Supernatural: The Man Who Would Be King

I’ve not yet watched the last two episodes that I’d DVRd, but I didn’t want to fall further behind, so I watched this week’s episode live, and it was a supremely intricate rug pull as Castiel revealed that he’s been integrally involved in the whole purgatory patrol all along. Even worse, he’s been in cahoots with Crowley, who’s still alive, and whose death he faked. Even worse worse is that he was the one responsible for bringing Sam back from Hell.

So we set the stage for extreme betrayal and Jensen Ackles to deliver his Emmy reel, if the Emmys recognized The CW as a network. The boys and Bobby have been running their own game in the hunt for Crowley, torture porning demons and lying to Castiel, whom they discover has been returning the deceit in kind. It would seem that Castiel and Crowley came to an arrangement to defeat Raphael, who wanted to reboot the apocalypse, come hell and high water, after the Winchesters averted it, and that divvying the millions of souls in purgatory buys Castiel the in that he needs to prevail in a civil war against him.

He and Crowley agree to divide the souls so Crowley can return to reign in Hell while Castiel gets Heaven. As Castiel fully realizes, they’re assuming the roles of Lucifer and Michael all over again. It would also seem that the angels were truly flailing for a purpose in the absence of Michael and that they believed Castiel to be chosen to lead because he was rebuilt by God. He’s just going to have to go through Raphael to do that.

The boys and Bobby catch up to a too-clean demon lair and then are attacked. Castiel steps in to help them just in time. They thank him and confess that they had doubted his allegiance to them, and apologize for not believing in him, that he was their friend. When Castiel tips his hand that he heard something he wasn’t physically in the room for, they finally figure out they’ve been played, and eavesdropped on, so they call him back down and lure him into a fire ring, where he begins his long confession about what he’s really been doing all season. When Crowley comes along in a fury of black smoke, Castiel begs them to flee, and they do. Crowley releases him from the fire and they agree they’re still on track, but that Castiel has to leave the boys alone. Castiel reiterates to Crowley that the boys are not to be harmed.

So now, Castiel is at the crossroads of deceiving his family on earth and preserving his home in Heaven. With his deception revealed, Dean is heartbroken and he takes Castiel down with him. Castiel comes to Bobby’s to speak to Dean (and gets in the house because Bobby got the angel-proofing hieroglyphs wrong) and try to justify what he’s done, but Dean lays it out for him that Castiel is as much family to him now as Bobby and Sam, and he’s asking him, as a brother, to leave purgatory alone. When Castiel sadly and firmly asks for another reason, Dean falls silent that Castiel doesn’t get it and essentially breaks up with him, explaining that if he’s not with them, he’s against them.

Castiel never tells Dean (that I saw) that the alliance with Crowley and the search for purgatory is to maintain the balance of Heaven and Hell and prevent the apocalypse from beginning again, and I didn’t get a bead on why he couldn’t tell him that piece of it – when that would explain his rationale in a way Dean would understand. We end with Castiel alone in the snow begging God for a sign that he’s on the correct path and getting none.

I realized tonight that while I still love and buy into the actors and appreciate the work they’re doing, I’m just sort over the storyline now. I’m not keen on the whole season having had an alternate agenda that we’re finding out about now. And I think I’m done with the violence of it. I couldn’t get past the intro last week when I tried to watch “Mommy Dearest” and everyone in the bar started attacking each other. This week, aside from the demon-baiting at Bobby’s, we also had a gross scene of Crowley digging around in what’s left of Eve and finding that as he desecrated her corpse, a demon trussed up nearby felt the pain acutely, so he screamed in the background the whole time Castiel and Crowley had their initial discussions. That was completely gratuitous and distracting from scenes where we were finally getting the details about their partnership.

We also got a bit of a clips show thrown in where they replayed snippets of previous episodes with an overlay of (an unseen) Castiel and Crowley lurking behind Sam and Dean, watching and listening. It was an interesting plot device to see that Castiel really was around all along and did struggle with needing and wanting to ask Dean for help but didn’t want to endanger him. It’s precisely because he couldn’t ask for help and tell Dean the truth that he endangered him anyway and has likely lost him forever.

Sam was heartbroken, too, that Castiel pulled him out of Hell soulless, and when he demands to know whether that was part of the plan, Castiel swears he wouldn’t have done that, but they can’t really believe him anymore. The presumption there is that Sam was released because Castiel needed the band back together to demon wrangle, which was also Crowley’s rationale for freeing Samuel, but Sam’s soullessness was an unexpected wrinkle.

One neat thing in the episode was that we were introduced to the show’s concept of Heaven, where each angel sort of adopts a soul’s individual version of paradise. For Castiel, he prefers the peaceful, green Tuesday afternoon in the park of an autistic man who died, and for Raphael, it’s an over-the-top moneyed abode belonging to Ken Lay (and he offers an aside that Lay made it to Heaven because he was devout).

We get a week off next week for the Smallville finale and then a two-hour finale on May 20th. And we’re renewed for season seven, so the heat’s off, and the table’s set for yet another cliffhanger.

Photo Courtesy of The CW

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