Episode 10×22 or “The One With the Reverse Crypt Scene”
So far this season: Dean’s been cured from demonism; Crowley was his BFF; Cas has his Grace back; and Sam has done his best to reign in Dean’s homicidal tendencies. Claire Novak has also reappeared and is at the Wayward Daughters Hunting Academy (aka Sheriff Jody’s house). Cain has confirmed that there is no cure for the Mark, but Crowley’s mother, Rowena, says it’s a curse, and like any other curse it can be broken. In pursuit of a spell to break the curse, Charlie sacrificed her life to the supernatural Corleone family: the Stynes. Spoilers ahead.
The penultimate episode of the tenth season lights up on our least favourite family of organised supernatural crime: the Stynes. Now, the Stynes are on the shit list of everyone in the fandom after the death of fan favourite character, Charlie Bradbury, which never actually happened because that episode doesn’t exist. Anyway, we meet the youngest member of the Stynes, a teenager named Cyrus (played by Being Human’s Connor Price), who is distinctly unlike the rest of his family. In fact, he has plans to leave the Styne clan and head to Los Angeles for a fresh start. The way the narrative follows Cyrus, it’s obvious that we’re meant to feel an emotional connection to one of the Stynes, and to see that there can be good in the midst of evil.
It’s hard to remember the good, however, as we watch the Winchesters prepare Charlie’s funeral.
They give her a true hunter’s send-off, and yeah, it hurt to watch. A lot. As the brothers stand by her funeral pyre, Sam’s words about Charlie’s meaningful life are cut short by Dean’s admission that it should be Sam on the pyre, and not Charlie. Charlie’s death has shredded the fragile balance between the brothers, and we might as well wrap this up and call it season nine for all the white man pain we saw in this episode.
Forgive me my ranting for a moment, dear Collectors, but this episode made it apparent that Charlie’s death served no narrative function other than to cause friction between the brothers. I might have been at peace with Charlie’s death if they had written her a heartbreakingly beautiful tribute, but what Charlie received instead was stilted dialogue, ridiculous references to a 19th century horror novel, and no final purpose other than to send an e-mail. Charlie deserved better.
Dean vows to seek vengeance on the Stynes, but no one seems to know if it’s for Charlie or for the Mark. I suppose it doesn’t matter, because by the time he is done with the Stynes, the Mark is firmly in control. At the beginning of the season, Crowley had remarked that the MoC needed to be ‘fed’ or Dean would become homicidal (even more so than he already was as a demon?). Well someone hasn’t been keeping their inner psychopath fed, because, seriously, I lost count of Dean’s death toll at fifteen.
Meanwhile, Rowena reminds Sam of his promise to kill her son, Crowley, and so Sam tricks him into meeting him in an abandoned warehouse. Rowena’s prepped a hex bag that should kill her son, and as Sam watches the King of Hell slowly ooze away into the cement floor, we are presented with another evil that’s intertwined with a little bit of good. Crowley admits to wanting to feel again. It’s a testament to how far the Winchesters have fallen when the King of Hell is closer to reclaiming his humanity than Dean is. We are reminded, however, that Crowley is indeed the monster that Sam says he is when we see his demonic eyes for the first time.
Looks like Crowley is no longer interested in playing nice with the Winchesters. About time.
As Sam and Castiel head to the bunker to stop Dean from, well, who knows because at this point his death toll is approaching dozens, the Stynes beat them to the bunker. They’ve brought Cyrus as some kind of weird initiation ritual, and intend to pillage and plunder the bunker of all its magic. The pillaging is interrupted by their collective slaughtering by Dean, and the only one left alive is Cyrus. Cyrus pleads with Dean, tells him he’s not like the rest of his family, that he’s different. It’s a scene we’ve seen before in “The Girl Next Door,” when Amy Pond (Jewel Staite) claims to be different than the rest of her kind. Dean takes the same approach that he did in season seven, but with one key difference: Cyrus is human.
Castiel is the first to arrive at the bunker, and when he sees Cryus’s body, he begs Dean to let them help him with the Mark. In a chillingly parallel scene to the crypt one in “Goodbye Stranger,” we watch as a Dean controlled by the Mark assaults, and nearly murders, Castiel. Castiel doesn’t fight back, and instead pleads with Dean to restrain himself. Dean does, if only just barely, and the last we see of the Winchester is his back as he walks away from the bleeding angel, telling Cas and Sam to stay away from him.
The Big Picture
As we head into next week’s finale, the Collective staff has three theories on how the tenth season might wrap up.
Theory #1: Dean Kills Sam and Completes the Cain & Abel Parallel
This is perhaps the most obvious theory, since Cain’s reappearance in “The Executioner’s Song” expanded the parallels between the biblical brothers and the Winchesters. As loathe as I am to admit it, Charlie’s death could symbolise the death of the “good” part of Dean. When reflecting on “There’s No Place Like Home,” the symbolism becomes even more poignant. In that episode, Bad!Charlie went into remission and Good!Charlie became dominant. Charlie’s death signals the end of Good!Dean being dominant, and for most of the episode (if not its entirety), the Mark is in control. Cyrus’s murder further emphasizes how far Dean has fallen, because having followed the teenager’s narrative throughout the episode, we, the audience, know that the youngest Styne is an innocent. However, we know that Dean isn’t quite to the point of no return because although he’s told Sam he should be dead, and murdered the entire Styne family, he was not able to kill Cas.
Before treating Cas like a personal punching bag, Castiel states that he will not abandon Dean. Cas plans on sticking with Dean until the end, whether it takes days or centuries. He says that he will be by Dean’s side long after Sam and everyone else Dean knows is dead, and he will stop him from destroying the world. By this point in the episode, Dean is so firmly in the Mark’s control that almost nothing Cas says or does deters the Winchester from violence. It’s the simple “Dean, please,” that cracks Dean, likely because the words were so similar to the ones he said to the angel in the crypt in season eight.
This “reverse crypt scene” indicates that Dean isn’t far from the Point of No Return. Cain warned Dean that the Mark would ultimately lead to the murder of Sam, and perhaps the purpose of “The Prisoner” was to give us ample time to prepare for the darkest Supernatural finale in years.
Theory #2: Sam Kills Dean
When it’s done with you, you won’t be you anymore. Dean, you’re all I’ve got. Of course I was gonna fight for you, ’cause that’s what we do. -Sam
Sam’s very own subplot has led him on a [failing] quest to save his brother, in spite of Dean’s explicit requests to stop. This brings forward issues of consent: Dean willinging accepted the Mark and has refused a cure, so does Sam have the right to make decisions for Dean, just because the Mark is evil? Sam assumes that Dean needs a cure from the Mark, and while he is correct, should he be allowed to force the cure onto Dean?
In a nutshell: can you save someone who doesn’t want to be saved?
The last time we saw Cain, he mentioned a very specific order for those who would be killed by Dean: Crowley, Castiel, and then Sam. So far, it is Sam who has tried to kill Crowley, and inadvertently almost killed Cas by having him babysit Dean. Perhaps the Cain and Abel parallels are not as clear cut as the writers would have us think, and the Winchester who ends up dead at the hands of his brother may not be the one we think.
Theory #3: Dean Becomes Something Else
Death is returning and making Dean an offer. Even though Dean has had the Mark for the majority of two seasons, we still know very little about how it works (aside from it turning him into a black-eyed karaoke machine). With the arrival of Death, us here at the Collective wonder if perhaps Dean’s cure will work out to be a trade: the Mark for Death’s job. The Mark has always been placed on a human host, so what happens if Dean becomes something else entirely? We’ve seen him pick up the scythe before, and perhaps this time it would be for a more permanent duration. Then, the character death that’s been teased to us would be the Character of Death.
What are your thoughts on the finale? Tweet me.
P.S. The bunker is Castiel’s home. Pass it on.
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