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‘Supernatural’ Recap: The Pizza Man Cometh

March 21st, 2013 10:11am EDT

Supernatural If you haven't figured it out yet, "Supernatural" is not a sci-fi fairy tale where the hero rides in on his trusted steed, kills the monster and saves the princess. No, in this realm, the princess is immolated on the ceiling and our heroes are doomed to be tortured in hell, purgatory or both. At least they do have a pretty badass steed. This week, "Supernatural" returned from its hiatus with an angst-ridden, gut-wrenching stunner of an episode that bid farewell to a fan favorite, severely tested one of the show’s most celebrated ships, and made us all wonder why it hurts so good.
Grab some tissues and a stress ball, and let's dive in, shave we?
“Goodbye Stranger” opens with a stealthy Dean being attacked by an unseen force. What big bad is kicking Dean's ass? A wendigo, another hellhound, a revengeful spirit? Nope, it's a stone-faced Castiel, who wastes no time brutally stabbing him with an angel blade. Naomi and her Hilliary Clinton pantsuit struts into a massive warehouse at Heaven's administrative offices, and compliments his efficiency, proclaiming that he's ready. If you're not disturbed enough, the camera pans up to reveal the corpses of thousands of slaughtered Deans. This is nearly as horrific as a possessed Sam snapping Dean’s neck with his shoe in season 5’s “The End.”
Thankfully, the real Dean is alive and giddy as he finds the first edition of his favorite exotic skin mags, "Voluptuous Asian Lovelies" back at the bunker. He distractedly asks Sam if he's okay when he starts coughing. He relays the details of the current case: people in the Midwest were found killed with in some pretty heinous ways that include "liquefied organs.” As Sam leaves to grab his gear, Dean notices the bloody tissue and stares knowingly at Sam. The secret is finally out, and I'm so glad it is. Nothing good ever happens when Sam and Dean keep secrets from each other.
They start investigating one of the victims, and it only takes an interview with her widower to realize that Ann had been possessed before she had died. She was also "obsessed" with digging holes all over town and scouring the city as if she was searching for something. It was enough to terrify her husband and that was before her eyes had turned black. Sam confirms that the rest of the victims exhibited the same strange behavior" before they died.
A visit to a local PHD candidate who had the misfortune of being interviewed by two gorgeous FBI agents with a head full of curlers, explained that she was recreating the maps of the city that had been destroyed centuries ago by a flood. She runs to answer the door as Ann's "assistant" was stopping by for the map Ann never collected, and is attacked by a brood of demons. Dean corners one but it smokes out and invades poor Ms. Curlers, who flees into the kitchen. Meanwhile, a weakened Sam is being bested by the other demon. Just as it raises his hand for another brutal blow, the room explodes in the telltale divine light of a smiting. Yes, Castiel has arrived to save Sam, even though he was killing hundreds of doppleganger Deans just minutes before.
The Winchesters are instantly suspicious of Castiel's mysterious disappearance and sudden arrival. This begins one of the many mirco-manipulations Castiel has with Naomi. On earth, things are happening in real time, but it seems that the angel can slip out of the conversation, ask Naomi for answers and slid back in the space between seconds. She orders him to tell an amended truth, so he explains that he killed the victims Sam and Dean were investigating and he wants to find Lucifer's crypts because it contains a special parchment that explains how to read his half of the demon tablet before Crowley does. He never mentions the angel tablet.

Castiel slinks off to interrogate the "strange-haired demon" and plays the baddest of cops, torturing the demon with the now sagging curlers until she spills that Crowley has a hostage, a tortured demon who knows the location of the crypts. As soon as the Winchesters mention the parchment, Castiel, acting as Naomi's proxy, kills the demon before she can tell the entire truly, and vanishes into the ether. It's an awkward moment when two incredibly smart hunters--one a Stanford-educated Man Of Letters--attempt to race a celestial being across town. At least Cas did the heavy smiting. The hostage is Meg, who was kidnapped by Crowley in last season's finale. She's bound, beaten and blonde. Rachel Miner is not the first actress to play Meg, but she is my favorite. Miner has a unique way of speaking those acerbic one-liners so it sounds like she's almost singing. It's oddly relaxing and a very bizzare contrast to her battered face and ratty blonde hair.
As much as she hates it, Meg is steadfastly on the side of good as much as a demon can be, at least. She's been giving them general information, but concealing the true locations to get some time away from her demon handlers to try to escape. She tells the Winchesters about the angel tablet and Castiel dissembles as badly as Sam and Dean's fake acting in "The French Mistake," claiming that he knew nothing about it.

While Sam and Dean pinpoint the location of the crypt, Castiel and Meg share an eerily sweet moment where she reminisces about the good ole days when the world was ending and everything was simple. Meg then delivers the line of the night: "We survive this I’m gonna wear some pizza and we’re gonna move some furniture around, you understand?" Castiel actually gets it. Our demented little angel is growing up.
Outside the crypt, Dean sidelines Sam because "he found his bloody rag in the trashcan" and he knows he hasn't been okay since the first trial. The stubborn moose attempts to plead his case, and Castiel interjects, "You’re damaged in ways even I can’t heal.” This is where I start wringing my hands like a nervous fangirl, wondering how Sammy's going to escape this one. I’d naively hoped that reciting the spell after the first trial would give Sam power, not leech away his health at the “subatomic level.”
Sam and Meg play lookouts and gossip like teenagers. It shouldn't be adorable, especially with Sam pouting about being left out of the action, but it is in an incredibly weird way, considering these two beings have shared the same body. "Remember I spent time in that walking corpse of yours. I know all your little thoughts and feelings." He begrudgingly tells Meg about his "unicorn" who made him realize that he could have a good, normal life. Meg responds the way 99% of the fandom did to his love story gone boring: “I laughed. I cried. I puked in my mouth a little.” The second she started making googly eyes at Castiel, I realized that Meg wasn't long for this world, but at least she's going to go out with a zing.
For a place that was so hard to find and one of Lucifer's crypt, I'm a little disappointed that it's mostly empty and isn't booby trapped by the devil himself. They finally find the tablet. Castiel can't just kill Dean and abscond with it because it's in a box warded against angels. However, the second the box is open, Castiel's true, darker colors are finally revealed as is Dean's skepticism. It takes a few increasingly tense moments before Castiel, fighting with Naomi, lunges at Dean. He blocks some of his advances with the angel tablet, but soon, Castiel regains the upper hand, crushes Dean's and is denting that gorgeous face of his. Dean, ever the instigator, only encourages the betrayal, his face getting bloodier and more pulped with every punch (If you listen carefully, you can hear the hearts of shippers everywhere breaking between the snapping of Dean’s facial bones). Dean actually begs, like he did with a Lucifer-possessed Sam at Stull Cemetery in “Swan Song” and with his father back in that cabin in “Devil’s Trap”: "Cas, I need you, we're family." During the entire, sickening sequence, Castiel has been fighting with Naomi, his essence seemingly trapped in heaven with Naomi while his vessel was below doing their bidding. Dean's pleas give him the strength to pick up the angel tablet, become infused with unspoiled angelic power and break free of Naomi's mind-meld. When he reaches out for a traumatized Dean again, it's to heal him, apologize and explain. He knows he must protect the tablet from both Naomi and the Winchesters.
Outside, a seething Crowley arrives. In what will be her last and most selfless act, Meg decides to battle Crowley, giving Sam the chance to escape with Dean and her beloved Castiel. The two demons ironically battle it out with angel blades. I know demons need a weapon, but it seems weird and a little unimaginative that they're using holy ones. She dies a horribly heroic death, but not before winging the King of Hell. It's ironic that the demon has survived eight seasons on this show when our beloved leads have several (dozen) deaths under their belts. Godspeed, Meg! You will always be remembered for your one-liners and your nastiness.
Back in the Impala, it's unclear whether Dean tells Sam exactly how bad Castiel had hurt him in the crypt. I have a feeling Sam got the abridged, G-rated version, but Dean "can't take any more lies from anyone. Sammy, I need you to be honest with me from here on out." Sam admitted he was just in denial about what was happening, and agrees. "I can't carry the burden of the trials, but I can carry you," he offers, his determination besting his fear. Sam lovingly points out that Dean just quoted "Lord Of The Rings." The episode ends on the lowest and saddest of high notes and to the cheesy stylings of Supertramp's "Goodbye Stranger" as with Castiel boards a bus and that disappears into the (Canadian) mountains, untrackable even by Heaven's minions.
This episode is a stellar installment that catapulted us right back into the mythology as the show prepares for the last third of the season. I have no idea where its headed, but I am bracing for the wildest of rides. From A to F, "Swan Song" to "Ghostfacers," this episode was an epic A+.
What did you think of this episode? Were you surprised that Naomi knows Crowley in the biblical sense? Will you miss Meg? Do you think the writer of this episode, Robbie Thompson, is a genius? What was your favorite quote from tonight's episode? Hit up the comments section!
Next week, "Supernatural" enrolls in Hunters High!
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