Supernatural: Family Matters (Review)
Veritas brings her brand of truth to a small town. Residents asking for the truth get it until it drives them to suicide, satisfying her need for tribute. Dean asks and receives as well, getting what he didn’t want to hear from Lisa (breaking up with him) and what he wanted from Sam(that he froze during the vampire attack). The latter, however, is found to be a lie when Veritas herself deduces that Sam is unaffected by her power. The Winchesters are able to take her out and Dean confronts his brother who admits to allowing Dean to be fed vampire blood. Dean lets out the anger and hurt building since Sam’s return, beating his brother into unconsciousness.
Waking from last episode’s beat down, Sam (Jared Padalecki) slowly returns to consciousness, tied to a chair with Dean (Jensen Ackles) and Castiel (Misha Collins) before him. They are brainstorming about Sam’s emotionless affliction when Cas does a soul reading that comes out negative; he has no soul. Righteously freaked about this new information, Dean is at first adamant on not working with Sam until his brother lays it out there for him; he can either trust him or not, but he won’t be able to keep Sam locked up. Knowing the only way to get his brother’s soul back is to work together, Dean relents and they return to the only clue they have on the matter; Grandpa Sam (Mitche Pileggi).
Castiel in tow, the brothers travel to the Campbell’s base of operations where they find the group preparing for war. They fill Grandpa Sam in on Sam’s condition and though he acts surprise (with a hint of “I knew something was wrong”) Dean senses that he’s skirting around the truth. After a powwow session with Sam to watch each other’s backs, the two volunteer for the next great hunt…the Alpha vampire (Rick Worthy).
Loaded up, the group heads to the Alpha’s lair where they end up capturing him, a fact they want to keep from Dean though he finds out anyway. On the way back he confronts Sam who admits that it’s on their grandfather’s orders that these alpha creatures are being captured. When they find that the Alpha is being interrogated, the brothers do their own brand of questioning where the Alpha is eerily cooperative. He informs the boys that Grandpa Sam is searching for Purgatory—the place where the souls/essence of creatures like the Alpha go when they die. But Grandpa Sam is not looking for his own purposes; he’s taking orders from someone.
Alpha vamp predictably escapes, killing several members of the group, including Christian (Corin Nemec) and is ready to take a bite out of Sam when the previously dead Christian and two other black-eyed demons subdue and disappear with the Alpha. Crowley (Mark A Sheppard) then appears, once again stealing the scene. He wants Purgatory for his own purposes (untapped resources and he’s ever the entrepreneur) and is using Grandpa Sam to capture big time creatures that are in the know about its location. The brothers find that Crowley’s promotion to King of Hell comes with quite the power upgrade as he’s responsible for pulling Sam and Grandpa back to earth. He also has the mojo to either restore Sam’s soul or put him back in the box. Not having much of a choice in the matter, the brothers decide to play along, bagging and tagging the big game for the former Crossroads demon…at least for the time being.
Finally, we are getting somewhere! The bits and pieces of plot that have seemed random and uninteresting are starting to coalesce into a bigger picture. The fact that Crowley, one of the best Supernatural characters of all time, is the big bad this season gives me a happy. The rapport Mark Sheppard creates with every character he interacts with is amazing. I can say with confidence that he is one of the finest actors out there today.
After last year’s big finale, I wondered just where they could take things and keep Supernatural fresh. Though this season has been decent, there really wasn’t anything to get excited over until now. The introduction of Purgatory as Crowley’s “Australia” (for the Superman II folks out there) or Shangra-la, if you will, is a logical addition to the Supernatural mythos.
One comment that also hints at something much bigger is the Alphas line where he says “We all have our mothers”. Considering that in many mythologies, Lilith is referred to as the mother of demons, is she who the Alpha is referring to? We know that she sacrificed herself to raise Lucifer from Hell but with the talk of Purgatory, is there a chance for her to return?
Though it was only one episode, “Family Matters” seems to have put Supernatural back on track insofar as an overall story arc and not just some monster of the week season with a secondary plot thrown in.
- Crowley’s back…need I say more?
- Now we know what’s eating Sam Winchester. I have to applaud Jared Padalecki for the detachment he’s shown that, while I was not a fan of, completely makes sense with him being soulless.
- This may be a dead horse I’m beating but in all their talk about the Pit and Lucifer and Michael, they have yet to even mention the fact that their half-brother, Adam, is stuck in there with no way of getting out. It really doesn’t vibe with the brothers’ view of family.
- Even with the firepower they brought, it was a bit too easy how the gang captured a millennia-old creature whose entire existence has honed its predatory instincts to a level humans would not be able to comprehend. In truth, it’s a bit more than unbelievable, especially if you consider the fact that there were a dozen lower level vamps they needed to get through.
- Once again we are reminded of the sheer magnitude of what an angel is…Castiel’s line about his true form being the size of the Chrysler building is one of my favorite lines. Misha Collins’s deadpan delivery with that hint of pride and knowing you are a bad ass is on point.
- As mentioned, Purgatory’s inclusion into the Supernatural world adds a completely different layer to where things may go. Can Purgatory, like Hell, be opened to allow the “souls” of monsters and freaks out into our world?
- Has Crowley promised Grandpa Sam to pull his daughter back into the land of the living? He has the juice to do it but is that what Grandpa Sam’s “reasons” are?
– Darryl (follow @djasper07 on Twitter)