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Thoughts on Two Minutes to Midnight
As second to last episodes go, this one didn't disappoint. From the opening teaser to the last frame of Dean's troubled face, my eyes were glued to the screen.
What I loved about this episode:
The return of our angel! He's not quite an angel anymore though, that's okay with me. Human Castiel is way better than no Castiel, and likely to about ten times as funny. Speaking as someone who has always enjoyed the friendship between Dean and Castiel, it was a good moment to see the apology and re-establishment of the status quo between them.
Castiel's apology to Dean on the phone was quite touchingand funny.
"You said no to Michael. I owe you an apology, you are not the burnt and broken shell of a man that I believed you to be. "
As always, Cas' struggle in the human moments and with nuances of our culture provide for great comic relief during a heady episode. Castiel saved the day with Pestilence, proving more and more to be as sneaky as any Winchester. I admit, I love seeing badass Castiel, so he can swoop in heroically anytime! He had a few of these moments in the episode of course, including when he discovered that the sawed off shot gun
Okay, maybe I was the only one who didn't recognize Matt Frewer and know who he was, but as I was watching his scenes, his voice kept tugging at me. So, as any 21st century person seeking knowledge about a celebrity would, I immediately IMDB'd him - Charlie, from SyFy's Alice! I was equal parts satisfied and disappointed with Pestilence. He was well played and thoroughly revolting, however, as many have stated he wasn't present very long as a character. Perhaps there was simply too much to cram into the end of the season and this was one area that got cut short, but it's a shame we didn't see more Pestilence. Though, I did appreciate the lack of flies during this week's appearance (bugs, ew!).
Lucifer has me bound to him, some unseemly little spell. He has me where he wants, when he wants..he made me his weaponI'm more powerful than you can process and I'm enslaved to a bratty child having a tantrum.
The fabulous Julian Richings was such a treat to watch in this role. Sufficiently chilling, his delivery and characterization of such a powerful creature dominated the scene. This is the most interesting of all the horsemen. As Death stated, he is eternal with no beginning and no ending, thus, it makes sense that Lucifer's agenda is of no importance to him. Furthermore, I wondered how the boys could possibly get Death's ring without killing Death (which, wow, talk about a paradox). I hope to see Death again, his pizza chat with Dean was enjoyable for many reasons. Something interesting about the scene in the pizza parlor, the restaurant is called Rinascita, which is the Italian word for rebirth. A hint, perhaps, at something to come? I hope so!
Lucifer's pride is slowly stacking against him. The kind of arrogance involved in lassoing Death, an omnipotent and timeless being, seems to be proving a grave error for the Morning Star. So now, in the arsenal of folks opposed to Lucifer, we have some demons, some pagan gods, possibly the anti-Christ (I think it would be such a waste if he didn't play into the final battle!), and Death. Maybe God too, hard to tell at this point what is truth and what's angelic misdirection.
I would be remiss if in this review I didn't pay proper tribute to the remarkable and effective filming of Death's introduction scene. From the slow motion, to the song this was one of the most potent scenes in Supernatural history, which remarkable given that it had no main characters and only a line of dialog. My god the Supernatural team is awesome!
Sammy, your harebrained scheme to cage Lucifer might just be crazy enough to work. But given the Winchester luck, this is unlikely to go smoothly. In the warehouse, Sam was strong and unyielding in efforts to get the people out and do what he'd come to do. It seems that Sam took Bobby's message to heart last week and his trying, and succeeding, to be self-discipline, in control and strong willed. When Sam set's his mind to a goal, we know he usually achieves it, one way or another.
How wonderful is it to see Mr. Singer as a fully functioning soldier in this final fight? When he spoke about walking up and down the stairs all night, just because he could, it was emotional. The pure happiness on Bobby's face and the marvel when he first stepped out of his wheelchair was rewarding - Bobby has been through a lot this year and deserves to have something good happen after all this time. I have to say, I didn't see this twist coming in the least - to my mind, Bobby was wheeling his way to the final standoff. Glad to know I was completely wrong.
Each week I become more intrigued by Crowley. The infamous kissing photo was a riot and the apparently altruistic granting of Bobby's mobility was unexpected. Furthermore, Crowley obviously knew Death wasn't where he took Dean, but he did hint that they should get pizza while in Chicago. Was this intentional so that he could give Bobby's soul back as Crowley, for all intents and purposes, didn't hold his end of the deal, even superficially speaking? His motives aren't clear and I believe there is more to this demon than meets the eye. Someone posited that perhaps Crowley is God in disguise. I'm not sure what to make of that proposal, but it certainly provides some food for thought. Either way, I hope we see Crowley again beyond this season, he's a character I love to hate, and lately, just love to love. There is something charming about his slick manipulations - you just have to appreciate the artistry in his manoeuvres. 
It was refreshing to see the Dean approach the discussion with Death without his usually bravado. What is remarkable to me, is the number of people (creatures, angels, demons, etc.) going out of their way to tell the Winchesters how "insignificant " they are and yet said creatures don't either kill the Winchester, or they try to kill them with gusto. If they were so insignificant and weak, well why would everyone be so threatened by them then? I would like to say that dean has learned, that trying to put his brother before the rest of the world doesn't work. That sounds cold, but it is what it is. He and Sam continually try to save one another and each time the global cost becomes higher.
The final scene with Bobby twisted up my stomach with anxiety and I have a feeling it's going to stay that way until, well it's Kripke, so probably next seasons premiere. When Bobby posited the last question - is Dean afraid of losing, or losing his brother - I wonder if he was recalling his trip forward in time. The image of Lucifer wearing Sam must have haunted Dean from time to time throughout this season, perhaps more now as the final battle draws closer. A number of things from that future are apparently coming to fruition - and Sam saying yes to Lucifer is more plausible now, given that it's their only plan. Ah Dean, I think you have stop being the big brother here and let Sam make his choice and follow through.
The End
So, less than 7 days till the end of season five, how we got here so fast I'll never know. The trailer for next week's episode has me equally excited and petrified for what's to come. Thank goodness for our online support group - I have a feeling we'll all need it next week more than ever!


# Freebird 2010-05-09 20:47
Love your little review, Elle, thanks for sharing! I agree with you here.

Misha Collins is just perfect as not-so-much-ang el-yet not-so-much-hum an, I love his delivery. Pestilence - definitely too little air time. Death - OMG, that was THE most amazing introduction of a character! And Julian Richings is AMAZING!!!! He scared the hell outta me, what a brilliant performance!! The encounter between him and Dean was so chilling, Jensen deserved the friggin' Oscar for that scene! Bobby walking again got me all teary, watching Jim Beaver perform always is a joy. And Jared giving the torn and twisted, yet determined Sam, loved him!

Hm, getting the resolve of this myth arc to next season premier? That's an interesting thought, Elle. It seems there's still so much left to do, but only one episode left. I didn't watch the trailer for next episode, and am not gonna, but have read about the excitement of you folks who did. At this point of ignorance, I really do wonder how this is going to end. But I wouldn't want to be in the Winchester's shoes. Or Bobby's. Or Cas'.

Really, what would you do to stop the apocalypse (if trapped in the Supernatural universe, of course)?
# elle 2010-05-09 22:01
Hi Freebird,
Thanks for you comments - glad you enjoyed it!
If it were up to me, everyone on Supernatural would have at least some formal recognition of their immense talent via awards by now.

I'm not sure if the myth arc will be resolved before next season or not - but regardless I have a feeling the season won't end with a nice red bow - hence a summer of anxious waiting and nail biting.

Hmm, how to stop the apocalypse. Well, if all the years of watching Buffy stop them ("I suddenly find myself needing to know the plural of apocalypse") has taught me anything, excellent delivery of witty quips is the most vital thing to winning against the big bad. Sam and Dean (well, Dean mostly, ha!) has that down, so I'm sure they'll be fine. ;-)
# daraobriain 2010-05-10 02:03
Great review!

Cas: I agree with everything you said! I love our nerdy angel, and how he can be a badass even without his angel mojo.

Pestilence: great character even in two short appearances.

Death: He was amazing! Julian Richings pulled off Death as an extremely ancient and cosmic force very well!

Crowley: Intriguing and untrustworthy. He's hiding something up his sleeve!

Sam: His plan is crazy, but I will always root for him and I hope against hope that he can pull it off.

Bobby: It's great that he got the use of his legs back. I love the "Balls!...OK, new plan" XD

Dean: great scene with Death. I agree about the effect of Bobby's question on him. I wonder if he has told Sam about that future. Poor guy, he'll have to choose between his brother and the world.

I can't wait for next episode.
# DIANEUK 2010-05-10 03:11
I SO agree with all you said.
DEATH, ah what a character. The writers got him SO,SO right, not that I know him of course!I have always loved Terry Pratchett's DEATH, and feel that Kripke and co must be fans of his books.
AND my favorite daemon EVER....he's English!!! Sigh. I SO love this show......I need Jasminka's couch and the crypt so much!!! :D :D
# Jasminka 2010-05-10 05:15
Elle, lovely thoughts, lovely and disturbing... that’s how I like them, ahem. If you’re thinking I’m kinda screwed up, you might be right… hehe

Just as you the images from the promos for next Thursday (the day we’ll all be living in Zombieland – maybe some of the Civilians Sam saved were infected and spread the virus all the way to Detroit to prepare for a major showdown…)

The casting, again, was immaculate and dead-on (oops, this is a pun, eh?). Happy that someone else noticed the name of the Pizzeria meaning Rebirth. Could be a coincidence, but I don’t think so, as such restaurants are usually called Nino’s or Zampolli’s.. . Plus, I don’t think there is such a thing as coincidence on Planet Supernatural.

Loved Castiel’s return (and wonder if that means that we will have him around in season six as a human? Or will he have his Angel powers restored and be redeemed by going back to heaven, leaving his vessel Jimmy in a hopefully good condition? There are quite some possibilities here.
Same goes for Bobby’s legs – he’s walking again! Ah, dearest Bobby… I only hope this was not the breather for him before he gets killed off… At this point almost everything is possible, however this show will not be the same without Bobby. A crucial part would be missing.

The characters have gone through some inner evolutions… Dean will back up Sam, because he is a grown man and he finally is able to respect that, no matter how against his plan Dean might be. Sam is facing his insecurities and hybris with common sense and readiness – to do whatever might be necessary, even dying to safe the world. What a pair of brothers…

I agree, Elle, our online support group will have to be here for each of us, I reckon, even for the therapist. Saaaaaaaaaam… . Sorry, SamGirl-fear just broke through…
And, yes, Emmy awards are long due for these actors. For Jensen the All The Hell Breaks Loose scene (as he mourns over Sam) was sent in, but was not nominated. Shame! For Jared the upcoming scene in Sam vs. Lucifer will have to be submitted. It’s a shame SciFi shows are rarely recognized whereas procedural hospital shows or crazy housewives get it multiple times. Grrrr. But, well, we can still hope that the suits will see the quality in these amazing young actors. They don’t have big boobs to sell their roles with, only the unmistakable talent that’s coming from deep within. And, of course, their looks don’t get in the way. They indeed don’t . They’re not concerned to the extend some other actors are with how they look in a scene (and thereby don’t jeopardize it), they just go for what’s necessary in a scene.

I’ll quit rambling now. Thanks for your great reviewing thoughts, dear. Love Jas

P.S: Diane, don't worry, plenty of room on that couch...
# Sablegreen 2010-05-10 09:45
Thanks elle. I wonder if they will end up in Detroit too. Maybe that's where the pit is...that asylum.

Like Crowley too. He is a very honest evil, and seems to have a lot of concern for the boys and humanity. God is supposed to make an appearance this season, so I guess it will be next week. JPM was supposed to appear too. Looks like we have a lot to see.
# elle 2010-05-10 12:21
darao'briain - thanks! This episode was pretty good to all our beloved characters! I just hope next week doesn't off most of them!

Diane (UK) - Crowley is my favourite demon too! Even if he does turn out to be eviler (is that a word?) than he seems, I'll probably love him more!

Jas - I too doubt that Rebirth name was a coincidence - likely its a deeply hidden, subtle clue at something. But what....? Maybe Death will reward the boys after the final showdown by ressurecting Sam (and anyone else we like who dies)? Oooh, fingers crossed!

I really want Cas to stay next season and I believe that means he'll have to be a human. I'm betting that after all his experiences with the Winchesters over the last two years, he won't be able to return to Heaven and be an emotionless angel he once was - most of his garrison is dead, his two friends are human and he's lost faith - whether his staying human is a choice or forced upon him, I'm not ready to say goodbye to that blue-eyed dude!

Sablegreen - I have a feeling they'll end up in Detroit. Good call on the Asylum being cage-central! Didn't even think about that. (Umm, who is JPM? :-?). I hope God puts in an appearance, if for nothing else than to see the Supernatural conception of him.
# Sablegreen 2010-05-10 16:17
Ooops, sorry meant JDM. It's Monday.
# anene 2010-05-10 17:48
This was my initial impression:

Castiel: bored me as an almost-human-an gel and lacked any sort of presence for the first time since his appearance. Maybe it is a part of him becoming more human but when all is said and done, not a fan of that direction. I'm still partial to the angelic Castiel.

Pestilence: disgusting and pointless.

Death: brilliantly casted. Creepy as hell. Awesome story and totally made me shake in my boots and i wasn't even in the hot seat.

Sam: broke my heart with his lack of confidence and low self-worth. Stupid for not being able to see himself as the strong man he is who has been through so much and is more valuable than being just bait. And his plan is crazier than any one he has ever come up with. I agree with Dean. dumb idea. I don't want him dying. There has to be another way.

Bobby: nice to see him keep everyone together. his soul selling was a bad idea but at least i can see why in his desperate situation of trying to be useful, he would totally take the deal. But the ending felt off to me. Doesn't Bobby already know the kind of person Sam is?

Crowley: actually annoyed me this episode a little with his pointless jabs at Sam and Dean. Right now he is turning into a magical bullet the writers are using to provide information Sam and Dean could have done for themselves if the writers had not waited till the last two episodes to cram everything in. Hope he gets back into my good grace again next week.

Dean: love his reaction to Death. Jensen rocked it. Also loved that even when he was totally about to pee in his pants talking to Death, he was still working on a plan and bullshitted to Death right to his face. Kickass Dean is back. Favortie moment was him being bored and falling asleep while watching out for Pestilence. Typical Dean. It was nice to see that. Can't wait to see how he plays into the end.

The End: one question: why the hell would Sam not be with his brother who just narrowly escaped Death with the information for their plan? I get that Bobby and Dean needed to happen for Bobby to ask Dean that question and to tell Dean how much he thinks Sam is capable but it still didn't keep the scene from being surreal. Sam should have still been there.

WTF moment goes to: Why would an angel's vessel need demon blood especially when it is the "TRUE" vessel? And why is it only Lucifer's vessel? Inconsistent writing that seemed forced and deliberate to associate everything bad and demonic with Sam. At least make it believable writers.