Saturday, 4 April 2015

Review - Supernatural 10x17 "Inside Man" - And So It Begins

How wonderful was this episode?! I loved every second of it. “Inside Man”, was such a fabulous character study. I could have watched the interactions between all the characters for hours. And it felt weirdly quiet, in the very best way. There was an overarching tension throughout that kept me feeling anxious, yet the episode was a quiet one, if that even makes any sense! This allowed us to be sucked into what was playing out even more. It was an hour that went by way too fast, and an hour I know I will watch again and again. Wait. I already have!

The road towards, what we’ve been told may be the most intense finale ever, has been a gloriously, torturous slow burn. Though the Winchesters have been on solid footing, this impending doom hangs over the brothers’, and consequently, all our heads. It’s like, we can see it coming, but it’s taking its time, creeping towards this ever-present darkness just waiting to pounce and crush our souls! I’ve enjoyed this pacing a hell of a lot. It’s been perfectly balanced, so well crafted, slowly making my fear escalate. This season has been well and truly about Sam and Dean and though our other characters have also had personal arcs, even their arcs have danced around and now come into full contact with the brothers’ story. I love how the show is always able to bring everything into one place like this, and with the story centring very much on the Winchesters, and something trying to destroy one or both of them, it makes this season feel totally old school. For me, this show is at its best when it focuses on what made this show great in the first place, The Winchester brothers, and then puts everything they are and everything that they hold dear, in peril.

This week, we had a very special guest star, Jim Beaver was back as Bobby Singer. What this did was make me realise how much I miss Bobby, and what he means to the boys. As much as they’re highly capable, grown men, the presence of Bobby in their world as a contemporary, but also as a parental figure, was something I thought Sam and Dean always benefitted from. Especially as their father was often away while they were growing up. I felt like Bobby was a grounding presence, a little bit of history in their world. They’d know and loved him since they were kids. And when he was reintroduced into their world when they were adults, he became a friend, ally and often and ear they could turn to for an outside perspective on their messed up existence, usually offering some sage advice. Sam and Dean both ended up loving him like a father, and his loss to them both was catastrophic. I realised, in seeing Bobby, just how much not having someone who has known them for many years, understands them, understands how they were raised and what that did to them, understands the work they do, understands their commitment to each other, is lacking in their lives. No one, outside of each other, knows them or their story as deeply as Bobby. And no one will ever be as honest with them as he always was. They need him. He could give them an outside view which had a very special lense. No one will every replace him in that regard.

When Bobby was killed off, I kind of understood what the Show was trying to do with the story, but I never really understood why it needed to happen, and I’ve always thought that, in the long run, it was a mistake. Like they weren’t looking at the long game. They weren’t seeing the possible benefits in the future of this character. What followed was even worse, with the vengeful spirit stuff. That always seemed disrespectful to not only the character of Bobby, but also his memory. Thankfully, in the Supernatural Universe, there is that ‘get out of dead free’ card, so we’ve seen Bobby a couple of times, in various incarnations, post being despatched by his boys. But he’s not and can never be alive – I assume – and that feels like a travesty, especially after spending a little time with him this week.

Seeing Bobby sitting in his Heaven, listening to The Gambler, reading Tori Spelling’s book, instantly felt right and good and it ripped at my heart, whilst making it sore. There’s just something about Jim Beaver and the character of Bobby. I thought I’d gotten over his loss, but just that one scene made me realise I hadn’t.

And to see how both the boys still think of Bobby and hold him in such a special place in their hearts, Sam stating that of course Bobby can do it, he’s Bobby. Dean referring to Bobby as wise, and passing on that wisdom to Crowley, it did my heart good and bad all in one. I dearly wished we’d had interaction between Bobby and the brothers, or at least Sam, as he was the one involved in the Bobby storyline. I wish Sam had been able to see Bobby, not just talk to him via the radio, not just read his words. Sam needs someone like Bobby right now to talk to, to bounce his fears and sadness off. *Sigh* I’m making myself sad!

As Sam knew he would, Bobby came through, as he wandered Heaven letting loose all the surly Bobbys (best.line.ever), trying to find the door to Heaven (number 42 – epic Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy reference – 42 is the answer to life, the Universe and everything.) Bobby was there for his adopted boys even from beyond the grave, and in the end, it looks like he paid a price for that. But you absolutely know, for him it was worth it. His written words to Sam made me cry buckets of tears and I’m so happy he was able to have this moment with Sam, even if he wasn’t technically there. Sam is a good man. He is one of the best. I’m so glad Bobby told him that, and I really hope Sam heard it. I also hope he heard Bobby’s words about coming clean to Dean, because these brothers, they’re stronger when they’re together, they can accomplish anything when they work as one. Bobby knows this; he’s seen it first hand. The Winchesters need Bobby in their world. I dearly hope somehow, we get to see Bobby again, maybe next time in a more substantial way. I would welcome him back in a heartbeat.

I won't lie, there have been times where I’ve struggled with the Rowena storyline, and I know I’m not alone. I’ve felt like her obvious manipulation of her son, Crowley, has been just that, obvious. We’ve known the King of Hell for five years, and we know he wouldn’t fall for her shite. He’s smart and ambitious and a master manipulator himself, so I struggled with why Crowley seemed to put up with her rubbish, though now we know, he was under the delusion that she was family.

I’ve also struggled with how often the Rowena character has seemed cartoonish in nature playing opposite the subtleness of Mark Sheppard. As much as Mark can chew up the scenery with the best of them, he’s a wonderfully understated actor. Sometimes Rowena seemed so big against him, it made her look ridiculous.

Until last week, with the Men of Letters reveal, my interest in her storyline had waned. Not because there wasn’t intrigue there, but more because the character simply wasn’t popping my cork. She was just too ridiculous at times for me to get overly invested.

This week was by far and away the best Rowena episode, and I wished she’d always been more like this. I also thought it showed the actor, Ruth Connell, at her finest. It was a much more underplayed performance and everything about it worked so much better. I'm now interested to see what Rowena's story holds and trouble she's going to cause for the brothers. I feel like it will be big.

Going after Dean, whatever the reason – and I’m kind of fuzzy on it, as I’m not entirely sure of what Rowena’s endgame is – was never going to go well. She said it was for her son, but surely keeping Crowley weak would play in her favour if her motivation were to get her talons on Hell. Maybe the shame of her son’s relationship with the Winchesters was too much for her to bear. Whatever her reasoning, it was foolhardy. Underestimating the Winchesters has killed many a ‘thing’ that has crossed their paths.

What was horrific and terrifyingly interesting was that she couldn’t kill Dean. The Mark of Cain will not let Dean die, or at least not Dean’s body. Which made me think of Jensen’s words at the recent Seattle convention, that Dean is not immortal, but his vessel might be. The Dean we know may ‘die’ but his body won’t and a new form of Dean would then take Dean’s place. It would still be Dean, but not the Dean we know. I thought Jensen was talking in possibilities, hypothetical’s, or maybe referring to Dean’s demon past. But now I’m scared shitless, as a few days later, BAM, Dean can’t be killed. I’m just going to start panicking right now, ‘kay?

Rowena was taught a serious lesson; you don’t get between Crowley and his Moose and Squirrel. And really, if Rowena had been able to kill Dean, Moose would have despatched her and her son in a heartbeat. Crowley knows that only too well. But not only that, no matter how he tries to play it – that he’s got the Winchesters where he wants them – I believe the truth to be, he simply likes those boys. There’s no denying that now. He likes them and begrudgingly respects them and is one of the few ‘things’ that doesn’t consistently underestimate them. Though I truly believe his trust in Dean Winchester will be his undoing – Cain’s prophecy coming to light or otherwise.

So Rowena is now pissed at everyone, and I’m pretty sure that’s not a great thing! But she has information about the Mark of Cain. As a curse, it can be removed, though she doesn’t know how. Figures. But having Dean Winchester well and truly in her sights, and wanting him dead, maybe motivation to try and find out how. Which could work in the brothers’ favour. Though that would be way too easy, and we know that nothing comes easy to the Winchesters. I wonder if Rowena will see out the end of the season? I feel like probably not. 

I wasn’t surprised that Crowley chose Dean over his mum. He has a much more positive history with Dean (hilariously), and a much more recent one. Their conversation in the bar was a thing to marvel at. I couldn’t help but laugh at what I was watching, but it seemed perfectly right. These two characters have come so far. These days, they’re both all manner of shades of grey. I actually felt proud of Dean and how he’s changed. How he can sit and talk with the King of Hell, if talking is of more benefit, rather than try to kill him. Both the brothers know that having someone running Hell who they have a functioning relationship with is far better than having an out and out enemy in control. Of course, for Dean there’s more to his relationship with Crowley. Crowley and Dean were once friends, in Dean’s early demon days, before he picked a side. They share an intimate history, just as Crowley and Sam do. It’s totally odd, but I totally love it!

To see Dean giving Crowley advise on family was equal parts, WHAT IS EVEN HAPPENING, and totally perfect. Of course, it also works in the brothers’ favour to have Rowena out of Crowley’s picture, and I was well aware of this fact as Dean was gently persuading Crowley to kick his mum to the curb. Who’s manipulating whom now?

Whether Crowley is what he’s become because of the human blood or not, I don’t know. I keep thinking back to Meg and how she fell for Castiel and didn’t exactly end up hating the Winchesters. She worked with them, and though as with Crowley, they never entirely trusted her, they tolerated her. Meg also seemed to develop some attachment to the boys. They seemed to soften her edge. I wonder if being in proximity with Sam and Dean’s extreme humanity, reignited a little of her own humanity in Meg, and has now done the same for Crowley. Like how Cas has become more human the longer he’s been around Sam and Dean (and humanity in general).

I do believe Crowley is scared of Dean. He’s seen what the Mark of Cain means. He’s seen what Dean can do. He knows Dean’s vessel can’t be killed. He knows there’s basically nothing he can currently do to stop Dean if Dean wanted to take Crowley out. He’s playing for his future and just like the Winchesters; he’s keeping his enemies close. But still, seeing Crowley and Dean, these two past friends, past adversaries, current frenemies, sitting down to talk, rather than duke it out, was all kinds of wonderful. Over drinks (too many drinks, Dean…and the hard stuff *whimper*), Crowley with his sassy cocktail with the pitchfork swizzle stick. Perfection. Jensen and Mark were a delight to watch. I only wished the scene had gone longer. Like for an hour or so!

While Dean was conversing with Rowena and Crowley, Sam was with Cas trying to save Dean’s bacon. Oh Sam Winchester, you really are Samtastic. Sam’s determination this season to have Dean’s back and to find a way to save his brother gives me the biggest feels. I know it’s going to go somewhere dark for Sam, but I think I’m going to love it anyway, because I love these brothers doing whatever it takes for each other and Sam is so committed to this mission, he practically has blinkers on and I damn well love it. Season ten Sam is a thing of pure beauty, even with the bob.

Sam and Cas together, also give me feels. I adore their friendship. It took a good, long, while to become a thing, way too long really, but now they’re friends and working together, it’s kind of gorgeous. They have a shared empathy for each other’s mistakes, the world in general and a shared love for Dean that supersedes anything else in their lives. I’m pretty sure they’d drop anything for each other too.

I loved their little interaction outside the psychic’s door, when Cas wanted to kick it in and Sam totally judged him! Cas still has a bit of the awkward about him and I still appreciate it! The psychic, himself, was kind of epic too! And Sam’s so badass with his projecting bad things into the psychic’s mind, just so he knew what would happen if he said no! Sam towering over him. Gah! Sam! You magnificent creature.

Getting Metatron out of Heaven’s prison was fraught with danger, and I still reckon it’s going to bite them in the ass. But man, I freakin’ loved the scene where Cas slid into Heaven, damn I love this Cas, and I freakin' love the scene where Sam and Cas had Metatron in the playground. Metatron being the typical, arrogant shit that we’ve grown to love/hate, until Cas whips his Grace right out of him. They should have done that ages ago! And then, BAM! Sam shoots him in the kneecap! No hesitation. No mucking about. Just shoots him! I gasped and then swooned a little (that’s what this show’s done to me). That was seriously hot and seriously awesome and all kinds of other things! Go Sam Winchester! After everything that Metatron has perpetuated on Sam Winchester, that was a gunshot from the heart. Sam deserved that shot. He deserved that moment.

Jared proceeded to break my heart as he played the scene with Sam reading Bobby’s letter. Every single perfect word, from keep fighting, to kick it in the ass. Words Sam needed to hear so desperately. Words so familiar to all of us. Then.... a single man tear slipped down his face… damn these men. I love them to pieces. Sam rocked this episode. ROCKED IT!

One thing that got my heart racing during the Metatron scene was the mention of Lucifer. I threw my hands over my mouth. Would they go there? Was that just a throw away remark from Metatron, as Lucifer is associated with the Mark of Cain, or was that purposefully placed as foreshadowing (or to make us sweat because Show knows we over think this stuff). It got me thinking (see Show is right), the brothers must still have 3 of the Horseman’s rings. Dean picked up the ring combo after Sam went into the pit, but later returned Death’s ring in the deal to get Sam’s soul out of Hell. So the Winchesters have at least three of the rings that create the key that opens Hell’s cage! I know Dean would never allow tampering with Lucifer’s cage in order to be saved, but I’m not so sure that Sam wouldn’t go there! He’s pretty hell bent on saving his brother (pardon the epic pun)! But, to be honest, I think Sam’s dark road may come from another place, maybe witchcraft, maybe an alliance with Rowena. I think the Lucifer thing was probably a slight of hand to send us all off in the wrong direction! But man, did it get my brain going!

One of my favourite things about season ten – in fact, my favourite thing – has been the rebirth of the Winchester brothers’ epic bromance. Of course their love has always been there, it never, ever goes away, but this season we’ve seen them return to a place where they’re each other’s stone number one, where they’re turning to each other, relying on each other, trusting in each other, and it’s done my heart, and theirs, mighty good.

I mean, how much did I love seeing Sam tucked up in bed, then waking instantly when he heard Dean yelling his name, charging down the hall bare-foot in protection of his big brother, his glorious mane swishing around his lovely, worried face. And the fact that Dean is calling out for Sam while he’s having night terrors! Argh! The whole thing filled me with the biggest feels. Happy, gleeful feels and heartbroken, desperately sad feels, as only this show can do. Dean screaming out for his brother without even knowing it? I think this is perfection. I will always love when they call for each other for help, and now they’re even doing it without knowing. And I just love seeing the boys’ rooms, and them all snuggled in their beds (and not for the reasons you think). We so rarely see them do routine things like sleeping, and I adore it when we see stuff like this. Plus the fact that they have bedrooms still makes me all squishy inside. And they were sleeping UNDER the covers, which signals to me that there’s a level of comfort in the Bunker that they don’t feel elsewhere. And there were pranks! Sam should know better than to exit with a challenge to Dean, like stay out of my room. Dean's gleeful face as he butt squished Sam's pillow and rubbed Sam's toothbrush under his arm. Bless him, it was lovely to see.

I love everything about seeing Sam and Dean in the Bunker, even if they’re lying to each other – or at least, covering things from each other, which I guess is lying, but it’s seems like lesser lying on the Winchester scale of lies! And I’m hoping Bobby’s note will help to sort this out.

Dean’s nightmares signal to Sam that Dean’s getting worse. No matter how much Dean’s able to control the Mark whilst he’s awake, while asleep he’s reliving what he’s done under its influence and whilst as a demon. Dean is fighting so hard to stay himself. You can see his fight and you can see the toll it’s taking. He’s putting on a huge front for Sam, though whether he knows he’s doing that or not is debatable. Jensen said in his meet and greet in Vegas, that one of the tragedies of Dean’s situation is that while all this is happening to him, while the Mark of Cain is starting to change him, he’s not even aware of it, he’s not seeing it. He thinks he’s got a handle on it all, where it’s obvious that he hasn’t. I feel like we’re starting to see a bit of this developing and starting to seep through into Dean now.

I know a lot of people saw Dean going to the bar on his own as Dean trying to be normal. I must admit I didn’t read it that way. He’s obviously been to that bar a fair bit because he knows that barman and the barman knows his order! I just saw it as Dean was home alone and went to his local for dinner and a beer. But who knows. Either way it ended up turning out badly – in typical Winchester fashion. He probably should have whipped up a sandwich in the Men of Letters kitchen and popped on Braveheart!

I adored seeing Dean hustle pool though. This is something we know the boys have done for many years. This is a way they’ve made money since we first met them. And frankly, those college kids were asses and deserved an education Dean Winchester style! Mussing up his hair, winking and then going and playing his role like a real pro, Dean looked like he was actually enjoying himself! Bless his heart. Once he had them on the hook, they should’ve been able to tell they’d been taken just by the way Dean said, “Rack ‘em”! And watching Jensen shoot pool is never going to get old…

Dean’s black eyes flashing in the bathroom were, unfortunately popped in the promo. Was that a hallucination, or a sign that the Mark of Cain is taking Dean over? I put the sudden glimpse of black eyes in the same basket as the dreams. I saw it as a hallucination that showed how the Mark of Cain is starting to take control of Dean’s subconscious and conscious mind. Starting to play on his thoughts whilst asleep and awake – like his Hell memories did. Jensen played that moment, those few seconds, so deftly, we saw every single one of Dean's emotions flash across his beautiful face. 

But at least for now, Dean can still control the Mark of Cain, as was evidenced when he actively suppressed the urge to kill everyone in the bar for attacking him. Flashing back to past acts of violence stopped Dean perpetuating more violence and showed just how hard Dean’s working to suppress the dark thing rising up inside him. He took the hero road, as Rowena knew he would, to save those men from being destroyed. The Mark is trying to twist Dean back into a demon and Dean’s fighting it at every step. God help us all as we rocket towards the season finale. After last season’s horrors, I am seriously dreading where we’re going. I can’t even imagine what could be worse. Actually yes I can, but I don’t want to. Please don’t make me think about it!

“Inside Man” was definitely one of my favourite episodes in a season that is shaping up to be a favourite of the series. Family was front and centre throughout, this show's ongoing theme. It was beautifully penned by Andrew Dabb, with wonderful insights into every character. The drama was spot on, and the accompanying humour was pitch perfect. It moved along all the character’s arcs and well and truly set us up for the impending doom of the coming episodes. Every story is now interwoven, positioning the story perfectly for the remainder of the season. As usual, all the performances were first rate, and the dialogue popped and zinged as it was expertly delivered. A show in its tenth season, and heading into its eleventh season, just shouldn’t be this sharp, but ours is.

We have a week off before we get the next instalment in this rollercoaster ride we all love so much. I have a feeling there’s no respite from the horrors awaiting us.

I’m not ready! Hold me!



  1. Hey your reviews are awesome. Yes this was one of my favourite ep this season. Man all the characters with dialogue and acting was superb. Love Booby in this ep... Damn it was touching and great to see him... brings back all the amazing moments he had with Dean and Sam throughout the seasons. I also wish Sam or Dean could have seen him. That letter I cried as Sam was reading it... cant describe how much I love this show.

    As for Dean and the Mark Of Cain... I am scared for him and everyone around him. His change in clothes subtle movements of body language... indicate he is changing. Jared saying that this season finale is going to be more traumatic than season 5 finale... has me almost pulling my hair out so to speak.

    This season is epic... and want to watch more but also scared to watch it. I love these two brothers have for each other is beyond anything... also I hope Crowley does not die

    I pray we get to see Death again... oh man I love his character... It will be so cool to see Dean and Death eating pizza or pickles with a beer chatting. Just as we saw Dean and Crowley chatting... I hope Dean and Death have that moment. Has for the Lucifer possible man it has my brains working double time with the possibilities. Cannot wait the next ep as Charlie is in it and Cas. Please I hope finally Charlie and Cas meet. It will be the best.

    This season has me in knots and this show is the best in my opinion... Been with it since it started never looked back... whatever happens these last ep's I am alongside these brothers "Fighting the hard fight"

  2. I thought this episode was fantastic, too - one of the best. The nightmare scenes were heart wrenching and perfectly done. Bobby...! I feared that his return might be cheesy or not feel right, but it was absolutely wonderful. One thing that I found really compelling but wouldn't have expected to was Hannah's reappearance. The guy that had one angel switch out so she could switch in is some actor. Her love and determination shone from his so very different, masculine face - so convincing!

    I, too, went "OMG!" at the mention of Lucifer. Do you think, maybe...? Oh, you're probably right that it's a misdirect, It got my brain going, too. I loved your thought about the Winchester's humanity being so powerful, so beautiful, that it exerted influence on Meg, Crowley, and Castiel. I hadn't thought of that, but it actually rings so true now that you've said it.

  3. Amy, your review said everything that was in my head. You can read my thoughts, but are so much better at putting them into words. It was an A++++ episode in an A++ season. I know some people have said it moved too slow, but the build up is fabulous. Such early spn feel. I think we forget how past seasons left us hanging for 10 or 15 episodes because we've watched them so many times now. But this season has been beautiful to watch.

    Bobby coming back was so perfect. He was such a grounding force for the boys. Calling them on their s.... and being a sounding board. Just love and miss him so much. The letter was a killer. Sam's tear. GAWWWD It was so powerful for me because I recalled Jared's recent answer to a question about feeling the emotions during filming and whether they are scripted to cry. His response that if it comes it comes just made that scene have so much impact for me. It made me think of Jared's recent shirt campaign, his pain and Bobby's comment to keep fighting. It was just so poignant. Although I lean Dean girl, Sam/Jared was at his peak this episode. Maybe I'm losing touch with reality that I sometimes feel Dean/Jensen and Jared/Sam are interchangeable. Am I the only one that catches glimpses of that? Yikes.

    Again, thanks for the review. I could watch and analyze this ep for hours. It was perfections. This show never ceases to amaze me. Oh and surprise me.(Stealing Metatron's grace-wow)

  4. Like you I adored this episode and how they brought Bobby to it. I have a bad feeling that he is now in heaven's jail or worse. It is Supernatural way. I actually jumped on the mention of Lucifer. It felt like it was meant to jump us but will they go there. It is 50/50 atm.

    Sam running to check on Dean while he was having nightmares gave me flashback from last season when Dean yelled his name when the bunker was haunted. (Captives) And Sam did it again here and with fast running. Actually it is quite a shock to be waken up from a nightmare and also Sam knew why Dean was having it and how Dean would react if Sam would wake him up. So, as it stopped Sam let it be. The important thing is Sam knows and Dean can't hide it.

    When Rowena's spell backfired that you know should have blown Dean up I actually gasped. That is definitely not good. Ruth also talked about in an interview that the spell was very old and the paint was actually virgin blood. It is not first spell level but pretty powerful. So that, and the flash of demon eyes and the quite "ruthless" pool hustling made me shiver. The money was one thing but taking that watch... Like many I saw it not as a good thing. Afterbuzz review is here:

    Loved Crowley and loved Bobby times billion. It was good to see that old man again.

    Last mention actually goes to the actor that played Hannah renewed. It was short but like with young Dean it really felt like it was Hannah. And Cas reacting to "her" like he would the other vessel helped that. Anyway, male Hannah was great and so was Cas. It was good to see he in action again and Sam and him working together works.

    I am glad also that Rowena and Metatron both got what they deserved and was coming to and most of all the characters that gave the punishment deserved that retribution.

    So if Dean doesn’t have to die to become a demon and Lucifer is now in play, what about the prior cures the boys had been chasing (and we had been discussing)?
    Castiel: What about the tablets?
    Metatron: No, there's nothing in them about the mark.
    Sam: So when you said the river ends at the source…
    Metatron: I was just making up crap. Trying to buy time until I could screw you over. What? It worked before!
    Castiel: He’s telling the truth.
    Sam: What??

    Well, those choices were busted but I think it was nice they made us think about them and also maybe guide us away from the real solution "dun-dun-duuun". We also got witchcraft and that the mark is a curse. The solution maybe that or also a trick from Rowena to get it worse or use that to hurt the Winchesters. I may even consider that Rowena said that to Crowley so that she knew he would say it to Dean. To what end I don't know. Maybe that she can kill Dean or she has other motives.

    In one of our discussion groups actually all are slightly freaking out because we are thinking the solutions and what we will have in the final. Sugarhi is actually trying to calm me and others down with her own views and I hope it is like she says or next hellatus will be torture after this one. Like this episode and the rest of the season has made me think and ponder more because things have been subtle. My husband has also liked that and that the end actually will bind everything together and surprise us. It feels like that at least for me and well... Soon we will see is our predictions right. Totally wrong or half right.

    PS. Your podcast was awesome as usual. Great work!

    - Lilah

  5. Yes, yes and yes. Everything you said!

    I loved this episode so much and thoroughly enjoyed reading your review :D