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Kripke doesn't waste anytime getting into the action, so I won't either. 
The first scene continues from the standoff from last week. To sum up, angels on one side, Sam, Dean, and Ruby on the other, and Anna hiding in the other room. Anna has to die, Sam and Dean are appalled. Got all that? Great!
Uriel is in a happy killing mood, promising to "kill her gently." Liar! Sam pleads for the innocent girl, but Castiel, after admitting with nonchalance that he and Uriel are smug bastards, claims she's far from innocent. Sam wants to know what that means. Just remember Sam, you set yourself up. "It means she's worse than this abomination you've been screwing." Uriel says while looking at Ruby with disgust. Oh sure Uriel, make it personal! 
Uriel again demands the girl, and Sam turns to Dean to communicate his no answer with one cock of the head. Dean agrees, and tells them so. Uriel gets mad and flings Ruby across the room. Hey, what did she do? She gets choked and Uriel readies his own hand of doom, and Sam stands there worried but doing nothing. Great covering your girlfriend's back there Sam, you know THE CHICK THAT SAVED YOUR LIFE. 
Dean, apparently the brother with the balls in the family, jumps in to save Ruby by taking a swing at Uriel, who now is really happy he has his reason to pound the hell out of Dean, which he does rather effectively. Sam pleads with Castiel on the other side of the room, even calling him "Cas". Come on Sam, only Dean has gotten far enough in the relationship to call him that. Castiel does his in-between-the-eyes-fingers-of sleep and Sam crashes to the ground. Castiel opens the door to where Anna is, and all of a sudden he and Uriel go flying away in a burst of white light.   

"What the?" You're right there Dean! He helps Ruby up and Ruby rushes to Sam's side. Come on, after the way he's treated you, let him find his own way up. Dean checks the room to find Anna bloody, with both hands flat on a table and some sort of symbol on the mirror from her blood. Dean tends to her wounds, and she says its something she just suddenly remembered, which sends the angels away for now. That's convenient timing. 

Birds of the apocalypse and some serious crap is going on here. For those keeping score, Eric Kripke is the writer but the story is by Trevor Sands.  I'm not sure who was responsible for what, but the collaboration was weak. J. Miller Tobin comes back as the director after doing the most wonderful "Born Under A Bad Sign" and "A Very Supernatural Christmas." He again does some great things in this one, even though there were some rather flaky moments in the script that he was forced to work with. Lucky for him, he had some great guest actors to work with as well as the two fantastic leads. 
Sam and Dean discuss amongst themselves and agree that there's something more to Anna than the angel radio thing. Even though Sam hates the angels, he knows they don't lie. Dean says "she may have sent the Angels to the outfield, but they'll be back." Right there is a prime example of the failures in this script. The film references are awful, especially that one. You refer to a bad Disney flick in a moment like this? It's just one of the many things that went thud. 

Another thing that goes thud; Dean tells Sam to do the research, while he takes Anna to someplace safe. There's only one car, right? When they meet up later, Dean asks about the car. So Sam took the Impala? How did Dean, Ruby and Anna get to Bobby's then? It's my guess they all probably drove to Bobby's and then Sam leaves, but that was not the impression given. I'm nitpicking, but how did they not think we would notice this?  
Back at Bobby's, Anna and Dean in the panic room, while Ruby stands uncomfortably outside. She gives Dean and Anna hex bags that hide them from angels, demons, and anything else, and Dean actually gives her a look of appreciation. She's winning him over. It's always nice to earn the approval of your man's big brother, isn't it? 
Anna states the obvious. "We're in trouble, huh? You guys are scared?" Dean plays it cool, but at least that mutual glare of fright between him and Ruby showed he was lying. Sam shows up, they reveal Bobby is in the Dominican, and there's a joke there about hedonism in a banana hammock and a trucker cap that I'm going to ignore along with Sam. 
Sam has Anna's file, and she freaked out over something when she was two and a half about her dad, but she got better. Dean makes a weird plumber reference (a little snake in the pipes?) and Sam cleverly points out he's confusing reality with porn. Despite Sam's clever line, all in all that joke felt misplaced. Anna comes up, not happy that Sam dug into her past, and Sam gives her the opportunity to come clean. She doesn't know and has a fit about it, so its time to bring in some help. 
Dean arrives (another great Impala shot!) with the now eyeball-less psychic Pamela Barnes from "Lazarus Rising". Cool, I like her. She's got the dark glasses on but the same perky attitude. She even hits on Sam by using her blindness as a chance to feel him up by slapping his "perky little ass" and declaring "you could bounce a nickel off that thing." She also senses a demon in the room, Anna, and that Sam's checking out her rack. Judging by Sam's stammering over his words, she's right. Ruby didn't look all that impressed either in the background, but it could be she's always in a sour mood like that with people. 
Pamela is more than happy to help Anna, for any chance she gets to get back at an angel is good with her. She takes off the glasses and shows the white plastic eyeballs that now occupy her eye sockets. She looks extra psychic now. Well that's one way of taking lemons and turning them into lemonade. She does her voodoo to Anna who lies on the cot, Dean at the desk, and Sam sitting near Ruby by the door, although he's sitting on the safe side. Man, what does Ruby see in this guy? 

Anna convulses and goes nuts during the hypnosis session, slamming the door shut, getting the lights to explode and flings Dean across the room. Pamela wakes her up and she remembers everything. Wow, that's convenient. A little simple too, isn't it? I'm not sure what I'd do different, but how about Sam rattling off some Latin? We haven't gotten that since he does the Jedi mind trick thing now and I miss hearing it.      
Anyway, Anna is an angel. A fallen angel. I'm sorry, but right here is where the plot gets too weird even for me. She knew Castiel and Uriel because she was their boss, and there's a death sentence out there for her because she disobeyed. She fell to earth and became human. I'm with Sam, angels can do that? 
It gets worse. She ripped out her grace, which is her energy, and they both fell to earth. After Dean gives another bad reference, this time about Power Rangers (they are really trying too hard with these shout outs), I stop buying this plot. She ended up inside the womb of a barren woman? Her grace is somewhere else?  She forgot this over time? She didn't remember any of this until Dean was ripped from Hell? Yeah, um, well, I'm wondering if the other writers/producers skipped out of the read script through that day because Kripke forgot to bring donuts. The plausibility holes are huge.     
Ruby, being the only voice of reason, lets them know "I don't think you all appreciate how screwed we are." Heaven wants her dead, Hell wants her. Anna has the answer though, she's going to get her grace back. Come again? She can do that? She lost track of it because she fell to earth fast. I give the credit to this reference to Erin (thanks!), but it's so dead on. This is her grace she lost for god's sake, not her car keys. Sam gets the idea to check for meteor strikes since she crashed to earth. I give him credit for playing along. I would have stormed out of the room dismissing it as a children's fairy tale. 
I push my believability factor aside to I can focus on the rest of the episode, this next scene is one of those lovely teasers where we start casting bets on how long do we have to wait for this little earmark to be addressed. With anything involving Sam, it could take anywhere from three seasons (Mary's "I'm sorry") to a whole season plus five (the demon blood thing), so put me down for mid next season. Sam finds a report about a meteor that fell in Northwest Ohio in 1985, and that's where Anna was raised. Yuck, poor girl. That is the no-man's land part of the state. There is also some report of something hitting Kentucky too around the same time frame. As Ruby accurately points out, it's only a whole state. Plus, Kentucky is a pretty scary place to be looking around. 
Ruby is slightly turned on by Sam's bookworm ways, stating "you're pretty buff for a nerd." Come on, Sam, bite. Give her a sexy smile or at least a sarcastic comment.  Sam doesn't play along and goes on with his theorizing. Come on Sam, lighten up. I know its Ruby and all, but play along. Ruby's afraid of something, and it's not angels. They're caught in the middle of some nasty shit. "Godzilla vs. Mothra." That's actually a dead on reference. She wants to dump Anna and run, and suddenly I think Ruby is the wise one of the bunch. Sam won't do it, so they're going to have to muddle through.   
She's afraid of Alastair. Sam hadn't heard the name before, so Ruby explains it's the uber powerful demon that threw him down the stairs in the last episode and forced him to jump through a stained glass window to flee. Dean never mentioned the name? I guess "no one good" was enough. He's apparently Hell's top slicer and dicer, and I wonder who's filling in for him right now? Are the tortured souls getting a week off? 
Ruby tells Sam that he's let his powers get "flabby". Sam asks in defense how he can "tone up". She tells him he knows what he's gotta do, and Sam gets a little somber, refusing to do that again. "I said no," he declares when Ruby persists. Right Sam. How long will it take before Dean is in trouble for that stance to end? Put me down for episode five, season five in the "When will we see it?" pool. Now its Ruby's turn to back the bad movie reference (you better hope that Anna gets her groove back? Wrong!) At least it ends with Sam's puppy dog eyes of guilt, otherwise that reference would have killed what was a great scene.

Dean comes back after taking Pamela home, who wisely bailed on this unwinnable scenario.  Dean wants to know what the angels want him for, why did they save him. Anna I guess wasn't invited to that meeting. "It was after I fell." Duh! Dean wants to know why she would want to be human. "Loyalty, forgiveness, love." Dean counters, "Pain." "Chocolate cake," she replies. Touche, she actually won me there. "Guilt." Come on Dean, you aren't winning this. "Sex," she says, and we have a winner! Dean can't argue with that. She wants to feel every emotion, even the bad ones. 
That's why she would give anything not to go back. Dean still doesn't understand. Angels are powerful, perfect, they don't doubt themselves or God. Ha! Have you not been paying attention to Castiel lately? That guy is a walking wall of doubt. Anna equates it like being perfect like a statue, cold, no choice, only obedience. Um, last I looked, statues weren't very obedient. I don't think they were caring about choice either. She confesses only 4 angels have seen God. Apparently she ain't one of them. I kind of figured that.
"How do you know there is a God?" Dean asks. "We take it on faith, which we're killed if we don't have," she complains. That alone tells me there's a God. There's nothing wrong with a kill or be killed existence. Ask the Winchesters! She didn't win any sympathy points with me on that one. She continues to whine about being stationed on earth for 2,000 years alone, only watching and waiting for an unknowable father to give her orders. Dean smiles, for he can relate. You see! She doesn't have it any worse than Sam and Dean have had it.
Right here is where I believe we're dealing with more of an insecure child than an almightly being. Anna doesn't seem very mature or have learned anything significant from her time on earth. I don't think she represents the general angel population and I hope Dean down the road realizes that.    

Sam interrupts, for he has something. In 1985, there was an empty field in Kentucky (great setup for a bad joke if you ask me), and six months later there was a huge beautiful oak tree. Anna thinks it's the grace, for it represents pure creation. An oak tree? Oh give me a break. Why aren't Jared and Jensen slamming their heads into a wall by now? You have to appreciate the acting job on this one, for they played along and sold this crap well. 
The next scene I absolutely LOVE, and it's easily the best of the episode. They're on their way to Kentucky in the Impala, and Dean jokes while looking in the rear view mirror. There's a great shot (again I bow to the directing) showing Anna and Ruby together in the mirror. "It's just an angel and a demon riding in the back seat." He laughs, Sam laughs, I laugh. "It's like a setup for a bad joke or a penthouse forum letter." You mean a bad joke like, grace falls in Kentucky? 
Sam's reminder only requires two words this time, "reality, porn". There that joke worked this time! Dean's response is even better. "You call this reality?" I love it when this show takes those small moments to be self mocking.    

If you think about it, that's more than a funny setup. It's a huge symbol that dominates the theme of this episode. Heaven and Hell look the same. If you carefully look at their actions and the way they think, Anna and Ruby aren't all that different. Both long for humanity and want to feel like one. Both have taken a special interest in a Winchester. Both are fighting people of their own kind. When they're together in the back seat, any division between the two is gone. 
They find the miracle tree in Kentucky, and I'll admit, the Impala is looking great and shiny in this landscape. Too bad the rest of the premise stinks. Anna puts her hand on the tree and the grace is gone. Wow, I didn't see that one coming. 
Everyone's a little panicked, and Ruby goes off on how fighting both Heaven and Hell is a bad idea. Again she speaks reason. Anna's listening to the angels now, and they're channeling threats. How un-PC of them. They want Anna by midnight, or Dean goes back to Hell. Dean doesn't take that one very well. Sam doesn't either, for now he has it in his head that he can kill angels. Something tells me he'll be doing that in the future now too. Getting on the bad side of the future demon general doesn't sound like a good idea to me.   
They try to strategize, so next thing Dean is reading something by portable light on the hood of the Impala. Anna sees this as her chance to do what any spoiled brat would do, use the premise of her last night on earth to get laid. Naturally, she isn't getting much of a fight from Dean. I don't think she even had to tell Dean she knew what he did in Hell and it wasn't his fault. She could have had him without that. Still, I did appreciate her telling him that when he is ready to talk about it, he'll have people that want to help and he's not alone. At first I though she was talking about herself, but it's clear to me now she was talking about Sam. Aww, I don't hate her as much now. 
Chevy Impalas are boats. They're huge and not only can a family of six comfortably ride in them, they could live in them. Having said that, it makes for some very comfortable sex. Why haven't we seen this in the show yet? At least it's Dean, and that makes it even more right. This scene is sweet, tender, passionate, and I hate Bad Company. Since I got flak for voicing that opinion in the review, I'll just state that and move on. 
Don't get me wrong, shirtless Dean is always a welcome site (two shirtless Winchesters in two weeks!), as is a long overdue Dean sex scene, but is it wrong that my eyes were more glued on Sam and Ruby's wild tryst? I guess rough and dirty is a bigger attention grabber. This is the sugary polar opposite, complete with hand running down the fogged up window a la Titanic. At first I wondered what the hell this show as thinking by doing that, but then I realized it was likely a backfired joke. This show doesn't like taking itself seriously, and if the reference is taken in a humorous way, it's not so bad. Sadly, it didn't work, but I'll forgive them for trying it.  Dean getting some is good, so it's all good.  

Sam's asleep, which means someone's going to do something behind his back. I don't feel bad for him, since he seems to use that trick more than anyone. Ruby looks at him longingly, and if that doesn't show how much she's falling for him, then"¦she isn't. I think she is anyway. She burns a hex bag and poof arrives Alastair. She'll deliver Anna if he lets her and the Winchesters go. Aww, she's got their backs. Alastair doesn't go for it, and Ruby is taken away by his two henchmen. 
I actually thought Alastair was great in the last episode, and really bad in this one. I'm not sure what the actor was trying to do with the role, but did he think he was Marlon Brando or something? It ended up coming across more as Daffy Duck. 
Dean enters the barn, and there's Uriel. Dean figures out he's dreaming, since they're hiding. Castiel isn't there because he likes Dean. Dean tries to bluff by saying Anna has her grace, but Uriel knows he's lying because he's got it. IN A VIAL AROUND HIS NECK. This is where I toss the remote over my shoulder and burying my head in my hand. I'm keeping my rant of ridiculousness to myself though, because sharing it would be pointless. We all know this show can do better than that.
Uriel did manage to get a great line in this scene. "You cut yourself a slice of angel food cake." Dean's guilty look can't deny it, so he delivers a low blow about Uriel having parts like a Ken doll instead.  A tad defense, huh Dean?  Dean calls Uriel's bluff and is ready to go back to Hell for Anna. Uriel realizes Dean has a breaking point, and I'm sure we've already guessed what that is. 

Ruby is in an old bathroom, strapped to some medieval table, getting gored and tortured by her knife by Alastair. The guy's vocal mannerisms are really annoying the crap out of me now, but the Ruby torture isn't so bad to watch. She won't tell him where Anna is, but she'll show him. That way he won't kill her. So, in the end, she'll be doing what she proposed all along. Sounds like the torture was just for Alastair's amusement. Kripke's too. 
Meanwhile back at the ranch, er, barn, the brother's are pretty tense. Dean's drinking, and Sam is worried where Ruby is. When I first saw that I though he cared about her, but then I realized she was messing up their plan. Ruby really needs to kick his sorry ass. Angels storm in via doors opening on their own, and Sam wants to know how they were found. Dean acts all guilty and Anna easily figures out what happened. It was either kill her or Sam. Yeah, that's kind of a no-brainer for Dean.
What's compelling about this scene, and what really saves this episode for me is Castiel. I re-watched the entire scene focused on every tortured glare from those gorgeous baby blues, and man is he one conflicted angel. Every glance at Anna is loaded with guilt, yet also with concern for her well being. He even looks down when Anna tells Sam how the evil angels minds work, and little pangs of sympathy for him swarm through me. 

Anna pulls the "I forgive you" stuff with Dean, and I think he needed to hear that, despite the fact that she might have been in tune with the plan. She's ready to go, but in a fit of luck, Alastair arrives with henchmen and a bloody Ruby. She gets tossed off to the side. Sam, Dean and Anna wisely take off to the side as well. Alastair, Uriel and Castiel share tough talk, Uriel takes out the henchmen and Castiel does his palm of destruction on Alastair. Except oops, it doesn't work. If Sam can supposedly take out this guy, then he can probably take out angels as well. No wonder the angels don't like him. 

Alastair flings a stunned Castiel, who is helpless on his back as Alastair chokes him and speaks latin to destroy him. This is where I'm wondering what in the world is Uriel doing? Why doesn't he step in and save his buddy? These angels really need to learn something from the Winchesters.  Castiel chokes, helpless and fearful of his doom, so Dean steps in with crowbar and distracts Alastair enough to let Castiel go. Alastair starts choking Sam and Dean with his mind, but not without letting Dean know he had promise, which is news to Sam.  Remember, this is important for later.  

Uriel takes out other bad guy and Anna yanks the vial from his neck and smashes it to the ground. She sucks in the white light, screams at everyone to close their eyes, and Sam, Dean and Ruby know she's not kidding. Castiel watches from the ground in amazement, like he's watching a miracle rather than something horrible. He's killing me here. This is definitely making an impact on him, and it's only contributing to all those questions eating away at him inside. Anna bursts into white light, and Alastair stupidly goes after her and is obliterated in the light. So we think anyway. He either went into the abyss with her, was killed, or got his ticket back to Hell. Either way, I hope he doesn't come back. Or if he does, come back in a new meat suit. 

Dean picks up Ruby's demon knife and practically orders the angels to go after Anna, like he's the field commander now or something. Uriel wants to kill him, saying this isn't over. "Oh, it looks over to me junkless." Ooh, smackdown! Castiel holds back Uriel and quietly looks at Dean as if he's thanking him and they fly off. How much do you want to bet we'll be seeing Castiel pledging his loyalty in the future to Dean? Perhaps falling himself because of it? I love the setup we were left with here. 
Ruby shakily walks over, and now Sam asks if she's okay. "Not so much." Dean gives her crap and she apologizes for getting tortured. Sam gives her a quick look of pity, but it doesn't last long. Oh come on Sam, give her a hug or something. Dean congratulates Sam on his plan for getting the angels and demons together, and he steals Ruby's Godzilla vs. Mothra reference. She really needs to smack him in the head. Sam asks if Anna is happy now that she's a big time angel again, and Dean doubts it.    
I'm wondering how that could have been a plan. The timing of it all was pure luck. The way it was setup didn't have the two sides coming together at the same time at all. Ruby left in the middle of the night, right? The angels didn't show up until morning. Anyway, I've nitpicked enough on this one, but execution is exactly why the script failed more than it succeeded. 
The acting saved this episode, so that's why I'm not comparing it with the worst ones.  For example, take the last scene. The dialogue is fine as is the directing, and the acting is out of this stratosphere. . The way this is setup is gorgeous. For one, it takes place with full view of the Impala. Sam is sitting on the hood, Dean is leaning against the side. Sam is in the background, Dean is in the foreground looking forward, back turned to Sam. By setting up the shot this way, the audience gets the full impact of Dean's heartbreak, yet we can still see Sam's crushed reaction, which pretty much conveys what all of us are feeling. 

Dean finally confesses. Anna had an affect on him, and he finally knows how important it is to open up to Sam. He painfully goes through his time in Hell, how it was like 40 years instead of 4 months. You could see at the moment Sam's heart break in two over that revelation. He was painfully tortured on the rack each day, sliced apart until there was nothing left, given the chance to rack up souls himself at the end of each day. The next day he was good as new, and it started all over again. He held out for thirty years, but finally cracked. The last ten years he became a torturer himself, and he wishes he couldn't feel at all.  That's a good sign Dean, it means you didn't lose your humanity.   
Jensen's delivery here is unlike all the outstanding emotional scenes we've gotten from him, but it's still outstanding nonetheless. This time he's subtle, quietly crumbling as he manages to get through the horrible story, a situation that as heart breaking as it is, is one we'll never fully understand. It ends with Dean's tears softly rolling down his cheeks, and the guilt still eating him inside. Anna may have forgiven him, but he still hasn't forgiven himself. That's a very vulnerable and honest reaction for his character, and it's perfect. At least he can share his burden with Sam. In the Supernatural world, that's the way it should be. 

I know, I nitpicked but honestly, this episode is still light years better than the worst episodes of this show, or anything out there on TV. I gave it overall a B+. An A for acting (marked down from an A+ because of Mark Ralston), an A- for directing, and the script got a C.  I'm always toughest on the writing though, since it's my aspiration to one day have a script that can be picked apart by a critic like myself.   

That's a winter break folks.  Happy hiatus everyone!



# Tigershire 2008-11-28 19:36
Hey Alice,
As always, I enjoyed your review but I think perhaps there is something else going on with Sam and Ruby that would explain the lack of connection/comp assion you observed.

Way back in Season 3 when Dean first learns about Ruby and he's chastizing Sam for not killing her, Sam says."I'm not talking about trusting her Dean, I'm talking about USING her."

Twice now in this season Sam has said (to Ruby) he doesn't know if he trusts her (Lazarus Rising and Heaven & Hell).

I think that we are not seeing a warm fuzzy, caring Sam/Ruby relationship because he's using her. She is a tool and a connection to the enemy to learn intell - which she is (Ruby's tip about Anna in the first place for example).

I also think Sam is holding back if he is developing feelings for Ruby. Part of that might stem from very ingrained, long held beliefs of both the boys. Demons are evil, untrustworthy, sneaky creatures and they need killin'. All his life he's been raised to think this and it's been compounded by his mother's, girlfriend's and brother's deaths. Demons are bad and we don't have caring/loving relationships with them. Until now.

While Dean was in hell, Sam hit the wall. We know that. And in his extremely broken mental state, he can be forgiven his transgressions. But now that Dean is back. I'm thinking Sam feels guilty that he had sex with Ruby and if he is feeling something more for her, that is likely compounding the situation. Perhaps making him all the more stand-offish with her. Because we know that Dean is more important to Sam then ANYBODY else on the planet (and of course the same goes for Dean).

I wouldn't be surprised, if it were ever reavealed, that Sam had stopped having sex with her (assuming he actually did more than that one time - bra evidence in LR asside) once Dean was out of hell. It's kind of amusing that Ruby said (in LR - scene in the diner) that perhaps she should back off because she wasn't about to get between the brothers. Ha! As if she could. Dean gave up an angel for Sam, I bet you anything that if giving up Ruby to save Dean came up, Sam would be all over it.

This is all with Ruby's motivations asside. I don't trust her. Sure, she could be developing feelings for Sam but since we don't know any of her motivations for doing what she's doing (I don't buy that she's doing all of this because she remembers what it's like to be human) I'm not willing to give her the benefit of the doubt yet.

I do think there is alot more to Ruby that we are seeing and I'm hoping it's a huge shocking, amazing reveal when it comes.

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving Alice (as a Canadian, I had mine in October - GRIN).
# Alice 2008-11-29 00:31
Tigershire - Thanks! I'll tell you, Thanksgiving has really thrown a monkey wrench into my week. My husband was off work all week, so we were taking care of things around the house. He didn't get it when I said, "But, but, I have a full episode recap to write!" I finally finished it, ONE WEEK LATER. No one is welcoming this hiatus more than me.

I find Ruby fascinating. I'm more than convinced she's part of a greater plan, a chance to manipulate Sam into using his abilities and getting him to become what he's supposed to be. I also think the plan is backfiring and she's falling for him. When the final moment comes down to who she'll be loyal too, it'll be very interesting. You're right though, Sam will do anything to protect Dean, using his powers, doing what he doesn't want to do, and he will give up Ruby.

I watched Lazarus Rising last night, and it's fascinating to see that again after watching the first ten episodes. The line about backing off for Dean was truly part of her manipulation, and if anything, a chance to earn Dean's trust as well, which she is slowly earning. Dean's thanks in Bobby's panic room as she tosses him the hex bags confirms this. She probably wants to get to Dean as well, and there's no better way that through Sam.
# NovembersGuest 2008-11-30 01:17
Well, I'm glad it wasn't just me that had trouble swallowing the whole fallen angel/grace falling/grace now in a vial thing. Seriously? And, also, your description of Mark Ralston's Daffy Duck imitation had me snorting out my nose. That was very distracting.

But, yes, despite the gaping plot holes, I have to agree it still rates higher than some of the worst SN eps which still beat most all of what TV has to offer on a weekly basis.

The scene at the end and Castiel pretty much saves it, doesn't it? At least for me. Jensen and Jared nailed that last scene and it was a great send off for the hiatus.

Great re-cap. Made me laugh without feeling disloyal. :-)