Dean’s demon life takes a trajectory that pulls him away from Crowley’s hold and keeps Sam at bay. Meanwhile, Castiel’s health continues to fade as Hannah tries to save him. As we see our Supernatural Gang starting to move in physical proximity of each other, they seem to be moving further apart in every other way that counts.
**********CAUTION********** SPOILERS DEAD AHEAD **********CAUTION**********
“Reichenbach” starts with a flashback to Sam’s current captor, Cole, as a young teen who awakens to noises of a major fight in his house. He stumbles down the stairs to find his father in a pool of blood and sees Dean Winchester with the bloody knife in his hand. Cole (Travis Aaron Wade) is recounting the story to Sam, but how does Sam explain to a man carrying the decade old anger of a young boy, that his father was a monster that Dean had to kill. All Cole wants is revenge and he is willing to do anything – even torture Dean’s brother – to get it.
Meanwhile, Dean is in a strip club getting handsy with a stripper which leads to a brawl with the bouncer. As Dean rains blows down upon the bouncer, the scene cuts back and forth perfectly to Sam being beaten by Cole (kudos to Thomas J. Wright on that visual). It is almost as if Dean, himself, is delivering the painful punches to Sam. And later in the episode, when Sam meets the bouncer who suffered the wrath of Dean, the bouncer sports very similar injuries to Sam (arm in a sling, bruises to the face). He even asks Sam if Dean is also responsible for those injuries (which, indirectly, he is).
Sam escapes his captor and, instead of hunting him back down, Cole decides to let Sam lead him to Dean. Sam calls upon Castiel for help and finally tells Cas that Dean is now a demon. With Hannah (Erica Carroll) steadfastly at his side, Castiel sets out to meet up with Sam and help save Dean. Hannah is becoming desperate to save Castiel. She even tries to have “the talk” with Cas that every angel eventually tries to have – the “Winchesters = Bad” conversation. It falls on deaf ears, though – well, literally — because Castiel falls asleep while she is talking. Unfortunately, he is also driving at the time and they almost crash headlong into a semi. Their encounter with the woman pick-up driver who helps them with their car and her young daughter is quite endearing. As we watch Hannah, it is almost like watching an earlier version of Castiel (down to the lack of a sense of humor) as she learns about humans. She is beginning to see the good side of people – which may be key in the future (at least I hope so). We also see, and not for the first time, someone notice that there is a special bond between Hannah and Castiel when the woman mistakenly believes they are a couple.
Crowley convinces Dean that his need to brawl is related to the Mark of Cain – it needs to be fed. He convinces Dean to take on a “job” for him in order to feed Dean’s bloodlust. Of course, Dean decides to do things his way and ends up taking out the wrong person (well, wrong person in Crowley’s opinion; I, frankly, think he got it right). The ensuing confrontation between Crowley and Dean leads to the inevitable break up that we have all been waiting for – Dean will not be ordered around and Crowley can’t abide such insolence. With a flippant “it’s not me, it’s you,” Crowley leaves Dean… and heads straight to Sam. Crowley admits his defeat with Dean and declares him Sam’s problem, forever. And he is willing to lead Sam to Dean… for a small price.
Speaking of paying a price – Hannah contemplates paying a high price for the return of Castiel’s grace. She takes the express elevator back to Heaven to confront… Metatron (Curtis Armstrong). He’s rude, nasty and condescending to her – kinda like Crowley, without the charm. But she needs his help and just as she is considering letting Metatron go in order to save Cas, Castiel shows up and stops her. He tells Metatron that he has made peace with his impending demise and takes pleasure in knowing that Metatron is locked up forever. But that bubble is burst when Metatron points out that forever is a long time and that he will eventually escape and Cas knows it. The peace that Castiel has made with his own mortality is gone. He walks away knowing that somehow he must be there to continue to fight. But how?
The moment we have all been waiting for since the last episode of Season 9 is finally here. Sam and Dean come face to face – and, boy, does it pack an emotional punch! Dean is sitting at a piano with a drink and contemplating the question of whether he is really a demon or human. He knows Sam has entered the bar without even looking up. Dean is cool, calm and steady. Sam is apprehensive yet determined. Their conversation echoes many past conversations between the brothers – “You don’t belong here, come back with me” versus “But this is where I want to be, let me go.” Sam reminds Dean that they know how to reverse the demon curse, but Dean is not interested. As Sammy pulls out the cuffs used to hold Crowley at the Men of Letters bunker oh-so-long ago, a canister of teargas is thrown into the bar. Cole is making his move.
Cole knocks Sam out (of course) and confronts Dean. Dean taunts him and mocks him, all the while blocking all of Cole’s fight moves with ease. Then Dean finally reveals to Cole that he is a demon (with black eyes and quick healing) and rains down the final few blows to defeat him. Sam uses the distraction to tackle Dean, using holy water, and cuffs him with the magical handcuffs. Cut to the next scene where we see a disgruntled (but still eerily calm) Dean sitting in the backseat of the Impala – still in cuffs – and looking out as Sam hands over the First Blade to Crowley. Crowley assures Sam that he doesn’t want Dean getting his hands on the Blade any more than Sam. The final look that Dean gives Crowley as he leaves with his henchman is chilling. Dean will not forget this betrayal.
We get one more glimpse of a bloodied and beaten Cole. He is in the library – looking up everything he can on demons.
A melancholy Crowley sits in a bar, staring at the First Blade while the old classic, “Lonely Girl,” plays on the juke box (how apropos). He looks at a picture on his phone of him and Dean wearing cowboy hats and sharing drinks during one of their “howling at the moon” nights. He looks like he is experiencing – dare we say – feelings. His henchman steps forward and says, “Sir, it’s time to move on.” Indeed. The question is, will he?
The last scene is with Sam and Dean, speeding along a dark highway in the Impala. So familiar on the outside, yet, beneath the façade, so far from the Winchesters we know and love. Sam tries to talk to Dean. He reasons with him that because he chose not to kill Cole outside of the bar, he is capable of mercy — that there is a spark of the old Dean in there somewhere. And thinking back over Demon Dean’s past encounters, there may be a bit of truth there – he didn’t kill the wife of the douchebag guy who wanted Crowley to set up the hit, he killed the jerk of a guy instead; at the previous bar in last week’s episode, Dean did defend the bar waitress from the aggressive boyfriend (even though he was pretty rude to her about it later); and he didn’t just out right kill Sam when he arrived at the bar. We want so much to believe that there is still some inkling of Dean left behind those black eyes.
Dean just chuckles and tells Sam that humiliating Cole and leaving him alive is actually worse than killing him. And without hesitation, he promises Sam that what he plans to do to Sam will be no act of mercy, either. And like that, the bubble is burst. Sam (like the rest of us) has been seeing what he wants to see, not what is really there. But no matter what, Sam is going to try to save his brother, no matter how far gone he may be.
By far, this is the scariest thing the Winchesters have ever had to face.
Supernatural airs on The CW on Tuesdays at 9/8c. Full episodes are also available at the http://www.cwtv.com/shows/supernatural/ and On Demand (check your cable listings) as well as on iTunes, Amazon, Hulu and Google Play.