Rewinding ‘Supernatural’: “The Devil You Know”

Tonight’s episode of Supernatural opened with two scientists discussing the upcoming human trials for a new flu vaccine. Their conversation is interrupted by a demon who injects one of the men with something that causes him to violently slaughter the other man. This, we can assume, has something to do with Pestilence.

Shortly afterward, Sam and Dean pose as CDC workers while they are questioning a female doctor. All of them wear protective masks as she describes “a mild case of swine flu” before admitting that they need vaccines and all of this is “a little unusual”. The brothers drive away, and then discuss things over the phone with Bobby. Suddenly, Crowley, the effeminate, Lucifer-hating demon that we previously met this season, appears in the backseat. Sam wants to kill him, but Dean is willing to hear out his plan to help them destroy Pestilence.

Crowley deserves a place in Supernatural’s villain hall-of-fame. Played well by TV veteran, Mark Sheppard, he delivered some of the best lines of the night. After all, his explanation for wanting the devil dead and betraying his own kind is “They ate my tailor!” Occasionally, his fireplace casts a demonic red glow on only him, which is a nice touch.

Leading the brothers to the shack he’s been hiding at, all while noting how much better his old place was, he explains that while he doesn’t exactly know where Pestilence is, he does know how to get to the Horseman’s “stable-boy”, who could lead them to him.

The show then introduces us to Pestilence’s underling, Mr. Brady, a demon who has taken over the body of a pharmaceutical executive. This is a convenient host for him in another way, as he uses corporate workers as the sacrifices needed to communicate with Pestilence, who appears here as a buzzing fly. Crowley’s plan is for him and Dean (because he doesn’t like Sam) to pay Mr. Brady a visit. Killing the possibly possessed guards bothers Dean, but not as much as Crowley’s demand that Dean negotiates with Brady by himself. Dean is even more surprised by the fact that Brady knows all about them, and does not want to deal. Brady then starts mercilessly beating Dean up, but Crowley sneaks up from behind and incapacitates Brady with a crowbar and an enchanted bag. “That’s what you get, working with a demon”, he declares.

Meanwhile, Sam questioned Bobby about the time he killed Meg while being possessed by her. Sam wonders if he can let the devil possess him, but then overtake him by leading him/himself into a trap. Needless to say, Bobby thinks that plan is ridiculous, saying, “How you gonna control the devil when you can’t control yourself.” This, however, gives us a reason as to why Sam would ever say yes to Lucifer.

In the car, we find out the real reason why Crowley doesn’t want Sam to meet Brady. It turns out that he is possessing Sam’s college friend, and he introduced Sam to his future fiance Jessica, whom he later murdered as a demon. Brady eats up a lot of time here, by arguing about the apocalypse with Crowley and then taunting Sam a lot. Brady is suicidal anyways, so he doesn’t want to tell them anything.

This launches Crowley’s attack plan. Unseen on camera, he destroys “a hive of demons” but leaves one alive to tell the others that Brady’s disappearance was because he and Brady are “lovers in league against Satan.” Before Brady can start spilling information, an invisible hell hound who followed Crowley back home tries to attack. Everyone gets out alive, though, because Crowley has his own hell hound. “Sick ‘em, boy!”

Brady gives the brothers information on Pestilence’s whereabouts, but after he gives Sam the typical “You’re just like us!” villain speech, Sam knifes him to death. As Sam and Dean head off towards Pestilence, we are left with Crowley offering Bobby a deal. He knows a spell that will lead them to Death, but Bobby first has to let Crowley take his soul. He proclaims, “I’ll give it right back!”

The only issue I had with this episode is the references to “swine flu”. Couldn’t they have made up a similar virus that doesn’t conjure up as much real-world significance? It seems a little insensitive. Plus, it does seem weird that we didn’t see Pestilence in his human form once during this episode, where for budget reasons, many things happened off camera. However, the inclusion of two different previews of next week’s “Death”-related episode that left me looking forward to what is up ahead.