In the tenth episode of the fourth season of Supernatural, Dean and Sam wage with the forces of Heaven and Hell, and THEN IT’S THE BIGGEST NOPE EVER. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Supernatural.
Sweet mother of all that is holy, what has this show done to me?
Like the last review, I feel the need to break this up so I can properly talk about “Heaven and Hell.” I tried to watch this episode with some of the scrutiny towards Ruby as I’ve done before, and I can’t crack her story. More than ever before, what she does here really is in the best interest of the Winchesters, and you can even say she did a solid for Anna, too. Initially, I was highly suspicious of her choice to burn the hex bags, since that seemed like a terrible thing to do. I thought we were seeing Ruby’s true loyalties, then, but then later events contradict this. Sam told her to burn the hex bags so that the demons could be goaded into a fight over Anna, and Ruby was clearly being tortured by Alistair! WHICH ISN’T A GOOD THING AND WAS SUPER HORRIBLE. Oh my god, how is Mark Rolston real? HE’S SO TERRIFYING AS ALASTAIR.
Look, I am trying to be more prepared than usual, and all the signs are pointing to her true loyalty. I don’t buy the notion that she’s working against Sam, at least not yet. I’d need more, and seeing Dean begin to trust her? That’s a big deal, y’all! AND HE THANKED HER. HUGE STEPS FOR DEAN WINCHESTER: ACTUAL MANCHILD. (Though to be fair to him, I do understand his general revulsion around her, but I can’t resist making a manchild joke about Dean. That being said, tears. so many tears over this MANCHILD.)
Anna / Angels
OKAY SO LIKEâ€¦ WHAT THE FUCK JUST HAPPENED. Please please don’t let this be the last of Anna, because I WANT HER AROUND FOREVER. If she was “interesting” in the previous episode, now she’s downright NECESSARY FOR MY OWN HAPPINESS. Despite that I knew that Castiel was a character on this show and that he was an angel, I didn’t have a single clue as to how this show would ever introduce angels into their mythology. Truthfully, I just plain forgot that Cas even existed because I was so invested in everything else that had happened on Supernatural. The show has been gradually pulling the curtain back more and more in terms of angel mythology, but in Anna, we learn so much more about their existence and their way of life, AND IT’S SO MUCH BETTER THAN I COULD HAVE EVER HOPED FOR.
First of all, it’s absolutely lovely that the writers brought Pamela Barnes back, and I adored that as soon as she helped Anna, she was all, “I’M OUT, Y’ALL, GOODBYE AND GOOD RIDDANCE” because right??? She did not exactly have a great experience with the Winchesters last time, so bless her heart for exercising some self-awareness here. But it’s through Pamela’s work that Anna discovers who she really is: an angel who willingly gave up her grace and fell to earth. And that “willingly” part is integral to understanding Dean’s reaction to what Anna did. He can’t fathom the idea that someone would willingly give up what he perceives is the “perfection” in an angel’s existence.
Which calls back to Castiel’s conversation with Dean on that park bench inâ€¦. that episode I forgot? Wasn’t it “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Dean Winchester”? Anyway, there’s that scene where Castiel admits that even he has doubts about what’s right and wrong, and Anna’s revelations about Heaven further show us that the angels? Yeah, they’re barely more knowledgable than the humans are about God’s plans. (Shit, who are the four angels who have seen God’s face??? Does Jesus Christ have anything to do with this show’s mythology? I wouldn’t be surprised if Supernatural avoided that, though, since I feel like it would be a huge mess.) Not only that, but their only real job is to obey. They must obey God and have faith in him, or else they’ll be killed. So Anna, not content to sit and watch the world destroy itself, discards her own grace so that she can escape the life of an Angel. Y’all, this is such an incredible story to me, and the deliberate parallels drawn between her and Dean make this even better. Though I think having daddy issues about God kind of trumps Dean having daddy issues with John. JUST A LITTLE BIT.
I want so much more of this mythology. So much more! I admit that I’m flat out impressed with how this has been implemented in the show because there are a million ways this could have gone poorly. But this episode just gave me a story of how an angel rebelled against God because she wanted her own agency. HOW WAS I NOT GOING TO LOVE THIS?
Dean’s Misty-Eyed Boy Talk
I’m justâ€¦.. done? With all of this? With Dean defying the angels, despite that they threaten to send him back to Hell. HE WAS WILLING TO GO BACK TO HELL FOR ANNA, AND THIS WAS BEFORE HE KNEW HER FULL STORY. And I don’t doubt that he was telling the truth because this is precisely why Uriel and Castiel up the stakes. They know this won’t work for Dean. And that? NO. no no no NO THIS IS TOO EVIL. It feels that way, doesn’t it? Dean accuses the angels of being heartless, and it’s hard not to think that when they THREATEN TO KILL SAM IF HE DOESN’T TURN ANNA OVER TO THEM. There’s a part of me that thinks that maybe Castiel wasn’t exactly into this plan because he has a few very brief flashes of something on his face, but then I thought I AM DEFINITELY OVERTHINKING THIS. But perhaps it’s because I wanted there to be another voice of reason here, particularly one that was a bit more godly, since threatening to kill Sam seemedâ€¦ really intense? Of course, I think that’s part of the mythology. Disobeying God is the worst thing an angel can do, and that therefore made Anna irredeemable in God’s eyes. She had earned her death for what she’d done, and Uriel was ready and eager to fulfill God’s desires. Castiel? Maybe not as much? I DON’T KNOW.
I suppose I’m also just full of feelings about Dean choosing to keep his brother around, especially in light of what happens after Anna retrieves her grace and ascends back to Heaven. I think? It’s left ambiguous, as is Alastair’s fate. Did he die from watching Anna ascend, or did he just decide to peace out? Regardless, Dean’s conversation with Anna earlier about free will was also important because she reminded Dean that he wasn’t alone. He is clearly all kinds of fucked up by his experience in Hell, and Anna is the first person to truly offer some sort of tangible comfort to him. Yes, Sam couldn’t empathize with Dean, but Anna? She could understand what sort of horrors Dean had experienced, since she had heard the angels talking about it. And while she doesn’t push him to discuss them with her, she ensures him that when he’s ready, he’s not exactly alone on this planet. Whether she was referring to Sam or herself is immaterial in the end, since Dean decides that he needs to start talking about what happened to him.
And that’s how I want to frame this. This happened to Dean, and I’m glad that Sam so quickly tells his brother that this isn’t his fault, that there’s no reason that Dean should feel so miserable over what was done to him. His full relationship with Alastair is revealed, and the whole thing is justâ€¦ fuck. I don’t know what to say to do it justice. Jensen Ackles brings a whole new level of acting to this scene, and can we not ever have a scene with that little quiver of his ever again? Look, I think it was incredibly risky for Supernatural to ever spell out Dean’s experience in Hell because they risked it coming across as cheesy or hokey. Instead, it’s so much more darker and visceral than I could have ever imagined. But most of all? It just made me sad. Dean has a lot of issues, and I admit that I tend to gravitate towards Sam more than Dean, but Dean did not deserve that. At all. And watching him admit to being relentlessly tortured for thirty years was bad enough. But you can see the guilt and shame spread across that man’s face when he admits that he finally gave up on the suffering and began to cause it. Dean Winchester already had enough hatred of himself before he ever went to Hell, and this show just made it so much worse.
EVERYTHING HURTS, Y’ALL. EVERYTHING.
The video for “Heaven and Hell” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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