What I loved the most was Kelly and Castiel. Just about all the moments that they were on screen. There was something visually captivating about Kelly’s whole suicide in the bath tub scene, shot by first time for “Supernatural” director (and acting alum) Amanda Tapping. It was done with style and grace, which was kind of weird considering we’re talking a bloody death in a bathtub. I really felt for Kelly at that moment and she earned my sympathy for the entire hour.
I didn’t think Kelly was being misguided in her act of faith. This is a mother/child bond. She’s been afraid to bond with her child because everyone keeps telling her he was evil and would kill her, but she always felt different. This is her baby. It can't be evil. It doesn't feel evil. Bringing her back from the dead was finally her moment to connect and the epiphany was not only joyful, in her case it was a freaking relief. This baby is a miracle afterall and she was chosen for a purpose. That’s some pretty powerful stuff. Of course the idea of removing what makes the baby special was not an option.
The big surprise was the bond between Kelly and Castiel. Their chemistry was striking. Mother needs a savior and out of nowhere comes an angel. Yeah, he was trying to kill her, but the point is, he couldn’t. Once that happened Kelly just had to go on faith, and her vision that Castiel would save her didn’t hurt either. It’s like they’re the modern day Mary and Joseph and the little tyke is the new savior. It’s an odd pairing but I like it.
If you think about it, what’s wrong with the idea of introducing a savior? It’s a Nephilim, it cannot be a super powerful creature that can overcome all. There’s a half human side to it, so, it will be flawed. That humanity could make it benevolent though. This might be the thing that can finally defeat dear old dad. It could restore the days of the arch angels when they were good and fought on their Dad’s side. Maybe, it could actually deliver some hope to this world. Remember the days when we had hope? This is a great possibility, having something emerge in this universe that’s actually good and could make things right. It doesn’t have to be easy. It just has to be there. Kelly and Castiel believed in the little guy just by feeling his power, I want to as well because the alternate seems so damned depressing.
Despite my enjoyment, the episode wasn’t perfect. Dagon was so damned annoying that by the time she met her demise, I was shouting, “It’s about freaking time!” Her monologuing was making me press the mute on the remote. I get that villains are supposed to be diabolical, but they shouldn’t annoy the crap out of you either. You need to love to hate them, like Lucifer. There was also the strange appearance of a different Joshua (a character that we fondly remember from “Dark Side of the Moon”) that was obliterated in two seconds by Dagon. Gee, nice not knowing you Josh!
I also didn’t care how Castiel’s return was handled. He just walked into the bunker and Sam and Dean’s initial reaction wasn’t relief or surprise, it was just…nothing. It’s as if he went on a milk run. Dean did eventually unleash his anger but the whole moment played out like cheap melodrama. It was overwrought and not very emotional at all. It made me cringe. Anyone remember that Castiel is Sam’s friend too? No? Never mind then. Dean’s complaints were justified, you just don’t disappear like that and not tell anyone, but this isn’t a man. He’s an angel! They don’t have phones in Heaven.
Castiel - The Wayward Angel
I know that many don’t care for these Castiel centric episodes. They remove the spotlight from Sam and Dean. I think that the writers have totally butchered Castiel’s character and they seem to push the Destiel card too far at times, but when you look beyond that, I think this episode accurately tapped into what drives that fractured psyche. I’ve always adored him as a character and this “woe is me” act that’s been going on the last few seasons has been agonizing to watch. When first watching this episode, my eyes rolled over more of the same, a depressed Castiel wallowing in his misery, but as the story progressed, things got pretty damn interesting and I love it. It’s about time Castiel was given something this good.
Let’s take a little time to look at what makes Castiel tick. He’s an angel. Despite his experience with humanity, what drives his inner core is the code of angels. They exist to serve and protect. They were expected for a few millennia to blindly follow orders while keeping their faith in God and a master plan, despite the fact that their father had left them. It’s hard to drive that from an angel’s purpose, no matter how much the concept of free will has changed the game. I found his speech to Kelly about everybody winging it and there is no plan to be heart crushing. This being has hit a new low in despair. He even took being human better.
Castiel has lost faith in God, has lost his belief in the higher purpose, but he hasn’t lost faith in Sam and Dean and their mission to save the world. He believes that he has been a failure to their purpose and he needs to do more than be the faithful buddy on “Team Freewill” (nice shout out BTW). Angels don’t take failure well. Castiel has a complication though. In trying to understand humanity, he has learned from Sam and Dean’s example, and that’s not entirely good. They’re flawed and constantly make the same mistakes. He has seen each of them sacrifice themselves for the other time and time again and lie about it in the process. He notices that they still fall back into that mode no matter what the circumstance. It’s kind of hard for him to break ranks and not do the same. He’s not being honest right now but he believes he’s doing so for the right reason. That’s what Sam and Dean would do.
Another side effect of the whole free will thing, this is what happens when you take away order and purpose from an angel. One becomes lost and susceptible to outside influences. In the process of doing what he believes was right, Cas ends up making very wrong choices. He’s too influenced by humanity though, evidenced when instead of blindly following Joshua’s orders, he didn’t kill Kelly. He rescued her instead and had no idea what to do. This opened up the door for the baby to take charge. It’s happened to Castiel and other angels time and time again through the series. Heck, this isn’t even an angel problem when it comes to the arch angels. Remember Sam last season? He misinterpreted the signs that Lucifer was sending as signs from God. That’s because they were benevolent and good. It felt right. Angels especially are constantly looking for that sign, the direction to follow. What Castiel felt inside would seem like a miracle to anyone, but it when it gives an angel such power, it’s impossible to ignore.
I hear some of you, “This is Castiel is God all over again.” It’s not really. In that episode, we knew Castiel was being duped. We can’t say that for sure here. Remember, Lucifer wasn’t born corrupted. According to the canon of this show, he was corrupted by the Mark of Cain. Why is it so hard to believe that this child is good? Yes, I know what show I’m watching. Everything becomes corrupted. If Lucifer gets his hand on this child, he could teach the kid to do evil. But the power of this child has so far convinced a human and an angel that it’s not evil. It’s given them both hope that they have lost because of this crappy world. Hope is a powerful thing, no matter what the source.
Meet Sam and Dean, Your Best Damn Supporting Characters Ever
Once again, Sam and Dean were shoved to the background in their own story, playing the dissenters against Castiel’s new found vision. Another one of the great scenes shot by Tapping was the montage of Sam doing his research on how to find Dagon. Samuel, you could have saved yourself some trouble by looking in the continuity vault first! The idea to extract the grace from the baby was a brilliant tie in to the time Sam was possessed by an angel and the grace needed to be extracted. Do that with baby and boom, problem solved. While it was a nice idea, given the power the child now has in the womb, it doesn’t look like that will ever happen. You get an A for effort Sam!
Dean, well, he had a rough day. He was betrayed by his best friend again and he lost the colt. He was even careless enough to let Kelly run off with Baby! I think it was hilarious that Dean tried to physically attack him, especially when Castiel has proven he can kick his ass royally. You’re not hopped up on the Mark of Cain this time Dean. I do wonder if Dean is going to take Castiel’s action at the end of the episode like he has to save Cas from being mind controlled or if he’s royally pissed and needs to take him out. All I know is that Sam and Dean were rendered useless in that playground scene by Dagon then Castiel. It’s kind of pathetic that the heroes in our story don’t get to be heroes.
The Red Headed Monster
I’m mad as hell and I can’t take it anymore! Not by the episode, no. I enjoyed watching that. What has my blood boiling is something that’s been bothering me for a while and it was triggered by the quick and easy elimination of the colt. What the hell are they thinking? The colt is more than a mere object. It’s been a mystical item that has driven a major part of the folklore for this entire series! Remember how important a role it played in the early seasons, especially season two? Remember how Sam and Dean went back in time and met Samuel Colt and were there when the weapon was first being used? Remember the legend of the colt among the hunters and that there was only five things it couldn’t kill? They why oh why was it disposed of in three seconds without any sort of fanfare?
This current production team seems to get delight in spitting and trouncing on all from the past that has made “Supernatural” great. It’s almost like they’re throwing spite at what fans hold dear because we aren’t open to their new ideas and want things like the old days. Remember the total asinine return of the amulet for just a brief moment to only brush the whole thing under the rug like it didn’t happen? What about the return of Chuck, who was an endearing character to us when he disappeared in season five. His return last season was awful, ruining him to the point where he just looked like a selfish and useless asshole. He was God for Chuck’s sake! Or how about the Men of Letters, something that gave us hope and belief in it’s goodness ever since they were introduced in season eight? That spirit is now being totally trashed by the evil-for-no-good-reason British Men of Letters? They’re British, they must be evil!
What about fan favorites that are constantly being killed off for no good reason? Or just about any character? What would happen if people actually lived? That would be different! Why are Sam and Dean are no longer the central characters to their own story? The part that gets me the most is how this show has completely removed hope from the equation. How so? Everything is pretty damned bleak. There’s nothing to put faith into anymore. There’s no hope. The foes are too powerful. The episodes move at a snails pace and many episodes are bland filler. There’s something to be said when the most benevolent and hopeful creature in the last few seasons has been Crowley.
(Sir Not Appearing in this Episode)
Jason Rothenberg, the creator of “The 100,” realized that there are dangers in making your story too bleak and throwing too many obstacles in the way of the protagonists like he did in season three. Fans get mad. Fans leave. While he defended his right to creative license, he also admitted that without delivering some kind of hope to the audience it’s tough for them to stay engaged. This is a lesson that seems to be lost on our SPN bunch.
Not sure what I’m getting at? Just look at the things that have fizzled in the last few seasons. Metatron was introduced as a benevolent savior so they made him evil, just to make him good again before killing him. Amara in all her power turned out to just be useless cleavage that didn’t help anyone and had a lame attraction to Dean that went nowhere. The grand return of Mary Winchester has been a colossal mistake and has ruined her very important legacy to this series. The Wayward Daughters concept is a good one but the episodes with Jody, Alex, and/or Claire have been mediocre at best (often annoying). They killed Death (another big fan favorite) which is just about the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen. Villains are vapid and stereotypical instead of truly menacing (Stynes, Dagon, etc.). Finally, dare I say just one word…Bloodlines.
So what do I want? I want TPTB to remember this thing called legacy when grasping at straws for stories. I want them to remember all the things that made this show good once, just the basic core ideas, and stop trashing everything fans hold dear for the sake of manufactured (and often piss poor) “drama.” You can do something different without ruining what has been done before. It’s not interesting. It’s not intriguing. It’s lame as crap and is frustrating us. Or at least me. But, hey, I’m just one monster with strong opinions. Tell me what story lines have worked for you from seasons seven to twelve. I’m very interested.
(All opinions are those of the giant red furry monster and not that of the Winchester Family Business or it’s staff. We’re only mildly to regularly annoyed by the poor stories).
Overall grade, a B. An A for Kelly and Castiel’s story, but Dagon and the whole Castiel/Dean melodrama brought that down. I’m still very apprehensive about what’s coming the in final episodes of the season, but I suppose if this episode was trying to tell us anything, it’s to have faith. We’ll see how far that gets us at the end of next week.