the cute waiter boy, is actually an immortal Oscar, the polish boy.
Crowley gives us a speech about how he has mother issues... and how he had taken solace in the fact that his mother wasn't capable of love, so it wasn't just HIM... but, now he's back at square one, because apparently she CAN love.
That being said, she obviously doesn't love as hard as Sam and Dean love, because in the end, she kills Oscar in exchange for freedom and power. And I love Crowley pointing that out to her when she calls him evil - that all Crowley did was find Oscar and bring him to her, it's still up to her whether or not she kills him. It's HER that has to decide whether to take the good or the evil path... and she totally takes the evil path. I don't know if that will help or hinder Crowley in his psychotherapy, who knows.
I was actually talking to a friend of mine the other day about how Supernatural, fundamentally, is about toxic masculinity and the tragedy that life becomes in the absence of the feminine... so, I find it really cool that in a show of daddy-issues, they're now adding mommy-issues... in that, the absense of a maternal figure can also occur when you have a particularly shitty mother, so it's not just a problem for people raised by army-veteran single dads.
Off topic, again, I'm sorry...
Let's go back to Sam and Dean, because this is where things get interesting. Death won't take Dean away, unless Dean kills Sam... and while Death does say that he's offended about Sam standing him up last time (which, totally not Sam's fault), the REAL reason Death tells Dean to kill Sam is because he knows that Sam WON'T STOP. As long as Sam and/or Dean are alive, they will not allow themselves to be separated from their brother.
At this rate, the healthiest the relationship has ever been was that brief moment in S5, when Dean WAS willing to let Sam go - at least, for a time. (I swear it was in the show, that Dean admitted he had still been researching ways to save Sam - but it's been a while, and I don't want to be accidentally confusing fanfic with canon. I've also seen interpretations of S6 Dean that claimed he looked happy with Lisa and Ben, but I beg to differ - I think Dean lasted a good year, but wasn't going to last much longer, whether or not he had already given in.)
Death is kind of brilliant here - because on the one hand, Cain told Dean that the MoC wouldn't be satisfied until Dean had killed his brother...so, is Death also helping to satisfy the bloodlust a little? Another option, and the one I'm leaning towards - is that Death knows exactly how this is going to go...because he just asked Dean to do the one thing that Dean has NEVER been able to do. (Dean LET Sam die in S5, but he didn't kill him himself, and that's an important distinction.) The closest Dean came to killing Sam was when he was a demon (and that hammer to the head probably would have killed him - though, sidenote: there's a local comedian in Vancouver who survived a hammer to the head, though they lost an eye.)
But, we'll get to that... first, we get Sam and Dean arguing about whether they are a good or evil. It's an interesting debate. I think it's been one that Carver has been exploring since S8... at what point do the Winchesters become so selfish that they destroy the world rather than save it? At one point does the cost of keeping that ONE thing in their lives (each other) mean that they cross the line into being something that the world would be better off without? It's a hard question to answer, because on the one hand, you could look at everything they've done and the horrible consequences it has had... on the other hand, you could look at the fact that they are the two best hunters in the world and really the best equipped to deal with ANY and ALL evil. The whole apocalypse thing wasn't their fault, that was Heaven and Hell, S6-7 wasn't their fault either, that was on Cas... but since then, things HAVE been their fault - hell still being open, Metatron being brought back into the game and taking advantage (that one is arguable, I suppose), and now finally what happens at the end of this episode. As Sam yelled about all last season, what's the price of them being alive and is it worth it?
And that's basically where Dean is now - but, in true Winchester fashion, if one Winchester flips, the other will flip too - so, now Dean is wondering what the cost is and whether it's worth it, and Sam is arguing that no cost is too great and it IS worth it.
And Sam is arguing that having heard that HIS plan - the spell - will most likely unlease "the Darkness" - which doesn't sound good. But, he doesn't call Cas to tell him to stop - and that's an important note. I mean, yes, Sam is a LITTLE busy trying to talk Dean out of kiling him and going someplace else. But, at the same time, Sam knows Dean, and he knows that an eternity alone in outerspace will be the worst kind of hell for Dean, who is a loving social person, and NEEDS people. This is basically Dean saying "Let me go to hell"... and well, I mean, Sam punches him for it... but in the end, he tells Dean he understands and that he'll sit there and let Dean kill him... but Sam makes sure that Dean knows that Dean is and always will be fundamentally GOOD and that when he's in his own personal solitary hell, he should take his family photos, so that he can remember what love is... and geeeeeeeeez, these boys.
Basically, even when Sam gives him permission to kill him and disappear with Death, he is STILL trying to save Dean in any way he can.
And of course it works, because there's his little brother (actually little, because Sam is kneeling on the floor and looking up at him) with watery puppy dog eyes.... and Sam's basically just sitting there waiting for Dean to kill him while LOVING him the whole time. And I think Dean tells him to close his eyes, just because he can't possibly kill him when he looks like that, because Dean IS fundamentally good.
So, Dean swings the scythe around and kills Death instead.
But, um, YOU CAN'T KILL DEATH! Come ON, Show! I really don't think Death is dead... because, that just doesn't make any sense to me whatsoever, metaphyiscally speaking. Death is more immortal than God in SPN. Death will REAP God, so therefore Death is at the very least, 1 millisecond more immortal than God. So, in my mind, Death isn't dead - he knew Dean was going to do that. Death was making a point, giving them an option that he knew wouldn't work out. And now that they think he's dead, they're going to stop bugging him so damn often. I mean, really, if Death wanted to kill Sam so that Sam wouldn't muck up his solution to the MoC problem, then Death should and would have reaped Sam himself rather than ask Dean to do it (Honestly - asking Dean to kill Sam is basically guaranteeing Sam's continued life.)
Now, that all being said, as an atheist, I LOVE the idea of a godless universe... and like I talked about early, Death was SPN's only God-equivalent. (Uh, just to specificy- I'm talking only about the theology in SPN, I am not talking about any IRL religions or dieties or how they work. So, if this doesn't sound like Judeo-Christian mythology as you know it, that's because it isn't and I don't mean for it to be in the slightest.)
And it's interesting that well, God, despite maybe coming to a high school play, is absent of his own accord - Sam and Dean just "killed" the last remaining God-like being AND unleashed the thing that existed BEFORE God... so they are basically pushing the wheel full circle....
(Again, when I say "God-like" or "God-equivalent" I'm talking about Captial G God, and not pagan gods, which we've seen in SPN to have less power than an archangel, so they are NOT Captial G God-equivalents or God-like.)
Oh my god, Alix, what the hell is "quick" about this reaction?! I should rename these to "Long Steam of Consciousness Essays on an Episode I've Only Seen Once And Barely Had Time to Process." "LSoCEoaEIOSOABHTtP" for short.
So, Dean has chosen life on earth, and to keep fighting, YAY! And Sam is happy. Meanwhile, Rowena has chosen her own freedom and power and killed Oscar and said the spell...
Dean is hit by a lightening bolt that gets rid of the MoC. YAY! Only, then, it unleashes "The Darkness" and uh, wow... it looks like a heck of a lot of "Darkness." It's very S2 ending, where an demon army is unleashed, because Dean wouldn't let Sam die... only, appropriately, it's leveled up to match Sam and Dean's currrent skill level - since they could probably take a demon army in their sleep these days.
Meanwhile, back at the Distillery, Rowena shows us that she's been able to escape the whole time - and therefore, she's simply been in it for the power the whole time - and the chance to kill Crowley. Though, there must have been some satisfaction in doing the spell, because if she could have escaped the whole time, then she didn't really need to do the spell.... so, that's a thinking point for later.
Anyway, she freezes Castiel and Crowley and then puts the rabid beast spell on Cas - OH NOES! And sics him on Crowley... OH NOES?
And then she waltzes out with the book of the damned AND the codex, both of which she can read now.
Meanwhile, the Darkness is intimidating and Baby is stuck in a pothole.
And we don't get to see the resolution to either of these scenes...
Will Crowley make it? Will Cas? Will Sam and Dean? What's the Darkness?
My prediction is that, like S3, the Darkness will spread out into the world and the Winchesters will be like "what's it doing? How come there hasn't been anything on the news yet?" OR, maybe it will be like S7 and the Leviathan in the water...and we'll get to see right away how "the Darkness" operates. It's gotta take human-form? No? Everything in SPN takes human form. Hopefully it's done better than the Leviathan, which fell pretty flat for me. S3 is hard to judge, because it got pretty altered with the Writer's strike and the budgetary limits of the day (it seems they can do more these days with less.)
I'm glad the MoC storyline is wrapped. It was definitely cool to explore the darker aspects of Dean, but I really did miss regular Dean.
At the very least, it looks like Sam and Dean might be on the same page for the first time since S7. Which would be REALLY NICE. But of course, that's what we all thought when they got married at the end of S8 - and then S9 happened everything was horrible about their relationship.
We also have some other variables in the wind - What's up with Bobby in Heaven? Where is Metatron with the demon tablet? What's Cas' future going to be like now that he's rebelled (again) from Heaven and seemingly can't go back? Will the angels ever be restored or is them at half-power the new forever-reality? If Sam and Dean have pushed the wheel full circled and unleashed the beings from before creation, then who becomes God when the wheel turns again? (Anyone who has read my blog for years, knows MY preferred answer to that.)
It's definitely going to be a long summer!