Woo hoo! Winter Hellatus is OVER! So many things to discuss. Let’s spare the small talk and get right to it.
1. Let’s Talk About Hex, Baby…
If Crowley was a Dungeons & Dragons character (Yes, I played. In high school And after. And still would if I could. Shut it.) his alignment would clearly be Lawful Evil. He’s a bad boy, but one with a code, so it makes sense that his nightmare would be about a system in chaos and being overthrown by the most loyal of his subjects. Especially Guthrie, a Royal Decree bearing white haired dynamo that reminds me of Benson, the butler of old—loyal with more than a tinge of snark.
And speaking of snarky, Crowley’s nightmare, it seems, has been induced by his witch of a mother, Rowena. When he wakes, soaked in the “horror sweat” (yuck) Rowena asks Fergus what she can do. “Not a thing, you evil bitch,” he replies. “Not a thing you evil bitch mother,” she corrects him. Crowley thinks Rowena is sucking up because she wants her freedom. Me? I think Rowena is sucking up because she wants hell. Another manipulative evil redhead determined to usurp Crowley from the throne? That look is so last season.
2. The Dark Mark
Meanwhile, in the HuntCave, Cas and Sam are talking about Claire, who is barely speaking to Cas thanks to Dean’s little hack and slash on her only friend in the world. Sam corrects him—Randy was a user and they all know it. “Well, she thought he was kind, and for that she loved him,” Cas says, sadly. “Shows how little kindness there was in her life.” Ouch. The truth hurts.
Talking about Claire’s upset also brings up the charging elephant in the room—Dean, and his predisposition to kill first and ask questions never. Dean walks in, acknowledging what he is, telling Cas to get rid of the Mark of Cain however he needs to, even if it turns him into a one-armed bandit. Cas reminds Dean that the MoC predates the lore, and with the demon tablet missing they’re going to need help from on high.
3. Punk Rock Girl
Cas, accompanied by Sam, go on an errand of doom—they are taking the pimpmobile to Heaven’s Gate Park to retrieve the one thing that might help them cure Dean for good. And the current gatekeeper? IS THE COOLEST FRIGGIN’ ANGEL IN THE GARRISON!
(Is anyone else writing fanfic about the Punk Rock Angel? Because I am tempted to tell the story of “Susie and the Banned She.” Please, 80s punks, tell me you see what I did there.) Cas’ delivery is late, and Susie tells him to cool his jets and wait until they bring…and we all knew this was coming…Metatron. After promising to return him unharmed (good luck with that) Sam and Cas bring Metatron to the dungeon, or, as Metatron likes to call it, the “room where they bring all the kinky chicks.” (Ha! Like him or not, you gotta admit Metatron is pretty good with the comebacks. Speaking of which…) When he finds out Dean is alive, Metron is both surprised and delighted, guessing, “He’s gone nuclear! Total, foaming at the mouth, balls out maniac!” He demands, if they want any help at all, that Dean be kept on a short leash. “Buddy?” Sam practically spits. “I don’t care what happens to you. You killed my brother.”
And then Dean emerges from the shadows and for the tiniest of moments? It is hard to tell whether his hate-filled eyes are green or black.
4. My Two Dads
Meanwhile, back at the Astoria Hotel (which, as any SPN fan worth her salt would know was featured in the Season Four premiere, the awesome episode “Lazarus Rising”) Claire Novak is packing. She has been staying there…with Cas? Maybe? But now she realizes she can no longer hide how she feels whenever she sees his vessel.
Claire tells Cas it hurts too much to see her father’s body when Cas means nothing to her. Cas feels responsible—wants to help her have a life. She says she has one she is good with. And if he means a normal life? That ship has sailed. She reminds him that he’s not the only one who killed someone she called family. Dean Winchester, she says, is a monster.
Cas wants to, but he can’t refute it, no matter how much he thinks Randy deserved to be punished and how much he knows that Dean’s rage is out of his control. He says, only, “there is a little monster in all of us.” And you would know, Cas. Anyone else remember Season Seven?
5. King of the Nerds
“Ain’t life a bitch?,” Metatron asks the Winchesters. “Nebbishy little guy, me, always sticking it to the lunkhead jocks.” I have been a huge fan of Curtis Armstrong’s for 30 years, and the delicious delight with which he delivers Metatron’s smarm is exactly the reason why. I think there is a reason the fandom haaaaaaaaates Metatron, and it’s because Curtis Armstrong made us. Again, great job, SPN casting department. (Recapper’s note: if you can find video of Curtis Armstong’s panel at the 2015 Salute to Supernatural Convention in San Francisco, do. He is utterly delightful to listen to.)
Metatron asks Dean if he knows that the mark will own him—sooner rather than later. Dean threatens him and Metatron asks why they just assume he is going to be unhelpful. “Because you’re a dickwad,” Sam says. “But I’m your dickwad,” Metatron replies, and I love him so hard. Metatron offers the first step of Dean’s recovery: get the First Blade and put Dean and it together. Which Sam knows is a TERRIBLE idea, but, with nothing better to offer, he shoves those feelings aside and lets Not Moose make the call.
6. Roll ‘dem Bones
Crowley answers that call in the midst of he and Rowena’s endless bickering. When Dean asks for a meeting, Crowley agrees, hopeful that he and his former Knight will cruise for chicks once more. Instead? The boys literally have a bone to pick with him. (Most important of all? The meeting takes place in a rainy alley, meaning Jared Padalecki has wet hair and………..I’m sorry. Was I saying something?)
Back in the throne room of Hell, Rowena, humming the Scottish National Anthem, cuts the ties. Again, literally. She puts a scrap of Crowley’s formal wear on a scary bone altar, goes all white eyes, and astral projects to eavesdrop on Crowley’s meeting with the boys. Apparently the Blade has been buried. With his bones. In Guam. In a grave clearly labeled Macleaod. Which makes me wonder why Crowley is writing a big old X on that treasure, but I digress. Anyway, Crowley goes to retreat it but Guthrie, another victim of Rowena’s purring trickery, got there first.
Of course, Rowena kills the deceived and loyal Guthrie but gets walked in on by her “bonnie lad.” Rowena totally overacts, saying the Guthrie got the blade because he felt Crowley was colluding with someone called Winchester and could not be trusted not to kill them all. Crowley says he had a vision of Guthrie betraying him (induced, of course, by the hex bag lady.) Rowena reminds him of the betrayal in his court, the possible betrayal of the hunters Winchester and asks him, who can you trust? (Not her. That’s for sure.)
7. Cas’ New <3
Cas is pissed that the first blade is back, and worried it will tempt Dean to murder. “Yeah, well, you know us,” Dean says, prompting an LOL, “When we screw ourselves we like to go whole hog.” Cas puts aside his doubt to ask Dean to talk to Claire. Dean says that he is probably the last person she wants to hear from but Cas, using his (air quotes) people skills, says he thought there would be a connection. “One extremely messed up human to another. You could explain why you murdered her only friend…” Dean reluctantly agrees, saying longshots tend to be the rule. Then, Cas offers to text Dean Claire’s number. “I like texting,” he says, cheerful. “Emoticons!” Oh, Cas, you adorable bastard. Too bad the only emoji you will be typjng are fire-fire-fire-knife-fire-fire-fire-skull&crossbones-fire-fire-fire.
8. “Behold—the river shall end at the source.”
Finally, Crowley calls, inducing Dean’s hard rock ringtone. He says he will hold the blade until Dean gets all of the info from Metatron on how to scrub the mark. Dean goes to him, alone. No Sam. No Cas. Uh oh. This is gonna get ugly. Dean makes his demand, and Metatron says that info will cost him. There are a bunch of steps. He gave the first as a freebie “because you’re you.” Dean pulls out the angel blade with a flip. Closes and locks the door. “Whatcha doin there, slugger?” Metatron asks. Dean informs him he will settle a score and get info too. And it won’t cost him a dime. “Slugger.” And then he grins, terrible and beautiful all at once.
Metatron won’t budge. Dean cites his wrongs: stealing Cas’ grace, casting out the angels, making Gadreel kill Kevin using Sam’s hands, starting an angel war and oh yeah—killing him. “My morality is being judged by Dean Winchester?” Metatron snarls. “How many people have suffered and died because they believed in you?” He goes on and on, telling Dean that it used to be for the greater good, but now? People die because Dean wants them to. Dean punches him in the kisser, over and over, but Metatron’s far from done. If Dean thinks hurting a few humans will take him further under the mark’s spell, he says, “Try messing with the Scribe of God, Bucko!” He reminds Dean—Kevin’s death is his fault for putting him in harm’s way, and he tricked Sam to allow Gadreel in. And oh yeah, he bromanced his way around the country with the king of hell! Dean? Well, let’s just say he is not yet the master of his anger.
Dean asks for the next step, without using his manners. Metatron tells him to go screw himself. Sam and Cas finally figure out that the only sandwich Dean is making is with his fist and pursue Dean, skidding to the dungeon door and finding it locked. Dean hearkens back to the torture skills he learned at Alastair’s hand and begins carving. Finally, in horrible pain, Metatron lets a clue slip: “Behold—the river shall end at the source.” Sam shouts for Dean to stop—tries to kick the door down—but when he can’t Cas uses his precious grace to blast it to splinters.
Cas and Sam bust in and Cas, angered, says he has to take Metatron back. That Heaven will be pissed he has again made promises he cannot keep. Metatron says he will choose death rather than help them ever again. And also? Watch out. Dean’s going to get worse.
After, Dean admits he was going to kill Metatron. That he couldn’t stop himself. Sam says that Cain lived with the mark for years and years and stayed strong. He thinks Dean has to manage it. That he needs to fight the power, so to speak. Before they can discuss going to Cain, Claire calls Dean back. She has decided she wants to talk.
9. Scum and Scummer
Claire, ever the loser magnet, meets a couple at a pool hall that are clearly on the grift. They tell her they want to help her with her three-daddy problem, and she agrees to let them rough Dean up when they meet. Of course, they have something a little more permanent in mind.
Dean goes to the meeting spot and sits on a bench, alone with his incredible profile. That’s when low rent Bonnie and Clyde come out with a bat and an ax. Claire realizes they don’t mean to protect her as much as they mean to kill him, and she busts out of her hiding place screaming for them to stop.
Dean fights them off, managing to get the ax and looking dangerously close to killing them. He manages to pull back and puts the ax into that perfectly nice park bench instead. Come on, Dean. I know you’re fighting the MoC and all, but what did that bench ever do to you?
10. Hit the Road, Novak
Claire hitchhikes off to her next (likely criminal) escapade, and Cas pulls up beside her in the pimpmobile. He says that angels can hear prayers, even if they are made in the form of longing. (If that’s true, I want to know where my Jared Padalecki is.) Claire tells Cas she is going to go it alone to learn to curb the monster inside herself. She says she will call him sometime, and, not that he cares, but she likes him better in a tie, which makes him smile. (Recapper’s note: I sincerely hope this isn’t the last we see of Claire, because Kathryn Love Newton and Misha Collins have great chemistry, and she is a wonderful young actress who brought a lot to the role.) Castiel, reluctant, but accepting, drives away, looking at her in the rearview mirror, worry clearly on his face.
So. Much. Happening! Here’s hoping that the “source” Metatron spoke of was charismatic Cain. Galavant is over, and I need more Timothy Omundsun (you feel me, people?) And speaking of favorite returning characters, Charlie Bradbury is back next week! Holding a knife to a victim’s throat and trying to choke Dean to death. Um. Yay? See you next time when we discuss episode eleven, “There’s No Place Like Home.”