I think I predicted that within the first three episodes of Supernatural we’d see Dean cured of his demonness. Although the concept itself didn’t come out of the blue, the episode lent itself to some seriously tense moments, important plot developments, and a side of Dean we’ve never really seen before.
I’ll get right into it. Jensen Ackles is scary as Demon Dean. At one point he appears as a lazy, laid-back guy, eyes half shut as if he was bored with the world. The he shifts to a venomous temper, and a low, growling voice that you dare not cross. As Dean lunges at Sam who is trying to administer the cure, his eyes flash black and you again see the monster he has become. But a little jump scare isn’t the only surprise the episode has in store for us.
At the start of the season, we saw Sam willing to go to any lengths to rescue his brother, which includes torturing a demon for information. At the same time we saw Demon Dean carousing with Crowley, filling an order to grab poor Lester’s soul by fulfilling a deal and instead killing the hapless man. We didn’t know how connected these incidents were.
In this episode, the curtain is drawn back, and we see that Sam got his demon informant by tricking Lester to summon the crossroads demon. Sam’s single-minded quest led to this man both selling his soul and losing his life. Demon Dean remarks that he doesn’t know what’s worse, “What I turned into, or what you actually are.” Our boys have gone down progressively darker roads in the pursuit of the hunt, something that will likely catch up on them. Cole the New Hunter, anyone?
When Dean inevitably escapes, it’s because of Sam’s cure of sanctified blood. The more human he makes Dean, the easier it is for him to escape the binds that normally trap demons. Oops. The cinematography in the episode captured this cat-and-mouse game between the Winchesters well. A rolling dolly moves across the hallway gives the sense that someone is watching Dean. What looked to be a Steadicam move later on leading Dean down the same hallway further gave us the impression of him hunting down his brother. When the power went out, the red light cast by the emergency lights heightened the visual danger in the scene.
Another flip in the episode is when Castiel and Hannah get their angelic asses handed to them by a very PO’d Adina, who if you’ll remember is mad that they accidentally killed Daniel when they were roughing it in the woods. Crowley shows up in the nick of time to steal Adina’s grace for Castiel’s sake.
A delightfully offbeat scene in the episode was on Crowley’s side of things. You get the feeling he’s distinctly bored with how hell is run, even though he’s the boss. He sentences Abaddon supporters to perma-death, citing reasons until he’s too lazy to do so. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Crowley misses Dean. He’s actually experiencing a sort of depression without his little buddy.
A couple of big developments made this a big episode for the season. Now we’ll have to see how Dean fairs with his continuing Mark of Cain problem, and we didn’t see Cole so we can expect him to show up again. There was also a delightful little teaser at the end of the episode to give us a glimpse at a new fiery-headed baddy credited as “Rowena.” More on her soon, I hope.