Supernatural 5.08 "Changing Channels"
Yet another unique episode to go down in Supernatural history is "Changing Channels", where the Winchester brothers stumble upon the Trickster while in town and go to investigate, mainly for the notion that they could talk to him about what is happening with the Apocalypse, only to get stuck playing the Trickster's game in taking on such roles and surviving whatever task their "character" is supposed to do. From being medical doctors to game show contestants on a Japanese game show to being crime scene investigators. At first thinking it's merely for amusement on the Trickster's part, Castiel appears twice during the game, realizing that something isn't right with what is happening, and surely enough the Trickster not wants to boys to accept their roles as vessels but is also, in fact, an angel himself. The archangel Gabriel, to be more precisely.
Coming down from the hilarity to seriousness, we learn that Gabriel had abandoned Heaven and had his own little witness protection cover, changing his identification by hiding under the guise of a Trickster. Basically he couldn't handle the shit happening in Heaven so he left, and really doesn't care which side wins as long as the fighting gets done with. It really provides a lot of interesting issues about Heaven and God and His children, from both angels and humans alike and such roles they have to play.
Angels and Humans: The Sense of Brotherhood and Family in Supernatural
I think what fascinates me, more than anything, is the more we're seeing of other angels, such as Raphael and Gabriel, both who are archangels respectively, the more we're seeing just how human-like they are with their worries, their fears, and how they feel about the current situation in Heaven and the Apocalypse in general. Seeing the differences in how the other angels are handling and dealing with everything that's happening and has been happening for who knows how long, of an absent father to having no clear orders, feeling lost and alone. Some either conforming to Zachariah's mindset while others simply just don't give a damn, like Gabriel. It's really incredible having other perspectives on this war, and it also proves that angels and humans aren't that much different after all.
Brother versus brother, family dysfunctions, all these qualities which was mentioned by Gabriel when describing precisely why the Winchesters were chosen to become vessels and why it's their destiny, and why they should fulfill it. The parallels between Lucifer and Michael and Sam and Dean are just so remarkably fitted together perfectly that, even though I knew of that connection, just hearing Gabriel say it in his own words floored me. Sometimes it just has to be straightforward in canon to make that impression on me, I don't know.
I felt sorry for Gabriel, I really did. Yes, what he did was cowardly by abandoning his family because he couldn't deal with their bullshit, but thinking about it in terms of one's own family, if something huge was happening, something that seemed like a mega apocalypse in your own home, and it recurs so frequently that sometimes it can become too much to handle. But even though I understand how Gabriel must feel with all this chaos happening, he has absolutely no excuse in not being there with his family. Dean was certainly right, it really doesn't matter what is happening, family is family, and you never abandon your family no matter how fucked up they may be. And that's the biggest difference between the angels in Heaven and the Winchesters at this point, one side has persevered and overcome many obstacles and, although still patching up wounds, they are becoming stronger as a family. Whereas the other side is losing hope and their faith, falling apart bit by bit, and what's left is only that tiny sliver of hope which is being held onto by Castiel at this point, believing that God still exists somewhere out there and believes that things will be okay in the end, as opposed to his brothers.
Kripke has mentioned time and again that Supernatural has always been about family and brotherhood, and that's the main theme here for all sides. Brothers, family, you never leave them behind and you never give up hope even if things seem at a loss and all odds are against you. Things may seem impossible, but sticking together and having hope, even if it's small, is enough to make it through the worst of times. Family is always there for each other, no matter what.
Castiel, the "Pretty Boy Angel", Holding The Faith
From this episode, although he wasn't really featured as much as I would have liked, something really occurred to me from how Castiel regarded Gabriel, not with words but with how he looked at him. He felt betrayed, of course Gabriel betrayed Heaven by abandoning them all, but that's the thing. Gabriel is an archangel, the fiercest of all God's angels and he just up and left. It must really hurt to even hear and see such a powerful being give up and lose all hope and faith, and just not really caring about the entire war at all. Their brothers are dying, being killed off if they don't conform, or losing their own dignity and faith, and all he can do is just sit back and watch waiting for it to blow over?
That must've been incredibly shocking for Castiel to witness, a fellow brother in arms in Heaven to just abandon his post, his entire family, without much of a second thought of the consequences. That look he gave Gabriel in the end? Wow. His entire family is letting him down, and that must be really distressing for him.
This is why I like the fact that Castiel still holds his faith close to him, like it's something to be guarded with his entire existence because that's all he has left. And that's sad, to see the angels, the archangels more specifically, losing their faith because of all that's been happening and just giving up hope about God in general, and right now it's only Castiel alone that still holds that faith so dearly. He has to believe for the sake of his brothers in Heaven, he has to believe for the sake of Dean and Sam and humanity, he has to believe for the sake of himself and not crumbling and just become nothing. Otherwise, what else is there for them all? If he doesn't have that gleaming bit of hope that somehow, everything will be alright in the end, everything just might fall apart.
One of the things that was brought to my attention, mainly by reading other people's reactions, is how Castiel might be perceived in Heaven. We haven't really gotten much about how the angelical ranking system works in the Supernatural universe and whatnot, though it's really gotten me thinking about how other angels from higher rankings treat the other younger or lower ranking angels. Gabriel calling Castiel "pretty boy angel" prompted this, and it might seem insignificant at the moment, but it does make one wonder how other angels regard others, at least from before. I don't know, it's just from the brief interaction Gabriel and Castiel had this episode alone had me wondering.
Anyway, this is precisely why I love Castiel's arc this season. We're seeing him holding the fort with his faith, his hope that he will find God, that he truly believes in God enough to find Him even if such angels like the archangels are having such doubts and either aiming to kill him or just not wanting anything to do with the war.
Memorable Moments of the Episode:
++ EVERYTHING FROM THIS EPISODE IS MEMORABLE AND AWESOME! From beginning to end, everything was just so cracktastical and amazing and hilarious and wonderful. It would take FOR-FREAKING-EVER to even begin mentioning all the things that went down that I loved, from the opening credits and the MOTHERFUCKING GAYEST THEME SONG EVER which of course it would be because it was a parody of FULL HOUSE! XD To the spoof on Grey's Anatomy (DENNY REFERENCE + horrid song playing during the operation, lolwhut!), Dean having an obvious fanboy gay orgasm with his fictional mancrush on Dr. Sexy dude -- therefore, it is canonically correct that Dean Winchester may very well be bisexual, if one would even care to deal with canon since we already know he's super gay for Castiel anyway -- THE JAPANESE GAME SHOW WHERE SAM GOT WHACKED IN THE NUTS! SAM ON THE GENITAL HERPES COMMERICAL! THE BOYS DOING HORATIO CANE IMPRESSIONS, JUST LOL!!! EVERYTHING FROM THIS EPISODE, OKAY?
++ I will say, the writers must enjoy torturing Jared if they gave him the clap last episode and then genital herpes this episodes. LOL! But I suppose that's what happens when one sleeps with Ruby V2.0. *shrugs* I wonder how many other STDs Sam will be getting this season....
++ GAY INNUENDO XINFINITY THIS EPISODE! "You're gonna need a bigger mouth" + Dean riding Sam (Sam as the Impala, or Sampala) and taking old from the truck/his ass? THERE IS NOT ENOUGH JOKES IN THE WORLD!
++ Which I still think Cylon even though it was KITT from Knight Rider, I'M SORRY I CAN'T HELP MYSELF! RED LIGHT GOING BACK AND FORTH = CYLON TO ME! PLUS ANGELS = CYLONS SO IT WOULD MAKE SENSE! IN MY HEAD ANYWAY!
++ CASTIEL'S ENTRANCE IN THE GAME SHOW!!!
YOU GUISE, THIS WILL NEVER NOT BE FUNNY. NOT EVER. BECAUSE CASTIEL + GAME SHOW + CONFUSED EXPRESSION + "UHHH....WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?!" = BRB DYING FROM LAUGHTER AND SQUEE! SO NOT JOKING I WAS CRACKING UP BECAUSE CASTIEL IN THAT KIND OF A SETTING IS MORE HILARIOUS THAN THE WHOREHOUSE, FOR SERIOUS NOW. AND HE WAS WORRIED ABOUT HIS DEAN AND WENT TO GO LOOK FOR HIM, AWWWWW! ♥ ♥ ♥
++ CASTIEL + BONDAGE!DUCT TAPE = MORE EPIC SQUEEING IDEK ANYMORE! XDDDD
++ Dean being all concerned over Castiel and asking if he was okay = ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ THEY SO NEED TO MAKE OUT ALREADY, GODDAMN.
++ TRICKSTER IS GABRIEL THE MOTHERFUCKING ARCHANGEL = BEST MOTHERFUCKING REVEAL EVER! I have always loved the Trickster since "Tall Tales", and I love him even more in "Mystery Spot", but this? I don't think it's possible to love him anymore after this episode because I think this is just awesome for such character development. I've seen many refer to this reveal as total retconning, and maybe it is, but it's the best goddamn retcon ever because we knew very little about the Trickster, and back then Kripke probably wasn't even thinking about the angel route for the Apocalypse when he first introduced the Trickster. Therefore this kind of retconning is acceptable because we got a reasonable explanation about why this was his cover and it made sense and it was in the context of THE PLOT, Y'ALL! YAY PLOT RELEVANCE!
++ Also, teaching of lessons about the boys and their roles just as he did to Sam in "Mystery Spot", and it really adds more to his last words to Sam in that episode as well. Everyone plays their roles in life in order to survive, which was their lesson here. But in the end, it was Dean teaching Gabriel a lesson, which I loved and kinda found mega hot that Dean was all taking charge like that. Rawr.
++ Whump!Castiel never fails to make me love him even more, the poor woobie. Getting all beaten up again. *hugs and pets my bb angel* WHERE DID GABRIEL SEND HIM, THAT IS MY QUESTION? D:
++ THIS GIF. NEED I SAY MORE?
Overall Unlike the previous episode, this had the mixture of having comedic over-the-top scenes blended nicely with the serious business that is relevant to the plot of the season, specifically the Apocalypse. This is what is needed when there is a break from the super serious and dark episodes, a blend of the hilarity and the dramatic angst which, in my opinion, is a lot better to have than just stand-alones they can be great but leave us wanting more plot-related episodes than just irrelevant ones. It's much better that way to satisfy everyone's needs for a good laugh and for a gasp and go "OH SNAP OH NO THAT DIDN'T JUST HAPPEN!" I did all of that this episode, thus I am fully satisfied. Needed more Castiel, though. Would have loved to see him wearing a white doctor's coat instead of the trench coat, just for kicks. But whump!Cas is also okay, too. ;p