Again a pretty good episode! Pretty Sam and Dean, sparks between Dean and Abbadon and Gadreel saving Sam and himself when the demons almost kill Sam are all awesome scenes. Then we also have an underlying theme about mistakes made and the guilt that comes from these. We have one hunter who blames Sam for opening Lucifer’s cage all those years ago, then we also have another hunter who has just recently sold his fellow hunters to Abbadon. Dean has the answer to that - Everyone makes mistakes and they all have to live with the consequences. Just be sure the ones you go after are the ones with black eyes. Another interesting thing about this hunter who is angry at Sam. She’s young. The next generation of hunters. Where as the other is older and a friend of Bobby’s, who has gone hunting with Bobby. The older hunters all have made mistakes and are more understanding whereas the younger have not gone through enough to empathize and tend to let anger get the better of them. I wonder also if there are parallels with this and Abbadon/Crowley. Not that Abbadon is younger than Crowley but she is inexperienced and very bad at leading demons, it seems. Also Crowley feels regret for what he has done in the past. Crowley is definitely changed since the trials but he doesn’t want to show his weakness. He instead encourages them to torture him. I am assuming that the title Devil May Care comes from the fact that Crowley, despite pretending not to, actually may care a little. But all these are just reflections of what Dean is feeling - Dean also has serious misgivings and guilt about what he has done to save Sam, even though Gadreel tells him that he did the right thing.
The ep starts with the beautiful image of Dean lying on a picnic table, taking a nap. This whole scene is just beautiful and I couldn''t help but add a bunch of screencaps.
Sam comes up to him and asks about Cas. He’s worried about Cas making the long trip to the bunker on his own without any grace or wings or heart or whatever else as Dean says. Their discussion of whether Cas is human now is very interesting. Cas is not human, even though he has lost his grace and wings, because he doesn’t have a soul either. I recently watched Heaven and Hell and thought about Ana as well. She ripped out her grace to be born human, but Uriel says that technically she is not human - I assume because she doesn’t have a soul. But it seems not having a grace doesn’t change Angels much inside. Why is humans losing their souls so devastating, while angels losing their grace isn’t? Ana said that angels were cold, but she wasn’t, even though she didn’t have a soul. She loved humanity and wanted to be like them, just like Cas, until she was reprogrammed. Angels do have emotions. They might me more literal than humans, they might also have a harder time knowing what is right and wrong without someone to guide them but they do have a capacity for love and especially loyalty. I think the most important aspect of the soul is that it gives humans the knowledge of “good and evil.” We see angels be emotional, we see some with a sense of humor (a pretty bad one but still) but they do have a hard time knowing what is truly good. Cas continues to make mistakes in this regard.
When Sam lost his soul he still smiled, he still got angry, but he could only look at things from the point of view of what (he thought) would be advantageous for him. He knew Bobby was like a father to him but he didn’t feel too badly about killing him (I think he did a bit, but weighing what was “best” for him, he decided that he had to do it) And he was often wrong.
[Spoiler for Season 14 finale (click to open)]In the recent ep, Jack told Cas that he couldn’t love because he didn’t have a soul. That he felt empty. And yet, he felt anger at Sam and Dean for lying to him, he felt insecure about their loyalty to him, etc. He also did not kill them when he got out of the cage. If you can feel anger, you can care for someone too. When his grandmother got emotional at him, he couldn’t stand it. If he really didn’t feel, I’d think it wouldn’t bother him at all. Maybe what he doesn’t have is unconditional love. Love that is not based on what the person can do for him. He still wants to do good for the world, but has lost the ability to know what would be good.Coming back to this season, Gadreel also does not have a soul but he has a strong desire to make things right. He feels guilty for the mistake he made and wants to redeem himself by doing good. What is NOT emotional about that? However, again, he has a hard time really knowing what is “good” and making the right choice. Left on his own, without guidance, just like Cas and other angels, he sometimes makes the right choice, sometimes doesn’t - because he doesn’t know the difference.
I think it is a very subtle difference and the writers are really treading a fine line in the depiction of these soulless characters. I’m sorry to go on and on but I’ve been having a hard time with this concept in season 14 because of the emphasis on “lack of emotions” of soulless individuals, when there are so many instances when it is quite clear they do have emotions.
Going on, Sam asks about Crowley and whether Dean had killed him. Dean says, well, I would have liked to but then I thought, what would Sam Winchester do?
SAM: I would have put a knife through his brain.
Wow, Sam. That sounds pretty brutal. Sure, you may want to kill him, but do you have to be so graphic about it? And don’t you feel anything for him after you half healed him? After he showed remorse for what he had done? I will never understand how cruel and heartless these guys can be sometimes. But maybe Sam DOES care… and that is why he is acting so uncaring - because he thinks it is wrong to feel something for a demon. Considering how he keeps saying they should kill him and doesn’t in later Seasons, there must be some kind of bond as Crowley says later. Again a tie-in with the title. Another possibility is that his emotions are being influenced by Gadreel. Could Gadreel be giving him this lack of emotion to deal with a tough subject? We see signs of something similar at the end of the ep so I want to come back to that.
Dean is surprised at Sam’s response too but goes to show Sam that Crowley is still in his trunk.
DEAN: He’s the junk in my trunk.
And Dean suggests that they should interrogate Crowley and see if they can get the names of all the demons on earth so they can kill them off, basically making up for not closing the gates of Hell.
So they take him back to the bunker. It is the first time for them to set foot in the bunker after the angels fell, and Dean, who goes in first, finds Kevin with a bow and arrow for protection.
KEVIN: Dean, you’re alive.
DEAN: Yeah, cause you’re a lousy shot.
Interesting here is that Kevin is explaining that the bunker shut down until the boys opened it from the outside and he couldn't get out. He was so stressed he was "backed up." Dean doesn't appreciate the detail.
Then Sam comes in with Crowley, and Kevin is shocked out of his mind.
The demon who killed his mother is in the Bunker. Why isn’t he dead?! Now this is a much more emotional response than Sam had earlier. And of course, it may be because Kevin believes Crowley killed his mother and we know what happens to guys in Supernatural when their mothers are in danger or killed.
It’s here that Dean explains that they couldn’t go through with the trials. Kevin, who had worked so hard for this end - revenge for his mother and all he had gone through because of the demons - is shocked and upset with Sam and Dean. It’s only after the Winchesters explain the plan to him that he calms down.
DEAN: He will break, ok, and when he does, we can strap him down while you knife him, and then we can all go out for ice cream and strippers.
This “knife him” to me doesn’t sound as brutal as Sam’s stab his brain previously. It is also used to pacify a very aggravated Kevin so it makes sense to me.
Sam and Dean tell Kevin not to go down to the dungeon where Crowley is because he’d screw with his head.
Then, they go down and try to get some names out of Crowley but - torture is not going to do it. As Crowley describes it, that is what he does to himself just for fun. So they leave him all alone which works a bit better.
Meanwhile, we have a scene with a demon bringing Abbadon back to life in her old body which is a really cool scene
but a bit weird because she tells the other demons that they need better bodies to go to war. Abbadon sure must love that body.
She also doesn’t like the way Crowley has been running Hell like a business.
ABBADON: That’s the problem. Deals. We are paying, for what we should be taking.
A King fights. A king conquers. A king does more than sit around reading contracts. But the king is dead. Long live the queen.
Whatever Abbadon says, the demons fear Crowley despite his businesslike methods, and they are not going to go on Abbadon’s say-so unless she has proof. One in an old lady meatsuit (kids love grandma) tells Abbadon so, and gets sent to hell for her trouble. Abbadon is hot-tempered and has the demonic tendency to kill the messenger while Crowley seems to be more fair.
Dean is on the phone with hunters telling them about the angels having fallen, and how to fight them. He mentions to one hunter, Irve, that Bobby used to tell him about a hunt that Irve and he went on with werewolf siamese twins everytime he drank Labatts. It’s a nice moment, and shows how much Bobby trusted this guy and how Dean also trusts him as a good hunter and friend.
Abbadon has got some nice military trained bodies for her recruits and I love that face.
ABBADON That’s more like it.
On the side, we also see a young woman hunter killing a vampire using her girly charms -
HUNTER: I think the thingy broke.
But then the demons are suddenly there and take her. This scene is super confusing for me because it has nothing whatever to do with the demon storyline we have been following except we see the same hunter with Irve later and I guess Irve must have been the one that gave Abbadon her name? Totally unnecessary, confusing scene IMO
Sam and Dean come to check out the bus where the military guys were taken over by demons - one step behind. The Military is not as easy to convince that they the FBI should be on scene. They get the woman in charge to call their “supervisor” who happens to be Kevin. She’s not fooled and talks to him like he’s a kid. Kevin finds some stuff on her and gets her cooperation. Smart boy!
KEVIN (O.S.)I suggest you give my guys anything they want. Understand?
He gets a kick out of that LOL
While Sam and Dean are checking out the scene and the meatsuits abandoned on the bus, the military lady comes and gives them footage from the cameras and they find out it’s Abbadon.
Abbadon is busy interrogating the hunters for the whereabouts of Sam and Dean. The first one doesn’t tell them and he probably dies. Irve tells Abbadon a number and Abbadon phones Dean’s number. Kevin picks it up out of the many phones in the box. Abbadon tells him to tell Sam and Dean that she has Irve and Tracy - the girl hunter we just saw previously.
When Dean hears about this from Kevin, he asks him to search for anything that can kill a Knight of Hell. Kevin goes down to the basement where the books are - which is also a bookshelf away from where Crowley is because the dungeon is behind a single movable bookshelf. That is a bit weird. If you’re going to make a dungeon, make it a bit more secure and definitely sound proof because there is going to be torture right? You can’t leave it open for anyone to get into either.
Crowley is suffering more from being alone than he would have being tortured. He is remembering all the stuff that happened while he was being cured by Sam, all the weakness he showed Sam by telling him he just wants to be loved and all the regret he (had) felt for what he had done wishing for some way to redeem himself.
When Kevin comes into the library, Crowley recognizes Kevin’s scent and goads him into coming into the dungeon. Of course Kevin, who has deep feelings toward Crowley for killing his mom can’t help but go right in despite Sam’s warning. Crowley hints to Kevin that his mother is indeed not dead, and if Kevin would just let Crowley go, they could go get her together. Win/Win. He also suggests to Kevin as he always does, that Dean just wants him for what he can do. They don’t really care what happens to him or his mom. Well, thankfully his little talk doesn’t work on Kevin except make him angry and work him over.
KEVIN:You tortured me.
CROWLEY:I torture all my friends. It's how I show love. I was raised in a dysfunctional home environment.
KEVIN:You killed my mom!
CROWLEY:Did I? (beat) I mean, are you sure? Did you ever see her body? I mean, how can you be sure she's dead?
(Kevin punches Crowley)
CROWLEY:You can do better than that, little man.
CROWLEY:That's right. Let it all out.
We on rewatch know that Kevin’s mom is actually alive but imprisoned. I am assuming here that Crowley doesn’t actually know if she is alive because he hasn’t been in direct contact with his minions for a while, which is why he doesn’t say for sure that she is alive. But it also seems that he is goading Kevin into hurting him.
Dean and Sam meanwhile have gone to help Irve and Tracy. When they arrive at the location, they find that it has been evacuated due to some chemical leak. Dean covers his crotch with his hand and Sam tells him that's not going to help any LOL
Irve tells them that Abbadon is looking for intel on the boys. Tracy is rude to Sam. Irve explains that she’s new, a good hunter but with a mouth on her.
TRACY:My family's dead because of him.
TRACY:I watched a demon slaughter my parents. And the whole time it talked about how it was celebrating. Some dumb kid let Lucifer out of his cage.
This is heartbreaking… for us as well as for Sam. It did remind me of Dean’s talk with Cole in Season 10 after he’s cured. It is also a main theme of the episode - regret for mistakes that have been made in the past. Not only by Sam and Irve but of Crowley as well. And Dean sure doesn’t feel very good about what he has done either and wonders if he really has done the right thing.
Dean decides it would be better if the girl came with him. As they wait for the opportune time to attack Dean talks to her a bit.
DEAN: Listen, for the record, Sam's not the only guy who thought he was doing right and watched it all go to crap, okay? That's just part of being—
TRACY:Being a hunter.
DEAN:Being human. Look, you wanna be pissed off at Sam, that's fine, I get it. But if you wanna go after somebody, you make sure that they got black eyes. Gotta know who the real monsters are in this world, kid.
Dean conveniently forgets that even those with black eyes are also just humans that made mistakes. But hopefully he just means here that the monster they are going after now are the demons and they have to work together to get that done.
Watching this episode and it’s theme of mistakes made, it seems to me that Sam should have been a tad more understanding of Dean’s “mistake” when he finds out about it later. Especially after what he himself has done in the past. He should have gone after the real villain - not Gadreel but actually Metatron - instead of taking it out on Dean.
So while Dean is talking with Tracy about Sam’s mistakes, Irve is confessing the mistakes he has made recently - selling several hunters and finally Sam and Dean to Abbadon. He insists that he wants to sacrifice his life for them to make up for it.
IRVE:Yeah, well, it's what I've got coming. It's my fault, Sam. I was... in some dive and I was sloppy, and lonely, and I met some girl. And next thing I know, I'm strapped to some bed, and she's twisting things that ain't supposed to be twisted.
IRVE:Abaddon. (starts tearing up) I gave 'em up. Pete, Tracy, I Gave 'em all up. So you hand me that blade, and you let me do what I gotta do, or so help me—
And then he gets a bullet through his brain.
I wonder how Sam would have reacted if Irve hadn’t died here? Would he have said ok, go ahead and sacrifice yourself if it makes you feel better, or would he have said, we have all made mistakes - let’s work together to get these demons? Sam himself thought he should sacrifice himself for the cause last season didn’t he? And this was because he felt unworthy - that his life wasn’t worth more than others. He was angry with Dean for saving him for this reason. How would he have felt about Irve sacrificing his life for him? Even if it was to atone for a mistake? How will he feel about Dean sacrificing his life for Sam, to atone for his own mistake?
Really interesting parallels here.
Dean faces Abbadon and makes the girl go back to the car to get supplies.
We have a very hot scene here where Abbadon tries to get Dean to give her Crowley by promising she will kill him quickly. Can’t she read minds, this Knight of Hell? She is really not very good at reading people or getting them to do what she wants.
ABADDON:I missed you. Did you miss me?
ABADDON:So appreciate you boys coming when I call. I think that's what I like most about you Winchesters. You're so obedient. And suicidally stupid. I like that, too.
DEAN:Are we gonna fight or make out? 'Cause I'm getting some real mixed signals here.
ABADDON:I want Crowley. Or what's left of him.
DEAN:Yeah? What's in it for me?
ABADDON:I let you die. You give me Crowley's head, and I will snap your neck, quick and clean. You won't feel a thing, trust me.
DEAN:And if I tell you to get bent?
ABADDON:Oh. Well... you know, I've loved this body since the moment I first saw it. You're the perfect vessel, Dean. You give a girl all sorts of nasty ideas. So go ahead and play hard to get, and I'll peel off this "no demons allowed" tattoo and blow smoke up your ass.
DEAN:(Mockingly) Ooh. Well, I gotta tell you, between you and me, it is a horror show up there.
ABADDON:It can get worse. Trust me. 'Cause once I'm on top, I'll make you watch. And I'll use your body. Have you ever felt an infant's blood drip down your chin? Or listened to a girl scream as you rip her guts out? Because you will. It's you and me, lover. We'll have a grand old time.
(Some lovely fic out there…)
Meanwhile, Sam is getting creamed by two demons, probably still weak from all he went through. As he gets hit in the head and unconscious, Gadreel comes out and saves him.
Abbadon sees Gadreel’s light, and she skedaddles.
DEAN:What, you think we'd roll up to this mouse trap without some backup?
Dean comes in to see the demons dead and is shocked that Gadreel had taken over Sam’s body, but Gadreel explains he was just saving Sam. Dean gets it. Yes, that is what he would have wanted, but… all his insecurities about keeping the angel possession from Sam are really bothering him.
GADREEL:You are troubled, still.
DEAN:Yeah, it's just that, uh... this is on me. I was the one who talked Sam out of boarding up Hell. Okay? So every demon deal, every kill that they make... well, you're looking at the person who let it happen.
Oh wow. Yeah… Dean already blames himself for not going through with the trials.
GADREEL:You were protecting your brother. I am in Sam's head. Everything he knows, I know. And I know that what you did, you did out of love.
DEAN:Yeah, uh, look, Zeke—I'm gonna call you Zeke—I'm not really with the whole, uh, love, and... love.
GADREEL:But it is why I said yes.
DEAN:Yeah, and if that goes sideways, that's on me too.
GADREEL:That's not going to happen.
Oh Gadreel… :’( Why weren’t you true to your promise?!)
DEAN:This is nuts. I mean, you're Sam, but you're not Sam, and normally he's the one I'm talking to about all this stuff. I'm trusting you, Zeke. I just gotta hope that you're one of the good guys.
GADREEL:I am. (beat) But I suppose that is what a bad guy would say. (beat) Dean Winchester, you are doing the right thing.
So sad how it turned out… :( But again we have regret and mistakes as the theme. Dean blames himself for stopping Sam from shutting the gates and letting all the demons go free, of course. And it only gets worse.
When Sam comes to, Dean pretends he came in and saved Sam from the Demons. It’s a flimsy story but barely holds:
DEAN:I took 'em by surprise. Got a little messy, I got a little lucky. Oh, and, uh, I'm awesome, so there's that.
SAM:Jeez. You are pretty damn awesome.
Sam is very impressed.
When they get outside Tracy drives up with the Impalla and all it's weaponry, and is surprised to learn that it's all finished. She goes up to Sam and asks if he is ok. When he says that he'll live, she tells him, "good," which is quite a different attitude from what she had before. Why? Maybe she just took Dean's lesson to heart. Mayb be Dean making her leave so he could deal with Abbadon solo had something to do with it too. We'll never know. Dean tells them both that showers and beers are on him, and they get in the impalla and drive off. A nice scene of that.
They go back to the bunker and find out Kevin was in the dungeon with Crowley but fortunately he had not given into the suggestions and kept strong. He does also have strong misgivings toward Dean who always seems to be using him. He tells Dean he wants to go and find his mom on his own.
DEAN:I know you're dying to bolt, man. I get it. But out that door, it's demons, and it's angels, and they would all love to get their hands on a prophet. So even with Crowley here, this is still the safest place for you. It just is. And we need you, man.
KEVIN:Because I'm useful.
DEAN:Because you're family. (beat) After all the crap we've been through, after all the good that you've done... man, if you don't think that we would die for you... I don't know what to tell you. [KEVIN starts crying] Because you, me, Sam and Cas, we are all we've got. But hey, if none of that matters to you, then I won't stop you.
Kevin (OPT) decides to stay for a while.
* Wiki notes that when Sam and Dean come back to the bunker, Dean is holding a bottle of prune juice, which shows that despite Dean not seeming to appreciate Kevin telling him that he was "backed up" at the start of the ep, he does really care. Another tie in with the ep title? Here's the proof for that.
On the other hand, Crowley is ready to talk.
CROWLEY:They're demons. You asked for names, I'm giving you names. They're underperformers. Spike them, you'll do me a favor.
DEAN:Wow. You break easy.
CROWLEY:Please. Your little plan to have me stew in my own... delicious... juices... pathetic. You want intel. I want things, too. Maybe we can come to some kind of arrangement. Quid pro quo, gentlemen.
SAM:So these are what, then, freebies?
CROWLEY:Not at all. You can consider them fair trade for the enjoyment that Kevin gave me.
DEAN:What the hell is that supposed to mean?
CROWLEY:He's my new favorite toy. Wind him up, watch him go.
OK, so he has had some fun with Kevin - winding Kevin up and getting him to beat him up...maybe he felt he liked it after how bad he was feeling about himself. Maybe being alone in the dark really did get to him, despite what he says.
Sam and Dean are in the upstairs library. Sam’s doing research and Dean comes up and gives him a whiskey and they have a talk about regret and past mistakes.
SAM:What Tracy said about me, she wasn't wrong.
DEAN:Sam, listen to me. You have helped a hell of a lot more people than you have hurt. So all of that... that was then. Okay? Here's to now.
And then they talk about Sam and how he’s doing. Sam feels good. Better than he has in a long time. He sees family, and friends, and he is happy with his life for the first time ever.
Dean is a bit disbelieving… maybe he feels that Gadreel/Zeke is messing with Sam a bit? He is also feeling guilty as hell for keeping it all a secret. On first watch, Sam being happy made me soooo extremely happy. I’m obviously not a hurt Sam type person. I don’t mind it in fiction but for me, Jared does the hurt too painfully for comfort, maybe because he gets so haggard I don't know, and to see him finally back to health, feeling good... I had waited for this for a very long time.