Open Supernatural Couch to The Man Who Would Be King
 
Or
 
The God Delusion
 
Finding a beginning to writing this article proves to be more difficult than I imagined. The introductory recap already pushed the buttons of some of my greatest fears as to where the last remaining episodes of this season might be heading. It’s going to be about beasts and monsters, lost souls, experiences from hell, betrayal, misunderstanding, tormenting memories and loss. Loss of security, of loved ones, of hope, of family. How am I going to swallow that? I don’t know, yet. But the thought alone is enough to feel tense.
 
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The episode begins with amazing narrative style – with Castiel telling us his story. Though from the very first moment we can’t be entirely sure who he is addressing, we are drawn into how he experienced the early days of evolution (and I am grateful that the show chose to follow scientific proof and not creationistic ideas), stories of the Bible and their moments of human downfall and triumph, how he entered his human vessel Jimmy and how the Apocalypse was ‘averted by two boys, an old drunk, and a fallen angel.’ How they ‘ripped up the ending – and the rules, and destiny, leaving nothing but freedom and choice.’ 
 
When I first watched the episode, I somehow stayed calm (more or less), but watching it now for the second time to write this article, I feel how it tugs at my soul. There is no calmness there at the moment. It’s in turmoil. Because the shadow of what is going to come to pass is already looming over that soul of mine, previously somehow at peace, because it didn’t know anything of the terrible events behind the curtains.
 
Oh, Cas. What choice exactly did you make that makes it so difficult to you to find words to speak about it? He could be just as well sitting in a confessional box, seeking absolution, from God? From us? But he’s looking up and into the camera. His deep, knowing, yet troubled gaze cuts through my soul like a hot knife would through butter. Oh, Cas. Your story will be a sad one, won’t it? I don’t want to hear it. I don’t want you to dig up the pain again. And – I do want to hear it. I want to ease your burden, sweet angel. But I also know that I can’t do that. I reckon no one can. Not at this moment.

His story takes us first to the Impala and his encounter with Dean. He still has that propensity to simply pop in, without warning. I sometimes wonder, actually, how Dean has managed to not cause some accident when Cas appeared on the passenger seat various times in the process of the show.
 
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Dean is not relaxed. How could he? He believes, no, he knows, that ‘Satan junior’ is alive. He believed Eve, despite wishing that it was not so. He is doubting Cas, his always reliable instinct is telling him so, but he doesn’t want to doubt his friend, his ally, his fourth brother… And so Dean takes Castiel’s explanations, offering help but at the same time blatantly lying to the angel, a fact that doesn’t sit well with his conscience. You just don’t lie to friends, in particular to friends who are almost as much a part of your heart as your blood-related family is. That’s something an honourable man (which Dean is) does not do. You worry about your friends, what Dean does, too, to perfection: ‘Cas, you’ll call, right? If you get into trouble?’ 
 
And, yet, in these desperate times – he is forced to lie. I could imagine that at this point Dean doesn’t recognize himself. He might feel like all this happened to someone else. Someone Dean was standing close to, feeling the confusion and fatigue, hearing the words and still thinking: this is not me.
 
Castiel goes on telling us his side of the story. He meets Crowley in a modern torture chamber – a morgue, I’d say, where he quite enjoys his research over Eve’s insides and causing one of the monsters, who looks like a vampire of sorts, horrific pain. Instantly I feel for the poor creature, bound to its cage. Looks like Crowley does have aggression issues. All that anger he feels about Cas screwing up his plans go into his torture techniques. Cas only gets shouted at. Something the angel can swallow. What he can’t really accept is the conflict of interests raging inside of him. He still considers himself the Winchesters’ guardian. And yet he should sell them to Crowley?! My goodness, Cas – what have you got yourself into? 

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Ben Edlund – you evil genius. What are you doing to me right now?! The episode already has a special cruel feel to it. It stabs right at my emotions and leaves the blade there. 
 
Castiel learned much from the Winchesters. They humanized him. They taught him the merits of standing up, of what it was worth standing for and the price one pays for one’s convictions. But also the joy of doing the right thing and being rewarded for it – in this case: being put together again, having the chance to heal Dean’s wounds, to revive the Bobby, to free Sam from hell. But Castiel also realizes how easily he, the angel, fell victim to hubris – believing he could bring Sam back on his own (while it took probably a whole battalion of angels to get to Dean back then). And – he brought him back wrong, not heading the warning that was in his face early on. 
 
We often don’t mind warnings when we are overconfident. Or when we just won’t accept the possibility of failing. I guess, Cas experienced both narcissistic trains of thought at the time and needed a while to realize what he had done. I assume that was a reason why he didn’t tell neither Dean nor Sam that it was him who brought Sam back. 
 
I can only imagine what confusion must be raging within Castiel – he loves those denim-wrapped nightmares. He cares for them deeply. They are the closest to family he, as an angel, ever had. I believe that Cas has felt lonely within his community of angels. There hardly is any closeness, there. No warmth. Just obedience. Getting to know the Winchesters and experiencing the love they gave him changed the needs of this angel. He wants to belong to someone. And – for a long time now – he has belonged to them.
 
He leaves Crowley shouting he would tear the Winchesters’ friggin’ hearts out and goes to seek out exactly those Winchesters. Only to witness a very important scene. Not the ugly torture of the filthy, lower than snake spit hell spawn for Crowley’s location, no, but the talk the Winchester gang has while leaving Red writhing in pain from the notorious knife in his thigh.
 
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Dean is struggling with the idea that Cas might have been working with Crowley and can’t cease to defend him. He still sees Castiel as some kind of greenhorn of heaven (an image he conjures up with the Perfect Strangers – character Balki Bartokomous, a naïve, well-meaning Greek immigrant to America). Oh, Dean, how wrong you are. Castiel means well, I’m sure, but he is far from being naïve. He’s experienced the hooks of heavenly life firsthand.

The thought that his brother and Bobby might actually believe that Cas might be in with Crowley appalls Dean, his voice breaks. This is a tad too much to even consider. Though Sam and Bobby assure him that they still care for Cas, they can’t yet dissolve the confusion in Dean’s thoughts. Bobby adds that he feels they need to be prepared in case Superman went dark side ‘which means, we’ve got to be cautious, we gotta be smart and maybe stock up on some kryptonite.’ I just love these pop culture references. They don’t have to explain much more. We all know what this means. And, well, it’s not exactly different from the days when they were praying that Sam would not go dark side. Only then such a conversation happened between Dean, Bobby and Cas – and Sam being on the outside. Sam, however, didn’t have the chance to listen to them, invisibly, as Castiel does.
 
No time to think what to do, as he realizes how hard Dean tries to be loyal – as they are pointed to ‘Bobby’s demon counterpart’ Ellsworth (another wonderful hint – Whitney Ellsworth was the character Jim Beaver played in Deadwood). And he looks, indeed, a lot like Bobby, hilariously answering various ‘calls’ from hell or whatnot with those bowls of blood. This is a classic Edlund scene! It’s so absurd that it almost verges on the realistic. I love that man’s mind. Did I mention that?
 
Castiel is fast, of course. He gets there to save his boys and kill all the three demons present with his amazing angel powers. I watch I awe how he lights the first ones up and forces the black demon smoke back into Ellsworth’s gut before roasting him with energy. We see Cas so rarely fight in this manner that we could easily forget what he is capable of. ‘I had no choice. I did it to protect the boys. Or to protect myself. I don’t know anymore.’ 
 
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Cas… really? Who else but you would know that there always is a choice. It’s what you and ‘your boys’ fought and died for. At this point I believe that Castiel did it for both reasons. To protect his boys, of course. But also to protect his own plan. A plan we don’t know the whole extent of, yet. But the path towards its completion is, again, paved with Cas’ good intentions. And we know where those can lead, don’t we? It’s a lonely position, dear angel. No one to confide in, no one to turn to for comfort or solace, no one to ask am I doing the right thing?
 
When the Winchester gang arrives, the place is otherworldly clean. Only Castiel remains, unseen, wondering ‘hiding, lying, sweeping away evidence… and my motives used to be so pure.’ This is reflected in Castiel favoured part of heaven, the heaven of an autistic man who still can be seen kite flying in a garden of sheer, untainted, peaceful beauty.
 
There he tried to tell his angel companions what happened. But they were soldiers of God, nothing else, completely lost at the thought of freedom, unsure what God would want them to do. They were not trained to decide on their own. They require orders. How did Cas know that God wanted them to have freedom? Did he speak to Him? Was it God who wanted this to happen? Was God still there? There were no answers to that. Only bitterness. Cynisism. And Rafael. In American businessman’s Ken Lays George W. Bush-worshipping version of heaven. Why am I not surprised that Rafael, the right wing angel, would choose such a place?
 
Rafael still wanted the Apocalypse to happen. Of course. He wanted the old order to hold. Taking the place of the highest ranking general. Of God Himself, it seems. Though Castiel stood up to him, he treated him much like a low insect – easy to be squashed under his foot. Which he pretty much is to Rafael, the archangel. Castiel is just ‘an angel’. He stands in a long line of cannon-fodder, the lowest rank, angels that never actually meet God. (If you like, check out my article on angels, to find more background to the lore: â€˜Angels, Archangels, Michael himself and the Winchester Brothers ’ Heavenly Connection to Cain and Abel’). So, it’s not exactly a problem for a mightier angel to beat the love of God out of Castiel, no pun intended.
 
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We don’t get to see what else happened to Castiel, but I can imagine he underwent some serious angelic beatings. Or worse. Simply - because some feathery simpletons up there didn’t learn from the terrible things that happened to the planet, to angels all over the world, to the human fighters who threw into the pot everything they had to offer: including their lives and souls, and they didn’t learn from what happened to faith, to the faithful, and probably to God Himself. 
 
While Cas is still remembering those moments of pain and disappointment, the Winchester gang remember how they would usually call Castiel for help in a situation like this. Dean is still fighting his instincts, and it almost appears as if he might be able to suppress them – because ‘this is Cas, guys. I mean there was no one, we were stuck and I mean really stuck. He broke ranks. He has gone to the mat cut and bleeding for us so many freakin’ times. This is Cas. Don’t we owe him the benefit of the doubt? At least?’ 
 
Dean is right. Castiel has risked a lot for them. Eventually, he was killed for them, too. They do owe him at least the benefit of the doubt. And, I’d say, a chance to explain why he is doing what he is doing.  So, they try to reach the angel. But – he doesn’t answer. Because he can’t answer the questions waiting for him. The heavenly creature captured by such an emotion as human as it gets: fear. 
 
But – as Crowley’s henchmen jump the Winchester gang (please forgive me, kind readers, for referring to the team in this manner – it’s my personal term of endearment for Sam, Dean and Bobby) he’s there. Immediately making the right choice, because ‘they were my friends. For a brief moment I was me again.’
 
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Yes. This is the Castiel we learned to love. The one the brothers and Bobby learned to trust. It feels so good to have you back, Cas, even if it’s only for this one moment. Because moments like this matter. Of course, the bigger purposes matter, too, yes, but I can’t see those. I am not able to see such a grand picture with my human mind. Our human brain only processes so much. It has to choose and filter in order not to be overtaxed. 
 
But those moments, as well as memories and people important to us, are immediately recognized as imperative. Distribution of stress hormones makes sure that memories and emotions are amplified, causing us to concentrate on essential, significant information. So, I might want to concentrate on saving my friend, at least, even if I can’t save the whole world.  
 
Sometimes I long for the days of old, when the Winchesters’ mission was characterized by a rather simple concept of right and wrong. Is has become far more complex over the almost six years we have witnessed their exploits. 
 
I think, because of that, they like to cling to those people they can trust, and they need the notion of being able to trust somebody. Trust is another form of love. It’s warmth and consolation, and it has the ability to heal wounds of the soul to some extent. Furthermore – it’s a phenomenon that creates a deep sense of belonging. And with their parents gone, many of their friends killed, there are not many left Sam and Dean Winchester can belong to.

And now they are about to lose another one. Or – are they?
 
Cas saves their collective asses. Again. The way he sells his news (that he believes Crowley to be alive) evokes the need in them to apologize for doubting him. They really feel bad. They do. And, yes Castiel, they trust you again. And the relief on their faces when they are ‘forgiven’ moves me so much, until Cas makes a crucial mistake – revealing that he overheard their Superman-talk. 
 
Castiel must be so familiar with popping in on humans that he doesn’t distinguish very well in terms of being visible or not. The mirror cracks. Perhaps beyond repair. We see it all in Dean’s face. I bow to you, Jensen Ackles, again, for displaying Dean’s emotions so tangibly. It’s all there – shock, disappointment, pain, anger, resolution. This is another knife in Dean’s soul. And it keeps being twisted, it seems. 
 
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Comments  

CitizenKane2
# CitizenKane2 2011-05-09 02:40
Great article. :) (Winchester Family Business has a pool of outrageously talented writes !)

I particularly liked the series of Dean's expression after Castiel inadvertently revealed that he had been spying with his "Superman" references - heart breaking.

And I also agree completely with this part of your article -

"Dean, you are unfair. I love you, but at this point, I could just slap you. You, especially you, know how easy it is to make the wrong choice, but still believing it to be the right one! Your own brother did it. Your parents did it. Pretty much your whole family made deals, again and again. You have experience in these matters, and I can only hope that – should another hell spawn come up to push the right buttons – you would not fall for it again. But Castiel is inexperienced in the realm of deals with the devil. He made his to save all of you. To prevent Rafael from restoring the apocalypse all over again and reducing all the sacrifices you all made to absurdity".

After reading your article, I reflected and I've come to realise that I feel more for Castiel than for Dean in this episode. Sure, Dean was hurt - devastated - by Castiel's betrayal, particularly since he regarded Castiel as a brother ... and another brother had betrayed Dean in the recent past.

But I also fully empathize with Castiel and the very limited options he had, coupled with his desperation and confusion; and of course Crowley's masterly manipulation (little wonder that he was King of the Crossroads).
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2011-05-09 05:49
Hi CitizenKane2 and thank you very much for your elaborate comment and the compliment!

I'm happy you liked the series of Dean's expression. Watching that scene in slow motion I was very much in awe of the emotions there.

I think Dean really feels tremendously helpless here, which probably leads to his harsh handling of Castiel. I understand where he stands, but I also feel for Castiel. Personally, I always try to understand why somebody does what they do, even if that might hurt me. Dean, alas, doesn't dare to go there at present.

I am so, so, so curious how it all will be played out.

Thank you! Cheers, Jas
KatieV
# KatieV 2011-05-09 03:51
Wonderfully insightful article about this amazing episode.
It amazes and impresses me how such deep themes can be addressed by Supernatural, all the while maintaining interesting plots, humorous situations and challenging character developments.
A very rare occurrence in today's TV Culture.
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2011-05-09 05:51
Thank you, KatieV - I agree wholeheartedly! This show manages to weave in those deep themes elegantly and seemingly effortlessly (and we know there is a lot (!) of effort put into it).
To my mind, it' one of the truly best dramatic shows on television and far more than a 'mystery/fantas y" thing.

Take care, Jas
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-05-09 06:51
I feel so badly for both Cas and Dean. On one hand, I know Cas's motivations, where Dean does not entirely, therefore feeling more empathy for Cas. On the other, I can see the utter heartbreak Dean is enduring as he realizes he's been mislead and lied to. I think, if Cas had come clean in the numerous chances he had throughout the season, Dean would have listened. Now he feels like his heart has been ripped out all over again and it'll be hard for him to let that pain go.

I just love how deep this show can be about family, good intentions, humanity and human emotion, and life's purposes.

And you're not the only one who would like to see the boys in a day off episode---even if somehow it gets interrupted. WHY hasn't Bobby given the boys a room or rooms? It is a mystery!
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2011-05-09 08:40
Hi Far Away Eyes, I am on the same boat as you - the deep, human, intense emotions that this show manages to touch on are exceptional, and not easy to find on television.
Bring some amazingly talented actors into the mix, and you get this unique show. Wow. Just... wow.

Thank you very much for your comment! Cheers, Jas
Julie
# Julie 2011-05-09 06:58
Great article as always Jas,
You already know how this one effected me. I felt like I was shreaded into bits after it. Ridiculously I felt the desire to actually crawl into the tv and hug each member of our poor little Team Free Will as, at some point during this episode, each one of them broke my heart.
Ben Edlund is a genius. He is also evil, but we already knew this after AAH and OTHOP. I read that he said in an interview prior to this episode airing that if it did its` job it would break hearts - it did its` job, and how.
From the very first sight we got of Cas, sat there in his own little version of Gethsemane, I knew all my fears were to be confirmed. His sadness, confusion, desperation and loneliness moved me so much, also when he rescued the Winchesters and Bobby and and for a moment felt like himself again, and the hurt on his face when asked if he brought Sam back souless on purpose. I was reduced to tears by Sams` disbelief when Cas told him that he was the one who `raised him from perdition`, he actually thought telling him this was going to help his case?? And Dean who did not even have to speak, just watching him crumble as he finally had to accept that all their worst fears were confirmed, Superman had indeed `gone darkside` made me crumble too. Then the sucker punch of final scenes, Cas and Dean and that heartbreaking confrontation and Cas` pleas for a sign and answers. I do wonder if he was not actually given the sign he was praying for in his own feelings of shame and guilt and in the reactions of his `family`.
Have I ever mentioned there are times I really hate this show and what it can do to me. I am longing and dreading to see where we go from here and terrified to watch.
Incidentally, the bed thing -- That house IS huge, they all should have their own rooms. God Knows they deserve a comfy bed and need a good nights sleep with all they have to cope with -- I just worry about these things!!
Thanks again Love Ju
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2011-05-09 08:43
Oh, Julie, I know very well indeed how you felt after the episode. And I, after being relatively calm at first, felt like having been through a meat grinder after writing this article, for a little while.

Sweetie, you mention all the time, how much you hate this show :lol: , and well, so do I. And love it. We are a strange lot, really. But I wouldn't change it for the world.

You know, I'll provide the boys with a comfy couch over the hellatus (since Bobby doesn't give them a room, and my couch is even comfier than his, ehehehe ;-) ), and I'm sure, there is room for you, too!

Thank you. I'm so glad that you liked this. Love, Jas
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2011-05-09 08:59
By bringing Sam without soul and realizing something is wrong Cas left a Bull in a China shop...Why did he bring back Sam for Sam or for Dean...I always feel Show is full of characters who will choose Dean over Sam when need arises but no such person for Sam (may be all are at different places after graduating from Stanford)...but I am eagerly waiting for finale at least may be then i will get a look in Sam's head..I wish Sam had such an episode where we would live the decisions with him...
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2011-05-09 10:12
Hi anonymousN, it’s an interesting question – why did Castiel bring Sam back? Did he do it for anyone in particular?
Perhaps we will get an answer to that when we learn more of what happened to Sam – which we will in one of the final two episodes.
So, there is hope for your wish! :-)
Thank you, Jas
marie-a
# marie-a 2011-05-09 09:42
I want to thank you about this. this is, if possibly, the closest of my feelings. Thank you to elaborate that for me.I feel bad, this episode has killing me, in a "Edlund" brillant way. Yes, this man is a genius.
Freedom, it's a terrible thing, you know. it's so good, but it comes with a prize, and not with a notice. It's so much and sometimes it's too much. Cass has never experience that, and doesn't know what to do with it. Freedom and free will, is the weakness and the force of humanity, and Cass is more human now than ever. He has to make choices, for the good (or what he thinks is the good), as painfull as they could be. Because he has the choice to do them, to be wrong. In my country, someone said "the more you think, the more you're alone". Welcome to the humanity, Cass, you will not like the travel, but you'll gain so much at the end (I hope).
And Cass make the wrong choices, for the great good. Maybe, this time, he has lost Dean, Sam and Bobby, his human family, and it's pain. Maybe doing that, he can offer free will to his brothers in heaven, and if it's what God wants for them ? His littles soldiers with a brain, and even a soul perhaps. Be able to live without his guidance. Because the only way to save Heaven from Hell is to answer the questions you ask yourself.
This is not an episode I cried watching it, this is one which will stay in me like a little cut, and last a long long time.
As a personal point of view, some years ago, I have had to make a choice between peace and freedom, and I choose freedom. I know the prize. it's confusion, fear, a fight for every day to stand up, falling, falling and rise again. It's the most painful thing I've ever experienced, and it's not over after so many years. But it's worth it. That's why I love this show, the Winchester more than many real person. Because they choose. because they failed, because they stood again everything and go on until now.
I was watching this episode and feeling in every bones what Cass was feeling, what he was questioning and what he has lost. The best and the worst episode for me.
I'm probably not very understable right now, but damn I'm so emotional about it.
Thank you Jas, and feel free to delete this if it's not understandable.
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2011-05-09 10:13
Marie-a, hello! Don’t worry, your comment was perfectly understandable.

That saying from your country (may I ask, where you are from?) is a very interesting one.

Being a human being is not a piece of cake. Life is hard, and we suffer a lot for various reasons, in particular when we care for someone or want to belong to someone. That makes us vulnerable, and Cas experiences some of it right now.

I am very sorry to hear that you had to make such a difficult choice and live through the consequences of it. Those were hard. You are so right: the prize for freedom is high. Because freedom is not all - It has to be filled, like an empty bottle, and the ones choosing freedom are the ones to fill it, but doing so – they pay, suffer, sometimes lose people dear to them, don’t they?

I think it’s the bravest thing a person can do – stand up for what we believe in. Even if we are afraid. Well, as George R.R. Martin puts it ‘Being afraid – that’s the only time a man can be brave’.

With your personal story in mind, I can well understand why this episode shook you up in this manner. You might have suffered. And paid. But most of all – you have survived. And that’s a wonderful legacy to own for oneself. To know that when the need arises you are capable of surviving. That you had the courage to survive and to do what you felt necessary.

I salute you, marie-a. Thank you so much for this very personal comment, blessed be, Jas
Junkerin
# Junkerin 2011-05-09 10:30
Hi Jas!
Now you finially got Cas on you couch. Lucky you. His prayer could be an appointment with you!
I would like to see a every day epi too, something like "WAB" was but for our boys. I think they have rooms, because Bobby and Sam were no where seen (and probebly up stairs a slepp) but I would realy like they would show a stroll around Bobby´s house. Maybe season 7!
Now to the serious part.
I can get anonymousN: Cas brings back Sam realises he is not right and then Cas let SoullessSam walks away! What kind of friend is this for Sam? And the scene where Cas wanted to asked Dean for help and could not because Dean was in despair over the lost of his brother, well at least a part of Sam was walking around at this time!
I still have some trouble with the time line, first thing Cas was brought back and healed Dean and Bobby, then he went down to the Cage to get Sam out, then he went to heaven to talk to the other angels and to Raphael, then Raphael beats him down, then Cas goes to Dean but talks to Crowley instead and borrows 50000 Souls, then fights Raphael and starting the civil war in heaven. If this is right when did the talk to Dean in the Impala happend in the end of Swan Song? Because that was the first time someone mentioned Cas been the new Sheriff in town. And that left me thinking/belivi ng Cas had Raphaels job now.
As for the part on Dean/Cas I´m with you. Dean wasn´t fair to Cas. He didn´t hear him out. But Dean didn´t get the story to hear like we did.
Now we have to wait 11 days for the final two episodes... This is going to be taff. Does chocolate realy helps?
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2011-05-09 15:21
Hi Junkerin, yeah, lucky me, eh? ;-)

It wasn't really fun, you know, the guy has serious issues!
I, too, understand anonymousN's thoughts, yet I read the scene in this episode as: Cas should have noticed that something was wrong with Sam, as he was looking back at the moment, that he should have seen a warning there, but didn't.

I think, Cas was too absorbed with his new task, the deal-thing with Crowley, that he probably believed that now that Sam was back, it might be okay. And he had no chance of knowing that his soul was not there. At least that's what we are told - he needed to stick his hand into Sam's body to find an empty space there where his soul should have been.

I can't believe that Cas would bring Sam back soulless on purpose. I can't.

As for the time-line: Cas was jumping back and forth in his account. As I read it, there was no consitent time line in his telling of the story. He went back to Swan Song, he jumped to the year when Dean was living with Lisa, remembered a moment from the past again... which is quite normal, when we remember important things. This seems to hold true for angels, too.

Does chocolate really help? Yes, to some extent it does. It's smooth, creamy taste on your tongue, tickling your taste buds, sending endorphins through your brain - it's good for you. Trust me :-) .

Thank you for your comment! Cheers, Jas
marie-a
# marie-a 2011-05-09 11:16
hey, Jas ! nice comment for my rambling. by the way, I'm french.
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2011-05-09 15:31
Ah, marie-a! Je te remercie de ta réponse.
Salues la belle, douce France, s'il te plait.

Salut, Jas
Linda-bookdal
# Linda-bookdal 2011-05-09 21:03
Jas,

Again, a brilliant review. And may I say that you pointed to something that I personally believe is the most poignant part of this episode and that is the story that is not told, the one that Cas does not look us in the eye to tell. It's obscene, in the most real sense of the term. What can't be told, which is the intelligence of Edlund's direction and writing.

I, along with you, bow to Jensen for his portrayal of heartbreak that Dean continually faces, and the betrayal he has come to be surprised by. I also tip my hat to Jared and Jim, for their understated support of the storyline. The story was about Cas, and more specifically, Cas and Dean (and no, not in the unrequited love sense), but rather about the complications of that relationship that borders on brotherhood, but for Castiel, was brotherhood come too late.

Castiel's fall is not about his pride, to me. Rather, his fall is about his preservation of a garden. And can I say, as a tangent, how I loved that the episode ended not in the spring garden, but in the coldness of a snow covered garden?

I bow to you, Jas. :)
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2011-05-10 01:10
Hello Linda, thank you ever so much!

We are on the same boat, of course... this episode gave us, as viewers, so much, and the actors are, indeed, at the head of their game. It's such joy to me to watch the younger ones hone their acting skills in front of our eyes and the more experienced ones bring their best to the tiniest scene.

To my mind, the garden Cas was sitting in at the end was his favourite heaven, only snow covered. Was this a hint to us: Winter is coming?

Thank you, love, Jas
Laurie
# Laurie 2011-05-09 22:26
I enjoy all your "couches" so much!

Dean & Sam are opposed, not just because of the secrecy, but to quote Bobby, they are trying to "crack the dam" into Monsterland - that "Eve was just one drop." Imagine if they access all those monster souls, no matter what good intentions they have.

And Dean's warning about demon deals is from bitter experience and hard won wisdom. I just hope when the finale comes, he sticks to that no matter what.
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2011-05-10 01:12
Laurie, hi, thank you very much! I am very happy that you find an enjoyable read here :-)

you are quite right - what would happen if they broke the dam...? Oh, dear. Will this be the cliffhanger of this season?
Just as you, I hope Dean has truly learned from his experienced paid with blood.
Whatever happens, there is always hope, isn't it? At least for us - we will be getting a seventh season!

Cheers, Jas
rowena
# rowena 2011-05-09 22:41
Mostly a lurker, but this episode just got to me in ways that very few do so I felt the need to comment.

I feel so conflicted about Castiel. On the one hand I want to give him a hug and for him to be OK. He doesn't know what to do and is just as lost as anyone has ever been on this show. On the other hand, it is not simply that he is lying to Sam and Dean or that he is working with a demon. Every character on this show has done the same thing. It is the conspiracy behind his actions. In Caged Heat he was not there to help Sam get his soul back, he was there to protect Crowley and create the illusion that he had killed Crowley. He has been actively trying to undermine the Winchesters' goals while pretending hat he is working with them. Unfortunately this makes him a traitor. (SHOW WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME?)

And Sam is another issue. He brought Sam back, and his heart was clearly in the right place. But then he had no problem ignoring Sam's prayers and using Sam to hunt down the alphas. I just hope their isn't more to that story.
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2011-05-10 01:16
Hi rowena and welcome to de-lurking (and, of course to the site!)!

You know, I do hope that there isn't more darkness to their story, too! That would be just even more heartbreaking - if that is possible.
There are various sides to Castiel, and that's what I find so fascinating. It's so real - neither person (or angel, for that matter) is purely evil or good (except perhaps those deeply disturbed personality disorders... but let's not go there). There is evil and good in everyone. I think the trick is to find a balance... a balance Cas still is struggling for. I hope. I believe.

Ah, this show gets to me just as much as it gets to you, it seems. And yet we love it... :-)

Thank you!! Jas

P.S. I love your alias. It reminds me of Ivanhoe. The Lady Rowena... ;-)
Pragmatic Dreamer
# Pragmatic Dreamer 2011-05-09 22:44
Oh Jas,

That was a beautiful review of a beautiful episode. Love it or hate it, there is so much to admire, and appreciate in TMWWBK. Myself, I adored it because it wove together all the threads that make Supernatural great - love, sacrifice, pride, the law of unintended consequences, the danger of keeping secrets from those closest to you.

I felt so, so bad for Sam. Yet again he has been made a pawn by a more powerful being. His sense of self-worth has certainly taken a beating over the years too. He never gets a break! Sam knows he did awful things while Soulless. Now, he knows that Cas, his trusted ally, was responsible for his return, and in a way, responsible for some of those deeds. Plus, Cas never really answered the question as to whether or not he purposely brought Sam back, sans soul. He reacted with indignation, but no other explanation. (I really, really hope he didn't do it on purpose.. Fingers crossed, and toes too!)

I keep thinking back to several things Sam said this season. Remember in "Weekend at Bobby's" Sam stopped Dean from torching Crowleys' bones, saying "A deal's a deal". Then,in Caged Heat (I think), he told Cas "You owe me". Is it possible that Crowley held onto Sam's soul in a perverse Crossroads Deal with Castiel. Perhaps Sam's soul was serving as collateral for the loan of the 50,000 souls? It is possible that Soulless Sam knew about the soul deal, and that's one of the crushing secrets hiding behind the wall?

And, Dean, Dean, Dean. I don't think he handled the situation as well as he could have, but I didn't want to slap him. I wanted to tell him to slow down, and say what he really means. Dean is many things, but he's not a great communicator, especially in emotionally charged situations. But really that describes most of us. Either we can't express what we really mean, and that leads to misunderstandin gs and hurt feelings and more lies & pain. Or, we express EXACTLY what we feel and that leads to hurt feelings, and more lies & pain.

I think Dean was reacting in his UberProtective Big Brother mode, but this time the brother he was trying to protect was not Sam, but Castiel. I think Dean has matured to a point where he knows making a deal with any demon is really bad news. He learned that with his own deal. He was starting to understand that before he was dragged to Hell by the hounds. I think Dean was sad and frustrated that no one is learning from his bad example. He can't convince those he loves most to stop making the same stupid mistake he did. Yes, he did work with Crowley last year, but he didn't hid it from anyone and it wasn't a deal. It was a one-time gig. But, he still got double-crossed and beat-up, so it didn't work out very well.

I don't think Dean is the most upset about Cas working with Crowley. He was, and always is, more devastated by the lying and the attempts at cover-up.

As well, Dean's modus operandi with those he loves is to help them. It was a loving, thoughtful gesture from Cas not to bother Dean in his "retirement" with Lisa. And I don't think it was an accident that Crowley appeared then, at what was a very vulnerable moment for Cas. But Cas's mistake was in not asking Dean if he was willing to help. I think it's a problem many of us have. We are willing to drop everything to help a friend or family member. But we're not comfortable asking for help in return. Yet, that's the beauty and power of true brotherhood, and friendship. It's being comfortable ACCEPTING help, as well as giving it. Dean was right. He was there all along. All Cas had to do was ask.

And Dean, in his own blustery, blundering way kept reaching out to Cas. Should he have listened to Cas' explanation in their final meeting? Absolutely. Would that have changed anything? Probably not, because Cas still believed nothing was broken. Dean still would have told him making a deal with a powerful demon only gets you trouble in the end.

The speech about seeing Cas as brother was evidence of Dean's love for him. (And it's not a slight against the incredibly profound bond Sam & Dean share. Soldiers will always tell you, they don't fight for their country or their general. They fight for their brother -- the man risking his life right beside him.) Dean was trying to say he was willing to stand beside Cas, but that Cas had to acknowledge he had made a bad choice. I don't think it was controlling. It was as heartfelt a plea as Dean can make. And really I think he was trying to say "Don't make the same mistakes as Sam & I have done.

I kind of think Cas threw down the gauntlet with the "Or what" line. That's like a red flag to an Alpha Male like Dean. The comment "You're just a man. I'm an angel" was the celestial equivalent of calling Dean a 98-lb weakling and kicking sand in his face. (Generational reference. For further information, check out The Rocky Horror Picture Show!) Dean was not going to take that well. And he IS right. He, and Sam, have caught some migthy big fish.

It did occur to me today that Cas has now reminded both brothers that he, as an angel is more powerful than they are, as mere mortal men. He made a similiar remark to Soulless Sam in "Caged Heat".

SAM: If you don’t help us, I will hunt you down and kill you.
CASTIEL: Will you, boy? How?


That sounds a lot like, "You're just a man". Oh Cas, you still have to learn about the sin of pride.

I think eventually the Winchester Gang of two boys, one drunk and a fallen angel will kiss and make up, but it might be next season. And Cas may be a man by then, or a power-limited angel, or an angel with no memory of his relationship to the brothers.

I really don't know what to expect from the next 2 episodes, except that Dean will always try to save those he cares about, even when he's hurt by them, or is really angry with them. I don't think he's given up on Cas yet. I certainly haven't either.

I do know one thing. There is some serious heart-stomping coming our way.

(By the way, several comments ago, you came up with a lovely shorter version of Pragmatic Dreamer. I'm all about nicknames. Go for it. Just please, not P.Diddy!!)
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-05-09 23:19
I came to the same conclusion in a way as you did about Sam's soul. There is no doubt in my mind that Crowley had his ducks in a row when he gave Cas those 50,000 Hell souls. Much like he had Samuel tied up in knots with the hopes of giving him Mary back as long as he did as told, perhaps he was holding Sam's soul hostage over Cas's head. I almost venture to take it one step further. Crowley knew that Sam was much more useful to him Soulless and had wanted him to stay that way. Samuel was his knowledge fountain. Soulless Sam was his hammer.

I don't think Sam realized or knew that he was Soulless until it was revealed to him after Cas's search for it. He knew that he had come back wrong, that something was terribly off about himself, but I don't think he knew what. He didn't care, either, because that part of himself was locked firmly away. It isn't until he has it confirmed by Cas (I think Cas KNEW, but had to keep the deception in front of the boys) that he is Soulless that we really get to see Soulless Sam come into his coldest and most brutal while traveling with Dean. All the controls he's placed upon himself to sell himself as a real boy fall away at that point and he blurts things out, becomes even more calculated, and seems to embrace what he has become without a soul. It's freeing when he learns, I think. He realizes he can live by his own rules now that he knows why he is the way he is---and it doesn't seen to bother him that Dean disagrees.

It is possible that Soulless Sam made a logic leap and put two and two together and realized that perhaps Crowley was holding his soul on purpose in some other type of deal---but I think it's more likely that he was referring to the events of Swan Song and keeping Lucifer from killing off all demons. After all, if Sam hadn't taken that swan dive, Crowley would have likely been exterminated with all the other demons. His very position as the King of Hell is in part to what Sam did. In that regard, Crowley certainly DOES owe Sam.

I think it's a shame that Cas doesn't realize the obvious trap he's fallen into. This is the second person Dean's begged to learn from their mistakes. Samuel refused to listen and in turn sold him and Sam to Crowley to keep his deal in place. Now, Dean's seeing another person take the same rope and hang themselves.

I think it's rather interesting this season when you think about it---excluding Dean's deal with Death---the boys have turned down actual deals. The leprechaun of Clap Your Hands tried to deal with Sam and Sam refused. Dean asked why and he bluntly said "When has a deal ever been good for us?" There is growth here for the brothers and I think it kills Dean to see Cas following that same dark path even though he knows it will not end well. Every time they've made a deal, it burns not just the one making it, it burns them all.
cd28
# cd28 2011-05-10 09:18
I like the points that you make, but I disagree that they've made as much progress in learning to turn down deals. I think they all understand that deals with demons never work out well (except for maybe Cas at this moment), but they all have their weak spots, and Dean's is Sam. His agreeing to continue to bag monsters for Crowley in exchange for Crowley getting Sam's soul back is as much a deal as Cas working with Crowley to find Purgatory. Dean knew it was wrong and said it over and over again, but he kept doing it anyway.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-05-10 15:46
I don't really consider them working for Crowley as much of a deal as I do consider it a hostage situation. They TRIED to get away from doing it a few times and Crowley popped in each time to remind him that he had the power---by burning Sam at least once. They didn't strike a willful deal with knowledge the way both Samuel and Cas have done this season. They didn't have a choice but to work for Crowley or face him sending Sam back to the Cage. Otherwise I'd agree with you on them not really learning about deals.
cd28
# cd28 2011-05-10 17:21
I guess we're going to disagree on this. I don't seem much of a difference because most of the deals with demons that we've seen have been struck because the person felt they had no other options, or that the alternative was just too painful to bear. Some examples - Dean's deal to bring Sam back in season 2, Sam's attempt at deals when Dean was in Hell, Bobby's deal with Crowley to try to stop the Apocalypse.

I'd say Samuel was in a similar position because he couldn't bear living knowing that his young daughter was dead. Dean couldn't bear letting Crowley send Sam back to Hell. And finally, Cas couldn't bear the thought that after their success at stopping the Apocalypse, and Sam's sacrifice, that it would all be in vain because Raphael would pull Michael and Lucifer out of the cage and restart it all.

I'm not sure what you mean by a willful deal. Dean and Sam knew Crowley was a demon, and therefore whatever his plans were with the alphas, it was probably no good. So they went to work for him with their eyes open. They could have said no to Crowley and taken their chances while looking for alternatives - which was Dean's advice to Cas.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-05-10 17:27
By willful deal, I mean that they would have sought Crowley out and had the consequences laid before them before entering into it. It seemed to me that Sam and Dean were already in the middle of this deal before they really realized that they had made it. It wasn't until after they had found out Sam's soul was missing that they even tried to find ways to fix it. By then, they had already been working with Samuel---and working for Crowley---witho ut knowing it.

Could they have tried walking away from this situation after learning what was happening? I agree with you on that. They knew what Crowley was and what the terms were. I just wonder if they had actually managed to try and strike out on their own if Crowley would have let them.
cd28
# cd28 2011-05-10 17:43
I see what you're saying. My point was about the period of time between Family Matters and Caged Heat, when they knew who they were working for and started to feel like they needed daily rape showers.

I have to comment on the line about the line about having the consequences laid out before them. I don't think demons ever lay out the consequences. Wasn't there a line by Ruby that went something like, "I'm a demon, manipulative kind of goes with the job description"? Dean didn't know that by making a deal to bring back Sam, he'd be put in a position to start the Apocalypse. Sam didn't know that Ruby would trick him into breaking the final seal. Bobby didn't know that Crowley would try to renege on the deal. And I'm guessing Cas doesn't know everything Crowley's up to either. It would be out of character for Crowley not to try to double-cross him. :-)
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-05-10 17:50
I think Crowley was bluffing about sending Sam back in a lot of ways--which doesn't mean anything in terms of what Sam and Dean were doing at that point. He obviously needed Soulless Sam's help to get to Purgatory, or thought he did at least. Why else would he lie for Cas? Sure, he lies by nature, but he took all the credit for bringing Sam back.

As for not having all the consequences given to them, yeah, that's true. But Dean DID enter into that deal knowing that he was going to Hell and would be dying. He did it regardless of knowing that. It's hard to say he'd do it again if he knew the other consequence concerning the First Seal, however.

I think most deals are rather simple: they want talent, a loved one returned, fame, fortune, and all they give up is their soul for an eternity in Hell. It's these much more complex deals such as Cas is currently in that come with the extra double cross and baggage that even Cas deep down knows has to be there.
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2011-05-10 10:48
Oh, Far Away Eyes, you have a point there, indeed. Still, I do hope that Cas didn’t bring back Sam without his soul on purpose… It just mustn’t be…

You know, the growth in the brothers is there, obviously, but I wish Dean had remembered their own reasons for those deals – before they actually knew their dreadful consequences. Castiel didn’t have experience enough in that field to learn that horrific lesson the Winchesters have learned.

I only hope, should another moment occur that offered a deal to save a loved one, that they would prove to us, as viewers, that they actually have learned what Dean so desperately holds on to.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-05-10 15:50
Oh, I don't think Cas necessarily brought Sam back Soulless on purpose. I think he meant to go back for it after he knew it wasn't with Sam's body, but Crowley held it over his head and said wait. In due time. We already know Crowley was slick enough to sell Cas on pretty much anything at this point. Why not that?

I guess I'd have to say that the fact Dean didn't make any deals after Swan Song---or really tried to---shows some growth. I think it was mentioned that he spent a lot of time looking at books and information in an effort to bring back Sam, but I don't think he actually made an active drive to forge a deal with anyone.

I don't think they're quite all the way there on not making deals. I just think there's some hesitation now that might not have been there say three years ago.
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2011-05-10 17:03
That's my hope, too, Far Away Eyes. I'd hate to see them make new deals - I could do without some of that heartwrenching storyline... ;-) , Jas
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2011-05-10 10:46
Hi PDreamy, thank you for your elaborate comment (and thank you for allowing me to address you in this manner…)

Oh, hell ,yes, there was a lot of heartbreak in this episode, and I presume there is more of that to come. As bad as I felt for Cas and Dean, I felt Sam’s torment just as well. And I am with you there – I do hope, too, that Cas didn’t bring Sam back on purpose without his soul. I can think of a reason, though, as to why he might have done it: create the perfect hunter to achieve his goal and hold his end of the deal. But I can’t believe, I just can’t, that Castiel would sink so low after all the humanization he has experienced through the Winchesters. Or, well, perhaps he would because of it. We, as humans, are capable of such betrayal. Angels, I would hope, should not be. Ah… I’m at a loss… And I hope Sam doesn’t discover that his soulless version knew about it… oh, dear…
Doing the hoping dance all day long…

You know, my instinct to slap Dean came from : he needs a strong sign to stop his train of thought and be capable of listening. Much like you might slap a hysterical person who doesn’t hear you because they are going mad with fear or confusion. Chances are that in real life I wouldn’t have done it, though.
Dean was there all along, that’s true, yet Castiel didn’t realize it. He sought to protect Dean, didn’t dare to disturb his life with Lisa. Perhaps, Castiel didn’t believe that Dean would have actually left everything to help him. Perhaps, he didn’t trust him enough because he was so confused within himself.
I hope both, Dean and Castiel, will find another way to deal with their disturbing emotions, meaning: in a more constructive way. And of course, their closeness is not a slight against the bond Dean shares with Sam. I don’t know. Some people like to read that into the story, and I often wonder – are we actually watching the same show?

You are quite right – he hasn’t given up on Cas. If he had, he probably would not be as invested emotionally as he is. He would be hurt, yes, but not to this intensity. After all, only those people we care profoundly about are able to hurt us profoundly.

Thank you! Dream of happier days, we’ll need those memories to soften the coming moments we dread…

:-) , Jas
rmoats8621
# rmoats8621 2011-05-10 01:29
Oh, Jas. Bravo! You've written a great article this time! You've captured the dilemma that all our heroes faced this week. Learning the choices behind a loved ones good intentions when things have gone terribly awry has always been a tough one for me to handle in my own life and I have a rather simple one at that. My heart just breaks for them.
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2011-05-10 10:49
Rmoats8621, thank you. We should try to mend our hearts quickly, because I am certain – what awaits us in the upcoming finale, will break them again and again.
I know – I have had experiences like the ones you touch on, too. Hard to handle, and always very, very painful. But, thankfully, to my experience, it makes you stronger…

:-) , Jas
Suze
# Suze 2011-05-10 04:52
Poor old Cas. Dean's got a bad case of selective amnesia going on there ...

Loved this episode to bits. You'd have thought the buggers would be a touch less judgemental, though, given that they collectively hold the world record for The Most Ill-Advised And Potentially Disasterous For All Concerned Demon Deals Done In The Whole History Of Everything Ever ...

Anyway, it was brilliant and I'm dying for the end game ( Masochist? Moi? ) Although I nearly cried when the Anti- Bobby got snuffed' I know he was only in it for six seconds but he had such possibilities ... :cry:
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2011-05-10 10:50
Actually, Suze, I felt just as bed for the DemonBobbyVersi on. He was just hilarious in that scene, I would have loved to see more of him. But, alas, Edlund didn’t concur, the ingenious cad! Thank you so much, Jas
Junkerin
# Junkerin 2011-05-10 11:14
Hi Jas
I´m back at you couch. Need a rest after thinking and rethinking everything we saw last Friday.
If Cas didn´t raised SoullessSam on purpose maybe Crowley hold his Soul Hostage to seal the deal with Cas?
Do you have an idea why Cas didn´t turn on Sam for help (other that the story wouldn´t work)?
I bought some chocholat to day :-) and some pink sunglasses.
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2011-05-10 12:40
Hi Junkerin, welcome back.
You know, I believe, he didn't turn to Sam for help because the two of them were never as close as Dean and Cas were. I think It probably didn't even occur to Cas to ask Sam.

On the other hand - since Castiel saw how differently Sam behaved, he might have felt that Sam would most certainly not help him... Perhaps they will address that question.

Well done, girl! Chocolate and pink sunglasses rock! It will help with the pain of the upcoming episodes.

Cheers, Jas
Caz Winchester
# Caz Winchester 2011-05-10 12:09
I cried nearly all the way through.

I had a little hope that they would talk him round but :sad:
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2011-05-10 12:42
Don't fret, dear Caz Winchester. There is still hope, that all will be well in the end, or at least better.

You're welcome to my couch at any time to take a breather!

Take care and thank you for your comment, Jas
Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2011-05-10 18:26
Hi Jasminka, thanks so much for this insight into Castiel. I imagine it’s difficult to get inside the mind of an angel but both you and (thankfully) Edlund did a marvelous hand of it! Jeez, there was so much content in this episode! Each viewing leads to another series of questions. I’m almost glad of the two week break; try to get my head around it. (Apologies for the way this will read, btw. I tried to do somewhat coherent but the more I thought about it, the more disjointed it got.)

The great thing about this episode is, like you said, the more you watch it, the more you realise the enormity of the challenge facing Castiel. He risked life and wing to stop the Apocalypse, now he must do it again. And if he doesn’t stop it, life and wing will be gone regardless. Rock, hard place, Castiel, doesn’t even begin to cover it.

On top of that, he has those darned humans to think about, those whom he wants to be with. He said in Caged Heat that he would rather be down with Sam and Dean; I don’t doubt this for a second. Even his heaven was very earthy, a simple garden. None of the grandeur you’d generally associate with heaven.

So many lovely moments in this episode. When Castiel was killing Ellsworth and his posse and said ‘For a brief moment, I was me again’.... This is who Castiel is; he’s a protector, not a politician. You could see how completely free he was in that moment. I also loved the scene when he told Rachel and co about stopping the Apocalypse and he put the credit solely on the shoulders of Sam and Dean. You could see and hear the pride Castiel has in his boys. That’s family.

Then reality hits him. The angels haven’t a clue what they’re doing. They need (as Castiel needed with Dean) an (im?)moral compass. Castiels circumstances were rather unique, he had a human charge, he was literally immersed with humans 24/7, he put himself at their beck and call. He could see, he could relate, he could understand but even after he rebelled, there were still many times he had to be led.

(Actually, that scene in the garden with the other angels just reminded me of Monty Pythons Life of Brian so much....

Brian: ...Will you please listen? I'm not the Messiah! Do you understand? Honestly!
Woman: Only the true Messiah denies his divinity!
Brian: What? Well, what sort of chance does that give me? All right, I am the Messiah!
Crowd: He is! He is the Messiah!
Brian: Now, fuck off!
[Stunned Silence]
Arthur: How shall we fuck off, oh Lord?

Edlund has to be a Monty Python fan! And as today is National Monty Python Day, who isn’t!)

I loved (God, a lot to love in this episode!) the fact that Castiel refers to the brothers as ‘boys’. Don’t know why but it tells us how close they are and also how protective Castiel is towards them. This is what he wants to be his primary role, because he feels this is what his boys deserve.

A part of me thinks that many of the angels, especially those not directly involved in the Apocalypse don’t really have a clue what went on, what it entailed or how it (the Apocalypse) would affect them. Had they known I imagine a lot more would have sided with Castiel. I'd say when word of Michaels defeat got out, a lot of angels would have been disappointed that their great saviour was taken down, by a mere human no less. Maybe Castiel needs to take a crash course in P.R??

What else to like?? Jeez, JA, as you mentioned (and screencapped, thanks a million for that!) was awesome in this. The resignation of another betrayal. Surely the guy has to be thinking at this stage that it’s something in him that is leading others to do this. His self-confidence wasn’t all that hot to begin with, this could be crippling for him. (I know it’s been said that Crowley is Castiels Ruby but could it be considered that Castiel is Deans Ruby?)

Bobby, once again, you’re the man. I kinda believed the whole torture element this time. Last week it just looked like you were going to shave the monster, this week you did harm! Well done. Also (and this made me laugh...) Bobby scrambling for his cap after the demon knocked it off was precious!

‘Where were you when I needed to hear it?’ An amazingly poignant line and one that could also sum up the show. Missed opportunities, the danger of words now being said, the fear of looking weak and also the fear of being strong. That line could be applied to Sam and Dean or John/Dean/Sam just as easily. Yep, that line is going on my list of all time favourites (and the way MC delivered it. Ow!!)

Sam, while he had little to do, his words did have serious gravity. Castiel, answer the question, you feck!! I don’t know if he didn’t answer because he was shocked that Sam would think him capable of that or he couldn’t answer. I’m hoping for the former but I’ve too many questions surrounding Castiel to be sure of that....

Also, that scene made quite an impact because it reminded me once again just how much being without a soul haunts Sam, and he isn’t even fully aware of what he did yet.

Sam’s ‘You did a piss poor job of it’.... He doesn’t thank Castiel for bringing him back, he almost criticises him. You get the sense that Sam would rather have been left in the Cage where he couldn’t do any damage, than be bought back and do untold harm to others. Double ow...

As with all good episodes it answered many questions. Exactly how souls work, how Castiel and Crowley got involved (and Crowley, as much as I loathe every hair on his comb-overed head... is really rather good at what he does), how bad things are in heaven etc.

Though (naturally!) it raised others. There are a ton of questions floating around after this episode. Obviously, why/how did Castiel bring Sam back? Did he know about the soul? What will Dean do to Castiel? What happens to the souls after they’ve been used? Are they gone, do they recharge? Were Castiels reasons for not wanting Sams soul back really as altruistic as we are led to believe? Do you think if I sent in a list of questions to the show they’d answer them in the finale??
Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2011-05-10 18:28
I’m with you in wanting to slap Dean in relation to the whole making the wrong choice (I’d do an Ellen, slap then hug). I guess if Dean considered Castiel a brother then by making a deal, Castiel is now a true Winchester because every single living breathing one of them has; John, Mary, Sam, Dean and Bobby. It’s like a prerequisite for entry into the Winchester family.

While I sympathise with (and get) Castiel in this episode, I do understand where Dean is coming from in giving Castiel the ultimatum but it’s one scene that annoyed the crap out of me. It’s like Dean is looking for Castiel to prove his loyalty. Dean saying ‘I’m asking you not to...’ No reason given, no alternative given, just ‘don’t do it’. That line didn’t work before, it didn’t work with Sam, in fact it almost ended their relationship, and it won’t work with Castiel. Maybe Castiel needs/wants to be given an alternative, any alternative, as Sam did. Castiel can’t want to do this on his own but he feels he has no other option. In the same way Sam would have wanted an alternative to him killing Lilith, there was (he felt) no other option there. Thing is, had Dean worked with either Sam or Castiel in these situations, there’s a strong possibility that Dean would have ended up dead.

How could Dean (or Sam) deal with the war in heaven? Raphael knows that Dean is capable of. He’ll have learnt from Michaels mistakes. He’s not going to become another one of Deans ‘big fish’. He would smite Dean to smithereens if he even got a scent of Dean getting involved in this one. Castiel knows this; of course he’s going to want to protect Dean. Angels seem harder to kill than demons. Archangels harder again. Michael and Lucifer still aren’t dead. Neither is Raphael, despite many well powered attempts. So the thing is, what alternative could Sam and Dean offer Castiel in this instance? I doubt there are any books in Bobbys library dealing with a heavenly civil war.

I think Sam and Castiel, if they had been given the chance to do what they had to do, (kill Lilith and avert Apocalypse 2) without putting Dean in danger, they’d have done it. But Dean has spent so long helping them, with everything, from tying shoelaces to ending the Apocalypse, they possibly felt they couldn’t keep going to the well of giving that is Dean. In these instances, they could protect him, they WOULD protect him. That’s what kept them going. (Dean is a pretty lucky guy, in fairness. Well no, obviously his luck sucks but as Demain or Barnes or someone said ‘You’ve a brother who would die for you, who wouldn’t want that?’ Well now he has an angel who’d do the same thing. That’s why he’s lucky...) Does Castiel see Dean as his younger brother? Both Sam and Dean kept secrets to protect each other.... Like I said, Castiel Winchester would fit right in.


One other thing I was wondering. Have Raphael and Co given up on God? I mean, God bought Castiel back so God must have a purpose for him; he has a job for him to do. So if Raphael is now looking to kill Castiel, would this not mean that he is defying God’s wishes?

There were one or two things that grated on me (unfortunately) and they are things that I’m assuming just bothered me (cos I’m petty that way!).

Adam..... No clue what his story is but this talk of ‘brothers’ and no-one has mentioned him. I’m hoping beyond hope that Michael was speaking the truth when he said ‘Adam isn’t at home right now’ back in Swan Song. Jeez, the guys only crime was hope and love and stupidity. If he has to spend an eternity in the Cage for that..... (Though part of me thinks the show will go there just so they can stomp of the dagger they will surely be sticking in my heart after the finale.... Hmmm, maybe Adam as the next big bad??? Nah!)

Secondly, the apology. Don’t know why but it ticked me off. Maybe because Sam has now at this stage apologised to EVERYONE on the show, maybe because I knew that Castiel was lying through his teeth, sorry but it fecking galled me.

Petty party over.

Actually one other thing.... I know throughout the episode that Castiel is looking for a sign but I wonder has he already been given one. Would Sam and the damage he did while soulless not be a pretty big indicator that pissing about with souls is NOT a good idea?

Thanks Jasminka. Time to go and watch it again and come up with another 10 zillion thoughts. Oooh, there'll be no sleep got in the Enchanter household tonight!
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2011-05-11 03:29
Hi EnchantingTim! Oh, yes, this episode is full of important facets. I think to be a successful politician (as in: cold, effective) you can’t allow personal feelings to cloud your judgement. But Castiel is not the perfect politician in that sense. And I am glad for it.

Personally, I often saw Castiel as a knight of the Round Table. A protector, as your say, of the weak, those in need, loyal to his friends. Lancelot was flawed, too, and yet he was the greatest knight of all. But, he had also fallen victim to pride, as he told us, and – unfamiliar with revolution, still – made some serious mistakes because of it. Well, a very human trait there, isn’t it?

Thinking of the scene where Cas went against Rafael with his soul-energy fuelled Jedi tricks – I wonder, once you’ve used the soul’s energy, is it gone (which might explain why there are always more souls needed)?

I have wondered, too, what became of Adam. I trust the writers have not forgot about him. I still hope we will hear of him in the upcoming finale episodes. That said, I can’t imagine a storyline for season seven at this point. Perhaps they are planning another 5-year cycle with these seasons being connected as the first five were? Adam as the big bad? I don’t know…

You know, I think Cas got that sign – that ‘pissing about with souls is not a good idea’ – but I think he’s looking for a different sign. To my mind he’s yearning for some kind of consolation, acknowledgement and guidance from his father God. He wants to hear it. He needs advice. He’s just as helpless here as any praying person is, because God never answers directly (except perhaps to those like Jean d’Arc, but those are a rarity). He has to be content with praying, but at this moment in his life, how could he be? He’s desperate. And that, too, is a very human trait. As an angel (before he came into deep contact with the Winchesters) he didn’t suffer from thoughts like that.

Thank you so much for your comment. I hope you got some sleep! Cheers, Jas
BagginsDVM
# BagginsDVM 2011-05-11 00:34
Master Edlund really ripped my heart out & stomped on it, yet I will gladly suffer the pain, for this was a brilliant episode.
I loved how the story was framed with Cas telling his story, both to God & to us. Sitting there in that garden, praying so fervently for guidance & direction, wanting to be the loyal servant he had always been, yet trying to understand what this concept of free will (so foreign to an angel but so integral to being human) had led to him to do, asking for validation or condemnation of his actions....oh, how Cas broke my heart.

There are so many things that came to mind as I watched this episode, but just a few other quick thoughts for now:

I loved how it seemed that God set evolution in motion - "Don't step on that fish, Castiel. Big plans for that fish." Makes total sense for me.

I too refuse to believe that Cas purposefully brought Sam back soulless.

Crowley's "renovations" in Hell were brilliantly horrific. Standing in line forever... sometimes it seems like that at the conventions, but of course there's always something very worth the wait at the end of those con lines!

Jensen, Jared, Jim, Misha, Mark ...television just doesn't get any better than this!

Dawn
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2011-05-11 03:10
Hello Dawn and thank you for your thoughts. So, you are one of us masocists that love to suffer such episodes? Welcome to the club ;-) ! Aren't we a happy insane lot?

This episode will, surely, be one of my favourites, though I don't think I will watch it often - simply because it is so damn hurtful.

I love your loved scenes, too - evolution in motion, oh, yes! Apparently the show's creators aren't creationists, and I am glad about that.
Oh, dear - the waiting in line... perhaps this was indeed a shout out to conventions? Gosh, I'd like to ask Edlund, the genuius.

I agree with all my heart - this is the best television can be!

Love, Jas
sofia
# sofia 2011-05-11 09:57
Jas, this is great! Sorry I'm just getting around to reading it now...

"Ben Edlund, you evil genius". My thoughts exactly. I am constantly surprised by his talent. He has such a grasp of the inner workings of Sam, Dean, Cas and Bobby. (Do you have a term for all 4 of them?)

Like you I am absolutely heart broken about this whole ordeal. I don't even care to discuss who's at fault for what anymore. It's a just an all around bad situation.

I watched When the Levee Breaks yesterday and relived the pain of the violated trust and harsh words that couldn't be taken back. (I guess I'm a glutton for punishment) Emotions, it seems, are running just as deep now, but I did notice this time that the boy's reaction wasn't nearly as violent. You'll remember that the end of WTLB came down to fist fight between the brothers in which Sam came within inches of taking Dean's life. I really do hope that we're not still working up to that kind of violence between 'The Winchester Clan' and Cas. But at this point it seems inevitable.

Thanks again for your article, I do love reading and reliving the episode!
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2011-05-12 01:03
Thank you so much,Sofia. don't worry about being late - we have lives outside of Supernatural, and that's good and important.

You watched the Levee episode? Brave girl. That episode always tears me apart.
I can imagine, the last two episodes will be just as brutal. And we'll need all hiatus to recover...

thank you, take care, Jas
Manto
# Manto 2011-05-16 10:38
Hello Jasminka,

This is the first time I post in any forum but this episode shook me so much. I actually couldn't bring myself to watch it up until yesterday because I was sure of the heartbreak that would ensue...

I really enjoyed reading your article and I think you managed to perceive all the different POVs quite accurately. It was a very well rounded article throughout.

I have to nitpick, though, and say that in the last scene between Castiel and Dean, Dean says: 'I'm not gonna logic you'. I think this is a really important difference in that it shows all that Dean has gone through the last few years. He knows from experience that shouting, punching and talking logic has yielded no positive results, so he goes directly for the emotional route. He hopes this devastating plea will work when everything else has failed in the past.

I also want to say my two cents about the sign from God. In the preview clip for this episode Castiel says to God: 'Stop me!'. In his dialogue with Castiel Dean says exactly that: 'I will stop you'. Now, I can't possibly know why they edited that line but to me it seems deliberate. When I watched the preview that was the line that stuck with me and I thought it was very poignant. All this to say that I think the sign from God came in the form of Dean Winchester asking and pleading with Castiel to stop...

Also, I come from a country that has twice fought for our right to freedom when we were enslaved from outsiders and once for freedom over peace from an inside dictator so I absolutely understand and empathize with Castiel. The road to freedom, unfortunately, is paved with blood and devastating losses.

P.S. Sorry for coming this late in this wonderful discussion but as I said above I just yesterday watched this heartbreaking yet absolutely brilliant episode. Also I'd like to apologize for any grammar or vocabulary errors but I'm not a native English speaker.

Thank you
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2011-05-19 14:43
Hi Manto,

welcome to the site and thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. You know, what I understood was another line Dean says to Castiel, and you’re right, if he said what you heard, it would be a different moment (*note to self: watch again!* :-? )

Furthermore – I often noticed that they use different shots for the previews. Sometimes we find a scene shot from a different angle or a different facial/vocal expression in a preview and then a slightly different one in the episode.
My guess is, they shoot the scenes several times, some takes are different or are being edited later – the final decision takes place in the cutting room, then. Perhaps the producers/direc tor chose to give that scene another meaning. That would be an interesting question for a convention, I reckon.

And, well, there is a lot of truth to what you say – the road to freedom has been bloody throughout history. And, alas, it’s still so today.

I’m glad that you found our site and liked what you found. Don’t worry about your English. You’re doing fine! Please feel welcome to come back at any time. You will find an openhearted, warm atmosphere.

I’d like to ask – if it’s not too bold – where you are from. We have people coming here from all over the world, from Canada to Malaysia.

Again, thank you. Take care, Jasminka
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2011-05-19 14:43
Hi Manto,

welcome to the site and thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. You know, what I understood was another line Dean says to Castiel, and you’re right, if he said what you heard, it would be a different moment (*note to self: watch again!* :-? )

Furthermore – I often noticed that they use different shots for the previews. Sometimes we find a scene shot from a different angle or a different facial/vocal expression in a preview and then a slightly different one in the episode.
My guess is, they shoot the scenes several times, some takes are different or are being edited later – the final decision takes place in the cutting room, then. Perhaps the producers/direc tor chose to give that scene another meaning. That would be an interesting question for a convention, I reckon.

And, well, there is a lot of truth to what you say – the road to freedom has been bloody throughout history. And, alas, it’s still so today.

I’m glad that you found our site and liked what you found. Don’t worry about your English. You’re doing fine! Please feel welcome to come back at any time. You will find an openhearted, warm atmosphere.

I’d like to ask – if it’s not too bold – where you are from. We have people coming here from all over the world, from Canada to Malaysia.

Again, thank you. Take care, Jasminka
Manto
# Manto 2011-05-19 15:06
Thank you for replying to my comment! I was actually nervous posting for the first time..

I don't watch a lot of TV shows but Supernatural is the only one I have to go back and watch multiple times because every viewing reveals yet another layer you wouldn't have noticed without knowing the end result.

The beauty of Supernatural is (in this case, the sign from God)the way it is presented, any number of things could be the sign depending on our own unique perspective. I like that in the show: that I am able to interpret what I see without anyone telling me what to think.

I am from Greece!! Supernatural aired only its first season here at 2 in the morning, I think, and I was lucky enough to stumble upon Skin. After that I HAD to hunt down the entire series. There isn't anything like that in our TV program; the directing, the acting, the imagination... To tell you the truth I stopped watching Greek series after Supernatural!!

Thank you again and I look forward to reading your article about the finale!
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2011-05-20 08:22
???? ???,Manto, welcome dear Greek!
I'm really amazed, how international we are here!

Personally, I've always had a soft spot for Greece, not only because I spent one of the most beautiful holidays on ??????? once, but also because of her extraordinary history and culture. I've met the nicest people there (and the Greek patients I've had have been utterly endearing, too...)

It's great that you were able to find Supernatural and catch up on the other episodes! For me it's the best show on TV at present. Yes, because of its many layers... :-)

See you soon, ?????????, Jasminka (I don't speak Greek, I'm afraid, just a few words are left from my holidays... ;-) )
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2011-05-20 14:25
actually, Manto, I wrote a few words in Greek here (hello, Kerkira, and Thank you), but this program is not taking them...
Manto
# Manto 2011-05-20 14:44
Oh it's OK! Since my internet provider is Greek, I was able to read them in my inbox!!! No worries... :-)

I bet tonight the posters will be on fire! Unfortunately, I don't know when I'll be able to watch the two-part finale so I'll step away from the site until then. But as soon as I watch it I'll come and probably join in the discussions!!