Dean, on the highway to Hell (Supernatural “First Born” Review)

 Supernatural‘s First Born lives up to the expectations that Road Trip raised last week. The episode, written by Robbie Thompson and directed by John Badham, follows Dean and Crowley as they join their forces to find the only weapon that can kill Abaddon: the First Blade. Meanwhile, Castiel discovers a way to track Gadreel from the grace leftovers in Sam’s system.

WARNING: This review contains SPOILERS!

The episode begins by taking us back to 1863, in Mississippi, where we see a horseman arriving to a warehouse to warn the other people (demons) that someone is coming. That “someone” eventually arrives and smites every demon in the room leaving a pink/red light behind (something that reminded me of that pink stuff from 9.06). We see he has some kind of weapon that looks like a blade made of some animal’s jawbone. *SPN title card*

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“Can I kill you now?”

We’re back in the present day and we start in a bar (which looks suspiciously familiar to the one in 9.10, 9.09, 8.23…) where we see Dean back to drinking and checking out hot waitresses. Which is sad to see because s8 had tried to make a point telling us that those old days were way behind Dean now. Crowley appears at his side and it’s made clear that freeing Sam from Gadreel hasn’t changed anything as Dean still wants to kill him. Crowley, who can only think about killing Abaddon tells Dean about the First Blade, the only thing that can kill Abaddon. According to Crowley, the only being to know about the weapon’s location was one of his demons. But he lost him when John Winchester and another hunter exorcised him. Dean checks on his Dad’s journal (it’s back!) and tells Crowley that they need to check on one of his dad’s storage lockers (nice call back to 3×03). “And how do I know this isn’t a trap?”, asks Dean. “You don’t, that’s what makes it fun”, replies Crowley. And, as we see in the end of the episode, it actually was technically a trap from Crowley’s part. After they leave, we see that the man sitting next to them was actually a demon who’s following them.

Image2Back in the bunker with Castiel and Sam, Castiel reminds us that he’s no longer human and that he misses some parts of being human, like the taste of PB&J. Castiel also reminds us that he’s still healing Sam. Castiel senses that there’s still some “grace leftovers” inside of Sam (it’s always something with Sam, isn’t it?). Lastly, by suggesting that maybe they should “call Dean”, Castiel also reminds us that Dean has left on his own and that Sam is still pissed at him. Castiel discovers, through the help of MOL files, that when an angel leave its vessels, they leave behind a piece of themselves that contains grace. (Even though I loved seeing Cas researching with MOL stuff, you’d have thought that Cas, being an angel, would have known this already). So Plot B is established: Castiel and Sam try to track Gadreel, painfully.

Image3Dean and Crowley get the information they were looking for and they end up at Tara’s (Rachel Hayward), a hunter that had worked with John in the past. Tara (who kind of reminded me of Ellen) was injured in a hunt several years ago and, since then, her knee hurts everytime there’s a demon around. Dean explains to Tara that, even though he hates it too, he has to work with Crowley because what they’re trying to kill is way worse. Tara then accepts to help them to locate the weapon using a location spell. I actually liked her except for when she said “If your daddy could see you now…“. Cause that’s the last thing that Dean needed to hear in that moment. Who cares about John’s perceptions of Dean at this point anyway? The location spell indicates that the blade is in Missouri (anyone else screamed for Missouri to come back?). “Good luck, Dean. You’re gonna need it”, says Tara to Dean before leaving. I’m scared.

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Crowley and Dean arrive to the place, Crowley is scared right away and asks to leave immediately as he senses “something dark”. It was Cain, the father of murder. They end up getting caught and entering Cain’s. Cain (Timothy Omundson, Psyche) is a beekeeper and has bees even inside his house (something that reminds us of S7 crazy!Cas). Cain demands to know why they’re here and Dean obeys. A little jump back to Tara’s store tells us what we all feared: Supernatural really has to stop killing off female characters just for the sake of shocking viewers. Back at Cain’s, the father of murder explains to Dean that he became a demon after he killed his brother Abel, and later became the leader of the Knights of Hell. But he ended up killing them all except for one: Abaddon. Even though Crowley wants to leave the place asap, Dean has a “better” idea: breaking into Cain’s house again while he’s into town.

They follow Dean’s plan and that’s when Dean discovers an old photo of a lady wearing the same ring that he had seen on Cain before. So Cain “got hiched”! Our demon “friend” from the bar responsible of killing Tara, arrives to Cain’s house (surprisingly, by car) while speaking on the phone to other demons asking them to send back up. Lots of trouble for Dean and Crowley!

First Born

Back in the bunker, Cas keeps mentioning Dean. But Sam doesn’t look like he’s gonna forgive Dean that easily and just wants to get it over with and track Gadreel. Even though they need it to get enough grace for the spell, Castiel is reluctant to push the needle too deep because it threatens Sam’s life. And so the struggle with the needle begins: “push it deeper, Cas”, “Sam, if I do, you’re gonna die…”, “I don’t care…”, etc. It almost feels like a battle for how much a human life should be risked just for the sake of something good coming out of it. This is Sam telling us “hey, I’m stil suicidal, I should have died closing the gates of Hell and so now I want to find Gadreel even though that means ending my life”. And this is Cas saying that, one of the things he’s learned while being human, is how human life is precious and should be protected at all cost. I can only imagine that pre-s9 Cas would have said the same because he cared about Sam. But I guess it was just Thompson wanting to show us that Cas learnt a lot during his human days.

deanfightsDean and Crowley get caught by Cain just when all the demons start surrounding the house. The comedic duo try to cover all the entrances but Cain opens all the doors and lets the demons in just to seet if Dean can handle the situation. And Dean freaking Winchester obviously can. Crowley helps a little too: “you’re good”, *stab*, “but I’m Crowley.” Ha!

Cain proceeds to give us a clue in case we haven’t caught it yet: Cain and Dean are very much alike. And this is when we have to get ready for the BLATANT parallel that Robbie Thompson decided to throw us in the face.

Dean: Right, but I didn’t kill my brother.

Cain: You saved yours. Why?

Dean: Because you never give up on family! Ever!

Cain: Where’s your brother now, then? (oh, snap!)

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Meanwhile, Castiel has had enough of Sam’s complaining and self-hatred. “Being human didn’t just change my view of food”, he says, “It changed my view of you. I can relate now to how you feel”. And if we hadn’t had enough of S6 Castiel reminders in the last episode: “The only person who has screwed things up more consistenly than you, is me. And now, I know what that guilt feels like. And I know what it means to feel sorry, Sam. I am sorry. (My heart breaks at Dean’s family theme playing in the background). “That PB&J showed me that angels can change. So… who knows? Maybe Winchesters can too“. HELLO, FORESHADOWING (!)

But we’re not done with the feels cause here comes Cain’s story. Cain shows Dean and Crowley the Mark of Cain, telling them that the spell had led them to the source of the power. The Mark and the blade work together.

Cain: Abel wasn’t talking to God. He was talking to Lucifer. Lucifer was gonna make my brother into his pet. I couldn’t bare to watch him be corrupted so I offered a deal. Abel’s soul in Heaven for my soul in Hell. (Anyone else laughing at the Dean/Sam parallels?). Lucifer accepted. As long as I was the one who sent Abel to Heaven. So I killed him. Became a soldier of Hell, a Knight. (…). My Knights and I, we did horrible things for centuries. Bringers of chaos and darkness.

Dean: Then you met Colette.

Cain: She knew who I was. What I was. She loved me unconditionally. She forgave me. She only asked for one thing.

Crowley: To stop.

The Knights took Colette so Cain slaughtered them. Abaddon had possessed Colette and later killed her. Before dying, Cain had promised his wife that he would stop killing and that he would not go after Abaddon. That’s why Cain can’t use the blade, that’s why he was testing Dean. And I’m sorry but if this isn’t a perfectly made parallel between Cain/Abel/Colette and Dean/Sam/Castiel I don’t know what it is.

Lucifer wanted to turn Abel into his puppet / Lucifer wanted to possess Sam. Cain killed his brother to save him and went to Hell for it / Dean made a deal to save Sam and went to Hell for it. Cain did horrible things in Hell / Dean did horrible things in Hell / Colette was the one to save Cain by loving him unconditionally and forgiving all his mistakes / Castiel was the one to save Dean from Hell and love him and forgive all his mistakes

Hmmm.

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Dean has now the mark of Cain.

So Cain ends up giving Dean his Mark (sound of Dean fans screaming “YES MYTH ARC FOR DEAN” in the distance). “Good luck Dean, you’re gonna need it“, he says, echoing Tara’s words from before. Cain has also Dean promise that, after he’s killed Abaddon, he’ll come back and kill him for what he’s about to do: betray Colette by killing again while Dean and Crowley escape.

Castiel and Sam discover that the grace extracted wasn’t enough for the spell, which leaves Sam devastated. But he admits that Cas was right and hugs him (FINALLY!). Before leaving, Castiel says “we could use all the help we can get to find Gadreel and Metatron“, which is another way of saying “we should get Dean back”.

The last scene shows us Crowley and Dean in the Impala (because the last scenes usually mean talks by the Impala). Crowley gets all “touchy-feely” when he tells Dean “your problem, mate, is that nobody hates you more than you do” (AND THANK YOU CROWLEY, SOMEONE HAD TO SAY IT!). Crowley tells Dean that he’ll find the blade (which is currently “at the bottom of the ocean”) and bring it to him, “his new owner”. Dean reveals to Crowley that he was aware of what he had been doing: contacting those demons who went after Tara, letting Dean take them all… just to prove if he was worthy of this task. Dean, who’s been incredibly aggressive and scary during the whole episode, punches him in the face and tells him “after I kill Abaddon, you’re next”. And Crowley, echoing Castiel’s words from before, says “even with the blade, we’re gonna need all the help we can get against Abaddon“. It surely looks like sh*t’s gonna come down in the second half.

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“Nobody hates you more than you do”

Overall opinion? I think it’s pretty clear that the season finale is gonna hurt VERY MUCH. Dean has definitely hit rock bottom now (can he go lower than this?) and has marked himself with a mark that was originally made by Lucifer. Is Dean gonna be inmortal now? What is he able to do in order to find Gadreel and kill Abaddon? What will Sam and Cas think about his mark (IF Dean doesn’t lie again and actually tells them about it). What seems to be sure is that he’s on a highway to Hell. “I’ll burn for this”, he said to Sam in Road Trip.

J. Carver and R. Singer already said last year that this season was all about dealing with the consequences. Dean already is dealing with the consequences of letting an angel into his brother in the first half and everything’s gone to Hell. Now, what else will hapepen as a consequence of Dean’s current mental state and curse of actions?

How is Sam gonna deal with his self-worth and suicidal thoughts? Is he gonna forgive Dean easily or are we gonna get another S5 in which, even though they work together, they can’t actually forgive and let go?

And will Castiel’s new grace have any consequences on him? Will PB&J and other human things make him wish he was human again? Was that actually foreshadowing of Abaddon possessing him?

Final Rating: 8/10

Watch the Promo for 9.12 Sharp Teet:

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“Family and love” by Garth Fitzgerald IV (Supernatural “Sharp Teeth” Review)
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