SPN 9.02 Devil May Care: Dean Talks
Like the premiere last week, Devil May Care set up the coming season. It introduced or reintroduced to characters, what teams they are apparently on, and their places on the playing field, so to speak.
We’ve got a number of players on the field. The premiere introduced Ezekiel who appears to be on the Winchester’s side, although it’s yet to be seen exactly how his role will play out. We know after all that even angels with good intentions can cause havoc on a global scale. Speaking of which, Castiel is, according to Dean, “humanish” but still a player. It will be interesting to see if he senses Ezekiel is in Sam and how he reacts.
On the demony side, we’ve got Crowley who, while locked down in the bunker, is still very much a player. He is tormented by his memories of the final trial and the emotions it dredged up of his human life, but his imprisonment doesn’t prevent him tormenting Kevin about his mom. This is why Abaddon underestimates Crowley. She thinks that being “ruler” is about force – being a “warrior.” She doesn’t understand the insidious, understated evil that Crowley embodies. We see a chink in his armor, however, and I’m looking forward to see how that may change or, at least, weaken him.
Two new characters were introduced: Irv and Tracy. Irv was killed off quickly, which was okay by me. He was a plot device anyway, and his mush mouth speech was annoying. As for Tracy – this episode was written by [edited to correct, Andrew Dabb] who gives us Tracy, also a woman of color, who is a competent hunter and, to make her more sympathetic, lost her parents to an demon celebrating Sam setting Lucifer free. I’m going to imagine that she’s dressed in Daisy Dukes and a midriff baring top in order to entice the vampire that she killed when first introduced, but if we see her in future episodes in such impractical hunting gear, we’ll know she’s also on the show as eye candy.
Initially, I was somewhat bewildered by introducing a character who would almost immediately attack Sam for something he did years ago and paid dearly for. I think there were a couple of reasons for it. One was that it gave Dean the opportunity to defend Sam and to teach the young hunter a lesson.
Dean: For the record, Sam isn’t the only guy who thought he was doing right and watched it all go to crap. Okay? That’s just part of …”
Tracy: Being a hunter.
Dean: Being human. If you want to be pissed at Sam that’s fine. I get it, but you want to go after somebody, you make sure they got black eyes. Gotta know who the real monsters are in this world, kid.
I feel like I should mention that use of “kid.” A lot was made in Everybody Loves Hitler about Dean not hitting on the girls at the bar, but I think it’s just a matter of Dean growing up. He may still love women, but he doesn’t see 20-year-olds as “women.” He sees them as “kids,” and he should. He’s 34, for Chuck’s sake.
Another aside here, can we talk about what an incredible shot Sam is? Seriously. He hit the site on an assault rifle held by a man on a rooftop … with a handgun … while moving. That’s supernatural.
I cheered the reintroduction of Abaddon, and I know I’m not alone. She is a 180 degrees from Crowley. There’s nothing subtle about her. She’s a warrior – tough, violent, aggressive – all the things that she thinks a ruler should be. She calls a Crowley a “salesman” and sneers at the deals that demons make rather than taking what they want. She promises the demons new i.e. better, sexier meatsuits, and comes through with the three that are later killed trying to get the Winchesters.
I admit that I love how baddies like to get up close and personal with Dean. Abaddon is no exception. She’s had a thing for him from the beginning, and one of the most chilling lines of the series for me was in Sacrifice when she told him she couldn’t wait to cut out his pretty green eyes. The specificity of the threat and implication that he will be alive for it is somehow far more real than all of the things that we saw Alastair say or do.
Abaddon wails on Dean a bit and gets him on his knees before telling him that she wants Crowley and if Dean gives him up, she’ll be nice and kill Dean outright. Dean being Dean challenges her to the alternative, and she tells him she’ll wear him as a meatsuit: “You’re the perfect vessel, Dean. You give a girl all sorts of nasty ideas.” He pretty clearly finds the idea horrific, but their tete-a-tete is then interrupted by Ezekiel blowing the windows out of the diner where the demons were beating the crap out of Sam. Abaddon tosses Dean through a window and disappears when she realizes they boys have an angel in their pocket.
Dean goes to the diner and … this ep should have been called Dean Talks because, boy, does he ever – first, with Tracy, and then with Ezekiel whom he now calls Zeke. Yeah. Dean has a burden. Not only has he allowed the angel to possess Sam and erase his memory, but he’s realized that since he prevented Sam from closing the gates of hell, every person killed by a demon is on him. Ezekiel reminds him that he did it for love, which makes Dean squirm a little because he, you know, doesn’t “do love.” He’s already seeing the consequences of his decision and he’s waiting for the other shoe to drop.
When Sam and Dean get back to the bunker, they find that Crowley wants to deal, not because stewing in his own “delicious” juices is a problem he says, but because he has things he wants. Liar. Yes he has things he wants, but it was obvious that he’s tormented by his memories of being human during the trials. He gives the boys a couple demon names and Sam goes off to track them down. Dean talks to Kevin who is angry and wants to find his mom. Dean tells him that she’s dead or might as well be.
Dean: If she is alive, then she’s dead, in every way that matters, Kevin. I’m sorry. … We need you, man.
Kevin: Because I’m useful.
Dean: Because you’re family. After all the crap we’ve been through, after all the good you’ve done, man, if you don’t think we’d die for you, I don’t know what to tell you because you, me, Sam and Cas, we are all we’ve got. But, hey, if none of that matters to you, I won’t stop you.
Some have said that Dean was being manipulative, and he was. He is. We’ve seen him do the same thing with Castiel both in the scene when he gets Cas to go into the hospital and help Sam and in the crypt scene when he’s begging Cas not to kill him. That doesn’t mean that he’s lying, however. Dean just knows what to say and how to say it get what he wants. He’s not stupid. He learned a long time ago how to get his way with people. It’s how a he survived and took care of Sam growing up – by learning to play on people’s sympathy. He may outright lie to strangers, but with family and friends, it’s just a matter of twisting the truth in the right way.
So, Dean convinces Kevin not to leave. Not only do they need Kevin, but with all the angels and demons looking for a prophet, he’s safer at the bunker. Then, Dean talks to Sam who Dean can tell has something going on in his big brain.
Sam: What Tracy said about me, she wasn’t wrong.”
Dean: Sam, listen to me. You’ve helped a helluva lot more people than you have hurt. So all of that, that was then. Here’s to now.”
They toast to that, and Dean asks Sam how he’s doing.
Sam: Honestly, I feel better than I have in a long time. I realize it’s crazy out there and we have trouble coming for us, but I look around and I see friends and family. I’m happy with my life for the first time in … forever. I, I am. Things are good.”
Dean gives a slight smile when Sam says that he’s happy but it fades into a grimace as he turns his face away from Sam. Dean knows that it will all go to crap when Sam finds out what Dean has been hiding from him. It’s inevitable and he regrets it – not saving Sam’s life but the way he did it and that he’s hiding it from him.
I come away from this episode feeling like it was primarily about Dean and where he’s coming from right now. Yes, we get where baddies Abaddon and Crowley are placed on the playing field. We get that Kevin is a part of the family and Sam is happy with his life, but I think that we got a better perspective of where Dean is and that he’s totally aware of the implications of his recent decisions, both to stop the trials and to allow Ezekiel into Sam. The consequences will be both personal and global. He is in a lesser degree guilty of the same kind of mistake that Sam made in killing Lillith. He’s released evil and innocent people will suffer and die for it. In both cases, the actions were for the love of a brother. So, while I am also tired of characters bringing up Sam’s earlier mistakes, I think Tracy doing it to Sam in this episode was to draw the parallel with Dean’s actions and the consequences of them.
The other thing that sticks with me here and probably means nothing was Abaddon’s threat to wear Dean as a meatsuit. I mean, what if? I admit to liking the idea. Sam possessed by an angel. Dean possessed by a demon. One can only imagine how that might play out.