This ep was far better, even as it retconned canon. But then, I'm getting used to that. One thing "Supernatural" is doing well are callbacks to earlier seasons, which helps stitch the series into a more unified whole. It also explores aspects of faith, unlike Season 7, which was more or less about...I'm not sure what, except there were these badly CGI'd mouthed things that wanted to cure cancer and eat everybody.
"I'm No Angel", which I will always hear Mae West's voice drawling, filled in the missing third of the triangle, the journey of human Cas. Everybody except the Winchesters wants him dead.
"Hello, I'm Bartholomew. I'm your angelic nemesis this season. This is my one facial expression."
Doesn't he remind you of every German villain in every action picture of the 80s? Only thing missing is the accent. And being any sort of threatening. I want to see Abbadon eat him for breakfast. Literally.
"THEN" reminds us that reapers are serious personnel in black coats. Death didn't need to have them possess anyone. They just were. Rogue reapers, on the other hand, look like extras in "Law And Order." After Death's fantastic appearance in the premiere, he needs to show up and solemnly kick some reaper ass.
"NOW" Castiel, calling himself "Clarence" (MEEEGGGG!) is homeless and on the run. Living in a shelter and picking up trash for a church, he discovers that the priests have been tortured and killed, their eyes burned out. Time to move on.
Quibble: why are their eyes burned out? Nobody else who watches angels die/possess/show up gets their eyes burned out any more. Buddy Boyle (a very funny actor whose name I can't find on IMDB) watches a vessel be possessed and then explode, and his eyes remain intact, although seriously bugged out. Boyle is a televangelist who has thrown his lot in with Bartholomew, believing he is doing the Lord's work.
Meanwhile, in the Batcave, Sam is back to his old self, more cheerful than we've seen in a long, long time. (He sure didn't look this happy when he was with Amelia.) The chemistry between the brothers when they're getting along is so much more fun than when they're fighting. Drama is conflict, yeah, but they're surrounded by drama. Let 'em have a little fun and some greasy eggs (and PIE). Nah. Ezekiel shows up and spoils everything.
"Sorry, Dean, but I need to shut this party down."
The way Jared Padalecki seems to effortlessly switch back and forth between Zeke and Sam is excellent acting
Bart hires a rogue reaper, who looks more homeless than Cas, to find the ex-angel by following the Winchesters. Of course the brothers find and overpower the reaper, then kill him. Good times.
Cas learning to be human is sad and funny. He finds urinating repetitive, eats toothpaste, and learns the many ways a human body can be difficult. Cold, hungry, and farting. Heh. There are a few cliched lines about "the most generous are the ones with the least to give." Try telling that to the crackheads in my neighborhead.
But just when you think he's getting too pathetic, an angel shows up to off Cas. Cas is wounded, but the angel's shock at finding Cas human is enough of a diversion for Cas stab the angel to death. And Cas looks like he really enjoys it.
There's an interesting sub-sub-plot that the few beings that find out Cas's true situation get killed before they can convey that information. The only huh? with Cas's plight is that his blue shirt remains spotless and pressed throughout his adventures (except for the blood from the angel fight). I'm
Cas discovers a) he has working genitals b) he's been hanging around Dean Winchester way too long
Instead of food, he gets a tattoo to conceal himself from the angels. One touching scene has Cas sitting in a Catholic church, having a conversation with a woman who has been praying for her sick husband. (Disclaimer: I'm an atheist, which is just one of the reasons I get such a kick out of this show.) Cas tries to tell her the truth about God and Heaven, but she isn't having any. She tells him that he would feel better if "[he] would try it my way." I've had variations of this conversation since...forever.
Yeah, lady, wait until an angel possesses you and you explode.
When Cas is going through garbage cans, smelling a pickle and deeming it not fit to eat (hee), he is approached by April, a pretty young thing who offers him a sandwich. Later, she finds him in her doorway, huddling in the rain. The scenes between them are pretty maudlin, although why she lets a homeless guy into her apartment who's been in a knife fight is just weird. Unless it's because he looks like Misha Collins. I was hoping that when Cas first kisses April, he finds having a tongue in his mouth bizarre. But, why should I complain when we get shirtless!Cas.
Gratuitous angel semi-nudity before:
Gratuitous angel semi-nudity after
They get busy a few more times, until the next morning, when he discovers that April is a reaper. She goes all Saint Sebastian on his ass, until the Winchesters bust in.
Supernatural: Pleasing fans who love to see cute guys tortured since 2005.
April stabs Cas to death. The for realz kind. I expected Dean to lose his shit a lot more than he did at finding his soulmate dead. He looks shocked and sad, but when you've watched him cry over dead Sam a few times, Cas deserves at least a hug. (Side note: JP is better at playing dead than MC.)
April throws Sam around--the poor bastard is getting thrown around more in these past three episodes than Seasons 1 and 2 combined--before Zeke takes over, heals Cas, brings him back to life, then collapses. Dean babbles yet another lie to Sam and Cas as to what happened.
Back at the Batcave, Cas is as happy as a clam. Great water pressure, burritos, Dean and Sam...that means it's going to be major suckage very, very soon.
Sure enough, Zeke appears and tells Dean that Cas must be expelled from the Batcave, because it's too dangerous to have him around. If Dean doesn't kick Cas to the curb pronto, Zeke leaves, Sam dies.
Okay, here are my BIG problems with this:
1) They've got Kevin, Prophet of the Lord and Crowley, King of Hell holed up in the Batcave...and Cas is too dangerous to have around? Cas, without whom Dean would not leave Purgatory? Cas, who Dean needed so much that it broke Naomi's spell?? Cas, who is uber-family? WTF?
2) Dean is bad ass. As in Bad Ass Mother Fucker. Sam is his weakness, but I can't believe for a minute that Dean caves that easily. He's too smart not to know that he has battled his way through every situation, been to Hell and back. And now that Zeke threatens to take his marbles and go home, Dean throws Cas out?
Cas's kicked-puppy face when Dean tells him to leave is heartbreaking. However, that moment is exactly when the show ends. Maybe it's just me being a cockeyed optimist, but there might be yet another twist a-comin'.