Man oh man. I'm sober tonight folks, and I think even if I had drunk copious amounts of wine, that episode would have sobered me up pretty fast anyway.
Such an awesome episode. Ben Edlund is an evil genius, and I do indeed feel like I've received a golden punch in the face...
So, where do we begin...
Where did we start the episode? Cas in the garden? Beginning at the beginning...Cas in the car with Dean. At first, when Cas said he was going to start at the beginning and then we saw this scene, I thought it was Dean in the car right after Sam jumped in the pit...but no, of course Cas wouldn't go that easy on us - "time is fluid" (or a big ball of timey-wimey wibbley wobbly...stuff). So, the beginning is Cas appearing to check in on how the hunt for Crowley is going. Dean deflects - they have nothing, they're hunting a Djinn.
Then we get our first Cas and Crowley interaction. Crowley is performing an autopsy on Eve, and it turns out that she carries eggs like a frog. Furthermore, he can torture a vampire by torturing her dead body - but this isn't the important bit. The important bit is that the Winchesters weren't supposed to kill Eve, they were supposed to capture her (or Cas was) so that Cas and Crowley could get to Purgatory. Now Crowley is pissed off and Castiel is trying to juggle his friendship with the Winchesters and his deal with Crowley and he isn't doing a great job of it.
Wait, was that before or after the narration of how long Cas has been around. I liked that. I especially like how Cas looked directly into the camera afterward and said he was going to tell us (God) everything. Oh man...I suddenly am glad I'm not an actor on that show, I don't think I could form words if I had Misha staring at me like that as I spoke.
Cas has been around since the dawn of man. And dudes, evolution is a confirmed thing in Supernatural. I loved the old movie montage while Cas talked about the tower of Babel (30 feet was impressive at the time....made of dung), and David and Goliath, and all that stuff. My friend and I were talking about the choice of using old movies for that on our walk home, and personally, I think it shows us that while Cas SAW those events - he saw them like they were a TV show. I think the first time he was involved was with the Winchesters...and I think they showed the goofier campy old movies, because that's probably how it appeared to Cas at the time...all these silly little creatures running around building dung towers and then being surprised when they fell over.
Anyway, back to the story...which, maybe I should take chronologically, because I've already jumped around so much...
We find out that Cas was the one that raised Sam from perdition. We also find out that Cas didn't realize that he left part of Sam behind, but that in retrospect, his first clue should have been Sam's choice not to go to Dean. Poor Cas.
We find out that Cas went back to Heaven - that Angels don't get their own heaven, but they can hang out in other people's...and Cas's favourite is the heaven of an autistic man that is a never ending Tuesday afternoon in a garden where he flies a kite. I want to talk about this for a second, because I think this says a lot about Castiel - mainly, that Dean is right, and that Cas is like a child. There's a great meta out there about how Dean was emotionally developmentally delayed at the beginning of the series, and was basically still stuck as a four-year-old - following orders and dependent on his father for guidance. I think Cas had the same problem. For eons he followed orders, and, when he was off duty, he spent his time in a very child-like heaven.
We see Rachel again (how come other angels wear suits? They're like Mr. Smith in the Matrix...did they get all their vessels just as they were leaving their white-collar jobs?). Rachel and the other angels are fascinated that Castiel was brought back - that God must have brought him back, and they ask Cas what they're supposed to do...and Cas tries to tell them that they are free, but they don't know what that means.
And man, as much as it was depressing, I love how Cas (the narrator) says that freedom is a length of rope and God wants them to hang themselves with it. Ouch.
But then, that's what Cas does, isn't it?
Raphael call him and Cas goes to meet him in some Republican's heaven. Raphael does indeed want to restart the apocalypse and finish it properly. I was worried that maybe that was another one of Cas's lies, but then, I figured it had to be true, because why else would Cas be at war...so, anyway, I was happy to have that confirmed.
But Raphael is stronger than Cas, and beats him up. :(
So Cas goes to Dean, and yeah...we already found this out by this point in the episode, but Cas can stand around without people seeing him - and apparently, so can Crowley. Oh man...
Because Cas goes to Dean, and Dean's raking the garden...which means that it's been about 5 or 6 months since Sam's fall, by my calculations...but then, the weather is kind of all over the place in this episode, so maybe it's spring time and Dean is raking LAST Fall's leaves. We used to have to do that sometimes at my house...so it still could be spring, and maybe Sam JUST fell.
Anyway, Cas doesn't want to bug him. Much like Sam's decision not to go to Dean - Cas is reluctant to drag Dean back into a fight. And he's warring with himself about it when Crowley shows up and seizes the opportunity as only Crowley can....
Crowley's turned Hades into a neo-nazi-bureaucratic nightmare (if the Crowley picture on the wall is anything to go by). And he offers Castiel a deal - work with him to capture the monster-souls in purgatory, and they'll divide the souls between them - giving Castiel enough power to fight Raphael.
Of course, pride goes before the fall - and Castiel thinks he can inevitably outsmart Crowley...plus, he's desperate. I think Castiel really did get a bit hyped up that he was God's chosen angel, because who else would take the time to put him back together? And Crowley seems to play right into that, telling Cas that God probably brought him back so that he could oppose Raphael. It makes sense, after all...that's why I figured God brought him back (both times.)
Cas refuses to drag Dean into it though, so Crowley says "no problem, I have a bald patriarch that I can take off the bench..."
SO...what does that mean about where Grandpa was? Because Grandpa said that he was in heaven, but if CROWLEY has the power to through him back onto the earth - maybe he wasn't? Thoughts?
And so that's how we got to where we are.
Which is Sam and Bobby seriously doubting Castiel, and Dean trying very hard to be loyal...and I love the fact that (while spying) Castiel comments on this...that Dean's loyalty was the worst part, because Castiel must know that Dean does not give that loyalty out lightly.
And just in case Sassy fans were feeling left out, Dean had that great comment in there about how if Castiel was Superman, than Sam was Lois Lane. :P
Also! Also! Did you notice that Dean reference PERFECT STRANGERS?! Seriously! For you young'ins out there, Perfect Strangers was a sitcom in the late 80s/early 90s, that featured Balky, a naive foreigner, moving to a major US city (New York?) and living with his US cousin. Dean not only called Castiel BALKY, but he USED BALKY'S FULL NAME! I mean, holy hell, I loved that sitcom (shut-up, I was young), but not even I remember Balky's full name!
Ok, sorry, Perfect Strangers geekery aside....
I love this new dynamic of how Cas can just hang around without being seen...crazyness. The first scene it happened in - I kept waiting for someone to spot him and it to get crazy awkward - but no, he can just stand there and observe.
Bobby's got a hunter/demon tied to a chair though and is torturing him for info...and eventually he cracks and tells them about ...umm...damn, I forget his name. Aloysius or something (it's probably nothing like Aloysius). Anyway, he tells them about "The Dispatcher" who is basically the demon equivalent of Bobby Singer.
Then we see "The Dispatcher" and he REALLY IS THE DEMON EQUIVALENT OF BOBBY SINGER. It reminded me of this sculpture of the Last Supper that I saw in the Museum of Anthropology out at UBC the other week:
Everyone has their demon counter-part.
Anyway, Castiel goes and LAYS THE SMACK DOWN! I love BAMF!Cas. I love when "The Dispatcher" tries to escape, and Cas is just like "Oh hell no, get back in there" and shoves the smoke back down his throat and then kills him. NOICE. (That's "nice" with an Australian accent, btw.)
So, when the Winchesters get there, the place is all nice and clean and lovely...and they're like "Wow, so clean!....TOO CLEAN"....I'm thinking that maybe Castiel should sell his own line of cleaning products or something, if this is the reaction his cleaning gets.
Then Sam tries to pray for Cas (to humour Dean) and he doesn't come (because he's already there watching) and then Dean tries (and Cas still stays hidden) and then SURPRISE DEMON ATTACK!
So, Cas has to decloak and kick demon ass again...
Cas the narrator tells us that in that moment, he felt like himself again...and I think that's really telling. Not to take this to a weird place or anything, but there's something Dan Savage says a lot about relationships. In that, we pretend to be the very best version of ourselves for those that we love, and in return, our loved ones also pretend that we are that very best version of ourselves - and that's how good relationships make you into a better person, because you are constantly trying to live up to that best version of yourself that you believe you have convinced your loved one that you are. (Did that make sense? I'm bad at explaining things sometimes.) But yeah, I think Castiel's best version of himself is this powerful being that can sweep in and save them from evil...someone who is righteous and good, and not morally grey at all. And up until now, the Winchesters were happy to believe that of him too - happy to give him that - but the truth of the matter is that the cracks in illusion are starting to get too glaringly obvious. Just as you can't pretend that your partner is the very best version of themselves when they constantly smack you around - you also can't pretend that your angel is righteous and good when it's becoming increasingly obvious that he's working with a demon.
So, Castiel saves them, and then the Winchesters use the oldest trick in the book - they lull Castiel into a false sense of security by confessing their misgivings and apologizing...and Castiel makes the rookie spying mistake of saying something that he shouldn't have known. And it's heart breaking, because he gets that dorky look on his face that he gets whenever he tries to joke around but isn't very good at it, and he's all at once a complete goofball AND breaking the hearts of his friends by betraying them (morally, at least).
So, then Castiel goes and throws Crowley into a wall and tells him NOT TO TOUCH THE WINCHESTERS RAR!
Then Dean, Sam, and Bobby call him back...and yeah...he falls in to a burning ring of fire, and it burns burns burns and....oh, sorry.
So, I never thought I would see the day, but they trap Castiel in a ring of holy oil and demand answers.
Just as an aside - where the heck do they get this holy oil from all the time? The first time Cas showed up with it, he said it was from Israel and was very rare, yet Sam and Dean have always had some on hand ever since. Sorry sorry, nitpicky, I know.
Castiel eventually confesses...well, Dean does the old parental trick of "look me in the eye and tell me..." and of course Castiel fails. (Weird personal anecdote: It was a glorious day in my childhood when I realized that I COULD actually lie straight to my parent's faces. I felt invincible and drunk with lying power....but sadly, or perhaps not sadly, I've since lost the ability and these days I'm an absolutely horrible liar.)
Castiel tells Sam that he was the one that raised him from perdition...and my goodness, this is in stark contrast to the last time he said those words. (Also, for those of you who might be confused, I don't think soulless Sam was lying when he said he didn't know who had raised him...I think in those flashbacks that we saw in tonights eppy, Cas was doing the invisible eavesdropping thing with soulless!Sam and soulless!Sam didn't know he was there.)
Dean then lays it all out for Castiel - he should have come to them, etc...and yeah, another heartbreaking line is Cas asking where Dean was when he needed to hear that? And Dean saying "where were you?"
Not to be a Harry Potter nerd or anything, but Castiel reminds me a bit of Harry Potter here - getting into shit because he's so used to dealing with things on his own that he keeps things from his friends/authority.
Then DEMON SWARM!
Which sucks, because I really think they could have talked it out maybe? Though, maybe not, given that when Dean offered to "fix it", Castiel's response was to say "It's NOT BROKEN!" Um, Cas, it's broken...it's very very broken.
Castiel makes them run, and they do. Crowley comes in and snaps out the fire...like he just saved the day - as thought Castiel's friends really had turned on him completely and were going to kill him right then. For the record, I think Crowley knows they weren't going to...I think Crowley knows that they would have talked it out with Castiel and eventually worked out a plan with him to get Crowley - and that's why Crowley swept in to "save" Cas. He was saving himself.
Then we get Dean sleeping in a supposedly angel-proofed Bobby's house. Only it's not angel-proofed, because Castiel shows up. Also, that "blood" on the windows is far too red to be blood. (nitpicky nitpicker is nitpicky)
And Dean and Cas have a chat...and again, Dean repeats that Cas is like a child. Which is something that Dean has said a lot this season, and although it hurt Cas's feelings last episode...I do kind of have to agree with Dean. If Cas was developmentally delayed for eons, I think he's reached his teenage years now. He thinks he knows what to do with freedom, but, like a lot of first-year-college/university students, he really really doesn't.
Dean gives this great speech about how Cas is like his brother - and you can tell that Cas is really touched (and surprised) by that. Unfortunately, my friend's PVR messed up here, and I missed some of Dean's lines. But, I'm sure they were very Dean-like and meaningful. Castiel won't waver though, or at least, instead of admitting that he may have just made himself a noose, and could Dean please help him get it off his neck, he asks Dean what Dean will do if he doesn't do what Dean wants...and well, yeah, what else is Dean going to say really? Actions have to have consequences...unfortunately, I think Dean should have gone with "I'll be very disappointed in you" rather than "I'll have to kill you" (or whatever he said.) Because then Cas is just like "But I'm a BAMF!Angel OF THE LORD!" and Dean is all like, "Dude, ever hear of a guy named Zachariah? I totally smote his ass, and he was a BAMF!Angels too." (I'm obviously paraphrasing here).
So, we get the end of the episode...and...yeah...two weeks.
I liked how Crowley listed everyone that the Winchesters have killed and said that he wasn't going to make the mistake of underestimating them.
Sam looked really good in this episode...damn.
So I missed a lot of golden stuff in there that I would love to talk about, but I'm kind of having trouble remembering it all and this is a really love review already...so, yeah...let me know in comments if you want to hear my thoughts on a particular part that I've neglected to talk about.
Two weeks...two weeks....OH MAN.