Sam is getting closer to finding a way to lift the Mark of Cain's curse from Dean but is there a limit to what he might do to save his brother?
Though Sam didn't destroy the Book of the Damned, he still needs Rowena. In order to translate the book, Rowena tells him that she needs a codex from a long dead witch that is kept is an incredibly dangerous box that has ties to the Men of Letters. Back at the bunker, Sam does a bit of investing and discovers that the box was created by Magnus and is still in St. Louis but it's defenses have and already claimed the life of two Men of Letters and a family that later resided in the home where the box was hidden. Sam tries to sneaks away but Dean quickly finds his brother but just thinks they are on just another case to resolve an problem for the Men of Letters. While Dean distracts Suzie, owner of the house and sole survivor of her family's death, Sam slips through the back and into the basement but in his haste, activates the box's defense. Shortly after, Suzie starts seeing visions of her dead family before taking her own life. Dean becomes trapped in a loop of Purgatory within his own mind. Rowena shows up to help but it might nbot be enough as Sam learns that the only way to deactivate the box is give it blood from one of the Men of Letters. With his brother caught in a dream world, Sam may have enough blood to open the box and somehow save Dean.
A great idea but a lackluster episode, The Werther Project could had the potential to be so much more. Since the Men of Letters were first introduced a few years ago, their history has become one of the best parts of Supernatural lore and The Werther Project was really a missed opportunity for an episode that focused heavily on them. Watching a family fall victim to a curse or horrible monster has become part and parcel for Supernatural and they could have gone the extra mile here. Sam listened to the recording of Magnus and the other Men of Letters discussing the Werther Project and there was a mention of a brave few that went to try and deactivate or at least contain the box. This was the missed opportunity. Rather than a brave few, it should have been a brave team. Rather than Sam and Dean go to St. Louis for the case, the episode should have almost entirely been a flashback to a team of the Men of Letters that went to deactivate the box but were almost completely destroyed in the process. Having the older Suzie present in the episode was fine but we have no connection to whether she lives or dies. Her ghost told Sam that she was the first casualty to express how far Sam has fallen but if he already knew how dangerous it was and knew how many of the Men of Letters had died just to contain it, he would also be betraying his heritage and the people that came before him. After all, let's not forget that because Suzie wasn't happy with doing laundry, she picked up a sledgehammer and busted a massive hole in a wall and found a cursed safe. Seriously, that must have been the laziest set up Supernatural has ever done to kill a family.
Though it was a missed opportunity, The Werther Project did have a few highlights worth mentioning. As much as the focus is always on Dean and the Mark of Cain, Sam's determination to save his brother at any cost is bringing a lot to Supernatural. Each week, the price is becoming greater and greater but at what point will it be too much? Does Sam have a limit? We all thought that Dean was becoming the monster but Sam's willingness to save his brother has already claimed a victim. His dealings with Rowena also show that she underestimated him by thinking he would trust her for Dean's sake. Sam is quickly establishing himself as a real player and Crowley needs to watch out. Another great part of The Werther Project was the brief return of Ty Olsson as Benny. Olsson was always great but underutilized during his brief time with the show. Maybe Supernatural can find a way to bring the real Benny back from Purgatory someday.
The Werther Project could have been so much more. Rather than a usual case for the Winchesters it could have given us a glimpse into the past of the Men of Letters in a mission that had gone horribly wrong due to the twisted nature of one of their own. With only four episodes left in the season, Supernatural is going to have to take big steps to make it all come together and it starts next week with Angel Heart.