CASTIEL RETURNS — Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) call Castiel (Misha Collins) for help when they investigate a case about several dead police officers who seem to have been killed by the plagues of Egypt. Castiel confirms the staff of Moses was used to kill the cops and tells Sam and Dean that Heaven is in a state of chaos and God’s weapons have been stolen. The three head off to find the thief and come face to face with an old enemy.
Bob Singer directed the episode written by Ben Edlund.
While Heaven remains in a state of disarray, Sam, Dean, and Castiel come face-to-face with an old foe when they attempt to track down the thief who stole the Staff of Moses from an arsenal of God’s weapons in order to kill several police officers with the plagues of Egypt.
A police officer, Gerald Hatch, returns goes to the station locker room and discovers that he’s bleeding from a cut on his cheek. He tries to wipe it off but discovers that his skin is peeling off. Blood starts oozing out of his every pore. He collapses and explodes into a bundle of loose flesh as his partner, Ed Colfax, looks on in horror.
Dean dreams that he’s sleeping in bed and wakes up in Lisa’s arms. He then snaps awake, realizing he’s in the Impala. While he drives off, Sam is at his apartment saying goodbye to a woman he spent the night with. He refuses to answer any of her questions, intriguing her further, and then pays her off. She tells him to call him on her night off. Sam then calls Dean and says he has a case in Easter, and tells him to meet him there.
Patrolman Toby Gray is watching for speedsters when a car drives by him at 70 MPH. He’s unaware that someone is watching him from the nearby woods. His phone rings and he tells the caller that someone is dead, and it has nothing to do with either one of them. Once he hangs up, boils suddenly spread across his skin. He tries to call in for help but dies in a matter of seconds.
As Dean meets with Sam, he finishes talking to Ben on his cell phone. Sam asks how Lisa took the news, and says that it’s better for everyone. They go into the police station morgue and Sam explains that Hatch died when he literally transformed into blood. He then shows Dean Gray’s corpse, covered in boils. They figure something is going on and go to see Colfax, posing as FBI agents. Colfax tells them not to worry about Hatch’s death and shuts the door on them. Sam kicks it in and they go inside. They discover that he’s scratched out the faces on all of his photos, and tells them again not to worry about it. He clutches at his head and pours himself a drink, and tells the Winchesters that he’ll be the next to go and then it will be over and God will be satisfied. He mentions Christopher Birch and says he had no face. Colfax knocks over the bottle and stares at it for a long moment, and then tells them that they planted a gun on Birch. Blood leaks out from beneath his hat, and he scratches at it and then falls over, dead. Sam confirms that he’s dead and they remove the hat. Colfax’s head is covered in locust that have bored out of his skull.
Back at the motel, the brothers realize all three ailments relate to the Biblical plagues of Egypt. Sam discovers that a kid napped Christopher Birch was shot in the head, and Colfax, Hatch, and Gray framed him and filed the same report. Sam suggests that angels might be involved, striking at bad cops, and Dean suggests they call Castiel. Sam notes that he tried when he was resurrected but had no success. Dean says his own unique prayer, and Castiel appears in the room. Sam wonders why Castiel came for Dean but not him, and Castiel says he has a bond with Dean. He admits that they have no idea who brought Sam back or why, and it couldn’t have been God because no one has seen Him. Castiel then explains that he came because of the plague deaths, and his angels aren’t the ones responsible. However, one of their weapons is responsible: the Staff of Moses. Castiel admits that in the confusion following the Apocalypse, a number of their weapons have been stolen and asks them to help since his people skills are rusty. The brothers figure that Christopher Birch’s father Darryl may know something.
Mr. Birch is reading an article about the officers’ deaths, and tells his son Aaron to go play. He then starts cutting out the article. Castiel teleports in with Sam and Dean, and they tell him they know the truth. Darryl says that the officers are getting what they’re deserved. However, he has no idea what they’re talking about. Aaron comes in, wielding a sawn off piece of the Staff. Castiel renders Darryl unconscious and takes the staff from him, and Dean gets the boy to explain that he killed the officers. Aaron tells them that an angel gave him part of the Staff after he prayed for vengeance on his brother’s killers. Dean realizes that there’s more, and Aaron admits that he gave up his soul in return for the staff. Castiel admits that it’s never happened before, but that it’s possible.
Castiel renders Aaron unconscious, teleports them all to the motel, and explains that he can read the brand of the angel that bought the soul. Castiel admits that it will be painful and Dean objects, but Sam is okay as long as there’s no permanent damage. Dean warns that Castiel is torturing a kid, but the angel says he can’t afford the luxury. He inserts his hand into Aaron’s body while Sam prevents Dean from interfering. Castiel finally gets the information he needs, and explains that the angel responsible is Balthazar, a friend.
An angel suddenly appears in the room, thanks Castiel for getting the name, and attacks him. They struggle and Castiel shoves the angel out the window where they fall several stories onto Sam’s car. The other angel disappears while Castiel pulls himself from the wreckage and teleports himself back upstairs. He explains that the angel works for the archangel Raphael. The brothers insist on getting an explanation, and Castiel admits that Raphael wants to rule Heaven, and Castiel and others are opposing himself. If Raphael wins, he will restart the Apocalypse. Castiel prepares a ritual and admits that he was ashamed to tell them what was happening because he expected more from his brothers. He then takes some of Dean’s blood to complete the ritual and locates Balthazar. As the police approach, Castiel figures that they’ll take the boy home.
Castiel teleports them to a manor and goes in, wielding his knife. Balthazar is relaxing and listening to music, and shows Castiel Raphael’s soldier, dead with a frog in his throat. Balthazar explains that he faked his death and then stole the Staff of Moses along with many other things. Castiel insists that he’s no thief, but Balthazar admits that he is. He assures Castiel that he’ll help, but refuses to give the weapons back. Balthazar insists that he’s following in Castiel’s path of rebellion, and that he wants to live a life of complete and utter freedom. Now he plans to try everything, and laughs at Castiel for believing he can ever stop the fighting. Castiel says that he’s insane, and warns him that Raphael will be coming. Balthazar is unimpressed, but thunder echoes outside. He teleports away as Raphael and his soldiers arrive outside.
As Raphael’s soldiers advance on the house, Sam confronts one of them. However, he’s just the distraction as Dean uses his blood to banish it.
Inside the house, another soldier attacks Castiel, who reluctantly throws his knife into its chest. Raphael appears behind him and throws him into the next room, and assures him that the soldiers have sworn themselves to his service. He beats Castiel mercilessly and prepares to kill him, but Balthazar returns and uses another of the weapons to turn Raphael’s host body into salt. Balthazar prepares to leave, but Dean traps him in a circle of flaming holy oil. They threaten to destroy him unless he releases Aaron’s soul. Castiel backs them and Balthazar releases the soul. When Dean asks why, the angel explains that souls are the only thing of value. Dean refuses to release him, but Castiel extinguishes the circle and says that his debt is cleared. Both angels teleport away.
Later, Dean and Sam prepare to leave and Sam puts his stuff into the Impala. Dean asks his brother if he’s okay, and notes that he didn’t interfere when Castiel tortured Aaron. Sam doesn’t see the problem, and explains that he’s been hunting nonstop for the last year. Dean thinks that there’s more going on, and that Hell changes a person, but Sam says that has overcome his problems and he’s different. As Sam gets in the car, Dean looks at him skeptically.
Review by Gaelic
6.03 – The Third Man – Gaelicspirit review
I’m just gonna say it now. I love my hero.
I remember earlier in the summer I read something that said in answer to ‘how do you top the Apocalypse’ that you go smaller, more intimate. You bring it in close and unroll it from there. I think we’re starting to see exactly that.
We may not have been blown off our couches by the premiere, we may have been further puzzled by the continuing mystery of the 2nd episode, we may not quite recognize some of the players we thought we knew so well, but there’s a slowly resonating heartbeat with this season. One that even the most stalwart of fans has to be patient and still in order to hear it right now.
But it’s there.
Over on the only other thread I regularly visit, ErikaAoi pointed out that this season felt very much like a noir film to her—where we watch the mystery unfold from the perspective of one character who is essentially clueless at the onset of the movie, but pivotal to how the movie turns out. In this case, Dean is that character. I can see that, even though we did see a little more from Sam’s viewpoint this time around. The challenge, though, is that in those movies, the mystery wraps in two hours. We’ve got a longer road to travel.
Tonight’s epi included a piece of the story I knew we’d eventually have to get—I just wasn’t sure how soon they’d go there. I’m kinda glad we got it out of the way now, to be honest. Cas, as we knew, returned to Heaven but before he bampfed out of the Impala, he let us know that Heaven was in chaos. So, we had that loose thread to grasp. Plus…there’s the burning question of why is Sam back and who brought him out of the cage. Can’t really say ‘resurrected’ him, because unlike Dean…Sam didn’t actually die.
Which is one thing that has me wondering about his behavior, but I’ll get to that later.
So, because of the THEN, we’re reminded of the previous two episodes as well as who Raphael is and the fact that Castiel left him standing in a circle of Holy Fire. Whoops.
I have to say, the deaths in this one? Grossed. Me. Out. They were pretty phenomenal. And I don’t get squicked out by movies/TV too easily these days. We start out in a police locker room. Cop A is washing up when suddenly his face starts to bleed…and then peels his cheek off. I kid you not. Gasping, he turns to Cap B behind him, mumbles through a blood-filled mouth, “I think I’m bleeding,” and then SPLAT!
The dude totally liquefies into a puddle of blood and clothes. GACK. Seriously.
Right after our shattered glass opener, we see shirtless Dean (I know) sleeping on his side. Lisa leans over him from behind and wakes him with a kiss that earns her a sleepy grin (I know) and he’s pulling her close, kissing her like I wanted to see when he left her–full-on I want you now passion–then rolls over her so that we see his bare back (I KNOW) and it looks like we might see a bit o’morning delight when he lifts his head, sleep-mussed hair and all (*sighs*) and looks around, confused as a heartbeat of sound begins to fill the room….
BLAM! A semi-truck horn blares by and Dean jerks awake behind the wheel of the Impala off on the side of the road. Seems like no matter what, his dreams are of Lisa. His nightmares…well, that’s a whole different story.
We get a little montage of the two brother’s morning stretches. Dean’s consists of stiffly crawling from the Impala to twist at the waist and wake his weary limbs before climbing back behind the wheel to drive off.
Sam’s, however…good Lord. There is no denying that boy is built with hip dents that would turn a nun’s head. Push-ups, sit-ups, and very, very shirtless pull-ups (both kinds—chin ups and then the ones where your head goes in front of the bar…proving that Sam has him some serious upper body strength, ya’ll). He’s just finishing rep…oh, I don’t know…50? When a dark-haired woman walks out of a motel bathroom telling him, “Don’t stop on my account.”
SamGirls all over the world echo her sentiment.
She’s all coy with her, “Last night was a high point.”
No expression. None. Just a blank-eyed stare. It wasn’t even dead-eye, it was just…empty.
She starts to walk away and Sam stops her, handing her some money. She takes it, claiming she almost forgot, then hands him her phone number (which he throws away after she’s left) so that he can call her on her night off. Huh. So, Sammy apparently has improved his luck with women a tad. I mean, sure, she was a hooker. But she was human, which is definitely a plus, and she didn’t die, so that’s good. And she practically had “Sam Winchester Is A God In Bed” tattooed on her forehead.
The thing I took away from that whole exchange, though, is Sam’s blank look. Like he could care less that she was there. Almost as if he’d forgotten about her, frankly. I don’t want to burn too much energy speculating on what might actually be going on with Sam, though. Not because I don’t care, but because I want to see what they have to show us. I want to see their story. Not mine.
Still, I can’t help but have ideas, theories, musings. Like how various demons and angels told Dean that he wasn’t whole when he returned—that he’d left a piece of himself down in Hell. Dean himself recognized that fact. I wonder if that might come into play somehow. Or also, as I said above, how Dean actually died and went to Hell, but Sam fell into the Pit without dying and with the Devil trapped inside him. It’s not going to be a simple PTSD thing (not to insinuate that PTSD is simple) with Sam’s storyline. And part of me hopes that the fact that Dean was never allowed to deal with his PTSD is addressed in some way when we get to the core of Sam.
So, until then, all of the weirdness surrounding Sam? I’m just gonna call it like I see it: Sam acting different for reasons beyond my ken. I care about the guy, but waver between intrigue and frustration as to what’s going on in that noggin of his—and I’ll be honest, it depends on how it affects Dean. I need that friction to really engage with Sam.
That said, as the hooker leaves, Dean calls Sam from a place called Burger Heaven (hee!) and says he’s 8 hours outside of the Campbell compound (which is…where? Did anyone actually catch what state that’s in?). Sam’s like, scratch that, meet me in Easter, PA, I’ve got a case.
D: A case? It’s been a day and a half.
S: I like to work.
S: Glad we hashed that out. Call me when you roll into town.
Jeeze, Sam, pissy much?
Dean (to his phone after Sam hung up): Who died and made you boss?
Exactly. I hate it when my family pulls that crap with me. As if they’re shutting me down with attitude before I can get all touchy-feely and actually, y’know, express feelings. *grumbles*
Meanwhile, we have Cop C tucked back into the trees at a speed trap. A Porsche roars past at 70mph, but he’s waiting for bigger fish, and apparently, content to sip his Big Gulp with a splash (or two) of liquor. Someone is watching him from the trees and he gets a call, obviously about the liquefied cop and tells the caller to chill out. No sooner does he hang up, though, than boils appear. BIG ones. Everywhere.
I literally said, “Oh, my God that is nasty” out loud to my TV. Still makes me quib a bit. He seizes, chokes and…dead cop #2.
Back in Easter, the Impala rumbles up to a convenient parking spot directly behind Sam’s Charger. Dean gets out, on the phone with Ben, telling him that he knows the kid is lying because he does it professionally. He tells Ben to man up and tell Lisa he ‘broke the thing.’
It’s fun seeing Dean behave in a Dad-like manner while on the road. I just wish he hadn’t felt the need to shrug it off and down-play it when talking with Sam a moment later. He should be proud that he’s so involved in Ben’s life—even while hunting. But he seems to want to tuck it away. I can’t yet decide if that’s out of protection or the fact that balancing hunting and family really doesn’t come easy to Dean and he’s still trying to work out the kinks. Maybe a little bit of both.
Sam wants to know how Lisa took it when Dean bailed. *frowns slightly at the word ‘bailed’ since that’s totally not what happened*
D: Shockingly cool, actually.
S: Better for everybody.
Huh?? That is definitely a statement that’s going in my “Sam is different” box. It throws me how he wants Dean to give up that life so much now when that life was the whole reason he claimed he didn’t tell Dean about being alive for a year. I mean, it’s not as if we suddenly have this Really Big Thing to deal with (that we know of) like the Apocalypse. Sure, there are Alpha baddies running around, but it seems that isn’t the main focus right now or Sam wouldn’t have been cool veering left and checking out Easter’s plagues. Plus, the Campbells are all over that. If Sam were the Sam I remembered, I’d say this shift was because he realized how much he missed and needed his brother and it didn’t hit him until he almost lost him again.
But…Sam’s different, so things like that make me quirk my head and take a breath.
D: Still driving the plastic piece of crap, huh?
S: What’s your mileage again?
Hee. While the Impala is sacred ground and should have a “thou shall not mock” bumper sticker, it was fun hearing them give each other sh*t like brothers do. It was good. And normal. One of my husband’s best friends came into town this weekend. He moved to New Mexico two years ago and we haven’t seen him in a long, long time. We all got together for dinner tonight and within seconds the guys were giving each other a hard time and laughing themselves to tears. Boys are weird. *grins*
The boys head to the Morgue (flashing FBI badges to get there) and Sam’s giving Dean the low-down on the case. They pull out a drawer and check out boil man (who looks even worse dead). Dean’s thinking witches, which was Sam’s first guess, but he couldn’t find anything…hexy. Dean knows there’s a link between “skid mark” and “bubble wrap.”
D: Can I get a witness?
Sam says that Ed Colfax saw Cop A turn into blood, so they head there. In two cars.
Dean cuts Sam off at a cross street and pulls up to the house first. Heh.
S: Were you racing me?
D: No. I was kicking your ass.
They knock on Colfax’s door and ID themselves as Feds when he opens. He closes it on them mumbling, “Don’t worry about it; it’s nobody’s business.”
Sam kicks the door in. At that, I kinda felt a bit like they were hammering the point that Sam wasn’t his usual self home with a LOT of force. I think that’s when I built my “Sam is different” box.
Dean cries out, “Dude!” with less of a I can’t believe you did that and more of a I can’t believe you did that.
They head inside and find Colfax at a table with a bottle of liquor and a cup. He’s scratched out the faces of all his family pictures. He’s wearing his dress uniform—complete with hat—as (I assume) he was prepared to go to one of the two other dead cop’s funerals. He’s still mumbling, “Don’t worry about it.” Which, if I remember correctly, is the last thing Boil Man said on the phone, and I assume he was talking to Colfax.
Colfax tells the guys that, “They both had it coming. Me, too. I’ll be the next to go. Then God will be satisfied.”
Dean wants to know why God wants them all dead. Colfax says it’s because of Christopher Birch. This was actually a good subplot, I thought. I feel like it’s been awhile since we had something like this—where a person (or people) caused the ruckus and as a result of their actions, there are supernatural consequences. These are the kinds of stories I like to write, actually.
Colfax knocks over the bottle of liquor and just stares at it with a slow, “Aw, dammit.” Dean’s face is very much WTH, but Sam just looks…irritated.
Sam: Who is Christopher Birch?
Colfax: He has no face.
Dean asks Colfax if he’s okay (Colfax is scratching the top of his hat—not his head, his hat), looking partly freaked out, partly worried. Sam barks Colfax’s name with such sharpness that I almost thought it was Dean’s voice at first. But then…Sam is different.
Colfax: Christopher Birch is a kid with no face and a planted gun.
It kinda creeped me out, ya’ll, the way he repeated this…mumbling it. A thin stream of blood runs from beneath his hat and down his face. Dean’s like, “Uh, dude, you got a little something….”
Colfax wipes at the trickle of blood and says, “Damn. My head’s been itching like a dirty jock.”
And then…bam. Collapses. Dead. Sam checks for a pulse, finds none and continues to look irritated. Dean hears a weird, hissing sound and Sam removes the cop’s hat and—OMG, I almost can’t write it. It squicked me out that badly. Locusts were climbing out of the dude’s skull from a hole in the top of his head.
Dean grabs the back of a chair and looks away. Don’t blame him one bit.
Okay, thank God that’s done. Yowza. Back in the motel, they’re looking at Biblical pictures of the plague and trying to figure out WTH because yeah, they’re dealing with the plagues of Egypt, but it wasn’t quite ala King James. They have the police report that all three dead cops filed saying that Christopher Birch was shot in the head and Dean thinks the cops killed him and planted the gun.
S: Maybe Heaven has a hate on for bad cops?
D: So we’re listening to the guy with a bug in his custard? That’s the theory you want to go with?
Dean gets up to get a beer and I noticed something. I don’t know if I’m making this up or not, so feel free to call me on it. With Lisa and Ben, we don’t see Dean drinking. But as soon as he’s back hunting, he has whiskey, beer…the drinking returns.
ETA: Okay, I was wrong. Ya’ll reminded me that yes, he was drinking at Lisa’s and with Sid The Neighbor.
Anyway, not hugely important. Dean moves over to sit on one of the beds and says they need to call Cas. Sam scoffs, saying he tried.
S: It was the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd thing I did as soon as I got topside.
Dean’s eyes flinch. It’s kind of amazing, actually. He holds himself very still, but his eyes flinch, taking in the fact that the first thing Sam did when he got back was to try to get Cas, and then decided that leaving Dean in the dark was the best course of action, while the first thing Dean did when he got “topside” was call Sam. ‘Course the number was disconnected, so he reached Bobby instead, but that’s not the point.
Sam says that Cas won’t answer, but Dean wants to give it a shot.
D: Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray to Castiel to get his feathery ass down here.
He closes his eyes.
D: C’mon, Cas, don’t be a dick. Got ourselves a plague-like situation down here.
He peaks one eye open. So cute.
D: Do you…do you copy?
Sam’s got a full-on pissy face revved up. His lips do that flat thing exactly like in Tall Tales when we saw Dean’s POV and Sam was all, “Dean. This is a very serious investigation. We don’t have time for your blah blah blah…blah blah blah blah.”
S: Like I said. The SOB doesn’t answer…he’s behind me, isn’t he?
Dean first looks surprised, but then his eyes round a bit with pleasure at seeing his friend again. It’s kinda sweet, actually.
Dean, looking at Sam, shrugs with his mouth and relaxes into a small grin.
S: Hello? HELLO?!?
Cas: That is still the term.
S: I spent all that time trying to get through to you. Dean calls once and now it’s HELLO?!
Sam (showing the first real emotion all episode that had me seeing the Sam I remember): So, what. You like him better or something?
Cas turns and kinda shrugs helplessly.
Cas: Dean & I do share a more profound bond.
Dean’s eyes are like, wait, what? I had to laugh at that one. Especially when Cas turns to Dean with, “I wasn’t going to mention it, but….”
Dean interrupts him, though, and with one quick scene of dialogue not only shuts Cas up, but me as well. It’s really easy for me to get so wrapped up in the fact that no one told Dean that Sam was alive. It irks me and has me rubbing my heart. But Dean…see, regardless of all of that…injustice that I feel was visited upon him, he’s still and always Sam’s big brother. And he never forgot that. Not once. Not through his grief or his healing. Not while he was processing that while Sam thought he wanted a family, he wanted his brother alive. Not when Bobby informed him that he knew what was best for him.
He never forgot what his little brother did.
I kinda did. I mean, I didn’t forget forget, but I allowed myself to focus on something else. But that’s why he’s my hero.
D: Cas, I think what he’s trying to say is that…he went to Hell for us. I mean, he really took one for the team, you remember? And then he comes back without a clue and you can’t take five feakin’ minutes to give him some answers?
Sam just looked…young. And lost. And like he was so glad his brother was there in that moment.
Cas: If I had any answers, I might’ve responded.
Sam is searching Cas’ face, hungry for an answer, but Cas has nothing for him. He doesn’t know who brought Sam back or why. No one’s even seen God (which doesn’t mean that He still couldn’t have been the One to do it). It’s all…mysterious. Of course. Because it’s only the 3rd episode.
S: What does that mean?
Cas: What part of I don’t know escapes your understanding?
Jeeze, Cas! Untwist your boxers, a little. He’s just looking for a little hope, okay?
D: Cas, look. If Sam calls, you answer. You wing your ass down here and you tell him “I don’t know.”
Atta boy, Dean.
Cas, however, claims he didn’t come down because Dean called; he came because of the case they were working on. Awfully conveniently timed, if that’s the case. *doesn’t buy it*
He says that he and the “halo patrol” aren’t behind the deaths, but that he knows what did it: the Staff of Moses.
Cas: It was used in a dominance display against the Egyptians.
D: Yeah. That one made the papers.
Cas: The weapon isn’t being used at full capacity. I think we can rule Moses out as a suspect.
The guys’ faces are hilarious as they both swallow their knee-jerk “No sh*t, Sherlock” responses. Cas says that post-Apocalypse Heaven is chaotic and that a number of powerful weapons have been stolen. He needs their help to get them back.
S: That’s rich.
Don’t blame him. Kinda think they’ve given enough as far as helping angels is concerned. Both of them.
Cas, though, totally busts out the quotey fingers and gives them an impassioned speech.
Cas: Sam. Dean. My “people skills” are “rusty.” I have spent the last “year” as a multi-dimensional celestial wave of intent.
He asks them to help him find the weapon or more people will die. After a moment, Dean says that if it wasn’t the angels, that takes them back to motive. Which takes them to Christopher Birch, and his dad. Cas bampfs them directly into the Birch living room where Christopher’s dad is adding the article about the dead cops to a scrap book. He’s all, WTH and Sam flashes his fake FBI badge and begins questioning him about killing the cops.
Dad Birch: Look how they died! No, I didn’t kill them!
Cas: You smote them with the staff of Moses.
Dad Birch: What the hell kind of Fed are you?
Ah, I’ve missed Cas and his subtleties. Hee.
Next thing you know, Aaron Birch (Christopher’s little brother) shows up holding the staff…or a piece of it. Apparently it’s been chopped up. Cas puts Dad to sleep and zaps over to grab the stick from Aaron. Dean asks Aaron where he got the staff and Aaron says that an angel gave it to him. Of course, since we’ve established with the call from Ben earlier that Dean can tell when a kid is lying, Dean digs deeper and finds out that Aaron bought the staff from the angel—with his soul.
D: Can that even happen?
Cas: It’s never happened before.
For moment, I was thinking that it was going to be a demon claiming to be an angel. I mean, they just took this kid at his word; how did he know it was an angel? Y’know? But…that doesn’t matter because they didn’t go there.
Now it makes sense (to Cas) that it’s in pieces: more pieces, more product. Cas puts Aaron to sleep and transports all of them—this time not even touching Sam and Dean (full angel power is nice and convenient)—back to the motel. He knows how to track the angel that bought Aaron’s soul, but it’s going to be painful for Aaron—very painful.
Dean tries to stop him—this whole situation got very out of hand very fast, it seems. He looks to Sam for support in the whole “we don’t torture kids” argument, but Sam just asks if there will be any permanent damage. Cas says the physical damage will be ‘minimal.’ Dean turns back to Cas and tries again to get him to not torture the kid to get the information.
Cas: I can’t care about that, Dean. There is no other way.
Cas literally reaches into Aaron and the kid starts to scream. Dean lunges toward Cas to stop him, but Sam grabs him back. Dean shakes off his brother’s grip with a withering look, but doesn’t try to stop Cas again. Maybe he realized they were right and they needed the intel. Maybe he was thrown by being outnumbered on the subject. Maybe he was just afraid of what it would do to Aaron if he yanked Cas away mid-scan. But he doesn’t protest further.
Cas finds out who the angel is—Balthazar. He was a friend of Cas’ who was thought to have died in the war. Before Cas can say more, though, a random angel shows up—complete with shiny sword. The boys immediately—and in unison—duck out of the way. Annnnnnddddd Angel Fight!
The Random Angel tells Cas that “Raphael says hello” and it’s on like Donkey Kong. Cas and the Random Angel go at it until their fight takes them—literally—right out of the 3rd story window where they land…on Sam’s car.
Well, that was easy! No more Charger.
Dean (peering out through the window): Okay, silver lining.
Cas, moving too fast for anyone to really get what the hell is going on, starts moving around the room gathering up things. Dean steps directly in front of him, making him stop.
D: Explain. Now. There’s too many angels. I don’t know who’s on 1st, what’s on 2nd….
Cas: What is 2nd?
D: Don’t start that.
So, the quick and dirty is, Raphael (who somehow got out of the Holy Fire) and his followers want him to rule Heaven (since God hasn’t shown back up yet) and other angels don’t want him to, so it’s a Civil War in Heaven. Raphael is a traditionalist, you see, and wants to put the Apocalypse back on the rails. Which could mean he might’ve been the one to pull Sam up from Hell…but then, if he did do it…where’s Lucifer? And I swear if they say that Luci’s still trapped somewhere in Sam and that’s why Sam is different I will protest very loudly. I’ll go with it, like I said last week. But…well, I just hope that’s not where they’re going.
Anyway, Dean’s trying to track Cas’ movements and getting more frustrated when Cas finally has everything he needs to find Balthazar except human blood. He grabs Dean’s hand, cuts his palm (totally ignoring Dean’s vocal protestations), and bleeds him into a bowl. While Dean wraps up his wounded hand, Cas does some chanty stuff with Holy Water and just as the sirens arrive, he declares he found the angel.
They start to leave and Dean’s like, what about the kid.
Cas: Don’t you think the police will take him home?
AH, good save, writers. Way to get yourself out of that little corner.
They arrive at a totally schwanky house and head inside. Or at least Cas does. I guess they guys just watched the perimeter? Cas goes in and the world’s largest toad (seriously, this thing was massive) is sitting on the landing of a sweeping staircase. Cas zaps up there and follows some techno music into a largeish dance room. The door shuts and latches behind him and Cas draws his shiny angel sword.
Balthazar shows up. I remember the actor, Sebastian Roche, from this show I watched a million years ago called Roar. Heath Ledger was in it. Roche played Longinus, a man cursed with immortality. He had been the Roman solider that removed Jesus’ body from the cross. So, playing a rogue angel wasn’t the much of a leap, I thought.
The two angelic brothers exchange words—Cas grieved Balthazar’s death. Balty was sorry about that, but he really didn’t want anyone to know he was still alive, so he faked his death…and stole a lot of things. Because he could. He tells Cas that Cas’ actions were more than simply rebellious—he proved that they (angels) could do anything. So he (Balty) is now trying everything.
Cas, always wanting to do the right thing, argues that Heaven is in the clutches of Civil War and if they could just beat Raphael, they can stop this. He wants Balty to give him the weapons. Balty, though, is having none of it. Says the fighting will never stop. Cas warns him that Raph knows he’s alive by now. Balty’s like, cool. Bring it.
And…they do. Lightning, crashing, and Balty blinks out, leaving Cas alone in the large room. Meanwhile, outside, three other angels show up and advance on the schwanky house with swords. Sam draws the attention of one—having a sword of his own (presumably the one that the other Random Angel dropped in the motel room). The angel zaps over and presses his shiny sword against Sam’s throat, arrogantly asking if Sam thinks he can out-fight an angel.
Dean: Who’s fighting?
He uses the angel-blast-away symbol thing and BAM! One angel down, two to go. Another shows up to confront Castiel, who begs him to not do this, he doesn’t want to kill another brother, but kill him he does. Castiel laments, “Why won’t any of you listen,” and suddenly, Raphael is behind him.
Raph: They don’t listen because their hearts belong to me.
Annnnndddd angel fight #2! Seriously, Raph is kicking Cas’ ass. Raph gets Cas to his knees, raising his shiny angel sword in what would be a killing blow. The boys are still nowhere to be seen and it looks like curtains for our favorite trench coat wearing being when suddenly, Balthazar appears, grabbing Raphael’s attention, and I swear he says, “Hey! Look at my junk!”
I can’t imagine that’s right, but that’s what I heard.
In any case, he’s holding a large crystal and the moment Raph looks at it, he turns into a (crumbling) pillar of salt (just like Lot’s wife). At first I thought, yay! Raphael’s dead! Heavenly Civil War solved, back to MotW!
But…no. It was just his vessel.
So, all Balty did was delay Raphael for awhile until he finds another vessel—meaning we won’t know when he’s coming or who he is. Which could be interesting. And while I kinda wanted to be done with the angel/Apocalypse storyline, I don’t really want to be done with Cas, there is still the matter of Sam and Gramps returning from whence they came, and they set up the Heavenly chaos last season to be solved this season…so as long as we keep Sam and Dean out of the vessel arena, I’m cool with it.
Balthazar tries to leave when Dean suddenly shows up from nowhere and lights a ring of Holy Fire around him, demanding the angel release Aaron Birch’s soul. Balty calls him a hairless ape and demands to be released. Dean’s bellows, “SAM!” (Which I totally missed. Seriously. I love how he does that.)
Sam’s there, backing him up with more of that special oil. Balty turns to Cas and is all, “I stood up for you in Heaven, are you just going to—“
Cas: I believe the hairless ape has the floor.
So, Balty clears Aaron’s debt, and when Dean demands to know why he wants human souls anyway, Balty replies that human souls are really the only thing worth trading for these days.
Balty: Do you have any idea what souls are worth?
Dean and Sam exchange a glance. Yeah. I think they know exactly how much they’re worth. Probably not in the same way Balthazar means, but…yeah. They got the idea.
Cas releases Balty (much to Dean’s chagrin) and says his debt to Balthazar is clear. Both angels bampf out leaving a very frustrated and a somewhat…empty pair of brothers behind.
Later on, the boys are trying to share the Impala’s trunk, forced once more to blend their separate lives within the one constant that’s always united them. I really liked seeing them together with the Impala again. I read a coda earlier today by a gal named [info]datenshiblue . In it, she had a wonderful closing line about the Impala: She beat the Devil.
Indeed she did. She saved Dean’s life, and she saved Sam. Perhaps not his life, but she still saved him. She gave them both the reminder they needed to save each other and the world the only way they knew how. I think I finally saw a little bit of light that we might see them be brothers again when they were both crowding their stuff into that trunk. Sam found Ben’s Halloween mask—a very accurate Wendigo—and Dean moved weapons around to allow for the stuff Sam had accumulated over the year apart. It was a sign that they might be able to come together again.
And then we have the pause. The start of the conversation that I think will probably last several episodes, and one I wanted to begin during the premiere. I forgot, though. These conversations always have to happen on, in, or near the Impala. Until now, we were missing the key ingredient.
Dean leans on the roof of the car, looking across at his brother (and looking completely toe-curl-worthy as well), who meets his gaze briefly before looking down, away, around…anywhere but right back at Dean.
D: Are you okay? Been a few times you’ve got me wondering…like when Cas was angel-tazering that kid…where were you?
S: I was with you, but…well, we needed the intel.
D: Yeah, but we tortured that kid to get it. I didn’t get the feeling that you even cared.
S: You’re wrong.
Dean lifts his chin in a very “uh-huh” gesture, like he’ll allow it, but he doesn’t buy it. He wants to know what’s going on with his brother, but he also knows enough not to press too hard, too fast. He knows what it’s like to be cornered for information you can’t bear to give.
D: Something’s different with you. You know that.
S: Yeah, I know.
Sam moves to lean on the hood of the Impala, affecting a nonchalant stance and still avoiding looking directly at Dean.
S: I’ve been hunting non-stop, so I’m a little rough around the edges.
D: Yeah, I get that.
Meaning, I think, I’ve been there. I’ve lived that. I’ve done that, seen that. And you are that. But you’re also more. And less. And…different.
D: But…you went to Hell, Sam. I know what that does to a guy.
S: To you. You know what it did to you. It tortured you. I think it still does. But…I’m okay.
D: So, you’re saying you’re stronger than me?
S: No. I’m just saying we’re different.
Sam has a point. It’s one I think Dean needs to absorb as he thinks about how to approach his brother next time. Just because they both went to the same place doesn’t mean they can relate to each other. I was saying it about the fans—that we can’t possibly compare their experiences in Hell. But the same is true of them.
Sam’s right—Hell tortured, and still tortures, Dean. But it wasn’t the same for Sam and as soon as Dean internalizes that, he can better find an inroad to getting his brother back. I mean, it’s gotta be hard for him, y’know? Dean was the only human in the world who’d been to Hell and back—literally—and he had no one who could relate, no one who could understand, no one to sympathize. The only other beings that had seen it didn’t feel emotions like humans did. And while his family empathized, he was utterly alone in his pain.
And now the one person he loves most in the world—enough to have gone to Hell for him in the first place—survives the same place, he wants to be able to connect with him about it. But he can’t. Because, as Sam pointed out, they’re different. So, Dean knows what Hell did to him…but none of us know what Hell did to Sam.
And of course I don’t for one moment believe that Sam’s ‘okay’ as he claims. Neither does Dean. Sam gets in the car and Dean schools his features, swallowing further questions or protests, his jaw muscle flexing and clenching, his lips in the tight, worried line, and his eyes…flinching.
He can go along with it for awhile, but the conversation is going to come up again, and at some point, he’ll find out the truth just as Sam did about him. I just cross my fingers that it’s a truth we can all absorb. But one thing’s for sure…Dean hasn’t forgotten who he is. Family (in the form of a good woman and an almost-son) house, and normal life aside, he’s still Sam’s big brother. And now that he’s hunting again—and they’re back home again—more pieces of the mystery will begin to fall into place.
This time, we didn’t get previews for next week, we got SOON. And a bunch of scenes from, presumably, several weeks to come. All look exciting and have me all *squee!* as well as *ack!* with a little bit of *gasp!* and some *oh, no!*.
Anyone know when the first ‘break’ is going to be? How many of these do we have to look forward to before we have to endure a cursed hiatus?
Thanks again for reading!
Official Episode Stills:
No Music in this episode.
Dean: Ben, I know you’re lying. (pause) Because I lie professionally, that’s how.
Dean: Still driving the plastic piece of crap, huh?
Sam: What’s your mileage again?
Dean: Shut up.
Sam: Were you, uh… racing me?
Dean: No. I was kicking your ass.
Sam: Very mature.
Dean: Well, let’s give it a shot. Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray to Castiel to get his feathery ass down here.
Sam: You’re an idiot.
Dean: Stay positive.
Sam: Oh, I am positive.
Sam: (as Castiel teleports in) Like I said, the son of a bitch doesn’t answer… he’s right behind me, isn’t he?
Sam: So what, you like him better, or something?
Castiel: Dean and I do share a more profound bond. I wasn’t going to mention it.
Castiel: You think I came because you called? I came because of this.
Dean: Oh, well, it’s nice to know what matters.
Castiel: It does help one to focus.
Castiel: There’s only one thing that could have brought this into existence. You call it the Staff of Moses.
Sam: The Staff?
Castiel: It was used in a dominance display against the Egyptians, as I recall.
Dean: Yeah, that would make the papers.
Sam: But I thought the staff, like, turned a river into blood, not one dude.
Castiel: The weapon isn’t being used at full capability. I think we can rule Moses out as a suspect.
Castiel: We must find the weapon that did this. I need your help.
Sam: That’s rich. Really.
Castiel: Sam, Dean, my “people skills” are “rusty.” Pardon me, but I have spent the last year as a multidimensional wavelength of celestial intent.
Castiel: If the angel we seek truly bought this boy’s soul, when a claim is laid on a living soul, it leaves a mark, a brand.
Sam: What, like a–like a shirt tag at camp?
Castiel: I have no idea.
Dean: Too many angels, Cass! I don’t know who’s on first, what’s on second.
Castiel: What is “second”?
Dean: Don’t start that.
Sam: [After seeing his car totaled] My car.
Dean: OK, silver lining. [smirks]
Castiel: What… is all this? What are you doing?
Balthazar: Whatever I want. This morning I had a menage a… what’s the French word for 12?
Balthazar: Same thing happened to Lot’s wife. Iodize the poor sucker, and your kitchen’s stocked for life.
Balthazar: Holy fire. You hairless ape! Release me!
Dean: First you’re taking your marker off of Aaron Birch’s soul.
Balthazar: Am I?
Sam: Unless you like your wings extra crispy, I’d think about it.
Balthazar: Castiel, I stood for you in Heaven. Are you gonna let…?
Castiel: I believe the hairless ape has the floor.
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Dean: Lookin’ sharp, Kojak.
Referencing the bald New York police detective, Theo Kojak, played by actor Telly Savalas in the TV series of the same name. The Greek detective is best known for his habit of sucking on lollipops to fight the urge to smoke, and his catchphrase, “Who loves ya, baby?” The show had a short-lived revival/remake in 2005.
Dean: What is Chuck Heston’s disco stick doing down here, anyway?
Referencing the 1956 movie The Ten Commandments. Charlton Heston plays Moses, who inflicts the ten plagues on the Pharaoh and leads his people out of Egypt.
Dean: I don’t know who’s on first, what’s on second.
Referencing the classic vaudeville Abbott & Costello comedy routine. The comedy duo first performed the routine during a tour in 1937, went on to do it on radio on The Kate Smith Hour in March 1938, and performed it in their movie debut in One Night in the Tropics (1940). They also performed the routine in The Naughty Nineties (1945) in what is considered their finest recorded rendition. The routine is based off the confusion caused by a baseball team where all of the players have names that are brief statements (Who, What, I Don’t Know, Why, Because, Tomorrow, Today). Abbott tries to explain that Who is the first baseman, confusing Costello who keeps asking “Who’s on first?” and being told “Yes.”
Dean: I was expecting more Dr. No, less Liberace.
Dr. No is the villain in the 1958 James bond novel of the same name, written by Ian Fleming. Although it is Fleming’s sixth novel, it was the first movie (in 1962). Liberace (1919-1987) is the famous entertainer and pianist, known for his gaudy and overly expensive lifestyle.
Balthazar: Same thing happened to Lot’s wife. Iodize the poor sucker, and your kitchen is stocked for life.
Lot was forewarned by angels of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. As he and his family left Sodom, his wife looked back despite the angels telling them not to, and she was turned into a pillar of salt.
References the 1949 British film The Third Man. The film stars Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli, Orson Welles, and Trevor Howard. Set in a recovering Vienna after World War II, it follows American writer Holly Martins as he tries to find his friend Harry Lime who has offered him work. However, upon arriving he finds that his friend recently died in a car accident. As he delves deeper into his friend’s accident, he discovers that all is not what it seems.
Castiel uses an Enochian ritual with myrrh, holy water, and human (Dean’s) blood to locate Balthazar.