Emily Dunbar ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Supernatural didn’t let their midseason finale’s fast pace slip away from them as they entered the second part of season 10, this past Tuesday. “The Hunter Games” was an exciting and excellently-written peek into where the road is leading our favorite brothers.
First off, Dean’s character arc this episode was especially well done. In the aftermath of the bloodbath he laid in at the end of the last episode, it was simultaneously surprising and not surprising at all that the eldest Winchester (Jensen Ackles) dug deep to find a calming place to live in for the majority of the action. He forsook the Mark of Cain, realizing that there is no way he can continue living with the power it possesses over him. This is the kind of behavior that dates back to the earliest documented Winchester sagas—their whole family has a history of going bonkers when they catch wind of the possibility of a loved one getting hurt, yet they can hardly muster a shrug when it’s their own life on the line. This is especially true of Dean, so it was very refreshing to see his characteristics in back-to-basics mode, after being forced to watch him kill for sport. He made it clear that his mindset’s changed: he’d do anything to get rid of the Mark—he even went so far as to convince Sam (Jared Padalecki) that they should listen to what Metatron (Curtis Armstrong) had to say.
Now isn’t Metatron supposed to be in Heaven’s prison? you ask. Well, that brings us to the next piece of smart writing that propelled this episode into greatness. Sassy angel of the Lord, Castiel (Misha Collins) struck up a deal and smuggled Metatron back to solid ground to help him and the Winchesters solve their little problem. At this point in the plot, there legitimately was no other option for our heroes. Every episode since Dean got the Mark has been trial and error and non-trial and even more error; the Mark and its lore have proven to be more than a mystery. The only way they were going to get new information was to actually try a new source. It would have been absolute torture to suffer through another episode of the boys searching through books, finding nothing, and then getting distracted by a random monster. It was time to move on.
Most importantly, Claire Novak (Kathryn Newton) appeared in this episode. While her role was fairly small, the continuation of her story meant that she didn’t disappear without a trace. It’s a shame that it’s become a win for them to do the only thing that makes sense, but unfortunately, it’s been the writers’ style, in the past couple seasons, to drop plot points with off-handed remarks about a character “taking off” or “going AWOL” rather than tying up their stories in a meaningful way. Claire was one of the biggest loose ends from last episode, and her continued existence absolutely had to be addressed. It was also great that she had her own arc! However, looking at that arc, one part of it that wasn’t as strong was the two drifters she found and shacked up with for a few days. When she mentioned her hatred for Cas and Dean, the men who killed her real and surrogate fathers, her two new friends had shifty eyes that suggested they had more in mind than just helping their new pal. Then, they ran off at first sight of Dean with an axe in his hand—while that’s an understandably terrifying image, this behavior doesn’t match the vibes they’d been giving off the whole time they were on screen. Hopefully we hear back from them in the coming weeks, since otherwise, their suspicious behavior would be even more suspicious.
Finally, the scene in which Rowena (Ruth Connell) used a spell to get a literal bird’s-eye view of what her son, King of Hell Crowley (Mark Sheppard), was doing above ground was awesome. It used fantastic visual effects, the likes of which, have never, been used in Supernatural before. Story-wise, it was a little… convenient… that Rowena was able to use a spell to see exactly what Crowley’s up to. Sure, she’s a witch, and sure this is TV, but it seemed a bit lazy. Of course, the end result was captivating, so we can probably let the doubt slide, just this once.
Definitely don’t miss next week’s episode. Fan favorite Charlie (played by other fan favorite Felicia Day) is resurfacing from her untimely journey to Oz. Tune in to see “There’s No Place Like Home” next Tuesday at 9 pm.
Overall Episode Grade: A-