'Supernatural' recap: Pain & Cain

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Cain’s warning didn’t seemed to worry Dean all that much, though. After all, burden and cost are the only two words in the English language that Dean Winchester is more familiar with than “pie” and “Impala.” And maybe betrayed, which, by the way, he was. At the end of the hour, it was revealed that Crowley had sort of set up the dominoes to fall exactly how they did. Sneaky? Yes. Clever? Absolutely. Another reason for Dean to want to kill Crowley? Of course. Unexpected and fun? Definitely.

Meanwhile, Cas and Sam found themselves on a quest to extract the remaining angel grace from Sam, hoping to carry out an experimental angel tracking spell they read about in one of the Men of Letters books that wold help them find Gadreel. And as you may have seen in the promo pictures leading up to this episode, the only way to get this grace out of Sam was with a giant, scary, old-timey needle. (For some reason, the fact that it was an old-timey needle made it worse.) It was painful to watch, and, as Sam’s screams seemed to indicate, painful to endure as well.

The thing that made this storyline even more compelling is that it also hit on the topic of, for lack of better terminology, the value of life. As a human, Castiel learned the true meaning of life and death, and though he is once again wearing his wings, he’s carried that lesson with him. “Life is precious,” he said, “even a life as pig-headed as a Winchester’s.” The interesting aspect to this, to me, was that Castiel’s brief time as a human taught him a lesson that (err…mostly) full-time human Sam has never learned. Sam has seen a number of deaths — and resurrections, for that matter — over the years, but he’s never been one to value his own life, as evident by the moment when Castiel reached a point in the procedure that called for him to risk Sam’s life and Sam told him to proceed. This time, though, Castiel refused — not on the grounds that he didn’t understand Sam’s guilt. (In fact, he said, his experiences as a human taught him a lot about the unbearable weight of guilt.) But Castiel said he had seen first-hand why the means don’t justify the end. Life is more valuable than revenge. Old Castiel may have once disagreed, the angel said, but he’s changed. And if an angel can learn the value of change — both in ways big and PB&J-small — so can Winchesters.

In the end, the grace Castiel got from Sam wasn’t enough to carry out the tracking spell, but, it seems Sam got much more than a tracking spell out of the whole experience. He also got a hug — even if it was a little one-sided.

Time for burning questions! What did you think of Dean’s new arc? What do you think is the deal with this mark? Did you like Cain’s debut as much as I did — and his story twist? How great was Dean’s epic fight scene? On that note, did anyone else tear up during Castiel’s PB&J speech? They even played the Winchester Musical Score! Do you think Sam’s out of the woods for good now? Are you as eager as I am to see Sam’s showdown with Gadreel? And can we get more Sam-Castiel hugs, please?

QUOTEABLES

“That waitress is trouble, with a capital VD” — Crowley

Dean: You want to hunt…with me?
Crowley: I do love a good buddy comedy

“Jam I found unsettling” — Castiel

Castiel: “You have a guinea pig? Where?
Sam: Me, Cas. I’m the guinea pig

Dean: Tara, listen, my associate…
Crowley: Friend. Besties, actually…
Dean: Not helping.

“You’re good…but I’m Crowley.” — Crowley

“Sam, I want Gadreel to pay as much as you do. But nothing is worth losing you. Being human didn’t just change my view of food, it changed my view of you. I can relate now to how you feel….The only person who has screwed things up more consistently than you is me. Now, I know what that guilt feels like. And I know what it means to feel sorry, Sam. I am sorry….Old me, I would have just kept going; I would have jammed that needle in deeper until you died because the ends always justify the means. But what I went through, that PB&J taught me angels can change. So who knows? Maybe Winchesters can too.” — Cas

“You, plus demons, equal fight night.” — Crowley to Dean

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