Supernatural 10.01 – Black

Okay, okay, I know last season I just checked out on y’all, but I’m back and hopefully both the show and myself have spanked our inner season 9 moppets and are ready to move on. And after a very informative, if arguably oddly soundtracked, “Road So Far” (great song, but just because it has the words “soul” and “sinner” in it doesn’t make it apropos) we’re ready to hit the ground.

Now that we’re all caught up we can enjoy Sam Winchester being disturbing as all get out. Yes, torturing a demon may seem a little watery on the demented scale, but it’s about the how on this one. Sam has her strung up and carved into. The only thing that would’ve made it scarier was if the director hadn’t chosen a goofy camera lens to emphasize Sam’s forehead. POINT. I meant emphasize Sam’s point. The demon, Dar, begs for her life and Sam cares not at all, he just wants his brother.

Fast-forward four weeks and Sam is calmly researching in the bunker. He looks tired and he’s wearing a shoulder sling, but yeah, strangely calm. His stoic researching seems to pay off with a vague article about the murder of a man who, in Sam’s eyes, may have been possessed. Hell, a lead is a lead, so he quickly calls Castiel who is sleeping, because that’s a thing angels do. In a loosely tied robe, because getting tangled in terrycloth is totally comfortable. Cas coughs his way through the phone call and Sam is neither concerned nor patient and Cas can tell. Sam figures Castiel the pneumatic angel is just going to slow him down.

Meanwhile, Dean is drunk. In a bar. And eyeballing a waitress he’ll later sleep with. And singing karaoke. Well, at least that part is different. Okay, so I get it, Demon Dean (I will not use Deanmon, nope. NOPE.gif, CW. That was the first and last time I’m typing that abomination out) is supposed to be Dean at his base level. Still Dean, but without the weight of the world. Meaning Dean still cares about good sex, not just good-for-him sex, he still wants to joke and punch and snark and sing badly at the top of his lungs, he just doesn’t want to take responsibility for it or for anything at all. Dean’s taken to teasing the less fortunate? And, uh, there’s a barely noticeable change in both hairstyle and demeanor? And, well, otherwise, all his spare time’s spent lounging about with imbeciles? This is devastating; he’s turned into a 16-year-old boy. Of course, we’ll have to kill him.

Back to Sam, who is in Wisconsin investigating the murder from the article; his loose thread has been tied up into a nice bow, the footage the detective has shows Dean First Blade’ing his way through a demon with an angel blade. Thankfully, even for the supernatural worldly impaired, it’s clearly a case of self-defense. That will be comforting in the episodes to come, I’m sure. On the downside, Dean’s mug is being uploaded to the Cloud as we speak. Considering he’s been legally dead twice for years I’m interested to see the facial recognition software all over the country fritz out. Sam catches a glimpse of Dean’s black eyes and he is none too pleased.

If you weren’t already aware of the C? D? plotline of this episode it would’ve been easy to take you commercial fast-forwarding straight through our Cole introduction scene. Or workout montage, as is more accurate. Thankfully no sweatshirt sleeves or raw eggs were harmed in the filming of said scene. Cole’s fax machine beeps in the background and his kid, who actually knows what a fax is, takes it too him. My hopes for facial recognition software shenanigans are dashed. Cole is obviously pleased with the info. In an extremely creepy way.

Remember Cas? He’s still sick. Hannah, remember her, great hair, cute boyfriend jeans, take no shit attitude? Yeah, she’s back and here to ask Cas for help. Because the angels aren’t floating back to Heaven. Um, Hannah? And don’t take this the wrong way, because I really you, but you and Cas aren’t exactly onboard the back home boat either. Either way, Cas opts to help her because what else is he gonna do? Cough Heaven back into order?

He and Hannah road trip to the mountains. They find Daniel, who just wants to peacefully live a river runs through it existence. The fish have far beyond learned poetry, they’ve moved on to metaphors. Really heavy fish metaphors. He just wants to be left alone, Hannah is opposed, Cas looks conflicted, but better, the altitude is doing great things for his angelic tuberculosis, no a hack or wheeze to be heard.

Sam is questioning the kid that was cashiering during impromptu Dean’s fight scene at the Gas ‘n’ Sip. I like this kid. He’s got moxie. And he’s got dead guy’s phone with “go git ‘im” texts on it. Sam dials the number and no one is surprised to discover Crowley is at the eye of the demons against demon Dean storm. Sam is adamant that he will get his brother back from Crowley, Crowley thinks it’s adorable that Sam is jealous that he’s taken his place beside Dean. That he is the Silent Bob that Dean has always craved. A Sam facsimile, if you will. Sam’s devotion to his self-appointed mission is literally the best thing about the episode and I will fight you if you claim otherwise.

In the aftermath of that phone call, Crowley has to admit to Dean that Sam is looking for them because this time he hadn’t hit a dog and found a vet (or if he has hit a dog, he just kept going this time, which judging by the maniacal look in his eyes is possible), that he’s been the one throwing black-eyed fodder at Dean, and that oh yeah, hanging out in the same bar reenacting Bang Bros scenes isn’t what he had in mind. Also, and he can’t imply this hard enough, Dean as a demon is super lame. Wing eating contests, beer pong, and karaoke renditions from his “Now That’s What I Call…” CD collection have gotten really old, really fast. Hmm… yup, Crowley still sounds like Sam. Dean doesn’t want to give it up though, but since Sam is hot on his heels to drag him back from the frat house to the farm he gives in to one last liquor soaked hurrah, a hurrah that involves a really in depth look into how Dean sees his former self, before driving off into the horizon. Without Crowley.

Sam, in the interim, has gotten himself caught by Cole. The guy has some serious issues with Dean and even though he’s just a human he seems to know what every demon, ghoul, and angel knows: you want Dean? You use Sam.

Except it’s not working that way this time. See for the first time ever Dean doesn’t have the urge to untangle Sam from his own web. Sam’s a grown up, Sam has said as much, and Dean is going to treat him like the strong, independent woman he’s grown up to be.

But make no mistake, Dean as a demon may not be running to save Sam, but he still seems to have a proprietary streak in him because he vows to eventually find Cole and kill him. He’s just in not in any kind of rush.

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  • Catherine

    I’m curious as to what Dean did to Cole. Sam told Cole Dean’s a monster and Cole agreed, but I don’t think he has a clue just what kind of monster he’s dealing with.
    I also got the impression Demon Dean doesn’t care about anybody but himself. He defiantly has zero interest in running hell with Crowley.
    I’m excited for season 10. I hope it doesn’t disappoint.

    • I’m curious about how the Cole thing will play out. So far it feels like a slight rip off of Gordon, but obviously I’ll give the storyline a fair chance.

      I feel like to Demon Dean, running Hell sounds a lot like responsibility and that’s not something he’s into at all.

  • kelios

    Yep, that about sums it up. So far I’m overall disappointed in demon!Dean (I can’t help remembering how Dean described himself in Hell to Sam, and wondering where all that went now that he’s actually a demon), but Sam has more than made up for it. I’m in love with Sam’s love for Dean and his determination to get his brother back. The pain etched into his face just broke my heart over and over, and I was ready to kill Crowley myself by the end of his little speech.

    I’m both over the moon that we finally have a Sam I recognize again, and in mourning that we wasted TWO FREAKING YEARS on whatever the hell that was that Carver was doing in S8-9. I don’t know what changed, but so far I like it.

    The less said about the angels the better.

    • Dean in Hell sounded like a methodical psychcopath and I loved the idea of that, Demon Dean seems more like a 17 year old runaway. Hopefully, they’ll build on it. HOPEFULLY.

      My main issue with the Carver era, and why I stopped recapping last season was 100% the PACING. What we got in 2 years should’ve been one season MAXIMUM.

      • kelios

        I wanted to ask Jensen about why demon!Dean was so different in his meet and greet, but I didn’t get the chance. He did say that it was his choice to play Dean this way, tho–that someone who doesn’t care can be more frightening than someone who is overtly evil. The idea came to him because of something Kim Manners said to him–Give the audience what they want in a way they’d never expect. I hope he’s able to build on this concept in the next few eps, and that we really get the chance to see what Dean is capable of.

        • The odd thing is that he’s playing Demon Dean that way (really well, of course) but the writing doesn’t match it at this point. Dean seems to kinda care, but in a twisted way. Like wanting proof that Sam is alive, vowing to kill Cole, but at the same time not caring “enough” to save Sam. It’s strange and I’m hoping the next couple of eps will be clearer.

          • kelios

            Yes, I’m hoping Dean’s story just got off to a slow start. After some thought I’m even more excited for what Dean is going to do in the next two eps.

            • Jensen and the promos have implied there’s a build up. I trust JA.

      • luciano

        That’s ironic, cause in d Kripke days (supposedly d best days for spn), d bros took a whole year to finally meet and fight alongside d dad. Den another yr too complete d fight. Not complaining, I’m just saying its part of Spn’s beauty, take it slow but make it right!

        • I think it comes down to quality. In that timeframe the brothers rebuilt their bond to each other, there was progression within the story that worked toward an overall goal. The goal of season one was to find their father and they did that in a steady progression. For the past few seasons we’ve had stagnancy coupled with no apparent goal.

          • kelios

            I agree, Vinnie. The last two years we haven’t really accomplished anything, and any progress that has been made has been negated. I’m hoping this season changes that.

  • Chey

    Yea!! I’ve missed your on-the-nose-Spn-observations! Welcome Back!

    And, thank you, for being one of the numerous group against CW coining the ‘Dean…Mon’.
    It brings up wierd mental images between a cross between some wierd Rastafarian alternate universe and some wierd Pokemon themed take where Crowley keeps Dean in A Pokeball. Just, no. CW, the fans got the AU names covered.

    • Thank you so much! I missed doing them, I missed having the motivation to do them. S10 has so far sucked me back in.

      YES! EXACTLY! In my head I say it with this really bad, vaguely stoned Rasta accent. The CW shouldn’t try to play in the sandbox with us.

  • dreamsofspike

    I LOVED the Gas’n’Sip kid, and I loved Anne Marie. Nice little parallel there – both of them verbally abused by a Winchester who was taking out his pain and frustration on an innocent who didn’t deserve it – and both of them dressing down said Winchester in spectacular fashion. <3 LOVED IT.

    I think this is the year that Cas will go full-out 100% human, BY CHOICE. And I think he'll do it to save Dean, somehow.

    And I also think Crowley is dead by the end of the season. He's broken his own cardinal rule and underestimated a Winchester, you see. And that means he HAS to die. I'll miss him because he is AWESOME and I love his dynamic with Dean, but I don't expect him to survive past the end of this season. :/

    Very nice review as always, I'm so glad to see your reviews back – and I especially loved the little BtVS shout-out. ;) Geniusly chosen. :)

    • Gas ‘n’ Sip kid was FANTASTIC. And I like your mention of the parallel, because it’s true, the Winchesters tend to steamroll people and rarely get called on it.

      I disagree about Cas, I think his arc will culminate in him getting his own grace back because he searches for it. I don’t think the writers have any interest or use for human Cas.

      Thank you! Glad you caught the BtVS reference!

  • christina

    I loved your review–welcome back into the fold. I have to agree with everything you said about the last 2 seasons. That Sam made NO sense to me whatsoever and really ruined the last 2 seasons if Im honest. I LOVED how manic he looked while torturing that demon, yes–keep that up. And his call with Crowley–best part of the episode. and Sam did grow into a fine neurotic woman, yes ! lol. Im very excited for season 10 and even a bad Supernatural episode is better than another show, so…but did I mention Im not a Carver fan, nope not at all. I really feel like he doesnt get it with the brothers. Which is strange because they ALL state “Its about the brothers” but it doesnt show on screen…

  • Sue

    You went with Castiel the pneumatic angel, I had Consumptive Cas. We’re still sharing the same heaven. I have so many questions. I don’t know why I have continuity/lore questions because they mean fuck all in the last 3 seasons, but I at least know you know so let be written, regardless of how let it be done. ION: Sam Winchester is my alpha and omega (in a knot free way, natch). Mas tarde.