There was a lot to love in last night's episode of Supernatural, from Kevin's unexpectedly badass mom, to Dean's intriguing PTSD flashbacks. Though it was uneven in some places, I have to say this show is starting to rock again — if this episode was any indication. Spoilers ahead!
Let's talk about a few crucial parts of the episode. First, Kevin's badass mom. The gang went to rescue her from Crowley's demons, triumphed, and wound up adding her to their current Scooby Gang configuration. I was worried about adding her to the mix when she was first introduced — she seemed like the worst kind of "meddling mom" stereotype. But then she turned out to be both clever and easily able to hold her own in the brothers' world of deities and demigods.
I was particularly fond of this scene, where she smacks down a dealer in stolen (supernatural) goods by threatening him with a tax audit. Plus, this lady knows a thing or two about cars. She is my new cougar role model.
I also liked the way this episode casually built out the mythos we'll be dealing with in this season. Yes, there will be angels (like the Tom Cruise-looking kid in the Weiner Hut hat) and there will be demons (and let me say Crowley's possession scene was great). But there will also be . . . Roman gods! At least, that seems to be the message behind the bizarro auction held by "Plutus right hand man," whom I always think of as the guy with wheels for feet in that awful Flash Gordon series on Syfy. Anyway, Plutus' guy mentions that his domain is "warded against hell and heaven," which suggests that we're in full-bore Pagan Universe mode.
Unfortunately, Plutus' guy decides to auction off the tablets with Kevin (is that legal?). And to buy them, Kevin's mom offers her soul. Which is apparently much more valuable than Crowley's thousands of souls, since it is the only one she has. Which leads to a lot of "yeah that sucks" conversations between Sam and Kevin's mom — after all, Sam has been there. Remember Soulless Sam? Yeah, I was really looking forward to Soulless Mom. But Crowley possesses her first, and when he's exorcised he seems to drain mom's entire brain out too. She's left an empty shell. And Crowley has the tablet.
It was good, fast plotting, but what really impressed me about the episode were Dean's flashbacks to his trauma in Purgatory. I've always been really frustrated by the way this show dealt with both brothers' times in Hell. We got a few hints about Dean's career as a torturer in Hell, but nothing substantive. Here, we're really getting into the "Purgatory as war" idea, with intrusive memories haunting Dean all the time. There's a great moment where Dean recalls torturing a monster to death while he's torturing a human for information in the present. And then, of course, there's Cas.
We finally see Cas in Purgatory, looking like a hunted dog. He admits he ran away from Dean because all the Leviathans are after him. He wanted to protect Dean, but we get the feeling Cas is also feeling selfish and scared too. He's not entirely all there mentally — when Dean asks if he's still hearing Lucifer in his head, Cas kind of shrugs and asks, "What is sane?" Yeah. But then, despite Dean's monster boyfriend Benny's consternation, Dean tries to convince Cas to come along with them to find the doorway out.
And now, it's time to process our feelings. Obviously, something went wrong with the Cas extraction because the episode ends with Cas looking freaked out, and screaming Dean's name. This is serious dramatic awesomeness, people. I'm glad that we've got interesting dynamics going between the brothers and between Dean and his own past. I'm hoping for more flashbacks, and more war-is-hell shit to go down. Also, I guess more jokes about Plutus not being a planet any more would be OK too.