Supernatural Rewatch 4.07 "It's the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester"
I had forgotten how much I loved this episode, not just because of having the infamous Dean/Castiel scene in the end but also because I enjoy any holiday-related episode, this being Halloween-centric and dealing with the rising of Samhain, which was one of the Sixty-Six Seals, was an interesting way of bringing forth the episode. I liked. Also, Kripke doesn’t skimp on the grotesque and creepy with the razor blades in the candy.
I have seen arguments amongst fandom about the treatment and portrayal of witches in the Supernatural universe ever since "Malleus Maleficarum", and quite frankly I don’t understand all the fuss to be honest. In the show’s mythology, witches get their powers from demons and are either willingly or unwillingly to sell their souls to gain such powerful dark magic, it’s what the boys deal with and it goes with the theme of the show so it’s nothing new. Every show has its own way of handling and dealing with certain mythologies, and that means tweaking them a bit to match with their own mythos.
But of course, this episode was all about the introduction of URIEL, the HARDCORE BADASS MOTHERFUCKING ANGEL.
From the moment he appeared, with his poise and his attitude and the way he spoke to the Winchesters, I knew we were in for a treat. Not only did I love the differences between him and Castiel but I loved the different presence he brought to the role of an angel of God, so to speak. This is precisely what we needed to see in the series, while we had Castiel giving us the threats in the beginning of the season, he's more mild-mannered and patient than what we see here with Uriel, who is a no-nonsense and all business. There is a definitely sense of authority there, that guy who you wouldn't want to face up in a fight because you know he could kick your ass and not regret a single thing. Robert Wisdom just had that presence about him, you know? You felt the tension in the scene whenever he appeared, from when he was standing facing the window in his first scene before he faced the boys to when he confronts Sam later towards the end of the episode. It's a perfect blend of a powerful and fierce celestial being that really couldn't care less about the mortal coil.
Which is another thing I liked about his character, and what I predicted would happen later on in the season. He had no problem voicing his opinions regarding humanity, calling them "mud monkeys" and describing them as "plumbing on two legs", which immediately as he mentioned this (along with Castiel calling out on his close call towards blasphemy) I knew he would wind up on the verge of falling, or on the road to it anyway because that is precisely that attitude that Lucifer had about humanity. We're now getting the sense of the differing stances of the angels, that they aren't emotionless as a later episode that I will not be rewatching/metaing seems to imply; they all have different personalities, likes and dislikes. Uriel is far more opinionated and lashes out at things, loves smiting first and getting the job done with little regard of what he is destroying, whereas Castiel follows his orders without question, is more patient and has more compassion towards humanity as we hear him telling Dean in this episode.
The obvious contrast between these two angels intrigues me. I loved how much of a counterpart Uriel was to Castiel, how they have this partnership that seems so estranged yet we learn later that they've been friends, brothers, through their entire existence. Someone had pointed out some time ago how they are almost parallel of Sam and Dean, at least in their brotherhood and differences of situations, which I do see some of that here, yes. But it's more apparent in 4.16, which I'll be getting to next.
So yeah, this episode really made me love Uriel. He was an unapologetic bastard who openly despised humanity and makes for a great antagonistic character who is supposedly on the side of good.
I do feel bad for Sam, though. We knew from before that he believes in Heaven and God and prays pretty much daily; he has that belief while Dean does not. Seeing him fanboy Castiel in that "omg there is an angel in the room" kind of way, apologizing by using the Lord's name in vain, extending his hand for a handshake (even more adorable when Castiel doesn't quite understand the gesture until that point). But of course, the angels know about his tainted blood, what Azazel had done to him, and Uriel pretty much uses that as his basis of disliking Sam freely before him. I can understand the Winchesters calling Uriel a dick because of that, among other things, although Castiel is certainly not a dick. I just wish there could have been a lot more Sam and Castiel screentime, because seeing him crestfallen over having his beliefs of pure angelic beings crushed? Harsh reality, man. Though it makes me wonder, the research geek boy he is, he would have known that angels are that fierce and badass, though I think this is more personally affecting him in terms of belief and faith than the scriptures. From here, we see the deterioration of Sam's faith just from this first encounter with these angels, though I hope he realizes that Castiel isn't all that bad. Even in 4.16 he seems to place the blame on Castiel for what happened to Dean, and I just hope the bias from this episode doesn't last long so we have more trustworthiness in season five, is all I'm saying.
Now, let's get into the infamous park/bench scene with Dean and Castiel.
There are many great moments between these two the whole season, though the bench scene was perhaps the greatest up to this point because it was the first heart-to-heart conversation the two had together. In a casual, domesticated setting, very peaceful and colorful. Just the way the entire scene is filmed, the way we have Castiel and Dean sitting on the two benches yet it appears they are side-by-side, overlooking the children playing freely, humanity in that town safe from being terminated. I LOVED LOVED LOVED this scene because of how at ease they are with each other. We see them bonding, connecting; Dean listening to Castiel has he confesses his secret about doubting and questioning orders, without questioning or taunting him back...hell, even when Dean cracks a joke Castiel chuckles and smiles. It's a small little scene in the end, but it was simply beautiful.
Even if one is not a slasher there is no denying the amount of chemistry they have together, both the characters and the actors in real life. There is no faking that kind of chemistry. SPARKAGE PPL, SPARKAGE!
My favorite part, though, is when Castiel talks about humanity being works of art, a nice contrast to Uriel's previous statements. It really says a lot about Castiel as opposed to his partner, and he's explaining it to Dean because he knows Dean would understand and he is the only person Castiel can confide in, knowing it wouldn't be wise to admit it to anyone else of his brethren. Also, from the moment in the motel you can see Castiel really having certain expressions of when Dean is defiantly standing his ground against him and Uriel, it's a mixture of disbelief he was saying it and respect for saying it. I think Castiel knew that Dean wasn't going to let the town be destroyed, but it's just the way he looks at him, particularly after Dean says, "Sorry boys, looks like the plans have changed." I don't know if that's Misha's intention or if it was written that way, but as we all know Castiel is starting to become slowly humanized by being around Dean. Him admitting that he prayed that Dean would choose to save the town says a lot about his growing affections and admiration for his human charge.
That being said, the bench scene will always remain a favorite interaction between Dean and Castiel, merely because it is just a simplistic scene but had a lot of heartfelt tiny moments. We see that Castiel truly does like Dean, confiding in him the way he does, and that Dean doesn't mind Castiel's presence. There is that certain bond with them that cannot be shaken, and I loved it.
Which leaves us to skipping passed other episodes and into....
Supernatural Rewatch 4.16 "On The Head Of A Pin
Skipping 4.09 and 4.10 for the obvious reason of avoiding much cringing and ranting on my end, and I kinda wanted to write up a meta for "Death Takes A Holiday" since I didn't do a proper review for it last time, but let's just say that I love Tessa, loved the continuity with that of Reapers in general and the sadistic bastard that is Alastair, loved Castiel appearing even if it was just for one scene, the hilarity of Sam and Dean and the sadness that came from Pamela dying
Or what I like the call, the Supernatural version of Battlestar Galactica's "Downloaded" episode; centering around the angels this time instead of Sam and Dean, and solving a mystery that bring shocking revelation. Because, you can't have angels without paralleling them to Cylons. I am just saying!
First, the opening scene gets me every time. Seeing Castiel arriving at the scene of the crime where his fellow angel sister has been mysteriously murdered. I had read prior to this episode aired that there would be an episode where it would open with Castiel instead of the boys or some random characters, and I was ecstatic about it. Because anything that opens with Castiel is guaranteed to be a worthwhile episode, indeed. I also loved the reveal of the angel wings burned into the concrete, like the ashes of their existence. Visually it is stunning and very unique and creative to do something like that (also gotta love how huge their wings truly are, we really need to see the actual wings for once instead of just shadows, that is my one wish if we ever get to see an angel's true form). I felt this was a great opener, really gives you the sense that this episode is going to be something special.
I would like to go into the rankings of angels now. So, many questions have been asked about the hierarchical order of the angels in Supernatural (Misha has been asked this numerous of times in interviews and at cons, and there is never really a straightforward answer to give to that). It is also the same with the rankings of demons, although with them there are obvious hints to give their ranks. With angels, it's trickier. Uriel was called a specialist by Castiel in 4.07 (though in actual religious lore Uriel is one of the archangels, however in SPN that is not the case), so I would categorize Castiel as just another solider, not the lowest rank but certainly not a higher rank than Uriel. So begs the question: how exactly does the hierarchical system work if Castiel's superiors were able to relieve him from his rank and place him below so Uriel was the one in charge? Furthermore, how exactly did Castiel get Uriel as his partner when he wasn't there previously in the first three episodes of the season?
Castiel mentions that his superiors are aware of his sympathies towards the Winchesters and feel that he would be unwise if the continued the way he was, thus letting Uriel be in charge and watch Castiel before he wavers off course of their mission. Which of course we learn later on that there is a particular reason why Castiel was ordered to not get too close to his human charge, whether he wanted to or not.
We see that Castiel is unhappy with being debunked down to being underneath Uriel's command, even more so when he is ordered to have Dean confront Alastair.
"For what it's worth...I would give anything to not have you do this."This statement says a lot about Castiel in this moment, and it breaks my heart every single time because we see him not only fighting showing that emotion openly, fearing that his superiors may be watching, but giving Dean the truth about his sympathies and yes, those feelings he does feel about him that have grown exponentially since they first met. We see him understanding what Dean had gone through and doesn't want him to do it, and admitting to stopping such a thing from happening without repercussions is just, omg epic stuff right there. Hell, when he's overhearing Dean torturing Alastair in the chamber, the way his expression is as he slowly turns towards the door is just heartbreaking. The same way he is slouching across the table is just very sad and chilling. The fact he was still there, listening in as Dean was doing what he was instructed to do, must've been painful for Castiel to overhear.
As for Dean using sadistic torturous interrogation methods, which was not only done to him but what he picked up and used in Hell, it was painful to see Dean like this and yet victorious in a way because of all the unresolved anger he has towards Alastair and what was done to him, and so on. At the same time though it's hard to see Dean revert to what he inflicted to other souls in Hell; just seeing him with all those tools, using those different methods of torture really does give us a mild glimpse into what happened in Hell. And that? Is absolutely terrifying.
I do have to say, both actors really did a fantastic job, Jensen in particular for going all the way and bringing everything to the table. Just, holy wow.
Although, I have wondered why they weren't concerned about the vessel that Alastair was wearing. Dean was pretty much torturing not only Alastair but also the man he was possessing, too. I'm not sure if that was accidentally not explained away, or had they reasoned with this and came to the conclusion that it was the greater good in getting the information they needed because otherwise it would've been pointless. I don't know. But that's something that's been racking my brain for a while since the episode aired, since the whole possession deal is an issue in the show.
Then, there are the startling revelations which unveiled themselves in this episodes. Shocking information that shakes both Dean and Castiel's worlds in a fundamental way.
"And it was written that the first seal will be broken when a righteous man sheds blood in Hell. And as he breaks so shall it break."This revelation shocks and stuns Dean because he knows that this may very well be true. He broke in Hell, after thirty years of enduring much pain and torment he finally accepted the offer to get off the rack and help torture other helpless souls. The information shatters him, even more than he already is when the memories, because learning that you're the one that started the chain of events that will bring forth the Apocalypse and the end of the world, yeah, it's definitely a horrifying shock. What's more is that he realized that his father, John Winchester, didn't break in Hell for nearly a hundred years whereas Dean went for thirty. Alastair taunts him with this, making him feel guilty, ashamed, and later on Dean admits that he is ashamed of this fact, saying to Castiel that he isn't the man neither his own father or God wanted him to be. Adding more heavy weight onto his shoulders.
Kripke mentioned that Dean would finally become personally involved with the bigger picture, and this certainly placed him smack dab in the middle of everything alongside his brother. He's not only in a prophecy but he has a special destiny to fulfill, which will be revealed later in the finale. I love this direction they're taking with him, but it's also heartbreaking because Dean has carried a lot of the weight and burden for a long time. Can't the poor boy catch a break for once? Jeez.
Secondly is the startling truth of Uriel's intentions, or pretty much the I TOTALLY CALLED IT segment of this rewatch. Once Uriel reveals that he was the one killing their brothers and sisters, that he has little interest in this world and the creatures, humankind, in it and why he did so.
Castiel: This is our Father's world, Uriel...Seeing this scene again reminds me why this reveal is absolutely wonderfully shot, because we are so heavily focused on Castiel's reaction. He turns his back to Uriel as he rants about humanity, and his facial expressions are perfect, reacting to these words as though he cannot believe what he is hearing. His own brother going against Heaven, against God, it's unbelievable! We see him taking it all in and coming into this realization as Uriel reveals more of his plans, about wanting to start a rebellion against Heaven and actually bring forth the Apocalypse and raise Lucifer instead of ceasing it, praising Lucifer instead of God. And that, to me, is the brilliance of this entire scene because this is directly from biblical lore itself.
Uriel: Our Father! He stopped being that, if he ever was, the moment he created them! Humanity! His favorites. Swining, puking lava!
The War in Heaven, God and His angels versus Lucifer and his angels, the splitting dividing line that creates a civil war amongst the angels, the fact that angels are allow to doubt is just so amazing in and of itself. It's just so...perfect, and with how they're handling everything surrounding the Revelation concept in this show is completely brilliant. I love it, I love it all. Makes me REALLY pining for more angel versus angel battles in the upcoming season, for sure.
But Uriel shouldn't have died. Castiel should have gotten the upper hand in this fight, because he does need to win a fight at some point instead of being a punching bag, but Uriel shouldn't have gotten killed off because he was the most interesting character next to Castiel and actually served a vital purpose to the show (and should've killed the useless bitch that killed him, just saying because it's true). And it would have been interesting had he survived and had only taken off after being beaten to become a threat to Castiel and the Winchesters, and Heaven essentially, later on. So many possibilities with that, especially with there being other angels that had been converted over to what Uriel was proposing. It would have been awesome, you know? Uriel and those angels against Zachariah and the rest of Heaven against Castiel having then joined the Winchesters. That would have been epic shit right there.
However, something occurred to me that's been repeated in this episode. The garrison of angels. The definition of the term "garrison" is a group of troops stationed at a specific location, so this has me wondering how many garrisons there are formed in Heaven. Are there numerous groups or just one huge collective one? If Castiel and Uriel are part of one of many garrisons it would make a lot of sense that Uriel would start converting those brothers and sisters in his own garrison before branching out in conversion of others for his cause.
But we go from Uriel's betrayal and death to the hospital scene with Dean and Castiel. Like the bench scene, this was a lovely moment but for a different reason.
Castiel is sitting beside Dean's bedside, and it seems he's been there for quite some time, and it's a favorite moment of mine because after all that's been said and done, after discovering such revelations they come together in the end. Dean asks about the truth of him breaking the Seals, Castiel tells Dean about Uriel's defiance against Heaven and God. It really is a companion in a way to the bench scene, them being together and revealing these things, though it's not at all happy. It shows us that despite everything, they can be together to unload. Even though Dean seems rather pissed at the fact that he had to do all of that to Alastair for nothing other than learning about his part in starting the Apocalypse; although Castiel is perhaps feeling the same way about his orders, about how come Heaven didn't know what Uriel was up to, how he didn't see this coming, and that everything that was set up for them had been all fabricated. So they're both in the same rut.
Especially with the connection of Uriel's betrayal to Castiel being the same as Sam's betrayal/lying/sneaking around Dean; Castiel loses a brother, while Dean has the sense that he's probably already on the verge of losing his brother, too.
Of course Dean's last words of "find someone else, it's not me" is truly heart wrenching. Aside from the single man tear Jensen manages to do in several episodes this season, there's the pain and guilt, and Castiel says nothing. Because he, too, is unsure about everything, as Uriel was furthering his questions about Heaven and the orders he's receiving. But I am very certain he does believe in Dean, he just doesn't want to make Dean go through more than he's already endured.
I do have to mention that I understand their frustrations, but I would at least have hoped that Sam would have given Castiel the benefit of the doubt. When Castiel was trying to explain the situation to him in the hospital earlier in the episode Sam was still infuriated about what happened to Dean, which is understandable, but I can't help but feel that this is also his bias towards the angels in general from their first meeting. I think he knows that Castiel didn't mean any intentional harm, but I think his deteriorating faith is blinding him. Amongst other things, as Castiel witnessed Sam kill Alastair with his demonic powers, something Castiel does not approve of at all and is what the other angels disapprove of as well. Something that Sam doesn't seem to understand or get inside his head until it's too late. Though in the extended scene Castiel admits his sympathies for both Dean and Sam, so with that we learn despite all of that Castiel's growing affections towards humans, and becoming humanized himself in the process, is truly affecting that overall generalization against Sam's demonic blood. Which is nice, though we knew from before that Castiel is more sympathetic or at least more lenient towards Sam, so there you go.
Overall, "On The Head Of A Pin" remains one of my favorites because it is all about the main plot and mytharc, it features a lot of Castiel which is ALWAYS a plus in my book, and it centered a lot of his self-discovery and realizations of what is happening about him with the other angels, with Heaven, with his own faith and belief, and his personal affections for the Winchesters in general. It shows us the unique concept that even angels are allowed to doubt and have questions regarding their loyalty and faith, and seeing Castiel's journey through this episode truly was wonderful to see. Misha really delivers in every scene he's in, the dynamic of Dean and Castiel and Castiel and Uriel are the best in this episode, by far.
Also, Robert Wisdom? You will be missed because you brought in the hardass hardcore angel from Heaven and I really wished you could have stayed longer on the show. You were awesome. ♥
ONE MORE WEEK UNTIL S5 PREMIERES, U GUISE. ONE. MORE. WEEK. HOW WILL WE EVER SURVIVE?