Although it was the third episode of the season, it was the first one filmed so that Jensen could direct it. I think he did well, particularly considering he had to act as demon!Dean for the first time, was on screen for quite a bit of the episode, and had the challenge of trying to make a chase up and down what is essentially the same hallway interesting and suspenseful.
I think the whole bit about the blood types proving that Dean couldn't be John's son is a continuity error mostly in the props but it has made for some interesting speculation. I have stories I've made up for my kid about four fairies that live in our house and I can't remember what I wrote from last week, let alone several seasons ago. I still can't forgive the writers for reaper canon atrocities in Taxi Driver but I'll let the blood type stuff slide. I was more curious about the reason they chose not to have Sam use his own blood. I think it would have been cool for Sam and Cas to have run out of the bagged blood and in desperation have Sam pull some from his own arm and have that be what did the trick. The potential health risks are probably more than they wanted to show on screen though. Instead of another round of watching Sam in a confessional, we got to see him dressed up as a doctor. Mmmm, much better. Sam is in all grays and whites at this point, not a combination he's often in. It works well with the light in the room.
Really the only color is the little bit of blue light and the red blood...
...and the sanctified cooler. The hospital is named after St. Agatha, a martyred virgin from early in the Catholic church's history. She's the patron saint of breast cancer patients and suffice it to say that the reason for that is awful. It is a timely topic for October though.
Nice shot of the car speeding back to the bunker.
Somewhere in there, Sam must have changed his clothes because he's in blue now. I like his arrival in the darkness.
I think Jared did a good job capturing Sam's thoughts on his face and posture.
Then we got a slow pan up Dean's body to his face.
He's in red and so much shadow.
And not really happy to be there. I don't know how long it took them to film the scenes with Dean tied to that chair but I know how sore I'd be, especially my knees.
We jumped back and forth a lot between the bunker, Cas and Hannah, and Crowley and his gang. We got another shot of a car hurrying to the bunker.
It's Cas and Hannah and Misha did a good job making Cas look like 900 miles of bad road.
We jump back to Sam and Dean and can tell by the puncture marks that they are at least several hours into the proceedings.
Dean accuses Sam of being more of a monster than he is. It turns out that Sam went trolling for someone to summon a demon for him. Lester is conveniently sitting there between the big red and yellow warning signs at a bar.
Sam's in green and that isn't usually too good either. I like how Sam's sign says "the sun".
The red and yellow stays on Lester's side of the picture.
I have no sympathy for Lester in this. He made his own choices based on a desire for revenge and we've been watching SPN long enough to know that's never good. Who meets a stranger at bar and goes off with some guy who promises he can get a revenge through an occult ritual and then expects that it's going to end well? Plus, he made Sam dig a hole with a bad arm. Call out the hounds.
I like the shadows of the leaves on him here.
I like this shot too. He ends up making the deal. Lester sold his own soul and made his own bed. Sam used him as bait, which isn't swell but not that far outside an average day for a Winchester. We've seen both Sam and Dean do much worse so as a plot point, it fell flat for me.
Still, Sam feels guilty and demon!Dean is trying to get at him any way he can so it's probably a pretty good tactic to rub it in and make it worse. It makes for a real pain in the neck though.
I like the contrast of Sam in blue which is typically used with angels and Dean, while Dean's got red, usually Sam's color as well as with demons and Hell.
Nice close up with Sam who's in partial darkness at this point too.
We take a break to go check on Crowley who just sentenced Danneel Ackles' niece for treason and sent her off with Danneel's brother. I like that Jensen gets his family involved in the episodes he directs. Lots of gray and black here.
Crowley gets a visit from a return guest from Of Grave Importance and sends him off to keep an eye on Cas.
I like Crowley's chair.
My theory is that Crowley doesn't want to be hanging out in Hell while Sam is working on curing a demon in case something goes astray and Sam somehow completes the trials. Crowley doesn't want to get stuck in hell either so he's gotten a lair in the warehouse district and had demon minions schlep his chair and paperwork from his downstairs office. There is light outside the window but that doesn't appear to be where the shadows on the floor are from.
Crowley gets an offer from not!Dean to be Crowley's wingman.
He looks a lot more like Crowley than Dean. I will say that demons get nice ties. More black and gray in this case.
He gets smoked for his trouble.
In the background, we can see other minions loitering around. The demon in the middle is up on a treason charge. No nice tie for him. He just gets to stand around and sweat his fate.
Mark Shepperd's son got to be in the scene too. He got a nice suit and a lot of paperwork.
Later, we get an execution of a guy in a gray shirt.
Then they are just about to do in the defendant we saw earlier and this guy jumps in to immolate himself with holy fire. I wonder what the story is with him and the guy whose execution he interrupted. He gets a boring tie. After an eternity in torment, I would imagine there are demons who would probably do anything to have their existence obliterated or incinerated. I wonder how hard it is to come by holy oil in hell.
Crowley gets a coordinating pen and a surprise look at disquiet in his ranks.
Crowley will catch up with us later. We're off to see what's up with our roadtripping angels. I love this shot of the drive-in Star Brite movie theater being reclaimed by nature. Most of them seem to be these days. Jensen tweeted a thanks to the VSFX crew for the drive-in so I wonder if that means the signs were added later.
I like this view of the car in the corner of the screen. Our angels are lost and can't read a map. Can't they tune in to angel GPS? The voice says recalculating...
The sign and screen make a nice balance for Cas here.
Back with Sam and Dean, the cure seems to be effecting demon!Dean and we get a really nice look at Sam on the phone with Cas and Dean in back. The light is working it's way in toward Dean but not there yet.
This concerned!Sam is my favorite from the episode.
Of all of the shots we got of Dean in this episode, I like these here the best.
Demon!Dean dumps all of Dean's dirty laundry all over the floor and goes after Sam by blaming him for everything bad that ever happened to him. Sam responds to it all by telling Dean he can't quit the family. He procedes to yank Dean's lame ass out of the fire. You're welcome.
Then he walks out and slams the door on Dean. This seems like the first time he's left Dean really alone in this whole process. This is all so different from Sam's demon blood detox session in Bobby's panic room.
We go back to catch up with Cas and Hannah and we got a cute shoutout to Jensen's nephew, Levi.
That's an awful lot of red and green...not good, not good.
I don't know what it is with SPN's collection of big, old brown Lincolns.
Hannah heads into the gas station after a very clumsy let-down from Cas.
The box on the shelf behind Hannah is "Simply Food".
There's a lot of yellow and red.
Then the focus shifts to the spilled coffee in the foreground.
Cool old cash register.
I saw a tumblr post where someone was trying to figure if Hannah was actually hurt by anything more than crash landing in a pile of popcorn.
For an angel, she seems surprisingly underpowered.
Are those friendship bracelets on Adina's arm?
I like the red heart patch on Adina's shirt.
She does a job on Castiel and we get to see Crowley arrive to ominous music as seen from Cas's viewpoint on the ground.
Of course the King of Hell would put angel grace in a bottle with a skull. Poison? I think it's worth it to mention that Cas is another character that gets healed in a way that he did not want. It still seems to be a running theme.
While all that is going on, Sam has decided to go take comfort in a reminder of what Dean has been like on better days. Nice use of the music, Americana, through this section. I like Sam's silhouette here.
I always like to look at the things on desks. Looks like a press for making an embossed stamp on paper as well as a phone that must be for internal use or a direct line to an operator.
I wanted to know what album that was so I asked over on whatwasthatone. mrputter answered that it's Iron Maiden's Somewhere Back in Time: The Best of 1980-1989.
Here's the track list.
Another shot shows a regular phone connected to the outside world, papers and pie?!? Evidently the blah, blah, blah in this pie was a very effective preservative. When was the last time Dean was really eating? He wasn't very hungry when he was hanging with Crowley looking for Abaddon. I don't know how long ago he was killed by Metatron and revived by the Mark but it has to be at least four weeks ago.
I think they should have had Sam sniff it and make a disgusted but fond face. Jared could have pulled that off.
The notes underneath the pie are mostly directions. The back one has a drawing of a house with tall trees in the back. The spiral bound notepad says:
-Take Hwy 75 from Lexington
to Charlotte. Go East at
Huntsville. Use Rt 77
There's a drawing of a road map and a note about a vacant green barn.
-P/u guy named Harris (Has keys
to Storage Lock up, combo 6392
Load Ammo lockers / PIN Key
Contact: Clemons / illegible / Blue F150
The yellow pad looks like it has a to do list as well as a pack list.
I have to wonder what was going through Dean's mind that this stack of pictures is right here with his travel notes. Thinking of family before he went off to kill Abaddon, maybe?
Those boys are too happy to be Winchesters so I figure this must be those actors in Balthazar's parallel universe.
Sam takes the last one with him and goes back to find that Dean is gone and now the dungeon looks like a shot from a movie about capital punishment.
Dean's on the loose and the hunt inside the bunker gets rolling.
Sam is smart and figures out a way to lure Dean to somewhere he can lock him in. The table has some maps on it and the drawer is full of drafting tools, binoculars and a flashlight as well as keys.
Then Dean heads to the kitchen to find a weapon. I know there was a cabinet of torture tools in the dungeon but maybe he wants a snack too. This is an odd assortment of stuff for a kitchen drawer but I suppose most people have a drawer with odds and ends. This one has a bottle brush, a couple of knives, something Dandy to 'serve food tastefully', a cleaver which Dean considers and a hammer.
Ancient coffee cans and a stand mixer. The hammer is a horrible choice that makes sense if you think you're going to have to break through a door or wall or a skull. Ugh.
Here's one trip down a curved hall.
Dean kicks in his unlocked bedroom door.
While he's standing in the doorway, Sam shuts down the power and the red emergency lighting comes on.
It leaves Dean in red and shadows.
Warning is right.
More great shots of Dean with the red light.
I liked the red light coming through the grate in the door.
Nice balance of Dean and the light.
Dean turns the power back on right next to the big Danger sign.
Sam is in the hall as the red light goes out. Still so much danger.
I'd be sweating too.
Then we get to watch Dean bludgeon a door to smithereens.
Next to the red light, I like this bit of footage the best. Here's Dean coming around another curved hall proceeded by his hammer-wielding shadow.
Then the real hammer.
This is a brutal swing.
A lucky dodge. Dean's not swinging to just break something with the blunt end of the hammer, he's using the clawed end for maximum damage.
That's quite a wall to embed the hammer in. Sam looks suitably freaked out. This is twice already this season that Sam's been threatened with a hammer.
"I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail."
— Abraham Maslow, The Psychology of Science (1966)
I don't think we'll ever know if Sam stepped down because he knew Cas was there and he was keeping Dean focused on him or if he was just going to let Dean take care of the "die trying" part of his vow. Jensen looks crazy scary.
They get Dean back in his chair and stick him again. Then Jensen manages to go from demon!Dean to regular messed up Dean with a change in facial expression and lighting.
But then at the very end, there's this. Still looks pretty scary to me.
Sam got Dean stashed back in his room. For all that he's been through, I keep thinking Dean should look a lot worse than he does. He's already got research spread all over the bed but he's looking at his family pictures.
I think it's interesting that he hides them before the door is opened.
He has the last conversation of the episode with Cas instead of with Sam. I was ok with that. I wasn't ready to see Sam and Dean together after how rotten it's been between them for so long plus not!quite!demon!Dean tried to kill him. I think that the Mark is always going to push Dean to fraticide, even when he's not a demon. I very much like that Cas acknowledged that some of what went on was actually Dean, not all the demon acting and speaking. He disowned Sam and then tried to kill him and seemed to enjoy part of it way too much.
For me, Dean's gotten to the part of his journey that I vented about at the end of my 9.23 recap. Dean, it's time to make some changes. I don't know what you have to do to come back from this but you need to start somewhere and make some changes in all the crap that got you to this point. NOW. I really think this is your last shot at this. You've never backed down from a fight before and this is the most important one. Please, do it. For Sam, for Cas, even for me but most of all, for you. Still love you, dude. Now, you've got work to do.
From that emotional point in the episode, we were dumped into a brief scene in Tulsa, in a large hotel with plenty of US flags.
It turns out to be a lovely, expensive room with a horror spiked to the ceiling.
We've got another redheaded chick who obviously knows what's up. From the actress's profile, she's from Scotland and is the new voice match for Merida from Brave. I hope they let her keep her accent. Maybe she'll have something to do with Crowley and Gavin. She's bad news anyhow. Dun, Dun, Dun......
All caps from homeofthenutty