Episode Title: "Let It Bleed"
Writer: Sera Gamble
Director: John Showalter
Episode Title: "The Man Who Knew Too Much"
Writer: Eric Kripke
Director: Robert Singer
Previously on "Supernatural":
Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) became suspicious of their friend, the angel Castiel (Misha Collins) when they learned that their enemy, Crowley (Mark Sheppard) was still alive and plotting to break open Purgatory and use the souls to empower himself even further. In a solo confessional to God, Castiel revealed that he joined with Crowley in the plot to prevent the angel Raphael from freeing Lucifer and restarting the apocalypse. Towards that end, Castiel faked Crowley's death and mislead the Winchesters while trying to protect them from Crowley's revenge.
Bobby Singer (Jim Beaver) and the Winchesters eventually figured out what Castiel had done and they forced him to admit it. He asked them to trust him while Dean begged him to stop before it became too late. But when Castiel refused, Dean vowed to stop him. Later, Castiel asked God for a sign to show him whether he should stop and received only silence as a response.
In 1937, horror writer H.P. Lovecraft (Peter Ciuffa) is violently murdered by an unseen supernatural being. Back in the present, Bobby realizes that Castiel stole a file that links Lovecraft's death with an attempt to open a portal to Purgatory. At the same time, Crowley sends demons to kidnap Lisa (Cindy Sampson) and her son, Ben (Nicholas Elia), who gets a quick call off to Dean for help. Crowley threatens their lives unless the Winchesters stop pursuing him. In desperation, the Winchesters summon the sarcastic angel, Balthazar (Sebastian Roché), but he mocks their appeals to his "decency" and leaves. Castiel watches invisibly as Dean refuses to ask him for help and then Castiel confronts Crowley himself.
Although Crowley refuses to give up his leverage on the Winchesters, Bobby learns that there is a single survivor of the night Lovecraft and his friends tried to break into Purgatory: the son of Lovecraft's maid. And to his shock, the maid turns out to be his his old girlfriend, Ellie Visyak (Kim Johnston Ulrich). Meanwhile, Castiel is summoned by Balthazar, who asks him about the deal with Crowley. Despite his obvious surprise, Balthazar pledges to stay on Castiel's side. Bobby tracks down Ellie and gets her to admit that she's a creature from Purgatory, but she insists that she has no intention of harming humans or destroying the world. She also rejects Bobby's offer of protection.
Balthazar then approaches the Winchesters and says that he is siding with them over Castiel because he's against opening Purgatory. He then takes them to the building where Lisa and Ben are being held. But Lisa is possessed by a demon and threatens Ben before Dean can exorcise her. However, the demon gets the last laugh by fatally wounding Lisa in the process. At the hospital, Castiel appears to Dean and heals Lisa. Castiel also causes Lisa and Ben to forget that Dean ever existed, as a final favor for his friend. While Dean angrily tells Sam never to bring up Lisa and Ben again, Castiel finds and kidnaps Ellie.
Sometime later, Sam finds himself in amnesiac state before hiding in a bar with a cute bartender named Robin (Erica Cerra), who becomes unusually attached to Sam and concerned for his well being. She accompanies him back to his hotel, where his room makes him seem like a serial killer. Finding a newspaper clipping with Ellie's face, Sam remembers his name and sees himself go with Dean and Bobby to meet Ellie. They find her dying in an alley after having been forced to give up the location to Purgatory. After she dies, Castiel arrives and apologizes for letting Crowley getting carried away. He promises to save Sam if Dean and Bobby back down… before shattering the wall in Sam's mind and unleashing his memories of hell.
In his mindscape, Sam begins to realize what happened as he and Robin flee his "Soulless Sam" incarnation. In the real world, Bobby and Dean hold vigil over Sam's body before resolving to find Castiel. Back in Sam's mind, he fights and kills his soulless self, absorbing his memories in the process. He also learns that Robin was a girl that Soulless Sam killed to get at a demon before she fades away. Back at Bobby's place, Balthazar arrives and admits that he's rethinking his betrayal. But he gives Dean and Bobby Castiel's location. And at the same time, Castiel revokes his deal with Crowley and forces his partner to flee. He then kills Balthazar for betraying him.
As the action unfolds, Sam finds the last piece of himself that remembers his time in hell and reabsorbs it, sending his body into convulsions. Just as Dean and Bobby arrive at Castiel's hideout, Crowley returns with a swarm of demons and Raphael (Lanette Ware) by his side. This time, Castiel flees for his life before Raphael and Crowley attempt to open Purgatory. Dean and Bobby attempt to stop them, but they are easily overpowered. The ritual is completed, but nothing happens. Castiel returns and reveals that he stole Ellie's blood and completed the ritual by himself.
Crowley instantly runs, but Castiel makes sure to destroy Raphael. He then gloats about being right to Dean and Bobby, who try to convince him to give up all of his extra powers before its too late. Sam arrives and stabs Castiel with the angel blade. But Castiel calmly removes the blade and explains that he isn't an angel anymore. He's the new God, a better God… and he demands their love and loyalty or he will destroy them on the spot.
Before we start, I just want to say that I for one welcome our new angelic overlord.
Seriously though, I'm fully on board with the idea of Castiel as a corrupt God. As an antagonist, that's the only way this show can top having Lucifer and renegade angels as villains. And the idea of Sam and Dean on the run from all of creation is very appealing.
The only real problem is that I think that the seventh season would have to be the last one for the show. Once you vanquish God, everything else is a step down from that. In the meantime, I think it'll be an appropriately juicy storyline. I have to admit that there were several times I got bored with this season, especially during the tail end of the Soulless Sam arc and the "Mother of All" story that ultimately went nowhere.
In my opinion, the last three episodes really saved the season. I wasn't initially in favor of making Castiel the new big bad for the series, mostly because it means at some point that he'll be defeated and most likely destroyed. I've really come to enjoy Misha Collins' work on the show and I don't want to see that happen. But it's hard to imagine any other villain for the Winchesters that would have as much gravitas when pitted against them.
As for the episodes themselves, I didn't feel that they played as well back-to-back as they would have over successive weeks. The first hour was definitely the weaker of the two. I may be in the minority here, but I enjoyed seeing Dean carve out a home life with Lisa and Ben. I would have liked to have seen him get back to his makeshift family at some point, which is why it seemed unnecessarily harsh for Dean to get their memories wiped. In fact, that's kind of screwed up even for this show. I'm really sick of the notion that the brothers have no one but themselves or Bobby. This show can be bleak, but it doesn't have to go that far every freaking time that Dean or Sam get a girlfriend.
The beginning of the second episode, with Sam's "Memento" style adventure was a lot of fun until it was revealed to be his dreamscape. Likewise, Erica Cerra was a good foil for Sam until she turned out to just be another vision too. That revelation just seemed to rob those scenes of any sense of jeopardy. Overall, I thought the finale was pretty strong, but the cutting between the real action and Sam's mindscape got on my nerves. However, I did think that Jared Padalecki did a good job playing multiple versions of Sam.
Balthazar's change of heart was also very interesting and I assumed that he was being set up as the brothers' new angelic ally for next season. So his death actually came as a surprise and it was one of the more damning moments for Castiel. The cliffhanger is also very effective in that I don't see an easy way out for the Winchesters unless they literally drop to their knees. Although I can see them being defiant as well and refusing to "adore" the new God. But if Castiel doesn't follow through on his threat to smite them it would undercut his heal turn too quickly.
It's also good to see that "Supernatural" creator Eric Kripke wrote the season finale and that he'll apparently be playing a larger creative role in the next season. This could be the beginning of a truly epic storyline and I really want to see where it goes.
Crave Online Rating: 9 out of 10.