Supernatural Watch: Season 9, Episode 11 - First Born

Even with Sam and Dean separated, Supernatural still managed to capitalize on last week’s momentum and deliver another outstanding episode. We were introduced to Cain, the Father of Murder, in “First Born” as Crowley and Dean tracked down the First Blade, a weapon capable of killing Abaddon. Meanwhile, Sam and Castiel spent some quality time in the Men of Letters bunker extracting grace with very large needles in an effort to track Gadreel. While last week’s “Road Trip” picked up the pieces of the first half of the season, this week’s episode served to propel us into this back half of episodes. The Winchesters are truly fighting a war on two fronts with Metatron on one side, Abaddon on the other, and a couple of allies who’ve at times been less than trustworthy (one way more than the other). The odds are stacked against the brothers in ways they’ve never been stacked before. The good news is that Sam is now completely healed from the injuries he sustained during the trials. The bad news is that Dean now carries a great burden after accepting the mark of Cain, which I see as this season’s version of what Sam endured during the trials. I was reminded of the end of Season 2/whole of Season 3 when Dean sold his soul to save Sam’s life and tried to wiggle out of the deal. That didn’t end so well for the eldest Winchester. Let’s hope being able to wield the First Blade isn’t so costly.

Although I still have no idea why Dean agreed to work with Crowley, their pairing was a dream come true. Crowley is sarcastic and snarky and Dean is having none of it. I understand that for the sake of the plot – as well as the whole “enemy of my enemy is my friend” business – that Dean had to work with Crowley but I think it undermines the reasons that the Winchesters have to hate the old scuzzy demon. Thankfully their odd-couple routine yielded serious fruit as the duo discovered the home of Cain, the Father of Murder and trainer of the knights of Hell. This character’s introduction went a lot better than I anticipated. Sometimes the show can completely underwhelm with these larger-than-life figures (hello Zeus and Mother of All) and while Cain wasn’t exactly a knockout, his character was interesting and served a purpose. Of course, his resume would be much more impressive if the knights of Hell had been built up better since Abaddon’s introduction, but as of yet we’ve never seen them do anything a normal demon can’t do. We’ve been told they’re the ultimate unkillable badasses but we’ve never seen why that’s the case. We were supposed to be impressed that Cain slaughtered the knights but for my money I’d take Dean in a fight against the knights if he had the First Blade like Cain did. A weapon like that makes the job pretty easy, so Cain’s credentials don’t quite stack up.

A more successful element of his character was his connection to Abaddon, who possessed his wife Collette and fled right before Cain stabbed her. Collette made Cain promise not to pursue Abaddon and for 150 years Cain kept his promise. But there’s something about a Winchester that makes people forget their vows. After transferring the mark to Dean, Cain made him promise to come back and kill him once Dean possessed the First Blade and had killed Abaddon. Dean asked why and Cain responded with a virtuoso demon murdering performance. It’s just too bad we couldn’t see the old man fight. It would have helped him live up to legendary reputation a little more. Once Dean and Crowley (life partners in crime) got to safety, it didn’t take long for Dean to figure out that Crowley played him in order to get the blade. Duh Dean. This is the king of Hell you’re working with here. He doesn’t care that Tara is dead (and neither do we, sadly). He only wants to kill Abaddon and rule Hell again. He might act different when he’s around you but in the end he doesn’t care whose body he has to step over to get what he wants. Threaten to kill him all you want; you’re still playing right into his hands.

I can’t recall Sam and Castiel sharing this much screen time before. The writers have always used Castiel as a surrogate older brother for Dean and played up the angel’s inherent dislike for Sam. However, being human did more to Castiel than just make him acquire a fleeting love for PB&Js. Castiel now understands the value of life and doesn’t want Sam to throw his away in order to right whatever wrongs Sam believes he has committed. It’s an important lesson that Sam needs to hear now that he’s healed and now that Dean has assumed what will likely be a life-threatening burden. The time for mopey Sam has passed. I applaud the writers for putting these two characters together and making the most of the scenes they shared. I would have thought at the end of last week’s episode that Castiel would have chosen to stick with Dean. This decision worked out much better. It put the Winchesters in situations where they weren’t entirely comfortable and used that struggle to grow their characters. Sam might not know where Gadreel is but now he’s approaching the hunt with the right mindset. Whenever it comes time to end Gadreel I have to wonder which Winchester will get the honors of turning out his lights.

Lines of the week

“Didn’t they teach note-taking at hunter’s Hogwarts?” – Crowley

“You have a guinea pig? Where?” – Castiel

“You’re good. But I’m Crowley.” – Crowley (duh)

Next week on Supernatural

Garth is going through a werewolf phase apparently.