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Appointment in Samarra will definitely go down as one of the most epic episodes of the series. Right off the bat, we have Dean going into a shady doctor office to get a “procedure” done. It turns out that Freddy Kruger (guest star Robert Englund) is temporarily killing Dean so he can speak with Death. It’s refreshing to be thrown into the middle of a plan rather than seeing it form and then happening, since that added a layer of suspense to the show’s cold opening. Death being back on the show is great. He effortlessly oozes power, which is one of the few things that Crowley lacked. Crowley seemed like a conman, while Death is a natural and invincible entity. Although Death isn’t really a villain, he is more of an obstacle, since he’ll only save Sam or Adam and he wants Dean to wear his ring for a day in order for that deed to be done.
It was nice to hear that Dean hasn’t completely forgotten about his half-brother, Adam. I’m pretty sure that’s the first time he’s been mentioned this season when it comes to being rescued. It has been a bit unclear if it was just Adam’s body stuck in the cage or his soul too. Judging from Dean’s conversation with Death, it seems as if both his body and soul are imprisoned, which definitely makes Adam one of the most unlucky characters in Supernatural history. He went from a normal life to being eaten by ghouls then possessed by an angel to spend an eternity in a cage with Satan. Dean obviously has no choice and his loyalty should be more so with Sam, so he chooses him.
When first hearing about the plotline for this episode, Dean being another supernatural creature seemed a bit repetitive, since he’s been a lot of things already, but since this was crafted in a betting/gambling way, rather than an accidental transformation, so Dean being Death is handled in a unique way. He still acts like himself, which includes being a smartass to a being that might be as powerful as god and messing with the natural order of people dying. Sometimes Dean can be too stubborn, most of the time he seems stubborn in an honorable way, but in a few circumstances, he can be whiney. However, Dean’s personality was handled correctly here. Not killing the little girl at first seems like the right thing to do, but once you see the consequences of not doing that, then it’s clear she needs to die, which is a sad thing to see, since she cares more about her dad than herself.
It is surprising how a show that seems superficial on the outside can be so deep; it is on the CW, the main characters look like models, the show loves licensed rock music, and there’s about a dozen other possibly cheesy things. However, Supernatural has brought up some very existential questions this season, the first being what is a soul and what does it do. After this episode, I couldn’t help but wonder who chooses the natural order in their world; god, the universe, Death himself, or something else. Unfortunately, Dean’s experience as Death doesn’t last the entire episode. Seeing how death worked and having Tessa as his coach was very entertaining to watch. It is weird how passive the people who died were, it seems like they went out with a whimper instead of a bang. Perhaps it’s because the actress is so attractive, but Tessa and Dean do seem have chemistry there. I’m assuming her attractiveness is what also allows her to say so little when escorting recently dead people. I find it hard to believe that just saying sorry or you’re dead is enough to get people to willingly go to the afterlife, especially hell.
The other storyline going on this week dealt with Bobby babysitting Sam. He barely agrees with Dean’s plan of getting Death to put his soul back with a flimsy mental wall, so Bobby is charged with keeping an eye on him. Before Sam turns into Jack Nicholson in The Shining, I would have said Sam has the right to decide on whether or not he gets his soul back. After all, demons, Death, and multiple angels have said that getting his tormented soul back will probably be a disaster, so Sam does have reason to be fearful. Seeing him go to such an extreme as to kill his pseudo father, Bobby, incontrovertibly demonstrates that Sam can’t function or be trusted without a soul. Even though Dean failed Death’s bet, he still gets Sam’s soul back.
It appears that Death’s gamble was to show Dean how much he and his family have interrupted the natural balance. The speed at which Death gets Sam’s soul makes him seem even more badass. Something every other creature said was impossible took Death about 10 seconds. The only downside to this episode was the cliffhanger ending. The episode ends with Death inserting Sam’s soul back into him and the screening going black. This wouldn’t be too bad if there was an episode next week, but we have to wait over a month due to the holiday break. We also get a hint at a new subplot or perhaps a twist in heaven’s civil war, since Death tells Dean that he wants the brothers investigating something that will probably turnout to help him. Between seeing behind the curtain of life with Dean and the interesting mini chess-match between Sam and Bobby, this is definitely one of Supernatural’s best episodes.