caranfindel (caranfindel) wrote,

10.18 Initial reaction: There's coincidence, and then there's just providence



But wait. I'm getting ahead of myself.

The "Then" reminds us that angels fell from Heaven, Cas has Metatron's grace, Sam shot Metatron and we all cheered, Charlie is looking for a book, the MOC never lets its host die easily, the MOC is just a curse, and Sam's going to find a cure.

We open with Charlie, hiding from a guy who has a cool compass-like device and Benny Lafitte's accent. He wants the book she has, he's been following her a long time, he has a distinctive tattoo, and he's a bad shot. Next!

Cut to Cas and Metatron in the car and of course Metatron likes "Ironic," one of the worst songs ever written. But at least he recognizes that none of the examples of so-called irony in that song are actually ironic, so I've gotta give him props for that. But that's all he gets props for, because human Metatron is as much of a douche as angel Metatron, and very talkative about music and feelings and goosebumps, which are "Creepy. And yet, arousing." Speaking of arousing, here's Sam! There's a very cute phone bit where Cas discusses how much he'd like to kill Metatron right now, and Metatron's all "I'm right here! I can hear you!" but the real point of this phone call is apparently to remind us that Sam's still looking for a cure for the MOC.

Sam quickly gets off the phone when Dean comes in, pretending Cas was a wrong number, and why? Why does he have to lie about talking to Cas? Is it just to highlight the interesting thing that happens next, which is that Dean tells the truth? Is it (drumroll) foreshadowing? (spoiler alert: !!!) Dean does tell the truth - he tells Sam that the MOC is a curse, that he got that info from Crowley, that Rowena is Crowley's mom, and she tried to kill him. And that he's sorry, he should have told Sam about that. (I think this exposition of Dean's is one of the signs of the apocalypse, isn't it?) Sam's freaked out to learn that the MOC is actually a curse, and I'm not sure why. I mean, in their experience, a curse is generally something that can be undone, right?

Sadly, this noteworthy conversation might be a little hard to follow because the boys themselves are pretty damn distracting. I mean, what the hell is Dean wearing? A hoodie and sweatpants? I kind of love it. And one of my favorite expressions on Sam is "befuddled," and he's full of it here. It's insanely adorable.

They're interrupted by a call from Charlie, who found the Book of the Damned, a spellbook for doing or undoing any kind of damnation. Hey, that could be helpful. They send her to one of a series of cabins Bobby apparently set up for hunters, and start packing everything they'll need from the bunker (including a handy warded, lead-lined box) in preparation to meet her there.

I'm going to deal with each storyline individually instead of going back and forth.

A very annoyed Cas watches a handcuffed Metatron plow through a pile of waffles garnished in TFW's red, white, and blue colors (significant or coincidence?) and it turns out Metatron loves food ("O. M. Me!" hee!!!) but haven't we seen him eat before? Didn't he eat at a restaurant with Cas in S8? Metatron claims to be fascinated by everything involved in being human, including digestion ("sorcery!"), and attempts to bond with Cas over this shared experience, but Cas is having none of it. Why? Because he stole Castiel's grace and used it to expell the angels from heaven? No; it's because he killed Dean. ("Dean is fine, mostly. Can't you get past that?") Cas has figured out that Metatron is stalling, and speaking of stalls, the sorcery of digestion has done its work and Metatron needs to go to the bathroom. On their way there they pass Ponytail Trucker Angel, who my husband thought was Bobby, and he checks on the angel blade in his jacket so we know he's up to no good.

As they leave the diner, and Metatron apologizes for being lactose-intolerant ("Let's never speak of it again"), they're accosted by Ponytail Trucker Angel, who my husband now thinks is Benny, but he's actually an angry, angry Cupid bent on revenge. Angry Ponytail Trucker Cupid is about to stab Cas when Metatron gets him in the back, but Cas insists that saving him doesn't change anything.

They make it to a library, where Cas can feel his grace but can't find it. Cas is still having none of Metatron's shit, squeezing his injured leg until Metatron tells him another angel hid it, and the clues are hidden in Metatron's favorite books. He holds up his hands so Cas can uncuff him, and of course Cas won't do it, because Metatron can't be trusted. Because Metatron can look through books even while he's handcuffed. Because Cas didn't even uncuff him so he could go to the bathroom. So no, of course Cas isn't going to take his cuffs off.

Son of a bitch.

An uncuffed Metatron finds the first clue: "What is the maddest thing a man can do?" Metatron doesn't know, but he says the answer to that riddle will lead to another book, and that's where they'll find Castiel's grace. They search through the stacks separately, and Metatron says they make a good team, "Kind of like a buddy comedy without the comedy." "Or the buddies," adds Cas. Hee! Metatron's still trying to bond over shared experiences, like killing Angry Ponytail Trucker Cupid together, which Cas finds appalling. Metatron mocks Cas's use of "brothers and sisters" and his current gig that seems to be roaming the earth and killing rogue angels. "The angel formerly known as Hannah" has restored order, and Cas isn't needed in Heaven, so what's he going to do when he does get his grace? (And why is she "the angel formerly known as Hannah?" Why isn't she just Hannah?) Of course, while he was mocking Castiel's lack of a mission, Metatron's been using the blood from his bullet wound to inscribe sigils on a row of books, and he could have done that even with handcuffs on, so I guess my indignation is unfounded, but still. When the sigils take effect and Cas is struggling on the floor, Metatron leans over him and says "Isn't it ironic, don't you think?" And he's a douche and I hate that song but lord, I love that he quoted it. :-D

Metatron finds his next riddle, "What two things do you need to succeed in life?" (ignorance and confidence?) and discovers the demon tablet in a book and honestly, I had forgotten the damn thing was missing. But Cas, thanks to Metatron having pumped him full of cultural references, realizes that the clues are quotes, and finds his grace inside a copy of Don Quixote. And if "What is the maddest thing a man can do?" is a quote from Don Quixote, or a well-known quote from anything, I'm unaware of it, and so is the internet. But according to Cas, the answer to that question is "Let himself die." He takes in his grace and the library explodes into chaos and then we see his broken, tattered wings. (I wonder if Cas will become the only angel who has wings, since his didn't burn off in the Fall? Or is losing your wings a consequence of getting booted out of Heaven?)

Meanwhile, in the car, Dean is in a great mood (and thank you, Sam for turning that song off, because I've always hated it), excited about the possibility of losing the Mark, even planning to take a vacation if it works. So, if we didn't already know, all of his talk about giving up and learning to deal with the Mark is utter crap. He wants it gone. But we did already know. Sam gives up his cheerleader role (because Dean needs no cheering at this point) and is a little guarded, pointing out that they can't even read the Book of the Damned, but Dean's enthusiasm can't be contained. And how cute is enthusiastic Dean? (Answer: very.)

Sam and Dean arrive at the cabin and Charlie explains that the book was written by a nun, in her own blood, on slices of her own skin. Eeew. And it talks to Dean. Hmm. Dean wisely decides he shouldn't handle it - another interesting development, since Dean is usually Mr. I-Can-Handle-It, and it's almost like he's making good, responsible choices in this episode purely as a contrast to someone else who might make bad choices. But what do I know.

Dean looks for info on the bad guy's tattoo while Sam attempts to translate the book, and Charlie determines that it's written in code, so even when they translate the words, they won't know what it means. It's still giving Dean the heebie jeebies, and when Sam notices, he locks the book back in the box without saying anything about it or calling attention to Dean's issues, because he's just that awesome. And I guess it's a good thing the book is locked up, because the guy with the tattoo and Benny's accent has turned up at Charlie's last location, and his book detector knows it was there but can't find it now. You know what? I like this guy. Why couldn't he get a spinoff?

Sam and Charlie aren't having any luck, but Dean is - he figured out that the guy with Benny's accent is part of the Stein family, a multigenerational group of evildoers whose spells came from this "book of unspeakable evil." And any spell done from the book comes with a negative reaction of Biblical proportions. And the book wants Dean to use it, so he's convinced it needs to be destroyed. Sam freaks out and says he can't just sit around waiting until Dean becomes a demon again, so if there's anything they can do to lose the MOC, they need to go ahead and do it, and deal with the consequences later. They have this uncomfortable conversation:

"I can't lose you."
"Yeah, really."
"You change your mind on that? Cause that's not what you said last time."
"Oh come on you know I didn't mean - "

And I'm kind of glad Dean interrupted Sam at that point, because what I wanted him to say is "you know I didn't mean I wouldn't save you; you know I said under the same circumstances, and these aren't the same circumstances," and I know they weren't going to have him say that. What the writers would probably have him say is "you know I didn't mean that, I was just angry." And I'm just not going to talk about that any more. Let's move on.

Dean goes for an angry drive to pick up snacks, leaving Sam and Charlie to discuss that uncomfortable conversation. Sam explains that they had a chance to close the gates of Hell, and he would have had to die, and he was okay with that, and is okay with that, and he's just so calm and rational about it, like it's no big deal, like he's saying "I would have had to go to Walmart" or "I would have had to cut my hair," and oh, Sammy. You break my heart.

This is Sam calmly explaining that he's okay with dying in order to accomplish something important. {picks him up and hugs him}

Charlie boils it down to "He saved you. And let me guess. In doing so, he did something you didn't want, and that pissed you off, and you said something that hurt him." And yeah, I guess that's it in a nutshell, although one could quibble over whether "said something that hurt him" means "told him something cruel that you didn't mean" or "told him a truth that he didn't want to accept and/or misinterpreted." Let's move on.

Wait, I can't move on. Because there's got to be a reason they're bringing it up now. It's some kind of foreshadowing, and I don't know who's going to be in the Sam role this time and who's going to be in the Dean role, but it's going to be ugly. And I like it. :-D

Once again, someone gets to have a fireside chat with Sam, and it's not me. Charlie talks about how hunting is becoming her life, and Sam explains how it did become his life, how one more job and one more job ended up being a lifetime (and we get another Princess Bride reference when Charlie calls Sam the "Dread Pirate Roberts of hunting" \o/), and Sam says he really understands now that this is his life, and he loves it, and what? When did you start loving this life, Sam? And didn't you give up on any other kind of life a long time ago? Why act like this is a recent revelation? Anyway, he doesn't want to do it without his brother. And he tears up and does some things with his tongue and oh, Sam.

Meanwhile, Dean shows up at the same convenience store where Charlie made her phone call, and where the guy with Benny's accent (who I guess I can call Stein now) has just murdered the clerk. Thank God this isn't a Gas N Sip, or I'd be worred it was Mickey. Stein pretends to be the clerk, but he's not very convincing, since he's wearing a tie and an overcoat and he doesn't ring up any of Dean's purchases, just gives him an amount. But Dean doesn't catch on until he notices Stein's tattoo, and then sees the body of the clerk in the overhead mirror. Even though those mirrors are positioned so the clerk can see the customers, not the other way around. But whatever. I'm going to forgive anything ridiculous about this scene because of what was oh so right, and that's Dean and Stein. Dean pulls his gun on Stein, but one of the henchmen (the other Steins? the Steinettes?) grabs him from behind. And I love the way Dean just kind of ignores the fact that he's been pinned by this guy, and carries on being snarky. And looks damn good doing it.

Stein's friends call him Jacob. Dean's not his friend, but I like this guy more and more every time I see him, so I'm going to call him Jacob. My new friend Jacob deduces that Dean is buying snacks for Charlie, and that they've hidden the book in something lined with lead so he can't find it. But for a man bearing the MOC to come into the store... "there's coincidence, and then there's just providence." The Book of the Damned, like the One Ring, wants to be found, and apparently it worked with the MOC to bring Dean to that very store. Jacob confirms that the book can remove the MOC, but it will do more harm than good, so Dean should just hand it over. And Dean does an awesome little move where he mutters something, and Jacob comes closer to hear him, and then Dean elbows or kicks or headbutts both Jacob and the Steinette holding him, and ends up on the floor grabbing his gun and shooting at the Steinette, who takes a LOT of bullets before he goes down, with Dean crawling backwards while shooting, and yep, that's kinda cool, I gotta say. Afterward, Dean discovers Jacob is gone and his phone is broken, and these boys should start using some Otterbox cases. Or maybe old Nokia phones. Those damn things are practically bulletproof.

Because there is no phone in the convenience store, or anywhere around it (apparently the phone booth Charlie used yesterday has disappeared), or on either of the bodies, Dean drives back to the cabin to warn Sam and Charlie about Jacob. And it must take a long time, because it's broad daylight when he leaves the convenience store, but it's dark when he gets to the cabin. Maybe he drove around for a long time looking for a phone.

Oh, that's right. I forgot, I'm forgiving anything ridiculous. Because of this.


Dean gets back to the cabin and pours holy water on the fire, which really doesn't make sense to me, until I rewind and see that Sam said holy oil, not holy water. Okay then. Dean insists they have to destroy the Book of the Damned because it's evil and it's calling him (and let's face it, it's also a biohazard). As the Steinettes break into the cabin, he shoves the lead-lined box at Sam and instructs him to burn the book. Sam is obviously conflicted, because they have confirmation that the book can take care of the MOC, but while Dean and Charlie fight off the Steinettes, he takes it out of the box and throws it into the fireplace just as Jacob Stein walks in. Jacob grabs Sam by the throat (hey, that's unusual) but Sam stabs him and, well, dammit. There goes Jacob Stein. And the Book of the Damned, as everyone sadly watches the wrapped book burn.

Back to the bunker, where Cas frets about Metatron's escape and Sam tries to make him feel better. Cas tells Sam he did the right thing by destroying the book, and then Charlie shows up and I had forgotten she hasn't met Cas yet. They're precious together. Cas can't heal Dean, but he does heal her carpal tunnel syndrome and her bullet wound. Cas lies to Dean about how he got his grace back, because that's what we're doing today, and as "Behind Blue Eyes" starts to play, we (or at least I) think it's going to be about Cas. Because, you know, blue eyes. But instead, the bad man and the sad man are Sam, as he sits in the kitchen and drinks beer and eats pizza and watches Dean's (forced?) jocularity and pretends everything is okay.

No one knows what it's like to be fated to telling only lies. Oh, but Sam does. Because now we see what really happened in the cabin. While Dean and Charlie were fighting the Steinettes, Sam replaced the Book of the Damned with a different book, and that's the one he threw into the fire. And Jacob Stein knew it, and told Sam that his family would never stop looking for the book. (Please, can one of them be Jacob's twin brother?) But my dreams they aren't as empty as my conscience seems to be. And Sam's conscience... well, it's probably not in good shape right now, since he's making a deal with Rowena to help rid Dean of the Mark.


God. Such a great song, such a great use of it.


So, it looks like Sam's being positioned to pull a Dean Winchester - to do something his brother finds abhorrent in order to save his life. And I love it.

As always, I'm unspoiled, including the previews. Please help me stay that way, thanks!

Tags: 10.18 book of the damned, initial reaction, season 10, supernatural
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