On the D/L – Supernatural
Season 10 Episode 2 – “Reichenbach”
The episode title “Reichenbach” is very appropriate for this episode of Supernatural as the central theme here is that of everyone being pushed to their limits. Dean is being tested by the anger and bloodlust given to him as a result of being branded with the Mark of Cain, Sam desperately wants to get his brother back, Castiel’s fast approaching the end of his stolen grace, Crowley seems to be getting tired of Dean’s insubborination and new character Cole (Travis Aaron Wade) is hell bent on getting revenge for his father who Dean apparently killed.
Jensen Ackles is fantastic as Deanmon in this episode, playing the role as a contrast between passionate and detached. Whenever he gets to fight or kill he’s clearly enjoying the thrill of doing so but couldn’t care less about Sam or anything else that might tie him to his humanity. There’s a great scene where he tells Sam that the Impala is “just a car” which sends a clear message to the audience that Dean is a different man who has lost a fundamental part of himself. It nicely echoes the moment in Black where Dean tells Cole to put a bullet through Sam’s brain if he wants. There’s also a scene where he talks to Sam that drips with apathy from his point of view. It is disappointing that Sam and Dean are together again so soon but the relationship is far from resolved as well as the story of Dean’s transformation into a demon.
Sam is used really well here, initially being punished by Cole for his brother’s apparent crime. Padalecki plays these scenes as strong yet vulnerable, he’s not about to betray his brother to anyone but coming from a position of seeing his own mother murdered he will find it difficult to completely villify Cole for what he’s doing as it could be that only his father’s training prevented Sam from going down a similar path. When Sam escapes Cole there’s lots of desperation in trying to track down Dean which leads him to reluctantly trust Crowley despite the fact that it never ends well for him. Sam is clearly a man who will do anything to save his brother even when he knows the consequences will not be favourable for him.
Castiel’s story is building nicely, being played like a man who has a terminal illness but has accepted his fate. There’s a morbid nature to the way Castiel conducts himself and I really get the impression that he knows the end is near and has given up trying to change it. It’s done really well but there’s no urgency to anything he and Hannah are doing. I don’t really get an impression of how long Cas has left before his grace gives out and the scene between Hanna and Metatron falls a little flat in furthering this plot. It injects a little hope sure but there’s no real weight to it.
I really liked what the episode did with Cole and Wade is really good in this role. Clearly he is a man who is in a lot of pain and has never had any context given to his rage over the years. He has done tours in Iraq to hone his skills for his confontation with Dean who apparently killed his father some 13 years ago. Based on the physical age of Cole in the flashback where we see this happen and his physical age now this timeframe doesn’t seem to marry up all that well. Cole looks too old to have been a young child when this happened but that doesn’t change how good a character he is. I like how angry and driven he is and the look of delight on his face when he finally gets to confront Dean is a nice touch. By the end of the episode he has his world turned upside down when he learns of the existence of demons but one must question how he can be trying to track Dean down for so long without even stumbling across this. If you consider the public news featuring Dean involving his death and the apparent rampage he goes on with Sam during the Leviathan arc then it begs the question of how he could possibly miss this. Aside from that he is a really good character who fits in with the cast really well so I look forward to seeing more of him throughout the season.
Crowley is more used as a plot device in this episode than a character. He seems to exist to push Sam and Dean back together rather than serving his own funtion. Most of his scenes involve him arguing with Dean or trying to manipulate Sam. As good as those scenes are I really wanted the show to spend much more time on Dean and Crowley working as equals and doing evil stuff in general. Once Dean leaves the scene where Crowley looks over photos of them having fun together was strangely touching in a hilariously tragic way but it does seem that Crowley is back to his old tricks. Surely him allowing Sam to catch Dean is all part of his plan.
Some of the more violent moments were well done here. There was a notable sequence that cut seamlessly between Dean beating up a bouncer in a strip club and Sam being beaten by Col where the scene changed on every punch delivered. It really was an impressive piece of editing and really punctuated the differences in Sam and Deanmon’s respective situations at that moment. Dean’s fight with Cole was really impressive as well where Cole came across as being a formidable fighter despite Dean’s advantages of demon strength.
A really strong episode that tests the characters in new an interesting ways. Jensen Ackles is clearly having a blast playing a more morally unhinged Dean Winchester and the character differences are very jarring. Castiel’s story is progressing nicely but there’s no real weight to the events there so it feels slightly empty in comparison to everything else. Cole is proving to be an interesting character who is hell bent on revenge against Dean and gives the show a much needed shake up in terms of character dynamics. It is disappointing that Dean/Crowley team-up has been cut so short as I feel that there’s plenty more story that could have been mined there. There is a sense that the Sam/Dean relationship is far from resolved I would just have liked to see more of Dean acting evil while free to do so.