To quote Vampy Willow, “Bored now.” I wasn’t really feeling it this week. A carryover from the season I didn’t complete, the episode marks the return of Castiel, who is summoned by Dean when a most nasty trio of plagues dispatches three police officers within a matter of days. Dean is back in the hunter fray in earnest, and after the initial gooping of the first victim, the episode opens with a montage of SamBot working out (shirtless but in jeans) as a the hooker from the previous night takes her leave and her payment with an offer of “Call me on my night off;” separately Dean awakens alone in the Impala, parked next to a highway, after dreaming of waking up at home in bed with Lisa.
The boys connect and talk about the new case (which Sam seems to be alpha on), and then there are some back and forth brotherisms as they snit about Sam’s choice of wheels and its douche factor before they get down to business. After they witness the death of the third cop, they discuss (for what seems like forever in expositionland) and come to the conclusion that their case has very specific biblical overtones and they need an angel.
Dean prays to Castiel; Sam says “Good luck with that,” and then Castiel appears. There’s some sniping about Dean’s most-favored-human status because Castiel blatantly disregarded Sam’s repeated requests for help after he made it out of Hell and didn’t know why. Castiel’s reasoning? He didn’t know, either. Once they drop that, Castiel very matter-of-factly determines that the plagues are the result of an angel departing with a grab bag of heaven’s most dangerous weapons, or as Dean says, “The nukes are loose.”
They summarily rein in the boy who killed the cops using the staff of Moses (a. k.a. “Chuck Heston’s disco stick” – per Dean), and after he says he paid an angel for it with his soul, Castiel tortures him a little bit by groping inside his chest to ID the angel’s marker and is disappointed to find out it’s Balthazar, whom he had deemed a close friend. Next, one of Raphael’s goons shows up and he and Castiel fight and end up out a window and onto the cars parked below, where Sam’s car is the collateral damage.
Castiel does a locator spell (slitting Dean’s hand open for the blood without asking first) and then he flashes them over to confront Balthazar (played with just the right dash of flamboyance and arrogance by Sebastian Roche). The angels banter about Castiel’s allegiance to God, whom nobody has seen, and Balthazar’s choice to have a life on earth enabled by his heavenly contraband. Raphael and his goons show up and the boys help slow things down by handling the goons, but before long, Raphael and Castiel have their own smackdown. Just as Raphael gets the upper hand, Balthazar pops up to turn him to salt. Sam and Dean then trap Balthazar in a circle of fire, he rages at them, and then Castiel sets him free in repayment for the salt trick and they both disappear.
The shakeout is that there’s now a civil war for custody of heaven and Balthazar’s gone the “every angel for himself” route while Castiel is just biding his time trying to keep the band together until dad comes back (and that just made me think of God and John Winchester in the same sentence). Raphael wants control for himself, so, it’s likely not the end of that. Bah.
On the domestic front, Dean finally asks Sam WTF about his anti-humanity and lack of emotions (when Castiel tortured the boy, Dean tried to interfere and Sam just stood by sort of zoned out about and maybe a little into it while Dean was visibly pained). Earlier in the episode, Balthazar makes a comment about souls as the new commodity and there was some Twitter chatter after the episode that maybe Sam left his soul in Hell, which is a reasonable theory. If so, I hope “getting it back” isn’t the whole of the arc this season.
I was sort of bored, frankly. The episode upped the gratuitous gore and threw back to the good vs. evil/catechism-speak that I wasn’t interested in last year. I know there are fans of this arc, and you have to pay service to the folks that watch, but I enjoyed that the first two episodes were about the brothers and monster of the week, so this was a step backward for me. TPTB must have realized in post-production that the episode was a bit heavy-handed because the collective “Soon” preview was all (and only) about the boys and Bobby and Rufus (!) and monsters (yay!), but oddly did not mention that this week’s upcoming episode was directed by Jensen Ackles. Now, that I’m looking forward to seeing.
Photo Courtesy of The CW