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There are missing people posters on a telephone pole, all women. The Impala, looking mighty fine in the rain, is slowly cruising through an empty downtown block. I’m guessing that more than a few are missing. A jeep is behind them carrying Ellen, Jo, and Castiel. Wow, those girls really like him. I love how they bonded. Sam and Dean have their cell phones out, but no signal. We know that’s never a good sign. Dean waves Ellen and Jo over and tells them they’re going to check out the PD. They should stay there and try to find something. Ellen pulls over and she and Jo get out. Jo notices Castiel is still in the back seat and knocks. “Ever heard of a door handle.” She turns around and poof, Castiel is behind her. “Of course I have.” Show off angels.

Castiel looks around, something is definitely not right. Of course only he can see what’s really wrong. The perks of angeldom I guess. I love this shot. Castiel looks around at the empty street all alarmed and Ellen asks “What is it, Cas?” Castiel says the town’s not empty. The camera starts from Castiel’s right showing Ellen and Jo’s point of view of an empty street and swipes to the left behind Cas. Then on the other side of Cas there are tons of older men standing there in formation wearing dark suits. Great shot! The director in this one is the always talented Phil Sgriccia and he does wonders again.

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Castiel says there are reapers. Ellen asks if there’s more than one. Judging by the way Castiel is looking all around, even on rooftops, I’d say yes. “They only gather like this in times of great catastrophe. Chicago fire, the San Francisco earthquake, Pompeii.” Carthage, Missouri? Population 3? No, I’m sure there’s more than that but these small Midwestern towns don’t scale like that. So yes, something else must be up. Castiel tells them he needs to find out why they’re here and walks off to do his mysterious angel act.

Castiel walks around and the reapers don’t respond, except he spots one up in the window with white eyes staring at him before walking away. Within a flash Castiel is up there and goes down the hall to investigate. It’s a trap Cas! Someone says “Hello brother” and Castiel is bathed in white light. Oops, too late. I must say, the feeling of this whole scene is really creepy. It’s so good to see Castiel finally getting something meaty this season. His storylines have been so lacking so far. Back to Ellen and Jo, who are reuniting with Sam and Dean. They both got nothing except for Cas finding the reapers. A shared glance of brotherly worry.

They should be worried! Castiel is in a room trapped in his own flaming circle of angel doom. Ha, the shoe’s on the other foot, huh Cas? He turns toward the corner and it’s the big bad himself. Lucifer in a Nick suit. Cas knows who he is. “So I take it you’re here with the Winchesters,” Lucifer surmises. I get that he’s smart, but come on, that’s not much of a stretch. They’re like yin and yang these days. Castiel gives the most unconvincing “I came alone.” Aww, his loyalty is so endearing. Lucifer even notices that. “Loyalty, it’s such a nice quality in this day and age.”

Might I comment here that the way the light from the ring is reflecting off of Misha’s face, his eyes come across as black as night. They’re quite entrancing. I thought I was blown away by his baby blues. Great job to the crew on this one. “Castiel, right?” Lucifer asks. “I’m told you came here in an automobile. What was that like?” Castiel gives the honest answer. “Um, slow. Confining.” Cas doesn’t understand that Lucifer is using that humiliation as a chance to convince him that joining him would be cooler. Lucifer calls him peculiar. Oh yeah, well Castiel’s meat suit isn’t rotting. “What’s wrong with your vessel?” Castiel asks Lucifer. Nick isn’t doing so good. His eyes are gaunt and his skin is peeling in some bad ways.

Lucifer, who doesn’t lie, even when being purely evil, confesses that Nick is wearing a bit thin. He can’t hold him forever. This riles up Cas who tries to charge Lucifer, but that flaming ring stops him. Pesky angel traps. Then this part is so great! Castiel gets all tough. “You are not taking Sam Winchester. I won’t let you.” Whoo hoo! I just fell in love with Cas ten times more. Lucifer doesn’t understand why he’s fighting him, of all the angels. After all, they both rebelled and were cast out. He kind of has a point there but their intentions were hardly similar. I think that is an issue being raised here with the whole Sam and Dean betrayal and being vessels thing. Do good intentions matter? Will motives in the end save Sam and Dean? Who knows?

“Almost all of heaven wants to see me dead and if they succeed guess what, you’re their new public enemy number one.” I think you’re overestimating Castiel’s importance in the food chain there Luci. “We’re on the same side like it or not, so why not serve your own best interests, which in this case just happen to be mine.” That’s the cool thing about Lucifer, we know he’s speaking the truth. Or his own twisted version of the truth. “I’ll die first,” Castiel says and I know he’s telling the truth. “I suppose you will,” Lucifer replies.

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Back to Sam, Dean, Ellen and Jo walking alone in the town. Dean notices they’ve only been in town twenty minutes and have lost the angel up their sleeve. The theory is Lucifer got him. “I don’t know what else to think,” Dean says. “There you are” someone says from a distance. It’s Meg. I guess I’m not shocked since I saw this in the preview. She’s quite a bit sassier in this one compared to the premiere. “Meg,” Sam says, just in case we’re confused. She says they shouldn’t have come there. Dean charges forward and points the colt at her. She isn’t scared.

“Didn’t come here alone Deano.” Hey! That’s my pet name for him bitch. Invisible growling beasts pop up around her. Dean knows hellhounds when he sees them. I mean hears them. “Yeah Dean, your favorite.” She tells them her father wants to see them and Sam says they’ll pass. She gives them the “make it easy or make it really, really hard” ultimatum. They’re completely surrounded by hellhounds. Those are the best things to use on a low budget. It’s like Jaws. They’re totally scary because you know they’re there, the horror in which everyone is reacting shows they’re in deep trouble, but there’s nothing really there. Thanks to a few strategically placed growls though and they become the boogeyman.

Dean shoots a hellhound next to Meg. At first I wondered why he didn’t shoot Meg, but that wouldn’t have helped them with the invisible hellhounds. Better they take one of them out while they know where one is. They all run and during the jagged sequence we get the view of the fleeing hunters from the eyes of the hellhound. Awesome. One gets Dean and pulls him to the ground. Jo then jumps in and blows one back with the shotgun. That’s enough time though for another to turn on her. She gets knocked to the ground and is sliced and diced, must like Dean in “No Rest For The Wicked” (still crying!) Sam shoots that hellhound and Dean picks up a Jo, who’ pretty well gored and spattered with blood. Sam and Ellen keep shooting and Dean with Jo in his arms leads the charge into a local hardware store.

Sam is the last man in holding off the hounds while Dean takes one bad looking Jo over to the counter. Blood is trailing everywhere. While Ellen tends to her Sam and Dean chain up and salt down the place. This all happens in classic Phil Sgriccia shaky camera action, which adds to the intensity. He is the master of action on this show. Sam and Dean come over and while Jo is reeling in agony Ellen pulls back Jo’s hand off the wound. Her guts practically pop out. Ugh, she’s a goner. This is where Ellen, Sam and Dean only communicate with their eyes and worried faces and it’s pure gold. Man, why aren’t these actors together more often?

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To say that could have gone better would be an understatement.

Ellen is nursing Jo and a devastated Sam brings over supplies. He goes over to Dean who’s trying to get a short wave radio going. I suppose I believe an old fashioned hardware store in a small Midwestern town still has one of those things. Dean asks how Jo’s doing and Sam is at a loss for words. He looks like he’s going to cry. He tells Dean the salt line is holding up. They’re trapped like rats. Dean, whose acting in complete control, reminds Sam what Meg said. Her father is there. This is their one shot no matter what. Sam doesn’t like it, but doesn’t question Dean either. What amazes me is how this is all an act for Sam’s benefit.

Dean gets the radio working and Ellen asks Sam for help. Back to Bobby who is trying to call the boys on the cell phone. Oh yeah, that doesn’t work. Bobby hears Dean on the radio and swiftly answers. “Bobby, we’ve got problems,” Dean says. There goes that understatement thing again. How about, “Bobby, we’re totally screwed.” Bobby has about one second of worry and then answers. “It’s okay boy, that’s why I’m here. Is everyone alright?” Back to Dean, who’s losing it. He tells him no. It’s Jo and it’s pretty bad. Bobby takes another second to take in the bad news and goes on. It’s time to figure out what to do next. Dean can’t, for its time for his mini-meltdown. He’s fighting everything within not to bust out in full fledged sobbing. Bobby gets all tough as if he knows exactly what’s happening to Dean. “I said what do we do next Dean?” Dean takes another second of two to fall apart, even burying his head in his hand. Come to me Dean and we’ll have some ice cream and a good cry together.

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Dean pulls it together, because that’s what heroes do. Bobby wants to know what he’s got. Fade to later and Bobby is asking how many reapers Castiel saw. Dean isn’t sure and judging by the edge in his voice, he’s still pretty upset. Does the number matter? Yep. Ellen comes over and says that by the way Castiel was looking around, over dozen reapers probably more. I’d go with the probably more. Bobby doesn’t like that. Dean knows it’s bad but why. “It sounds like death son. I think Satan’s in town to work a ritual.” He’s planning to unleash Death.

Dean needs clarification. “You mean like this dude and taxes are the only sure thing?” Yeah, I’d say that Death. The horseman, the pale rider in the flesh. Dean thought Death was always walking the earth. “Hell, I’ve died several times myself.” Yes Dean, you and Sam both. You’re both like cats, even though Sam looks like a puppy. Bobby clarifies not this guy. This is big daddy reaper. He’s kept in a box 600 ft under. Last time he was unleashed Noah was building a boat. You want to know how many people in New Orleans took the Katrina flood to be a sign of the apocalypse? After seeing this, they could be right.

Comments  

Jasminka
# Jasminka 2009-11-30 02:35
Alice, I’ve already run out of tissues, couldn’t you wait with posting this until I replenished my stocks? But thank you anyway for this deeply moving recap, though I had to use a towel in lieu of Kleenex. ;-)

I really liked Crowley, too, I like his style, his weird combo of listening to easy music and watching the worst division of Nazi-soldiers. If I’m not mistaken those were SS-uniforms, the so-called death’s head squadron, infamous for their cruelty. Fitting for demon, I guess.

Please, keep speculating about Sam’s craving for demon power, I do it as well. He was very cold there, no more hesitating about killing humans ridden by demons. Desperate times, desperate measures. I miss the gentle Sammy, but I love this one, too. I guess, I just love Sam, period, in whatever mood he is in.

I second your remark about whether things are perfect between the brothers – I don’t think so. They probably put it away to not waste their potentially last night with fighting, but the issues are certainly still there and will undoubtedly surface again, soon.
But seeing them at that table, so grown up and supportive of each other (despite the undertones) made my heart leap with joy. For the last time while watching this episode. There was no room for that afterwards.

Cas showing in his conversation with Lucifer how hard he will fight for the Winchesters and this world, was great, and Castiel keeps growing on me (and, by the way, Misha never looked better).

After that first encounter of Cas and Luci (yes, I know…) there is no time to admire the good looks of anyone here, as it is pure heartbreak that ensues. Dean carrying a lethally wounded Jo into the store, everyone realizing she won’t be going anywhere but they still tried to lie to themselves about that, because they can’t handle that notion, Dean’s breakdown, Bobby’s splitsecond-bre akdown before pulling Dean back, Ellen’s breakdown, silent good-byes, Ellen staying with her daughter, Jo’s heartbreak and relief about her mother not leaving her, ever missed Kim Manners.
I’m growing tired of every fiend rubbing Sam’s history with his brother into his face – come on, guys, he knows. No need to bring it up again and again. Running out of arguments, folks?

And then the ‘funeral scene’, burning that picture… the guys’ solemn and silent expressions are all we need to know what’s going on. It was a heroines’ burial. Sort of. But it captured the emotion…

Speaking of… I’m an emotional mess. I just watched this episode with a friend who wasn’t able to get it online yesterday. I couldn’t stop crying, it got even worse than watching it the first time. What’s going on with me?! I feel quite vulnerable these days, but this – oh my. This episode reminded me like no other of my losses, and it drowned me in those emotions. Great film making, be it movie or such an incredible tv-show does that. Kudos to everyone – I have rarely seen better acting on this show, and the composition of this episode was exceptional.

Thanks so much for doing this episode justice with this great review. I’m going to need another pot of hot chocolate and a lot of those candles that smell like Christmas cookies which I pile up every winter to recover from that episode. Whatever it takes.


:cry::

Cheers, Jas
Suze
# Suze 2009-11-30 07:03
Bastards. It's just not fair.

I've been cheerfully imagining Jo dead ever since " No Exit " and she finally goes and it's awful! Be careful what you wish for ...

Love Crowley ( he reminds me of someone I know, which is slightly worrying ... ) Also loving the whole Doomladen Pit of Hopeless Despair thing they've got going ... Darkest hour before the dawn, surely ( or rather, knowing Mr. K, the darkest hour before the really dark bit where everyone dies horribly and evil triumphs forever, but we've got that to look forward to ... lucky old us ... )

Castiel channels Legolas, hurrah! Perfect profile, no people skills, it all fits ...
Randal
# Randal 2009-11-30 12:25
You all cried during that episode? Really? Saps.

That was one mofo of an hour (six hours if you include all the goddamn commercials). If that was Totenkopf, those psychopaths were originally mixed up with the early days of the political camps. Yeah, demony. Crowley simply must come back.

I, too, don't think things are 100% hunky dory between them, but even if issues are on the back burner, time can surreptitiously heal. Will they ever be perfect again? Who's to say, but they know (even Dean) that the other is still fueled by a humanity.

Cas is adapting to the dissipation of his powers, which is cool to see, and if he is channeling Legolas, he too will soon be fighting side by side, not with charges, but with friends.

Dammit, I'd love to type more, but this damn cat keeps on walking on the keyboard.
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2009-11-30 14:42
Randal, I’m going to have t-shirts printed, saying ‘I’m a happy sap’ – are you really trying to convince us that it was only something in your eye? 8-)

P.S.-do you actually say 'totenkopf'? One of those German words that entered the English language? So, there was no need to translate it, good to know.

;-),Jas
Sablegreen
# Sablegreen 2009-11-30 15:25
Alice, thanks so much again for such a great recap.

I was also surprised that the boys tried the devils-trap-und er-the-rug- trick. I thought that was just a ruse to lull Crowley into a false sense of security and they really had Cas or Ellen or Jo ready for the real attack. That was a let down. Also the boys were certainly over powered very easily. But they had too much to cover in this episode so, acquiring the colt couldn’t take much time. Yes, the interplay between the boys and Crowley was not as one would expect from the boys. Again it just seemed this part of the epi was rushed. I would have liked to see this as a stand alone epi myself. I know there are only 22 epi, they can do, but there are one or two so far this year I could have done without.

The connection with Cas and Crowley was a surprise. I wondered if it was more than just picking up on grapevine gossip. After all Cas is still an angel, and while he may not have ties to his angel brothers, I wouldn’t have thought he knew many demons either. My mind went back to Ruby. How she always found the right answer, how she always came up with info ‘through the grapevine’, how she saved the boys on many occasions, but we found out she had her own agenda, and all that was necessary for her goal. I was happy to see that Cas really seemed sincere in his vow of loyalty to Sam and Dean. So far this season, Cas has been developing into a good friend. Given Kripke’s twists and turns, I hope that is true.

I also liked Cas’s reaction to Lucifer. Cas really never once accepted or even considered Lucifer’s comments as true. He lies and Cas has not a doubt in his mind about that. Sam on the other hand, was not as solid. His weakness is he anger, and I really wish Kripke had put more effort in dealing with it this first half. And yes, that involves Sam’s powers…which are not gone. Not if you believe past episodes.

The boys toasting each other was a good sight too see. Yes, I think they are really back....deep down, I like to think they never left. I suspect Kripke will still tear at that concept, but that’s just what he does..

I do have to agree that Dean’s caution was valid. When Sam came on so strong, I really reminded me of the Sam of s4. Hell bent on revenge, letting anger guide the way. It was risking a lot to put Lucifer and Sam in the same space. Sure we know there are 12 more epi, but Dean doesn’t. With so much at stake, this was not a good tactical decision. This resulted in the death of Jo and Ellen, and flaring anger from Sam….just want Lucifer wants.

Bobby held Dean together which is what the boys counts on Bobby to do. Hope that connection is ever touched by Kripke. The hint of a relationship lost between Jo and Dean was pivotal to this episode. Too bad Kripke didn’t ever have this relationship develop in past seasons. But then, it probably would have ended just as Sam’s and Jessica’s did. The boys are NOT allow any ‘life’ outside of angels and demons.
Sablegreen
# Sablegreen 2009-11-30 15:30
Oops, meant 'hope that connection is NEVER touched' Don't know what happened to the 'n'. :-)
Bevie
# Bevie 2009-11-30 17:15
Thanks a bunch for making me cry AGAIN! LOL

Just kidding. A fine recap indeed, capturing all the emotional pitfalls from all the marvellous characters inhabiting this Supernatural universe.

I was never one of the Jo haters. I really liked her from her first appearance with the rifle in ELAC, and she just got better in all of her following episodes until excelling in this AAH. Whatever was unspoken between Dean and Jo will never be known now that she is gone. I really believe that Dean had a great affection for her (Maybe even a possible future love).
I'm really grieving for the loss of wonderful Ellen and Jo. I admired Ellen's no nonsense character from the first viewing as well. Rest in Peace you two exceptional women!

Loving Cas being the badass he can be, defending the boys and loving the way he walked over Meg to get out of the fire. Hope he is taking care of Dean's amulet
and NOT LOSING IT! Did he steal Dean's ring and bracelet also? Still wondering where they went to.

Love the way the boys are back together. Things must be a little better now if they can snark back and forth again. The losses of Ellen and Jo should drive home the need for them both to be adamant with not becoming mere meat suits for two warring angels. Let the very HUMAN Winchesters triumph in the end to defeat the smarmy Lucifer! And for God's sake, Kripke, keep Bobby alive for they really really need his backing, advice and loving encouragements to be able to persevere in the face of all this tragedy. Please, haven't they lost enough already?

Wondering just what Lucifer is wanting. Does he hope to put himself in God's place in heaven? If he rids the world of humans and demons alike, what else is there for him? Ruling over the heavenly hosts? What about all the humans through the years that also occupy a place there. Are they at risk from him?
Randal
# Randal 2009-11-30 18:57
Jasminka, those shirts would go well with the 'got salt?' ones. 8-)

No, that word hasn't 'entered' English, really, I'm just a history geek.

sablegreen, that's really my one big problem with the episode: almost too much for one hour. They did a good job (obviously, as it was f-ing great teevee), but I would have loved it over two hours, could have fleshed out/mercilessly teased stuff even further.
anene
# anene 2009-11-30 19:22
Eh! This episode fell flat for me on account of the lack of a cliff-hanger and Sam and Dean moments that i watch the show for.

High points:
Ellen and Jo's death were really heartbreaking. I'm gonna miss Ellen. That was Alona's and Samantha's best work.

Cas is back to being the warrior he was back in season 4 that i liked with the bonus of being on team Winchester. I just hope he stays that way instead of the weepy sap he turned into since season 5 began.

Mark Pelligrino was wicked as Lucifer. Of all the angels, he is my favourite. I really want to see how he plans to get Sam to say yes to him.

There was a lot of pretty shots of Sam and Dean's lovely faces.

Misha is very pretty.

Crowley's smooching of the business man.

Low point:
The taking of the picture and burning it doesn't make any sense and seems too rushed and forced. Good riddance anyways.

It didn't do it for me. Dean shouldn't have been knocked out. He should have been awake to hear what Lucifer said to Sam. The scene would have been better.

Too much secondary character that i like but i seriously would rather have more Sam and Dean to bother about for a re-watch.
Narcissus
# Narcissus 2009-11-30 21:43
Another great recap in a line of great recaps :mrgreen:

I agree with you guys, the boys definitely still have some issues simmering away on the 'back burner' as Randal said. I think they're going to leave it that way, until the pot boils over and everything explodes, then they're going to have one angsty showdown, and then push everything to the back again. But the show being the show, things will never happen as predicted. Heh.

Ellen and Jo...what else can I say that hasn't been said? It was mind-blowing, amazing, spectacular, heart-shatterin g, sweet, scary, tragic....etc.. .

For me, I think Lucifer has become the guy I love to hate...he's such a slime-ball, and everyone who's played him did such a great job.

Crowley..love him too. I'd love to see where the writers are going with him. Alice, I love your theory about Lilith in TMATEOTB..it makes sense.

Castiel is raising the kick-ass quota, big time. He's making up for his lack of powers by learning some of the subtle nuances which makes humans, humans. Love the way he handled Lucifer and Meg too.

And I can't believe I'm finally saying this after five seasons: Sam needs a haircut!! Actually, his hair is looking pretty good this season, except that it's just getting a bit too...floppy.

To finally shut up, this episode is one of the best bits of TV of all time. Tune in world, and see how good story telling is done!