Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) finally returned to the Men of Letters Bunker last Thursday, after being away for weeks while possessed by the Archangel Michael, but there’s very little time for celebration. Written by fan favourite, Robert Berens, ‘The Scar’ is a step up again from the previous Winchester outing and is the first of season fourteen to score a full five stars.
Things start off humorously enough with Dean mocking his brother’s new choice in facial hair, which Sam (Jared Padalecki) ignores as he is more interested in know how Dean really is, with him having been silent on the journey back from Duluth. Once again Dean reaffirms he has no memory of anything that happened after Michael took over, but this isn’t the first time Dean’s lied about his memory of events. Does anyone else remember Dean’s time in Hell between seasons three and four? He just maintains he’s happy to be home, although the sight of the Bunker so busy is just as disconcerting to him as it still feels to viewers.
Fans are treated to a nice reunion with Jack (Alexander Calvert) and Castiel (Misha Collins), both equally happy to see Dean back before he steps away to freshen up. Of course, the moment he does both Angel and Nephilim turn to Sam to ask how Dean really is. Their conversation is played out as a voiceover while the action focuses on Dean. Sam doesn’t really know how Dean is doing, but Dean soon discovers an unwelcome surprise, a scar on his arm that he definitely didn’t have before. What is it with Angels leaving scars on Dean’s body?
The surprise at the scar is the first confirmation that Dean’s memory is broken from the time Michael was within him, which again raises the question of why Michael left? Assuming he did, that is. Despite Sam’s concerns that Dean is being too gung-ho, Castiel agrees to Dean’s demands for a mind-meld to drag out the memories surrounding the scar, because whatever caused it was clearly something powerful enough to hurt the Archangel. Various flashes of unlocked memories later we see what happened, a hooded figure with a spear was the one who stabbed Michael, the same figure that killed Kaia (Yadira Guevara-Prip) back in ‘The Bad Place’ episode from season thirteen. This prompts a call to another returning fan favourite Sheriff Jody Mills (Kim Rhodes).
Kim has been a part of Supernatural ever since her debut episode back in season five amassing a total of sixteen episodes, which is no mean feat for a woman on a show that has achieved notoriety for killing off its female characters. Jody often felt like a surrogate mother to the two Winchesters and still feels that way despite the fact that she had three other wayward girls under her wing and the return of the Winchesters’ actual mother. Kim brings both a wisdom and a weakness to the role that’s refreshing, Jody is a woman who is struggling to do her best but is also shown to be very human.
The plot of the episode diverts in two ways here with the main plot following the Winchesters heading out to Sioux Falls, and the other plotline remaining in the bunker with Cas and Jack. Jack, after a harsh dressing down from Dean, decides he’s no good to the others and that he should run away; a decision that shows he fits in very well with Team Free Will. However, another Hunter brings in a girl who was hexed by a dying witch with an ageing curse. Although the simplicity of the fix to the girl’s problem was telegraphed very early on to Jack, and the fact it kept getting overlooked was very frustrating, it was good watching Jack find his feet again and realise that he is both useful and needed. Castiel, reaffirming how proud he is of Jack and how he has both the heart and mind of a Hunter, says he’ll talk to Sam and Dean about maybe he and Jack going on a Hunt together. It’s all so very touching and sweet, which of course means we’re about to be sideswiped by something. In this case, it’s revealed that Jack’s first cold isn’t quite what it seems when he’s shown to be coughing up a lot of blood reminiscent of Sam in season eight. Yet another Winchester trait that Jack has developed is keeping the truth about his health away from others and you have to worry what this might mean for the graceless Nephilim.
The other half of the episode revolves around how Jody’s serial killer case isn’t just a mundane human one, but is connected with the Archangel Michael and how Dean is clearly having issues adjusting to where he is now. The Kaia from the Bad Place was approached by Michael who could sense the power emanating from the spear she carries and made an offer: join his Army and give him the Spear or die horribly. She chose to fight back which was how Dean ended up with his scar. Michael is now sending waves of his mutated monsters to try and kill Kaia and get him the spear.
Jody wrestles with how she’s keeping the information from Claire Novak, one of her wards who is also a Hunter. Her reasons are very understandable, Claire is very hotheaded and the original Kaia had been her First Love. Jody doesn’t want Claire running afoul of her Kaia’s murderer and the complications that could bring, she especially doesn’t want to lose Claire. She knows, by the end of the episode, that she needs to come clean but she’s dreading doing so. Jody comments that she sometimes feels that she’s lost before she even began.
Which leaves us with Dean, who spends the entirety of the episode lying to himself, his brother and everyone that he is all right, despite exhibiting all the behaviours that prove he isn’t. Such as: avoiding talking, driving too fast, wanting to split up and handle things alone, ignoring good advice and being gung-ho… and lastly, wanting to resort to torture, to physically break the now captured Kaia to find out where she’s hidden her spear.
Both Jody and Sam are horrified at this behaviour but Dean won’t listen to reason; and when Kaia tell Dean’s that he’s just like Michael, I’ll admit I half expected there to be a big reveal that Dean was still the Archangel playing at being the eldest Winchester. This didn’t happen but we do see Kaia’s words give Dean the shake-up that’s required. She knows where Dean’s anger and impatience come from, it’s from his fear and that makes him weak. Michael hurt him, just like Michael hurt her too.
Before Dean can do anything stupid, more of Michael’s werewolves attack and they quickly overpower the three Hunters, with Jody sustaining a broken arm in the process. Dean, with a well-placed gunshot, frees Kaia who looks set up abandon them to their fates but then returns to execute the werewolves with her spear. For a moment it looks like maybe Kaia will join forces with them, but she’s too distrusting and been alone for too long, despite Sam pointing out that Michael will keep sending monsters after her.
On the journey back to the bunker we have our first “broment” of the season when Dean admits to his brother that he put everyone in stupid danger. Dean still doesn’t remember everything that happened but what he does remember is feeling like he was drowning, fighting for air against the possession that he was too weak to overcome. He also blames himself for Michael’s actions saying they wouldn’t have happened if he’d not said yes. This is foolish logic and just more Winchester martyrdom but it’s something that they always have to overcome as a season progresses. The episode ends on a real downer with Jody broken and worried for Claire, Dean feeling helpless and Jack clearly dying, but often the best Supernatural episodes end this way.