Supernatural 9.2: Damnit show, I really liked it.

Stupid show. I was all set to write a really snarky recap…but then I actually watched the episode, and I really liked it. 

So this may mean we’re back to a season 8 whiplash of hate! love! hate! depending on the episode…

or it may mean that some of my reservations about the premiere might be alievated. Too soon to tell!


In many ways, this episode, “Devil May Care,” felt like it was also a premiere episode. There was lots of “introductory” stuff, explicitly setting up the tone and the conflicts for the year. The characters said cheesey but entertaining stuff like “It’s going to be a busy year,” and “You ready for this?” There was a fair amount of awkward exposition, but the episode was also fast-paced, made good use of supporting characters, and in general…just really worked as a piece of genre television with characters I was actually rooting for. 

At this point in my relationship with Supernatural, that is shocking. 



The premiere (“I think I’m going to like it here”) focused on Cas’ human journey, and Dean’s, um, rather problematic decision to non-consenually insert the angel Ezekiel into his brother. “Devil May Care” focused on Crowley, who is semi-human and now the Winchesters’ captive, as well as the prophet Kevin: both of them are in the Men of Letters bunker (hurrah for the Men of Letters bunker).



Men of Letters!  

In Crowley’s absence, the Knight of Hell, delicious and sexy Abaddon, is rising up and making a bid for power. 

supernatural spn gifs abaddon i liked her why do they always kill of characters with potential stop pls she reminded me of meg ngl


So, it looks like this season will have several distinct threads: Cas being human and hunted by fallen angels; Crowley being captive and sort-of human; Kevin continuing to Prophet (presumably the tablets are going to come back into play); Ezekiel riding shot-gun in Sam; Abaddon as “the bad guy,” who wants to take over hell, and then crush the humans and fallen angels alike. Dean has to negoiate it all, while keeping Ezekiel a secret and developing an uneasy relationship with the angel-in-his-brother. 

So…I like that. It’s clear where the season is going, but there’s lots of directions it can take. I actually like the meaty plotlines for the supporting characters. I love the new Big Bad. I love the Men of Letters bunker as a homebase. And, I’m more okay with Dean and EzSam than I thought I would be, for various reasons. 

So five things! 

1) Let’s gush some more about Abaddon. Supernatural has a long history of basically two categories of recurring female characters:

  • The Love Interest TM , who arrives covered in markers that she is For the Lovin’, either by awkward banter (Jo, Amelia) and/or by being wonderful and bland and softly lit and underdeveloped and representing an idealized domesticity the Winchesters can never have (Jess, Lisa, Amelia).


  • The Sexy and Sassy Antagonist (SASA). Hot, quippy, out for herself, tough, usually an enemy, sometimes a reluctant ally (Meg 1.0 and 2.0; Ruby 1.0 and 2.0; Bella). 




Must wear leather jacket!

Sure, there are a couple more categories–Supportive Older Ladies and Fangirls, for instance–but those are the major two. I have to confess to never really loving any of the SASA girls, though they all have their moments. These female characters have more agency than the Love Interests TM, so in general I like them more, but I’ve never been swept away by their Sexy or their Sass. 

Until Abaddon. 


The hair-pulling is a nice touch.

Honestly, I think it’s the actor, rather than the writing per say. It’s not just that’s she hot (though she is, obviously. But there are plenty of hot actors out there in Hollywoodland). She’s just…so…boss. She does the SASA thing, and manages to be genuinely scary and  hot at the same time. There’s a scene in this episode where she beats up Dean and he says, “Are we going to fight or make out? Because I’m getting some real mixed signals here.” And darned if the scene…isn’t…kind of…hot. And scary. And hot (watch a bit of it here, at 4:30). 

Plus, I think it’s significant that they brought the same actor back, even though her vessel got roasted (there’s a scene where she stands up naked in a tub after being brought back…and…guh…).

Screen shot 2013-10-16 at 1.37.52 PM



I actually disagree with the common critique that Supernatural is sexist because it kills all its female characters. It kills off all its supporting characters, male and female. HOWEVER, I think there’s something to the complaint: it’s problematic that popular male characters/actors get brought back again and again and substantially developed (Cas, Bobby, Crowley), while female characters tend to stay dead, have less of a role, or come back in different meatsuits (Ruby and Meg). Bringing back the same actor for Abaddon is kind of a first: here’s a non-replaceable SASA girl with a big role to play and lots of power. Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet.

2) Crowley and Kevin living in the MOL bunker like a friggin’ sitcom. 

 Crowley is their captive, and he’s been made sort-of human by the half-cure that Sam did. Though he denies it, he’s clearly been affected by the half-cure and when left alone flashes back to his brush with humanity. He eventually messes with Kevin and then starts giving up the names of his demons on earth to Sam and Dean…mostly, you  sense, so that he can have someone to talk to. 


This is delicious! Crowley is much better suited to being a reluctant ally than a Big Bad, and I love the idea of him becoming almost human. It’ll make his character more interesting, and, I suspect, make it more difficult for Sam and Dean to kill him when the time comes. 

I also liked what they did with Kevin in this episode. I did wonder why he didn’t yell at Sam and Dean more for NOT COMPLETING THE TRIALS WHICH HE HAD BEEN DEVOTING HIS LIFE TO, but at least he yelled at them for not killing Crowley, and for treating him like something to be used, which is totally true. 

Devil May Care

While when you broke it down Dean’s big speech to Kevin about how he’s “family” (along with Cas, d’awwww!) didn’t really make a lot of sense…(Like, really…YOU OF ALL PEOPLE ARE TELLING KEVIN NOT TO LOOK FOR HIS MOM BECAUSE SHE’S PAST SAVING? MAJORLY HYPOCRITICAL ON EVERY LEVEL)…but Jensen Ackles and actor-who-plays-Kevin sold the crap out of the scene, and I liked the Winchesters giving Kevin some appreciation. Really, the only character who’s been more screwed over by the Winchesters is this guy

So, even if it didn’t make perfect sense, the episode gave me what I needed in terms of Kevin (some “ooops, sorry” and “we do appreciate you actually”). I love the idea of Sam, Dean, Crowley, and Kevin living out a weird-ass sitcom in their super-secret bunker (with Cas, eventually, when he gets there). Now Adam just has to rise up as the Big Bad in revenge for getting ditched in hell, and I’ll be happy. 

3) Connecting back to stuff that happened before? What is this? Continuity??

This episode pleased me immeasurably by a) Dean bringing up that he feels guilty about not closing the gates of Hell, because, um, he should; and b) Sam being called out for starting the Apocalypse. 

Hey, look, I’m not interesting in doing a blow-by-blow rehash of who-started-what with the Apocalypse and if it was really their fault and blah blah blah because that’s incredibly dull.

The truth is, regardless of exact fault or whatnot, Dean and Sam have both caused a lot of damage, and they backed off from doing a big service with that Hell-gates thing. Yes, they’ve also done a lot of good, but there’s tons o’ collateral damage out there that’s on them. 

This is part of the reason it never sat right with me that Sam was all “I don’t feel guilty anymore! I did my time!” in Season 7…

…and then buggered off to live a normal life while Dean was in Purgatory in Season 8.

Oh, you think I’m over that Sam?


Um, why exactly do you feel morally okay with walking away? I get that you got tortured in hell, but after everything you’ve done (including Soul-less You — not your fault, but still) the least you could do is keep hunting and save a few people with the rest of your life. 

I don’t want Sam and Dean to sit around flagellating themselves and feeling guilty because that’s super-boring.

But acknowleding their mistakes gives them a reason to keep fighting which, um, keeps the show going. 

The “normal life” stuff is so boring because, as a viewer, we know that Sam and Dean aren’t just going to retire–because there wouldn’t be a show. So that’s why “should I quite hunting?? NOOOOOORRRRMMMMMMAAAAAAAAAL LIIIIIIIIFFFFEEEE” stuff is so frustratingly dull: we know it’s never going anywhere.

But, they need a reason to keep fighting after 9 years. Acknowleding that there are families out there that were devastated as a result of Sam and Dean is a pretty good reason to me. 

4) Connecting Sam and Dean to the hunting community. 

Though I love the notion that Sam and Dean are their own little hunting unit, part of the world-building of the show is that there are lots of other hunters out there, and I like it when we get reminded of that. 

This episode did well in that regard, showing Dean reaching out to the other hunters to tell them about fallen angels, and then other hunters getting involved in the Abaddon’s shenanigans. We also got a reminder that the hunting community doesn’t always have the highest opinion of Sam, and I didn’t mind that (see above). 

Screen shot 2013-10-16 at 1.39.52 PM

Also, kudos to another excellent use of a female character. We got a female character (and person of color! shocking!), who, though sexy, was not a Love Interest TM or a SASA girl. She was just another hunter. Her function wasn’t romantic, and she survived the episode. In other words, she was an actual character, not a HERE IS A LADY character. If they go a love interest route with her in the future, I won’t hate it, because she wasn’t introduced as  Love Interest TM. If we never see her again, that’s fine too; we don’t have to. She was just an interesting addition to the world who happened to be a lady of color. Cool. 

5) Final thought: EzSam. 

Look, I didn’t like the non-consensual insertion of Ezekiel into Sam. I actually thought that not only was it going to the same Well of Diminishing Returns (Saaaaaaaammmmmm iz dying!) that we’ve been to before, but also that Dean’s actions were out of character for Dean (yes, he’d move heaven and earth, literally, to save his brother’s life, but he’s also made it clear that there are moral lines he won’t cross and he’s LEARNED HIS LESSON ABOUT SAVING SAM AT ALL COSTS BEFORE and HE’S LET SAM DO HIS OWN THING and ARRRRRRGH character regression! Blah!….)


Jared Padalecki Sam Winchester Supernatural GIF Blah


The whole thing was also a bit repulsive, given that the show hasn’t ever dealt well with with the “vessel” issue (it apparently being super-important and meaningful for the Winchesters to be or not be vessels, but all those Joe-schmo vessels out there are expendable). 

However, this episode made me less rage-y about it for the following reasons:

  • EzSam taking over in the middle of demon fight was pretty cool

broken wingsBroken wings!

  • Jared Padalecki’s acting as Ezekiel was better, though now it feels like he’s doing an imitation of Cas.

curious angel head title

Curious angel head tilt?

  • The interactions between EzSam and Dean were intriguing: the idea of communicating when someone who is IN your brother but NOT your brother was weird and fun and problematic and creepy. Jensen Ackles did a good job having difficulty even making eye contact with EzSam. But in a way, he was able to be more honest with EzSam than Sam-Sam. 

dean n ezsam

  • The fact that, for now, Ezekiel seems to be trustworthy and helpful. It’s a twist on the possession thing: Sam’s been possessed by Evil Beings before (Meg and Lucifer) and that was Unreservedly Bad (as we see from the fate of soldier-schmos in this episode). Here, he’s possessed by someone who seems nice and is really useful in a fight. It’s still totally wrong that he’s possessed…but it’s a different kind of wrong. It’s complicated, and I can dig that. 
  • The fact that Ezikiel is saving Sam’s life made me roll my eyes in the premiere, but here we get Sam healthy and happy and things between the brothers are great (“You with me?” “You know it”).

You with me?


That’s been so hella rare, that it’s lovely to see…but we (and Dean) know that it’s coming as a price Sam won’t be happy about. The scene at the end, where Sam says he feels pretty good about his life, all things considered (and why not? They’ve got an awesome bunker, their former enemy is in the basement, they have an in-house prophet…) but Dean’s joy in this is tainted but he can’t say why…that’s interesting. I’m okay with watching that play out. 

 secrets secretsSecrets, secrets are no fun…non-consensual angel possession can hurt someone.

  • What with Abaddon’s obsession with vessels, and her threat to use Dean as a vessel (that would be amazing to watch, not going to lie, and it was also a helpful reminder of how much being possessed can totally suck: “I’ll use your body”), it seems that vessels are going to be, hopefully, an important thing this season. Issues with vessels were all over this episode, paralleling EzSam. I won’t get my hopes up that they’ll finally address whatever happened to Cas’s vessel…but I’m more hopeful that there will be interesting vessel-discussion than I was.


    Still a vessel…

    Oh, Jimmy. Other than Adam, you have been the most screwed over. Really you and Adam should team up to be Big Bads. 

    In conclusion, this episode gets a solid A, both as an episode and a season premiere part 2. It makes me hopeful for the rest of the season, though I expect whiplash next week when the Racist Truck writers of the Worst Episode Ever have a go

    But I’ll be watching.

    In conclusion: 


    Thanks to the Superwiki and All the Supernatural gifs, as well as here and here and here for images and gifs.