'Supernatural' Season 9, episode 16 recap: Dean's Mark of Cain takes hold while Crowley gets clean, sober and evil again in 'Blade Runners'

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CANCEL
supernatural-blade-runners-recap.jpg Since Cain transferred his Mark over to Dean, fans have been not-so-patiently waiting for the side effects -- whatever they may be -- to start affecting the elder Winchester on "Supernatural." And after episode upon episode showcasing a gradual change in Dean's hunting abilities (he's gotten scarily good at killing monsters and humans alike), the Mark of Cain finally took hold on Tuesday (March 18) night's episode, "Blade Runners." And it wasn't pretty.

At first, it seemed like everything was great. Sam and Dean teamed up with Crowley and tracked down the First Blade. But when Dean grabbed ahold of the ancient blade, something took over. His Mark of Cain glowed, his eyes narrowed, and a look of pure rage took over his features. It was almost hypnotic, and it was some of Jensen Ackles' best work. In fact, it took Sam quite a while to reach Dean underneath the spell of the blade, to help him focus again and drop the blade.

Seriously, that scene was intense. Watching Sam talk Dean down from the rage boiling inside of him was a nice callback to the Season 8 finale when Dean had to talk Sam down from finishing the trials, since it would kill him. But this time, Sam was the one who had to save his brother from himself. Was that role reversal enough to remind Sam of how much he loves his brother? Could this have helped the brothers' fight in any way? Please say yes.

Unfortunately, Sam and Dean can't go killing Abaddon just yet. Even though they had the blade and the Mark, Crowley realizes that they also have the tools to kill him as well. You see, Crowley was in rough shape at the start of "Blade Runners." He was holed up in some hotel room with a demon pet supplying him with human blood, sex and pizza. He was a mess. But Sam and Dean tracked him down and chained him up in the Men of Letter dungeon again to get him to quit human blood, cold turkey. He really had become addicted to the stuff! And it was affecting him hardcore. He was crying while watching movies!

But after he got clean and sober, he was back to his usual self. Meaning that he put two and two together, and realized that Sam wasn't warming up to him no matter how hard he tried. Sam almost convinced Dean to kill Crowley with the blade, so Crowley stole the blade from the brothers and told them he would give it to them only when they tracked down Abaddon.

Two questions linger from this whole exchange. No. 1: Did Dean really agree with Sam that he should kill Crowley, or was he just trying to heal the rift between them, giving Sam the answer he wanted to hear as a test to see if his brother really had formed a real relationship with the King of Hell? It kind of seemed like a test on both sides. And No. 2: Could Sam have avoided the whole Crowley stealing the blade thing by just humoring the King of Hell while on their mission? If Sam wasn't so mean to Crowley the entire time, maybe he wouldn't have distrusted the brothers so much.

Other notable moments from the episode:

- When Sam and Dean hadn't heard from Crowley in weeks, they try to track him down by trapping a crossroads demon ... who happened to be Snooki! She matter-of-factly tells them she goes by Nicole now, and not going to lie, she did an amazing job playing herself. Paris Hilton can learn a thing or two from her about filming a cameo on "Supernatural." Bonus: Sam and Dean exorcise Snooki when they're done with her. That's her punishment for "Jersey Shore."

- When Dean calls Crowley, it says "Not Moose" on Crowley's unanswered phone. You'd think after all this time Dean and Crowley spent together he'd get his own nickname by now. But Crowley's nostalgic for Sam, after the moment they shared together in the church in the Season 8 finale. Sigh, aren't we all?

- We got to meet an inactive Men of Letter member, who was ejected from the society because his ideas were a little too controversial. Cuthbert Sinclair has since holed himself up in an invisible lair, collecting every kind of supernatural creature for his own zoo. The guy is clearly bananas. He wanted to add Dean with his Mark and blade to his "collection."

- Dean kills yet another human (Cuthbert Sinclair) in this episode. This is the Mark of Cain's influence taking over, as Dean would never kill humans before. To be fair, Cuthbert was going to torture Sam, but he was still a human. Dean decapitated him like he was a vampire. Brutal.

- Abaddon's henchmen were hot on Sam and Dean's tail, searching for the blade themselves since Crowley's pet demon ratted him out to her. They tracked the Winchesters to outside of Cuthbert's lair, and ransacked their car looking for the blade. Obviously they didn't find it since Dean had it at the time, and in their anger, the demons KEYED BABY. HOW DARE THEY MAR BABY'S BEAUTIFUL PAINT JOB?! Even for demons, that was low. Seriously, this is not right:

supernatural-baby-keyed.jpg
What did you think of "Blade Runners?" Between Crowley's blood addiction and humanizing breakdowns, the Mark of Cain finally blossoming into a real issue for Dean, Sam's rescue of Dean and the introduction (and farewell) of a new Men of Letters member, the episode was one of the best of the season. And seriously, how amazing was Ackles?

Now excuse us while we cry for Baby's injuries.

"Supernatural" airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.
Photo/Video credit: The CW