Episode 10×01 or “The Misadventures of Crowley and Squirrel”
The Hellatus has ended. Demon!Dean is canon. I don’t even know what the f**k is happening anymore.
Let me confess something to you, since we’re all SPN Family here: I haven’t watched any promos for season 10. I woke up at 4:30 am to watch the premiere, and, armed with tea and biscuits, I prepared myself for what season 10 was going to throw at us. Yup, I’m going into this one blind of expectations, and I’m glad I did. *Spoilers ahead, darlings*
After a flashback of last season’s happenings to Pat Benatar’s “Heartbreaker,” we see a lonely (and injured) Sam moping around the bunker. Not even five minutes in, and we get the sense that Sammy has followed all the traditional protocols to search for his brother–checking the news, listening to police scanners–as well as some nontraditional ones, which we see in his interrogation of a woman.
And then, five minutes in, SPN gives us our first kick in the feels, when we see a note that Dean left behind to Sam at some point after he became not-dead.
Oh the Winchester self-sacrifice is appearing early this year.
We see Sammy hitting the books, reading up on demonic possession. He’s under no delusions that his brother is still his brother, so when Sammy gets a lead on a mysterious death, he gives his buddy Castiel a call. Cas is feeling less than stellar, and it appears that his stolen Grace is running out. They commiserate over the loss of Dean (they just miss him okay), and then Sammy hears the repeating cough and decides to not include Cas on the Dean hunt, despite Castiel’s insistence that he can do it.
Castiel is paid a visit by Hannah, who asks for help in tracking down rogue angels who kill their family rather than return to Heaven. It seems that Cas is no longer the good soldier, and has made the choice to Fall a second time. (Is that the cheering of Human!Cas fans I hear in the distance?). Hannah seems to expect Cas to be a leader even after he’s left Heaven, but in the end, Castiel goes fishing with her even if he’s visibly reluctant. The “fish” want to be left alone, asserting the free will that Cas once desperately fought for.
Meanwhile Dean and Crowley are Thelma-and-Louiseing it. Dean sings (bad) karaoke, drinks too much, and has (maybe?) meaningless sex with a bar waitress. This is not what the hellatus had me expecting of Demon!Dean.
Turns out Crowley has been hand-feeding Abaddon’s pets to Dean to keep the Mark of Cain sated. Because apparently it’s only when Dean doesn’t kill that he becomes a demon. What. The. F**king. F**k.
A little detective work (and a nasty phone call with the King of Hell) has Sammy following Dean’s trail, but he’s not the only one. Someone with the workout regime of Mr. Universe is also looking for Dean, and he ain’t playing nicely. Dean’s pissed somebody off in the past, and it looks like enough to get a trained assassin to hunt down Sam to use as bait. Moose goes down without much of a fight because, well, he’s a righty. Somewhere in the afterlife, Kevin Tran is cackling.
Dean swears not to care about Sam’s fate, but he also swears to kill the man who threatens Sam, and the episode blacks out on Dean’s determined face.
What This Episode Reveals About Team Free Will
This is a Dean who is not in the family business. This is a Dean who spends his time “howling at the moon”, which translates to sounding an awful lot like being a partied-out frat boy from the Midwest. The key development for Dean in this episode is his relationship with the bar waitress. He claims his intentions are to defend her honor, and she calls him out on it, saying that “whatever is going on with [Dean] has nothing to do with my honor at all.”
He’s not a good guy playing bad, honey, he’s the Righteous Man whose had his character rewritten by a tattoo.
Sam is where Dean was at the beginning of season 9: prepared to do anything to save his brother. Now, we’ve seen from season 8 that there is a way to cure a demon, and who knows, maybe someone might finally close the Gates of Hell for good now, and hey, wouldn’t that be an homage to continuity.
Also, why was he torturing people for information about Dean?
Castiel has grown closer to humanity
because he loves “Humanity” as Metatron so aptly pointed out. The more Hannah pushes for “orders” and “rules,” the more Cas is reluctant to agree with her. We know Castiel’s history; we know what being “the good soldier” has done to him in the past, but we’ve also seen that he has embraced humanity, and being human. His final conversation with Hannah in the car reveals that maybe, just maybe, being an angel isn’t the most important thing anymore. It’s a bit of a change from what he said at the end of season 9, and I’m intrigued to see what the flashbacks will reveal about our favorite angel.
The Big Picture
So far, we’ve been introduced to three potential story arcs for the season.
This character, who I’ve named Mr. Universe since I can’t be arsed to look it up on IMDB, is a mystery. And not in the good, “ooh I want to know more” kind of way. His storyline was given too little attention in the premiere, and if the writers could have axed about 30 seconds of Dean’s atrocious karaoke skills, they could have given this skeleton of a character a little bit more meat on his bones. However, given what little we do know, we know that 1) he was sent by someone to kill Dean Winchester and 2) he has met Dean in the past. He doesn’t appear to know anything about the supernatural, so it’s quite likely that he’s a human who’s gotten entangled in something he doesn’t understand a la Charlie.
Unlike Charlie, this a-hole isn’t quite so likeable or relatable.
Oh Crowley, you smarmy bastard. Since the season 8 finale, we’ve seen an increasingly humanlike King of Hell, and Crowley’s phone call to Moose proved that 1) Crowley is a conniving jerkoff and 2) he kinda just wants to be a part of the exclusive Winchester Hunting Club. Sorry darling, but Dean’s already got a brother and a profound bondmate. His dance card’s full.
Far more interesting was Crowley’s offer to Dean to become the Queen of Hell. Err…I meant his right-hand man. No, actually, I’m sticking by my original phrase. Crowley seems to have the intention of ruling Hell with Dean by his side, and I can’t help but wonder if there’s more than just a power play at hand here. It seemed a little forced, almost as if he was trying to drive Dean into choosing Moose over himself. What are you playing at, Crowley?
Lastly, we have Castiel’s dealings with Heaven, but frankly, I feel that this is a road we’ve been down many times before, and now we’re just catch-22ing it. We’ve seen Castiel do the heavenly power struggle before. We’ve seen the angels struggle with free will, and the story arc is a bit tired and, dare I say it, pointless.
Here’s a thought from me to you writers: you have a created a unique situation in which your initial protagonists are now juxtapositions of themselves from seasons 4 & 5. Our Righeous Man is a demon, and Lucifer’s vessel is the one with the purified blood. I long for the days when there was a driving mythical arc, an impending apocalypse, allusions to the creepiest book of the Bible, Revelation. You have the opportunity to bring it back, to give us something that’s been missing for the past four seasons. If Demon!Dean is truly as apathetic to morality as you want us to believe, then let him open the cage. Give us what you promised us in “The End” when Lucifer said “We were always going to end up here.” Follow through on what was promised to us when Dean took the Mark of Cain: a story arc that was going to last more than four episodes.
And in the words of my own queen: