Supernatural S09E03 Recap: "I'm No Angel"

The third episode of Supernatural's 9th season promised to give Castiel fans a lot to talk about, and it definitely delivered. After last week's conspicuous absence, the newly de-winged third member of Team Free Will is back and learning everything there is to know about being human. Hijinks definitely ensue as he navigates his new life, getting use to all the fun new bodily functions and experiencing a bunch of firsts (some highlights include his first tattoo and sexual experience) . Though be warned, as much as his confusion and eccentricities can be comic relief, Castiel's introduction to humanity is a baptism of fire.

The Plot:

The episode kicks off with two priests walking down a garden path, talking parish affairs. Shocking no one (they might as well have beamed in wearing red crew shirts), things soon go bad for the them as they are confronted by a lady angel (as yet unnamed) asking the question on everybody's mind - where is Castiel? They become the first in a trail of bodies that the angels strew behind themselves on the hunt for the one to blame for casting them all out.

So what has TVs most beloved oddball angel been up to since his big fall from grace? Lying low doing odd jobs at a church run homeless shelter. It seems that he's hit quite a learning curve since the last time we saw him nearly getting run over, picking fights with biker-gang members and learning the economy of wants and needs in a laundromat. He has the good sense to use the alias Clarence, he is earning little bits of cash, making friends and keeping under angel radar.

Of course, we can't expect overnight miracles here - he still has a lot of trouble with every day actions like brushing his teeth, he hasn't quite got down this whole "food" business, and he also retains his hilarious tendency to overshare, spilling his guts to anyone who'll listen about his new set of woes, including how tiresome he finds the task of urination, and his sudden realization of his own mortality (which turns out to be a good thing because it leaves a neat trail of confused homeless men for the Sam and Dean to track him down). After he discovers the two priests, eyes gouged out and impaled on the church fence, he skips town and hides himself deeper into ghettos and squatter camps, and getting a tattoo to hide himself from other disgruntled siblings out for his head.

Meanwhile, back at the bunker Dean is getting jumpy due to the combined stress of Castiel's prolonged absence and renting out his brother's body to the angel Ezekiel on the sly. Sam's secret tenant makes an appearance to warn Dean that the angels are organizing under new management; the wrathful Bartholomew. They hit the road on the search for Cas, following the path of destruction that the angels carve out looking for him. They find out that the angels are using an TV evangelist by the name of Reverend Buddy Boyle, with a large international fan base to convince more people to become vessels. The pressure gets turned up when they catch on that a Reaper-turned-bounty-hunter is tailing them in order to find Cas. Frustrated and running out of options, Dean appeals to Zeke to search him out.

Back with Cas, we watch as he meets a pretty redhead by the name of April who takes pity in him, offering him some food, and later a place to stay. It was a little difficult to suspend the disbelief at this naive good Samaritan who brings home a man she finds bleeding in an alley way, dumpster diving for food.

I grit my teeth as they fell into a hurried romance with April patching up his arm injured from an earlier run in with an angel, Cas unloading on her his sadness at having (yet again) screwed everything up beyond repair. The two fall into bed for Cas' first time, giving the show an opportunity for a little fan service in form of shirtless Misha Collins.

However (thank God), in the unforgiving light of the morning after, it is revealed that April was an angel in disguise and was only using her feminine wiles to get information. When that runs its course she resorts to good old fashioned torture. She then fatally wounds him just as Dean and Sam catch up with her, leading to Zeke having to pop out again to heal him, and more awkward questions for Dean to handle.

They clear off back to the bunker where Cas is relieved to finally be somewhere safe, warm and with a steady food supply. He has a "chick flick moment" with the brothers, expressing his admiration for how well they've done in their lives given all the difficulties of the human condition, and how grateful he is to have them as his mentors to guide him through his new lifestyle.

Just as things start looking up for poor Cas, the rug gets pulled out from under him again. Because of all the heat on Cas, Zeke deals Dean an ultimatum: either Cas goes or he does, meaning that Sam will die. The episode ends on a cliff hanger of Dean telling Cas "You can't stay".

Watch "I'm No Angel" and other episodes of Supernatural on Amazon Instant Video.

My Thoughts

As grateful as I am to not have to suffer through some contrived love interest story line, I have to admit that I felt bad for Cas. He'd had a hell of a week, and that was one nightmare of a first time story (given that she also ended up treating him to his first serious brush with mortality).

Otherwise, I loved everything to do with Castiel this week. Every time his quirkiness bordered on annoying or silly, the writers pulled it back with Cas delivering some insightful observations about the world he was rediscovering from the mortal perspective. They struck the perfect balance between seriousness and levity, and Misha Collins delivered it all flawlessly. I hope that we get a lot more Cas-centric episodes in future.

That said, and as much as I love Castiel, what I really think stood out about the episode were the moments between Sam and Dean. Continuing on from last week, it felt like a return to the earlier seasons when their dynamic was a lot more playful and a lot less angsty. Just the two of them, working a case in their FBI suits, on the road in the Impala, and the little things like Dean's continued love affair with gas station pie and Sam's affectionate disapproval about his junk food habits.

These echoes of the past further highlight the difficulties Dean has lying to Sam about Ezekiel, and the impending storm cloud of Sam's inevitable discovery of the betrayal. You can see Sam's struggle to accept what Dean's lies even though he really wants to just trust him. At the same time Dean is trying to hold everything together and enjoy this tacit stretch of peace while he can but he is already floundering under the weight of this secret.

Also, given that he is making Dean send Cas away it is becoming impossible to ignore the alarm bells that have been going off ever since Zeke arrived on the scene. Maybe Metatron just gave me trust issues, but I am bracing myself for another bad angel situation to get worse. Not that I really mind any nefarious plots the character has in store so long as I keep getting to watch Jared Padalecki nail the transitions between Sam and Ezekiel. The man has mad skills in that department.

The ending was of course very sad. The look on Castiel's face when Dean told him he'd have to go was heartbreaking. A man pushing 40 has no business looking that much like a kicked puppy. However, I'm not really that upset at this turn of events. If we want to keep this story going in a way that is at all interesting, we can't just have the boys all move into the bunker to live happily together.

I am loving this season so far and I'm already jonesing for the next installment, especially given Felicia Day's appearance in the preview for next week, returning to her role of Charlie. I have my doubts about a Wizard of Oz themed SPN episode, and I'm not crazy about the idea of breaking the run of the last three episodes, which stuck tight to fleshing out the larger story arch for season 9. But hey, every show needs a few filler episodes to give the drama a break, so for now I'm keeping an open mind.

Quote of the night:
Dean: Did you have protection?
Cas: I had my angel blade.

What are your thoughts on the episode? Comment bellow

Comments 2
George Prax's picture

Hey Syranda, I don't watch Supernatural but great review and welcome to the team!

Syranda Raffoul's picture

Thanks Smile Glad to be here.