Supernatural, Season 9, Episode 9: “Holy Terror”
Written by Eugenie Ross-Leming and Brad Buckner
Directed by Thomas J. Wright
Airs Tuesdays at 9pm (ET) on The CW
Season 9 of Supernatural, to date, has shown that being shut out of Heaven had brought a new level of ruthlessness out in all Angels, perhaps best characterised by Bartholomew’s nonchalant killing of Buddy Boyle’s daughter. With the factions battling for control of Heaven following Castiel’s abrupt departure, it was inevitable that the fall would only temporarily pause the fighting. Combined with the new brand of ruthlessness and a callous disregard for human lives, this week’s episode explores the toll this battle is taking, and the major players, in a powerful episode that sees the re-entry of key players into the fold, with extreme consequences.
The larger look into the Angels’ various factions this week is a fascinating one. While opposition to Bartholomew was expected, the fight between him and Malachi seems evenly matched, which brings up the point Theo made to Castiel; as neither Bartholomew nor Malachi has a noticeable advantage over the other, it will be intriguing to note whether the two begin to shed followers as the battle for dominance continues. By all indications, Theo was a trusted lieutenant of Malachi, and if he had doubts about the leader’s ability to win, that doubt must be present in bigger spades among those who are farther removed from the inner circle on both sides of the fight. As the dissent grows, how the two Angels deal with the conflict will be very telling. If either Bartholomew or Malachi manage to show some true leadership and bring the skeptics back into the fold, that may give the Winchesters, and the audience, someone to side with in the battle. On the other hand, if one of them is able to successfully scare any dissent into hiding with extreme measures, the choice of helping out the lesser evil would also be an understandable one on the part of Dean and his allies.
The entrance of Metatron into this fray is also an interesting one, particularly because it gives the disenfranchised Angels someone to rally around. Metatron has proven himself untrustworthy before, most notably when he tricked Castiel into helping him expel Angels, and there’s no reason to think he’s being honest now. His desire to rule over Heaven is transparent, which just leaves the question of how far he’s planning to go, and his recruitment of Gadreel to kick things off is very telling in that regard. Having Kevin Tran killed is an understandable step from his part, for without the prophet, Metatron holds all the cards, atleast until his opposition is able to track down the next prophet. It will be difficult, however, for any Angel to take action against Metatron, as he holds the keys to re-entering Heaven, so it will be intriguing to see how Bartholomew, Malachi, and Castiel react to the re-appearance of Metatron, and how the battle amongst Angels changes as he makes his presence more visible.
Castiel once again becoming an Angel is also a promising development. As Dean pointed out, Castiel had a relatively stable life in human form, as he was relatively safe from Angels, and was in the midst of establishing a life for himself where he was relatively happy. His choice to return to the midst of the Angel battle, however, proves that while his grace may be gone, Castiel is still very much the same entity the Winchesters the audience has come to know over the past few years, and his empathy and desire to minimise suffering and strife still remains. His move to steal Theo’s grace, despite his regret, proves that he is willing to take drastic measures if needed, something he can no longer avoid if he wants to save innocent Angels like Muriel. Castiel’s re-appearance makes him the true wild card in this entire fray; as the only Angel powerful enough to take on Metatron, Bartholomew, or Malachi, yet the only one of the four who is not power-hungry, Castiel has the greatest chance right now to restore some semblance of order, if he can gain followers. What path he chooses to do so, and how the three Angels react to Castiel the Angel once again returning, promises to be compelling.
Overall, this is another strong episode that re-affirms the capability of the season arc to be a fascinating story. The reveal of Gadreel as the one hiding inside Sam puts the Angel’s actions this season in a whole new light, beginning with his desire to kick Castiel out of the bunker despite the latter vouching for the Angel when Castiel thought he was Ezekiel. With him now in full possession of Sam, how Dean goes about getting his brother back, especially with Metatron in the way, promises to be compelling, particularly if Dean solicits help from Castiel, or even one of Crowley or Abaddon, in this endeavour. Kevin’s death is a shocking and unexpected moment, and it’s sad to see Osric Chau depart, especially since he still seemed integral to the story, and it’ll be interesting to see how this affects the return of Mrs. Tran, if she is to come back at all. With one less ally, and the balance of power now firmly on the side of the Angels, it will also be promising to see how both Crowley and Abaddon react to the internal war between Angels. What Dean’s next step is, as well as what actions Castiel takes now that he has grace once again, is worth tuning in for once the season resumes.
– Deepayan Sengupta