Hero: A character who, in the face of danger and adversity or from a position of weakness, displays courage and the will for self-sacrifice—that is, heroism—for some greater good of all humanity.
Dean Winchester has always fought the monsters. He’s not always succeeded. He’s not always made the best decisions, but his intentions have always been good ones. He and his little brother Sam, have always been heroes.
The episode is aptly titled. Reichenbach defined as Feelings of intense dark emotion. Usually dealing with grief, sadness, abandonment, uncertainty and occasionally anger.
Supernatural loves above all else to toy with our emotions. I’ve sat and cried countless times watching this show. Except not in this episode. No, I was riveted and mostly just terrified. The real Demon is out now, fully realized, and he’s not just a killer, he’s a psychological terrorist.
Demons are able to get into the mind of their victims and toy with them and that’s what Dean does throughout this episode. He toys with Les, killing him instead of doing as he was told, tearing him down bit by bit. It was chilling to watch, because deservedly or not, Lester was murdered right before our eyes. It wasn’t a clean kill either, but a gut wound. As Crowley has said, “It takes a painful long while to bleed out from the gut.”
Where has our hero gone? And will he ever come back from this hell?
Dean found another victim to ply his new skills on – the hapless Cole, who has hunted Dean practically the whole of his life to avenge the death of his father. He’s confident in his abilities. He’s a warrior. A trained killer. The Princess Bride reference was so well placed in the midst of that incredibly orchestrated cat and mouse game – The six fingered man taunted Inigo Montoya, “You’ve been tracing me your whole life, only to fail now. I think that’s the worst thing I’ve ever heard. How marvelous.” But unlike that glorious moment in the movie when Inigo is prompted to rise above pain and injury to defeat his longtime enemy, Cole can’t manage it. For he is up against a foe unlike any other.
Crowley insists that Dean pick a side, and we see in that moment, when Cole asks what are you, that Dean has chosen. It’s the first time he says it and he thoroughly means it, leaning in close, eyes flipping to black, smiling – “I’m a demon.”
But Dean lets Cole live, and for a brief moment it seems possible to believe that somewhere in there, Dean Winchester still exists, but that moment is short-lived, the hope crushed, and the truth of the depth of his fall is revealed. It wasn’t mercy at all. It was cold and calculating, meant to leave a man, a heroic man and his mission in ashes. Dean let Cole live so that he would suffer from his failure. It was, as he later told Sam, the worst thing he could have done.
“It’s turning me into something I don’t want to be.”
Dean Winchester is dead. The real Dean, the man who would give his life for a complete stranger is gone, twisted from so many years of battle into a thing he wouldn’t recognize and would surely want to see destroyed. I don’t see that man I adore in the monster he’s become. He’s no longer the slayer of nightmares. He’s become one.
It’s all on Sam’s shoulders now. He’s smart, and his conviction is true. He will save his brother or die trying. Honestly, those words scare the life out of me. There are worse things than dying after all.
Up next is the ultimate showdown that by all the previews looks like it will be one emotionally wrenching episode. Are you ready for Soul Survivor? Will Dean’s soul survive? Or will he be the only one left standing.
Oh and the similar meaning of Reichenbach – “gutted”