Episode 9.11

“First Born” Review
By Annie Kenney

I don’t know what to say about this episode.

It had the biggest ratings an episode has had since 2010 but I have the feeling that was partially because of Jared’s ongoing feud with Justin Bieber!

One of the things I love about Supernatural is the brother’s relationship; I like them together, solving things together. I like them in the Impala, Sam riding shotgun and bitching at Dean. I like the banter between them and, call me sick if you want, I like their obvious co-dependency.

I don’t like it when they are separated. I understand that sometimes they have to be, whether it is to forward the plot or because one of the main actors needs a break. I understand it is necessary but that doesn’t mean I have to like it and, as I mentioned, I don’t!

The best thing about the latter half of Season 8 is that the brothers were together and working towards the same end. As a fan I happen to like the big brother/little brother dynamic. Ok so I’m not a huge supporter of sick damsel in distress Sam but I do like it when Dean looks out for him (Bad Boys is a perfect example) and when the brothers argue or are apart for some reason that just doesn’t happen.

Another issue is that when Sam & Dean are apart there always seems to be a lot more of Dean than Sam. In this particular episode Dean was out kicking ass with Crowley (and they were indeed fantastic kick ass scenes, nice to see Dean beating all those demons single handed) while Sam was stuck in the bunker having rather painful things done to him (that needle in the neck scene – ugh). It would be really, really nice and totally different if, as an audience, we could have some kick ass Dean & SAM scenes. For the last few Seasons Sam has been incapacitated in some way (wall down in Season 7, trials sapping his strength in Season 8, angel possessed in the first half of Season 9). Hands up Sam fans – who would like to see their hero actually doing something heroic and being all tough and hard-hitting like his brother? Who would like to see Sam being Sam rather than the damsel in distress or the weak one having to be saved week after week? It would be new and it would be diverse if the writers actually wrote something from Sam’s point of view. At the moment Sam is merely a cipher and I don’t think it is wrong to want more from the character.

But, enough moaning, there was a lot in this episode that I did like.

The buddy comedy relationship between Crowley and Dean was wonderful. Jensen has always been good at comic timing and Dean has always been a wise ass. Mark Sheppard as Crowley is the master of quips and understated sarcasm and so the pairing is a match made in heaven. If Sam and Dean are going to be apart then this new pairing of Dean and Crowley is something I can live with. It is testament to Mark Sheppard that we like Crowley so much. As the big bad for five seasons Crowley has done some awful things to the Winchesters including capturing and torturing their friends and methodically killing some of the people they have saved. This should make him one of the most hated characters in Supernatural’s history and yet he isn’t, we love him and, more often than not, we are rooting for him. Despite the fact he is evil Crowley is actually very honest, he admits he is a liar, he admits he uses people and he admits he only cares about his own ends. Crowley is one character on Supernatural I don’t want to be killed and I hope he stays around for the next few seasons.

I also loved that there was finally some interaction between Sam and Castiel. Given what has happened these two characters have a lot in common. They have both been used and played by Metatron and they have both had to deal with an awful lot of crazy. The scenes between the two of them were Supernatural gold with excellent acting from both Jared and Misha. Also my favourite line from the season so far ‘You have a Guinea Pig…’

Ultimately though, First Born was about Dean finally (and to the joy of Dean fans everywhere) being accepted into the mythology. The fact that Dean took the Mark of Cain means that he will almost certainly be the one to kill Abbadon. Now as Supernatural fans we know that this might not happen because Sam never finished the trials. However I hope it does because it would be great to see Dean as the one who is challenged or different in some way and Sam as the one helping and protecting him. For me it would take the series in a new direction and it is a direction that would be very welcome. The stories have always seemed to be about Sam but from Dean’s point of view, now we could actually see a story about Dean told from Sam’s point of view. Fingers crossed!

Finally we come to Cain himself; what a fascinating character and one who could have a very long shelf life. I like the fact that the writer took the Biblical story and turned it on its head somewhat making Cain kill Abel to save him (something Dean might have done to Sam). I loved the fact that Cain has had dealings with Abbadon before and that it was Cain that trained the Knights of Hell before finding redemption in the love of a good woman. It seemed only right and, not at all surprising, that Cain would give his mark to Dean. Dean, like Cain, is the older brother who would do anything for his younger sibling and we know that Dean is exactly the same. I am sure we will see Cain in future episodes and I’m looking forward to seeing what will happen to him.

So, not the best episode I have ever seen but a really interesting one and one that has laid down a lot of plot developments. I hope that we see the brothers reunited again and I am keeping everything crossed that Dean will be able to seek help from Sam for a change. I am also hoping Sam stays strong, mentally stable and doesn’t become possessed again. If all these things come to pass then I think Season 9 may even outshine Season 8!

Bring it on.