Was that underwhelming? I feel like that might have been a little underwhelming. After Supernatural wasted two whole episodes on useless filler and a terrible backdoor pilot, "King of the Damned" was a welcome return to the big Season Fine story—whatever that is these days—but the hasty disposal of Queen Abaddon gave me flashbacks to the hasty disposal of Evil Eve back in Season 6 and all of the suckfest that followed for almost another whole season and I can't sit through that much WTF-ery again. I just can't do it.
So I'll stay positive, because other than the surprisingly sudden end of Abby's rule (and without any of the delicious Demon Dean potential she promised earlier this season) "King of the Damned" lined up all of Supernatural's rubber duckies in a row in preparation for the last two episodes of the season, and it looks like Dean is going to get his unintentionally evil groove on anyway. YESSSSSS.
To get the party started, Abaddon hopped back to 1723 Scotland to kidnap Crowley's doofus son Gavin, and the whole thing was so predictable—right down to the big reveal that if Gavin returns to his time, his 'Merica-bound ship will sink. Plus the subsequent Winchester double standard where if you're destined to die, you'd better freaking die lest you break the world... unless you're Sam. I don't want to talk about it.
The old "to kill Crowley or not to kill Crowley" debate was also revived, with the Winchesters moving to table the discussion for now, mostly because C-dog and his spawn made a speedy getaway when Dean proposed locking Gavin in the bunker until they could figure out how to send him to his watery death. But it must be stated that this angle is getting kind of tired. Supernatural put in a solid effort to make Crowley REALLY FREAKING EVIL, what with the killing Kevin's girlfriend and the torturing Momma Tran and the systematically murdering everyone the Winchesters ever saved, and if that pattern had continued, then sure, they would've had a pretty good case for wasting him. That kind of carnage can't go unpunished—and it probably still shouldn't, except that Supernatural went back to writing Crowley as a goofy diva of a demon who has some kind of man-crush on "Moose" and "Squirrel" and sweet-talks his precious hellhound named Juliet. My gut says the writers are going to go with the transformed-back-into-a-human angle (and how convenient that Gavin is now out there in the world somewhere, ready to reconcile with his formerly dicktastic father), or at the very least, that they'll keep Crowley around as the lesser of all the potential evildoers who could be in charge of hell. But this endless hemming and hawing over whether the Winchesters should kill Crowley with the First Blade is getting ridiculous.
The First Blade is the gift to Dean's storyline that just keeps giving, though. This week, Dean's bloodlust was front and center, with his eagerness to torture someone on Castiel's behalf standing in stark contrast to the horrified reluctance previously seen in Season 4's "On the Head of a Pin." I see what you did there and I approve, Supernatural.
Manhandling some answers out of the hapless Ezra escalated quickly, and while Sam was able to bring Dean back from the edge that time, it's clear that Sam's sammyness alone won't be enough to overcome the blade's influence... not yet, anyway. (Who can resist the allure of the puppy face?) While his control leeched away, Dean was cognizant enough of his bloodlust that he sent Sam on a wild goose chase precisely to keep him away from the battle with Abaddon, lest Sam accidentally end up the Abel to Dean's Cain, but when Sam suggested stashing the First Blade away from Dean's eager fingers to limit the temptation until they needed to once again turn Dean into a killing machine, Dean was not on board.
Also: Dean has hell-fueled First Blade superpowers, complete with telekinesis and a resistance to the go-to demon move: the old smoosh-a-Winchester-against-the-wall-during-the-super-villain-monologue routine.
I'm so excited for the Mark of Cain stuff. SO EXCITED. It almost makes up for the inglorious death of Abaddon.
Also promising as we head into finale territory is the Castiel and Gadreel team-up, as well as Castiel finally, however reluctantly, claiming his place as chief rebel angel and scholar of humanity among his siblings. Supernatural has struggled to find a place for Castiel since the not-pocalypse ended, and for awhile there, he existed mostly as an occasionally used deus ex machina. He needed to be separated from the Winchesters in order to come into his own, but he couldn't be too far removed, like in the Leviathan arc. Castiel needed a role that was separate, but no less epic, than those of Sam and Dean; by returning him to the angel warrior he formerly was, altered and wiser from his time among the humans but still hopelessly tangled up in the Winchesters and their drama, Supernatural has finally managed to do something with Castiel that feels just about right.
The second half of Season Fine has been bumpy, but the road is now clear for an epic finale. Metatron is still pulling the strings upstairs, Gadreel is on the cusp of redemption, angel war is nigh, and despite Dean's best efforts, Sam is so not out of potential Abel-territory yet.
– So there's a mobile backdoor portal into heaven. Of course there is. And freelance reapers will totally sneak you into hell, too. Oh wait.
– "Hello Dean, love the crazy bloodlust in your eyes." ME TOO CROWLEY, ME TOO.
– Vancouver made an okay Cleveland.
– What's on your finale wishlist?
AIRED ON 5/25/2016
Season 11 : Episode 23