Supernatural, S10 Ep04 – Paper Moon

Supernatural s10 ep04--Dean and Sam wearing sunglasses

Supernatural has always been a Monster of the Week style show, but as the years have passed I’ve cared less and less about those one-off stories that act as filler for the main myth arc. There are times when they can still get them right, but I’ve usually been pretty bored with the MotW episodes of the past several seasons. That said, I enjoyed this week’s episode, and that’s because it was less about the monster the Winchesters were hunting and more about the monsters they themselves had become. This was a good, strong episode that I hope is an indication of things to come.

Supernatural s10 ep04--Kate at Tasha's bedside in hospital

At least she didn’t ask an angel to possess her

This story brought werewolves back again to Supernatural and one werewolf in particular. Kate was first introduced in season eight’s “Bitten,” which also introduced us to the concept of pureblood werewolves who can control their powers and their bloodlust. It was nice to see Kate again, but she’s not here for character development, at least not her own. She’s been doing yoga and meditation to keep her wolf side in check, but her sister was another matter. Kate had turned her sister, Tasha, to save her life, but Tasha gave in to her werewolf instincts to hurt and kill. Kate loved her sister, but in the end she was forced to kill her because Tasha was no longer the person she had known. Tasha had become a monster. And that, of course, is all one big obvious parallel to Sam and Dean’s story at this point.

Dean had taken up the hunt this time around because he couldn’t stand doing nothing on vacation, not after all that he had been through as a demon. He wanted to be doing something good, which sounds like he’s looking to redeem himself. But Dean made an odd comment about Tasha, saying that she had gotten in too deep and “you don’t come back from that.” Dean becoming a demon sounds like being in “too deep,” so is Dean admitting here that he’s not all right or is he just being a hypocrite? Does he think he’s still a monster? Is he still a monster? We assume the cure worked on him, but the Mark is still there. Can he feel the Mark working its power on him again?

Supernatural s10 ep04--Dean pointing gun in dark

Dean’s version of therapy

But Dean wasn’t the only Winchester with monstrous tendencies. He and Sam had quite a few conversations this episode discussing their various issues, so many conversations it felt almost strange that Dean was willing to talk that much. (What happened to Supernatural, the show where an emotionally constipated man with a fetish for plaid and his faithful moose breaks down in manly man-pain while refraining from healthy mental and interpersonal behavior?) One of these conversations touched on what Sam had done to find Dean. Yeah, it was more “Sam has a dark side” stuff. He did some questionable stuff to save his brother, maybe caused a soul or two to be sold, but it feels like they’re reaching here. Or maybe I’m just tired of Sammy being the dark one and was hoping Dean would get a chance to shine as evil. Not that I don’t love Sam and his darkness, but it’s old ground they’re retreading, something that has been played again and again since the demon blood addiction. Not that Dean hasn’t had his own darkness, such as enjoying the torture of souls in Hell and loving the “purity” of Purgatory where he got to hack and slash to his heart’s content. Maybe, since both brothers have gone dark at least once, the writers decided to have an evil-off between them to see which one was secretly a worse person. That seemed kind of like where some of their conversations were going.

All in all, what this episode said at its core was that even if you love someone, even if they’re family, if they are doing something wrong they must be stopped. Kate killed her sister because her sister became a monster. Will Sam and Dean face the same situation? Sam tried his best to save Dean, but what if the Mark undoes all his hard work and Dean goes demon again? That sounded like a concern of Sam’s as he tried to keep Dean from killing, like trying to keep an addict away from drugs. But with all this focus on how what Sam did is worse than what Dean did because Sam was human at the time, are they heading towards a moment where it’s Sam who turns evil instead? What if the season started off with Dean as a demon, but it ends with Sam as the monster? Kate, a werewolf, has been able to keep her urges under control, but can Sam and Dean do the same? Or are we heading towards a brother on brother brawl where only one walks away?

Can’t wait to find out what happens next? The next episode airs in two weeks on November 11, and it’s the very special 200th episode. The brothers will be diving back in to the in-universe Supernatural fandom, with bonus singing!