Castiel: "I'm extremely old. I think I'm entitled."
Another mid-season finale. Another bloodbath.
This episode was like a mini-parable about the importance of good parenting, and what can happen when there is a lack of it. I loved Dean telling that story in the bar about their trip to New York and John Winchester saving him from his own stupidity, because that's what good fathers do. I even thought for one brief shining moment that we might get the return of Jeffrey Dean Morgan, because we've been waiting forever for that to happen. (A mention of John Winchester! Is that a whole beer?)
Instead, the John story was a contrast to the terrible parenting of Jimmy Novak, who gave his body to an angel instead of doing his duty as a father and raising Claire, who desperately needed his love and guidance. Maybe Hannah was right about the evil of taking humans as vessels, even with their consent. I liked Claire. She was acting out, but she certainly had cause and she deserved better than what she got. At least she has a chance now, because Hannah reminded Castiel of her existence and he decided to check on her. Why didn't Castiel ever answer her prayers? Because there was nothing he could do for her? That didn't feel right to me.
Castiel finally revealed what had happened to Jimmy -- that he had died and gone to Heaven after his body was destroyed, and when God restored his body, only Castiel remained. That made sense, although I wish someone had mentioned it back in season six. Maybe if Jimmy had lived, Castiel would have eventually let Jimmy go and allowed him to go back to his family, as Hannah did with Caroline. Especially now that Castiel has changed so much and assimilated so much humanity, as Claire helpfully pointed out in the "kind of a doof" exchange.
And maybe if Mary Winchester had lived and tried really hard to keep her children out of "the life", Dean wouldn't have ended up on the floor in a house in Pontiac, Illinois, covered with blood and surrounded by dead bodies. Sam's face when he realized that something was wrong was powerful. I thought for a moment that Castiel would take Dean at his word and throw him into the Sun or something. Not that those guys were any loss to the world -- especially "Randy", the substitute daddy who sold Claire into slavery -- but what now?
Could Cas actually kill Dean, even if Dean asked him to? Castiel loves Dean. Honestly, that lunch scene made me start to get the whole Destiel thing. I could swear Jensen Ackles and Misha Collins were deliberately making eyes at each other as they talked about life and death. Maybe the actors and the director were throwing the Destiel fans a little bone there.
And speaking of lunch, Dean was eating almost constantly during the first half of the episode. I'm spacing -- has he done that before when the Mark was gaining ascendance? It wasn't just the lunch scene that was sexy. You can give me Jensen Ackles emoting with a grilled cheese sandwich, any time.
Moving on to the obvious parenting parallel with Crowley and Rowena, Claire's friend Dustin was wearing the Wiener Hut uniform that Alfie/Samandriel the unfortunate angel wore back in season eight when Crowley was torturing him, and I think that was a deliberate callback of sorts to remind us that Crowley isn't just cute and witty. As Castiel was dealing with his vessel's daughter, Crowley started slowly edging into rekindling a relationship with his mummsy. Rowena outwitted her cellmate and got Gerald, her jailor, killed, proving again that she's much craftier than everyone else around her. I wonder how long it will take until Crowley realizes that she's working him?
Maybe he already knows. Crowley is far from stupid. But we all have a blind spot where our parents are concerned, even if they were terrible no good awful parents. Don't we?
Bits and pieces:
-- The premonition dream Dean had at the beginning of the episode was of an unfurnished cell full of bodies, not the same as the house where he killed all those men. I wonder why?
-- Was that same Three Stooges episode shown before? Was Crowley watching it in Hell awhile back?
-- Claire said that her mother Amelia abandoned her to go find herself. I wonder if Amelia was taken by a demon?
-- Rowena abandoned "Fergus" when he was eight, and he never knew his father. I loved how the actress said the name. "Fare-gus." And the Braveheart comment.
-- Claire Novak was played by Kathryn Newton, who I think did a terrific job. In season four's "The Rapture", Claire Novak was played by another young actress, Sydney Imbeau.
-- I feel compelled to mention the obvious, that the name 'Claire' means light.
-- Since the theme of this episode was good parenting, I also feel compelled to remind us all that Dean was a good father to Sam.
-- This week: Pontiac, Illinois. Sam played a detective investigating Claire's escape from the "child prison", a.k.a. the Youth Transition Center.
-- The next episode airs on January 20.
Castiel: "I was convinced I was on this righteous path. Now I realize that there is no righteous path. Just people trying to do their best in a world where it's far too easy to do your worst."
Claire: "Wow. Deep."
Castiel: "Yeah. For a doof."
Castiel: (to the convenience store clerk re: the fan magazine he was buying) "It's for a teenage girl. She's urinating."
Dean: "An emergency is a dead body, okay? Or a wigged out angel. Or the Apocalypse, take three. Some chick bolting on you is not an emergency. It's every Friday night for Sam."
Castiel: "Is ketchup a vegetable?"
Dean: "Hell, yes."
Dean: "If I do go dark side, you gotta take me out."
Castiel: "What do you mean?"
Dean: "Knife me, smite me, throw me into the freaking Sun, whatever. And don't let Sam get in the way, 'cause he'll try. I can't go down that road again, man. I can't be that thing again."
Crowley: "She was a horrible mother. Did I tell you the time she almost traded me for three pigs? Three! I was an attractive child. I could juggle. I was worth five pigs, at least."
Crowley: "'Fergus'. It sounds like a venereal disease, and not the fun kind."
Dean: "Whoa, hey, Miley Cyrus, settle."
Claire: "Eat me, Hasselhof."
Crowley: "I didn't even have a father!"
Rowena: "Of course you had a father. You were just conceived during a winter solstice orgy, and it's not like I was taking names!"
Castiel: "Do you think Claire is in trouble?"
Dean: "She's hanging out with a guy named Randy. She's in trouble."
This was a strong mid-season finale and it upset me. Does it rate four out of four juggling pigs?
Billie Doux is the founder of Doux Reviews and has been reviewing her favorite shows for quite some time. More Billie Doux.
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