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Supernatural: Stairway to Heaven

"I decided that a hockey stick that can kill anything might come in handy. So sue me."

I wasn't sure what to think of 'Stairway to Heaven' other than I should have enjoyed it more than I did. It was angel versus angel and had some wonderful lines. But it felt uneven, and also ticked me off.

As soon as Tessa showed up, I knew they were giving us a familiar face so that her death would have impact, and it made me mad. Did they have to do that? And I knew Dean would lose control and kill Gadreel a moment before he did it. Yes, Gadreel killed Kevin and I get the out-of-control Cain rage, but damn. Gadreel could have been such a strong ally. And how will they find Metatron now? (Gadreel is dead, isn't he?)

For me, as is often the case, Misha Collins and his deadpan delivery was a high point. I did enjoy the boys realizing that Castiel finally got pop culture references, and I especially liked that Castiel gave up his entire army for Dean. Sam's sojourn with Castiel to find the portal to Heaven was fun: the riddle on the wall, the Last Crusade spinning blades, and Metatron's ridiculous representation of a fake Heaven for Castiel with balloons, a punch bowl and a disco ball. Poor Josiah, though. That was one of their more gruesome deaths.

But Metatron's move with the "combustible agents" was way too mwah-ha-ha evil. (They never explained how he did it, but Metatron did say he could change his face, and he was fondling a trenchcoat that looked like Cas's in the opener.) Metatron really is a nerd trying to be one of the popular kids, but he's a cruel and evil nerd.

I got an answer to my question last week about Heaven. Tessa was suicidal because she was maddened by the lost souls screaming because they couldn't get in. But I was confused about why she was hanging out with angels. Although reapers were hanging out with angels earlier this season, so I guess they covered that.

We're heading into the season finale, so things with the First Blade are getting worse. Dean lied to Sam about the Blade (yeah, obvious). And Dean has decided that he's in charge permanently (it's a Dean-tatership). And then there was the ultimate idiocy with Gadreel. We started the season with Sam dying and Dean in charge of everything, but now Dean is out of control and Sam feels like the grownup.

And Castiel's stolen grace is running out. Not even the delightful aspect of angels as a bowling team called "The Saints" could offset the negative in this episode for me.


— "Stairway to Heaven." They must have been waiting forever to do that title.

— The bowling scene and the nerd mention was something of an homage to Revenge of the Nerds, which co-starred Curtis Armstrong (Metatron).

— Tessa was going to see a high school production of Jesus Christ Superstar. There's something funny about that, but I'm not quite sure what it is. Maybe I'm thinking of Lorne and the high school production of Cats.

— This week: Dixon, Missouri; a Gas 'n Sip in Colorado; and Pray, Montana (great name). Dean and Sam got pretty much their best FBI aliases ever, provided by Castiel.

Quotes, and I have a lot of them:

Dean: "Nice reflexes. Better hair."
That opening scene was very Back to the Future.

Sam: "Spears and Aguilera?"
Castiel: "I've noticed your aliases are usually the names of popular musicians."
Dean: "Wow."
Which is Spears and which is Aguilera?

Metatron: "I mean, sure he's cute. And Castiel has this simple… charm. He's like a mentally deficient puppy. But I'm lovable. And funny. I made God laugh. Twice!"

Gadreel: "You're the one who asked him to lead an army."
Metatron: "Well, I didn't think he'd be good at it."

Sam: "Roll call? You hold a roll call?"
Castiel: "They like to hear me say their names."
Dean: "I know a couple of women like that."

Sam: "Why would an angel blow up a Colonel Scoops in your name?"

Castiel: "Does Dean seem different to you?"
Um, yes.

Sam: "Cas, listen. You got a weird thing going on back there. Those other angels, the way they stare at you, it's like you're part rock star, part L. Ron."
Angels are so weird and easily manipulated, aren't they?

Tessa: "So you're here. Why? You just love musical theater?"
Dean: "Only if it's Fiddler."

Tyrus: "Just smell that. (inhales) Mmm."
Gadreel: "Old shoes and alcoholism?"
Tyrus: "Authenticity."

Castiel: "I believe it's some sort of riddle. 'Why is six afraid of seven'? I assume it's because seven is a prime number, and prime numbers can be intimidating…"
Sam: "It's because seven eight nine." (the door opens)
Castiel: "It's wordplay. And the answer is the key. Like the doors of Durin in Lord of the Rings."

Tessa: "There's no God. There's only Castiel."
Dean: "And we're done."

Metatron: "Castiel! Bet you're not happy to see me."
Dean: "Is anyone, ever?"
Metatron: "Dean! Always with the B-grade 80s action movie wit."

Metatron: "I did what I had to do. I have always done what I had to do, for God and for the angels."
Dean: "Sure. You're Mother Theresa with neck beard."

Metatron: "The point is, while everyone else is playing checkers, I'm playing Monopoly. And I always build a hotel on Boardwalk. And I always win."
The thing is, a hotel on Boardwalk doesn't always mean that you win. And shouldn't that be a chess analogy?

Another episode with lots of stuff I liked, but it just felt uneven. Despite my love of the angels and demons, this season isn't completely working for me,

Billie Doux has been reviewing Supernatural for so long that Dean and Sam Winchester feel like old friends. Courageous, adventurous, gorgeous old friends.


  1. each week, I hate a bit more the angel storyline.
    Their jokes don't make me laugh anymore, eveything is predictable, history of supernatural is destroyed again and again.
    If in the final : I don't see the end of the angels
    I see a cliffhanger where one of the brother try to kill the other
    a cliffhanger about Cass that I don't care about anymore and anyway we know he will be back, just like Sam and Dean so totally unecessary

    I will be done with the show.
    Sorry, I was mad, now I am bitter about a show I loved so much and that bores me now.
    Such a waste.

  2. I didn't hate this episode because, to be honest, I didn't care enough about it to get mad. That's not a good sign.

    I too am sick of the angel plotlines. I think we need to get a rest of the feathery folk for the next season (Except for Cas. Now that Cas gets Dean's references...kinda...we need to have him around even more.) and maybe a return to the earlier seasons and monster of the week format.

    Of course I am also not a fan of the Cain arc and sick of the fraternal bickering (After that beautifully-written reconciliation they wrote last season finale...oh the things they COULD have done but didn't!) Honestly the best thing about this season, no matter how much I complained about the lack of focus, was the stand-alone episodes and the very brief return of Gabriel.

    Still...I'm going to have hope that the season finale will redeem itself in my eyes. Because this is how I felt about Season 6 in a way, and it managed to pull through despite itself.

  3. Count me in to the sick-of-the-angels bandwagon. They have felt kinda stale to me since a couple of seasons ago, so it means I wasn't as disappointed with this episode in particular (more like with the whole angel plotline since the start of season 8, I think). Also, the whole Castiel HQ place was really silly.
    however, I was pissed for a different reason - I really, really don't like what the writers are doing to my Dean. The whole mark of Cain situation just seems thrown in haphazardly, just to create additional conflict - except I'm not really feeling any this season. The writers are just creating excuses for the Winchesters to be mad at each other, because they feel that any kind of conflict is more interesting than an easy relationship. Well, I'm tired of it. I just want my epic brother team back.

  4. I think Dean slashed Gadreel's chest but he's not dead.

  5. If the shows goes standalone it'll lose me, as I get quite bored with cases of the week (regardless of the show).

    I enjoyed the episode while watching it, but the Tessa thing really bothered me -- as well as the fact that Dean actually referred to her as an angel. Huh?

    Oh well. Maybe Death can just bring her back.

  6. Any show needs a story arc (as long as it doesn't involve angels), but some stand alone can be quite good. Spn did it in the past.

    One of the biggest problem with the angels storyline is that during all season, Sam and Dean didn't care one bit about Metatron, just a little bit about Gadreel after he killed Kevin, but not so much and suddenly, Metatron is first priority. I don't buy it, it doesn't work, it is not personal enough.
    And the mess of Tessa, coming right after the mess of the shifter, werewolf of bloodlines is too much history of spn destroyed.
    I have never been able to stay in the episode after she was on screen.
    Do the writers think we are stupid, have memory loss ?

  7. While I thought this episode was a bit meh, there were several times that I giggled. Castiel and his new pop culture references just amuse me beyond the telling of it.

    Like many of the rest of you, I am ready for these story lines to end. They've gone on long enough.

  8. I never liked the Angel story line.
    Did I hear wrong or did they refer to Tessa as a angel? Since when is Tessa a angel?

  9. since Carver is in charge and doesn't care about the history of the show.
    Like he said last year "it's the way it is, deal with it"

  10. To those who want to know when Tessa became an angel, the writers announced this year that Reapers were always angels. They were angels of death. Death, himself, has not been heard from on the subject.

    What I want to know is how Tessa found a vessel that looked JUST LIKE the person she created for Dean to see in IMTOD. There she said he was in her playground and she needed him to not run from her, so she made up the way she looked because she could. Her original form in that was a floaty, wispy thing, not what she looks like now. The Reaper retcon is one thing I do not approve of.

  11. Okay, I'm willing to be the voice of dissent. Although the episode had its low points, it was overall a pretty enjoyable experience and I'm really liking the Cain!Dean arc. I hope his body and brain being altered by a supernatural force will give him insight into what Sam went through when he was possessed by Gadreel. Cas giving up his army for the Winchesters (okay, Dean, let's be honest here) was perfect. It reminded me of the end of season five. Just a few seriously damaged people facing off together against overwhelming odds.

  12. I'm not sure Gadreel is dead. When angels die, they have that white light shooting out of them. Didn't see that this time... not even in the promo for the finale. I'm wondering if he's still alive, but wounded.

  13. I was so grateful to be turned on to this show a couple of years ago because of your reviews, Billie. My husband and I had a great ride watching all of the seasons we had missed on Netflix and then continuing to watch the last couple of seasons on network television. Last season was good, but this season is really boring me overall. I hate to think about giving up on the show, but if the finale isn't significantly better than recent episodes have been, I may give up on this show next year. The show really just doesn't feel the same to me any more, unfortunately!

  14. I agree with Suzanne, the show doesn't feel the same anymore. Not gritty enough. I've loved this show for nine years but now I feel like Carver doesn't care. He knows he's getting season 10 which will be the last season. He has nothing to gain or lose.

  15. Count me in on the disappointed side about this episode.
    I got the feeling that it was poorly acted as well, anybody else? Like they were on autopilot or something? Bad director?

  16. According to supernatural wiki reapers are a type of angel

    also in some past episodes it hinted that reapers are angels. In the episode in season 5 when Lucifer's summons death Cass is able to see the reapers and even talks to them to find out what is going on.
    In season 8 when Crowley stabs the taxi driver he glows blue like an angel would. So dean calling Tessa an angel works. I would like to know the site that the other commentor found info about a writing saying that reapers have always been angels. In regards to Tessa using the same body if she was always an angel then once the fall happened it makes sense she would use the same body.

  17. I liked it better then some of the prior posters but I do agree that the Angel story line is dragging on a bit to much. Specifically when like Metaron himself stated at one point that the Angels "need" to be lead because they can't handle free will, that they need to be told what to do and when. (Just had a thought maybe it was baddie Bart who said it? I can't remember , I'm somewhat binging on Netflix).
    I am liking the Dean/Cain storyline probably because of how well JA is portraying it. Also we the audience needs to remember that the character is basically either one gasp from going insane because of EVERYTHING he's been thru or he going to find a way of "ending " it like Tessa did because she couldn't handle the sous torments! The pain that has been inflicted on these characters (all characters) is unbelievable and like even harden glass, something is going to give when the pressure is too great...

  18. I'm usually the one who gets annoyed with the level of fan adherence to continuity but I finally understood their pain for some reason with regards to Tessa now being an angel. I don't know why it felt so wrong to me, but it did... no mention of Death at all, and Dean calling her an angel himself instead of a reaper was just so weird to me. I hated almost everything else in the episode too tbh besides the general thrill of end-season plot movement. Definitely my least favourite penultimate episode of a season...
    Now, I didn't mind and can even defend Abaddon being killed off before her expected time, because it was an impressively brutal death and as much as I prefer Crowley as someone trying to claw his way to the top with a greater antagonist, I didn't see Abaddon as someone who could really survive much longer in the show. She's too "typical villain" (I mean this in a good way) and can't be anything but pure antagonist, despite this sadly under-used creative wrinkle with Josie as her host body. It really sucks though, because she looked so good in her last episode.
    Tessa for me was a horrible, horrible decision in comparison, dispatched in such a depressing defeatist way after being brought back out of the blue. And she didn't look very good in her last appearance... what a sorry way to go for Dean's sort-of guardian angel. Why did they do this? All the ladies are getting killed off, how do they keep finding ways to do this?
    I don't like the Mark of Cain stuff at all. Dean's aggression just really irritates me and it doesn't have the same impressive feel that Sam's demon blood advantage did. I can't stand the Crowley stuff anymore either... the human blood addiction is just a weird subplot and his Lucifer-ing of Dean and Sam's relationship with his little insights is SO annoying. Not charming at all to me.
    I feel ambivalent about Cas having comprehensive pop culture knowledge now, since I liked him trying to figure it out himself. But they kind of preserved that with the awkward "Spears and Aguilera" handles so maybe it's just fine.
    "Metatron: "Castiel! Bet you're not happy to see me."
    Dean: "Is anyone, ever?"
    Metatron: "Dean! Always with the B-grade 80s action movie wit.""
    Metatron calling Cas "Ass-tiel" after this exchange made me laugh lol. But still the lasting impression for me is that Carver really let me down as a showrunner. I hope this is the nadir of all the show's penultimate episodes. It's not good when Bloodlines is only ARGUABLY the worst episode of the show. At least that had the excuse of being a shoehorned backdoor pilot, and because I didn't actually know that that was what was going on, I was captivated and confused in a good way the first time. And it had the benefit of scaring me away from a TVD revisit lol. I am so not in the mood for that stuff, it's clear now. Maybe True Blood instead later.


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