Supernatural “Book of the Damned” Review (Season 10, Episode 18)

Keeping secrets is a tricky and dangerous business. It doesn’t matter how noble a person’s intentions or how valid their reasons. Nothing good ever comes from keeping secrets. With secrets comes lies, and with lies comes betrayal. Secrets cause nothing but pain, and the one who gets hurt the most is usually the person the secret-keeper was trying to protect. This is a road the Winchester brothers have traveled many times on Supernatural, but sadly it appears they still haven’t learned their lesson.

Dean has been fighting valiantly against the Mark, but he’s still losing ground and he knows it. He doesn’t want to lose himself again, but he also doesn’t want to unleash the horrible power he knows is contained in the Book of the Damned. This is really a no win situation for him. If they somehow figure out how to decode the book and cure Dean, they don’t know what the cost will be. Dean is not willing to take that chance. Sam, however, has decided to do it anyway. Last season, one of the reasons Sam was so angry at Dean was because Dean refused to allow Sam to make his own choices. Dean tricked Sam, lied to him, and made a deal with someone he couldn’t trust in order to save Sam despite knowing Sam had made peace with his fate. When the truth came out, Sam was (justifiably) furious about it. How is what Sam doing now any different? He tricked Dean about burning the Book; he’s lying; and he’s making a deal with someone he cannot trust. All of the moves Sam is making are the same ones Dean made, and it’s for the same reason. He doesn’t want to live without his brother. What’s most frustrating about that is it shows a lack of growth. This is not the first time either of the Boys has made a deal with the devil, but they both know how that ends. I’m not saying that they should give up on each other, but at the same time, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing in the same way over and over again but expecting different results. This is a deal just like Mary made for John; John made for Dean; and Dean made for Sam.

Whatever else may be going on with Sam, it’s readily apparent that he’s reaching the end of his rope. We’ve already seen some of the lengths he went to in order to get Dean back when he was a demon. We’ve also seen his single-minded focus on finding a way to remove the MoC. He was worried about it in the beginning, but he truly believed that they could find a cure somewhere. Now, he’s starting to doubt there’s any way other than the Book of the Damned and he’s desperate. He can see the toll the Mark is taking on Dean, and he is desperate to save his brother. Desperation can cause a person to make some very bad decisions which is what Sam has done with Rowena. It’s not the first time the Winchesters have worked with an adversary, but it never works out well for them when they do. They always get screwed in the end, and Rowena will not be an exception. Rowena is selfish, power-hungry and dangerous. She will not keep her side of whatever bargain Sam strikes with her. She will lie and manipulate circumstances to her advantage, and Sam will not see it until it’s too late because he’s so desperate.

Just as an aside, I have to wonder whether any part of Sam’s determination to save Dean is due to him feeling guilty. I have no doubt that 99.99% of Sam’s motivation is love for his brother. But when Dean brought up what Sam said last season, it looked like it really stung. Part of the reason Dean went off with Crowley and got the MoC is that at the time he felt like he didn’t have anything left to lose. It didn’t help that Sam also essentially severed their brotherly relationship even after they started working together again. I’m not negating Dean’s responsibility in making the decision to take the Mark because he did make that choice for himself. I’m also not blaming Sam because he had every right to be furious with Dean. But sometimes when we’re hurting and angry, we say things that we know will hurt the one who hurt us. And that’s what Sam did. Then Dean (in true Dean fashion) took Sam’s words to heart and nailed them there. Sam admitted he lied before Dean died last season, but Dean never dealt with it and thus hasn’t moved past it. I have wonder whether Sam is only just now realizing just how deeply he cut Dean when he said that and whether a teeny, tiny part of this is Sam trying to show Dean how much he didn’t really mean what he said.

Charlie is a character I’ve grown to love a great deal. She’s also a character that has gone through a tremendous amount of growth and change during her tenure on the show. What they are doing with Charlie now is what I wanted them to do with Jo way back when. I always thought it would’ve been interesting to watch Jo’s evolution from a girl on the periphery of hunting to a full-blown hunter. I wanted to see how she would handle the life and what kind of toll it would take on her. We didn’t really get to see that because after season two, she didn’t really show up again until season five, and then she didn’t stick around long enough to really get a sense for how the life changed her. Enter Charlie Bradbury. Something Charlie and Jo had in common is they both initially had an overly romanticized view of hunting. Intellectually they both knew the dangers associated with hunting, but it wasn’t something they truly understood down to their bones. It goes back to something Dean said to Charlie in ‘Pac-Man Fever.’ There is a difference between reading about hunting and actually hunting. Charlie understands that difference now. We’ve seen her evolution from oblivious civilian to badass hunter and the toll that’s taken on her. Every time we’ve seen her, we’ve seen a little bit more of the rosiness for hunting taken away from her. Now, she can see hunting for what it really is. It’s not a game. It’s not a merry quest. It’s an always dangerous and oftentimes soul-crushing profession. That’s not to say that Charlie has lost the light that seems to shine from inside her. She hasn’t. But that light has been tempered by her experiences hunting with the Boys and everything that happened to her in Oz. Even though she didn’t say it, I think she understands now why the Boys (Dean especially) wanted to keep her away from hunting. I wasn’t familiar with a lot of Felicia Day’s work before Supernatural, but I have truly enjoyed what she’s brought to Charlie. She continues to add depth and nuance to her performance, and she seems to get better with each appearance.

I wasn’t overly impressed with the Cas/Metatron aspect of this episode. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the chemistry between Misha Collins and Curtis Armstrong. I did. My problem is that for something as major as Cas getting his grace back, it felt awfully rushed. I’m glad that particular storyline is wrapped up, but it deserved a little more attention than it got. Although, something that did come out of that roadtrip was Metatron confronting Cas with a question he seems to have been avoiding. What to do next? Just like Charlie, Cas has gone through a lot of changes over the last few seasons. Not all of them good. He’s spent most of this season trying to atone for the sins he believes he committed and trying to help save Dean. Now that he’s got his grace back, what does he intend to do? Order has been restored in Heaven, so does he intend to continue hunting on Earth? Or will he return to heaven and do whatever it is angels do in heaven? Cas either hasn’t had the time or the inclination to contemplate his future, but he really needs to. However, now that Metatron has taken the demon tablet, it’s probably given Cas at least one more mission to complete before he moves on to whatever is next for him.

There is more I could say about this episode, but this review is already ridiculously long so I’ll stop. It looks like the show might be trying to set up the Stein family as contenders for big baddies next year. I’d have to know more about them, but that could be interesting. I don’t know what Metatron is planning to do with the demon tablet, but whatever is I can guarantee is going to be awful. Sam’s deal with Rowena is going to end badly because deals always end badly. Plus, Rowena wants to get back all of the spell books and so forth that the MoL took from the grand coven. There’s just no way this ends well. On a shallow note, can we all just take a minute to appreciate Dean in a hoodie? So what did y’all think of this week’s Supernatural?