Usually I take several days to think about a new episode before creating theories. I rewatch the show, read several reviews for explanations and insights, and I let time synthesize all the input. This week, however, I don’t have that luxury as Thursday I start my adventures with ChiCon (My second con. I’m hyper excited!). So I put my mind into overdrive Tuesday night (which is good for theories but bad for sleep) and came up with the following thoughts. I’m counting on you to toss them about a bit then I will rejoin the conversation sometime next week, after I have captured and written about as much ChiCon squee as I can.
Before I begin proposing the threads I detected in “I’m No Angel”, let me summarize the final threads that emerged from my questions and theories, and your comments, from 9.01 and 9.02. If an overall picture is going to eventually emerge from our musings, it is important to be reminded of where we were before we saw 9.03:
Is Ezekiel much more than he has yet said?
- Our discussion concluded that 1) angels cannot cross warding sigils either way, in or out, so Ezekiel was locked into Sam’s hospital room and weakened by the sigils; and 2) angels have to be in direct proximity of banishing sigils to be affected by them, so Ezekiel was safe behind a closed door. Ezekiel’s reactions to sigils were important because it adds weight to the belief that he is indeed an angel, not a demon as others have speculated.
- Why didn’t the first angel who attacked Dean recognize Ezekiel as an angel (9.01)? Is it because none of the angels can see inside vessels now, or is Ezekiel not who he says he is? Why didn’t Crowley recognize Ezekiel in the bunker (9.02)? Did the demon-cure make Crowley more human than demon? Was it because Sam was in control of his body in the bunker and demons can only see the entity who is in control of the vessel at the time? Was it again because Ezekiel is not who he says he is? We don’t yet have definitive confirmation of Ezekiel’s identity.
- Ezekiel’s confident actions and wise counsel to Dean (9.01 and 9.02) imply that he is much more than just a “soldier”. Also, we saw wings burn off the angels when they fell (8.23), and Hael said the angels had lost their wings (9.01), yet Ezekiel HAD wings (9.02)! They may have been broken and sparse, but he still had wings. Did he not fall the same as the other angels? I’ve seen theories that he might have already been on earth when Metatron’s spell was cast. Alternately, were his wings larger or stronger than most of the other angels? That would imply he was a higher order angel. Another theory proposed is that Ezekiel is God. While worth thinking about, I am holding on to the theory that “Ezekiel” is a powerful angel.
Is Ezekiel “blending” with Sam?
- To whom was Ezekiel referring when he said “But it is why I said yes” (9.02)? Did he mean when he answered Dean’s prayer, or when he agreed to possess and heal Sam? Alternately, he could be referring to when Sam said yes to Dean, implying that Ezekiel’s identity is already intermixing with Sam’s.
What happened to Jimmy Novak when Castiel became human?
- Robbie Thompson tweeted that “Jimmy’s gone. It’s just Cas now…[for] reasons”. Did Jimmy die one of the many times that Cas was killed ? (see a great examination of this question in Supernaturalwiki.com’s “Jimmy Novak” page.) In 4.20, Castiel warned Jimmy, “You won’t die or age. If this last year was painful for you, picture a hundred, a thousand more like it.” to which Jimmy replied “It doesn’t matter. You take me. Just take me.” so could he die? Alternately, if Jimmy is mysteriously just gone, does this “one human per vessel” precedent mean something for Ezekiel!Sam or for Castiel?
I should start my analysis of “I’m No Angel” by saying that I really enjoyed this episode (especially Sam’s pink shirt – loved it!). From the Twitter comments afterward, I know there is a lot to criticize, but I have to be honest and say that I felt it was slightly less intense than the past four or five episodes and I welcomed the relief. I HATED the ending, though. The look on Cas’ face broke my heart. Such immense emotion in a wordless expression! Really?! This secret is going to kick such a vulnerable friend to the curb? I understand why it had to be done for the season’s arc. Cas will learn what it is like for humans to have to fend for themselves when they leave the nest, plus it will allow two storylines to develop independently and give us a richer, fuller plot. STILL! UGH!
Obviously, this episode was full of threads that I believe we can “unravel” almost immediately. First, Bartholomew was tiresome. Already. I believe they were going for a Crowley-type dictator image, mirroring last season’s “Taxi Driver” conversation in Crowley’s office between Crowley and his minions when he was threatening them to find the other half of the tablet. Instead of Crowley coming to mind, however, I was reminded of Raphael. So I accept that Bartholomew is an angel, is power or revenge driven and that he will be the nemesis for the first half of the season at least. Beyond that, I don’t think the details of his backstory (whether he was Naomi’s protégé for example) affect our theories about Ezekiel (more on this later).
Secondly, I am not concerned that the reapers’ canon got a little confused (well, not concerned from the standpoint of collecting threads). Before this episode, I never thought of reapers as angels. In fact, Supernaturalwiki.com defines them as serving Death and not aligned with Heaven or Hell. There is, however, the saying “angels of death”. Crowley killed Ajay with an angel blade and Ajay emitted white light at the point of death so those two events were consistent with angels (Taxi Driver was penned by the same writers as 9.03). April also talked about possession when she said, “[she] didn’t mind me entering her one bit”, so was April supposed to be an angel that thwarted Castiel’s angel warding, or a reaper that is not deterred by angel warding (“new sheriff in town…hired a bunch of us”) but for some reason needed a vessel? I believe there is more evidence that she was an angel, but I don’t think it is relevant. I am certain several other reviewers who are annoyed by canon blips will spend some time trying to sort this out, but I personally attribute this canon confusion or inconsistency to convenience writing rather than threads that are significant to the season’s myth arc, so I am going to leave the whole mess alone.
As far as Castiel’s plight, I loved hearing his side of the story, even if it was relayed to a being that ended up dead only a few minutes later. At least his confession satisfied the question I posed after 9.01 on how Castiel viewed his situation and why he was not defending himself more vehemently. I am very, very curious about Jared’s live tweet, though:
““Castiel: A lot to being human”. Hmmm….Anybody catch any subliminal hints?…”
I just don’t have any idea to what he is referring!! Frustrating! Any ideas?
I was also intrigued by Castiel’s speculation to April that maybe he had to be kept alive or the angel banishing spell could not be broken. Did he honestly believe this was a possibility or was he saying anything to keep April from killing him? Once he verbalized the idea of his continued importance to the spell I have to admit I thought it was plausible for a moment or two. Then I remembered that Metatron expected that as a human, Castiel would die one day and he was not troubled by it at all. Once a spell is cast, I don’t think it’s “ingredients” are monitored for all time. Still, if we can’t disprove Cas’ speculation, I think it is worth tracking. Do you agree?
Ironically, most of my thread detection was about Ezekiel, though, not Castiel (considering this episode was mostly about Castiel). The first action I found significant was that Ezekiel was moved to heal Castiel even without Dean asking him to. I thought Ezekiel’s facial expressions and actions spoke volumes as to his innate goodness. He felt sorrow at Cas’ death and enough compassion to sacrifice some of his much needed power reserves to heal Cas versus himself. I expressed last week that I believe Ezekiel has good intention at this point in his possession, and I saw this as another confirmation of his goodness. Do you agree? Am I wearing rose-colored glasses? I did think of another motivation for Zeke’s actions, though, which I explain below.
Which brings me to the jump-off-my-couch, HUGE line of dialog that I believe was clear foreshadowing. It came at the end of the episode from Ezekiel’s ultimatum to Dean.
Ezekiel: “[Castiel] will bring the angels down on all of us. Bartholomew is massing a force. We cannot stand an incursion. Castiel is in danger and if he is here I am in danger. If he stays, I am afraid I will have no choice but to leave. I am sorry.”
To me, Ezekiel’s reaction showed the fear of a major player in this saga being detected, not some random, dime-a-dozen soldier angel afraid for his life. My suspicion that this line was important was validated when Jared live tweeted:
“Ezekiel?!?! Why the ultimatum?!!!”
Jared is such a TEASE! He clearly was implying that this was important!! Oddly, the scene reminded me of the Terminator series of movies, in which saving John took priority over everything else because he was the key to restoring the world. Why did my mind relate that very old reference to this situation?? I’ve thought of two possibilities:
- Ezekiel is Metatron. Think about it. WHY wouldn’t Metatron also have been cast out of heaven by his spell? Was there an “except reader” clause in the spell? I know he expected that he would be alone in heaven, but he is an angel and if the spell banished ALL angels, maybe he got surprised and tossed to Earth too. IF that happened, it would be immensely logical to try to align himself with the Winchesters. He knows how resourceful they are. He could keep an eye on them. This whole theory came to mind first because of Ezekiel’s reaction to Castiel’s death. I believe Metatron would feel badly if Castiel died within a few weeks of becoming human. After all, Metatron wanted to hear Castiel’s life story. Secondly, when Ezekiel said “I am in danger” it occurred to me that Metatron would have more reason to fear detection than any other angel, maybe even Castiel. I heard real terror in Ezekiel’s voice when he imagined that he would be found. Metatron was cunning enough to think of using Sam as a place to hide, yet enough of a coward to panic at any possibility of being found. After all, he hid from Naomi for centuries by hiding behind the Native Americans and anonymously reading books. Metatron would also know how to manipulate Dean. Pulling the “Sam or Cas” ultimatum was blatant blackmail.
- Second possibility: Ezekiel is a very powerful angel that really can defeat Bartholomew and lead the other angels back to heaven, but only if he remains undetected long enough to heal. He truly is good, but believes the bigger picture is more important than either Sam or Cas or Dean. He doesn’t hold any ill will to any of them and doesn’t really want to have to sacrifice either Sam or Cas, but believes neither of them is as important to the cause as he is. Again, the “Terminator/John” reference of the leader that needs to hide from the enemies (Bartholomew) until he is strong enough to defeat them. Ezekiel’s language of “massing a force” and “incursion” also reflected a military tactical analysis. I just sensed so much more was at stake than his self-preservation when he panicked at the idea of Castiel being a beacon for detection. I honestly believe Ezekiel would have evacuated Sam’s vessel if Dean chose to let Cas stay, i.e. I don’t think it was a hollow ultimatum. He displayed a “live to fight another day” mentality here. WHY was it so eminently important that Ezekiel not be found, though?? I have been totally convinced of his strength of character by the way that both Jared and Tahmoh did/are portraying him. Is Ezekiel a master manipulator who knows that Dean will protect Sammy at all costs and thus Sam is the safest place to be in the whole world (giving credence to the Metatron theory), or is Ezekiel’s safety simply more important than anything else (which strengthens the powerful angel theory)? A powerful angel would also account for him retaining some wings. I will admit that I still believe in Ezekiel. I look at Jared’s facial expressions and voice inflections as Ezekiel and I am putty. I am betting that Zeke is important in a good way.
Spoiler Alert this paragraph only: I read a comment from Jared that he is purposely portraying Ezekiel as getting more human with each interaction. He said he spoke to the producers about it and they agreed. Metatron would know what it is to be human. An angel that usually resided in heaven would not. This bolsters my confidence in my theory that Ezekiel is someone we haven’t met before.
Either theory would be plausible from a casting standpoint. Both Tahmoh Penikett and Curtis Armstrong are established, strong actors that I believe would be cast for more than a few short appearances. I firmly believe we will see both of them reprise their angel roles. What I can’t tell yet is when or under what circumstances.
I simply haven’t had enough time to think through these two possibilities. I’m sure it will all become more clear in a few days and I will think of several more reasons both pro and con for both arguments. I leave that to your capable imaginations for now. See you in a few days.