Supernatural: Soul Survivor
October 22, 2014 9:46 PM - Season 10, Episode 3 - Subscribe

Dean is a demon. To attempt a cure, Sam shoots him up with human blood. Cas and Hannah drive to a convenience store in the middle of nowhere. Crowley wades through red tape in Hell.
posted by rue72 (14 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Kind of disappointed with this episode. All that Dean is a Demon potential and no payoff. Hell looks positively boring. And it was literally a "running through hallways to kill time cheaply" episode.

I fear we're going to have another season 8 on our hands (very cheap, very boring.) I'll keep watching but even the end teaser was kind of like huh, don't even really care who that is. . .
posted by [insert clever name here] at 9:41 AM on October 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

That was the first thing I noticed, too -- how cheap everything looked. Very few locations, very few roles, etc. I don't understand why they have like $5 left to spend, this was apparently the first episode of the season they even filmed.

Anyway, I hated this episode. The nail on the coffin for me, was when Dean randomly up and walked out of the cuffs and the devil's trap. YET after Cas ended the stupid stalk/fight by hugging Dean from behind and telling him to stop struggling (sigh) they just threw him back in the same old cuffs and devil's trap. GUYS HE JUST UP AND WALKS OUT OF THOSE. I dunno, the whole episode was like that, just made zero sense, it's like they didn't bother to plot it out at all.

My main question is whether Dean was faking it at the end. Back before he became a demon and he was already doing stuff like pinning people against the wall and screaming "look at me, bitch!" as he sawed off their heads. Even if he's (ostensibly) cured, why would he looking all butter-wouldn't-melt-in-his-mouth? He's still go the Mark of Cain and he's still himself. Plus, I've seen enough horror movies to know that you don't just kill the villain once, so I'm already going to be suspicious. Anyway, I'm wondering if he's just faking it, and managed to just play through the pain when Sam threw holy water on him (and when he walked out of the devil's trap AGAIN). On the other hand, the holy water didn't smoke, and this episode clearly wasn't trying to be ~layered and complex~ so I'm probably just overthinking, per usual.
posted by rue72 at 10:02 AM on October 23, 2014

I am of the idea that either Demon Dean is the best thing ever or a joke that could very quickly get old fast. I am like rue72, I'm having a hard time believing that the demon aspect is just one and done. I have to believe, since he has the Mark, that it's going to be an ongoing struggle which, hopefully, for once in a freakin' season, will not end up being a secret that one Winchester hides from the other. PLEASE.

My biggest complaint might have been the Crowley saving Castiel bit. It's still an on going issue, but it's as if the writers thought, "Let's address this later!"

I did find it kind of amusing that there's an OccupyHell movement, or rather, that a demon loves being a demon and what hell stands for so much, he burns himself in protest. Also, "I can be your wingman...."

As for putting Dean back in the chair, I want to say his wrists were bound more securely the second time. Why that chair in the circle? I can only figure that the space is just convenient.

In the end, I just want Sam and Dean back to Season 2 Sam and Dean. Nothing between them, just two brothers on a crusade.
posted by Atreides at 2:39 PM on October 23, 2014 [3 favorites]

What would be awesome is if Castiel's stolen grace was corruptingn him too and eventually he and Dean skip off into the sunset, black eyed besties, while Sam and Crowley get drunk.
posted by viggorlijah at 6:07 PM on October 23, 2014 [6 favorites]

once in a freakin' season, will not end up being a secret that one Winchester hides from the other. PLEASE.

Hahahaha. You *know* that hope is going to be dashed, just accept it already. Though I guess this past season was an improvement w/r/t the secret keeping, since at least Demon!Dean did leave that difficult-to-parse-due-to-ambiguous-punctuation note, "Sammy let me go." Personally, I like to believe that leaving out the comma was purposeful, and that the note was meant as a really subtle guilt trip, Demon!Dean passive-aggressively indicting Sam for the loss of his own humanity. Because why not.

My biggest complaint might have been the Crowley saving Castiel bit. It's still an on going issue, but it's as if the writers thought, "Let's address this later!"

This also gives me some hope that the demon thing isn't done. The stories of Cas being a grace-sucking-vampire and Dean being a demon seem pretty closely paralleled, and Cas's story obviously only got put on ice. So I'm hopeful that Dean's was only put on ice, too.

Plus, it makes no sense to skip through the demon storyline super fast, but at the same time drag out the Mark of Cain storyline forever, since the demon and MoC storylines are so closely connected. I mean, if the demon thing is now actually no big deal, because a couple syringes of O-negative will cure the problem in a day, then that sure de-fangs the MoC.

Tbh, I think it's a waste if they don't make Dean the Big Bad of the season. Even if the demon thing is actually over, in a show about two brothers, I don't really know what rando Big Bad could upstage a Cain-and-Abel/MoC storyline. But this show is oddly terrible at Big Bads (remember when Cas was evil!god?) so who knows. But they can at least do better than making Dean a MotW like he was in this episode, that's some serious lack of payoff.

Anyway, I think they're probably doing a Halloween episode this coming week, because if any show should do a Halloween special it's this one, and then I read elsewhere that they're doing a special ~extravaganza~ for the 200th episode the week after. I think (or maybe just hope) they're probably putting the bigger/longer stories of the season on hold at least through then.

I did find it kind of amusing that there's an OccupyHell movement, or rather, that a demon loves being a demon and what hell stands for so much, he burns himself in protest.

Do you guys know how Hell is even set up? I can never understand what's even going on down there. I also have no idea what a political uprising would even mean. It's ridiculous anyway that they have a "monarchy." Honestly, heaven on this show seems way worse than hell ever has. Locked alone for eternity in what began as your happiest memories but which slowly become your prison? *Shudder*

But yeah, I couldn't even understand what the guy was doing when he immolated himself. OccupyHell, that makes some sense. Heh.
posted by rue72 at 8:33 PM on October 23, 2014 [3 favorites]

I am hoping they've scrapped the Winchester drama for some good old time monster hunting.

We're all supposed to forget the Dean-demon just like Dean did. (And like we all got past the naughty time when Sam had no soul.)

Crowley saved Cas because Crowley's long game is to replace god. Having an angel in his pocket is part of that.

In my head, at least.

God, who is just "gone," will appear and be played by a heavily bearded Andrew Garfield riding a piebald Auroch.

Again, this is more of what I am hoping for than a studied analysis of what the season likely holds.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 12:14 PM on October 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

(And like we all got past the naughty time when Sam had no soul.)

Wait, what? How did he get that back... or did he just become an atheist?
posted by sammyo at 4:02 PM on October 24, 2014

They summon up Death and have him grab the soul out of Lucifer's prison and put it back in Sam with a memory block. Season 6, episode 11.
posted by squinty at 9:50 PM on October 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

I am hoping they've scrapped the Winchester drama for some good old time monster hunting.

The one thing I dug about this episode is that it got the show to the point where there can be a one-off. Dean is human again (?), Sam isn't overly concerned about his brother, and Cas is powered up for now.

I need me a monster of the week episode.
posted by brundlefly at 3:46 AM on October 25, 2014 [3 favorites]

Yeah, I agree. MoTW episode is much needed because the mythology is a LEETLE weighty right now.

Make me happy again, show.
posted by Kitteh at 12:56 PM on October 25, 2014 [3 favorites]

Yes, I had just been thinking how much I was missing a good MotW episode also, and was pretty happy to see that next week should provide. However, I was pretty irritated when they started in with the flashbacks and it still was not explained what the hell Sam did to destroy his arm—although I found the sight of him clumsily hiding in the bushes from the crossroads demon with his huge arm sling amusing.
posted by obloquy at 12:40 AM on October 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


Crowley: [to the angel who was trying to kill Castiel and Hannah, and whom he's stabbing] Why can't you people just sit on clouds and play harps, like you're supposed to?

Castiel: Dean, you two have been through so much. Look, you're brothers. It'd take a lot more than trying to kill Sam with a hammer to make him want to walk away.
Dean: You realize how screwed up our lives are that that even makes sense.

Castiel: You realize -- one problem is solved, but one still remains. Dean is no longer a demon. That's true. But the Mark of Cain -- that, he still has, and sooner or later, that's going to be an issue.
Sam: You know what, Cass? I'm beat, man. One battle at a time, you know? So I'm just gonna grab my brother some cholesterol. And then I'm gonna get drunk.

Dean: Sammy. You know I hate shots.
Sam: I hate demons.

Hannah: How are you holding up?
Castiel: Fine.
Hannah: You say you're fine, but you don't look fine.
Castiel: It's what the humans do. They say they're fine, and even if I don't look it, you say I look well, and in that way, we avoid talking about something we can do nothing about.

Crowley: [to the demon on trial in Hell] You're guilty of... something, which I won't tolerate, whatever it was.

Hannah: Your preference to die for your principles; it's very noble, but it is meaningless.
Castiel: Then you carry on.
Hannah: I'm not enough.
Castiel: Sometimes, enough is whatever you have.

Sam: What the hell are we doing to him, Cass? I mean, even after I gave him all that blood, he still said he didn't want to be cured, that he didn't want to be human.
Castiel: Well... I see his point. You know, only humans can feel real joy, but... also such profound pain. This is easier.

Demon #3: If you'll forgive my boldness... I could now be your wingman.
Crowley: Could you?
Demon #3: I, too, love to party, and I do love the ladies and the classic rock 'n' roll. Most importantly, I can debauch by your side without being a personal embarrassment. You'll see what I'm worth.
Crowley: Oh, I can see already. [snaps fingers; the demon vapourizes] Anyone else care to comment?


Jared Padalecki joked on Twitter that, during the scene where Sam slaps Dean's face to wake him up, Jared purposely messed the scene up to be able to slap Jensen in the face over and over. Jensen backed him up, saying it took a few takes to figure out what Jared was doing.

In the scenes in Hell's Throne Room, the young demon on Crowley's right handling documents was played by Mark Sheppard's real-life son, Max.

This episode is the fourth episode of Supernatural that Jensen Ackles directed.

The name of the gas station Castiel and Hannah stop at is called "Li'l Levi's". This was a shout-out to Jensen Ackles' nephew.

Though this is the third episode in the season, it was filmed first to allow Jensen Ackles to do the prep for directing the episode without the added stress of acting. He was able to do the prep over the summer and then get the episode out of the way so that he could focus on acting.

In the scene where Castiel and Hannah are stopped on a back road reading the map, a derelict drive-in is seen in the background. That was entirely the creation of the VFX department. The scene was shot on a country road with a green screen background and the drive-in was put in later.

The photos of themselves Sam finds in Dean's room are stills taken on set during the filming of previous seasons.

In the scene where Crowley first appears in his chambers, he is wearing what appears to be a pair of Fluevog shoes which bear the iconic "Angel Soles" (visible at 12:26, just after the camera passes the column). These shoes have the words "Resists alkali, water, acid, fatigue and Satan" engraved on the soles.

The brother and niece of Danneel Ackles (wife of Jensen Ackles), Gino and Valerie, made uncredited appearances in this episode as unnamed demons.

The episode's title is the final track on the Rolling Stones double album, Exile on Main St.

The scene where Demon Dean hacks down the door in the bunker to get at Sam is a homage to the famous "Here's Johnny!" scene in The Shining.

While Sam is administering the blood cure and when Castiel captures Demon Dean, he growls, grunts, and in some cases roars, just as he did in the previous episode when Sam captures him. While the sounds are, of course, human, if you listen carefully you can hear actual animalistic growls, panting, and roaring layered into Jensen's human sounds.

While being held in the bunker, Demon Dean says to Sam about Lester, "You took a guy at his lowest, used him, and it cost him his life *and* his soul." However, in the previous episode, Crowley told Dean that he couldn't collect Lester's soul because Dean didn't kill Lester's wife.

Now that Castiel is up to full power (albeit with borrowed grace), he could easily mend Sam's dislocated shoulder, but doesn't as his powers don't work on real life injuries, only staged ones.

When Sam goes into Dean's room, there is a partially eaten piece of pie on a side table. Months have elapsed in the show's timeline since Dean was turned into a demon and left the bunker, so the remaining bit of pie should, at best, have been moldy.

While curing Dean, Sam never performs the final step of the cure (the incantation and holding his cut hand over the demon's mouth) yet he is apparently cured anyway, as evidenced by holy water having no effect on him.
posted by orange swan at 6:16 AM on November 28, 2021

Really poor stage management on Sam's part to let Lester make a deal so quickly. Sam should have told Lester to negotiate, make sure he knew all the details etc., in order to give Sam time to interrupt.

Unlike the some of the commenters above, I liked the cat and mouse game of Demon Dean trying to find Sam, a partially disabled Sam trying to avoid Demon Dean, and the moment of horror when Sam realizes he can't kill his brother but Dean is more than ready to kill Sam. Some good tension there.

But I do agree with the commenters above that it makes no sense that Dean would be put back in the chair and tied up the same way when he managed to walk out of the bindings/trap the first time. Surely Castiel would have had to pin him down in some way.
posted by orange swan at 6:23 AM on November 28, 2021

Being a demon marked by the curse of a fallen archangel is really not the same as being soulless, but Dean being a demon and Sam being soulless brought out their personalities in different ways. Dean isn’t really a rage ball, but he’s mean and it feels personal and, together with his hot girl summer with Crowley, there’s a lot of id vortex happening there. Sam when he was soulless definitely had a nastiness to him, but somewhere JP described Soulless as being like a tiger in that he doesn’t like you or dislike you, he’s busy trying to figure out how to eat you. Neither of those are what I'd consider their worst or most destructive tendencies while in their right minds, but I don't think the reactions are interchangeable, either.

This isn’t much of a spoiler, but even though there’s no real tension for the audience that Dean will kill Sam and I can understand finding it boring and not a great episode, it holds up for me that hunting each other through the bunker like that is so frightening for Sam he’ll have nightmares about it years later.
posted by jameaterblues at 7:01 PM on November 30, 2021

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