Castiel is back! Or so it would seem. This week’s episode of Supernatural was all about a lighter side, with Cas’ return, Jack’s eager dive into the hunt and Dean’s new attitude it was all looking good – at least for a little while. “Tombstone” certainly had a lot of packed into the 42 minutes of screen time this week, but where did it leave us at the end of the day?
So, Castiel is back and good as new. It was good to have the reunion pick up exactly where we were (cruelly) left off last week. To be deprived of the full reactions of Sam and Dean would have been an oversight, no matter if this isn’t the first time we’ve seen the angel return, given the note of finality it had this time around. Having said that, there was something lackluster or absent in this meeting that had me frowning just a touch.
First and foremost – did we verify that this was Castiel? So we, the audience that is, knew about Jack’s resurrection. But Sam and Dean didn’t. This could be anyone or anything in a friendly skin as this episode well illustrated later on. Nevertheless Sam and Dean greet Cas with open arms and ready acceptance rather carelessly. Putting that aside, maybe under the category of common sense eclipsed by overwhelming relief, I still felt the absence of “the conversation”. You know, that period where someone comes back from the dead and asks about what happened to XYZ, in this case – what about Lucifer? Where was Mary? Tell me about baby Jack. I’m sure it happened, as Castiel wasn’t confused when he saw Jack and never asked after Mary. But seeing some of it would have been cathartic, and may have given for a smoother feel to Castiel easing back into the group, given all that happened when he died – less glossed over, more emotional impact. That’s my nitpick about the return – thoughts?
The other question is whether or not Castiel is really himself. By all appearances, he is. Castiel had the flat affect, he knew Sam and Dean the way he should’ve down to quirks about how they sleep and cowboy fun. None of this negates possibilities that a tag-along isn’t present somewhere either. As was driven home hard in this episode, just because it looks like someone doesn’t mean it is that person. And one line in particular makes me wary, waiting for the other shoe:
“Can I just say I'm getting real sick and tired of fighting things that look like other things?”
Any theories out there?
The other big moment that warranted delicate handling was the meeting of Jack and Castiel. There are a few ways this could have gone; in the end it felt satisfying. When Jack meets Castiel he knows who it is and though there is a reverence between the two, there is more a familiarity. Instead of two strangers meeting for the first time it felt more like two long-time friends coming together after eons apart. And for Jack and Castiel, this is just right: they had a bond before he was born that transcended other understanding. So, their connection in this moment and the bond that seems to be just “there” the rest of the episode, works.
A Big Win
Last week, Dean was ready to accept death without a fight. In fact he really had no fight left in him, because the losses had just piled too high, too fast. This week it’s a whole new Dean: excited, eager, engaged. This is a Dean we know and expect. So much turn around in such a short time that he even endorses bringing Jack along on a case to Dodge City.
There was a great lightness about the episode that was more than welcome after so much intensity and headiness – last week especially. It was not only good to see Dean bounce back – if a little quickly considering how low he has been – but to have Sam acknowledge the dramatic turn around outright in lieu of his depression only days before. This made the dichotomy easier somehow.
In spite of the lighter quality, the humour and all around fun approach of “Tombstone”, episode six didn’t lose the atmosphere that has been present through season thirteen. The ghoul himself was a dark character and certainly had a quality of menace about him in every scene, and the loss of the young officer – Serg’s nephew – was tragic as well. There was nothing silly in that desire (and ultimate achievement) of vengeance.
Another impressive array of scenes and emotions from Alexander Calvert as Jack this week. Last season I admit, I was not excited for the Nephilim storyline: there was so much build up that surely the payoff could not possibly achieve all that was promised. Happily, I continue to be proven wrong. And this is because Jack is not about being an all powerful evil being, but rather about his struggle to be human.
There was welcome movement in Jack’s plot this week, beyond any tug-a-war about his powers or the debate of what he is, or might become. Jack is undeniably sweet: his eagerness and ability to lap up knowledge couldn’t be ignored on this case. With time and training Jack could be a valuable hunter on the Winchester team (Team Free Will 2.0). Unfortunately the set up for the casualty was there and Jack’s enthusiasm and want to be helpful, at the same time as a civilian had the same impulse (to play hero, that is, when he didn’t understand what he was walking into) meant Jack spilled blood for the first time.
Jack needed to leave the Bunker, and not under Winchester supervision, so sad though the circumstances they force a development long coming. From here perhaps we’ll have a chance to see Jack interact with more characters, creatures and environments. It also gave us a beautiful moment of “goodbye”, for lack of a better term, where Jack left the bunker. In a true Winchester move, Jack was making a sacrifice and leaving his “family” so as not to risk hurting them. His love for Sam, Dean and Cas is palpable and will undoubtedly be key later on. In the meantime, let’s watch Jack spread his wings (pun intended) and see where it takes us.
“Tombstone” was a breather that we all needed with some lighter characterizations during the first part and then some plot shifts at the end to tee up the story for the next run. Overall, the episode offered action and drama with the laughs that have been missing recently. Castiel’s return wasn’t quite the fanfare it might have been, but it wasn’t totally without acknowledgement or impact either. And the question remains – hints and foreshadowing ever-present – is it Castiel? Finally, Jack’s role through the episode, and most significantly the assemblage in the bunker at the end, are what make the episode in keeping with the emotional tones of season thirteen: powerful, somber, insightful and familial. “Tombstone” is worth a second watch – if not for the emotions then at the very least for the site of Dean in cowboy boots and a Stetson.
Is there foreshadowing present here or is that coincidence? What will become of Jack – good or bad? Thoughts on the episode as a whole? Share below!
(Images courtesy of HomeoftheNutty.com)