Supernatural 8.21 – The Great Escapist

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Good news! Sam and Dean have found their prophet. He’s back on Garth’s boat.

Kinda shaky news: their prophet is looking rough, yo.

Back on the plus side, it seems that even though Kevin ran away in a fit of insanity and anxiety, he hasn’t forgotten the fundamentals; super soak with holy water first, ask questions later. Especially when the Winchester brothers neglect to use the secret clubhouse knock. Nevertheless, the holy water has zero ill effect and they come bearing a gift: 50% of one mystical, magical piece of piety that they’ve stolen from Crowley using a bit of bait and switch. Kevin gets to work on translating and the boys leave him after Sam gives him a perky puppy of a pep talk.

Does anyone else feel like they REALLY missed something?

Sam and Dean strut out of the boathouse, pleased as punch and all but patting each other on the butt for a play well run.

And then they pass through a shimmer gelatin wall and turn right into two guys that are most certainly not Sam or Dean, but seem to have stolen the Winchesters’ wardrobe. They’re Crowley cronies and their job is to mess with Kevin’s melon by wearing faces he trusts in order to learn the big plan. That explains why Dean’s lines were coming out of Sam’s mouth. Crowley is directing live-action fanfic and he’s not about to risk Kevin catching on because the characterizations are off.

That also explains why Sam didn’t look like a living dead boy, because over in the MOL bunker, the real Sam Winchester looks like hammered shit. Dean is doing his best to mother and smother Sam; bringing him John Winchester’s blow-your-nose-and-ass-out chili and threatening to take Sam’s temperature. Sam is appreciative that Dean is mother henning like the good ol’ days, but this isn’t something that a hot bath and VapoRub can fix. And Dean gets that, he actually does, but Dean’s not about to be an idle car on the lot so he’d really like it if Sam at least let him baby him a little bit.

They’re interrupted by their email blowing up. It’s a video from Kevin. Never underestimate the planning ability of a hyper-pressurized, formerly Ivy bound teenager. Kevin’s failsafe was a video email that he had on a timer; if he doesn’t hit the snooze button the email goes straight to the Winchesters. The only reason Kevin figures he’d sleep through the alarm is if he’s dead. So as far as he’s concerned he’s dead. And he’s pissed about it. Pissed at them, pissed at God, pissed at the world in general. So, y’know, still a teenager.

This is the Spring of Dean’s discontent.

Meanwhile, Castiel is getting his Georgia O’Keefe on at a Biggerson’s in the turquoise jewelry capital of the country and finally understanding the human addiction for cup upon cup of caffeinated goodness. He’s also discovering that waitresses find weird guys that only order coffee to be tiresome and poor tippers. Thankfully for the waitress, Castiel is a wanted man and has to disappear without a trace before he’s seraph snatched.

Naomi. Naomi is none too pleased with Ion for failing to bring Castiel to her. Ion explains that Castiel is using universality of Biggerson’s restaurants to screw with their global Castiel positioning systems. That little angel that could is kinda brilliant. And Naomi is way cranky about it.

Her solution? Make him stop by appealing to his love of humans and his un-angellike guilt complex. How to do that? Massacre the staff and patrons of the Santa Fe Biggerson’s that way when he inevitably cycles back to it he feels like an asshole. Naomi and Ion catch up with him there as he looks upon their handiwork with revulsion. He tries to remind Naomi that they are there to show humans the way; to protect them, not to butcher them. Naomi finds this terribly amusing. Doesn’t Castiel remember his part in the Death of the Firstborn? Ah, yes, the 10th plague. Well, as a matter of fact he doesn’t; Naomi keeps mind wiping him. At this point it’s a miracle Castiel knows whether to scratch his watch or wind his butt. Naomi demands Castiel’s half of the tablet

Sam and Dean are researching, going through Kevin’s notes and generally coming up with nothing new until Sam recognizes a symbol in Kevin’s tablet tea-leafing from a humanities class he took at Stanford. That’s what college does; stuffs you full of well-rounded knowledge that has nothing to do with your major and may or may not come in handy some day, but makes you sound super smart at dinner parties. Unless you bring up The Fountainhead, that is.

This little tidbit comes from Sam’s undergrad Native American Studies course. The glyph is from a clan in Colorado that used it as a territorial marker. Coincidentally, the MOL library has a tome that has this exact information. Validated, Sam suggests they head to Colorado on a wing and a prayer. Dean is wary about following an Indian legend. Sam gives up halfway through correcting Dean’s political incorrectness. Damn, Sam is really, really sick.

The boys head off to Colorado where they check into a hotel rife with stereotypes. Or accuracies. Whichever. Sam is too busy having a bad acid trip to comment on the sociologic implications, he’s got his hands full taking trips down memory canyons with farty donkeys and generally just tripping balls. While Sam tries to figure out what you do when the lights turn blue with orange and lavender spots while Tim Leary’ing through the motel hallway, Dean questions the proprieter of the local trading post/museum/convenience store. He’s getting the scoop on spirit offerings, turns out the word of God doesn’t want virgins thrown down a volcano, all he wants is what we all want: a well-told story.

Speaking of stories, this is the second John Winchester story in this episode. And neither story was a boot heel on the memory of their father. Backtracking perhaps? One can hope so.

Sam, fighting the noise in his head, comes across a package of books. Dean should know about this, so Sam dashes back into the room and dials his brother. And then passes right the ‘eff out on the floor like a sweaty drunk.

If you were wondering about Kevin, he’s still trapped in a hell king bubble with the Fauxchesters. He may be on to them though, because he just sent them out for provisions. A lot of provisions. A veritable United Benetton array of food.

Back at Biggerson’s Naomi is letting her angel goons ding up Castiel’s mug until he tells her where the tablet is. Castiel lets them mess with his moneymaker because he believes that absolutely no one should have access to the tablet. The torture is about to get real intense when a gunshot rings out. It’s Crowley, gunslinging and galloping in to Castiel’s rescue.

Wait. Huh? Is this an enemy of my enemy kind of thing?

And also? Since when does a GSW take down angels? Since Crowley had an angel blade rendered down and cast into bullets. Naomi knows better than to bring heat vision to a gunfight and flutters off. And maybe “rescue” way a strong word. Turns out Ion was double crossing Naomi in order to lead Crowley to Castiel. The plan is less save-a-cherub and more gunshot to the gut. And with that Crowley drags a bleeding Castiel back to his home office. Castiel still refuses to tell anyone where the tablet is. No one seems to be getting that Castiel doesn’t care whose side you’re on, no one touches the tablet. Period.

Crowley’s calling bullshit though and any attempt to prove otherwise is futile ‘cause it just ain’t true. Someone’s touching the tablet. Constantly. And that someone is Castiel. There’s no way it fits in his trusty trenchcoat pockets so where, oh where could it be? Where’s it’s hidden yet still in Castiel’s constant contact? Crowley’s got a hunch; he jams his hand into Castiel’s chest, roots around and comes up a winner.

Crowley: 1, Castiel: 0

Unfortunately for Crowley, Kevin was on to the Fauxchesters and sent them right into a Devil’s Trap.

Kevin: 1, Crowley: 0

Crowley leaves Castiel in Ion’s charge to go confront Kevin. Castiel takes the opportunity to try to reason with him, but Ion wants nothing to do with Castiel’s logic because as far as he’s concerned it just doesn’t matter anymore. Castiel reaches into himself and pulls out the bullet while telling Ion that he’s oh-so-wrong about that. Ion tells Castiel that he doesn’t understand what it’s like working for Naomi up in the angelic CIA. Naomi never had the decency to fully reset them like the other angels. Knowing so much was too much. Castiel ain’t even trying to hear that. He smacks Ion to the ground and feeds the bullet right into is eye.

Back to the brothers. Dean, ever the nursemaid, has thrown Sam into an ice bath to keep his fevered brain from sunny side upping. Now lucid, Sam tells Dean that he can hear Metatron. Well, we hope he’s lucid…

Anyway, Sam tells Dean about tapping into Metatron and about finding the books.

Stories.

Sam says he can take Dean to where Metatron is, so they go. Of course when they get there, the books are gone. They take to the corridors to search for Metatron. As they’re walking, Sam tells Dean that he’s been remembering things, memories long forgotten. Not just flatulent donkeys, but also when Dean used to read to him, read about Sir Galahad and his quest for the Holy Grail. Sam says as a kid he knew he’d never be able to go on a quest like that, because he wasn’t pure. Even as a child he sensed that he was unclean and wrong inside. But that’s okay, because the trials are his cleansing fire.

A story inside a story on top of a story.

They finally find the bookroom. Heaps of books, stacks of stories. It’s kinda beautiful and covetable to be honest. As they come around a pyramid of books they end up on the business end of Metatron’s rifle.

So many non-humans with guns in this episode. Weird.

Behold the Metatron. Dean is completely underwhelmed to discover that the mighty Metatron is a nerdy guy in a cable knit cardigan. Sam, dealing with the high pitch buzz Metatron’s presence is siphoning into his head, isn’t underwhelmed; he’s offended. Seems Metatron has no idea who they are. The voice of God doesn’t know who the Winchesters are. Seriously? Talk about a blow to the brothers’ egos. Don’t feel bad guys, Metatron is really behind on the Heavenly watercooler chat. He doesn’t know that Michael and Lucifer are caged or that Raphael and Gabriel are dead. He’s been careful to stay off their radar and, since his angel lineage isn’t archangel, he’s been successful. Being a drudge from the steno pool has its upside. Metatron, increasingly aware of the archangel uprisings, made himself scarce in order to prove that just because he wasn’t upper-management didn’t mean he wasn’t important. Dean is appalled that this boils down to a temper tantrum, but Metraton says that’s the point. If he’s not there to know it, he’s not there to write it.

Sam would probably be more intrigued if the trials weren’t causing him to resonate in the presence of the word of God. Pretty much like some chattering during your worst hangover ever and Sam’s over it. He’s over Metatron being a paper tiger in a library of his own making.

During all this Crowley and Kevin have been having a meeting of the minds. Crowley is impressed by Kevin figuring out that his Winchesters were facsimiles. Kevin responds by letting Crowley know how unimpressed he was with Crowley’s screenplay and directing, because Sam and Dean would have never been as docile and accommodating as Crowley’s Fauxchesters were. Kevin is one rightfully smug S.O.B. right now and his taunting is pissing off his Royal Hellness. The gentleman in him has left the building and he uses brute strength to try to choke the life out of Kevin. Which may have worked if Kevin hadn’t started blazing angel light out of his eyes. Like water on the wicked witch, Crowley goes down melting. All thanks to Metatron.

Now that Metatron has hit up the SparkNotes on what his extended family has been up to Dean wants to know if he’s ready and willing fight the good fight. Metatron’s on board, but he wants Dean to really think about the potential consequences of a demonless world. That train is derailed by Kevin coming to, complete with the Crowley half the demon tablet and the deets on the third trial.

Cure a demon.

The episode ends with Sam and Dean driving down the night road. Sam says he’s feeling better and it’s time to get this done. Dean, one eye on Sam, one eye on the road, narrowly misses hitting the lump lying in the street. There, like a runaway cat, is a bloody, broken Castiel. Asking for help.

Please like & share:
  • Thank you Vanessa, your reviews are always a treat! And you know what – as soon as the season (and the spring semester) are over I am inclined to reread your articles and properly deal with your rich, funny, highly idiomatic style. I am a student of English so this will be my way to improving my knowledge, so there!

    • This is one of the best compliments I’ve ever received. Thank you so, so much!

  • Katy

    So they introduced Metatron and it was not Alan Rickman. I was slightly disappointed.

    • Same here! I kept going “BEHOLD THE METATRON… wait, huh?”

  • tmateotb

    “Sam gives up halfway throug correcting Dean’s political incorrectness. Damn, Sam is really, really sick.”
    Heh.
    “So many non-humans with guns in this episode.”
    IKR!?!? Weird
    Sam always knowing he was unclean.
    *sobs* Jared was brilliant.
    Osric being a BAMF.
    I didn’t enjoy the Tarantino-esq slant to the angels scenes before and around the time Crowley entered, felt like it was trying to hard. Everything else was pretty Damn perfect.

    • I mean, when Sam Winchester is too weak and sick to educate his brother on PC terms, shit just got REAL.

      The angels and demons with guns thing really made me scratch my head. I think Crowley melting down the angel blade is a neat twist, but I don’t want it to become a thing.

      I complete agree with the Taratino-vibe! I couldn’t put my finger on what was tickling my brain, but that was exactly it.

  • Minion

    Great review! I really enjoyed reading it and I love the humor you infused into it.

    “That little angel that could is kinda brilliant.” <- Totally. This episode just gave me all the Cas feels. The little angel that could…the angel that cares too much…. "too much heart was always Castiel's problem."

    It was an all-around amazing episode for me with brilliant acting from everyone and Edlund's genius writing backing it up. I was crying for Sam all through it, loving Dean taking care of his brother, cheering for Kevin and how far he's come in the BAMF-department.

    But the stuff with Cas really was what made me want to watch it over and over and made me unable to stop thinking about it.

    I'm really looking forward to seeing Cas reunite with Dean and Sam (again) and hope they get to work together soon.

    • Thank you!

      I was really into Castiel’s story this week. Going to the different Biggerson’s, refusing to crack under torture from both sides, and then the bullet shove into Ion’s brain. BAMF!Castiel is always my favorite.

      I admit that I have a serious soft spot for Dean taking care of others, so this was right up my alley. And Sam was heartbreaking and funny all in one episode.

      BAMF!Kevin was icing on the episode cake.

  • Hlnkid

    These reviews always make me smile. And often times laugh out loud. I do have to say that when Jared gets the chance to play ‘other than’ normal Sam , he really shows another side to his acting chops. And he was so stellar in this ep that I could watch his performance over and over. Cudos to the entire cast for knocking it out of the park on this one, but esp to Jared in his best performance of the season. This show really knows how to ramp things up at the end of the season.

    • Thank you!

      Definitely agree; I think it’s easy to forget how good of an actor Jared is because he plays Sam so seamlessly, but whenever he has to step out of that box (possessed by Meg, Lucifer, soulless, etc) his abilities are nothing short of fantastic. Everyone brought their A game this ep, but, in my opinion, Jared brought his A+ game.

  • C

    I don’t understand why the holy water didn’t affect the two fakes.

    • I assumed since Crowley was controlling everything it wasn’t actual holy water in the SuperSoaker.