Supernatural, S10 Ep03 – Soul Survivor

Supernatural s10 ep03--Castiel and Sam in bunker

Supernatural promised us the year of the Deanmon, so naturally that means three episodes. The two major issues we came into the season with, Dean as a demon and Castiel almost dying from his failing grace, were both partly resolved here, which feels like a cop-out. But really, how long did any of us expect the writers to keep up the Demon Dean story? Something with that much awesome potential? Yeah, why would they want to linger over that…

Supernatural s10 ep03--Dean smashing through door with hammer

[Insert Shining reference]

But this episode did give us plenty of emotional Sam and Dean interaction as Sam tried to cure Dean and Dean tried to taunt Sam. They’re really playing up the bad things Sam did in order to find Dean, which is a nice gesture from Sam, especially after his distant behavior last season, but as I said before, Sam’s always the one going dark side. It was refreshing to see them turn Dean evil, except that they spent the first two episodes with him being only mildly darker than usual. This one, though, gave us a truly demonic Dean as he hunted his little brother through the Men of Letters bunker. Their scenes together, starting with Sam forcing the cure on Dean and Dean trying to get inside Sam’s head, (the same way we’ve seen other demons do for years), and ending with their final confrontation, were brilliantly done. Dean’s photos of his family and Sam’s unrelenting drive to save his brother were beautifully touching moments in between some truly creepy manipulation from Demon Dean. Congrats to Jensen Ackles both for his portrayal of Demon Dean and for another good turn in Supernatural‘s director’s chair. You can tell that what went down between them this episode, such as Dean blaming his awful life on Sam, will haunt their relationship the rest of the season.

However, after seeing just how far Dean had gone, finally seeing something that looked like a demon rather than a douche version of Dean’s normal self, I’m particularly disappointed that he was cured so early on. Of course, he still has the Mark of Cain, which needs to be fed with murder or something, so he’s probably not out of the woods yet. Though Castiel’s encouragement at the end for Dean to take some time off sounded more like the writers giving themselves an excuse for a one-off monster of the week episode (oh, and next week is about werewolves and not the main plot, just look at that).

Supernatural s10 ep03--Castiel hugging a screaming Dean from behind


Speaking of Castiel, the angel story the writers have been stretching out these three episodes has been obvious and painful filler. His road trip with Hannah, and even the fight with Adina, were a snoozefest. I want Cas to have a good storyline, but this has not been it. However, his journey to find his grace may be interesting, once it actually gets going. Right now it seems like the writers are stalling. Cas was trying to get to the bunker to help Sam with Demon Dean, but he got sidetracked with the boring rogue angel plot and the awkward romance with Hannah. Funny that Cas told her that a relationship between them would be a distraction that they don’t need right now, because their entire plot up to now has felt like a distraction. There’s not much more I can say about that.

Cas showing up at the end to hug/restrain Demon Dean so that they could finish the cure was a bit anti-climactic and too little Cas/Dean interaction for my tastes. It would have had more impact if Sam and Cas had to work together to cure Dean from the start, with Dean trying to taunt both of them. Their one conversation at the end was not enough. So much lost potential there. At least there’s always fan fiction.

Supernatural s10 ep03--Crowley watching a demon burn himself to death

Hell has really gone to Hell.

As for the second partially resolved plot point, Cas now has more time left before he dies, thanks to yet more stolen grace, courtesy of Crowley. While the Supernatural writers are flailing about to find a new angel story that will restrict Castiel’s powers more than delve into his character, Crowley has been getting some of the most interesting development of any of the main cast in years. His flirtation with being human has changed him so much that he’s not even running Hell properly any more. Turning Dean into a demon was more of an attempt at getting himself a friend than anything else, and he regretted it once the novelty wore off. And that’s why he gave Castiel more grace, because he wanted Cas to help save Dean from being a douche-demon. Crowley has come a long way from the crossroads demon we first met, and he has brought some much needed life to a show that constantly retreads old storylines again and again.

Castiel’s grace has yet to be fully restored but he has more time now, and Dean is no longer a demon but he still has the Mark of Cain, which may possibly make him a demon again (I’m not clear on that point). So things are basically back to the way they were, the major consequences of last season mostly resolved, or at least put off until later. This better mean they’ve got an awesome new myth arc coming up, or else they’ll have completely wasted one of fandom’s most eagerly awaited plotlines. Here’s hoping that Dean will have to fight off the impulse to kill and return to the demon life, just like Sam once had to fight his addiction to demon blood. Though the final shot of the episode, introducing us to a witchy-looking red-haired woman, was a clear hint that things will be taking a different turn soon.

Next week, werewolves! Again!