Castiel is in a snowy clearing on a bench. He’s telling someone the story of his life. He recalls the Tower of Babel, Cain & Abel, David & Goliath, Sodom and Gomorrah.
His biggest memory though, was one that never happened thanks to two boys, an old drunk, and a fallen angel. They ripped up the script, leaving freedom and choice. But how does he know he did the right thing?
He roadmaps how he has gotten to this point. He knows how Sam, Dean, and Bobby are suspicious of him after finding out Crowley is alive. But he is now realizing this path he’s on that he thought was the right one may not be so cut and dry anymore.
Castiel first pops in to Dean in the Impala who tells him if ever he needs help, to just ask. He then pops over to Crowley who’s using his own version of enhanced interrogation techniques to continue finding the key to purgatory since their only key, Eve, is now dead thanks to the Winchesters.
Crowley criticizes Castiel for not having his head in the game and instead is more concerned with his little friends. But Castiel feels obligated to continue being the bros’ guardian angel. He owes it to them, especially after they taught him how to stand up for himself.
Crowley tells Castiel to kill the Winchesters or he will, otherwise they’ll all end up dead.
Castiel continues watching Dean, Sam, and Bobby who are now interrogating a demon hoping to find Crowley. He fesses up that he is only in contact with Crowley through Ellsworth, “the demons’ answer to Bobby Singer.” Dean still feels weird about suspecting Castiel, but Sam and Bobby try to get him to see the possibility.
But Castiel gets to him first. More than wanting to protect the bros (who would end up falling right into Crowley’s hands), he finishes Ellsworth and his goons off for his own self preservation.
Castiel recalls how it was him that pulled Sam out of the pit. And afterwards, he returned to heaven. As we’ve learned before, each soul creates their own heaven. For Castiel, he prefers “the eternal Tuesday afternoon of an autistic man who drowned in a bathtub in 1953.”
There he meets Rachel and a group of angels who are surprised to see he is alive. Rachel says it was God, He’s chosen Castiel to lead them. But he says no. No one leads them anymore, they are free to choose their own fates. God wants them to enjoy their freedom.
But angels don’t understand that concept.
Castiel meets with Raphael who tells him that tomorrow, Cas will pledge allegiance to him in front of the heavenly hosts and their mission in getting “the show back on the road” by freeing Michael and Lucifer from the cage.
That doesn’t have to happen anymore, Castiel says. But it’s God’s will, Raphael argues, it’s what he personally wants as well. The angels are merely soldiers who were built to follow. But Castiel won’t bow down.
When the three get there, they find an empty house until Crowley’s goons arrive to finish them off. Castiel takes a risk for his friends and saves them. Castiel regains their trust again, but loses it just as fast when he slips and mentions a conversation about dark side Superman and kryptonite the three of them had had at Bobby’s earlier.
Castiel heads to Crowley and threatens to “tear it all down” if he ever lays a hand on his friends ever again. He flashes back to when this all first started. He wanted to approach Dean for help, but he didn’t want Dean to sacrifice any more. He was happy living a normal life with Lisa and Ben, Castiel didn’t want to ruin that. Before deciding, in pops Crowley who wants to discuss an offer with him.
Crowley takes Castiel to hell, a new more orderly hell Crowley created.
Crowley suggests Castiel starts a civil war in heaven. He tries to convince him that God Himself has given him the gold seal to take charge of heaven. He offers they work together to find purgatory and in exchange, they split the tens, hundreds of thousands of souls in purgatory. The powerful ammo of souls will help Castiel defeat Raphael while Crowley can use the ammo to keep control of hell.
Castiel takes the offer and sends Raphael and the rest of the heavenly hosts the message. He won’t let the apocalypse get back on track.
Sam, Dean, and Bobby trick Castiel into the ring of fire so they can get to the bottom of this all.
Dean, the one closest to Castiel no question, gets him to admit his plan.
He tells Sam he’s the one who got him out of hell. That prompts Sam to question his “piss-poor job” of it and asks if he had pulled him out soulless on purpose.
How could you think that, Castiel says. Technically not a yes or no.
He tries to defend his position, that he’s doing all of this to stop Raphael from obliterating Earth. But Dean says, no, this is wrong. Why would you keep it a secret if it wasn’t wrong? When they have problems, they deal with it, not make deals with the devil.
Black clouds begin to encircle the home and Castiel tells them to run without agreeing to stop their plan. They leave Castiel in the ring of fire as Crowley flies in.
Crowley frees Castiel and he again tries to get the angel to see that he can’t be worrying about his friends anymore. He calls them the new devil and the new God, but Castiel doesn’t want to hear it and tells the demon to get out of his sight.
“You know the difference between you and me? I know what I am. What are you Castiel? What exactly are you willing to do?”
Crowley leaves and Castiel pops into Bobby’s as Dean wakes up. Castiel tries to get Dean to believe his reasons, that he knows what he’s doing. But Dean says no, this is not a good idea. Castiel is like a brother to him, “so if I’m asking you not to do something, you gotta trust me man.”
“Or what?” Castiel asks and Dean says he’ll do whatever he can to stop him.
“I’m sorry Dean,” and Castiel pops off.
Castiel finishes his story and it turns out he’s talking to “Father.” He asks for a sign that confirms he’s doing the right thing, he’s on the right path. Otherwise, he’ll have to do whatever he has to.
No sign if there was a sign or not.
Well, this was definitely a better episode than we’ve had. It seems things are starting to make sense, or at least, the last season is becoming a little clearer.
Souls have been the running theme. In hindsight, that seems to be the simple thread running through this season. And at episode 20, it seems clear what all of this is leading to. Even if it may have been in a roundabout way (or a way that suggests they had no idea where this season was headed in the first place), at least there’s a purpose now.
Not the most compelling purpose, but at least we have one. Though admittedly, this season was supposed to return to the monster-of-the-weeks rather than focusing on the intricacies of a new mythology arc.
Now for this episode, the best part may have been the strong performances by Jensen, Mischa, Jared, Jim, and Mark. All talented enough to elevate what at times has been a slow crawl to this point.
The next best part of this episode was the reinforcement of the Supernatural depiction of heaven and this fresh new depiction of hell. Supernatural has been groundbreaking in this sense and it is always fascinating to see their interpretations of religion and mythology.
It’ll be interesting to see the big payoff to something we’ve really only realized this week. But even more interesting will be what kinds of seeds will be planted for season 7.