Supernatural meta, reviews & fic recs

SPN 9.06: Heaven Can’t Wait review

Sam and Dean on the phone

At the end of Heaven Can’t Wait (9.06), my watching partner, whom some of you know as Scruffy, turned to me and said, “Wow, the show has really lost its focus and momentum.” He couldn’t be more right. Last night’s episode is a perfect example of why – Sam and Dean were bit players in what used to be their story. Instead, Heaven Can’t Wait was about Castiel and Crowley.

The episode started with Sam, Dean, and Kevin at the bunker trying to find a way to reverse Metatron’s spell, but Kevin got stuck on a dead language. Dean got a call from Castiel that there might be a case, which was the perfect excuse for him to bail on research. As a result, we got yet another episode with little Sam and Dean interaction. What little we do see is in phone calls where Dean assures Sam that he can handle the hunt without him. Way to make Sam feel like you have confidence in him, Dean. On the one hand, Dean tells Sam that he believes Sam is capable of anything, but just like last season, his actions indicate otherwise. The fact that Sam appears to get knocked in every fight must be undermining his confidence as well.

 So, instead of the Winchesters being a team, we get Dean playing a supporting role to Castiel, and Sam playing a supporting role to Crowley. Oh yeah, Kevin was there too, but this was more Castiel and Crowley’s narrative. Castiel is working at a convenience store and learning about human dignity … and humiliation when he finds out that the date he thought his boss was asking him out was actually a babysitting gig. Who didn’t see that coming a mile away?

Cas is a clerk in a convenience store“My grace is gone. What did you expect?”

 Anyway, Castiel called Dean to investigate a hunt in which humans are being vaporized into pink mist, presumably blood, bone, fat, which makes me wonder where the intestinal contents ended up. Nevertheless, we learn that the killer is a specialized angel that puts beings out of their misery when they can’t be healed. Not understanding humans, the angel jumps the gun and vaporizes people who are depressed – even angsty high school girls. Of course, this angel ends up going after Cas who he is angry with for giving up on his angelic nature. It seems that Castiel just can’t win. When Cas asks how the angel found him, it says it’s because Castiel’s pain is so great. Thanks for that bit of explication. Now we know just how much pain he’s in.

Sam negotiates with Crowley

Plan B: “Give you to Abaddon.”

Sam and Kevin get Crowley to translate some of Metatron’s footnotes in exchange for letting him make a phone call to Abaddon, which requires blood. He insists on Kevin’s blood. The intelligence of this plan is questionable, and I’m still not sure why Crowley wanted to talk to her. Perhaps he just wanted to confirm her opposition to his rule or learn her strategy. He does find out that she’s calling in his deals early and taking souls before their contracts are up. After ending the phone call, Crowley tells Sam and Kevin that the footnotes indicate that the spell can’t be reversed and the angels can’t be returned to Heaven. For whatever reason, Sam accepts that answer and relays it to Dean who returns Cas to his convenience store job and doesn’t tell him what Crowley said.

At the end of the episode, Sam sees that Crowley got a hold of syringe of Kevin’s blood and is injecting himself with it. The question is why? Will it make him human? And if so, why would he want that? Why Kevin’s blood instead of Sam’s? We know that if Sam had finished the trials, it would have killed him? Is Crowley protecting Sam by using Kevin’s blood? Will it harm Kevin? We’ve seen that drinking demon blood made Sam powerful and confident. Does Crowley just enjoy the feeling of human blood running through is veins? Is it a drug?

Crowley injects human blood

A handful of fans have long lobbied for an ensemble cast. I hope they’re happy. For a show that was built on the chemistry between the main characters, it certainly isn’t being utilized much anymore. I realize there are “RL” reasons for that. Jared and Jensen are both married and fathers now, and they want to have more time off with their families. That’s fine. It’s their show, and they set their priorities, but I do hope that no one involved is fooling themselves into believing that expanding the storylines of secondary characters makes up for lack of the Winchester chemistry that made the show a success.

 

I suppose that this episode did move the narrative along, but there was no sense of urgency in it. There was never any real sense of danger or impending doom to it. The threat isn’t focused. It’s coming from everywhere – Abaddon, yes, but then thousands of random angels. Bartholomew and his lot have disappeared for now. I guess, they’re regrouping or something. I don’t know, and that’s the problem. This narrative has become so big and unwieldy.

I suppose that if I were a big fan of human Cas, it would have been more interesting, but Cas has been so many different characters since the beginning of S6, and I’m not personally interested in watching Cas suffer through adolescence like that annoying high school student whose meatsuit painted a school bus pink.

Heaven Can’t Wait wasn’t the train wreck that Dog Dean Afternoon was, but for me at least, it was boring. Instead of being a bullet train to Tokyo, as it was in the early seasons, Supernatural has become a wide, muddy, meandering river.

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6 responses

  1. nancy

    I thought it was just me. I agree, we spent so much time with Cas and Crowley, that I wondered what happened to the Supernatural that was about Sam and Dean Winchester?
    Why is Sam talking to Kevin about Crowley?
    Ok, Jared and Jensen have families and real lives, but SPN is their relationship, THAT is why we started watching it in the first place. For them to become side characters in their own show is insulting to those of us that love them. To have whole episodes devoted to other characters is getting annoying.
    Figure out who is staying Crowley or Abaddon, kill the other one, because I really don’t want to watch the two of them yell at each other for the rest of the season.
    Send Kevin somewhere. Let Cas live as a human.
    This way Sam and Dean can be front and center again.

    November 13, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    • Yeah, I agree. I want Sam and Dean on screen together — not talking on the phone. We need that relationship, that chemistry. The bunker is okay, but I miss the hot-house atmosphere of the boys on the road, hours together in the Impala and more in rundown motel rooms when they couldn’t get away from each other and had to deal with their issues, talk and fight and joke. Much as I like Crowley, I want monsters. I’m tired of salesman demons, bureaucrat angels (Naomi), corporate monsters (Dick Roman). I want vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, vengeful spirits. I want the boys to do gritty investigations, not just interview people in their suburban homes and corporate offices. I want them to dig up graves and explore abandoned buildings and decrepit houses. I want them saving people, hunting things, the family business. Isn’t that what the show is supposed to be about?

      November 15, 2013 at 6:18 am

      • nancy

        That is what the show was about when Kripke was there. The MOTW were scary and the scenes were dark. The demons were evil and the guys kicked ass, The season ‘storyline’ (looking for John, Dean’s deal) was always a part of every episode and every episode built on the next one to build into a great story.
        Now, all we have are the guys interviewing people (always as FBI) and no more salt and burns. As you said, we have a lot of talking from our monsters and no more action. We have an angel storyline that never seems to end, considering that Kripke said that there would be no angels in SPN. We have MOTW that get killed not by Sam and Dean, but by secondary characters. We had a great start in 9.01 and got introduced to Bart, then he disappeared. We have a bunch of standalone episodes that don’t move the story along, but instead are just showcases for secondary characters.
        Since there is a picture of Metatron floating around, we can assume that there IS a way to reverse the spell, probably having to do with getting Castiel his grace back. Good, get ALL the angels back up in Heaven, slam the door shut, and let Sam and Dean get back to the family business.

        November 15, 2013 at 12:49 pm

  2. Formerfan

    The writing on the show tanked at the end of last season when the last few episodes completely contradicted what was said in the January/February episodes. (One example of many – remember Kevin saying whoever undertook the trials should not fear death? Yet at the end of the season Naomi is stating that it was always the plan that the person undertaking the trials would die.) One wonders if this is the lose of Ben Edlund rearing its head. Last summer when the writers and producers were touting Castiel bathroom scenes as a precursor to the new season it was apparent the downhill spiral would continue. Dean had one line in this episode “yes, there is a God.” that I would expect to be foreshadowing in any other series. But the SPN writers blew numerous foreshadowing opportunities last year (wouldn’t it have been cool if Benny’s death was foreshadowing of a situation that would have required Dean to kill Sam as a part of an Old Testament finish to the trials, and a callback to the early seasons where John told Dean to kill Sam if he couldn’t save him?) If Metatron’s spell really cannot be undone, they might bring God in to save the day – but this is SPN so Crowley’s statement that Metatron’s spell cannot be undone is either a lie or another plot point that will be ret conned to cover for horrible writing. I’ve been occasionally checking in, in hopes it would improve but I think this is the last episode for me.

    November 13, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    • Sam believing Crowley the way he did about the spell not being undone just didn’t make sense to me. Why would Sam believe Crowley like that?

      Yeah, all the plot holes and retconning are so discouraging. I know a lot of fans who quit the show last year when Sam was written so OOC, and the telling of that story was done so poorly. If Carver was going to have Sam not look for Dean, he needed to do a good job of showing why he didn’t. Instead, he gave us that lame-ass melodrama with Amelia.

      I honestly think the show lost its way after Swan Song when the decision was made to make Castiel a regular and continue with the angels storyline. He has directed the overall narrative through his actions with the war in Heaven, etc. It’s no longer about Sam and Dean. They’ve just gotten dragged along for the ride.

      November 15, 2013 at 6:07 am

  3. wolfeep

    I was wondering if Crowley requested a phone call JUST to get his hands on Kevin’s blood. I don’t enjoy human Cas much either. This wasn’t how I imagined it being handled. And I feel really bad for him. This episode was the first time Dean apologized to Cas for kicking him out? Really? You’re right. It’s too wide right now, too cluttered, and out of place. Hopefully next Tuesday will be better.

    November 16, 2013 at 7:52 pm

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