Hello Supernatural fans and welcome to the midseason finale gripe review. This review is about the gripes fans have with the episode Holy Terror. Let me start by saying that I enjoyed this episode, more than any episode that came after the premier, especially everything after 9.03. It was the only episode besides the premier and 9.03 that dealt with the mythology. It was also action packed and moved the plot forward, a plot that had been dragging its feet since episode 3.
The downside though was that this episode was written by my least favorite writing duo: Brad Buckner & Eugenie Ross-Leming. Below are the reasons why my enjoyment of the episode was sullied by some of their, and Carver's, choices.
Gripe #1: How did Castiel go from Gas-N-Sip’s sales associate to Agent Cas?
It was pointed out to me that the most important parts of Castiel’s story this season keep happening off screen. Meanwhile a bunch of trivialities - him babysitting, wrestling with a Slurpee machine, and ogling breasts on the street - are given attention. We never found out how homeless Cas managed to land a job at a gas station. Similarly we don’t know how he went from the gas station to wearing a suit and playing FBI. What happened to Nora and Cas’ job? They not only don’t show this, they don’t even bother to slip a line of dialogue here or there to explain it. It’s like the writers put Cas wherever it suits them and we, the audience, must accept it and move on.
Gripe #2: Dean, the single-minded zealot follower of (Not)Ezekiel.
I hate it when they dumb down characters, or make them OOC, for the sake of the plot. A lot of that has been going on this season, mostly involving Sam who ignored every neon sign that screamed at him "Something is wrong with you!!!" so Carver could drag the possession plot so far. This episode however did it to Dean.
Let’s make something very clear. Dean is smart. He wouldn't have survived this long, in his line of work, had he not been smart. So the only way it makes sense for him to follow an anonymous angel so mindlessly is when the plot demands of him. How else can Dean not suspect (Not)Ezekiel when he insists on ditching Castiel? I swallowed it the first time because it was about the MOL bunker and he didn’t want the angel factions to find it, even though it still made no sense because Castiel was warded. But when he again tells Dean to get rid of the other angel, who has been his only reference and the reason he was accepted in the first place, shouldn't Dean hear alarm bells? Shouldn’t he ask him why he is suddenly so against Castiel when the first time he appeared, he claimed to be one of his loyal supporters?
And what about Kevin? When Dean finally finds out about something not being quite right with "Zeke" he doesn't tell Kevin. Smart Dean would have definitely done that, because the one thing he could use in this situation is an ally, especially one with high IQ who is fully trustworthy. But for an inexplicable reason (plot convenience) Dean refuses to tell Kevin the truth. Instead he bullies him into concocting a spell that isn't tested and might very well not work. No matter how much Kevin tries to reason with him, or at least get more information out of him, Dean wouldn't budge. He acts like an abusive big brother who lost his stash of drugs and is crashing. Not only does he insult and push Kevin around, he ends up indirectly causing his death.
Why do Carver and his writers make Dean act like this? My personal theory is that they have heard the calls of fans complaining about the brotherly bond, and the damage recent seasons have dealt to it, and think the solution is to have one brother act like his pants are on fire every time the other is hurt. They are so hell bent on showing Dean’s priority in life is Sam that they force Dean to bend over backwards and drop brain cells in order to do it. Dean prioritized Sam before, throughout the entire series in fact, but he did it in wise ways, and never at the expense of another’s life. In 4.10 when the angels gave him a choice between handing over Anna or losing Sam, he chose the third option and tricked them. He didn't check out all his morals at the door and sacrifice Anna for Sam. That’s the Dean Winchester I used to know and love. This season’s Dean is a product of lazy writing by folks who don’t know the character all too well.
Gripe #3: Let's talk about the poor girl who got possessed by a reaper, was forced to have sex with Castiel, then was killed by Dean. Man, but was she hot!
I had huge problems with the way the boys joked around about April at the end of 9.03. Let’s not forget that she was a sweet girl who was possessed by an evil being who then used her body for its own purposes like having sex with Castiel and then torturing and killing him. Both April and Castiel suffered in that ordeal, and I'm sure Dean did too for having to watch his best friend die and kill the host along with the being inside the body. Is talking about how hot that body was really the appropriate way to reminisce the incident? Don’t they see how wrong this is? Like looking at an accident and, instead of being horrified, eyeing the injured, possibly dead girl they’re currently loading onto a gurney because she is/was sexy. Even if an innocent girl wasn't involved, how could the other two, who equally suffered through the ordeal in various ways, chat about it so casually and focus, of all things, on objectifying the third victim? Is proving that these two are macho, heterosexual males worth making them callous, insensitive people?
Gripe #4: What is the angel mythology again?
No writer is as fond of messing with canon as Brad Buckner & Eugenie Ross-Leming. In Taxi Driver they changed the entire mythology for Purgatory and Hell, and invented the Rogue Reapers, unbalancing much of the storylines that came before it. In I’m No Angel they made reapers body snatchers like demons and angels.
In Holy Terror we find out angel graces do not come with a name tag attached to them. They aren’t like human souls, which have a one to one relationship with their owners. Instead they are like those five hour energy shots. Any angel could slice through another angel’s skin and steal his or her grace, thus making it his own, as Castiel did in this episode. A grace is just the battery fluid on which the angel engines run.
Except that causes a whole lot of canon problems. Like why Castiel didn’t do the same thing with Hael, or the angel he killed on the bus in 9.03. Also if a grace is so generic why did Metatron collect Castiel’s grace in a bottle? Why did Anna search for hers for so long when she could have just ripped one out of the red shirt angels that came after her? Why, when he was losing his powers at the end of season 5, didn’t Castiel absorb a grace from one of the many angels he killed?
And while we’re on the topic of angel mythology, since when do angels possess humans using white smoke? Didn’t they appear as beams of light that fell on human vessels as shown in The Rapture and Point of No Return? What is this smoke if angel graces are just generic power juice?
Gripe #5: Why don’t these bad guys consider Dean Winchester a threat?
At the end of the episode Gadreel, after smiting Kevin and knocking Dean around, simply leaves the room. Didn’t he see the lose end? Are he and Metatron both so secure in their power that they don’t consider a Winchester dangerous, especially when they killed one of his allies who was like family to him, and hijacked the body of his brother? The answer to why Gadreel didn't kill Dean is obviously because Dean is a main character that can’t be killed permanently. However the writers didn't even bother to cook up some excuse to explain this lack of foresight within their own canon.
There were some other gripes that I left out. For example, some fans were unhappy with Castiel’s incompetence in plugging in a TV (something a newly earthbound angel had no trouble understanding.) Then there’s the reiteration of yet another hurt!Sam scenario we seem to be heading to. I left both of those, plus some other similar issues, out of this review because the first will be addressed in a later review I plan to write for the whole of season 9 so far, and the other is based on a preview and yet not confirmed. So I will round this up with only these episode-specific gripes and leave the floor to you, the audience, to sound off in the comments.