“Too busy inflicting pain to answer”— Crowley, on his voicemail message. Within the first minute of the episode, not only do we get this gem, but we find out Crowley has Dean as “Not Moose” in his cell phone, drunk dials Dean, doing drugs, having wild sex with one of his followers, and crying at Casablanca. All and all, he’s having more fun than the Winchesters have had in years and is also distinctly not searching the bottom of the ocean for the first blade. Any episode that starts with this little collage can’t be all-bad.
And it’s certainly not all bad. In fact, it’s one of the strongest of the season, with a compelling villain and an interesting dynamic with Crowley and the brothers. It does, however, bring back that frustrating mark of Cain situation.
Crowley’s fun doesn’t last long, as his mistress actually hates him and is spying on him for Abaddon. At least the Winchesters still care! But he won’t return their phone calls.
Desperate, they summon a crossroads demon…who is Snooki. That’s a thing that’s happening. Not, like, Snooki playing a character on Supernatural. Snooki playing Snooki, on Supernatural. Turns out, she’s a crossroads demon, which, as Sam puts it, actually makes a lot of sense. Don’t worry; after they get little information of Crowley from her, they exorcise her.
Sorry, I need a minute to get over that plot development. I guess she must be a fan of the show? I have something in common with Snooki….
Anyway. Crowley’s reading Little Women when his mistress comes in. He kills her, having realized she’s a liar, but his lack of productivity and the angsty CW soundtrack playing seems to get to him, and he starts crying. It would be sad, but it’s done in this ridiculous mirror shot that I think is trying to be artsy. It’s really not. So he calls the Winchesters for help. Dawwww.
They’re kind of not at all impressed by the slobby, drug-addicted mess he’s turned into. “You don’t know what it’s like to be human,” he snaps. Well, they probably do, but okay. Apparently, he’s become an emotional mess, and since he told Abaddon’s spy about the first blade, the Winchesters tell him he’s quitting the human blood drug cold turkey.
“I’m still a little tainted by humanity,” he tells Sam, explaining that brushing with humanity makes him sentimental “You and I both know we shared a mo’ back in that trench.” I will never understand how the Supernatural actors can get so disrespectful about slash shipping WHEN THEY MAKE ALL THE DIALOGUE THIS HOMOEROTIC. It’s frustrating, guys. This show is simultaneously angry and homophobic and the gayest show on television.
Crowley explains that the first blade had been picked up by a submarine by the time he got to the ocean floor, so they trace the trail of sales of the blade to the National Institute of Antiquities. Of course, because Crowley is a silly, big mouthed demon, Abaddon’s people get there first, but find the knife already gone from there, too.
The curator admits that she had the first blade and sold it to an anonymous buyer named Magnus, aka the fake name used by Members of Letters at different points in time. But all of the Men of Letters are dead, right? Also, she hits on Dean, but it’s stupid and weird so we’re ignoring it.
They ask Crowley for help, but he flips, pointing out that it’s their fault his empire has fallen and that he’s a junkie, because they’re the ones who kept him locked up and injected him in the first place. He kind of has a point, so the Winchesters give him crappy scotch and all is forgiven. Considering he’s the King of Hell, he’s not actually that difficult to please, is he? He points out that an inactive Man of Letters may have survived, which seems kind of obvious. “Seriously, boys, how’d you ever function without me?” he asks, posing the question I have asked myself every episode this season.
They follow Crowley’s directions to where a prominent disgraced man of letter is maybe hiding, and discover the man has built an invisible, warded mansion in the middle of the woods. It’s so cool I can’t even handle it. I want one. After fighting off his tester vampires to prove that they are hunters, the boys are introduced to the disgraced Man of Letters, with the unfortunate name of Cuthbert and an even more unfortunate striped bow tie. He’s friendly and nice, but he’s also pretty much completely nuts. He has a zoo of monsters in his house.
When he learns Dean has the mark, he very cheerily casts a spell and makes Sam disappear and reappear outside of the house where Crowley is waiting. “I did what any good collector would do. I separated the ordinary from the extraordinary,” he says, indicating Dean. Cue the Psycho theme. Not really, but it’s definitely playing in my head. He now has the mark of Cain to complete his set with the blade. He offers Dean a chance to be part of the great collection and to keep him company. “When you were saying that, did it feel at all creepy?” Dean replies. Yah, Dean, we heard it, too. He forces the blade into Dean’s hand everything glows kind of orange, which apparently means there’s lot of power involved, and he uses mind control on Dean.
Outside, Crowley is still trying to bond with Sam, suggesting matching tattoos, and I’m still shipping it. Sam’s evidently not, but is forced to concede Crowley’s usefulness when they have to use a spell to enter the house. Crowley’s smirk of satisfaction is lovely. Inside, Sam is captured in about two seconds, and Cuthbert/Magnus ties him up, realizing that Sam will be a much better motivator than the sub-par mind control. “Magnus, I swear to God,” Dean snarls in a manly tone, to which Magnus replies, “What are you gonna do? What is he gonna do?” I’m not sure it’s supposed to even be a comedic line, but something about the way he flippantly pokes a hole in every ridiculous, angry declaration of the kind Dean has made on the show is so on point it’s hilarious.
Luckily, Crowley comes in to free Dean and the Winchester uses the blade to decapitate Cuthbert. Wow, that was an overreaction. After getting rid of the threat, however, Dean can’t seem to calm down and drop the blade, and it takes Sam to snap him out of it.
Outside, they find that Abaddon’s demons have keyed the Impala with a threat for Crowley. It’s heartbreaking.
Crowley double-crosses the brothers, but honestly, they were going to double-cross him at the exact same moment, so it’s not really his fault. Knowing that they’ll kill him along with Abaddon, he takes the blade, telling them they get it back when they find the queen.
See, I already have no patience with this plotline. Dean accepting the mark, knowing the dangers and consequences, was such a cringe-worthy and stupid moment. I literally screamed at my TV when it happened and I don’t want to deal with the aftermath. Dean was so dumb, he deserves whatever goes down, me thinks.