Catholic church backyards are beautiful at night aren’t they? The two priests taking a stroll seem to think so. It’s all fun and games and Monsignor visit prep until an angel shows up and creepily asks if you’ve seen a graceless ex-angel lately.
You may not recognize him without his suit and trench coat, but that’s Castiel freshening up as best he can at St. Anne’s Cathedral Men’s Shelter. He’s seemingly doing alright; minty breath, running water, a friend, an alias.
That’s right, Castiel isn’t going by “Castiel” right now. He’s using the moniker “Clarence”. Excuse me while I go grab Dean and do the Megstiel dance of joy. He coined the ship, he’s required to dance the ship jig.
Catholicism Wow Campaign sidenote: St. Anne is also known as Hannah. The most commonly accepted meaning of the name “Hannah” is “grace”. She was also the mother of Samuel and was Jesus Christ’s grandma.
Anyway, Clarence is beginning to see how tedious humanity is. We smell, we urinate, we hunger, we thirst. Our continued existence is exhausting. And that’s just normal human stuff, nevermind being newly human and on the lam. He tells his friend that he’s leaving St. Anne’s that night after work. That day during work, Clarence has the dumb luck of stumbling upon blood droplets that lead to blood smears that lead to two eyeless priests impaled on fence posts.
At home in the bunker Dean is puttering around in his dead man’s robe when it suddenly occurs to him that he’s more alone than he’s okay with. With perfect timing, a coiffed and dressed Sam lopes in smelling of sunshine and bacon. He’s been up, briskly jogged around a few blocks, showered, shaved, wrapped himself in plaid and grabbed breakfast all before Dean was finished yawning his way through a cup of fancy French press. Dean is a bit worried about Sam overexerting himself, but Sam is ready to jog from Texas to Louisiana and back. Ezekiel is obviously over Dean’s mother henning and flashes in to let him know that Sam is doing much better, not completely healed mind you, but definitely chugging along at a steady pace. Besides, Zeke has some news from Angel FM. There’s a rogue faction of angels amassing, finding vessels and more importantly aiming to find Castiel. Zeke is like a proud puppy showing Dean how good he can be. That’s great and all, but Dean has a full-grown mastiff of a brother that’s Labrador smart and doesn’t wag his tail for treats at every turn. Zeke retreats and Dean tells Sam that with the angels becoming legion against Castiel they should really manhunt him back to base HQ. Sam has no idea what Dean is talking about. Dean’s really gonna have to get better about not letting his conversations spill over.
Meet Bartholomew, he’s got his own little Buddy Christ wannabe Tammy Faye Bakker’ing all over the airwaves. Bart tells Buddy that God himself has personally told him to relay to Buddy that he’s pleased as punch. Buddy is a fine blend of devout with a light lacing of ego and is thrilled that God is proud of lil ol’ him. Just then a young woman walks in and offers herself up as a vessel. Bartholomew asks her if she’s sure and she nods enthusiastically. A violent wind of bluish-white smoke comes beaming through the stained glass windows and fills her body with grace. And then her body promptly bursts like an overripe tomato. Bart reiterates what we already know, not every human is built Ford tough.
Catholicism Wow Campaign sidenote: Bartholomew was an apostle who was given sainthood, but not canonized. He is the patron saint of tanners. No, not overly bronzed fist pumpers and red carpet walkers, but classic leather makers.
Jesus was said to have declared him, “a man in whom there is no deception”. Ha! Yeah, considering he’s already lying about God talking directly to him, I’m gonna declare him a giant liarface.
Sam and Dean are working on narrowing down where Castiel is. They’ve got maps and math and weird deaths to help them zero in on him. Meanwhile, Clarence is eating donated beans out of a can and expounding on the generosity of the less fortunate and the oddness of flatulence. He decides he’s got to strategize better. His friend tells him that maybe he just needs to rest and regroup. Clarence finds an abandoned, graffiti’d bus to sleep in, but his blissful slumber is interrupted by the high frequency buzz of angel power. The angel after Castiel attacks and is astounded to realize that Castiel is human. Castiel uses this moment to get the jump on his would-be assassin. Still a badass warrior.
Dean is off getting some intel on Clarence while Sam is filching wi-fi in the car. Dean relays that he thinks Castiel is getting wary about things because he’s picked up a random alias. Sam, on the other hand remembers that “Clarence” was Meg’s nickname for Castiel based on “It’s a Wonderful Life”. Dean “quoting the Hunger Games” Winchester has no clue what that means. Because no motel ever played the movie on a loop every Christmas Eve…
Meanwhile, Castiel is wandering around downtown Vancouver…
Sorry, Castiel is wandering around stomach growling, hot dogs sizzling in his aroma path, but unfortunately the meager amount of money Castiel has is reserved for a tattoo. Which with anyone else would be irresponsible, but in this case is totally the right thing to do. I would be disappointed that he didn’t get anti-possession tattoo to match his BFFs Sam and Dean, but frankly I’m preoccupied with the fact that Castiel’s tattoo is smarter and hotter. That preoccupation is what’s going to allow me to hand-wave the fact that that tattoo had to have cost at least $40, yet he didn’t have the budget for a 2 for $2.50 hotdog.
Once he’s tattooed and back on the street, Castiel is overwhelmed by all the things we don’t think of as abnormal: provocative clothing drawing attention, noise and bustle of the city, the utter confusion of life. He takes refuge in the only place he can: the church. A few pews ahead of him he overhears a woman praying for her ill husband. Castiel stops her and asks her whether she thinks praying will help if no one is listening, because he knows there’s no one there that cares. She won’t be swayed, if she’s got her faith well then she’s got everything. No matter how hard Castiel needles her bubble she just won’t burst.
Over in megalomaniaville, Bartholomew is dictating in a manner that is very reminiscent of another dick, Richard Roman. He’s mildly pleased that his plan to vesselize and take over is going well, however he is extremely disappointed that Castiel hasn’t been found and torn to tiny pieces. He moves on to Plan B – hire a rogue reaper to track and kill Castiel. And the best way to track Castiel? GPS his trackers.
Sam and Dean are investigating the death of a pharmacist that was deep fried from inside. You might remember him as the guy who tried to kill Castiel. Turns out the guy was heavily sniffing the religion powder to the point where the only media on his phone was Buddy Boyle’s podcasts. Dean wants to know how far Jerry Falwell the second’s reach is; according to the World Wide Web he’s world wide. Angels need permission, this guy gets people scrambling to offer themselves up. This is a perfect moment for Dean to feel guilty about loophole’ing Zeke into Sam. Appropriate level of guilt felt, they move on to the next place Castiel may have been.
They find Castiel’s group of downtown under the bridgers but no one wants to talk to them on account of the fact that they really resemble undercover cops. Oh, irony. Finally, the guy who shared his food with Castiel offers up some information. SLOWLY.
Back in Chinatown, Castiel has discovered just how wasteful human beings can be. Piles of edible food being tossed away right in front of him. He’s pondering the inhumanity of humanity when a pretty redhead catches his eye. He tells her he’s not stealing and just like Sam and Dean, she isn’t a cop, so everything’s cool, man. In fact, she’s really nice and gives him her PB&J with the crusts cut off. Castiel is smitten by her generosity. Luckily for Castiel, she was also raised off-planet because she takes him home after work. I mean, on one hand, I get it, he’s pretty and vulnerable and his voice sounds like it sounds. On the other hand, stranger danger, yo.
She takes him to her apartment and they at least finally exchange names; she’s April Kelly and he tells her his real name. She strips him down a bit and patches his wounds. Castiel is pouring his soul out to her, telling her how new humanity is for him and opening up about how vanity was his sin before his fall, when out of nowhere she goes from nursemaid to naughty nurse and at least Castiel has seen a porn or two in his life and gets where this is going.
Meanwhile, the reaper-for-hire is still stalking the Winchesters. They should be on high alert, but instead Sam is lecturing Dean about how little pie is actually in his pie while Dean is refraining from pointing out that Sam is wearing pink plaid. But wait! This was all a ruse. They knew they were being followed and now have the reaper captured and hung from a hook. Those Winchesters are creepy dudes. The reaper sings like a canary and Dean skewers him like a kabob.
Post-coital, Castiel and April bask in their moment both assuring the other that they were worth each other’s time. You’ll notice that while Sam and Dean are tearing through there search circle looking for Castiel, he’s more than willing to stay in April’s bed and hasn’t thought once to ask her if he can use her phone to check in. My mother would have killed me.
Sam and Dean spend the rest of their night trying to track down their wayward child and Dean is just running on fumes now. He lures Zeke to the surface and asks him to put his feelers out for Castiel. Zeke can’t because of the tattoo; Dean is having a moment of smart (nice of the writers to remember Dean has a brain, I was beginning to worry) and tells his new pet angel to look for a reaper that may be on Castiel’s ass. Zeke does, because he’s uber helpful like that.
Castiel’s morning after is far less tender than his night was. He finds April cutting up a healthy plate of breakfast fruit with his angel blade. April is not April, April is the vessel this reaper is possessing.
Anyway, Reaper!April has Castiel tied up for interrogation. She wants answers before she delivers his head to Bartholomew. She’s super invested in Metatron.
Wait. Why? Oh, whatever.
Just then Sam and Dean burst in to the rescue. Except April doesn’t even flinch, she pins Castiel to the chair through his soft belly and starts flinging Winchesters around the room. Of course, she’s the villain so instead of finishing the job she over-talks and Dean gets the jump on her.
It’s a bit hard to mourn the corpse of Castiel, because, well, we know he’ll be back in a few episodes. PR promos, man. Dean doesn’t have that luxury and is legitimately mourning his friend. Unlike with Sam, Dean doesn’t immediately think to beg, deal or pray, he just kinda mourns like a normal person. Zeke, however, takes the opportunity of Sam being knocked unconscious again to spring forth and heal Castiel. He retreats before he’s noticed and Dean is left to explain that he negotiated with Reaper!April and then double-crossed her. Like Dean told Ben years ago, he’s a professional liar.
Sam and Dean take their stray home. Castiel is amazed at the comfort of the bunker. There’s an abundance of food, fantastic showers, clean clothes that seem like they may have come from Kevin’s room and a freaking roof over his head. Not only that, but he gets it now, humanity isn’t just sex, violence and sandwiches, it’s about purpose and who better than to guide him than the Winchesters?
Answer: ANYONE ELSE EVER. GEEZ.
Castiel wanders off for another burrito and Dean is beaming with pride when Zeke comes out to rain on the parade. He doesn’t feel safe with Castiel around and if he’s not safe he’s leaving and if he leaves…
Yeah, Dean gets it.
Castiel is happily chowing down when Dean drops the bomb that he can’t stay. We get a fantastic shot of Castiel’s reaction and then – that’s it, that’s the episode.
Dubious consent issues. Lies. Deceit. Disregard for the soul inside compromised vessels. Minimization of trauma.
What did you guys think? How did you feel about this episode?