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This week’s episode of Supernatural brings some very interesting mysteries to light and it’s doing so at the perfect time too. If the mysteries of what Sam is and what Samuel was doing went on much further, then those plotlines would have became exhausting. It is a bit surprising that the promo for this episode gave away such a big secret. However, the revelation that Sam is acting strangely because he has no soul is actually a very good twist. If it turned out it was a monster or demon looking like him, then that would have felt cheap. The ramification of this reveal does feel slightly ambiguous. That’s mainly due to nature of what a soul really is… or if it even exists.
Using Supernatural’s mythology, it seems as if Sam’s body is acting in autopilot while his soul is still in the cage. Therefore he is the Sam, but not completely himself. This also explains his improvement in being a hunter, since he is almost a machine with no fear, hesitation, or even a need for sleep. This leads the brothers and Castiel to Samuel, and after an “angel cavity search”, they know he has a soul. However, the mighty Castiel gets called away due to heaven’s civil war, which still feels like a somewhat random plotline. Sam still lying to Dean after the Campbells and he captured the alpha vampire was frustrating. If Sam, Dean, and Samuel could just sit in a room for five minutes and talk openly, then most the confusion would be taken away. Since Samuel won’t be so forthcoming, the brothers follow him back to where he’s keeping the alpha so they can talk to him.
The quick death of Christian was nice to see, since he’s been such a jerk to Dean. The constant disrespect that he receives from the Campbells is quite aggravating, especially since the younger ones should know how legendary the brothers are and how they’ve saved the world multiple times. It turned out that Christian had one of Crowley’s demons in him, which sadly means we’ll probably have to see him again... sigh. To add even more ambiguous spiritual/religious themes into the mix… it was revealed that grandpa is looking for purgatory itself. After an immediate “WTF reaction”, it seemed like this episode and season might be turning toward a somewhat ridiculous path. Luckily, Crowley appears and makes most of that doubt disappear. It turns out that Crowley brought back Samuel intact since he’s a more veteran hunter than the brothers, plus the family angle would tie them to him. Crowley also took Sam’s body out of the cage, but left his soul there for a bargaining chip, so the brothers would agree to catch alphas so he can reign over purgatory as well as hell. Okay… writing that doesn’t make this turn of events seem any less ridiculous, but coming from the spinster that Crowley is, he made it seem like this season just took a cool twist.
Even though Crowley is a blast to watch on screen, he doesn’t seem like a good main villain. I still get an anti-hero vibe from him and he doesn’t have the intimating presence that angels, high class demons, and alphas possess. That’s probably because he’s more of a conman than juggernaut, but it would be nice if they could make him seem completely evil, especially since we’re supposed to believe he’s the king of hell now. Ignoring what purgatory is on this show, since that could be anything, it doesn’t make a lot of sense for Crowley to use the brothers and the Campbells to hunt down the alphas. He should have armies of demons, and no offense to Sam and Dean, but Crowley is smarter than them. That’s the immediate problem with this plotline, why choose them? Really, other than saying “they’re the main characters” there’s no obvious reason why. Sure, they’re good hunters, but they don’t seem that great… they get knocked out almost every week.
Due to the pedigree of the show, I am willing to give the writers the benefit of the doubt that this new big plan will turnout out good. This episode alone was great, but the path it shows for this season could go either way. How exactly can the brothers take down these immensely powerful alphas? How long will it be interesting to see Sam as a shell? Is heaven’s civil war tangled into this new reveal at all? There are dozens of questions that are brought up, which is the beauty and sometimes tragedy to serialized dramas. It definitely seems like the writers have limitless imagination and that they’re boundless on where they’re willing to go. Since they were willing to show us heaven and give us hints of hell, I am enthusiastic about them possibly taking us to purgatory.