Dean Winchester has tipped over his king.
His brother is missing but Sam is still dead set on finding a cure for the Mark of Cain; whatever the consequences might be. For Dean, it's been a long road but he still needs to keep busy with case. Luckily, he just got a call from a fellow hunter, Rudy, about a nest of vamps that killed one girl and took the other one alive. Meanwhile, Sam marches into the basement where Rowena is held captive with a gun pointed straight at her head but she isn't having it. She knows that Sam is in no position to make demands and negotiates for her freedom and the Book of the Damned in exchange for removing Dean's curse. After 'solving' the case and getting Rudy killed in the process, Dean has hit the wall. The faces of the people he's let die are starting to haunt him and he's become desperate. Before Rudy dies, he called Sam and told him where he and Dean were. When Sam arrives into town and finds the Impala, he busts into the hotel room only to find the keys to the car and a note that Dean left saying: she's all yours. Just as Sam gets outside, he gets a call from Dean telling him where he is but when Sam gets to the bar, a guest is already waiting for him – Death. Dean summoned Death to remove the Mark of Cain but he can only give it to someone else. As it turns out, the Mark of Cain acts as a lock and key to the darkness that existed before god and the angels drove it back, eventually sealing it with the Mark of Cain. Without the Mark, evil forces from before existence will unleash an evil that the world has never known. For Dean to be transported away to a place he can never hurt anyone it will cost just one thing – Sam's life.
Though previous seasons have ended stronger, Supernatural's tenth season finale, Brother's Keeper, did a fairly solid job. Brother's Keeper was an emotionally heavy episode that hearkened back to the season's theme of 'what would you do to save the ones you love' in a big way. Sam didn't care what the consequences were to using the Book of the Damned as long as it saved his brother and in the end, he was willing to give his life for his brother if it meant he would be free from harming anyone else. At its core, Supernatural is a show about family and the tenth season always kept that in mind. Charlie's death was a loss for the Winchesters but it added a lot of weight to the final moments when Dean explained how he and Sam destroy everything they come into contact with. All of this worked very well but Brother's Keeper wasn't without a few missteps.self-balancing air board
With so much going on, the pacing suffered with Dean's hunt for the vamp nest. Last week, we had seen how far Dean had fallen by killing the youngest member of the Styne family and almost killing Castiel. Allowing Rudy to die didn't have the same affect and felt pointless after we watched Dean execute a kid. Also, killing Death with his scythe felt like it was done for shock value alone. Julian Richings has been fantastic in the role of Death since his first appearance in Two Minutes to Midnight and killing him cuts a potential opportunity to see more of him next season. Seeing as he was the only person that had ever mentioned the darkness, it would have made a lot of sense to see him more often next season.
Without question, the highlight of the episode was the moment between Sam and Dean in the bar. Sam plead with his brother to consider what he was doing and even fought Dean in a last ditch effort to stop him. In the end, he was willing to give his life for his brother but Dean sided with family and killed Death. After ten seasons, it's hard to make moments like these count and Supernatural showed it still has what it takes.
Overall, season ten was a very mixed bag. The entire Mark of Cain story was stretched far too thin and Rowena was never the great character the show was hoping for her to be. What hurt the season further is the continued pursuit of the 'monster of the week' formula that just doesn't fit the show anymore. The Winchesters have killed demons, angels, leviathans, gods and everything else under the sun. Unless these episodes can add humour or do something differently, they need to be put to rest. Other characters like Crowley and Castiel felt woefully underused throughout the season. Crowley had lost much of his charm due to being around Rowena and Castiel just wasn't there most of the time. Great episodes are becoming far too few and I'm hoping that the darkness doesn't end up being Leviathans 2.0: The bigger, badder, leviathans.
Hopefully you've enjoyed my reviews this season and I look forward to continuing on when Supernatural returns for its eleventh season.