Supernatural season 6 episode 3 review: The Third Man

Season six of Supernatural finds its feet with The Third Man, argues Matthew. And it's an episode that doesn't pan out quite as he suspected...

This review contains spoilers.

6.3 The Third Man

In the latest Supernatural, Dean joins Sam back on the road and their first investigation is into a series of deaths with a distinctly biblical influence. Dean contacts Castiel, despite Sam telling him that Castiel has ignored him for the last year. Castiel arrives and fears that the deaths are a result of a powerful weapon, one of several stolen from Heaven.

The trio track down a likely suspect, a grieving father, and while questioning him are confronted by his young son who is the actual killer and in possession of the weapon. Castiel retrieves the weapon from him whilst Dean questions the boy, who reveals that he traded his soul for it with an angel.

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Castiel can obtain the identity of the soul-buying angel, but at great pain to the boy. Dean objects to this, but Sam sees it as necessary.

The angel’s name is Balthazar, a comrade of Castiel whom he believed had died in the war preventing the Apocalypse. On revealing the name, another angel appears, an angel in the service of Raphael, an archangel who is trying to take over Heaven. He fights Castiel, but is defeated and escapes. Castiel, Sam and Dean then go to find Balthazar.

Castiel confronts Balthazar, who, sensing Raphael’s arrival, flees. Castiel is left alone to face Raphael, who almost defeats him. He is saved only when Balthazar returns and destroys Raphael’s host body. Dean and Sam then trap Balthazar and force him to release the boy’s soul, which he does. Dean is then prepared to kill Balthazar, but Castiel releases him and both angels leave.

Finally, the next day, Dean and Sam are leaving and Dean questions Sam again about his time in Hell and whether or not Sam has changed.

I liked this episode a lot. After the first two episodes of this season I was very much expecting a monster of the week story, but this episode feels like the season has really taken off. I was slightly dubious of the return of Castiel. I think he’s a great character, but I didn’t want him back just for the sake of it.

The stolen weapons and the conflict in Heaven are both very good ideas, which will run nicely in the background while Dean finds out the truth behind Sam’s return. Misha Collins is great as Castiel and his dry delivery of some of his lines makes for some incredibly funny moments in such a dark series. (Although, Dean does steal the best line award for ‘silver lining’.)

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I also like that Sam’s return is still a mystery and we, as viewers, despite seeing more than the characters, are left guessing as to whether or not he’s evil or has just become more independent from Dean, and his discussions with Dean do make a lot of sense.  

Is it Dean’s character that is flawed? And by rebuking Dean’s arguments, is he arguing against the audience as well?

I’m very impressed with how this is being portrayed and, considering what has gone before, how it doesn’t feel that the show is treading old ground.

The episode ends with a ‘Soon’ teaser of things to come and, based on this episode, that’s not soon enough!    

Read our review of episode 2, Two And A Half Men, here.