Supernatural Watch: Season 9, Episode 21 - King of the Damned

There’s no better indication of how far off track Supernatural went the past three weeks than the epic “Previously On” segment that recapped the season’s biggest storylines. It was actually depressing to see how much material the final three episodes needed to cover. Thankfully “King of the Damned” was a big improvement over Chicago and whatever else happened the last couple weeks. One big arc came to an end this hour and several more were advanced.

I have no idea how Crowley’s son Gavin will factor into this season but it was strange to have a new character introduced with about 90 minutes of story left. Where does this go from here? Gavin’s alone almost 300 years in the future with a new lease on life after his father saved him from death aboard a ship to the new world. Are the writers sowing the seeds for Season 10 here? Or is this another way to tug on Crowley’s dormant human emotions? With the battle for Hell finished, I can’t see how Crowley’s human side is relevant. I can only hope precious real estate in these final episodes wasn’t wasted on a throwaway storyline.

Castiel has amassed an army of angel followers and built quite the secret lair for himself. He’s even got his troops calling him Commander. This is dangerously close to the time Castiel was called god and I think he’s cognizant of the parallels. Power makes Castiel uncomfortable and it should considering how he’s abused it since his arrival in Season 4. The non-Abaddon part of this episode focused on Castiel’s meeting with Gadreel. Despite being on opposite sides of the coming battle, Castiel sees in Gadreel a companion along the path to redemption.

There’s still red in Castiel’s ledger that he’s trying to wipe out. That’s what Season 9 has been about for him. Gadreel is on a similar path given what we know about his role in the fall of humanity. These are two sides of the same coin. Now it looks like Gadreel might flip and begin sending company secrets to Castiel. Early on this season I thought Gadreel would be tossed aside once Sam ejected him. Instead I’ve been delighted by how much depth this character has developed and Tahmoh Penikett is doing an amazing job conveying how conflicted Gadreel feels. Here’s an angel who just wants to do the right thing. But with angel war looming, what’s “right” is hard to find. More than any of the characters, I’m interested to see what happens with Gadreel. I wouldn’t mind seeing him again in Season 10. He’s a nice counterpoint to Castiel in the angel department.

The bulk of this week’s episode dealt with Crowley finally coming through on his deal to give Dean the First Blade. Of course it would be stuck inside a bloated corpse and guarded by a Hell hound, but that’s just the King of Hell for you. After luring the Winchesters to Cleveland, you figured Crowley was working some angle to keep Abaddon from killing Sam and Dean. Sure enough, there’s Poughkeepsie. I was initially frustrated with Dean for sending Sam on a wild goose chase to the basement. You could see his failure coming from a mile away at the hands of Abaddon. Pushed up against the wall, guts churning through demon telekinesis, Dean needed a miracle to keep himself from getting killed. Enter the Mark of Cain, which finally revealed the full extent of its influence over Dean. There haven’t been many moments quite as badass as Dean lowering himself off that wall and walking right through Abaddon’s force field to stab her in the gut (and lift her off the ground). That’s an iconic image for this show.

That’s where things went off the rails, of course. The Mark of Cain has made Dean a bloodthirsty savage. He shredded the body of a girl who used to be one of Henry Winchester’s best friends. Yes, at this point it’s almost impossible to separate the demon from the vessel. But the horror conveyed in Sam’s reaction spoke volumes about how twisted Dean has become under the Mark’s influence. The writers will find some way to rid Dean of the Mark by season’s end I’m sure. Before then, will this creeping cancer lead to Dean sacrificing his brother to kill Metatron or Gadreel? Not intentionally, of course. But this hour demonstrated that Dean looks at Sam as the one who will “screw things up” when it’s time to face the major villains. If the First Blade tells him to, will Dean force his brother to sit on the sidelines in the showdown against Metatron? We all know Sam won’t take well to that.

Another week, another female character on the show bites the dust. It’s probably best you stay in Oz, Charlie. Things are about to get messy and we don’t need any more fine females biting the dust.

Line of the week

“Dean. Dean! You can stop.” – Sam

Next week on Supernatural

Castiel’s army goes full Belieber.