Man, why does this show keep doing this to me? Thursday at 10:00 comes around anymore and I’m a jittery mess, going back to the TiVo for a rewatch. This one earned a third re-watch, then one the next day and I think I’m up to number ten now. I lost count around seven.
This episode is even more action packed than the last one, and that was huge. As a matter of fact, with the exception of “Mystery Spot” and “A Very Supernatural Christmas,” no episode is more crammed with details in the entire series. As a result, I even have to break this recap into two parts. It’s that long. Things are intense from the opening teaser, so let’s get started.
There’s a nice scene of destruction that looks like a bomb went off. Cars are in all sorts of positions, windows blown out, parts lying everywhere and the car alarms ringing. Our familiar trench-coated angel walks among the carnage and with one raised hand silences the mass confusion. So, we’re twenty seconds into the episode and Castiel is already awesome. I already have good feelings about this episode. He searches and then sadly finds what he’s looking for. A woman, in a flowing dress of white, is dead on the ground. He pulls back her dress and finds the stab wound right through the base of her neck. ”Goodbye sister,” he says solemnly, and the cops arrive behind him.
Cops arrive to investigate, and Castiel is gone. Damn I need that skill. Every time my son yells “Mom!” all I need to do is go away in a flash and all my problems are solved. Helicopters hover over the scene and the spotlight scans over the area from right to left. The massive imprint of wings on the pavement on both sides of the woman appear. Okay, we get it, she’s an angel.
Birds, doom, logo. In this episode, they mean it.
The Impala zooms on a dark road at night, and I’m in love. Man have I missed that beauty. Of course we don’t see her much, just like Sam, but her few scenes are golden. There’s an interesting camera angle from the floorboard, and we see it’s Sam who’s driving like a maniac. Sammy? Wow, he has turned.
Dean’s in the passenger seat and he looks tired. And weary. And depressed. Sam is all gung ho about meeting Ruby outside of Cheyenne and tracking down some leads to get to Lilith. Dean is apathetic about the whole thing, and I don’t blame him. The words “Ruby” and “Cheyenne” make me cringe too. Sam wants to know what Dean’s problem is. Um Sam, HE’S DEPRESSED. It’s a basic human condition, look it up sometime.
Dean is still stinging about Pamela and how they dragged her into this even though she wanted no part. Sam, who seems to have gotten over Pam’s chilling words, says she knew what was at stake. ”Oh yeah, saving the world. We’re doing such a damn good job of it. I’m tired of burying friends, Sam.” Sam changes the subject, since he’s itching for a Lilith revenge filled showdown. ”If we catch a fresh trail-” and Dean finishes the sentence with ”we follow it, I know.” Except Dean’s words are loaded with indifference. Uh oh, Deano’s not in a good place right now. Of course his words that he’s getting tired pretty much confirm that too. Sam wants him to get angry. Dean looks somber, for all he wants is a nap.
Sam opens the motel room door, and Dean, again in very resigned voice, says “Home, crappy, home.” These guys really should splurge on a Hampton Inn or something nice, complete with in room whirlpool tub. It would do wonders for the damaged psyche. Sam turns on the light, and Uriel and Castiel are there. ”Oh come on,” Dean says. Now he’s angry Sam! Uriel is talking, Castiel is standing off to the side looking pious.
Uriel tells Dean he’s needed. ”We just got back from needed!” Dean yells. Uriel tells Dean to watch his tone, and that just makes him madder. Sam steps in, hoping to calm tensions, letting them know they just got back from Pamela’s funeral. Dean reminds them who psychic Pamela was. ”Cas, you remember her, you burned her eyes out. Remember that, Good times!” Castiel isn’t smiling. Come to think of it, he never does. When that does happen, I bet we will all fall dead from having our insides melt. Dean further reminds them she died saving one of their precious seals. ”So maybe you can stop pushing us around like chess pieces FOR FIVE FREAKING MINUTES!”
Uriel reminds Dean they raised him out of hell for their purposes. ”Yeah, what were those again? What exactly do you want from me?” Wow, Dean’s a bit raw, isn’t he? Uriel doesn’t care, for he tells him “Start with gratitude.” Castiel steps in now, for he knows Dean isn’t taking this well and he’s the only one that can reason with him. He knows this is difficult to understand, but Uriel buts in, “And we don’t care.” Castiel goes back to being unhappy wallpaper, and Dean finally notices something is different.
Uriel finally cuts to the chase. Seven angels have been murdered from their garrison, the last one tonight. Dean asks if they’re demons, Uriel with one glance confirms the suspicion. How are they doing it? They don’t know. Sam fields this one, since he’s got sound mind going for him. ”I’m sorry, but what do you want us to do about it? I mean a demon with juice to ice angels has to be out of our league, right?” Aw Sammy, always thinking logically.
Castiel steps forward now, this time not getting resistance from Uriel. He’s a much fresher sight for sore eyes. They want to find whoever it is. They have Alastair, but he won’t talk. ”He’s like a black belt in torture, he’s out of your league,” Dean reminds him. Now for the punchline. They want his student to get the job done. Dean defiantly says no. ”You can’t ask me to do this Cas, not this.” Uriel steps in front of a sympathetic Castiel, complete with evil smirk “Who said anything about asking?” Dean looks at Sam, wondering what to do now, but there’s sound of flapping wings and Sam’s all alone. ”Dammit!” He yells. Man, I wish this network would allow swearing. You know Sam has stronger words than that in mind.
Abandoned warehouse, and Alastair is strung up in one mother of a devil’s trap. Castiel assures Dean the trap is old Enochian. I looked it up on Google, and they sound like a bunch of whack jobs that know their stuff when it comes to magic. I know, there will be at least one on the boards somewhere ready to curse my name for saying that, so please don’t take offense all you practicing Enochians out there. I’m having enough trouble with the Sam vs. Dean fans. Dean says “fascinating” and starts to leave, announcing he’s hitchhiking back to Cheyenne. Uriel does his angel zooming thing and blocks his path. ”Angels are dying boy.” ”Everyone’s dying these days,” Dean counters. Ha! Dean’s got you there junkless.
Dean’s still refusing to do this, and good cop Castiel admits it’s too much to ask. ”But we have to ask it.” One look into those dreamy blue angel eyes and Dean softens (as do we all), and asks to speak to Castiel alone. Uriel says he’ll seek revelation, see if there’s any additional orders. Dean, oh classic Dean, shows up with the perfect smart ass line. ”Well get some donuts while you’re out.” Even Uriel laughs at that one.
Dean turns back to Castiel, who really needs to lighten up a little. Dean calls him out on that. ”If you guys don’t start walking, you’re gonna get flabby.” Castiel continues with his inquisitive stare. ”I’m starting to think that junkless has a better sense of humor than you do.” Castiel deadpans, “Uriel is the funniest angel in the garrison. Ask anyone.” While I’m laughing, does anyone think they’re paralleling Castiel’s issues with human emotions much like Data on Star Trek The Next Generation?
He couldn’t grasp simple humor either, and went through moronic exercises to get there. Don’t do that with Castiel, please show?
Dean gets to the point. He wants to know what’s going on, why is Uriel suddenly barking the orders? Castiel admits his superiors began to question his sympathies, aka his closeness with people in his charge. In other words, you Dean. He’s showing emotion, which are doorways to doubt, which can impair his judgment. Yep, Data, ST:TNG.
Dean tells Castiel, “You don’t want me doing this, trust me.” Castiel, being the feeling android, I mean angel, he is responds “Want it, know, but I’ve been told we need it.”
Dean starts to fall apart a little. ”You ask me to open that door and walk through it, you will not like what walks back out.” Castiel understands. ”For what it’s worth, I would give anything to have you not do this.” Dean closes his eyes and accepts he really doesn’t have a choice. The directing on this scene is outstanding, the way they go back and forth between the two profiles, drawing out the greatest possible heartache of both these men. It’s the Kim Manners school of directing, and Mike Rohl gets an A.
Dean enters the room with a cart, and chained up Alastair starts singing Fred Astaire’s “Cheek To Cheek.” Smartass. Christopher Heyerdahl is a fantastic, very creepy Alastair in this one, more so than last week, and he was great then. I heard he does a lot of evil parts, and the man is a master of his craft. Dean pulls back the cover to reveal the implements of torture, and Alastair laughs at him. He finds the true absurdity of the situation. ”They sent you to torture me?” Dean has his game face on, and demands to know a name of who’s killing the angels. ”Do you think I’ll spill my guts?” Alastair asks. ”Oh, you’ll spill your guts one way or another,” Dean admits, “I just didn’t want to ruin shoes.” We know from past episodes that Dean wisecracks the most when he’s terrified. Given all the clever lines with Uriel and Alastair so far, he must be out of his mind in fright.
Alastair taunts some more, telling Dean he’s too scared to do this. ”I’m here, aren’t I?” Dean says. ”Not entirely,” Alastair replies. ”You left part of yourself back in the pit.” Remember that for later. Dean holds firm, and starts going through the instruments. Alastair taunts more, understanding that Dean would want payback for everything he did to him. Dean shows no reaction. ”How about all the things I did to your Daddy.” That gets Dean’s attention. Oh Dean, you are so out of your league.
Meanwhile, back at the crappy motel, Ruby walks in. Avert your eyes! That’s the scariest thing we’ve seen yet. Ruby can still smell the angels, and isn’t too happy about dealing with them again. Sam gets right to it, he needs her to tell him where they took Dean. Ruby doesn’t understand what the big deal is. Dean slices up Alastair, the angels get the goods, everyone’s happy. Sam knows the problem though, and he’s worried. “He can’t do it. He can’t the job done. Something happened to him downstairs Ruby. He’s not what he used to be, he’s not strong enough.” Ruby says, “And you are.” Sam is determined. ”I will be.”
Tell me Sam, how do you know this about Dean? We know you aren’t wrong, but is it brotherly intuition or your freaky psychic stuff? Either way, if you’ve known this all along, then your words during the confrontation in “Sex and Violence” were true. It’s good to see you wanting to cover your brother’s back this time, but ouch.
Back to Dean, and this is where the scenes cut back and forth in wild succession. If you have a hard time keeping up, you aren’t alone. Alastair talks about how John was on his rack for close to a century, and he offered John the same thing he did to Dean every night, he’d put down his blade if John would pick up one. John never budged, and Alastair admits he was made of something unique. But then came Dean and “daddy’s little girl” broke in thirty. Dean is drinking whiskey by this time, doing his best to ignore the taunts. The angels gave him whiskey? They took him away so fast it’s not like he brought his own bottle. Even Ruby demanded sobriety from Sam.
Alastair goes straight for the core. ”Just not the man you’re daddy wanted you to be, huh Dean?” Dean goes on with his work, and Alastair so aptly says “Now we’re getting somewhere.” You are indeed, for even I see the small cracks in Dean just through the flare in his eyes and his tightened jaw.
Dean grabs the holy water and pours, and Alastair isn’t impressed. ”Grasshopper, you’re going to have to get creative if you want to impress me.” That’s a Kung Fu reference for those that didn’t watch it in reruns on cable. I’m sure only a fraction of us actually remember it airing in the 1970’s. It came on past my bedtime though, so I’m not that old! Dean really tries a speech of his own, talking about how he dreamt over and over again this moment. He’s got a few ideas, including putting the holy water into a needle. He comes up to Alastair and announces, “Let’s get started.”
Castiel waits outside in the warehouse, listening to Alastair’s screams. His head dramatically turns toward the camera and he’s not happy.
The camera swipes across the “implements of destruction” and up to Dean’s face. He’s apprehensive, toughens up and turns around. He asks Alastair if he wants more of the stuff, for there’s plenty left. Alastair has a clever answer. ”Go directly to Hell. Do not pass go, do not collect $200.” Dean actually smiles. Watch that, for we don’t see too much of that this episode.
Now Ruby is lighting a map while latinating, and Sam watches with those giant arms folded. Man, even those bare arms look ripped. I’ve seen a recent shirtless picture of Jared from Friday The 13th. He’s even bigger now than in “Hell House.” It’s not for the hormonally weak. Anyway, Ruby’s eyes go black, the map ignites in flames and Sam’s actually worried. Really Sam, after all the shit you’ve seen in your life, a little fire is bothering you? Ruby assures him fire is our friend, and then the map burns up except the part where Dean is. Ruby’s acting superior, boasting that the angels aren’t used to hiding their dirty business and know that they’re being spied on. Yeah, as we’re learning, these angels aren’t an organized bunch.
Sam doesn’t have much to say about Ruby’s pride, for he has something on his mind. ”Ruby, it’s been weeks, I need it.” Ruby plays him, pulling the “you’re not happy about it” card. ”You think I want to do this?” Oh Sam, yes you do. You just have your excuse now to have it. Granted it’s a good one, but it’s still an excuse. He walks to the bed, and oh, that look of desperation. He knows what he wants is wrong, but he’s still going there. He wants the power. He wants that feeling of control. He’s even letting Ruby kiss him and call him Sammy. She’s your drug dealer Sam. Just face it.
Ruby’s got him and she knows it. While straddling his lap, she tells him he can have it. After all, who can say no to those yearning eyes? While kissing him she pulls out the knife and slices her arm, all while Sam watches with eager anticipation like a baby waiting for mother’s milk. Or a junkie”¦you get the point. Sam looks for the okay, and then starts sucking on the wound. Ew, gross. What’s even grosser? Ruby’s smile of evil satisfaction. Her diabolical plan is working. I hope Sam uses those demon powers to kill her someday.
Dean has Ruby’s knife now, and Alastair has a point. ”Do you really think this is going to fix you? Give you closure?” He finds it sad. Dean stabs him with the knife soaked in holy water and Alastair still teases. ”I carved you into a new animal Dean. There is no going back.” Dean has a smart answer. ”Maybe you’re right, but now it’s my turn to carve.” While that’s going on, an invisible force turns the faucet on, loosens a bolt in the pipe, and water drips on the edge of the trap, breaking the seal. Uh oh!
Castiel waits outside, hearing the screams, and he feels something. He’s not alone. Without turning around, he knows it’s Anna. He comments she’s in her old human body and if you remember in “Heaven and Hell,” it was evaporated by the bright light. Anna says she’s sentimental and called in some favors. Wow, who does she know that could do that? The only thing I can think of starts with a G and ends with a D. Castiel mentions they still have orders to kill her, but Anna knows he won’t. I do wonder, and I suspected it by Castiel’s first glance of her in “Heaven and Hell” if these two had a thing. If they haven’t, they should. They have chemistry, and them being together will wipe the thought of her and Dean doing it out of my mind.
Anna asks where Uriel is, and Castiel answers he went to receive revelation. She says “Right.” She knows something! Back to Dean, who removes the knife, and Alastair with bloody teeth jokes, “You know, it’s your professionalism I respect.” That’s a line out of Little Shop Of Horrors
BTW. Dean angrily shoves him away and Alastair knows who’s starting to crack.
Back to Anna, who asks Castiel why is Dean doing this. ”He’s doing God’s work,” he firmly believes. ”Torturing? That’s God’s work? Stop him Cas, please, before you ruin the one real weapon you have.” Castiel doesn’t want to question orders, but Anna points out they might not be coming from God. She guesses one of their superiors, but not him.
More Alastair torture with the holy water going down his throat, and then Anna continues to prod at Castiel, asking if this is what the Father he loves would ask of him. Castiel listens, and boy can we tell she’s making sense to him. Anna tells him what he’s feeling is called doubt, and the scene goes back to more torture before coming back to them. She takes Castiel’s hand. ”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-” Castiel cuts her off. ”Together?” He yanks his hand away. ”I am nothing like you. You fell.” He orders her to go, she tries to plead. He repeats “Go!” and she flies away, leaving him all alone. The shot fades out to show Castiel, looking swallowed by the rest of the room. Awesome, and it so tells how he’s feeling right now. Isolated and alone.
Torture scene again, and Alastair lets Dean know he isn’t getting deep enough. He’s ready to drop something big, but Dean puts salt down his throat, and it’ll have to wait. Sam is driving the Impala fast in the rain, his eyes are fixed forward, and man is this spooky. At first the light hit his eyes they are hazel. As the scene progresses, with each swipe of the windshield wipers the eyes get slowly darker until they’re almost black. Whoa. That’s some great editing there.
Coming up…part 2! https://www.thewinchesterfamilybusiness.com/article-list/537-recap-qon-the-head-of-a-pinq-part-2.html