Supernatural Season 8 Review “Goodbye Stranger” – Castiel is Still my Unicorn

Supernatural season 8 episode 17 Goodbye Stranger

In this episode of Supernatural, called “Goodbye Stranger,” Cas comes back just in time to help the boys find Meg and hunt for the Angel Tablet while trying to keep Naomi from forcing him to kill Dean. He’s a very busy angel.

Destiel and Megstiel

Like the title says, this episode probably didn’t do much except cement my love for Castiel. Watching him kill Dean, even if it was just in Naomi’s version of a holodeck training program, was really hard but I knew that he would never be able to do it when it was the real deal. No amount of training can force Castiel to kill the man who, for all intents and purposes, is his brother. When Dean begged Cas to snap out of his spell and reminded him that they were family, I thought I was going to lose it. That whole scene reminded me of the season 5 finale – especially since Cas beat on Dean as hard as Sam/Lucifer did – and yeah, I bawled just as heard during it as well. The bromance (which, just for clarification, is not the same thing as a romance to me) with them was on high and I loved it.

Speaking of romance though; before the emotional trauma, we got some fun moments and I really enjoyed seeing Cas and Meg together again. We’ve seen a lot of snarkiness and pizza-man kisses between them, but this episode gave us our first real look at some actual affection between the two. The funny thing is, before this I never would’ve thought of myself as a Megstiel shipper (and how awesome was it that Dean actually used that phrase?), but that little moment between them totally warmed my heart. Personally I don’t think that Meg is dead. Not that I expect her to come back any time soon, but I don’t think we saw enough of a full flameout, so I think the writers have left that door open to possibly bring her back someday.

Sam’s Trial, Naomi’s Anger and Crowley’s Loss

Looks like Sam is much more damaged than we probably thought, considering the fact that Cas said even he couldn’t fix him. I did love how Dean went all hobbit on his brother and offered to carry Sam, even if he couldn’t carry his burden. With love like that, I know Sam will make it through the Trials.hopefully. Finding out that Naomi and Crowley had connections that go way back was interesting and I was totally expected them to team up, but I guess Naomi isn’t quite as gullible as Crowley hoped. It kind of made me admire her, even though I definitely didn’t want to. Admiring her doesn’t make me any less angry at her for controlling Cas though. It also doesn’t make me any less fearful for Cas now that he’s run off on his own to keep the Angel Tablet from everyone. I’m sure he thinks that’s the only way to keep it safe but hasn’t everything he’s been through taught him that he can trust the Winchesters above anything and anyone else? Oh Cas, please go back to the boys soon.

My favorite bits..

Okay wait. WHAT? Show, please don’t mess with my heart like that.

Dean calling Sam “Doc Holiday.” Mean, but very accurate.

Dean’s reaction to finding an old-fashioned version of his favorite magazine. Who knew his lust for busty Asian beauties was apparently part of his bloodright?

Dean’s grin when Sam agreed to give him ten minutes with the magazine.

Dean finding the bloody napkin in the trash.

“What kind of flower says ‘thanks for killing demons?'”

Sam’s surprise when he discovered that Dean had been praying to Cas.

“You know, I can hear you both. I am a celestial being.” – CLASSIC.

Cas repeatedly stabbing the demon in the hand to prove that he wasn’t so much of a good cop.

“Aren’t you a little short for a Stormtrooper?” – Gotta love Meg.

“You know, I get why Crowley calls you ‘moose’ now.”

“You really do know how to make a girl’s nethers quiver, don’t you?”
“I am aware of how to do that. Although it doesn’t usually involve cleaning wounds.” – Is it wrong that that exchange kinda made my nethers…oh, never mind.

The look Cas gave Meg when she said he was much cuter standing up.

Cas saying that he thought his noodle was a pretty good one.

Cas pointing out that a book could theoretically kill him.

Haha! Meg-Stiel, that is awesome.

“We survive this, I’m gonna order some pizza and we’re going to move some pizza around, you understand me?” “No…actually, I.” – Oh yeah, we know he gets it.

Dean and Sam simultaneously telling Meg to shut up, not once, but twice.

“How am I not Team Sam?”

Meg reminding Sam that she had been in him and remembered his sad thoughts and feelings. Creepy, but accurate.

Castiel telling Naomi that he could reason with Dean because he was a good man.

“I can’t let you take that, Dean.”
“Can’t or won’t.”

Finding Meg’s description of Sam’s relationship with Amelia sadly accurate.

Dean begging Cas to fight what was happening to him.

Finding this scene with Cas beating Dean so similar to the one when Lucifer was in Sam and beating him, too.

“Cas, it’s me. We’re family. We need you. I need you.” – TOO. MANY. FEELS.

Dean backing off in fear as Cas reached down to heal him. That hurt my heart.

“Castiel. So that’s who’s been poking my boys, and not in a good way.”

“Love it when you get all tough, it touches me right where my bathing suit goes.”

Meg telling Sam to go save his brother and her unicorn. Awwwww.

“You had me at kill you, Crowley.”

“Tart stole my move.” – Ha! How does it feel, Crowley?

“I may not be able to carry the burden, but I can carry you.”

YES!!!! ‘Goodbye Stranger’ has been stuck in my head ALL day long. So glad they’re actually using the song in the ep.

Hm….I thought it was sort of a sweet ending with Cas on the bus and the song playing but boy did it get creepy as soon as it got all silent right in the end.

What did you think of this episode of Supernatural? What do you think will happen to Cas now that he’s on the run with the Angel Tablet? How damaged do you think Sam really is?

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  • Mary Ruhland

    Dean backing off in fear as Cas reached down to heal him. That hurt my heart.
    – I totally agree. Dean I don’t think has ever shown that kind of weakness before, and it hurt my heart too. One question though, why is Cas on a bus? He can be in anywhere he wants in a matter of seconds. Also, my husband swears the soldier behind Cas had demon eyes reflected in the window, but I think Cas would’ve recognized that.

    • Jessica Breaux

      I figure Cas didn’t use his angelic mode of transportation because the other angels would’ve been able to track him. If he’s disconnected Angel Radio and isn’t tapping into the power of Heaven to get around, it’ll make it almost impossible for them to find him.

      • Mary Ruhland

        Ah, good point. I didn’t think of that, I just know he did it earlier in the episode, but you’re right he’s probably cut off from heaven now. It’s fun to think of Cas as a drifter now! 🙂

  • LordoftheNight

    Oh Meg….. we’ll miss you so much. That snarky demoness. I did like that in the end she was good… to an extent. She was a demon but she was firmly with Team Free Will, hard to believe that a long time ago she was the boy’s archenemy. Meg came a long way and it kinda annoys me that Dean and Sam didn’t even try to help her against Crowley. But Meg got the last word on Crowley and her death was a good one. I’ll definitely miss her, another long-time character has died. But this is Supernatural, and it may not be the last we’ve seen of her. But me personally, I think Meg has left the building for good.

    Shame she and Cas never got to move some furniture around. I became a Megstiel fan during S7, and that scene was definitely a great one.

    Castiel was on top form this episode. That opening scene was horrifying, for a moment I thought it was a flashforward before we saw all the Dean corpses and I realised it was fake. But Cas turning the tables on Naomi and choosing to stand with Dean was awesome, and I get why he needs to hide that tablet away. Sealing off Hell is a great thing but no Heaven, the risk is too great to chance keeping that tablet unsecure for a microsecond longer than necessary. Heaven may be the matrix as Dean put it, but as Pamela put it, the attic’s better than the basement.

    Crowley was awesome as well. Was anyone else surprised he beat Meg like that? Meg looked like she’d been beaten to the ground and Crowley didn’t have a scratch on him. The new Big Bad is a better fighter than you’d think he was. And his killing of Meg and that MookDemon reinforce the theme that Crowley is getting his hands dirty this season, and when he does he’s a million times more dangerous than before. Loved when he appeared to continue his phone conversation after he reached a certain point of anger.

    This was a 5 star episode, no question about it. The next episode will be interesting, and touches on the thing I find most annoying about Dean, his seemingly bred-in need to make sure that nobody else becomes a hunter, especially not kids. Dean needs to just shut up and Deal. With. It. There aren’t enough hunters for Dean to be bitching and moaning about where the next generation of hunters comes from, the generation that is going to be there when Sam and Dean eventually do get killed.

  • ptjackson

    “We survive this, I’m gonna order some pizza and we’re going to move some pizza around, you understand me?” – um, I think she said move *furniture* around…. LOL…..

    But anyway, this was a great episode for all the reasons you mentioned! I loved it, even if tore at my heart strings……

    But I am still wondering what Naomi is up to……

    This episode was especially great for me, with Castiel, Crowley and Naomi – three actors I adore and having them all on the same show, with the boys, is so amazing!!

  • Jessica Breaux

    Hi Michelle! Great review. I share many of the same favorite bits as you. I was looking for the right words to describe my feelings about this episode, but honestly, I have no words. When Supernatural is firing on all cylinders (as it most certainly was in this installment) it tends to leave me rather speechless.

    I have to start off by saying that however much they’re paying Robbie Thompson isn’t enough. He has solidified himself as one of my favorite Supernatural writers second only to Ben Edlund. Much like Edlund, Thompson is able to capture the drama, action, and dark humor that is unique to Supernatural. He not only understands each of the characters individually, he understands the Supernatural universe as a whole. Watching his episodes, you wouldn’t know that he just came on board in S7 because he has such a firm grasp of Supernatural’s past. There were a number of shoutouts to earlier seasons in ‘Goodbye Stranger,’ and they fit seamlessly into the current story. Recalling those past moments allowed us to really see the growth of these characters over the past 8 and half years. Seriously, give this man a raise.

    I can’t say that I’m a hardcore Castiel fan, but I have enjoyed watching his evolution over the course of the last several seasons. I’ve also always loved the dynamic he brings to the show whenever he’s on it. However, it has seemed that the writers have struggled to find a place for Cas over the last couple of seasons and I can understand their pain. Cas is one of the most powerful beings we’ve ever dealt with, and it’s difficult to figure out how to keep him in the story while not completely removing urgency from the Boys story. Well, it looks like they’ve finally found a place for Cas. It looks like he may not necessarily be interacting with the Boys all that much (at least for the moment) but since Cas is such an interesting character all on his own, I don’t think that’ll be a problem.

    Watching Cas’s journey in this episode, I had a really wild thought. It seemed like Naomi was somehow able to separate Cas’s mind from his body. I know. It doesn’t make much sense, but watching the scene where Cas was beating Dean it seemed to me that his mind was in heaven fighting with her while his vessel was still on Earth. Naomi even at one point told Cas to let his vessel do what he knew deep down was the right thing to do. I don’t know. It just seemed a little weird. I also found it a bit weird that Naomi’s office seemed to change colors as Cas was breaking free from her grip. I don’t know if that necessarily has anything to do with Naomi’s hold over him, but it was kind of interesting to me.

    Speaking of Cas beating Dean, that scene ranks right at the top of ‘painful Supernatural scenes that I’ll never forget.’ Let me say first of all, it should be a felony to destroy the national treasure that is Jensen Ackles’ face. That being said, I always figured that Dean would be the key to Cas breaking Naomi’s hold over him. I just didn’t know it would happen in such a painful and brutal way. The cold open of the episode was jarring, but Naomi made a fatal mistake in trying to re-train Cas to kill Dean. None of those Deans was really Dean. Sure, the Fake!Dean was pleading for his life, but she had no way of knowing that Dean’s love is what would get through to Cas. She doesn’t understand family and she doesn’t understand love. Especially not the kind of love for family that the Winchesters (Dean in particular) display. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Dean allow himself to get beaten to a pulp by someone he loves in an effort to reach them. He was able to get through to John at the end of S1 and Sam at the end of S5 the same way. Dean has always put his family above everything, and ultimately that’s a bond that can never be broken and that’s what Dean was appealing to. Naomi made a mistake in forcing Cas to choose between heaven and the Winchesters. Cas learned about love, loyalty, and family from them. He understands that in a way that Naomi never will and Dean’s pleas reminded him of that and gave him the strength to break free. That scene in the crypt was extremely nuanced and wonderfully acted by Jensen Ackles and Misha Collins. It was probably the most powerful scene of the entire episode.

    I can’t say I was surprised that we lost Meg. About halfway through the episode I started getting the feeling she wasn’t going to survive this time. By the time she got to that (rather amusing) conversation with Sam, I knew she was a goner because she basically said she was tired. She was tired of running. She was tired of fighting. She was tired of the blurred lines and complexity of the current landscape. She was just ready to be done with all of it. The reason she understood Sam’s desire for normal (aside from the fact that she’s been in his noggin before) is that she was right there with him. Granted, her normal involves being evil and killing people, but she wanted things to go back to the way they were. She seemed to realize that she was never really going to be able to carve out a place for herself in the new regime, so she decided to take a stand. I think that’s probably why she didn’t even flinch when Crowley told her the Boys were trying to close the gates of Hell. I felt like she told Sam to run not so much because she was trying to die heroically, but she just wanted to go out fighting. I don’t know how I feel about losing Meg though. She was certainly an interesting, layered character who added a great deal to the Supernatural universe. But I don’t really know that she necessarily fit into the story anymore. There was obviously a sense of nostalgia for her because she’s been causing trouble for the Boys since S1, but I think at the end of the day I’m glad her story is done.

    Sam and Dean seem to be on much more solid footing now than they’ve been in a while. Sam has been trying to pretend that he’s fine, but Dean isn’t an idiot. He’s known the whole time that Sam isn’t ok. Sam didn’t seem to be trying to hide his worsening condition out of any sort of malicious intent though. He wanted, no, NEEDED to believe that he was ok and he kept telling Dean that he was fine because he was trying to convince himself of that. I didn’t really expect Dean (and we) would confront Sam’s health so bluntly, but it really needed to happen. It puts both Sam and Dean at risk for Sam to be so off his game. It’ll be interesting to see how they move forward with Sam being unable to consistently, effectively defend himself. I’m also really concerned because of what Cas said about Sam being broken in ways that even he can’t heal. That’s extremely ominous. I really loved the way Dean handled Sam’s denials about his condition. Dean didn’t get angry. He was just honest with Sam, and Sam chose to be honest with Dean in return. That shows growth on both Dean and Sam’s part. Let’s just hope it lasts because Supernatural works best when the Winchesters are on the same page.

    This was an excellent return from spring break for Supernatural. All of the pieces came together to form what I think is one of Supernatural’s best hours of the series, and that is saying something considering how high some of Supernatural’s episodes have soared. And I don’t know if it was just me,but I felt like Naomi and Crowley had more than just a passing, antagonistic past. It seemed like either they had worked together before or they were involved in some other twisted, intimate relationship. Maybe it’s just the way Crowley relates to people, but it just seems like there’s more to their relationship. Really good review of an excellent episode.