Supernatural Rewatch 4.21 "When The Levee Breaks"
It’s like being gutted with a knife and slowly twisting the blade in your gut, that is precisely what this episode felt like. This was almost on the level of emotional pain that Battlestar Galactica delivers on a daily basis, there was so much angst and manpain for both the Winchester brothers as well as for Castiel. So much heartache, so much betrayal, so much depressing moments between all these characters that it just sets everything up for what’s to come in the finale and onward.
Let’s talk about Sam in this episode, since I haven’t really discussed much about Sam and his situation much before, which is also very depressing.
For me, Sam pretty much had this coming to him; he lied, he used his powers despite having told Dean he wouldn’t, he’s been drinking demon blood to get himself hyped up, this is someone who is in denial about what he is doing and actually thinks he’s doing this for everyone’s sake. We see him pleading with Dean, trying to convince him, yet Dean doesn’t buy into it. Then we get into the (incredibly awesome) hallucinations from his detoxing phase from the demon blood, from Alastair to the younger version of himself, to a mean-spirited version of Dean, to even his mother. All which are messing with his mind one way or another, as though his conscience is fighting itself to make sense of what is happening to him, hence why the hallucination of Mary was convincing him that he was in the right while Dean was in the wrong, which is so not something she would do.
I will say that, for the record, I really appreciated and enjoyed seeing them pushing Sam over the edge and heading in this dark direction. It’s something we’ve all contemplated and thought about, and actually seeing him hit this rock bottom was something I never thought they would have the guts to actually do on the show, but they did. However, that doesn’t mean I have to like what he did to get him there.
It makes things so interesting how there’s this dividing line between Dean fans and Sam fans, calculating how many times Sam has been featured in season four as opposed to Dean and all that other ridiculous stuff. Whatever, both the Winchester brothers are equally important to the story and the plot, and I do love them both despite the stupid things they do.
Seeing the big brother showdown in the end wasn’t as shocking as many seem to make it out as, since this was in the making since the beginning of the season – ever since Dean smashed the lamp after discovering what Sam has been doing behind his back in 4.04, for example – and I even predicted this would happen at some point in the series, having Dean and Sam completely butt heads without the influence of a spell or demonic possession. I will say, I’m kind of disappointed that it only lasted two episodes – since I do enjoy a good brother versus brother fight, even if they do work better as a team – but I still think this fight was more brutal than anything that’s ever happened before them. Not only are they so desperate to get the other to understand their side of things, but from Dean calling Sam a monster and from Sam thinking that Dean is weak – both were hard blows, and especially with how much of a wreck both are at this point it was meant to draw them apart, being part of the bigger scheme of things as manipulated by the angels.
Dean repeating the same line that their father used – “if you walk out that door, don’t you ever come back” – hurt, much more than the physical blows because it truly shows where the brothers are in terms of their relationship. They have been opposite ends almost all season, and they’re finally realizing this and going off in different directions. Again, part of the ploy, but it was necessary for them to have this time apart.
Which brings us to the deal that Dean unintentionally brought upon himself as being, well, Heaven’s bitch for a lack of a better term, though highly appropriate.
Deal making is something of a curse involving Winchesters, even if they do it without really thinking about the consequences of their actions the outcome is almost always the same. Now, granted Dean is gambling with Heaven and not Hell this time, but does that make matters better or worse for him? As evidenced in canon, Heaven is kind of nearly the same as Hell in terms of using a human’s vulnerabilities in achieving their own goals, and although Heaven is supposed to be the good side as opposed to Hell and its forces, we haven’t really seen much of the “good guys” without there being some sort of catch or vague separate agenda. So, in this case, while making deals with angels might not seem all that horrible, it is very unpredictable and not exactly smart unless one knows their full intentions – which we find out in “Lucifer Rising” precisely what the angels need from Dean, basically making him a prisoner to their own purposes.
This is, of course, also taken metaphorically in a symbolic manner as Sam (the Antichrist) has gone off with a demon while Dean (the Christ-figure) has become part of the angels. What? I like these kinds of symbolisms, and it works perfectly in terms of where things are heading for the show.
Castiel. Oh, my poor morally conflicted Castiel, so torn with knowing what is right and wrong yet having little say in the matter of what he has to do. His pain, his anguish and his inner torment is clearly shown on his face, especially his eyes, as he emotes what he is feeling without really showing it outright (thank you, Misha Collins).
It’s still amuses me some hated Castiel for what he did which, yeah, letting Sam out from the panic room was definitely not the greatest thing since he went right back to sucking demon blood like a heroin addict, but we learn this was in the angel’s big master plans; plans he didn’t like or agree with, but after the knowledge we know now it’s obvious he was on the short leash and being watched constantly after his trip back to Heaven for a disciplinary hearing of sorts. To hate on Castiel for being forced to do this isn’t the way to go, hell, there’s still some people that had to forgive Castiel after that. I think it’s ridiculous, especially when you take everything into perspective of what’s happening and understand from his point of view – but you know, not everyone does, which is a pity.
Again, the show is about choices and decisions, and Castiel didn’t have any choice in this matter, he had to follow the orders of his superiors or else.
I kind of love watching the scene between him and Dean because we see their dynamic growing more clearly even if things are kind of rocky for them all at that moment; so much happening with them and it’s all setting up for what is to come. It’s tense, but it’s also perfect. When Castiel appears underneath the light (artistically done by the show, very nicely done by the way) with a kind of indifferent tone to his voice, proving to his superiors that he is doing what they instruct him to do, not beckon to Dean even if he has called and prayed for help for over an hour – also giving Dean a chance to realize, possibly, that Heaven doesn’t always have to answer to his needs all the time. From him slowly walking to Dean, taking his time, and then when he says, "say it" his LOOK. Oh my God, his look as he glances over to Dean – you can see how he doesn’t like it yet has to request this of him because it was his orders.
Of course, got to love that long pan-away shot of Castiel and Dean in the junkyard, clearly demonstrating how alone and trapped situation both characters are feeling at that moment, but it makes it easier to see, from a shipper point of view, just how easy the show makes it to have all Dean/Castiel scenes so utterly angsty and gorgeous. Just saying, because it’s true.
In his final scene in this episode we see him alone, kind of internally angsting over what he has done which will set everything into motion, and that despite what occurred in 4.16 with the whole “make your own decision” thing, it may seem like an easy concept to us because we’re human thus we have freewill and think it’s unfair, however angels are underneath a stricter, harsher reality that if you disobey there will be severe and dire consequences. Castiel learned this lesson after being sent back to Heaven, against his will mind you, and at this point realized that freedom of choice and decision-making is all a pipe dream. He does not like it, but that is the way he’s always known it even though he fully understands now the truth behind the façade of what his superiors have been planning all along. It’s a tough call to make, but it’s obvious that he’s scared, not only for himself and possibly for his other brothers and sisters, but for Dean as well.
But yes, this episode hurts. A lot, though I kinda like shows that hurt me because I want to know how everything will play out in the end, and knowing the Winchesters eventually they will come back together somehow, though with Castiel...Heaven is all he’s known, following orders is all he’s known. Without that place he calls home, the fellowship with his kin, where does this leave him?
Supernatural 4.22 "Lucifer Rising"
I still maintain that this, right next to the season one finale, is probably the best finale and cliffhanger out of all the Supernatural finales, and with very good reason.
Obviously, the final revelation regarding Heaven’s true plans for the Apocalypse wasn’t horribly surprising to me, because in truth if one follows where the show has been taking this particular storyline in the mytharc there have been hints at this reveal. Although I admit to being slightly ecstatic about the entire angel mythology in general, that with researching what this season has been focused around, biblically speaking, we can get an idea of where everything is leading towards. In the Book of Revelation section of the Bible, it is shown that there are Seven Seals that are broken, and on the Seventh Seal seven angels sound their trumpets that bring forth the Apocalypse onto the Earth.
"When he opened the Seventh Seal, there was silence in Heaven for about half an hour. And then I saw the seven angels who stand before God and to them were given seven trumpts."Looking into this and other passages/verses of the Revelation, when taken into context with everything that’s happening it’s not a coincidence that the show purposefully used the Book of Revelation as the basis of their storytelling of this season. So, at least for me, having it finally be revealed that the angels want the Apocalypse to happen made me incredibly giddy because, come on, it naturally had to happen this way.
~ Revelation 8:1-2
I also found it very interesting the mass differences between many of the angels, and there seems to be at least three different divisions of angels in Heaven at the moment, from what’s been evidenced so far in the show:
1. The angels that want the Apocalypse to happen, to have Lucifer rise into powerThere is of course a fourth division, the angels that have absolutely no fucking idea what is happening and are getting killed in the battlefield for nothing more than allowing this façade and charade Heaven is playing to continue, which Castiel could have been in this category had he not even questioned or considered doubting his orders or have been influenced by humanity at all. Because from the beginning, as I mentioned before, he definitely had the poise of a soldier at war who understood what he was doing, followed his orders without question and did what he needed to do. Now? Not so much.
2. The angels that want the Apocalypse to happen, Lucifer to rise and be defeated so Heaven can take over Earth as Paradise
3. The angels that are caught in the middle, having doubts of their orders and liked the way things were before things got so out of control
And I have to say Zachariah is becoming a nice antagonist in the show. He’s no Uriel that’s for sure, but I really like how he’s being written and how the actor portrays him. It’s also incredibly fascinating when we see other angels regard humanity as nothing more than pesky specs of dirt they’re to get rid of. In fact, when he compares Dean to a howler monkey throwing feces (a reference that angels that despite humanity greatly seem to like using, comparing mankind to monkeys), it’s quite obvious where he stands even without revealing the shocker of wanting Lucifer to rise and the Apocalypse to happen. Also, this line in particular:
"This isn’t the first...planetary enema we’ve delivered."Basically, calling us humans shit in the most literal and offensive way possible, and that by definition of an Apocalypse it’s to get rid of half of the human population to start anew again. In this case, getting rid of most of humanity and calling Earth their Paradise after Lucifer has been defeated by Dean’s hands. TELL ME AGAIN THAT ANGELS ARE NOT CYLONS, COME ON NOW! I DARE YOU!
And, of course, the "God has left the building" line with his tiny smirk still gives me chills.
But it makes me interested how many superiors or higher ups are there in Heaven that have these same ideals and views, how many have objected and been killed or punished in the process? How many are like Castiel who are stuck in the middle of obedience and doing what they know is right as opposed to the blasphemy that is occurring upstairs? Will we see more of these good-natured angels soon? Castiel can’t be the only one.
As for Dean – I know most are worried about him becoming this Saint with some sort of special ability of whatever, but I don’t think that’ll happen. I do, however, consider Dean an embodiment of the Second Coming, in the metaphorical sense.
I fully believe that he is the Christ-like figure of the show, just the way he is always sacrificing himself for his family, for innocent people, in situation after situation and never getting anything in return; the Winchesters are basically martyrs, by their own fate they have always done things selflessly, Dean especially having to take on all the responsibility ever since he was a kid. Not that Sam is left behind in this, since he’s also suffered greatly, they both have. But I find that Dean has more weight on his shoulders because of this, whereas Sam is going in the opposite direction. Which is why I don’t think Kripke is going to give Dean powers or become something special like that, but this is more for Dean and his journey of discovering his own strength, his own salvation and beating his inner demon by defeating Lucifer.
Of course, as I mentioned in my previous meta about Dean’s special destiny, it could also mean that perhaps the only way that they can defeat Lucifer is by using their humanity, and by “they” I mean both Sam and Dean.
As for Castiel – I could go on and on about how much I adored Castiel in this episode, from the scene with him just lingering in the background and Zachariah was speaking and the way he had his hands behind is back like a good little soldier and his eyes flickering up and down as soon as Zachariah told Dean about that little deal, that guilt he felt, to when he and Dean have their little confrontation of Heaven and destiny and decisions and choices – again, what this season mainly focused on – and his awesome badassery of finally making his first decision ever, to be beside Dean in this fight instead of Heaven. Or, more importantly, his superiors since perhaps there is still hope that Heaven has more soldiers like him that defy these orders. And of course, the final moment of him standing at Chuck’s ready to hold off the archangels.
Castiel as grown so much over the course of this season, I am thoroughly impressed with how the handled his development and learning process of humans, and his devotion towards Dean which is always adorable, and I am very happy that they kept his character around, and having the contrast of him when he was first introduced as this mysterious, badass angel to him in the finale, confused and conflicted between what is right and wrong anymore. He will, of course, have to suffer the repercussions of this decision in season five, but I loved that his first real decision he made was on Dean’s behalf, and I love that.
"Yeah, well, we’re making it up as we go."LOVE. LOVE IT ALL. JUST LOVE.
Oh, and by the way, the altered message on Sam’s cell phone? Definitely messed with by the angels. Ruby was only smirking because she knew Sam would go along with her plan, one way or another, giving her the advantage that she had been waiting for.
The ending is definitely a lovely, even more powerful when rewatching it all the way through, with the convent and Lilith in that white dress, knowing what was coming to Ruby’s betrayal (still hated how they made her turn out, but whatever) and the slow-motion moment with Sam looking back at door with Dean screaming and Ruby yelling at him to finish the job, and then he does. AND OMG HOLY FUCKING BLACK EYES BATMAN! That is definitely not the effect of the demon blood, which does have an effect on him despite what Ruby says. Unless it was all in his head and it’s just the effect of his own powers that was creating that detoxing process in the previous episode. We’ll see next season how all that plays out.
Even though this last moment of Ruby’s was kind of nice, I still think it was way overacted on Genevieve’s end. The whole “I’m awesome” was a bit much by the character’s standards, then again I’m comparing the enthusiasm to Katie’s last season so I don’t know. At least it was rather symbolic for Ruby to be killed by both the brothers, Sam holding her as Dean rammed her own knife into her, which was pretty damn cool. Pretty much brings the two brothers back together after everything that has happened between them.
I would consider this season a bit problematic because all the recurring females were all killed off, but in all honesty? This was the only season where I greatly dislike two of the recurring female characters and how they were handled, in both writing and in the acting. Pamela is the only recurring female role that I liked, but of course they killed her off. Oh well.
Then, comes the rising of Lucifer and the fade out to white that everyone was amazed by, and leaving us with an awesome cliffhanger that leads us into next season.
WHICH STARTS TOMORROW, SLKDJFL:SDJF:SKJDFLSKDF
Overall, this finale and this entire season has been one hell of an epic ride, from the expansion of the mytharc and the introduction to theology and religious themes with the angel mythology and whatnot, the growth and revelations of Dean having a destiny and Sam going off on his dark path and everything else in between creating that rift between the two brothers – it truly was an amazing season. I loved it, absolutely adored it and was on the edge of my seat the entire time, and if season five is anything like this, or perhaps even better than season four? I don’t think there would be enough squee in the world.
SEASON FIVE BEGINS TOMORROW, U GUISE HOLY SHIT! I CAN BARELY CONTAIN MY SQUEE. GIMME GIMME GIMMME IT NAO! *grabby hands*