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Television Tourniquet: 'Supernatural' Episode 5.21


Supernatural Episode 5.21
Two Minutes To Midnight
Written By: Sera Gamble
Directed By: Phil Sgriccia
Original Airdate: 6 May 2010

In This Episode...
Cas has been humanified and has to travel like a mortal across the country to meet up with Sam and Dean in an Iowa nursing home.  Pestilence is spreading is special brand of magic throughout the home.  The guys try to sneak up on him, and the sick knocks them down.  Cas comes in the nick of time, and though he is now human and therefore vulnerable, he falls ill, too.  A little spark of angel exists though, because with a burst of strength he jumps up and slices Pestilence’s finger off.  With his dying breath, Pestilence insists it doesn’t matter - it is too late.

Back with Bobby, the guys ponder the meaning of this cryptic message.  Crowley sheds some light: Death, the fourth horseman, has set up shop in Chicago.  A series of disasters are headed toward the city and Death has some cleanup to attend to.  So the crew splits up.  Dean and Crowley head to Chicago to get Death’s ring.  Sam, Cas, and Bobby try to “fight off the zombie invasion” by stopping the Niveus swine flu vaccines (which is really croatoan virus in disguise) from being distributed across the country.  Crowley still has Bobby’s soul held for insurance, but he worked in a little clause: Bobby can walk again.  Team Croatoan have to break into the distribution center to kill some demons and kill some humans infected with the virus in order to stave off distribution.

The more interesting story is with Dean in Chicago.  Crowley helps him track down Death to a pizzeria.  Everyone in the restaurant is dead.  He invites Dean to sit with him and have some pizza.  Death is calm, quiet, wizened.  He was waiting for Dean to find him.  It seems that Lucifer has him on a leash, so he couldn’t go to the Winchesters.  Death is enslaved by a “bratty child throwing a tantrum.”  He wants the Winchesters to take on the devil and trap him in his cell - it is the only way he will be free.  He hands over his ring willingly, with only one catch: Dean will not stop Sam from jumping into the ring with the devil.  It is the only way to defeat him.  Dean agrees, and Death tells him the “instructions” for using the set of rings.  He later tells Bobby he was lying to Death, and Bobby reminds him that yes, Sam is an “assful of character defects,” but he has been risking his life for others since he was a tween.  He can handle it.

Dig It or Bury It?
One of their best episodes in months.  My husband would say it was because the focus was on humanity, not theology.  That is definitely part of it.  But it was more than that.  It was atmospheric.  It was tense.  It had maudlin music. It was well-paced.  I didn’t feel like the story was going in circles.  The actor playing Death, Julian Richings, was intense.  He had this great character-actor face - the perfect representation of death.  Take that, Ingmar Bergman. The scene between Dean and Death was slow and quiet.  There was no epic showdown, but it was gripping.  I didn’t even realize until the commercial break that I had been holding my breath.

Blood Brothers
How about neon-green brothers?  That was the color of the vomit spewed by Pestilence’s victim.  This is not an exaggeration of Linda Blair-style pea soup.  This was full-on neon green slime.  Turn on a black light and that shit would glow.  It almost looked radioactive.

Sibling Rivalry
Before splitting up, Sam pulls Dean aside.  He agrees with his older brother - Sam believes he is weak and screwed up.  But he also knows he is their only chance.  Even though Crowley interrupts their heart-to-heart, Dean doesn’t really make much of a move towards disagreeing with him.

Spooky Humor
When Bobby finally admits he turned his soul over to Crowley (“pawned it,” Crowley insists), Sam can’t help but ask if they kissed.  Bobby insists that he didn’t, with a mixture of offense and disgust.  But Crowley has photographic proof!  “Why did you take a picture?” Bobby demands.  Crowley counters with: “Why did you have to use tongue?”

Next week is the season finale.  Sam goes up against the devil, or is possessed by the devil.  Sounds like a party.  I’ll bring the guacamole.