Supernatural 8.07 Review: Feels Like Old Times

It’s fairly rare for a show to stay on the air long enough for fans to be able to say that an episode feels like a “classic” episode, but that’s exactly what this felt like. Classic Supernatural. Team Free Will got back together to hunt demons and save people. Loved it! We jumped back into the mythology after a few weeks of MOTW episodes. Everyone involved did a fantastic job, but this was really the Dean and Cas show. Some people have complained that Castiel (and all the angels) have overstayed their welcome, but Jeremy Carver has found a fantastic way to organically weave them back into the story without overshadowing Sam and Dean’s journey. I really loved “A Little Slice of Kevin,” so without further fanfare, here are my thoughts:

The stuff with Kevin and Mrs. Tran kind of annoyed me. It reinforced just how stupid it was for Kevin to ditch the Winchesters. I understand he was upset that Dean was about to kill his mother, and sure, take a few days. But to continue running didn’t make sense. Especially after witnessing just how outmatched he was. He may have been able to survive ok during the year that the Winchesters were MIA, but he didn’t have an overbearing, inexperienced mother tagging along causing trouble. The Trans barely know enough to protective themselves and even that was just book, or in this case tablet, knowledge. They didn’t know or understand the practicalities of living on the run. If Kevin and Mrs. Tran knew anything, they would’ve known not to trust anyone; especially a witch. It just goes to show that civilians don’t belong in the hunting world and they most certainly shouldn’t run off on the only people who can keep them alive.  I found it amusing that they’ve spent all this time running from the Winchesters, but when the inevitable happened, who did they call?

I said after the season premiere that I figured we were going to such a much darker, more sinister Crowley this season. Looks like I was right. Not only was Crowley torturing angels and kidnapping people; he was indiscriminately killing innocent people. Crowley has, up to this point, been bad, but he’s never really been evil. Crowley has been trying to be the Big Bad almost the entire time he’s been on the scene, but up until now, he’s never struck me as big bad material. This time though he’s got a powerful desire to ensure that the Winchesters do not achieve their goal. So yeah. He’s stepped up his game, and it makes sense that he’d pull out all the stops. He needs those tablets and he needs Kevin. Or rather, he needs a prophet. It doesn’t necessarily have to be Kevin. And if Kevin and his mother decide to be stupid again, it won’t be Kevin. It will be the next prophet in line.

Now on to the real meat and potatoes of this episode: Dean and Cas. I was very excited to see Cas back. At the end of ‘What’s Up Tiger Mommy’ when we saw Cas’s hand supposedly slip from Dean’s grip, I said that perhaps the portal sucked Dean through and pushed Cas back. Well, I was half right. The portal did suck Dean through. After Cas shoved him in and intentionally let go of Dean’s hand. One of the hopes I said I had for season 8 is that Dean and Cas would have the opportunity to repair their relationship. Consider their relationship repaired. Dean sliced, diced, and clawed his way through Purgatory to find his friend,  and Cas fought and clawed his way through Purgatory to make sure that his friend got out. If that ain’t love for your family then I don’t know what is. It’s further proof that it doesn’t matter what family does to each other. At the end of the day, you’re family. And the love you have for each other transcends any wrongs (actual or imagined) that you’ve done to each other. That’s Dean and Cas’ story. It all makes sense now why Dean has been so cagey about how he escaped from Purgatory. It had nothing to do with him partnering with Benny. It had everything to do with how guilty he felt that Cas got left behind. He’s been shouldering that weight the whole time he’s been back, and I can see him not wanting to talk about it with Sam. Or anyone else for that matter. He felt like a failure yet again, and those feelings of grief and guilt clouded his memory of what really happened during that Purgatory escape. I really loved how Cas handled that. He let Dean remember what really happened and then he (rightfully) pointed out that blame doesn’t always have to be assessed. People can make choices and although we may not comprehend or agree with the choices our loved ones make, those choices are theirs to make. That’s something I don’t think Dean is ever going to be able to grasp. He’s always had so much heaped upon his shoulders that I don’t think he knows any other way to relate other than to blame himself whenever things go sideways. Cas’s quiet words to Dean were meant to absolve Dean from guilt and let him see that everything doesn’t always rest on his shoulders. It made perfect sense that Cas would choose to remain in Purgatory to atone for his sins. And although Cas said he didn’t know how to tell Dean that he was staying, I think it was more than that. After Dean found Cas down by the river, Dean made it perfectly clear that he wasn’t leaving Purgatory without Cas. Cas knew that if he had told Dean he was going to stay, Dean would’ve stayed too and he didn’t want that for Dean. Jensen and Misha, once again, knocked it completely out of the park. Excellent work by both of them.  Just as an aside, I really love how Purgatory was shot. It was very gray, like all of the color had been drained from the world. Kind of reminds me of the opening credits to Tales from the Darkside.

I really like where Sam and Dean’s relationship was this week. After last week’s explosion, it was nice to see Sam support Dean when he really needed it. I think Sam has learned that he can’t push Dean to talk about things, but that doesn’t mean that Sam doesn’t want Dean to talk. It’s just now he understands that he’s got to let Dean come to it in his own time. I was kind of surprised that Dean came clean so quickly about seeing what he thought were hallucinations of Cas. I suppose he was just feeling so much guilt about it that he had to unload. The moment when Dean thought he saw Cas outside their hotel room was perfectly played by Ackles and Padalecki. Sam more than anyone can understand survivor’s guilt and hallucinations. So he when told Dean that he needed to let go of that guilt, Sam was coming from a place of total understanding. It was a bit different from the moment after Cas returned. It was very brief, but the look that Sam gave Dean when Dean was talking to Cas about their Purgatory escape tells me that Sam truly has no idea what Dean went through down there. Purgatory is not like Hell, so even though Sam may be able to empathize, he will never truly understand. That creates a problem because that also means he will never be able to truly understand the bond that Dean and Benny formed in Purgatory.

I’m very interested in this new angel we saw. She looks like she might be the head of the Angelic CIA. No one knows they exist and they just snatch people up whenever they want. I don’t know what kind of control/power she’s able to exert over Cas, but hopefully it won’t lead him to betray the Winchesters again. He and Dean just fixed their friendship gosh darn it! But I would like to know why she is so interested in the Winchesters’ movements. Why are they so important to her? If she’s powerful enough to make Cas forget their meetings, why doesn’t she do her own spying? If she holds true to form with the other angels, whatever she has up her sleeve for the Winchesters is probably not good at all.

This was a fantastic episode and just what I need to sustain me through the Thanksgiving break. I love the fact that Carver has introduced a compendium of tablets. It stands to reason that if there’s one about leviathans and one about demons, there’s one for every creature on the face of the earth. Which would explain why the angels are desperate to make sure they get the tablet about angels. It would also mean that if the Boys can find all the tablets, they can banish all the evil creepy crawlies from earth forever. After all, the tablets do say that they are “for the protection of mankind.” Plus, having all those tablets all over the world sets up a great springboard for another couple of seasons. Excellent episode and excellent work by everyone involved.

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