Supernatural Season 9, Episode 1: “I Think I’m Gonna Like It Here,” full recap.

<– Click here for previous episode recap: Supernatural 8.23: A Finale Worth Falling For

Welcome back, Supernatural.  How you’ve been missed! You left us for months after a redeeming eighth season that made up for the mess Season 7 left. You even joked about it with us, letting us know it wasn’t a solo clown trip.  In Season 8 you were back in fine, if frenetic, form and you let us know you meant business.

All we knew when we watched the finale was that Kevin made it to the bunker, Sam almost died turning the king of Hell into a good guy. Sam didn’t die, but Bobby did. Metatron schooled us in the art of backstabbing. Castiel is now human, and the angels fell like meteors. Okay, that sounds like you left us with a lot, but true to form, when form is good for Supernatural, you left us with even more questions: Sam didn’t die, but is he going to live? Did Crowley… is he good or like, one-fourth good? Please tell us Abaddon is dead for reals. What’s Metatron going to do with the eternal garden all by his lonesome? Because I’m pretty sure mass-scale murder and eviction wasn’t his last gambit.  Is Kevin going to be a kick-butt member of team Winchester, finally? If all the angels fell… well, that leaves a lot of hosts needed, not to mention a whole lot of angry test-tube demigods gunning for, at the very least, Castiel. What happens to the balance between heaven and hell when heaven shuts out its work force?

See. Back to turning the show’s mythos on its head and leaving us all looking for new answers to new problems, it’s what Supernatural does best.

I knew that by the season end Castiel was sure to lose his grace. He’d done too much not to, but I was pleasantly surprised at the means with which this happened, as well as the resulting wing-drop of the rest of his brethren.

Plus, this update on facebook from Misha Collins for last night’s Season 9 premier was just too fantastic to not include in this recap. See that upper left corner text? “Prepare to fall.” We’re in for it this season.  And that’s a good thing. A very, very good thing indeed.

MIsha Collins SPN Update

There are three points in tonight’s episode that really pin down not only the essence of the brothers’ heavily codependent relationship, but what we’ve got in store in the upcoming episodes.  And then there’s Castiel, who’s moment doesn’t come until the end of the episode, which not only pays homage to the season’s premier episode title, but mocks it as well.

We begin with a variety of scenes from the past seasons set, apropos, to the tune of Who Do You Love in the Impala with Dean driving (of course), and Sam going on about the happenings of the last few hours. Here is the first point in ITIGLIH: Sam tells Dean: “We’ve got a major friggin’ crapfest on our hands, I hear you; thousands of superpowered dicks touching down and we got no idea where to start.”   Dean, nonplussed,  is strangely silent during this, only to confuse his little brother (and us) with “You’re dying, Sam.”

Ah, yes, the global meteor shower of angels. It's a rare event, I'm told.

Ah, yes, the global meteor shower of angels. It’s a rare event, I’m told.

Cut to real life and Sam’s in a hospital bed, spirit deep in a coma, with Dean is trying to figure out how to save him. How many times we’ve been here, in this same spot, and yet it never feels like a repeat. The television showing breaking news of a global meteor shower.

Sam’s doctor comes in and explains Sam’s physical state to Dean. It’s bad. It’s even worse when the doctor tells Dean, “I’m afraid that’s in God’s hands now.” Dean takes this news as well as can be expected. Not knowing what else to do and unwilling to leave Sam dependent on machinery to live, heads to the chapel. HIs first prayer goes out to Castiel, but is returned with nothing but radio silence. Dean then goes broadband with his angelic prayer.  We watch as the fallen in different locations hear Dean’s request, heading to the location Dean gave out. One of those fallen is guest star Tahmoh Penikett.

Back in Sam’s skull, e.g. the Impala, Sam is trying to understand the context of fighting death, once again, with Dean (who is really Sam), when Bobby (who is also really Sam) turns up as the one true dead member of the Winchesters. The point is here is clea: Dean is Sam’s representation of the struggle to live at all costs, while Bobby represents the long goodnight. Sam has a choice to make.

In Colorado, we catch up with our now-mortal Castiel, who is being deafened by the voices of so many of his family. His mortality hasn’t cut off his angel radio. Dazedly, he very nearly gets run over and is lightly hurt in the process. He wonders at the physical pain as the guy who almost hit him tries to help out. Castiel, though very human now, is still Castiel and speaks as if this poor truck driver ought to know all about angels and having wings. The kindly truck driver, understandably, thinks Castiel to be nuts, handing over some cash to help this clearly delusional man in a trench coat who he drops off at a gas station.

Castiel beelines to the phone, which is in use by a burly biker. Castiel attempts to get the man off the phone, but fails. He then tries the angel-forehead-touch maneuver, but that, too, fails. Unsure of this turn of events, he walks away, only to be confronted by a young woman who knows who he is – as he is. She, Hale, is another fallen.

At the hospital, a grief counselor visits with Dean to “discuss the inevitable.” Inevitable isn’t a word Dean is well acquainted with. As he dismisses her, he quips he has something better, he’s got the king of hell in his trunk. And yes, that’s literal. Crowley’s in the trunk. However, before we can take a peek of our most beloved evildoer, an angel attacks Dean from behind. Seems half of heave’s  garrison are out for Cas’s blood. But that angel? Stopped by another angel, a very zen-like Penikett-angel, who fights defensively to stop his brother from harming Dean. When it’s clear that’s not going to happen, Dean angel-blades the attacker. The Penikett-angel is obviously fatigued, but seems sincere enough in his desire to help Dean before promptly falling unconscious.

Hale, the angel at the gas station, has no idea what she’s to do here on the mortal plane and during this confession, we learn that many of the fallen are still circling humanity, waiting, looking for a vessel. As Castiel tells her this is the opportunity to do something she would want to do (for she doesn’t understand personal want), she slowly realizes that she created the Grand Canyon so very long ago and would like to visit there again. Castiel agrees to go with her.

Penikett-angel awakens in a ring of holy fire. Somehow, Dean has located and brought this angel to a place to question him, this being my one singular irritation with this episode.  Penikett-angel is named Ezekiel and he quietly, calmly informs Dean that he is here to help and still believes in Castiel’s – and the Winchester’s – mission.

In the coma, Sam has chosen to listen to Bobby, dismissing his Dean-self. We all know how often, and how dearly, Sam has desired to be quit of the pain and suffering he has partaken and been the cause of.  This time is no different.

Meanwhile, Ezekiel is attempting to heal what he can of Sam, when Dean receives a call from Castiel. The two fill each other in with a shorthand only long-time compatriots can understand. Cas vouches for Ezekiel, Dean warns Cas to stay away, warning him of the holy bounty upon his head, but Cas is determined to help those he can, including Hale. Dean, though, reminds him of his newfound humanity and tells him to head directly towards the bunker – alone. Dean has to cut the call short as the hospital begins to shake; more fallen are on the way. Ezekiel tells Dean they must leave with Sam. But Dean, knowing Sam’s condition to be critical, grabs a marker and starts angel-proofing Sam’s hospital room.

Cas informs Hale he can no longer travel with her. This goes over poorly as Hale reacts in a Misery-like fashion, clubbing Cas over the head with a two by four.  He awakens in a car driven by Hale, her angel blade in her lap. She points out his part in the fall, informing him they’ll go to the Grand Canyon, and that soon she will be one with him, possess him as her vessel is failing.  Angels can be so deliciously creepy.

In one of the best scenes of the episode, Dean leaves Sam’s room, instructing Ezekiel to stay and heal Sam. Once he leaves (presumably to distract the unwanted angel visitors) and begins down the hallway, all the glass from the room windows and doors exploding into the hall. To evacuate the civilians, Dean pulls the fire alarm.  Two angels promptly attack him, one we had seen from earlier responding to Dean’s open prayer, the farmer, the other is the hospital’s grief counselor. Surprise!

Back in Sam’s head, Sam’s Bobby-self is showing him the way to let go. In a small cabin in the woods, all the answers await Sam. And yes, that sentence was a great joy to type. However, Dean-self shows up and runs Bobby-self through. (Bobby can’t catch a break, even in the afterlife, even in Sam’s skull.) Sam argues with Dean-self, because Sam feels there is nothing left to fight for.  Dean-self assaults Sam, until Sam informs himself, that yes, this end is what he wants. What he needs. Inside that cabin in the woods? Death himself.

The two angels who attacked Dean just want Cas’s location. A beaten and bloody Dean mocks them, “Anybody ever tell you you hit like an angel?” But the farmer angel readies himself with an axe, to cut down past the wardings in Sam’s room.  Dean, however close to concussion he is, is prepared. In his own blood he’s drawn the angel-banishment sigil, wondering where angels go when they’re banished and heaven is locked. Good question. They depart, screaming. Inside Sam’s room, Ezekiel is weak and cannot heal Sam. His suggested solution is to possess Sam, heal him from the inside.

Dean needs proof from Ezekiel, proof that Sam is as bad as Ezekiel says he is. This Ezekiel provides, by showing Dean Sam’s mindspace. What Dean sees is Death and Sam having quite the conversation; Sam’s one concern to being reaped that this time it be final. Death promises it would be. Ezekiel pops Dean back out of Samspace. Dean realizing the finality of the situation discusses how this possession would work. Ezekiel asserts he would be healing himself while healing Sam; when Sam is healed, Ezekiel states he would leave. Win-win, right?

Out of options, Cas put son his seatbelt, forcing us to realize that Hale is not wearing hers. He then violently pulls on the wheel causing Hale to crash into a concrete side wall. When Cas comes to, he’s hurt, but nowhere nearly as badly as Hale’s vessel. Picking up the angel blade, Cas earnestly tries to talk things through with Hale, but Hale will have none of it, and if Cas won’t take her with him, she will tell every angel where he, destroyer of heaven, is. Cas, with a look of surprise on his face, knifes her.

Dean reappears in Sam’s head. But it’s the real Dean, not Sam’s Dean-self. He convinces Sam to fight, using the second penultimate quote of the episode on Sam: “There ain’t no me if there ain’t no you.” And with Sam’s yes, via Dean, Ezekiel possesses Sam.  Samekiel wakes up in a destroyed hospital room. He and Dean leave while Ezekiel describes the perils of Sam learning of his existence and ejecting him – it would kill Sam. Dean decides to keep it secret with Ezekiel agreeing; Sam will have no idea he’s got an angel on the inside. Dean’s emotions, so clearly writ on his face, shows the pain it causes having to keep a secret, this secret, from Sam.

Castiel, in his final scene of the episode, walks into a laundromat, covered in his and Hale’s blood. He strips down, putting his clothing into a washing machine, pausing to spend those precious coins from the trucker when his human body notices a vending machine. He walks out of the building in someone else’s clothing, with a water bottle in hand. And this, above all else, emphasizes his new, mortal status. Cas tips the bottle back and begins drinking, a needful, painful-yet ecstatic action, and doesn’t stop until he’s finished the entire bottle. When done, he looks at the bottle, and then around as the realization of his situation truly hits him.

In the final scene, Sam wakes up in the Impala, full circle to how the episode began. Dean checks to make sure Sam has no knowledge of what’s happened, failing to mention the hospital and everything else.  Sam feels.. fine, ready to get back to it stating “Because we have work to do.” Dean looks away, the episode ending with his worry and no small amount of fear.

What the what?
1. Crowley is still in the trunk. Remember that.
2. How, exactly, is Cas going to get to Kansas? (Oh, the irony.)
3. Sam’s going to figure it out and/or going to be superiorly pissed when someone tells him. Other angels will be able to see he’s possessed.
4. Metatron. Still locked up in his secret garden.
5. Angel’s be huntin’ the Winchesters. This is going to be a fantastic season.

How did you feel about the premier? Was it everything you wanted? More, less?

 

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