Even with the threat of Metatron still hanging over Castiel and the Winchester brothers’ heads - including the gigantic war of angels - Supernatural will undoubtedly come to a smaller moment that sees fewer characters face off, along with the specific character decisions that propel the series in a new direction.
Sure, the budget for television puts limits on seeing something like a full scale angel on angel war (we do get snippets of hand to hand combat such as in Supernatural Season 9 Episode 21) or the possibility of watching Abaddon’s collected souls become her demon army.
Granted, there are times where something like the angels falling from Heaven in Supernatural Season 8 Episode 23 provides that larger sense of the world - but, ultimately, the series strips it all down for a more personal focus.
Just think of Abaddon battling Dean or the final fight against Lucifer. Those were crucial moments where we get to see someone like Dean go further down the dark path in killing Abaddon or Sam deciding to sacrifice himself by putting himself into the cage with Lucifer.
Would a full scale action sequence be cool?
Yes, but at the end of the day, Supernatural is the story of Sam and Dean Winchester saving people and hunting things. No matter that big bad, the real interesting aspect is how everything around them, whatever crisis they are facing, winds up affecting them.
So it’s not surprising that even with Castiel finally gaining an angel flock, those followers ended up leaving by the end of Supernatural Season 9 Episode 22.
There was something intriguing in getting another war tactic from Metatron by using angels to act as suicide bombers in the name of Castiel. But I never believed Castiel would make such a decision, so it wasn’t really a surprise during the reveal.
Frankly, I’ve grown a bit tired of the tons of angels in the police-like station where they check evidence and eagerly listen to their “commander.”
So, it made me glad to see Castiel and Sam team up, especially because those two don’t seem to get to hang out all the time, as they touched on how the war has affected Castiel. He really wants his angels to get back into Heaven and he remains noble and good, even with his missteps along the way.
Plus, having him show off to Sam all his pop culture prowess was entertaining. Good to see he knew their “agent” names or the riddle used in The Lord of the Rings. Too bad he couldn’t figure out the riddle this time, but yes, prime numbers can be scary.
As for punishing Dean, it was good to see that Castiel couldn’t do such a thing. He has grown to care about humanity. He isn’t just a simple follower anymore.
But I do wonder just what will happen when the stolen grace expires. Does Castiel die? Can he get his own grace back?
Certainly, another huge question is whether or not the old Dean will come back.
His darkness is clearly building, and its kind of a scary notion to see from his character (even if it is a welcome one to have something different).
I could have done without Tessa the reaper returning, as she seemed merely to be a face from the past put in the episode, but at the same time it did make it more personal for Dean. Still, she seemed a bit different from when we last saw her, though I guess not being able to do your job might make you go a little crazy.
That said, falling on the First Blade was only the beginning of Dean’s problems.
And really, a good portion of the hour felt like set up for the finale, putting the final pieces in place, preparing for the main characters to face off against the main villain, without all the extraneous stuff in the way.
But it was those final moments of the hour that were pretty jaw dropping.
I always assumed Gadreel wouldn’t make it out of Supernatural Season 9 alive, but I guessed it would be by some sacrifice.
So to have him come to try and help Sam, Dean and Castiel (when they needed it most), to plead about second chances, I was almost ready to believe him and cut to credits.
Except, we all know Dean’s been getting further away with each use of the Mark of Cain/First Blade, he even told Sam about the dictatorship he was imposing. Not good. So his vicious response of cutting Gadreel (did he kill him or just wound him?) was a freighting notion.
What does that mean for Dean? Can he be saved? And can they deal with that predicament while trying to stop Metatron?
Either way, that final battle is coming, Let's just hope Sam, Dean and Castiel can figure out how to come out in one piece.
Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.