Supernatural – Episode 4-2 Review
by Trevor MacKay on September 26, 2008

It turns out I was wrong about how things were going to play out between the Winchester brothers. Sam still hasn’t told Dean anything about Ruby or his powers, but Dean wasted no time sharing the Castiel story. It makes sense when I think about it. Of course Dean’s not going to be all gung-ho on some angelic mission. It’s going to take an awful lot of convincing for someone as sceptical as Dean to get on the Team Jesus express.

I thought “Are You There, God? It’s Me… Dean Winchester” was something of a missed opportunity. The idea of the boys (and Bobby) being tormented by people they had failed to save is a good one, but the actually tormenting was a bit weak. As Bobby later explained, the ghosts were driven mad by the spell so they were not being all that rational with their attempts to guilt the hunters.

The biggest problem is the characters chosen. While the little girls were fine to torment Bobby, we’ve already seen him tormented by guilt over failing to save someone (with his wife, last season). And none of the other ghosts had a really good reason to blame the Winchesters for their deaths. Hell, in Meg’s case, a big part of her was probably just relieved she could finally rest. Sure there were some moments (Meg’s story about her sister, Hendrickson’s story about being tortured), but I think it would have been far more effective if the ghosts more legitimate reasons for their grievances. Surely there are some other characters that could have better fit the bill.

On a side note, I must note how much I appreciate Bobby’s presence on the show. Normally on a TV show, the mentor type character gets killed off within a season to help build up credibility for some villain or other. But so far, Supernatural has resisted the temptation to resort to such a lazy plot device. Plus, unlike the Winchesters, there is always the possibility that Bobby will be killed off at some point so his presence can really help ratchet up the tension at times.

There was not a lot of time spent on the season story arc, but we did learn quite a bit. Ruby and Sam’s brief scene didn’t tell us a whole lot though. We now know that Ruby, like seemingly all demons, is scared by the mere idea of angels and, at least according to her, the angels are not big on mercy or forgiveness. Neither of those really come as big surprises after last week.

Castiel did not have much of an appearance either, though he did manage to lay out a likely path for the rest of the season in the short time he was there. If you accept everything Castiel said as truth, there are some major inconsistencies. For starters, if, as Castiel claims, there is a capital-G, God, then the whole the 66 seals thing is stupid. Surely, if there is an omnipotent God out there and he/she/it doesn’t want Lucifer getting out of hell, Lucifer isn’t getting out of hell. If Lucifer can be freed, contrary to God’s wishes, God ceases to be omnipotent and loses the capital-G. Either Castiel is lying about some part of that, or else the core battle of season four is going to be an inherently silly one.

Another possible problem with Castiel’s story is his claim that six angels were killed. In the season premiere, it was established that demons were terrified of Castiel and he was able to destroy them with no real effort on his part. So either Castiel is stronger than the run-of-the-mill angel or it’s another reason to doubt his story.

I really want to chalk Castiel up as a bad guy. There are lots of reasons to be suspicious of him. The ghosts were branded by the spell, much like Dean was branded when he was pulled out hell, the logic of Castiel’s story (as outlined above) doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, and he certainly doesn’t come off as very angelic or virtuous. Unfortunately, that last bit makes me think he’s probably going to ultimately be a good guy. Supernatural likes its twists, and so if he was ultimately going to be revealed as a villain, I’d expect him to be portrayed more positively right now.

I find myself worrying quite a bit about the direction the show is going with this angel thing. It seems obvious that sooner or later Dean’s going to become a true believer. And if he does that for a few episodes and then learns that Castiel’s not what he claims, that’s fine. But if Castiel really is a warrior of God, and in the process of stopping demons, he teaches Dean a valuable lesson about faith, I’ll be the one losing faith in the writers.

Those concerns will be dealt with (for better or worse) in a later episode though. For now, we’ve got “Are You There, God? It’s Me… Dean Winchester.” It was a decent episode, but it could have been great.

Trevor MacKay is the sci-fi/horror/fantasy/cheesy/random geeky stuff guy. If something is geeky and/or unbelievably cheesy, he’s there.

Sir Linksalot: Supernatural



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