Season 10, Episode 17 of Supernatural, “Inside Man” was so good, that we have completely forgiven the writers for the wifi ghost of “Halt and Catch Fire.” The Mark of Cain continues to loom large over the Winchesters. We saw in “Paint It Black” that Dean’s hopelessness is reaching new heights, which leaves Sam and Castiel little choice but to consider desperate measures. The cold open of “Inside Man” lets us know right away that Bobby Singer is going to help out, which only builds the anticipation.
The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions
Dean is having bad dreams about the Mark. Sam hears Dean yelling and runs into his room with his gun. As Dean struggles with his nightmares, Sam watches him with concern. Sam must be getting worry lines with all the anxiety he’s been experiencing this season.
The next morning Sam tells Dean there isn’t a case and he’s going to a movie in Wichita. Well he can’t be too worried if he’s seeing a French movie about a mime. He’ll be gone all night. Wait a sec … Is this an April fool’s joke? No, it’s Sam trying to get some alone time away from Dean. Before he leaves, Sam tells Dean to stay out of his room. Brothers.
Sam arrives at an undisclosed location in a white truck, and finds Castiel waiting beside his crappy Lincoln. Poor Sam. He never gets to take the Impala. It seems that Sam and Castiel feel they need to take extreme measures to help Dean.
Crowley walks in on Rowena, who is naked and painting red symbols on herself. All the nudity seems to distract Crowley from the symbols. He suspects something is going on, but Rowena tells him she is seeing Trent, an Assistant Manager at Biggersons. We can’t really imagine he believes her, but he doesn’t care enough to challenge her on the lie.
Later Rowena talks to Hell’s adorable switchboard operator, who believes “You can be damned and be a conscientious worker.” He very politely provides Rowena with a 10-mile radius of where the Winchesters’ call to Crowley came from. Apparently the bunker provides interference for cellphone tracking from Hell. Those Men of Letters thought of everything. Maybe if he wasn’t using Windows 8 he could’ve cracked it.
After Sam’s strict warning not to go into his room, Dean feels compelled to do so. Dean is messing with all of Sam’s stuff, which is a great throwback to early seasons. Dean may be feeling discouraged of late, but he’s never so dispirited he can’t prank Sam.
Tonight There’s Gonna Be a Jailbreak
Cas and Sam go to the playground portal of Heaven because they want to see Metatron. Hannah comes down to tell Castiel that she can’t let Metatron out of Heaven—that he’s too dangerous. That’s very sensible, Hannah. As they leave, Sam tells Castiel they will break Metatron out of Heaven. When it comes to saving his brother, Sam has no problem being devious.
Sam takes Cas to see Oliver Pryce, a psychic who worked with the Men of Letters in the 1950s. There are lots of ‘no trespassing’ signs around his house. They go up to his door and knock and there is no answer.
Castiel: “I’ll break it down.”
Sam: “Dude, dude, dude. Chill.”
Castiel: “What? I’m helping.”
Sam: “Just follow my lead.”
We are enjoying the fun chemistry between Sam and Castiel. When Oliver answers the door he is very surprised to meet an angel, being an atheist and all. We like this Oliver Pryce, and not just because he looks like Allen Ginsberg. He calls Sam a hippie and refers to Metatron as a creep-ass, hobbit-lookin’ fella. Awesome.
Oliver has a séance, which we haven’t seen since Season 4. When Oliver asks if Sam has anything that belongs to the deceased, Sam takes out Bobby Singer’s hat. We see Bobby up in Heaven drinking scotch, reading sTORI Telling by Tori Spelling, and listening to Kenny Rogers when he hears Sam’s voice. We’re loving the classic Bobby references.
Sam and Castiel talk to Bobby about a plan to break out Metatron. Bobby’s on board: “Hell, I’m already dead. What’s the worst that can happen?”
Where Everybody Knows your Name
Dean is enjoying a beer and nachos at his local bar. He can’t resist scamming some obnoxious college kids who are playing pool. He’s going through all his greatest hits tonight.The stupid college kids are too dumb to see that they are being conned by Dean. You never bet more money on the second game of pool. Don’t they watch TV?
Dean hustles the college kids out of some Benjamins and a watch. Dean takes a little break, and who should appear but Rowena. She walks up to the college kids and says, “Hello boys.” Dean looks in the bathroom mirror and briefly sees his black demon eyes. How we miss Demon Dean. From Dean’s reaction it appears he does not feel the same.
Rowena is waiting for Dean. She has cursed the college boys with the same hex she used in “Girls, Girls, Girls,” causing them to attack Dean. Dean manages to stop himself from killing them, despite, or because of, the Mark’s urging. She tries to put a spell on Dean, but it seems that the Mark protects him. As he holds a knife to Rowena’s throat, she tells him that Crowley is her son. We thought Dean would be more stunned to hear the news. We were certainly excited to hear him tell it. Perhaps he’s just seen it all already, so nothing shocks him. She tells Dean he has corrupted her son with good. Rowena lets Dean know that if he kills her, the college boys will die from her hex.
Rowena returns to Hell after failing to cast a spell on Dean. She cuts herself up and tells Crowley that Dean attacked her. Crowley walks over to her and pours himself a drink, asking why she was there. She admits she tried to kill Dean. Crowley responds, “ Been there. Never seems to work out quite the way you want … It’s like Dean was protected from on high. It’s the Mark of Cain. It never lets its host die easy.” Rowena says she will find a way to remove the curse, pointing out that it may be the first curse, but it’s still only a curse. Rowena admonishes him for not killing the Winchesters, saying that not going after Dean for doing this to her makes Crowley look weak. She demands that if he can’t kill Dean, then he should lock Dean up.
Bobby Takes the Red Pill
In his private paradise, Bobby pulls a loose string in the rug that leads to an escape hatch, saying, “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.” He opens the door to find himself in a long white hallway with lots of white doors with the names of their residents, along with their birth and death dates. His room is surrounded by the rooms of many other Robert Singers. Heaven is a very, very depressing place. It’s the matrix. Alarms are going off and Bobby barks, “Balls!” How we have missed Bobby’s sayings and his well-delivered quotes.
Cas and Sam are waiting outside Heaven’s portal for Bobby to open the door.
Cas: “You sure he can handle this?”
Sam: “He’s Bobby. He can handle anything.”
Bobby’s angle for his escape is to let all the human souls out of their heavenly rooms, causing a riot to overwhelm the angels.
The angels have all been alerted to the Heaven break. On Angel Radio we hear: “The Bobbys are fighting back. All hands. We need all hands. They’re surly. I repeat: the Bobbys are surly.” This could be the funniest dialogue we have ever heard on Supernatural.
The gate is behind door number 42, naturally. We get an awesome action scene with Castiel leaping into Heaven’s door. As they navigate their way to Metatron’s prison cell, Castiel admits that they are on this mission without Dean’s knowledge. Bobby says, “Well that’s a page right out of the Winchester playbook, isn’t it?”
Bobby and Castiel show up at Metatron’s prison. Bobby is surprised that the scribe of God looks like a Fraggle, which Metatron takes as a compliment. Metatron reminds Cas that he said he would die before he would help Dean, but Castiel tells him Dean won’t be involved. Metatron responds, “Ah … the B team, huh? Interesting.” He tells them where the keys are and Castiel takes him through the portal where Sam is waiting.
Is this the first time Crowley has had someone to play the Natasha to his Boris?
Dean and Crowley are having drinks. Crowley is having a fancy drink with umbrellas and a pitchfork for the garnish, while Dean drinks whiskey, just like when they were besties in “Reichenbach.” Crowley tells Dean that Rowena says that though she doesn’t know how, the Mark of Cain can be removed. Crowley complains to Dean that Rowena is accusing him of getting soft. Dean agrees.
Dean: “Why you letting mommy dearest tie you into knots?”
Crowley: “Because… We’re family. Blood.”
Dean: “That’s not the same thing. A wise man once told me, ‘Family don’t end in blood,’ but it doesn’t start there, either. Family cares about you, not what you can do for them. Family’s there through the good, bad–all of it. They got your back … even when it hurts. That’s family. That sound like your mother?”
We love seeing these two together again. After Dean didn’t return the First Blade to Crowley in “The Executioner’s Song,” we thought Crowley would carry more of a grudge. This makes for much more interesting and unexpected TV.
Full of Grace
When he sees Sam, Metatron says, “Sam-tastic. Miss me?” Metatron claims to be in charge because he knows about the Mark and has Castiel’s grace:
“It’s called leverage, boys. Learn it, live it, love it.”
In a shocking turn of events, Castiel takes Metatron’s grace and Sam shoots him in the leg! We gasped out loud at the exciting audacity of this scene.
Castiel: “We have your Grace, Metatron. You’re mortal now. So you will answer our questions, or Sam will, um … What’s the phrase? Blow your fricking brains out. It’s called leverage, Metatron.”
Sam: “Learn it, live it, love it.”
Metatron admits he doesn’t know anything about how to get rid of the Mark, saying, “I—I don’t know. I don’t know! No, I—it’s old magic—God-level magic. Or Lucifer-level, but you can’t ask him, exactly, can you?” We are not convinced Metatron is telling the truth because whenever Metatron seems scared or worried, it’s an act. Then again, he’s never been mortal before. Metatron bargains for his life by telling Castiel he can help him get back what’s left of his grace.
It’s Good to Be the King
Crowley comes back to Hell and banishes his mother, telling her, “You may have brought me into the world, but you’re not my mother.” She protests, trying to manipulate him once more, but Crowley roars:
“I’m bloody Crowley. I do what I want, when I want. And I don’t take orders from you.”
Nice. That’s the Crowley we know and fear.
Secrets and Lies
Sam returns to the bunker, where Dean is eating cereal. They lie to each other about what they did the night before. It’s not clear why Dean wouldn’t tell Sam about Rowena and Crowley. Sam not telling Dean he saw Bobby might be a little heartbreaking for the viewer (We had something in our eyes!), but it makes more sense that Sam would not want to tell Dean that his desperate mission came to no fruition.
Sam has received a letter from Bobby via Castiel. Bobby encourages him to be honest with Dean.
Sam – So…this is weird, huh? Look, I just wanted to say that Cas told me what you’re doing for Dean. And I’m not asking you to stop, but maybe going behind his back ain’t the best idea. Your brother, he can be stubborn. But I think he’d understand. And I know it’s the life—doing a little bad so you can do a lot of good. But sometimes the bad’s real bad, and the good—it can come at one hell of a price. I ain’t there on the ground, and whatever you do, I know you’ll make the right choice. You’re a good man, Sam Winchester—one of the best. And I’m damn proud of you, son. I was content up here. But getting the call from you, it’s the happiest I’ve been in forever, no matter what it costs. So stay safe, keep fighting, and kick it in the ass. – Bobby.
Though Sam almost sheds a single man-tear upon reading the letter, he doesn’t tell Dean about the trip to Heaven.
“Inside Man” Reivew
“Inside Man” had interesting storylines, unexpected plot twists, and lots of action. We haven’t enjoyed a Season 10 episode of Supernatural this much since “Fan Fiction.” “Inside Man” was very well written in terms of moving the story arc along, creating an interesting plot for the episode, making the different storylines work well together, and great, often hilarious, dialogue. It was written by Andrew Dabb, who wrote or co-wrote many of our favorite Supernatural episodes, including “Yellow Fever,” “After School Special,” “Dark Side of the Moon,” “Weekend at Bobby’s,” and “Riechenbach.” He combines emotion, humor, and surprise to create powerful storytelling.
There was good chemistry between the actors on “Inside Man”—Crowley/Rowena, Sam/Castiel, and Crowley/Dean—that made the episode compelling to watch. Having Bobby Singer (Jim Beaver) and Metatron (Curtis Armstrong) in the episode, both skilled actors playing strong roles, made the episode stand out. The character Bobby Singer brings warmth and a sense of hope, while Metatron and Rowena (Ruth Connell) are fun villains to watch.
It has been interesting to watch Crowley (Mark Sheppard) change as a character. Instead of returning to full-blown evil and seeking revenge on the Winchesters, which would have been more predictable, Crowley became increasingly introspective and seemingly depressed. When he finally freed himself from Rowena, it became clear how much she had been sapping his evil, but fun, spirit. We still aren’t clear exactly what Crowley wants from the Winchesters, but his relationship with the boys has certainly evolved over time.
It was nice to have an episode with Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) in separate storylines. Sam has sometimes seemed more like a supporting actor in Season 10, so it was good to see him play a larger role, and Padalecki was very good in this episode.
In terms of story, it was interesting that Metatron reminded us that Lucifer created the Mark of Cain. We can’t help but hope that this story will somehow connect back to Lucifer. We would love to see the writers take Adam’s story back up and deal with the fact he is still down in the cage with Lucifer and Michael. That may be a form of fan fiction, but the return of Demon Dean may be a more realistic hope. All we know is that the series continues to intrigue and surprise us. “Inside Man” reinforced our contention that Season 10 is amongst the best seasons of Supernatural.
Did “Inside Man” make you miss Bobby? Us too. Read about Bobby and his past hijinks in “Remember Bobby Singer: Part 1 History” or just read his fantastic quotes in “Remembering Bobby Singer: Part 2 Favorite Quotes.”