I didn’t have high hopes for “Angel Heart.” Of all the lame Castiel storylines, Claire Novak and her teenage angst were among the worst. Maybe it’s because most teenage characters on TV come off as total brats. Her open hostility toward Castiel also bugged me, although the angel deserved most of the hate for allowing her father Jimmy to give up his vessel to Castiel. Most of all, it simply felt like there were better ways to revisit the rich Supernatural mythology than to bring back the Novaks.
Claire’s last appearance in “The Things We Left Behind” changed my mind a bit because of its wicked ending that saw Dean sitting among the corpses of Claire’s slain “friends.” After tonight’s hour, I might have changed my tune completely. “Angel Heart” was surprisingly touching and provided a fitting end to the Novak family arc. While I fully expect to see Claire again, Amelia and Jimmy finally had their bittersweet reunion in Heaven after Amelia jumped in front of Tamiel’s blade. This was the reunion Amelia had dreamed of for two miserable years, and it was every bit as heartwarming – and heartbreaking – as one could have hoped. I suspect this is the last we’ll see or hear of Jimmy and Amelia; and if so, that final image of the two will leave a lasting impression.
Claire also had more to do in this episode than she has in the past. Sure, her anger toward Castiel and Dean was in full force at the beginning of the episode. She also felt betrayed by her mom for leaving her, and a desire to tell her off fueled Claire's quest to find Amelia. But once the writers moved past her initial anger, actress Kathryn Newton had a chance to show considerable range with her character. It started with the heart-to-heart she had with Dean on the mini-golf course, where the two bonded over references from classic golf movies. Claire also began to see the Winchesters for the heroes they are and not the selfish jerks she’d made them out to be in her head. This allowed her to move from a position of weakness (being defensive) to one of strength (being assertive).
It should have felt silly that Dean was bringing an untrained 18-year-old girl into battle with him against a powerful rogue angel. But the personal stakes for Claire of rescuing her mother made it easy to overlook the fact that Dean was probably making a mistake. Thankfully, the duo found Amelia right away and Claire got to spend some nice final moments with her mother before losing her to Tamiel’s blade. Amelia’s death scene was tragic, and Newton did an outstanding job of conveying Claire’s devastation. She didn’t sit on the floor crying for too long, however. As she stood triumphant behind her mother’s killer, you could see a future career as a hunter spinning out in front of her. The fact that she’s staying with Jody Mills makes that destiny seem even more likely.
Speaking of the rogue angel, I was delighted to see Tamiel and the Grigori (or watcher) angels introduced this episode. Tamiel and whatever remnant remained of his ancient angelic brethren had taken to feeding on the souls of the humans they were assigned by God to watch over. In the lore, these angels were the ones who slept with human women and gave birth to the Nephilim, a race of giants who were wiped out by the Great Flood. Nephilim were touched on in Season 8, but they haven’t received a proper introduction on this show. After writing a book about Nephilim, an angel named Gregori, and two brothers caught in the middle of a showdown between Heaven and Hell, I hope we see the Grigori again and I look forward to a proper introduction of the Nephilim.
The fight scene between Sam, Dean, Castiel, and Tamiel was also pretty epic and probably the best we’ve had in some time. Fights typically end too quickly or are too darkly lit on this show, but that wasn’t the case this hour. The fisticuffs were quite good. However, it was frustrating that yet another Supernatural fight ended with the villain getting stabbed by a person not involved in the action. While it was a nice moment for Claire, this cliché has worn out its welcome.
We only have three episodes left this season and I’m excited to see how the pieces are shuffled around the board in preparation for the finale and the set-up for next season. Charlie, Rowena, Crowley, the Stynes, the Mark of Cain, and the Book of the Damned will all factor into the remaining three hours somehow. Will Dean turn back into a demon? Will someone bite the dust? If you assume the Mark of Cain storyline will be resolved by the end of this season, I’m not sure where they go with Season 11. Can a show remain relevant as it approaches 250 episodes? I guess we’ll see!
Lines of the week
“You were both troubled teens. You speak her language.” – Castiel
“You got all that from a putter?” – Claire
Next week on Supernatural
“Charlie has the damn Book of the Damned?!”