Supernatural recap: The Soul Truth
The Winchester brothers are accustomed to making difficult decisions, especially those of the life and death variety — and you’d think those were the hardest kind. But when Castiel told Dean this week that getting Sam his soul back could result in the younger brother being paralyzed or clinically insane, my blood went cold. This grey area the boys currently find themselves in somehow makes choosing life or death seem…easier.
Throughout the first half of the season, we’d delved so deep into what it means to have — or not have — a soul, it had never crossed my mind what it might mean to have a damaged soul. It was a realization that knocked me on my butt this week and one of a few such moments in this gem of an episode. (Possibly my favorite drama-heavy episode this season.) So let’s start from the beginning.
We opened with Crowley torturing, um, Crowley for more information about Purgatory. (Raise your hand and cheer twice if you were among those well-studied enough in Supernatural lore to recognize the figure as a shapeshifter mere moments after we saw two Crowleys on screen! Woohoo for us!) When prompting didn’t work, Crowley pulled out a magic knife and threatened to carve the info out of the handsome creature — and as a bonus, kill a bunch of shifter babies. But like a prom date with integrity, the shifter didn’t give it up. So Crowley chopped its (or his?) head off.
Outside, the brothers rolled up in the Impala to hand over a Rugaru alpha they’d just finished trapping for Crowley, and got into it with a one of Crowley’s demonic douches over the fact that Crowley hadn’t been holding up his end of the deal. Back at their hideaway of the week, Dean had a fit because he was tired of being Crowley’s demon delivery boy and walking away used and abused. Sam knew this to be true but reasoned with Dean, telling them they really didn’t have a choice. But a choice was literally around the corner in the form of demon bitch blast from the past, Meg (returning guest star Rachel Miner).
After having her goons knock the boys unconscious and tie them up, Meg tried to get them to spill about Crowley’s location. Before she got too far in her attempt to draw info from the boys using awkward come-ons and the same lame attempt at a sexy/badass chick voice she had last time she was on the show, Robo-Sam noticed something was off. “If she could kill you, she would have done it already,” Sam said to Dean. It was revealed that she was a Lucifer loyalist on the run from Crowley, and she needed the brothers’ help in finding/killing Crowley. So Sam proposed a partnership: They’d help her if she gave them time with Crowley before “hacking him to bits.” Deal and done.
Well, not completely done. Dean was pretty pissed. This was the girl responsible for Ellen and Jo’s deaths. The demon who’d made it her mission to screw them over in every possible way over a large part of two seasons (in the days before they learned what a real nemesis was, of course). Sam told Dean not to worry because they were going to backstab her before she could do it to them — and they were going to bring holy backup.
NEXT: A big step for the angelic virgin.
The next scene was rather sad to watch unfold because, much like Dean, I’d always seen the brothers and Castiel as good friends and loved their relationship with each other. Soulless Sam obviously doesn’t see it the same way. He made Cas appear by lying about finding a holy relic, and once he got him to appear, he bullied Cas into helping them. “If you don’t help us, I will hunt you down and kill you,” Sam said, “…and I don’t sleep.” At first, Cas seemed angry for being threatened. But then something changed in his eyes. It looked like he almost pitied Sam. Considering the angel’s immense power, I doubt he stayed because he was afraid of Sam. (Although, that’s possible, too, at least in part.) But Castiel could have ganked Sam on the spot — turned Sam’s bones into ash or something equally horrific. Instead, he looked at Sam with such deep-seeded sympathy that I couldn’t help but fall in love with Cas just a little more.
Meanwhile, our hate for Grandpa Campbell/Samuel grew sizably this week — and that’s saying a lot considering it was at an all-time high after the vampire alpha episode. We learned that his motive for helping Crowley was (as guessed by some of you) indeed Mary. Crowley had promised to bring her back in exchange for his service.
Dean warned his grandpa not to continue this quest — to stop trying to change what’s done. He and Sam had tested fate before in many ways and lost substantially in the process, he told his grandfather. He begged him to learn from their mistakes, but the elder man wouldn’t listen. (On a side note, I loved Sam’s expression in this scene — it was a strange mix of understanding and apathy. Very consistent with his character’s soullessness.)
In true Supernatural form, the emotionally charged scene was followed up with Castiel’s first experience watching porn. (If the goal was to lighten the mood, mission accomplished.) “If the pizza man truly loves this babysitter, why does he keep slapping her rear? Perhaps she’s done something wrong,” Castiel pondered, brow furrowed on concentration.
Oh. Oh, my.
As the awkward turtle gave birth to little babies named Total Discomfort and Help Us All, Dean educated Cas in etiquette. “You don’t watch porn in a room full of dudes… Just turn it off,” he said. Castiel looked down. Erm, too late. And if there was ever a bad time for grandpa to walk in…. Samuel dropped by and announced that he had changed his mind and wanted to help.
While prepping to break into “Monster Gitmo,” Castiel took advantage of his moment alone with Dean to air a major concern: He didn’t think they should get Sam’s soul back. After a year in the cage with Lucifer and Michael, Cas didn’t think Sam could ever be the same again. In fact, he said, they were talking paralysis, insanity, and “psychic pain so profound that he’s locked inside himself for the rest of his life.”
It was as if the words reached into Dean and broke his heart. And, watching his reaction, so did mine. It was silent and subtle. From the tiny quiver in his voice when he asked Cas if there was any hope that Sam “could be fine” to that doe-eyed, hopeful gaze that he gets in the face of adversity. (Look, we get it back, and if there are…complications, we’ll deal with those, too.”) It was all too much. I hadn’t expected this episode to be a tearjerker at all, so when a lump formed in my throat, I was caught off guard.
As Dean turned to walk away from the conversation, we spotted Sam in the doorway, listening in.
NEXT: A familiar face returns…and quickly goes away again.
They took off for Crowley’s monster prison. And call me nuts, sick, or twisted (or all three), but I enjoyed the monsters-as-prisoners thing. It reminded me a little bit of The Initiative from season 4 of Buffy; of course, that was more clinical and this was more POW. Nonetheless, it was dark and twisty and awesome. I especially liked the girl we got a brief glimpse of in the prison, who (correct me if I’m wrong) I believe was meant to be the daughter of the djinn alpha. Not only was the djinn one of my favorite monsters ever, but I loved this small introduction to what I hope becomes a bigger role in the second half of the season. Remember how we all got great feelings about Cas in those 2 minutes he was on screen during the season 4 premiere? I got a slightly similar feeling about this girl, oddly. Am I alone in that?
As everyone (brothers, Cas, Meg, and a pair of goons) made their way deeper into the prison, they ran into their first man’s best fiend: Hellhounds, who had themselves a demon feast. Bye, goons.
The rest guarded themselves behind a conveniently placed pair of double doors, and Meg offered to stay behind and fight them off as the brothers went to search for Crowley. Fearing she might not come out of the fight alive, Meg grabbed Castiel and gave him a deep kiss (and possibly an under-the-trench grope of some sort — lucky bitch). Cas, newly educated by pornography, responded to the gesture by slamming her into the wall and kissing her again. Dean looked confused. Sam looked troubled. And we looked on, completely enthralled. (I am not exaggerating here: My DVR literally skipped a beat at this moment, as if cheering on the fact that Cas was finally getting some action.)
Too bad Cas didn’t get to stand in his glory very long since Samuel was waiting at the bottom of a staircase waiting with a ticket home for Castiel. Stunned, the boys quickly realized he had set them up.
While the boys were placed in prisons, Meg finished off the hellhounds, only to get captured by Christian Campbell, who we last saw getting the 360-degree neck massage. He proceeded to torture her for information about the brothers’ plan, which (surprisingly) she didn’t give up. I guess there’s something about being strapped to a table naked that brings out the best in people. But my real theory is that her powers of bitchery came from all that black leather she wore.
Elsewhere, Samuel came to the boys’ cells to explain himself, but instead of forgiveness, he got a promise from Dean. “I’ll make it out of here, trust me, and the next time you see me, I’ll be there to kill you.” I can’t wait to see gramps get what’s coming to him. Won’t happen a moment too soon.
As Dean was hauled away to go, um, meet some demons for lunch, Sam started eating himself. Kidding. Sort of. He took a chomp out of his wrist to paint a demon trap on the ceiling of his cell. (Reason No. 143 why it’s great to be a gigantor of a man.) When Crowley’s crew walked into his cell to take him away, they stepped right into the middle of the trap, and Sam made his get away just in time to save Dean from ironically living up to his label and becoming a tasty dish. The brothers then went and helped save Meg from demon Christian. (RIP…again.)
NEXT: This week’s best lines!
At their showdown with Crowley, the trio got him to admit that he, in fact, did not have the ability to save Sam’s soul. Cas responded to this new information by burning Crowley’s bones. (Yes, peeps, this looks like the end this time, and I’m actually really sad about that.)
In the end, Meg fled the scene before she could meet the end of the boys’ now-returned knife, and Cas told to Sam and Dean that all was not well for him in heaven, saying that most of the time he wishes he was on earth with them instead. (Awwww.) As he took off to deal with the prison full of monsters — again, that’s way too vague for me to believe we haven’t seen the last of some of them — Dean promised Sam they’d find another way to get his soul back. Sam, who admitted to Dean that he’d heard Dean and Cas’ conversation about his battered soul, had a better idea: “I don’t think I want it back.”
We always knew that Dean had blind faith in Sam’s ability to overcome the greatest of challenges , but is he wrong this time? Is this a gamble he shouldn’t take? More importantly, is it his decision to weigh in on? After all, it would be Sam suffering the consequences. Sam who wouldn’t be Sam anymore. Dean has never made a secret of his selfish tendencies (Remember when he told Sam that he was glad he traded his life for Sam’s, even if it meant heartbreak for his younger brother?) but, as much as I hate to say it, I think this would be asking too much of Sam. Nonetheless, it’s going to break my heart seeing them wrestle over this issue in the episodes to come because, if you think about it, it’s a very real life question.
Sigh. Yeah, all that from an episode I thought was going to be a Meg-fest filler episode. Wrong, Sandra. Wrong. (And I’ve never been more happy about being wrong.)
Well, readers, SO much to talk about. Let’s start with the basics: What did you think of this episode? Did you like Meg’s return? (I still prefer Nicki Aycox to Miner.) Do you think we’ve seen the last of the caged monsters? What the heck is going on in heaven? Has soulless Sam officially grown on you after that hardcore-yet-oddly-heartfelt Dean rescue mission? (My theory? Sam is on the path toward rebuild his soul from scratch.) And did the prospect of damaged Sam break your heart, too?
Less importantly: When is poor Cas going to lose his virginity? Could you go another 6 seasons without seeing gross, bloody-mouthed Sam again? (Yes.) And who do you think the porn video belonged to? Busty Asian Beauties fanatic Dean or hooker-buying Sam?
“What should we use next? Speculum? Something more exotic?” — Crowley
“The only thing that’s really changed is now I need a daily rape shower.” — Dean
“You actually showed. Wow, Sam, I owe you a chicken dinner.” — Dean
“I’m not supposed to talk about it.” — Cas, re: porn
“You took this from us, and I’m taking it back.” — Sam to Meg
“Seacrest out. [Nothing]” — Meg, trying to escape her meatsuit…to no avail
“I learned that from the pizza man.” — Castiel
“Best purchase I’ve made since Dick Cheney.” — Crowley
Dean: I’m standing in pee.
Sam: Consider yourself lucky.
“All right, all right, Shawshank is a great flick, but let’s skip the shower scene.” — Dean
Dean: I was going to kill her, too. Of course, I would have given you an hour with her first.
Cas: Why would I want that?
On Twitter: @EWSandraG
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Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki star as the Winchester brothers, hellbent on battling the paranormal forces of evil.