Alysha Boynton ‘17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
After nine years and almost 200 episodes, for an episode of Supernatural to still be original, interesting and emotionally resonant is quite an accomplishment, even if it’s not particularly memorable. Since season 5 ended, the show has had some trouble keeping the episodes… well, good, but it seems like things might be looking up, at least for the moment. Demon Dean (Jensen Ackles), or the “Deanmon” as he has been affectionately coined, is making for some seriously engrossing television, as well as being a huge source of emotional distress for both the audience and for his younger brother, Sam (Jared Padalecki).
This week’s episode, “Reichenbach,” was a direct continuation of the plotlines introduced in last week’s premiere; no “monster of the week” formula necessary when one of the leads is a monster himself. Dean’s monstrosity, however, seems not to be set in stone, which he displayed by harassing a stripper but then turning around and punching a guy in the nose for being a misogynistic jerk. Almost all of his actions in this episode contradicted each other, including how he acted towards Sam. The brothers’ relationship always has been and always will be paramount to the story, and even with this massive wrench thrown into their dynamic, it’s clear that Dean still cares about his brother somewhere deep down, even if only in his twisted, demon-y way. The scene where the two are finally reunited as a result of Sam’s tireless searching felt like being punched in the heart with a bag of bricks, especially when you factor in Demon Dean’s fondness for calling his brother “Sammy” every chance he gets.
At the beginning of the episode, Sam managed to escape from the barn where Cole (Travis Aaron Wade) was holding him hostage and threatening to torture him, and we also got to see a flashback to 2003 and Cole’s origin story of sorts, where a younger and Samulet-wearing Dean had clearly slaughtered Cole’s father, for reasons that will surely be revealed soon. As abrasive and unlikable as Cole is, understanding his motives for wanting Dean dead made watching Dean decimate him in a fight at the end of the episode a lot less enjoyable, even though it was one of the most engaging scenes, dialogue-wise (Dean even quoted The Princess Bride!). Cole had no idea that supernatural creatures even existed, and Dean flashing his black eyes before leaving Cole to wallow in his defeat and confusion was a highlight of the episode.
Running parallel to the much more captivating storyline of Sam and his search for Dean was another one of Supernatural’s beloved and endlessly dull angel subplots. Castiel (Misha Collins) and fellow angel Hannah (Erica Carroll) were driving down the highway when Cas, weak from his rapidly draining angel grace, passed out at the wheel and caused the car to crash. The two angels were then forced to spend the night at the home of a friendly mechanic who offered to fix the damage on the car, and for some reason didn’t see anything wrong with leaving two strangers alone with her 7-year-old daughter. It was fairly obvious that the entire point of this plot was for the mechanic to mention that Hannah and Cas made a nice couple, and for Hannah to get all flustered and insist they’re nothing of the sort. Hannah clearly cares for Castiel, which she proves when she makes a trip to the heavenly cell block where Metatron is being kept to try to bargain for Cas’ grace back, but Supernatural has proved time and time again that they just can’t do romance, and watching them try is honestly a little painful.
Meanwhile, Crowley (Mark Sheppard), once again filled this week’s quota for comic relief and overtly homoerotic quips, but his “break up” with Dean after asking him to pick a side, human or demon, was surprisingly sad. Crowley genuinely thought he and Dean were best friends, and even though he was the one to call Sam and alert him to Dean’s location, there was a sense of bitterness in his voice when he told Sam that Dean was “his problem again, forever”.
In the end the fight over Dean between Sam, Crowley, and Cole was won by Sam, with him promising to “take Dean home,” not necessarily meaning just to the bunker but back to being brothers. Whether Sam will have to cure Dean somehow or if Dean will change back to a human gradually now that Crowley has separated him from the First Blade is unclear, but next week’s episode, “Soul Survivor,” looks like it’ll be a real thrill ride, with Dean stalking Sam through the bunker The Shining-style.
Jensen Ackles has confirmed that Dean won’t be a demon forever, so let’s hope we get our beloved eldest Winchester back to normal sooner rather than later.
Overall Episode Grade: B+