Mark Watches ‘Supernatural’: S02E21 – All Hell Breaks Loose, Part 1

In the twenty-first episode of the second season of Supernatural, Sam wakes up in a strange ghost town alongside a number of the “special” children. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Supernatural.

Well, this was one of the most relentlessly creepy and upsetting episodes of the show, and somehow, there’s still another one. Where “Part One” ends is where I honestly think most shows would cliffhanger us, but no. Somehow, there’s something worse waiting for me than…

All right, I’m getting way ahead of myself. This episode opens with the one thing Dean’s dreaded happening actually happening. In a span of a few seconds, Dean loses sight of Sam and walks in on a bloodbath, one that looks eerily similar to what he and Sam discovered in Ava’s apartment five months earlier. There’s an urgency to the way “All Hell Breaks Loose” is filmed and written, as we’re in the thick of it in maybe five minutes at most. There are three dead bodies, Sam is nowhere to be found, and Dean’s face is already about forty thousand levels of NOT OKAY. (I had no clue just how bad this would get. I had no clue.) His worst nightmare is coming true, except he never planned for being physically unable to help his little brother. From Dean’s point of view, Sam just up and disappears without leaving a single clue behind as to where he went. Of course Dean is capable of protecting Sam, but how the hell does he FIND his brother? Seriously, I think it was intentional that Dean rolled out a map of the entire United States before Bobby because SAM COULD BE ANYWHERE. He could even be in Canada! (Har har.)

With Bobby’s assistance, Dean goes right into Protective Older Brother mode, and it’s pretty adorable, all the stress and terror notwithstanding. I was half-convinced he’d just shout SAAAMMMMYYYYYYY! super loud and Sam would hear him, thousands of miles away. I’m glad that he sought out Ash for help because seriously, if there’s anyone here who could process all the information and find the proverbial needle in the haystack, it would be Ash. But then I’m not glad because WHAT THE FUCK, SOMEONE BURNED THE ROADHOUSE TO THE GROUND AND THAT BETTER NOT BE ASH. I mean… oh god, his name. Was that always a clue that I’d see him reduced to Ash? NO. NOPE. I refuse to believe this is true, despite all the evidence in support of it, because WHY WOULD YOU TAKE ASH FROM ME? And what the hell did he discover that was so huge that someone would destroy the entire Roadhouse? I’m scared, y’all, and WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT TO ASH?

But lord, this episode is all about unfair and uncomfortable deaths, isn’t it? “All Hell Breaks Loose: Part One” is particularly brutal, though that’s not without a couple setbacks. Overall, I really liked this episode, and I’m surprised by the turn it’s taken. Like I said in the video commission for this episode, this is some Hunger Games bullshit, isn’t it? I’d always assumed that the yellow-eyed demon wanted as many soldiers as possible on his side. That makes sense! Granted, I’m still completely in the dark as to what he’d need these kids with special abilities for, but having an army of psychics or telekinetics would be good, right?

But that idea is slowly whittled down over the course of this story. Sam wakes up in a deserted village that looks like a stereotypical ghost town because it’s a literal ghost town. Now, I think that if you claim a place is the most haunted location on earth, I’m going to set the bar pretty high in terms of my expectations for the setting. I acknowledge that I’ve still got a second part to this episode to watch, but I was a little disappointed in the distinct lack of spirits and demons aside from the Acheri demon we see here. If this is the most haunted place in the United States, then where are all the spirits? But I could easily be wrong about this, so don’t hold me to it! I’ve got another half of the story to watch.

Anyway, we finally see Andy and Ava again, and we’re also introduced to two new special kids: Jake Talley and Lilly. All of them were brought to this place by the yellow-eyed demon, but… why? And why just five of them? Hell, that should have clued me in to the fact that something was wrong. Weren’t there supposedly hundreds of these special kids? Why were there only five of them in Cold Oak? And why were their powers so varied? Jake has super strength and Lilly has the power to stop anyone’s heart with a touch. Why do they manifest so differently, and how will powers benefit the yellow-eyed demon in the apocalypse?

I HAVE A LOT OF QUESTIONS, AS YOU CAN TELL. This episode answers some of them, but I still feel like I don’t have a good grasp of what’s going on. As it stands, Sam’s the only person in this place who knows enough to piece together what’s happening, but even then, he’s not prepared either. He’s the first to figure out that the demons of Cold Oak won’t let them leave, but he’s woefully ignorant of the yellow-eyed demon’s reason for bringing them all to one spot. Of course, the people transported to this place aren’t exactly interesting in the answers as much as they are in escaping. So it was fascinating to me to watch Sam try to take command of these people in a way that acknowledged their fear while also urging them to move past it. He doesn’t lie to any of them about his theories as to why they’re all in Cold Oak, though he risks looking ridiculous. And I think that’s because Sam knows that he has to be honest to them right off the bat given the circumstances. That doesn’t mean he’s a perfect leader, even if he’s a good one. He doesn’t notice that Lilly has wandered off until it’s too late.

Oh, Lilly. I was so excited to have an on-screen confirmed gay character, and then WHOOPS. DEAD. Aw, come on! She just showed up! There’s so much there to explore. So, I admit to being a bit sensitive about representation like this, hence why I seem so quietly upset during the part of the episode where they find Lilly’s body. Like, we get a queer character for maybe ten minutes at most before they’re killed off. (Though I must also admit that I thought Jake would die first because… come on, I’m generally unprepared, but I’m pretty genre savvy for the horror genre, and the people of color in a film, particularly any black characters, are killed off first. BUT NOT THIS TIME. ilu aldis hodge I L U.) Not fair!

Anyway, Lilly’s death really is the arbiter of truly awful things to come. Namely that THIS ISN’T A WARM GET-TOGETHER OR A CHANCE FOR ALL THE “SPECIAL KIDS” TO GET TO KNOW ONE ANOTHER. Oh god, the yellow-eyed demon wants the best soldier. As in singular. As in THE ONE WHO KILLS EVERYONE ELSE WILL BE THE ONE TO SURVIVE. What??? Why? Why only one instead of like a thousand of them? I DON’T GET IT. But the yellow-eyed demon is clearly planning some next-level shit here because the asshole killed Jess just so that Sam would start hunting again. So does that mean the demon fridged Jess? (Just kidding, the writers did!) Oh my god, he’s also VERY UNSANITARY. Sir, do not put your blood in babies’ mouths. It is not healthy. Also, how does that exactly work? I’m not a big one for logistics, but did the consuming of the blood imbue these kids with magic powers? Demon powers? Will I ever get my questions answered?

Just… holy shit, I don’t get it! What possible reason would you have for limiting your field down to one person? What makes Sam special in this instance? As far as we know, all that’s left is Jake and Sam. Andy was killed by the demon that Ava summoned. (WE DO NEED TO TAKE A MOMENT TO TALK ABOUT WATCHING AVA’S MASK DROP WHEN SAM WAS QUESTIONING HER. Holy shit, Katharine Isabelle, that single moment was incredible.) Then Jake kills Ava in what initially seems like an attempt by Jake to protect Sam. But of course it makes sense that the yellow-eyed demon would contact each potential soldier and tell them the rules of this horrid game he’s set up, you know? He wants to pit them against one another, to see who’s the best for his… plan. Thingy. WHATEVER IT IS. I still don’t know! So it wasn’t all that shocking to see Jake turn against Sam in order to stay alive. Watching Sam’s shoulder get punched out of its socket? YEAH, THAT IS DEFINITELY NOT SOMETHING I THOUGHT I WOULD EVER SEE. GOD. THE SOUND OF THAT ALONE WASN’T OKAY. I mean, how is Sam going to take out a guy with super strength? Well, that’s sort of the point of this encounter. Honestly, Sam’s taken on some powerful spirits and beings plenty of times in the past two seasons, so it’s not beyond reason that he’d possess the skill to take on Jake. Which is both impressive and completely fucking horrifying, since that’s exactly why the demon sent Sam on the path that he did.

All of this leads to Jake disarming and seemingly knocking out Jake. SAM. CHECK THE BODY EVERY TIME. THAT IS LIKE HUNTING 101. But he’s upset, I get it. This whole thing is incredibly jarring. And once he heard Dean’s voice, Sam is like a big ol’ puppy of Winchester love. He goes straight for Dean, ignoring the fact that he never checked to see if Jake was actually out of it. And look, Jake stabbing Sam in the back? You could tell it was going to happen by the way the camera was framed. It was obvious! So the writers answer this by taking this moment and throwing all of us straight into a world of NOT OKAY FOREVER. I admit that I’m still in shock because I thought this episode would end on a cliffhanger where Sam would be injured and what would Dean do??? I was in no way prepared to watch Dean’s literal worst nightmare come true. I wasn’t ready TO WATCH SAM WINCHESTER DIE IN DEAN’S ARMS WHILE HE SCREAMED AND CRIED. I don’t doubt that something is going to rectify this, but that doesn’t take away from this moment. Nothing can. Nothing can erase it from my memory. Sweet baby Jesus, this is not okay at all.

The video commission for “All Hell Breaks Loose: Part One” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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