Supernatural 10×03 Review: Soul Survivor

SPN3

There was so much right about this episode. We got Sam, Dean, and Cas together again, giving us some much needed Team Free Will moments. We got meaningful interaction between all three of those characters both as a group, and in separate pairs, which is rare for one episode to be able to cover. Crowley also made himself known and, no matter how evil he is, I really can’t find it in myself to hate the guy. There was also Hannah, who is proving to be a well written female character who, thus far, is amazing me with her ability to stay alive. This was another episode directed by Jensen Ackles, which always leads to profound directorial decisions that can only really be made by someone who has lived in this world for the past decade, which elevated all these amazing bits even more. The only downer is that I feel like they ended what was the most exciting and interesting plotline of the past few seasons so quickly. There was a wealth of material to explore, but instead it looks like we’ll be heading right back into familiar territory that we’ve been traveling through for the past nine seasons. If only we could have explored this just a bit longer. There’s so much wasted potential.

SPN2Everything about Team Free Will reuniting was pitch perfect. Sam and Cas, a long neglected friendship on the show, has really strengthened as they’ve grown closer over their desire to save Dean. Dean is the major common denominator between the two of them and with the pain of his absence, they’ve had a chance to bond separately from him. Sam also went through a personal struggle with how far he was willing to go to save his brother. We knew he’d go through a lot, but he cost a man his soul in order to do so. Judging by the look on his face, he hoped to intervene before the deal was done, but the soul was still lost and that’s definitely going to weigh heavily on him. Considering how much guilt the Winchesters already carry, he didn’t need one more thing to add to his ever going list of “stuff to feel bad about.” Once Dean was back in their possession, we got even more Cas and Sam moments as they worked in tandem to cure him. So far, this season has been the “Cas and Sam friendship” season and I really hope their development doesn’t stop there. Don’t let me down, Supernatural. Take this and run with it.

While Dean and Cas have a moment together after Dean is cured, we don’t really know how Sam and Dean will move forward. Fans of Dean and Castiel definitely had a gratifying moment between them, but next week we’re going to have to deal with the brothers dealing with all that happened. Cas made a startling good, albeit hilarious, observation about their lives though. They’ve been through so much, that Dean threatening to kill him with a hammer is pretty minor. Their relationship will recover, no doubt. While this feels like it should be a happy thing, I was really hoping for demon Dean to last a bit longer. Last season I complained about their constant fighting, but demon Dean was a completely different type of conflict.  This wasn’t “two brothers fighting,” which is annoying and repetitive, but rather “one brother completely changed down to his soul,” which was so incredibly interesting.  If they are back to sipping beers by the Impala after only three episodes I’m going to be a tad disappointed at all the unexplored territory this show could have covered. The mark of Cain is still there though, so there’s still potential for a darker side of Dean to mix things up.

SPN1Crowley was also pitch perfect in this episode. While “Team Free Will” was coined by Dean back in season five to refer to himself, Sam, and Cas, I almost feel like Crowley has earned an honorary spot on the team. Yes, a reluctant and antagonistic spot, but somehow I just feel like they’re incomplete as a team without their friendly neighborhood King of Hell popping up to save the day every once in a while. He did what Cas couldn’t do based on Cas’s morals and stole some grace for him. As much as they’re both reluctant to admit it, they are the ying to each other’s yang and they need to both exist for there to be balance in the world. It’s an uneasy alliance, sure, but I enjoy the hell out of it every time it gets put to use.

This is the part of the review where I pause and confess that, yes, I do realize Crowley is evil. Yes, I do realize he killed people. Yes, I know he’s not really on the same side as the Team Free Will, but he’s saved their asses enough times and he brings enough snark that it makes up for it in my eyes. He’s an evil MOFO who brings the snark and saves our heroes when convenient. More Crowley, please. Always more Crowley.

One part of the episode that I don’t think should be ignored is the increasingly important roll Hannah is playing in the plot. She’s a character that I’m growing progressively more protective about. I was afraid she’d be just a one off character that was killed just a few episodes in, but so far she’s survived. Her own journey with the complex nature of humanity has a lot in common with Cas’s own journey so many seasons ago. Even though she doesn’t always understand Cas’s human based decisions, she believes in him and has put herself in a dangerous position in order to fight alongside with him.

SPN4I just hope that Hannah doesn’t 1) die, 2) become evil, or 3) become a love interest (who then might also die or become evil). This show is capable of having a dynamic, recurring female character who doesn’t fit into one or more of those categories. So far, there’s only three regularly occurring characters that fit that bill besides Hannah. There’s Jody Mills, who dubiously had romantic potential with Bobby and therefore might not be completely free of the aforementioned categories. Then there’s Charlie, who is a lesbian and thus ineligable to be a romantic interest with any of the lead characters. Lastly, there’s Krissy, who is too young to be a romantic interest. Now we can add Hannah in with them and pray to Chuck that she stays on this incredibly short list of characters. It feels like they might push a romance with Castiel, but it’s not a sure thing yet. I’m looking forward to her standing on her own as a character.

The way the episode ended was thoroughly disappointing, though. We are introduced to another mysterious red head who, from her brief appearance, seems to be Abaddon part two. While I really loved Abaddon, I’m hoping we cover new ground. It’s feeling like we’re going to fall back into previous patterns when the season was off to such a promising start. I’m hoping I’m wrong and that this season blows me out of the water. Now that the biggest conflict is solved though, I’m not exactly sure what they plan on doing for the rest of the season.  Introducing a new villain that’s going to just get killed off by the end has been done ad nauseam; I want something new.

Author: Angel Wilson

Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. She earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. She’s contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. She’s written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. She identifies as queer.


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About the author

Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. She earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. She's contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. She's written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. She identifies as queer.

Comments

  1. I agree with some of your comments, and it was great to see the three boys back together for a short time. I think that there will still be an interesting story line for Cole who isn’t going to quit going after Dean. Dean letting him live was a mistake I think. Crowley is going to try and find someone to be his 2nd in command, I wonder if he is going to look for Gavin. It was a great episode.

    1. Funny, I hadn’t even thought about Cole. But yeah, that could be an interesting path to pursue.

  2. You know what’s annoying? When people bring up “Team Free Will” they always leave out Bobby. Yes, he’s dead, but that doesn’t erase him from TFW. I mean to quote Cas: “I remember the most remarkable event – remarkable because it never came to pass. It was averted by two boys, an old drunk and a fallen angel.”

    Also, if you really think about Cas has done just as much horrible shit as Crowley, probably more.

    1. When I refer to Team Free Will I, as I said in the review, am going by the members that Dean included when he coined the term in season 5. Bobby was not part of that, however, if bobby were still around Id definitely consider him an honorary member based on his importance.

      I don’t understand you jab at Castiel here? What’s the relevance to any of this review or the previous commentary? Also, I do strongly disagree that his poor decisions are anywhere near the same severity as what the King of Hell has done, but again… relevance?

    2. You are actually in violation of our “no sock accounts” rule. You’ve gone by the name “Vince” “Mick” and now “Mike.” You need to stick with one name or you will be banned from the site. As such, all of your comments have been changed to “Vince” as that’s the name you originally chose when commenting on this website.

    3. Except the quote re: Team Free Will is “one ex-blood junkie, a dropout with six bucks to his name, and a fallen angel.”

      And no, I would argue that Crowley has done a lot worse. And Cas is always trying to make amends, which counts for a whole lot in my book.

  3. I really enjoyed this episode considering it came from the duo that lolcanons the most. There were some pacing issues, but overall it was an enjoyable episode. Loved seeing Team Free Will together again at last. Jensen did a great job directing and knocked it out of the park with his demon Dean. TBH, I would have been more than okay with a couple more episodes of that. It was amazing. Jensen isn’t afraid to make that pretty face look scary! I’ll be interested to see how the MOC continues to affect him. Re Cas, that’s still not a permanent fix either. Then there’s Cole and whatever the consequences of what Sam got up to when looking for Dean entailed. I am looking forward to what happens next. 🙂

    1. Oh man I didn’t even look at who wrote it. I’m surprised at how much I enjoyed it too even more now. I hope you’re right about these ongoing threads. I feel like the conclusion scene was introducing a brand new story, implying that this part of the story is wrapped up. I want to be wrong SO BAD.

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