You know who you never want to piss off, apparently? A scholar of angelic lore who’s made some sort of demonic deal, that’s who. In this episode we meet Lily Sunder (expertly played by Alicia Witt) a century year old woman who not only looks great for her age, but has a mission: kill the cadre of angels who conspired to murder her daughter. And one of those angels? Is Castiel.

Mother Knows Best

Where’s Mary, you ask? She’s hunting a shapeshifter, and don’t worry—she’s got it. The small moment of the boys acknowledging their mother not as a chicken-soup-making mom but more of a werewolf-pack-killing mom was a glimpse into their attitudes. Dean is worried about her. Sam? Trusts Mary. Despite Mary’s skills and long legacy of hunting, methinks Dean is still afraid to lose her—to lose anyone else. Even the people he’s not currently talking to, like…

Silent Treatment

…Cas. Dean’s pissed. Not that Cas cares about them, but that he’s brought cosmic consequences upon the boys once more, and, though neither of the Winchesters knows exactly what that means, Dean is pretty sure it ain’t “jellybeans and g-strings.” And Cas? Cas knows he’s done the right thing and he’s done defending it to anyone. Even Dean. When Cas gets a call for help from an old angel buddy the boys tag along, making for an…

Awkward Family Road Trip

Poor Sam, stuck in the middle of that mess. No music, no small talk, no initial intel about the mission at hand. The boys are traveling with Cas to check in on his friend, the angel Benjamin, who we know got totally red-shirted in the intro by Lily. Benjamin, Cas says, wouldn’t have called for help unless it was serious. “Wow, this Benjamin seems like he’s pretty cool, you know, like he wouldn’t make any half-cocked, knee-jerk choices,” Dean says. “Yeah, you know what I like about him,” Cas replies, “Is that he’s sarcastic but he’s thoughtful and appreciative, too.” I won’t quite say that Dean and Cas are bickering like an old married couple but they kind of are. Make of that what you will.

Take These Burning Wings

Investigating the death of Benjamin leads Cas and the boys to the arcade/bar where he died, and we see something we haven’t seen in a long time—the wing shaped burn marks imprinted where the angel fell. Another small moment but I’ve missed that. As they case the joint, Dean finds one of Lily’s angel blades and misinterprets that that means angel on angel action. But Lily’s not an angel, right? So what is she?

They Call Him Ishim-angel

Cas goes to meet his former cohort angels, Ishim and Mirabel, and boy, Ishim is something of a dick, eh? I mean, he’s got a point in that when Cas mentions that sometimes sacrifices must be made they generally aren’t made by Cas but still. Ishim and Mirabel really take Cas to task, and it’s interesting to see how Dean reacts when he predictably busts into the conversation. Apparently, he can insult and browbeat Cas but, much like siblings that bicker but defend each other to the end, no one else is allowed to do it. Still, when Mirabel is killed by Lily and Ishim gets slashed, Dean and Sam rush in to protect him. Unfortunately Lily blasts everyone with angelic light (seriously, what the hell is she?) and escapes, but not before Sam gets her license plate number. And the chase is on.

Dude Looks Like a Lady

Cas explains who Lily is via flashback and…get this! Cas used to have a female vessel! Lady Cas (who, with her dark hair, pale skin and blue eyes, looks like she could be related to the Cas of today) Ishim, Mirabel, Benjamin and their fellow angels were sent to Lily in 1901, where she resided with the angel Akobel and their daughter, May, a nephilim. Cas and the others were sent to sentence Akobel to death and to take May out before she could grow into her power, both of which they did. Both of which Ishim seems to have no regrets about, but Cas? His love for humans may have weakened him in Ishim’s eyes, but we know his power of compassion that leads to his regret is one of his strengths.

Nothing But The Truth

Sam and Dean track Lily down and try to reason with her. “We heard about your family,” Sam says. “See, Cas?” Dean adds, “Is our family, so we can’t let you hurt him.” (Awwwwwww.) Lily explains her need for revenge—the angels weren’t, in fact, protecting the world from a nephilim. Ishim lied. May was a human, born long before Lily even laid eyes on an angel. Ishim loved Lily, and when she rejected him he decided to break her heart because she broke his—by killing May. Looks like, despite the dark deal that made her the badass she is, Lily’s not the black hat after all.

Lady Enochian

Later, Lily sits with Sam and tells him that she needed to wait until the angels fell before she could pursue them. That patience and purpose have given her what she needs to seek her revenge, even as her soul wastes away with every power she uses. (Witt’s delivery is just lovely, honestly. It made me feel compassion for Lily such that while I wasn’t about to let her kill Cas, I could allow her to cut him a little.) Sam, who knows a little bit about being soulless, feels compassion too, and you can see his attitude toward Lily softening even more. Lily believes that when Dean confronts Ishim, Ishim will kill him, and then Sam won’t stop her from completing her mission—in the end, he’ll help her. And as we look at Sam’s dawning look of horror, we know it’s true.

Blades of Steel

Ishim continues to disparage Cas’ weakness at his love for humans, but Cas’ insists, “My friendship with Sam and Dean has made me stronger.” (Say it with me again, awwwwwwww.) Cas heals Ishim, prompting him to remark on how he hasn’t felt this good in a millennium. (Cas’ deadpan reply of “oh, goody,” cracked me up.) Later, Dean arrives and tells Cas he is being played. Ishim attacks Cas, beating him to a pulp and saying he will kill Dean to save Cas from his penchant for humankind. Dean threatens to use the angel banishing sigil he has made with his cut hand, but Ishim knows that Cas would be blasted out too, and in a weakened state might not survive. Ishim makes to kill Dean. Of course, before he can, Lily and Sam show up and a massive battle ensues, ending in Cas running Ishim through with his blade. He asks Lily for forgiveness, telling her he understands if she can’t. She says a quiet thank you, and leaves, wondering what she will do now that revenge is no longer her life.

A Toast to Friendship

Back at the HuntCave, Dean brings out the brews and offers one to Cas, who admits it will do little for him but appreciates the gesture just the same. The boys tell Cas he’s changed, but he’s not weak for being their friend—he’s changed for the better. Dean says he’s worried about the cosmic consequences, but Cas says he doesn’t regret what he did, even if it ends up costing him his life. Sam asks if Cas will still kill Lucifer’s unborn, or if he can do it, knowing it is truly a mother and child. Cas no longer knows, so they drink to the future and the hope that, together, they will find a better way.

And where are Kelly Kline and Lucifer’s unborn? Maybe we’ll find out next week in episode eleven, “Regarding Dean.” See you then!

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