Warning!!!!  If you haven't seen the latest episode of "Supernatural" and the preview for next week, do not read this!  There is going to be plot-based speculation and discussion! You've been officially warned!
I apologize for not posting this sooner, but last night I went to the opera with my father, "The Dialogue of the Carmelites," and therefore was not able to see the episode until today.  If you've never seen or heard of this opera, as I hadn't before I saw it, it is about a group of Carmelite nuns in France who get executed during the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror.  Even for tragic operas, it's extremely grim.  So I thought to myself, "well, I know the episode I missed is supposed to be pretty emotional and all, but it can't possibly be as bad as the opera I saw, right?"
WRONG!  "The Man Who Would Be King" was Ben Edlund at his heart-ripping finest.  I simultaneously want to kiss him and punch him for cutting my heart out with a spoon, but I can't deny that man's talent.  Not that I really have in the past, but honestly, he's a gift to this show in so many ways.  And I'm in such a glass cage of emotions right now!  But let's forge ahead and start speculating, shall we, because this episode raised a lot of things I want to talk about, and I can't be the only one.
  The Roads to Hell and Purgatory Are Paved With Good Intentions
I was curious after last week's episode how they would address Cass' alliance with Crowley in such a way that wouldn't make him seem kind of villainous, and I think they did a good job explaining that this week.  What it really boils down to is Cass made a bad decision with good intentions.  In other words, he really is a Winchester.  And I think I've said this before, but it bears repeating that he learned about free will and how to make decisions from Sam, Bobby, and Dean, who have all made some pretty crappy ones in their time.  They put family first without regard to themselves, and I think Cass honestly wanted to prevent the Apocalypse they had worked so hard to prevent the first time.  He's still not good at asking for help, not really, and I think he just couldn't burden Dean with his problems, even though he should have.  He really, really should have.  Instead, he went ahead and tried to work it out himself, and we all know how that's played out so far.  I find it interesting, too, that Cass didn't really even consider starting the Civil War versus Raphael until Crowley gave him the idea.  Master of manipulation, that demon.  But no matter what Cass is doing, he's not going to let the Winchesters get hurt, like he told Crowley.  He's still on their side, as much as he can be while working to open Purgatory.
Speaking of Crowley and Cass, what did Cass mean when he said that if they don't find purgatory, they'll die again and again and again?  I am very curious to find out what he was talking about there.  He doesn't have a soul (you ass, heh) so what if he somehow tied his fate or life to Crowley?
The Samuel Situation
We got some very interesting information about Samuel and how he came back to life this week.  Crowley originally wanted Sam and Dean to work for him, but Cass told him Dean had to stay retired and it wasn't an option.  I wonder if Crowley knew at that point that Sam was alive again?  He didn't say anything like, "I want Sam and Dean to work for me and I can bring Sam back to make it happen" because I'm guessing he already knew that Sam was alive.  But I really want to know how and when Crowley learned about Samuel, where Samuel was, how Crowley resurrected him.  Maybe he learned who Samuel was when Azazel possessed him.  Or perhaps he was just doing his homework and just knows these kinds of things.  Or, did Cass resurrect him instead?  I mean, Samuel didn't make a deal, as far as we know.  He should have been in heaven, I would assume.  I'm not sure why this is something I'm focusing on, but I want to know!
Sam's Resurrection
So Cass brought Sam back from Hell.  Very interesting.  I want to know why he wasn't able to grab his soul, too, and how he couldn't tell.  And Sam had every right to ask the question about whether Cass did it on purpose, but I really don't think he did.  I don't think Cass would do that to Sam because he's a friend, end of story, and even his poor decisions have been to protect not intentionally hurt the Winchesters.  I want to know why Sam doesn't have a handprint.  Is it because he didn't come back with his soul?  Is it because Cass didn't have to remake Sam's body since he wasn't physically dead that long?
Dean and Cass

Not surprisingly, the most emotional parts of this episode, for me at least, were between Dean and Cass.  It was wonderful, and far overdue, to hear Dean talking about how much Cass has done for them, all of them, how many times he's saved them and helped and sacrificed when they asked.  Cass needed to hear that, but he really needed to hear it about, oh, two years ago!  And I think Cass was caught by surprise when Dean told him he was like a brother.  His reaction was so heartbreaking, too, because he straightened up and stood tall for a few seconds before he hunched over again, crushed by the weight of his guilt and Dean's disappointment.  And Dean did really want to help, he just didn't know how.  He didn't have any answers, so Cass really didn't feel like he had a good option besides what he was already doing.  It was impossible to have another plan since they had only just found out they would need one, but when presented with "we'll figure it out" and "continue on the path you're on" well, it's no surprise Cass stuck with his guns.  He thinks he's doing what's best for the world and especially for Dean, and since Dean means so much to him, he's not going to risk it.
I wonder, too, how much Cass has been doubting himself as this unholy alliance has built up and manifested itself.  I'm sure he's had some doubts all along, but it seems he was able to rationalize them and convince himself he was doing the right thing.  But when Dean started doubting him, too, well, all bets were off and Cass really started doubting himself and what he was doing.  He even went so far as to pray for a sign to make sure he was doing the right thing.  Dean is the one person Cass believes in more than anyone else, so if Dean's doubting him, that's really going to do a number on his head.
The Sam and Cass Connection
Now that Dean has really embraced Cass as a brother and family member, I'm intrigued by the parallels in some of the story lines between Sam and Cass.  Crowley is Cass' Ruby.  Sam went behind Dean's back and worked with a demon while Dean wasn't around.  Cass went behind Dean's back and worked with a demon while Dean wasn't around.  Both Sam and Cass lied through their teeth about it.  And when Dean asked them to stop, just stop, for his sake and because they trusted him, they both chose their demon and what they felt was right over Dean.  They better be careful or Dean's going to develop a complex.  Oh, wait...
Well, that was a lot of thinky thoughts there.  What did you all think of the episode?  Were boxes of tissues necessary?  Short answer: yes.  And I really can't wait to see how this all plays out.  I think Cass is going to redeem himself somehow and double-cross Crowley because that would be awesome.  I just hope he doesn't have to sacrifice himself in the process.


Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-05-07 21:20
I had a thought strike me last night while this episode sunk in. I think a lot of the mistrust and hurt was largely genuine. I do think Dean's heart was broken by a second "brother" choosing a demon over him. I do think he's been severely hurt by Cas being the one that brought back Sam without his soul---on purpose or otherwise---and for NOT coming to him to get help. This is Sam, and we know Dean will drop everything when it comes to little brother.

But here's where I feel we've almost been mislead AGAIN. We know we can't really trust anyone in this season. Not really.

I almost think that they've set Crowley up. I think Cas is starting to realize that his decision to work with Crowley is not bringing the results. It's only brought Cas pain and doubt. And so, they had to sell the hurt feelings, the disappointment, the mistrust. If you'll notice, Crowley suddenly showed up in person at the end when they had Cas in the holy fire ring.

I might be wrong. I might be speculating off the wall here, but I just felt that we were being mislead to an extent and that somehow they were luring Crowley out to deal with him---on top of all the other problems with the Civil War in Heaven.
# purplehairedwonder 2011-05-07 21:51
I've been struck by the s4!Sam and s6!Cas parallels even before it was revealed Cas was working with Crowley, but I think what makes Cas' actions so hard for me to stomach is that he had a front row seat to Sam's fall, even played a part in it by letting him out of the panic room (which is something I wish would be brought up at some point), so saw how harmful those actions were to both the people Sam loved and to the world as a whole--and saw how far Sam had to go to make amends--and Cas still went down a similar path. Lesson clearly not learned. It's frustrating and unfortunately very human.

Also, Re: Cas bringing Sam back--so it turns out that Cas lied to Sam's face in "The Third Man" about not knowing who brought him back, and that in turn equates to lying to Dean. For all that Cas seems to have trouble lying, he seemed pretty adamant about it then. Blew my mind.

AND, something that bugs me about Cas getting any of Sam out of the Cage is that it took multiple angels to get Dean out and he wasn't nearly as deep as Sam. Obviously Cas had issues and was only able to get part of Sam out, but how much was he powered up when he was resurrected in "Swan Song" to be able to do as much as he did? I didn't think he'd have the mojo to get there at all.

Urf. For as many questions as we got answered this week, we're left with different ones as a result. So curious!
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-05-07 22:15
I agree with you. WHY has it never been brought to light that Cas let Sam out of the Panic Room? If he had been locked away as he should have been, it is very likely that he would NOT have killed Lilith and therefore would not be the instigator for the Apocalypse. That's not to say that someone else wouldn't have found a way to somehow kill her (hell, as desperate to be the new favorite with Lucifer, Ruby would have done it) and we'd still have the whole vessel issue of season 5, but still.

I think there's much much more to the story here about Cas's pulling Soulless Sam from the pit, too. Sure, he might be the one that tried to do it, but he had to have help to swing it. Even he told Dean that it took a legion of angels to save Dean. This is the CAGE. It's designed to contain an Arch Angel. This is an important question we need addressed, too.
# SPOSpartan104 2011-05-17 14:43
The only reason I don't think Cas needed a legion to get Sam was that there was no need to fight through wave after wave of demon. When Cas went to get Dean the Demons were protecting Dean so that he would draw blood and break the first seal. There was no reason to protect the Cage it was "The Cage" and since it was probably unprotected it probably took a lot of effort to break in but not necessarily the kind of effort that requires more people, possibly just a lot of time.
# rmoats8621 2011-05-08 01:11
Very valid points have been made about how Sam got out of the cage. However, I think that Cas did have the mojo to do it alone. When God brought him back in "Swan Song", Cas stated that he was new and improved. Also, last night's episode showed how easy Cas had with getting rid of those demons. I seem to remember that he used to have a hard time. That was definitely a change for him.

As for Dean coming back with the hand mark, Cas brought back his soul and joined it with his body which had been buried. I've always thought the mark was there to show the rejoining of Dean's body and soul. Also, Cas was just a simple soldier of God. Now, he's had a promotion and is much stronger. Maybe he's now on the same level as Raphael, an Archangel. I mean, he was able to kick Raphael's butt and that's never happened before. As for Sam, that situation was totally different as he fell into Hell as a total package; body and soul. If Michael and Lucifer were able to isolate Sam's soul from his body before Cas came to rescue him, together they may have been too strong for Cas to fight. I don't think he had other angels with him for this rescue whereas with Dean, he did. Cas may have been only able to get Sam's body and he felt guilty about that failure. Castiel's decision to not tell Dean the whole story and get his advice way back at the beginning was a bad one.

As for Gramps, I've always thought that Crowley owned that one. Especially after last night, Crowley looked pretty pleased that they had another option after Cas took Dean off the table, but not Sam. As King of Hell, Crowley was probably pretty interested in anyone who was in his realm that may be connected to the Winchesters. Like any good manager, he would be delving into anything he could use to help his position. So, if Gramps was in Hell, he could bring him back to Earth with his memory wiped and on his payroll. Not a big deal for a demon who now was running Hell.

As for the episode, it knocked my socks off! :-) It was great and the performances were some of the best this year! I'm all psyched about the last 2 episodes and I really believe this season is turning out to be one of the best!
# Carla 2011-05-08 19:56
Maybe he's now on the same level as Raphael, an Archangel. I mean, he was able to kick Raphael's butt and that's never happened before.
From what I understood, Cas was only able to kick Raphael's butt cause he was powered by the 50,000 souls Crowley had lent him. Without that, he would be much less powerful than an archangel.
# Sammi 2011-05-08 01:45
Just one thing, I'm still stuck on Cass pulled Sam out of hell. Sure he was soulless, blah, blah, blah, but Sam was also handprint-less. Does this mean we can expect a shirtless Sam to be looking in a mirror trying to find his handprint?!? *thud*
# Ellie 2011-05-08 08:03
What I would of given for Sam to have had a pov episode like this , it would or might of gone along way to stem the overriding Sam hate in season four..

This episode left me with mixed feelings .
# Ellie 2011-05-08 08:11
And Castiel isnt a brother and the show should not of gone there. Some are only to eager for Sam to be replaced and this feds that want. . I have seen Castiel has a friend and ally but brother was a step to far. I get Ben Edlund loves the Dean/Castiel dynamics way over Sam in any of this but to create this situation that now some think Dean has a alternative to Sam was hard to see.

I like Castiel always have but like I said I have mixed feelings and it leaves me sad for Sam .
# anonymousN 2011-05-09 08:43
I think all Ben Edlund episodes show Sam's vices .I don't mind them showing that but the way he shows that he highlights it but when its time to show vices of others they just graze it or give a full episode to explain their decisions...
# BagginsDVM 2011-05-08 13:17
Well, now it seems we know why the lamplight exploded outside Lisa's house while Sam stood there. Cas was there too. I don't think Cas initially realized that he had not brought all of Sam back, but when did he realize it? When he did the "souloscopy" in the hotel room? I agree that we need more explanation on how Cas was able to reach Sam in the cage. Even if Castiel has archangel power now, then how has Raphael, a true archangel, not been able to open the cage?

I definitely needed tissues for this one. Cas sitting on that bench, praying so fervently for guidance, confessing his mistakes, wanting so desperately to do the right thing... and Dean realizing that his trust had been betrayed by a loved one once again, yet not wanting to give up on the angel & asking Cas to trust him...

I want more answers on Samuel & Crowley too. I'm getting the impression that maybe Samuel was in Hell, but why?

A great episode, but it's left me emotionally exhausted!
# nancyL 2011-05-08 14:38
Maybe Sam doesn't have a handprint because he didn't have a soul when he was 'removed' from the cage? Truthfully, I think that Cas was lying when he said that he didn't know that he 'forgot' Sam's soul.

Pretty much I do not believe anything that Cas says. If he told me that it was raining out, I would look out the window just to make sure. :lol:

I only needed a couple of tissues for this episode. I am saving them for the two hour season finale.
Why is Sam's face covered in blood????? Does Cas sacrifice himself for Sam and Dean????
Every season has ended with death or someone at death's door. It looks like this season will continue the trend. :cry:
# roxy 2011-05-08 17:12
The whole "dying over and over again" I think alludes to the fact that if Lucifer and Michael get out, they would both torture Crowley and Castiel for the rest of eternity for their betrayals. That episode was too emotional for me. I felt sad even the next day. A great directorial job by Ben Edlund. And I wonder what the whole Cthulu connection is... most probably opening a cliffhanger for Season 7.
# biggsy 2011-05-08 20:30
Oh Cas! I was not as disturbed by Dean saying Cas is like his brother. Family being more than blood has been such a central theme this year. Plus, it's been established as the way Dean's mind works. He named Bobby as being "like a father" long ago, and in his Zachariah-induc ed Bizarro life, separated from Sam, had his "family of choice" all picked out: Bobby as father, Ellen as mother and Jo as little sister. The family unit is the only unit of loyalty that Dean knows and understands. It's his go-to. It's not about comparing anyone to Sam. Now, the term might be a little loaded for Cas, since he's been knifing his own brothers and sisters for months now, and had several of them kill/main/tortu re him in return. But for Dean, trying to tell Cas that he loves him (and leaving out the "boyfriend" option.....oh! Can you hear the internet buzzing?!) "Brother" is the only card he has to play, his only word for that kind of loyalty and regard. What seems almost too simple for me, is Dean's "Because I say so" plea. Less overwrought, and a little clearer this time, granted, but deja vu all over again, with Cas in Sam's role and Crowley in Ruby's. (There's that buzzing again. Stop it!) I don't want to through this again. What I want here, and hopefully will get straight out of the gate next season, is the Sam and Cas "talk." Sam has done the "ends justify the means" "I've got to sacrifice my own morality for the greater goal" crap to death. He can tell Cas exactly where that goes. I want Cas to believe him. That darn amulet to turn up. and play some important and game-changing role. God/Chuck to toss in a zinger and something cool and new to happen. I would also like Dean to hold some more babies, Sam to take his shirt off again and Cas to get a clean trench coat. Is all of this too much to ask?
# anonymousN 2011-05-09 08:47
I got some answers but i am still confused about Sam's return from the cage....