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!
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.