Dean has been struggling with his inner demons all season on Supernatural, literally and figuratively. The Mark of Cain has turned him into a monster, but he’s trying his hardest to stay human by focusing on the job and his family.
In “The Things They Carried,” that theme is brought to life by a monstrous worm that literally turns several soldiers, including Cole, into monsters. Can they be saved or does having a monster inside of you mean you have to die?
Mysterious Military Murders
Dean finds a case involving a woman whose blood and organs were drained and her bone marrow was eaten. It’s pretty gruesome, even by Supernatural standards. But by the time the Winchesters arrive, the local cops already have a suspect, a Special Forces soldier who then drank gasoline and lit himself on fire. That’s different.
The brothers learn that the dead soldier recently returned from a secret mission and was drinking a lot of water all of the time. And so is another member of the Special Forces team named Kit who we see kill a convenience store clerk before licking up the man’s blood. This episode is trying to be the most disgusting one of the season, and it’s succeeding.
Cole Joins the Case
Cole (the soldier whose dad was an unknown monster killed by Dean a long time ago) is back because he used to be friends with Kit. He joins Sam and Dean on the case, hoping to keep his friend safe instead of just hunting and killing him. The boys agree to let him tag along, which is useful since Cole’s military contacts reveal that the Special Forces team rescued a POW in an Iraqi cemetery.
Cole gets a lead on Kit at a cabin, but when he arrives Kit attacks him and then spits a creepy worm into Cole’s mouth. A second worm comes out, but Dean steps on it. Kit flees, so Sam chases after him while Dean stays behind to deal with Cole.
The Khan Worm
The monster is a Khan Worm, which we first saw in season 6 when it infected Bobby and caused him to kill Rufus. First Dean electrocutes Cole to try and get the worm out, but when it refuses, he turns the cabin into a sweat lodge to force the worm out since it needs water.
Dean and Cole engage in some discussions about the difficulty of fighting the monster inside of you to stay human for your family, something Dean has been battling all season. The plan works and the worm crawls out of Cole, allowing Dean to stomp on it. However, it’s too late for Kit and Sam had to kill him.
The Moral of the Story
The ending of this episode highlights the two possible ways this season could end. Dean succeeded in curing Cole, getting rid of the monster and allowing him to live on and go back home to be with his family. Sam, however, had to kill Kit. He wasn’t able to stop the monster inside from taking over.
In the final line of the episode, Dean hits the nail on the head: “You can do everything right and sometimes the guy still dies.” Let’s just hope Dean’s saga with the Mark of Cain ends more like Cole and less like Kit.
Next week on Supernatural: Sam and Dean go to church where Dean flirts with a hot nun. Dean almost walks into a confessional, which could theoretically take up the entire hour.
(Image courtesy of the CW)