So, let's get to the episode...
I think I might break this episode into two sections. So, I'll talk about the boys' plot first and then I'll talk about Castiel's separately. This way I don't have to remember what cuts were where (a task that is impossible.) I will say, however, that I really like when they do split storylines like this. It makes for an action packed episode without the need for as many plot points in either story.
Anyway, we start with a THEN that is full of Trans, which made me pretty hopeful... and I figured that they'd probably be revisiting the Linda Tran story, since Kevin was dead and gone.
And we get Dean hanging out in his room, listening to tunes... and reminding me of what I looked like as a teenager, because my house was loud and annoying (my room, in two different houses, was underneath someone else's room...and it was always someone else who liked to have sex with their boyfriends)... so yeah, I used to fall asleep with headphones on, listening to music, most nights.
Anyway, suddenly, GHOST! And Sam is in the other room and sees it too...and then it's grab-a-sword time! Wait, a sword? What did you think you were going to do with that Sam? Well, Sam doesn't have to do anything with it, because Dean shoots the ghost... and I love their exchange of-
"Yup! The bunker's haunted!"
Now, sidenote here, I actually never read the credits at the beginning. This isn't actually a choice. I ignore them subconsciously... they could be saying "Hey jerkface!" for all I know - as long as they are in the font of names and not telling us where the Winchesters are or what year we are in, my brain just erases them... actually, sometimes it erases them when they are telling us where the Winchesters are too, which is why I have to do my timelining on a rewatch. ANYWAY... my point is that I totally didn't see Osric's name in the title sequence. I didn't even clue into the fact that it was there when one of my friends muttered, "oh, spoilers" in the midst of our discussion about whether it was him... I still didn't get it... and I'm pretty sure my friend actually backed up the PVR and let his name flash on screen twist. :P
So, I was thinking, "is it really Kevin?" I mean, the whole THEN sequence was about the Trans, but maybe that was a misdirect and Dean BURNED HIM.
But, when we go back to the bunker and Sam and Dean are discussing it - they come to the conclusion that it must be a recent death, and when they mention Kevin's name, the coffee machine dings like they just won a games show for hunters. So, yeah, KEVIN! Yay! I don't even care that he's a ghost.
The coffee maker communication is all they get for a bit though, so they stay up for hours taking shifts with the coffee maker - awww... and when it's Dean's shift, he takes the opportunity to lay out all his guilt and ask for forgiveness... and that works, because Kevin is so furious that he gets stuck for all eternity with the Winchesters and their self-pity parties that he manifests! Yay!!! KEVIN!!!
We find out that Heaven isn't just closed to angels, it's closed to souls too. The veil has become a crowded place, everyone is stuck close to where they died and no one can move on. Holy crow! I always wondered this about them closing hell... I thought it'd just keep the demons from entering earth and that the souls would continue to flow across the borders as guided by the reapers. But what if that weren't the case? Would those souls destined for hell just end up trapped in the veil, doomed to become angry/evil spirits?! Would closing the gates of hell just have created another problem for Sam and Dean anyway?
And Metatron didn't even close heaven - he just kicked the angels out... but I guess without the angels, there's no one to open the doors? I don't even know!!
There goes my idea for Kevin taking down Heaven from the inside out though... ah well... I guess we'll just have to leave that to Bobby, Ellen, Jo, Ash, and Rufus who should all still be up there.
Back to the episode... Kevin pulls the old - "you got me killed, so now you own me a favour" card and asks Sam and Dean to go find his mother. He's heard from the ghost gossip chain that she might still be alive and near Wichita.
So, off Sam and Dean go to perform a seance to take to a ghost named Candy, who apparently only died a week ago! So, chances are good Ms. Tran is still with us.
And they're by the Lulu Island Trestle Bridge! That bridge is super cool... and in SO MANY EPISODES. :P
Dean's trying to get in touch with Crowley and Sam's making fun of him for it... and then Candy shows up via radio and tells them what she knows. She was kept in a storage locker beside 2 other lockers, one of which had Linda Tran in it. So, then it's off to find storage lockers....
They eventually track down the storage locker that looks like it fits, and the clerk takes Dean to one locker while Sam checks out the others - and yeah, basically as soon as the clerk got the two brothers separated, I started to suspect him... actually, I kind of suspected him from the beginning, but didn't want to jump the gun too much.
Sure enough, he locks Sam in with Ms. Tran and knocks Dean out. Dean, seriously? I mean, granted, I guess there was demon-strength behind that punch, but still!
Anyway, Mrs. Tran still kicks ass. But seriously, when she asks Sam if Kevin is somewhere safe, and Sam is all like *awkward*...I mean, Sam, did you REALLY not foresee this question? Did you really not think about what you were going to say. Granted, Sam and Dean were pretty convinced that Mrs. Tran was dead and that Crowley was lying, but still... prepare for the worst case scenario boys! And in this case, the worst case is DEFINITELY having to tell a mother that her only kid is dead.
But, while Mrs. Tran picks the electrical lock, Sam DOES manage to convey the message through puppy eyes alone... and Mrs. Tran takes it in stride - and just repeats "take me to my son" - ugh, my heart.
Meanwhile, Dean wakes up to have it confirmed that the clerk is also a demon. Really, they should have been prepared to encounter a demon at the storage locker as soon as they heard in the story that there were TWO demons that visited originally, and then just the one that wasn't Crowley... I guess they assume the other one came and went like Crowley did, but still, worst-case scenarios, boys!
At first I was thinking that Dean should let the demon call Crowly on the blood-bowl, seeing as how Dean wanted to speak to him anyway... but then I realized that maybe it WAS good for Dean to distract the demon from that call, since Dean was technically stealing Crowley's human leverage.
So, Dean distracts the demon with talk about how he and Crowley are friends now... which only makes the demon want to kill him, but luckily that's when Sam busts in to save the day... and kill the demon.
I have to say, I love the whole conversation where the demon was like...
"Are you going to kill me?"
"No, we're going to let someone else do that..."
And in walks Mrs. Tran... it was nice and funny, and I do love Mrs. Tran being a badass.
So, Mrs. Tran kills the demon and then it's off to the bunker... and we never do get to find out what happened to the third person who was supposedly in those storage lockers too. So, that was kind of odd. Did they not check? Did I miss a line about him dying...?
Anyway, back at the bunker, they tell Kevin they found his mom, and the two Trans are finally reunited. One an isolation-torture victim and the other one a ghost... but hey, at least they're TOGETHER.
Mrs. Tran goes through Kevin's stuff and finds the object that she thinks he's still tied to - his father's class ring, it looks like... and then she goes to take him home. Dean warns her that ghosts can become...something... but Mama Tran repeats that it's her job to look after Kevin, and that's what she's going to do.
And the Winchesters actually get to say goodbye to Kevin! Awww... Kevin forgives them. He knows it wasn't Sam who killed him. He makes them promise to get revenge on the bastard who DID kill him. (I'm like, the only person in fandom who still feels a little sympathy for Gadreel, I think.) And then Kevin tells them to "get over it" to stop fighting... that they have each other, and they should be thankful for that.
They both promise him that they will get over it - and that they'll forgive each other or something... but as soon as Kevin leaves, Dean turns to Sam only to find Sam already leaving the room.
Sam does pause outside his door though, because maybe he IS getting to a place where he can forgive Dean... or maybe he's just having a moment of doubt before doubling down on his anger. Part of me, I must say, has to wonder if the mark of Cain might have something to do with this too... since one possibility for Cain's curse is to live without family.
Anyway, Dean goes to his room and puts back on his headphones and hates himself and the world... and thus we end the episode with a bit of closure for the boys in regards to Kevin, but no real movement forward in mending their own relationship.
Now, let's talk about Castiel.
Castiel is trying to track down Metatron... and he tries to find an angel named Rebecca, only to find her already dead. Her one remaining follower - a pacifist, basically, can't tell him anything besides the fact that Bartholomew is going around killing angels.
And sure enough, Cas is captured by Bart's men and taken to their factions headquarters - where we discover that Bartholomew is actually an old foot-soldier from Cas' garrison... that he was a follower of Cas in the civil war with Raphael, that he looked up to Cas. But we also find out that Bart killed POWs against Cas' wishes (but apparently in line with the wishes of his superiors). Bart tells him to get off his high horse, because Cas slaughtered thousands of angels... and yeah, basically, Cas' past as a briefly megalomaniac insane person is always going to haunt him.
Bart shows him the whole show though and tries to recruit Cas to be his partner. I forget what Bart called himself - "the perfect soldier?" something like that - but he called Cas "the ultimate rebel" (or, again, SOMETHING like that.) And have I mentioned that I kind of love the fact that Cas is the rebel angel, and I kind of love that he may have been DESIGNED that way.... anyway....
I think Cas was actually tempted, up until Bart's men show up with the pacifist angel and Bart explains that he's going to torture and then kill him. And then it's basically just Bart throwing everything that Cas DOESN'T want to stand for in his face. Cas insists that he isn't what he once was or what his previous actions would lead Bart to believe - that Cas is trying to be different, trying to be peaceful, trying to stop the killings that have been decimating the heavenly host.
And when Bart gives Cas the angel blade for him to kill the pacifist, we were all sitting there saying, "USE IT TO STAB BART! STAB HIM!" But Cas doesn't stab him, he tells Bart that if it's a choice between joining Bart and thereby condoning his actions and dying, then Cas would choose death.
Bart kills the pacifist, but when he goes to kill Cas, Cas stops him. He overpowers him and shows Bart that he COULD kill him, but has chosen not to - and then he tries to leave, only to have Bart try to stab him in the back - which Cas also blocks, and then his threat of killing him isn't empty.
I also have to say that I love it when Cas is a bamf, but I guess that goes without saying... but I kind of think that it wasn't just Dean and Benny who had their fighting skills get even better during their stint in Purgatory - though, granted, Cas was always pretty damn good in angel fights.
So, now he's taken down the head of what looked like the largest faction of angels! Oh man... I wonder what crazy stuff THIS wrench in the works will churn out!
Right now, what it churns out is at least three angels from Bartholomew's faction that want to throw their lot in with Castiel. INTERESTING....
So, good episode! Lots of fun!
Looks like next week, we'll return to a MOTW.
I'm absolutely exhausted right now, so sorry if the last bit of this review seemed a little rushed. If there's points and nuances that you really want to talk about that I neglected to touch on, please bring them up in comments! :)