Episode 5.20

“The Devil You Know” Review
By Amanda Rebholz

When this episode first started, my first thought was “Someone watched 28 Days Later recently…” I was a little disappointed by the number of blatant similarities, from the monkeys in cages going nuts to the bloodspray to the man’s eyes turning red as he was filled with rage. Beyond that, however, I liked this episode more than I thought I would.

Crowley may be one of the most memorable, excellent supplemental characters we’ve had in the show since the introduction of Castiel; he is a standout in every scene he’s in, and the acting is above-par for many Supernatural alumni. Along with that, Crowley is well-written and interesting. He’s a demon we actually CAN trust, at least for now, which makes it more ironic in the light of what has happened with Ruby. From the get-go fans had doubts about her, but Crowley seems to have won over the vast majority of the fans. The parallels to him and Ruby, vocalized in this episode by Sam, are numerous, right down to the fact that she used to stick her neck out for the boys and is the one who gave them the demon-hunting knife in the first place, but for some reason my gut tells me to believe in Crowley. For awhile, anyway. Something about him is very likeable. Perhaps it’s the accent.

I also loved the portrayal of Brady in this episode, and the revelation that Sam has ALWAYS been surrounded by evil trying to win him over and coerce him to take a certain path. It was sad to learn that Jess was just cannon fodder from the get-go, but an interesting development to the characterization of Sam. It was also a nail-biting moment when I thought that Sam was going to lose control and attack Brady, though I was extremely happy that he didn’t. He didn’t betray the trust that Dean had put in him, which was a nice turn. In the end though I don’t think Dean should’ve allowed Sam to kill Brady. Sure it was a dramatic moment and let Dean utter the epic line “All the angels and demons, they just don’t get it, do they, Sammy?… We’re the ones you should be afraid of.” But any time that Sam is allowed to give in to his Hulk-out rages and do something drastic or violent, he comes one step closer to being the vessel Lucifer wants; didn’t they all hear when Lucifer told him at the pit to provoke his anger and give in to it so that Lucifer could feed on it when he took over? Or did we all forget that? Sammy should be doing yoga and finding a happy place, not gutting people and drinking whiskey! What’s he thinking?!

This episode had me biting my nails for the fate of Bobby; of course Crowley’s persuasive, he’s a demon, but even so he makes a damned good point. Also, I believe Bobby will do it because with himself stuck in a wheelchair, he isn’t really bringing much to the fight right now and it’s their best shot. He told Sam the line “Maybe it’s time to go a little crazy”, and I think that’s going to prove prophetic. Also, with Death making a deal with Dean, nothing good can come out of it! I’m praying that Dean doesn’t have to offer someone up on the chopping block— not my beloved Cas or gruff, sweet old Bobby, but especially not Dean himself, which seems possible since he’s repeated “I’m so tired” several times throughout the season.

This season has made a complete turnaround from the slightly-jumbled, disjointed first half, and each episode as we race to the finish has been more intense and twisted than the last. One can only wonder how we’re headed to the final countdown, and what surprises will be spring upon us on the way.