Oh, it just got real.
Sam facing off against Crowley. Dean battling Castiel. The Stynes cutting people up.
And this was such a major episode that two members of The Winchester Family Business, Alice and Nightsky, joined TV Fanatic staff writers Carla Day and Sean McKenna for the Supernatural Round Table.
So burn those hex bags, and let’s talk “The Prisoner.”
What was your favorite scene or quote?
Alice: For me, it was the scene between Sam and Crowley, but I’ll talk about that in the next question, so how about a quote? That would be Dean, talking to that dumbass Eldon Styne, who inexplicably was able to bust down the door to a warded, impenetrable fortress (continuity fail!). If you’re going to kill a jackass by putting a bullet through his brain, have a great line first. “So you can save me the speech on the three hearts, the two spleens, the seven nipples for the ladies, or the fellas; I don't judge. But even with all that, you still only have one brain.” Boom!
Nightsky: Crowley’s dramatic revelation of his powers! I was completely pulled into his eloquently personal death scene, so the emergence of the glowing red eyes precisely at the moment of his death, expelling the Demon’s Trap bullet and burning the all-powerful hex bag was a triumphant return for the King of Hell. I didn’t actually believe that Crowley would die, but I was so absorbed in his quiet and touching last confession that I was completely stunned by the reversal of power in the scene. A brilliant shocker!
Carla: The penultimate episode was a rough one to watch with Dean's killings and threats. Despite the downfall of Dean, I loved when he just shot Eldon in the head. The Styne son was a tool and needed to be taken out. It was unfortunate that Eldon's death was followed by Dean going too far and taking out the kid.
Sean: This one is tough because there was a lot to like in this episode. I’ll go with a quote from Crowley after he flashed those red eyes and became that scary and powerful Crowley again: “I want you to know that the only reason you're alive is because I allowed it.” What an intense line as Sam lay on the floor with Crowley practically ready to snap his fingers. Now that’s the Crowley we all love.
What did you think of the Sam and Crowley confrontation?
Alice: Loved it. Just wow, things are falling apart for Sam, aren’t they? Instead of killing the King of Hell, he’s managed to strengthen him. The whole Crowley transformation, with the smoldering red eyes and the reminder of who he is, was awesome. I loved how Crowley literally had Sam’s life in the palm of his hand, ready to end it all with a snap of a finger, and he let Sam go. I forgot to breathe through all that!
Nightsky: Since it was my favorite scene of the episode, I thought it was a fitting and powerful teaser to Crowley’s true identity. Having said that, I was frankly surprised that Sam wasn’t a bit more ambivalent about killing Crowley. After all, they had their “moment” in the church and Sam’s blood is pumping through Crowley’s veins. Crowley has also been more vulnerable this season, and he was trying to act on, understand or at least accept his partial humanity. Sam is usually more forgiving, always being the voice of mercy who believes that even monsters should have a chance for redemption.
I realize that Sam has repeatedly expressed his desire to see Crowley dead, but those requests always seemed shallow to me, more of a comic relief cliché. So I was never convinced of Sam’s menace, which pulled me out of the scene a bit. In the end, it didn’t matter though. Mark Sheppard owned that scene, and the shock factor added to the quality of the episode overall.
Carla: I've been waiting for the real Crowley to come back, and Sam's attempted murder brought the King of Hell back from his more humanized nature, so I'm all for it. It would have been too easy if Sam actually killed Crowley in that moment. Crowley lives to see another day and he's back to his hold-nothing-back manifestation. I can't wait to see what he does to Rowena (though I hope she solves the Mark problem first.)
Sean: This was a great scene that got even better after Crowley went all red eyes. One moment, Sam has Crowley right where he wants him, and the next, Crowley has gained a powerful upper-hand. I’m glad Crowley has sort of got his mojo back, and I hope he goes all out coming up.
What did you think of the Dean and Castiel confrontation?
Alice: Honestly, I had issues with it. Not because of the dialogue or anything (that was great) and it was a very intense scene, but because I had a hard time believing that Castiel has been so weakened as an angel that he couldn’t fight an amped up Dean. He took a vicious beating and I couldn’t figure out why. Remember Castiel, on borrowed grace nonetheless, holding back Demon Dean from killing Sam in “Soul Survivor”? It was earlier in the season! If Castiel had a reason for not fighting back, it wasn’t obvious or hinted.
Nightsky: I loved Dean’s half of the fight. It was intense and showed his descent into the Mark’s rage. Although I understand and accept that Castiel didn’t want to hurt Dean, I thought the scene would have been more convincing if Castiel had reiterated his reticence or at least tried to stop Dean with powers.
The tension and intensity in the scene were rescued by Castiel’s prediction that he would be the only one left to watch Dean murder the world. I literally gasped when he said that, terrified that those words would be the trigger Dean needed to justify killing Castiel. When Dean thrust down the angel blade, I was completely drawn into the conflict and could not predict if it was going to be a death blow. That made the scene believable, compelling and justifiably powerful.
Carla: Heartbreaking. Utterly heartbreaking to watch. I thought Castiel didn't fight back because he trusted that Dean wouldn't actually kill him and didn't want to make the situation worse. If Cas did fight back, Dean may have killed him without a delay. I would be okay with Cas dying, but not that way. Dean would have been irredeemable if he killed Cas whereas if Cas sacrifices himself to save Dean, that would be OK.
Sean: This was another intense scene that had me so engrossed in the moment. Dean gave Castiel a major beatdown, and that slamming down of the angel blade had me worried that might have been it for the angel.
I guess I thought that even with Dean ramped up off the Mark, Castiel wasn’t trying to fight back because he thought that would escalate things to an even worse situation. I think he was hoping his words and their friendship might be able to break through to Dean.
Was that the last we've seen of the Stynes?
Alice: My gut instinct says no. From what we were told, they were all over the world. Looks like only the Shreveport branch is gone. Lord knows the writers will want to tap into that when they are out of ideas. My wish though, oh yes, please please please, let this be the last of them. I am so over this lot.
Nightsky: I was never thrilled with the family ancestry story, so I was relieved when their Louisiana clan was decimated, probably eliminating them as the main antagonists for season 11. Since Eldon bragged that their family was “spread over the world” (“Dark Dynasty”), I’m fairly certain there will be at least a few episodes dealing with them avenging their kin. I can take a small sub plot that deals with them, but I was dreading them being the new “big bad”. I think their presence would have been a “Leviathan” type mistake for Season 11.
Carla: I hope so, but I doubt it.
Sean: I actually liked their introduction into the Supernatural world, but I still could have done without them being all over. I kind of hope that Dean taking down what seems to be the major hub eliminates what would be the larger threat. And I agree, maybe a kin member popping in for an episode would be fine, but not as the big bad of Season 11.
Will Dean be free of the Mark by the end of the Season 10 finale?
Alice: Remember that wish thing I just did? I have no idea if it’ll be gone, but again, I’m over it! I WANT it to be over by the finale. We’ve had two seasons of this crap, and it’s just resulted in glacial pacing and dragging out things painfully too long. No more. Dean needs to get back to hunting evil instead of being evil, and Sammy just needs to have that nervous breakdown that’s been long coming and get back to being the Man of Letters he’s supposed to be.
Nightsky: This is a wild guess but I would say yes. If he does not get rid of the Mark, the beginning of season 11 would be too similar to most of season 10, i.e. Demon Dean’s rampage, Sam chasing Dean, Crowley’s interactions with Demon Dean, etc. How Dean gets rid of it, the fallout from his actions and the supposed critical decision he makes concerning the Mark are all complete mysteries, however. I think the writers have done a superb job of setting up multiple possibilities for the way this season could end.
Carla: Hmm. I'm not sure. If he does still have the Mark, I don't think the writers would go down the same road we've seen before. Either Dean will be worse than before when he was Demon Dean or he will find something that will help him live with the Mark. I'm really not sure either which way I'd like it to go. If I was writing it, Dean would lose the Mark, but either Cas or Crowley will have to make a huge sacrifice to make it happen.
Sean: It’s got to be gone by then, right? It just seems like the right time to move on from that, but I’m wondering what sacrifice or consequence will come from getting rid of the Mark. There’s bound to be a cliffhanger, too, I’m sure.
Sean McKenna was a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. He retired in May of 2017. Follow him on Twitter.