The “Then” flashback thingy begins with revisiting Castiel’s introduction, how he explains he has possessed a vessel, followed by the squicky scenes of Sam drinking Ruby’s blood. This selection of scenes actually made me tense up upon watching them, not fully knowing what I was in for. Nice job, show. 🙂
When we come to “Now,” we see…Dean fishing? Seriously? This…just doesn’t seem right, and we’re only clued into the true nature of what’s going on when Castiel shows up and Dean realizes, sadly, that this is a dream. Castiel, however, seems troubled, and wants to meet him, but won’t say much for fear…that someone is listening…in Dean’s head. WTF? Listening in Dean’s head? That’s both creepy AND terrifying, and the troubled look on Castiel’s face just hammers this point home.
Dean wakes up, and we find him and Sam in what looks to be a warehouse that has been totally torn apart by what looks to be quite the climactic battle. They discover some sort of anti-angel sigil on the wall, similar to what Anna used to send Castiel and Uriel away a while back. They also discover…Castiel? No, it’s not Castiel, it’s…just his vessel, Jimmy. Castiel is apparently gone! GONE, I TELLS YA!
Now here I must make an aside for a second. Before Supernatural, I don’t recall seeing Misha Collins in anything, so this has been my first glimpse at his acting chops. I have to say, after this episode, he’s now become one of my favorite actors, period. What he was able to do with two completely distinct and different characters, how he was able to seamlessly and believably portray both the very human Jimmy Novak and the inhuman Castiel is simply amazing, and I’ll be mentioning it more as the review goes on, but it’s this first scene with him here where you begin to see a glimpse of how amazing this guy really is.
Anyway, back to the story. We return to find the boys and Jimmy in their seedy hotel room, watching Jimmy just wolf down some fast food. Apparently the poor guy hasn’t eaten in months and is just starving. While he eats, the boys question him on what he remembers and such. Sadly, he remembers very little, and doesn’t know why Castiel didn’t want to see Dean. Jimmy also explained that being a vessel for an angel is like “being chained to a comet.” A very interesting description, but apparently not a happy one, as Jimmy really didn’t like being a vessel.
We’re then treated to a flashback as we see Jimmy and his family before he became castiel. Jimmy Novak lived with his wife and daughter in Pontiac, Illinois. He was apparently a very devout man, saying grace and what not at dinner. Eventually he begins to hear Castiel’s true voice, which at first looks very painful.
We then return to Sam and Dean, outside the hotel, deciding what to do with Jimmy now that he’s no longer Castiel, and this was an interesting turn of events, I thought. While Dean wanted to send Jimmy home to be with his family, citing how they “used to help people get to their families,” Sam isn’t so sure. Sam is convinced that, even while merely Jimmy, he is their only lead to finding out what’s going on, so Sam thinks they need to hold onto Jimmy. Sam also surmises that the demons will want him pretty badly, which Dean acquiesces to.
Unsurprisingly, Jimmy is very adamant about going home, and is daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaang resistant to the idea of staying with Sam and Dean, even if it’s for his own safety. While he seems himself as a prisoner, Sam says those words are a bit harsh. We then cut to several hours later, Jimmy and Dean sleeping on their beds while Sam sneaks out to…drink demon blood from a flask. FREAKING EW. It doesn’t look like he has a lot left, and what little he does have left he slurps up VERY greedily. Gotta give props to Jared Padalecki here, he plays the drug addict bit VERY well.
We then find Sam and Dean preparing to leave to find Jimmy. Dean actually thinks it’s funny that Sam allowed him to escape in order to go outside for a “refreshing” Coke. We’re then treated to another Jimmy flashback in which Jimmy has his hand in a boiling pot of water. This, of course, terrifies his wife Amelia, who begins to think Jimmy is losing it. Apparently Castiel was testing his faith, and thankfully his arm was unharmed.
Back to Sam and Dean, now driving along in the Impala in a tense silence when Anna suddenly appears, making Dean swerve the car for a moment in surprise. Dean then comments on how good Anna looks, which is honestly pretty funny I thought, but Anna didn’t think it was the best time. She’s annoyed with the boys in losing Jimmy, and then says that Castiel was dragged back to heaven, which apparently is very, very bad. She also notices something different about Sam, which he somewhat-deftly evades discussion on.
We’re then treated to another Jimmy flashback in which Amelia is trying to get him to take medicine because she thinks, understandably so, that Jimmy is losing his mind. In desperation, Jimmy goes outside and begs Castiel to help him before he loses his family…ultimately agreeing to become his vessel.
We’re treated to a white light show in which we see Jimmy become possessed by Castiel. Once the show is over, Claire comes out and asks the man she thinks is her dad if he’s okay. Castiel looks at her with a confused expression and says, “I am not your father,” before walking off. This switch, again, was amazing to watch and a testament to Misha Collins’ acting chops.
Back to the present, we find Jimmy returning home to his stunned wife Amelia and his confused daughter Claire. Apparently, since he’s been gone for roughly a year, they presumed him dead. Jimmy lies and tells her he as in a psych clinic for a year. She correctly calls him on not calling or communicating despite this, and isn’t ready to welcome him back into her home, so he suggests they start with something small like dinner.
We then cut to Sam in what looks like the hotel lobby calling Ruby. He’s asking for more demon blood, as he’s out, and boy is he sounding desperate. He’s apparently out of the stuff, and surprisingly, Ruby doesn’t pick up the phone. I thought those two were tight, now she’s not taking his calls at his time of need. That’s cold, man, cold.
Back at dinner with the Novak family, Jimmy doesn’t say grace to the surprise of his family, but does start crying happy tears. This is where you KNOW stuff is gonna go down. One of Jimmy’s old friends, Roger shows up at this point. Now *I* thought the twist here would be that Roger and Amelia had been dating or something. However, we find that Roger’s been possessed by a demon. This leads Jimmy to begin bashing “Roger’s” head in, to the shock of Amelia and Claire. I have to admit that the fervor of the scene in which Jimmy sees Roger as a demon and begins bashing his head in was shocking and amazing in its terrifying energy.
Jimmy locks his family in a closet with him and salts the entrance to keep the demon out. The entire time Amelia is yelling at him that he’s crazy, and since neither mother nor daughter believe him, they bust out into “Roger’s” waiting arms. While “Roger” is about to gut Claire, a fellow demon attacks Jimmy. Thankfully, Dean and Sam arrive, Dean dispatching “Roger” with Ruby’s knife while Sam, sadly, can&rsq
uo;t get up the juice to work his powers on the female demon, who escapes right before Dean uses the knife on her too. Sam looks dizzy and weak when he tries to use his power, poor guy.
After everyone piles into the Impala, they all rush off back to the motel. Sam begins to explain to Jimmy how he’s going to have to leave his family forever or they’ll be in danger, and essentially says he either leaves or puts a bullet to his head to ensure his family’s safety. This is a somewhat shocking and blunt way for Sam to speak, as he’s usually the more gentle of the two, and even Dean is surprised by Sam’s explanation.
Sadly, Jimmy has little choice but to agree, telling his wife that he’ll be leaving for a while, but doesn’t say how long. After hotwiring a car for them, Sam, Dean and Jimmy leave Amelia and Claire to run for safety. As they drive off, Claire asks what’s going to happen next, and in turn we find out AMELIA HAS BEEN POSSESSED BY A DEMON! OH SNAP! I honestly didn’t see that coming at all, but wow that was awesome.
After driving off, Dean asks Sam what’s going on with his mojo. Dean isn’t looking for a fight, but he’s honestly concerned and scared for Sam. Sam is also scared for himself as well. Sam then gets a call for Jimmy, which we can assume is Amelia threatening him to come and turn himself in. They then arrive…at another warehouse. Jimmy says he was told to come alone, and he will, but Dean apparently has a plan around that.
We then come to a pained scene of Jimmy yelling up at the sky to Castiel, claiming he’d broken his promises to keep his family safe. This was very hard to watch and yet touching, because I felt SO bad for Jimmy as I watched this. Jimmy enters the building to meet up with “Amelia.” I was surprised when Dean and Sam got captured so quickly, but even Dean admitted they couldn’t “bat 1,000”. “Amelia” then professes how they’ll all die…and FREAKING SHOOTS JIMMY IN THE CHEST! ACK!
One of the demons then walks over to kill Claire…but Claire touches his forehead and the demon is smited with a blinding white light. OMG CASTIEL IS IN CLAIRE! Sam and Dean take to fighting the demons at this point while “Amelia” looks on. Castiel takes care of the demon fighting Dean…but the worst isn’t over…
Sam fights with the girl demon, and we see him snarl in hunger. Before he kills her, HE SLITS HER THROAT A BIT AND DRINKS HER BLOOD! ACK! Sam then looks back at Dean and Castiel, his mouth covered in blood. This was truly a horrific scene, and while Dean looked surprised, it didn’t phase him much, as if he wasn’t honestly THAT surprised. Sam then proceeded to remove the demon from Amelia, saving her life.
Now here’s the fun moral dilemma this presents. Sam has, essentially, become a drug user, the drug being demon blood. This in itself is not a good thing, as was admitted both by Sam and the prophet Chuck. However, Sam has been using his powers to save people, and while this addiction is inherently bad, Sam is using it ultimately for good. Personally I’m torn on the whole thing. While I hate seeing Sam so addicting to something potentially so poisonous, the results in saved lives speak for themselves.
Now to probably the most amazing scene in the episode, which begins with Jimmy, lying on the floor, bleeding to death from his belly wound. Castiel leans over him and explains that they always keep their promises. Jimmy then begs Castiel, through gurgled coughs that totally sound authentic to me, to take him instead of his daughter. Castiel explains what he’ll be giving up, and how hard it will be for him in the future, but Jimmy still agrees, and the switch is made. Jimmy becomes Castiel right in front of our eyes, and the switch is AMAZING to watch. Misha Collins’ acting in this scene is just brilliant, jaw-droppingly amazing, and nothing short of spectacular.
As Castiel walks away, Dean asks about the important thing Castiel needed to tell him. Castiel says he learned his lesson in heaven, and that he serves heaven, not man, and certainly not Dean. EEEP! This was delivered with cold, calculating perfection, and I actually felt the emotional sting of the words. Just freaking amazing all around.
We then find Sam and Dean back in the trust Impala. Sam actually ASKS Dean to fight with him, to yell at him, to take a punch. Dean surprises Sam, and all of us I think, by saying how tired he is, how he doesn’t care anymore, and how he’s just done. This was delivered perfectly by Jensen Ackles, who delivered his lines with such a perfect mixture of disappointment, fatigue and regret.
The conversation is cut short by Bobby, who tells them to high-tail it to his place because of some demon problem that’s leading to the apocalypse. We find the boys at Bobby’s panic room…wherein he admits the “demon problem” is Sam…AND THEY LOCK HIM IN THE PANIC ROOM!
So…wow…that was one helluva ride. This episode was more subtle, I thought, in its amazingless than other episodes this season. This is why I had to watch it twice. While it had some big “OMG” moments like Jimmy beating in “Roger’s” head or Sam’s FREAKING MOUTH DRENCHED IN BLOOD, it also had so many little things happening that it took me two viewings to get it all, which isn’t usual for me. This episode brilliantly set up what is bound to be an amazing, heartbreaking and emotional series of events in the finale, and I, for one, can’t wait to have my heart ripped out by Kripke and company again. 😉