And our show is back and all is right with the world!
Yes, hellatus ends and balance is restored to the Universe. At least that’s how it feels to me! How I love having a new episode of Supernatural on my tele. Even when it’s all hurty!
“The Hunter Games” had our baited breaths hanging on it, not knowing what would be happening with Dean after his, err… incident. Happily we picked up pretty soon after the err… event, back in the bunker, full of worries!
“The Hunter Games” was a continued exploration of family and the stories currently surrounding all three of our protagonists (as usual, I’m referring to Sam and Dean as one here, as their focus is currently fused). But as is usually the way, the stories were cleverly interwoven.
I think I’m going to look at each character arc individually and I’ll kick off with Crowley – as that’s how our episode started!
Oh Crowley, please don’t tell me you’re falling for your mother’s crap! Rowena’s manipulations seem so damn obvious to me! But then, I’m not Crowley. Deserted and left in a workhouse. Just wanting to be loved. I don’t think he’s still suffering the side affects of human blood; so much as his touch with humanity, followed by his friendship with Dean has changed Crowley. I think the things that once satisfied him…the power, ruling Hell, torturing, all the badassed stuff we’ve seen him do, just doesn’t seem to hold the same magic for him anymore. It’s all so empty. He looks like he’s going through the motions. He looks damn lonely. And when he’s at the lowest he’s been for probably a couple of centuries, in walks his mam. And she’s playing him like a violin. Plucking at all the right strings!
I have to say I’m troubled that Crowley’s not seeing this happening. I’m troubled that the brilliantly devious Crowley we all know and love is currently MIA. I literally was yelling at him to wise up, because I can’t believe he’d fall for that woman’s garbage! Please tell me he’s not going to fall for her garbage…wanting to be loved or otherwise.
I adore Crowley – even though I know I shouldn’t – I do, and I feel horrible for him right now. The way he perked up when Not Moose rang him. And the way he rushed off to meet the only two people who he likes and cares for… Oh gosh, the Winchester’s and Crowley’s relationship is all sorts of mixed up! Ha! And it looks like he’s onboard with helping Dean. I guess erasing the Mark of Cain and stopping the possibility of Demon Dean making a come back, First Blade in hand, is in his and all his demon minion’s best interest, but I also thought it looked like he got some pleasure out of helping his old howling at the moon buddy. Maybe he felt useful, wanted, needed again. Anyway, I do feel sorry for Crowley and I hope he’s going to get his head out of his royal butt and see Rowena for what she really is, a conniving witch, before she does whatever it is that she’s planning on doing!
And what on earth is that? Take over Hell? I have no clue what that woman’s plans are, and I like it! I’m watching her through squinty, suspicious eyes going, “What are you up to, woman!” She’s an interesting character and her relationship with Crowley is something we’ve not seen before. We’ve not seen a mother/son relationship on this show. Not for our main characters anyway. We’ve certainly seen motherly vibed relationships, but not an actual mother in the picture. And Rowena is a complete mother of a mother!
I need to say though, there were a couple of times I found Rowena so over the top in this episode that she felt like a parody. I’d like to see that performance dialled back a notch. I think Ruth and Mark have great chemistry, but Mark is so subtle with his scenery chewing that at times Ruth felt very, very large in relation to him, and there were occasions where I found that a little jarring. I think that’s why I was like “COME ON CROWLEY! YOU CAN’T BE FALLING FOR THIS!” But I am enjoying the mystery surrounding the character of Rowena, she’s fun to watch, and I’m totally fascinated to see what devilish tricks she has up her sleeve! She knows about the Winchesters, she knows about The First Blade, she knows where Crowley’s stashed his bones! Not one of those things is good!
Then we had Cas torn between his two families. The Winchesters and Claire. I loved it when Claire told Cas how she was feeling in that hotel room, because seriously, I can’t think of much worse than an entity trying to ingratiate himself into your life whilst wearing your dead father’s body. Having your dad there but not there. Seeing your dad and knowing it’s not him…and knowing he’s no longer here because of the thing that is now inside his shell. Ugh. It’s totally horrible. I know Cas means well, but it’s just not well thought out! I do appreciate the hell out of him trying though, because he does always try, he may not do the right thing, but like a couple of other people we know, he does try and he really wants to try and make amends and help Claire stay out of trouble.
I like Claire, she's a glaring reminder of the consequences of the supernatural. We don’t often get to see the aftermath of what happens when Cas or the brothers blow in and out of people’s lives. But here’s Claire, her life devastated by a supernatural act perpetrated against someone she loved, all in the name of that old chestnut, the greater good. I hope at some stage we see her again. Her story in this week’s episode was a reflection of what all our characters are going through, or have gone through; struggling with the monster that lies within. She’s self destructive and angry and it’s causing her to make poor choices. But when push shoved, she couldn’t go through with having Dean killed, that’s not who she is or who she wants to be and seeing that seemed to release a little of the anger inside her. I personally feel that she should stay as far away from Cas and the Winchesters as possibly! Frankly, I think she’s probably safer out there trying to make it on her own!
Cas of course, is a different being now. I don’t believe he would take the same path if faced with taking a vessel, regardless of the need. Just as now, he is looking for a way to help Dean with the Mark of Cain, as opposed to honouring his promise. Once upon a time I think things would have been different, but until there is no other way, until he sees his friend is lost to the dark side, Cas is going to do what he can to help Dean – including getting Metatron out of the slammer!
I’m not entirely sure why the team thought Metatron would play along? What was in it for him except a thank you and an eternity in prison! Oh Metatron. I hate you. But I love you. I love to hate you. Curtis Armstrong’s Metatron is so foul…so completely foul. What a nasty little thing he is. He’s fantastic. The whole scene with goading Dean to go deeper, darker was all very Star Wars! “Give yourself to the Dark Side”. “Anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering” The angrier you get, the more the Dark Side takes control – or in Dean’s case, The Mark of Cain.
Beating the snot out of Metatron, just makes Dean’s fury burn more intensely and the more often he gives in to the MoC, the less of Dean remains. Metatron did give the boys a couple of things though – they need the First Blade (we assume he wasn’t lying) and “The river ends at the source”. The later was enough of a thing that it had Dean remembering it and pondering what it could mean. I think most of us assume that the source means Cain. For Dean the source of the Mark of Cain is Cain himself. Even though he’s not the original source, that being God, Cain was the source for Dean. So I think the answer has something to do with Cain and the Blade and maybe putting the Blade into Cain. Unless it is God and Chuck comes and removes it from Dean’s arm! OMG I NEED TO WRITE THIS BECAUSE, YES!!!
Of course, the other scenario with the Mark is that, Dean learns to live with it. I was batting that idea around twitter earlier in the week and was met with a lot of people not believing Dean was capable of that, or at least not for any relevant amount of time. But I’m with Sam; I believe Dean might be a powerful enough force that he could control the negative affects of the Mark. Maybe Dean has that within him. I guess I just believe enough in this character to believe he does. And I guess that means I’m now on to the brothers!
I’m falling more and more in love with Sam every episode. Of course I’ve always been in love with Sam, but this season, he’s just even more awesome than he usually is! I appreciate the stand he is taking with Dean. He’s not pushing him. He’s not forcing Dean into a corner and he’s not judging him – the last thing being very important right now. He's being smart, smart, smart! He’s being honest with Dean about what he thinks and Dean is repaying him with being honest in return. They are talking about this stuff – and I love it!
The fact that Sam has become Dean’s anchor once again is so wonderful to watch. He just has to lay his hand on Dean’s shoulder and it calms Dean. He just has to say Dean’s name and it clears Dean’s mind. I feel like Sam is standing a little taller somehow – if that is even possible – because his brother needs him and is leaning on him and is letting Sam help him. Dean is turning to Sam, and right now it’s Sam who feels like the big brother.
Of course we’ve seen a back and forth like this in their relationship before, but not for a while. The way the brother’s are interacting with each other now makes me cry tears of joy, because this is how I love them – being there for each other, supporting each other, relying on each other, being open with each other.
I’ve spoken about how the about face this season is so perfect because it allows each brother to walk in the other’s shoes. Dean – the one never touched by the supernatural – is now facing going down a path of darkness, just as his brother has had to face in the past; being cursed by demon blood and all that brought along with it. Sam – the one who has come to believe that the consequences of an action outweigh personal need, is now faced with deciding how far he will go to stop his brother becoming a monster. There’s been some storylines teased about this very thing coming up for Sam, but I think we’ve already seen this starting to occur. Dean has become his main priority and the dead folk in Dean’s wake? Well for now, Sam’s just focused on Dean. I’m sure Sam is going to come face to face with what he believes he would or wouldn’t do, and what he finds he will actually do to save his brother. Like, I don’t believe in the death penalty, and if I lost a loved one in a violent act I dearly hope I would still feel the same way – but I don’t know, because I haven’t experienced that (not that we have the death penalty here.) Sam has always believed (or at least has articulated recently) that the end does not always justify the means, but will he be able to stay true to this belief, or will he decide that when faced with losing his brother for good, all bets are off. How far will Sam go to save Dean? That both brothers have had to walk this road is so damn delicious.
For now though, Sam is the voice of reason, support, love and calm in Dean’s growing more and more chaotic and violent world, and every time I see the affect his voice or his touch has on Dean I want to hug my TV (because Sam’s inside it)! He is everything that Dean needs (now and always) and any thought that his brother might not love him as much as he loves his brother, for Dean, has to be gone. *Sigh*
Dean. Man, he is heart breaking. Lost and scared, as this rage bubbles away inside him. Suppressing the Mark to the point where he is oddly calm. He just looks frightened all the time, except when he’s pounding into someone, and that high-pitched drone starts up in his ears as he loses himself to the Mark. He's killing me! My boy is killing me.... *wibble*
Dean has always had darkness inside him riding along side the good. Sure, he’s a great big hero, but he’s also done some pretty dark things. Whether admitting to enjoying torturing souls in Hell, or torturing the demon Alistair, or the purity of killing in Purgatory, Dean’s darkness has often existed just below the surface. There’s often a sense with Dean that he could simply explode. So when Sam said to Dean that maybe there’s a part of Dean that wants to give in to the Mark of Cain, I think he may have hit on something. Beating down on Metatron for example. Sure, the dickwad deserved it. For everything he did to Cas, Kevin, Sam, Dean, he deserved it, but having the Mark there on his arm, did that give Dean an excuse to lose control and kill him? Did having the Mark allow him to simply give in to that urge?
Dean does not have the First Blade, and while we saw him changing under the influence of the Mark, it wasn’t really until that First Blade was placed in his hand that the Mark truly took hold of him and made him lose a sense of who he is, and made him lose the last vestiges of control. So maybe, maybe there’s something in what Sam said and maybe, maybe there’s a little bit of Dean’s inherent violence driving the Mark as opposed to it purely being the Mark driving him.
Just hearing this concept, and then hearing how much Sam believes in Dean, in being so powerful that he could overcome the Mark, may be all that's needed to help push Dean onto a more controlled path while the brothers continue to look for a cure. Dean's always had incredible fortitude and heart.
The fact that Sam believes in Dean that much, believes Dean is a powerful force, may be the best thing ever. Seriously, I couldn't love this more! And I think it went a long way to stopping Dean taking out the Natural Born Killers that Claire sic’d on him. In that moment – the Mark starting to hum in his ears – Dean chose not to follow through on what I’m sure every single fibre of his being wanted to do. He chose not to kill. He was strong enough to controlled by the Mark. Dean loves Sam more than anything, and if Sam believes Dean can do it, that will go a long way to helping Dean believe that too.
These brothers. I love them with everything I have.
You know, I always assumed that we’d get rid of the Mark of Cain. I figured it was probably something to do with episode 10x14, which we know features Cain, but now I’m wondering if maybe, just maybe, Dean will have to live with it. Truthfully, I think they’ll get rid of it, but the idea of Dean living with this thing on his arm and being able to control it, because he’s strong enough to control it, powerful enough to control it, and because he and his brother both believe enough in his ability to control it, fills me with squee! I still think it will probably go…but the alternative is exciting and intriguing don’t you think?
I can’t go without talking about how gorgeous this episode was artistically speaking. The wonderful lighting in the bunker dungeon with Dean emerging from the shadows, and then Sam sitting in the light while Dean was permanently shrouded in darkness. The fabulous shot of the brothers walking through the bunker halls talking and then later, the shot of Cas and Sam running down the hall to stop Dean. The amazing crypt set where Crowley’s bones are stashed, and Crowley’s fabulous lair. And of course, the brilliant scene where Rowena’s eyes rolled back in her head and then we whizzed through the sky and the city to spy on Crowley and the boys. That was absolutely breath taking. “The Hunter Games” was a remarkably visual episode.
And I’ve got to mention the hilarious raining in the alley scene! The continuity with the wet hair was a bit all over the place but I’ve never seen any of them look that drenched by rain before! I was laughing…when I wasn’t gasping at how pretty Sam looked all drippy!
Also, John Badham thank you kindly for the stunning close-ups of Dean…stunning. Did I mention stunning?
So we now have the First Blade in play, along with The Mark of Cain, and then there’s mysterious and crafty Rowena manipulating away, and I still have no clue where we’re heading, and at the risk of sounding like a broken record, I love it! We’re getting so much wonderful character work by our wonderfully talented cast this season. This “more personal” storyline Carver is delivering is the bomb! Give me a good BM over a salt and burn any day!
What were your thoughts on the episode? Let me know! And don’t forget, I’ve started a squee page where you can go and just yell your love for our show and cast from the rooftops, ask a question or start a topic of conversation! I hope to see you there!
Next week the delightful Felicia Day is back and it looks intense! I CAN’T WAIT!