“Book of the Damned” Review
By Annie Kenney
This week’s episode was awesome. I could just leave it at that, one simple statement that says it all. There was so much that was good about this episode that it is hard to put it all into this review. I loved it; loved every minute of it and – surprise, surprise – I even enjoyed the fleeting appearance of Rowena (now I can see what her purpose is).
Charlie is an excellent character who works well in the Supernatural universe and I am eternally glad that the writers haven’t killed her off. Since her introduction in The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo she has been an invaluable ally for the Winchesters and she fits effortlessly into the series. I think one of the reasons is that she is a genuine nerd, a Sci Fi geek. She is one of us, she represents the Supernatural fandom like no other character and – let’s be honest – hands up who wouldn’t want to be Charlie!
I really liked the concept of the Book of the Damned and its intricate coding system. I also liked the fact that Dean was drawn to it through the mark. The fact that the book was calling to him was both magical and incredibly creepy. The book reminded me of something out of a Mummy film; written on human skin and covered in mysterious sigils, it was everything a mysterious book should be.
A special mention has to go to the double act of Castiel and Metatron. Curtis Armstrong is magnificent and has great comedic delivery. We should really, really hate Metatron but somehow we don’t (well I don’t). On one hand he is dangerous and not to be trusted, the man who killed Dean and was responsible for him becoming a demon. On the other he is a cardigan wearing drip who loves modern culture. His speech about Alanis Morissette’s Ironic was classic Supernatural and Castiel’s reaction was classic. Misha Collins really came into his own this week with his pleas to kill Metatron and his visible irritation with the scribe of God. The scenes in the library were both funny and frightening and it was interesting to hear Metatron echo what we have all been thinking for months – just what is Castiel’s mission now? What is his purpose? When he got his grace back it was quite spectacular and his broken wings reminded me of Gadreel in Season 9. Castiel is full on angel now and it will be interesting to see where his storyline goes.
The scenes between the brothers were just heart breaking. Sam’s pain is palpable and Jared is just knocking it out of the park. His role in this week’s episode was central and how refreshing it is to actually have Sam’s point of view. For the first time in a long time Sam is the one trying to save Dean and his determination to so is touching and believable. His talk with Charlie about hunting and how he can’t go on without his brother made me cry for the third week in a row. Sam is breaking apart before our eyes and it is almost too hard to watch.
As for Dean he is – indeed – getting worse and it is clear he is finding it hard to resist the mark. I like that he is trying and that he is attempting to act normal. His delight at hearing ‘The Boys are Back in Town’ and his attempt to sing along with it was good to see. It made me think of other episodes (like No Rest for the Wicked) where Dean used music to try and make things better. While I’m on that subject it was good to see Supernatural using music again. The montage where the Winchester’s, Charlie and Castiel were all together was beautifully played and the music in the background so utterly suitable. Again we got a chance to see Sam’s pain and what subtle acting it was from Jared. Just the occasional glance, a wince here, a blink of an eye there. It was fantastic and so, so believable. It is scenes like this one that make Supernatural such a classic programme and – as a fan – I wish we could see something like this every week.
It is such a shame that both Sam and Castiel are keeping secrets from Dean but – deep down – I think Dean knows what they are doing. The biggest shock for me was that Sam hadn’t actually burnt the book and to see him sitting opposite Rowena in the final scene was awful. I could barely look and watched the last five minutes through my fingers. When Rowena smirked (subtle acting at last) and spoke about her terms I knew that things are only going to get worse.
I saw a preview of next week’s episode and my jaw dropped as I saw one or two familiar faces (and places). I don’t think anything good is going to come of Sam working with Rowena and I am still frightened that the Season finale is going to be Dean killing Sam. The brothers are together at the moment but they aren’t actually working together. Dean is trying to resist the mark while Sam is trying to cure him. I get the impression that Dean thinks he is heading for death and is becoming more and more reckless (a lot like he was in Season 3 when he was on his way to hell). Sam couldn’t save him then and I don’t think he is going to save him now. Rumours are that this Season’s finale is going to be worse than Season 5’s Swan Song. I am both excited and terrified but I am clinging on by my fingertips. Something tells me it is going to be one hell of a ride!