Point for point, this episode had a bit going for it in the back half: characters, actors, history. On the other hand, some interactions were lacking overall. Bringing the boys back together after so long separated to an intriguing piece of Castiel’s history that also foreshadows the future in vague ways. Yet that made for an interesting episode nevertheless.
The Winchester Family Battle
One major issue this viewer had with the episode was the nature of the bickering between Dean and Castiel back and forth – it felt forced and out of sync with the happenings of the plot. Dean and Cas each believed in their positions on the issue of killing Billie and while we saw that Castiel was passionate to the point of being angry in the last episode, this portrayal was diminutive my comparison. Cas and Dean both came from a place of concern about each other (and Sam or course) which the squabble didn’t communicate properly. Instead, it ended up as lackluster interactions for the early half of the episode, unfortunately.
The back and forth between Castiel and Dean with Sam trying to mediate might have been intended as humorous, but it ended up as distracting and childish. Part of me can’t get past Dean being that mad for that long about it or visa versa. Sam might have told his brother to get over it. Similarly, these are the brothers who’ve sold their souls and gone to Hell for one another. Are we really crossing our arms and sticking our tongues out, not speaking with the angel who saved us? Really?
Nephilim Story Arc
Where the early pieces of the story were sluggish, the history piece of Castiel’s troop and the Nephilim aspect did inject some intriguing aspects into the latter half of the episode. First, Alicia Witt must be acknowledged as Lily Sunder – she captured beautifully the pain, rage and vengeance- hungry woman seeking out Ishim and cohorts who murdered her daughter, and the price she’d pay to have that revenge. This presented a very straightforward storyline on the surface but then served to cast shadows about who was really trustworthy – perhaps an allusion to similar plots with the Men of Letters and the Nephilim?
Overall, this was a dark storyline and as a result this held some interest. If we’d known more about our characters – Lily, Ishim, the other angels – there might have been some seriously twisted backstory here. Instead the darkness was a sampler and Ishim was so clearly a villain from the moment he invited Castiel back to his lair. Unfortunately, the depth of this story wasn’t developed as fully as it might have been to give us a fuller, richer history on Castiel as a soldier following orders or the impact that Nephilim have in the world.
Part of the idea here was to demonstrate how far Castiel has come from the angelic soldier when we first met him, since his time with the Winchesters has shown him a better way. Though the display with Ishim murdering May was intense, it didn’t convey exactly that Castiel and his companions (save for Ishim) were under misbelief that May was a Nephilim. How this will later affect Castiel when the time comes is the more curious question. Will he be able to kill Lucifer’s Nephilim? Will Lily Sunder return then?
This episode was ripe with foreshadowing at every turn – very obviously. The only question I was left with was which way will they run with this ultimately? And then I have to wonder – is it such obvious foreshadowing, with a Nephilim and blatant bad guy (because Ishim is all about his dark hat and twirling moustach) that it’s a fake out? I wonder if Lily will show up to protect our new Nephilim and mama….any thoughts?
Yes, this is a short review for a less than full episode. It was a decent enough character look at a piece of a Castiel but on the other hand, the bad guy was so obvious it hardly counts. The episode didn’t give much into that history in the grand scheme, beyond examining an edited addition to “angels haven’t come to Earth in 1000 years” which then wasn’t worth much. Truly there was a story to be told in Ishim and how he and Lily came to know one another. For a moment I believed that May was his, but ultimately none of these aspects were touched on. This Nephilim storyline held potential for darkness but didn’t deliver. As episodes go, it wasn’t bad, but wasn’t a phenomenal one either. Great components and interesting premises. If it all ties into things later, maybe it will be the key!
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