Supernatural, Season 9, Episode 21: “King of the Damned”
Written by Brad Buckner and Eugenie Ross-Leming
Directed by P.J. Pesce
Airs Tuesdays at 9pm (ET) on The CW
Throughout the season, there has been two wars for power, as Abaddon has threatened Crowley’s position as the ruler of Hell, while Metatron has set himself up as Angel enemy number one by tossing everyone out of Heaven. With Castiel reluctantly taking up the mantle of resistance leader, Metatron no longer remained uncontested, while Abaddon continued to pose the biggest threat to the world and the Winchesters. This week’s episode sees major blows delivered on both wars, in a compelling outing that sees a key Angel potentially switch sides.
Castiel and Gadreel forming an uneasy alliance is a fascinating development. Since Gadreel was revealed to be falsely residing in Sam, it has been clear that the Angel is not necessarily a malicious figure. He is, however, desperate to repair his image, an opportunity he did not get while locked up in Heaven, and one he thinks Metatron will give him in the new order. With his faith in the Angel now clearly shaken by the ambush, it will be interesting to see what role Gadreel plays in the coming battle. Whether Gadreel is more interested in repairing his standing with the Angels or doing the right thing will be key to understanding how he moves forward. It’s clear at this point that Metatron does have a way to get back to Heaven, and since that is the key priority of Angels, Gadreel may see his alliance with Metatron to be his only way to get back in the good graces of his brethren, no matter the cost. On the other hand, if Gadreel is insistent on doing the right thing no matter the cost, he could prove to be a valuable insider to Castiel. While it’s clear that Castiel is in the right, his victory is less assured than Metatron’s, so which side Gadreel ultimately supports in the final battle will be very telling.
How Dean handles the Mark of Cain is also a storyline with promise. Dean’s fight with Abaddon this week excellently illustrates the kind of strength he gains from the Mark, especially when paired with the First Blade. However, Abaddon’s death means the primary purpose of the Mark of Cain is now over, and if Dean fulfills his promise and kills Cain, that will leave Dean as the sole bearer of the Mark, a position he’s unofficially in already anyway. It will be intriguing to see how other Hunters treat Dean once they’re made aware of his status. Since he no longer has the Mark for a specific purpose, he is free to use the First Blade to kill anyone, which may make him the go-to backup plan for Hunters. How Dean and Sam handle this potential new status will be worth keeping an eye on, especially if Hunters they have had a spat with come to them for help. It will also be worth keeping an eye on how Dean reacts to supernatural entities going forward. With no specific goal, he may now feel the calm wrath of the Mark flare up whenever he encounters a creature, which has the potential to make for dangerous encounters with monsters who are friends with one or both of the Winchesters, like Garth, or are their temporary allies, like Crowley.
Overall, this is a strong episode. It’s sad to see Abaddon go, as the character and actress Alaina Huffman were an entertaining presence on the show throughout their tenure. It will be intriguing to see how Crowley’s reign of Hell is affected by Abaddon’s departure. While he does have the seat uncontested for now, it’s clear that Crowley still has some vestiges of humanity in him, something Abaddon is able to spot and exploit very easily this week. It’s not inconceivable that other demons aspiring to the throne may soon emerge, sensing Crowley’s humanity as a weakness, and how Crowley handles them will be worth keeping an eye on. In addition, now that he’s back full time, how Crowley’s humanity affects his duties as the ruler of Hell also has the potential to be compelling. The presence of Crowley’s son Gavin in present day is also a promising storyline. Knowing that he’s the prince of Hell, and feeling like he has a lifetime of poor odds to make up for, Gavin is a truly unknown entity at this point, capable of spinning out into any direction. In addition, the Winchesters are likely to keep an eye out for him as well, knowing that Gavin being in the present does affect the timeline. Whether or not the Winchesters actively hunt Gavin down, as well as whether his removal from the past actually does affect the world on a larger scale, will be worth tuning in for as the show continues.
– Deepayan Sengupta