Renée (rogueslayer452) wrote,

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SPN: "Lucifer Rising" Episode Review + Meta

Um, this is probably my first EPIC BEYOND EPIC episode review ever? Until I writeup the BSG series finale review that's been prolonged, but yes, Supernatural has created a meta-monster outta me. Go figure. This is also very Castiel and religious-meta heavy, mostly Castiel-centric though. Of course.

Supernatural 4.22 "Lucifer Rising"

And so it begins, the beginning of the end. The Supernatural fourth season finale gives us the big bang to what we've been craving for throughout these past seasons; revelations for the endgame, the destinies of the Winchesters that intertwine with the larger picture that's been foretold from the very beginning.

In this episode both brothers struggle with themselves and their relationship which during their confrontation in the previous episode had them in a bitter standstill. Sam tries to deal with his brothers words as he gets closer to discovering Lilith's location to kill her once and for all, while Dean, taken by the angels in a "safe location" as the end approaches. However, both are hit with heavy anvils as startling truths are revealed; Zachariah reveals to Dean that they never intended to stop the war, and in fact Dean's mission is to fight Lucifer himself. Castiel also struggles with his own morality, between his orders and what he deems right, his relationship and bond with Dean to that point, and makes the ultimate decision for the first time in his entire existence. Meanwhile Sam, going back and forth whether what he's doing is right or wrong, successfully kills Lilith...only to discover that he successfully unleashed the Final Seal, realizing he's been played the entire time.

The season cliffhanger leaves these two Winchester brothers, filled with devastation and regret with all that's happened, standing frozen in place as they watch the sigil formed from Lilith's blood break the seal and unleash Lucifer from his prison.....

Castiel's Journey: Morality, Conflictions and His Relationship With Dean Winchester

It's no secret that Castiel has become my one of my favorite characters on the show, ever since he was introduced in the premiere episode of this season. Right from when he says "I'm the one who gripped you tight and raised you from predition" and "I'm an angel of the Lord" to Dean, immediately my interest perked up. Originally his character was supposed to have minimal episodes, but from popular demand by fandom Misha's contract was expanded and we got a whole load of character development which has captivated me throughout the entire season, intermingling with the larger mytharc and even with the Winchesters as Castiel, the angel, grows and evolves and becomes part of the show itself.

These last several episodes weighed heavily on this development, and I have to say I approve heartily of what they've been doing, particularly in this finale where it had been a pivotal moment to Castiel's character as a whole.

First I'd like to focus on his struggles with his own morality. For a while I had been worried about Castiel, since he came returned from Heaven he seemed changed, distant and cold. I feared the worst, as most of fans were, whether Heaven had demolished all his personal experiences which had been causing him to stray from his orders, lobotomizing him in a way. However the next time we see him his entire body language reads that he despises what he's been ordered to do, and his eyes even say more than words could, from there we knew he was being held on a tighter and shorter leash by his superiors and is constantly being watched. He doesn't like it, but has no choice in the matter. He is a soldier of Heaven and he's been instructed to comply to any order given without question or hesitation.

Castiel is stuck between a rock and a hard place, constantly struggling internally of what is right and wrong in the position he's placed in. Here we see him standing obediently behind Zachariah, his superior, not doing or saying anything. He simply cannot, because that's what he was ordered to do. Throughout the first half of the episode Castiel looks like a puppy that'd been kicked, repeatedly. He knows the end is coming, he knows the endgame and that the angels want it to happen, and he knows the fates of the Winchesters, but there's nothing he could've done at that point. He's not cold or unfeeling, in fact his quiet demeanor tells us the exact opposite. Castiel does feel, he has strong emotions about this upcoming war and how Heaven's being operated.

Which brings us to something incredibly vital he stated in this episode. When confronting Dean, Castiel says this:
"What is so worth saving? I see nothing but pain here! I see inside you. I see your guilt, your anger, confusion. In Paradise, all is forgiven. You'll be at peace, even with Sam."
This is perhaps the most vital scene for Castiel, not only concerning his relationship with Dean but also with himself and how he views the world. He's emotionally unloading himself before Dean, trying to make him understand. He's desperately clinging to something, he wants his entire existence to mean something, he doesn't want to believe there isn't any God, that he has to blindly obey orders that he doesn't agree with, that everything he's witnessed isn't just. He's trying to convince Dean here, but he's also trying to convince himself, that despite everything Heaven is this "paradise" that he's always known. This is where he's torn between sides, where he's merely hanging on that thread of who he is and who he's becoming because of this one human he's come to know and understand, and love.

I've seen people questioning what Castiel is saying, that whatever happened to his notions that humans were his Father's grandest pieces of art. Well, in the beginning even as Castiel was having doubts and questioning certain things he was only beginning to feel, the experience humanity like he's never known before; as a heavenly soldier and unfamiliar with mortality he was a bit detached for a while. But because he's starting to feel for the first time in, like, forever, these emotions are getting the better of him and the more he feels the more affected he'll be to other emotions around him. And with his knowledge of what Heaven has planned, what they did to him, combined with these newfound emotions that are completely foreign, he's starting to see things from a different perspective. That innocence? Gone.

I don't think he'll stop loving his Father and His Creations, he may still believe that humanity are pieces of art, but due to his experiences he's changed. He's become more aware of things around him and it's affected how he percieves things. In fact, when he confronts Dean it's almost like he's asking why Dean would choose pain and anguish and despair over eternity in Heaven, in Paradise, and that's just heartbreaking.

Also from that statement it says a lot about his relationship with Dean. So much he unloaded, this is perhaps the best moment between them throughout the entire season. Because the scene was so raw with emotion, the tension which could've been cut with a knife, everything. They are both pleading in desperation, and it's heartbreaking seeing them like this and yet it's compelling because it says a lot about how much they need each other. Dean needs Castiel because he's the only one, besides Sam, that has proven he can be trusted even if his superiors are sketchy with their so-called motivations. In turn, Castiel needs Dean because he's come to understand humanity through him, before he understood only what he was supposed to know. But from his personal experience through Dean he's come a long way of understanding both sides of the war that he's completely conflicted, and Dean is the only one he can truly confide in. He trusts him, and clearly everything Castiel has done has all been for Dean. Everything. He's sacrificed himself, pulled him from Hell, confided secrets he wouldn't tell another being, prayed for him, even bent the rules of his order to help Dean out, and he got punished for that.

Everything Castiel has done has been for this one human, and it's heartwarming and bittersweet and heartbreaking all at the same time. Because sometimes it feels almost one-sided as Dean hasn't even acknowledged these things, not verbally. Even though we know he appreciates and trusts Castiel, he hasn't shown it as deeply as Castiel has shown his appreciation and care and hope and faith in him.

This episode truly marks the shifting moment in Castiel's journey, as he finally makes a decision for himself and chooses to help Dean and defy his superiors and Heaven; sacrifcing himself even though he was absolutely fucking terrified of making that choice which Dean had pleaded him to make, fearing that once he did that they would all be hunted and killed without mercy. Castiel makes his choice, and it's for Dean. It's always all been for Dean. He defies Heaven's orders to do what he believes is right, and he sacrifices himself yet again by placing himself between Dean and the archangels, yelling out: "I'll hold them off! I'll hold them all off!" just before sending Dean to go after his brother, having him alone with Chuck at his side as the archangels burn brightly outside.

Now had I not known beforehand that Misha was returning next season, I would've been absolutely fucking terrified for Castiel. He truly made a self-sacrificing decision in that moment, as he could've gone with Dean to get Sam but instead did what Dean had said to him previously, that what they were fighting for was worth dying over. Which would've been a noble thing to do, after the entire season of going through this self-discovery and journey, his first self-made decision would've been his last. Which is...frightening and sad to think about, which makes me very glad that he is returning next season, otherwise I'd be giving myself a heart attack here.

Now I have my theories about Castiel versus the archangel. Either he'll end up fighting with the archangel but escaping just in time and/or the archangel disappears because Lucifer has been risen, or the archangels are actually on his side which would make for an awesome revelation next season, adding more good angels on the side of Heaven than the corruption we've been seeing.

Overall, Castiel's journey has been a fascinating and also heartbreaking one. I love the concept of angels and Heaven being introduced and put into the Supernatural mythos, but I don't think I've ever been as deeply fixated and attached to such a character like Castiel. From the directions they're taking his character and Misha Collins just giving it his all in this role, Castiel is truly an amazing (and tragic) character and I cannot wait to see what is in store for him next season.

Let The War Commence: Heaven's War and Lucifer Rising
"And war broke out in Heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the Dragon; and the Dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in Heaven any longer." ~ REV 12:7
I admit, once it had been revealed that Heaven was wanting this war to be unleashed and for Lucifer to be released from his eternal prison, I fist-pumped with absolute glee. Why? Because I had long-ago predicted this would happen, it was inevitable had anyone cared to read up on Revelation, which is precisely what this entire season had been centered and based around. It just makes sense because we were given clues earlier in the season, and once finding out that Uriel had gone off mission and was converting others to this exact cause that Zachariah had mentioned, I immediately knew that Kripke was going in this direction, and I'm happy he is.

And I'll say this as I've mentioned before, in the Bible, preferably the Book of Revelation, in which once the Seventh Seal was opened that unleashes the Seven Trumpets of Judgment, sounded by the Seven Angels, that brings forth destruction upon the world; literally destroying one-third of mankind.

Heaven's angels be motherfucking fierce and ruthlessly hardcore, seriously.

Obviously Kripke is using this piece of religious lore and molding it to fit the mythos of the series as a whole, but the concepts rings true all the same. Again, me being happy they are actually using this mythology into the show, makes things much more interesting, and questioning the moral rights of the situation at hand. When Zachariah tells Dean that this wasn't the first planetary enema they've delivered, I knew they were focusing on previous destructions of mankind or worlds in the past. Though, like many people are thinking that Zachariah is evil and corrupted, which I'm not arguing that because he's definitely dangerously righteous, but the angels seem to have destiny on their minds and believe that because of Dean setting loose the Apocalypse, he must finish it. By destroying Lucifer, their enemy and rival. Why him specifically seems to have been foretold in prophecy, but how to achieve this since Dean is only one man against this incredibly dangerous and powerful creature? That has yet to be revealed.

If the show plans on making the religious mythology just so, them being the "agents of fate" as they've proclaimed to being means manipulating the courses of things so the endgame can happen based on their own agenda. Whether the world burns or not in the midst of Lucifer's rising doesn't seem to matter to them. Humanity dead or alive, some of the angels don't really care, even detest humanity in general as Uriel had. This can lead to something I'm desparately praying will happen next season: another war in Heaven.

War in Heaven, as it also mentions in the Book of Revelation, as it appears there are those angels that want the war to commence and for Lucifer to rise, there are others I'm presuming who are like Castiel that oppose this very notion. My predictions and wishes for next season is to have more angels join up with Castiel and the Winchesters as to not only stop the Apocalypse but also to fight against those in Heaven that have lost their faith in God, their Father and Creator, since this is also part of their own judgment; purifying the unfaithful and unjust deeds (just as the corrupted want to do with humanity) to regain the natural order of the universe again.

I also predict that even though it's prophecy, Dean will not kill Lucifer. Defeat him probably, but by that I mean sending him back into his eternal prison. Granted I keep thinking about Legend and what the Lord of Darkness says ("You think you have won? What is Light without Dark? I am part of you all, you cannot destroy me, we are brother eternal!") and using that in comparison to what might happen in the very end of Supernatural. This is only my speculated thoughts, since demons and evil does still exist even without Lucifer roaming about in this universe, but still. Even though it would be awesome and amazing if the Winchesters could fight off Lucifer and destroy him once and for all, I kinda hoping that they leave it ambiguous. Like if the show were to introduce God, they would do so discreetly without really acknowledging whether God had appeared to them or not.

Nevertheless, I'm overly excited and enthusiastic for what's ahead. I have no clue what they'll do, and hopefully they won't screw anything up, but they've done a faithful job so far so I'm have faith in them to keep it the way they've been going. The religious and theological aspect added into Supernatural has really intrigued me, I admit. Not that I wasn't before but meshing it with the mythology of the show adds a lot more perspective to everything, piecing it altogether as we're heading towards the end of the line for the boys and their epic journey. Makes things much more fascinating and exciting.

The Winchesters: Back On The Road Again?

When the episode started the brothers were at a standstill, separated by their previous heated argument of conflicting ideas of how to go about things, in different mindsets altogether. Of course, both were conflicted and torn from their last confrontation that they kept trying to understand the other and even tried to communicate via phone, and they only came back together briefly in the end once everything had been said and done, obviously apologies on both sides. Quite frankly, even though I am grateful the two brothers are back together again especially now when the end is totally fucking nigh, I guess a part of me is kinda disappointed their conflict didn't last longer than two episodes.

I mean don't get me wrong, I love the boys and they should be together, hunting side-by-side instead of the constant lying and distrust and worrying and being scared of the other. Because their brotherhood is stronger and more epic than any other sibling relationship in television, and yes they were on this tail end of fighting with one another for most of the season. I guess my disappointment comes from my high expectations of having a full-out brother versus brother battle, which unless Kripke has Lucifer possess Sam's body, I don't think we're going to get that especially since now that they both understand the roles they're to play in this war. They'll need each other in the days ahead, for sure.

Which I guess is all for the better, since the boys work more efficiently when they're on the same page and mindset, so I'm happy that after everything they've come together. The main concept here is family, it's the entire mission statement of the show.

But are they truly alright with one another? Can they truly bounce back after everything that's happened between them?

They're both on the ends of guilt for what happened in terms of the Apocalypse. Dean for opening the First Seal, and Sam for opening the Final Seal. Everything comes full circle; Lazarus Rising, Lucifer Rising, and from the looks of things they've unintentionally set things into motion that could mean the destruction of the world unless they can stop it, perhaps together because they are the Winchester brothers. Even if it's prophecized that Dean is to fight Lucifer, there is no frakking way he can do that alone without help.

Memorable Moments of the Episode:

++ The filming style. I have this thing for cinematagraphy, since it tells a story all in its own. I liked the blurred shots in the beginning and then at the end as the screen fades into white. I loved the looming shots of Dean instead the Angel Room, going from overhead and even shot through the harp strings, but most of all? I absolutely loved how the room's brightly colored tint grew darker, more dreary, once Dean finds out the truth from Zachariah of what Heaven has planned for the war and his destiny. Setting the mood and tone just right, that was sheer brilliance.

++ The Angel Room. I call it that because, um, have you seen the interior of that place? Angel paintings hung everywhere, angel figurines, a gigantic golden harp, the very fancy-shmancy interior design which looks like something from a Victorian style catalogue. Yeah. They totally didn't skimp on making it seem incredibly awesome and even expensive for such a luxurious place to hold Dean against his will.

++ Though seriously, silver platters with dozens of hamburgers and beer....but no pie? DON'T THE ANGELS UNDERSTAND DEAN AT ALL? HE WANTS HIS DAMN PIE, DAMMIT! Makes me wonder if Castiel would've protested to be like "um, if you wanna bride Dean go for pie." lol


++ Zachariah is one smug righteous asshole, and I....kinda like him? There's something about the corruption and how he seems to deem himself more superior than anything, even though he talks about higher management I think Zachariah wants to take control over Heaven with all his notions. What'd y'all think? Though I lol'd when he was all being Dean's pimp. XD

++ How come most of the angels are sarcastic whereas Castiel is more reserved or kind of naive when it comes to jokes or sarcasm? I find that rather interesting.


++ EPIC DEAN/CASTIEL IS EPIC! It needs to be said because it's absolutely trufax. There is no denying they have amazing chemistry, their interactive scenes were just so raw and intense that you could literally feel the heat vibrating through the screen; the emotions running high, the feel of fear and desparation and betrayal, and they justified and victorious as Castiel makes his decision but then scared again just, holy fucking crap can these two just make out already?!?! Srsly. This pairing is just...motherfucking epic on so many levels.

++ LOL Dean punching Castiel only to hurt his hand. Anyone else thinking Terminator when that happened? It sounded like his fist collided with steel. LOL

++ Castiel unleashing his emotions like that in front of Dean...has he done that before? Not like this, not in such shaking desperation that it looked like he was going to cry or breakdown. And when he was saying "if I do this, we will all be hunted, we will all be killed!" his EYES people! His eyes were so wide with fear, he was FUCKING TERRIFIED. If there's anything to be worried about is a fierce angel of the Lord being TERRIFIED about something. Oh, Cas. ***hugs him forever and ever because he deserves it***

++ "We're done" D: DON'T BREAKUP WITH HIM DEAN! DDD: You can totes tell he didn't want to say that, though. And Castiel looked so torn at what Dean was saying to him. My pairing, it hurts so bad yet so good.




++ LOL @ Chuck.

++ Bobby is kinda awesome. Some are suggesting that it was OOC for him to explode on Dean, but I kinda agreed with him. Dean was ready to give up on his brother, but the thing about family is that you NEVER give up on them. Because family is still family, your blood, even if they do stupid things you still love them. While Dean was crushed and yeah Sam wasn't acting like himself and had made that choice, Dean shouldn't just give up. Though I can understand why, since I was feeling the same way Dean was about Sam. Tired of fighting the same battle and not getting anywhere fast, etc.

++ I've said it many times before, and I'll say it again because of the revelation we got it rings so much truth: ANGELS are CYLONS. More trufax than ever before.

++ Ruby's death. I will say I wasn't impressed with Genevieve's portrayal of Ruby, but this episode I felt she at least did her best performance since it would be her last. I'm not necessarily saying she was pure "evil" like many are throwing around (which people in the SPN fen use that term so loosely these days), but she definitely was not doing good things with her manipulative plans for Sam. I do believe she cared for him, even developed feelings for Sam overtime and believed that this was his destiny and he should embrace it. But heh, her death was justified as Dean rammed her own knife into her. Poetic justice, and while that was nicely played this Ruby will NOT be missed.

++ But I kinda loved the symbolism there; Dean killed the one that had been separating them this whole time, which makes it even more awesome looking at her death scene as Sam holds Ruby while Dean kills her, it's like they are working together for the same purpose once again.

++ All in the same, I feel there are a few holes in Ruby's storyline, comparing S3 to S4 there are certain things we should've gotten more answers to but were never mentioned again. Such a great waste to what would've been an awesome character as she had been in S3. Oh well.

++ "You didn't need the feather to fly, you had it in you the whole time, Dumbo." Okay, I have to admit that was well played too. It also adds more complexity to Sam's destiny and if he just needed that preparation from Ruby to get stronger in believing he was getting stronger through the demon blood. And even if she denies it, she WAS poisoning him.


++ O HAI THAR YELLOW-EYED DEMON. LONG TIME NO SEE, EH? But oh, the Sixty-Sixth Seal being hidden underneath a convent, oh ironical is that. Heh. The nun massacre though was disturbing, but more disturbing was Lucifer talking through the dead!nun. Holy crap.

++ The sigil made from Lilith's blood was kinda creepifying, but in an awesome kinda way.


Overall: I MOTHERFUCKING LOVED THIS FINALE, LIKE WHOA. Capslock aside, I really truly did love this finale. While yes there was no big huge battle between angels and demons or anything like that, but we are given answers to questions we've had since the beginning, even from questions that have risen from the beginning of this season as they were brought up. Like what Azazel's endgame was, why he was choosing "special children" like Sammy, what Lilith's purpose was, the angel's plans for the war, the truth about Ruby, Castiel's decision which changes everything for him (and hopefully he'll come out from it okay). Along with EPIC DEAN/CASTIEL which was FTW and MOTHERFRAKKING HAWT LIKE WHOA. It doesn't trump the S1 finale, since I hold that as my favorite, but it totally outranks S3's finale and even S2, mostly because S2 had some resolution whereas here we get a cliffhanger which leaves us going OMGWTFLUCIFER?!?! Yeah.

Season five now, plz Kripke?

This summer hiatus is gonna kill me dead, just you wait.
Tags: castiel, meta: supernatural, show reviews: supernatural
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