“In the Bible Cain slew Abel and East of Eden (mama) he was cast
You’re born into this life paying for the sins of somebody else’s past”
-Bruce Springsteen, “Adam Raised a Cain”
The first thing that has to be said about this episode is Timothy Omundson (guest starring as Cain) and writer Robbie Thompson have brought to life one of the most fascinating characters in Supernatural lore. From the moment that Omundson arrives on the scene as Cain, you know that this is a BAMF for the ages. [Seriously, look at that first scene in the cabin; now look at it again in slow motion – forward and then backward. Yep, it is awesome.] And to turn the story of Cain and Abel on its ear and look at it from a different perspective gives it a fresh, interesting spin. Look out Dean Winchester – there’s another bad-ass big brother in town.
The second thing that has to be said about this episode is that it has some of the best fight scenes ever – well, one in particular. I loved the scene in Cain’s kitchen where Dean faced off with 3 demons. He was all
and oh yeah, that
Yeah, buh-bye demons.
And all the while, Cain was all like
Tough crowd (but secretly impressed).
But back to the story. So, once again the Winchesters are on a break (aka their annual break). Though I’m not a big fan of the brothers being divided, it does allow for some interesting companions in their hunting expeditions. While Sam has an angel on his shoulder, Castiel, helping him find Gadreel and Metatron, Dean has a demon, Crowley, who needs help finding a weapon to kill Abaddon. When all is said and done, both angel and demon seem to agree on one thing: the Winchesters need each other. But every time there is a suggestion that one of the Winchesters should call on the other for some help, they are rebuffed or ignored. When will the Winchesters learn what everyone else can clearly see?
Sam and Castiel discover that there is an essence of Gadreel’s grace remaining inside Sam and that it could be used to track Gadreel’s location. It is one of the first times that the hunter and the angel have worked on something so closely without the presence of Dean. It is awkward for both, but as they research and find answers, they each begin to learn a bit more about the other. Cas watches Sam endure excruciating pain in order to extract the angel grace and seems to gain a deeper understanding of the younger Winchester. Sam is willing to suffer endless pain – undoing all of the weeks of healing that he received through Gadreel/Ezekiel. Torture that takes him to the brink of death, in order to withdraw enough grace for the tracking spell.
Castiel recognizes the guilt that is driving Sam – he has carried the same type of guilt himself – and he makes a decision to stop the extraction before Sam deteriorates back to his death like state after the trials. He shares that realization with Sam and tells him how his experiences as a human changed his perspective as an angel. Sam is so busy focusing on how his life is not more important than another’s (as he seems to perceives Dean’s decisions made on his behalf) that he can’t understand what Cas is saying – the perspective is not that Sam’s existence is more important but rather that all human life is important. It’s not just one part, it’s the sum of the parts. As Cas says, “Well, that PB and J taught me that angels can change, so… who knows? Maybe Winchesters can, too.”
Sam is quite disappointed when Castiel tells him the spell didn’t work (although I have to wonder if Castiel was telling the truth there). But looking at the big picture, progress has still been made. The awkward hug between Sam and Castiel is priceless. And after one last ditch effort to convince Sam to bring Dean back into the fold (which is again rebuffed), Cas leaves to continue the search for Metatron.
While all of this is going on, Dean is off hunting Gadreel on his own. Crowley approaches him with a request for help in finding a certain weapon that is alleged to be the only weapon that can kill Abaddon. The key to finding the weapon? One John Winchester. I love when we get a glimpse into John’s past – especially when it leads to something the boys did not know about their father. The hunter who helped John on that quest, Tara, is a tough customer (but apparently not too tough for John). It’s unfortunate that she ends up as collateral damage. I have to say that it made no sense for her to release Crowley from the devil’s trap by destroying the floor. And it made less sense that she didn’t immediately fix it (ahem, Robbie?). But I digress — on to the next part of our odd couple’s journey: Cain.
Based on his appearance in the opening scene, Cain is quite the foreboding figure. Without making the character sympathetic, Omundson portrays a man who has made some tough choices under considerable pressure which led to him doing some horrible things. And I love the twist that it all started with him trying to save his brother. Sound familiar?
It’s interesting that Dean’s reputation precedes him, even with a demon knight as powerful and as isolated as Cain (although “demon bathroom walls,” really?). Could it be that Dean’s arrival is even expected? With Crowley and the demon world, anything is possible. From the moment they first meet Cain, it seems as if Dean is being sized up, tested – the fight with the demons in the kitchen being the final test. Later, Dean accuses Crowley of setting up the whole “meet cute” with Cain and it’s no surprise when Crowley admits he played him. Even though Tara died in the process, with Crowley, the ends justify the means.
Another intriguing reveal of the night is that Abaddon is responsible for the death of Cain’s wife, Colette. Apparently, Abaddon wanted Cain for herself. The “Father of Murder” was a popular guy back in the day (another similarity with a certain Winchester?). Abaddon’s actions caused Cain to accidentally kill Colette and he swore off killing because of a promise to his dying wife. But the uprising of Abaddon and the arrival of Dean Winchester changes everything.
I have felt a lot of different emotions over the years watching Supernatural. I’ve even jumped at a few of the more surprising monster moments. But the moment that Dean accepted the Mark of Cain from its namesake, was the first time I felt really afraid. Has Dean not learned from his hasty decisions of the past?? Accepting Death’s ring for a day? The ring comes with certain conditions that are yet to be revealed.
Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Supernatural airs on The CW on Tuesdays at 9/8c. Full episodes are also available at the CW site and On Demand (check your cable listings) as well as on iTunes, Amazon, Hulu and Google Play.
I always like to include some of my favorite quotes and exchanges from the episode. If you have some quotes or moments you liked, please share in the comments section. Once again, I have saved a special quote for the last.#1 Castiel: “But… I enjoyed the taste of food – particularly peanut butter with grape jelly, not jam. Jam I found unsettling.” Sam: “So, what? Now you can’t taste PB and J?” Castiel: “No, I-I taste every molecule.” Sam: “Not the sum of its parts, huh?” Castiel: “It’s overwhelming. It’s disgusting… I miss you PB and J.” #2 Sam: “What?” Castiel: “Nothing.” Sam: “You’re a terrible liar.” Castiel: [indignant] That is not true. I once deceived and betrayed both you and your brother.” #3 Crowley to Dean: “Is all this really necessary? I mean, I’ve been inside your brother. We’re practically family.” [Needless to say, Dean does not react well to this one.] #4 Crowley: “What? Didn’t they teach note-taking at Hunters Hogwarts?” #5 [only Misha Collins could make this one seem fresh and work so well] Castiel: “The Men Of Letters believed that you could perform a tracking spell with extracted grace. But they were never able to test the theory.” Sam: “Well, they didn’t have a guinea pig, but we do.” Castiel: [bewildered] You have a guinea pig. Where?” Sam: [beat] “Me, Cas. I’m the guinea pig.” Castiel: “Oh.” #6 Dean to Crowley in Cain’s home: “Why don’t you just zap out of here?” Crowley: “I’d never leave my domestic partner in crime.” #7 Dean to Cain: “Look, I get it. You’re retired. We’re not here to get between you and the demonic AARP, but it’s bad out there, and I’m just looking to even the odds.” #8 Castiel: “Sam, the Trials. You chose not to go through with them for a reason, didn’t you? You chose to live rather than to sacrifice yourself. You and Dean… chose each other.” Sam: “Yeah, I did – we did. And then… Dean made a choice for me.” Castiel: “What Dean did –“ Sam: “It doesn’t matter what Dean did. Look, I could have put a stop to all this, Cas. I could have closed the gates of hell.” Castiel: “Oh, Sam.” Sam: “Dean’s gone, okay? This on me now. And if I can find Gadreel… I can fix this. Now, being a human means settling your debts. Let’s start balancing the books.” #9 Crowley to Dean, as they break into Cain’s home: “This is by far the dumbest idea you’ve ever had.” Dean: “Yeah, well, it’s early.” #10 Castiel, extracting the angel grace from Sam: “Why must the Winchesters run toward death?” Sam: “No, don’t. Don’t. Don’t stop.” Castiel: “Sam, when I was human, I died, and that showed me that life is precious, and it must be protected at all costs, even a life as… as pig-headed as a Winchester’s.” Sam: My life’s not worth any more than anyone else’s – not yours or Dean’s… or Kevin’s. Please. Please, help me do one thing right. Keep going.” #11 Crowley, facing off with demon at Cain’s home: “Really? Isn’t it past your bedtime?” [demon hits him] Crowley: “You’re good. [suddenly stabs demon with angel blade] But I’m Crowley.” #12 Dean to Cain after fight: “What? Was that some kind of test?” Cain: “I felt connected to you right from the beginning. Kindred spirits, if you will. You and I are very much alike.” Dean: “Right. Yeah, except I didn’t kill my brother.” Cain: “You saved yours. Why?” Dean: “Because you never give up on family – ever.” Cain: “Where’s your brother now, then?”
And the final quote comes from the song noted at the beginning of this review. It wasn’t used in the episode, but I think the lyrics fit. So this one is from The Boss, Bruce Springsteen.Adam Raised a Cain By Bruce Springsteen In the summer that I was baptized my father held me to his side
As they put me to the water he said how on that day I cried
We were prisoners of love a love in chains
He was standin’ in the door I was standin’ in the rain
With the same hot blood burning in our veins
Adam raised a Cain Adam raised a Cain Adam raised a Cain Adam raised a Cain All of the old faces ask you why you’re back
They fit you with position and the keys to your daddy’s Cadillac
In the darkness of your room your mother calls you by your true name
You remember the faces the places the names
You know it’s never over it’s relentless as the rain
Adam raised a Cain Adam raised a Cain Adam raised a Cain Adam raised a Cain In the Bible Cain slew Abel and East of Eden he was cast
You’re born into this life paying for the sins of somebody else’s past
Daddy worked his whole life for nothing but the pain
Now he walks these empty rooms looking for something to blame
You inherit the sins you inherit the flames
Adam raised a Cain
Lost but not forgotten from the dark heart of a dream
Adam raised a Cain