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Supernatural 9.06 "Heaven Can't Wait" Review: It's Not Easy Being Human

    This week’s episode of Supernatural, “Heaven Can’t Wait,”    was written by Robert Berens and directed by Rob Spera. Both Berens and Spera are new to the show. Berens has only two other writing credits, the most recent of which is Ringer. Spera has directed Army Wives and Criminal Minds. The episode left me a little flat – it neither wowed me nor was it awful. Misha Collins deserves special mention, however, for an outstanding performance.

    The episode, not surprisingly, based on the title, does provide some insight into how Castiel (Collins) is faring now that he is human. The episode still doesn’t really clarify, however, how Castiel’s new role is going to fit into the overall mytharc of the season. The episode itself felt a bit disjointed as it cut back and forth, and there was never any explanation of why Ephraim (Ashton Holmes) would ask Nora (Tanya Clarke) out on a date. What was the point? He doesn’t kill her and there was no real reason to have to kill Cas in her home. Also? Who goes bowling in a dress and heels? It’s always wonderful to have Osric Chau (Kevin) and Mark Sheppard (Crowley) appear, and thematically the two storylines resonated with each other.

    The basic structure of the episode was the tried and true opening scene with the victim that alerts the hunters – or in this case Cas – that something just isn’t right in Rexford, Idaho. It looks like the monster-of-the-week is an angel, until the victim glows pink and then explodes in a pink mist! According to Ryan Curtis (Visual Effects Coordinator) in a Tweet during the show, they used Pepto Bismol because it had a “great color and consistency.” Anybody else recognize the local sheriff? If he looked familiar it may have been you recognized Michael Kopa from Fringe as Captain Windmark.
    When Cas calls Dean (Jensen Ackles) to tell him about the case, Dean says “There is a God.” They learn that there’s no way to reverse Metatron’s spell, so even though Dean says this unthinkingly, I wonder if it may actually be a clue to how they are going to get the angels back to Heaven. They don’t know where God is, but that doesn’t mean he no longer exists. Dean is worried about Cas, and Cas is not interested in talking to him. Dean immediately heads out to follow up on the case lead – at least that’s what he tells Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Kevin. Kevin assumes Dean is just trying to avoid the research to de-code the cuneiform, but Ackles’ face easily conveys that while that’s what he wants them to think, he’s really going to check on Cas.

    Collins does a wonderful job showing how Cas is learning to be “Steve” the sales associate at the gas-n-sip. He’s doing his best to imprint on the customers and fit in. It’s heartbreaking when he thinks that his boss has asked him out on a date. It was played perfectly and I thought that’s what she was doing as well. As much as he’s trying to fit in, he’s still struggling, and he’s still mad at Dean. Dean is completely oblivious to how much losing his grace has changed the world for Cas. He tells Dean “I failed in being an angel. Here, at least I have a shot at getting things right. There’s a real dignity in what I do: a human dignity.” Dean assumes it’s about a girl. Dean doesn’t understand Cas anymore as a human than he did as an angel. It seems completely irresponsible for Dean to encourage Cas to hunt – because that’s more noble than being a sales associate, when he’s going to leave him at the end of the case to do it on his own.

    Dean is also surprised when he realizes Cas is afraid. But Dean finally realizes that Cas is different and tells him to go on his date and “live a normal life.” Cas recognizes that the monster that they’re dealing with is an angel but a special kind, a Rit Zien or a Hand of Mercy. An angel that puts others out of their misery. I thought at first he might pose a problem for Dean, but Ephraim had zeroed in on Cas.

    Dean’s dating advice to Cas is hysterical. Cas singing to baby Tanya is also a wonderful scene. Not only do we see Cas “learn” to sing as he gets better as he sings “Believe It or Not” – the theme from The Greatest American Hero – we also get the wonderful exchange as Cas identifies with the baby. It’s a nice parallel as Cas relates to being shoved out into the world with no explanation. He doesn’t ever really confront Dean, but he clearly looks to him as a “father” figure – hence the dating advice scene. It’s only when alone that Cas can express how hard he’s struggling. But Nora does point out that Cas is still special, even if he isn’t an angel, because he does care more than the average person. This may be because he still retains his innocence, but I think it’s because of his fundamental goodness.

    Ephraim is struggling to adapt and Cas has to fight for his life. Unlike some of the other angels, Ephraim doesn’t blame Cas even though he knows him and is actually flattered that Cas remembers him. Ephraim, like Dean, pities Cas for how far he’s fallen. He points out that even if Cas made mistakes, at least he “played big.” Cas wants to live, but Ephraim asks if he wants to live as an angel or a man. Clearly, even without his grace, Cas can be an “angel” by what he does, but fighting his fear and following his innate goodness. Cas is pretty resourceful in trying to make the banishing sigil, but in the end, he needs Dean to help defeat Ephraim. Once again, it’s dangerous, if not deadly, to hunt alone.

    Dean is moved when Sam tells him that the angels can’t be put back. Ephraim drove Cas’s mortality home for both Dean and Cas when he told him that he chose death when he chose to be human. Dean apologizes for sending Cas away and says he’s proud of Cas for adapting. But we are never given any understanding of how or even if Dean offered any explanation to Cas. This is just a huge plot hole. Cas is troubled by Ephraim’s words and wonders if he can sit this one out – that he should be doing something to put the angels back. Dean is now acutely aware of Cas’s mortality and tells him that it’s not his problem anymore because he’s human, that he and Sam will take care of it. But Dean and Sam are only human too. I doubt it will be long before Cas makes that connection too. The final scene of Cas moving about his daily routine at the gas-n-sip is done subtly by Collins and it’s clear to see that Cas is no longer as content in this routine.

    Meanwhile back at the bunker, Sam and Kevin try to get Crowley help them translate the cuneiform. There was a nice shoutout to Professor Morrison who we first met in “Slice Girls” and who’s helped them translate other ancient languages. Mark Sheppard delivers his usual terrific performance. The “phone call” between Abaddon (Alaina Huffman) and Crowley is a fantastic illustration of their different philosophies and a good indication of how bad things can get with Abaddon in charge.

    Why he insisted on Kevin’s blood is a mystery. But I do have a theory. We see Crowley has stolen a syringe and is shooting up stolen blood at the end of the episode. I thought it was clunky – and implausible – for Sam to almost walk in on him and then hide (not very well). Since when is Crowley that oblivious to his surroundings? However, I think it is mostly important for Zeke to see this. Now, what I think is going on is that Crowley is either addicted to the feelings he had when he was almost turned human at the end of last season or he actually wants to complete the process. However, I think if he really wanted to complete the process, he would have insisted on Sam’s blood. After all, he only needed one more dose to complete the process. With Kevin’s he can probably get a kick of humanity without completely turning. Is it possible that Crowley will obtain just enough humanity that he will willingly defeat Abaddon – perhaps sacrificing himself in the process – or will he go back to running Hell but willingly keep the doors shut?

     What did you think of the episode? What do you think Crowley is up to? Do you think Cas will remain at the gas-n-sip? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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