I didn’t think I was going to. But I did, I survived episode 3 of Supernatural.
Soul Survivor, directed by Jensen Ackles himself, was one of the best episodes of this series in a long time. Now it’s difficult for me to say that because as a fan I recognize how much of this season relies on its seasoned audience. So I’ll amend that – for people who’ve been watching since the beginning, this was one of the best episodes in a long time. (and even then I hesitate with that because the build up to this episode has been utterly fantastic)
This episode was ultimately, Sam healing Dean(spoilers, sorry). Dean and Sam are holed up in the bunker, the former tied up in the dungeon. Demon Dean does everything he can to get Sam to stop the healing ritual. (if you didn’t see that coming go back and watch the season 8 finale) When his terrifying lies don’t work he escapes and goes after him with a hammer. (there was quite a bit of #hammertime during the live tweeting) Throughout the ordeal Sam never gives up, despite having to face the fact that Dean may die in the process.
Cas and Hannah are on the way to the bunker and Cas makes his priorities quite clear. (TO THE BATCAVE) He realizes that Sam will need all the help he can get with Dean, especially if the ritual doesn’t go as planned. Of course they can’t get there in one piece, as they’re attacked by one of the rogue angels they were looking for earlier. The attack was short-lived when Crowley came to save the day, killing Adina and giving her grace to Castiel. (what was that about you not being sentimental Crowley? hmm??) Cas gets to the bunker just in time to save Sam and to assist as they continue to save Dean.
I loved Cas’ reactions in this episode. He acted completely differently to Hannah then he did Sam; (granted that probably had something to do with the new grace he’d just received) every conversation with Hannah was very human, empathetic and kind, understanding, and when he spoke with Sam and Dean he was far more angelic, detaching himself from them. He was never lacking in compassion, and I love this about Cas, but he also clearly separated himself from the boys.
Best part of the episode? The emphasis on family, and not just family but their family. The very reason that the brothers had even come this far was their unconditional love for each other. Throughout the episode the family theme played in different variations, reminiscing of better times for the brothers relationship as well as emphasizing the heart-wrenching struggle that Sam was going through to save what they had.
There was a simple scene with Sam, he is in Dean’s room and finds pictures of their family amongst his thing. It served not only as a reminder to Sam of what he was trying to save, but also as a reminder of who the true Dean is. Dean Winchester is many things and his demon calls into question much of what goes on in his mind, but his core is his family, always has been and always will be.
In the end Dean is saved (mostly) and we’re left with the reminder that it isn’t over. The mark of Cain is still a big problem, but Sam is going to take on one thing at a time. So he goes off to feed his brother junk food and the audience sits glued to the TV waiting for next week (or was that just me?).
Have I said how excited I am about this season? The arc is less about how many terrible things we can throw at the boys and far more about redemption and healing. It feels hopeful and progressive and I am thrilled (especially after all the terrible shows this season).
I’ll have more on this later – I can’t believe it’s only episode 3! So much to look forward too! (MUSICAL anybody?!?!?!)