Wow. This episode was even more of a killer than Dean’s been lately. It had it all: humor, suffering, suspense, wit, and an ending that left us with both concrete answers and serious questions. Every single character rocked my socks. In fact, since so very much happened this week, let’s break it down by character shall we?
“The commander will see you now.” Wait. What? Cas? The COMMANDER? Interesting. Although he didn’t want the job, he’s got it, and Castiel is taking his role as leader very seriously. He has a war room. Soldiers. Guards. An intelligence network. He is armed and dangerous. But most important? He’s giving hugs. D’awwww!
Seeing Cas hug the boys was the sweetest. Sam taught him well. The rest of the episode, however, the “Commander” was all business. Cas wants to find a diplomatic way to end the angel war and stop the violence. Again. (Good luck with that. We’ve seen how you handled that one before.)
Cas is willing to allow Dean to torture Metatron’s wimpy minion, the angel Ezra, and he is determined to win Gadreel over as a double agent. This Cas is confident. Calm. He has a plan. Hopefully this is the time he gets it right. And speaking of Gadreel…
I told you that smile meant something! I want so badly to hate Gadreel, especially because of what he did to my beloved Kevin, but somehow I just can’t. I believe, like Sam said when he told Cas of sharing “housing” with him, that he is hopelessly misguided in his loyalty to Metatron. “You’ve been deceived,” Cas tells Gadreel quietly, and if anyone would understand what it’s like to be tricked by the scribe of God, it’s Cas. When he and Cas get jumped by Metatron’s baddies, Gadreel fights them, even as he wonders about the honor of changing his loyalties. Cas wants Gadreel to redeem himself and engage in an angel level game of Spy vs. Spy. Surprisingly? It looks like Gadreel is seriously considering it.
You know that guy—the bully’s lackey—who does nothing and, essentially, knows nothing and thinks he’s way more important than he is? That’s Ezra for you. God, Ezra’s a douche (Hint: God probably already knew that). Ezra was chosen by Metatron to serve the “big picture” in a small way, and it turns out the only big thing Ezra’s got is his mouth. He ends up bound to a chair (I like to call that “being Sam Winchestered”) and Ezra sings like a whingey little bird. He tells the boys the path to Heaven. Which, unfortunately, involves a constantly moving portal controlled by Metatron. Bummer.
The questioning of Ezra was a fourth wall delight of blatant manipulation that reminded me: our boys aren’t just hired goons. They’re smart and experienced, capable of using their Men of Letters genetics to get what they need without using a blade. Sadly for Ezra, he gets fileted anyway. I wonder which angel doubled back to make him literally spill his guts?
Crowley’s campaign for the kingdom? Not going well. He finds his most trusted advisors have sold him out to the world’s angriest ginger, and he is not pleased. Fortunately, this circumstance allows Mark Sheppard to deliver one of my favorite lines in the history of the series:
Crowley may burn with the fires of hell, but he never lets you see him sweat. He appears to double-agent the boys, luring them to Abaddon and encouraging them to “skewer the ignorant hag” while she watches with irritation. (“Just selling it,” he reassures her.) But then? Crowley tells Dean to leave Poughkeepsie, using the Winchester safe word, and we know that he’s on the boys’ side. Is it due to his remaining humanity or just another strategic move to reclaim his throne? Who knows? Maybe it doesn’t matter. For as long as it lasts, it’s good to have the king in the Winchesters’ corner.
Abaddon is in the know. She knows about the Mark of Cain and the First Blade, and that the Winchesters are out to destroy her. She tries to align, at least temporarily, with Crowley to bring our boys down, and he refuses her with his typical sassy wit. But Abaddon? She knows other things, too.
Abaddon knows about Crowley’s blood fetish, and how it is infecting him with humanity. She knows about his son, Gavin, and how Crowley’s dregs of humanity will make him care in a way we know he never has before. And she’s smart enough to put Crowley out of the game with a Henry Winchester credited devil’s trapped bullet so that he can’t help the boys take her down.
Unfortunately, for both her and us, it’s all for naught. Alaina Huffman is just delicious as Abaddon, which makes the loss of her that much more painful. So much for “Long live the queen.”
Crowley Junior? Adorable! Gavin is swept up by Abaddon in 1723 just as he was packing to set sail for the new world. Which he kind of does, if by “setting sail” you mean being nabbed by a Knight of Hell, and by “new world” you mean going 291 years into the future. And what a future it is! It has lamps! And skyscrapers! Gavin thinks he’s in heaven, and Abaddon and Crowley are angels, prompting them to say a synchronized “Wow” that cracked me up completely. The interplay between Crowley and his long lost, potential prince of a son is utterly delightful. Though the Winchesters believe that timelines are not to be messed with and want to send Gavin back to die at sea, Daddy Dearest will have none of that. Crowley teleports him away, leaving him on his own but decidedly alive, inspiring my hope that both Gavin and his accent will one day return.
I know you can’t see her, but trust me: Juliet’s a bitch. No, really. She is! When Sam and Dean are attempting to retrieve the first blade from a long dead dude, they hear the growl and know immediately: hellhound. This puppy is off her leash, and the only one who can make her heel and send her home is her Papa. While Sam tries to hold her off, Dean puts Crowley on speakerphone and he Romeos her, so to speak, making her invisible muzzle whine with disappointment when he sends her home. Another moment in the episode that made me smile. Oh, Supernatural. You’ve made me love Lucifer and demons and chuckle tenderly for a vicious hound from hell. Don’t ever change.
Remember when, once (or twice) upon a time, Sam was the one out of control? Needing to be reigned in? Corrupted by evil in his body that made him unable to see what was right and what was wrong? Welcome to the role reversal, little brother. Sam is scared for Dean. Probably because he knows that the “ends justify the means” slope is slippery with blood, and near impossible to come back from.
As much as he claimed not to care, Sam doesn’t want to lose Dean. He knows the First Blade is changing him, and he doesn’t want Dean anywhere near it. He even retrieves it himself from a particularly gooey corpse to spare Dean the contact.
Sam sees Dean kill Abaddon, and instead of relief he feels fear, seeing, as Crowley did, “the crazy bloodlust” in Dean’s eyes. In the closing scenes, riding in Baby as they have so very many times, the brothers have a heart to heart, and Dean tells Sam to understand that the blade is meant for him alone. To his credit, Sam tries, but in the end he can’t, and he says he wants to lock the blade up somewhere safe. Dean, with a steely gaze says simply, “No.” Causing us all, especially Sam, to cringe.
Season Four Dean, when Cas asks him to torture Alistair: “No. No way. You can’t ask me to do this, Cas. Not this.” Season Nine Dean, when Cas asks him to torture Ezra but offers him the out he was once denied: “Who says I don’t want to do it?” More evidence that Dean. Has. Changed. Torture is no longer a secret shame, it’s a fun way to spend a Saturday. Even Dean’s daydreams are terrifying. When he gets lost in thought, he relives his violent greatest hits, hearing the call of the First Blade even when it isn’t in his hand. The blade even gives him the power to go full on Luke Skywalker, break free of Abaddon’s mighty grasp, and do this:
And Dean enjoys it. So much so, that he defines the word “overkill” by stabbing and punching long after Abaddon’s gone to wherever it is that dead hell knights go.
“Dean, STOP!” Sam shouts. “You can stop.” Sam’s desperate voice, it seems, still has the power to drag Dean back from the dark. But how long can that work? “You ask me to open that door and walk through it, you will not like what walks back out,” Dean said, five long seasons ago. As we see that mark glow under his shirt, we know—Dean has walked through an even scarier place now, and, as powerful (and, let’s be honest, sexy) as he has become, this can’t end well.
Fine, show! If you won’t call it a character unto itself, I will. I mean, LOOK AT THIS!
Sigh. Be still my heart.
Next week is the penultimate episode of Season Nine. Say it ain’t so! In cool news, Dean’s old frenemy Tessa is back. Anyone else singing “Don’t Fear the Reaper?” See you next time for another classic tune, “Stairway to Heaven”.