Supernatural: Black
October 8, 2014 8:49 PM - Season 10, Episode 1 - Subscribe

Sam searches high and low for the newly demonic Dean, who is having a grand old time, singing karaoke with best friend Crowley. Meanwhile, an ailing Castiel is asked by Hannah to help her "convince" two fallen angels to return to Heaven
posted by brundlefly (18 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I was very bored with this episode. Sam looks worried, Demon-Dean drinks, sings badly, has sex. Crowley looks annoyed. Some gratuitous fight scenes, and the rehashed Angel vs Angel story.

My hopes for this season are dwindling fast.
posted by royalsong at 6:56 AM on October 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

I wandered off during the Angel scenes because they were so boring. Even Dean doing karaoke was dull. Maybe it's a grand meta-stylistic choice about the deadening of souls by evil or uh....
posted by viggorlijah at 7:38 AM on October 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

I got bored halfway through and watched Bones instead. I think that sums up how terrible this show has become.
posted by fshgrl at 9:44 AM on October 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I found it pretty boring as well. A string of vaguely related events with no real narrative drive. It felt more like a filler episode from halfway through a season than it did a big deal season premiere.

There was one thing I did find interesting. For most of the episode, Demon Dean is just barely different from Vanilla Dean. His bad qualities (his alcoholism, his temper, his womanizing) are just slightly heightened versions of the way he normally is. That is until the end, when he shrugs off the idea of Sam being killed. All of that low key setup sort of pays off when it was revealed just how far gone he is.

But again, boring. I actually liked quite a bit of last season, even if it was infuriating in a lot of ways. I'll keep on with the show for now and hope it improves.
posted by brundlefly at 10:41 AM on October 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

I don't understand the Demon!Dean thing. He just seemed like regular Dean, but actually more chilled out than usual? Who is the demon inside of him? Or did Dean's soul become a demon even though he's not dead, so he's possessing his own body, but as a demon? So confused.

I liked seeing Castiel limping around, but I actually wish they had made him more pathetic. More vomiting plz. I want them to go full throttle "tragic consumptive beauty" with him.

Crawley's characterization was sort of interesting. He's basically a human now? He and Sam are basically going to become the same person, just trading off which one is partnered with Dean? That would be fun. Maybe there'll be a scene where they show up wearing the same terrible faux FBI suit or jinx each other by saying the same thing at the same time, and get all flustered by it.

I also think it's funny that Sam, Crawley, and Castiel are apparently all competing for Dean's affections, even though Dean is maybe dead and definitely way too violent.

The highlight of the episode, for me, was that woman who Dean was hooking up who worked at the bar. She was pretty insightful and multifaceted, for a SPN character in general and for a SPN *female* character for sure.
posted by rue72 at 10:48 AM on October 9, 2014 [4 favorites]

Or did Dean's soul become a demon even though he's not dead, so he's possessing his own body, but as a demon?

Yeah, I think that's the deal, and Crowley is more human because of his human blood addiction, so he's pretty much just Mini-Moose now.

I concur with the general meh reaction. Seemed anticlimactic after the big season ender build-up. The Sups have given me many good times and profound feels in ages past, so I'll probably stick with it at least halfheartedly, but it becomes ever more apparent that they really should have put this thing to bed after Season 5's "Swan Song" (except for "The French Mistake").
posted by FelliniBlank at 12:25 PM on October 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

There was plenty in this episode that wasn't great--I'm not going to argue with previous posters. BUT. I was cackling at most of Crowley's dialogue.

"You were a demon, I was a demon...c'mon, we've all been demons!"

"He's my best friend, my partner in crime. They'll write songs about us, graphic novels -- The Misadventures of Crowley and Squirrel. Dean Winchester completes me, and that's what makes you lose your chickens."

"Your brother and I were beginning to wonder if you'd hit another dog."

"Who do you think you are talking to here? Does the Tin Man have a sheet metal willy? Of course I lied."

"We've howled, we've bayed, we-we've done extraordinary things to triplets all of which have been massively entertaining, I will treasure our Flickr albums forever. But now it's time we accept what we are and go back to work."

Crowley: "Jerk."
Dean: "Bitch."

But yeah---aside from some snappy dialogue, there was a lot that left me underwhelmed. The entire angel subplot bored me to tears. It seems hard to believe that Dean was that hard for Sam to find. And all of the things that were supposed to be compelling about Deanmon...well, they weren't. Bad karaoke? I guess that's new, but it wasn't worth watching. And most of Dean's hanging out in bars and hooking up with chicks has been off camera, but we've been led to believe this isn't exactly out of character for him, even at his best.

I actually thought the past couple seasons have been pretty strong compared to everything post-Swan Song. But this season opener does not make me hopeful that we're going to continue that trend.
posted by terilou at 3:26 PM on October 10, 2014 [3 favorites]

Crowley: "Jerk."
Dean: "Bitch."

That alone really was worth the price of admission. The most pathetic bit: just after Sam's conversation with Crowley on the dead Abbadon-follower's burner phone when he smirks and we see that the whole time he was TRACING Crowley's LOCATION with an APP like a SCIENCE GENIUS who just invented flying cars and jetpacks on the same day.
posted by FelliniBlank at 12:24 PM on October 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

Honestly, couldn't Sam have just called Crawley or Dean and asked where they were? Why would they even care if Sam knows or not? It's not like if Sam finds out their location they're in SERIOUS DANGER or whatever, Sam can't actually do anything much either way. I admit I wasn't watching super closely, though, so maybe there's an actual reason for them to be in hiding from him?

I also have my doubts that Sam would even consider this a crisis rather than a phase, since he also used to be "addicted" to demon blood and has worked with demons and even had a serious LTR with one before. Like, you'd think he would just put turning into a demon into the category of "self-destructive but what can ya do except wait it out."

The Mark of Cain thing seems like it would be more worrying, (for one, who the hell kills people with a huge ancient jawbone-with-teeth knife? that seems like a pretty big change of character for Dean especially, because he's such a gun nut) but that's been going on for a long time now.

Kind of funny that, aside from now using a knife instead of a gun as his go-to weapon, apparently the ONLY life change that Dean has made upon becoming a demon is that he no longer hangs out with his bff, Sam. Instead, he hangs out with his new bff, Crawley, as Crawley tries his best to be Sam 2.0. Things like that keep the show charming for me. It makes me laugh that the most essential aspect of Dean's personality is apparently his bone-deep hatred of change.
posted by rue72 at 1:26 PM on October 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

Re-watched this episode earlier while trying to do some other work, and just realized:

Did Dean not go back for Sam when he got the ransom call because of the "promise" he'd made way earlier having to do with apologizing/not-apologizing to Sam for allowing Gadreel to possess him? That's what he was referring to when he said (bitterly) that he's "a man of his word"?

Also, Dean was clearly aware of what the Mark of Cain was causing him to become before he died, and even told Sam that he was OK with dying because he was scared of the alternative -- so I wonder what changes in himself he's aware of and what his plan (or even his goal) is now? Dean *always* has a plan, he's even usually the one trying to make plans for what *everyone* should be doing (if he weren't a demon right now, you know he'd be busy bossing Cas around to within an inch of his already-short life), so I assume he does have one. No idea what it is, though? Or what it even could be? I'm thinking about the "man of his word" thing and wondering what other promises he's made that he'd be trying to keep right now.

I also am still wondering about how he became a demon or what that even means. Was it that his humanity was already getting burned away in general, just from all the horrible stuff that he was doing and witnessing in his regular life, and then when he died, his soul sort of POOF-ed into a demon!soul? I figured his soul stayed tied to his body even after he died because of the Mark wanting its host-body to stay animated -- but he turned into a demon because he died, right? Or did the Mark make him a demon, too?

Also, I'm still really unclear (which I guess we're all supposed to be at this point, but am still curious) what the difference is between Human!Dean and Demon!Dean in the first place. For the most part, he seems pretty much like he did when he was a human and was feeling the rage-inducing effects of the Mark, doesn't he? It was even actually in character that, when the waitress he was dating called him out on getting way too violent in that fight with her ex, he called her a skank and turned so cold that she started crying. That's a side to the character that has long put me off (will never forget when he ruthlessly stabbed the Whore of Babylon to death while screaming "whore" in her face). And that was one of the two most hateful things I think he did in this episode (the other one was just being like F-you to Sam's kidnapper, but I guess in his head he thought he was keeping his word not to interfere with Sam and keep him alive longer than he'd want).

Is he maybe pissed also because Sam did let him die when Metatron stabbed him in the heart, and what brought him back was Crawley/the Mark? Even though at the time, he told Sam that it was for the best? Or maybe he's pissed because Sam is "letting" the demon inside him keep him "alive" now, after Sam made such a fuss over Dean letting Gadreel possess him in order to keep him alive? Like, now the shoe's on the other foot, but Sam isn't doing what he'd said he'd do, and not keep Dean "alive" at a too-high cost? I dunno.

I get where Sam, Crawley and Castiel's heads are at, but I'm confused about Dean. Well, also sort of Crawley, but I think that the people up-thread are right, that he's just softening up and feeling lonely/angst-y because he's got human blood in him.
posted by rue72 at 4:20 PM on October 12, 2014

I just ... I was worried that the season ten would just be the show limping along in the shadow of it's former glory and the season premier did nothing to dissuade me of that.

I'll still keep watching for now, but the writers have to make it compelling to watch if they expect fans to stick with it. It definitely felt like nothing of any real note happened this episode, which is sucktastic for a season opener.
posted by Faintdreams at 4:13 AM on October 13, 2014

"I won't go as slow on the curves next time..." I just can't stop loving Castiel's character (Collin's dead pans him so well).

I thought the season premier was okay. It wasn't the best, but it definitely was setting up the bowling pins for this season's ten frames of fun.

I had the feeling that we're going to have a little bit of flashback fun through the next few episodes because we had a serious time jump, from when Sam is torturing the demon, demanding it to make the blood call, and then boom, we're into the present. Perhaps I've forgotten something from the season finale, but was Sam's arm hurt? If not, then is it right to assume that we did have a time jump, based in part on how Castiel apologized for Sam's arm when Sam called him for the first time?

Likewise, whatever happened then might be driving Demon Dean.

Demon Dean is definitely a quandary. It was my understanding that the Blade of Cain (or whatever it's called) is responsible for creating Demon Dean, based on whatever power the Mark of Cain possesses over Dean, driving the blood lust we saw last season. Cain, after all, was the first demon, so it makes sense that he was created by his own mark and blade, ergo, it repeats itself on Dean. Let's not forget the wonderful setup of two brothers and the Mark of Cain, one fell out of grace after killing the other, and this instance, Dean has fallen out of grace, granted, not doing what Cain did.

I think what it means to be a demon for Dean is that he's going through a period of watching his humanity slip away (or simply recognizing that it's gone). When he stepped in to pummel the waitress' ex, that was a definite good Dean thing to do, but was it to help her or to feed his own desire to hurt someone? I think it was both, and we know demons can choose to do "good" things as we see them in this show. It's a crucial lack of indifference toward caring, when they choose, that sets them apart. With the exception of supernatural powers, there are definitely people alive today who probably don't act or think differently than a demon, for example.

The "demon" quality of demons can also be corrupted, exhibit A- Crawley. He's never been normal since they began injecting human blood into him. How pure is Dean's demon state then? Another lingering question. We got to watch Dean drink, sing, drink, sink and so on, and he wasn't drinking just to enjoy himself, it appeared as if he was attempting to drown something within him. It was bad enough for the waitress to cut him off. I think there's a definite struggle inside Dean to be demonic and to remain human.

We know you can "purify" a demon soul, though, and it's my assumption that is Sam's plan for Dean. Demon Dean doesn't care to be cured, though? His identity isn't wrapped up in being a demon, I'd wager, like Crawley's.

The Angel storyline. I didn't mind it, as it's just the fall out from everything that's happened. It's interesting to see Castiel's companion complain that angels can't have independent thought or freedom, because that's how Megatron and every other terrible angel tyrant has been created. Incidentally, I think the argument is more likely the opposite. Castiel's slowly dying, so the return of grace is going to be a major storyline for him. He is not the same angel who will take the grace of another by force. The chaos in Heaven continues to highlight an issue for angels that has been around for a while, the absence of God. We have Hell. We have Heaven. We do not have God, and it was Castiel's hubris to become God that caused some of the first fracturing in Heaven. Could Castiel's humility and new approach to Heaven result in the return of God? (It's a heavy thing and I'm not sure how the writers could appropriately address God in this context short of a Alanis Morissette cameo).

The problem with the premier is that a lot happened in the finale and the writers want to address the blowback before revving up the engine for the next big thing. I think the further we move away from those events, the more entertaining and interesting the show will be. If I have one complaint is that they still have not moved away from "Good drama means never bringing the brothers together" nonsense. The best Supernatural episodes involved Sam and Dean working together to uncover the mystery of their father and the Yellow Eyed Demon. Beyond that, the writers have gorged on playing the brothers against each other, be it demon blood addiction, lying about this, or lying about that. Now, we have Sam hunting for Dean and Dean not caring to be found... Ugh. JUST BRING THEM TOGETHER.
posted by Atreides at 1:29 PM on October 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

P.S. Dean using the jawbone blade to kill over his gun isn't necessarily out of character. For demon fighting, Dean often relied upon the magical dagger. To kill a demon seems to require either an angel blade, the bone-handled dagger, or the jawbone blade (or a Colt 45).
posted by Atreides at 1:30 PM on October 15, 2014

We got to watch Dean drink, sing, drink, sink and so on, and he wasn't drinking just to enjoy himself, it appeared as if he was attempting to drown something within him.

My not-serious interpretation is that, now that he's a demon, Dean enjoys torturing everyone around him -- by being the most irritating bar patron ever. Every night is karaoke night and it's always Dean's turn! [noooooooooo!]. Every night waitresses have to put up with him being drunk off his ass, belligerent, yet also overly flirtatious! [noooooooooo please stop!].
posted by rue72 at 6:51 PM on October 15, 2014 [3 favorites]


Crowley: [Answering a call he believes to be from one of his demons] You're dead.
Sam: Nope. Just using a dead man's phone.
Crowley: Moose. Took you long enough. Your brother and I were beginning to wonder if you'd hit another dog. You know.

Ann Marie: I wait tables at a roadhouse. I meet the bad guys. I meet the good guys. And maybe for a second there, I thought you were a good guy playing bad, I don't know. It doesn't matter. Maybe you're just...
Dean: The kind of guy who sleeps with every skank in every small-town dive that he passes through? Well, you really do know how to read people, 'cause that sure as hell sounds like me.

Sam: So some guy comes in, kills another guy in your store on your watch, and you just... what? Just keep on keepin' on?
Mickey: You mean when porn guy was stabbing the other guy to death 10 feet in front of me, and I was having a total code-brown moment in my favorite freakin' pants because I thought I was next, did I conduct a field interview? No.

Crowley: [walks in on Dean and Ann Marie] What's going on here?
Dean: What's it look like?
Crowley: In my *bed*?
Dean: What? [looks] Oh, yeah.
Crowley: Jerk.
Dean: Bitch.
Ann Marie: Get a room, you two.
Crowley: Had a room, till you two soiled it.

Hannah: Castiel.
Castiel: Hannah.
Hannah: ...
Castiel: I'm sensing awkwardness. [notices his bathrobe is open; quickly closes it]

Dean: The deal was we howl at the moon. No time stamp, no expiration date.
Crowley: We've howled. We've bayed. We've done extraordinary things to triplets, all of which have been massively entertaining. I will treasure our Flickr albums forever. But now it's time for us to accept what we are and go back to work.

Dean: You lied.
Crowley: Who do you think you're talking to here? Does the tin man have a sheet-metal Willy? Of course I lied.

Sam: My brother is dead, Crowley. I know you have some freaking demon parading around in his meatsuit, and trust me, you are gonna pay for that.
Crowley: Moose. Moose. I'm afraid you haven't allowed yourself to dream quite big enough here. Your brother is very much alive, courtesy of the Mark. And the only demonized soul inside of Dean is his and his alone. Wee bit more twisted, a little more mangled beyond human recognition, but, I can assure you, all his.

Sam: I don't know how you did this, what kind of... black magic stunt you pulled, but hear me: I *will* save my brother or die trying.
Crowley: You know what tickles me about all this? It's what's really eating you up. You don't care that he's a demon. Heck, you've been a demon. We've all been demons. No, it's that he's with me and he's having the time of his life. You can't stand the fact that he's mine.
Sam: He's not your pet!
Crowley: My pet? He's my best friend, my partner in crime. They'll write songs about us, graphic novels -- "The Misadventures of Crowley and Squirrel". Dean Winchester completes me, and that's what makes you lose your chickens.

Sam: When the guy, uh... when... "porn guy" came in, did he say anything?
Mickey: "Where's the porn?"

Sam: I don't what you want or what my brother did, but if you got any sense, I suggest you turn tail and run back to that army recruiting ad that spit you out in the first place. He's a monster.
Cole Trenton: Well, he was. Yeah, he was... Many, many moons ago. But now he's prey. And I'm the monster now.


Sam was given a shoulder injury in the series after Jared Padalecki dislocated his shoulder wrestling with Osric Chau at a convention the previous summer.

At a convention, Mark Sheppard said the only reason Dean was singing "I'm Too Sexy" at karaoke was because the show couldn't get the rights to "All By Myself". He then joked that when there's a song on the show, it's usually the crew's third choice.

Crowley and Dean's exchange of "Jerk, Bitch", is a throwback to Sam and Dean's teasing exchange of the same in the pilot and repeated throughout the earlier seasons.

When Sam talks to the clerk in the gas station, for when he is searching for Dean, the clerk reenacts what Dean was saying by repeating "say my name" over and over. The "say my name" quote is possibly from Breaking Bad when Walter White says "say my name" in the 2012 episode "Say My Name".

When Dean is in bed with the bar waitress his demon-warding tattoo is upside down turning it into a pentagram.

While singing "Imaginary Lover", Dean punches a man who tries to stop him from singing. The lyrics shown on the karaoke screen are those for "I'm Too Sexy" which is what he was singing at the beginning of the episode.
posted by orange swan at 6:57 PM on November 22, 2021

Jensen Ackles really dialed up the douchiness of his character. He spends the entire episode with a smug, punchable, "I don't give a shit" look on his face, and listening to him sing karaoke is torture. I remember finding his cruelty to Ann Marie a jaw dropper on my first watch.

The Gas n' Sip guy was very funny, and Sam's reactions to him were good. Padalecki's at his best comedically when he's the straight man.

Osric Chau and Ty Olsson tell the story of how Jared Padalecki dislocated his shoulder here. Tldl; They were all bored in the green room at a convention, Jared said, "Who wants to wrestle?" and Osric inexplicably took him up on it. (Sure, Osric's probably even better trained than Jared in the martial arts, but he's hopelessly outmatched when it comes to size and strength, and training only counts for so much). My favourite line in the whole thing is Ty's description of how, when Osric jumped on Jared's back during their wrestling match, "He looked like a Hello Kitty backpack." I find that such an evocative description that it gives me the giggles every time I think of it.

Travis Aaron Wade, who plays Cole, seems to be quite an appalling person. There have been many accusations of bad behaviour on his part, so much so that his run on the show only lasted four episodes, he reportedly left the show on bad terms, and he was banned from the convention circuit. There's a rundown of his behaviour here (on Reddit, but the person who wrote it has been good about providing receipts). There are some pretty problematic people on this show, but he seems to be the worst one yet, and he is definitely in my "HOLY SHIT!!!!" category of Supernatural cast members. Not looking forward to his arc, brief as it is.
posted by orange swan at 7:26 PM on November 22, 2021

I could not have had this thought in 2014 but oh this episode is just Dean and Crowley’s Hot Girl Summer.

Sam enjoys hating Crowley so much, just so much. Surely zero percent of that is jealousy that a) Dean has other, non-dead friends and b) oh sure DEAN gets to have a demon friend.

Extremely bold of a demon to invite a distraught Sam Winchester to eat her.

That's interesting, by which I mean fuckn yikes, about Cole/Wade; I always assumed that whole plot fell apart for like, normal Supernatural is a mess reasons. I'll be happy to go back to forgetting his exists.
posted by jameaterblues at 9:43 PM on November 22, 2021

I'm not surprised that Padelecki might be fragile. His type of bodybuilding isn't about overall strength (much less flexibility) but specifically localized bulk and definition. Certain parts of him are too strong for other parts of him to support properly - which aren't as evenly developed as they should be in pursuit of the look.

I'm liking Cained-up Dean being bffs with Crowley much more than I could have imagined.
posted by porpoise at 8:34 PM on November 23, 2021

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