Thursday, October 10, 2013

Supernatural, Season 9, Episode 1: I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here

Carry on my Wayward sons! Yes, it’s back! Supernatural which, despite all of its many many, many, many, many oh dear gods many, problems remains my favourite show on TV. And not just because of Castiel
or not entirely
 There are people in the world who are afraid of what I will do if this show is ever cancelled. Take that as a warning producers!

Clearly some time has passed because we open in the car with Sam complaining about how no-one realised the entire population of Heaven just fell – it’s been listed as a meteor shower; but Dean is obviously distracted (and hiding that there’s a problem, very unsuccessfully) and doesn’t think rampaging angels (who are dicks) or Metatron or Castiel or Demons or anything else is their problem. Dean is focused on Sam – because he’s dying

Swoop out and Dean is by Sam’s hospital bed, watching the news of a “global meteor shower” – Sam is unconscious. I guess the driving was Sam’s coma dream. The doctor tells Dean that Sam has been badly burned internally, is in a coma and, basically, nothing short of a miracle is going to wake him up. The doctor also tells Dean that Sam’s life is in “god’s hands” which sparks Dean’s temper (it’s not like he’s had a particularly smooth relationship with agents of the divine).

Despite that, he goes to the chapel and prays – to Castiel, begging for him to come. Castiel doesn’t respond. So Dean shifts gears and sends out a call to all Angels, giving his name and location, offering to make a deal with any Angel who turns up to help. Angels around the country in their various guises perk up and move towards him – and they don’t look happy.

Back to coma dream in the car with coma!Dean convinced that they can solve the whole dying thing, with added “you do realise this is all a coma dream, right?” Sam follows the logic and questions that if coma!Dean represents his will to fight – but has no idea how – then maybe he shouldn’t fight? At that, up pops coma!Bobby in the back seat (yay, Bobby!) and he agrees – maybe Sam shouldn’t fight.

Leaving Sam’s internal wrangling aside, it’s time to see Castiel. Castiel!!!!!

Yes, I'm going to be doing this a lot
He’s in rural Colorado, hearing voices in his head and almost getting run over. He staggers up from the gravel to find his hands cut and bleeding – not instantly healing and it actually hurts. The driver who nearly hit him wants to help and ends up thoroughly confused by Castiel – but does offer him a lift since Castiel has no wings anymore.

Back to the coma dream where Sam’s subconsciouses are arguing, with Coma!Bobby pointing out sometimes it’s time to die and it happens. Coma!Dean thinks there’s always a way – but Coma!Bobby counters that all the many ways they HAVE found to keep going (like selling their souls) didn’t exactly work out too excellently. More arguing follows before Coma!Bobby and Sam teleport to the middle of the coma!woods, leaving Dean behind.

Back to Castiel and the guy who gave him a lift drops him off – and gives him money to help (Castiel is sure he’s fine, he doesn’t eat!) awww, a nice guy. We should have him stuffed.

Castiel tries to get a very tough looking biker to hang up the phone so he can use it – he resorts to physical threats. He then tries to use his angel powers to put the man to sleep – which involves poking his forehead. It doesn’t work. The big man calmly informs Castiel he’s going to finish his call – then stab him. Castiel walks off in confusion and is greeted by a woman who knows him – from Heaven. Castiel calls her an angel and she, Hale, questions that – what is an angel without its wings?

Back at the hospital, Dean is approached by a grief councillor (not an angel) about… the inevitable. Dean takes issue with this and decides to go with option b – he has Crowley, the king of hell, locked in the boot of his car. Unfortunately, the car park also has an angry angel with a knife. He beats Dean’s head into the car repeatedly wanting to know where Castiel is (the whole causing them to fall from Heaven. A less violent angel arrives to stop the beating appealing to peace and brotherhood – and violent angel punches him. They fight, Nice Angel not doing so well until Dean comes up behind violent angel and stabs him.

On the plus side, Dean, you backed the angel who may be on your side. On the bad side, it’s also the Wet Lettuce Angel. Wet Lettuce Angel is willing to help Dean – once he regains consciousness.

Back in Colorado, Castiel and Hale talk about falling, Castiel losing his grace and the many angels on angel radio desperately looking for vessels and all completely terrified. They’re afraid because they don’t have the order and structure and purpose of Heaven – and Castiel tries to sell her on freedom, free will and choice. Hale does a really good job of showing someone grasping this vast new concept – and talks about wanting to visit the Grand Canyon (which she built).

Back to Dean and Wet Lettuce Angels wakes up in a ring of fire (because Dean isn’t the trusting sort) and tells us his name – Ezekiel. He agrees that many angels will be hunting Dean and Castiel (and that Dean’s open prayer wasn’t the most sensible thing) but Ezekiel and others are trying to be loyal to their mission (what exactly is that, again?) and believe in Dean and Castiel (oh boy are they silly). Ezekiel’s wet-lettuceness is due to being injured when he fell.

In Sam’s comaland, Coma!Bobby talks about letting go and how it’s not “just dying”, after all the good Sam has done, after saving the world a gazillion times, he is leaving an incredible legacy.

In the hospital, while Ezekiel works on Sam, Castiel calls Dean. They both recap the other on Sam, Castiel losing his grace, angry angels, Metatron, Hale, Ezekiel (Castiel vouches for him) and Castiel wants to come help but Dean fears more angry angels heading his way – especially since Castiel is human and weak and can’t help guide lost angels like Hale. The conversation’s cut short by the ground shaking – an angel is trying to find a vessel and Ezekiel thinks they need to run. Dean seals the room with anti-angel symbols (moving Sam could kill him). He leaves Ezekiel to save Sam and goes angel hunting

Out of the room, glass explodes outwards and the whole hospital is becoming a little chaotic. Dean pulls the fire alarm to get everyone to leave – but, really, the walls are shaking and glass is exploding. Anyone not getting out is not likely to do so just because a bell is ringing.

Dean finds his grief councillor and tries to help her up – and protect her from the big guy with the angel blade; and she grabs him by the neck and lifts him overhead. Angels, angels everywhere. Beatings and threats follow to try and get Dean to tell them where Castiel is. Bloody, he delays them by pretending to tell them where Castiel is while drawing the angel banishing symbol in his own blood – and asks the question, where do they go when he does that, with heaven being locked and all?

Meanwhile in Sam’s subconscious, coma!Bobby prepares Sam for the end – and Coma!Dean stabs him. When Sam questions why he should keep fighting, again pointing out that coma!Dean has no plan how to come back from the dead, coma!Dean attacks him, telling him to fight, to try – that’s his plan. But Sam says he doesn’t want to fight, he doesn’t want to keep going – he wants to take the path coma!Bobby showed him. Coma!Dean disappears.

Sam enters the coma!cabin coma!Bobby showed him and, inside, is the Angel of Death.

Castiel takes Dean’s advice and tries to leave Hale behind – and she hits him on the head and knocks him out. He wakes to find they’re going on a road trip and Hale has her celestial dagger ready – because she needs him and can’t let him leave her all lost and confused. Ok then, time to edge away – though she does have a point that it’s kind of the least he can do for her given she was banished from heaven because of him. She has an extra motive – she wants to “become one”; her vessel is falling apart, not strong enough to hold her, but Castiel’s vessel is strong.

Dean hurries back to Sam’s side and finds various instruments beeping away, Ezekiel is too weak, especially with the warding draining him. Dean covers several of them but it’s not enough. Ezekiel gives Dean one more option – he could fix Sam from the inside, possessing him. Dean nixes it since Sam would never accept that and Ezekiel accepts his answer and moves to leave them alone – and Dean stops him. He asks for proof of how badly off Sam is – Ezekiel links him to Sam’s coma dream

In which Sam is talking to Death who also honours Sam’s legacy. Sam asks if he goes with Death will it finally be final – no reversal, no coming back none of the eternal Supernatural resurrections and no-one else will get hurt because of him. Death promises him. Clearly Dean sees there’s not much time. Ezekiel says he will possess Sam and then leave after he’s healed him – but Sam won’t say yes to it, never; but he might to Dean.

Back to Castiel – putting on his seatbelt, Castiel grabs the wheel and forces them off the road, crashing into a concrete wall. He staggers out of the car to where Hale is after flying through the windscreen. He picks up her angel knife as he goes to speak to her. He tells her he doesn’t want to hurt her, he wants to help angels, all angels and will devote his life to that. Hale isn’t impressed – he wants to help angels after what he did? Most angels want to kill him and if they’re together (sharing a vessel?) she can protect him. He walks away and she threatens to tell every angel where he is – the one who destroyed heaven. She continues to rant and threaten him to make him agree to sharing possession – and Castiel stabs her with the angel blade.

Back in Sam’s coma world, Sam starts to leave with Death when Dean appears. Real Dean, not coma!Dean. Sam still considers leaving, moving on but Dean appeals to him, to them being together, to Dean not knowing what to do, how to be without him – but Sam has to let him in. Sam says yes and Dean touches him, and it all glows angelic white.

In the hospital, Sam’s doctor enters Sam’s room to find wardings drawn on the walls and a confused man laid on the bed – Ezekiel’s ex vessel.

Outside Dean and… Sam/Ezekiel are walking away. Ezekiel (Samkiel? Yes, Samkiel is going to be a thing, deal with it) tells Dean it’s going to take a while to patch up Sam’s body but Sam will wake up – and not even feel that he is possessed. Dean isn’t happy at keeping this from Sam but Ezekiel says that Sam can eject him whenever he wants – which is likely to happen if Sam finds out. And then he’ll die. Dean agrees to the secrecy.

Back to Castiel – he goes to a laundrette and to clean his blood stained clothes (stripping to his boxers in the laundrette. I am going to be very very mature and not give Supernatural 5 fangs for this scene alone). And, having to choose how to use his dwindling resources, he doesn’t was his coat so he can buy a bottle of water (which he drinks very thirstily). Castiel has lost his coat
this picture is in mourning for Castiel's coat
 Dean drives the actual car, not the coma-car and Sam wakes up in the passenger seat (hey, is Crowley still in the boot?) Dean does not mention the angel possession.

Ok, I admit when I started this episode I was a little cynically irritated. Were we really going to spend vast chunks of the episode in Sam’s head while he debated whether he wanted to live or die when we knew that, inevitably, he was going to get resurrected? As much as I love to see Bobby, I did not want an episode of Sam angst navel gazing (especially, as I’ve said before on multiple occasions I have little patience for Sam angst since he wallows in it so much while Dean, who has been through several degrees of hotter hell than Sam, generally keeps moving) over whether or not he’s going to come back when WE KNOW HE WILL. Death is a revolving door to the Wincester brothers. Dean even knows Death’s favourite snack food.

But then it was all turned around. There was (somewhat) of a reason for all the Sam angst – it was all to set up the season conflict of Samkiel (get used to this, I will be using it). And it looks meaty – the conflict between the brothers, the difficulty of Dean making such a choice, of denying Sam the choice, the secrecy, Sam’s ongoing issue of abandoning the job, Dean’s determination to fight on no matter how lost the cause and his fierce loyalty to both Sam and Castiel all promise for an emotional, conflict laden series that Supernatural excels at – perhaps a series that focuses more on relationships than big bads.

In some ways I can see some excellent parallels between Dean and Sam and Dean and Castiel. Yet again, Dean is the one trying to hold everyone together and making really hard and harsh choices – whether Sam’s possession or telling Castiel that no, he can’t be a good Samaritan to angel-kind. In many ways, Dean has to be the perpetual bad guy, even Sam still maintains illusions than he does and Castiel can be more than a bit of a fluffy bunny; Ezekiel may be even more fluffy than that. The naivety of the angels and Sam’s epic-but-still-less-than-Dean’s-dedication is going to put Dean in not just the leader seat, but as the bad cop, the one who has to make the soul destroying the decisions and the one who will be blamed. Poor Dean.

But on those illusions, is Castiel already crashing into harsh reality? The look on his face abandoning his coat – and facing Hale (but, yes, crashing down a second, the angel was female so we could feel all protective and then died because this is Supernatural), there’s a lot of reality checks hitting our wonderfully, naïve Castiel. (Ok an aside – Castiel knows better than this, maybe when he first arrived he would be like this, but I don’t see Castiel telling complete strangers “I don’t have wings any more”).

This is going to be a heavily emotional season – but they have the acting chops to pull it off.

Yes, I got all of this from the pilot, yes it means I’ve been not so much drawn back in after the trainwreck that was season 8, but I’ve been sucked in well and truly. I’m interested, I’m intrigued – and I’m excited.

Also, Castiel in his underwear.