'Supernatural' Recap: Bosom Badasses
January 22nd, 2014 11:10am EST
If last week’s episode of “Supernatural” ripped your heart out, this week’s installment fused it back together with badassery, a bit of heart and a few artful liberties with the world’s oldest sibling rivalry.
Let’s dive in, shall we?
While Sam tries to avenge Kevin with the “harmless” dregs of grace the sloppy “psycho angel” Gadreel left inside him, Dean opts for good, old-fashioned revenge. Of course, Crowley arrives to harsh his buzz and possibly rescue his loins. "This bar is a bust. That waitress is trouble with a capital VD, and your prey, Gadreel, has left the building. It’s time to move on to more pressing matters like killing Abbadon.”
Once thought of as unkillable, Crowley admits that The First Blade is capable of smiting Queen Abaddon. Smitty, Abaddon’s protégé, was his last lead to the weapon, but he was later killed by John Winchester. Crowley wants to team up to find the blade and kill Abaddon together. "I do love a good buddy comedy,” he grins.
Dean is drunk and self-destructive enough to agree. ("Your problem is that nobody hates you more than you do. Believe me, I've tried," Crowley explains to Dean) A trip to one of John’s storage units reveals that the John had indeed killed the demon who mentioned the blade. The file was unfinished, so they tracked the hunter who worked with case with John—a hot, mature woman named Tara. If Helen Mirren had a baby with Jillian Michaels, it would be Tara. Her knee even aches when a demon is in her presence. When Dean struts into her store and announces he’s a Winchester, she remarks “Well you grew up pretty,” I know I’m going to like her, and that she’s not long for this world. Extraneous hunters come in two categories on “Supernatural”: Batcrap Crazy or Marked For Death. She balks at the idea of a hunter working with the CEO of Hades, but with her incomplete tracking spell and Crowley’s extra Essence of Kraken, our demented duo heads to an idyllic farmhouse in Missouri that’s buzzing with bees. Its owner is a man with bright blue eyes, a bewitching beard and an ability to make Crowley, reigning King of Hell, cower in his boots. It’s Cain aka “The Father of Murder.” Um, gulp!
Here’s very its gets very dark and twisty and awesome, and it’s all developed in fits and starts so suspenseful that nearly give me palpitations. Cain’s story is the type of fairytale I dig: Once upon a time, Cain (“Psych’s” Tim Omundson) was just a big brother who saw his little brother being seduced by Lucifer’s serpentine charisma, so he made a deal with the devil: Abel would be marked for heaven and Cain would take his place as Lucifer’s pet. Sound familiar? Lucifer would only agree if Cain did the deed. Cain killed his brother with the jawbone of an animal, creating The First Blade. He also became the Knight of Hell, and forged more knights in his image, including Abaddon. Then he met Colette, who forgave and loved him. When he started his “demonic AARP,” his former knights kidnapped his wife. It was Abaddon who possessed her, broke her from the inside out and let Cain finished the job with cursed first blade.
Cain finds a kindred spirit in the Winchester who’s at his darkest moment (which for Jensen Ackles, means the a dashing amount of stubble and an intensely brooding stare that's ridiculously hot). Cain tests Dean’s famed reputation by letting in a gaggle of approaching demons, and shucks corn while Dean dispatches all five of them with a brutal violence he hasn’t unleashed since Purgatory. It would be “Bornesque” if Dean had a rolled up magazine. But it is one of the best fight scenes of the series, even challenging the brotherly smackdown in season 1’s “Skin.” All of the players are amazing tonight, but Jensen Ackles owns this episode.
Dean proved himself to be a merciless killer, so Cain transfers Lucifer’s mark to Dean. The mark is tied to the blade’s power, but it's also a great burden. “You had me at ‘kill the bitch’,” Dean grumbles.
Not only is our Dean marked by Castiel who raised him from perdition, he’s now been branded by The Morning Star. The symmetry is so breathtaking, it nearly brings me to tears.
While Dean flirts with some serious evil, Sam tries to cope with Dean’s betrayal, Kevin’s death and how it all could have been avoided if he’d followed through with the last trial. In this buddy comedy, Castiel is cast as the affable best friend whose advice is cloaked in whimsical humor. Castiel understands the sheer magic of a PB & J that I’ve raving about since I was four, even if as an angel he finds it “overwhelming” as he tastes “every molecule.”
Sam still needs daily doses of angelic healing, but in doing so, he finds traces of Gadreel’s grace. It’s mighty convenient that while researching this situation, they find that the Men of Letters theorized that they could track an angel by their grace. Sam is the willing guinea pig. “You have a guinea pig? Where?” Castiel hopes.
The excruciating process of extracting the grace causes Sam’s body to regress to the state it was in before Gadreel when his organs were charcoal briquettes and his brain was mush. If we ever thought Sam wasn't a Winchester, just admire his deathwish. It's as big as Dean's and John's. Being human taught Castiel that "life is precious and it must be protected at all costs." "My life isn't worth more than anyone else's. Not yours or Dean's…or Kevin's. Please help me do one thing right. Keep going,” Sam pleads.
He digs the needle deeper until Sam screams and his nose and eyes bleed. When he can’t take it anymore, Castiel heals Sam without another word. It’s seems like Castiel chose not to complete the extraction to spare Sam any more suffering. He offers this bit of wisdom: "I want Gadreel to pay as much as you do, but nothing is worth losing you. Being human didn't just change my view of food. It changed my view of you. I can relate now to how you feel. The only person who has screwed things up more consistently than you is me. Now I know what that guilt feels like, and I know what it means to feel sorry. I am sorry. Old me would have jammed that needle in deeper until you died because the ends always justified the means. But what I went through, that PB&J taught me that angels can change so maybe Winchesters can too.”
They attempt the spell with the scant amount of grace. Unlike Dean’s spell the revealed its results after some wicked fire, this spell fizzles out with an impotent puff of smoke. It doesn’t work, but Sam knows they’ll find another way (without Dean?). Sam offers Castiel the hug that he’s been wanting since season 6’s “Like A Virgin” because he was completely right. Castiel is stunned, probably because I imagine being hugged by Sam is like being embraced by a sweaty octopus made of angst and flannel. “This is the part where you hug back,” Sam reminds him.
The episode ends with Dean realizing Crowley played him like a fiddle and was now tethered to some ancient evil without knowing any of the consequences. Brave but impulsive, that’s our Dean Winchester.
“First Born” was wrought with eloquent parallels and dichotomies. Sam’s arc provided a dose of much-needed softness to temp the detonating bombs and cutting shrapnel of Dean’s. I can’t say praise this episode enough, and I actually didn’t miss Sam and Dean’s interacting together.
What did you think of the episode? Do were you surprised by Crowley played Dean? How bad will Dean's new burden be? What was your favorite quote from tonight? Hit up the comments section below!
Photo Credits: The CW Network LLC