Supernatural, Season 9, Episode 14: “Captives”
Written by Robert Berens
Directed by Jerry Wanek
Airs Tuesdays at 9pm (ET) on The CW
The death of Kevin at the hands of Gadreel was one of the more memorable moments of the ninth season, and stands as the most definitive effect of Dean’s trust in the Angel that promised to cure Sam. As someone who inadvertently ended up as the Prophet, and went through arguably as much in the way of negative experiences as the Winchesters, Kevin proved himself a resourceful and trustworthy ally, giving his death that much more of an impact. This week’s episode sees the ghost of Kevin return to ask the Winchesters for one last wish, in a solid outing that works to further advance the story of Angels.
The ascension of Castiel into a leadership position once again is a promising development. While his last attempt at power came through coercive means, Castiel’s current pledge to hurt only in self-defence makes his followers more devoted to his cause and less likely to betray him. In addition, working towards a common goal, that of finding Metatron and re-opening Heaven, puts him in a much more stable position than he was during his last power-grab. With Bartholomew now dead, and Malachi’s forces depleted from Castiel’s last attack, his ascension to sole leader is unlikely to be interrupted, and it will be interesting to see how he conducts himself this time around. Castiel’s newfound power also makes him a more viable threat to Metatron than either of the previous faction leaders, as Metatron may still be unaware that Castiel is back to being an Angel once again. This information, in addition to the knowledge that Castiel is not actively trying to gain power, is likely to alter Metatron’s course of action, and what he does upon discovery of this news is likely to impact the course of the season. It will also be intriguing to see how a second run with power affects Castiel, and whether his begrudging acceptance this time changes how eager he is to hold on to power in the face of opposition.
Having the Winchesters go after Mrs. Tran is an intriguing exploration of guilt and penance. Kevin is the latest in a long line of collateral damage victims who have suffered from an association with the Winchesters, the guilt of which both brothers have carried throughout the course of the show. However, the brothers’ prior form of dealing with victims on their conscience has been to go after the bigger threat that led to it in the first place. Directly dealing with Kevin’s wishes, however, is a noticeable departure, and opens up the possibility that the Winchesters may deal with future deaths in the same manner. It will certainly be fascinating to see Sam and Dean work with ghosts to fulfill their dying wishes, adding another layer of humanity to their actions. Particularly with Heaven being closed and ghosts being trapped in the veil, this is the best chance both brothers have to ease the suffering of any individual who ends up dead as a result of their actions in the future. Whether the duo actually choose to go down this road will be very telling, both in regards to the degree of guilt they feel, and whether they consider themselves truly redeemable after all they’ve done.
Overall, this is an enjoyable return for the show, and a strong step up from the prior episode. It’s good to see both Kevin and Mrs. Tran return, particularly the latter, as her fate had been up in the air for a while. With Kevin yet to ascend to Heaven, and Mrs. Tran having repeatedly proven her steely nerves, it will be worth watching to see if either one makes a return as the brothers continue their fight against both Metatron and Abaddon. It will also be intriguing to see how Malachi reacts to the rise of Castiel and Bartholomew’s death. With Castiel clearly not angling to kill or usurp Malachi, and with both Angels interested in getting Metatron and re-opening Heaven, Malachi’s true colours are bound to make an appearance at this point. The demon’s rant against Crowley’s no killing policy is an interesting look at the conflicts demons are facing, and provides some possible insight into why certain demons might choose Abaddon’s leadership over Crowley’s, even if fear were not part of the equation. How Castiel deals with his new followers, as well as what steps Dean and Sam take to track down both Crowley and Gadreel, are stories worth tuning in to see as the season continues.
– Deepayan Sengupta