Note: The following review goes into detail about the episode. SPOILER ALERT!
I was glad to see Supernatural pick up almost directly where we last left Castiel. It looked like they might be setting up a potential departure for Cas further down the line, but we finally got a definitive answer on the state of his vessel, Jimmy. The fate of possessed humans and vessels is something the show has kind of glossed over for years now. Sam and Dean have completely abandoned exorcisms at this stage and spare no thoughts for the possessed humans. The amount of angels walking the Earth means that many lives have been destroyed when they took their vessels. Castiel’s “death” at the end of season five actually obliterated poor Jimmy’s soul, meaning that Castiel is in sole possession of Jimmy’s body now.
Cas still feels a lot of guilt over this, and he chose to try make amends by saving Jimmy’s daughter Claire. The times when Cas has interacted with youngsters have been full of comedic gold, but this was different. His misguided attempts to connect with Claire were rather sweet to watch, but his presence in her life had set her down a dark path years ago. It turns out that Claire was a very troubled teenager who had fallen in with a rather sleazy surrogate father figure who had her robbing money for him. With Jimmy gone and her mother abandoning her, Claire bounced around foster homes and group homes. It was interesting to get a good look at the consequences of Castiel taking Jimmy as a vessel and heart-warming to see the effort Castiel was making.
Continuing the family vibe, Crowley had to face his mommy issues head on this week. After the great little twist that Rowena was the King of Hell’s estranged mother, I had been itching to see how this would play out. To be honest, there wasn’t actually a whole lot to this plot this week, but the performances made it worth the wait. After years of seeing Crowley scheme and manipulate his way to the top, it was interesting to see the tables get turned on him. Rowena proved to be just as good of a talker as her son, and by the end of the episode she seemed to have wormed her way into his inner circle. Now Crowley has certainly been different since the end of season eight and has shown more humanity as a result of Sam’s ritual. I have to think that either his mother’s return is seriously clouding his judgement, or he’s being as sneaky as always and allowing himself to be played. Whatever it turns out to be, it’s sure going to be entertaining.
Sam and Dean took the backseat a little bit in “The Things We Left Behind,” and I think that was to deliberately leave us open to that knockout punch at the end of the episode. We’ve had a few signs over the last few weeks that the Mark of Cain was affecting Dean more than he let on, but the explosion we witnessed here was brutal. It turns out that Dean was just a walking time bomb, and when those thugs pushed him too far he snapped. I’m not sure what was more distressing; seeing Dean on his knees surrounded by mangled bodies or watching Sam react to what his brother had done. That whole scene was shot very well, with Sam’s desperate run towards the house and the quick cuts between Dean’s face and the mayhem around him. The aftermath of this will likely affect the remainder of the season. Dean had a great talk with Castiel where he asked him to take him out if he turned “dark side,” but I foresee them trying to find a different solution before taking such drastic measures.
In many ways, “The Things We Left Behind” didn’t really feel like any kind of finale right up until those final few moments. An episode where Castiel attempts to connect with his vessel’s daughter sounds like a run of the mill episode that they would use to kill some time, but the final moments in that house will ensure this episode is talked about for quite a while. I mentioned how startling it was when demon Dean killed that guy earlier in the season, but this is a whole other level. Dean just slaughtered a whole bunch of human beings. They may have been scumbags, but they were still just human and absolutely no match for Dean. Sam and Castiel’s horrified reactions really made the scene, and I’m dreading seeing what condition they’re in when Supernatural returns next year.
Is there any way back from this for Dean? Is it possible that after 10 seasons, it’s just too late in the day for Dean to be saved? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
90/100 – ‘Superb’
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