Supernatural: The Third Man

Dean: "Why does Rafael want to bring back all this crap?"
Castiel: "He's a traditionalist."

Good times. This episode felt more like the Supernatural I love than the last two.

Dan and I have been debating for awhile whether or not Castiel is a strong enough character to spin off. I think this episode is proof that he is. Castiel was virtuous, scary, weird, smart, and funny. And wow, is he cute.

I'm definitely intrigued with the angel civil war and "loose nukes" from Heaven showing up on earth. The staff of Moses was truly creepy in a fun sort of way, and I loved that it was "sawed off," like a shotgun. The bowl of blood thing was another reminder that angels and demons are like flip sides of the same thing. What's involved in an angel soul deal? Would Balthazar have sold them to Crowley? If so, in exchange for what?

Balthazar was okay, and he had that "I might be a continuing character" vibe. But mostly he reminded me of how much I miss the late, lamented Trickster slash Gabriel the archangel. Dan laughed out loud when Balthazar turned Rafael's vessel into a pillar of salt. Wouldn't salt created from an archangel's vessel be, like, super salt? The boys should bag it up and take it along.

We're seeing a new side of both of the boys, and Dean is winning on points. The phone call from Ben showed that Dean was a pretty good dad. Dean was good with Aaron, too. In the opener, Dean was dreaming about making love with Lisa, while Sam was paying off a gorgeous hooker. (I guess Sam isn't a prude any more.) Sam didn't protest Castiel using a "holy taser" on poor Aaron. Castiel not answering Sam's prayers was odd, too. I wonder if Sam just doesn't remember what happened to him after Lucifer and Michael fell into the box? That wouldn't explain the change, though.

Something is clearly wrong with Sam. There's nothing wrong with his chest, though.


Bits and pieces:

The Third Man is a classic noir movie, a philosophical whats-is, and Misha is the third male cast member in this series. Except Castiel is not technically a man, is he? Was there another meaning of "The Third Man" that I missed?

— The opener with the blood was a lot like what happens to staked vamps on True Blood. Bleah. Plagues of Egypt. Mini-plagues.

— Ben's wendigo mask in the trunk was another callback to season one.

— In the Bible, Aaron was, of course, Moses' brother.

— Castiel added holy water and rocks to Dean's blood when he was casting the spell. I think it was rocks. It might have been Honey Bunches of Oats.

— Dean got takeout from "Burger Heaven".

— This week: Easter, Pennsylvania. Would Easter be a good place for traditionalist angels?

— Did Castiel get a new do?

Quotes:

Sam: "So, what? You like him better, or something?"
Castiel: "Dean and I do share a more profound bond. I wasn't going to mention it."
Was that a sideways nod to slash fan fiction?

Castiel: "The weapon isn't being used at full capacity. I think we can rule Moses out as a suspect."
Dean: "What is Chuck Heston's disco stick doing down here, anyway?"
Do you suppose that's what Lady Gaga was referring to?

Castiel: "Sam. Dean. My (air quotes) people skills are (air quotes) rusty. Pardon me, but I have spent the last (air quotes) year as a multi-dimensional wavelength of celestial intent."
What does that even mean? I don't know, but I loved the air quotes.

Castiel: "You smoked them with the staff of Moses."
Birch: "What the hell kind of fed are you?"

Sam: "My car!"
Dean: "Okay, silver lining."
I have a feeling Sam isn't insured.

Castiel: "I need myrrh."
Dean: "Freaking angels."

Dean: "I was expecting more Doctor No, less Liberace."

Castiel: "What are you doing?"
Balthazar: "Whatever I want. This morning, I had a menage a... what's French for twelve?"

Three out of four disco sticks,

Billie
---
Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

19 comments:

Gustavo Brunetti said...

Hi, Billie

I think the rocks were myrrh. I've never seen myrrh, but it makes sense in the scene.

I also loved the ep. When I heard S06 would be about hunting monsters like S01, I thought "oh, no, so much for all that mythology we've been learning all those years." But I'm pleased to stand corrected.

Balthasar was played by the guy who plays Thomas Newton in Fringe. I think he's specializing as villain and Gordon Ramsay lookalike, as Josie pointed out.

On a side note, seeing you comment on the guys' looks on your reviews makes me feel less shallow for commenting on Olivia from Fringe and Sarah from Chuck. Thanks for the validation.

Billie Doux said...

On a side note, seeing you comment on the guys' looks on your reviews makes me feel less shallow for commenting on Olivia from Fringe and Sarah from Chuck. Thanks for the validation. I usually restrain myself, but Sam working out? I was helpless to resist.

Josie Kafka said...

Count me as helpless, too. Especially now that Sam's neck no longer has the same circumference as his waist.

Gustavo Brunetti said...

Jared has certainly buffed up

Mark Greig said...

Someone clearly took their Conan audition very seriously.

Ben Edlund is my favourite Supernatural writer, responsible for many of my favourite episodes I glad to see he didn’t disappoint with his first episode of season six.

Billie, I think title may have been a reference to Balthazar and his similarity to Orson Wells’ character from The Third Man, Harry Lime. Like the fallen angel Lime was a charismatic black marketer who didn’t care if the merchandise he sold killed people and eventually faked his death to escape the law only to be discovered alive by his friend. Balthazar's talk with Castiel even recalled the famous Ferris wheel scene from the movie.

Anonymous said...

"I think it was rocks."

It was the myrrh.

I really love what you said about Castiel and I agree 110%! He brings so much to the show!

Great review!

Harry said...

Wow good call with the Third Man reference Mark :)

I am SO relieved - the Supernatural that I know and love isn't dead after all. It was just hiding in Ben Edlund's mind. I'm so glad that topless Jared was in there too. And even though we didn't see much, I feel compelled to mention that Jensen got his top off too. Thanks Ben!

Great angle with the angelic weapons of doom and human souls as currency :) I like it. I also like that Sam hasn't escaped Hell completely unchanged. I have a theory (could be way off) that he didn't have a crappy time down in Hell for some reason. Perhaps the demons were pleased with him for some reason? Either way he was a little bit of an arrogant bastard in this episode. God it was such a turn on...sometimes I shouldn't say words.

Billie Doux said...

The rocks were myrrh? I think you're right. But I really think it should have been Honey Bunches of Oats.

Thanks for the comment about the Third Man, Mark. Makes sense. I don't know the movie at all.

Harry, yes, you should say words. :) I always enjoy your comments. Go for it.

Jess Lynde said...

I'm usually a big "Dean girl," but Sam was definitely looking mighty tasty in that scene. Caught my attention, for sure. I may have actually said, "Whoa!" out loud.

This one definitely had more of an old school feel, even if Sam clearly came back wrong. It wasn't even his total lack of protest over the child torture, but the look on his face while Castiel was doing it. Like he was intrigued instead of disturbed. I definitely don't think he had the same experience in hell as Dean.

I loved Sebastian Roche as Balthazar. He's so much fun as the cheery villain. I hope we see him again.

Castiel seemed a bit off to me though. I guess it was just his voice. It seemed gruffer than usual, and I found it distracting.

Josie Kafka said...

I noticed that about his voice, too, Jess. Maybe he "caught" a "cold" in Heaven.

KimmieAnn said...

Another great review Billie!

It occurred to me during this episode that Dean has Sam's personality from seasons past and Sam has taken on Dean's personality from past seasons.

Henrik Bennetter said...

Great review Billie and, as many before me have pointed out, "my" Supernatural is back - this episode I didn't fast-forward any scenes!

The opener was, in my opinion, also an homage to the classic scary movie Poltergeist - remember the shaving scene where the father of the house(?) peels of skin from his face?

Anonymous said...

Sam is cold. He wasn't so much a prude before--he just needed to be emotionally close to someone before sleeping with them. He had an anger problem, but I never thought he'd hurt anyone. He had empathy and kindness (and his anger came from seeing his loved ones get hurt). Dean doesn't--or didn't--need to feel emotionally close to get busy, but he was never cold when he had sex (though his pickup technique would annoy the crap outta me).

That first scene was off-putting. Sam was so. . .cold. Not even, "Hey, thanks, here's the money, it was fun." And I don't get why she offered to do it for free next time (yeah, he's hot, but he was really creepy. My skin was crawling. I mean, I love me some Jared Padelecki, and he is looking mighty fine, but the Sam Winchester he's portraying is a major league creep. I would have told him to keep the cash and would have run as far and as fast as I could have from him.) Either he's still possessed by Lucifer (occurred to me several times during the show) or he's still kinda dead.

I got the feeling that he could have knifed her or slept with her and he would have had the same reaction either way. :::Twitch:::

Anonymous said...

Billie, the title of the episode, "The Third Man," does have significance besides the Wells movie and the fact that Castiel is the other male "lead." And you pretty much hit it on the head when you said "Except Castiel is not technically a man, is he?"

The third man argument was posited by Plato (through Aristotle) in the Parmenides dialogue as an attack on Plato's own theory of forms. Briefly, the theory of forms posited that material things are inferior copies of some essential Form of that thing. Therefore,we can understand "man" as a universal concept even though our only experience of "man" is through individuals who vary extremely. We can separate the concept of "man" from the horde because Form of man exists.

The third man argument attempts to defeat this theory by turning it on its head. In the theory of forms, first we have to recognize a man as a man, then we ask why we can identify a man as a man--because there is an ideal Form of man. After we recognize the ideal Form of man, then we should ask (following the pattern for identifying a real-world man) why we can identify the ideal Form of man as the ideal Form of man--because there is an ideal ideal Form of man (the "third man"), and on and on...

The third man has to explain why man and Form of man are both man. I definitely think the title was meant to reference the third man argument. My take is that Castiel is an angel in a mans body, an ideal Form of man. His return revealed the the humanity of Dean and the inhumanity of Sam. First, I was not surprised that Castiel came right when Dean called, Sam ain't right and Castiel does not have time for that. I wonder if in the past seasons Castiel ever came to Sam when Dean was not around? And then Sam with the impossible chest, the prostitute who would do it next time for free, and his joining in on the amorality that was torturing that poor soulless child. Dean obviously objected to the torturing, but more than that, he spent most of the episode just looking incredulous. We were in Cas's world, and it should not be comfortable for a man to live there--and it did not look like Dean was comfortable at all. While Sam settled in. I'm telling you, that boy ain't right, I think the Devil rubbed off him.

Finally, another possible meaning of third man: where the hell (hehe, get it?) is the third Winchester brother, and why has neither Dean, Bobby, and now Castiel not asked Sam about him?

Billie Doux said...

Anonymous, I'm impressed. Your comment is just a tad fuller and better researched than "philosophical whats-is." :)

Unknown said...

I *have* seen myrrh and normally it's a bit darker than that, but it looked darker than frankincense so that wasn't it. Given he was looking for myrrh which is a sort of resin, I'm guessing those were what the rocks were.

Always ask a pagan/ceremonial magician. *bows*

Anonymous said...

Really, really good episode. There is something wrong with Sam if he was willing to see that kid get "tasered".

Patryk said...

Ben Edlund + Castiel = back to the old Supernatural. Hope the season keeps up the upward trend.

ChrisB said...

OK -- something is SO wrong with Sam (other than the fact that he looks amazing!). Paying for sex? Standing by while a kid is tortured? Kicking in a witness's front door? If we believe Cas (and I do), the angels didn't bring him back -- who did? A demon? Samuel? A combination of the two? But whomever brought him back, he's a changed man.

Dean, meanwhile, has changed as well -- but for the better. He's trying to be a good dad ('molding the minds of tomorrow'); he's trying to figure things out with Cass and he's trying really hard to understand Sam without judging him. I liked the way he defended Sam to Cass.

Speaking of which, it's good to have Cass back. I loved the air quotes and I'm really glad he has his angel mojo back in full force.

I liked Balthazar, but then I'm a huge Sebastian Roche fan. Balthazar was one of the Magi -- a tie in to the myrrh? One way or the other -- why are the angels harvesting souls now?

I've been impressed with the first three episodes of this season. Far from resting on its laurels, they are raising more questions than providing answers. And, so far, I like the new arc.