The ep also introduces an important theme that will be carried over into Seasons 9, 10, 11 and 12 - of "It's my life - I get all the votes," quoting a recent ep. Dean and Sam both start to learn that they sometimes have to let their loved ones choose their own path, even though that may mean their death.
There are a lot of scenes that don't really need much analysis. Lots of action, and a lot of scenes without Sam and Dean. So this review ended up being much shorter than other recent eps, but the scenes between Dean and Cas are some of my favorite scenes of the season because they help me understand why Dean has been acting the way he has and just provide a lot of angst :)
So, let's get started!
"We Gotta Get out of This Place" by The Animals (plays in the beginning when Dean is driving and first sees Cas)
The ep starts with the Crowley/Kevin storyline. Let me quickly get this out of the way first so we don’t have to go back and forth too much.
We see Crowley torturing Alphie and then kidnapping all the prophets. These torture scenes are soooo painful I just can’t watch them without cringing the whole time. Unfortunately for Crowley, the prophets don’t have the ability until Kevin dies so they are no use to him at present. But it seems he is covering all his bases just in case Kevin dies.
Meanwhile, Kevin’s mom tries to get the ingredients for the Demon bomb on her own by hiring a “witch” who promptly sells them to Crowley. The scene is funny - I like the interaction between Kevin and mom and mom getting into helping him and then screwing up royally - because that is pretty much what moms often end up doing if they are not careful LOL Mrs. Tran is left behind with a dumb demon while Crowley takes Kevin.
With Kevin in his grasp, Crowley uses the prophets to try to get Kevin to translate the tablet for him. When that doesn’t work, he cuts off Kevin’s pinky - which… UG *hides eyes* And finally Kevin gives in somewhere in the middle of the ep and starts translating.
Going on to our boys, Dean’’s driving down the road in the impala, eating some chips and listening to “the Animals” sing, “We’ve gotta get out of this place, there’s a better life for me and you…” which is interesting when we consider Dean and Sam’s life and how Sam wants to get out of it and believes there is a better life, but also could be referring to Purgatory, how Dean felt while he was there and hinting at Cas getting out.
Dean must be on the way back from a shopping trip. It’s a really nice, peaceful scene. Suddenly, we see a shape in front that looks awfully like Cas, and as Dean passes it, he checks his back mirror in disbelief, stops the car and backs up. But Cas is gone.
Dean gets out of the car and looks at the Bear monument in front of him as if he’s wondering whether he was just seeing things.
We know from later on in the ep that it was Cas trying to reach out to Dean and was having a hard time doing so. He’s too weak for some reason. Maybe Naomi has purposefully made him so he doesn’t have full power. In any case, we as rewatchers know how much Dean blames himself for Cas not getting out, so these visions are very hard on Dean.
When he gets back to the motel, Sam notices that Dean is still in a daze and asks him what happened.
SAM: You look like you've s– well, I was gonna say, "You look like you've seen a ghost," but you'd probably be stoked. Uh, you okay?
Dean keeps his “hallucination” to himself and asks about what Sam’s been up to.
Sam has been researching and found out about all the disappearances. The climate changes suggest demons but they can’t figure out why demons would want these random people.
SAM: Why would demons want them?
DEAN: Why do demons want anything?
Dean and Sam go to visit the kindergarten teacher who had been taking the little boy prophet to the toilet when he was abducted. They get important confirmation from her - that she had smelled sulfur - and now know that demons were involved.
TEACHER: How did you know?
Next scene, Sam is sleeping as Dean is researching - maybe what he saw is bothering him so much he can’t sleep. As the lightning flashes, he sees Cas through the window. His sudden movements wakes Sam, and when Dean tells him that he saw Cas, Sam thinks Dean is just feeling some sort of survivor’s guilt (which he actually is) and seeing things.
Dean remembers Purgatory again -
CASTIEL:I'm just saying... [He puts a hand on DEAN’s shoulder. DEAN stops and looks at him.] ...if it doesn't work... thank you for everything.
DEAN:Save the Hallmark. Okay? It's gonna work. Nobody gets left behind.
We have a couple of Crowley and Kevin scenes here and then back to Sam and Dean. It’s daytime, and Sam is researching this time. He’s found that a guy in Rome had also been kidnapped. Dean is listening to that as he washes his face in the washroom when he sees Cas behind him.
It reminds me a lot of how he saw Bobby in There Will Be Blood. This time, Cas doesn’t disappear - and he’s not a ghost either. He’s really there and Dean can’t believe his eyes. He is also very suspicious of how Cas got out of Purgatory. As he remembers it, Cas wasn’t even strong enough to hold on to him through the portal. He surely couldn’t survive on his own.
DEAN: Yeah. Yeah, uh, I got to be honest. I-I-I'm thinking, how the hell did you make it out? I mean, I – I was there. I-I-I know that place. I know how we had to scratch and claw and kill and bleed to find that portal and make it through it, and it almost finished me. So, uh... so how exactly are you sitting here with us right now?
CASTIEL:Dean, everything you just said is completely true. And that's the strange part. I... have no idea. I remember endlessly running and hiding from Leviathan, and then I was on the side of the road in Illinois. And... that was it.
DEAN:And that – that was it?
Cas tells him later that he was strong enough, he just didn’t want to be saved. But we also know that he was rescued for the angels’ purposes so just as Dean remembered things the way he wanted, Cas is surely remembering things the way his rescuers want it. I don’t quite remember what purpose it was that Naomi saved Cas, sacrificing the lives of a dozen angels to do so, but it was definitely a selfish one to utilize Cas’ connections with Dean and possibly also with Crowley and use him for their dirty work as well as get a hold of the angel tablet. Cas not remembering how he got out rings alarm bells in Dean’s mind - as it should. He’s had the same experience with himself and Sam from Hell, and it was never a good sign.
Anyway, Cas goes to clean up in the washroom, and Dean has another flashback - Cas being doubtful about the portal and telling Benny that maybe he was lied to. This is also a very interesting point. WHO gave Benny the information?? And why? (Don’t we find out later that it was Naomi? I don’t remember for sure.) Just to get Dean out, or to get Cas out as well? We’ll never know because Cas never tried the portal. We also have a beautiful/cool scene where Benny’s soul is sucked into Dean’s arm. I love that kind of stuff, especially as it ties in with the “blood brother” part. The important part of this flashback for Dean though, is them being attacked by a bunch of Leviathan at the portal.
Dean tells Sam that there is no way Cas could have gotten out on his own, and Sam listens to Dean because I think he believes in Dean's instinct and what he knows from experience, and the question of how Cas survived is an important one for him too.
Then we have Kevin being abducted and we’re back with the boys in the evening, Dean coming in with a sixpack and Sam researching while Cas watches TV in the back.
Sam and Dean are talking about the missing people and what the connection was, and why demons wanted them when Cas starts naming all the prophets and tells them what they are. Sam and Dean know right away what Crowley is up to. Trying to get a replacement for Kevin.
Sam and Dean get a phone call from Mrs. Tran asking for help. An important thing to remember here is that when Kevin was abducted, Crowley left a demon behind to get rid of Mrs. Tran (the witch was also killed) but Mrs. Tran, badass that she is, sprayed holy water all over the demon and somehow tied him up and got him in the trunk of her car with demon traps all over it. Wow. It seems rather farfetched, but ok. But most important, Kevin thinks that Mrs. Tran is dead as he is being tortured.
Back to the boys. They tell Mrs. Tran to meet them at the side of the road somewhere, and as they are waiting for her, Dean remembering that last escape from Purgatory. From Dean’s point of view, Cas was weakened quite a bit by the fight with the Levis and should not have had enough strength to survive afterwards. And he could be right. The angel did say that they sacrificed more than a few of their own to get him out. It makes sense that Cas was in a dangerous situation at the time. That is separate from the fact that Cas chose not to be saved by Dean and his memory could have been tampered with as I noted earlier. In any case, Dean can’t for the life of him figure out how Cas could have survived and is trying to handle his guilt at not having saved him himself. Finally he can’t take it anymore and he calls Cas to get out of the car and talk with him privately.
DEAN:I did everything I could to get you out – everything! I did not leave you.
CASTIEL:So you think this was your fault?
The way Dean says, “I did not leave you” is just so gooood...it just shows how much he feels responsible for those people he loves and scared of letting them down. It reminds me of Dean in AHBL I - feeling like he’s failed the one job that he had.
So, Cas gives Dean (and us) something to ponder as their talk is cut short by Mrs. Tran’s appearance and their rescue plan.
The next part of the ep is a whole bunch of action and not much to comment on except we have our first mention of Metatron and the existence of other tablets by Kevin under duress, Sam and Dean getting rid of all the demons, which is totally cool,
Cas takes a risk and goes in to get Kevin despite being weakened and under protest by Dean,
and Crowley escapes with half of the tablet.
As Sam talks with the Trans and Kevin tells him that now that Crowley has taken his finger he is quite eager to get back at him (warning bells for revenge purposes :P) -
Cas and Dean continue their previous conversation in relation to Cas putting his life in danger to save Kevin.
CASTIEL:Hey, everything isn't your responsibility. Getting me out of Purgatory wasn't your responsibility.
Here is the most heartfelt and teary (mineLOL) conversation ever for me. I love it - so much more than the angry fight between Sam and Dean last ep. More importantly, it answers all of our questions of why Dean could not talk about that Purgatory escape until now, why he could not talk about Cas, and that basically the feeling I had last ep that Dean blamed himself and thought he had let everyone else down. In the case of Cas, he had twisted the truth to somehow blame himself for Cas not choosing to get out.
DEAN:You didn't get out. So whose fault was it?
CASTIEL:It's not about fault. It's about will. Dean, do you really not remember?
DEAN:[laughs shortly] I lived it, Cas. Okay, I know what happened.
CASTIEL:No. No, you think you know. You remembered it the way you needed to.
DEAN:Look, I don't need to feel like hell for failing you, okay? For failing you like I've failed every other godforsaken thing that I care about! I don't need it!
That just breaks my heart, but I love it, because it shows that the things the possessed Dean said last ep were not what the real Dean was feeling - atleast it was a very minor issue compared to this one and twisted and blown way out of proportion. Also, interesting that it seems this whole season is about both brothers feeling bad for letting people down. Sam for letting Dean down, and Dean for letting everyone down that he loves.
Cas choosing to do penance for what he had done to the world is also something that Dean can understand. Maybe if Cas had told him outright, Dean would not have continued to insist that Cas come with them. But Cas didn’t have the courage to do so, because he loved Dean and Dean was so insistent that he was going to get them all out. It is also possible that Dean was so intent on this purpose that he would not have heard Cas if Cas had tried to explain - just as he only remembered what he wanted to from that escape scene.
Cas will make his own choices no matter how dangerous. This theme is carried over into Season 9 and beyond.
SAM: You two are good?
Unfortunately, Cas is a puppet of Naomi and can’t be trusted to be truly making his own decisions. And Poor Alphie/Samandiriel is still with Crowley.