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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Supernatural 7.01 Recap PART TWO: Villains That Will Kill You But Are Adorable

We then transition extremely subtly from Crowley's scotch glass to the cup of a blind beggar. A burn-y hand put money in the cup, so we guess that it's Cas, who earlier seemed to have had an Uncomfortable Burning Sensation in his hand.

Cas explains that the beggar is a true believer. "People say I'm wrathful, but I
only punish liars and those who forsake me. I am a just God." He then grants the beggar his sight.

Cas comes into focus, and the beggar spends a split second rejoicing over his miraculous restoration of sight before getting all judge-y on Cas, saying, "Your face! What's wrong with you?"

Now, granted, Cas is having some skin issues here, but it seems really rude to be so judgmental of someone who's just, you know, restored your sight. Plus, you'd think the beggar would be more interested in, like, the beautiful clouds that he's seeing for the first time in years, rather than in Cas's dermatological flaws.

The judge-y beggar understandably makes Cas insecure, so we next see him anxiously primping:

The voices we heard earlier return, telling Cas that "It's too late! Let us out!" Then, in an awesomely cheese-y, B-movie-style horror effect, things starts to try and get out of Cas's stomach, alien-style.

This is the cheese that I love.
Meanwhile, back at the Bobby ranch, Crowley apparently turned out to be susceptible to Bobby's snappy back-talk after all (they have a history) and has mystically fed-exed over the instructions of how to Bind Death. Dean looks uncharacteristically cheerful and says, "Who feels like hog-tying Death tonight?" Bobby observes that old-age is overrated, anyhow. 

It turns out that they need an "act of God, crystallized forever." Conveniently, this can be a...crystal. The kind formed when lightening hits sand. Even more conveniently, Bobby's located one within driving distance. This turns out to be a house located in a place that looks not unlike Vancouver.

As Bobby and Sam are breaking into the house, they are surprised by a security guard. Dean comes up behind said security guard, inquires, "Pardon me, do you have an Grey Poupon?" and then slams the rifle into his face.

Sam says, "Seriously? Grey Poupon?" and makes ANOTHER ADORABLE BITCH FACE

Dean shrugs it off. "It's what popped into my head."

Sigh. I know they'll probably never get their relationship back the way it was, but give me a few moments like that an episode and I'll be a happy camper.

And yes, it's weird to find rifle-face-slamming adorable, a point that is further underscored in the next scene, when the owner of the house catches Dean eying his Act of God Crystal. As the owner brandishes a gun at Dean's face, Dean sighs, "Look, I really don't want to hurt you."

"I'm the one with the firearm, son," the guy says smugly.

"I get that," responds Dean. Cut to:

When Sam and Bobby come back, Dean introduces the captives, as if it were a social call: "This is Mr. and Mrs. Blah." Sam actually says, "Hello," back -- before adding, "Sorry."

I'm probably irredeemibly twisted, because I get such a kick out the poor people watching all this and concluding that our heroes are probably Satan-worshipping pyschopaths. I dunno: in the early seasons, Sam and Dean were always helping out randoms and got lots of thank-yous, but I sort of like the idea that part of the price for being a hero in this world is that everybody thinks you're a nut job.

Anyway, next we have SPELL WORK MONTAGE! As the guys lay out the ingredients for the spell. This includes, importantly, junk food:

 There's also a nice moment when the owner of the house winces when Sam mashes up his expensive crystal. Anyway, blah blah blah, spell work, Latin, cracking glass. Silence, and then Dean inquires, "Uh, Hello? Death?"

And it works! Death appears, with disappear-y chains. "Looks like you bound me."

Death is such a Boss. Death is such a Boss that he doesn't even have to make Threatening Homoerotic Double Entendre, which in the Supernatural world is as powerful as you can get.

Anyway, they're like "We want you to reap God!" and Death is like "Why should I?" and Dean is like, "Uhhhhh, because we're the boss of you and we said so."

Sam and Bobby give him "Please don't taunt Death" looks.

Dean acknowledges that he may have overreached and adds, "Respectfully."

Anyway, Cas appears, looking even more dermatologically unfortunate than before.

Death comments that Cas looks "awfully like a mutated angel" and, clearly determined not to let Crowley win the Most Adorable Supernatural Villain Line, adds "I know God. And you, sir, are no God!"

Anyway, Cas and Death have a little pissing contest, and Death gives us The Most Important Information, which is that Cas is getting all melty because, along with all the Purgatory souls, he swallowed The First Beasts -- the Leviathans. Apparently God made them first but got worried that they would "chew up the whole Petri dish" and created Purgatory to put them away safely. Now Cas is the "only thin membrane between them and your home."

Cas is basically like "Shut Up No I'll Be Fine"; he threatens to kill Dean, and Dean asks Death to kill Cas, but they both give each other angsty looks to show that they Still Care. Anyway, the whole mess ends when Cas breaks Death's binding and then vanishes.

Determined to prove that he's a Real God Who Is Not Melting, Cas shows up at Michelle Bachmann's campagin offices.

Oh, I'm sorry, Michelle WALKER:

Michelle WALKER tells the reporter that she's running because of the "Godless policies of my opponents." Cas acosts an innocent-looking campaign worker and says he's here to see the Senator regarding "abuse of power."

Looking terribly dermatologically challenged, Cas pleads with the innocent-looking campaign worker: "I'm not petty! I'm punishing a woman who causes poverty and despair in my name! I put your needs first! Don't you understand that?"

He looks sad and desperate.

 Oh, adorable anti-hero. I do love you.

Then Cas goes full-on crazy and does a crazy laugh:

Meanwhile, back at the tied-up rich people ranch...Death drinks his soda LIKE A BOSS:

He eat his pickle chips LIKE A BOSS:

Then he snarks at Dean that "I warned you about those Purgatory souls ages ago!" but -- um, really dude? "The Road So Far" reminded us that all you actually said to Dean was, "Keep digging. It's about the souls." That's not exactly specific. It's not like you said, "Make sure that your angel friend doesn't work with Crowley to open Purgatory and eat all of the souls, accidentally in the process swallowing Lovecraftian monsters from Purgatory and bringing them into your world and also hurting your feelings by declaring himself God and calling you an ant." 

Sam says, "You have to care a little bit about what happens to us!" because he's a youngest child and still doesn't understand that the world doesn't revolve around him. 

Anyway, Death says that they can undo all of this if they do another Purgatory opening ritual and get Cas to burp all the souls back in. The only snag is that you need an eclipse to do the ritual. Death is like, "Do I have to do EVERYTHING?" and agrees to create an eclipse at 3:59 on Sunday morning. I see no reason why Death would be able to create an eclipse, but he's kind of Death Ex Machina and he put an end to Soulless Sam and he eats pickle chips LIKE A BOSS so I'll let it go.

We transition to a cool sideways shot (I'm sorry if I'm confusing you with all this technical terminology) of Cas waking up in a pool of blood.

Now, I believe there's a term in alcoholism called "a bottom" and I think that Cas has reached it here. When you wake up covered in blood to discover that you've slaughtered Michelle Bachmann Walker's entire campaign office, including the innocent looking campaign worker you were previously pleading with, it might be time to rethink your priorities. Look at your life, look at your choices, that kind of thing.

Speaking of alcoholic bottoms, back at the Bobby ranch, Sam discovers Dean sitting with his laptop, drinking. 

Sam is unimpressed.

He wonders why Dean is not raring to go get Cas to the ritual place to vomit back up the souls. Dean says it's pointless -- they won't persuade Cas. Why bother? 

Sam says it's "still Cas in there" and makes the obvious comparison -- he, Sam, has been pretty far gone sometimes (demon blood, OOPs! I Started the Apocolypse!, soullessness, etc.) and Dean never gave up on him. Dean says, "Yeah, and it turns out you're the same open book you've always been. Halucinations? Really? I gotta find out from Death?" Man, you have to these actors credit. I mean, how to do read that line and sound convincing? "Jensen, in this scene, I've got to really believe that you feel betrayed that your brother didn't share his Hell-U-Cinations with you, not because of the Hell-U-Cinations themselves and their troubling implications for your brother's sanity, but that you had to discover them through an abstract concept that we've decided to portray with an adorable Canadian actor." But Jensen Ackles does a really good job.

Sam makes the obvious point that he was trying to spare Dean's feelings as there is "plenty of pretty severe crap swinging your way." But Dean is having none of it. And what's heartbreaking is that in this case Sam is being totally sincere, but he's given that bullshit "I just lied to spare your feelings!" excuse so many times before (Soulless Sam was particularly fond of it) that it cuts no ice with Dean.

Boy who cried "I just lied to spare your feelings!"

Sam says that they can hash it out when they've dealt with Cas. Dean says he intends to deal by stuffing his pie hole, drinking, and watching Asian cartoon porn. Conveniently, at that moment a news bulletin pops up on his laptop, showing security footage of a massacre at a campaign office. Cas grins loopily up at them from the computer, and Dean concludes that "reaching Cas is out of the cards." 

I don't know, the first time through I was totally sympathetic to Dean here. He's been through this situation (loved one doing horrific crap for what started out as the right reasons and is now raging out of control) several times at this point. Everyone is looking to him to be the selfless, stubbornly loyal person that they love, and Dean is like "What am I, a freaking angst machine? I can't cry single, perfect manly tears every time something bad goes down!" So I sort of loved the fact that he was finally getting pissed at Sam and Cas and telling everybody to go blow. This time through, I just find it annoying.


He tells him he still thinks Cas is "one of them" and that they have "till dawn to stop this" if he wants help.

Then Sam goes back to Drinkin' Dean, whose computer is making hilarious Japanese Cartoon Porn noises. Dean offers Sam a drink and Sam says, "Only if you turn that off."

I will enable your alcoholism only if you turn off the porn. 

 Dean does and Sam takes the drink because enabling Dean's alcoholism is how you show that care about him in the Supernatural world.

And then Cas appears! He heard Sam's call! He wants help!


At this point, Cas proceeds to win everyone over by Super Adorable Expressions. Take any random expression he makes during the next scene, where the boys go to the Purgatory Lab to get the souls out of Cas.


More adorable. 

 He tells Dean that he feels "regret" and "would fix Sam now if I could."

Dean is not really having it; I guess being Sam's brother makes you build up a tolerance for adorable expressions.

Anyway, Sam goes to get the Purgatory blood from a closet. In the closet, he has a Hell-U-Cination.


You guys, it's like all the other Adorable Villians and Cas trying to be an Adorable Villain was just warming the space in my heart for the BEST VILLIAN OF THEM ALL.

Because Lucifer taught the original master class on Threatening Homoerotic Banter, he purrs at Sam, "Long time, no spooning!"

Sam is like, bitch, please, you're a hallucination.


That's right. Lucifer suggests that maybe Sam has been in the Cage in Hell THE WHOLE TIME and the manufactured reality is just starting to break down. In fact, he congratulates himself on his "best torture yet" -- making Sam THINK he's free, and then snatching it away. 

Sam looks less secure. 
Lucifer looks mighty pleased with himself. 


This is so fucking brilliant. "Flames on the side of my faaaaaaace!" Not scary. Meathooks? Not scary. Ceiling chain? Not scary. The thought that you've been in the cage the whole time? Fucking scary as fuck.

This is the direction I wanted Show to go in forever ago, instead of all that Sam Came Back Wrong crap.

Plus, it opens the door to lots of jokes about how Sucky Season Six wasn't even real. "I mean, really Sam? The fairies episodes? Dragons with glowy hands? You thought that was real?" 


Wait for me

Back the purgatory lab, they notice Sam is missing (where did you go Saaaaaaaaaam?) but they don't have time to wait for him. Dean grabs the ritual blood and they do the ritual to get the souls back into Purgatory. 

Even about to vomit souls, Castiel looks adorable and pathetic. He last words before the soul-vomiting are "I'm sorry, Dean."

Then he starts to soul-vom:

When it's over, Cas is collapsed in a heap. Dean observes that he's not breathing but finally his stubborn loyal denial kicks back in: "Maybe angels don't need to breathe!" he suggests. 

But they do, and Dean and Bobby get sad. Until...until!!

Cas is okay! His dermatological problems go away! He sits up!

"That was unpleasant," he says in adorable Cas understatement. 

He makes lots more adorable faces at Dean and begs for a chance to make ammends. 

"I really overeached." 

"Ya think?" 

Even though I am not a moron and know that this can't last, there's still a tiny teeny part of me that's hoping everyone will hug and Sam will rush in the room and announce his Hell-U-Cinations are over and everyone will dance on a big rainbow. 

Of course, it doesn't last. Cas tells the others to run. "They're still inside of me!" 

Who is?

Dean rushes to Cas, but the flickering expression of crazy we've seen on Cas takes over.

"Too late!" the Leviathans-in-Cas (Leviastiel? Castivithan?) announce. "We run the show now!"

Leviastiel tosses Dean and Bobby against the wall and they're like "Man! We JUST got thrown against these EXACT walls LAST episode!"

Leviastiel giggles LIKE A BOSS and announces "This is going to be so much fun!" Mwa-ha-ha-ha laughter takes us over the credits.

Now, you may think that mwa-ha-ha laughter is a bad way to end an episode, but LET me tell YOU that it's way better than CAS SQUINTING which is how we ended THE ENTIRE LAST SEASON.

Frankly, I believe Leviastiel: I think this is going to be fun. Icky, scary, cheese-y, fast-pasted, over-the-top fun. At least I hope so. I'm loving Sam's storyline, and the Cas stuff went way better than I could ever have hoped. We ended in a WAY different place than we started, which is the POLAR opposite of last season, where the same situation dragged on for episode after episode.

Plus, fans were whining at the end of last season that the Winchesters were getting more and more isolated and the show callously killed off all the supporting characters. Well, I think this episode really showed the wealth of supporting characters the show has built up.

Yeah, the Winchesters aren't really allowed to have friends except for Bobby, and that's an issue, but there's this awesome array of adorable villains and unlikely allies -- Crowley, Death, Lucifer -- to draw from; they're really what carried the episode. It looks like they've stopped flirting with the Big Questions of the past couple seasons (IS THERE A GOD? IS THERE FREE WILL? WHAT IS THE SOUL?) and are reaping the fun fruits of all their quirky characters and the big new villian. Don't get me wrong, I loved it when Supernatural went more big picture; it took some big ovaries on the show's part and the Big Themes were often executed unexpectedly well...but the sixth season felt like it was collapsing under its own melacholy and unable to say much that was interesting or coherent. It felt like it was just recycling little leftover pieces of angst from previous seasons. 

Actually, this whole Cas-as-God episode felt like a fitting coda to Supernatural's big-picture God/Apocalypse plots: you know what happens when you take on too much? Nothing good, that's what. Let's kill some fucking cool monsters.


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