A Firm Hand: "Be obedient, children, or this will be your fate."



The new God-Cas is nothing like the unsure and awkward angel we've known until now and I miss the confused head tilt. The startling image of slain angels, blackened wing silhouettes stark against the grass as Cas delivers a military-esque decree to the Heaven's populace was breath-taking, though not in a good way The grass looked almost sickly yellow, and combined with the black scorch marks of dead angel wings brought to mind the idea of plague- Cas is bad, and he means business. 

"So are you fixin' her, or primal screaming?"



Dean and the Impala sharing a pseudo-intimate moment is always good to see even if it is symptomatic of Dean perhaps avoiding greater issues. The stress is clearly getting to Dean and as he has in the past, he turns to repairing the Impala where he can't fix the world. Dean, for my money, seemed in a healthier mind set in terms of tackling things one problem at a time, moving up the rungs to "New and Improved" at the top of the ladder.  At least I thought so until he decides to turn to booze and porn for what he feels will be a short remaining life until Cas gs boom and the world disintegrates. 

"One wall per customer."



Poor Sammy - can't get a break. Or, I suppose he did and that's the problem being as the whole wall broke down.  (Okay, I typed that line before Dean said it, I swear). Now Sam is putting on a show to keep one more thing off his Big brother's full and teeming plate and however noble in intention by keeping from Dean the visions that are tormenting him, when will these boys learn that keeping secrets from one another is NEVER the answer?

I like that it was Sam who made the plea to Cas' remaining good side. Dean though the closer of the two to Castiel, is too devastated by everything around him and hurt by the loss of his friend. It speaks to Sam's stoic strength despite the fact that his mind his betraying him, he can gather himself enough to reach out to Castiel. I suppose Sam would understand better than anyone the way power can corrupt - even when you think you're doing the right thing, you can't see that you're actually inflicting pain and harm to the world. 

"Hello, Crowley. You look stressed"



It's good to see Mark Sheppard again, I'm glad that he's managed to survive this long on Supernatural - he's certainly one of my favourite bad guys - right up there with YED.  I'm hoping we get more of Crowley and his double crossing, self-scheming presence throughout season seven. 

Harnessing Death


Despite the madness of the plan, off go the Winchesters and Bobby to fetch a solidified act of God in the form of crystallized sand to bind Death. Right, that couldn't possibly backfire at all. I will admit that this ill conceived plan gave rise to a great break and enter scene.  It was great to see Sam ribbing Dean, if briefly; over his comment to the security guard but my favourite moment was when Dean was caught by Dr. and Mrs. Homeowner. Dean's expression had me burst into laughter when the good doctor explains, "I'm the one with the firearm, son." Well, homeowner with a gun, that dsn't mean much when you're dealing with the Winchesters. I enjoyed the entire B and E segment, but especially the way we cut from HO holding a gun on Dean, who promises he means no harm to the HO and his wife tied down and gagged where Bobby and Sam come in and say an awkward hello to them both. 

"This isn't going to end well."



Death, played impeccably and one of my favourite recurring characters said it and I believed him. Leviathans sound nasty and being that God locked them away in purgatory and now Castiel has taken them into himself, into a vessel that is collapsing into itself, warm and safe feelings weren't on the rise at this revelation. Death informing the boys that Cas wasn't truly God, just on who "really bought his own press" did make me think the boys stood a hair of chance in defeating Cas, somehow, someway.  

"You're still in the cage."



How great was it to see Mark Pellegrino again? He was such a fabulous Lucifer. It's an interesting theory - the last year has all been in Sam's head as a form of psychological torture. It's quite the tease and keeps viewers wondering, at least this viewer and at least just a bit, if it's even possible this is somewhat true. I recall an episode of Buffy that was much the same and they cruelly left us wondering forever. Personally, I don't think it's in Sam's head because that feels like cop-out solution to things that wouldn't be in keeping with the Supernatural style. With luck, Sam won't be separated from Dean and Bobby too long. I knew when he pled his case to Dean about knowing the difference between real and not-real that it would come back to bite him! Good plot manuvre, though - certainly a way to keep the "Sam's wall has come down and now he has visions of his time in the cage" story fresh. 

"And he who lies in my name shall choke on his own false tongue"


The Reverend of Serenity Church had it coming, probably for a while, given the nature of his speech to the "flock" but I couldn't help but wonder whether his Godliness was really going to spend his time hunting up tiny Churches across the world to smite all the people falsely preaching in his name. If so, he's going to be one busy little dictator. Well, he was for a while there until a bloody massacre seemed to bring Castiel back to earth. 



By the end of this episode, Cas seems desperate for approval of the people of Earth to validate his role as God "“ he is coming apart at the seams and I felt sorry for him during his desperate speech in the campaign office. As they say, Pride (and apparently, desperation to prove a point about how to be a Heavenly father instead of an absentee one) cometh before the fall, though I expected the fall wouldn't come until the end of the season, it was a pretty hard fall nonetheless. Having now seen the entire episode and the smile that Cas shoots to the security camera before he kills the office workers and his apparent confusion (and distress) over what he has done upon waking, I imagine Cas was at least being influenced by the presence of the Leviathan in his system. Death referred to them as poisonous creatures so this seems plausible to me. 

Castiel's vessel was obviously afflicted in some way. I believed at first as a result of his body being unable to contain the power of God but when the souls (or perhaps Leviathans) push against his skin (so creepy) I immediately wondered when, not if, Cas would explode and when that finally happened, how big would the mushroom cloud?

Misha Collins was truly superb in this episode. I always think he ds a good job with Cas, but it's telling of an actor when they can play so many vastly different characters on the same show and you know without a doubt that this is a different character now. The Godly Cas, self-righteous and full of pomp and circumstance, however arrogant and goal-oriented was very different from the maniacal Leviathan in a Cas-suit. Every time a new face of the Castiel body shows itself, I'm impressed by the clear and bold line drawn between them through Misha's acting.



I was delighted when Cas surged back to live after emptying the tank back into purgatory. But of course, with Supernatural being the show we know and love, we knew if couldn't be that easy, right? Leviathan have clung to Cas, overwhelmed him and moved into the driver seat. 

"This is going to be so much fun!"

The ending of this episode is far more alarming that the end of season six, in this reviewer's opinion, but the bonus side is we don't have to wait nearly as long to see what the fall out of this will look like. As I expected the boys to be battling Castiel as the Big Bad of the year, this was quite an unexpected but well executed twist. 

As far as a season opener gs I enjoyed this episode a lot. The plot barrelled ahead in unexpected ways, we've set up to a better season than I initially thought (not that I thought we were staring down the barrel of a bad season, this twist with Cas not actually being the baddy is just better!)  and where last season didn't quite have that Supernatural vibe, the season seven opener certainly had the feeling of the Supernatural episodes of seasons past.  Cas' parting words to Dean about finding a way to redemption give me faith that somehow, someway he'll be able to overcome Leviathan "“ though I wonder at what cost to Cas?  

Judging from next week's promo, it looks like we're going further into the stressful swing of things the way only Supernatural can...What did you think, fellow viewers? 

Comments  

Melanie
# Melanie 2011-09-24 13:59
Loved it!! Can't wait for next week!
Ritu
# Ritu 2011-09-24 16:08
Thanksyou Elle for detailed review..and so much hapened in frist epi itslef?? And the more i read more confused i get...not yet seen the show so cant comment much...But its interesting to know abt my fav. charcaters..i think i have grown on these charcaters more by reading abt them from here-WFB than actually watching the show (which i have done three times eversince i started with SPN which is recently only...from this march onwards)..
I got few links from here to see SPN online..i am trying to see..and as ypu mntioned Misha nailed it i would like to see how perfectly he playes out three different aspect of his new found charcater..at the same time Sam/Dean/Boby/d eath in midst of it..wowoy very interesting


one point i want to clarify: has Cass realization of what all thsi sould doing to him happened in front of Sam and DEan, has he asked Dean to help him out? You mentioned abt Cass fall..has he fallen like Anna..that means in Jimmy vessel its no longer cassy in thr?Reading another review post i understood the point this way but i am not sure if this is how it happened.
I guess Leviathan will be the ultimate bad this season whith him being in drivers seat in Cass body...dont know


Anyways it seems to be very fast paced where story future course is made pretty clear unlike previous season whr its was revealed in the later half...soulless sam, Eve and Cass..this time Characters scope is made known to viewers in first epi itself...ummmmm m
nancyL
# nancyL 2011-09-24 16:28
Is it too early to declare season 7, the best season so far??? :lol:

Loved the episode.

Elle, when I saw that scene with the dead angels, I thought, damn Sera and Co are not fudging around this season.

Am I the only one that thought Dean in his mechanics' outfit was hot. :D
Dean and the Impala. He has rebuilt her more times than we can count. I liked the line when Dean says that he will fix the Impala and then he will fix Sam. Dean's two loves: the Impala and Sammy, of course, not necessarily in that order.

I loved the scene in the house. The doctor thought he had the upper hand, but even as he was talking, you knew that Dean was just waiting for his moment. I liked that they didn't show Dean dis-arming the dr. because the fans knew that it was a given.

When I saw 'Mark Pellegrino' in the opening credits, I almost jumped off my couch. To me, that meant that Lucifer was paying us a visit and I was not disappointed. Sam is still in the cage (according to Nick). Poor baby.
Elle, don't forget, it is two years. :D

I thought that stain glass of Cas was cool.

Next week, it seems as if the whole 'Sam is still in the cage' issue will be dealt with, because the third episode is one with Jensen directing.

I loved this episode much more than 'Exile', it this is a hint of what this season is about, then this is going to be one hell of a great season. :D
ChristopherH
# ChristopherH 2011-09-25 02:54
Quote:
Am I the only one that thought Dean in his mechanics' outfit was hot. :D
Dean is scorching in ANY outfit ... ;D
jily4
# jily4 2011-09-24 18:06
Awesome, awesome, awesome. I wish everyone could see this episode. It was everything SPN is. The scare, the gore, the twists and turns and unexpected, the humor, the family love, and of course the boys. all blended together perfectly.I hated reading the ratings this morning. Stupid people, not watching SPN. Oh well, maybe since this was so great, others will tune in next week. Thanks for your recap, enjoyed thinking about the show while reading it.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-09-24 23:14
I've just finished my own review, but I have to say I agree with yours, too. This was a blast of an episode, and it sets up so much for the rest of this season. I sense the story will only progress from here and in wonderfully unexpected ways.

I'm glad that Cas didn't get the chance to heal Sam as he said he'd like to do in his weakened state. It's time they do things for themselves and together, and hopefully now that they've outed Sam's lying right in the first episode that they'll get the boys locked away together in a room to hash out what to do for Sam.

Dean felt like Dean, even if he was pretty much ready to throw in the towel before battered and barely holding it together Cas burst in the door. I think both brothers will have it rough---which is what the show does to these two par for the course.

I have to say that I was pleased to hear that this is a going back to basics model season. So far, it's working and I am excited to see 22 more episodes.
ChristopherH
# ChristopherH 2011-09-25 03:34
This was a very well executed pivot and awesome first episode to season seven.

In one episode we (1) saw Cas attempt to play God and they tied that up in a neat little bow, (2) saw the pathos that will be Sam's journey this season, (3) discovered the set-up for the meta for the rest of the season (Leviathan(s)? where do they dream up this stuff?) (4) Got a glimpse of what will drive Dean's journey as well (5) saw some of our most favorite characters (Death) if for only just a few minutes ... I'm sure there's more ...

I think they left a clever escape hatch for Castiel's predicament ... seriously ... he's got to be locked up in there somewhere ... the trick will be vanquishing the Leviathan without destroying the vessel, eh?

All in all, this episode was great fun and I think the decks are cleared for an interesting season 7.
Ginger
# Ginger 2011-09-25 09:58
I really liked this episode. It was a heavy, plot-driven one and, man, did that hour fly by fast.

I have been one of the harshest critics of S6 (Dean being sidelined being my biggest complaint) and seriously considered whether to watch the premiere or not...right up to a half hour before it aired. I was not disappointed in anything. To me, it seemed more like another S6 finale, only better, rather than laying out the new storyline for the season. I'm not sure what that story is, but that's okay. I know that Dean has retreated from the fight, but it was interesting to see how Dean's character was used to set the whole tone of the episode. I know that Sam has some major problems, but Sam will be the one to get Dean back in the fight. I know that Cas is dead, but Misha is still around as a new character.

I loved that Sam appealed to Dean to do something about Cas on the basis of Dean's very foundation...to o many people were dying and they simply had to do something, and then Cas shows up and asks for help. Dean can't say no to helping people. I liked that Bobby knows just how to handle Dean. He didn't push him, because he knows that if he did, Dean's Winchester stubborn would raise it's head. Sam is the key to getting Dean back in the game.

I loved how the Dean and Dr. Weiss's disarming scene was handled. Very clever and cute way to show that.

I loved that the Impala was again used to show Dean's state of mind. After using it to show the passage of time, they showed it peeking out from behind a tree line -- no strutting it out all shiny Back in Black, in it's newly repaired state. In this episode, Dean the hunter just peeked out to handle the immediate situation. He's not his old strutting self yet.

I loved that the Dean/Cas and Dean/Death relationships weren't pushed aside.

The quality of acting on this show is stellar and that shined through. Every actor took this script and added to it to the pleasure of the viewers. Don't we all just love grumpy old Death and self-serving Crowley?

This was a good premiere that set the stage for a good season. I still have reservations about the execution of the set-up, based on last season's poorly executed everything, but I definitely had the feeling that there is a much better laid out plan this time around.

Absolutely no complaints from me. I wished the ratings had been better for such a good episode.
RGNYC*
# RGNYC* 2011-09-26 11:01
I loved 7.01 and the comments here--well said everyone! From the start with "all right, take it easy..." this season opener was awesome. Did Sam call out to Cas when he was pulled up by the chain? Can't wait until next week.
Sylvie
# Sylvie 2011-09-26 15:47
I thought I heard that too. I've watched it three times already. And did you notice how scared Sam was when he calls out for Dean and Bobby? That was actual fear in his voice. Poor baby.