So here I go.
"Me and Mrs. Jones" by Billy Paul (plays while Crowley tortures)
An der schönen blauen Donau, Op. 314 by Johann Strauss II (plays when Crowley and Cas are in Hell)
We start the episode with Cas talking to God and to the audience - and find out that the whole episode is actually Cas' account of what has happened - his story. We have him jumping back and forth between a year ago and the recent past so I may go out of order a bit, to put everything in chronological order.
I like the way they do this because it is the only way we can truly hear Cas' side of the story without wondering if he is really telling the truth on such important points like whether he had raised Sam without a soul on purpose. It's a great way to see a secondary character's point of view, and understand the background more. It also reminds us that Cas has no one to confide in, now that he is doing something that (even he knows) is shady. And yet he stubbornly believes that this is the right thing - the only thing he can do to get enough power to best Raphael.
We find out in Cas' reveries that in the millions of years that Cas has been alive, despite having seen the beginning of evolution of human kind, the most memorable of all had been meeting Sam and Dean and helping them avert the apocalypse. Of course on rewatch we may stop to contemplate that there may have been other instances which may have been wiped from his memory). Every event he remembers, from the little fish that crawled on to land to the tower of Babble and beyond are in accordance with what his brothers had told him were meant to be and inevitable - destiny. What is different about this one instance is that he helped stop the biggest event of destiny - the final objective and goal toward which the angels have strived from the beginning of the world. He also learns what happens when one tries to stop destiny. He is killed. But then, surprise of surprises, he is raised from the dead by someone - twice- which gives him the confidence that what he is doing is God's will.
I'll always wonder, though, what happened to him a year ago - between that time when he appeared to Dean in the car and told Dean that he had what he wanted, life as usual - and the point where he decided he could and would save Sam from the cage. He doesn't tell Dean that he is going to save Sam - maybe because he isn't sure he can actually do it - and afterwards when Soulless Sam walks away from Dean with Lisa and Ben - Cas again leaves Dean alone, possibly respecting Sam's wish. Another important point is that he doesn't appear to Sam either. You'd think that he would have talked with Sam, but he doesn't Maybe he thinks Sam would also go and live a normal life? Or maybe he just doesn't share a "strong enough bond" ? Maybe he thinks he will later and get scaught in Crowley's web before he can?
Cas tells God/us now as he looks back on it, that he should have been able to tell that there was something wrong with Sam but he was blinded by his arrogance. This confession pretty much proves that he did not leave Sam's soul in hell on purpose. We also understand from it that Cas is already regretting his actions.
We find out that after "saving Sam," he goes back to heaven. There, he is asked by the other angels to be their leader and he declines. He tells everyone that they can all do what they want because they have free will, free choice.
CASTIEL No. It was the Winchesters. They brought down the Apocalypse.
RACHEL But you beat the Archangels, Castiel. God brought you back. He chose you, Cas...To lead us.
CASTIEL No. No one leads us anymore. We're all free to make our own choices and to choose our own fates.
RACHEL What does God want?
CASTIEL God wants you to have freedom.
RACHEL But what does he want us to do with it?
Its interesting because at the end of Season 5, he tells Dean that it was probably complete anarchy up in heaven now that Michael wasn't around - as if to say he was going to do something about that. Dean even called him the new sheriff, didn't he? Instead, he goes up and tells them that anarchy is good. They don't need a leader, they don't need rules. They can do whatever they want. You'd think that after all those millions of years he'd have learned a bit more about when and why rules and laws are important, and when and why they must be broken, but maybe his life as a common soldier didn't allow him to even consider questions like those.
After this, he is called by Raphael and told 1) the angels need a leader, and 2)pledge allegiance to Raphael or die. Raphael, because he is an archangel, understands the situation a lot better than Cas - at least he recognizes that there is an opening for the "Kingship" and he's going to take it, and at most, he knows that the other angels need guidance and leadership because they don't know what to do with freedom. But he himself is just as simple as the simplest of angels in that he cannot conceive of life without the original purpose and objective of the apocalypse. Without it, I imagine he sees no meaning in life at all.
CASTIEL Raphael...No. The Apocalypse doesn't have to be fought!
RAPHAEL Of course it does. It's God's will.
CASTIEL How can you say that?!
RAPHAEL Because it's what I want.
CASTIEL Well, the other angels won't let you.
RAPHAEL Are you sure? You know better than anyone, Castiel. They're soldiers. They weren't built for freedom. They were built to follow.
Cas, however, cannot allow that to happen, for the sake of Sam and Dean and humanity as a whole as well as for his new belief in freedom and free choice. He refuses, and Raphael lets him off with a warning blow which shows Cas that he is no match for Raphael 's power. It is obvious to him at this point that if he does not pledge allegiance, he will die. It's interesting to speculate why Raphael did not kill him right away here. Maybe because of Cas' influence with the others? He hoped to gain the kingship without much rebellion? Or maybe because he was also worried that Cas would be brought back again anyway.
Cas then goes to Dean to get help or advice or to say goodbye - anything, but when he sees Dean out of the hunting life, peacefully raking the leaves, he can't ask for help. And while he is wondering what to do, Crowley comes to whisper in his ear.
CROWLEY Ah, Castiel. Angel of Thursday. Just not your day is it?
(Love that - "Angel of Thursday" !)
CROWLEY What are you planning to do about Raphael?
CASTIEL What can I do besides submit or die?
CROWLEY Submit or die? What are you, French? How about resist?
CASTIEL I'm not strong enough, and you know it.
CROWLEY Ah, not on your own, you're not. But you're not on your own, are you? There's a lot of angels swooning over you. "God's favorite." Buddy boy, you've got what they call sex appeal.
CROWLEY Angels need leaders, so be one. Gather your army and kick the candy out of each and every angel that shows up for Raphael.
CASTIEL Are you proposing that I start a civil war in heaven?
CROWLEY Ding! Ding! Ding! Tell him what he's won, Vanna.
CASTIEL You're asking me to be the next Lucifer.
CROWLEY Please. Lucifer was a petulant child with daddy issues. Cas, you love God. God loves you. He brought you back. Did it occur to you that maybe he did this so you could be the new sheriff upstairs?
This reminds me so much of Dean and Crowley in Season 9 and is so in keeping with religious canon of the devil and how he comes when we are at our weakest and how wily he is in convincing us that this is surely what we should do - or in Cas' case what God wants him to do. He's a natural leader! God is surely on his side etc. etc. He then tells Cas that he will advance him 50,000 souls so that he can overpower Raphael at the meeting and not get killed. It is all extremely well done from the writing of the script to delivery and I can't go without mentioning how Cas' expressions change as he first listens with disbelief, then with thoughtfulness, then with speculation. I suspect that Raphael's speech also made him realize that the angels did need a leader and he'd be damned if Raphael took over and restarted the apocalypse.
Taking those borrowed souls, Cas goes to Raphael, refuses to pledge to him and blows Raphael away.
Now lets talk about the present. It's a few days after they killed the Mother and Cas finds Dean in the Impala by himself. Dean is surprised, again, by the visit - but by the way he sighs with relief afterwards, we know it is not just surprise but worry that Cas might have found out what they are doing behind his back. Cas has just popped in to tell Dean that he doesn't think Crowley is alive but he will keep looking, and also confirm with Dean whether they have found anything. This is of course because Cas wants to make sure they DON'T find out anything.
CASTIEL Where's Sam?
DEAN He's keeping busy. He's tracking a Djinn in Omaha as we speak. In fact, I'm heading out there right now to meet up with him.
CASTIEL Well, I'd come if I could.
DEAN Yeah, no, I-I get it. No worries. But, Cas, you'll call, right? If you get into real trouble?
But when Dean turns around, Cas has disappeared. Dean, we know, is lying to Cas because they agreed as a group to do this. BUT, he still cannot believe that Cas would not come to him if he was in some kind of trouble. We think back on all those other times in Season 6 that Dean asked if there was anything they could do, and Cas refused their help.
We then see Cas in Crowley's lab, where Crowley is dissecting Eve. When Cas tells him he is wasting time, Crowley blows up at Cas and tells him he messed up. He should have kept Eve alive so that they could torture Purgatory's location out of her. Instead, he had let the Winchesters kill her.
CROWLEY Please. I'm begging you, Castiel. Just kill the Winchesters.
CROWLEY Fine. Then I'll do it myself.
CASTIEL If you kill them, I'll just bring them back again.
CROWLEY No, you won't. Not where I'll put 'em. Trust me.
CASTIEL I said...No. Don't worry about them.
CROWLEY Don't worry about -- what, like Lucifer didn't worry? Or Michael? Or Lilith or Alastair or Azazel didn't worry?! Am I the only game piece on the board who doesn't underestimate those denim-wrapped nightmares?!
CASTIEL Just find Purgatory. If you don't, we will both die again and again, until the end of time. The Winchesters won't get to you.
CROWLEY Let them get to me! I'll tear their friggin' hearts out!
Cas cannot kill the Winchesters for whom he considers himself "a guardian". I love the line by Crowley about underestimating the Winchesters! Also Cas' line about dying over and over again shows that their very lives are at stake if they do not succeed. Or, their deaths, as the case may be.
After his talk with Crowley, he goes to Dean to spy on them invisibly and finds that they actually are torturing demons to find out where Crowley is. We find out from their interrogation that this particular demon had been passing himself off as a hunter in order to get to the monsters.
When Dean arrives, he tells Bobby and Sam about Cas popping in, how he didn't say anything to Cas about what they were doing, and how he can't believe that Cas would have anything to do with Crowley.
DEAN You think that Cas is in with Crowley. Crowley?
BOBBY Look, I'm just saying I don't know. Now, look, I hate myself for even thinking it. But I don't know.
SAM Look, Dean, he's our friend, too, okay? And I'd die for him. I would, but...Look, I'm praying we're wrong here.
BOBBY But if we ain't...If there's a snowball of a snowball's chance here...that means we're dealing with a Superman who's gone dark side. Which means we've got to be cautious, we got to be smart, and maybe stock up on some Kryptonite.
DEAN (to Sam)This makes you Lois Lane.
BOBBY Look, one problem at a time here. We got to find Crowley now, before the damn fool cracks open Purgatory.
Cas watches with a pained face as Dean struggles to continue to believe in him. He finds out here for the first time that they suspect Crowley of wanting Purgatory but he doesn't know that they know Crowley wants it for the souls.
The demon that they have been torturing tells them of a dispatcher which would lead them to Crowley for sure. Cas quickly goes to get rid of the dispatcher, Ellsworth, and the two demons that had just brought him a monster for Crowley.
I have to mention that I love the idea of Ellsworth being like Bobby. We find that he is not only in constant contact with Hell but has several human style phone lines for various purposes - one of which he pretends to be FBI and gives authorization for demons pretending to be hunters pretending to be FBI!!!! Hilarious!!!
Also the way Cas gets rid of the two demons from behind, then pushes Ellsworth's soul back into the meatsuit to kill him is pretty wild and awesome!
When Sam, Dean and Bobby arrive at the location, everything has been swept clean. Not even a fingerprint. Which they are smart enough to know is because someone was tipped off on their arrival. Dean's like, let's call Cas! He can help. There is no way he is involved in this!
DEAN This is Cas, guys. I mean, when there was no one...And we were stuck - and I mean really stuck - he broke ranks. He has gone to the mat cut and bleeding for us so many freakin' times. This is Cas! Don't we owe him the benefit of the doubt at least?
Finally they say OK, and first Sam, then Dean calls on Cas, but he doesn't appear. Of course, Cas is THERE. He just doesn't appear to them, because he knows they will be asking some difficult questions. It seems to me though that it would have been perfectly alright for him to tell them he had no idea what was going on. They don't even suspect him of listening in at this point so it would seem perfectly possible. Instead he listens in to their conversation.
As they are talking, some demons appear. Crowley's best, as Cas puts it. Sam, Dean and Bobby are in a pinch. Unable to hold off any longer, Cas comes to their rescue.
When it's over, they all remark on the good timing, and apologize to Cas for doubting him, telling him about what they had suspected. And I really believe they thought here that Cas was not with Crowley until he said those fated words.
CASTIEL It is a little absurd, though.
BOBBY I know, I know.
CASTIEL Superman going to the dark side. I'm still just Castiel.
DEAN I guess we can put away the Kryptonite, right?
They all realize here that he had been spying on them, which doesn't necessarily directly connect to the fact that he was lying about Crowley, but makes him untrustworthy at the least. And OMG Dean's face as Cas says those words, and as he answers - those expressions ranging from surprise to thoughtful to dead serious are just amazing!
Cas then goes to Crowley, angry that he had sent demons after his friends. He puts the fear of angels into Crowley .
CROWLEY Yeah. You're the very picture of mental health. Come on. You don't think I know what this is all about?
CASTIEL Enlighten me.
CROWLEY The big lie -- the Winchesters still buy it. The good Cas, the righteous Cas. And long as they still believe it, you get to believe it. Well, I got news for you, kitten. A whore is a whore is a whore.
This is amazing stuff to me. First of all Crowley tempts Cas with sweet words, then once Cas is so deep in trouble he can't get out, he opens Cas' eyes as to what he is really doing. He also points out the painful fact that Cas has known all along - he's just been pretending to himself. Cas can't take it. He flings Crowley to the wall (breaking the wall) and threatens him.
CASTIEL I'm only gonna say this once. If you touch a hair on their heads, I will tear it all down. Our arrangement -- everything. I'm still an Angel, and I will bury you.
CROWLEY This is not how synergy works!
Love Crowley's response - after Cas disappears LOL Crowley really has a long history of working people he's going to be burned by doesn't he? The poor guy just can't seem to find the perfect partner.
Cas gets called by Dean, and when he arrives he finds that they are still in the same place they were before (which means, I guess, that he doesn't know where he is flying to until he gets there...?). They tell him that they have found a way to find Crowley and as he walks closer to them, asking them what that is, Bobby tells him that it is Cas himself and lights the holy fire around him. Unfortunately, Cas can't do a very good job of explaining. The most important parts of this conversation seem to be these two:
CASTIEL To get the souls. I can stop Raphael. Please, you have to trust me.
SAM Trust you?! How in the hell are we supposed to trust you now?
CASTIEL I'm still me. I'm still your friend. Sam...I'm the one who raised you from Perdition.
SAM What? Well, no offense...But you did a pretty piss-poor job of it. Wait. Did you bring me back soulless...On purpose?
I love Sam's expressions here. His voice cracking, the look of hurt on his face as he remembers what he has gone through since the time he came back without his soul... And Dean's as well, as he looks between Cas and Sam.
CASTIEL You don't understand. It's complicated.
DEAN No, actually, it's not, and you know that. Why else would you keep this whole thing a secret, huh, unless you knew that it was wrong? When crap like this comes around, we deal with it... Like we always have. What we don't do is we don't go out and make another deal with the Devil!
CASTIEL It sounds so simple when you say it like that. Where were you when I needed to hear it?
DEAN I was there. Where were you?
And we know he just wanted to spare Dean at the beginning, but by the end, it is more about protecting himself. He wishes he had gone to Dean, and yet, he feels that he has to go through with the plan.
Dean tries to give him another chance but while they are talking, Cas senses Crowley coming with his minions. Cas tells them to run.
I really like that shot of him behind the open door. Crowley comes in, and puts out the holy fire for Cas.
CROWLEY My, my. Playing with fire again?
(Crowley snaps and puts out the flame)
CASTIEL If you touch the Winchesters...
CROWLEY Please. I heard you the first time. I promise -- nary a hair on their artfully tousled heads.
I had to include this - love the "playing with fire" analogy and the "artfully tousled heads"!!
He tries to convince Cas again that the Winchesters are holding him back, and that he deserves to be King. Cas is upset though and tells him to leave. He's feeling pretty guilty.
CROWLEY Well...Glad I came. You're welcome, by the way. (Crowley heads for the door) You know the difference between you and me? I know what I am. What are you, Castiel? What exactly are you willing to do?
(Wow. that reminds me so much of Crowley and demon!Dean in Season 10!)
Cas then visits Dean at Bobby's while he is sleeping. It seems Bobby got the angel proofing a bit wrong.
CASTIEL I'm doing this for you, Dean. I'm doing this because of you.
DEAN Because of me. Yeah. You got to be kidding me.
CASTIEL You're the one who taught me that freedom and free will --
DEAN You're a freakin' child, you know that? Just because you can do what you want doesn't mean that you get to do whatever you want!
Dean begs Cas not to go through with this or he will have to stop him, Cas tells Dean he's sorry but he has to.
DEAN Look, next to Sam, you and Bobby are the closest things I have to family -- that you are like a brother to me. So, if I'm asking you not to do something...You got to trust me, man.
CASTIEL Or what?
Dean's face of surprise when Cas says this...
Cas tells Dean he is sorry but he has to go through with it, Dean tells Cas he's sorry too (but he will have to stop Cas).
But that is not the end of the ep. We have Cas again, talking to God. Asking him for a sign as to whether he is doing the right thing. No answer. But God has already given Cas a sign, I think. Through Sam, Dean and Bobby. He just doesn't have the ears to hear it.