Oh yay, I actually have some thoughts on this one. :)
I've been thinking lately about what makes a "classic" episode of Supernatural. I often find myself saying "that's old school" or "it's like the old days" or "that's classic spn". For me there's two types of episodes that I consider "classic" Supernatural. One is a MoTW episode where our boys are solving the mystery, swapping banter, facing peril and then share a drink and a beer at the end.
The other is this kind of episode - a myth arc episode that leaves you will all the feels but doesn't leave you wondering why someone has acted out of character or leave you scratching your head because of a reinterpretation of canon.
It's curious to me how Crowley and Rowena were SO much more interesting this week than last week. Their scenes were short and to the point. And, more importantly, by the end of the episode there was some sort of resolution. It actually went
I think that's why this episode succeeded for me when so many haven't this season. After 17 episodes we actually had some progress
. Sam was finally allowed to do
something and Dean had some nuance (I admit to not being a huge fan of the Dean staring into the mirror with angsty eyes to show us his turmoil. I want to SEE that turmoil in action, and we did in this episode).
I loved the varying layers we saw in Dean. His cheekiness when he pranked Sam's room, going out and hustling pool, being badass, fighting and succeeding to control the mark AND words of wisdom to Crowley. The scene with Crowley felt genuine and opened up a mess of conflicts. Feeling sorry for Crowley never sits well with me (I will never forgive him for torturing Kevin or the many other people he's tortured), but it opens up the discussion of forgiveness and whether a person (demon?) can truly change. If Crowley's story line is about changing and redemption then I like that they're playing the long game. It was highly satisfying when he kicked out Rowena. It was also highly satisfying to see Crowley's arc making sense.
I'm not entirely sure why Dean's given up though. In terms of the narrative it makes some sense - Sam can then go behind Dean's back and try to find a cure with the help of others etc etc, but in terms of Dean
I can't work out his motivation for doing nothing (other than "just fight it"). He's been told he's going to kill Crowley, Cas and Sam. We've seen that he's scared for himself and death from last week (though, I don't take anything from the last episode too seriously), but we haven't seen his concern for what he might actually do to others - in terms of driving him to find a cure. Dean sees the inevitability of his demise - that the mark will take over and he could possibly become a demon again. I'm not sure why he doesn't want to find a cure to stop that. Perhaps we'll see more of this over the next few episodes (the black eye flash in the episode was a great surprise to me. Loved it).
The biggest (and nicest) surprise was actually getting some Sam POV. AND, knock me over with a feather, he actually connected with someone (Bobby!) and was given some words he desperately needed to hear. I really enjoyed seeing him working with Cas. I would love to think Cas is as concerned from Sam as he is for Dean. I think he is - we've seen evidence of this in the past, so I'm hoping when Sam goes "dark" (whatever that will mean), Cas will be there to support/help him. Bobby's letter was ominous and signals the path ahead for Sam may be a dark one.
I had no idea how much I missed Bobby until I saw him again. His appearance helped make this a "classic" episode. He imbues so much warmth in an episode. I had forgotten that and boy, it was lovely to feel again. I've never been a big fan of the "spnfamily" catch phrase, but this episode had "family" written all over it. Seeing all the characters come together to help Dean gave me warm fuzzies (and seriously, if Dean doesn't actually ACT on his words rather than just spout them I'll probably scream. People care for you Dean, so stop thinking you can do this on your own. Surely you've learnt that by now!).
I also loved seeing some connections to past episodes - the radio connection in hell (Dark Side of the Moon) and the boys pranking each other (Hell House). It's been AN AGE since we've seen them be playful with each other. Sam "provoking" Dean to go into his room (I'll always see that as a dare from Sam. Some Sam psychology, knowing a bit of pranking will cheer Dean up) and Dean marking</strike> messing up Sam's stuff. And Dean calling Sam's name in EXACTLY the same way he did when he was in hell (No Rest for the Wicked). I will never not love them running to each other when one of them is in danger. We also had the seance in order to connect with heaven (Lazarus Rising).
So yeah, a good "classic", myth arc episode that left just the right about of warmth and pain. I hope this signals the beginning of strong myth arc eps in the remaining 6 episodes.
I thought 10.17 was:
Awesome! So many feels!!
Pretty good! Some great moments.
Ok. I liked some of it, but not all of it.
Meh. I was bored through a lot of it.
Nope. Didn't like it one bit.