Bad tidings, both real and perceived, are haunting Dean and Crowley as they deal with unexpected events from their past. For Crowley, it’s his “evil bitch” of a mother, who’s plotting behind his back, putting the screws to his dreams via subtle witchcraft, while Dean’s trying to cope with the massacre at the cabin. He laments the fact that he’s no longer a hunter, more “a stone cold killer.” Sam and Castiel are there in support but can’t figure out what to do…until Cas surmises “there may be another way.”

The ominous tones of Castiel’s suggestion ends up tapping his heavenly contacts and bringing Metatron to Earth to pick his brain for what they can do to relieve Dean from the Mark of Cain. When the formerly self-appointed God finds out Dean’s circumstance, he revels in the chaos of it all. He ends up providing them one clue; they’ll need to re-acquire the First Blade to get things started. Only one problem; Crowley’s hidden it away and when the Winchesters get in touch with the King of Hell and tell him of their needs, he’s stupefied they’d even conceive of this as being a good idea. Still, he relents, mentioning how the Blade is holed up with his bones in Guam…

Crowley and his mummy dearest, Rowena

While Crowley’s away, Rowena will play. First, she’s caught by Guthrie searching her son’s quarters and begins sowing seeds of doubt with Crowley’s right hand man, soon after of which she spies on Crowley’s meeting with the Winchesters, gleaning the location of the Blade and dispatching Guthrie to retrieve the Blade, which he does and, upon returning it to her, Rowena takes him out moments before Crowley arrives. The King is a bit perplexed at how Guthrie—or anyone, for that matter—would have known of the Blade’s location but Rowena does a somewhat convincing job on her son, manipulating him just enough that he doesn’t suspect her treachery straight away.

After Crowley agrees to search out the Blade, Dean takes it upon himself to question Metatron mano y angel. Dean has plenty of reasons to want the angel to suffer and Metatron’s smugness only fuels the raging violence within Dean. Refusing to play into the angel’s games, Dean goes medieval on Mets, pounding him with fists and, when that doesn’t work, carving into him with an angel blade. It drags from the angel a singular line: “Behold, the river shall end at the source.” Before Dean can go further, Sam and Cas intervene, with the latter taking Metatron back to his angelic prison. Despite his state of disrepair, Metatron leaves Dean with the fact that “you’re going to get worse.”

Dean comes very close to having Metatron meet his maker

“I was gonna kill him and I couldn’t stop myself,” Dean later confides to Sam. Dean knows something inside of him is going on, something he may not be able to stop on his own but Sam makes an interesting supposition. How long has Cain lived with this Mark? Powerful forces are involved in this and “part of that powerful force” Sam recognizes, has to come from Dean. What better way to start than reaching out to Claire, the wayward daughter of Castiel’s host.

Throughout the episode, Claire’s been having a hard time dealing with the damaged life she’s been given and, after running into a shady couple and lamenting her story, they volunteer to take care of Dean – to teach him a lesson or provide a more permanent solution. Though she agrees to set Dean up for the ambush, she has second thoughts, warning him before the axman comes. Dean takes care of the trashy couple and leaves Claire to her own devices. Not long after, Castiel catches up to her hiking down the road and while she still wants to remain on her own, she not so subtly hints that Cas checking up on her from time to time would be a very welcome thing.

The Road to Damnation

  • We’ve known for some time now that the Mark of Cain was going to be a problem for Dean but it’s providing to be an even heavier albatross than first believed. How can a hunter, around violence and death as a profession deal with the devil on his shoulder (or powering up the rage we all have) not question everything he does from here on out? What comes from Dean versus what comes from the Mark? Sam’s point on the powerful force needed to hold the Mark at bay needing to come from Dean is accurate but easier said than done.
  • If you’re the King of Hell and you can’t trust your minions or mother, who’s left to trust? Crowley is slowly starting to feel the subversive efforts of his mommy dearest as she tosses in the smallest bits of truth and lies to have him questioning everything and everyone around him. Is her goal to gain hell’s power or free herself from under his thumb? Who knows, but what is interesting to me is that, despite his current rank in the pantheon of demon kind, Crowley is still hurting from Rowena’s abandonment more than three hundred years ago. Talk about mommy issues…