To be, or not to be (a demon)…that is the question.

Even with the pitch black eyes and sketchy behavior, Dean’s status as a denizen of the underworld was still in question. If you recall, Crowley mentioned keeping the Mark ‘fed’ in order to prevent Dean from going full tilt boogie to the dark side. After tonight’s episode, it’s even money on the Dean we know and love may be gone for good.

Things aren’t looking too good for Moose.

Catching up where last week left off, Sam in formally introduced to Cole, his captor and man with a big helping of blood lust for Dean. Evidently the eldest Winchester ganked Cole’s father ten years ago and ever since then he’s built his life around finding and eliminating the hunter. Sam tries his best to convey just how out of his league Cole is and, more to the point, monsters are real. Of course, he doesn’t buy it and is ready to take a hammer to Sam…in the most literal sense. When Cole steps out to take a call from his wife, Sam puts his ingenuity to work and escapes. He gives Cas a heads up on the Dean situation and follows up on Dean’s former location in Bealuh. All the while, Cole’s happy as a clam, trailing Sam to get to his primary target…

…who just happens to be in Killdeer, North Dakota. As out of the way as you can get in the contiguous states, Dean’s still able to find a strip club where he’s that guy, touching the dancers. His inevitable confrontation with a bouncer doesn’t go well for said bouncer as the hunter-turned-demon allows some of his rage out on the guy just doing his job. Enter Crowley. The King of Hell chats Dean up about his spectacular “anger management issues” and reiterates on how much the Mark is changing him. “You need to kill now,” Crowley says. “Not want to. Not choose to. Need to.” Dean’s “an addict” now and death is the drug he’ll be chasing for the rest of his life. He postulates on if Dean would rather kill innocents or those that deserve it. Dean reluctantly capitulates and takes Crowley’s deal, a one-time thing. His job, take out the cheating housewife of Lester, Crowley’s newest soul-trading client.

On the angel front, after Sam’s call, Castiel and Hannah are on the road, ready to join the search for Dean. Their angelic road trip is interrupted when Cas falls asleep at the wheel and crashes into a tree. They’re able to get help with the car and shelter for the night and Castiel’s waning life force exhausts his weakening body to the point of it shutting down. Hannah, who harboring more human feelings than she probably realizes, takes it upon herself to get some face time with Metatron. He-Who-Cast-Out-The-Angels is locked up tight—including a straightjacket—and tries bartering his way out. He knows where to find Castiel’s remaining Grace and promises to go far, far away if Hannah releases him. Despite knowing better, she’s ready to take the deal when Castiel arrives and puts the kibosh on her attempt to save him. She reminds Cas of his impending death. “It’s my life and it’s my choice,” he tells her. “And I don’t want this.” She leaves Castiel with Metatron and the angel who called himself God promises the dying Cas that, sooner or later, he will get out. And when he does, it’ll be death to everyone.

Ready to complete his task, Dean’s is surprised when Lester shows up to his wife’s house, wishing to revel in the deed being done. It doesn’t take long for Dean to point out Lester’s own infidelity and, when the client calls Dean out as there to do a job, the newly demonized hunter satiates his appetite for a kill with Lester’s blood. The news doesn’t go over so well when Crowley finds out. After arguing back and forth, Crowley demands that Dean “pick a bloody side.” Exuding a confidence born of darkness, Dean challenges Crowley with the all-too famous “or what” retort. The King of Hell realizes Dean’s too off the rails even for him and he officially cuts ties with his partner in crime…

…and touches base with Sam, who’s obviously taken about and more than suspicious of the King of Hell’s appearance. But he does take Crowley’s information and confronts Dean at his most recent location.

Is this the last time we’ll see the Crowley and Dean bromance?

Still in the emotional limbo of figuring out if he’s a demon or human, Dean’s on the piano when Sam arrives. Sam wants his brother back, no questions on what happened in the past but this isn’t the Dean he’s known and loved his entire life. He mentions the cure for demonhood, the one they nearly finished using on Crowley but Dean already knew about the cure and replies he would’ve taken it if he wanted to be cured. Sam doesn’t back down. “I’m giving you a chance, Sam,” he says. “You should take it.” Sam’s not so easily dissuaded and pulls out the demon cuffs. Before the two brothers can mix it up, Cole throws a smoke bomb into the bar, forcing Sam out. He KO’s Sam and then Dean walks out. It’s what Cole has been waiting for this whole time; confront his father’s killer and get his revenge.

If wishes were horses…Cole is given the beating of his life but the distraction gives Sam the time he needed. He douses his brother with holy water before slapping the cuffs on. With Dean cuffed in the back seat, Sam meets of with Crowley and provides him with the First Blade as recompense, his “finder’s fee.” On their drive back to the Lair, Sam tries his best to locate the part of his brother still there, grasping at his mercy in sparing Cole. But there was no mercy in it. Cole’s spent his entire life searching for the man that killed his father, years honing his body into a weapon if only he’d get the chance to face Dean. He had his shot and was beaten, whipped, demoralized. “That ain’t mercy,” Dean says with a smirk, “that’s the worst thing I could’ve done to him.”

“And what I’m gonna do to you, Sammy,” he continues, “well that ain’t gonna be mercy either.”

Where Do We Go From Here?

  • It looks like the question of Dean’s status as demon or not was answered. While he may not have given himself over to the bloodlust and violence, Dean’s crossed over to the other side. Crowley’s attempts to keep him sated, while serving his own King of Hell purposes, also shows there are sparks of humanity left in the former Crossroads demon, maybe more so than what Dean’s currently exhibiting. Now the ball’s in Sam’s court. Will he try to cleanse the demon from his brother and, if so, will it be enough?
  • Speaking of enough, Crowley’s now in possession of the blade though he’s absent one road buddy. What’s his play? Yes, it’s out of Dean’s unpredictable hands but methinks Crowley knows a bit more about the Blade than he let on. As changed as he’s been over the last year, he’s still far from trustworthy and possessing something as powerful as the First Blade has to be a part of some nefarious endgame. Either that, or he’s hoping that Dean comes back to him. After all, he is Crowley’s “Squirrel”.
  • Castiel’s dying. If we didn’t know it before we do now. He needs angelic Grace if he wishes to survive but he’s refuses to do anything about it. He’s made his peace with his fate but the question remains—has Hannah? The angel has always felt a connection to Castiel but this week she showcased human feelings toward Cas, much more than the adulation or hero worship she displayed last season. Knowing that Metatron has what Cas needs to survive, will she make a decision of the heart or will she respect Castiel’s wishes?
  • Ten years of his life wasted after being curb stomped, Cole could have given up on his chase for vengeance. Instead, he is taking the next step. “Give me everything you have on demons,” he declares to the Librarian, his battered face a testament to his failure. Dean mocked Sam’s decree that letting Cole live was mercy but the act of suffering may come back to bite Dean in the ass.