Supernatural Season 10 started off with a solid bang by introducing demon Dean. It was a truly fresh spin for the show and a recognition that there was still plenty of drive left in the story’s gas tank.
While Dean was essentially “cured” of his demon-ness in Supernatural Season 10 Episode 3, the Mark of Cain was still there. That dangerous tattoo on Dean’s arm was going to eventually illustrate just how damaging it could be to the elder Winchester.
Sure, Dean said he was fine, but we would get minor nods to the Mark of Cain as the brothers worked some regular cases. Though, sometimes it felt like the brothers forgot the Mark of Cain was even an issue at all.
So my expectations were set high for the midseason finale, preparing myself to get off the monster of the week cases and dive right into that bigger arc. I was prepared to see Dean front and center, finally having to deal with a Mark that would most likely send him into killing mode.
But besides a brief nightmare flash and Sam checking out Dean’s arm, Supernatural Season 10 Episode 9 really only focused on the Mark of Cain within the last minutes of the hour.
They were fantastically intense, with a visual shot of Dean kneeling on the floor surrounded by cut up and bloody bodies. His face alone was tragic in that he knew he screwed up, as was Sam rushing to his brother hoping the massacre was because Dean had no other choice.
That moment had me hooked, and then the hour cut to credits.
I guess I was expecting more focus on the Mark of Cain, and that’s probably a combination of wanting that story arc more front and center, as well as the promo that teased the focus on Dean and the Mark of Cain.
But this episode wasn’t really focused on Sam and Dean. This was an hour centered on Castiel dealing with guilt over taking Jimmy Novak away from his family.
That’s a drastically different situation than the Mark of Cain storyline, though you could certainly argue the heavy focus on family tied it and Crowley’s plot together.
There was something positive seeing Castiel face the consequences of taking Jimmy over and what it did to the man’s family, especially after Hannah’s decision in Supernatural Season 10 Episode 7, Castiel seeking out Claire seemed like the next logical step on his path.
But to what end? What’s Castiel going to do with Claire?
We learned that Jimmy died after Castiel was killed in Supernatural Season 5, which was an interesting fact, but it’s not like Castiel will leave the host body because Jimmy is in Heaven. And while Claire clearly needs some guidance, is it really from Castiel?
Is the rest of Castiel’s journey going to be about babysitting Claire and showing her a good path?
I’ll certainly give Castiel credit for his persistence; his desire to sort of make amends after all the things he’s done on his “righteous path.” It was even cool to see him storm the house with Sam and Dean, taking charge, in his search to rescue Claire.
The Claire storyline overall was slow, and I’ve been having a hard time even getting into the Castiel story for Supernatural Season 10. Putting the focus on Castiel and Claire wasn’t keeping me as invested as I wanted to be for a midseason finale.
Even when it came to Crowley and his mother, nothing new really happened with those two until he decided to let her out of the prison at the very end. I’m sure some devilishly good entertainment will come from their arc, but it clearly wasn’t going to start in 2014.
Maybe I was expecting too much? Maybe if I went in knowing it would be about Castiel and not really about the Mark of Cain?
It's hard because we got things like Sam and Dean reminiscing about their father, or Dean consistently eating, or Crowley saying clever Crowley things, etc.
But I was ready for some movement on the big bad and the big story arc fronts, and this episode was more setup for when the show returns in 2015. It was much more about giving Castiel a story that didn't involve hunting angels and more on seeing how he would handle dealing with the aftermath of one of his major actions.
Still, it just didn’t have quite the same kick in the way Supernatural Season 10 Episode 1 started things off.
While the ending looked to be that kick start, the midseason finale ultimately left me underwhelmed. I'd like to see less Castiel babysitting and more Sam and Dean facing the Mark of Cain problems and spinning something interesting off the new combo of Crowley and Rowena.
I'm really hoping when Supernatural returns, it can propel itself off the killer ending with Dean and roar back to life like an Impala engine raring to go.
Did you love the midseason finale? Were you disappointed? Sound off below, and see that ending again when you watch Supernatural online.
Sean McKenna was a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. He retired in May of 2017. Follow him on Twitter.