Supernatural, Season 10, Episodes 18 to 23
Created by Eric Kripke
Airs Wednesdays at 9 pm ET on The CW
As threats have come and gone over the course of Supernatural‘s tenth season, the one concern that has loomed over both brothers has been the Mark of Cain. Numerous attempts by Dean to avoid its influence have failed, and Cain’s death closed off the possibility of the only person with intimate knowledge of the Mark helping get it off. The past few episodes have seen Sam dive headfirst into trying to get the Mark off Dean, forming an alliance with Rowena and roping Charlie in to find an ancient spellbook. The latter brings a new enemy into the fold, as the Winchesters say goodbye to a key ally in a compelling finish to an uneven season.
Dean’s attack on the Styne family provides one possible explanation to a disturbing aspect of the season, the quick dismissal of large threats. Dean’s merciless slaughtering of the Styne family is reminiscent of his attack on the vampire’s nest in Season Six, following his turning, and gives the clearest idea yet how the Mark of Cain is affecting him. His ability to take out such a large and powerful family so handily does show that threats which would have been a handful for the Winchester brothers pose little to no threat to a Dean who carries the Mark of Cain, even without the First Blade. This, in turn, gives a new perspective to how the brothers have been effectively mowing through the supernatural entities they’ve encountered. While this could have been communicated more effectively by the writers, it nonetheless puts the season as a whole in a more favourable light, while also helping drive home the urgency Sam felt about relieving Dean of the Mark. With the Mark now removed, thanks to Rowena, it’ll be interesting to see how Dean copes. While he’ll certainly be happy to be free of the Mark, there’s a strong chance this will diminish some of his effectiveness, something he might lament, especially with the new threat of the Darkness. How Dean copes with the loss is just a promising storyline that hopefully gets its due next season.
The discussion of good and evil in the season’s last two episodes have also made for a compelling watch. The Winchesters have, over the course of the show, toed that line more often than not, with the distinction between the two becoming increasingly blurry. As the Angels have shown during their tenure on the series, “good” and “bad” have no clear guidelines in the world of Supernatural. Thus, neither Crowley’s assertion that he’s good and Dean’s assertion that he’s bad can be tossed off without consideration. Crowley’s realisation that the Winchesters are unlikely to see him as anything more than an enemy with whom they form alliances on occasion to fight greater evil. The combination of both this and the resurfacing of his troubled relationship with his mother is likely to tip Crowley over into pursuing his darker desires, making him a formidable opponent once more, a development that would be particularly fascinating to watch with the Darkness swallowing the earth up. Dean’s assertion of being evil, on the other hand, are worth noting more closely, especially if this viewpoint continues even after the Mark’s removal. As Cole displayed earlier this season, the work the Winchesters do is not one that comes with clear guidelines, and it often leaves people hurt. That goes double for when the Winchesters end up aligning with evil entities or when they bring innocent bystanders into the line of fire to help them. Dean’s moral compass hasn’t been consulted in some time, and hopefully there is some examination of where he stands with regards to himself and the work he does in the show’s eleventh season.
The season as a whole finishes on an effective strong note. Charlie’s death is a major blow to the show, and the loss of one of the more dynamic existing secondary characters of Supernatural. From her entrance in season seven, she’s been a fascinating character, much like the surrogate sister to the Winchester brothers. The way she tackled the knowledge of otherworldly creatures, and her open willingness to help the brothers in whatever fight they were involved in were admirable traits of the character, and she will be missed. It’s regrettable that she was unable to return to Oz before her demise, and hopefully her death doesn’t mean that Dorothy will no longer return to the show. A visit to Charlie’s time in Oz would also be welcome, and would be a great premise for a spinoff series, should The CW choose to look at that avenue once again. It’s good to see Rowena survive, as the character is a compelling wild card, especially with her personal vendetta against her son Crowley. The combination of Claire Mahoney and Sheriff Mills is a promising one, especially now that that household has three battle-hardened women who are aware of supernatural entities, and hopefully this isn’t the last time the Winchesters and their paths interact. The death of Death, while surprisingly unceremonious, opens up some intriguing ideas, not the least of which is what happens to the concept of death on the show now. While Death was initially brought on as a Horseman, it was clear from his entrance that he was so much more, and was as old as God himself, which meant that he was vital to the operations of the universe. With several variables up in the air, next season has a lot of potential, making the possibility of a return to the series a worthwhile one.
– Deepayan Sengupta