Rexford, Idaho. A man calls the suicide hotline, but drops the phone and leaves the poor gal blathering buzz phrases into the ether. That is until he plops the receiver (which is attached to a cord that runs to the base of his rotary phone) back onto the cradle. Without her trying to pull him back from the ledge he picks up his gun and aims it at his temple, but he catches sight of a (black and white) photograph of whom we can only assume is his wife and child, and he can’t do it.
Suddenly, there’s a stranger in the room with him, a shadowed figure complete with foreboding music.
Do you recognize that musical arrangement? One of my personal favorites, it’s the sound of John Winchester revealing he’s the Yellow Eyed Demon. Misty watercolor memories, yo.
Only this time the man obviously isn’t a demon. You can tell by the single cross-shaped earring in his left ear.
Seriously though, what year is this??
The suicidal man asks earring man if the lady from the hotline sent him. If she had, I’d’ve been super impressed with the efficiency and efficacy of this town’s prevention specialists. Alas, it wasn’t her that sent him. No, earring man says that he came because suicidal guy called out to him and with that he smites him in a fabulous flash of fuchsia.
The next morning we find Castiel in a convenience store, and judging from the bright blue vest and name tag he’s an esteemed employee of the Gas-n-Sip . And also his name is apparently Steve now. Let’s ignore how bitter I am that he’s dropped the “Clarence”. He’s got a job and he’s trying to learn the ways of modern day idiots by observing their behavior when he catches sight of the headline of the local paper. Turns out strawberry milkshake was the fourth in a string of strange occurrences.
Over at the bunker, Kevin has successfully translated the tablet into a 5,000+ year-old language and then translated that into an Etch-A-Sketch language even older and more obscure than that one. Time for research, luckily they live in a library. Dean is already bored just thinking about opening the book he gets handed. He’s probably wondering if he can get away with offering to make refreshments in order to get out of this when his phone rings. It’s Castiel calling. While trying to clean the slushee machine. Unsuccessfully. He wheezing the juice all over the floor while relaying what few details he knows about the weirdness going on to Dean. He’s abrupt and Dean is perplexed. On the bright side, he’s found his perfect getaway excuse and leaves Sam and Kevin to nerd out in their natural habitat.
Back at the Gas-n-Sip, Castiel is changing the light bulb when his manager, Nora, comes in with a little baggie of toiletries. She asks him if he knows whom it belongs to and Castiel confesses it’s his. She casually mentions that she also found a rolled up sleeping bag in the back and he tells her that it’s his but he assures her he only stayed there because he was up late doing inventory. Not because he’s homeless. No. He totally has a home. Totally.
Speaking of lies, how did Castiel, I’m sorry Steve even get this job? What last name did he provide? “Masters”? (shut up and go with it) and what about his social security number? Did he just put down Dean’s phone number? What form of ID did he provide? What kind of shady franchise corner store is this lady running?
She completely buys his story and not only that she fumblingly tells him that she’s off the next night and he’s off that night and it’s really hard for a single mom like her to have a social life and if he’s free…
He readily accepts her invitation with a small smile tugging at his mouth.
Dean has arrived in Rexford and is in full-on FBI mode. The local PD walk him into the crime scene and the walls are banked with sprays of pink. Actually, the entire interior is covered with a fine mist of blush and bashful. Dean asks if it’s blood, the LEO tells him that it’s not just blood; it’s bone, keratin, viscera, shoe rubber, the works all blitzed in a blender on the highest setting. He calls to check in with Sam, who has hit a brick wall with the research. Dean reminds him that they have a centuries old King of Hell at their mercy.
Right now, outside the local high school a girl is dealing with a rough break up. Seems her very important high school boyfriend turned out to be a douche and dumped her in the cafeteria in front of everyone. IN PERSON. His face broke up with her face directly from his face. She’s mortified. She could just omg die, y’know? Creepy earring guy to the rescue! One touch from his hand and she’s beet juice.
Meanwhile, Dean has tracked down Castiel and heads into the Gas-n-Sip to surprise him. I wonder if this is his revenge for all the times Castiel just popped up out of nowhere on him. Castiel is not pleased. He’s even less pleased when Dean mocks his current position in life. He reminds Dean that without his grace he has to start over and this is where he’s rebooting from. He’s definitely the guy that takes all his job duties to heart. Actually, he’s the overly chipper guy that you see in the training videos they make you watch before they release you into the wilds of the job floor. He’s that guy. The one you want to reach into the training video and punch. Yeah, him. But he’s also right. This job gives him responsibilities that he takes seriously and frankly, at this point; his average Joe adjustment level is light years ahead of Dean’s. Pride is pride and Castiel has always had that in spades. Plus, he informs Dean, he has a date, a very human custom-based date. Dean gets a call from the cops informing him that there’s been another death. This might be my favorite alias of Dean’s in awhile, if you’re unaware Lee Ermey is the Kansas-born actor that played Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Full Metal Jacket. Just sayin’.
Anyway, Dean tries to get Castiel to go with him to the crime scene, but Castiel is reluctant; he’s powerless, according to Dean an incompetent hunter and furthermore he has a Gas-n-Sip bathroom to clean up and a date to get ready for. His plate is full. Dean does convince him to go with by backtracking his previous assessment of suckage on Castiel’s part.
The tying bind with all the victims seems to be they were habitual wrong side of the bed type people, so Dean questions the dead girl’s BFF about her mental state. The girl is said that her friend sad, but not depressed; on a scale of lipgloss clashing with her shoes to teenage suicide, she was singing don’t do it. Dean is stumped, but Castiel has seen the raspberry smoothie writing on the wall and knows what they’re up against: Rit Zien.
The Rit Zien was a faction of angels that were basically battlefield medics. If they could slap a Band-Aid on an angel they did, if they couldn’t they were prepared and able to send a fatally wounded angel gently into that night. Unfortunately, now that he’s on earth he’s focused on human pain, which Castiel claims is pretty unbearable when tapped into. Damn. If Castiel spend the previous years hearing Sam and Dean Winchester’s pain screaming at him it’s a wonder he didn’t fling himself off the highest cloud in heaven.
Castiel is not ready to fight this fight and Dean understands. Hell, he even gives him a ride to Nora’s and some quick dating tips, which is amusing coming from a guy that whose dates tend to consist of having to bring-your-own-booze because of the nature of the establishment and making it lightly sprinkle dollah, dollah bills. Castiel takes it all in and even adds the nice touch of plucking one of Nora’s own roses to present to her. Dean looks on like an embarrassing parent until Castiel waves him away with all the fervor of a moody teen. Dean tries to leave, but an old Ford is blocking his way, but he finally gets around it and takes off. Nora lets Castiel in and before he can beflower her she starts through baby info at him and rushing out the door. Oh. I’ve seen this episode of Friends before a few hundred times.
Castiel is not one to leave a baby unsupervised, so he does his best. Nora swore she’s just a little angel, but Castiel is finding that the definition of hardly cries is “cries a lot, loudly”. Instinct or observation kick in and he starts to sing her a lullaby. As TV theme songs go, this is an apt choice for him, lyrically speaking. Baby Tanya settles down just long enough for Castiel to think he’s got this. Of course, she starts screaming again. Castiel understands her pain, he knows what it’s like to be brought into human existence against your will and have to learn and adapt to the social structure created by others. It sucks basically. He’d like nothing more than to ease her distress, but without his powers touching her forehead is useless. Well, not entirely, he is now tactilely aware than she’s much warmer than she should be. He calls Nora and gets her voicemail. Panicked he opts to take Tanya to the ER, but as soon as he opens the door our favorite euthanasist is there. Castiel thinks that he’s there to Ingersoll the baby, but it turns out that he’s there for Castiel. All the pain that Castiel has been radiating is light a blackhole, sucking him in despite Castiel’s hideaway tattoo. Thankfully, every rose has its thorn, so Castiel sneakily slices his hand open the stem and tries to covertly paint an angel-be-gone sigil, but he’s not successful. The only thing he’s successful is learning his wrist is not double-jointed.
Over at the precinct, Dean discovers that the DNA from the husband and wife ground-zero crime scene only had ruminants of the wife, meaning the husband is still MIA. The couple was headed toward divorce, turns out that an atheist and a devote follow of the Buddy Boyle school of angelic brainwashing don’t really coexist very well. Dean recognizes the truck in one of the case file photographs as the one parked outside Nora’s and zooms off. Upon arriving he immediately gets flung into a wall, so y’know, he was a tons of help. Castiel begs for his life, the life that he wants no matter the pain and the difficulty of it; this life is his to live. While the Rit Zien is prothelizing, Dean takes the opportunity to slide an angelblade to Castiel and just like that, it’s over.
Castiel feels that maybe he should be out there, helping to remedy the situation he 92% created, but Dean tells him that he’s proud of him for adapting to human life and should continue doing what he’s doing. Not to worry, he tells him, he and Sam will take care of the angel issue.
This takes us back to our mytharc, complete with prophet, King of Hell and… whatever the heck Sam Winchester is these days.
Sam takes the unintelligible translation to Crowley and asks him to help them. Crowley, in all his pompous glory, refuses. He all but spits in Sam’s face for insinuating that they’ll hand him over to Abaddon as a POW. Sam lets him stew for bit and then returns. This time Crowley is willing to translate for them, but he’s not going away empty handed. Just like any mass-murdering sociopath that’s been detained, he knows his rights, he wants his one phone call and he wants to make it to Abaddon. Kevin balks at the audacity, but Sam doesn’t see any other way and is ready to open a vein.
Before Sam bleeds a vein to make the call they want proof that Crowley can actually read it. Crowley is able to identify that the ingredients for the spell Metatron kicked everyone out with were a nephilim heart, a cupid’s bow and an angel’s grace and Sam rolls up his sleeve. Crowley, however, doesn’t want Sam’s blood this time, that year is old news, but Kevin is a barrel that’s aged to perfection and ready to tap.
Crowley’s phone call doesn’t go as smoothly as all the others we’ve seen in the past. The King of Hell is left listening to bossa novas piped in over the bloodline. When Abaddon finally picks up her end she’s fresh and chipper. Her numbers are blowing Crowley’s projections out of the water. Mostly because she’s breaching contracts. Crowley is not okay with this, there are protocols for a reason, Hell cannot be kept in line with anarchy; that literally won’t work. Abaddon is hotheaded and unconcerned. And with that, the Winchesters once again have a demon in their back pocket, one that will work with them to take down a common enemy. Besides, Crowley is a businessman, a man of contracts and bottom lines. A deal is, in fact, a deal.
Unfortunately, what the translations contain brings zero joy. Metatron’s spell is irreversible. Earth is the new Heaven, only less fluffy. This explains Dean’s unwillingness to have Castiel fight the good fight. It’s a pointless suicide mission and Castiel isn’t suicidal, not anymore.
Sam is hanging up Crowley’s phone, cleaning the blood from the basin, when he notices one of the syringes from his junkie pack is missing. Sam quietly walks to Crowley’s room and spies him injecting himself with blood.
Okay, now I went back and watched and watched and watched and I can’t figure out when or where Crowley pulled off not only stealing the syringe, but also getting one with blood in it. But here’s the real question, who’s blood is it? Does that matter? Because if he sucked it up from the bowl then it’s Kevin’s and it’s prophet blood. But if it’s Sam’s, somehow, can Crowley feel Ezekiel in Sam’s blood? So is it just for the high? Is Sam’s blood:Crowley::Ruby’s blood:Sam? Or will there be another reason?