On the Head of a Pin... the title is based on a theological question "How many angels can fit on the head of a pin?" ... You don't have to even try to answer that because, the whole point is, the question itself is completely pointless. So, yeah, this episode is about the pointless exercise of trying to torture a demon into telling you who killed the angels and almost getting killed in the process, when all along, it was really angels killing each other. UG.
Cheek to Cheek" by Irving Berlin(sung by Alastair before Dean starts torturing him)
The episode starts with an angel dead on the road, Cas coming to find her and and confirming her death before police arrive. I think this is the first time we see a dead angel? Pretty.
Sam and Dean in the car, talking about a lead that Ruby has:Sam saying they should look into it because a lead is a lead, and Dean going yeah sure, I don't care anymore because I've just seen enough people die for this. And Sam countering with, you should be angry, not lethargic! Let's get these bastards back for what they did.
Dean, as usual, is feeling like he's not accomplishing anything. That he is worthless. Of course they were able to stop one of the seals from being broken, but in the process they got Pamela killed. Not only that, but Dean had been warned by Tessa that the Angels don't have anything good in store for him. He had so wanted to believe that this had been a second chance, that someone upstairs believed in him... but no. Oh, and don't forget, Sam is keeping secrets from him and no longer looks up to him as he used to.
Sam on the other hand, is very sorry for Pamela's death but has turned it into motivation for revenge. He is also worried for Dean. He feels that Dean is not as strong as he was. He is not the big brother he used to idolize. Something happened to him in hell. He's just not capable of living up to what the angels want of him.
They get to their motel and find Cas and Uriel waiting for them. Dean is upset with them for treating them as pawns in their mission.
[Spoiler for Season 10(click to open)]I was reminded of this and other scenes in this week's season 10 episode. At this point and pretty much up to the end of Season 5 and maybe beyond, the mission is more important than any human life to Castiel. It seems natural to Cas that a human would have to give up his life for the cause. This episode, Cas starts to doubt if they are doing the right thing in using Dean like they are but we can't forget that he still ends up using Jimmy Novac so completely ... hahaha.... that sounds like something Dean is constantly accused of doing aye? Doing anything to save family, but sacrificing everyone else for the cause?Cas feels bad. Of course Uriel doesn't. He is planning on killing Dean and giving Alastair an escape... Maybe the higher ups had the purpose of getting answers, but Uriel thought it would be a good opportunity to get rid of Dean aye?
CASTIEL: He won't talk. Alastair's will is very strong. We've arrived at an impasse.
DEAN:Yeah, well, he's like a black belt in torture. I mean, you guys are out of your league.
URIEL:That's why we've come to his student. You happen to be the most qualified interrogator we've got.
CASTIEL: Dean, you are our best hope.
DEAN:No. No way. You can't ask me to do this, Cas. Not this.
URIEL:Who said anything about asking?
Anyway, they force-ably take Dean away and Sam is left in an empty room.
When they get to the warehouse where Alastair is kept, Cas explains to Dean that the devil's trap is old Enochian and very strong. That Alastair cannot escape (except if someone drips some water on it because, oh forgot to mention the trap is in chalk!!). Dean asks to speak to Cas alone and surprisingly Uriel complies - saying he's going to get revelation. Dean is all cocky and asks Uriel to get some donuts on the way back. hehe! I like that little conversation with Cas about Uriel.
DEAN:You know, I'm starting to think junkless has a better sense of humor than you do.
CASTIEL:Uriel's the funniest angel in the garrison. Ask anyone.
It's even more interesting when you think that the angel who's sided with Lucifer had the best sense of humor in the garrison...
DEAN:You ask me to open that door and walk through it, you will not like what walks back out.
CASTIEL:For what it's worth, I would give anything not to have you do this.
Cas basically pleads with him, saying that he'd do anything not to ask Dean to do this, and Dean agrees to it. It makes me think that not only is Cas sympathizing more with Dean, but that Dean is trusting Cas a bit more than he used to. And I also think that it is similar to how Dean would ask others to do dangerous things for him, aye?
It's hard to describe how I feel when Dean walks into that room, rolling the cart of torture goodies in front of him. Cas, watching Dean's back... maybe a seed of doubt - at least a bit of worry as to whether this is actually the will of God. Alastair with his "I'm in heaven!" and Dean with those scary and yet somehow vulnerable eyes. This is not the Dean that tortured Meg back in Season 1. Obviously, he is reliving those horrors of hell. And Alastair knows it. He's having some fun at Dean's expense.
DEAN:Now answer the question.
ALASTAIR:Or what? You'll work me over? But then, maybe you don't want to. Maybe you're, ah, scared to.
DEAN:I'm here, aren't I?
ALASTAIR:Not entirely. You left part of yourself back in the Pit. Let's see if we can get the two of you back together again, shall we?
DEAN:You're gonna be disappointed.
ALASTAIR:You have not disappointed me so far. Come on. You gotta want a little payback for everything I did to you. For all the pokes and prods. Hm?
[Spoiler for season 10(click to open)]Tying this in with Dean's speech in 10-7, becoming a demon was not the only dark place Dean has been too. I don't think he ever recovered fully from being in hell, or in purgatory for that matter.
Alastair's "You have not disappointed me so far" just kills me. This guy sure knows the way to torture someone through words. Even though Dean is the one with the tools, Alastair has him tied up so tight it's not funny.
Meanwhile, Sam has called Ruby for help and she has come but she's like why? Dean has a chance to torture Alastair for all the stuff he received in hell. What's so bad about that?
RUBY:Not sure I see the problem. You know they have Alastair strung up six ways from Sunday. Dean cuts himself a slice, Al's reduced to a quivering heap, and the good guys get the goods. What's wrong with that?
SAM:He can't do it.
RUBY:Look, I get it. You don't want him going all torture master again.
SAM:No. I mean, he can't do it. He can't get the job done. Something happened to him downstairs, Ruby. He's not what he used to be. He's not strong enough.
RUBY:And you are?
SAM:I will be.
It is true that Dean himself was scared that he might become what he had been in hell, again. That being forced to torture and listen to Alastair torture him with words like he had there would change him. Possibly make him go crazy even. And Sam probably thought this was a possibility too. I'm prone to think that Dean would have (excuse the phrase :P) killed Alastair dead and may not have gotten the answers out of him that he was supposed to.
Back to Dean, Alastair is now poking and prodding at him with talk about his dad. How a hundred years could not break him. How he was a hero. And how about Dean?
ALASTAIR:But daddy's little girl, he broke. He broke in thirty. Oh, just not the man your daddy wanted you to be, huh, Dean?
Low blow, yet again. The thing that breaks Dean the most. The belief that he is not good enough. That he is a disappointment to his dad. So this time Dean is ready to retaliate with a syringe filled with holy water.
Meanwhile, Ruby does a fire spell on a map to find Dean's location(which is really cool) - and finds him easily because the angels are not hiding like the demons were last ep aye? Once he finds out Dean's location, Sam asks for the drug.
SAM:Ruby, it's been weeks. I need it.
RUBY:You don't seem too happy about it.
SAM:You think I wanna do this? This is the last thing I— But I need to be strong enough.
And on a first watch... are we thinking sex again? But nope. It's blood. Demon blood. And Ruby is being all drug dealer here with her "Oh sure, baby, you can have some. I'll give it to you for free." Smiling to herself as Sam takes a big helping from her arm. So we have to note here that Sam has taken Pamela's warning to heart - at least partially. He is very reluctant to drink the blood. But this time, he thinks, he needs it to save Dean. This is for Dean.
Back with Dean, I just have to include this conversation because again it reminds me so much of our recent episode... and of course scary Dean is very scary -
ALASTAIR:Do you really think this is gonna fix you? Give you closure? That is sad. That's really sad. Sad, sad.
ALASTAIR:I carved you into a new animal, Dean. There is no going back.
DEAN:Maybe you're right. But now it's my turn to carve.
At the same time, we see a tap turning and some water begin to drip on the trap. Then we see Cas in the next room.
Anna appears and argues with him that what he is doing to Dean is not what God would want. That she is sure he is not getting his orders from God. Something is wrong in heaven.
Another cool scary Dean scene...
Then back to Cas. On a first watch, we are hoping that Cas listens to Anna and stops Dean. Gets him out of there!! But Anna makes a mistake.
ANNA:These orders are wrong and you know it. But you can do the right thing. You're afraid, Cas. I was too. But together, we can still—
Cas is not quite ready to team up with a fallen angel. He tells her to leave and Dean is again left with Alastair. While he is pouring salt down Alastair's throat, Sam is on his way.
That face from the later car scene in Mystery Spot, and more recently in Season 10. He looks pretty scary.
Back with Dean, finally Alastair gets a word in and Dean actually answers him which totally reminds me of Sam and Lucifer in Season 7... and Alastair drops the bomb.
ALASTAIR:He was supposed to bring it on. But, in the end, it was you.
DEAN:Bring what on?
ALASTAIR:Oh, every night, the same offer, remember? Same as your father.
ALASTAIR:And finally you said, "Sign me up." Oh, the first time you picked up my razor, the first time you sliced into that weeping bitch...
ALASTAIR:That was the first seal.
ALASTAIR:And it is written that the first seal shall be broken when a righteous man sheds blood in hell. As he breaks, so shall it break.
ALASTAIR:We had to break the first seal before any others. Only way to get the dominoes to fall, right? Topple the one at the front of the line.
After a moment to collect himself, Dean decides well, at least I can kill this bastard if I can't do anything else right. So he turns around to kill him and finds Alastair right next to him, out of the trap.
After beating the crap out of Dean he's just about to kill him when Cas comes to the rescue. But even he is not strong enough and is about to be sent back to heaven (Alastair doesn't know how to kill angels) when Sam comes in and saves the day.
I've just got to say that entrance is the best ever. I love it. And the way he twists Alastair's insides and gets the information out of him, and then...
ALASTAIR:Oh, go ahead. Send me back, if you can.
SAM:I'm stronger than that now. Now I can kill.
When he is finished, we see Cas looking at him with horror and possibly a bit of fascination, and Sam doesn't know where to put his eyes. After It's the Great Pumpkin, Sam knows what the angels think about his powers. He knows how Dean feels about his powers, and he sure isn't happy that he had to resort to it, even though he was also kind of craving it...
But he realizes that the reason Dean was in this mess in the first place, the reason Sam was "forced" to take extreme measures was completely pointless. And watching Dean unconscious in the hospital, I'm sure that made him pretty angry with Cas and Uriel to say the least.
SAM:Get in there and heal him. Miracle. Now.
(I can't understand why. Did he have orders against it?)
SAM:You and Uriel put him in there—
SAM:—because you can't keep a simple devil's trap together.
CASTIEL:I don't know what happened. That trap...it shouldn't have broken. I am sorry.
SAM:This whole thing was pointless. You understand that? The demons aren't doing the hits. Something else is killing your soldiers.
CASTIEL:Perhaps Alastair was lying.
SAM:No, he wasn't.
Sam goes back in to the room to be with Dean, while Cas goes to talk with Uriel.
Uriel tells him that he received "revelation" to stop hunting the demon responsible. Cas tells Uriel what Anna told him, that maybe God wasn't giving the orders anymore. And that maybe this was not the work of a demon. Uriel pretends he is going to find out what is wrong and disappears.
Cas then goes to Anna and confesses to her that he is thinking of disobeying and then asks Anna to tell him what to do - because he had never been able to make any decisions for himself before, he doesn't know how. Anna tells him he has to think for himself and the first thing he does is go back to the warehouse to figure out what went wrong. There he finds the tap and the trap broken by water. He's also called Uriel to talk.
URIEL:I'm afraid so.
CASTIEL:And you broke the devil's trap, set Alastair on Dean.
URIEL:Alastair should never have been taken alive. Really inconvenient, Cas. Yes, I did turn the screw a little. Alastair should have killed Dean and escaped, and you should have gone on happily scapegoating the demons.
We find out that Uriel is of a faction that wants to raise Lucifer. There are angels who think, like Lucifer did, that they were above humans. Uriel has always acted this way hasn't he? Making fun of humans. But we know from later episodes that there is of course another faction that just wants the apocalypse and Michael to win so that they can have paradise on earth. AND, of course there are the angels that are trying to stop the apocalypse like Cas? not realizing that they are just being used by one faction or other? It is here that Cas (and we) realizes that angels are not united in one cause and that Cas had actually been working with an angel that wanted Lucifer to rise. We also find out that there is such a thing as an angel blade and that it can kill another angel. And we later find out that Uriel is wrong. Anyone who has an angel blade can kill an angel ... even a demon :P
As they fight, Uriel also points out that if he can go around killing angels, then God is not around anymore or he doesn't care so they should put their faith in their fallen older brother Lucifer. Cas will not, and just as Uriel is going in for the kill, Anna comes to the rescue.
CASTIEL:You can't win, Uriel. I still serve God.
URIEL:You haven't even met the man. There is no will. No wrath. No God.
Anna: Maybe, or maybe not. But there is still me.
(It's unfortunate that Anna could never do anything other than this one thing - to save Cas. :P)
Cas is back at the hospital - and this time Dean is conscious.
DEAN:Is it true? Did I break the first seal? Did I start all this?
CASTIEL:Yes. When we discovered Lilith's plan for you, we laid siege to hell and we fought our way to get to you before you—
DEAN:Jump-started the apocalypse.
CASTIEL:And we were too late.
(Which was probably a set up by one of the factions too. Maybe both.)
DEAN:Why didn't you just leave me there, then?
CASTIEL:It's not blame that falls on you, Dean, it's fate. The righteous man who begins it is the only one who can finish it. You have to stop it.
DEAN:Lucifer? The apocalypse? What does that mean? Hey! Don't you go disappearing on me, you son of a bitch. What does that mean!
CASTIEL:I don't know.
CASTIEL:I don't. Dean, they don't tell me much. I know our fate rests with you.
DEAN:Well, then you guys are screwed. I can't do it, Cas. It's too big. Alastair was right. I'm not all here. I'm not—I'm not strong enough. Well, I guess I'm not the man either of our dads wanted me to be. Find someone else. It's not me.
Dean just has to ask Cas if what he heard from Alastair was true. That he had really started the apocalypse. We find out here that Cas really doesn't know what is going on. All he has been told is that Dean has to "stop it" or "finish it" and he doesn't even know what that means. It reminds me of all those times Cas said those words to Dean in In the Beginning, and how it didn't mean what Dean thought it meant. I mentioned there that I thought maybe Cas had just gotten orders to say those words to Dean and watch what Dean would do and that makes more sense now.
And, boy does that last line by Dean hurt... Dean has always felt that he hasn't been the son his dad wanted him to be. And now finding out that not only had he broken while his dad had not but that he had actually broken the first seal. Dean also believes Alastair - that he has left a part of himself in hell. Now, not only Sam, but Dean also thinks that he is not strong enough.
Cas realizes here that he has to do something for Dean so we know where he goes next - a superior - the one that is at the head of this mission. Zachariah.