Well, hmmm. I'm not sure what all happened there. Ben Edlund wrote and directed this episode. I usually like his writing. This was his second time out directing. I'd be interested to see what he'd do with directing an episode that he didn't write. I guess I expected a bit more from this ep, particularly because it was an Edlund ep and we're so close to the end of the season. It was the third to the end and there were a lot of characters with plotlines left hanging. I haven't read a lot of comments but it seems like it got a mixed reaction. It's taken me a while to start to write this because I couldn't figure out why it felt off for me. I think part of it was the way Cas was written, part was The Word, and part was the attempted silliness of some of it that just felt flat or out of character. Like always, there were still parts to ooh and aaah over so I'm going to get the bumpy part out of the way in the next three paragraphs and get on with that.
Although he's never been my favorite or even third or fourth, I like Cas well enough as a character, particularly falling Cas from season 5. Even when we first met him as an angel determined to follow orders, he had a weight and complexity to his character that grew as we worked through the next couple of seasons. Though I wished they'd done something different with him in season 6, he still had a gravity about him and a story line that was believable. Part of what I liked about him was how the show used him to explore human nature and emotion. He always had dignity (except with the whole pizza man thing) even if he was naive and that was being used as the punchline of a joke. He, himself, wasn't the joke. I feel like we got closer to Cas being the actual joke. It's kind of like being expected to laugh at a guy who got his mind fried on acid. The whole pull-my-finger bit was too much for me, partly because I couldn't tell if it was supposed to be funny to the audience or expose the ultimate awkwardness of the whole situation. Let's laugh at the mentally ill guy. No, I really can't. After mulling it over for a few days, I realized that I was completely frustrated with the new Cas and probably reacting to him like Dean might have been or like anyone who has lost someone to the effects of mental illness. Where is the Cas I knew who totally screwed the world and my brother over who used to be my angel-with-whom-I-had-a-profound-bond? How am I going to solve the problems he caused, evidently without his help? How am I going to deal with my anger and hurt with this bee-watching dude who is incapable of even holding up his end of the conversation, let alone understanding the gravity of what he's done or take responsibility for it? And, oh by the way, I still feel responsible for making sure he doesn't get his sorry ass killed, or anyone else's for that matter.
So there was that. The rest of it can be boiled down to the fact that we spent the entire season stripping Sam and Dean of everything they had until they were down to themselves, still basically humans, to get the job done. Charlie was cool because there wasn't anything supernatural about her. Bobby, although supernatural, is as much a worry as help these days and not to be counted on. For all his ghost power, he's still basically coming at it from a human way of thinking. But all of a sudden, we've got angels, demons, our Geek of the Week is a prophet (what!?), and the Word of God with the formula for success lands in our collective laps. Plus, oh here is a fallen angel who just hands over blood. I know it probably won't be quite that simple. They'll have to do a time jump or the righteous man (Dean) will have to sacrifice his femur. Been there, metaphorically done that. I liked the Borax because it was a human partial-solution to a supernatural problem. I don't want to be rescued, I want to fight my way clear. It makes the victory sweeter. I think Dick is vulnerable when it comes to human ingenuity and I hope that comes into play instead of just finding ingredients and chanting a spell.
With the silliness, I hate when Sam or Dean get embroiled in dialog that they wouldn't say if it weren't for the writer trying to pull off a joke. Sam would know who Metatron was. Dean would have known who Cthulhu was. I'm not even going to get into the dialog between Meg and the boys. By the time we had Sam chasing a teenager for a rock and then playing tug of war with it, I was irritated enough to be pulled out of the story. I want the last couple of episodes to be gripping and this wasn't for me. If I hadn't already known that we were getting a season 8, I think it would have been even harder to watch this. We're supposed to be building to this big Butch and Sundance finale and I don't see anything here worth Sam and Dean driving off a cliff for, you know?
Despite all that stuff, there were some cool things about the episode though. There were color cues and some flowers and the deer's head. We had cello music, a geeky kid from Michigan, shout outs to Perth, and the guys were 30 mile markers beyond mine when Cas joined them in the car. Some of the color cues begin right away with Kevin. Usually on SPN, the female victims or witnesses get pink. In this case, Kevin's got a pink shirt when we first see him.
We get to know about him from the contents of his room. He's been achieving greatness since his fourth grade spelling bee and he's presumably got family that care enough about his success to frame it.
We don't know what his trophies are for but he's got them displayed instead of toys. There appears to be a statue of the Empire State Building in the lower left corner. Interesting in light of all the architecture in the art last week.
I grew up in Michigan hanging out with high-achieving guys like Kevin who left for ivy league schools and I haven't seen them since. There isn't a Neighbor, Michigan, but there is a Hell, which makes for many obvious jokes. Most of Kevin's teachers are on the SPN crew and he has Mr. (John?) Williams for music. Kevin has more organizational skill on display than I have acquired in over 40 years.
The interesting thing about color and flowers this time is that they show up with Kevin's friend, who is just a bystander. Orange flowers on the scarf, pink ones on the wallpaper along with the Eiffel Tower (another landmark construction), black flowers on the bench, red stripes on the bed and a yellow shawl with flowers. She's not wearing any pink at all though. Her wall of pictures is a nice innocent contrast to a hunter's wall of menace.
I really like the cello music and that they have it playing while Sam and Dean are settling down in Chicago. The windows have a lot of color and make a nice backdrop.
Out the window, you can see three neon letters, TEL. I wonder if they have a prop motel sign outside the windows. There is a nice cool blue light that complements the lightning the boys are about to call down. Dean gets to be Thor.
The next cap is something only a cap could catch. You can't really see it as you watch. As Dean hits the stone and the lightning causes the lantern to stutter, the light from it becomes yellow. I don't think it was intended, just a function of the light dimming but it's cool that yellow usually means danger and this is about when Kevin gets hit.
Overhead shot of Kevin in the remains of his shattered old life.
It was night and now it's day. Kevin grabs a clean shirt so he can be wearing blue plaid when it comes time to help the boys with the case.
It's day in Chicago too. Dean slept but who knows about Sam. This building is really clean for an abandoned building in South Chicago. The big gear behind Dean and the flywheel behind Sam wouldn't have survived the rise in the amount money you can get for scrap metal. People are removing plumbing in occupied buildings and here are big chunks of unattended iron.
The flywheel is eye-catching though.
The gears and wheels go with Edgar's discussion about the blades at the new GeoThrive building where they are planning our future with pride. Putting the "me" in meat. Ugh.
Edgar gets a phone call. These jokes are eye-rollingly endless.
Sam and Dean get a call too and we're off to Indiana. Meg's in blue instead of her customary demon black. She interviewed in white but maybe this a good way to distinguish her from the patients. Blue is also the color that usually goes with angels or people helping the boys.
The apocalypse seasons were marked with a lot of red for Sam and demons and blue for Dean and angels. As the guys are walking down the hall, the stuff on the shelves screams "here we go again".
When the boys see Cas, he looks small in front of a big window that ironically looks like blue plaid.
The only blue he's wearing is his hospital bracelet. Somebody washed his coat because the blood is all gone. I don't know whether to read a deeper meaning into that or figure it just smelled bad after spending most of a season in Dean's trunk.
The room is like it was when Sam left it for the most part. The boat art on the wall is the same and the trenchcoat bathrobe is still hanging on the wall. I'm sure there is a recurring theme with water this season and I'm working on collecting caps.
There is an additional piece of art in the room though and it's a flower. It's in the shot when Sam realizes that the rock is gone and in a shot of Meg.
As is common when you get angels, demons, and the boys together, you get conflict. This Cas can't stand conflict and heads for the rec room, breaking the Word in the process. How does Meg know that's where he would go? I thought he's been asleep all this time. Lots of red in this room along with some art done by residents.
It looks to me like that might be another beach scene on the wall. When I saw the Sorry game with "sweet revenge" on the side, I thought they were going to be subtle about it.
Nope, they're going to drop an anvil on us and Dean. The game box is sitting on a puzzle with another architecture example. I was pretty impressed that Dean only dumped the game on the floor and didn't try to salt and burn it. Or punch Cas in the jaw.
Meanwhile, our happy reunion gets crashed by Kevin, Inias, and Hester. Poor Kevin. He just wanted to go to college but instead he's been chosen. Sounds familiar. That shaggy hair. Hmmmm. He looks caged by the shadows.
I wish the ring had never come to me....
Where there is a prophet, there evidently must be a desert unless you're Jonah and you get a whale. Did Chuck spend time in the desert? Maybe just the Waste Land. Because we're short of archangels, Kevin gets Inias, the angel version of Garth, and Hester. I thought Cas called him Anais so I was left thinking Nin and Hester Prynne. They are really surprised to find out that Cas is alive. How did they miss that? Can angels hide from each other? Later on we find out that killing demons is a beacon for angels. What about angelic healing and whatever Cas did for Sam? Cas killed a bunch of demons outside the hospital when he came to help. Didn't that tip anyone off? Poor Hester, she's just another plot device who will be killed off shortly and mourned with the care you'd give when discarding a piece of chewed gum. "What the hell was that?!" Amen, sister. (Ok, evidently there were four irritating things about the episode.)
Anyhow, Dean blasts the angels so we get a break and can sneak off to Rufus's. Along the way, they need gas. We find out that Kevin's been grabbed. It says so by the TV. Detective Collins, huh?
The sale signs are the same as in the convenience store in Whitefish from The Girl Next Door. With the amount of junk food these guys consume, how are they going to avoid eating the Leviathan's Little Helper?
But with the team back together, we can do it.
Meg is about to get some unwanted attention. She's just chillin', reading a magazine by a huge red and yellow warning sign when she gets spotted by other demons. She can only hang out there for 10 minutes anyhow.
Off to the cabin in the woods. En route, they pick up Cas from his visit to Perth. They conceal the cabin with everything except angel proofing. Cas can't be inside angel proofing? Is that a new thing? Did Cas bother to etch Kevin's ribs? I doubt they're much hidden from the angels anyhow but I'm feeling more confused by the minute.
Rufus's cabin looks smaller somehow. Maybe it's the fact that it's night or it's got a lot more people than usual in it. The cabin has a lot of deer this time. On the table by the door. Over the coat hooks.
Cas stays with Sam and they have a meaningful talk while Meg sneaks out apparently by disapparation because you have to think the doors squeak. Why she comes back in by the door, I'll never know. It seems that Cas confirms that the Lucifer in Sam's head was a projection and not the real deal. Basically Sam was being killed by his own brain and all that crap had to come from his head after all. Aww, Sam.
I miss conversations that used to start "this killer truck". Demon truck of evil with devil's horns and red and yellow light.
Evil demon in a red and yellow Idaho hat with flowers, mountain and deer (elk). Even demons shouldn't wear flowers.
While all this is going on, Dean is in the basement with the kid. Dean's probably so used to the harshness of the job by now that he doesn't even register seeing the torture tools. He's also getting sloppy because Meg was able to leave with Ruby's knife.
ash48 has commented about heavy rock walls showing up in the last part of the season. Along with the foundation walls, we have the probable solution written on a rock that was hidden in a rock in the ground. The fireplace upstairs is made of large rocks, too. The prefix geo can mean earth in the sense of ground or rock and the slaughterhouse is GeoThrive.
For a guy who doesn't do chick flick moments, Dean spends a lot of time saying some pretty important things to strangers. He may not expose many deep emotional thoughts with Sam but everyone from Elliot Ness to bartenders to Kevin get quite a peek into where his head's at. Sometimes it's easier to talk to strangers.
Evidently once you know where the hideout is, you can get back there. Rufus's house is compromised as a secure location, guys. Deer foreground with orange, dead fish in the back. Cas looks small or Dean looks big.
Then Hester and her crew show up to haul Kevin off. She tells Cas that he's fallen in every way possible. Cas still has his grace though, doesn't he? Her jab at Dean about corrupting everything he touches was unnecessary roughness. Dean didn't need to hear that. Having the whole Hester plotline was annoying for various reasons and it was a pointless death. She's not wearing the angel blue suit and she's backed by a lot of red on the window.
The end is really surreal. Meg just killed Hester and the other angels just did what, stood there? Then Meg vanishes again. They must have oiled the door. The next thing we know, Cas and Anais are standing around chatting like it's a faculty coffeebreak. The deer's head, a prop so popular it has its own Superwiki page, lurks in the background. There's more of that heavy rock.
They make arrangements to take Kevin home. Does this mean Anais is the new head of the garrison? Behind him, you can see a stocked gun rack. There's another set of antlers.
When Kevin gets home, we should be expecting bad stuff just because of how his Mom is dressed and the room color.
Detective Collins is in front of orange art.
When Kevin gets back, he and his angel guard land in front of a pot of flowers.
A closer look at the flowers and the wall of big rocks behind it.
Behind one of the angels is a picture of a leafless tree. Looking back on other episodes, dead trees seem to be another theme. We've even had a dead branch as art. When Cas said that The Word meant Tree, I thought we had a connection. Evidently not. Here's a brief sojourn to see some of them.
Here's one from Repo Man.
Adventures in Babysitting.
Here's the dead branch from Party On, Garth.
Back to this episode where Edgar announces that Leviathans can turn angels into black goo. It is an Edlund episode so we have to have some gore in there somehow. Are the angels going to have to throw in with the boys now to protect themselves? What will happen to Kevin? Does he have that special spark that will protect him from being replicated? I think Guy Bee directed the next episode so that should be fun to see. He did Frontierland and Hello, Cruel World. Who else is left hanging out there with an incomplete story? The boys, Cas, Bobby, Meg, Crowley, the Impala, Adam (who?), Dick and maybe Lucifer? Bueller?
Caps from http://homeofthenutty and true_fellings