Episode 09×17 AKA Mish-Mish’s Directorial Debut
Happy Winchester Wednesday, Hunter friends!
Yesterday, the Internet damn near broke as our Overlord, Misha Collins, first took to Facebook for a Q&A session, and later live-tweeted as the episode he directed aired.
Season 4: Guest Star Misha Collins
Seasons 5, 6, and 9: Series Regular Misha Collins
Season 9: Director Misha Collins
I think we all know where this is going…
Seasons 10-?: The Misha Show starring, written, and directed by Misha Collins
“Mother’s Little Helper” lights up on a wife coming home with groceries. After her husband about dinner–“meatloaf again?”–she promptly bludgeons him to death.
Definitely a case for the Winchesters.
But wait, one of the Winchesters isn’t on the job. Sam is flying solo because Dean claims to be too busy searching for Abaddon to participate in this case. As soon as Sam leaves the bunker, however, we see Dean pull out a bottle and have that same kind of haunted look we saw in John Winchester’s eyes. (Kudos to the director for the close-up of Jensen’s tortured expression). The boys are, once again, separated for the duration of the episode, but this time, it seems like Sam is trying to reach out to Dean, but Dean ain’t biting.
When Sam arrives on location for the case, the homicidal wife–“Mrs. Manson”–has hung herself, after using her own blood to write nonsensical, evil gibberish on the walls of her jail cell. Demonic possession? Sam thinks so. After more and more people commit seemingly random acts of violence, Sam calls his brother for backup. These incidents remind Sam of the time that he was soulless, he tells Dean. Again, Sam is throwing a line out to Dean, but Dean opts to solve his problems by looking for the answer at the bottom of a bottle.
Now that the older Winchester has used the First Blade, we see that the Mark of Cain is weighing heavily on Dean. We’ve seen him drink more and more the second half of this season, and now he’s lying to Sam about it. When Crowley shows up in the dive bar that Dean is holed up in, we aren’t surprised. Dean is an addict, and he’s jonesing for a fix. Crowley shows up for no real reason other than Dean “butt-dialed” him, but with the way Crowley so expertly plays Dean like a fiddle, we know the King of Hell has an endgame that he’s playing close to the chest.
You’re lying to Sam like he’s your wife, which kind of makes me your mistress. -Crowley
In the meantime, Sam has found an older woman who knows about the Men of Letters. Apparently, this is the first time the town has seen an increase in the soulless population. The older woman was once a nun at the Abbey of St. Bonaventure, and one night two people came to visit–Henry Winchester and Josie, who we now know as Abaddon. They’re undercover for the Men of Letters, and they know that a Knight of Hell is in the Abbey. They discover–and thereby Sam discovers–that Abaddon is mining souls to build an army, and the nuns are demons in disguise.
Alaina Huffman (who totally tweeted me last night) rips our hearts out as Josie, whose unrequited love for Henry Winchester leads her to volunteer to be Abaddon’s new vessel so that Henry will be spared. So that Henry can go home to his wife, Millie, and his son, John. Oh, yes, I died a little inside, and I’m so, so happy that Alaina is part of the SPN Family, because she’s bloody fantastic.
Sam goes to investigate the abbey and finds a demon nun guarding mason jars filled with souls. A quick struggle with the demon–in which Sam exorcizes her via an app on his phone–and then the souls are set free. (Kudos to the director for a beautifully shot moment.)
Later, when Sam returns to the bunker (and Dean is actually doing the research he was said to have been doing the whole time), he tells Dean that he was right, that they need to kill Abaddon because she is mining souls. It’s as close as the brothers have gotten to being on the same page in a long time.
What This Episode Reveals About the Winchesters
We’ve only seen Grandaddy Winchester in one other episode, but he’s certainly made an impression on the SPN Family. In this episode, we learn that the Men of Letters were not meant for “field missions”–they’re truly not hunters, and so having to face a Knight of Hell was something the Winchester was completely unprepared for. He’s not the battle-hardened hunter that his grandsons have turned out to be, yet he’s still placed in a situation that his family now experiences on a regular basis. I can’t help but wonder if it was fated that the unrequited love interest of their grandfather’s turns out to be the Queen of Hell. The name Winchester means something in Heaven and Hell, and if the writers have a plan to connect-the-dots, far be it from me to complain.
Last week, I discussed Dean’s signs of addiction. This week, the signs are even more obvious. Dean’s drinking is beginning to affect the family business, and someday soon, Sammy or Cas is going to notice and call him on it. The parallels to season 4 Sam really shone through in last night’s episode (Kudos to the writer and director for playing that up). In season 4, we had Sam lying to Dean about Ruby and the demon blood; in season 9, we have Dean lying to Sam about Crowley and the First Blade. Crowley is essentially Dean’s dealer for self-loathing and violence–“You just want to touch that Precious again, don’t you?” says Crowley–but ever since Dean’s bout in purgatory, we know that there is a darker side of him that craves the freedom to chase/hunt/kill that purgatory granted him. He called purgatory “pure,” and, well, is there purer link to violence than the first murder weapon?
Still, Dean maintains that there is a distinct difference between he and Cain. “When I kill, I kill for a reason. I’m nothing like Cain,” he says. Um, Dean, baby, let’s go back to #Thinman, shall we? You killed without hardly batting one of your beautiful eyelashes.
Sam is reaching out to Dean, but every time he tries to begin a conversation with his brother, Dean shuts him down. I think that hearing about Henry Winchester and Josie’s story–particularly in how Josie became Abaddon–was what Sam needed to hear to get him on the same page as Dean. Being confronted with images of his past-soulless self, and seeing what another person connected to the Winchesters did for love? Well, it must have gotten Sam thinking about how his life could have turned out if it hadn’t been for Dean. If Sam had stayed soulless, would he have turned out like Josie? In the end, the best way to reach out to Dean is to join him in the hunt for Abaddon, because that’s the kind of language the Winchesters can understand.
The Big Picture
See that picture above? That is where we’re at with the Winchesters right now. The boys are in the same room (finally), they’re both working on the same goal: to kill Abaddon. But there’s still a big yawning chasm of resentment and regret between them. Remember seasons 4 & 5? The boys didn’t get along so well then either, but they eventually worked it out and stopped the apocalypse. Now, in season 9, the Winchesters finally have to face up to all the crap they didn’t deal with then, and we all hope it results in a #betterbrobond. The boys aren’t ready to sit at the same table just yet, but it looks like they’re going to get there. (Kudos to the director for making that last scene so goddamn poignant that I rewatched it 5 times and still shivered at the end.)
Supernatural returns on April 15 with some metafiction, some Metatron, and everyone’s favorite trenchcoated angel.
Oh, and Tahmoh Penikett.
-The Eternally-Mishatizing Collectress
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