Previously on Supernatural, “The Raid”
After a string of well-received but fairly dark episodes, this week’s installment of Supernatural was touch more jovial than usual. A few weeks had passed since the Winchesters’ run-in with the Men of Letters and Dean is in high spirits. It appears nothing makes the hunter giddier about life than killing the crap out of a myriad of beast and monsters. Nods to stories and characters from seasons’ past have been the signature in writer Davy Perez’s episodes this season, yet one of the best occurred early in the “Heaven and Hell”. Returning to the Bunker after a gory four-way duel between a ghoul, wrath and siren, Dean slumped in his favorite chair at the Bunker and placed one of his dad’s favorite weapons on the table. From the looks of things, it was clear its thirst was quenched.
Super cool cross-promotional references aside, “Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell” had plenty going on underneath its surface. This week we were assured the bond between Sam and Dean remains unbroken despite the growing influence of the Men of Letters. The same cannot be said for Castiel who finally made an appearance, only to potentially be missing in action for an undetermined span. Between his existential crisis and Crowley’s simmering rage towards the Winchesters and Rowena, the supporting cast was finally given their due considering how crucial they are in the impending battle against Lucifer’s spawn.
Thankfully for Dean the hits kept rolling on in Nebraska as a young couple were attacked by a wayward hellhound. A victim managed to survive and wound the beast, rising her to the top of the hound’s list of humans who must be torn to shreds. For a civilian like Gwen (Angelique Rivera), this was hands down the weirdest, most traumatizing day of her life. However the investigation was peculiar even for Sam and Dean because they had no clue why a hellhound was stalking an innocent. Even though troubled waters are rising between them, the brothers ask Crowley for help, which gave Lucifer enough time to bust loose and resume his authority over Hell. Or so he thought.
Apparently life in Hell isn’t as exciting as we’re lead to believe… recognizing Crowley is distracted by some secret hidden away in the broom closet, a pair of low-level demons whipped up a fairly solid plan to divert the King of Hell’s attention from Lucifer so they could gain favor with the former boss. The hellhound roaming Nebraska was the queen bitch of the pack, responsible for bearing multiple soul-snatching beasts. Not to mention she was Lucifer’s pet that he saved from God Himself. In the time that Crowley was yukking it up with Dean and Sam, Lucifer learned two very important lessons: one, he has full command of his powers. Two, Crowley has absolute control over him on the molecular level.
Say what you will about Crowley being soft, he’s no Charmin in this go-around! In fact, we should have given him far more credit. It’s not like Crowley is a crossroads demon who suddenly had the responsibilities of an otherworldly kingdom thrust upon him. He’s earned his stripes over the years and knows exactly what to expect from practically all his enemies. Short of Lucifer’s love child, Crowley’s rule is pretty much secure. The same can’t be said for his occasional partner’s resolve.
Meanwhile in Idaho, Castiel remains leagues behind Kelly Kline’s trail and it’s gone completely cold now that Dagon is protecting her. At the very least Cas now knows a Prince of Hell is in play and it does nothing but lower his confidence in preventing the nephilim’s birth. Enter Kelvin (Nathan Mitchell), a former associate of Cas from the good old days that gives him good news for once: the angels are willing to help Castiel eliminate Lucifer’s unborn. Of course, such an alliance wouldn’t occur without a cost; Kelvin pleaded with Cas to return to Heaven. He’s done great things on earth but plenty needs to be done to restore the realm to its former glory. Now that Joshua (Heaven’s gardener and Winchester ally) is temporarily in charge, now is the best time for Castiel to seek redemption.
The promise of being welcomed back home is too good to pass up, and Castiel left our plane of existence with Kelvin to know for himself whether this deal is legit or not. Since Dean and Sam are busy with their own tenuous partnership, it’s up to Castiel yet again to sacrifice his grace. Their best pal may be off their radar for the moment, but it’s almost certain he’ll return (with back-up?) just when the brothers need him most.
On the whole, the second half of season twelve is wrapping up nicely with the promise of a grand battle against the scourge of all existence. Still, as mentioned a number of times in these reviews, the back-to-basics characterization and re-emergence of incomplete plot lines have invigorated Supernatural as it pridefully charges along into its thirteenth (final?) season.
"Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell"
Starring: Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Mark A. Sheppard, Misha Collins, Ruth Connell, Mark Pellegrino | Writer: Davy Perez | Director: Nina Lopez-Corrado