Supernatural: The Third Man (Review)
Sam and Dean become parents for a day when they come across a baby whose family was murdered by a shape shifter. They find that the baby is actually a baby shifter, and the alpha shifter (father of all shape shifters) makes its appearance. Samuel Campbell is hiding a secret, taking orders from an unseen party. Sam is still off and we’re no closer to finding out the why and how of him walking around instead of in the Pit…
This week’s Supernatural starts off fast with some blood and guts, quite literally. The first scene kicks off with a police officer splattering into a puddle of blood in the precinct locker room. Sam (Jared Padalecki) gets wind of this and calls Dean (Jensen Ackles) to the town of Easter, Pennsylvania. A second death (this time boils) occurs before Dean arrives and the brothers decide to talk to the only witness to either of the deaths. The first officer’s partner is a bit out of his head when they visit him. He admits to his part (as well as the others two officers) in the death and subsequent cover up in their shooting of a black teen, Christopher Birch. Not long after does the officer fall dead on the table, as locusts chew their way out of his skull. Out of answers and fearing the continued plagues, Dean calls for Castiel (Misha Collins), a measure Sam had tried unsuccessfully on several occasions. Castiel appears and after looking at the causes of death, surmises that the Staff of Moses is responsible.
Using his (very handy) powers of instantaneous travel, Castiel transports himself and the Winchesters to the victim’s home and father, Darryl Birch. They tell him just what happened to Christopher when, fearing for his father’s safety, Aaron Birch (Adom Osei, the younger son appears brandishing a sawed-off portion of the Staff of Moses. He admits to the killings after an angel provided the staff to him for the cool price of his soul. Castiel performs a reading on the boy and finds Balthazar (Sebastian Roche), a friend thought killed in the war in Heaven, is behind things. Locating his former friend, Castiel confronts Balthazar on why the latter faked his own death and current actions. He tells Castiel that the war in Heaven cannot be stopped and taking advantage when presented is best means of survival.
Not long after the two angels’ argument, Raphael (Demore Barnes), the archangel arrives with three of his soldiers. Less than gentle about it and relishing every moment, the archangel puts a methodic beat down on Castiel, payment for being left imprisoned in a ring of fire (last season’s “Free to Be You and Me”) Before he can finish the job, Balthazar returns, using another of Heaven’s weapons to render Raphael’s host into a pile of salt. Distracted, Balthazar doesn’t notice the trap and Dean springs it, containing the angel long enough for him to break his claim to Aaron Birch’s soul.
As the brothers are packing up to leave, Dean’s confronts Sam, echoing his earlier sentiments (and all viewers) that something just isn’t right with Sam. Dean, quite logically, says that Sam’s time in hell must have had some effect that the younger Winchester just doesn’t want to admit. Sam’s response is that he and Dean are different and just because a tour in hell tormented—and still torments—Dean, doesn’t mean it should have the same effect on him.
More of a standalone episode than the first two, “The Third Man” gives us a chance to welcome back our favorite angel. Returned to his former self, this Castiel possesses the strength and fortitude not seen since his original appearance two seasons ago. The dynamic between the brothers and Castiel is no longer on equal footing as it was last season but the chemistry between the three is still there. Sam’s personality change, a coldness that is even beyond Dean’s old self.
We are now three episodes in but are no closer to learning what the true story arch will be for this season. There are several potential strings that could come together to make a fantastic season though so far it has not been up to Supernatural standards (a majority of that blame lies in the severely lackluster season premiere as well as Sam’s detached persona that hinders the Sam/Dean banter). We are still very early on and as the storyline continues to be fleshed out but I hope that the writers and the new show runner have, in future episodes, tightened up the narrative and start providing answers for, to date, the most pressing question so far.
What the hell is going on with Sam?
Castiel, one of my favorite characters on any show, is back. His deadpan delivery and aloofness remain a highpoint. His interactions with Sam and Dean provide some of Supernatural’s best moments. The writers have done a fantastic job in creating one of my favorite television characters.
One major gripe that I have with any show is when they refuse to acknowledge a character’s whereabouts. Not once this season has any mention been made of the third Winchester brother, Adam (Jake Abel), who ended up becoming Michael’s host before tumbling into the Pit along with Sam. Is there a reason for this omission? Maybe, but right now it just looks like poor execution in connecting seasons. I know it is a part of the story but Sam’s current state of mind really does hamper the ebb and flow we are used to seeing between he and Dean. The last two episodes have had decent humor but not quite as sharp as previous seasons.
Weapons of Heaven loose and on the market?! This will make for very interesting stories if not overused. Angels are back in the house! Their inclusion two seasons ago was a welcome kick start to the show and introduced a completely different playing field. I really like Sebastian Roche as an actor (he plays Newton in ‘Fringe’) and hope to see Balthazar in more episodes down the road. Speaking of down the road, I’m waiting on Crowley to make his season six debut…
– Darryl (follow @djasper07 on Twitter)