After Dean makes a bold play to speak with Death himself, he finds himself making another deal for Sam's soul. Unfortunately, Sam is not as excited as his brother and will do anything to prevent this from happening.
When Dean heads into a shady doctor's office (played by the memorable Robert Englund), he has big plans but only a short time to make it happen. Dean has the good doctor stop his heart to give him three minutes with Death with the hopes of getting Sam's soul back but there is only a seventy five percent chance of making it back alive. After a chillingly cold conversation with the man himself, Death agrees to bring Sam's soul back from the basement on the condition that Dean plays the role of Death for twenty four hours. After Dean breaks the news to Sam and Bobby, Sam is less than enthusiastic about his brother's latest plan to save him, especially with only a seventy five percent chance of success. While Dean is off reaping, Sam makes a deal to prevent his soul from ever coming back.
After half a season's journey to retrieve Sam's soul, the moment has finally arrived. It was a surprising story to have Dean become a reaper for his deal with Death as Dean needed to gain some perspective in getting his brother's soul back. Dean is always meddling in matters that are for the most part beyond his control yet he presses forward with the ideal that he can always see past the bad and do the right thing but that didn't happen this time. Rather than Dean pull through yet again just by doing the right thing he faces reality that some people can't be saved on good intentions alone. It was a cold emotional truth that most shows ignore but Supernatural took a good move in this episode.
Another strength of this episode was the return of Death, played by Julian Richings. After all the horsemen of the apocalypse made their appearances it was Richings that took the spotlight since he met Dean in Chicago. Richings portrayal of Death is both bone chilling and quite mature after the oafish showings from the other horsemen. Since Crowley was killed off last week, hopefully Death can fill some of that void as he may have a vested interest for the souls in purgatory.
Unfortunately, "Appointment in Samarra" was not without its flaws. Although Sam has shown little interest in getting his soul back and even less when it came to everything else, he was terrified when the opportunity arose to reclaim it. Sam has been little else than a robot without a soul for the past ten episodes but genuinely did not want the soul back. While it was nice to see Jared Padalecki it seemed completely of character given the circumstances. I would have rather seen another character make an appearance and try and taint Sam's body because a soulless Sam would be a great asset and even an ally. As a predicted earlier, Supernatural did very little to define the nature of the soul. The only explanation we were given were Dean's opinions that had the subtlety of a sledge hammer on a metal door. It's a difficult task to bring the concept of a soul into a show and hopefully there will be more to this story later on in the season when Sam's fractured soul makes its return.
"Appointment in Samarra" was a strong episode to go into the winter hiatus for Supernatural. It left fans with a lot of room to speculate on what will happen next and especially later on when everything takes a turn for the worse as it always does for the Winchesters. Now that season six is half over, hopefully all of the filler episodes are gone and they can continue the trend of strong episodes they are riding.