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'Supernatural' recap: 'Book of the Damned'

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Diyah Pera/The CW

Supernatural

type:
TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
tvpgr:
TV-14
seasons:
11
run date:
09/13/05
performer:
Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki
broadcaster:
The CW, WB
genre:
Scifi, Drama

As you may have noticed by the byline, I am not Samantha Highfill, but fear not, Supernatural fans. Your regular recapper will return to recount the adventures of Sam and Dean next week.

Of the many overarching mottos, creeds, and rules the Winchester brothers have lived by, one of the most frequently referenced is how inescapable the call of being a hunter is. Once you’re in the hunter game, you’re in it for life. It becomes who you are, even if that means near-constant mortal danger.

Sam and Dean were reminded of that fact during “Book of the Damned,” as the hunt to remove the Mark of Cain from Dean continues. The elder Winchester even fantasizes about escaping for a bit, taking a vacation from this life, but for now, he’s in the thick of it with his brother.

Thankfully, Charlie appears on the scene with a lead on freeing Dean of the Mark’s burden, while Cas and Metatron take a road trip to the land of Cas’ grace, wherever that may be.

Before tackling the angel problem, let’s focus on the Winchesters’ reunion with Charlie. Felicia Day returns with two mysterious men on her tail, but they have good reason—she has the Book of the Damned on her. While she takes one thug out, the more dangerous one with a Gambit-style accent and attitude survives as she escapes and makes contact with the Winchesters.

They direct her to one of Bobby’s cabins scattered throughout the country after she informs them the book may hold the key to removing the Mark. Sam and Dean meet her there with a lockbox to stop those mysterious men from hunting her by tracking the book’s energy.

Having bought themselves a little time, they investigate the book, which Charlie explains was created by a nun. She hid herself away and turned slices of her skin into pages and wrote on them with her blood (if you think library books smell bad, imagine what that thing must reek of). And whatever mojo she put into this book, it’s calling out to Dean. It wants him to use it, but he can tell that would only end badly.

To make things worse, the book is written in an obscure language, and even after translating it, Charlie and Sam realize it’s written in code. That nun sure had a lot of time on her hands, but luckily the Winchesters and Charlie do too. Eventually they crack the code while Dean does some digging on the men following Charlie.

They’re a part of the Stein family, and the one who almost killed Charlie earlier on is Jacob Stein. His family uses spells and evil magic like the Book of the Damned for their own profit, and Dean is worried about what will happen if they try to use it as well. Sam disagrees—he’d rather they use the book to find a cure for the Mark and worry about the consequences later.

He’s not willing to live the hunter lifestyle without his brother, he reveals later to Charlie. As much as he resisted it, expecting he’d return back to his “normal” way of life eventually, he’s fallen in love with being a hunter. But without Dean, he can’t lead this life, and he’s willing to do anything to keep his brother alive, consequences be damned (awful pun, I know).

Of course, this is an about-face for Sam, who was willing to die to close the gates of Hell and became pissed at Dean when his brother rescued him from eternal damnation. This change of heart angers Dean, who leaves for some fresh air. His travels lead him to a convenience store, where it just so happens Jacob Stein is the cashier. He’s found this new employment after killing the actual cashier, naturally, and Dean, noticing his signature tattoo and the, uh, dead body behind the counter, pulls a gun on Jacob.

Unfortunately for Dean, Jacob’s brought more backup with him after his last run-in with Charlie. His new lackey must have an amazing workout regime because Dean unloads a full clip on him before he falls. Jacob escapes, but his encounter with Dean has put him back on the trail of Charlie and the book.

NEXT: Can the Book of the Damned save Dean? Plus: Cas and Metatron’s road trip![pagebreak]

It’s only a matter of time before he finds them, so Dean heads back to prepare for a showdown. Dean tells Sam the only solution right now is to burn the book, even with the possibility of the cure. Sam has little time to argue as Jacob and his men come barreling through the windows and door.

Dean and Charlie guard the entryways while Sam burns the book, but Jacob makes his way through the bullets, the Book of the Damned almost in his grasp. Sam stabs him, forcing Jacob to watch as his goal slips away and turns to literal ash and dust.

All seems well here, so how’s the other hunt going?

Far from Heaven

Starring in their own wacky buddy comedy (only without the comedy or friendship), Cas and Metatron are searching for the former’s grace. Their time on the road is, of course, the perfect opportunity for Cas to have… well, whatever the equivalent of an existential crisis is for an angel.

Metatron goes on and on about the feeling that being human affords him—the taste of food, the emotions music elicits, even the feel of digestion (sorcery, he calls it). All throughout their journeys, including a fight with a cupid and a search in a library, he continues to harp on the idea of enjoying life. He brings this all up to lead Cas to one very important question: Who is Castiel?

Sure, Cas goes on about his brothers and sisters, but Metatron knows the angels aren’t family anymore. The mission from God is over, Hannah has Heaven in better shape than it’s been in a long while, and Cas has just been walking the earth finding rogue angels. But after he finds all of them, then what?

It’s a question Cas can’t quite answer, and that’s a problem for Metatron, who injures Cas with a spell in a library. There, he finds the demon tablet while Cas drags his injured body through the aisles until he finds his grace. One out of two isn’t too bad, and Metatron makes off before Cas can retaliate.

Restored to his former heavenly glory, Cas returns to the Men of Letters bunker where he meets Charlie for the first time. Both Felicia Day and Misha Collins play the introduction note-perfect, as one would hope from their characters. Charlie is delighted to meet a real life angel, treating him a bit like a celebrity and an immediate friend. A friend she’s willing to hit up for help, that is, as she asks him to fix her carpal tunnel (he throws in a free bullet wound healing, too). Cas is bewildered by Charlie’s energy and chipper attitude, but he’s certainly not opposed to having another face around to trust.

And trust is what it all comes down to in this line of work. As Dean, Sam, Charlie, and Cas chow down on some pizza to the tune of “Behind Blue Eyes,” Sam’s voiceover kicks in, explaining that he can’t fully place his faith in Dean so long as he has the Mark on him.

Sam, instead, will take whatever measures are necessary to save Dean. And that includes an episode-ending reveal that he didn’t burn the Book of the Damned, and that he is willing to make a deal with Rowena to unlock its secrets. She seems quite open to the possibility. For the right price, of course.

Extras

  • Both Cas and Sam turn off the music while in the car with their respective road buddies. For Cas, that means stopping Alanis Morissette from playing, and for Sam that means turning off a classic like Thin Lizzy’s The Boys Are Back in Town.”
  • Metatron expressing sheer delight at the human process of food going in one end and coming out the other will never stop being hilarious to me.
  • Dean references taking a vacation several times during the episode. And not just a night or two off the road. He means a real, long vacation, maybe even one on a beach. After so many years in this life, we know that Dean can never truly leave this world, though. At the end of it all, he probably knows that as well, as the last 10 seasons have made it plenty evident. But that doesn’t mean the man can’t dream.
  • Jacob Stein promises his family will keep hunting after Sam with the Book of the Damned still in play. Might we have more of season 10’s endgame in sight, or even some set-up for season 11?

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