What We Got Right…and Wrong
Gadreel really did heal Sam. Castiel confirmed that the majority of Sam’s internal injuries were healed. Sam is alive because Gadreel possessed and helped him (maybe Dean will be comforted by that fact eventually).
Gadreel will be a key player in the fight for Heaven. With Tahmoh’s return and Metatron’s continuing need for Gadreel, it seems clear that Gadreel will be a pivotal character for the rest of this storyline. The question is, which side will he choose?
Gadreel’s did have a “mission”, and it has always been his first priority. We now know Gadreel’s objective has always been to restore his own reputation. The indisputable proof came when Crowley “introduced” Gadreel to Sam as “the original chump”. Gadreel was indignant and replied, “Was a chump. Now, I’m going to be the one that leads my kind back to heaven. I’m going to be a hero.” Presumably Gadreel aligned himself with Dean because the Winchesters had previously proven their ability to defeat the cosmic forces of the Heaven and Hell. If they succeeded this time, he would have been on the “winning team”. Maybe Gadreel also then healed Sam because the Winchesters at full strength would more likely succeed in restoring Heaven and making him a hero (plus it might have appealed to Gadreel’s desire to be “one of the good guys”). If you agree with this conclusion, we should eliminate two prior theories:
- Gadreel was a coward who wanted a place to hide out the war;
- Gadreel was an important, powerful angel plotting a way to defeat Metatron. We were right in that his post in Heaven did make him important and “one of God’s favorites”, but he was not in a position of power when he fell. We were also right that he wants to restore Heaven. He doesn’t care, though, if that means defeating Metatron (the Team Free Will approach) or aligning with Metatron, as long as he is restored to a position of respect in Heaven.
Is Gadreel a “good guy” or a “bad guy”? Gadreel desperately wants redemption and that noble goal might save him in the end, but he is tragically gullible. Abner revealed that Gadreel was “always there to put me back together” after Abner had been meaninglessly and mercilessly tortured. Abner also introduced Gadreel as his “best friend”. Both of these imply that down deep, Gadreel has a good heart, and that he instinctively wants to help others. He was incensed when Metatron gave him another name on “the list”, asking “How any more lives do I have to take?”. This is consistent with his statement that slaying people is “not who I am” (9.09). He clearly felt bad about killing Kevin, saying that was “less easy”. He desperately wants to be good, he just doesn’t seem to have any moral compass to tell him what “good” is! Is there a clinical term for someone who can kill an innocent kid and his own best friend because someone told him it was necessary for the greater good? Gadreel’s inability to know who to trust has defined his whole existence. He implied that he was tricked into letting Satan into the Garden of Eden and he is again being tricked to do another megalomaniac’s dirty work.
I believe this episode provided evidence that eliminated our two opposing theories:
- Gadreel is a noble, cunning strategist – When Gadreel told Dean that killing Kevin was “ultimately for the best” (9.09), it was unclear if Gadreel cared more about saving his fellow angels or his own reputation. It is clear now though that he was not enacting his own grand plan to reestablish God’s paradise. Gadreel is not the master of his own fate; he drifts with the wind and looks for any port in a storm. He is easily swayed and used by others.
- Gadreel is a cunning Con Man – Gadreel continually used the excuse that he couldn’t leave because he was healing Sam, which led some to believe Gadreel was “conning” Dean. While conveniently self-serving, Gadreel really was healing Sam. If he was a con man, he would now be executing a new plan, with Metatron as the dupe instead of Dean. This presumes that Gadreel has a master plan to restore his position of power and he is using Metatron, not visa-versa. I don’t buy it. Asking Abner for advice, then killing him based on Abner’s words of peace, happiness and forgiveness does not support a genius mentality. Gadreel was also insulted when Metatron asked him if he had killed Dean, saying that Metatron never gave him instructions to do so. I don’t think Gadreel is a deep thinker.
Gadreel: “God, I was so damn stupid”
Castiel: “You were stupid for the right reasons.”
Gadreel: “Yeah, like that matters.
Castiel: “It does. Sometimes that’s all that matters.”
Gadreel: “Yeah, I got played.
Castiel: “I thought I was saving Heaven. I got played, too”
Gadreel: “So you’re sayin’ we’re both a couple of dumbasses?”
Castiel: “I prefer the word “trusting.” Less dumb. Less ass.”
The theme of a good intentioned person trusting someone then being disappointed when that person betrays them has played itself out many times this season, first with Castiel, then Dean and now Gadreel (We certainly know that Metatron is lying to Gadreel). Obviously, it had previously been a big issue for Sam as well (Castiel’s trust of Metratron caused the apocalypse of Heaven; Sam’s trust in Ruby brought about the apocalypse of Earth). I believe we are watching the same tragedy from different points of view (in other words, history is repeating itself). Are Cas, Dean and Sam different from Gadreel because they were motivated by altruistic intentions that bettered others but not themselves, whereas Gadreel’s motivation is purely self-serving? Is Cas foretelling that the selfless act is what defines a hero, and that is the only thing that will ultimately save Gadreel? Both Sam and Gadreel have stated their driving need for redemption from their prior catastrophic mistakes. Sam, though, is willing to sacrifice himself and is adamant that no one else be hurt in the process (his speech to Death). Gadreel on the other hand, has taken lives to regain his own redemption. Is the overriding theme of season nine this lesson in the theology of the soul, or more simply put, what differentiates a hero from an immoral man?
New Evidence for Existing Threads
Why did Crowley want Kevin’s blood instead of Sam’s? Crowley offered an explanation for this question, we just chose to ignore him because we presumed he was lying. He said he wanted a different “flavor” blood. In “Road Trip” Dean offered him his own blood saying “Human blood, fresh from the tap. Word is you’re jonesing for it.” Crowley turned him down with, “Please, I’ll pass.” If Crowley wanted variation, or if he was desperate for a hit after developing a need for human blood, wouldn’t he have said “I’ll take it but that’s not enough”, then added to his deal with Dean? Instead he turned it down cold. So I’m speculating that Dean was wrong in assuming Crowley wanted human blood. It seems we were on the right track presuming the allure was prophet’s blood. It was certainly no accident that he injected Kevin’s blood into himself.
Is The Angel Banishing Spell Reversible - In “Road Trip”, Metatron told Gadreel that Kevin had to be killed because he was “a threat”. He then “flipped a switch” so that no other prophets would be awakened. These actions imply that the spell clearly is reversible, and the instructions were in that “indecipherable” part of the table that Kevin found in the last episode (“This part is nearly indecipherable, almost like when Metatron wrote it down he wanted to keep the words hidden even from prophets” (9.09)). Metatron also wanted Gadreel to kill the prophet and to steal the tablets as his first priority. Metatron doesn’t want any prophet translating the tablet.
- Crowley said the Angel Banishing spell is irreversible (9.06) but no one believes him. If Metatron’s actions now support the theory that the spell is reversible, then Crowley read the tablet and knows how to reverse the spell!
- Cas suggested that his grace might be the key to reversing the banishing spell. He didn’t get his own grace back, so the theory is still a possibility. Until Cecily brought him up to speed, Crowley also didn’t know that Cas had been human and had to steal another angel’s grace. Crowley now has a more complete picture that might fit into his prior knowledge gained from reading the tablet.
“Here is the FIRST name on your to-do list.” – Obviously we were right that there would be a LONG list of executions. It is curious which names are on that list, though. Gadreel’s guard, then his best friend and fellow prisoner. Also curious that Metatron chose to sit and wait for Gadreel in Tahmoh’s bar. Is Metatron emotionally toying with Gadreel or was there some reason to eliminate the people who knew Gadreel in prison?
Letting Go – After 9.07, we decided that Dean’s “Let Go” speech to Timmy was important. I think this might end up being a major arc of the season! At the end of “Road Trip”, Sam said “But don’t go, thinking that’s the problem ‘cause it’s not.” This line sparked major speculation as to what exactly is “the problem”. Supposedly, Dean thinks the problem is that he is a poison that kills everyone around him. Maybe Sam believes the problem is that Dean just can’t let go…of Sam, of pain, of guilt, of self-loathing. “You gotta let [the one you love] go. You’ll be OK.” Clearly Dean is not able to let go yet. He doesn’t believe he will be OK without Sam. “The Problem” though, might also just be that Dean doesn’t believe in himself. If he did, he would believe he could survive, he could win, without Sam. The second half of the speech was “Sometimes you got to do what’s best for you even if it’s gonna hurt the ones you love”. Does this mean that Dean should be free to do what’s best for himself even if Sam gets hurt in the process; or that Sam should be free to do what’s best for himself, even if it hurts Dean? My head aches figuring this one out!
Will someone else turn out to be who they aren't supposed to be? Njspnfan offered a theory in the comments on 2013-12-11:
“Without his grace, Castiel (as human) isn't really who he is supposed to be. With another angel's grace, he still isn't who he's supposed to be. Sam is possessed by an angel who claimed to be Ezekiel. Sam isn't really who he's supposed to be. Ezekiel was not who he claimed to be; he is actually an angel named Gadreel. When Dean tried to tell Sam [that he] was not who he is supposed to be, [Dean] was [talking to] Gadreel posing as Sam. Wonder if any of this has any meaning going in to the second half of the season; maybe someone else turns out to be who they aren't supposed to be?”
I found this very intriguing, and worth tracking.
“You’ve seen everything that he’s seen!” Crowley explained to Sam that he can remember everything about the time he was possessed by Gadreel. This seems like it could be strategically important in the future!
Curiosities in “Road Trip”
I don’t immediately think these are threads, but I found them rather interesting and I wanted to share them with you. Some just might be clues. Please feel free to comment on these too!
- Abaddon: “War is what I do, it is my job”. This was repeated in the “Then” introduction from a prior episode, but I thought it was interesting in light of the Crowley/Abaddon “campaign”. When addressing the demons, Crowley also said Abaddon was “immortal…at the moment”.
- Kevin’s sandwich was still on the table! In my Kevin tribute, I wondered if that Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich was Kevin’s last meal. It turns out it was (sad face). In the previews Cas is musing over missing a PB&J. What is it with the sandwich??
- Abaddon posted a demon “just a few miles” from the bunker. Luck? She doesn’t know the location of the bunker. Did someone follow Cas? Also, since Crowley walked to the car from the bunker, did Dean allow him see its location? Crowley obviously now knows the “neighborhood” at least.
- Crowley asked Cas why he needed “the wheels”. Cas didn’t answer. Then Cecily said, “Cas has his mojo back, minus the broken wings”. I’m still trying to figure out if that meant Theo’s wings were broken, or Cas’ wings were broken when cast out by Metatron. (I can’t help think of my senior high school English teacher who warned us about double negatives!)
- I thought you needed human blood for the demon “phone calls”. Poor Muffins.
- Why would Crowley ask Cecily if the handcuffs could come off? As the King of Hell, wouldn’t he know more than your average demon?
- Just before Gadreel repossessed Tahmoh, Tahmoh said one word, “yes”. Consent problem addressed.
- Metatron said, “Welcome Home Sweethearts” (plural) when looking at the tablets. I want to go back to 9.09 and confirm that Sam stuffed two tablets into the bag- the demon tablet and the angel tablet.
- Gadreel locked Sam away in a dream so Sam wouldn’t have to see/experience what Gadreel was doing (also so Sam couldn’t eject Gadreel). I don’t know why but that seemed merciful to me.
So much new information in this episode! What do you think??
Screencaps courtesy of www.homeofthenutty.com