The ninth season of Supernatural returned to the show’s roots in “I’m No Angel.” With Castiel on the run, Sam and Dean set off on a cross-country road trip to rescue their friend before the angels (or reapers) found him. I was reminded of the early seasons when the brothers lived on the open road and traveled from one city to another saving people and hunting things – the family business. The show sure has changed since those words were uttered. One exciting twist on the formula this week was that Sam and Dean failed to save their friend. Castiel got stabbed in the chest by a reaper and had to be revived by Ezekiel. Two significant repercussions of that act manifested right away.
The first is that Dean is struggling to keep Ezekiel’s presence a secret from everyone. He slipped up when he mentioned that the angels were mobilizing, couldn’t explain how he and Sam found Castiel, and threw out some half-baked story about making a deal with a reaper to explain how Castiel was healed. The cracks are showing and Sam is too smart not to catch on that something is wrong. Another repercussion was Ezekiel’s ultimatum to Dean about Castiel’s presence in the bunker. The angel keeping Sam alive has an agenda that is slowly beginning to show. We know he’s being hunted and we assume it’s by angels. We don’t why he’s being hunted but my guess is that he’s essential to stopping Metatron. One meaning of the name Ezekiel is “May God strengthen him.” Perhaps Ezekiel is a warrior angel capable of killing Metatron?
If so, that would make him extremely valuable to Bartholomew, who’s taken Naomi’s place as leader of the angels. Bartholomew is using a TV preacher named Buddy Boyle (whose reach extends all over the globe apparently) to recruit willing angel vessels. As we learned with Buddy’s lovely female assistant, not all who are willing are able. Those who aren’t able, well, they blow up. That was a nice way to show that, like most angels, Bartholomew has a total disregard for human life. I’ll need to see a more nuanced performance from the actor playing Bartholomew before I buy him as a formidable villain. There was some cheesy overacting during his scenes. The “I’m extremely dangerous” line was hard to watch.
I expressed trepidation in my recap of the premiere about Castiel’s “human” storyline this season. Now that we’re three episodes in, I’m almost fully onboard. It’s fun seeing Misha Collins play a character who has some direction and purpose again. That’s been lacking in Castiel for a while now. It’s interesting to see how being human has only amplified the “person” that Castiel has always been. In learning what it means to be like Sam and Dean, Castiel is coming back to the core of his character: he’s curious, empathetic, brave, loyal, and kindhearted. In other words, he would make a great hunter. I’m still hoping to see the writers go that route this season. I think we all expect Castiel to become an angel once more before this season is over. What a great twist it would be if he chose (or were forced) to remain human and hunted along with Sam and Dean. The third brother that Adam was never meant to be. (Can someone please rescue that guy from Lucifer’s cage?) It looks like that will have to wait, though. Dean throws Castiel out of the bunker following Ezekiel’s ultimatum without the slightest explanation, which is frustrating as a viewer. Couldn’t Dean have told Castiel the truth without Sam finding out? And even if Sam did find out, couldn’t Ezekiel just wipe his memory again? Tossing Castiel out of the bunker without a good explanation is something I never thought Dean capable of doing.
Did anyone else get the sense from that scene in the church that we might finally see God on Supernatural? The line from Mike’s wife that “someone is listening” struck me as significant. As Jared Padalecki tweeted during the episode, he and Jensen had to flip through evidence at the police station quickly so that scene wouldn’t run too long. There's a reason the writers chose to give that scene in the church screen time and have it contain the dialogue it did. Maybe I’m looking too much into it, but that seemed like foreshadowing to me. While we’re discussing theories, I’ll run this one by you from my Sunday school teacher Troy: God has never been absent on this show. The angels keep saying that God has left the building, but we’ve seen Castiel raised from the dead multiple times and had Sam inexplicably returned to Earth after falling into Lucifer’s cage. What if God stepped out of Heaven to allow the angel hierarchy to sort itself out? During that time, he’s pulled strings with our heroes to make sure that events on Earth unfold a certain way. I personally like Troy’s theory. It makes more sense than assuming the writers of a show about Heaven and Hell chickened out when it came to showing God. I want to hear your thoughts in the comments below! Is God really gone or is he just waiting for the right moment to reveal Himself? (I know the fifth season finale made it seem like Chuck might be God, but I think that was a final request from Eric Kripke that the show honored and has since retconned.)
Line of the week
“Did you have protection?” – Dean
“I had my angel blade.” – Castiel
Next week on Supernatural
The King of Hell meets the Wicked Witch of the West.