Dean and Crowley, Sam and Cas. Oh how things have changed from season five. Time was Dean always got stuck with the angels and Sam with the demons, mirroring their heavenly counterparts perfectly. So what does this new pairing mean? Probably that nine seasons' worth of choices are catching up with the Winchesters.
Let's look at Dean first. (No complaints from Doc!) He's hunting for Gadreel with Crowley, but is easily sidetracked when the King of Hell shares the story of the first blade (Crowley knows his audience). This legendary weapon is reportedly the only thing that can kill a Knight of Hell (aka Abbadon) but “no one” knows where the blade is. Except obviously they wouldn’t have brought that up if that were true. Time to crack open the Winchester Memorial Library (John’s journal –nostalgia drink!) and do a little digging into the past.
One trip to the storage locker later, it turns out that John knew (biblically) a very muscle-y lady by the name of Tara who has a locator spell for the blade. Crowley and Dean pay Tara a visit, words are bandied about how Dean is probably a disappointment to his father (uh huh, sure), and Tara confirms that she has the spell but not all the ingredients. The missing ingredient, essence of kraken, is easily procured by Crowley, who just has warehouses of the stuff in Belize. Oh Crowley, never change. The spell is cast, and of course the first blade is in… Missouri? Everyone seems to act like this is natural, but I can think of like two things that are in Missouri. Guess people probably feel the same way about Ohio though.
Crowley and Dean drive to Missouri, and I’m sure there are lots of deleted scenes with Crowley fanboying all over Dean, and find the little rundown house of horror where the blade resides. It’s owned by a rather distinguished-looking beekeeper, who terrifies Crowley on sight. That’s because the beekeeper is Cain, of Cain-and-Abel-first-murderer-doomed-to-walk-the-earth fame. Dean ain’t scared of him, because Dean is kind of an idiot sometimes, and questions Cain on the location of the blade. Here’s a list of the things that they learn:
- Cain trained the Knights of Hell
- Cain got out of the murdering game because he fell in love sometime during the Civil War (because nothing turns him on like brother-on-brother warfa… ohhhhh, I see where this story line is going)
- Said love was killed by Cain when she was possessed by Abbadon
- Dean is a brave, impulsive idiot (did we learn this? Did we not already know it?)
But here, here, is where it gets good. Dean and Crowley’s presence draws Abbadon’s minions to Cain’s farm, and the man of the house doesn’t feel like defending. Cain lets Dean take down all the demons while he sits back to shuck some corn and drink some beers, because he’s been in Missouri for a long, long time. After Dean emerges victorious, the writers decide it’s time to retcon the Bible. See, Cain didn’t kill his brother Abel in a fit of jealousy (as the book of Genesis would have us believe).
Abel wasn’t worshipping God, he was worshipping Lucifer.
Mark Pellegrino Satan was very close to possessing Abel’s body, and Cain offered his soul in place of Abel’s. Of course, he also had to kill his brother and bear a mark of shame for centuries – it is only with this mark (a sort of glyph on the forearm) that gives the first blade its power.
Dean is desperate to kill Abbadon and somehow (it’s unclear to me how this is going to happen) save Sammy from a fate worse than death. So, once more, a Winchester makes a deal with the devil, albeit less directly that usual. Cain gives Dean the mark and tells him where to find the first blade – at the bottom of the ocean (someone call James Cameron!)– but not before he makes Dean promise to come back and kill him. Just want to point out that now, instead of being juxtaposed with big brother Michael, Dean is a reflection of a protective older brother forced to make a terrible choice and pay an even more terrible price. Huh, don’t think that’s ever happened before. (-sarcasm-)
Meanwhile, Cas is healing Sam at the bunker. He’s having difficulty healing him completely, however, because Gadreel left some of his angelic grace within Sam’s body. It’s a typical side effect of angelic possession, because angels are notoriously untidy. So instead of demon blood, a la season four, Sam is now at the mercy of angel blood. Kind of? (I still think “angel jizz” is a more appropriate parallel. So much subtext. -Doc)
Sam finds some old Men of Letters treatises on uses for angelic grace, most importantly that if they have a bit of an angel’s grace it can be used to find that angel. Cas uses a very big syringe to extract the grace from Sam’s body, which has two unfortunate side effects: it returns Sam’s body to the condition it was before the fall (completely wrecked) and forces him to relive everything that happened while Gadreel was in control of his meatsuit. (Third, unmentioned side effect: homoerotic subtext.) The extraction almost kills Sam; if Cas pushes too hard (there it is!) he could destroy Sam. But never fear, Cas espies a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and recalls his humanity. You know, from the time he was human. He chooses not to drain Sammy of all his mojo (yup) and instead withdraws the needle and heals the last of the damage inflicted by the trials.
The spell to locate Gadreel doesn’t work, since there wasn’t enough grace in Sam and Cas didn’t go spelunking for more. Cas confesses that he understands Sam much better now, understands the whole guilt thing that he had after letting Lucifer out of the cage, and they share a very manly hug.
Sam and Dean are now parallels to two of the beings who caused the downfall of man: Gadreel, the angel who let Lucifer slip into the garden, and Cain, who introduced murder into the world. I don’t really know if Gadreel had good intentions or was just asleep at his post, but the new spin on Cain doesn’t really spell good things for Dean in the coming season.
Next week: Garth is a werewolf!