I stayed home tonight, because I'm still recovering from ECCC (and also relatedly, had to do laundry.) So, no drinking, and the post is going to go up earlier! I am, however, sticking with my "only watch the episode once" thing - so, everything is paraphrased and I might misremember, but please only correct me if I ask or it's plot/character crucial. (Also, spellcheck doesn't work, and my "T" key sticks sometimes - so I apologies for errors.)
Also, because I didn't walk anywhere, I've got no lyrics for the cut text... so I'll just post some from the show and hope they don't actually carry a message...
(ETA: Warning - There is nothing "quick" about this reaction.)
TO THE EPISODE...
I really liked this episode. I'm not sure what my track record is with Dabb scripts, but I think he really knocked this one out of the park - as did the entire production team.
Once again, I'm going to split up our three different storylines and talk about them separately. It's just easier that way, rather than me trying to remember how they were cut together.
Sam and Cas
Anyway, we begin with a flashforward - Sam and Cas are sitting down to a psychic (in a set up extremely similar to Pamela's set-up for when they first contacted Castiel) and who were they calling? BOBBY! He's sitting in his nice house (only the doorway to the hall is walled off, so maybe not his house?) listening to the radio, when Sam's voice comes through.... then we get the slash card.
Next we're in the bunker, in Sam's room! Is he sleeping diagonally on the bed? I forgot to check. Anyway, he wakes up to scream, and then his name being called - and he's immediately up and running through the halls... and I hope someone gifs this entire sequence - and he makes his way to Dean's room to find him in the throws of a MoC-induced nightmare. Rather than wake his brother up though, Sam just stands there looking sad until Dean calms down on his own. I guess maybe it's safer not to wake him up - but still.
The next morning, Dean claims he slept well, which makes Sam a little sad. There's no hunts on - well, apparently there's a kitsune, but "Rudy" is handling that. So, Dean suggests that they just drink and either "shoot the crap" or drink and "shoot crap", I didn't actually hear him that well... either way, I hope it's the former, because the latter sounds a little dangerous. Sam, instead, says that he wants to go see a french film about a mime who is actually a cockroach... in Wichita... so he'll be gone until morning. Really, unless Sam often goes off to see really really weird films, that cover story is transparently a cover story, and I'm surprised Dean didn't call him on it. But then, Dean's emotional state isn't the best right now, so maybe he just didn't want to get into it.
Off Sam goes, telling Dean not to go into his room before he does. Hehehe...
And Sam goes to meet Castiel. YAY SASSY!! (I realize that I'm the only one who still calls the ship by the name Sassy - everyone else it seems has switched to "Samstiel" - but I will not abandon Sassy! Sassy can be their friendship-name, if not the relationship-name... since the Sam-Castiel friendship is the only ship that I'm actually interested in.)
Anyway... Sam has apparently stolen an old truck from somewhere and left Dean with the car. I wonder if they often do this when Sam want's to go see a bizarre movie. I wonder if there's been a really weird increase in stolen vehicles in middle-of-nowhere-Lebanon, Kansas, and the local Sheriff is super perplexed. And if the cars are recovered in Wichita or Topeka, then sometimes they then recover a stolen car from Wichita or Topeka out in the woods of Lebanon, and they know it's MUST be someone local, but the Sheriff can't figure out who, because she's gone door to door and everyone checks out... and there's that one road that leads off into the woods, but the only thing down there is that old abandoned powerplant, and every time she drives down there on the patrol, she suddenly gets the feeling like she might have left the iron on, and she has to drive home and check....
Wait, what was I talking about?
Oh yeah, Cas is like "Where is Dean?" and Sam is like "Yeah, he's not coming, either because I don't trust him to keep cool or because we're about to do some sketchy shit and I don't think he'll like it" and Cas is like "Fine, but I'm driving because Dean never lets me and I might as well take advantage of him not being here." (Uh, remember how I said quotes would be paraphrased? Apparently I meant "I'm going to write what I think they meant.")
So, off they go, YAY! SASSY! They are friends. *heart eyes*
First, they go to Heaven's gate - which we know, MUST be located within a day's drive of Lebanon Kansas, since Sam and Cas can reach it by nightfall. Wait, was it even nightfall yet? I will worry about this stuff when I timeline the episode, I suppose. (I am so behind on timelining, it's not even funny - I think the last one I did was episode 6.)
The dude out front is like "Nope!" and then "Please hold" and then he switches out angels and becomes Hannah! Awwww... how to tell I like femguys? I instantly found him 100x more attractive. Seriously, I really really want to date Hannah-in-man's-body. Really though, kudos to that actor, who I think did a super great job at being Hannah. Also, I love love love the way that to Castiel, it didn't matter what body Hannah was in, it was still Hannah and Misha also acted against her the exact same way that he did when she was portrayed by the female actor.
(ETA: I keep wanting to add stuff! - Here, I want to add that one of the main reasons I loved this is because it supports my preferred canon that angels are genderless. I know I use gendered pronounces to talk about them, but that's because I'm restricted by being a native english speaker... trust me, I have a friend who is "they/their/them" and I am CONSTANTLY ACCIDENTALLY MISGENDERING THEM. It drives me nuts, because it's just like this weird default setting that I can't get over, and it makes me feel like a horrible person every single time I do mess it up.)
Their conversation doesn't go so well though - Hannah forbids Castiel from entering heaven, or speaking to Metatron, since she knows that he only wants Metatron in order to help Dean (...interesting that she might have been willing to help Castiel if he wanted Metatron in order to help HIMSELF...) and that she knows that Metatron will only help if they let him out of the prison, and it is too risky. I mean, as much as I want Sam and Dean to succeed in their plans to save Dean, I also totally agree with Hannah here. Metatron is a manipulative douchenozzle and he IS a huge flight risk AND danger to the entire world. It IS far too risky for Sam and Cas to strike bargains with him.
Cas gets pretty mad though. He feels he's done a lot for heaven, and a lot for Hannah, and that he deserves their help. I'm not going to argue, except, I feel the need to point out that Cas has also (mistakenly) done a lot of bad for heaven too - and I think it's well within the other angel's rights to try to prevent him from making further mistakes and doing so again.
Anywho, Cas is all filled with righteous fury, but Sam is like "cool your jets, man" and pulls him away... he's apparently got a back-up plan. There's a psychic that (conveniently) lives nearby who might be able to help.
ETA: I completely forgot to say that I loved the Psychic's interactions with Castiel - all of them, including about how Castiel couldn't be an angel because the psychic was an athiest - hilarious! I mean, I could point out that the dude talks with ghosts and therefore KNOWS there's an afterlife, but then, Dean also knew there was an afterlife and was also an athiest until S4. So, I guess it's a legit choice.
I love how this is Sam's plan - I love how Sam thought of Bobby, of the fact that they have an inside man in Heaven. I love it, mainly, because I've been wanting to see Bobby's adventures as the inside man in Heaven ever since S8. I thought it'd be a cool twist to use against Metatron in S9 - when Metatron was all alone up in Heaven.... but nope. We're getting it now though!!
Bobby is all squishy with his feelings upon hearing Sam's voice. Also, he is reading a Tori Spelling book... haha. Sam gives him the abbreviated rundown of what's up.... they need Bobby to open the gate so that Cas can get through and break Metatron out of prison. Bobby is skeptical about whether he can do it, but Sam is like "there is no other option."
(The fact that Sam can contact Bobby though - it makes me wonder if they can contact John... or Mary... maybe they don't have anything of Mary's, but they DO have John's journal.)
Also, I have all the feelings about how Sam had Bobby's hat with him - how Sam HAS Bobby's hat, but also how Sam BROUGHT IT with him, even when they thought they could just waltz into heaven like last time and get Metatron - he brought it as back-up.
(A word about Heaven - so, in S5, we saw that if you followed the Modus Modi (or whatever it was called) through your heaven, you would reach "the garden" where Joshua tended the plants. Here, we see Heaven set up more like an apartment building with rooms and hallways. So, which is "real"? They both are.
But before I get into what my headcanon is, I will say this: Under Kripke, the show had more of a... I'm not sure what the word is... more poetry?... under Carver, I find it tends to interpret things largely predictably, simply, and without as much imagination. I think it's because Kripke operated under the thought that "we, as humans, cannot fathom what Heaven and Hell would look like if they were real - so I will make them vague, vast, and leave most everything to the imagination. Whereas Carver doesn't see a problem with imagining a heaven or hell, and falling back on images that can be filmed.
But, the nice thing about both these views of Heaven is that they can coexist. When Sam and Dean went to Heaven, Castiel wanted them to find Joshua... all personal Heavens must be linked to the garden... so Cas instructed Dean (and Sam) to explore their heaven until they found the Garden. Ash could travel between personal heavens using enochian (basically, he developed the ability to "teleport" using doorways. What Castiel instructs Bobby to do here is to use the service entrance in the mall, because the gate and the prison aren't attached to the personal heavens... you can ONLY get to them through the service entrance. Have you ever been in the "employees only" hallways at a major mall? They're amazing, especially in the larger malls... and that's actually exactly what the hallways in Heaven reminded me of. Long corridors for the employees of Heaven to use.)
My god, I get wordy when I don't drink. I apologize. At this rate, the review won't be up early at ALL.
Anyway, Bobby goes out in the corridor and discovers that he's in the Robert Singer wing. Hilarious. The alarms go off, and Bobby decides that his best move is to create mayham to cover his escape, so he lets out all the Robert Singers into the hallway. Clever.
I think TemporarilyHannah!Dude is back to being RegularAngel!Dude and is not Hannah in these scenes - but it's impossible to tell either way. Bobby finds the gate though - behind door 42 (Okay, I love the fact that Metatron likes his references, because 42 is very such a great geek reference.) and Cas does a running leap into it. Then it's off to the prison.
Oh, and I have to say that I love the announcement asking for more support in the Robert Singer win because the "The Bobby's are surly... SURLY!" :P
Metatron is all "nope, I'm not going to be Dean's punching bag." And Cas is like "No, you'll be MY punching bag!" and I'm like "woo!" and Metatron is like "I'm suddenly interested...." and Bobby is like "I'm not sure I approve of this plan." But they break Metatron out of prison and then Cas shows up with him outside.
Oh, also, the only time I will agree with Metatron - Fraggle Rock really was a quality show.
And then it's a wicked awesome scene where Sam and Cas are both BAD ASS! And YES!!!! This is the kind of bad assery that I watch Supernatural for - I love it when our heroes decide that they aren't going to take any shit. I love when they turn the tables by being merciless and unforgiving... I LOVE IT! I don't even care if it's morally questionable - I mean, is it?!?! I don't even know - I have no morals, which is probably why I love moments like this. (Seriously, I'm not a good person - if I were in Harry Potter, I'd definitely be sorted into Slytherin, despite my wish to fool everyone into thinking I'm a Ravenclaw... I mean, case and point, if I had to answer a riddle to get in my damn dorm room, that damn door would not be standing for long.)
I love how they turn Metatron's words back on him - how they take away all his leverage, turning him human, just like he did to Castiel, and making him mortal.
Still though, at the end of the day, Metatron doesn't actually know how to remove the MoC. He only said "It ends at the source" (or whatever he said) in order to stop Dean from killing him and buy time. Apparently, removing the MoC would be "God... or Lucifer" level magic.
Uh oh... I'm not sure I like where this is going... because Sam has no idea where God is, but he DOES have an idea where Lucifer is.
(Personally, though, I would like to point out that at least up until now, the Supernatural universe has been a dualistic universe in which Death holds an equal position to God. Now, I say this a little trepidatiously, because after what Carver did to the Reapers, I don't actually want him to write Death - because I'm afraid that he'll completely destory the character... and yes, I know that's horribly negative of me... but I gotta be honest, and hopefully I'm saying enough nice stuff to make up for it.... I think though, that if they were going to bring Death into the mix, then Metatron probably would have mentioned him in the same breath as God and Lucifer. Also, there's the fact that Death's powers are that of destruction/decay, not healing, so despite his God-equivalency, he's probably not actually up for the task. Plus, the Winchesters have probably used up all their Death-favours.)
Metatron still has one ace up his sleeve though - and that's the fact that he claims to know where Castiel's grace is, and can take him to it. Not wanting to die, Castiel decides not to return Metatron to heaven and instead put him in the car. Another thing that might not bode well, considering that the angels are going to know who took him - and also, considering that Metatron is a manipulative douchenozzle.
Sam, meanwhile, goes back to the bunker. He tells Dean that the movie was very "french" and then goes to his room - where we find out that Cas passed along a note from Bobby. It's a nice note, telling Sam that hearing from him was the best day he's had in a long time, and he doesn't care what the consequences are (and as he says this, we see the angels enter his heaven... uh oh... I hope the angels don't hurt Bobby, or kick him out, or anything like that!) and then he tells Sam that Sam should tell Dean what he's doing (and I think he's right... I mean, yes, Dean might object, but I think it'll also show Dean how much Sam loves him... most importantly though, I think maybe Sam might need someone to tell him that whatever he's doing is a super bad idea... which is why I think he's probably not going to tell Dean, even though Bobby told him to. Sigh. Winchesters.) And Bobby warns Sam that sometimes bad things are really bad and good things are...uh... tricky? I actually forget his words about good things, but I know that the camera was on Crowley as he said them and that my emotions were going "oooooo!" but we'll get to that.... and then Bobby tells Sam that he's not on the ground, so he knows he might not know the full picture and that he just has to trust Sam will make the right decisions (and seriously, how can you not love Bobby as a parental-figure, he's so good at it) and then he tells Sam that Sam's a good man, and that he's proud of him... and Sam cries, because who wouldn't?!?!
Dean's storyline is simpler. He pranks Sam's room while chatting with Rudy, asking if he needs back-up. The tape on the phone was cute, as was messing with his bed, but man... the toothbrush in the armpit! UGH! TOO FAR MAN! Sam puts that in his MOUTH.
The mark is craving blood... with the amount of times Dean glances at his arm, you know he's feeling SOMETHING from it... also, Dean is back to gazing forelornly into mirrors, which is a bad sign.
In the end, he heads out to a bar to have nachoes. It's his local, because he knows the bartender, and MAN, so many Outsider POV fics could be written now that we know Dean has a local and is on friendly terms with the bartender. There's some college kids playing pool and messing around being idiots, and Dean decides they're easy pickings... and they are. He messes up his hair and acts drunk, and MAN, I love watching the Winchesters do this... I also love how very little it takes for Dean to just switch it on like that - just scrunch up the hair and BAM, pretend!drunk Dean.
Really though, the kids should have gotten wise as soon as Dean upped the ante to $300. Everyone knows you let the Mark set the price, so that they stay confident. I'm not even going to mention Dean talking the guy into putting his father's watch in the pile too, that should have been SUCH a red flag for the kid. But, apparently these kids are all idiots, and he actually does it. Dean, of course, sweeps the table in one turn.
I was a little disappointed in Dean when he actually took the watch - I might have no morals, but I couldn't imagine that Dean would ordinarily take a sentimental item like that from someone who was obviously just a stupid kid. Teach him the lesson, sure, maybe take the cash, but let the kid keep his watch! Maybe this is just another bad sign though - the fact that I have more morals than Dean at the moment....
Because Dean goes into the washroom and splashes some water on his face (also, something the Winchesters only do when they are feeling weird) and when he looks up into the mirror, for a brief second, his eyes are black - and geez, that was so well done, I nearly jumped, my heart sprang to my throat so fast. It creeps Dean out too, of course, and he's extra worried.
When he exists the bathroom, it's to find that Rowena has found him. The place is cleared out except for her and the three college kids, and the three college kids are all under Rowena's feral-beast spell... Dean briefly goes into MoC-fueled fighting, but he shows a tremendous amount of restraint when he stops himself form killing the kids (though, I really think the pool balls to the head would have been lethal in reality. Don't hit people in the head with pool/billiard balls, kids.)
Rowena then tries to do her weird complicated spell - which is apparently an inescapable spell that kills things? Only, it doesn't work! Rowena is suitably flabbergasted and it allows Dean to get the upperhand. Sticking with one of the themes of the episode though, Rowena has enough leverage to talk her way out of death - after she explains that she was trying to kill Dean in order to help her son, Crowley, because he's become their lapdog, she then tells Dean that only she can save the college kids from death.
So, Dean lets her go, and we'll assume she wasn't lying and that she DID save the college kids - otherwise, I think they would have shown her skipping out and them dying, since that's the sort of soul-crushing thing that Supernatural likes to make sure we see.
And now we'll talk about Crowley...since that's the last little bit of Dean's storyline....
Crowley and Rowena
In the "THEN" segment, I was so sure it was going to be revealed that Rowena was putting spells on Crowley through touch - every single flashback of her had her touching him in some way. So, I was surprised when that wasn't the case!
Rowena is mad about the lapdog thing... as I said, and she decides to do something about it. I can't remember what happens before she confronts Dean - but I'm guessing it's more complaining to Crowley about how he's gone soft or something. Oh, it was also her tying to find the location of the bunker... obviously, what she really wants is to get her hands on the treasure-trove of magical items so that she can be super powerful again. The demons can't locate the bunker though, because of the warding, but much like Charlie, they can narrow it down to a radius. Charlie narrowed it down to 20 miles, I believe... the demons narrow it down to 10. So, we know Dean's local is somewhere within a ten mile radius of the Bunker.
After confronting Dean, she realizes that she's gotten nowhere - so she fakes being roughed up by Dean and goes to Crowley that way... claiming that Dean beat her, hoping that it will inspire Crowley to seek revenge, kill the Winchesters (and thus allow Rowena to maybe find the Bunker.) She claims, of course, that what she really wants is for Crowley to be strong again, to be merciless, and act the part of the Tyrant King that he should be.
Crowley, for his part, points out that if Dean did rough her up - it's her own damn fault for trying to kill him. I mean, really. He also tells her about the Mark, how it keeps Dean immortal. Rowena says that the MoC is just a curse and curses can be broken - she doesn't know how to break this one, but she'll find out. (Interesting....)
Crowley then takes off to talk with Dean.
Hopefully, you've read this far, because I really want everyone to know that I LOVE THIS SCENE. Seriously... honesty time... but Dean/Crowley scenes have never done much for me until now. I think it's because in this scene, there's no manipulations, there's no "what game is Crowley playing?", there's no epic standoffs... they're just sitting there, talking to each other like equals... and it's AMAZING. Maybe it's because I have a love for Winchesters-as-ascending-gods, but man, I just love the way that Dean and Crowley relate here... how Crowley just seems to be honest with Dean, and Dean, in return, treats Crowley like... not so much a friend... but sort of like an enemy that you know so well, you might as well be friends. And I guess that's something Rowena says after this scene too - that Crowley has kept the Winchesters so close that he's Stockholm-Syndromed himself, or something... but I don't even care how they arrived here, I just love that they arrived here.
More than that, I love that Dean tells Crowley that he HAS lost his edge, but that it might not necessarily be a bad thing, that change is change and it could just be them getting older, wiser, different. More importantly though, Dean tells Crowley the greatest lesson he's learned and that's the fact that family doesn't end in blood, and it doesn't begin there either. (I love the fact that Dean quotes Bobby, even without knowing what Sam is doing, btw. It's a nice tie-through)... mainly though, I just love that message - family is what you make it. And it's the only time I've sat there and thought "Could the Winchester family include Crowley?" and not been immediately repulsed by the thought (though, uh, I should point out that Crowley has done a whole bunch of unforgivable things to the Winchesters, so it WOULD be really bizarre if they became friends.)
Crowley not only listens to Dean, he goes back and tells his mother to leave - that he knows she doesn't actually love him and is only using him for her own benefit. (And again, I circle back to Crowley in the 8x22 - "I deserve to be loved!" and I think that whether he kicked the human-blood habit or not, whether he was cured or not, 8x22 irreversibly changed Crowley into something that craves love like a human does....
...or perhaps I'm falling for another of Crowley's long cons.
Rowena vows revenge. Crowley gives her five minutes and tells her that she better hope that he never sees her again.
And thus endeth our episode plotlines.
DUN DUN DUN!
So, what I'm wondering is - if Rowena is after the Bunker/Winchesters - and she knows about the MoC, will Dean get cured not through Sam's foolish/dangerous plans, but through Rowena's desire to make him mortal again so that she can kill him?!
Will Sam try to contact Lucifer for help?!!?
Will Crowley become a good guy somehow?!?
Will Metatron screw over Cas yet again, and if so, how badly?! Is he lying about Cas' grace?
Will Sam tell Dean what he's planning, or is this another case of the Winchester's keeping secrets - of Sam saving Dean possibly against Dean's will?! (I think Dean wants to be saved, I just don't think he wants to admit it - or that he'll approve of whatever Sam's methods are...which basically what happened with Gadreel, Sam wanted to live, but didn't want to live at THAT PRICE, and he was so pissed off about it, he decided he never wanted to live in the first place and Dean had tricked him into EVERYTHING EVER *stomps foot* *pouts*)
Oh man, that took me two hours to type up. Let me know if you survived reading all that. :P
No new episode next week, we have to wait until the 15th! And then it looks pretty awesome. I guess were winding up to the season finale already, yikes! It's just 6 episodes away!!!
As usually, try not to be a negative-pants in the comments. You guys are super good though, even when you do disagree on things, you're all so civil about it... *hugs*