This Supernatural review contains spoilers.
Supernatural takes another flashback in time to look at the shenanigans of the Men of Letters. Man, those guys sure left a lot of loose ends, didn’t they? This time, Men of Letters pariah Cuthbert Sinclair was responsible for leaving behind the Werther Box, a lockbox that contains the codex to solving the Book of the Damned.
The Men of Letters solution is to seal off the part of the basement where the box resides. It is of course discovered by a curious 1970s teen, who then is forced to watch each member of her family die by their own hand. A really dick move even by Supernatural standards.
We find out Rowena’s “terms” for helping Sam with Dean’s Mark: Kill Crowley. Not surprising—it was given away in last week’s trailer. Rowena’s all hurt that she can’t take advantage of Crowley anymore, so now she’s ordered a hit on him. Sam jumps at the opportunity. He was never buddy/buddy with Crowley, so he figures this will be two birds, one deal.
A couple of stylistic choices are interesting to note. In the 1970s flashback to the Men of Letters scene, the group accosts Cuthbert for the creation of the Werther Box and its murder of two of their own. The scene is shown in an extra bright, almost dreamlike quality (note that the beginning teaser with Suzie in the ’70s did not have this style).
Immediately, the focus shifts to Cuthbert. As he rises from the table, responding to accusations, the camera rises with and above him, looking down on the other Men of Letters. You want to feel superior to a character? Position the camera at a high angle. The camera moves with Cuthbert, zooming in ever so slightly. It seems we’re supposed to side with him, at least for the purpose of seeing why distrust grew between him and the other Men.
We see another stylistic rendering for when Dean enters his Werther Box-induced dream state. He thinks he’s been transported back to Purgatory. The forest is represented in those same, colorless tones as before. We are treated to a bittersweet reunion with Benny. Nice to see him, but like Dean said, he’s not real.
The Men of Letters decided that the only way to deal with the Box was to “bury it,” in this case by sealing it off in one part of the basement of the St. Louis house. We’ve seen this idea in many a horror film (or TV show). I think the idea of something sinister hiding in what appears to be a normal home is an intriguing idea. When Suzie discovers the box, stepping between the broken teeth of the wall partition, and discovers the box in a hazy wash of light from the small basement window, it truly is intriguing. But—did anyone ever think to look through that window outside and see the box? Neat placement lighting design wise, but not so bright for the Men of Letters to leave a loose end like that.
Even with Dean’s Mark, it’s becoming obvious that Sam is the wild card. Hiding his involvement with Rowena, obscuring why he wanted to take on the Werther Box…Sam is digging himself a big hole. We saw this all foreshadowed with the “Behind Blue Eyes” montage last episode. Now with Rowena imprisoned in a church basement doing Sam’s bidding, this can only get crazier. Bring it on.