Emily Dunbar ‘17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Finally, after a string of episodes hardly concerning the overarching plot, “King of the Damned” delivers the kick in the pants that season nine of Supernatural truly needed.
In an exciting turn of events, we learn that most of Crowley’s (Mark Sheppard) men have turned on him and favor the reign of to-be Queen of Hell, Abaddon (Alaina Huffman). Abaddon emerges with a surprise for Crowley—his long-dead son, a blast from the past in the most literal way possible. In the following scenes, we see that Crowley’s consumption of human blood all those episodes ago really did change him, and Abaddon is using that fact against him, proving once again that she’s not only ruthless, but a good contender for Queen.
Unfortunately, this father-son-reunion arc felt out of place and didn’t really hold up in the area of continuity. Dean remarks that he’s surprised Crowley has a son, and while it may be true that he didn’t know, long-time Supernatural fans will remember that in Season six, Bobby (Jim Beaver) summoned the ghost of Crowley’s son, Gavin. He used Gavin’s ghost to get invaluable information about Crowley, making it all too clear how much strain was on the father-son relationship. They abhorred each other, so it was a bit of a stretch to believe that something so trivial as the title of “Prince of Hell” was enough to repair their frayed relationship this season.
Later, Sam and Dean (Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles) hilariously team up to weasel information from a rogue angel. Moments like these, that the Sam and Dean we used to know, the nearly carefree brothers from seasons past, shine through and make us smile. It was fun to see Team Free Will together again, as Angel of the Lord, Castiel (Misha Collins), reappeared and proved that he is, in fact, the leader the angels need. The operation he runs is an interesting break from the norm, introducing possibilities for more complex plans that require vital backup, of which Castiel and the brothers lack. It was also refreshing to see Cas succeeding and feeling confident about his leadership.
On a disappointing note, Abaddon’s death at the end of the episode was lackluster, to say the least. She was an awesome, well-developed character that had a lot to offer the plot. Throughout this episode, she was a broken record playing the same tune she’d been playing all season; her schemes hadn’t changed since our first meeting with her in season nine. She wanted to be Queen of Hell, and as far as we knew, all she had been doing to achieve that goal was building up armies and turning people against Crowley. We didn’t see any of her war mongering or regime building. It would have been great to see her accomplish a huge victory—or even suffer a dire loss—before she bit it. Her death was rushed and seemed unnecessary with the finale just two episodes away. That being said, the manner in which she was killed served its purpose very well. It allowed us to see a terrifying side of Dean that we dreaded but expected.
Some of the most important parts of the episode were the clear and worrisome changes we see in both Sam and Dean. Ever since he picked up the First Blade, Dean hasn’t been the same kind and careful hunter we know him to be; he’s been bloodthirsty, rash, and generally unconcerned about his or his brother’s safety. He hasn’t valued honesty or loyalty quite as much as he used to. He’s a Cain-like figure, just as his Mark calls for. In this episode, the many ways in which the Mark and the Blade affect him become unavoidable. His constant thirst for blood and victory cause him to lie to Sam (again) and throw himself into a situation that called for backup (again). These changes call for a change in Sam as well, and we see the return of his brotherly concern. This concern is already causing him pain, and can only bring more, as there seems to be no way to extinguish the fire in Dean’s eyes. It’s likely that trying to keep a hold on his brother is going to prove almost as trying a task as fighting the baddies, this finale, for poor Sam Winchester.
Metatron is clearly up to something dastardly, and it’s exciting to see two sides clearly forming in the war for control amongst the angels. As Cas tries to snag Gadreel from Metatron’s clutches, it starts to get personal. Cas is the king of making fatal mistakes and Gadreel is credited with letting the snake enter the Garden of Eden. The parallels between Gadreel and Cas’ character arcs, especially in the department of mistakes, are inescapable. Cas understands Gadreel, and hopefully he will prove a caring and helpful ally to our favorite angel-turned-leader.
Overall, “King of the Damned” tied up quite a few loose ends and set us up for a great finale. We’re in for a big one this year! Tune in to the CW at 9 pm next Tuesday to catch “Stairway to Heaven” and see what the Winchesters and their friends have in store for them as Heaven and Hell let loose on Earth.
Overall Episode Grade: A-