"You know the difference between you and me? I know what I am. What are you Castiel? What are you willing to do?"

Crowley really said it all right there. And it's a good question, one that I'm not sure Castiel is ready to answer. He leads us through his side of the story beautifully though; starting with some of his "childhood" memories, leading us to the moment he took possession of his vessel and recalling the time "two boys, an old drunk and a fallen angel" stopped Armageddon. All of these moments describe the Cas we know. The angel who sees the difference between right and wrong and chose free will when he saw wrong being done in the name of God. This is the Cas we've known and loved. It's when this new-found confidence turned to arrogance that Castiel began to lose his way. 

It's not that I disagree with his decision to stop Raphael from re-starting the Apocalypse. In fact, it's right in line with the Cas we know. Raphael was calling the shots and planned to play it off as God's will knowing that the other angels would just follow his lead. It's clear that Cas couldn't stand idly by knowing what he knew. And this is where I begin to feel bad for him. Clearly he's wasn't strong enough to fight Raphael on his own, and the other angels didn't seem to grasp the concept of choice. I felt worse when he realized  he couldn't ask Dean to sacrifice any more than he already had. And he clearly couldn't go to Sam for help. He was on his own.
Speaking of Sam, I have a few questions. How is it that Castiel raised Sam from perdition without his soul? I had been wondering before this episode whether Castiel purposely left Sam's soul behind. I don't think that is the case but then how did he overlook something like that? Probably that pesky arrogance again. But why would Castiel not go to Dean and let him know that Sam was alive? He had to know how heavily it was weighing on Dean's heart to think that his brother was still suffering in Hell. Sure, Cas knew that something was off about Sam but it didn't bother him enough to really investigate. He was more preoccupied with Raphael and the Apocalypse: Part 2. And maybe he had every right to be? That's the thing about this episode. It's easy to point out all the bad choices that Castiel made but it's hard to deny the seemingly good intentions behind those choices. 

These good intentions are what paved the road to Crowley. Crowley obviously knew that Castiel was in a tight spot with no one to turn to. In other words, he was desperate. And a desperate man, or angel in this case, can be easily swayed with a bit of logic and heavy dose of swagger. And Crowley laid it on thick. Castiel really didn't stand a chance against Crowley's persuasion. Heck, I found myself thinking that he made a pretty good argument. I mean, who would you rather have running Hell? Lucifer? Or Crowley "the devil you know"? And offering Castiel a little advance on the souls was just the cherry on top. How could he refuse? Well, as it turns out making deals with devils is not a good idea. Imagine that...

But what's worse than the deal itself is the secrecy. Sam and Dean have already lost so much and secrecy has tested their relationship more than once. Castiel was there, he should know what it looks like. So how is he still so convinced that what he's doing is right? As usual, Dean said it best when he confronted Castiel:

Castiel: "You don't understand, it's complicated."
Dean: "No, actually it's not. And you know that. Why else would you keep this whole thing a secret unless you knew it was wrong? When crap like this comes around, we deal with it like we always do. What we don't do, is we don't go out an make another deal with the devil!"
Castiel: "It sounds so simple when you say it like that. Where were you when I needed to hear it?"
Dean: "I was there. Where were you?"

This whole conversation was hauntingly reminiscent of season four conversations between Sam and Dean. And the two of them are only now getting back to a good place. And now Dean is confronted with this same betrayal and secrecy from a man he defended against his better judgment. Sure, Sam and Bobby feel hurt and betrayed as well, but not on the same level that Dean felt it. Castiel even admitted that he and Dean "share a profound bond". It may have been a punchline at the time but that doesn't make it any less true. Castiel literally raised Dean from the dead and has saved him more times than I can count. But more than that, he was there when Dean thought he had lost Sam forever. And when Sam came back from Hell incomplete Castiel's presence was a comfort and a firm foundation for Dean. (Granted, he was also the cause of the problem in the first place.) 

But this shattered trust didn't stop Dean from offering Castiel a second chance. This was probably the most heartbreaking moment of the episode. Dean finally sees the web of lies that Castiel has weaved throughout the past months and he's still willing to put it behind them. "Damn it Cas, we can fix this!" But Castiel can't see beyond his clouded judgment;  "Dean it's not broken."  How did Castiel convince himself that he was making these choices to protect Sam and Dean? If anything, leaving them in the dark is leaving them vulnerable. He has to know that Crowley isn't planning to hold up his end of the deal. At least, that's what I'd guess. And he also happens to hate the Winchesters so when the time comes for Crowley to turn the tables, who's going to die first?
When Castiel came to confront Dean there was a mix of emotions. It's obvious that Castiel has made poor choices but I found myself hoping that he could explain them to Dean the way he explained them to us. Maybe then Dean would understand Castiel's intentions. Maybe then he would understand that Castiel never set out to hurt him, but to protect him.  And maybe then Dean would be able to reason with him and show him the way like he's done so many times before. But that is not what happened. Dean did open up to Cas in a very real way. He called him family; he called him a brother which is saying a lot because we know just how much he loves Sam. And then, Cas shut down. I'm not sure why it happened. He could have easily returned the sentiment. We know he feels the same way about Dean but for whatever reason he chose to challenge him instead. 

"You're just a man. I'm an angel."

Talk about heart breaking. Just a man? As the words left his mouth I thought I saw a little regret in his eyes. Or maybe that was just wishful thinking. Either way Dean is anything but just a man to Castiel. He has taught Castiel about freedom and choice. He has taught him what it means to really believe in your decisions and to live with purpose. Castiel has sacrificed everything for these new found values and has sacrificed everything for Dean and Sam. They were harsh words and I hope Castiel finds a way to take them back. 

I am very curious, as I'm sure you all are, about the season finale. For the first time Sam and Dean will be hunting a monster I don't want them to kill. And I sincerely hope they don't have to. I have been wondering for a while now if we might see God this season. I still think it's entirely possible. The entire episode was a prayer for guidance to a God that Castiel still very much believes in. So it doesn's seem out of the question that his prayer would be answered. I also wonder what will happen if Crowley is killed. I suppose a new king of Hell will be appointed. Is it strange to say that I would miss him if he was killed? If we have to have a king of Hell, I'd like it to be Crowley. There is something so charming about him. So what do you guys think about Cas going darkside? Any thought about the finale? I'd love to hear them!

I had a few other random observations and quotes that I wanted to mention...

*First of all, I wanted to send some serious kudos to Ben Edlund for this script. He is just amazing. It really goes without saying. 
*I loved the decision for Castiel to break the fourth wall as if he wanted the chance to explain himself to us. I thought it was very effective and it was a much needed explanation.
*I really liked the still frames that were used throughout the episode. Castiel exploding was especially interesting. Not typical Supernatural fashion, but I think it worked. 

*I was shocked to see that Castiel had the ability to spy on Sam, Dean and Bobby undetected. I wonder how often he's done that. Clearly he's not good at keeping his spying a secret. It took no time at all for Dean to realize where Castiel picked up the Superman reference. 
*So Crowley was the one that decided to raise Samuel when Castiel refused to involve Dean. So does that mean that Samuel was in Hell when all this time we thought he was in Heaven?
*Ellsworth, Bobby's demon counterpart, was a much needed laugh. He had the hat, the flannel and even two Sam and Dean-esque partners. It's kind of a shame Castiel killed him. It would have been interesting to learn more about him. 

There were a few other funny moments worth mentioning. 

*Cas: You're joking.
Raphael: Do I look like I'm joking?
Castiel: You never look like you're joking. 

*Castiel: "Freedom is a length of rope. God wants you to hang yourself with it." (This is more dark humor than ha ha funny, but still worth mentioning)

*Crowley: "I wanted to help you, help me, help ourselves."
Castiel: "Speak plain."
*Castiel: "I'm an angel, you ass."
*Crowley: "You've got what they call sex appeal."
Castiel: "Thank you. Get to the point."


Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-05-08 21:38
The problem with killing Crowley (if they do) is you're left with one person left who we know wants the power AND the Apocalypse back on track: Meg. She's still floating around and ready to turn on the Winchesters. She can't kill them---well at least Sam as he's still probably Lucifer's vessel---but she'll make their lives a living Hell while she finds a way to get Big Daddy outta the cage.

I agree with you fully on all your points. I love Ben Edlund's work and some of his episodes are my absolute favorite. I'd say thus far Clap Your Hands If You Believe is my favorite of the season. He's great at angst like this AND at comedy. Truly a fantastic writer.

I think it's going to be a very long summer while we reel from the sure to be extremely emotional season finale. If it's anything like this episode, we'll be in for it for sure!
# MisterGlass 2011-05-08 23:43
Speaking of Meg, any thoughts on the possibility of two angel/demon deals going on? Cas and Crowley vs Meg and Raphael? Those two both want to see the big fight. I cannot find a way to justify the partnership from Raphael's perspective, as he is already so far ahead, but it would have been an interesting twist.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-05-09 06:00
I don't know that Raphael would "cheapen" himself with someone like Meg, but it is possible. She seemed to show up for Caged Heat seemingly out of no where to deal with the boys in pursuit of Crowley. Before then, she'd stayed far far away. Someone had to tip her off---perhaps she has insider information from Raphael's crew or just has her own spy network. It's hard to say.

It'd be interesting to see Meg in the season finale. We know she can turn against the Winchesters just as easily as she can use them, after all.
# sofia 2011-05-09 07:53
Meg as Queen of Hell is a scary thought. She definitely has a special connection to the Winchesters which is not something they need right now!

It really is going to be a loooong summer waiting for Season 7!
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-05-09 15:53
Well, we know from Caged Heat that Meg can torture Crowley without even getting her hands dirty. Give her some quality time with the "King of Hell" and she'll emerge Queen.

It will most certainly be a bad outcome for the boys if Crowley gets eliminated only to be replaced by Meg. She's the only one they've never ever managed to kill. They did make a big show of Dean letting her go after he killed Christan. He had this moment where you could tell he was thinking of offing her next, but then decided not to so she could march in with them to kick Crowley tail.

Either way it's going to make summer a long ass wait. My only consolation---a s this is my first summer waiting for the show's return---is the fact that I'll get to go to a convention. Otherwise, I'll be wishing it was September.
# sofia 2011-05-09 16:10
If I remember correctly Dean was planning to kill Meg as soon as she killed Crowley but she got away again. She has escaped the Winchesters more times than most.

A convention is a great consolation! I'm headed to the one in Chicago myself! That's not until October though...
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-05-09 16:35
That is true, too. I think that's when Dean realized he made a mistake. His shout of "Evil Bitch!" said it all.

And yeah. It'll be my first. I'm excited and nervous. It should be entertaining and interesting to meet some fans--as well as the guys.
# CitizenKane2 2011-05-08 22:29
Just wanted to add a short note to say that I enjoyed reading this article. :)

I thought this episode was quite masterful, because it makes one (well, it made me) feel empathy for both Castiel and Dean, even though they were on opposite sides.
# sofia 2011-05-09 08:02
Thanks for taking time to comment! That was the best/most heart breaking aspect of the episode. I never knew who I felt worse for. Which makes me think it's only going to get worse in the season finale!
# Ellie 2011-05-09 11:54
Dean was willing to give Castiel the benefit of the doubt in this situation when in Season 4 he was only to willing to believe the worst of his brother with just a hint that Sam was or could be going down a dar path. But here he wanted to believe in Castiel first until he was confronbted with proof he couldnt ignore. This episode shone a light on Deans relationship with Castiel but also on his relationship with Sam and what Dean is willing to believe where each one was concerned.

In the end the real harm was done to Sam who was left to get on with it when returned by Castiel who lived without a soul ,. Who has had to face what his souless self did and who will face the consquences of the wall coming down .

Ben set out to give us a episode for Castiel that gave us his pov and as I like the character I had no problem with that but this episode or certain aspects have left a bad taste which as I normally enjoy Bens episodes has felt disappointing to a extent.y
# sofia 2011-05-09 12:15
I think Dean was willing to trust Castiel because he really had no reason not to. Dean has known since Season 2 that Sam has a darkness inside of him and has spent years defending him and assuring Sam that he can get past it. So I wouldn't say that he jumped at the slightest hint that Sam was going down a dark path. I think it was fairly evident that he was and Dean couldn't ignore it any longer. But that's just me. We all read the story differently which is what makes it so fun.

I do agree that Sam has taken on a lot because of Castiel's decision to bring him back. But Dean and Bobby have also suffered as a result of Castiel's carelessness with Sam's soul. I still don't think it was an intentional move on Castiel's part. I want to give him that benefit of the doubt. But in the end, it will be Sam who suffers the most if that wall comes down.

Can I ask if the "bad taste" was a result of the episode content, writing, etc.? Or is it more about Castiel's choices and strains on relationships? Just curious.
# Brynhild 2011-05-09 20:38
Thanks, Sofia. I was beginning to be a little exhasperated by all this nitpicking about "what is unfair on who". It's just so impossible to enjoy the interactions between the different characters without measure with a scale who gets more attention or timespan or POV or who suffers more or who deserves more and so on? Really.

In S4 the distance between Dean and Sam had been building all along. Dean just knew since S3 that Sam was tempted to go darkside to save him, that Ruby was worming up her way in him. Seeing Sam exorcising that demon with Ruby standing as audience was a disappointment, but not a real, total shock. And since then, Sam went on lying and sneaking around, and Dean KNEW it. What kind of "benefit of doubt" could be invoked in Sam's case?

But here... Dean (and Sam, and Bobby) didn't know anything. And he was ever the one with "the more profound bond" with Castiel (builded through war, but also through some funny and friendly episodes, there's nothing so strange with it). And since the end of S4 Castiel was EVER a faithful friend, a trustworthy one. He never failed the Winchester, and he really gave everything for them. So Dean didn't really have any reason to not trust him, hence the "benefit of doubt".
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-05-09 20:52
I absolutely agree with you here. Trying to say who suffers more or less, who means more to who, is just a waste of damn time. Everyone on Team Free Will is important to each other and the hurt is spread pretty much far and wide all around with either case of betryal, Sam's season 4 one or Cas's current. I don't think there's a single person right now from Dean, to Bobby, to Sam, to Cas that isn't in some form of agony at the moment. That's the real tragedy. They're supposed to be able to rely on one another and a breach of trust such as this doesn't just affect a single relationship or view of one individual. It could lead to a lot of mistrust of everyone and damage the entire group.

Here's hoping that there is redemption for Cas in store and that the team can heal itself as a whole, not just one person.
# sofia 2011-05-09 21:50
I'm with you on the nitpicking. To worry about who was hurt the most by whom is to miss the point of the episode completely. Everyone was hurt but how that is going to effect relationships is what I'm interested in.
# nancyL 2011-05-09 18:04
I agree Sofia, that Cas 'rescued' Sam from the cage because of arrogance. He probably said to himself (after healing Dean and bringing Bobby back to life), 'I have my powers back (woohoo), I am going to get Sam out of hell.' He probably never checked that Sam had all his parts :lol: , he just got Sam and put him outside of Lisa's house.

Crowley is just a great salesperson.

I also agree on your point about the secrets. Season four was all about the secrets that Sam was keeping about the demon blood and Ruby, and the ones that Dean was keeping about Hell. Cas was there and obviously he didn't learn a damn thing. SECRETS ARE BAD!!!!! :sad:

After Dean tells Cas that he considers him a brother, Cas is going to diss him. WTF Cas.

As soon as Cas started talking about Superman, and you saw Dean's face go 'WTF', you knew the s@@t had hit the fan.

Maybe we will see the return of Chuck????

Two weeks to discuss and debate until the finale.
# Laurie 2011-05-09 22:23
I enjoyed your recap!

One of the frustrating things for me when reading other recaps, is people don't understand how dangerous what Castiel and Crowley are doing regarding Purgatory is. Dean & Sam are opposed, not just because of the secrecy, but to quote Bobby, they are trying to "crack the dam" into Monsterland - that "Eve was just one drop." Imagine if they access all those monster souls, no matter what good intentions they have.

And Dean's warning about demon deals is from bitter experience and hard won wisdom. I just hope when the finale comes, he sticks to that no matter what.

I wish they had addressed more from Caged Heat, behind the scenes, because there won't be time now. I'm counting on more detail re Sam's soul. Still so many questions.
# sofia 2011-05-10 08:25
There is no doubt that Castiel and Crowley are attempting something extremely dangerous. I still want to know what they plan to do once they find Purgatory. Do they even know at this point? How will they go about collecting the souls. The process is still a little murky to me.

I watched Caged Heat again after seeing this episode to look for clues of Castiel and Crowley's partnership. I didn't see any inconsistencies in continuity but I too would like to know more about it.

Regarding Sam's soul. I was thinking about it and I wonder if Sam's soul has extra power? There are many reasons that it could be more powerful, he is Lucifer's true vessel, he was supposed to be King of Hell before Lucifer rose, he is a Winchester :) Just a thought. I felt convinced that Castiel didn't leave Sam's soul on purpose but the more I think about it, the more I wonder if that's true.
# Jasminka 2011-05-10 11:03
Hi Sofia,
I enjoyed reading your article very much! You know, it occurred to me, that - at the moment - the only ones who see the good intentions behind Castiel's actions are we, the audience.
The protagonists of our beloved show are too close to the fire to not get burned...

There are no words to say how sorry I feel for them or how much they move me - these fictional, almost real characters.
And, you know, I can't believe that Cas brought Sam back damaged on purpose, and I hope he won't prove me wrong here.
But I would love an explanation as to how he actually did it. Was is a part of the deal (which would mean he did it on purpose), did he use some kind of angel magic? Ah,... I wish we get an answer to that.
And I wish that in the end there won't be as much pain as I expect there to be.

Take care, Jas
# sofia 2011-05-10 11:45
Thanks for taking time to read and comment, Jas!

I agree completely that we, the audience, are the only ones who see Castiel's good intentions. With the little information they have, I don't see how the boys and Bobby could.

There is no way that Castiel left Sam's soul behind on purpose to hurt him. I can take a firm stance on that. But it very well could have been part of the deal or perhaps he thought he was protecting Sam? I would really enjoy more of an explanation on that. Good thing we have a two hour season finale to hopefully answer some of these questions! But I am afraid we are in store for a whole new level of pain there.
Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2011-05-10 12:57
Hi Sofia. Thanks for this.

One or two things that bothered me in relation to the whole Sam/Castiel/rai sing from perdition issue.

Is there a possibility that Castiel was lying to them about rescuing Sam from the Cage? I mean, Castiel was already in the crapper at this stage, caught in a ring of holy fire and even Dean was throwing him the evil eye. He needed to win something back from them so why not haul out the big gun; the retrieval of Sams soul? He even used the same words that he did when telling Dean he raised him from Perdition. For some reason that strikes me as strange; like he rehearsed it.

There's just a lot that doesn't feel right about this situation to me. If he did raise him why not tell him? Sam asked him often enough. Was he ashamed of it and if so, why not do something to rectify it? I mean he yanked Sam from the cage pretty much as soon as it happened so Sam could have spent maybe a week or so in the Cage but as we saw, he came back without it impacting him at all; no tears, no fear, no nothing. Busy and all as Castiel may have been surely this piqued his interest. He knew Sam, he KNEW Sam, he'd been to hell himself (on a brief visit) he had to know this reaction couldn’t be right.

Did he know or suspect at this stage that maybe Sam was missing his soul? How long did it take him to figure it out? Is there a possibility he did the souloscopy unnecessarily, just to save face?

His anger at Dean for returning the soul can’t be understood. I know Castiel himself has no soul, so maybe he doesn’t see the need for it, (apart from turbo charging him) but that doesn’t explain his unwillingness to help Dean get it back. He was well furious at Dean for doing so, why? Was there a bit of fear mixed in there as well?

Also, how in the blue hell did Castiel get Sam out? Sam was in the deepest, darkest part of the forest as it were, an area designed to be impenetrable by either angels or demons. Yet, mere hours after Sam went down, Castiel got him out. What kind of bloody architects do they have in hell? (Guess that’s what you get for working them like demons....)

It was with great difficulty that Castiel freed Dean¸ and at the time of his rescue Dean was slashing away goodo, no need for security on him but Castiel commented that it took a legion of angels to raise him. Yet Castiel got Sam out of a Cage, designed to safely hold two archangels, on his own....

I know he was new and improved at this stage but if he was strong enough to enter the Cage and get Sam out, how come he later went down so easily to Raphael?

Which brings me on to the next point; Raphael wants the Apocalypse. He’s obviously stronger than Castiel. If Castiel could go into the Cage, why doesn’t Raphael do the same and go release his brothers? He has to be powerful enough to do it. If there are a whole army of angels who want the Apocalypse, why don’t they descend en masse and get them out. Castiel apparently got Sam out, and he was only one angel.

In relation to the rescue of the soul, Castiel stated that he wouldn’t know where to begin to do it, that he wasn’t strong enough to do it. Yet, with the juice of 50,000 souls he was able to swat away an archangel like a fly. Would this not also imply he was strong enough to go into the Cage? Did God give Castiel a one-time deal to get Sam out (maybe as a reward for his sacrifice) but if so, how’d the soul get left behind?

I don’t know, the more I think about this the more I think Castiel might be talking through his little angelic hiney.
# sofia 2011-05-10 13:25
Thanks for your comments and questions Tim! I have a few thoughts of my own.

Even after a whole episode dedicated to answering our questions about Castiel, there are still so many!

I do think Castiel brought Sam out of the cage but I don't think he did it on his own. It look a legion of angels to rescue Dean because they were also going in uninvited. I'm assuming Castiel had a little help from Crowley this time.

So then, that would be the only explanation for why he didn't tell Sam and Dean. He didn't want to have to explain his partnership with Crowley. I think if he had told Dean and Sam that he raised Sam from perdition they would be asking a lot of the same questions you are.

I still don't know if he left the soul behind on purpose or not, but it's a common question! I keep talking myself in and out of thinking that he did. But I stand by what I said before. He would never do it to intentionally hurt Sam.

I wonder if Raphael isn't already trying to release his brothers from the cage. I wouldn't be surprised if that is an ongoing battle in this civil war. But Castiel has Crowley and all of Hell on his side because of his arrangement with Crowley.

You do bring up a great point that Castiel kept saying he couldn't get Sam's soul back for him. He obviously could if he got into the cage once before. And he did have all that extra soul strength. Unless Sam's soul is part of his bargain with Crowley? Or perhaps he knew how damaged Sam's soul was and didn't want to risk putting it back in him?

Thanks for your great questions! I love talking about the little details.
# anonymousN 2011-05-11 09:56
I also wonder if Cas can why not raph...all other points you make are also quite valid
# biggsy 2011-05-11 08:57
Oh Cas! That scene of Sam standing outside Lisa's house, looking in at Dean with that inexplicable look on his face haunted me all last summer. Now we know Cas was standing behind him. Unless Cas is a much better and more direct liar than he's been shown to be yet, he seemed genuinely surprised that Sam was soulless. I think his reluctance to pursue Sam's soul was based on lots of levels of guilt: 1: Shame that he hadn't realized it before ...after all, there might have been many reasons for a raised Sam to turn and walk away from Dean. ...consumed withhis own troubles, Cas never checked. 2: The guilty fear that the boys would find out about his deal with Crowley. 3: Horror and guilt over what he had (accidentally, I hope) done to Sam. Remember, he thought he had harrowed Sam after only an (Earth) day or two, instead he had left Sam's soul in Hell for more than a year...probably 1000 Hell years. 4: Another layer that hasn't been explored yet, if Cas was let into Hell but tricked into taking out only half of Sam, who arranged it? Crowley? Does Crowley have access to the Pit? He might have been lying when he said he didn't. I can't see him risking Lucifer ever getting free, or getting access to his vessel again. Also, Soulless Sam was the perfect hunter. I'm not sure, but I think the answer lies in there somewhere.
# sofia 2011-05-11 10:23
That image of Sam haunted me all summer as well. I tried to pick it apart and figure out what emotion I was seeing. It was just a blank hollow stare which I now realize looked so emotionless because Sam was empty and completely devoid of emotion. And to know that Cas was there, hopefully filled with the same confusion about Sam, paints such a different picture of that moment.

I agree with your various levels of guilt. Cas could have been feeling any one of those emotions and that would be good reason to keep, what was hopefully an accident, a secret. Although, if we're learning from our mistakes, we realize that secrecy is never a good idea.

Thanks for your thoughts!