Because it took me so long to see this one, I was a LITTLE more spoiled than usual - but I'll talk about that after the cut.
In the meantime: Haven't been drinking (boo-urns), BUT have watched the episode only once on an empty stomach, so I'm going a little mad with hunger, since I've decided to write it up before I make dinner - which is probably horribly foolish, but WHATEVER!
Let's get to it...
So, first off, the two things I was spoiled for: The Gog and Agog scene and the fact that Cas acts dubiously - Superwiki was having a discussion on twitter about morals and whether Cas is secretly the Cosmic Entity and not Cas at all. Spoiler for this write up: I don't agree. I think Cas is Cas and that THAT is both more believable and far more interesting when we're considering his actions. The Gog and Agog scene was BETTER THAN I IMAGINED. Which I'll also get to.
We begin with what is a "weird dream?" according to my notes - and becomes obviously a nightmare - that really tears out my heart. Because Jack is dreaming that his family is in danger, and there's really nothing more human than that. I mean, I know this is a deliberate manipulation by Zachariah (who is young skinny vessel Zachariah in the AU)... but Jack's reaction isn't manipulated.
BUT, it is a tactic imployed by Zach to get Jack to use his powers willingly. He's up to his old tricks! I really like that the writer brought back the character to showcase this ability of his. But yes, basically Michael and Zach are trying to get Jack to unconsciously open the door for them without knowing what he's doing.
Back in reality, Donatello is looking freaked out by the tablet. Cas brings him breakfast - and because of the spoiler about dubious actions, I was analyzing him to see if his behaviour was off... but *shrug* seemed fine to me... and then I decided to try to just watch the damn episode.
Dean is eating bacon, and making me JEALOUS because I'm SO HUNGRY. Also, according to the clock in the kitchen, it is 9:15, and I wonder how often that clock has been in shot in previous episodes and I missed it.
Back with Jack, Zach is trying a different tactic, this time by pretending to be Cas and showing Jack CLIMATE CHANGE! It'd probably work if Jack were me, because when I was a kid, I legit wanted to end the human race in order to save the environment. I would come up with elaborate fantasies where plants gained sentience and choked out whole cities like the way a gooseberry bush will choke out a raspberry bush... or suckers will choke out roses and honeysuckles. I was basically the equivalent of "Kitten thinks of nothing but murder all day" now that I think about it, because I was a goddamn adorable kid with an adorable speech impediment to boot.
Zach makes the mistake of then telling Jack that Sam and Dean rejected him, because they were afraid of his powers, and Jack is like "wait a tick, that doesn't sound right - and he remembers them working together to open the door, and how Jack fell through but they didn't. And Jack forces his way out of the hallucination. Michael takes over in his wrath at Zach's failure and starts throwing Jack and Zach around, as you do.
Meanwhile, Donatello says he's cracked the spell - but it's different, and requires different ingredients. Two of which are the hearts of two "brothers" (this made me VERY nervous), but then he says that the brothers are Gog and Agog, and that they're sealed in a place without place in a time without time... THEN I got concerned that they were in the Empty... anyway, all my concerns were for naught.
In the AU, Jack is thrown into a cell and meets Mary! Mary is surprised to discover that Jack is Kelly's son, as she says he should be 6 months old. Jack confirms that he IS 6 months old.... and I get SUPER EXCITED! Because this means that I can TIMELINE the episode - it's somewhere around or after Mid-October 2017!!!
Mary is happy that Sam and Dean aren't also trapped in the AU. Jack tells her about how Michael wants him to open the door, but he won't do it, no matter how much Michael hurts him! And Mary is like "oh you sweet summer child", because she knows the score - Michael is going to threaten to kill HER, and most definitely torture her, in order to get Jack to open the door... and suddenly Jack isn't so sure about his resolve, because this is Sam and Dean's MOM and Jack is supposed to be rescuing her.
Dean and Cas leave to go summon Gog and Agog. Dean checks in with how Cas is doing. Cas is feeling guilty, so, you know, he's all systems normal really. He feels bad for not being able to protect Jack. He's also concerned about his purpose, now that he's been brought back from the dead yet again - that he has to do something to earn it - AND he's worried about AU!Michael launching an attack, and thinking that maybe he was brought back because he's a goddamn great soldier and they need to prepare for war.
First off, I want to say how goddamn healthy this communication is. It is a joy to watch. Secondly, I think it's totally believable that Castiel, a trained soldier and war tactician would see a potential war coming and start getting back to his roots, so to speak. Castiel knows war. He's laid siege to Hell, for goodness sake, and he's always been a formidable warrior - it's part of the reason he's survived as long as he had (resurrections aside).
Sam and Donatello meanwhile are assembling the other ingredients, and Donatello is acting fishy... and not the good kind, where I get to eat fish.
Cas and Dean find a field and Cas preforms the summoning - there's nothing at first, and so Dean and Cas bicker like a married couple about whether Cas got the enochian right. Seriously.
Then Gog and Agog show up speaking Canaanite (which I wonder what they based it off of? It sounds like Hebrew to me? So, I'm guessing Hebrew - but if anyone actually speaks a language in the Hebrew-language group and knows better, let me know.
And THEY bicker like a married couple, because one of them interrupts the other to include women in their speech about the possible identity of those that would attempt to defeat them. Meanwhile, Dean and Cas are bickering again because Dean keeps making jokes about the loin-clothes and Cas is like "Dean this is serious!" and I just love this deliberate parallel between these two legendary warriors' dynamic and Cas and Dean's dynamic.
Then there's the part where Gog and Agog argue that "the pretty one" isn't a good qualifier, because "they are both pretty."
Finally, there is the fight, and Dean discovers early that angel blades are not the same as weapons forged by God. Luckily, he's able to disarm his opponent and kill him.
Castiel is about to be slaughtered by the other one, who is sad to do it because "you are very beautiful", but thankfully Dean saves the day.
So, I know that there's a good possibility the lines about them being pretty and beautiful were just there for the laughs, but they perhaps weren't... because historically, the concept of sexuality and social expectations on men finding other men attractive were MUCH different and far less strict than in modern day. So, from a historical stand point, I like the fact that Gog and Agog weren't buying into toxic masculinity, even while they were dressed in loin-clothes and wielding giant swords.
So, foes slain!! (And new awesome god-forged swords obtained!?!) Cas discovers that Gog and Agog weren't human, they were more like some weird version of a Golem (I guess?!) in that they were made of sand. So, they don't have hearts.
Back with Jack and Mary - Mary wants Jack to let Michael kill her, and not give in to the upcoming manipulation. Jack argues - and declares his frustration that he can't use his powers, and he has a big headache. Mary is like "I have a huge headache too!" And she figures that the place must be warded so well that even humans can feel it - but she knows a place by the window where the warding is weak. So, Jack gives his powers a go while he's standing there.
And then I start worrying whether Mary is real, or if this is another manipulation by Zach (seriously, this episode was a LOT of me wondering who and who wasn't real - turns out, everyone was real all the time.)
Sam and Donatello are still gathering ingredients, but Donatello is "definitely fishy" and then ATTACKS SAM! And I start worrying if the spell meant hearts of brothers after all... but luckily I'm wrong.
Mary and Jack have indeed escaped. And then they run into AU!Bobby! Who recognizes Mary as Mary Campbell.
Cas and Dean arrive home to find the Bunker in disarray, causing Dean to become SUPER CONCERNED. Sam calls to them from the other room - he's okay, folks! (though, once again, I have momentary fear that it's not really Sam.)
Dean says that he thinks the whole spell was a set-up by Donatello. Sam has him locked in the dungeon now, because he kept trying to bite him.
FYI: I really like the fact that Sam wasn't brought down by an old retired-professor turned prophet. I like that all his injuries are because he was a)caught unaware, and b)trying not to hurt the dude.
Back in the AU, Bobby brings Mary and Jack to the human camp. He promises that he'll protect them.
Sam and Dean go to the dungeon to try to talk sense into Donatello. Donatello does some sort of spell though and ends up stealing Dean's breath for a moment, which freaks Cas the fuck out where he's watching on the monitor in the other room, and Sam has to quickly take Dean out of the room- where he seems to recover instantly. Damage is done in invoking Castiel's protective instincts though - but we'll get to that.
Back in the AU human camp, Jack is making shadow-puppets for the kids, and being ADORABLE.
Mary asks Bobby about AU!Mary and learns that she's the version of Mary that didn't take the deal. This is a SUPER IMPORTANT CHARACTER CONVERSATION... because all of last year, Mary was acting out of guilt that she DID THIS, that she HURT HER BOYS with her decision to take the deal. Bobby with just a few words, and an AU of proof, points out that she actually made the good decision when she took that deal, because it caused the boys to be born. (This is also interesting from a meta standpoint, because it takes the blame off of Dean too, because AU!Dean didn't exist, but the yellow-eyed demon still ended up finding Mary and the same events unfolded that led to John's death.) Bobby tells us that the boys were trying to convince him to return with them to their world, but he needed to stay, because, in the absence of Sam and Dean, the AU only has him.
But then Jack gets a little carried away with the shadow puppets, and Mary thinks she can trust Bobby, so she's honest when he asks what Jack is and tells him he's a Nephilim. Of course, this Bobby never met and loved Sam, and never learned to separate WHAT a person was from WHO a person was - and he immediately sees Jack as the enemy, and gives Mary until morning to get out of the camp with Jack, because they're no longer welcome.
At the Bunker, Sam, Dean, and Cas, try to figure out what went wrong with Donatello - since Kevin never reacted this way to the demon tablet. Sam realizes the only difference between them is that Donatello doesn't have a soul. Cas is like ".... WHAT." because apparently having a soul is SUPER IMPORTANT to not being corrupted by power. Go figure. :P
Sam is like "ugh, we were SO CLOSE" and Dean is appalled that Sam's first thought is not having the spell, rather than figuring out how to save Donatello. Then Cas makes Dean's appalled-ness increase, because he's like "We can really only end his suffering." Then Sam is like "Whoa! No, killing. We just need the spell!" And Cas is like "...alright, I can still work with that order" and Dean and Sam are both "I am not sure we're going to like where this is going..." but Cas is already stalking off and locking himself in the room with Donatello.
In the AU, the Angels attack, just as Mary is delivering the news to Jack that they have to leave because the humans are racist against him.
And there's a great little character moment that Sam Smith does here as they hit the ground to dodge the attack, when she puts her hand over Jack's head to try to further protect him from falling debris. It really cements the fact that Mary also sees Jack as something she must protect - like family.
Cas explains to Donatello why it has come to this - basically, that Castiel has now been put in a position where he has to protect the people he loves from Donatello. I'm going to talk more about this later... but basically, Castiel's stated reasoning for all of this is why I really do think it's Castiel, and although I'll accept it if I'm wrong (though I'll be surprised and more than a little disappointed), I think this is fundamentally in line with Castiel's character.
In the AU, Bobby accuses Jack of bringing the angels upon them - Mary quickly volunteers to help, and Bobby sets her to round up the children and get them to safety - but he doesn't want Jack close to anyone. Mary tells Jack to run and hide, since it's imperative that Michael not get him.
After Cas force-invades Donatello's mind, he exits the room - telling Sam and Dean that he now knows the spell. Sam and Dean rush in to the room to care for an incapacitated Donatello.
In the AU, my notes say:
Which I'm pretty sure mean that Zachariah attacks Mary, but Jack has heard the screaming from the camp, and has disobeyed Mary's order to run and protect himself. Instead, he's returned, and he attacks Zachariah with his powers and explodes him. He explains that Sam and Dean would have stayed to fight, so he had to do the same. He then prevents more angels from landing/sending fireballs in an impressive display of power - which gets Bobby back on his side. And he decides that the only way to end the suffering in the AU, and to reduce the threat of Michael invading their own world - Jack has to kill Michael.
(And my goodness, I really hope Jack doesn't die at the end of this season - I really like him. But sadly, I also know that Supernatural either has to depower their super-powered characters or kill them, because they end up not knowing how to write them otherwise.)
Back at the Bunker, Sam and Dean return from the hospital and report that Donatello, while technically alive in body, is now seemingly brain dead (without a soul, this means that he's dead dead, really.) Neither Sam and Dean are too impressed with what Castiel has done.
But Castiel counters that Donatello was working with Asmodeus as well - and also that some people can't be saved. Dean is like 'THAT'S NOT TRUE!' (even though he and Sam frequently stabs the vessels of demons and angels without checking whether there's still a savable person in there, but whatevs.)
Cas tells them that he knows the spell - archangel grace, fruit from the tree of life, seal of Solomon, and the blood of a most holy man.
He then tell them that they're preparing for war - and their methods must change accordingly, because Cas will do anything in his power to protect those he loves - and do "whatever it takes" to ensure their survival.
And this is the thing with Castiel - I actually just recently wrote this into a fic - because Castiel was birthed to be LOYAL - to love and serve God, originally. To be loyal to his mission, always - with or without God around - and his mission was to protect humanity... you throw free will in there, and what does Castiel do? He falls in love with two humans, and transfers all that burning loyalty to THEM. Donatello stopped Dean's breath for a hot minute, and you could see nothing but divine wrath in Castiel's eyes, he held back only until it became apparent that Donatello didn't have a human soul to save. Donatello DID have information that would help protect those who Castiel has now sworn, consciously or unconsciously to protect with his life - throw in that Donatello was now a THREAT - then of course Castiel is going to get the information and not feel any remorse if the threat is eliminated in the process. I'm sure the only reason he didn't kill Donatello ON PURPOSE is out of loyalty to Sam and Dean. But (and ironically I'm writing another fic about this) loyalty is not obedience. And we've seen that before with Castiel too. In S6, when he was still loyal to Sam and Dean, still trying to save them with his actions, but ultimately directly disobeying their requests that he stop his plan.
This entry was originally posted at https://hells-half-acre.dreamwidth.org/555084.html.
Anyway, I didn't see the next time - so, I'll just be surprised, I guess!
As usual, let me know what you thought in comments!! :)