There are certain authors when, upon seeing their name in the "Written by" credits on this show, gives you the feeling that you know you’re going to get a great episode. One of these is Sera Gamble. She wrote this episode with the help of Nancy Weiner, who also has some great episodes to her credit (The Monster at the End of This Book, for example, was her story). When seeing those names on the screen, I had a feeling I was in for one helluva ride.
And boy was I right. This episode had freaking everything, but we’ll take a look at its various parts in turn. First, let’s take a look at the Winchester family. Actors Matt Cohen and Amy Gumenick were brought back once again as the young John and Mary Winchester, and they were once again fantastic in their roles. That aside, this episode had many fantastic scenes in it involving the Winchesters.
First and foremost, in my opinion, was Sam and John’s chat. This was, in a word, incredible. Sam pouring his heart out to his dad from a sideways direction, saying things you could tell he’s wanted to say for ages, was just astounding. Kudos should go to Jared Padalecki for his stellar acting in this scene, which was probably one of the most compelling in the entirety of the series. Dean and Mary also had an amazing scene. When Dean admitted to Mary, finally, as to who and what he really was…I was floored, by both actors. Overall, the acting in this episode was top notch.
Next up, the angels. Anna makes a triumphant return in this episode, and sadly goes out with a bang. I personally never disliked her character as much as others did, nor did what I think she was trying to do in this episode was inherently evil, however when she told Uriel that the Winchesters killed him in the future she did cross a line. I also thought the return of a younger Uriel was fantastically done, as he was portrayed brilliantly by Matt Ward.
The real star of the show this time, though, was Michael. When he appeared…I nearly stopped breathing. While Matt Cohen did an excellent job as young John Winchester, he absolutely shone as Michael. The conversation between Michael and Dean was just…astounding. Michael’s argument for Dean eventually saying yes, because free will is an illusion and Dean is just cruising to his destiny, was both compelling and believable even to me, and I’m a strong believer in free will. Hell, Michael had me convinced Dean was eventually going to say yes.
Finally, there were all the little things that made this episode amazing. The pop-culture references (especially when Castiel said he didn’t understand them); the little touches that made their 1978 believable (cars, mustaches, posters, etc); little things like Dean telling Sam to bend his knees right before the time jump. All awesome, all classic.
So this review has meandered a bit, and I apologize for that, but I’m just gushing so much for this episode I can barely write straight. This, like last season’s "In the Beginning", is a seminal episode in the entire Supernatural series. It brings together the past and present and sets us up for a future that we might not want to see (Dean saying yes to Michael). I just hope future episodes are as rich as this one, because the season is slowly drawing to a close.