Episode 09×09 AKA The Episode When They Did What They Had To
Last week’s SPN episode made me angry, and I spent the better part of the past seven days dreading the midseason finale, because if the show didn’t redeem itself, I was going to cry. And cry I did last night, but not because the show was awful, but rather because the Winchesters once again found a way to kill my feels a little more.
The angels are back, and with a vengeance. The midseason finale lights up on what appears to be a very committed church choir entering a biker bar. The Jesus brigade has a stand off with the bikers–guess what they’re all angels–and then it quickly becomes a slaughterhouse. The angels are at war with each other; one one side we have Bartholomew (or as I like to call him, King of the Assbutts) and on the other we have Malachi, the Heavenly Douchebag (so coined). The Fall has destroyed any sense of angelic hierarchy and humanity seems to be collateral damage as the different sects of angels try to destroy each other. Malachi proposes an alliance to Bartholomew, saying that united they can reclaim heaven from Metatron. That idea crashes and burns as spectacularly as the Hindenberg Disaster.
Meanwhile in the Impala, Sam is much closer to putting the pieces together. In the episode-that-I-refuse-to-acknowledge-as-canon, the Roman Goddess Vesta told Sam that he was pretty much scotch-taped together. Sam ain’t no dummy; he’s beginning to notice the missing chunks of time and that things are not adding up the way they are supposed to.
Yes, Dean, you would lie. And you have.
The Winchesters head to the scene of the Biker Bar slaughter to investigate and when they arrive, they find a familiar face.
Mish-Mish is back, and he’s wearing a blue tie and sporting a fake FBI badge, like a true Winchester. Castiel insists that he can help the brothers investigate the angels, and in possibly the most adorable scene ever, he drinks a beer with the brothers at a dive bar. Tipsy!Cas is quite possibly my drinking soulmate because I too flirt with everyone when I’ve got some liquor in me. (Can’t stop that #profoundbond).
Ezekiel isn’t happy that Castiel is around, and after giving Dean an angelic bitchface, insists that Dean get rid of the former angel. After all these weeks, Dean finally grows a pair and tells Zeke off. Unfortunately, since the angel is the only thing keeping Sammy alive, Dean is again forced to make Castiel leave. He almost tells his BFF the truth about Ezekiel, but in the end he cops out, saying, “I did what I had to.” That is not the last time we hear that line in this episode.
Metatron shows up out of seeming thin air and confronts Ezekiel in a dark alley (and so spawned a hundred dirty fanfics). He recognizes the angel in Sam, an angel who is not Ezekiel but actually Gadreel, the guardian of the Garden of Eden (you had one job, dude). In a surprise twist, the show morphed into a metaphysical episode of Game of Thrones, in which Metatron decides to be God and have Gadreel be his right-hand angel (and we all remember how well it went when Cas decided to play God). He tells Gadreel that he must prove his loyalty and hands him a slip of paper with a name on it, turning Sam Winchester’s body into that of an assassin.
After being sent away, Castiel decides to pray. At this point in the episode, I really wish we had seen more of Castiel’s struggle as a human. Not just with dealing with things like hunger and pain and lust, but also with being cut off from the spiritual realm. That was a missed opportunity, writers.
An angel named Muriel answers Castiel’s prayers, but she’s been followed and Cas gets taken prisoner by Malachi, the Heavenly Douchebag. He is tortured for information, because the angels assume that he’s in league with Metatron (at which point the fandom screamed, “not our former angel, you assbutts!”). While being tortured, Cas manages to learn that the real Ezekiel is dead and I swear we could almost hear the internal monologue, “SamDeanmustwarnSamDeanmustwarnneedtogetoutofherenow!”‘
Luckily, Cas has learned a thing or two about being a Winchester and manipulates one of Malachi’s lackeys into untying him and then Cas fucking steals the other angel’s grace. Definitely a Winchester. He calls Dean to warn him about the angel in Sam, but is he too late? He also tells Dean that he “did what he had to” to get his angelic powers back. That’s the second time we hear that line.
Dean enlists Kevin’s help in translating the angel tablet to find a spell that will immobilize “Zeke” long enough for Dean to tell Sam the truth and get Sam to kick Zeke outta his meatsuit. Kevin Tran, bless him, helps Dean even thought he knows it never ends well. “I always trust you and I always end up screwed,” he says.
The audience can feel the impending doom.
Dean uses the spell and in a gut-wrenching conversation, reveals the truth to Sam. He begs Sam to kick Zeke out, but all we get is a well-deserved punch to Dean’s face. Next scene: Sam walks into the main room of the bunker and kills Kevin Tran. Apparently Gadreel tweaked the spell and now Sam’s gone and only the angel remains. “I did what I had to,” he tells Dean before he disappears.
What This Episode Reveals About the Winchesters
Over the past two seasons, we’ve gotten to know a Sam who feels like he lives in the shadow of his older brother, the Righteous Man. We’ve seen Sam struggle with devils of his past and we’ve seen him accept them and begin to move on. Now we are seeing a Sam who is once again drawn into a situation outside of his control, but this time it is through no fault of his own. We have a confused and lost Sammy, an innocent victim, and we feel almost as guilty as Dean for knowing what’s happening to Sam when he doesn’t. Now that Sam isn’t around–seemingly trapped in his own body–I can’t help but quote The Shining.
Dean, poor baby, did what he felt he had to do. There is nothing he would not do to save his brother, and although he gave Heaven’s Most Hated a get-out-of-jail-free pass, he did it for Sammy. Last night was the tipping-point for Dean’s guilt, and he tried to make things right. He just didn’t do it soon enough. And he realizes the enormity of his mistakes as he looks at Kevin Tran’s burned–out body.
The Big Picture
Cas is an angel again (well, at least he has angelic grace). Sam isn’t Sam. Dean is alone. Metatron has plans to be God. Abaddon is still out there being Queen of Hell. And Crowley’s locked in the basement.
And, dear God, imagine the boatload of guilt that was dumped on Dean last night. We’re going to be seeing angsty Dean for the rest of the series, I fear.
The midseason finale finally gave Supernatural the kick it needed this season. For once, I have no idea what’s going to happen, but I have a feeling that things brought up in season 8–like curing a demon, for example–are going to play a BIG role in the next part of season 9.
And now that we have no Prophet, how will Dean figure out a way to reverse the spell? Luckily, no one on SPN stays dead for long. #kevinlives
Personally, I’m still waiting for that Abaddon/Crowley cage match. But, alas, the hellatus is upon us.
The Winchesters return January 14.
P.S. I’m really going to miss Osric Chau’s live-tweeting sessions.
Disclaimer: I own none of the images or clips.
- Supernatural Recap: “Heaven Can’t Wait” (acollectivemind.wordpress.com)
- Supernatural Recap: “I’m No Angel” (acollectivemind.wordpress.com)
- Supernatural Rant: “Rock and a Hard Place” (acollectivemind.wordpress.com)
- Supernatural Recap 9.03 – I’m No Angel (wolfeep.wordpress.com)