Supernatural: The Born-Again Identity

Filed under: Recaps & Reviews

It's official, Sam Winchester has officially lost his mind.

Now that the wall in Sam's mind was destroyed, nothing is holding Lucifer back. Deprived of sleep for five days, Sam tries desperately to run away from the devil in his head but this only leads to him getting hit by a car. After being taken to a hospital, Sam is taken to the psychiatric ward due to his incoherent ramblings about the devil but even insomnia is a surprise to Dean. While Sam sits in his room Dean contacts everyone that could possibly help but comes up with nothing. After getting a lucky break, Dean is directed to a healer in Colorado named Emanuel that is supposed to be the real deal but as luck would have it, Emanuel is actually Castiel...with amnesia. Due to the Emanuel's memory loss Dean is torn as to whether he should tell Castiel who he really is because he there is the risk that he might snap. He decides against telling Castiel the truth but when an old "friend" joins the road trip to save Sam, Dean might not have a choice.

Supernatural had a lot to offer in The Born-Again Identity and for the most part it was quite good. We all knew that it was just a matter of time before Sam went off the deep end and Supernatural gave it to us. Sam's declining health and the omnipresent Lucifer keeps the tension up while Dean's encounter with Castiel slowed the pace of the episode but provided a sense of mystery as his story unravelled. One aspect that could have been better was Sam's desperation. Although we saw Sam physically broken we never saw him moments before that when Lucifer might have broken his resolve and will to live entirely. It could have been the emotional core of the episode but with the inclusion of the pointless Maren storyline and Castiel (not pointless), there wasn't enough time.

On the topic of Castiel, it was fantastic to see Misha Collins back in the saddle as Supernatural's favourite angel. From the moment Dean saw him, the chemistry between the two was back but different in The Born-Again Identity. The execution of having the two meet again was well done and the scenes with the between them on the road gave Dean an opportunity to speak to his mind but avoid the overly sappy dialogue that we sometimes get. When Castiel finally remembered who he is, it was good to see that he understood how far over the edge he had gone but still wanted to save Sam. The only aspect that didn't work as well was what Castiel had been up to the past few months and how he had married Daphne. What kind of person would marry someone they found nude, floating in a river without any clothes? It would have been much better if the episode began with someone finding Castiel in the river months ago and saving him before the show cut to Sam in the present. Also, since Daphne only had one line of dialogue (or two...?) the entire episode, it would have been more believable had Castiel just been found by a homeless person or someone from a shelter which would have also given him greater access to heal people and discover his abilities.

Finally, the worst part of The Born-Again Identity was unquestionably Meg. Played by Rachel Miner, Meg's sarcasm and was poorly written but Miner didn't do anything to elevate the dialogue beyond the page either. If anything, it came across as a poor man's Ellen Page minus the wit and charm. In contrast to Rachel Miner, Mark Pellegrino cannot help but be remarkable as Lucifer. Pellegrino's performance as Lucifer will never cease to impress and hopefully we will continue to see more of him now that he will be tormenting Castiel in a plot device that I may never understand fully.

Besides a few flaws The Born-Again Identity was another great episode from Supernatural. The story was strong and the return of Castiel just makes you wish he was a part of the cast or at the very least, brought Bobby back to life before he took the devil into his mind. We'll see next week if the streak continues in Party On, Garth.

Tags: Supernatural, Dean Winchester, Sam Winchester, Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, Misha Collins, Mark Pellegrino, Rachel Miner, Castiel, Lucifer

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