Supernatural, Ep. 9.02: “Devil May Care” revisits the fight for control of Hell

Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki
Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki

Supernatural, Season 9, Episode 2: “Devil May Care”
Written by Andrew Dabb
Directed by Guy Norman Bee
Airs Tuesdays at 9pm (ET) on The CW

While last week’s Supernatural season premiere focused on the aftermath of angels falling to Earth following Metatron’s plans, last season’s finale also left the leadership of Hell in question, as Crowley ended up captured by the Winchesters just as Abaddon announced her presence. Despite Sam not going all the way in turning Crowley human, there was no doubt that his hold on Hell had been weakened and would continue to weaken the longer he stayed away. With other powers lurking, and with Crowley clearly not ready to give up his throne, the fight for control of demons and the Underworld was not going to be an easy one, and it is this storyline that gets picked up this week, in another thrilling episode that delivers on some of the story’s potential, while providing a glimpse of how things might unfold from here on out.

It’s good to see Abaddon make a return once again; she left a strong impression last season despite her brief appearances (such as the use of her own severed hand to dig a bullet out of her skull and free herself), and is likely to be a formidable and memorable antagonist for the Winchesters, a hypothesis borne out by the events of this week. The significance of her return is exciting as well, as her actions this week set the stage for a full-scale war between Abaddon and Crowley, with control of Hell lying in the balance. While Abaddon is clearly someone to be feared and has an interestingly unique style of recruitment, leadership, and fighting, Crowley himself is unlikely to go down without a fight and undoubtedly has a few tricks up his sleeve. The most intriguing aspect of this battle is that Abaddon and Crowley have distinct approaches; while Abaddon uses ruthless intimidation to get what she wants, Crowley is more shrewdly manipulative, as both illustrate this week. They have honed their methodology to be highly effective, so the impending war between the two will be as much a clash of ideologies as it will be a clash of power-hungry overlords, and what side the demons themselves choose to take, as well as what role the fallen angels and the Winchesters play in that fight, promises to be a compelling story arc.

Mark Sheppard, Osric Chau
Mark Sheppard, Osric Chau

Ezekiel’s reassurances to Dean, followed by Sam’s assertion that he’s feeling well also brings up an interesting point; is the angel healing Sam emotionally as well as physically? If that is the case, it raises yet another aspect to the conundrum that is Ezekiel’s possession of Sam’s body without Sam’s knowledge. On one hand it can be said, with valid reasoning, that Ezekiel should do just enough to ensure Sam is well on his way to recovery before making his presence known, letting the younger Winchester decide what course of action he’d like to take. This would of course entail healing Sam’s physical damage, which is the primary reason Dean asked for help last week. On the other hand, however, there is no denying the emotional scars Sam has suffered in his years as a hunter, from watching people close to him die repeatedly, be it Dean, John, or Jessica, to carrying the guilt of all the missteps he has taken in the pursuit of good intentions. Sam becoming a more emotionally well-adjusted person would definitely be a welcome change, and one that Sam deserves, not to mention the positive effect it would have in his relationship with Dean. If this is the case, how Sam reacts to Ezekiel’s healing, in addition to simply being possessed, is worth looking out for.

Overall, this is another superb episode, and combined with last week’s premiere, starts season nine off on a strong foot. It’s good to see Kevin Tran make a return and his new role in the Winchester hunts, as well as Dean’s explicit acceptance of him into their makeshift family, are both nice touches. They go a long way to bringing into the fold a character who, much like the Winchesters, found himself inadvertently thrust into the supernatural world. Whether or not Crowley’s words leave any lingering resentment towards the Winchesters, as well as what steps Kevin takes to track down and rescue his mother, promises to be compelling. Resentment towards the Winchesters, from hunters and civilians, for their role in bringing about the apocalypse is not a new idea for the show. It was explored briefly in season five, and its return is also a welcome one this week, as it helps provide insight into the mentality of hunters who don’t work with the brothers, further fleshing out the world of Supernatural with small touches. The sight of Ezekiel’s frayed wings in the diner is a great touch and the hidden presence of Ezekiel is bound to add another dimension to every fight the Winchesters have for a while. How that knowledge, once it gets out, affects the foes they face, as well as how the Winchesters prepare for the numerous supernatural entities now gunning for them is certain to be interesting. This, as well as how Castiel continues to adjust to his lack of grace, gives us plenty to look forward to.

– Deepayan Sengupta

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