Misha Collin, Mark A. Sheppard, Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki in SUPERNATURAL - Season 10 | ©2014 The CW

Misha Collin, Mark A. Sheppard, Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki in SUPERNATURAL - Season 10 | ©2014 The CW

Stars: Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Misha Collins, Mark A. Sheppard, Erica Carroll, Travis Aaron Wade, Emily Fonda, Jud Taylor
Writer:
Jeremy Carver, series created by Eric Kripke
Director:
Robert Singer
Network:
The CW, Tuesdays @ 9 PM
Original Airdate:
October 7, 2014

When last we saw our hero Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles), he had been killed. This being SUPERNATURAL, he was brought back as a demon by his Mark-of-Cain connection to the First Blade. We also learned that King of Hell Crowley (Mark A. Sheppard, elevated to regular status this season) had largely engineered this scenario.

In SUPERNATURAL’s Season 10 opener “Black,” our other hero Sam Winchester (Jared Padalecki) is pulling out all the stops and vicious moves trying to find Dean. Even a note on his pillow saying “Sammy, let me go” doesn’t deter him.

Sam goes to angel Castiel (Misha Collins) for help, but Castiel is so sick from using stolen angelic grace that Sam decides to let Cass rest. Castiel, however, is visited by fellow angel Hannah (Erica Carroll), who wants his help in finding and punishing two angels who killed another of their kind when he tried to bring them back to Heaven.

The angel part plays out just about exactly as we’d expect – it turns out that the two rebel angels just want to be left alone on Earth. Castiel tries to stop everyone from using violence, but Hannah threatens the female angel with a blade, the male angel tries to stab Hannah and Castiel winds up stabbing him to save Hannah. It’s a sad cycle, to be sure, but it’s also familiar. Hannah urges Castiel to get some more grace, but Castiel doesn’t want to kill another angel to save himself.

Meanwhile, Dean and Crowley have been holed up at a truck stop. Sam sees police footage of Dean fighting and killing another demon (the police think the demon is a regular serial killer) at a gas station convenience store. Sam gets hold of the dead demon’s phone and finds that the demon had been sent by Crowley.

Crowley fesses up to Dean – he’s been sending Abaddon’s old acolytes after Dean to keep Dean sharp (and presumably to get rid of more remaining foes). Crowley wants to get their show on the road, but Dean has no interest in Crowley’s agenda. He takes off on his own.

Cole (Travis Aaron Wade), a family man who’s ex-military and may be either demon or Hunter, comes after Dean. To do this, he kidnaps Sam, but Dean, speaking to Cole by phone, says he’s not coming to the rescue, though he will eventually kill Cole.

And there we leave it. Is Dean really going to leave Sam to his fate? Why did Crowley assume that, with no leverage, Dean would naturally gravitate to him? Why has Dean been sitting around all this time, gacking the occasional demon and punching out the occasional jerk, but otherwise pretty much being himself? Why didn’t Cass realize what was going on the moment Hannah explained it?

Let’s take these one at a time. We can guess that Sam will, one way or another, not get killed by Cole. (Two demon/un-living Winchesters at once may be a bit much, even for SUPERNATURAL.) So either Dean is pulling a bluff, Dean gets sucked in to confrontation with Cole for some other reason, or Dean totally doesn’t show up and feels horribly guilty later. Bluff seems like the best bet, but we’ll see.

Poor Crowley. He’s got a man-crush, or maybe just a regular crush, on Dean, and has been egomaniacal enough to assume that it’s reciprocated. That, or else the erstwhile brilliant King of Hell has suddenly become very dim. Human Dean had a major agenda, but demon Dean (or, as the ads would have it, the Deanmon) has no big quest and no need to align himself with anyone. We’ve seen that demons are not automatically answerable to whoever is in charge, and Crowley knows it, so why he imagined Dean would follow him is a mystery. Why Crowley didn’t try to drag Dean out of the roadhouse much sooner is also a mystery, unless it’s taken this long to get rid of most of Abaddon’s followers and/or – to repeat – poor Crowley is so lonely and besotted that he wanted to avoid the confrontation that finally occurred. Sheppard is terrific as always and makes the most of the best lines in the episode, so it’s not like watching this is making us suffer, but it does make us curious.

One would have supposed that the Mark of Cain would make Dean a whole lot more aggressive. Yes, he has been sating his bloodlust with the demons Crowley has sent after him, but we were braced all last season for something much worse. On the other hand, Cain himself seemed to been okay leading a fairly placid life, but then again, he didn’t have the First Blade with him to rile up the mark. Deanmon actually seems more relaxed now than he did while human. Maybe being a demon helps cope with the blade.

As to Castiel not realizing that he was dealing with a pair of angels who just wanted to be left alone and resisted being taken to Heaven by force, it’s hard to blame the angel for it. We’re in Season 10, and as soon as Hannah described the situation, much of the audience grasped it. That’s just writerly repetition occurring. What’s most annoying about the situation is that Cass never questions who is giving the orders or why whoever this is should have the authority to dictate the deaths of angels, when this was at the heart of the problem they were trying to solve last year. Maybe Cass is so sick from his failing grace that he’s not thinking clearly, or maybe the question is being saved until it can be answered in dramatic fashion, but this whole part of the episode feels like we’ve been through several versions of this before.

Overall, we want to see how Sam will get out of his current dire straits and what Dean will do, so we’re off to a decent start – replacing “Carry On, Wayward Son” with Pat Benatar’s “Heartbreaker” for the season’s opening montage is a debatable choice, but a bold one – but one wishes the questions were a little less, “Why did that happen?” and a little more “What will happen next?”

Related: Interview with SUPERNATURAL star Jensen Ackles on Season 10

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