The big gimmick of this episode of Supernatural was that it was Misha Collins’ directorial debut. Which, I suppose is supposed to be exciting to Castiel fans. But honestly, when I’m told that Misha Collins is directing, all I hear is Misha Collins is not acting. Just sayin’.
I’m sure they all had a lovely time off-screen. But unless he steps on camera, I can’t really appreciate his pretty face, now can I?
This Cas-free episode starts with a woman beating her husband to death when he complains about her meal choice. I can picture my mother watching this somewhere with a morbid sense of satisfaction, cause I definitely complained about her meals one too many times.
In the bunker, Dean is being angsty and obsessive, which sets off a red flag for Sam, but honestly not for me or anyone else because Dean lives and breathes angst and obsessive. Dean assures him that he’s fine, but after Sam leaves he sneaks out a bottle of alcohol and drinks the whole thing, which is also apparently supposed to set off red flags. Again, not sure why, because Dean has been a raging alcoholic for at least nine years now, but okay.
Sam heads out sans-Dean to check out the domestic murder, discovering that the wife has hung herself, leaving blood on the wall. The next day, there are more similarly behaving people in prison, writing in blood and ranting crazy thoughts. They aren’t demons. Sam makes the connection to his soulless days based on their behavior. “Remember that?” he asks. Trying not to, buddy. Dean, hiding out at a bar, tells Sam that he can’t come help because he’s close to an Abaddon breakthrough. “You’re lying to Sam like he’s your wife,” Crowley comments, popping in. Oh, Supernatural, why do you say these things and then get confused when people ship the brothers together? You bring this down on yourself. “Which kind of makes me your mistress,” he adds. He accuses the Winchester of being afraid after using the first blade.
At the police station, Sam overhears an older woman telling a patronizing officer that the demons have returned. Sam pulls the woman, Julia, a former nun, aside, and she immediately assumes he is one of the Men of Letters. Apparently, they came to the town in 1958 with Henry Winchester, because apparently Henry Winchester was the only actual member of the Men of Letters and the show is lying. Oh, and of course Josie, aka Abaddon’s vessel. They came to investigate the suicide of a nun who killed several others and carved an ancient crest into her wall indicating the Knights of Hell.
Back in the day, possessed nuns tied Julia up with a group of others in the basement of a church and Henry and Josie came to rescue her, only to discover Abaddon with the demons. The Knight intends to possess Henry, but Josie offers herself as a host instead, because of her adorable but kind of tragic love for him, giving us the angry redheaded Abaddon we know and love (?) today.
Meanwhile, Crowley and Dean are still hanging out in the same bar having the same conversation where Crowley tells him he’s scared and that he’s growing addicted to the blade and Dean throws out one-line insults. Seriously, that is all these two do for the first half of the episode, over and over again. Fighting, Dean denies Crowley’s claim that he is a lot like Cain. “What’s in that bottle, delusional!?” Crowley snaps back. Yah, sorry Dean. Crowley’s right on this one (and on most other things).
Dean spots another hunter, Jake, which is a rather interesting development, and, recognizing the stranger’s intent to kill Crowley, talks him down. This is actually a pretty lame accomplishment, however, considering Jake is revealed to be working with Crowley. It was a test to see if Dean would save the King of Hell. “Of course he saved me. We’re besties!” says Crowley. “And now he’s ready.” But what is it that he’s ready for?
Sam goes to the now defunct convent, where there is still a creepy nun in the basement, keeping souls in mason jars. The human souls are being harvested from people, like the crazy town residents, across the country, and turned into demons for Abaddon’s army. Sam manages to escape the demon, who chokes him when he begins to exorcise her, but playing a pre-recorded exorcism on his phone. Huh. That’s quite clever, really. He even manages to return the souls to the townspeople.
Outside Sam and Julia have a touching moment where she expresses her shame at not daring to warn Henry of Abaddon and Sam reminds her that she saved lives in the present day by coming to him. It’s a nice moment and a different dynamic than we tend to see in the show. Surprisingly, as the camera pulls away, Julia is not revealed as evil nor killed. That’s a pleasant surprise!
Beyond the final moments and the reveal that Abaddon is harvesting souls, I really can’t think of anything in this episode that I will even remember a week from now. Honestly, I’m not sure anything actually happened in this episode. Nothing changed with Dean, nothing changed with the brother’s awkwardness. We got only one tiny piece of plot advancement at the end, and the monster-of-the-week story turned into a myth arc story, but didn’t actually further the myth arc. Nothing about the episode was distinctly unpleasant and I’ve seen much worse, but boy, wasn’t it completely forgettable?!