I settle down in front of the TV, anxiously awaiting the second episode of Supernatural’s 10th season, entitled “Reichenbach”. The rain is pattering on the windows behind him. The room is illuminated in a blinding white light – only for a moment. The oncoming thunderstorm only adds more to my nerves. What is Crowley up to? Will Dean ever turn good again, into the big-brother hunter that we affectionately know and love? And, worse even yet: will Cas get his Grace back, will Sam escape Cole? All these questions run through my mind as the first images come on screen.
A teenage boy is torn from his bed as he hears a commotion downstairs. His curiosity invites him to investigate. He creeps downstairs steadily, only stopping when he slips on blood. He looks for the source, finding his father motionless on the floor, Dean Winchester standing over the lifeless form. Cole tells all of this to a bound Sam Winchester, explaining his past, and why he is after Dean. It turns out that back in 2003, Dean killed his father. The reason is yet to be known. We, the fans of the show, all know it had to do with the supernatural. But Cole doesn’t know that. He thinks the monsters are all humans: warriors trained to kill at the bequest of their government, serial killers acting like military men, etc. Not vampires or demons. Not the things that go bump in the night. I admit that I laughed, waiting for that bubble to be broken.
Dean, in the meantime, is at a strip club. Doing exactly what he wants, when he wants it. I laughed here, too, thinking I wondered when we’d get to the strip clubs. Dean arrogantly tries to touch the stripper, and is refused. He throws down a $20 bill to persuade her. Again, refused. The bouncer intervenes. And Dean sees this as a challenge. Cue a montage of Sam getting the crap beaten out of him by Cole, and Dean beating the crap out of the bouncer. Eventually both brothers escape – Sam by a knife that Cole left behind, and Dean by just plain walking out the door. Crowley catches up with Dean, offering him a proposition. And Sam calls Castiel.
Cut to Cas washing his hands. He looks even worse than last episode. His eyes are sunken, his shoulders hunched, his energy drained all around. So much that he can’t heal himself. Hannah offers, and does it for him, using her Grace. The friendly moment is interrupted when Cas’s cell phone rings, Sam on the other line. The Winchester explains that Dean is a demon and it has something to do with The Mark of Cain. And Cas growls – GROWLS – into the phone in rage. Oh is Crowley in for it! Hannah and Cas race onto the open road to meet up with Sam, only for Cas to fall asleep at the wheel and crash.
Dean is sent on a little errand after Crowley catches up to him. The King of Hell lets him take on a mission to sate The Mark’s thirst for blood. The target? Mindy Morris who is a housewife with a knack for cheating on her husband. Said husband, Lester, has made a deal to sell his soul if Crowley kills his cheating wife. Meanwhile, over with Cas, he and Hannah take refuge at a stranger’s house. Cas falls asleep almost immediately as Hannah looks skeptically at a leftover casserole.
Dean stalks the house of the unfaithful wife. He unexpectedly meets Lester, the soul-for-trade husband, out in the car waiting for the deed to be done. Dean surmises that he wants to watch his wife’s blood be spilt, that Lester was the first one to cheat, and that he is, in fact, a douchebag. In all senses of the word. Making an executive decision, Dean shoves The First Blade through Lester’s chest.
Also, at this point, may I freak out about Dean flashing his black eyes?
All right. Fangirl moment over.
Sam arrives at the strip club, interviewing the bouncer who now has a broken arm. He is catching up to his brother. Appropriately to the theme of the episode, Castiel wakes up to an episode of the road runner and coyote playing on the television. He smiles at the little girl sitting next to him. And I squeal at the adorable interaction they have! They converse about dreams, one with a snot rocket, and share some cereal. As Hannah and the homeowner converse about Cas. About how the homeowner would love a guy like that in her life, and that Hannah was so lucky. This leads to an awkward moment and possibly the set up for a romantic relationship between Cas and Hannah.
Dean catches up to Crowley, who is bored out of his mind in a meeting with his demon minions. Dean announces that he’s killed the client. Crowley, the ever business-minded King of Hell, angrily explains to Dean that he needed the contract to be fulfilled so he could get Lester’s soul. Dean pushes Crowley, and humiliates him, but shows him that he is stronger. Crowley retaliates by saying “Why don’t you do us all a favor and pick a side?”
Is Dean human or is he demon? My question is: Is he something else entirely?
The two relationships in “Reichenbach” break. Dean and Crowley separate, Cas and Hannah do too. Cas wakes up in a car with Hannah nowhere to be found. It turns out that she went to Heaven. Maybe to abandon Cas after all? To return? Had she had enough of the human world? Crowley and Sam meet up. The demon confesses that Dean is uncontrollable. That he does what he wants. And that he’s over him. (Hah! Poor baby!) He points Sam in Dean’s direction, with the condition that he receives something in return (and no, it’s not Sam’s soul).
Hannah has left Castiel to meet with Metatron in Heaven’s dungeon. The former ruler of Heaven is locked in a messy cell, all alone, wearing a strait jacket. Hannah speaks with him about Cas’s Grace. That it was still out there somewhere. Metatron says that he’ll tell if he’s let out, and to sweeten the pot, he promises he’ll leave. Go to another galaxy. Far away from Heaven and Earth. Right, do we believe him? I’d like to hope so. But he’d probably weasel his way back to plan A. Thankfully, Cas finds Hannah and puts a stop to the bargain. Castiel explains that he has accepted his fate. That he was ready to die. Metatron leaves Cas with the promise: “Spoiler alert: everyone dies!” To which, I really, really, really hope doesn’t happen.
Also, I take a moment to reflect on a fandom theory about Gabriel. That he, being a Trickster, is still alive and that Metatron had captured him. He locked up the last of the Archangels while he was in Heaven. The theory that I really, really hope is true.
On Earth, the showdown commences. Dean is sitting at a piano, picking away at the keys. He cuts his hand, and hears Crowley’s voice: “Which side are you on?” In the background, we see the tall shadow of Sam. Both brothers acknowledge each other. Sam promises to Dean that he can fix him, that he is with him, that he can be human again, that they’ll try anything. And Dean blocks every promise. Sam doesn’t get it: Dean is not just a demon, he is something else, something more powerful. He holds no empathy, he doesn’t care. Or, is that what the writers just want us to think? Is that what Dean wants Sam to think? That he doesn’t care about him anymore. But Sam won’t give up.
As expected, Cole catches up to Sam, just as the Winchester is leaving the bar to follow his brother. He knocks out Sam and confronts Dean. An epic fight between Dean and Cole ensues. It turns out that Cole planted the knife so Sam could escape and lead the way to his brother. What Cole doesn’t count on is that Dean is impossibly strong and without mercy. He flings Cole around the alleyway like he’s a pillow. Dean reveals that he is a demon by, once again, flashing his black eyes. And Cole’s world that he’s known crumbles.
I fangirl over something else: Dean’s reference to Inigo Montoya’s line in The Princess Bride.
The episode closes with Sam handing The First Blade over to Crowley. They agree that the demon will get the knife as far away from Dean as possible. Sam takes Dean. Cole is holding onto a bookshelf, still bloodied. He begins to dig into the world that we fan adoringly call Supernatural. Crowley mourns the death of his relationship with Dean. And the final scene is of Sam and Dean in the Impala. The car is littered with trash, neglected. You know something is wrong with Dean when he lets the Impala go. When he says it’s “just a car”. Sam holds on to the hope that he can save Dean, with the example of letting Cole live. That Dean had mercy on him. But Dean crumbles that example by saying that it would’ve been a mercy to kill him. That Cole was now going to hunt for Dean and never stop. And, thusly, another Hunter is made.