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‘Supernatural’ Review/Recap: “Book of the Damned”

Emily Dunbar ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles in the Supernatural episode "Book of the Damned." Photo Credit: The CW.
Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles in the Supernatural episode “Book of the Damned.” Photo Credit: The CW.

As the end Supernatural’s tenth closes in, the biggest question on every fan’s mind has been this: how the hell (or heaven) are they gonna wrap this thing up? It had been really unclear for the past 17 episodes—and that isn’t exactly an ideal place to be—but finally, this week’s episode, “Book of the Damned” pointed the end of this season in a very clear direction.

It was, as always, lovely to see Felicia Day grace our screens once again as Charlie Bradbury. Day always brings a sort of lighthearted fun to whatever episode of which she’s a part, even if the subject matter is a bit heavy. Such was the case in “Book of the Damned.” There was a really heartwarming – and heart-wrenching (what else is new?!) – scene between Charlie and Sam (Jared Padalecki) in which the younger Winchester reveals how scared he is to lose his brother to the Mark’s clutches. For a long time, we’ve seen Sam stare longingly into the distance, surely contemplating the possibility of hunting without his brother’s guidance. But faraway glances can only give us so much, and none of the show’s regulars can provide the sympathetic ear Sam needs to spill the beans. Charlie is such a caring character, the kind of person who can always get a grumpy Winchester to talk. Her heart-to-heart with Sam was fantastic and emotional in a way that this season really hadn’t yet captured. It was definitely a win for Sam’s emotional arc, and it only aided the big twist we saw at the end of the episode.

Felicia Day and Jensen Ackles in the Supernatural episode "Book of the Damned." Photo Credit: The CW.
Felicia Day and Jensen Ackles in the Supernatural episode “Book of the Damned.” Photo Credit: The CW.

So, what about that big twist?! It was fantastic, that’s what! The other thing this season’s been missing is a real twist. Every couple episodes, the writers will add something kooky to the mix, something we never could have expected! The thing is, we never would have expected it because it’s not a good, useful, or even interesting twist; it’s just…nothing. “Book of the Damned” had quite the ending, though. The writers did a great job of generating a believable and interesting twist. (And let’s not forget how great the visual execution of it was—what a flashback!) Not only do we now see the extent to which Sam is worried about Dean (Jensen Ackles), but we also see how far he’s willing to go to save him.

Bringing Rowena (Ruth Connell) into the mix is exactly the spice this season’s been missing. Up until now, Rowena’s been a wasted character. An absolutely ruthless (read: badass) female witch who just happens to be Crowley’s (Mark Sheppard) mother? Awesome idea! Having her stay locked up in Hell’s dungeons for several episodes and only bringing her out to have a brief (read: lame) fight with the head of the Witch’s Council (another awesome idea)? A waste of airtime. Obviously, we can’t get too excited yet. We don’t know how all of this is going to play out. But as of right now,  Sam bringing the Book of the Damned to Rowena has been the most interesting plot point so far—it’s intriguing and it’s exciting. Let’s hope the writers dig in and make the most of what they’ve given themselves.

Misha Collins in the Supernatural episode "Book of the Damned." Photo Credit: The CW.
Misha Collins in the Supernatural episode “Book of the Damned.” Photo Credit: The CW.

Overall, this episode was a win for the season and for the writers. It’s also worth noting that we got some really cool shots a la director P.J. Pesce, who has only directed one other episode of Supernatural prior to this one. It is honestly looking like this near-aimless season can be salvaged. All we can do now is wait. Tune in to the CW next Wednesday at 9 p.m. to catch the next installment in our favorite hunters’ lives: “The Werther Project.”

Overall Episode Grade: A-

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