As much as I enjoy a decent Monster of the Week episode, there's something rather exciting about expanding upon the Supernatural mythology and delving into the battle that is angels and demons.
And while investigating witches or fighting Greek gods have been that okay foray into the Winchester World, getting back on the trail of searching for the hidden God tablets and the return of Castiel was the much needed resurgence for the series.
"Goodbye Stranger" was full of great moments, lines, twists and character decisions to conjure up excitement for what's to come as we drive closer towards the finale. Even the concluding song of the title's same name was a great way to wrap it all up.
It's been a while since we've seen Castiel, almost too long, even though I've enjoyed the brothers working together as a team. Certainly their new home at the Men of Letters lair has been the right touch and transition for their work, as well as chance to dig into what they love (Sam for knowledge, Dean for first edition Asian porn).
Yet, the mysterious and controlling Naomi had been able to completely brainwash Castiel into carrying out her crusade of killing demons and tracking down the angel tablet. He was a zombie-like Terminator who I couldn't help but keep comparing him to Zoolander prepping to kill the prime minister of Malaysia. Although, I'm sure some might agree to Castiel being really really ridiculously good looking.
It was definitely an odd reunion for him and the boys. He's always been a little off in his demeanor, but it was a part of his charm. Here, he was a Zero Dark Thirty machine precisely eliminating demons and sort of ignoring Sam and Dean.
At the same time, Meg made her own return appearance and in pretty much one fell swoop won me over. She's always been fair enough, but I've been less on board with her dry remarks and actions when with the brothers.
This time around, new blonde hair and all, she was full of clever one-liners and a flirty charm that worked when she was hitting on Castiel. Sure, she's a demon and he's an angel, but there was something fun about the two of them having a rapport including talking about the pizza man.
Could it have worked? I guess we'll never know, but I was willing to see where a little Megstiel action decided to go.
More so, I enjoyed Meg's heart to heart with Sam, discussing his normal life and magical unicorn. I get that she's been untrustworthy with the brothers, so I don't blame Sam for not wanting to talk, but Meg proved herself this go around.
She stood up to Crowley, held him off Sam and Dean in order for them to escape, all before getting even more beat up (after a year of torture under the King of Hell) and then killed. Wow. And I really was all ready for her to join the team.
Goodbye stranger for sure.
And yet, Castiel had become a stranger as well. It was a very intense and creepy standoff between the angel and Dean, after they discovered the tablets. His stare down was cold, and you could see a certain wariness in Dean's eyes. Two friends fighting was not the happy reunion that should have been.
On top of that, was Castiel attacking Dean over and over for the tablet until the Winchester was battered, bloody and bruised. It was heartbreaking to watch the angel feel so conflicted as he tried to break free from Naomi's grasp at the same time Dean cried out weakly for Castiel to stop because they are family.
I really wasn't sure if Castiel could break free. It was wild that touching the tablet and Dean's pleas snapped him back under his own control. Still, the angel flew the coop leaving the brothers to fend for themselves again.
What is Castiel going to do with the tablet by himself? I hope he finds his way back to Sam and Dean again. The three of them are a family.
Such is even more so fact with Sam agreeing to tell the truth (a conversation that sounded very familiar, but I was happy he decided to), along with Dean famously quoting Lord of the Rings and carrying Sam rather than his burden. I liked the reiteration of the brother bond and length they will go for each other.
The coming together and breaking apart again was pretty dramatic, especially with Castiel finding freedom and Meg meeting her end. There's just something about the angels and demons that feels entertaining, so that added to the character mix was a wonderful delight. Really there was just so much enjoyable that this has to be one of my more favorite episode of Supernatural Season 8. With more episodes like this, I can't wait to see how the season concludes.
A few other random things I noticed:
- Not sure if we've ever had a demon with curlers before.
- I loved the Family guy reference with "Shut up, Meg!"
- The Crowley and Naomi standoff really showed how much the two loathe each other. It also affirmed that Naomi is indeed an angel, right?
- Meg described Sam's year off perfectly: "I laughed, I cried, I puked in my mouth a little."
- A hobbit quote to reassure your brotherly love is always ok, as long as it's from the Rudy hobbit.
What did you think of the episode? Castiel and Meg? The fight for the tablets? Sound off below and watch a promo for next week's "Freaks and Geeks."
Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.