As we look forward to the next episode of Supernatural, #9.02 “Devil May Care,” which airs tonight, let’s take a look at the season 9 premiere, #9.01 “I Think I’m Gonna Like It Here,” from last week.
The long hiatus is finally over. But as is typical in the Supernatural universe, time is all a matter of perspective – a five month hiatus is not even 24 hours in the life of the Winchesters — and the story picks up right after the meteor-shower-like fall of the angels.
What we think is a conversation in the car between the two brothers is really just the beginning of an internal struggle going on in Sam’s mind as he hovers between life and death – the scene in the Impala is not real. As ‘Dream Dean’ tries to explain the situation to a disbelieving Sam, we cut to the real world where a somber doctor is telling Dean that his brother is dying. The doctor goes on to tell Dean that they’ve done all they can and Sam’s life is now in God’s hands – which doesn’t sit well with Dean at all. Looking to a more reliable source of help, Dean prays for Castiel to come and save Sam and when he receives no answer, he takes a more drastic approach – putting out an ‘all points bulletin’ for any angel within earshot that can help the Winchesters. This causes quite a ripple on ‘angel radio’ and suddenly there are angels making a beeline for the hospital — and they don’t seem like they are all aiming to help. The Winchesters (and Castiel) are, once again, on the Angels’ Most Wanted list, even though it is Metatron who kicked them all to the curb.
Back in Sam’s head, Sam ponders the question of “to be or not to be” with his inner version of Dean, who wants him to fight the good fight no matter what. Suddenly they are joined by ‘Dream Bobby’ in the back seat of the Impala who has some strong opinions on Sam’s options, too. As Dean and Bobby argue over whether Sam should fight for his life or fade into the sunset, the scene becomes reminiscent of past moments where Sam and John Winchester would bicker as Dean found himself stuck in the middle. Dean and Bobby are the proverbial angel and devil on Sam’s shoulder, but it’s rather grey which was is angel and which is devil.
Bobby decisively whisks Sam off, amid Dean’s protests, to a serene wooded area to help Sam decide his fate in peace (so to speak). It is in this calm setting that Sam is able to contemplate his other option – letting go, dying. It’s as if his internal Bobby is giving him permission to choose death or at least to choose to stop fighting. As they approach a mysterious cabin, Dean reappears and aggressively takes back his spot as Sam’s conscience, but Sam has already begun to see that death is not giving up but possibly a gift to be received after a life of service. Hmmm, “death is your gift.” Sound familiar, Scoobies?
Meanwhile, Castiel has his own reality-based issues to deal with as an earthbound angel who has lost his grace (or rather had it stolen). He is human now, though he seems to be in denial about what that really means. He can no longer fly but he is still tapped into ‘angel radio’ and can hear the cries of the many angels that cannot find a vessel and are suffering. After nearly being run over by a truck, the pain from his injuries gives Cas some focus and he accepts a ride from the driver. Thus begins Cas’s journey — to find the Winchesters and learn much more about the human existence than his many years as an angel watching over humans ever afforded him. At a gas station, he meets another fallen angel, in the vessel of a young woman, named Hael. She remembers Cas from their heavenly past and seems just as lost as he is. She wants to travel with Cas.
A woman enters Sam’s hospital room. Dean asks if she is an angel and she responds that she sometimes wished she was (and boy, will she regret that statement soon). She is a grief counselor, but Dean has no time for her. If the angels are a no-show then he has another ace up his sleeve — or rather, in his trunk — the King of Hell. But before he can get to Crowley, Dean is attacked by one of the less-than-happy-with-Winchesters angel. He is then saved by another angel named Ezekiel (Tahmoh Penikett), who offers to help. Another angel that has a history with Castiel and still believes in his mission. But his fall from heaven has left him injured and he may too weak to help Sam. Cas finally reaches Dean by phone and explains his situation. Dean is worried about Castiel’s safety — with Hael and the angry angel posse — but Castiel is more worried about Sam. Their conversation is cut short when the hospital is besieged by angel spirits — possessing bodies where they can (yep, goodbye grief counselor, hello pissed of angel vessel).
In desperation, Dean turns to Ezekiel for guidance. But there is only one way Ezekiel can help Sam — from the inside… possession. Dean is horrified. Sammy would never agree to that. He needs proof that Sam is too far gone for any other help. So Ezekiel gives Dean a peak into Sam’s internal struggle and Dean looks on in dread as Sam sits in the cabin, talking to Death (Julian Richings). He’s making a deal to guarantee his death is final. Back in the hospital room, Dean is finally convinced to help Ezekiel get Sam to say “yes.”
Castiel awakens in a car with Hael driving. Her vessel is failing and she wants to unite with Cas in his vessel and work together. She has kidnapped him to get him to see her side and join with her. He sees an opportunity for escape and crashes the car. Hael’s broken body lies outside of the car. She tells Cas he is foolish to believe that he can fix everything alone. If they join together, she can protect him. Cas refuses. She threatens to reveal his whereabouts to the other angels if he leaves her in this broken vessel. All Cas has to do is “open his heart and say yes!” Castiel kills her with her angel blade. The answer is “no.”
Dean appears in Sam’s inner dream and begs him to choose life. He promises to help Sam if he would only just trust him and let Dean help him. Just say “yes.” As Sam agrees, Dean morphs into Ezekiel and the pact is sealed. As Ezekiel’s old vessel awakens in Sam’s hospital bed, Ezekiel /Sam leaves the hospital with Dean. Sam is still dormant and Ezekiel tells Dean that there is much work to do to in order to heal them both. He says that Sam will not even know he is in him and there is no reason for him to know. Dean does not want to keep this a secret — it’s too big. But Dean slowly realizes he is trapped in this secret as Ezekiel explains that Sam can not know about his existence within or else Sam’s rejection would cause Ezekiel to be cast out and they both would die. Dean has saved his brother, but at what cost.
I Think I’m Gonna Like It Here Written by Jeremy Carver Directed by John F. Showalter