So far Season 10 has been filled with an intensity that rivals Season 8 and the trials. It’s kept us on the edge of our seats and allowed Jensen to finally play a different side of Dean, which is more than fair since Jared had gotten to portray multiple versions of Sam. As much as we loved Demon Dean, (and I did, wow did I) the opening scenes of this episode gave us a glimpse into a part of the boys that we haven’t ever seen. Them taking time to actually sit and reflect on what has gone on, or as Dean put it “We time.” The last few seasons have been non stop trials and tribulations for the boys, rivaling seasons 1-5 for the depths of heart ache and pain that the brothers have had to deal with. This episode sets a tone of serious internal debates for both Dean and Sam which is long overdue and nice to see.
We open with the hint of a werewolf killing a biker which gives us the plot point for the boys getting back out in the field. When we first see Sam and Dean they are sitting at a rest stop, by a lake, sunglasses on, actually relaxing. It’s one of those well crafted moments that Supernatural does so well. It seems like an idyllic scene but once the boys start talking we know that even though they may not be fighting an external battle they are still reeling from an internal one. Sam’s concern for Dean is all too obvious and Dean is not as relaxed as one would think.
What I found most fascinating about this episode is how far back Dean is on his heels. He’s finally willing to admit, in some fashion, that he truly is not well. Dean, for the first time since the show has started, is not pushing himself to ignore reality and just fight on. He has let his walls down before briefly but in this episode the “I’m the big brother, I have to protect everyone and fight no matter what.” exterior is gone. When he tells Sam he has to hunt, he needs to move, there is a sense of desperation in his eyes. He is not ordering Sam, he’s pleading with him. Jensen has fully embraced the opportunities to show this new side of Dean this season and keeps pulling out emotions that we know Dean has suppressed for years in a masterful fashion.
Sam finds himself in the unusual position of actually having conversations with Dean that aren’t laced with the usual, “I’m right do it my way,” attitude that is the norm for his older brother. Sam, finally, gets to be the caretaker. He’s not the one things are happening to, he’s the one that has to protect and help his brother heal. Jared, who’s always turned in great performances is top notch as usual. What is great, to me, about this episode is that there is a true sense of equality between them. Sam has been where Dean is. Between Gadreel, Soulless and Lucifer, Sam is fully aware of just how much guilt, pain, confusion and loss of confidence Dean is dealing with. In this instance, Sam is the expert and he is the one that will have to guide Dean down this path and help him come to terms with just what is going on, and Dean is willing to listen. We get hints of just how dark Sam went when trying to find Dean but there is no condemnation in either of them about it. All the conversations between the two in this episode were filled with phrases that showed compassion and understanding, not snark and sarcasm. There was some, it’s Sam and Dean after all, but this episode sets a tone of a season of healing and growing between them, which is nice to see. I think the ending line from Dean, “I just want to do the right thing man, cuz I am so sick and tired of doing the wrong one,” is referring to much more than actions he took when he was a demon. I think he is accepting that his actions in season 9 with Gadreel and his choice to take the First Blade was what ultimately took him to this moment and that those choices, were in fact, wrong. Carver and the writers are giving us Sam and Dean in a new light, a more thoughtful light and I am excited to see where they take us.
From what I saw on twitter, Brit Sheridan as Kate, the returning werewolf, stole the show. I agree she did an admirable job, as do all the guest characters that are brought in. She provided the perfect balance of strength, vulnerability and resolve to do what is right when she chose to end her sister Tasha’s life. The sister werewolf dynamic was a great tool to highlight Sam and Dean’s situation and allow them to process more of their own issues. Her situation, was of course, a microcosm of Sam and Dean’s life, saving her sister and ultimately having to destroy her when she chose a darker path. I thought this mirroring of Sam and Dean was much more delicately done then the Ghostfacer episode from Season 9 and worked much better as a plot device.
So far Season 10 seems to be designed to put the boys on a different footing emotionally with each other and their decisions and flip the usual pattern of Dean having to save Sam. As a writer myself, what I see happening was truly needed to keep the show running strong and staying fresh. Switch the roles of your characters and use that to develop them further. In my opinion this season will finally take Dean into a new place emotions wise and perhaps help him deal with so many things that he has spent years running from.