Supernatural 4.10 "Heaven and Hell"
Continuing as the connective part from the last episode, Castiel and Uriel make the surprise visit to the location where Sam, Dean and Ruby have taken Anna, the girl who can overhear conversations of angels, to safety from demons who want her. It appears that the demons aren't the only ones, as Castiel and Uriel also want her dead, claiming that she isn't as innocent as she appears to be. It is learned in this episode, as the Winchesters try to understand why this girl is so important while protecting her, that she is in fact very special to the greater picture of things. Anna isn't just a girl with special abilities. She's an angel herself, an angel that'd fallen from grace many years ago and had been reborn mortal until recently when things started coming back and she regained her memories from her past life. But time is running out, as the angels want her or else they threaten to send Dean back to Hell, and there is no other option.
However, just as the angels are about to take her, Alastair appears with his minions, and it becomes a mini-confrontation between the armies of Heaven and Hell for this girl. In the midst of the fight, Anna steals back her "grace" to regain her angelic status and ascend and taking out Alastair with her. But that is not the end of this battle between the two sides, quite obviously.
The shocking revelation comes at the end, when Dean confesses to Sam what happened in Hell, from what happened to him to what he did to other souls. We hear the devastation of his forty years down in the pit, from being the victim to doing the vicimizing. This leads to more questions regarding his involvement in this war and why he was brought back, how will he play his role and what will happen in this battle between Heaven and Hell. Which we'll only get those answers after the holiday hiatus.
The Supernatural Angelic Hierachry
If there's one thing I like in my fandoms is consistencies to the plot as well furthering mythologies, and Supernatural has once again fulfilled that expectation when dealing with the concept of angels and Heaven. The show has mentioned it before this season but never gone deeper into it, until now and it wasn't until this episode that we're given background to the angelical way of things in the Supernatural universe.
It's not really news that angels had no freewill, they were meant to obey the orders of God, to do His will, to be messengers. But even with that in mind there's always going to be a series of different versions of what Heaven (and even Hell) is supposed to be like, depending a personal discretion and belief and how it fits into the mythology of the material at hand. From this episode, we learn that there are only four angels that have claimed to have seen and spoken to God, and the rest are supposed to follow through with their orders or else they would be killed or fall from grace. It doesn't necessarily have to be disobeying an order from God, but merely thinking for oneself as an individual instead as part of the collective minds of the other angels. How does that work or the exact order of things up there, we don't know. But apparently Anna's fall from grace was her wanting to be among the humans, to become human and feel what they feel, not liking how she had to be invisible on Earth while waiting for orders from God who she's never seen or heard from other then His own angelic messengers to the other angels in Heaven.
In actual religious lore angels are jealous of humans because they have freewill while they do not, though in Supernatural lore it is because of their experiences with humans that have them starting to question and even doubt, if they weren't already. But from evidence of Anna's fall and given the information based off of Castiel beginning to question and doubt certain things, there's a probability there may be other angels that are doing the same thing as well. We don't know how many angels are in the battlefield of this war, only that they are limited and since the angels aren't doing so well with protecting the Seals many might've died already (another question relates to where angels go when they have been killed; do they go to a particular place like pergatory or do they just cease to exist altogether? Same question goes to demons when they are killed instead of being sent back to Hell).
Another thing that is confirmed in this episode is that Castiel is Uriel's boss, however Alastair calls Castiel "kiddo" during the fight scene near the end. This has me pondering the order of things, or how God might've chosen these two to be paired together with the Winchesters in this war. Castiel was chosen to save Dean, as a result he's gotten more human interaction and is coming to understand that aspect through his contact and relationship with Dean. However because he is inexperienced, more or less, with these kinds of missions Uriel is made his partner based off his title as a "specialist" particularly in the smiting area. Uriel has mentioned he's done those tasks more than once, where I doubt Castiel has at all. Though their personalities clash as do their opinions on certain matters, it's obvious why Castiel is the boss in this matter. Despite Uriel being the more experienced, Castiel is more understanding and patient and compassionate; he's curious about humans and learning about them through Dean, especially studying Dean himself, it's an exploration of sorts. It's a perfect contrast, an angel of compassion who understands the value of life and the Creation from their Father and an angel that doesn't take any bullshit, who does the deed and leaves no mercy whatsoever. With the continuous threat of sending Dean back to Hell, while Castiel made the threat initially back several episodes ago I think it's Uriel who'll fully go through with that threat without a second thought if he ever had a chance.
The hierachry system of angels in this universe is interesting, because while it would seem right to have Uriel become the boss it is Castiel. And for Anna to have fallen it seems highly unlikely that her stealing back her grace would be a good thing. In fact, I think this is a dangerous combination even if she had saved them from Alastair. There was a reason she fell, and even if it was only from her wanting something more than blindly following orders there may be consequences or even a huge showdown because of this. Who knows what might happen, where this may be and what could go wrong?
Without this becoming a complete essay, which it already has somewhat, I am pleasantly surprised at how well this part of the mytharc has been researched and given some thought. I'm one of those fans that are pleased with this concept finally being addressed in the show, and to have this much revealed and for this to become a bigger aspect than we ever realized to the overall mytharc of the entire series is just remarkable to me. It isn't a simple thing of Angels = Good and Demons = Bad, because that kind of oversimplifying is a copout for something this complicated, and I'm glad they aren't going in that direction. We're meant to question things, and the fact that we're learning that even angels are sometimes questioning the existence of God or wanting to disobey orders and risk falling from their grace is making me giddy. Alongside the hardcore badass vision instead of sweet and always forgiving and nice to their human counterparts.
To make this thought-provoking and for the audience to start questioning themselves about what's happening, to make it complicated, darker and bleaker, it's something that rarely happens and the only thing I can compare this to is Battlestar Galactica. I see a lot of similarities between the angels in SPN and the Cylons in BSG. I may to a comparison later in a separate post or something, but I like the direction it's taking and I can't wait for what's next.
Dean Winchester: Memories from Hell
Another revelation in this episode was Dean big dark secret he's been haboring since his time downstairs. Now yes, I would've liked it if they'd done this where after being brought back he started remembering piece by piece his time in Hell, the memories flooding back through dreams and nightmares for him to piece it all together for the big reveal in the end, which would make sense. The reveal would've made sense in that kind of a buildup, for him to be oblivious until that very moment with Alastair. However, I think this works well too.
Horrifically, we learn what happened to Dean as he retells it to Sam. Being torn apart, tormented and tortured while hanging on those damned meathooks, until there was nothing left at the end of the day and then he would magically be whole again so the demons could start all over. But he knew Alastair because he was the one that made him an offer, an option that would spare him that kind of torment. The catch was, he would have to torture and rip apart other souls. We learn that for thirty years Dean refused, until he could bear no more and he accepted that offer and for ten more years until he was raised from predition he'd tortured poor unfortunate souls like himself. All this time during his confession, through his tears Dean grinds out that he wishes he couldn't feel anything; he wishes he didn't have to carry that weight around with him, of what he'd done, of what he did to those poor souls that were lost and scared and screaming just like he was.
This has me wondering what's been going through his mind all this time, from the moment he reawakened and dug himself out from his grave to seeing that he'd been given a second chance, not to mention that it was God that'd commanded him to be saved. Why was he saved? For what purpose will he serve, as the savior of mankind and this war? Is there some kind of divine plan in his destiny? Does he deserve this at all, after all he's done? So many questions that have yet to be answered, and it's making me wonder too. I do believe that this is Dean's chance at redemption, to be cleansed and see that there is goodness in the world, not just evil. But sometimes even the Good Guys have to make extreme choices. For instance, saving Anna was a caring jester and it's from the goodness of the Winchester's hearts, like always, but in the grander scheme of things they really need to shape up and start seeing the bigger picture. Dean especially. I love him, but I do admit he does tend to get on his high horse at times, even when the morality of the situation he is in the right.
This is why I believe Castiel was sent to save Dean. Aside from being understanding and patient that can deal with Dean's hotheadedness, we've already seen a kind of bond between them, a sense of familiarity to the point where Dean is relieved by Castiel's presence and to where Castiel can confide in him. If there's any chance for Dean to believe in a higher power, in God and Heaven and all those concepts he's had trouble putting absolute faith into, having a kind-natured and good-hearted, compassionate angel like Castiel who doesn't have much experience with humans help guide him in that direction. Surely Castiel is a warrior of God and have done things that aren't as merciful as one would like to see from angels, they are at war. Those kinds of things are to be expected.
This is why I wish for more Castiel and Dean screentime because it's only evident from their encounters that not only is Dean gradually gaining more insight to Heaven and God through this experience, but Castiel is getting something out of this too. Experiences with humans, understanding them, and becoming humanized in the process. This may or may not have some consequences because of that based on what we'd learned thus far, but they're changing because of the other.
And yes, this has been endorsing and increasing my Dean/Castiel shipper heart. What of it, huh?
Dean was pulled from Hell, given a second chance because the angels believe he can be a savior and possibly end this war. How and why this may be hasn't been revealed yet, but hey, we have until January to speculate more on that. Alastair said that Dean had "promise" based on the things he committed in Hell, but because he was pulled before he could ever be turned into a demon he's still good at heart. That part is also interesting, because it seemed that Alastair was expecting Dean to turn. But that's a demon for you, and also he could've been probbing him to remember or for the truth to come out. Either way, Dean is still Dean, just psychologically tormented.
So even if my wish for how his memories of Hell might've not been executed, this entire setup with him works in context. He's broken, and because he's Dean Winchester he's been keeping it concealed all this time, and when he broke down he really broke down, and let's hope that in the future this is something that'll help him overcome this. Redemption and absolution, definitely, which will probably help him achieve whatever fulfillment he has to do with God's mission for him. And that Castiel is involved somehow.
Memorable Squeeful Moments of the Episode:
++ Castiel was SO CUTE in this episode! ♥ I mean, okay, when isn't he cute but this episode just magnified that adorableness by simple gestures. From subtle glances and reactions to the expressions he made without words. It was all there from the beginning when he looked like he really didn't want to be doing what he and Uriel were going to do, to the fight in the end when Castiel tried to take down Alastair but realized he was overpowered. That frightful "oh shit" look was just, omgsofreakingadorable and I wanted to hug him even when he was being all BAMF!angel, y'know what I mean? It's those simple looks and glances that make me love him. Just, seriously. Misha? You're killing me with your adorableness. Anymore I think I'll melt into goo. F'srs. ♥
++ I will have to say, love triangle much? People thought it was the Dean/Ruby/Sam triangle but no, this is the Dean/Anna/Castiel triangle. When there was that last goodbye kiss that Anna gave Dean, the camera cut STRAIGHT TO CASTIEL and he was all JEALOUS!CONFUSED!SAD and just OMG! Subtle show, real subtle. It's all about the Dean/Castiel, yo. You know it, I know it, Kripke knows it. IT'S SO THERE YOU HAVE TO BE BLIND TO NOT SEE IT!
++ CHEESY ROMANCE IS CHEESY! The Dean/Anna stuff was rushed and awkward and I was not feeling it. Especially the cheesy sex scene which, yeah hi? Titanic SPN is totally not, and I rolled my eyes through the whole thing. Sry2say. Heh, whatev. It was mainly for the "last night on Earth" crap and Dean is a sex-aholic anyway, so that is partly forgiven. But otherwise, meh.
++ But other than that, I did like the reveal that she was once an angel who'd fallen. I think this opens the door for more things, and especially with setting up for more epic stuff it's definitely going to be interesting given all what we've learned so far about angels and Heaven and the war.
++ Dean made an Angel's in the Outfield joke. Hee! :D
++ "You guys are heartless sons-of-bitches!" "As a matter of fact...we are. And?" ♥ ILU CASTIEL, BB. That delivery was genius because he wasn't being sarcastic or smug at all, he was being absolutely serious with that pained kind of look behind his eyes throughout the whole scene. Again, not wanting to do what they were about to do but had to do it anyway.
++ Did anyone else see the angel winged shadows on the wall before Uriel and Castiel were zapped away in the beginning? 'Cause I thought that was uber cool.
++ The return of Pamela was awesome. I really like her, though I don't quite understand why she's so gung-ho with hosility towards the angels. Like, okay, I get that she's bitter about the eyes being burned out of her skull thing but Castiel DID try to warn her and she should know by now after that incident that celestial beings in their natural form cannot be seen by human eyes. She shouldn't be holding a grudge because of that. But oh well, sometimes you just can't win with everyone.
++ Genevieve definitely outdid herself in this episode, and I think she's warmed me up to her version of Ruby based on her actions alone. Last season we knew that Ruby would die to save the Winchester's asses, and she placed herself on the chopping block (or torture chair, in more literal terms) once again. That entire scene with her and Alastair with the torturing was painful and grueseom and dark, and so awesome. This show doesn't skimp over stuff like that (and can you believe the network was wary of the freaking suicidal teddy bear and yet allows this kind of dark crap? I mean, seriously). I still miss Katie but Genevieve really has put herself out there with this character, so yes I like her. This also says that she is dedicated to the Winchesters and she DOES NOT want to be involved with this bigger shit between Heaven and Hell.
++ "Dean, you're confusing reality with porn." That ongoing joke through the episode made me LOL. Oh Dean. XD
++ Y'know it's funny, despite not liking the sex stuff I definitely saw that in a fic somewhere....except it was Castiel and Dean. IT WAS TOTES SWIPED FROM FANFIC Y'ALL, OMG! Seriously, from the backseat of the Impala to the handprint scar and everything. We already know that Kripke and Co. know about the fanfiction and possibly have read or know about the amounts of Dean/Castiel fic there is out there, and decided to incorporate that but because the network are pussies and are afraid about making the gayness officially canon, instead they made the (technically) angel!sex canon. So, therefore, with the subtext and suspected intent from that, I conclude that Dean/Castiel WAS INDEED MEANT FOR THAT SCENE AND IS THEREFORE CANON! BWAHAHAHAA! *ahem* Yeah, I'm done. *g*
++ EPIC SHOWDOWN BETWEEN ANGELS AND DEMONS IS EPIC! ANGEL FISTICUFFS, YAY!
++ Hee, Uriel is one funny son of a bitch. I will say this, I like Uriel. He's one hardcore angel that doesn't give a damned crap about anything and takes absolutely no bullshit whatsoever. He's there for his job and will do whatever necessary, and just doesn't care. I like that. He's a badass motherfucker that'll smite you down before you can blink, and that in an angel? Is just awesome. Screw anyone if fandom that dislikes him because he's a "dick" to Sam and Dean. Uriel and Castiel >>>> you. Trufax.
++ I liked that Uriel is all "the power of God compells you, bitch!" on the demon minion's asses while Castiel is about to beat to crap out of Alastair, but instead is overpowered and is fearing for his life and then is SAVED BY DEAN. ♥
++ Awww, Castiel likes Dean, and he is his weakness! ♥ ♥ ♥
++ Yes, this squee part of the review is basically all about the Dean/Castiel. I have no shame. I love them, and I love Castiel and they are just so motherfucking epic and awesome and yay.
++ I am so loving my angels and Cylons comparison, because really the similarities are just uncannily awesome as I'm sorting it out in my head. I don't know, it's the whole concept that's making me giddy and I don't care if I'm the only one that sees it. It's all awesome, okay? And really, the more I think about it the more I keep wondering if Castiel is the Final Cylon. Holy shit, that'd be BEYOND AWESOME. :D :D :D
Overall: Certainly better than the previous episode, though I could've done without the random hookup but heh again it's Dean so whatever. It's not something I can like, though. But the real reason that I really liked this episode was that it introduced more concepts and aspects to the angels and orders of Heaven and how all that operated. It also projects some interesting parallels between Dean and Castiel, how Castiel's humanizing could possibly lead to problems along the way and what Dean's destiny may hold, especially him not wanting to feel any kind of emotion which apparently angels don't hold the same kind of emotions as humans do. It's all very interesting to see this and it could hold clues to their developments. And although there was a standoff between Castiel and Uriel and Alastair and his minions, that is only a taste of what could happen if the two sides actually came full force and that is something that we desperately either way to prevent or want to go all the way to protect the future of the world and for Lucifer to not rise.
Needless to say, things are going to get interesting after the hiatus is over. Which isn't until January and, I say again, WHHHHYYY?!?! But hey, we'll be getting more SPN and the return of BSG. More of my badass angels and Cylons, yatta! \o/