Friday, March 20, 2009

On the Head of a Pin-Spoilers Abound


I knew going into this episode that it would go places I did not want the show to go, so reviewing it is going to be tough. Now we know what Sam didn’t like about drawing demons—eek! Who knew, watching Season One, we’d end up here? Even though Ben Edlund wrote it, I’m pretty sure this isn’t going to be cheery.

We open with Castiel kneeling beside a blonde beauty with an odd-shaped wound below her throat. He leaves as the cops arrive, and the camera pulls out to reveal the shadow of angel wings behind the woman.

The brothers are fighting in the Impala. They’ve just come from Pamela’s funeral and Dean is frustrated and angry. When Sam suggests they hook up with Ruby, Dean snarls that he doesn’t care. Sam argues Dean should be getting angry, not wary. They step into a motel room and there are Castiel and Uriel. Dean unleashes his anger on them when they ask for help. Dean snaps that they’ve just been helping another seal remain closed. The angels reveal that seven angels have been killed, and they need to find the demon who’s doing it. They need Dean to torture Allistair to find out who it is. The look on Dean’s face as they bring up his living nightmare, ask him to relive it….heartbreaking. Uriel says they’re not asking, and the angels disappear with Dean.

Dean looks into the room where the angels are holding Allistair in an elaborate devil’s trap. Dean still resists, and asks to talk to Castiel alone. Cas looks weary. He reveals that his superiors are questioning his sympathies, that he’s getting too close to his humans, that he’s beginning to expression emotions, and it’s affecting his judgment. He reveals he’d give anything not to have Dean torture Allistair after Dean warns him that if Dean walks through the door, Castiel won’t like what walks out.

Okay, here’s Ben Edlund’s touch, the snark of Allistair. I love this character. He taunts Dean, even as he’s chained to this Devil’s Trap. Allistair tells Dean how he tortured John for almost a century without breaking, that he was made of the stuff of heroes. Then he taunts Dean that he only lasted thirty years, that he wasn’t the man his father wanted him to be.

This is the part I found out about by accidentally watching a Canadian preview. I was hoping Allistair would reveal that John had broken, because though I like John’s character, I hate seeing Dean become more twisted up inside by knowing he had failed his father. Dean buries his reaction, as he’s so good at doing, and tells Allistair that he’s dreamed of payback, and he has some ideas. Some of the snark disappears when Dean loads a syringe with holy water.

Back at the motel, Ruby shows up to help Sam find where the angels have taken Dean. She thinks Sam is worried that Dean has to torture Allistair. Instead, Sam tells her he doesn’t think Dean is strong enough for the job, and Sam has to do it. And the way Sam gets strong enough? BY DRINKING RUBY’S BLOOD. Uh-huh, that’s right. (I actually saw this in that damn preview, too, and was thinking, “Tanya’s not going to like this one bit.”) So…wow, Kripke. That’s the part of pulling demons Sam didn’t like. Well, hell, he sure seemed to like it now.

(Can you believe my laptop battery died and now I’m watching over my shoulder as I type…grrr. I had it on the charger, damn it.)

We go back to Dean coating a knife with holy water as Allistair asks if Dean really thinks torturing Allistair will give him closure. Allistair reminds Dean he carved him into a new animal and there’s no going back.

Okay, the creepy is that Dean really seems to be into this.

The camera cuts to one of the pipes Allistair is strapped to, slipping, and a drop of water sizzles on the ground, erasing a line of the devil’s trap. Oops, we know what that means!

Outside the room, lights flicker and Anna returns in her old body, though it was destroyed. She said she called in some favors to get it back. She demands (okay, not demands, way too calm for that) to know why Cas is letting Dean do this. He tells her it’s God’s work. She doesn’t buy that torturing is God’s work. She’s afraid he’s going to ruin the one real weapon they have. Castiel chides her for questioning God’s will, but she doesn’t think it’s God’s will. She believes the orders are coming from somewhere, but not God. She doesn’t think God would ask that of Cas. She points out that what Cas is feeling is doubt.

Dean is meanwhile doing some awful things to Allistair. Not watching. Ick.

Anna tries to convince Cas to stop it, but he claims he’s not like her. She doubted and fell, and he’s not willing to do that. He tells her to go.

Meanwhile, Allistair reveals the Big Deal. The event that started the apocalypse. Because Dean doesn’t have enough baggage, he now learns that he broke the first seal when he, a righteous man, sheds blood in hell. Allistair wanted John to be the one to break the seal but he wouldn’t pick up the razor. Dean’s weakness got the ball rolling, started the dominos falling.

Dean turns his back, trying to recover himself, and when he turns back, ready to end Allistair, he finds the demon free of the trap and ready for payback. He beats the holy hell out of Dean and pins him to the trap. Dean is dying when Castiel rushes in (hello, where have you been?) . They fight and Allistair pins Castiel to the wall, ready to send him back to heaven in a kind of exorcism when Sam stops him, pinning Allistair to the wall (hey, Sam’s the only one not pinned to the wall tonight!) Castiel watches as Sam tortures Allistair without touching him, revealing that Lilith isn’t behind the deaths of the angels. She wouldn’t kill seven, she’d kill hundreds. Allistair taunts Sam to send him back to hell, but Sam reveals that he can KILL DEMONS WITH HIS MIND. Holy. Hell.

So he does. Man, I liked Allistair. Cas is absolutely freaked out. This is Not Good.

Dean’s back in the hospital, intubated, Sam by his side. Castiel comes by and Sam begs him for a miracle, that Dean deserves it after doing what he did for the angels. Castiel can’t, and his doubt deepens. He meets Uriel in a snowy park. Uriel is freaking out because he’s been told to stop hunting the demons responsible for killing angels. Cas tells him what Allistair said, what Anna said, that maybe the orders are coming from heaven, but not God. Both angels wonder what is going on up there. Are they being punished because they’re losing the war?

Cas calls Anna and tells her he’s considering disobedience, that he’s beginning to feel. She tells him it’s only going to get worse, that making choices is confusing and terrifying. He’s not sure what to do next. He needs her to tell him what to do, but she won’t.

He returns to the room where they held Allistair and inspects the devil’s trap. Uriel joins him to see if Cas is ready to fight with him (fight who? I missed that.)

This episode is just full of surprises, because while Cas is questioning why a leaky faucet can undo the work of angels, and Uriel reminds him that the only thing that can kill an angel is another angel, as he unsheathes a lethal looking knife. Uriel loathes being trapped with humans, and claims that God stopped being their father when He created humans. Uriel wants Castiel to join with him to raise Lucifer. Uriel envies Lucifer’s strength and beauty, and the fact he didn’t bow to humanity. He was cast out for standing up for the angels, according to Uriel. Uriel urges Cas to believe in Lucifer, and that God no longer cares about what they do.

Cas asks what Uriel’s plan was. Did he want to kill the whole garrison? But no, he’d only killed the ones who said no. He wants Cas to help him bring on the apocalypse. Cas fights him, and dayum. Hell of a fight, and boy, is it wrong to think an angel is sexy? Uriel has the upper hand, and is about to deal a killing blow, proclaiming there is no God. Then he jolts as a blade slices through his throat. Anna leans in, with one of the most awkward lines I’ve ever heard on this show. “Maybe not, but there’s still me.”

So, Allistair and Uriel are dead. Cas goes to the hospital to sit by Dean’s side. Groggy Dean sounds JUST like his daddy. Cas reveals that Uriel was working against them. Dean asks if it’s true, that he broke the seal. Cas confirms it. He says as soon as they learned Lilith’s plan, they laid siege to hell to get to him, but were too late. He then tells Dean that blame doesn’t fall on him, fate does, because the man who breaks the first seal is the only person who can end it. Dean does not want to hear that. He knows he’s not strong enough. He doesn’t want this responsibility. He’s not the man his father wanted him to be, or that God wanted him to be.

I love how so many story threads came together in this episode, and smoothly, IMO. Watching Dean torture was rough, knowing the effect of Allistair’s revelation was rougher. I hate what Sam has to do to get stronger in his abilities. I hate that Allistair is gone, since he was my favorite demon since Meg. I loved everything else (except forementioned line from Anna. Really, Ben?)

What did you think?


Anonymous said...

>>>“Tanya’s not going to like this one bit.”

LOL--no I did not! But I realized where they were going with the scene right after he said "I need it" I assume the writers were being coy, thinking we might guess sex, but, um, after seeing some of Sammy's last few scenes, he seems more the type just to throw a gal up the wall than act like a junkie desperate for a fix. Except, in a way, I think that's what he's becoming (the situations are different and actually kind of reversed, but I had a Riley flashback from BtVS). I've never shared Dean's total objection to Ruby, but was it me, or did she look kind of evil during the--ew, er, feeding? I didn't like her expression.

And I could barely stomach the torture scenes, but DANG, someone give Jensen an Emmy or Golden Globe. Or my phone number. (What? Boy needs a hug.) The expression on his face when Allistair revealed that Dean kicked off the apocalypse? Wow. Just that muscle working in the jaw and his look of subdued anguish--I was near tears (don't even talk to me about later in the 'sode when Dean was beat all to hell and actually in tears).

There was a moment right before commerical break when I actually thought Cas was gonna buy the farm and screamed at the TV, so I for one was perfectly happy to see Anna. Finding out that Uriel was a bad guy is no big surprise, but I don't think I could have taken much more shock last night! BTW, Cas looked pretty shocked too--and not a little scared of Sam.

Next week looks funny on the surface, but they're not fooling me. It'll be all jokes and ha-ha right up until someone gets gruesomely decapitated and repressed angst ensues.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Excellent write-up! I can't comment without writing a book, so I'm gonna do that on my own blog. But I have to laugh, Mary, that you hated Anna's line. I loved it. I thought it was the actress's best delivery, and I was pumped that a woman did something powerful and game-changing.

This episode was amazing, and almost everyone deserves an acting award--Jensen and Christopher most of all!

phouse1964 said...

I loved this episode for keeping me on the edge of my seat for the whole hour!

Both Dean and Sam were heartbreaking. I don't know how Dean is going to pull through. This is the first episode where I felt he was truly defeated at the end. I think Sam is right. Dean is not strong enough. But he'll find it somewhere. Maybe in Sam (after a couple of more episodes of angst)

I was glad to see Anna. I like her bitchy better than that innocent thing she was at first. As for Ruby, I was glad she didn't talk much. It's a little sad (ok, not really) to see Alistair and Uriel go but I have a feeeling we will get some new baddies to replace them.

This was one of my favorite episodes of the season so far because of all the reveals and what I think is is the setup for the beginning of the end. Oh, Show! How I love you!

Anonymous said...

>>>But I have to laugh, Mary, that you hated Anna's line. I loved it

LOL, Natalie. You're such a subversive element :-D Seriously, though, you make a great point about getting to see a woman save the day! I'm not one of those who finds the show is mysoginistic, but it's definitely nice to see a moment of girl power.

>>>As for Ruby, I was glad she didn't talk much

Snort. I wonder if I would have liked Geneieve Cortese better if we hadn't had Katie Cassidy first? I mean, it's impossible to compare them, and I really like Katie in the role.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

LOL Yes, I have to find a way to be subversive every day.

I haven't cared for Anna that much, but that one moment worked for me, that's all.

It amuses me that in general, people both hated Katie Cassidy then and hate Genevieve Cortese now. I like them both. I think Cortese's delivery is a little too soft in comparison to Katie's, but that Katie could have never pulled off the seduction of Sam. I think they've both fulfilled their purposes well.

I always figured Ruby had an underlying purpose, and that it was a self-serving one, but I always thought it went parallel to what she was helping Sam do. Now I think everything she's said has been a potential lie, and that maybe it even goes so far as to be serving Lilith's endgame. Kind of like Mad-Eye Moody was helping and befriending Harry so he could deliver him to Voldemort.

Geez, I need to stop comparing this to Harry Potter! LOL

MJFredrick said...

I was glad to see Anna save the day, but thought her line was very awkward.

I'll take phouse's comment one further-I think it was one of the best episodes of the entire series. Two teachers I didn't know watched it came up to me today (everyone knows I'm a fan), and we all squealed together. So. Good.

I would like Genevieve better if I hadn't liked Katie so much. I heard Jared's dating Genevieve.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant write up and I absolutely crazy loved this episode. It was amazing and I can't wait to have the time to rewatch it. It's killing me to see Dean so defeated and broken. Jensen was amazing. And when Sam started sucking at Ruby's wrist like an addict, and her expression was so satisfied, smug and evil, I about died. What a freakin' great twist. I could happily go on and on. But one thing I kept thinking was that God needs to have some kind of staff meeting or send out a celestial memo so people know exactly who're they're getting instructions from. LOL. I also want to know who they're going to cast as Lucifer. He's gotta be totally bad ass. And an aside on all the comments, I would've loved to see Katie's Ruby and Sam go at it because I think it would've been totally hot. LOL.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

I also want to know who they're going to cast as Lucifer.

I'm not sure they will. I mean, once the seals are all broken, and Lucifer rises and there's hell on earth, well, then they've lost, right? I don't think we want it to go that far.

That said, they DID send Dean to hell and found an awesome way to bring him back, so we can't rule it out!

Norah Wilson said...

Finally saw the episode! It's not on until Friday in Canada, and if I miss it, my fall back is usually Saturday at 5. Didn't come on until 9 p.m. Nearly killed me to wait, but what an episode!

And yeah, Ruby definitely looked evil. I'd always thought their end goals were the same, but this ep had me thinking...

And Dean...OMG, Dean! What a great job Jensen did with this.

But I gotta say, I've had a bit of a crush on Catiel right from his first scene, even with that "holy tax accountant" look. He is soooo gorgeous. But now...OMG, now, I lurrrrve him.

Tough times ahead for our boys. I think we need a visitation from John Winchester to tell Dean he's the furthest thing from a disappointment.

Anonymous said...

You may be right, Nat. But it's still fun to think of what Lucifer would look like. ;) Plus, supposedly, the final episode is called Lucifer Rising.

Anonymous said...

Ooh, I like the idea of daddy telling Dean he's proud of him. Any reason to bring JDM back is alright by me.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Norah, I'm with you on Castiel--my love grows ever deeper with each episode--and JDM coming back. I think an interaction with him would be just the thing to jump-start Dean into fulfilling his destiny.

Terri, after I posted my comment I saw the title of the last episode, so now of course I think you're right. I'm in full despair at the very idea, but I think you're right. LOL