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Okay, as a whole I wasn't quite a fan of this one. As a matter of fact, my re-watch of this episode is going through it for the recap. I was even less impressed the second time. Let's find out why.
The "THEN" segment is promising, for it features The Trickster/Gabriel. That means he'll be in this episode. Cool thing, he's my favorite recurring character. Might I also add that this "THEN" part is really long, meaning this week's episode was short on time. "NOW"… A dark night, it's raining, it's Muncie, Indiana (home of Ball State), there's an abandoned motel from the 60's and a car pulls up. It's this week's redshirt. A local cop and looks around with a flashlight. As he's walking by all the ruins, a dead potted plant suddenly starts blooming flowers. 
He checks around some more and sees nothing, then notices the cracks on a broken mirror on the wall start to disappear, putting the mirror back intact. That's kind of cool! Cop turns around after seeing the newly formed mirror and there's a guy there in a red jacket, bowtie, and a smile. "Buddy, you can't be here," the cop says. "Of course I can," replies the guy. "Someone's got to get everything ready. They're coming, all of them." To Muncie? All the powerful mythological Gods of the Universe and they're in this Godforsaken part of flat boring Indiana? Couldn't they have done Vegas or something? Red jacket dude continues. "And we've each got our part to play, even you." The guy doesn't understand. "You're dinner," red jacket says with a big grin. He grabs him and we get the infamous blood spatter against the wall. Okay, a very standard teaser.

Lounge music comes on and suddenly the old rundown mess is bright, flashy, and new. The illuminated sign proudly shows "The Elysian Fields Hotel." The place is all beautiful and lit up outside with new neon signs in the pouring rain. Enter Impala. Sam and Dean burst into the hotel lobby sopping wet and quite a little stunned by what they see. It's a high class place bustling with people. "Nice digs for once," Dean says. Of course that's when I see Richard Speight Jr. in the cast list, so yes, there will be Trickster/Gabriel in this one. I'm happy!
Red jacket happens to be the clerk at the desk and he types quickly into the fancy state of the art computer reservation system. Dean makes small talk that it's a busy night and red jacket comments it's the only port in the storm. Yeah, neon like that in rural Indiana does indeed stick out like a sore thumb. Come to think of it, anything does that isn't farm related. He has Dean full out the registration card and then points out Dean has a little shaving nick on his neck. He produces a Kleenex in no time. Dean checks, sure enough, he's bleeding. Remember this, it's important for later.
Red jacket with a smile produces the key for Dean and this place is not fancy enough to have key cards? I know a key is retro but the décor hints old with modern thrown in. It just seems off. Yep, that observation is coming from a technology guru. Dean asks if there's a coffee shop and red jacket boasts about their all you can eat buffet in the hotel. "Best pie in the tri-state area." So their pie is better than what Ohio and Michigan has to offer? Yeah, probably. That's not much of a stretch in those parts. That gets Dean smiling.
Next Dean is at a table with many luscious pies and he's having a hard time choosing which one to have. How about both? A short man in horned rimmed glasses is there and says "Heaven, right?" Dean replies with a smile "Trust me pal, better." Ha! He would know. Dean then grabs a truffle off one of the pies and eats it. He walks through this nice restaurant with the red table cloths and comes across an Indian woman sitting there enjoying a cosmo. Dean channels his inner Joey Tribbiani. "How you doing?" Seriously? Give me a break. Bad writers, Bad! She says no. Dean tries to talk more and she keeps saying no. Dean tries to get out he means no offense and she understands. "And no." Well that's one way to shut Dean down, I guess. It's all kind of a head scratcher to me. 
He goes to the table where Sam is, who has an untouched plate of food. It looks like chicken, a bunch of vegetables and corn on the cob. At least it's not salad. Sam is checking the Blackberry and looking pretty dire. "Sam, unpucker man, eat something." Sam wants to hit the road. Dean can't believe he wants to go in this weather, but Sam gives that as the reason. It's biblical. "It's freaking Noah's ark out there and we're eating pie." Oh Sam, come on. For one, you're not eating pie. You never do. Second, you just worked your way back to greatness in the last few weeks holding things together. You're back to being a wet blanket again? 
Dean looks at him with skepticism. "How many hours of sleep you get this week. Three, four?" Sam brushes it off. You know, I'm trying to figure out how Sam is still standing if that is the case. Bobby has his feelers out and they've talked to just about everyone they could in twelve states. Get cracking then, you've got 38 more to go. Plus 10 Canadian provinces and 3 territories. When are Sam and Dean going to Canada BTW? Wouldn't it be nice if a show filmed in Canada for once took place in Canada? Sam declares he's not giving up. Dean says no one is giving up, especially him. "We're gonna find a way to beat the Devil, okay, soon, I can feel it, and we'll find Cas and we'll find Adam but you are no good to me burnt out." Sam says okay and puts the phone away. Dean points out they actually get the night off for once and try to enjoy it.  Right, when has that ever happened? 
The waitress walks by and she goes into the kitchen. Sure enough on the butcher table is half of a human arm. Man, these boys can't get a break, can they? When are we going to have an episode where Sam and Dean sit in a hot tub drinking beers and flirt with women all hour? Right, season nine. Sam and Dean are in the hallway walking back to their room and see a young honeymooning couple pawing each other. They of course watch and Dean is really being amused. Sam asks Dean if he's twelve. "I'm young at heart," Dean replies. Meh, there are so many better ways to answer that. Of course I can't come up with anything off the top of my head, so I'll move on. 
They enter the room and Dean is impressed, claiming they're like the Rockefellers. There's even chocolates on the bed. Dean naturally goes for his and Sam's as well, but Sam doesn't seem to care.  Dean then gets really excited, for Casa Erotica 13 is On Demand. I'm still wondering how many times he's see the other twelve. We know Sam took a liking to #4. Sam doesn't care though because he's too busy trying to figure out how they stumbled upon this place. "So what's a four star hotel doing on a no star highway."  Sam, you can't enjoy anything, can you? Welcome back wet blanket Sam.
The honeymooning couple next door is going at it pretty hot and heavy and Dean has that wicked smile. Then there's a huge pounding on the wall that breaks it in, almost dislodging the very nice flat screen TV from the wall. Sam and Dean naturally have to check it out and you know, it's strange to say this, but I'm getting kind of bored. 8 minutes in and this is it? I've gotten way too spoiled by other episodes recently. I'm just going to breeze through the next several parts. 
Sam and Dean check out the room next door. Couple isn't there but they find the wedding ring on the floor. They decide to ask red jacket about it at the front desk. He says they checked out just a few minutes ago. Sam notices that being weird since they were in the middle of something. Dean then shows off the ring, so red jacket with his slimy grin says he'll put that in the lost and found. So Sam and Dean check out the place. Sam follows red jacket but loses him and suddenly he has the same knick on the neck Dean did earlier. Dean gets out the EMF meter (at least it's good to see that again) and while walking by a room he sees an elephant. Yep, an elephant. He goes back and there's a black man there in a towel.   "This ain't no peep show man," he says slamming the door. Um, this going anywhere? 


# Tigershire 2010-04-29 01:36
Hey Alice,
OK, you have some very good points. I too thought Dean's talk to Gabriel about killing his brother was WAY out of character.

However, the whole Gabriel buys the farm and then tells the boys about the ring thing....well.

Have you ever been under pressure and rationalized an idea to yourself that, given more time and clearer thinking you would not have done?

Or, look at it this way. Lucifer has always been stronger than Gabe. He knows it. (back before Lucifer ended up in his box, you can just picture it....Gabe being all, I'm a bad ass angel, and Lucifer grabbing him in a headlock and giving Gabe a nuggie going all "awe, you're so cute little bro"...)

Then Luci ends up in a change, the tension at home is MASSIVE and Gabe books it for witness protection. Now he's down with the humans, he's stronger than all of them and he gets to know them the way NONE of this brothers have.

I think Gabe really had no idea what he was up against. Sure, he talked like he did, but I think it was all a front. He hasn't had dealing with his brother in millenia. He would have an idea of what to expect, but he probably wasn't really in the know any more than the Winchesters. I think it that he may have convinced himself that it was more likely he could take Lucifer out then the boys succeeding in getting the rest of the rings and getting Lucifer back in his cage.

I also agree with what Pete has said. Gabriel needed to get off the fence and stand up for himself.

And he did. In fine fashion. He will be missed.

Yes, Alice, even when you don't particularly like an episode you do a great recap. Thanks.
# Suze 2010-04-29 07:08
Now the euphoria's worn off some this one does look a bit shonky ... Some good moments, especially at the end, but the Gods were all rather bargain basement. For the record Baldur was a D-list cutie whose sole claim to fame was that he was killed by his brother - Maybe that's why they chose him and not Thor or someone more interesting. Odin did go in for hanged sacrifices, animal and human, but the whole canibalism thing was just a lot of cheap yuk-moments to fill out the story.

It might just be wishful thinking but I don't think the Trickster's going to stay dead. ( I mean, who does? ) The only God to go unsmushed was his not-entirely-ex -sweetie-pie who scampered off to parts unknown with a vial of his blood and mythology is loaded with characters who die and then get regenerated from their own toenails or whatever ( Osiris and, er ... lots of others I'll remember in a minute ... ) So who knows? I really, really hope he does pop up again further down the line. He was great, and if they keep chopping throught the regulars at this rate there'll be no-one left to to f*ck up the guys in S6!
# Jasminka 2010-04-29 09:58
Why did Gabriel have to die? I think the answer seems simple (I still hope it’s not, I always loved the multilayered complexity of the show) – the myth arc has to come to a close, angels have to go, respectively have to be killed off. That’s how it appears to be (again: hoping to be proved wrong, though, there’s one particular angel I’d like to see again – and I would have loved to see more or Richard Spreight Jr., I loved his character, my fave pain in the ass).

Why didn’t Gabriel with his knack for survival and hedonism come to the brothers, tell them how to get Lucifer into his cage and help them do it? That would have also been standing up to his brother in the end, but with a realistic chance (well, maybe) to perhaps survive the confrontation. Except – Gabriel was suicidal and hoped to be killed by his brother. His speech about humankind shows a different state of mind, though. He would have been more useful to the brothers alive, this sacrifice was senseless. He could have left his double to confront Lucifer while leaving with the Winchesters.

Initially I wasn’t crazy about this episode, but I kinda liked it. After reading your review on blogcritics I was having second thoughts, watched it again, and now I think I agree in many aspects with you.

Some things also bothered me, after re-watching it – the Gods, for instance. What kind of assembly was that? One of the Big Norse Kahunas, Odin and Baldur also? , but Ganesh (and if he was there, why was Kali also present, one Hindu God might have been enough)? The Roman Gods sent Mercury, probably to report to Jupiter (had it been the Greeks we would have seen Hermes here)… and what about the other religions?

I know, this might be a bit geeky here (or nerdy?) but why were some religions twice represented and other were not? A Voodoo guy, and Zao Shen but no other ones? Really cool would have been to bring Osiris into the mix (the guy certainly would not like to give his underworld thing to Lucifer, eh?) or some other goddess… there are so many religions out there. We never really heard of those, but now they’re brought up, shortly before the apocalypse?

The writers try to save this with Kali’s Western-arrogan ce speech, and I agree with you, Alice, poorly done. This was no goddess, more a whiny teen (I’m thinking ‘evil’ Galadriel when it comes to the goddess I would have loved to see here). None of the ‘gods’ actually convinced me to be a powerful, immortal being. This was a wanting Clash of the Titans impression.

And I agree with you Alice, several ‘Bazinga’ moments here – due to the writers who are not so familiar with the characters? What was this episode intended for? A filler before the real end begins? A means to get rid off another angel?

What did I like – well, I don’t mind watching the guys do their thing, as I just love the characters, even when an episode is not exactly the best one, but am disappointed when out of character moments happen. Same goes for Dean being his old self (just like that, as I said before, that was not authentic, to my mind) and Sam… well, that I bought more, as he might just be freaked out with Lucifer approaching, still in mind Dean’s open voiced mistrust concerning the matter. I still believe, Lucifer will ‘wear Sam to the prom’ (I would just love to see Jared play that again! I’m hungry for some great acting, always guilty of that), and I think deep down Sam believes that, too.

I loved Lucifer’s demonstration of power – we had not been informed before how powerful he exactly is. This is one scary dude. I loved the confrontation (minus the killing) of Lucifer and Gabriel and Gabriels I-believe-in-hu manity speech. Hated him being killed off so senselessly, though.

Loved your recap, Alice. It’s always like watching an episode again. I concur with the other comments – even when you don’t like an episode, you give us a fine recap, and that’s what a good writer should be able to do. Kudos to you.

Best , Jas
# Randal 2010-04-29 10:30
One of the finest Simpsons lines ever!

To play devil's advocate a few times, I get the whole save the world thing, but Sam and Dean versus a bunch of gods? Though I was disappointed that both Norsemen weren't more hardass than they should have been.

To riff on Jas' geekery, and this is only speculation, I assume that in the SPN cosmology, the power of a god or goddess rises and falls based on how much he/she/it is worshiped, prayed to, etc. Consider how weak they are compared to the minions of the largest cult on earth.

Plus, world serpents and turtles are far more interesting than monotheism, plus plus you'd be a bit bummed too if you had hypocritical Jesusheads running around fucking up your minions for centuries. This is why we're lucky Ohio doesn't have any. ;-)

One thing I do agree with you is, where the hell is Raphael? Um, one of the archangels, might want to give him at least one more scene.

And nothing amps up the angst-o-meter like killing off a legitimate hero. I wouldn't call his death senseless. Remember, he's not shying away from the hubris either, been hoisting own petards for centuries. It wouldn't surprise me at all if he honestly thought he could knock Lucifer off. The Winchesters' stubborn humanism rubbed off on him, and hell, he *was* shocked when Lucifer wasn't fooled by his illusions.

Bugs? Seriously? I enjoyed this episode (though yeah, a few moments upon second reflection were a tad Bazinga-y perhaps) but at least you write the best recaps around or we'd have to go Simpsons again:

"Hey you, let's fight!"
"Them's fightin' words!" :D
# elle 2010-04-29 13:03
Hi Alice,
Great recap! I too was crushed that Gabriel died - he wsa my favourite recurring character (followed by Chuck). Regarding the illogic of Gabe trying to kill Lucifer despite knowing about the rings - to me, it seemed that he was forced into that confrontation because Lucifer had Kali and the boys. Gabriel wanted to get them away, but had he gone with them, Lucifer would have been hot on their heels without anyone to distract/hold him off. I don't think Gabriel expected to win - hence the dvd plan b - but he took a shot and if by some miracle he defeated Lucifer, all the better. I sincerely hope we seem Gabriel again - even if the storyline has to be brought to an end (which begs the question - what about Cas?!?!? He HAS to stay!!!) I'm sure the super clever minds behind this show could find a new way to use him.
Thanks for the recap!
T-minus 8 hours to episode 20!
# Bevie 2010-04-29 13:43
Have to agree with the rest here Alice. Even when you don't like an episode your review is still great and this one was really amusing.

I hated hated hated that they killed off my favourite antagonist the Trickster! Will really miss his irony and sarcasm something fierce. You perished being a real hero Gabe and will not be forgotten. (and hopefully be brought back sometime in the future. Perhaps Dad will take pity on his wayward son and being him back like he did Cas).

It was a relief to me to see Dean seem like his old self again. He even looked years younger. So good to see him smile again and get to eat his pie. Dean happy (or not entirely in despair) makes me happy. Sammy was a little bit of a wet blanket here, but then he's not getting enough sleep and wore himself out last episode trying to fix his brother.

Rather than looking forward to the next episodes, I find myself only worrying about the safety of Bobby and Cas. The writers are hell bent on desiccating the cast of this show and I feel like mourning even though I presume our boys will triumph. And I have NO DESIRE to see either one of them being mere meat suits for Luci and Mike. I hope they stay human and that Team Free Will will be victorious in the end.

At the shallow end of the pool, didn't they look gorgeous soaking wet at the start of the episode? Woohoo! ;-)
# Tigershire 2010-04-29 15:40
BTW, just because everything seems to mean something on this show, I looked up the name of the motel on good old Wikipedia....

The Elysian Fields Motel

In Greek mythology, the Elysian Fields in Elysium were the final resting place of the souls of the heroic and the virtuous.

Of course. :-)
# Ardeospina 2010-04-29 16:05
Just popping in quickly to say that I have to agree with you about this episode, Alice, though perhaps not as vehemently. I didn't particularly care for it, mostly because the concept was really cool, but the execution not so much.

And I think what they were saying was "uberboned" not "overboned."

Lastly, while I did think Dean's asking Gabriel to kill his brother was a bit harsh, I'm not so sure how out of character it was for him since we've seen over and over again that he has an incredible double standard when it comes to his brother. At the very least he could have used a better argument.
# AndreaW 2010-04-29 16:19
I see that Dean's "can't or won't" bothered many viwers, as it well should. I was one that found this comment very weird coming from Dean. But someone at another site commented that actually Dean was asking Gabriel the following question: 'So you can't kill YOUR brother, but you expect me or Sam to do it?' This makes more sense when you come to think of it.
# joelsteinlover 2010-04-29 16:54
I'm thinking there's no way they killed of Gabe for no reason. I feel like something like this went down:

Writer 1: (insert great idea here) But you know what that means.
Writer 2: We're gonna have to kill off Gabe.
Writer 1: ...
Writer 2: ...
Writer 1: Well, fuck. No one's gonna like that.

I agree that Dean was more commenting on the fact that everyone expects him and Sam to kill each other if it comes down to it, but everyone else is reluctant? Eh.

And oh goodness, I love Lucifer to pieces. Of course he's evil and stuff, but I find him the most interesting thing either. When he showed up on earth he was so gung-ho, he was like "I'm gonna get this done, yeah!" and now he's like "nothing's going my way...UGGH" and killing people left and right and north.

I think this was a filler episode to the max. They had the issue of the other religions nagging at them and they needed to show how powerful Lucifer is and kill off Gabe before whatever's gonna go down is gonna go down in the next three episodes and they were like "let's just get it over with." It's like a whole episode of t the writers drew straws for it. And overall, this isn't a bad episode. It's just relatively, compared to the run of intense awesome ones we've had, slow and boringish.
# Sablegreen 2010-04-30 10:47
Loved your review Alice. Yes, I agree with all the 'out-of-charact er' moments you stated for the boys. Just couldn't believe the boys would let someone be killed while they watched! So not SPN. Sam's faces as Dean launched his plan, and when Luci appeared were SO Sam though, and Dean hitting on Kali....kind of nice to see his old ways again....even though she did him a favor by cutting him off. No way is she in Dean's league. :D

So you think she released them from the blood spells off camera? I hope she is still alive, still upset about Luci and now, hopefully, upset about Gab's death, I can see her wanting to keep a foot-in-the- door with the boys too.

Yes, it didn't make sense to me that Gab would challenge his bro knowing about the rings. Really I don't like bro vs. bro violence. Gab should have given Luci his speech, and left with the boys. No need to kill a sibling. But in all honesty, the writers have been inconsistent like this more than once this season. Hopeful this will end in season 6.

I really enjoyed this episode. As for Gab fans, myself included, God brought Cass back, and he can do it with Gab too… Here’s hoping!