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Supernatural 9.03 "I'm No Angel" Review: What We Do For Love

   

     This week’s episode of Supernatural, “I’m No Angel,” was written by Brad Buckner and Eugenie Ross-Leming and was directed by Kevin Hooks. Ryan Curtis (Visual Effects Coordinator) asked me to pass on that Hooks is “an awesome guy and really fun to work with.” Given how fun the set is renowned to be anyway that would seem to be high praise! This was Hooks first gig on Supernatural but he has an impressive list of credits that include Castle, The Good Wife, Detroit 1-8-7 (which was seriously under-rated), Prison Break, 24, Lost, and NYPD Blues – just to scratch the surface. This was a terrifically shot episode and Hooks got great performances from the entire cast, so I hope this is just the beginning of a long run on Supernatural. And a shout out to the entire VFX team while I’m thinking of them. This episode featured lots of great effects. In fact, I’ve been re-miss in not having a shout out to the team yet this season. They make everything look so good, you forget that people’s eyes don’t just glow, and actors rarely let you actually burn their eyes out.

    Overall, I really enjoyed this episode. Misha Collins turns in a magnificent performance as Castiel learns to be human. It is both hysterical and heartbreaking to watch as he experiences what it is truly like to be human. It’s going to be interesting to see how different his character may be than the “human” Castiel we saw in the season five episode “The End.” I thought it interesting, given Collins’ own charity, Random Acts, when Cas tells the homeless man sharing his food with him that he’s found “it’s often those with the least who give the most.” Cas is definitely relying on the kindness of strangers, but he is also willing to do menial labor and eat from garbage cans. That experience also makes him reflect that “so much is wasted when so many are hungry.” Perhaps another lesson that Collins was happy to share.

    I think everyone was wondering if Cas would get an anti-possession tattoo. I wonder if the enochian he had tattooed on is more than simply angel-warding – I certainly hope it will also prevent him from being possessed by a demon. Of course, he might have gotten more than one tattoo. I also wondered if he was hiding in China town because it would be less likely that there would be angels there as the religious beliefs are largely non-angel? When Castiel is overwhelmed by his new sensations, it’s a nice touch for him to retreat to a church to try to regroup. This scene with the woman who is praying for her sick husband is one of the most powerful in the episode. She schools him that his lack of faith doesn’t cancel her truth, her beliefs. The scene ends a bit abruptly, but not before a thoughtful look passes over Castiel’s face – perhaps he simply needs to regain his faith.

    We have a new big bad in the form of Bartholomew (Adam J Harrington), an angel, who we learn was Naomi’s right hand man. He uses an evangelist, Buddy Boyle (Kevin Brief) to get people to say yes to angels. Boyle is watched around the world, so he is providing vessels all over the world. It seems likely that Bartholomew kills Boyle, but the episode never explicitly clarifies that. Bartholomew and his angels all wear suits like the soldiers we’ve come to associate with the bad faction of angels. Interestingly, Zeke did show up dressed like one of the good guys. Bartholomew is obviously not worried about adhering to rules and allows a young girl to become a vessel, knowing that she isn’t strong enough to contain the heavenly grace. I was a bit disappointed to see the “new-rule” reapers back again. When did they start possessing people, again? We have free-lancing bounty hunters hired to track down Cas.

    Of course, the fact that April (Shannon Lucio) turns out to be a reaper makes it a lot more plausible that she would bring home a homeless guy and sleep with him and not be freaked out that he had a stab wound and said he’d stabbed a guy. The scene between April and Cas is another strong one as Cas explains that he’s in his current predicament due to his own vanity. He admits that he thought he was more effective and important than he actually is and that he thought he could fix everything. Collins does a credible job looking like he’d never really kissed anyone – though we know he did a good job kissing Meg (Rachel Miner). Hopefully, April wasn’t lying when she said that she was satisfied! The scene between April and Cas afterwards was awkward and hysterical. I do have to wonder why the reaper washed Cas’ clothes or slept with him – her explanation seems a bit thin. Why does she torture Cas instead of simply taking him to Bartholomew? He tells her that he was telling the truth, that he had trusted Metatron; he’d been naive, but he hadn’t been in on the plan. He’d thought that they were working to bring the factions back together, and he hadn’t known that Metatron was preparing a spell to expel the angels. Cas has a good point that it may be stupid to kill him as he may play some part in counteracting the spell – I really hope that ends up being the case!

    There were lots of good bro-moments in the episode. Jared Padalecki is doing a great job splitting time between Sam and Zeke. I’m with Dean (Jensen Ackles) in getting whiplash as he moves seamlessly from Zeke to Sam. Even more impressive, perhaps, was in the scene in April’s apartment when he gets up and walks towards a then dead Cas. Even without an eyeflash, it was obvious just by Padalecki’s body language that it was Zeke walking toward Cas, not Sam. I feel a little less confident about whether Zeke is on the up and up this week. He must know who Naomi was, and he should know from the angel radio chatter that she is dead. And why is he so adamant that Cas must leave the bunker? Who is after him? Why is he in such danger? It seems like it must be Bartholomew. In the meantime, it also seems that Sam is starting to get a bit suspicious. He wants to know how Dean knew where to find April’s for instance.

    I loved Sam explaining to Dean that Clarence was what Meg called Cas and that that is the name of a very famous angel – from It’s a Wonderful Life. Of course, at the same time, how did Dean miss Meg calling Cas that and it always rings a bit false when Dean misses a pop culture reference. Of course, Frank Capra might be a bit outside of Dean’s taste. I thought it was also hysterical when they have to try really hard to convince the homeless that they actually aren’t cops! Another nicely ironic moment comes after Zeke has healed Cas and Dean has to think quickly to come up with an explanation for why Cas isn’t dead. Dean tells them that he’d told April he wouldn’t “kabob” her if she saved Cas. Cas puts two and two together and says “you lied!” Dean, relieved, says “I did. I do that.” Dean does have a history of lying – at least to the bad guys, but he is also lying to those closest to him. Ackles is his usual impressive self, hitting all the comedic moments, but also clearly conveying Dean’s discomfort in lying and dealing with Zeke. The moment he thinks Cas is actually dead is heartbreaking.

    The final scene between team free will is fantastic. It’s a nice touch that the things Cas likes best about the Bunker are the things Dean likes too – the good water pressure and food. But it’s also nice to see Cas telling them that he appreciates them more now that he has a better understanding of what it means to be human. I loved how Cas just slipped out that he had slept with April – all shyly proud of himself. He’s also willing to put himself in Dean and Sam’s hands as his teachers. Of course, they both look worried about what they might have to teach him. The final scene is heartbreaking. Cas tells Dean that he appreciates their time together, and Dean tells Cas that he can’t stay in the Bunker. Cas, of course, looks crushed. I really hope that Dean provides some kind of explanation in the next episode. In any event, he’s going to have to come up with a plausible explanation for Sam too.

    What did you think of the episode? Are you enjoying Cas’ foray into humanity? How long do you think it will take for Sam to really start to get suspicious? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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