Are you legally allowed to marry a TV show? There was that woman who married the Eiffel Tower a few years back, so maybe... Of course, I’ve been shacking up with Supernatural for 10 years now, and I’ve most definitely wanted to pop the question before, but “Book Of The Damned” made me want to drop to one knee and finally make it official! We could play Carry On Wayward Son as I walk down the aisle, and Highway to Hell as we leave the church! Because that is most certainly what we’re now on, a highway to hell, built on good intentions, wrapped in lies and deceit, coming from a place of love. Everything is Winchestery and everything hurts…so…good.
“Book Of The Damned” was just damned wonderful. It’s rare these days to see fandom collectively cheering, but this episode managed to have even the most jaded of fans rallying in its corner and waxing lyrical about a certain Robbie Thompson and his ability to absolutely capture the heart and soul of this show and every character in it. The episode left me elated and full of squee and terrified and full of dread, my heart thumping from love and excitement and hurting from love and sadness. It was that collection of feelings that only Supernatural can balance so perfectly, and that extraordinary “something” that made me fall in love with this show in the first place. “Book Of The Damned” was a thing of true beauty.
I love Charlie and it’s been such a pleasure to watch her morph from this geeky, scared, hacker girl, to someone kicking ass and travelling the rocky path of heroism with all the greys that comes along with it. Charlie wanted a quest, something epic, like in the books and games she loves. She went to Oz and had an adventure while at the same time discovering the truth of what being a hero means, the choices that have to be made that aren’t always easy on the soul or the conscious. She came back to our realm tougher, wiser, a fighter. She eagerly agreed to help Sam and Dean and set off on a new quest, one all about family, her new family.
I love that Charlie is slowly, by osmosis really, becoming a hunter, understanding what that means, understanding Sam and Dean and their world. It’s sad and awesome. Sad because, like she said, she didn’t want that life, didn’t expect it, she had very different plans, but awesome because it’s great to see these kick-ass female characters! Heroic without being stereotypical. Able to have a full range of emotions. Charlie should struggle with what this all means for her, it’s new and unknown, she should still be scared, and it’s great to see her written like that.
And of course Felicia Day is so perfectly, wonderful as Charlie. I love this character, what she’s brought into the boys’ world, the relationship she has with them as brothers and as individuals, the things she can reflect back to them, comments she can make that can broaden their view of each other and their relationship. The brothers need these people in their lives, people who can look from the outside in and give a different perspective. All Charlie had to say was “Brothers!” to Sam and the whole perspective of what Sam said and did and was feeling bad about, changed. Outside views are so damn important in this show, so damn important for Sam and Dean and their insular world. Yay for Charlie, may she forever live!
And though I never in a million years thought I’d say this, but let’s not kill Metatron for a while either! Cas and Metatron’s road trip was unbelievable fun. BAMF Cas smacking Metatron about when he just couldn’t take the incessant yabbering any more was gold! There was some damn funny interplay going on. Like a buddy movie, without the comedy, or the buddies. Go Cas! Every so often he gets humour!
I was so busy loving the back and forth between these two that I missed that the master manipulator was doing his thing and distracting Castiel so that Cas wouldn’t see the twist coming. Like I didn’t. Curtis Armstrong eats up and spits out every single word of Metatron’s dialogue with such aplomb that I got totally lost in his performance! I never saw the blood sigil thing happening, and really, we should all know better! There he was bleeding! The only weapon he really needs as an angel is a little bit of blood and a little bit of finger painting! I nearly slapped my forehead for not thinking of it! What he's got planned for the demon tablet...well it can't be good.
I cheered when Cas got his Grace back. Huzzah! He figured out the quote because Metatron had stuffed him full of all the references, which was delicious irony. The books exploding as he powered back up, the light, the burning blue eyes, the broken, tattered wings, destroyed by the fall. My favourite Cas is fully-charged, kicking some ass, tough mofo angel Cas. Yay! I’m so happy he’s got his mojo back…let’s hope he puts it to good use!
And I’m pretty sure Metatron was speaking for all of us, and for Cas too when he asked Cas who he was and what his mission was. Cas has seemed lost for a long time now, trying to figure out his place in the grand scheme of things. He’s been the good guy, the bad guy, a human. He’s forever on the outs with Heaven, destined to wander amongst humanity, never really fitting in. He’s cleaned up most of the messes he’s made as he's tried to redeem himself. He really never had his heart in the whole rogue angel thing anyway. He’s all Graced up again, so that’s done and dusted. So what does he do next? An angel without purpose is a sad thing. Sure, he can focus on helping Sam to save Dean, and I’m sure he will. I’m also sure he’ll try to fix the broken Novak family. But he’s an angel without wings, without the backing of Heaven, without Heavenly intent… I think Metatron’s words hit a nerve with Cas, and I think we’re going to see that unfold somehow. I think we’re going to see Cas have an existential crisis of the who am I, what am I, why am I here kind of level! It makes me wonder what path he will take the rest of the season, and what sacrifices he might make.
In an episode that had so many delicious character moments with characters other than the Winchesters, Sam and Dean were very much front and centre.
Oh Sam Winchester, you’re going to be the death of me. There is heartbreak etched all over Sam’s face. Even in the moments when he’s smiling at his brother goofing off and wistfully dreaming in the car. You can see that under it all, Sam’s desperate and sad.
Desperate enough to make a choice to save Dean that he knows Dean does not want. Mirroring Dean’s desperation and bad decision-making at the beginning of season 9! Putting his trust in someone he knows he can’t trust because he won’t, he can’t let his brother go, no matter the consequence of what he has to do to save him. Here it is, the journey these two have been on over the last couple of seasons, as they learn to understand each other’s choices, because they are now facing the same. Facing, understanding and accepting each other’s mistakes and their own. How I love this mirroring of each other’s paths that we’ve been privileged to watch play out through season 10.
Dean is facing being destroyed by the Mark of Cain, but stopping this from happening may destroy far more. He doesn’t want that. He doesn’t want to die, but he doesn’t want to live if the ramifications are biblical. It’s not worth it. His life is not worth more than others. Sam faced a similar thing when closing the gates of Hell, he could choose to live, but at what cost to the world?
Dean didn’t want Sam to sacrifice himself for the greater good, just as Sam now doesn’t want Dean to sacrifice himself either. Screw the greater good when it comes to my brother, should be these guys’ motto!
It’s selfless and selfish all in one. Both brothers are willing to sacrifice anything they have to, to save each other. But it’s as much about not wanting their brother to die for their brother’s sake, as it is not wanting their brother to die for their own sakes. Neither can live without each other. It’s always been fandom’s perception that it was Dean’s dysfunction that he could not live without Sam, that he could not let Sam go, but time and again we’ve seen how Sam can also not live without Dean. In "Mystery Spot" as he tried everything, and anything to get his brother back. The lengths he went to and the alliances he made to try to stop Dean going to Hell. He even admitted to Dean that he tried to make deal after deal to rescue Dean from the pit. Sam’s not good when Dean’s not around. We've seen how lost and anchorless he becomes. He’s not whole. Just as Dean isn’t whole without Sam. They may have both tried to live a life without each other, but neither of them could, or in the end, wanted to. They are Yin and Yang, two halves of one whole, they balance each other out, and they absolutely keep each other human.
“You know when Dean came to get me at school I told myself “One last job.” You know? “One more job.” And then when I… um.. when I lost Jess I again told myself “One more job.” It was always “One more job.” You know? One more job. One more job. Then I was gonna go back to law and then my life. I guess I really understand now that this is my life. I love it. But I can’t do it without my brother; I don’t wanna do it without my brother. And if he’s gone…”
I’m so passionately in love with season 10 Sam and the fierce love he has for Dean. That love is always there, but it’s so wonderful to see it in full flight like this. The way these brothers are each other’s world is what drew me into this show, it’s what keeps my rooted to the spot week in and week out, it’s why I write thousands and thousand of words about them, it’s why I have their words and initials tattooed on me. As much as what’s happening now to Dean and to Sam makes my heart ache in pain and tremble in fear, it also makes it soar and fill to the brim with love, pounding out of my chest, as I watch the tears form in Sam’s eyes as he contemplates life without Dean. OKAY, I JUST MADE MYSELF CRY!
And then there’s Dean, trying to pretend that everything is going to be okay. Hanging on to whatever tiny shred of hope comes his way. Not seeing what’s really happening to him, not seeing that his brother can see more of Dean than Dean can. The image of Dean walking on the beach, the sun shining on his face, free from the affects of the Mark, with his brother by his side, “Sand between our toes, Sammy. Sand between our toes.” Not “my” toes, “our” toes. I want that for Dean so bad that it hurts. I want that for the both of them. I can’t even with the love I have for these characters (and the men that play them, I might add.) The absolute joy they bring me, even amongst all the pain.
Jensen said in a meet and greet that Dean can’t see what’s happening to him. He thinks he’s doing okay, but he can’t see the changes brought on by the Mark of Cain that Sam's seeing. That wonderful shot with the gross nun-skin book so beautifully illustrated this. One minute we’re looking at the book in Sam’s hands, the next minute we’re waking up in the kitchen with Dean, dazed and confused. One of the many perfect, and beautifully directed scenes by PJ Pesce. He can come back over and over!
Of course, Dean’s hope was shattered when the consequences of the cure were alluded at. We can’t have fist-pumping Dean for too long now can we! But my sadness got sidetracked because I was suddenly too distracted by the ridiculous amount of pretty going on in the Gas-n-Sip scene!
Why is it that everyone who talks to Dean seems like they’re flirting with him? Oh right, BECAUSE HE LOOKS LIKE THIS!
And then he does this!
HOLY CRAP! He's so damn badassed.
The introduction of the Styne family is super cool. Jacob Styne was fantastically menacing with that dripping with honey, southern drawl…but Dean… Yeah, thank you everyone for that moment!
And as if we hadn’t had enough heart-wrenching blows to the gut, we have the bunker scene. Why do I feel like this is the last happy moment Dean is going to have? Surrounded by his family, all of whom are only focused on one thing, his survival. Sam trying to smile as he clinks bottles with his brother, but knowing he has a terrible secret, a deceit that is growing exponentially with each lie he tells. Now he’s not only lying to Dean, he’s lying to Charlie and Cas too. He's made a deal with the Devil's mother and nothing, absolutely nothing good is going to come of it, and you know that inside, he knows that too.
And The Who’s “Behind Blue Eyes” hauntingly plays over the montage of what, on the surface, looks like such a joyous gathering. The lyrics so perfectly punctuating the emotion...
No one knows what it's like
To be the bad man
To be the sad man
Behind blue eyes
No one knows what it's like
To be hated
To be fated
To telling only lies
But my dreams
They aren't as empty
As my conscience seems to be
What an amazing scene. The power that these images have for us. The incongruity of them in the Winchester’s world. How rarely we see smiles, let alone laughter...even if we know all of it is false.
And then the scene changes into the action sequence where we see Sam hide the book, where we see Jacob Styne acknowledge that he knows the book didn’t burn and that his family will continue to seek it out, and then we have the reveal of Sam asking Rowena for help.
So much goodness. So many emotions. This show. These brothers.
“Book Of The Damned” was one hell of a special episode. It left us on the precipice of doom! And I just can’t figure out who’s in more trouble. Sam or Dean? Or us! Probably us. Yeah us. I think we’re in big, BIG trouble!