Supernatural, Season 8, Episode 7: “A Little Slice of Kevin”
Written by Eugenie Ross-Leming and Brad Buckner
Directed by Charles Robert Carmer
Airs Wednesdays at 9pm (ET) on CW
One of the burning questions that emerged from the premiere of Supernatural’s eighth season is what happened to Castiel. After he and Dean were both kicked to Purgatory following the killing of Dick Roman, only Dean seemed to make it out, with the help of a new vampire ally rather than his trusted sidekick. Optimistic watchers of the show were sure that it was only a matter of time before Castiel returned, and their confidence is rewarded this week, as the trenchcoat-clad “angel of the lord” made his first post-purgatory appearance in a wonderfully gripping episode that also brought back Crowley and Kevin Tran and his mother, making major strides in a few primary storylines while setting up an interesting new one that promises to have ramifications for the brothers as the season progresses.
It was definitely a treat to see Castiel not only back on the show, but back from Purgatory. Ever since his dramatic entrance in Lazarus Rising, the importance of the angel to the various missions the Winchesters engage in has become more and more important, and his role in the larger scheme of things has become as big as that of Sam and Dean. All of this made it very worrisome that Castiel was still stuck fighting monsters when Dean had managed to get out, so having him once again fighting alongside his two human friends was a relief, even if purgatory clearly took a toll on him that he has yet to fully recover from.
It was very interesting to see how Dean reacted to Castiel’s return, as well as the truth about Dean’s escape from purgatory. It’s been no secret on the show that Dean has a tendency of taking on responsibility and guilt for events that happen with his involvement, no matter how big or small his participation may have been. Thus, seeing that he’d warped the events leading up to his escape to make it seem more like his fault was quite believable, and added another layer to both Dean and Castiel. How Dean recovers with the new knowledge that Cas chose to stay behind despite Dean’s attempts. It’ll be worth watching how Castiel continues to recover from his stint, as well as what Naomi and Co. havei n store for him. There are some obvious parallels to be drawn between Castiel’s exit from purgatory and Dean’s escape from hell; both were rescued by angels for a higher purpose that they were not immediately privy to after they were both in a place where it was a matter of kill or be killed. The parallels are too large to be mere coincidence, so what the writers have in mind should be fun to watch.
It was also nice to see Crowley back once again. The fact that he captured and tortured an angel successfully was a very effective way of showing exactly how much his power has increased upon taking the mantle of King of Hell, and his swift chopping off of Kevin’s finger, as well as effortlessly killing a future prophet, were both signs of his ruthlessness and desperation. It was good to get a glimpse of the inner workings of how prophets are selected, as well as a mention of Chuck, and Crowley’s actions proved how far he was willing to go, establishing him as a more menacing threat than even previously thought. The Winchesters, however, seem to have the angels on their side, which naturally begs the question of who is now running the show in Heaven, as well as how much they are willing to get involved, or even how effective they can be against Crowley, who seemingly had no issue with Samandiriel.
The third and fourth major returning characters were, of course, Kevin and his mother. The evolution of the two of them from naive individuals unaware of otherworldly forces to demon-savvy hunters has been a fascinating one, and watching Mrs. Tran this week was quite a delight, particularly when she managed to capture a demon. The writers did an interesting job this episode of showing how, despite the steep learning curve both have faced since Kevin became the prophet, Kevin and his mother have managed to acclimatise themselves, yet make very simple mistakes, like trusting a witch, that veterans of hunting would never do. How the Trans work with Garth promises to be endlessly entertaining, if the writers allow for onscreen interaction, and how long Kevin’s renewed resolve in destroying Crowley is something to look out for.
Overall, this was a strong episode, effectively reconfiguring some major stakes of the season and hitting some unexpected beats. It was great to see Castiel’s wings again, and the storyline of his possible redemption seems very promising. Garth’s involvement in closing the Gates of Hell, given the extensive knowledge he displayed last episode, should also be a welcome addition to the team. It will be interesting to see if Benny comes into play in the season’s larger arc at any point, as he is a wild card that Crowley may not be aware of, something that can be an advantage. However, just seeing Cas once again riding in the Impala with Sam and Dean, hunting things and solving mysteries, is enough reason to tune in next week.