Thoughts on 9x09 – Holy Terror


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After the shell-shocking midseason finale, I’m still sifting through remnants of heart break and stunning revelations to pick of the pieces that have been left moving forward in the New Year. And what an ending this was – death, deception and divine alliances united for mass destruction that promise only more chaos and heartbreak to come. God, I love this show.

And the Oscar Goes To…. I played him well, I thought.”

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To begin with, I guess it’s fair to say that Ezekiel was never really a bad guy after all. Ezekiel was never a part of this equation after all, in actual fact. Gadriel, an ancient angel with a bad reputation took the opportunity of the chaos to take a new role with grand standing and play it well at every occasion. Suddenly, every piece clicks into place and all of Gadriel’s actions make sense: especially the insistence that Castiel be sent away – Cas knew Ezekiel and would have known that this angel was not who he said he was. Further, it was only a matter of time before someone learned that Zeke died in the fall and that name was mentioned to Dean.

Gadriel comes across not dissimilar to Lucifer in some ways, though far less malicious. Certainly, he is more easily manipulated than Lucifer could ever be said to be. However, in his soft spoken approach and gentle operations of emotions to get the pieces in place where he needs them, it’s easily understood that he and Lucifer could have had a relationship and/or interaction at some point that was responsible for Gadriel’s downfall. It’s difficult to cast Gadriel as out and out evil however, despite everything he has done. His manipulation of Dean prior to this episode seems to be based on simple survival rather than anything else. Despite earlier speculation, I think he did intend to help Sam and then eventually give up the vessel and go his own way maybe. That said once he is approached and seduced by Metatron his motives are less base than survival and more on temptation and prospect.  Gadriel does not appear to be evil, at least not the same as Metatron, who serves his own ends despite anything and everything. When Metatron proposes killing Kevin initially Gadriel struggles with it – “it is not me” – but ultimately he does it. Why? Gadriel is being manipulated by Metatron undoubtedly and also because it becomes a question of survival when Gadriel overhears Kevin and Dean discussing the sigils to expel Gadriel from Sam. 

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Interestingly, Gadriel accepts Metatron’s deal at a crossroads of sorts – they are under an overpass, a similar environment to where Crowley himself has struck crossroads deals in the past. Of course we know that Metatron isn’t a demon, but the symbolism of a deal with the devil in this analogous meeting place can’t really be overlooked on Supernatural can it? In the end, Gadriel seems sorry to have everything come to this conclusion but in a casual way. Nevertheless, Gadriel is a fascinating character and he presents another brilliant opportunity for duality in Jared’s acting in a brand new way that I cannot wait to enjoy.

Always the Vessel…

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Poor Sam. Once again, he’s hi-jacked by a celestial being with absolutely no say in it and this time he doesn’t really have a clue. Though it wasn’t Sam’s reaction to Dean’s actions in the storage room exactly, it was pretty dead on I think. Except I have to believe he’d understand where Dean is coming from in what he did, number one, and number two have some relief in the explanation of the time gaps etc. because that was a major point of concern for him. Of course, how much of the Sam we’ve been seeing was Sam? When Gadriel says Sam is gone and he’s been playing the part – exactly how long does he mean? I’d like to think it was Sam sadly confiding about not feeling normal and worrying about what he was – but was it really? Or was it when they hooked back up with Castiel that Gadriel took over for good? Hmm. Supernatural writers you are a devious, clever bunch.  

Whether truly our Sam from the get-go or not, all the right questions were asked and frustrations expressed up until the last (apparently) genuine appearance of Sam Winchester. Though Sam has been in a weakened state since Gadriel has been occupying the vessel, once Sam is aware of events, if he isn’t already he will fight like hell to take back control. And if he can overcome Lucifer, he can surely overcome this pesky angel. Or better yet, he can use the opportunity to get into Metatron’s Heaven and reverse the spells to recall the angels. However this plays out, the second half of the season promises to be as deliciously nail-biting as the first!

Good Intentions, Ah They Do Pave The Road

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Dean took two majorly devastating blows this time around, even bigger than I really anticipated coming. He's sensed with growing dread for some time now that the situation with Zeke is getting out of hand, I think. More and more the angel was popping into his conversations with Sam to issue an ominous warning about why now wasn't the time to tell Sam and more and more Zeke was trying to isolate them - this came to a bit of a head at the opening of this episode when Dean addressed the eavesdropping matter to some degree (and Gadriel outright lied?) and Gadriel didn't said he didn't like that they were going on an angel related hunt, to which Dean replied he was SOL because it's the family business.

Dean really seemed to be the guy trying to hold everything together even as it slipped more and more through his fingers – it was a very a sad thing to watch in particular after his conversation with Kevin where he dismissed the Prophet’s concerns about being the one who always “get’s screwed” because he doesn’t get the details only to have Kevin obliterated in front of him as a direct result of Dean’s choices. Let me be clear, I’m not saying it’s Dean’s fault that Kevin is dead – not at all – just that actions have consequences and of course we know how Winchester guilt works.

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The confession to Sam delivered in the storeroom revealed a fair bit about Dean’s state of mind now as compared to when he made the judgment call to let Zeke into Sam though – and that Dean is fully aware now he made the wrong choice but he was desperate. He talks about how he “tricked” Sam and he says Sam can hate him, but even as he’s explaining how bad off Sam was, the desperation leaks back into his voice describing the coma/near-death state of his little brother. He also says Cas gave the okay to Zeke at the time (but that’s not who this angel really is of course so that’s sort of moot now). Dean’s entire demeanor during the exchange suggests he is desperate, upset, angry with himself but he is still defense to a degree of what he did – because what else could he do but save Sammy? He was alone and had to make the decision by himself. He’s sorry but he was afraid and alone and that’s all it came down to even if now that he has the facts and perspective it may have been the wrong call. Sam and Dean need to have this conversation again, when it is really Sam – for a true reaction, a true exchange. If anyone understands desperation to save a dead or dying brother, it’s a Winchester after all. 

Prayer, Grace and Information

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Climbing that management latter at the Gas n’ Sip just wasn’t enough for our little tree-topper. No sirree. Cas is back and he’s a fed! Boy, Dean couldn’t be more thrilled to see him (not) but Sam seemed genuinely pleased to see their friend and Cas was happy too. And it’s always fun to see Cas play cop. Of course, Zeke was not thrilled, popping in and out of the conversation so fast I was getting whiplash. Regardless, Castiel was clever enough to use one of his idiot captors under Malachi, who was hoping to get in with Metatron (supposedly Castiel’s still-good-friend and co-conspirator) to get his grace back. Or, not his grace per se, but someone’s at least. He also learns that Ezekiel died during the fall and realizes this couldn’t have been who helped heal Sam at the hospital.

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Castiel getting his Grace back was a very good thing. As amusing as Castiel the Human and his antics therein are, it’s a gag that can only run so long. Furthermore, Castiel is an angel. He operates best in that capacity, particularly in this battle. Cas has been powerless for a while and learned many things in that time – we even witnessed him praying for help and learned not all angels are allied with the crazy brigade. Perhaps Castiel will form his own faction, those angels that wish to continue their work without being killed by Bart or Malachi.

However Castiel’s story continues in the New Year, his progression so far has been an interesting one and he has learned a great deal during his mortal period, more than most of the angels currently existing on earth understand – this can only be a good thing moving onward in the battle for Heaven. More than anything, despite any of the uses for humor or the running jokes about his lack of earthly knowledge, Castiel is a warrior and this has been seen time and time again. This angel, with or without his powers, is best suited to being in battle and thinks swiftly on his feet to defeat his enemies, as he did even here while in chains being subject to torture. Putting Cas decidedly back in the battle is certainly the right decision. 

Final Thoughts

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I can’t believe they killed Kevin! Of all the names on Metatron’s piece of paper – that wasn’t the one I expected. Huge, tragic twist. Kevin! Okay, so - the first half of season nine has come to a head in a clear and epic way in this episode. The questions that have been teased at have been addressed, more or less, and bigger, bolder problems have emerged in their wake to leave us wondering. The characters have been strong in their depiction all season and we’re still left with some shocking revelations and twists. Coming back in the New Year, we’re left with a hijacked Sam/assassin Gadriel, smooth-talking Metatron, warring Angel factions, no prophet/dead-Kevin, a self-deprecating Dean and, at least, a newly Graceful Castiel.

Quite the jumping off place for 2014 – can’t wait to see where the finish line brings us!  



Comments  

lkeke35
# lkeke35 2013-12-14 19:31
1. Wasn't that attached to Kevin and I expect guest stars to be little more than pawns or cannon fodder. So ...meh moment for me.
2. I've discovered that I prefer Warrior! Cas to the human version.
3. I agree Gadreel is very gray. I don't believe he's evil but his motivations went from desperately selfish to reluctantly self serving...and there is a difference.
4. Keep in mind that Gadreel had to have been practicing being Sam several times just to come and go in the bunker. How else is he going to get Sam outside with a min. of fuss.
5.Makes me wonder if Dean knew then what he knows now, would he make the same decision? Part of me thinks very much so only with a bunch of caveats and addendums. He'd still try to control the outcome as much as possible.
6.For all of the hysterically panicky people who think they will never see Sam again, just calm down. I could be wrong, I know but generally that's not how the show works. Also I'm a person who is optimistic about solving problems. I don't automatically go straight to the worst thing that could possibly happen (and that kind of thinking really tries my patience -speaking from personal experience,that 's all.)
7. Dean is a fighter. That's what he is. Hes as much a warrior as Cas and he will come out of this corner swinging. Going back to the first episode of the season and Sam's idea of Dean in his head. Dean fights! Its who he is. (Reminding me very much of Old School James Kirk. He turns a losing proposition into a fighting chance for survival.) Of course any choices he makes after this could turn tits up too but that's drama for ya.
lkeke35
# lkeke35 2013-12-14 19:31
1. Wasn't that attached to Kevin and I expect guest stars to be little more than pawns or cannon fodder. So ...meh moment for me.
2. I've discovered that I prefer Warrior! Cas to the human version.
3. I agree Gadreel is very gray. I don't believe he's evil but his motivations went from desperately selfish to reluctantly self serving...and there is a difference.
4. Keep in mind that Gadreel had to have been practicing being Sam several times just to come and go in the bunker. How else is he going to get Sam outside with a min. of fuss.
5.Makes me wonder if Dean knew then what he knows now, would he make the same decision? Part of me thinks very much so only with a bunch of caveats and addendums. He'd still try to control the outcome as much as possible.
6.For all of the hysterically panicky people who think they will never see Sam again, just calm down. I could be wrong, I know but generally that's not how the show works. Also I'm a person who is optimistic about solving problems. I don't automatically go straight to the worst thing that could possibly happen (and that kind of thinking really tries my patience -speaking from personal experience,that 's all.)
7. Dean is a fighter. That's what he is. Hes as much a warrior as Cas and he will come out of this corner swinging. Going back to the first episode of the season and Sam's idea of Dean in his head. Dean fights! Its who he is. (Reminding me very much of Old School James Kirk. He turns a losing proposition into a fighting chance for survival.) Of course any choices he makes after this could turn tits up too but that's drama for ya.
lkeke35
# lkeke35 2013-12-14 19:39
Oh yeah, just Imo. Not trying to get up anyones nose or anything. People feel how they feel but for the story this season to reach any kind of conclusion and for Gadreels issues to be resolved he cant stay in Sam forever. (But then I'm also a person who tends to undereact to a lot of things that other people gunshot their teeth about ..so my advice about calming down is meant well..)
Things will be alright. Just chill. (Until the next crisis.)
lkeke35
# lkeke35 2013-12-14 19:39
Oh yeah, just Imo. Not trying to get up anyones nose or anything. People feel how they feel but for the story this season to reach any kind of conclusion and for Gadreels issues to be resolved he cant stay in Sam forever. (But then I'm also a person who tends to undereact to a lot of things that other people gunshot their teeth about ..so my advice about calming down is meant well..)
Things will be alright. Just chill. (Until the next crisis.)
DeanColt45
# DeanColt45 2013-12-14 21:07
I think there's been a bit more of Gadreel peeping out of Sam's eyes than those blue flashes indicate. There have been a few times when Dean mentioned angels being dicks where Samdreel gives him a look for it, and other times when Sam seemed overly frightened of something. I'll have to go back and rewatch the season (again) to pinpoint, but there was a distinct sense that it wasn't just Sam reacting.

I also didn't see Sam as happy to see Cas but oddly nervous. He moved differently, I thought, and seemed 'off', followed immediately by Zekedreel popping in a couple times to express his displeasure at being around Cas.

All this leads me to think that Gadreel is just one very frightened angel, one who's been locked up for eons, who suddenly finds himself on earth among men. He wants to survive and he wants to redeem himself. He's now fallen prey to the ultimate manipulator, Metatron, or second ultimate after Lucifer. In parallel to Dean's actions, which were born out of fear for his brother, so too are Gadreel's actions. It'll be really interesting to see if they just kill him off, or maybe work with him to get Metatron. He's now in a position of trust, after all, having proved that he'll do what he's told. Maybe Gadreel will find himself and end up turning on him. I'd like to see that for sure.

Not sure I'll ever get over Kevin though, so half of me hopes Dean gets him out of Sam and then gets him but good.

Also, thank Chuck for Cas. I'm so glad he's back.
DeanColt45
# DeanColt45 2013-12-14 21:07
I think there's been a bit more of Gadreel peeping out of Sam's eyes than those blue flashes indicate. There have been a few times when Dean mentioned angels being dicks where Samdreel gives him a look for it, and other times when Sam seemed overly frightened of something. I'll have to go back and rewatch the season (again) to pinpoint, but there was a distinct sense that it wasn't just Sam reacting.

I also didn't see Sam as happy to see Cas but oddly nervous. He moved differently, I thought, and seemed 'off', followed immediately by Zekedreel popping in a couple times to express his displeasure at being around Cas.

All this leads me to think that Gadreel is just one very frightened angel, one who's been locked up for eons, who suddenly finds himself on earth among men. He wants to survive and he wants to redeem himself. He's now fallen prey to the ultimate manipulator, Metatron, or second ultimate after Lucifer. In parallel to Dean's actions, which were born out of fear for his brother, so too are Gadreel's actions. It'll be really interesting to see if they just kill him off, or maybe work with him to get Metatron. He's now in a position of trust, after all, having proved that he'll do what he's told. Maybe Gadreel will find himself and end up turning on him. I'd like to see that for sure.

Not sure I'll ever get over Kevin though, so half of me hopes Dean gets him out of Sam and then gets him but good.

Also, thank Chuck for Cas. I'm so glad he's back.
Bella-UK
# Bella-UK 2013-12-21 11:36
What I'm interested in watching is the real Sam hearing Dean's confession, and viewing the real scenario. I also can't wait to find out how it felt for Sam, what he experienced when Gadreel was inside him. Will he keep it back from Dean as they both usually do. As many have said how much of Gad have we actually seen as the missed time leaps are very mysterious. I think some of the time Gad has miss lead us on purpose. I still find it hard to believe he's a good guy. I've really loved this part of this season. R.I.P. Kevin Tran ....
Bella-UK
# Bella-UK 2013-12-21 11:36
What I'm interested in watching is the real Sam hearing Dean's confession, and viewing the real scenario. I also can't wait to find out how it felt for Sam, what he experienced when Gadreel was inside him. Will he keep it back from Dean as they both usually do. As many have said how much of Gad have we actually seen as the missed time leaps are very mysterious. I think some of the time Gad has miss lead us on purpose. I still find it hard to believe he's a good guy. I've really loved this part of this season. R.I.P. Kevin Tran ....
dashnjo
# dashnjo 2013-12-28 03:31
This was definitely a better midsession finally than last year! Last year it was just that Sam and Dean were pissed off at each other which I knew would last maybe another episode or two because they never drag that out too long. This year there's as much going on as there was at the finale of last season. Of course, Kevin is dead which is just heart breaking, and worse because he had no idea it wasn't really Sam!

There are so many balls up in the air but I love it! Can't wait to see how it all plays out ... I almost thought after Dean's speech to "Zeke" at the bar about how Cas is risking everything with ALL the angels after him and "Zeke" was just hiding might have turned him around but then Metatron showed up and we found out it wasn't even Ezekiel! I'm not convinced that if Metatron hadn't sweet talked him into siding with him and killing Kevin that maybe none of that would have happened so there's still hope he might do the right thing in the end, though killing Kevin means he can only make amends so far.

I'm torn on how I feel about Cas getting "his" grace back. I mean, on the one hand, it would have been interesting to see him re-enter the fight and have to learn how to do it as a human but on the other hand I missed him as an angel. I do agree thought that his short time as a human may have changed him a bit now that he's an angel again and it will most likely be for the better.

Just excited there's only a little over three weeks until the Hellatus is over so we can see what happens! Ugh!
dashnjo
# dashnjo 2013-12-28 03:31
This was definitely a better midsession finally than last year! Last year it was just that Sam and Dean were pissed off at each other which I knew would last maybe another episode or two because they never drag that out too long. This year there's as much going on as there was at the finale of last season. Of course, Kevin is dead which is just heart breaking, and worse because he had no idea it wasn't really Sam!

There are so many balls up in the air but I love it! Can't wait to see how it all plays out ... I almost thought after Dean's speech to "Zeke" at the bar about how Cas is risking everything with ALL the angels after him and "Zeke" was just hiding might have turned him around but then Metatron showed up and we found out it wasn't even Ezekiel! I'm not convinced that if Metatron hadn't sweet talked him into siding with him and killing Kevin that maybe none of that would have happened so there's still hope he might do the right thing in the end, though killing Kevin means he can only make amends so far.

I'm torn on how I feel about Cas getting "his" grace back. I mean, on the one hand, it would have been interesting to see him re-enter the fight and have to learn how to do it as a human but on the other hand I missed him as an angel. I do agree thought that his short time as a human may have changed him a bit now that he's an angel again and it will most likely be for the better.

Just excited there's only a little over three weeks until the Hellatus is over so we can see what happens! Ugh!