Supernatural Season 9 Review “I’m No Angel” –Mo’ Angels, Mo’ Problems

I know we’re only three episodes into this season of Supernatural, but I am so excited about the direction things seem to be headed. The first episode laid out the angel problem. The second episode laid out the demon problem. This third episode laid out the Cas problem, and Cas was certainly not short on problems. We also met Naomi’s replacement and found out that there’s a whole network of mercenary reapers out there. Who knew? There was a lot going on in this episode, so let’s get to it.

Cas has been MIA since the season premiere, and the last Dean spoke to him, he told Cas to hightail it to the MOL bunker so they could figure out their next move. That was days ago, and Dean hasn’t heard from Cas since. Ezekiel popped in to let Dean know that the angels were organizing and hunting Cas, so off the Winchesters went in search of their friend. They weren’t the only ones. The new angel in charge, Bartholomew, sent some of his lackeys to track down and kill Cas. When they couldn’t find Cas (because he’d warded himself against them) Bart enlisted the help of mercenary reapers to handle Cas. Cas was seduced and tricked by one of the reapers hunting him, but the Boys showed up and rescued him. Sort of.

I know Cas causes some disagreement within the fandom. Some people love him and want more of him. Some people hate him and want him gone from the story. I’ve always liked Cas and I think he adds an interesting dynamic to the story. I do feel like The Powers That Be (TPTB) struggled after season five to figure out how, or even if, Cas still fit into the Supernatural universe. As such, his inclusion in seasons six and seven (though limited) felt forced and awkward. However, Jeremy Carver found the perfect way to bring Cas back into the fold in an organic way in season eight with the introduction of the angel tablet. That, plus Cas’s inadvertent involvement in the angels’ expulsion from heaven and him losing his grace opened the door for a layered and engaging story for Cas. This isn’t just Cas as a powerful ally in the Winchester story. This is Cas as a fully realized individual who has an emotional journey all his own. We get a chance to explore how Cas feels and what he thinks. We still get to explore his new and very different relationship with the Winchesters, but we also get to go along with Cas on his exploration of his own humanity.

One of the things I’ve always liked about Cas is how much he respects humans. Whereas most of the other angels act as if humans are barely better than cockroaches, Cas has always felt that humans are works of art. His time with the Winchesters has also given him much more insight into the nature of people, but try as he might, he’s never really understood what it means to be human until now. Even in season five when he started powering down, Cas still had most of his angelic abilities so he didn’t really get to experience the full spectrum of human needs. This is the first time that we get to see Cas as a truly vulnerable person. He’s hated and hunted by both the angels and the demons while also grappling with hunger, thirst, exhaustion, and bodily functions. Not to mention he’s also trying to process his guilt, fear, and loneliness all while trying to figure out exactly what his purpose is. Yep. Cas is definitely human now. While I did find some of Cas’s revelations and experiences amusing, I really hope we don’t dwell too long on fart jokes. Cas discovering sex (and the Boys’ reaction to this revelation) was funny, but I’d like to see more of Cas figuring out how he fits into the world rather than his exploration of hedonism and frequent urination.

Dean is probably going to get a lot of backlash for kicking Cas out of the MOL bunker, but Dean was put in a very difficult position. On the one hand, Dean’s got Cas who is being hunted by angels and demons. Cas doesn’t really have any way of taking care of himself; he doesn’t have anywhere else to go; and he doesn’t have any other friends. On the other hand, Dean’s got Ezekiel saying that he’s going to have to vacate Sam’s body if Cas stays around. Sam isn’t nearly as healed up as he needs to be and if Zeke leaves now, Sam is going to die. Basically, Dean was forced to choose between his brother and his best friend. It’s no surprise that Dean chose Sam because Dean always chooses Sam. It’s not that he wanted Cas to leave and I’m sure he feels like crap about it. But at the same time, it’s not like Dean can tell Cas exactly why he’s sending him out there to fend for himself. Dean’s secret has now caused him to essentially abandon his best friend in his time of need. That’s very un-Deanlike, but at the same time, I understand why he did it. And I don’t know that I buy Ezekiel’s reasoning. He claims that Cas has to leave because he’s no longer warded against angels. Fine. Then why not just ward him again? Why is it that Cas has to leave instead of getting another tattoo? I think Ezekiel is just making sure that he’s the only angel in Dean’s ear. Or maybe Ezekiel is in just as much trouble as Cas is. I don’t know, but it seems pretty clear that he’s not telling Dean the whole story. I really want to be wrong about Ezekiel, but I just don’t trust him.

I kind of don’t know what to say about Dean right now. Tricking Sam into being possessed by an angel is the first time in Winchester history that I feel like Dean has done something that is just flat out wrong. I think he knows it too. I totally understand why Dean made this choice for Sam, but that doesn’t mean it was the right one. It’s also kind of troubling that Dean is becoming so adept at lying to the people he cares about the most. It’s not that Dean isn’t a good liar when he has to be. That’s part of his charm. But this is different. This isn’t Dean lying to a stranger to get information. This is Dean lying to the people who trust him. This is Dean lying to the people who love him. This is Dean, for the first time, actively betraying his brother. I really like the way Jensen Ackles is playing Dean’s discomfort with the whole situation. Ackles does so many subtle things within a scene to let you see Dean’s inner turmoil while still trying to keep his poker face on. I think Sam is starting to get suspicious too. In both situations that Ezekiel helped out, Dean made up a lie that Sam is trying to make himself believe. He can feel that something is off, but he trusts Dean so he’s pushing those doubts to the side. I just wonder how long he’s going to keep doing that though. This lie is going to come back to bite Dean in the butt and I don’t know that his and Sam’s relationship will ever truly recover from it.

All in all, solid episode. I’m still not a fan of the Buckner/Ross-Leming writing team though. Their episodes are always uneven at best and this was no exception. However, the pacing issues and heavy-handedness that usually plague their episodes didn’t seem quite as bad this time around. Maybe it’s just that I was so looking forward to finding out what happened to Cas that I didn’t notice. Mostly I think it was the wonderful performances from Misha Collins, Jensen Ackles, and Jared Padalecki that really saved this episode. Just as an aside, I have to say how much I am enjoying Padalecki’s performance as Samzekiel. He has created two very distinct characters that he seamlessly slides into and out of. In addition to different speech patterns as Samzekiel, Padalecki carries himself differently and even interacts differently with Dean. I’m still not entirely sure that we can trust Ezekiel, but I am entirely sure that I am enjoying Padalecki’s performance. So, what did y’all think of this week’s Supernatural?

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