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As soon as you think you have this show figured out it takes another turn. What seemed to be the season’s overall story arc has already crumbled into pieces. Sadly, this major turn came at the cost of the show’s best demon/monster character so far, Crowley. It seems as if weeks have passed between episodes and the brothers have regularly captured monsters to give to Crowley in his quest for purgatory. Meg comes into the story seeking revenge against the new king of hell. Apparently hell is somewhat having a civil war too. This actually makes Crowley’s actions more logical. If he can’t spare demons to hunt alphas because of Lucifer loyal demons, then using the brothers and their family is a smart move. However, this point should have been clearer and actually discussed on the show.
The problem of reusing dialogue rears its ugly head again. It’s fine for Dean to be hesitant about working with demons or if Sam really wants his soul back, but he doesn’t need to express that sentiment the exact same way every episode. I know Dean isn’t suppose to be the smartest person in the world, but no one talks like that. As Sam points out, they have no choice but to work with Crowley and now Meg. Of course, as the brothers and their team infiltrate Crowley’s lair they’re caught, which is another repetitive problem for the show. Why exactly do demons and monsters always knock the brothers out and tie them up? Why not just immediately kill them? Obviously, I don’t want the brothers to die, but this happening so much is reminiscent of James Bond villains always capturing him and spilling their plan then him escaping and ruining said plan.
Those complaints aside, this episode was very well done and it’s a game changer. With Crowley now dead, the storyline about the brothers working for him in order to get Sam’s soul back is over. That is surprising, since it seems like that storyline and possibly reaching purgatory could have lasted all season. Now there’s a major void to fill, fiction and narrative wise. With the newly appointed king of hell now dead, there has to be a power vacuum to fill his place, which might make Meg an even more important character, which is a mixed bag.
I like how Meg is written, but the actress doesn’t seem to have the looks or swagger to pull off the character. Not to say she’s ugly, but she looks more like a mixture of a girl-next-door and a tomboy, than sultry seductress. In addition, she seems more like a right-hand henchman than big bad boss. Narrative wise, it’s unclear if the rest of season will focus on Sam’s struggle of wanting and searching for his soul or if heaven’s civil war will become a major factor. So far, their civil war just seems like an excuse for Castiel not to help the brothers all the time.
Speaking of Castiel, he was great in this episode. Between him being a comic relief to the guy who saved the day, he was firing on all cylinders. Sadly, it always feels like he’s own borrowed time; he’s such a powerhouse he can’t be with the brothers too often, since that would make things too easy. Even if the civil war subplot so far has been a plot device to keep him away from the brothers, that is better than him dying… again. It would be nice if the brothers treated him with a bit more respect. Sam went so far as to threaten to kill him, which is an example of how Sam also got to shine in this episode. He’s becoming very badass and clever without his soul, I still don’t want him to go the entire season without his soul, but he can definitely remain interesting for awhile as he is now.
I’m also glad the state of Sam’s soul is being brought into question. From the moment the soul retrieval plotline started, I was wondering if this would be brought up. If Dean was with a high level demon for a few months and came back supremely screwed up, then Sam in a prison with Lucifer and Michael for over a year must be ravaged beyond words. However, there isn’t much of a choice for Dean and company. If they don’t do anything Sam will always be a shell and more importantly his soul will be tortured in that prison for eternity. With the apparent season arc ended and Sam being fine with not having a soul now, the direction of the show is once again up in the air, which is both a dangerous and interesting place to be.