Supernatural, Episode 196 “Black” Broadcast October 7, 2014
Written by Jeremy Carver
Directed by Robert Singer
After a visual recap of last season, A female demon is bound to a tree being interrogated by Sam Winchester, who’s using a knife to prod her for the location of his missing brother Dean, who unbeknownst to him has become a demon. He wants Dean’s location, or Crowley’s, but she can’t help. He catches some of her spilling blood until she “makes the call.” Cue new title logo for season 10.
Four weeks later, Sam’s gotten nowhere. The Internet and police scanners are providing no leads until he finds the murder of John Doe online who’s been missing for three years. He calls Castiel to tell him about the lead, but the fallen angel is still slowly dying from his lack of “grace.” Realizing Cas can’t help, he tells him to never mind. The pair wonder if Dean is still alive and even remotely still Dean. He’s not, as he’s in a bar singing terrible karaoke to Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy.” Even Crowley, who’s speaking with a patron is not amused. The scene then cuts to the end of some amorous tangling with a waitress. Crowley arrives and the pair return to the bar where they play patrons foosball for beers. Their poor gameplay is interrupted by the waitress’s boyfriend berating the woman outside. Dean intervenes, almost killing the man. Back at Castiel’s hovel of a room, angel Hannah arrives saying she, and Heaven, need his help to track down two fallen angels who don’t want to go home. He agrees to help her and starts to clean up. Sam goes to Wisconsin to investigate the John Doe’s death, where viewers are treated to some nice parallel action, with the youngest Winchester learning why Dean is still alive. Cue first commercial break.
This episode started out strongly and then fell apart in the last quarter. That Winchester brotherly bond continues to be strong as Sam will do anything to save/find his brother. Jared Padalecki’s got the serious part of the show and does a solid job clenching his jaw to show his anger as Sam will do. I liked how he found Sam and how he got to locate him. What I didn’t like was what happened to him in the last fifteen minutes. Yawn. Viewers have been down this road a million times. Jensen Ackles steals the episode with Demon Dean living the perfect life in a dive bar. However, the shine wears off quickly and he goes into a dark corner, that, again, viewers have seen before. Misha Collins gets some fantastic lines in the episode and his conclusions on his job with Hannah were stand outs. I’m ready for the Castiel spin-off series now. Also stealing scenes is Mark Sheppard as Crowley. He has some fantastic dialogue with Sam and some revelations with Dean, but he disappears in the last, say it, fifteen minutes, and so does the fun. I felt no suspense with the cliffhanger and no emotion from Dean’s comments. A great premiere that wimps out.
The good: Jensen Ackles, Misha Collins, Mark Sheppard’s scenes. Dean doing karaoke. Castiel having the highlight moments. A nice bit of banter involving fishing. Erica Carroll as Hannah. The following lines taken out of context so not to spoil things for viewers: “Pants?”, “I’m sensing awkwardness,” “code brown moment,” “The Misadventures of Crowley and Squirrel,” and “Moose.”
The bad: Sam doing what Winchester brothers always do: look for the other and have the obvious happen on a dark road.
The final line: Strong season opener that sadly goes for the obvious in the end. Overall grade: B
Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!”, he reviewed comics for TrekWeb, and he currently reviews Trek comics at TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for two years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.