This review contains spoilers.
10.17 Inside Man
Dean’s condition is worsening as his dreams torture him with Cain’s revelation that Dean’s story will end with killing Sam. Growing increasingly desperate for any kind of lead, Sam and Cas reach out to heaven for help, hoping to access Metatron and his knowledge about the Mark. When that proves to be a bust, they call on an old friend for help to break him out. One seance later and Sam is back in touch with Bobby, wiling away his hours in his own personal heaven, but now employed in busting out Metatron. Meanwhile, Rowena starts to move in on Dean when he takes himself off to a bar, determined to wipe him out to prevent Crowley from going soft.
The return of a fan favourite character in Supernatural is always something to celebrate but it’s a really special occasion when Bobby returns to the fold. We’ve known for a while that Jim Beaver’s curmudgeon would be making an appearance so the episode wisely wastes no time in introducing him in the cold open. His jail break from heaven felt like a nod to Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey‘s “choose your infinity” and it seems a shame that we don’t get to see some of the other heavens. Bobby also cuts through the usual Winchester planning when he wryly comments on the stupid decision to leave Dean out of the whole process.
As ever, Sam’s plan to leave Dean on his own is not a very good one. Dean ventures out to one of his haunts for a beer and amusingly goes all Good Will Hunting with a pool cue on a bunch of college students. Rowena versus Dean is less a battle and more a clash of morality and wills. It’s an easy way of demonstrating Dean’s inner struggle as she becomes the representation of everything dark he’s fighting off within himself at the moment. Rowena’s motivation is also entirely maternal apparently, working to release Crowley from his bonds to the boys. It also sets up another person looking for a way to remove the Mark, albeit one with less altruistic motives.
For Rowena, she thinks her son has gone soft Rowena and Crowley’s machinations have taken a back seat until recently when Rowena took out the Grand Coven. Their interactions have always been entertaining and the Trent conversation was no different, particularly Mark Sheppard turning into a coy teenager upon finding out Rowena has a date. When she turns into the pushiest and most evil of all mothers later, it takes a bit of the fun out of it. Most of the time, it feels as if Rowena is more of a trickster type, messing around with everything just to cause trouble. These kinds of characters are always more fun because you never really know what to do next. Hopefully, her break with Crowley stops the fuzzy feelings and makes her even more creative.
The conversation between Crowley and Dean is one of their more melancholic and philosophical moments as they discuss their respective families. Family, blood or not, has always been the defining link between the characters and, despite the constant decisions to lie to each other, the brothers are at the heart of it. Bobby’s letter to Sam at the end brings that all back around and provides a sombre note to end the episode on. It’s about the time in the season where the stakes really start to ramp up and if Sam chooses honesty, it might be a refreshing step for the Winchesters as they go into the end of this season.
Given how action-packed the episode is and with the return of Bobby, Inside Man feels a bit less exciting than it should be. Bobby’s jailbreak is fun and it’s always great to hear Jim Beaver’s gruff intonations back in the show, but the Rowena and Crowley storyline felt a little stretched to get to the very basic point of him kicking her out of Hell. Still, let’s hope Bobby’s actions don’t prevent a future return for the character as the show always feels a little more like itself when he’s around.
Read Becky’s review of episode 15, The Things They Carried, here.
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