“The Executioners Song” was my favourite episode of the season. Yeah I know I’ve said that before this season, but season 10 is so good, that every second episode is my favourite episode! But now it’s this one…for the moment!
I LOVED it! Every single, gasping for breath, clenching my teeth, holding my heart, desperately sad, wonderfully bromantic moment of it. Every single tear that fell down my face was packed with pain and passion and lurrrrrrve. So much love. So much pain. Damn this show. I love it with all my heart.
Spoiler Alert: Squeeful gushing ahead.
From the opening scenes in the jail, “The Executioner’s Song” was a visual and emotional feast. Cain walking down the hall, lights flickering out as he wanders by, almost meandering was a stunning set up. Cain himself is a damn visual feast! Timothy Omundson’s hair, beard, bluest of blue eyes, all add to the powerful image of a powerful man. But Tim also instils in Cain a sadness, an inevitability, that's manifested in what he’s now doing and what he’s once again become. We know Cain once stopped killing. We know he fell in love, so to see him fall off the wagon so completely is tragic, even if his reasoning for the massacre, the genocide he’s hell bent on committing, is twofold; feeding the Mark and freeing the world from, what he believes to be, his poisoned bloodline. You can’t look at Cain and think of him as evil, Tim Omundson makes you think of him as a man. No matter what you know is coming down the line, you can’t help but care. I didn’t want Cain to die. Knowing how long he resisted the lure of blood and the lure of the Blade, I didn’t want to see him fall so catastrophically. That’s a cool character, beautifully crafted both the writer and performer. Cain is most definitely one of my favourite characters Supernatural has ever created. It's hard to believe he was only in two episodes.
Crowley and Rowenna finally became truly interesting! I still have no clue what Rowenna’s end game is. I certainly don’t think it’s purely to have her son help her take out that other witch. But in this episode her role was absolutely pivotal. She being the person to finally open Crowley’s eyes.
Crowley’s relationship with the Winchesters has become far more friendly than adversarial of late! Even before the human blood, he was softening on the brothers. He once said that everyone underestimated those denim-clad nightmares, but that’s something he began to do himself. He had began to relax his guard around them.
For Sam and Dean, I think it’s always been better the devil you know. If Crowley can serve a purpose, the brothers will use him for that purpose. But for Crowley, I believe he began to have feelings for Moose and Not Moose that have put him in a mighty perilous position. Sure, for a brief moment in time, Dean and him were besties, but he seemed to be under the illusion that his relationship with the brothers was far more functional than I think Sam and Dean have ever thought it was! But I don’t think Crowley is under that impression anymore.
Firstly he was slighted by Dean, not once, but twice. Dean dismissed Crowley instantly when Crowley arrived on the scene, stating straight away, “There is no us”. Dean drew a line with himself, Sam and Cas on one side and the King of Hell on the other. Then of course, he didn’t give the Blade back to Crowley as promised, and he also straight up told Crowley that he lied to get him there. Dean needed the Blade, Crowley had it, Dean said what he needed to say to get Crowley onboard. There was no remorse in Dean’s words; just disdain and you could tell that smarted Crowley. Mark Sheppard did a wonderful job of showing that flash of hurt on Crowley’s face.
Then his mother lays into him for being a numbnuts, because he foolishly allowed himself to believe that Sam and Dean were friends. In some way, Crowley had indeed appeared to have become the Winchesters’ bitch! I don’t think that will be the case any longer. It will be interesting to see what happens next, now that Dean has truly turned his back on his once ‘friend’, and so openly pushed him away. I think Crowley will become the enemy again, and I’m glad, because that’s what he should be.
As for Rowenna, I was so happy to hear that her son had not fallen for any of her shite. He saw through her manipulations from the get go, but regardless, she’s his mother and something in Crowley wants that connection, pines for that connection. I think Crowley is a lonely guy ruling a kingdom that no longer holds any real charm for him. Having a mother, no matter how transparently conniving she is, he can’t help but crave her love and approval. I think Crowley will listen to Rowenna. I think they will become a formidable duo. Until she shows her true hand.
I like my Cas caring and bad assed and we got the best of both Cas’ this week. Cas’ opening shot, standing in amongst all those graves was fabulous. It had such scale. It was incredibly beautiful and set an epic scene for Cas’ initial confrontation with Cain, which was itself, wonderfully understated. I always love when two supernatural entities come together. There’s an instant understanding there which seems so damn interesting. You saw this link between Cain and Castiel. Cain and an angel. Two ancient, otherworldly beings. I loved it. Just think of it too, there Cas was standing in front of the first born human, a product of Adam and Eve, his Father’s first human children; that must have been mind blowing! Cas as is his way, tried to reach out to and reason with Cain. But he was also badassed when he tried to stop Cain, (only ending up in foofing Cain’s hair) all bright blue eyes and angelic burst of light! I love me some badassed Cas. He’s my favourite.
Dean giving the First Blade to Castiel to care for was of course, no small act. Dean asked his friend some time ago, to finish him if he ever went full blown Mark of Cain/demon again. Here Dean handed his friend the one thing that he knows for sure, if required, will kill him. He trusts Cas to do this for him and I do think Cas would do it, if he had to (I sure as shit hope we don’t go there though!) And in entrusting the Blade and that act to Cas, Dean saves Sam from having to make that choice and also keeps him out of harms way. Dean keeps Sam away from the First Blade. I’m sure that was on Dean’s mind as much as anything else.
Oh Dean Winchester, how I heart you. Strong and heroic and sad and scared and brave all at once. And Sam, standing by his side, galvanising his brother with love and faith. This right here is Sam and Dean.
There was so much love between the brothers in this episode, so much being said without anything being said at all. They knew the odds were bad, but Dean had to do what he had to do. Sam reasoned with him, but never tried to stop him. And the looks that passed between them as they both acknowledged this fate were packed with words and emotions that did not need to be uttered.
I think Sam’s unwavering support and belief in Dean has gone a long way to helping Dean come to terms with having to try and live with the Mark of Cain…even if that means he’ll die trying. He had found some peace in this, with finding the answer within himself, with fighting it as long as he could, with going down swinging. But when faced with the possibility that the going down swinging part could come to pass a lot sooner than he expected, Dean did something that a couple of seasons ago would have seemed unimaginable, he admitted to Sam he was scared.
We’ve seen Dean admit fear to Sam before, but not for a very long time. But here there was no bravado, there was no covering up his feelings, there were no lies. Dean was doing what he knew he had to do, because he’s the only one who could do it, and though he had to face Cain alone, he was never for one single moment truly alone, because he had the people who loved him enough to pull him back from the brink, by his side. And he had Sam 100% behind him. For the first time in a long time, there would be no doubt of that in Dean’s mind, and it’s given Dean strength. You can see it in him. As frightened and as fatalistic as he was, you could see knowing that Sam believed in him, fortified him.
The silent moments between Sam and Dean as Dean made his way to face Cain, were devastating. So much passed between them in those moments. Those moments that they both knew could have been their last. The small smile Dean gave Sam as walked up the stairs nearly killed me!
To be honest, no one else existed for me in those moments. It was just Sam and Dean. Just Sam and Dean and their epic love. I adore them with everything I have. These are the brothers I fell in love with. Season 10 Sam and Dean are everything I want them to be, everything I knew we were working towards as they each faced their own demons on the bumpy journey we’ve all taken over the last couple of seasons. The reward for us, and the reward for them is immeasurable. OH FOR GOODNESS SAKE I JUST MADE MYSELF CRY.
The fight between Cain and Dean was mesmerising, like a ballet. The power of the performances of Jensen and Tim Omundson left me breathless. I swear I didn’t breathe for like 10 minutes! Watching Dean try so desperately to not give into the Mark while fighting Cain, and then knowing that this had become a ploy by Cain, to have Dean deliver his Blade back to him…GUH! The whole thing was torture.
And then we come full circle, as we hear that it’s Dean’s destiny to kill his brother. Dean has lived under the spectre of having to kill his brother since John whispered in his ear at the beginning of season 2. Is this where we’ve been going all along? Remember Michael once said to Dean that it was in his blood, going back to Cain and Abel. I love it when Show does stuff like this! Now, once again, a horrific shadow hangs over Dean. First Crowley, then Cas, then Sam and when that happens, Dean’s humanity will be forever gone.
Except… For Dean the Mark of Cain came about in an entirely different way to how Cain received his Mark. For Cain, it was a punishment. And though in Supernatural’s twist on the Cain and Abel lore, Cain was in fact protecting his brother from Lucifer, he still killed him. He didn’t trust that Abel could overcome Lucifer. He didn’t trust that his brother was strong enough to resist. So he killed him, to protect him, committing the first murder and receiving the Mark of Cain in the process.
Dean did not receive the Mark through committing any crime. He received the Mark to put a stop to an evil force. And yeah, sure, he was careless in his acceptance of it due to his emotional state at the time, but his purposeful intent was to do the right thing, to kill something, someone who was a threat to humanity. The Mark was passed onto him without him having to kill for it. To me, it’s a totally different ball of wax! And I was totally yelling that at Cain! I also wanted to tell Cain that Dean had put his faith in Sam when Sam was facing Lucifer. He stood by his brother, he didn’t leave his side. He didn’t try to stop Sam, because he believed in Sam’s strength, and believed he could overcome the Devil. Cain didn’t believe in Abel. Dean did believe in Sam. It’s different. And of course, like Charlie said, Dean has somethng Cain didn't, he's a Winchester. SO SHUT UP CAIN, YOU’RE WRONG. But Dean’s plaintive, “No. Never”, broke me.
Then I broke again as Dean pleaded with Cain, to not make him kill him. He pleaded with Cain to say he would stop. He pleaded with Cain to say he COULD stop. Because if Cain could stop…then there was hope for Dean. Instead he’s left with no hope and having to do the one thing he did not want to do, to kill using the First Blade. Something he feared he’d never return from. The sheer agony of it all!
The whole thing was so desperately sad, from Dean’s need to hear that he had a choice and chance to live with this thing on his arm, to Cain’s submission, bowing his head, waiting for execution. My hands were over my mouth, I was as far forward in my chair as I could get without falling off, tears were already streaming down my cheeks. The tragedy of the situation etched in pain across Dean Winchester’s magnificent face. Jensen Ackles is a master. No one does emotion like he does. Silent. Powerful. Devastating. He takes my breath away.
Then just to kill me a little bit more, as Dean comes down the stairs broken and tortured by what he’s heard and what he’s done, once he’s dismissed Crowley and handed the Blade to Cas, he turns to Sam and falls into his brother’s arms. Sam in all his glory is already moving forward to catch his brother even before he starts to fall. And he holds Dean whispering encouragement to him as Dean seeks comfort in the arms of the person he’s just been told he’s destined to kill. Two brothers, clinging to each as they have so many times before. This is Supernatural. To its very core. This is its heart. These two boys.
And just to finish us all off, we go back home to the bunker, with Dean putting on a brave face, trying to reassure Cas with a pat to the shoulder, trying to reassure Sam by agreeing with him – until Dean is out of the room and it all drops away, and we are left to see Dean, face dark, the Mark and fear festering in his soul. I groaned from the anguish of it all.
But it was Sam that finally destroyed me. His total and utter understanding of Dean in that moment. As hard as Dean tried to put on a front, Sam, the one person who knows Dean better than anyone, saw straight through it. When Cas asked Sam how Dean was doing, and the tears welled in Sam’s eyes, and the words “Cas, Dean’s in trouble” caught in his throat…well I was gone. Sobbing mess. Again. Geesh. There have been a lot of feels lately! I love with a fiery passion that Sam knows Dean well enough to know that all is not right. Sam looked so scared and utterly lost in that moment. Jared and those damn eyes of his that can floor you! It was wonderful and heart wrenching all in one.
“The Executioner’s Song” put simply, was a tour de force. Writer Robert Berens did a fabulous job in capturing exactly what Supernatural has always been about. Heroism. Sacrifice. Love. Family. Every character was perfectly drawn. Every word packed a punch. Everything was said for a reason. It felt real and true to character and I never doubted anything or anyone for one second.
Phil Sgriccia painted a stunning canvas for us, with grand scenes, which gave the episode a cinematic scale. He constructed interesting shots, which pulled us into the moment, like the wonderful backseat of the Impala shot where we got to listen in on the brothers talking and teasing. His camera angles in the fight scene added to the intensity and intimacy of the moment. Phil was totally on fire. This episode, even more than usual, was like a mini movie.
“The Executioner’s Song” is one of those episodes where you go, why doesn’t this show get awards? It’s so bloody good! If it wasn’t about monsters I’m sure it would, which gives me the shits, because it’s better than most shows on television! It looks better, it sounds better, it tells a better story and the actors are something else. Every week they turn in mesmerising performances and then there’s weeks like this where they turn it up to eleven! Stunning, stunning work from the entire cast. I guess, this is why Supernatural is still on the air where other shows have come and gone. Not one person phones anything in, not the cast, not the writing team, not the crew. God love them for being so committed and so damn awesome. We are truly blessed.
So here we are with a horrific four-week hiatus! I’m fully tortured by what went down in this episode and not knowing where the hell we go next. If Sam is this worried, I’m freakin’ terrified. I get to see that Ackles guy in a few weeks and I think I’ll have to get him to tell me Dean is going to be okay! Again! He had to do that last time I saw him! It’s becoming a thing!
Yep. Brilliant episode was brilliant. I’m so proud to be a fan of this show.