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Supernatural 9.09 "Holy Terror" Review: The Truth Hurts

     This week’s episode of Supernatural, “Holy Terror,” was written by Eugenie Ross-Leming and Brad Buckner and directed by Thomas J Wright. This writing team is not my favorite on the show and there is one major canon fudge that is already garnering criticism from fans, but this was a reasonably solid episode. Wright delivers a reasonably well-paced episode and some terrific performances, but he’s working on getting a reputation for killing off our favorite characters! RIP Kevin Tran.

    My first thoughts on the episode have to be for Osric Chau. I am extremely disappointed to see this talented actor apparently killed off – I live in hope. This is Supernatural after all. He could come back, right? I would even welcome an evil twin. Chau has grown as an actor in the role, and it was wonderful to get to see Kevin evolve over the course of three seasons. We saw him go from being advanced placement, uptight and naive Kevin, to a suitable rival for Crowley – even escaping his clutches, to despairing, to accepting of his role and one of the boys. Chau has become a fan favorite at conventions and through his engaging with fans via social media, whether live tweeting or holding skype chats. Kevin will be missed, but something tells me, Chau will always be accompanied by the fandom. Tran’s thoughts can be found here.

    This episode delivers a lot of payoff on the mytharc of the season so far. We finally get to see what’s going on with the angels, and Dean (Jensen Ackles) finally has to confess to Sam  (Jared Padalecki) about what he did in the first episode. This episode also sees Cas (Misha Collins) get his angelic powers back after a fashion.

    The episode begins with a classic teaser as the Melody Ministry Glee Club all-women choir takes on a group of bikers at the Round ‘em Up Bar. We then join Dean and Zeke in conversation in the Impala. Zeke is once again trying to avoid any contact with angels. Padalecki does a great job creating whiplash for both Dean and the audience as he zips between Zeke and Sam. Finally, we see Sam starting to get suspicious. Dean’s lies really do come back to bite him in this episode.

    Misha Collins is fantastic in this episode as Cas uses the badge Dean gave him and meets them undercover at the scene. Watching Cas share a beer and buy a round with his friends is hilarious as was watching him try to pray. It was great watching him throw Dean’s words back at him again, proving again how much stock he places in Dean’s opinion. He tells him “You don’t choose what you do, it chooses you.” I loved watching Cas embrace his humanity and overcome his fear of mortality in the episode, proving he is also a hero. Cas is determined to help stop the angels now that their violence is escalating. Sam is happy to see Cas, but Dean has to worry about Zeke’s inevitable displeasure. Of course, this episode finally reveals why “Zeke” has been avoiding Cas. Because Cas would have realized he wasn’t Zeke but Gadreel.

    We see the return of Metatron (Curtis Armstrong) who is now finding his solitude tedious – which was only to be expected. Armstrong is, perhaps, a little over the top in his delivery, but the incongruity between how he looks and acts and his actions and plan to rule as “X” are creepy. Apparently, when Metatron threw the angels out of Heaven he also released those imprisoned like Gadreel. Interesting that Gadreel’s crime was letting evil into the Garden of Eden. I wonder how that may affect his interactions with Crowley (Mark Sheppard). It also makes him an interesting second for the evil that is now running Heaven.

    We also learn in this episode of the other faction fighting for supremacy among the angels. Malachi’s (Stephen Monroe Taylor) forces are opposing those of Bartholomew (Adam Harrington), and neither seems like a very angelic choice. Cas identifies Malachi as the anarchist. Muriel (Britt Irvin) seems like clear evidence that there are angels that don’t want any part of either faction. Both Muriel and Cas realize that Heaven under either Malachi or Bartholomew would be Hell.

    Cas insists that he was an unwitting accomplice to Metatron’s plan. Even though he is horribly tortured, it’s clear that Cas would never give up any information, including Sam and Dean. Of course, Malachi doesn’t exactly make good use of Muriel as a pawn as he simply goes ahead and kills her, thereby giving up his leverage. Taylor is great as Malachi and so is Sage Brocklebank asTheo. Loved him suddenly wanting to get away from Malachi who he sees is crazy. It was nice to see that Cas has finally learned a little something about self preservation and doesn’t trust Theo. However, the fact that Cas could get his grace back by taking someone else’s seems like a complete re-write of what a grace is. Theo’s eyes are burnt out which seems (according to this episode) to indicate that the victim was human, so that should mean that Cas is carrying around Theo.

    Cas informs Dean that Malachi is the other angel to watch for. He also tells Dean he got his grace back – but he qualifies it. He’s really not sure what he’s done, but he knows he needs to be ready to fight. He also sends Dean into a panic by telling him that Ezekiel died in the fall from Heaven. Dean immediately goes to Kevin for a spell to get whoever is squatting in Sam out. Of course, Kevin has already sensed that something is wrong – with Sam and with Dean. Instead of telling Kevin everything, which might have saved his life, Dean continues to tell half truths. I did love Dean calling Kevin Cinderella though.

    Metatron does a masterful job of deceiving Gadreel. This is really the first episode that we’ve gotten more than just a glimpse at the angel in Sam, and an interesting portrait emerges. Gadreel is obviously very naive, and he’s been locked away since evil entered the Garden so he would have had no contact with humans. Therefore, other than his contact with Sam and Dean, he has no knowledge of humans. He’s had no opportunity to develop any empathy for them as Cas has. He also has to blame them at least somewhat for his own fall from grace. But he does seem to have an overactive sense of guilt and a lack of self-worth, so these may be ways for him to be convinced to bring back Sam at the least and possibly turn on Metatron.

    The final confrontation begins with Dean asking Kevin to trust him. Kevin points out that that always ends badly – and in this case, truer words were never spoken. Dean tries to come clean to Sam. He admits that he did what he did because he was messed up because he was facing Sam dying. Gadreel does do a good job in faking Sam, but I knew something was up the minute Sam didn’t immediately expel the angel inside him.

    Gadreel’s lack of understanding is driven home in the last scene – which Ackles knocks out of the park. Kevin is worried about Dean – making Dean’s role in his death even more tragic. Gadreel assures Kevin that Dean will be fine, but it’s clear that Dean is devastated by Kevin’s death and Dean’s guilt over it will, no doubt, take a toll on him. However, I expect we will see little of that as we move into the second half of the season which is always Sam-focused. Gadreel is also ignoring what Dean went through in an attempt to save his brother in the first place. He has clearly gained no understanding of the bond between these two brothers. One final word about Dean’s calling to Kevin. According to live tweets last night from Padalecki and Ackles, Osric Chau was not even present when those final shots were filmed. Kudos to Ackles for embodying the character so completely that he is able to portray that pain so well.

    One other hopeful thing did come out of the episode. Kevin tells Dean that the part surrounding the spell to close the gates to Heaven is written “like Metatron wanted to keep his words hidden – even from prophets.” I think this is a pretty obvious clue that there is a way to reverse the spell and that’s exactly what Metatron is trying to hide. No doubt, that is also why Gadreel takes the angel tablets with him.

    What did you think of the episode? Was it worthy of a fall finale? Is hellatus going to be particularly hard to bear or will the next six weeks provide time to mourn the loss of Kevin? Do you think Kevin will stay dead? Let me know your thoughts and feels in the comments below! In particular, let me know what you will miss the most about Kevin Tran or your favorite Kevin/Osric memory.

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