‘Supernatural’ 10.22 “The Prisoner”

“Supernatural” Episode 10.22, “The Prisoner.” Starring Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, and Misha Collins; Written by Andrew Dabb; Directed by Thomas J. Wright.

I’m still pretty mad at you, “Supernatural.” I admire the massive weight and swagger of your testicles, seeing as how you killed off the one character that best represented your fan base for no good damn reason, but I remain pissed nonetheless.

The spoilers start immediately this week, so read on at your own discretion.

In a twist that will shock no one, it seems my prediction of last review was ill spoken, and Charlie is indeed dead. She is deceased. She is an ex-nerd. And her death served only the flimsiest of reasons – to pitch Dean Winchester further into his pit of Cain-y despair.

And here’s where I have a giant problem with that. All season, we’re on Deanmon watch, waiting for him to slip and do something monstrous. Our examples of such, from a pool of 22 episodes, are as follows:

  • Killing a bunch of dudes, mobster types, who were involved with Claire Novak’s father-figure.
  • Taking out a vampire nest, solo style.
  • Killing an entire generation of Stynes.

Mmhmm. Mmhm. And my retorts:

  • They were gonna sexually abuse a 17 year old. I mean, sure, it was only implied, but that was the intent there. An un-blemished Dean Winchester might not have murdered them, true, but he would have put them in a world of pain. Verdict? Kinda monstrous.
  • Yeah pretty sure Dean’s done a bunch of solo huntin’, like, a LOT. Verdict? Neither scary nor worrisome.
  • Dean lost his shit and went over the edge and took out like 40 Frankensteins because the person he loved second only to Sam was murdered. Yeah, I said it, and I mean it. In my interpretation, Dean loves Charlie more than Cas. She was his little sister. So he avenged her death. Verdict? Pretty badass, quite impressive, but still not out of the Dean Winchester ouvre considering the Frankentsteins were in fact monsters and the Winchesters hunt and destroy monsters. Yeah, he killed Glasses McAngstyteen, but still. I stand by my point. 

Had it been Sam in that pyre, or Bobby, or Jodie, Cas – anyone – Dean’s reaction would have been the same. To seek vengeance. So the fact that it was Charlie, one of the most important female characters in genre television, is just infuriating because her death was cheap and barely effective as a plot motivator. I firmly believe that the Styne slaughter would have lent more credit to the plot had it been inspired by the death of an unfamiliar innocent. For Dean to go apeshit because Sam got some random dude killed? Sure. That would be driven by the Mark of Cain. But for his singular purpose to be exacting justice for the death of someone he loves? This was not out of the box.

Which leaves me wondering – what the fuck is going on? Who’s the bad guy? Who’s the good guy? Wasn’t this show supposed to be about two dudes killin’ shit? And like, dynamics and ghost stories and a little subtext now and then for good measure? The things that made this show a phenomenon are completely absent, with precious few exceptions, in season 10. I appreciate a team trying to stay out of a rut, but I feel like this stray from formula was not fleshed out before it was put into action. Somebody didn’t carry the one, if you get me. And if we’re going to be honest, if 16 year old Dean didn’t have the Mark, why didn’t they spell up and turn Dean into a 34 year old. Right?

All that aside, there was still some amazing shit happening this episode. It didn’t make up for my overall disappointment, but I will certainly shine some appreciation on things I love.

Dialogue – some harsh, some funny, all wonderful:

  • Dean told Sam that he wished it were Sam burning on that pyre. Good GOD. Seriously, that’s like the most monstrous thing he’s done all season.
  • Cas delivered a devastating speech, and I don’t think any fans took into consideration that Cas would following Dean blindly for eternity, until the Mark finally consumed him, and it would be Cas that would have to end it, and then Cas would be alone. That shit is rough, yo.
  • The Stynes got a little too big for their britches and informed Dean that they were gods. To which Dean delivered a stone cold “I kill gods.” Yes you do, you big sexy bowl-legged moth- oh, sorry. I got carried away. But that was pretty awesome.
  • Cas and Rowena banter? I smell a sitcom!

And the last point is so awesome it transcends bullet points. Crowley, y’all! Crowley is back, new and improved. I mean, kind of, if that means evil and BAD ASS. His whole speech about trying to be a good guy just to “feel” was amazing, and then? You guys! Crowley flashed his red eyes! Never before has Crowley (as played by Mark Sheppard) revealed his red eyes. It was a great scene, a chilling moment. I’ve always said that I prefer a funny, semi-chummy Crowley, but this should get pretty interesting. I still think that Crowley is working a scheme, but I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

And then there was one. Next week is our finale, and I hope the show can bring it, because as it stands I don’t know too many people keen on an eleventh season. Also I mean, there’s an angel, King o’ Damn Hell, the most powerful witch in the world, and the Winchesters – Charlie can still come back, right? Right?