Supernatural 7.17 – The Born Again Identity

Guess who’s back, back again; Cas is back, tell a friend.

I’m going to be honest.

For a second there I contemplated typing, “thank you for existing Supernatural. I love you most of all” as my complete recap, crawling into bed and re-watching the episode. While eating my feelings.

For the record, my feelings taste like Breyer’s Golden Oreo ice cream.

Instead, I’m going to re-watch the episode and write all about it. Possibly while eating spoonfuls of ice cream between each paragraph.

Last we left the Winchesters, Lucifer was swinging from Sam’s rafters and Sam was buying out all the 5 Hour Energy shots at every gas stop to stay awake. This week, it’s not that Sam doesn’t want to sleep, he can’t. He’s in a shady part of town, running straight down the railroad tracks, until suddenly he isn’t; he literally runs right off the tracks. Nice visual presentation there. He stumble-runs into an alley and even the drug dealer doing business in his graffiti-adorned alley of an office initially wants nothing to do with him, and that’s fine because Sam doesn’t want to be friends either. The dealer is curious about what Sam’s hopped up on, but Sam isn’t tweaked, he just wants Lucifer to shut. up. It’s been 5 days; he just really wants to rest. Well, you came to the right place Sam Winchester, because downers? Oh, this guy can do downers.

Next thing we know Sam is passed out in the passenger seat of the dealer’s car, with the dealer in the driver’s seat. It’s an interesting parallel to what we’re used to seeing: Sam and Dean in the Impala, Sam asleep with his head against the window. Interesting until a chunk of rebar comes crashing through the windshield. Except it didn’t. Sam is hallucinating. Satan won’t let Sam’s body or mind rest, despite Sam scoring pills to crash out. Satan ain’t mad though, he appreciates Sam being a good host and providing the party favors.

Sam can’t cope and takes off running. Bad idea, Winchester.

Next scene is of Dean bursting into Dr. Kadinsky’s office, nurse hot on his heels to keep him out, but Kadinsky waves her away to talk to “Sam Smith’s” brother. He gives Dean the update: apparently Sam Winchester is bull enough that the car that hit him barely fazed him, broken rib and lacerations. Old hat injuries as far as Dean is concerned. Get Sam his jacket so he and Dean can blow this popsicle stand, right?


Kadinsky tells Dean that they have Sam in their 12 Monkeys ward for treatment. Of course before they treat him they have to figure out what came first; the insomnia or the cracked egg he calls a brain. Kadinsky also says they’ve doped Sam to his sideburns, but he. just. won’t. sleep. Dean demands to see him.

As Dean walks into Sam’s swanky cell, Lucifer announces his presence for Sam while fiddling with a cat’s cradle. This is the brilliant thing about Lucifer. He’s Sam. Lucifer knowing that a human has never survived more than 11 days without sleep? That’s Sam’s trivia vault. Calling Dean “Mr. Helpless”? That’s Sam’s hope lost. Lucifer’s sarcasm about the brothers having a “moment”? That’s Sam’s cynicism.

Dean is convinced there’s a cure out there, Sam is convinced Dean is a wishful moron. Dean heads out to find a solution, Sam… is too tired to fight or even wave.

Dean is burning through Bobby’s contact lists, no one seems to be able, or willing, to help, until a friendly breeze puts the info front and center for Dean to see. By this point we’ve all assumed this wind of hope that keeps gusting around is The Ghost of Bobby Singer. I’m of mixed emotions about this possibility, but that’s a bridge of another color. Dean calls the number and–

Meanwhile, back at the crazy house, it’s time for Sam’s meds. They don’t work, but Sam is so exhausted that it doesn’t even occur to him to tongue the pills and save them for currency. That’s a rookie move and you hate to see it. In the background Lucifer consults the DSM-IV and wonders aloud if Narcissistic Personality Disorder fits. Sets unrealistic goals? Yup. Trouble maintaining healthy relationships? Indeed. Now the question is, is Lucifer diagnosing Lucifer or is it is Sam’s subconscious diagnosing Sam? The hallucinations continue: creepy doctor convos that morph into scary Lucifer conversation, maggots in the food, and Sam breaks down further.

Dean finally gets a call back from the ghost assisted contact. It’s a hunter. Says a few months ago he got wind of a faith healer named Emanuel (translation: God is with us), the hunter figures that obviously if miracles are happening the miracle worker must be an evil monster. Makes sense, actually, but no, he was wrong, not only is Emanuel squeaky clean, he also restored the hunter’s failing sight. 20/20, win/win.

Dean is on a mission, but Sam is making friends. A young girl with a bandage on her neck, Marin, saw him freak out over his sandwich and brought him a nutritious, delicious candy bar. He’d like to thank her, but he’s a bit too crazy in the face to accomplish it.

Dean is faring better, killed a demon, found Emanuel, saved Emanuel’s wife. Hunter accomplishment right there. Oh, yeah, and Emanuel is Castiel. Only he’s apparently not. But he is. Emanuel clearly has no recollection of being Castiel and doesn’t even recognize Dean, his BFF. Emanuel is just an amnesic, cardigan-wearing, faith healer trying to make it in this world and be a good husband to his wife Daphne. Who found him by the river. Wet, confused and naked. Again, healthy relationships, guys.
Lucifer is still keeping Sam awake. He’s got an arsenal of songs to wake Sam up before he go-goes and Sam can’t lock all the noise out. Lucifer, however, is actually impressed that Sam’s coping as well as he is. So does that mean Sam is subconsciously proud of himself for keeping it together this well? Is it like a really twisted version of an internal pep talk? Doesn’t matter, because no matter which one it is that thinks this, it was sarcasm, ergo they both think Sam is every flavor of bonkers forever.

Sam, his crazy and his 3-day facial hair of amusingness are crumbling, but he’s still Sam Winchester and he can’t let go of the fact that Marin seemed to be in need of real help. The nurse can’t tell him much. Marin comes back by with another candy bar, Sam offers to share it with her, but he can’t even open it he’s so weak. Oddly enough, Marin doesn’t help him with his confectionary struggles, she does however get really defensive when he, a psychotic stranger, starts poking into her private life and trying to shrink her. The crazy leading the crazy, Marin is not really down to play that game; bonding over hearing a voice in your head isn’t her idea of a good time. She’s not about to take advice from a guy who hears the Morning Star screaming in his head. She’s way less insane than him, all she hears is her dead brother.

Back in the car o’ the week, Dean and Emanuel are getting to know each other. Dean, ever desperate for someone to just listen to him, gives Emanuel a very vague briefing on Castiel. Emanuel does not seem impressed with this “Cas” fellow at all. It’s too much sharing for Dean, plus he needs provisions, so they stop at a convenience store where of course Dean gets attacked by demons. Of course. It’s almost over for Dean as a demon stands over him ready for the kill, when the demon jerks and lights up, as he falls we see the being that took him out: Meg Masters, sassy demon “ally” extraordinaire.

Meg is really curious about Castiel=Emanuel and wants in on the plan. Dean stamps “denied” on her forehead, but Meg isn’t having it; she needs Dean, Dean needs… someone, anyone. Dean gives her strict instructions not to remind Emanuel that he’s actually Castiel. She skirts around disobeying that order with beautifully timed snark, double-talk and a mild seduction.

I missed her.

Sam is still trying to help Marin. Marin doubts Sam is able to help her, he’s pretty much rotting from the inside out from lack of sleep. Sam soldiers on, asking her about her dead brother. Turns out it started benignly enough, Marin was comforted by the ghost’s presence because she missed her brother, but the spirit turned ugly, told her he was alone and tried to get her to kill herself to be with him. It didn’t work so the ghost jammed the locks and set her room on fire. Sam keeps questioning her and it turns out that even though her brother was cremated, she does have a token of his: a handmade bracelet that he cut himself while making. We have a burnable winner!
They set up a salt circle and it’s all hypodermics on the shores, China under martial law, rock and roller cola wars, Marin can’t take it anymore as the bracelet and her brother’s ghost go up in flames.

Interesting that Sam couldn’t open the candy bar wrapper, but can flick a Bic. I don’t know if it was a goof or not, but I’m choosing to think that it’s because Sam rallied his strength to save the damsel.

Dean, Emanuel and Meg roll up to the house of the unhinged and see that they’re severely out numbered by demons. Meg tries to convince Dean to remind Emanuel of his true self so he can burn those suckers out. Dean isn’t having it, but it doesn’t matter because Emanuel totally overheard their stage whispers. Meg spills it, Emanuel is an angel, time to man up and deal with it. Emanuel isn’t sure why they kept this from him, being an angel sounds swell to Emanuel. Dean shuts that poppies and posies b.s. down quick and Emanuel figures out that he’s the Castiel that Dean had told him about.

Can we just call him Castiel now? Yes? Good.

Turns out smiting is just like riding a biker, and Castiel takes out the entire front of black eyes. Meg is so very proud. Castiel, on the other hand, jogged his own memory and remembers everything. He’s less than impressed with his previous behavior and tries to bail. Dean tells him he can’t, he can still do good and rescues Castiel’s trench coat from the back of the car and hands it to him, showing Castiel that Dean still cared even after everything.

In the meantime, Sam is getting strapped to an electroshock machine by an overly enthusiastic demonic intern. The intern turns the juice up higher and higher, but Sam Winchester doesn’t go out easily as history has shown us. As the demon goes to turn it up higher Castiel, now closer to properly dressed, swoops in, annihilates the demon intern and, with an apology on his lips, attempts to heal Sam.

It doesn’t work. When there’s nothing left of the foundation, you can’t rebuild. What he can do is take Sam’s pain and suffering and the poison of Sam’s insanity into himself.

The brothers leave Castiel in the institution. He’s catatonic and helpless, but they know they can’t take him with them. It’s not safe for anyone.

Never fear though, Nurse Masters just got hired on the staff. Castiel is in good hands…