This week on the Dean Winchester show, nothing is as it seems when Dean realizes the ones he is closest to aren't always the ones he can trust.
Following the vicious beating Dean gave his brother at the end of last week's episode, Sam wakes up tied to a chair with Castiel trying to diagnose his condition. After using his powers to shove half his arm into Sam's torso, Castiel discovers there is no Jack in Sam's box or more specifically, he has no soul. After Sam easily get free he leaves Dean with the option of take it or leave it because he will never be able to keep him locked away and may never trust him. When the Winchesters finally meet up with Samuel, he doesn't have any answers but with the planned capture of the alpha vampire looming, it will have to wait as Samuel's true motives are still hidden from the brothers. After they capture, lose and capture the alpha vampire again, Sam and Dean are shocked to discover Samuel is not the grandpa they hoped for. As it turns out, the new king of hell is responsible for Sam's new lease on life and if the Winchesters want to keep it that way, they have to follow his rules to get the answers they need.
Even though "Family Matters" hit a few snags, it was a vast improvement from what the season has been thus far. The strong point about this episode was how the story actually progressed for the season rather than sticking to the usual Dean being upset over Sam plot. The story brought clarity to the Sam storyline and also opened a new plot with Samuel. It's clear that Samuel has his reasons for being the errand boy for Crowley, discovering why a great hunter would jump into bed with the replacement devil should be quite interesting. Crowley being responsible for Sam's return from the grave was a great twist and where that leaves Sam and Dean with their trust hanging by a thread is anybody's guess.
Though there were not any apparent flaws in the show, Supernatural is certainly entering murky territory with the new stories. It is one thing for Sam to not have a soul but it is a completely different thing to be able to define what that actually means. Although we have been shown that Sam no longer has a conscience, it isn't clear that he would have no understanding of the consequences of his actions or what he says. Sam almost kills Samuel without hesitation only to seconds later have the foresight to know that they he and Dean will have to play Crowley's game, they need to keep him alive to have any hope of getting his soul back. I raise this point because what does having a soul truly mean? It can't mean being a good person because there were two hunters that killed Sam and Dean last season with shotguns and they both had souls. Is Sam part demon again or just apathetic? With any luck, Supernatural will navigate these pitfalls and explain this later but I have my doubts.
Hopefully it will be explained in future episodes how Crowley became powerful enough to raise Sam from the dead. Even though he is the new king of hell, does that make Lucifer any less powerful while he is in the cage? Is God no longer God because he isn't in heaven? Just an explanation I hope we see in the future.
As you read above, I called Supernatural the Dean Winchester Show at the beginning of my review and I would say that is a fair assumption. Since the beginning of the season we have experienced almost everything, save for "Weekend at Bobby's", through Dean's eyes and I think this tends to hold the show back at times. Jensen Ackles is great as Dean but when he has to carry the show on his own it makes the stories seem repetitive. "Weekend at Bobby's" demonstrated that other actors can share the spotlight and offer a fresh perspective on what happens around them. Maybe Sam's year on his own or how he experiences not having a soul can be told through his experience rather than just through Dean's to mix things up.
While I did have my complaints about "Family Matters", that does not take away from this being a step in the right direction for Supernatural. This episode had more story and action than most of the season thus far which is just what the show needs. If The Vampire Diaries has proven anything, it's how stories can be exciting when they don't hold back or slow down and this week's episode had a hint of that shine. Hopefully it was just a slow start and Supernatural keeps this up in next week's "All Dogs Go to Heaven".
No fan mail this week?
Kyle Tetarenko says...
Thanks for reading the review!
I guess there isn't any this week but then again, my next review is coming up.
All the best.