As tension mounts in Castiel's camp, Sam and Dean have to question what lengths their friend may have gone and how far they may have to go to stop it.
Following the death of one of his flock, Castiel calls in the Winchesters to help him find some answers. Dean plans on taking the First Blade but Sam suggests that they leave it at the bunker. It takes some convincing but Dean leaves the weapon behind. Once they meet up with Castiel, they watch footage showing Castiel's follower sacrifice himself in his name to kill one of Metatron's angels. The Winchesters are stunned and Dean almost loses his cool in the fear that Castiel reverted to his old ways. Castiel wants to help clear his name so Dean makes Sam tag along with him. Dean stays behind to talk with Castiel's camp about anything they knew about the suicide bomber angel, Oryn. After getting some information out of one of the angels, Dean gets word that the reaper Tessa was one of Oryn's friends and heads out to find her before she can light the fuse on herself. When he finally catches up to her, he takes her back to angel command for questioning. Tessa says that it was Castiel that put her up to the task because she is brave and could be trusted. Dean is skeptical but unsure of who to trust. It's only after he pulls the First Blade out that Tessa uses it to end her own life. Without any leads and dwindling trust from the angels, Dean may have compromised the angel uprising against Metatron before it can begin.
As the setup to next week's season finale, I was expecting a lot more from Stairway to Heaven. What could have been an opportunity to set up an exciting finale was almost a complete dud that should have aired months ago. We've been waiting for Dean to change since he first received the Mark of Cain but it is almost too little too late by now. Dean has always done what needed to be done and his actions have yet to cross any lines that he hasn't already done. He's killed several angels and leviathans when he had to, so why is it hard to believe that he would kill another if he felt it was necessary? Dean almost killing Gadriel in the closing moments just made sense as well. He always promised Gadriel that he would kill him for what he did to Kevin and he wasn't kidding. The difference this time is that he has the means to destroy him. The surprise twist at the end that Metatron was behind the suicide bomber angels was anything but a shock. We've known the entire time that Metatron doesn't have the best intentions at heart for everyone but we've never known what lengths he would go to in order to win. If he had used this tactic earlier on, it would have given a reason to fear just how far he would go in later episodes.
Though her return was suggested something memorable would happen, Tessa's return was another failing of the story. For how small Tessa's role was in the story and how quickly her death happened, it would not have mattered if it was any other angel. This is a shame as Lindsey McKeon has always been great in the role of Tessa since her first appearance in the premiere of season two. Her death didn't accomplish anything, nor did it lend emotional weight to the story.
Stairway to Heaven should have taken place much earlier in the season or not at all. A big problem with Dean and the Mark of Cain is that it should have happened much earlier so we could see Dean's transformation gradually rather than him suddenly not being the same guy after killing Abaddon. Whether or not Supernatural intends to make wholesale jewelry Dean a villain with the most powerful weapon ever remains to be seen but let's focus on the big confrontation with Metatron next week and hope that Supernatural can end the ninth season on a high note. Sorry for the late posting but next week's review for Do You Believe in Miracles will arrive on time.