“Supernatural” Episode 10.23, “Brother’s Keeper.” Starring Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, Misha Collins, and Mark Shepphard; Written by Jeremy Carver; Directed by Phil Sgriccia.
I’ve said it a million times (OK, probably more like 20 but whatever): “Supernatural” knows how to do finales. This was a damn solid hour of television, packed with all the hits – humor, tears, surprises, sassy demons, treacherous witches, beloved characters, I could go on but that would be dumb. So let’s do a brief run-down of the episode, spoilers ahoy, and then get to the opinions.
The episode opened with the angelic cover of “Carry On Wayward Son” from the show’s 200th episode, but then blasted in with the traditional Kansas harbinger of heartache. Sam’s making some weird bullets, and Dean is hung over and generally yucky in a motel. Dean’s out of town to “help” Rudy, a fellow hunter, but really all he’s doing is dropping horrifying truth bombs and hogging all the tainted glory. Sam’s bullets are for Rowena, they're witch-piercers or something (awesome band name, by the way), and he tells Rowena she needs to make with the spell or suffer his DIY bullet. She translates and announces she needs a piece of The Forbidden Fruit, The Golden Calf, and to kill something she loves. Crowley gets to work on collecting the ingredients, while Sam jaunts off to find Dean before he does something horrifying.
Oops, too late. Dean sacrificed poor ol’ Rudy in a vamp nest. He then trashes his motel room, realizes how far gone he is, and summons a Horseman. Sam arrives on the scene only to learn that Death won’t remove the mark because then it’ll be all floaty or something and won’t contain The Darkness, but he can put Dean into some sort of alternate universe. The price? Sam’s death. Death knows that Sam won’t rest until he’s rescued his brother so he has to die. Death offers up the scythe, Dean pulls a giant misdirection just as Rowena’s spell connects and the mark evaporates from Dean’s arm. Back at the spell palace, Rowena absconds with the codex and Book and turns Crowley and Cas into murder puppets.
The Winchesters exit their location to see a weirdo lightning storm followed by what appears to be massive amounts of demon smoke blasting through the earth. And true to Death’s warning, we are introduced, presumably, to next season’s Big Bad.
What did I love?
- This, THIS is a scary, callous, threatening Dean. This is a Dean Winchester for whom I would feel both fear and worry. His scenes during the interrogation at the beginning of the episode were horrifying yet oddly satisfying, and that’s definitely a combo of emotions that should cause some concern. Brilliantly done.
- Cas summoned Crowley to a crossroads because he’s not in Cas’s contacts. Oh my God, Castiel, his number is 666.
- Mark Sheppard’s pensive squint gives me life. Seriously, I think I’m going to start emulating that when A – I’ve been asked to do something I don’t want to do, or B – when I see that dude at the laundromat who keeps asking me "um, do you even know what Tatooine is?"
- I knew, immediately, that Dean was summoning Death and got real excited because that character, as played by Julian Richings, is just… No words. I know, I’m a writer and I’m supposed to be reviewing this and know how to use my words but he is just so damn perfect. Flat, unflappable, wry, and terrifying. He’s so good!
- Crowley’s entrance into the diner was his best ever. Oskar turns to his fryer to the sounds of wet and heavy whumps, then turns to see Crowley surrounded by probably dead patrons. So cold and befitting of the King of Hell.
- Also Crowley said “a hamster told me” and that made me giggle. I don’t really know why.
Honestly? There wasn’t an awful lot that I didn’t like. Not about the episode on its own, anyway. Well, except for one thing.
- Congrats, you buttholes, you’ve now murdered my two favorite “Supernatural” characters in one season. Let’s take a moment to pay our respects, yeah?
To this day, I still believe this to be the greatest character introduction in the history of fiction in any medium.
No, my complaints regarding the episode are only about how the events relate to the season as a whole. Or to be more specific, how they could have.
The ease with which Sam and Cas deciphered the cryptic spell ingredients was somewhat laughable. And the ease with which Crowley located them, yea tho’ it provided some hilarious dialogue opportunities, was a little silly. Could not episodes have focused on Crowley and Cas being debaucherous when getting the Golden Calf? I would have loved to have met the Palestinian Warlock. All that Cole and Claire stuff? What was the point? I truly enjoyed this finale, and I am now again excited for season 11, but it just kind of reinforced my opinion of the season as a whole. There were definitely some high points, but in the end it just doesn’t reflect as being cohesive.
That being said – The Darkness, yo! Maybe a little derivative of Buffy’s The First, but who cares! What is it? Is Lucifer coming back? It would seem that next season will be a return to what I love most: Sam and Dean united under a common threat, saving the world and not just themselves. Toss in a little Rowena mischief (man, she really grew on me – I think it’s the accent), and some assists from Cas and a hopefully not dead Crowley and you’ve got me hopeful and excited for the series return in the fall.
And just for kicks, here’s the “Supernatural”/Taylor Swift mashup you never knew you needed, but I assure you – you do.