The writers of Supernatural must have had a ringing in their ears because this week we finally see the return of the angels.
"I take it all back, I love the devil" says Dean – to the stripper dressed in a red latex devil costume, dancing in front of him. After a few seconds Dean closes his eyes to find yet another stripper, in angel garb, starting to get freaky with the devil stripper. Dean closes his eyes again hoping the third time will bring something even better but instead the strippers are gone and the angel Anna, played by Julie McNiven, is standing in front of him.
Anna tells Dean she escaped from prison in heaven, which seems like a buzz kill in the land of eternal happiness. Apparently things haven't been going so well and she needs to meet Dean with urgent news. Later in an alley Anna is waiting for Dean when she hears a noise, she calls out for Dean only to find our favourite trench coat wearing angel, Castiel. Anna tells him she escaped and wants to help save the world by killing Sam in the past, before he can become the vessel for Lucifer. Unfortunately for Anna, Castiel isn't buying what she is selling and tells her there is no way he will let her kill Sam because...Sam is his friend. Where has Castiel been for the past two episodes? He's been in the show thirty seconds and delivers nuance and shrouded intensity which only Misha Collins can so flawlessly to the show.
Suddenly, Anna is gone and sends herself back to 1978. Castiel is back in a hotel room with Sam and Dean and gives them the rundown of the situation. They need to go back in time to save their parents and kill Anna but Castiel doesn't know if he can send them all back without his normal angel mojo. Dean is on cue with "So what, you're like a Delorian without enough plutonium?"
Luckily, Castiel manages to send them all to the past but not without coughing up some blood as a consequence and if anyone watched Angel in season four, it's exactly like that. Hold on, wait a second, how can Castiel send the three of them thirty years back in time but not cure Bobby's paralysis? I would think that time travel would be considerably more difficult, but then again, there are angels in this episode so I won't get greedy. After checking Cas into another hotel, the Winchesters head over to their parents' home for a Back to the Future family reunion.
The rest of the episode doesn't disappoint. Sam and Dean see their parents and Sam almost cries (again), the boys catch up with Anna and multiple fights ensue and we even get to see a younger Uriel although I didn't know that angels aged. The big surprise of this episode is that after all the hype, we get to see Michael. Michael makes a grand entrance and shows everybody just how powerful he is. In his talk with Dean, while everyone else is unconscious, there are numerous parallels revealed between Michael and Lucifer. They both need the brothers, they are brothers and are both convinced Sam and Dean will say yes but each has a different pitch. Lucifer entices his vessels with promise of comfort in truth while Michael claims it is written in destiny with no room for free will. But their commonality lies in how arrogant they are in their certainty the brothers will give in. It mixes up the idea of who is good or evil because at this point, they both seem like bad choices; while Sam and Dean are left stuck in the middle.
Matthew Cohen's portrayal of a young John Winchester/Michael has both depth and charm. His scene with Sam brings out another side of John Winchester that was never there while Jeffrey Dean Morgan had the reins; a John before demons and loss spending time with his future son.
What also makes the episode stand out is Sam and Dean's value of their lives. In every other season the two have done everything they could in order to save one another which included crossroad deals and a trip to hell but that no longer seems to be the case. At one point, the brothers tell their mother to leave John so they will never be born which is a drastic change for the characters.
Castiel and Anna have even taken on their own role reversal. I know, I know, I won't shut up but this is what happens when there are angels! In season four it was Anna that was first human and much warmer but after her time back as an angel she's become cold and willing to kill Sam. Castiel on the other hand has become more human and his relationship with Sam and Dean has become a friendship, one he needs just as much as the boys need him.
This episode was great with excellent pacing and character development, I hope everything stays on track and doesn't get all "Glenn Close" (just watch the show, you'll get it).