There was a lot I liked about this episode, but overall, it left me feeling disgruntled and with a frowny face.
First, I’ll give kudos. It was action-packed. Abaddon returns (with a sort-of okay explanation of why she appears in the vessel that Sam burned up with holy oil in “Sacrifice.”) Her smoky, naked rise out of that nasty bathtub was a creepy and effective visual.
She’s a real bitch. I think they have a ways to go to make her as scary as Yellow Eyes or Alistair, or even as Little Blonde Girl Lilith (who still freaks me out after all these years). They are going to have to show her doing her own dirty work. The idea that a demon wants to hurt and torture and kill because it enjoys doing it is very scary. I liked the scene where Abaddon got right in Dean’s face. That is how a demon would do it. It would want to be able to smell the fear.
Good to see other hunters. I liked poor Irv, may he rest in peace. He did seem a little too kindly to make it, poor guy. Tracy was a plot device in Daisy Dukes, just there to remind us that lots of hunters out there remember and hate Sam Winchester. Poor Sam. He doesn’t get to make connections with outsiders. Introduce yourself to Tracy and get snarled at. Have a moment with Irv, and Irv immediately bites it. Sometimes this show is so predictable.
Kevin, Crowley, Mrs. Tran – all interesting, but had to take a backseat, for me anyway, to the big issue of the episode: Ezekiel showed up. He is protective of Sam, and takes over to fry the demons and save Sam’s life when Sam is knocked unconscious. Or to save his body, which Ezekiel needs and, apparently, likes hanging out in?
There is a lot of discussion about whether Ezekiel is good or bad, but I don’t think it matters at this point. He likes being in Sam, and will do what it takes to keep Sam’s body intact. He also knows enough to cover his tracks so Sam won’t know and expel him. The creepiest thing in the episode was how he readily leafed through Sam’s inner thoughts and memories and used the information in Sam’s head to assure Dean that they were doing the right thing. How convenient. It was like he riffled through the note cards of Sam’s mind and pulled out one that said, “In case anyone wonders, I really wanted to live.” Jeez.
Ezekiel good or bad? It doesn’t matter to me. The violation has already taken place and continues to get worse. I thought back to how quickly Ezekiel volunteered to Dean that he could erase Sam’s memory of being in the hospital. I would be willing to bet money that the mind-wipe becomes a repeated thing. It’s just too easy, and otherwise, Ezekiel has to sit back in the background while Sam is Sam. I just don’t believe, as Ezekiel heals and gets more powerful, that he will be willing to be a passive passenger. What if he gets so powerful that Sam can’t expel him, even when he knows about him? I’m not going to rag on Dean for what he did, except to say this: love is not an excuse for taking away a loved one’s self-determination. It’s just not.
I did find the visual of Ezekiel taking over and rising up slowly and showing his tattered wings stunning. Jared Padalecki makes a fearsome angel. I always thought he would, with his tall stature and unusual looks. To get to see him play an angel (and not that pissy Lucifer) is lovely. But from a character-loving point of view, I’m outraged on Sam’s behalf.
Sam, who has spent his whole life feeling “different,” wishing for normal and knowing he could never have it, who just wanted some control and self-determination, has had it ALL taken away. It is awful, and I don’t know how the show is going to adequately address it.
Ending shot: Dean’s guilty face and shielded body language. Appropriate.
One additional note: I am loving Jared Padalecki’s live tweets during the episode. I hope he has the time to keep it up, and I appreciate the effort that he and the writers and directors who tweet about the show put in on Tuesday nights to enhance our enjoyment.