In the seventh episode of the fourth season of Supernatural, Sam and Dean track a witch hoping to bring Samhain out of Hell, breaking one of the sixty-six seals in the process. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Supernatural.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ME, SUPERNATURAL. STOP.
This episode gave me about fifteen minutes of humor and the promise of a slaughter where every mythological or supernatural creature rise upon Samhain rising from Hell. (I’m not much for correcting pronunciation or even caring about it that much, especially since I am the center of a vortex of people correcting me everyday. But I’m pretty sure it’s pronounced Sah-win, not Sam-hain.) I went into this thinking that this was going to be a much more violent version of that one episode of Buffy. Ghosts! Zombies! Demons! Werewolves! Vampires! Everything at once!
I did not expect this to be a rumination on God’s penchant for violence.
Once Uriel (HOLY SHIT IT’S ROBERT WISDOM) and Castiel arrive, Julie Siege’s script takes a dark, unnerving turn for Sam and Dean, AND I AM STILL UNCOMFORTABLE BECAUSE OF IT. Justâ€¦ HOW? HOW DID THE SHOW BECOME THIS?
Truthfully, what Supernatural‘s mythology has become should make me hate it, but I admit that the introduction of God, Heaven, and angels has only made this show better. It’s a lot more fascinating to me, and as I mentioned in the review for “Lazarus Rising,” I love that the world feels so much bigger to these characters and to the audience. I mean, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester” is a giant test of Sam’s faith, isn’t it?
Actually, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s back up to the beginning of the scene with Uriel and Castiel. As I said, the first third of this episode was neat, if unnecessarily graphic, because THERE IS NO WAY I EVER NEEDED TO SEE THAT REPRESENTED ON MY TELEVISION. But this is the first time Sam ever meets the angels; up to this point, Dean’s just told Sam about them. I was worried that Castiel wasn’t going to return Sam’s handshake or he’d likeâ€¦. start steaming or something. I DON’T KNOW, WHAT IF THEY HATE SAM? (I’ll touch on that later, too.) But it’s so much more complicated than that; for Sam, his excitement to meet actual Angel is quickly doused by their arrogant and forceful nature. Oh, AND THEY’VE BEEN ORDERED TO SMITE AN ENTIRE TOWN. THE WHOLE FUCKING THING. It’s all to stop the witch from raising Samhain, which is important. There’s no denying that! Keeping that seal unbroken is vital. But is it worth killing over twelve hundred innocent folks over?
I loved so much that Dean was the first to fight against the town being used as collateral damage, and there’s a part of me that thinks he would appreciate life more after his death. (Which brings up a strange issue: if this is the case, wouldn’t he more amenable to Sam’s powers since they generally save the human who is possessed? Bah, probably not.) But it made a lot of sense that the bigger non-believer of the two would be quick to disagree with two angels. Still, it’s not like Sam stood there nodding in agreement with the angels. He hated the idea, too, but I noticed he was lot more quiet than I expected. It’s not until they leave to track down Tracy that Sam admits he’s disappointed. And you know, I also thought about how difficult this whole thing must be for Sam. Sam has prayed to whatever God he’s believed in for years, but God ignores him, doesn’t stop him being infected with demon blood, and then sends angels to his brother, who doesn’t believe in God at all.
I think it’s important to acknowledge that because I’m getting the distinct sense that Sam Winchester feels more and more alone because of the things happening in his life. It’s hard enough to deal with the kind of disappointment he felt about the angels, but what about everything that comes after this? Dean watches Sam exorcise Samhain, and he does so with a look of utter heartbreak on his face. Imagine you just went through that, and then an angel tells you that your only value comes from the value God has in you. Look, I feel pretty damn awful for Sam because of this episode, and I don’t think Uriel is helping matters. He spoke to Sam at the end of this episode like he was a tool to be used and nothing more. That can’t feel good at all.
Then there’s Dean bearing witness to Sam’s powers and the immense physical toll it takes on his brother. Christ, what’s going to happen with that? Is Dean going to assume that Sam didn’t even try to kill Samhain with Ruby’s knife before using his powers? Does this mean Sam was always lying about having stopped using his demon powers? Can I never see that look of disappointment on Dean’s face ever again?Â
I think there’s a direct parallel between Sam and Dean here, and it’s due to both of them struggling to have faith in something or someone to believe it. If Sam was disappointed by Castiel and Uriel, then Dean was definitely disappointed by Sam, wasn’t he? OH. OH THE PARALLELS.
But you know what my favorite moment was? Castiel admitting to Dean that he had doubts. I was surprised that we even got that little scene between Uriel and Castiel midway through the episode, especially since I didn’t think we’d get much development of them beyond what we knew. They work best in the narrative when there’s an element of mystery to them. But then, with just a few lines, Castiel pulls back the curtain on himself, AND I INSTANTLY WANT TO KNOW MORE. I really do! His characterization so far has been (intentionally) a lone note. He’s detached and forceful, and it’s a big deal when he reveals a vulnerability, albeit a small one. Perhaps Castiel is beginning to trust Dean a little bit? I don’t know, I don’t want to read too much into this, but I think it’s a big deal that Castiel thinks he can confide in Dean in any capacity.
SO NOW WHAT? Oh my god, I have no idea where this story could go next. Which is exciting! But it’s mostly terrifying, let’s be real. Shit, I still can’t believe we’ve already met a second angel, y’all. ALREADY. This show is too much, I swear.
The video for “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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