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Okay, so that was actually really great.
I was worried. Supernatural's crazier installments tend to go one of two ways. They're either amazeballs and among the series' most entertaining and genuinely good episodes ("Mystery Spot," "Changing Channels," "Everybody Hates Hitler"), or they're really, really not ("Season Seven, Time for an Abomination," that W*F one from last season with the dog-witch-slave lady and the weird racist undertones). "Dog Dean Afternoon," even with its sort of awkward animal voiceovers and Sam Winchester being the actual dumbest angel condom, falls into the "good" pile, and it's pretty much all Jensen Ackles' fault.
Ackles hasn't been given much to do in recent seasons outside of playing sad, self-righteous, alcoholic Dean; but the Dean that we saw in "Dog Dean Afternoon" was a nice throwback to vintage Dean, when he was a total goober and actually seemed to enjoy hunting from time to time. (Missed u.)
The case itself was pretty straightforward. Chef Leo had the cancer and discovered that various animal organs in magical combos seasoned with just the right amount of spellwork temporarily cured him"or at least held the worst of his illness at bay. Maybe Chef Leo was always a douche. Maybe his douchiness was actually the result of OD-ing on animal guts and taking on some of their more anti-social traits. But Chef Leo was a douche nonetheless, and after watching Sam-zekiel cure a slit throat on the spot, decided he was going to eat whatever Sam was and live forever. Sam's magical angel mojo is really starting to become more of a liability than a benefit, isn't it?
Like the best of Supernatural's batshit crazy comedy episodes, there was, of course, an underlying current of angst and uh-oh running just beneath that-time-Dean-pulled-a-gun-on-a-pigeon and that-time-Dean-made-sexy-eyes-at-a-poodle, mostly due to the Sam-zekiel situation. Sam is good for generating angst on a massive scale. Dean went from wholeheartedly backing Ezekiel's heal-Sam-from-within plan to kind of regretting it fairly quickly. While Ezekiel hasn't"to our knowledge"done anything too questionable yet, he's just starting to come off as someone who isn't being entirely honest about who he is. Making Dean ditch Castiel raised some serious red flags, especially since those two were supposed to be pals. Cas vouched for Ezekiel. I could honestly see him being kind of okay with the don't-tell-Sam game plan, or at the very least, reluctantly understanding of it, considering the alternative, unless Ezekiel isn't Ezekiel or something.
The question of how much of Chef Leo's villainous nature was genuinely his, as opposed to a side effect of his magical mayhem, paralleled Sam's own predicament with Ezekiel. Ezekiel has shown that he has absolutely no qualms about popping into the Sam-mobile's driver's seat whenever it suits him, and while the shifts in character have been obvious so far, what happens when/if Ezekiel gets good enough to do it undetected? What happens when the line between Ezekiel and Sam gets so blurred that not even Dean can tell the difference?
You can tell that Dean's already thinking it, and his eagerness to get Sam well enough that he doesn't need his angelic pacemaker anymore is so obvious that it's a wonder Sam hasn't picked up on it, which in turn raises another concern: Is Ezekiel even healing Sam? You know, like really healing him, of the trials damage? I guess he probably is, but how will Sam and Dean know when it's safe to kick him to the curb? It's becoming increasingly clear that Ezekiel isn't the type of angel who's going to say "My work here is done!" and WOOSH off to the next available vessel. Given what we've seen of the angel-vessel situation, there's a decent chance that there isn't a next available vessel.
For a goofy episode about Dean talking to the animals, there was actually quite a bit of srs bsns to chew on in "Dog Dean Afternoon." Srs bsns, Jensen Ackles playing fetch, and that sassy little dog extorting Sam for a belly rub somehow combined in a glorious way to make what looked like an unlikely winner (an underdog, would you say?) into an unquestionable champion of the season so far. I'm sorry I doubted you, Supernatural. Here are some delicious Scooby Snax. Good doggie. Sit. Roll-over. Now play dead.
K. Done. Bye.
- Dumb Winchester Sighting: No, seriously, Sam. You heard Chef Leo ask you "what" you are and you woke up covered with blood. COVERED. WITH. BLOOD. Remember last time you woke up covered with blood and sporting a patchy memory? Why was that? OH. OH YEAH. BECAUSE YOU WERE POSSESSED. I really need Sam to stop being dense. It's starting to hurt my soul.
- Also, hasn't Sam almost died, like, three times in five episodes? With a record like that, he's lucky he made it to puberty.
- Favorite Dean-as-a-dog moment? I liked fetch. I also laughed at the car-rant. "You think we'd like that?" And pulling a gun on the pigeon. Don't mess with Baby!
- I'm not sure how I feel about the pack of pound puppies eating Chef Leo. Also, I understand the point of Dean letting all the dogs free at the shelter, but my initial thought was, "Now they're all going to get heartworms and die," because clearly I don't understand freedom I guess. BUT HEARTWORMS.
- Every time a dog barked on the TV, my Stella would stampede out of the bedroom and come growl at the TV. It really amused me. IDK.
- AWW, Sam got to play with a potion. Yay.
- The flashbacks leading into this episode were from all over the place. I'm not entirely sure why Becky and Chuck were in them, either.
- "Witches or hippies?" "What's the difference?"
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Supernatural' season 9 summons its fifth episode of the year in "Dog Dean Afternoon," as Sam and Dean find themselves teaming with a dog who witnessed a murder, and Dean worries that Sam has begun to overexert himself, without knowing about his angelic passenger.
Last week's Supernatural' episode, "Slumber Party," saw Charlie's (Felicia Day) return become complicated when the boys stumble into a decades-old mystery of the true Wizard of Oz within the Men of Letters base, so what does the fifth season 9 episode bring? What strange and unexpected challenges will the Winchesters face in the coming year?
Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about Supernatural' season 9 episode 5, "Dog Dean Afternoon"!
Late one night, a taxidermist works on his latest project alongside his German Shepherd "Colonel" until a noise disturbs them both. The man investigates, finding nothing until a mysterious man in a cowboy hat steps out from the shadows, flashes a forked tongue, and constricts the man to death like a snake would, all the while Colonel watches. Later on in the Men of Letters base, Sam brings the case to Dean's attention, though Dean worries how much Sam has been exerting himself of late, unaware that Ezekiel continues to heal his body from within.
Passing a "DIE SCUM" graffiti tag with a mysterious paw logo, Sam and Dean investigate the taxidermy shop to learn that the man's bins of animal organs had gone missing, while Sam finds no evidence of any witchcraft. Finding the graffiti symbol to belong to an animal rights group called S.N.A.R.T., Sam and Dean visit a vegan bakery to meet the founders, who deny any involvement in the murder, but admit to encountering a hissing man who sprayed their eyes with venom. Later that night, the mysterious man visits an animal shelter and pays off the clerk, heading to the cages to gather several cats. When the clerk hears the commotion and finds the snake-like man eating the cats whole, the man quickly moves to kill him.
The next morning, Sam and Dean investigate the latest killing to find that Colonel is among the animals at the shelter, having observed the animal being taken from the taxidermy shop earlier. Dean first wonders if the animal might be a shape-shifting killer, but when Colonel specifically barks at another man in a cowboy hat, Dean formulates an idea to communicate with the animal to see if it would recognize the true killer.
Learning of a "mind meld" spell from Kevin Tran, Dean downs a potion to allow him to communicate with Colonel, though the potion takes some time to have any effect. Once it does, however, Dean finds the animal capable of direct speech to him, though in the process Dean seems to have taken on several dog characteristics, among them barking at the mailman and retrieving any item Sam throws. Colonel confirms that a man in a cowboy hat killed his owner and ate several cats, though he only remembers a few distinct smells about the killer.
Dean soon finds that he has an ability to talk to all animals, arguing with a pigeon who defecates on the Impala, and ending up entranced by a nearby poodle. Sam and Dean visit the animal shelter again for information on the mysterious man, though only one of the dogs has any actual information, which it only agrees to give up for an extended belly rub from Sam. The dog reveals that the man had eaten several cats whole, and carried a sack from "Avante Guarde Cuisine," a local restaurant where dogs aren't allowed. Feeling sympathetic, Dean opts to release all of the captive animals from their cages.
Sam and Dean find the restaurant deserted, the cowboy hat-wearing "Chef Leo" nowhere to be found. Several rats point Dean toward a refrigerator full of various animal organs, while Sam finds a book of spells and deduces that Chef Leo has been eating animal organs to gain the abilities of each animal for a short time, trying various combinations to different effects. Sam and Dean split up to search for Leo, though the chef gets the drop on Sam with his chameleon ability, slashing Sam's throat. Ezekiel takes over and heals the wound, before Sam quickly regains control, the sight of which inspires an incredulous Leo to make Sam his next meal.
Dean returns to find Leo preparing to carve up Sam, but Leo quickly smells his presence and dodges a bullet, attacking and tying up the hunter. Working to free himself, Dean smells that Leo has inoperable cancer, and puts together that the man endures the many animal remedies in an attempt to cure himself, killing any humans who might get in his way. Leo downs a wolf heart in an attempt to best the dog in Dean, pursuing him outside when Dean manages to undo his restraints. Once in the alley, Dean whistles for his pack to overwhelm and maul Leo, killing him. Dean races back inside to rouse an unconscious Sam, who seems confused about what he missed.
Dean gives Colonel to the vegan bakery couple, saying his fond goodbyes even after Colonel reveals that he threw up in Dean's backseat. Colonel even goes to reveal the secret reasoning dogs were actually put on Earth, but Dean's spell wears off just before Colonel can finish the thought. Outside, Sam wonders why Chef Leo seemed so fascinated by "what he was," but Dean urges his brother to brush off the madman's whims.
Guys ... no.
Believe us, we get it. Jensen Ackles is an exceptionally talented comedic actor, and he absolutely commits to every moment the writers of "Dog Dean Afternoon" can throw at him, a stupendous effort that deserves more commendation and attention than The CW can rightly provide. Supernatural' has a storied history of gimmick episodes that have made the series the oddball mixture of mythology, humor and heart it has come to represent in the last nine years, a fact we're reminded of by the madcap series-spanning insanity of the night's "previously on" segment.
Hell, we'll even admit that the "Manimal"-esque killer concept evolved from what could have been an utterly ridiculous villain, to a passably defined psychopath turning to magic to cure his own illness and losing his humanity in the process. It's an incredible feat that "Dog Dean Afternoon" ends up as well thought out as it did, even managing to touch on Sam's angelic state without burdening the episode with too much plot advancement.
All that said, it's still an episode where Dean talks to animals, effectively becoming "Dr. Deanlittle" for the latter two acts. It's funny. There's a talking dog. We get it.
We're going to quietly saunter away, now.
Well, what say you? Did you get your fill of scary Supernatural' action? What did you think about "Dog Dean Afternoon"? Give us your thoughts in the comments, and join us again next week for an all-new recap of Supernatural' season 9 episode 6, "Heaven Can't Wait," on The CW!
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We knew we were in for a treat in this week's "Supernatural," because Dean plus dogs equals amazeballs. But we didn't even have to wait for the actual episode to begin on Tuesday (Nov. 5) for the laughs to start flowing, because the "Then" montage was the Best. Then. Montage. Ever. It went all the way back to Dean's GIF-worthy scream from Season 4's "Yellow Fever!"
Seriously, can we just pause and watch this over and over?
Okay, back to recappin' "Dog Dean Afternoon."
As with all of "Supernatural's" hilarious episodes, this week's goofy animal-centric storyline still managed to focus on the big season-long arc ... namely, Sam's angelic pacemaker Zeke. While working a case that involved a cancer-ridden loon eating animal organs, Zeke had to make an appearance to save Sam's life, and that interference raised questions for both Sam and Dean. But let's back up a bit.
How did Sam and Dean get back out on the road? Now that Sam's feeling better (though he doesn't know the reason why), he figured that they should get back out there, doing the Family Business. Dean couldn't come up with a legitimate excuse as to why he didn't want Sam out in action, so on the road they went. Sam's research took them to Enid, Ohio, where a taxidermist, Max Alexander, got crushed like a human pretzel.
Side note: Along with last week's episode, "Dog Dean Afternoon" featured a tiny-but-noticeable "Game of Thrones" reference. The taxidermist had mice dressed like the characters from the HBO show, and Sam even made sure Dean saw the Joffrey mouse! 'Fess up, "Supernatural" crew ... which one of you just binge-watched the series? End side note.
While investigating Max's death, Sam and Dean discover that someone tagged the taxidermist's door with graffiti featuring the logo of SNART ... a.k.a. Enid's own version of PETA. After Sam and Dean track down the two founders of SNART (at a vegan bakery, no less!), they confess to tagging the door, but reveal that they didn't hurt Max ... they actually got attacked and sprayed in the eyes with venom (though they just thought it was mace), leading Sam and Dean to think they're dealing with some weird snake monster.
But when another death -- an animal shelter worker who got clawed to death -- doesn't fit the profile of a snake monster, the Winchesters are at a loss as to what keeps killing. They do realize they have a witness to both murders, though ... Colonel, the taxidermist's dog who was taken to the animal shelter after Max's death.
According to Kevin Tran and the Men of Letters archives, Sam and Dean can create an Inuit spell that will allow one of them to communicate with the dog. Dean won't let Sam drink the spell -- and makes up some flimsy excuse as to why he doesn't want Sam doing anything risky -- so Dean tosses the gross concoction down his gullet and waits for ... nothing to happen.
Turns out, the spell takes a little bit to kick in, but when it does ... oh boy. The spell works a little too well, as Dean involuntarily plays fetch with Sam's trash, can't stop scratching his head or barking at the mailman ... and it's all amazing. Jensen Ackles knows how to play for laughs, but subtly. This story line in any other actor's hands would probably have turned out cringe-worthy, but thanks to Ackles' sense of nuanced humor, it worked. And it. Was. Fantastic.
Once Dean understood what was going on, he was able to communicate with not only Colonel (who kind of seemed like Bobby, no?), but also with all animals. That led to a pretty heated encounter with a pigeon who pooped on Dean's Impala ... and with a poodle that happened to catch Dean and Colonel's eyes.
Colonel tells Dean all he knows about his old master's murderer: he was wearing a cowboy hat and smelled like meat and soap. Dean and Sam head back to the animal shelter to see what the other animals may have seen or heard, and after a collie extorts Dean (and gets a belly rub from Sam), he lets them know their perp works at Avant Garde Cuisine, a French restaurant in town that doesn't allow dogs. Dean sets all the miserable dogs free (Awww!), and they head over to the restaurant.
After kicking all the kitchen staff out, Sam and Dean figure out that the chef has been dabbling in shamanism, and eating the organs of animals to gain their strengths/skills (ew). Dean and Sam split up to find the chef, but he finds Sam first. He claws right through Sam's neck, and right as he is about to die, Zeke comes forth and heals his neck before retreating back into Sam's head. Sam has no idea how he is all of a sudden fine, but the chef saw everything and believes Sam is some sort of supernatural creature with the ultimate healing abilities. He knocks Sam out and prepares to eat him as his "main course."
Why does Chef Leo want healing abilities? Well, you know how some dogs can actually smell cancer? Dean can smell Chef Leo's stage 4 carcinoma, and after Leo tied up Dean, he confesses that's why he's been eating all the animal organs. It was a temporary fix for his cancer, but with Sam's healing powers, Leo thinks he'll be cured for good. While Dean stalls Leo with "Breaking Bad" comments (Seriously, all these pop culture references in one episode? Sam and Dean must have had some major binge-watching sessions in the MOL bunker), he breaks out of his bindings. Unfortunately, Leo had just eaten a wolf heart to fight Dean.
Dean runs outside and calls on his new dog friends to take down Leo. With the threat neutralized, Dean runs back inside to check on Sam, who comes to with no injuries ... but a lot of questions. He has no idea why Leo thought he had healing abilities, and while Dean just throws out the usual "He was crazy!" defense, it's clear that he's got questions of his own.
Is Dean starting to not trust Zeke? As he was telling Sam that Leo was "possessed by something he couldn't control and it was only a matter of time before it took over," he started to look ... wary. The words hit a little too close to home. As Sam gets closer to the truth, is Dean getting closer to realizing that Zeke maybe wasn't telling him the whole truth? Either way, this is going to end badly. Either for Sam's health and well-being, or for Sam and Dean's relationship as brothers.
As for Colonel, Sam and Dean couldn't keep him with their lifestyle, so they let the hippie SNART founders adopt him. Arguably one of the funniest parts of the episode came right as Colonel is about to reveal to Dean the real reason dogs were put on earth ... but then the spell wears off. Ha! Terrible timing.
What did you think of "Dog Dean Afternoon" -- was it everything you hoped the fun, goofy episode would be, or were you too eager to get back to the major Season 9 story arc? Let us know in the comments below.
"Supernatural" airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on The CW.
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9.4 Dog Dean Afternoon
A few times a season, Supernatural does one of those wacky, slightly crackpot episodes that makes you question the writers' sanity. Dog Dean Afternoon was obviously slated to be one of those. It begins with a montage of some of the craziest episodes the show's done, from Yellow Fever and Changing Channels to all the ridiculous times it's broken the fourth wall. At first glance, it reads like a plea to viewers to be more open-minded about the crazy that's coming, an insistence that perhaps sometimes we shouldn't take this show so seriously. I raised my eyebrows skeptically.
But, surprisingly, this episode wasn't as crazy as it wanted to be. In fact, by Supernatural standards, it was rather sane, and though it had a number of glaring problems, it was also entertaining - even if it rather formulaically followed the Supernatural recipe for a standard Monster-of-the-Week episode.
The first part of that formula dictates a good old-fashioned scary opener of the kind that made Supernatural's first season such a wonderful work of horror. It's the usual: a late-night scene, mysterious sounds, darkness, and a poor innocent soul (or not) killed by a dastardly monster as blood splays against the wall. It's exactly like every other scary opening we've seen on Supernatural, and also the kind of scene that seems to have been missing lately.
This is followed, as per that same formula, by the Winchesters remarking unusual goings-on and deciding to investigate them. Their first scene in the episode is pretty much an exact copy of the opening scenes from the last two episodes. No, really, it's like they copied and pasted from the previous scripts, because Sam and Dean have almost literally the exact same conversation they've had in the two previous episodes: Dean thinks Sam should sit it out, Sam feels fine, Dean doesn't have a good excuse to offer for why a seemingly perfectly healthy Sam should do nothing, Sam doesn't notice this is strange. Aside from the fact that they've literally already had the same conversation three times now, there's also the fact that Dean continues to look like a bit of an idiot.
Look, I enjoy Sam caring about Dean, because I know he does. That's who he is: he cares for the people he loves, perhaps a little too much. What I enjoy, however, is a nice balance between his affection and his brotherly antagonism. I don't enjoy a Dean that seems to want to protect Sam from life, but a Dean that allows him the freedom to actually live - a Dean that I know exists, a Dean I've seen before. But, Alas.
Next in the formula comes the investigating, with the fake IDs, the cheap FBI suits, and Dean's clever quips. This doesn't last too long before our experienced hunters decide that the most efficient way for them to solve their newest case is to try putting a spell they've never even heard of before on themselves. As a premise, it's a bit flimsy: I, for one, don't buy that they wouldn't have done a bit more investigating first. After all, since when are the Winchesters so amiable to mysterious witchy hoodoo anyway? But sure, let's go with that, in the name of humor.
As far as the crazy humour aspect of this episode goes, it varies. The first scene of Dean acting dog-like is actually unexpectedly funny, and I say this as someone who hates crude humour and dumbing down characters for the sake of laughs. Sure, I'm not too happy about Dean's character being used for comic effect in that way, but I can't help that I laughed. Plus, it helps that Jensen Ackles nailed that scene, with Jared Padalecki playing off him perfectly to create a two-person comic scene. Then again, there's a few fairly uncomfortable scenes, too - Dean Winchester being attracted to a poodle is disturbing no matter how supernatural your show is. Overall, it's a hit-and-miss combination of humor.
Thankfully, however, the comedy doesn't dominate the episode. Instead, there's both strong characterisation and that warm brotherly companionship that I fell in love with. Sam and Dean work together as a perfect pair, their business-like hunting partnership completed by their humour and amused exasperation at each other's quirks. Yet each brother also holds his own as a character: Dean is a clever and inventive hunter, who, despite his newly-found dog instincts, is able to concentrate on the case and make a number of his trademark quips. "I always knew I'd find the source of all evil in a vegan bakery," he comments. Me too, Dean. Me too. Meanwhile, Sam's also a combination of intelligence and an ultimately humorous saint-like patience.
The climax of the episode, however, is both lacklustre and rather...holey. Sure, I'll accept that eating animal hearts gives you their powers, though the villain's reasoning for it is a bit of a stretch for the imagination. What I have more trouble with is forgetting the existence of the deus-ex-machina that is Ezekiel long enough to believe what's happening.
Sam gets hurt (again). Ezekiel fixes him - but only so far as to heal his injuries, but not, it seems, to prevent him from actually dying. In fact, it appears that Ezekiel only really makes his presence known to, well, make his presence known - but when the prime opportunity to save the conveniently-unconscious Sam presents itself, well, that'd be too convenient for the script. Instead, Ezekiel presumably watches from an unconscious Sam's body as his own source of survival nearly gets destroyed. It's a scenario that becomes more ridiculous because one of the greatest concerns that's been voiced about Castiel as a regular on Supernatural is that he's too powerful to make the story interesting (something I've never believed, but that's neither here nor there). Now Castiel's human, a fact which interestingly coincides with him being a season regular, and while his character gets to fill in the role of comic effect, Ezekiel gets to be the powerful angel putting plotholes in the storyline.
The final scene of the episode is also both hit-and-miss. It starts on an interesting note: the two Winchesters, having a heart-to-heart by the Impala. Over the years, the brotherly talks by their beloved car have become a staple of the show that, like so much else, we've seen so rarely lately. It's nice to have it back, along with all its foreshadowing glory: Dean statement that "Chef Leo" was possessed by something he couldn't control reads almost like a gloomy prediction minutes after Ezekiel made his presence known yet again. Still, I continue to wonder (as I've done for episodes now) how long that'll last: Dean continues to make readily transparent excuses for Sam's magically-healing injuries, and Sam, it appears, is still letting it go. Ah well, it wouldn't be Supernatural if they weren't hiding things from each other, because our characters apparently never learn.
In the end, the episode has its strengths, it has its weaknesses, and in combination, the result is unremarkable. It's certainly not bad, but when the season's all finished up, I have no doubt that it won't stand out as anything more than a standard case with a few laughs and a few holes.
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Suddenly, there's a stranger in the room with him, a shadowed figure complete with foreboding music.
Do you recognize that musical arrangement? One of my personal favorites, it's the sound of John Winchester revealing he's the Yellow Eyed Demon. Misty watercolor memories, yo.
Only this time the man obviously isn't a demon. You can tell by the single cross-shaped earring in his left ear.
Seriously though, what year is this??
The suicidal man asks earring man if the lady from the hotline sent him. If she had, I'd've been super impressed with the efficiency and efficacy of this town's prevention specialists. Alas, it wasn't her that sent him. No, earring man says that he came because suicidal guy called out to him and with that he smites him in a fabulous flash of fuchsia.
The next morning we find Castiel in a convenience store, and judging from the bright blue vest and name tag he's an esteemed employee of the Gas-N-Sip . And also his name is apparently Steve now. Let's ignore how bitter I am that he's dropped the "Clarence". He's got a job and he's trying to learn the ways of modern day idiots by observing their behavior when he catches sight of the headline of the local paper. Turns out strawberry milkshake was the fourth in a string of strange occurrences.
Over at the bunker, Kevin has successfully translated the tablet into a 5,000+ year-old language and then translated that into an Etch-A-Sketch language even older and more obscure than that one. Time for research, luckily they live in a library. Dean is already bored just thinking about opening the book he gets handed. He's probably wondering if he can get away with offering to make refreshments in order to get out of this when his phone rings. It's Castiel calling. While trying to clean the slushee machine. Unsuccessfully. He wheezing the juice all over the floor while relaying what few details he knows about the weirdness going on to Dean. He's abrupt and Dean is perplexed. On the bright side, he's found his perfect getaway excuse and leaves Sam and Kevin to nerd out in their natural habitat.
Back at the Gas -n-Sip, Castiel is changing the light bulb when his manager, Nora, comes in with a little baggie of toiletries. She asks him if he knows whom it belongs to and Castiel confesses it's his. She casually mentions that she also found a rolled up sleeping bag in the back and he tells her that it's his but he assures her he only stayed there because he was up late doing inventory. Not because he's homeless. No. He totally has a home. Totally.
Speaking of lies, how did Castiel, I'm sorry Steve even get this job? What last name did he provide? "Masters"? (shut up and go with it) and what about his social security number? Did he just put down Dean's phone number? What form of ID did he provide? What kind of shady franchise corner store is this lady running?
She completely buys his story and not only that she fumblingly tells him that she's off the next night and he's off that night and it's really hard for a single mom like her to have a social life and if he's free...
He readily accepts her invitation with a small smile tugging at his mouth.
Dean has arrived in Rexford and is in full-on FBI mode. The local PD walk him into the crime scene and the walls are banked with sprays of pink. Actually, the entire interior is covered with a fine mist of blush and bashful. Dean asks if it's blood, the LEO tells him that it's not just blood; it's bone, keratin, viscera, shoe rubber, the works all blitzed in a blender on the highest setting. He calls to check in with Sam, who has hit a brick wall with the research. Dean reminds him that they have a centuries old King of Hell at their mercy.
Right now, outside the local high school a girl is dealing with a rough break up. Seems her very important high school boyfriend turned out to be a douche and dumped her in the cafeteria in front of everyone. IN PERSON. His face broke up with her face directly from his face. She's mortified. She could just omg die, y'know? Creepy earring guy to the rescue! One touch from his hand and she's beet juice.
Meanwhile, Dean has tracked down Castiel and heads into the Gas 'n' Sip to surprise him. I wonder if this is his revenge for all the times Castiel just popped up out of nowhere on him. Castiel is not pleased. He's even less pleased when Dean mocks his current position in life. He reminds Dean that without his grace he has to start over and this is where he's rebooting from. He's definitely the guy that takes all his job duties to heart. Actually, he's the overly chipper guy that you see in the training videos they make you watch before they release you into the wilds of the job floor. He's that guy. The one you want to reach into the training video and punch. Yeah, him. But he's also right. This job gives him responsibilities that he takes seriously and frankly, at this point; his average Joe adjustment level is light years ahead of Dean's. Pride is pride and Castiel has always had that in spades. Plus, he informs Dean, he has a date, a very human custom-based date. Dean gets a call from the cops informing him that there's been another death. This might be my favorite alias of Dean's in awhile, if you're unaware Lee Ermey is the Kansas-born actor that played Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Full Metal Jacket. Just sayin'.
Anyway, Dean tries to get Castiel to go with him to the crime scene, but Castiel is reluctant; he's powerless, according to Dean an incompetent hunter and furthermore he has a Gas-N-Sip bathroom to clean up and a date to get ready for. His plate is full. Dean does convince him to go with by backtracking his previous assessment of suckage on Castiel's part.
The tying bind with all the victims seems to be they were habitual wrong side of the bed type people, so Dean questions the dead girl's BFF about her mental state. The girl is said that her friend sad, but not depressed; on a scale of lipgloss clashing with her shoes to teenage suicide, she was singing don't do it. Dean is stumped, but Castiel has seen the raspberry smoothie writing on the wall and knows what they're up against: Rit Zien.
The Rit Zien was a faction of angels that were basically battlefield medics. If they could slap a Band-Aid on an angel they did, if they couldn't they were prepared and able to send a fatally wounded angel gently into that night. Unfortunately, now that he's on earth he's focused on human pain, which Castiel claims is pretty unbearable when tapped into. Damn. If Castiel spend the previous years hearing Sam and Dean Winchester's pain screaming at him it's a wonder he didn't fling himself off the highest cloud in heaven.
Castiel is not ready to fight this fight and Dean understands. Hell, he even gives him a ride to Nora's and some quick dating tips, which is amusing coming from a guy that whose dates tend to consist of having to bring-your-own-booze because of the nature of the establishment and making it lightly sprinkle dollah, dollah bills. Castiel takes it all in and even adds the nice touch of plucking one of Nora's own roses to present to her. Dean looks on like an embarrassing parent until Castiel waves him away with all the fervor of a moody teen. Dean tries to leave, but an old Ford is blocking his way, but he finally gets around it and takes off. Nora lets Castiel in and before he can beflower her she starts through baby info at him and rushing out the door. Oh. I've seen this episode of Friends before a few hundred times.
Castiel is not one to leave a baby unsupervised, so he does his best. Nora swore she's just a little angel, but Castiel is finding that the definition of hardly cries is "cries a lot, loudly". Instinct or observation kick in and he starts to sing her a lullaby. As TV theme songs go, this is an apt choice for him, lyrically speaking. Baby Tanya settles down just long enough for Castiel to think he's got this. Of course, she starts screaming again. Castiel understands her pain, he knows what it's like to be brought into human existence against your will and have to learn and adapt to the social structure created by others. It sucks basically. He'd like nothing more than to ease her distress, but without his powers touching her forehead is useless. Well, not entirely, he is now tactilely aware than she's much warmer than she should be. He calls Nora and gets her voicemail. Panicked he opts to take Tanya to the ER, but as soon as he opens the door our favorite euthanasist is there. Castiel thinks that he's there to Ingersoll the baby, but it turns out that he's there for Castiel. All the pain that Castiel has been radiating is light a blackhole, sucking him in despite Castiel's hideaway tattoo. Thankfully, every rose has its thorn, so Castiel sneakily slices his hand open the stem and tries to covertly paint an angel-be-gone sigil, but he's not successful. The only thing he's successful is learning his wrist is not double-jointed.
Over at the precinct, Dean discovers that the DNA from the husband and wife ground-zero crime scene only had ruminants of the wife, meaning the husband is still MIA. The couple was headed toward divorce, turns out that an atheist and a devote follow of the Buddy Boyle school of angelic brainwashing don't really coexist very well. Dean recognizes the truck in one of the case file photographs as the one parked outside Nora's and zooms off. Upon arriving he immediately gets flung into a wall, so y'know, he was a tons of help. Castiel begs for his life, the life that he wants no matter the pain and the difficulty of it; this life is his to live. While the Rit Zien is prothelizing, Dean takes the opportunity to slide an angelblade to Castiel and just like that, it's over.
Castiel feels that maybe he should be out there, helping to remedy the situation he 92% created, but Dean tells him that he's proud of him for adapting to human life and should continue doing what he's doing. Not to worry, he tells him, he and Sam will take care of the angel issue.
This takes us back to our mytharc, complete with prophet, King of Hell and... whatever the heck Sam Winchester is these days.
Sam takes the unintelligible translation to Crowley and asks him to help them. Crowley, in all his pompous glory, refuses. He all but spits in Sam's face for insinuating that they'll hand him over to Abaddon as a POW. Sam lets him stew for bit and then returns. This time Crowley is willing to translate for them, but he's not going away empty handed. Just like any mass-murdering sociopath that's been detained, he knows his rights, he wants his one phone call and he wants to make it to Abaddon. Kevin balks at the audacity, but Sam doesn't see any other way and is ready to open a vein.
Before Sam bleeds a vein to make the call they want proof that Crowley can actually read it. Crowley is able to identify that the ingredients for the spell Metatron kicked everyone out with were a nephilim heart, a cupid's bow and an angel's grace and Sam rolls up his sleeve. Crowley, however, doesn't want Sam's blood this time, that year is old news, but Kevin is a barrel that's aged to perfection and ready to tap.
Crowley's phone call doesn't go as smoothly as all the others we've seen in the past. The King of Hell is left listening to bossa novas piped in over the bloodline. When Abaddon finally picks up her end she's fresh and chipper. Her numbers are blowing Crowley's projections out of the water. Mostly because she's breaching contracts. Crowley is not okay with this, there are protocols for a reason, Hell cannot be kept in line with anarchy; that literally won't work. Abaddon is hotheaded and unconcerned. And with that, the Winchesters once again have a demon in their back pocket, one that will work with them to take down a common enemy. Besides, Crowley is a businessman, a man of contracts and bottom lines. A deal is, in fact, a deal.
Unfortunately, what the translations contain brings zero joy. Metatron's spell is irreversible. Earth is the new Heaven, only less fluffy. This explains Dean's unwillingness to have Castiel fight the good fight. It's a pointless suicide mission and Castiel isn't suicidal, not anymore.
Sam is hanging up Crowley's phone, cleaning the blood from the basin, when he notices one of the syringes from his junkie pack is missing. Sam quietly walks to Crowley's room and spies him injecting himself with blood.
Okay, now I went back and watched and watched and watched and I can't figure out when or where Crowley pulled off not only stealing the syringe, but also getting one with blood in it. But here's the real question, who's blood is it? Does that matter? Because if he sucked it up from the bowl then it's Kevin's and it's prophet blood. But if it's Sam's, somehow, can Crowley feel Ezekiel in Sam's blood? So is it just for the high? Is Sam's blood:Crowley::Ruby's blood:Sam? Or will there be another reason?
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So what's a former angel to do sans grace and nowhere to go? How about Rexford, Idaho as Sales Associate Steve at a nice li'l quickie mart? That's where our Castiel resides, the model employee, "special" as his manager Nora points out. But that's not all that's going down in Rexford. The show starts when a suicide hotline operator trying to talk a man down from killing himself. After he hangs up, he puts a gun to his head but can't go through with it, setting the revolver back in the drawer. But an angel is in the house and puts a palm to his head, vaporizes him into a magenta spray across the walls.
In the bunker, Kevin's finished translating the angel tablet though he's only been able to work it out into Elomite cuneiform, a language just so happens to be deader than the folks that used it. It's time for some research using the Encyclopedia of Extinct languages (all 24 volumes). Dean's saved from the laborious task when Cas gives him a call about the potential case. He hits the scene and takes in the vaporized victim's home while Cas says yes when Nora asks him out. Dean calls to give Sam a head's up on the case before suggesting using their very own Hell King on a leash for some translation advice. Elsewhere in Rexford, a teenage girl laments to her friend about being dumped and ends up suffering the same magenta vaporization.
Meet Cas, Sales Associate (who goes by Steve now)
Sam takes Dean's advice and asks Crowley for help. It's no surprise when the Crossroads Demon refuses, even after Sam threatens handing him over to Abaddon. He won't budge, doing his very best impression of a 6 year old tantrum, folding his arms in petulance. In Rexford, Dean stops in on Cas to see how he's doing, trying to show his former bestie that this life is far below his station. Cas sees the "dignity" behind this new human life, no matter how mundane things look to the hunter. In the end, he capitulates, accompanying Dean to the scene of the school girl explosion. It doesn't take him long to recognize the culprit. "Dean, this is bad...this is very bad."
Bad comes with a name: Aritizia. Translated as Hands of Mercy, these were the angels of the battlefield that sought out the injured, healing the ones they could and ending the suffering of the ones that were beyond their means to help. Cas understands this particular angel is whacked out by the cacophony of emotions humans give up. "You gotta stop him," Cas implores...before asking for a ride to his date. Dean gives him the ride, even offering some dating tips before sending the former angel on his way. Unfortunately, when he gets there, Cas realizes he wasn't asked on a date but as a babysitter. It's a job he's pretty dang good at, even busting out an impressive vocalization of The Greatest American Hero' theme song ("Believe it or not, I'm walking on air") to calm down the crying baby. Dean's meeting with the Sheriff after the latter tells him the DNA from one of the crime scenes was of the wife only; when he sees the husband, Dean recognizes the pick-up as the one in front of Nora's house. Cas finds out the hard way when, after catching wind of the baby's fever, steps outside to cool her off and finds the Hand of Mercy waiting at the door.
Sam takes a second go at Crowley, who's softened his stance, so long as he gets a phone call. Kevin's not too crazy about the idea until Crowley proves his worth and they give him some of Kevin's blood to place a call to Abaddon.
Crowely will help but only after a bit of quid pro quo...
There is no love lost in their conversation, the Knight of Hell brazenly admits to collecting souls and invalidating the deals Crowley has made. He's more than a little pissed at Abaddon's overt coup and ends up translating the text for Sam and Kevin. It's not good news as he tells them there's no way to reverse the spell. The new world order's here to stay.
Back in Rexford, Cas talks to the angel who he remembers as Ephraim. He wants to wash away all suffering on the planet, starting with the beacon of pain broadcasting from Castiel. Dean tries for the save but is thrown away, most likely concussed again. Ephraim is ready to take Cas's pain; "By choosing a human life, you choose death." But Cas wants to live, and when a barely conscious Dean slides the angel blade over to Cas, the human-turned-angel slams it through Ephraim's chest.
In the aftermath, Sam relays Crowley's translation to Dean while Nora and Cas talk. He apologizes for being overly concerned when he called her about the baby but she tells him the part of him that cares so much is what makes him special. She offers him a smile that whispers at something more but Cas is in his own world. He gets into the car with Dean and when the elder Winchester asks him "Where to," Castiel wordlessly gets into the car. While Sam watches Crowley inject himself with a syringe of Kevin's blood, Cas tells Dean that he wants to help his angelic brethren. Dean knows it's a futile effort but steers his friend away, telling him it's not his problem. Castiel returns to his sales associate job as Steve', though his eyes take in the sky, aspiring for something more.
Angels and Demons
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