Filed under: Recaps & Reviews
His brother may be a demon bearing the Mark of Cain but that won't stop Sam from doing everything he can to save him.
After trying to convert a demon once before, Sam is prepared. Human blood? Check. Ritual incantation? Double check. Experience trying to turn his brother back into a human from being a demon? Not so much. While strapped to the chair in the middle of the devil's trap, Dean claims that he doesn't want to be cured and likes his new life the way that it is; that he's tired of being his brother's babysitter since forever. Sam ignores what his brother has to say and injects him with the human blood anyways. Elsewhere, Castiel and Hannah are on their way to the bunker but get lost on the way. Hannah is concerned for Castiel' fading grace but Castiel won't let that, or their budding relationship distract them from the task at hand. Things may be back to normal in hell but Crowley is bored with beaurocracy of it all. Instead, he reminisces of the times he shared with Dean and how much fun they had. When one of his minions informs him that Castiel is weak, he sees an opportunity. Eventually, Castiel and Hannah stop for gas. Hannah goes into the store to browse and pay but notices the clerk's eyes have been burnt out. Castiel rushes in to find Hannah in Adina's clutches. Adina has been tracking them since they killed Daniel and easily overcomes Castiel when he tries to make a move. She intends to make his death slow. Back at the bunker, Sam goes to resume the treatment on Dean only to find an empty chair. Now Sam doesn't just have to worry about curing his brother, he needs to stay alive.
In what turned out to be another solid episode, Soul Survivor was another great entry from Supernatural. Broken down by the three stories of Sam and Dean, Hannah and Castiel, and Crowley, each story hit a different beat to pluck at our emotions one at a time. Sam and Dean's brotherly love was tested as Sam had to face the consequences of what he had done to get closer to finding his brother, Castiel and Hannah confronted more human emotions and Castiel's impending mortality and Crowley's cerebral plotting. Each story could have been an episode unto itself but combining them made for good pacing that kept us interested without getting tired of one plot. It also gave the actors the show the space it needed to focus on each character.
Another set of characters that continue to get better are Hannah and Castiel. Their relationship becomes closer with every episode and it's for the better. Hannah is experiencing all of the emotions that Castiel went through but with someone there to guide her the whole time. She cares for Castiel and during this quiet time between the angels and demons, this is the first opportunity she has had to think beyond her duty to heaven. Rather than take the risk, Castiel holds back knowing that his newly renewed grace is another temporary solution; even if it came from Crowley. Where Castiel's path lies ahead is just as mch a mystery to him as it is to us. Does he go back to heaven or follow the Winchesters? Which family does he choose?
Though he's always great in front of the camera, there were a few missteps from Jensen Ackles in his return to the director's chair. The biggest being when Dean got free from the chair and devil's trap to hunt Sam in the bunker. It felt like that was the opportunity to experiment and film the shots a lot tighter to Sam and Dean's faces to give a sense of claustrophobia that they wanted. Each shot was too wide and exposed too much, essentially taking away most of the surprise and making it predictable when Dean appeared behind Sam. It feels like the shooting style of Supernatural shackles story rather than delivering the style that best suits the story. Dean's demon screams were cheesy but we've seen worse.
All in all, Soul Survivor was another good episode from Supernatural. Will we miss demon Dean and all the fun he gave us? I doubt we've seen the last of him. We'll see how Dean readjusts to human life on next week's episode, Paper Moon.