Supernatural 9.09 – Holy Terror

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When I tell you that I am writing this recap while eating my feelings I want you to understand that it’s not hyperbole. I will be taking breaks between paragraphs to shovel green chile mac ‘n’ cheese, corn pudding and a pile of pumpkin pie mixed with pecan pie into my face. I feel like after watching this episode I’ve earned this mass of carb-laden calories.

And so we begin.

Caribou, Wyoming. A van full of Melody Ministry Glee Club harmonizers rolls up to the Round ‘Em Up biker bar. It goes down pretty much like Kai and Silk’s crews in Romeo Must Die, except not everyone walks away from this skirmish. Eleven angelic songbirds walk in and eleven walk back out to lyrics telling us thirteen is a lucky number. Not for the bikers it seems.

Catholicism WOW campaign fun fact: Eleven is the number of disorder and incompleteness, falling one above and below Divine Order and Divine Government. We’ll follow up with the eleven deadly ones soon.

Dean and Sam are cruising down the highway, on their way to check out the angel massacre. Wait. Nope. Not Sam. Zeke. Zeke and Dean are discussing the current progress of Sam’s patchwork quilt insides. Zeke is also not on board with them heading out to investigate angel shenanigans, he’s adamant about angel auras putting him and, by literal proxy, Sam in danger. Before Dean can continue the conversation, Zeke whiplashes back into Sam. Sam who is wondering how 50 miles passed in the blink of an eye. Dean tries to distract him with more talk of how the trials did a number on him. Sam argues that Dean’s reasoning is getting threadbare. Dean reiterates his previous points and all but plays the entire Eurhythmics’ discography in lieu of further discussion.

Okay, number 1, any time someone says “would I lie to you?” they’re lying, and number 2, um… Dean? You and your brother have lied to each other for like years back. This is not a comforting statement.

Anyway, Sam and Dean pull up to the bar and flash their badges, only to be told that another Fed has beaten them to the scene. Uh-oh. It’s always a pain in the ass to get faux-verified as faux-SAC by a faux-director, but there’s no need in this case, the other agent at the scene is Castiel. In a suit. With kinda bitchin’ hair.

Sam looks strangely proud of Castiel, Dean looks suitably worried. Castiel reminds Dean that he still had the fake badge Dean gave him (oh really? Do you Castiel? You’ve been conveniently tucking that away just in case? How very eagle scout of you) and figured it was time for him to help clean up the angel mess he helped create. It’s Sam’s turn to be worried; didn’t Castiel leave them because the angels were on his ass? Dean steamrolls over this conversation, but Castiel steamrolls right back. He’s ready to get the band back together, the Team Free Will reunion tour. As he walks off proudly Ezekiel flashes to the fore and gives Dean an eerily accurate version of a patented Sam Winchester’s bitchface #81.

Meanwhile, the angel factions are having a meet up. Seems the sing sweet nightingale angels work for a thug life angel named Malachi, the messenger of the four letters. Tablet allusion, mayhap? Maybe. Right now, he’s just a ruffian with a rank in Bartholomew’s way. Unfortunately, Bart way too busy with his steadily growing number of followers to deign to attend this powwow himself, so he sent Allison (post-Claire makeover, obviously) to chat with Bender about the angelic civil dust up. Malachi is not okay with the disrespect this shows, and he’s not really feeling her attitude either, they reach an impasse so he settles it by angel blading her and her henchmen into bright flashes.

At another bar, one less murder mayhem and more open for business, the three faux-Feds sit at a table with a round of beers. This is Castiel’s first alcoholic imbibement as a human being and apparently it only takes half a beer before he’s tipsy and telling the brothers how stoked he is to work with them again. As long as, y’know, it’s cool for him to work with them and all. Sam is confused; OF COURSE it’s okay. Dean feints left and tells Castiel that he was making an alright life for himself, why mess that up? Castiel throws some of Dean’s old wisdom about destiny back in his face. After some dudebro backslapping about hot reaper April, Castiel stumbles off to grab the next round. While he’s away, Zeke takes the opportunity to tell Dean to that he has to give Castiel the boot. Again.

In an interesting twist, Dean actually stands up to Zeke a bit. He wants to know why Ezekiel is so afraid of being found, Zeke claims it’s because choosing to help the Winchesters put him in poor standing with certain factions. That’s a no-go in Dean’s eyes; Castiel is in negative standing with 100% of the factions yet here his is, doing what he has to do. Whatever, Zeke’s getting cheese fries. While he’s gone, Castiel, the most awkward angel in the garrison, who now knows how to order brewskis and knows the human custom of clinking beer bottles together to emphasis a point when just weeks ago he didn’t even understand the mechanics of brushing his teeth, has out of nowhere suddenly picked up the ability to sense human discomfort and asks Dean why he gets to twitchy when the subject of Castiel’s sabbatical from them comes up. Dean explains that he made a choice, Sam or Castiel, and yeah, it sucked, but it is what it is. Sam comes first, always.

Outside the bar, Zeke runs in to our old pal Metatron. Only Metatron knows something Dean don’t know: Ezekiel died in cast out, never even made it past the fall; the angel wearing this Winchester is actually Gadreel. Gadreel had been imprisoned in Heaven because he’s the dumbass that wasn’t keeping a close enough eye on the Garden of Eden and let the snake slither in. You had one job, Gadreel.

Catholicism WOW Campaign fun fact: Gadreel is mentioned in the second book of Enoch, he is said to be the angel that taught man the art of warfare. Flipside of that is that it calls into question the assertion in the first book of Enoch, which states that the one who taught man the ways of warfare was… Azazel.

Gadreel maintains that the allowance of evil into the Garden was not his fault. He was framed. Or sleeping. Something. Metatron doesn’t care, he’s decided that an empty Heaven is a lonely Heaven and he’d like to rebuild it just like God wanted it, but with an elitist twist. Is Gadreel in?

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We don’t know because the next scene we’re right back in the bunker researching. Sam and Dean find out that the biker gang that bit it was born again, they’re Boyle’s Boys. Sound familiar? This means the goody-goody glee angels are worse than the badass biker brood. Yikes.

Speaking of which, the head soprano in addressing a group of woodland retreatists, getting them all prepped to get angel vessel violated when all of a sudden Bart’s band of backscratchers rush in and take them out, tit-for-tat.

Next morning, Metatron and Gadreel are having a follow-up meeting, they talk about how screwed up humans are (especially the highly dysfunctional Winchesters). People are exhausting. Metatron makes Gadreel an offer, to restore him as his second in command in the new Heaven, of which Metatron would be the hair club president. Gadreel seems wary.

Back in Caribou, Castiel is at a loss and falls back on all he knows: prayer. Except, he’s never been the one dialing before. He tries everything, traditional Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, the gamut, but he feels like no one is listening. Until someone answers. Then knocking savior at his door is Muriel, she’s an angel that doesn’t want to choose sides, doesn’t want to fight.

Yeah, yeah, that’s what Lucifer said, too.

Anyway, she’s tentatively agreeing to help Castiel, when Malachi’s minions steal them away for another rousing round of torture the ex-angel. Castiel tells them nothing because he has nothing to tell. Malachi doesn’t believe him and kills Muriel in front of him. Doesn’t change the fact that Castiel knows nothing. Malachi leaves him with Theo, a master torturer. Turns out though, that Theo is just an opportunist; he teamed up with Malachi because he thought he was a better option than Bartholomew, but Malachi went guano and now he figures that Metatron and his new Heaven are the way to go. Castiel sees this as an opportunity to manipulate him, to get Theo to unshackle him. It works. And then Castiel slices his throat and inhales Theo’s grace. Well, that was unexpected. So much for the life and times of human!Castiel…

Meanwhile, Sam, Dean and Kevin are looking into the campfire massacre. Dean pushes Kevin, tells him the sands are funneling and it’s time to get the translations translated.

But instead of everyone continuing to work Sam goes for a stroll, Dean wanders the bunker hallways and Kevin makes a sandwich. Before Dean has a chance to track down Sam (and really, if we’re going to be violating Sam’s agency on a constant basis, can’t Dean just chip him like a dog and make it easier on himself?) he gets a call from the newly graced Castiel. From a payphone. Again. How very 1994. Next he’ll get a pager and Dean can beep him whenever he needs him. Castiel quickly runs down his update: captured, tortured, must be Tuesday, escaped, got some grace, and oh yeah, found out Ezekiel has been dead since the fall?

And now it’s time for Dean to once again play his least favorite game: “Who’s in My Brother?”

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Dean rushes to Kevin and tells him to backburner the translations, what he needs is a spell that can suppress an angel’s consciousness within its vessel long enough to communicate with the person that owns the meatsuit. Kevin is dubious, but Dean spins a halfway decent lie about why it’d be a good thing to have in their back pockets. Oh, NOW you can lie believably, ‘cause man, have you lost your subterfuge touch this year.

Gadreel’s walkabout leads him back to Metatron. He’s made his decision; he will join him as general. Metatron isn’t a newbie though, he’s got some Godfather in him and knows loyalty must be proven. He needs Gadreel to take out a major player that can get in the way of his takeover. Gadreel doesn’t really want to but agrees and Metatron hands him a one-name hit list.

Gee, I wonder who this jerkface wants off’d?

Inside the bunker it seems Kevin came up all aces and found a spell. They paint up the wall and get ready. Dean has underestimated Kevin’s intuitiveness and observational skills, Dean asked for a theoretical spell to use on random vessels they may come across, yet he and Kevin just paint-by-numbers’d the bunker storeroom. Kevin Tran wasn’t advanced placement for nothin’. Dean asks Kevin what he asks of everyone, to just trust him, but here’s the thing, and there’s really no way around it, every time Kevin (or anyone really) trusts Dean Winchester they become an object attached to another object by an inclined plane wrapped helically around its axis.

Every. Single. Time.

Dean resents that, not every time.

Dean heads into the storeroom and finds Sam conveniently in there, stacking bottles of beer. He triggers the spell and hurriedly tells Sam about the angelic invasion in his body. Sam is pissed and Dean gets that. He pours out his heart and soul to Sam, telling him he made a command decision because he did what he had to do. Sam doesn’t accept that and bolts. Dean tries to stop him and catches a fist to the face. He’s down and Sam’s gone.

Dean recovers quickly and takes off after Sam. He makes it just in time to see Kevin’s soul get burned out and get angelically adhered to a pillar. Unable to move, he realizes that he’s been talking to the angel, not to Sam the whole time. Gadreel overheard Dean and Kevin chatting about the spell. He’s pretty pleased with his Sam Winchester impression. He gave Dean the puppy-dog look and Dean bought right into it. And Gadreel is sorry, he is so sorry, but he did what he had to do.

He leaves Dean with Kevin’s body and Dean breaks. He’s utterly alone. He’s caused Kevin’s death. He caused Kevin’s death by Sam’s body.

Five years ago Dean saw into a future that showed him the paths he and Sam would walk if they didn’t deal with the Lucifer and Michael situation appropriately. In that version of 2014 Dean would lose Sam to an angel that would take over his body, leaving Dean with nothing.

No matter what you do, you always end up here.

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  • dreamsofspike

    Wow. The end of your review is a punch to the gut. I have suspected for a long time that Ezekiel was not actually Ezekiel, and was intrigued by the suggestion several fans made that he was actually Lucifer, escaped from the Cage somehow and reclaiming his vessel through deception. That whole concept was based on that vision Dean had of the future in “The End”.

    This is an interesting twist on that concept, and in a way, yes, Dean is right there again, isn’t he?

    Kevin. Poor Kevin. :( Not all that long ago, Dean told him that they were “family” – that the bunker was the safest place for him, since he was a target for all things both demonic and angelic. What he didn’t tell Kevin – what he didn’t KNOW – was that he’d INVITED a threat right into the bunker with Kevin… and how ironic that it was in the “safety” of the bunker that Kevin was brutally murdered by someone wearing the face and body of someone he trusted.

    My heart is broken. That, and I’m really intrigued. How can I wait five weeks for more? :P

    • I honestly didn’t plan that ending for the review, it’s not something I thought about because every time someone would bring up End!Verse I’d be like NOPE, but then as I was writing I was like HOLY SHIT.

      I feel like Dean sealed Kevin’s fate the minute he guilted him into staying and called him family. He was so careless with Kevin’s life.

  • Suzanne

    “You had one job, Gadreel!” Heh.

    Beepers? Please. You know next thing is Dean two-waying Cass and Lance Bass. That sounds like a slash joke and so isn’t.

    Your last paragraph broke me.

    • HE HAD ONE JOB.

      I didn’t mean to get all deep at the end, but yeah.

  • nuke333

    Awesome. I look forward to your reviews as much as I look forward to the episodes. Interesting observation about the parallel with ‘The End’ You can’t escape your destiny, no matter how hard a Winchester tries.

    Amazing episode. RIP Kevin :(

    • Thank you! That’s huge compliment and I appreciate it. I literally didn’t recognize the parallel until the minute I began writing the ending. I upset myself at little actually.

      Man, if you woulda asked me in s7 if I would have teared up at the demise of Kevin Tran, Advanced Placement I would have side-eyed, but I’m not okay with this death at all. There’s only been a few that have really torn me up and this is in the top 5.

  • Jeff

    Not overly pleased with the episode. Since when was grace tradeable? I do not mind creative solutions to problems, but they kind of took a dump on their own mythology here.

  • trishy

    Wow. I enjoyed your review almost more than the episode! Your last paragraph packed more of a punch for me than the last 5min of the ep too, it freaked me out!
    I decided to read all the spoiler tweets before this ep, I wanted to know what I was getting myself into. If it was the same old Sam gets angry at Dean, they argue, they split, I was going to seriously question continuing. But it wasn’t, Yayayayay!! As a result I really enjoyed this ep (I fast forwarded through some of the angel bits though…boring!) I was concerned at the rewiring of angel canon, such as stealing another’s grace? Why didn’t he do that straight away? The no wings when they die is also kinda weird, seeing they had wings when they fell and we’ve seen Zeke/Gadreel’s wings. But I can live with it, I don’t care about the angels enough to care how they’re portrayed. I’m a little concerned also at how much more human Cas suddenly is in his mannerisms too, joking about hot dealers, clinking beer bottles, etc. A little quick after so long of being the weirdo angel?
    Kevin, so sooooo sad. He’s almost heading into Bobby territory, although no one’s death would ever make me sadder than Bobbys. Slimmest excuse to come back for good and I’d totally accept it.
    I’m very sad for Dean and all these extra layers of guilt, and intruiged to see Sam’s recovery (or breakdown) after this next anguished chapter of his life. Being strangled, locked out and possessed are his claims to fame…oh and his peen of death of course.
    The 2014 hook up is a stroke of genius though, I think I gasped out loud! Now all we need is Chuck hoarding loo paper.

    • Aww! Trishy! You’re too good to me! <3

      All season people have been talking about End!verse and I've been all, "NOPE NOPE NOPE", but then this happened and ugh, punch to the gut.

      What confused me about Castiel stealing Theo's grace was, what made him think to do so? Theo was not the first angel Castiel has killed as a human, what made him think this could/would work? Talk about a long shot, unexplained long shot...

  • trishy

    ‘Hot reapers’ and ‘knocked out’ not ‘dealers’ and ‘locked out’. Serves me right for posting from my ph…I was too eager!!

  • Chris

    I was so stuck on the details of the Endverse (the Devil’s in the details) that I didn’t realize that we were already there!

    Bless Kevin Tran, there is no coming back from that. He has every right to use “always” as a qualifier. Trust a Winchester, get screwed. I hope he finds Ash and Sarah in Heaven and they run amok.