The title, I’m No Angel, of course is referring to Cas but also to the other characters in that sense. First off, there is just a lot of killing and maiming this ep - both by the boys and by the angels. And, while last ep we looked into Sam’s past and were reminded that he wasn’t perfect, we also were reminded that Dean is feeling awfully guilty about lying to Sam, and the little things Dean says this ep remind us of this too. But we see others this ep - specifically other angels - acting in a manner that is not “angelic.” Bartholomew and his crew don't care who explodes in their quest for vessels; the reaper woman, whom we thought was just a very kind (and naive) lady, ends up torturing and killing Cas; and finally, Gadreel, who puts his safety above Cas… or maybe is just scared his lie is going to come out? We feel there is something off about him here and despite saving Cas' life, he may not be the "angel" he claims to be.
We first see Cas as a “”homeless” day worker at a church. He looks adorable as a scruffy human, applying toothpaste to his mouth directly and having a hard time getting used to urinating.
He then finds two Fathers brutally murdered by angels just as he decides it is time to leave.
He spends a night with other homeless people, one of which shares some food with him. He finds how kind a person who has nothing can be. The guy tells him that if he has trouble falling asleep, he should count sheep. Cas… doesn’t understand that reference :)
CAS: What sheep?
As he tries to sleep in the abandoned bus, an angel comes for him. He is cut with an angel blade and feels real human pain. The angel is also surprised to find that Cas is “human.” This gives Cas an advantage and he is able to stab the Angel.
Meanwhile, we find out about Bartholomew and what the angels are up to in order to find vessels for all of them. What other choice do they have but to quickly find vessels, and what better way than to use an evangelist? Ingenious. Unfortunately, there are humans who cannot contain an angel and there are casualties. Bart doesn’t think very highly of the humans he works with and although disgusted at the exploding girl who wished to be a vessel, he thinks nothing else of it. The pastor is easily appeased by Bart’s explanation too. We are reminded of the fact that angels are not necessarily benevolent - although we already knew it.
Meanwhile, Cas now knows he is being hunted now so he goes to a tattoo shop and used his meager earnings to get an angel warding tattoo instead of food. He is hungry.
Bart’s faction is the one looking for Cas and he is displeased to find that Cas got the best of an Angel. He decides to go to rogue reapers for help.
Bart tells the Reaper to trail the Winchesters if he wants to find Cas through the warding. So he does, quite conspicuously. Can’t he hide himself? Is he also using a human body? Seems unnecessary. I am sure he can kill anyone easily as spirit, just as a reaper did in Faith. For several seasons from Season 8 onwards, reapers have become a type of angel in typical sloppy Supernatural writers style, in which case it makes sense that they would have fallen with the other angels and had to find bodies. However, this just does not make any sense from the kind of reapers we have seen in the past… before Season 8. As far as I can tell, by Season 13 and the advent of Billie, they seem to have reverted to the previous canon - of being different from angels and only seen when close to death or if they want to be seen. (After some thought, I figured it is only the rougue reapers that can be seen, so maybe they are in humans to hide themselves from the Big Boss and do stuff in secret.)
Meanwhile Sam is feeling great and has gone out for a run and watched the sunrise before getting Dean some greasy breakfast. Dean is drinking coffee in his bathrobe in the bunker. He is worried about how active Sam is despite the fact that he is supposed to be quite weak from the Trials. He tries to tell Sam that he should be taking it easy, but it is hard for Sam to understand why. Dean is also very worried about Cas because they haven’t heard from him.
They are talking when suddenly Gadreel comes to the front and tells Dean that Cas is in danger, and what the angels are up to. Dean thinks it is quite disconcerting to lose his brother on the sudden and be talking to an angel about stuff he’d rather be discussing with Sam himself. He has a hard time covering the whiplash when Gadreel goes to the back and Sam reappears. I wish they could have somehow let Jensen just show it in his expressions and body language rather than weird dialogue about whiplash and slips of the tongue.
Dean tells Sam that Cas is in danger and they start searching for him in earnest. Once they do, it doesn’t take long for them to find out about the Priests and they go on the road to go save Cas.
They first go to the police station, where they find out about the TV evangelist and his wide audience. There we see the reaper already on their tail.
When they get to the church where the two Priests were killed, the guy Cas befriended is still there and tells Dean that yes, the guy of their description had been there and called himself Clarence. Sam doesn’t miss that reference, because he remembers Meg and how she used to call him Clarence. He is surprised to learn that Dean doesn’t get it.
Dean: He's getting cagey - he's using a fake name. Clarence.
Sam: That's what Meg used to call him. Of course he doesn't get that he's using the name of a pretty famous angel.
Sam: Dude! It's a Wonderful Life! Seriously!
We next see them talking with the homeless people, and the guy that shared his food with Cas.
They are less open about Cas’ whereabouts, ready to protect Cas from coppers as one of their own. Sam and Dean have a hard time persuading them that they are not cops, which is hilarious. We also see the reaper at a distance here.
Cas then goes into a church again. If you think of the work he was doing at the church previously, and how he's found one again now, he seems to keep going to churches aye? He must feel at home/peace there, even though he has no faith in angels or God either. This fact itself seems quite meaningful.
There he meets a woman who’s husband is very sick, and she is praying for healing. He asks her what she would do if she found out that God and the angels didn’t care. She tells him that as long as she believes, it doesn’t matter. So, Cas learns that humans deal with their hardship and pain through faith.
Castiel: What if you were to find out that no one is listening? That God had pretty much left, that Heaven had gone out of business? What would you do?
Woman in Church: But that's not possible.
Castiel: I think it's completely possible.
Woman in Church: You're missing the point. It's not possible because I have my faith.
Castiel: But when I tell you the truth-
Woman in Church: Your truth, not mine. Your lack of faith doesn't cancel what I believe. That's not how it works. You know... I think you might feel better if you tried it my way. Someone is listening.
But ... it would matter, wouldn't it? If she actually came in contact with an angel and found out the hard way. She can believe anything she wants just as long as there is no direct contact. She can have peace just putting it into the hands of angels and of God. But if she actually saw with her own eyes that God was on vacation or angels were blowing people up (or got blown up herself...), then she couldn’t deny reality and continue to cling to her beliefs. And if she doesn't have the strength of some, she might very well not be able to handle it. Blessed are the innocent. How peaceful it is to be able to live in ignorance. So why is Cas asking her these questions here, I wonder. It’s not like he doesn't already know how shitty the angels and God are. He was also one of those shitty angels in Season 7 when he walked into a church and killed a preacher in front of the congregation, saying he was God. Why is he asking her how she would react if she found out that angels were shitty? What did he expect her to say, I wonder. Was he just looking for guidance on how to handle things as a human who did know? All he needs to do is go to Sam and Dean.
I then think back to how Dean and Sam take advantage of the chapel in the hospitals to pray as well. Dean doesn’t have faith in the angels as does this lady, but he personally knows angels and, has taken a risk in asking for help to save his brother. The significance of the woman's words, "someone is listening" here. In this sense, there is a parallel between Dean and this lady. The lady is praying to the angels to heal her husband, just like Dean prayed in the hospital to heal his brother. She is doing it on faith in a God and angels she can’t actually see, Dean does it in the knowledge of whom he is praying to and possible consequences and risks. But they both do it. Why wouldn't they? If there was a chance of help for the people they loved?
Sam: Look at these chemicals. Do you even read the label?
Dean: No. I read "pie." The rest is just "blah, blah, blah."
Sam and Dean notice that they are being followed, and as they come out of a store arguing about pie and their contents, they disappear down an alley and capture their reaper. Then they torture the guy for information and Dean stabs him through the head. It is quite brutal.
As they are talking in the car - where Sam and Dean again look fabulous, Dean hints at Gadreel that he would like to talk with him and go to plan B, which is to listen in on angel radio to find Cas.
Gadreel comes out after a few tries and tells Dean he cannot find Cas because Cas is warded. He can however, hear of activity on angel radio and Dean decides to go there.
Cas is hungrily looking through garbage when a woman sees him. He assures her that he is not trying to steal food and she tells him she is not judging, she’s not a cop. Again interesting reference to police and people protecting each other from them. She leaves him with a peanut butter sandwich, which is where he acquires the taste :) At night, she sees him again, huddling by the wall in the rain, and invites him inside. We on rewatch know she is a reaper and she is doing all this to gain his trust and get information before she kills him. She is also not averse to sex with strangers or an angel whom she hates for having made the angels fall. She tends to his wounds and listens to him talking about how he stabbed the guy who hurt him and seems naive about the whole thing.
She starts on a shoulder massage that leads to kisses and to sex. We enjoy seeing some Cas flesh and the scene is cute if we ignore the fact that she is actually a Reaper wanting to kill him. Cas and she both seem to have enjoyed it and they go for a second round. The next morning, however, she has found his angel sword and is cutting grapefruit with it when he comes out to ask her about it.
She ties him up and starts torturing him about his part in the angels falling. All the while, we see Sam and Dean racing to find Cas on time. They finally barge in but the reaper takes the opportunity to stab Cas dead at that moment, which is quite a shocking scene.
She then flings Sam and Dean to other corners of the room. Sam is knocked out for the second time this season but Dean has time to get the angel blade out of Cas and stab the reaper.
He then goes over to check on Cas and finds him dead. He is looking really sad and then we see “Sam” waking up. Dean tells Sam that Cas is gone but ...it’s not Sam, it’s Gadreel. Gadreel comes over and heals Cas. I love the way Sam’s hair is here!
Once he heals Cas though, he gets all tired and falls back against the wall, unconscious for Sam to wake up again puzzled about what had happened.
Cas also wakes up and is puzzled as to how he survived. The first thing Dean says to him after he sees Cas -
DEAN: Never do that again.
LOL so cute. Never do what again? Never die and scare me out of my wits like that again, is my take. Like a parent with a child :) Scolding the kid in order to hide their feelings. ADORABLE. Even Cas’ response… like he doesn’t know what Dean is talking about but, still trying to stop him from worrying :)
Dean then explains that he made a deal with the reaper to heal Cas if they didn’t go after her.
DEAN:I did. I do that.
Here is a tie in with the title and with the feelings of guilt Dean is having for lying to Sam. It is funny though how he didn’t actually lie to the reaper but is lying to Cas and to Sam about it.
Sam is still not sure how they found out where Cas was. I wonder why Gadreel didn’t make up something for Sam’s brain. I guess healing Cas made him rather weak. Dean tells him that he had gone through the reaper's pockets and found the address.
The next scene they are all three back in the bunker and Cas tells them what he learned from his time alone. Kindness, taste buds, pain, and sex. Sam and Dean are very amused by that. He also tells them how much he admires them for how they have lived their life.
Castiel: I am really enjoying this place. Plentiful food. Good water pressure. Things I never even considered before. There really is a lot to being human, isn't there?
Dean: It ain't all just burritos and strippers, my friend.
CASTIEL:Yeah. I understand what you're saying.
CASTIEL:Yes, there's more to humanity than survival. You... look for purpose, and you must not be defeated by anger or despair. Or hedonism, for that matter.
DEAN:Where does hedonism come into it?
CASTIEL:Well, my time with April was very educational.
SAM:Yeah. I mean, I would think that getting killed is something.
CASTIEL:And having sex.
DEAN:You had sex with April?
SAM:Yeah, that would be where the hedonism comes in.
DEAN:So... did you have protection?
CASTIEL:I had my angel blade.
DEAN:Oh – oh, he had the Angel blade.
CASTIEL:In any event, I – I do now see how difficult life can be and how well you two have led it. And I think you'll be great teachers.
Cas goes off to find leftover burritos in the kitchen, and just as they are all feeling happy, Gadreel pops up again and tells Dean that Cas cannot stay there because he is in danger, and would lead the angels to the bunker. Dean doesn’t think so, but when Gadreel threatens to leave, and leave Sam while he’s at it, Dena has no choice but to give in.
Cas’ face when Dean tells him that he can’t stay… the poor guy.