For all its melodrama, Supernatural sometimes likes to remind the audience that it, at its heart, is a horror show. Written by Andrew Dabb and directed by Thomas J. Wright, this is one of those episodes.
Opening up at the ending bell of a high school day, a bookish kid heads out into the parking lot when he finds himself being marked a target by bullies.
They call out to him. “Stein.”
Red flags go up. He’s a Stein. From the last episode, we’ve learned that the Steins were decedents from the mad scientist of Shelley’s fame. And like the good doctor of the book, like to run experiments using other people’s body parts. Unlike the good doctor of the book, most times they’ve been using those body parts to give themselves a sort of DIY immortality. A limb starts failing you? Cut it off and replace it. They are human monsters.
And these school bullies have decided to pick on one of them.
The kid, played by Connor Pryce (Who we last saw playing Aiden’s “son” on Syfy’s Being Human), tries to verbally fight back with his bullies.
“You look like the kind of dude who like to make people think he’s hood,” he tells the most vicious bully. “But, no, see the $100 hair cut, the hybrid keys? I’d say you grew up in a white bread wonderland. Your dad’s probably a dentist. Your mom’s mostly botox. And they both bang the pool boy. Oh, and you like rap but you’re scared of black people. ....Even Will Smith.”
He gets shoved in response. But, luckily, his cousin pulls up and he’s not exactly the bookish type, himself. He asks his cousin, Cyrus, if, “We have a problem here?” The bullies know a predator when they see one and back off. Cyrus does the same.
But it is not over as later on the head bully is walking down a street while drinking a slushy. He notices a car following him. The same car Cyrus’ cousin drove up in. Panicking, he hurries up down the street, goes around the corner and slams right into Eli, Cyrus’ cousin. Roscoe, another Stein, suddenly appears and slaps a plastic bag over the bully’s head. The two struggle but it’s no use. The bully is a goner. (On a side note, this death is incredibly disturbing given the history of this show. We’ve seen people shot, stabbed, hanged, bled, burned and I’ve been pretty much jaded. It’s Supernatural. It’s a horror show. Death happens. But seeing someone being suffocated like that was just a bit much for me. I think it’s because the other deaths are just corn syrup and food coloring deaths. This one actually has an actor with a bag over his head struggling to breath and waiting for the director to yell, “Cut!” Something goes wrong, someone can get seriously hurt or worse. It’s just so creepy.)
Luckily, the Supernatural logo cuts this and we return to see the Winchesters setting up a funeral pyre for the late Charlie. She is haunting the boys’ thoughts as they cut and pile on the wood. Finally, they put her body on the pile and begin to burn.
Sam tries to apologize to her but Dean cuts him off.
“Shut up. You got her killed. You don’t get to apologize,” he says.
Sam tries to explain that the both of them were only trying help Dean. They wanted to free Dean of the mark because Sam knows that when the mark is done with his brother, Dean is not going to be Dean any more. And Dean is all Sam’s got. He doesn’t want to lose his brother.
Dean responds by telling him, “You know what I think? I think it should be you up there,” nodding at the fire, “And not her.”
HARSH, Dean, HARSH. This is the most brutal we’ve seen Dean be to his brother since Dean was in full blown Demon mode. But Dean doesn’t care. He tells Sam to shut the hunt to find a way to get his mark off down for good before someone else gets hurt. In the meantime, he going to find the Steins and kill them.
“Is that you talking or the mark?” asks Sam.
“Does it matter?”
Cut to Cyrus and he’s playing video games when Eli sticks his head in the room. He tells the kid that his father wants to see him. Cyrus ends his video game session and goes.
In a beautiful lab that reminds me of a subway station in Oz, family elder, Monroe Stein, is prepping for surgery. He is talking to Eldon about his failure to not only secure the Book of the Damned but his failure to keep all of his limbs. Eldon saves face by telling Monroe about the Men of Letters bunker and all the wonderful stashes of magic and magical books in it. He says that if Monroe gives him a few guys, he will make the biggest score from there that the family has ever seen. Monroe agrees with a, “You’ll need a new arm.”
Enter Eli and Cyrus.
Monroe takes his son under his wing. That is when Cyrus notices that his bully from school is on a slab. Still very much alive but naked and bound. Monroe says that this is a teachable moment for Cyrus and that the kid will carve his bully up. Scared out of his wits, Cyrus rejects this idea. But Monroe doesn’t give him a choice. Cyrus is a Stein. This is what Steins do. Either the kid carves up his bully or Monroe is going to butcher the bully and then go to work on Cyrus afterward. Cyrus, on the verge of tears, is forced to take a scalpel and cuts into the bully’s sternum.
Meanwhile, Dean is searching for the Steins. He is talking to Rudy on the phone asking him to run plates. Rudy does and finds the plates belong to Eldon Stein out of Shreveport, Louisiana. He then asks why isn’t Sam doing the intel because that’s what Sam usually does. Dean lies and tells him that Sam is busy.
Cut to the stained glass covered warehouse where Rowena is bugging the hell out of Castiel by merely staring at him. She begins to mock him pointing out how strange he is as an Angel who has rejected Heaven. Sam returns. Cas asks where is Charlie. (After all, she was the one who was looking to crack the Book of the Damned’s code.) Without saying a word, Sam tells him that Charlie is dead. Crestfallen, Cas asks what happened.
“Me,” says Sam. “The Steins...they caught up with her....” He then tells her that Dean is going after them.
Cas realizes that Dean now knows about the plan to get the mark off of him. Sam tells him the plan is dead in the water. Rowena is confused but the men don’t care. Instead, Sam says that he has lojacked the Impala. He shows Cas the app on his phone for this when a long lost e-mail from the late Charlie pops up.
It’s about the Book of the Damned. Sam shows the message to Rowena. She says that Charlie has cracked the book’s code. She can now read it. They can cure the Mark of Cain. Sam relights the plan to free Dean from the curse. He sends Cas to find his brother and keep him safe. Cas obeys and leaves. Rowena holds firm, saying she will translate the book but she wants her son, Crowley dead NOW or else nothing. Sam has no other choice but to agree.
We return back to the Stein’s lab. (And see what I mean about this being a beautiful subway from Oz lab. Now with body parts! The set decorators really out did themselves here.)
Cyrus has completely butchered his bully. All he could do is stare at the corpse with eyes that have gone blood shot from crying. The corpse stares back with its own cloudy, unblinking dead eyes. Meanwhile, Eldon is test driving his new arm. Cut fresh from the bully and complete with tattoo. Monroe is proud of everyone’s job. Cyrus just wants to be dismissed but Eldon has other plans for the kid. Cyrus is coming with him to the Bunker.
Meanwhile, Dean has managed to drive all the way to Shreveport when he gets pulled over by the cops. He gives the alias of Ashley J. Williams. (And all the Evil Dead fans in the audience squeal in delight at the reference.) Dean climbs out of the car and asks what is the problem.
The cop smiles, “Blinkers out.”
And with that, his partner smashes the Impala’s tail light.
Dean goes for the cop but not before he smashes another tail light. The first officer slams Dean against the car. Dean struggles as the cop slaps cuff on him and throws the charge of an attempted assault of a police officer. Dean is headed to the station.
Cut to Phil’s diner where Crowley is grabbing a bite to eat. And I am wondering what the heck is a “Hawkeye” on the menu. And if Phil’s diner and that menu item are sly Marvel references by the set designers. Who knows.
He starts chatting up the waiter. This scene is weirdly out of place as they talk about traveling. But then it looks like Crowley is there to make a deal with the waiter. After all, Crowley still likes to trick people into selling their souls from time to time. Old habits and all that jazz.
Crowley’s phone rings. He picks it up to hear Dean on the other end.
“Hey, I need your help.”
The line goes dead. Crowley calls out to Dean but nothing. He then gets a text with a location and Dean asking him to meet him there.
Meanwhile, Dean is sitting at the station as the cop who smashed “baby” goes through his fake I.D.’s. Ozzy Osborne. Lemmy Killmister. Freddy Mercury. It’s a who’s whom of classic rock and metal aliases. (And it’s odd how some of these I.D.s ever passed. Because we see Dean listed as being born in 1968 on one. And labeled a 5’6” female on another.)
The cop lets slip that he is working for someone. But refuses to say whom. He keeps on interrogating Dean. Going over all the weapons he has found in the trunk of Dean’s car.
“I mean,” says the officer, “Who are you, man?”
“I’m the guy that’s going to get out of here in about...30 seconds,” says Dean as he spills a mug full of pens and pencils off the man’s desk.
The cop goes to clean up the mess when Dean attacks him. He gets the cop in a bind, demands the keys to his handcuffs, takes them and puts a boot to the guy’s face. Knocking out the officer. All without breaking a sweat. Dean is on Terminator mode.
He walks in on the first officer who is talking to the Steins about him. Dean pulls a gun on the cop demanding answers. The officer doesn’t say anything. Dean pistol whips him twice. Once for lying and once for hurting his car. He throws the man on the desk demanding to know who he was talking to. The cop confesses that it was Monroe Stein.
“He said if I saw you, I am suppose to bring you in and call him.”
“Any relation to Eldon?” asks Dean.
Dean is shocked.
“Where can I find them?”
“Oh, you can’t take on the Steins,” says the cop. “They own this town. They’re practically gods around here.”
“Yeah,” Dean smirks, “Well, I kill gods.”
Cut to Crowley walking into a meat locker looking for Dean.
There’s a gunshot.
Crowley is hit in the ribs. From out of the shadows emerges Sam. He is there to carry out his side of Rowena’s bargain. The bullet that he just fired into Crowley? A devil’s trap bullet. Crowley demands to know where Dean is. Sam informs him that Dean is not here and that he, Sam, tricked Crowley into believing Dean was. Crowley asks does Dean even know that Sam is doing this. After all he and Dean are such close friends. Disgusted, Sam tells Crowley that he is the only reason why Dean has the Mark of Cain. Everything is Crowley’s fault.
Sam shoves a hex bag into Crowley’s pocket. Crowley realizes what is going on. His mother wants him dead. The hex bag goes to work and starts to kill Crowley in the most slow and painful way. Sam stands back and watches.
Back at the Stein’s estate, Dean is mowing down guys left and right. Stabbing, snapping, shooting. Bodies are falling like raindrops during a monsoon. He enters the mansion ready to take on Monroe and his family.
But they are ready for him. A small army has him covered with rifles amd guns as Monroe greets him at the top of a staircase.
“Dean Winchester!” he says.
In true Stein style, a plastic bag goes over Dean’s head. He struggles to breathe. (And I struggle to watch. Seriously, if I were an actor, I would have a no bag over the head clause in my contract.)
“Welcome to my humble abode.”
Dean is out.
Meanwhile, Crowley is fighting hard to stay alive. He scolds Sam for teaming up with his mother. Sam growls, “Will you die already!?”
Crowley sneers that this is what he gets for being the good guy. For trying to do the right thing. He was hoping that if he did those things, he might feel something again. Like when he was Human.
Sam isn’t having this. “You know, maybe everybody else forgot all the bad you’ve done. But I haven’t! I have watched you kill people, Crowley. Innocent people. People I’ve cared about. People I loved. So, yeah, you have the accent and the suit and the snark. But at the end of it, you are a monster. Just like all the rest of them. And I’m gonna watch you die screaming, just like all the rest of them.”
It’s nice to get a reminder that Crowley is a Demon. And Demons are evil, twisted things. Dangerous things. Even the ones with the nice clothing and witty quips.
Coughing up blood, Crowley agrees. “I am a monster. And I’ve done bad. I’ve done thing things you can’t even imagine. Horrible, evil, messy things.”
He looks up. His eyes are the red eyes of a Crossroads Demon.
“And I’ve loved...EVERY....DAMN....MINUTE.”
He pulls out the devil’s trap bullet from his chest.
“So, thank you Sam for reminding me of who I really am.”
Crowley knocks Sam through a window. He takes out the hex bag and burns it with his will. The spell is no longer strong enough to bind and destroy him. He is the King of Hell. He is too powerful for such magic. Sam tries to go for the Demon Dagger but with a swipe of his hand, Crowley sends the the dagger flying out of Sam’s reach. Crowley lords over Sam. His fingers are ready to snap and end Sam. But he doesn’t go through with it.
He tells Sam that he wants the man to know that the only reason why he is still alive is that he, Crowley, allowed it. And tell his mother that she is on his death list.
“She’ll never see me coming.”
Dean wakes up in the Steins’ subway-lab. He is strapped down to a table, being prepped for butchering. Monroe is standing over him gloating. Dean tells him not to go through the butchering. Monroe responds that they are past the bargaining stage. Dean confesses that the mark on his arm means he can not die. Permanently. If the Steins do kill him. He will just come back as a Demon and will slaughter all of them. The Steins scoff at such a threat. Monroe begins to take a blade to Dean. Dean snaps his binds and frees himself. One by one, he murders everyone. Blood glows scarlet against the green and white of the room. Dean doesn’t even break a sweat. Killing feels like instinct to him now.
He does manage to get some information from Monroe before snuffing him out. There are Steins in the Bunker. Dean steals Monroe’s gun from him and heads home.
Cut to Eldon, Roscoe and Cyrus enter the Bunker after blowing off the entrance from its hinges. After making sure the place is empty, they start pillaging it.
Sam is talking to Rowena on the phone. He tells her that he failed at killing her son and now Crowley is coming after her. Rowena knows she is screwed.
Cas calls Sam. Cas has been tailing Dean but he’s too late to save Dean from himself. Cas is standing in the subway-lab and looking over the carnage. He tells Sam that according to the GPS, Dean is heading back at the Bunker.
Meanwhile, back at the Bunker, the Steins are still ransacking the place. Cyrus is in awe of all the books and things. The others tell him to stick to finding the good stuff and setting up the rest to be burned. Cyrus tells Eldon that they really don’t have to torch the place. Eldon knows that. He simply likes to do so. Roscoe enters the room. He has been stabbed in the back. He stumbles and drops dead.
Dean walks in. He is drenched in blood. His face is a block of ice. His is not done killing. Eldon isn’t impressed. He takes off his coat, ready to fight. Dean tells him that the Steins are dead. All of them. He takes out a gun and shoots Eldon in the head. Eldon drops dead. Dean aims for Cyrus. The kid begs for his life, saying that he is not like his family. He hated what they were. He never wanted to be like them. Dean debates this. He says that Cyrus is indeed like his family. That there is bad in him. He can deny the fact but it is still a fact.
With a gun to his head, Cyrus begs, “You don’t need to do this. Please.”
“Yeah,” says Dean. “I do.”
He shoots Cyrus in the head. Cyrus lies dead on the floor.
Castiel enters the rooms asking Dean what has he done. That he has gone too far. Dean doesn’t care. Cas tries to explain that he doesn’t want to be there for when Dean turns back into a Demon. And he will turn. He doesn’t want to see his friend have that fate. The two start fighting. With the strength of the mark flowing through him, Dean gets the upper hand and pummels Cas. He throws the Angel on the floor and pounces on top of him. Grabbing, Cas’ sword, he hovers it above the Angel, ready to drive it down. He does so. Only next to Cas’s head.
“You and Sam stay the hell away from me,” barks Dean as he leaves, “Next time, I don’t miss.”
With one more episode to go for this season, how deeper can Dean go? How much more is Sam willing to sacrifice to save him brother? Will Cas be able to save everyone from themselves? And will this show find a new way to kill someone? Probably. This is Supernatural after all.