“Girls, Girls, Girls” had a few really good moments, though it is probably one of the weakest episodes so far in what has been an outstanding Season 10. Some of the best parts were a revelation (who knew we would become so attached to Hannah?), while other great moments were less of a surprise because of the consistently strong characters on Supernatural (you can always count on Crowley). There were several separate storylines occurring, which is not unusual on Supernatural since Mark Sheppard and Misha Collins have both become season regulars. The multiple storylines worked mainly because the narrative with Castiel and Hannah was so compelling. The scenes with Castiel and Hannah were also beautifully filmed, which we appreciate in a series with sequences that often take place in dimly lit rooms, dark alleys, the Impala, Hell, or purgatory. Even when Sam and Dean have visited Heaven the scenes were generally dark both in terms of content and images. Seeing the angels Castiel and Hannah in a beautiful, natural environment just feels right, a heaven on earth, as it were, and is a nice contrast with the demon Crowley in the gloomy, prison-like atmosphere of administrative Hell. “Girls, Girls, Girls” places Sam and Dean squarely into their traditional hunter roles.
A woman in questionable attire is being chased by a shadowy figure. This lady of the evening is confronted by a pimp-like figure, Raul. In her attempt to free herself of Raul, she stabs him in the eye. Sadly for her, it has no real effect on him because it turns out that he is a demon, and Raul snaps her neck.
Sam and Dean are on their way back to the Men-of-Letters bunker, but have taken a detour along the way. When Sam asks Dean why they are there, Dean tells him it’s so they can enjoy some steak at Lazardo’s Steakhouse, telling Sammy, “It’s the only place between Connecticut and the bunker you can get a decent steak under 10 bucks.” Dean is getting a torrent of messages on his phone and when Sam asks him who is messaging him, Dean is evasive. Sam grabs the phone, despite Dean’s argument for “…privacy… And stuff.” It turns out that Dean is using a dating app as “Impala67.” Sam questions Dean about the legitimacy of the responses he’s getting.
Sam: “No, it’s not bad, Dean. It’s too good to be true.”
Dean: “I’m sorry, is it — is it so hard to believe that an attractive, red-blooded, American female could be interested in someone like me?”
Sam: “You realize there’s no guarantee ‘Shaylene’ is even Shaylene. I mean, for all you know, it could be some… Canadian trucker named Bruce.”
When Shaylene shows up in the flesh seconds later, Dean is very pleased and Sam seems a little chagrined. Sam asks, “We – we detoured eight hours so you could get laid?” to which Dean answers affirmatively and then he leaves with Shaylene.
Castiel and Hannah are back on the mission of finding angels still on earth. Hannah nonchalantly discusses leads while she strips off her clothes. As he becomes increasingly uncomfortable, Castiel asks Hannah what she’s doing.
Hannah: “I’m taking a shower.”
Castiel: “Um…We don’t need to shower. I know.”
Hannah: “Are you — Does this bother you?”
Castiel: “Bothered? I…I’m not.”
Hannah [smiling]: “Good.”
Hannah is becoming increasingly funny and likeable each episode she’s in. Perhaps it’s a result of her character becoming increasingly human, or at least becoming increasingly aware of how humans are. Many of the angels who have had limited human interaction come off rather cold and serious, while those who have spent more time on earth, such as Gabriel and Metatron, are more witty and interesting. Castiel is probably the nerdiest of the bunch.
S*x for Souls
Dean is with Shaylene in a motel room with amazing elephant wallpaper. We love the attention to detail in these motel room scenes. Shaylene brings up the issue of payment to Dean, saying, “Sweetie, thought you figured it out. I mean, shy of coming out and saying it, I thought I made it pretty obvious.” Dean tells her that his code is, “No cash for ass.” It turns out that Shaylene is not looking for money, but wants Dean to sign away his soul. She tells Dean, “It’s nothing, baby. Who knows what a soul is, really, if it even exists? All I know is you say yes, my guy comes up, you sign some papers, and then it’s you and me – good to go.” Dean doesn’t seem convinced.
Where is my Wife?
At the front desk of the motel where she and Castiel have been staying, Hannah is checking out, while Castiel waits in the car. A man walks up to her, calling her by the name of “Caroline.” It turns out that Caroline is the name of the human vessel that Hannah occupies and the man is Caroline’s husband, who has been searching for her. Angels need a human vessel, like Caroline, to walk the earth, though unlike demons, who can just possess a human, the vessel must give them permission first. We learned in “The Rapture” (S04E20) that angel vessels are often religious figures who pray for spiritual connection. Only certain humans can withstand the angel’s presence without ill effect. The vessel is aware of everything that is happening to their physical form, but has no control once they have given themselves over to an angel.
At the elephant wallpapered motel room, a demon comes in the door with a contract saying, “Everybody ready for a good time? Okay. John Hancock right here. Then we can get this party started.” To his dismay, the demon realizes it’s Sam and Dean Winchester and that he’s in a devil’s trap. Sam and Dean confront him on his souls-for-sex scheme, but before they can question him about who else is involved, Shaylene stabs him with Dean’s blade, killing the demon. Shaylene is able to find one of the cards that the demon was giving out at bars, which has “Raul’s Girls” written on it and an address.
At the “Raul’s Girls” brothel, there is trouble. Raul and one of his minions, Gerald, are harassing one of the girls. Before they can hurt her, a red-headed woman, who we later find out is called Rowena, walks through the door. She is the woman we saw at the end of “Soul Survivor” (S10E03) who had impaled two bellboys on the ceiling of her hotel room. Raul tells her that they are not hiring and asks if she is there as a customer, and she responds, “No disrespect to your girls, but I’d sooner die than do business of any kind with filth like you.” Rowena tosses Raul a hex bag that causes him to cough up his nasty demon essence until he dies, while Gerald smokes out of the meatsuit he was possessing. Another girl has come out from the back room and Rowena says to the two girls, “Hardly the most appetizing process in the world, but killing demons always makes me hungry. You coming?” The girls, while reluctant, hurriedly follow her out. Rowena appears to be a very powerful witch who is not a big fan of demons. Later, when Sam and Dean arrive at Raul’s place Rowena has already gone and the brothers are left to find the dead demon, an empty meatsuit, and a hex bag.
Hannah Hurts her Husband
Back at the motel, Caroline’s husband, Joe, is confronting Hannah. Since Caroline disappeared over a year ago, Joe hasn’t known what happened to her. He tells her he is not leaving without an explanation. After waiting in the car for Hannah, Castiel returns to see what happened to her. Hannah introduces Castiel to her husband Joe. When Joe asks Hannah if Castiel is the reason that she left, Hannah appears confused for a bit, but then realizes it’s her opportunity to give Joe an explanation. She tells Joe that she left him for Castiel, but Joe doesn’t believe her. In order to convince Joe, Hannah kisses Castiel. They kiss a little longer and more convincingly than is necessary to seal the deal and both seem taken aback. Hannah tells Joe she is sorry and then she and Castiel leave. This scene has little dialogue, but the acting, particularly by Erica Carroll, who plays Hannah, conveys a lot of confusion and pain.
French Food and Friendship
Rowena takes the two girls, Catlin and Elle, to a fancy French restaurant, Bistro des Moules, where they seem very uncomfortable. The waiter tells Rowena that members of the party are not in dress code, in a snooty French restaurant waiter sort of way. Rowena tells Catlin and Elle to stay in their seats, then hands the waiter a hex bag while saying some words in Latin. He quickly changes his tune and starts bringing the table all kinds of food and drinks compliments of the restaurant. When Elle asks her how she does it, Rowena replies, “Magic.”
Villainous, not Vulgar
Crowley is not pleased to find out that Gerald and Raul opened a brothel to acquire souls, telling Gerald, “I’m evil. That’s just tacky.” Gerald tells Crowley the operation was destroyed by a witch, adding, “Act of aggression like that didn’t seem like something you could let stand.” Crowley rolls his eyes.
Sam and Dean are in the Impala and Sam has found a handy website, Witchcraft and the Occult with Professor Farqus, to explain what happened to the demon. Sam tells Dean of the 18th century accounts of demons being “vanquished by a spell called defigere et depurgare, which is Latin for ‘to bind and purge.'” The spell hadn’t been used in over 300 years and was only known by the witch who created it, Rowena.
At Bistro des Moules, Rowena is telling Catlin and Elle about magic. She explains that according to the Grand Coven, there are three recognized kinds of magic. The most common witches are the borrowers who harness the power of a demon. There are also students who have no natural ability, but can learn witchcraft from practice and training by a mentor. The rarest witches are the naturals who are born with the gift. Elle guesses that Rowena is a natural and asks if she will be their mentor. Rowena explains that the Grand Coven disapproved of her extreme methods and she was forbidden from using magic, taking students, or forming a coven. She tells Catlin and Elle that she’s been on the run from them ever since. Rowena says despite this, she will teach them. The waiter seems to get stuck standing in one place and Rowena says it’s time to leave. As his face gets redder and redder, the women hurry out of the restaurant, at which point the waiter collapses on the floor on dies. The take away message here is – be nice to all the guests, no matter how they’re dressed.
A demon is being tortured for information. Who is torturing him – is it Rowena, Sam and Dean, or perhaps Crowley? In fact, it is Cole, who we have not seen since “Reichenbach” (S10E02) when Demon Dean beat him to a pulp and Cole went in search of books on demons at his local library. Personally, we had hoped that was the last we would see of him, but clearly that storyline was left unresolved. We are not fans of Cole or his mission to avenge his father’s death by killing Dean. The demon mocks Cole’s attempt to torture him, telling Cole it will take a lot more than that to make him talk. Cole responds, “Boy, you will talk. You will talk, and you will tell me everything you know about your buddy Dean Winchester.” Just like this demon, we really can’t take Cole seriously. We tried to see him as a real threat when he kidnapped Sam in the episode, “Black” (S10E01), but by the second episode of Season 10, “Reichenbach,” we were over him.
Hannah and Castiel are at a gas station, preparing to continue their ill-conceived mission to compel angels to return to Heaven. Castiel tells Hannah they will need to talk about what happened at some point, meaning their kiss, but Hannah is focused on how she hurt Caroline’s husband:
“He wouldn’t listen, Castiel. He wouldn’t let me go. I didn’t want to hurt him. I could’ve erased his memories, but… It didn’t feel right. I thought if he truly believed we were together, he’d give up. And it worked. So, why does it feel so bad?”
Cas tries to reassure Hannah she did the right thing; that she gave Joe a reason he could make sense of. He relates the challenges he’s had with his own vessel, Jimmy Novak, which were depicted in “The Rapture” (S04E20). Castiel tells Hannah that the mission always comes first. Castiel looks away and when he looks back, Hannah is gone.
Dean is at Bistro des Moules, following up on the death of the waiter. As Dean walks around the restaurant the camera lingers on the name of the restaurant, Bistro des Moules, leaving us to believe the writers intentionally used the French slang reference. He finds out that two of the customers were prostitutes and they were with another woman, realizing that Rowena killed the waiter and that she wants the two women for something. Based on reports from other hunters, Sam has learned that there have been a series of murders at high-end hotels where bodies were stabbed and impaled on the ceiling. The victims all had the same cause of death as the Bistro des Moules waiter – boiled brains. Sounds even worse than it looked. Sam and Dean decide to check out every five-star hotel in the area.
“Being on earth, working with you, I’ve felt things. Human things – passions, hungers. To shower, feel water on my skin… to get closer to you. But all of that was nothing compared to what I felt when I saw him. Her husband – his anger and his grief. And Caroline was inside of me, screaming out for him, for her life back. These feelings, they aren’t for me, for us. They belong to her. I know it’s time to step aside.”
She kisses his cheek and says goodbye to Castiel. He remains silent, yet looks dejected and a little lost. Hannah’s grace leaves her vessel, she collapses in Castiel’s arms, then opens her eyes with her humanity restored, she is back to being Caroline. We were surprised how incredibly sad it was to see Hannah go. At first her decision seemed out of character, but upon reflection it was very much in keeping with the person that Hannah has become. Hannah was overwhelmed with emotions due to what Caroline experienced seeing Joe again and what she, herself, was feeling as she became increasingly close to Castiel.
Rounding up Rowena
At a hotel, Rowena hears a knock on the door and tells Catlin and Elle to get the spells she gave them ready. She opens the door only to find a dead bellboy being held up by two demons. The demons haul the three women down the hallway, with Rowena gagged. Sam and Dean show up at the hotel and quickly kill the demons. Before the Winchesters are able to capture Rowena, she puts a spell on Elle, using a hex bag, making her an attack dog. This allows Rowena and Catlin to run away. Sam stays back to fight Elle, while Dean chases after Rowena. Once they are outside in the alley, Catlin challenges Rowena for putting the attack-dog spell on Elle, pointing out that Elle will die like the waiter did.
Rowena: “Probably. Few humans are built to survive magic like that, and Elle was weak. But you’re not. I saw it the second we met. You’re strong.”
Catlin: “You’re right. I am.”
Catlin punches Rowena and starts running down the alley. Rowena points towards the running Catlin and begins to cast a spell, but is interrupted when Dean comes up behind her and puts a gun to her head. Dean tells her that her luck has run out and Rowena responds, “I’m pretty sure that’s not true,” and we see Cole standing behind Dean with a gun pointing at his head. Dean tries to tell Cole that Rowena should not be freed, but Cole is single-minded in his conviction and Dean has to drop his gun and let Rowena go. Though the manner in which both Rowena and Dean were interrupted was comical, we may be more annoyed to see Cole than Dean is.
Revenge or Resolution for Cole?
When Cole tells Dean that he knows all about his kind now, Dean responds that he is no longer a demon (a statement that Cole appears to accept far too easily). So much for all your homework, Cole! Hope you can return those library books before you get a fine. Cole asks Dean, “So, were you a demon when you murdered my father?” When Dean tells him he was not a demon when he killed Cole’s father, Cole calls him a monster. Dean is able to knock the gun out of Cole’s hands and they start to fight. We see Sam holding the spellbound Elle trapped in a closet back inside the hotel, as Cole and Dean fight outside in the alley.
Eventually Dean is able to pick up his gun and aim it at Cole. Dean tells Cole to give him five minutes to talk and if Cole doesn’t like what he has to say, to take his shot. He hands his gun to Cole, who points it back at Dean. Dean tells Cole that what he killed was not his father, but a monster who was ripping out human livers and eating them. When Cole asks him what kind of monster he was, Dean tells him he doesn’t know and that he hasn’t seen that kind before or after. Continuing his explanation, Dean tells Cole that he or his mother could have been next if he hadn’t been there to stop him, adding, “Your father was already gone.”
While they have been talking Sam has finally arrived, as the attack-dog spell has killed Elle, and has his own gun pointed at Cole. Wow, we hardly saw any guns during Season 9 of Supernatural, and now it’s all guns, all the time. Dean tells Sam to put his gun down, which he does. Cole says he doesn’t know how he can believe Dean (even though we know it’s true, we won’t really think Cole should believe him that easily). The mission that Cole has been training for his whole life has been to avenge his father’s death, and Dean is asking him to completely reframe his thinking about what happened.
“I get it. That was your story. Look, man, I got one of those, too. Okay, but those stories that we tell to keep us going? Man, sometimes they blind us. They take us to dark places — the kind of place where I might beat the crap out of a good man just for the fun of it. The people who love me, they pulled me back from that edge. Cole, once you touch that darkness… It never goes away. Now, the truth is… I’m past saving. I know how my story ends. It’s at the edge of a blade or the barrel of a gun. So, the question is, is that gonna be today? That gonna be that gun?”
Sam reminds Cole that he has a family that needs him to return to them whole. Cole decides to leave, hopefully for good.
Dean’s exposition seems to touch on his experience as a demon, but it also can be understood in terms of the sometimes morally ambiguous choices that hunters have to make regarding who is killed, who is saved, and what is justice. Similarly, Cole needs to determine if killing Dean will bring about the justice he seeks. Later Sam asks Dean about his earlier comment to Cole that he is past saving, and Dean responds, “I was just telling the guy what he needed to hear.” At this point, it seems that Dean is telling Sam what he needs to hear. Dean likely is past saving, whether it is because the Mark of Cain has left a stain on his soul or because of the choices Dean had made as a hunter from the beginning. In “Dark Side of the Moon” (S05E16) Dean was surprised that Sam and he would find themselves in Heaven, after all they had done. Being resigned to his fate as a hunter and its potential implications has always been something Dean is more comfortable with, while Sam has often wanted to escape the life and be “normal.” This exchange between the brothers may be about the Mark, but it may also be a reflection of the differences in how they see themselves and their futures.
Caroline Comes Back
Caroline has returned to her husband Joe. They embrace and go into the house together. Castiel watches from the car, looking forlorn. He takes out his computer and looks up “Jimmy Novak.” The search results include his picture with “missing” written over it in red. He stares sorrowfully at the screen, knowing full well that Jimmy isn’t missing at all.
The last scene brings up back to Crowley. Apparently demon Gerald has managed to capture Rowena and comes to tell Crowley that the witch is being held prisoner. Crowley tells Gerald, “Wipe that ridiculous smile off your face. What do you want, a medal? A ‘thank you’ for cleaning up the mess you made?!” As Crowley walks to towards the cell he mutters to himself about how incompetent his minions are. He walks into the cell and we see Rowena chained and bloody. She looks at Crowley and spits out:
“The king at last. King of what? Lilliput? I mean, I’d heard you were short, but… Well? Get to it. Time for the coup de grace. Wee boy, is something the matter with you? Cat got your tongue, hmm? Meow.”
Sometimes you think Supernatural can’t surprise you anymore, and then something like this happens. If you want to reevaluate the clues that Rowena was Crowley’s mother, see our post Meet Crowley’s Mum. It doesn’t seem like Crowley was exactly happy to see his mother, so who knows what this renewed relationship will bring.
“Girls, Girls, Girls” provides an opportunity to consider how the battles fought by hunters, angels, demons, and monsters impact the unknowing outside world, and how the outside world shapes those engaged in these battles. Despite our dislike of his character, Cole gives us a chance to consider the collateral damage that hunting can cause. Similarly, angels taking a human vessel can leave behind a trail of devastation and loss. Though Crowley only became a demon after he died and his soul was tortured, what impact did his human life have on the demon Crowley? Is 353 too old to keep blaming your mother? We can’t wait to find out.
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