If I had known that Castiel being blown up by Lucifer ruined his vessel’s chance of ever coming back, I’d probably have written a few different theories in my last review. Aw well. In a double dose of bonding, Castiel attempts to reunite with his vessel’s daughter, Claire while Crowley ponders whether he wants to reconnect with his mother, the semi-scottish witch lady, Rowena. Claire shows typical adolescent acts of defiance as she uses Castiel then discards him forever blaming him for what happened to her father. Crowley, is also a bit manipulated as she sort of ally’s with another demon who has been shuffling souls out of hell. Mix that with a temper tantrum rage-splosion from Dean at the end and we have ourselves a quasi-forward momentum plot with a pinch of family drama. Not great, but not horrible. Maybe somewhere in the middle.
“The Things We Left Behind” returns Castiel to an estranged psuedo-daughter who has since been surviving on her own with a father figure that owes a loan shark a bit of money. Considering the house they shacked up in was a little nicer than what I would expect from a few kids and one bad acting adult, I wasn’t entirely sold on this situational comeuppance. Coupled with stereotypical loan sharks and the plot pretty much writes itself, boringly. Castiel had a few genuine moments and I was a bit confused to see how the episode ended without much a resolution between him and Claire. With such an abrupt end I’m guessing there will be a follow up, unless they do some scene after the break where Castiel says he dropped Claire off at some orphanage for her own good and that’s the last we see of her. Don’t do that. Give us some resolution, or at least a moment where Claire doesn’t hate Cas anymore. He deserves that much.
On the other side, literally, Crowley confronts Rowena and they reminisce back when he was a child and a bit of funniness with how he was conceived. She proves to be ever the sultry vixen even centuries ago but pleads that she wants a second chance with her son. Crowley doesn’t take her up on the offer until she leads him to believe that his right hand man, Gerald is responsible for the other woman’s actions spoken earlier with shuffling souls out of hell. This started off with a good premise then became a real cheap ending. Coupled with how Claire’s situation was resolved, I felt that the writer’s kind of ran out of time to think of an ending and just threw this together at the last minute. Everything started off good, albeit very predictable and ended with a “heh” moment. Dean goes psycho and kills the loan shark and Claire’s would-be benefactor while Sam tries to convince himself it was self-defense. No sir, not self-defense.
While a few tiny moments served the propel the episode forward, the bulk of the plot wasn’t anything special. Sam worries about Dean, Dean says he’s fine, Cas knows he isn’t fine, and it turns out Dean really isn’t fine. It felt like an incredibly long prologue to the actual part of the story we need to get to which is, the mark has once more usurped Dean in a way that he needs help again. What kind of help? Not sure, but I doubt it involves bringing Cain back into this.
Dean’s story about his father and him was told very well. The brothers brought a real moment that gave them a bit of a twinkle in their eyes when speaking of how their father raised them. No matter how much Dean hated what their dad put them through, in the end, as a family, they stayed connected. It was a cool moment since they don’t tell stories like that often. I appreciated it for what it was.
I think Cas earned it this time around. His concern over Claire’s safety and well being was a good motivator for him to begin a new side to his humanity. The idea of being a father figure is new and with it comes new difficulties and strange advice when dealing with a teenage daughter. Cas went through the motions and had a small arc of his own, although with the power of an angel he didn’t have to do much to showed he cared. Still, he edged out Crowley on this one only because Crowley was duped by Rowena and probably doesn’t care.
LONG TERM THOUGHTS
Since I don’t see a current date on the next episode I think this serves as the winter break before we return to more gore and demon slaying. The cliffhanger was odd only because it didn’t resolve the episode’s problem between Cas and Claire, it just centered back on Dean and his killing issues.
Is this other demon character a multi-episode person? Or was this just a means to get Rowena on Crowley’s good side? The concept of someone helping souls escape hell is interesting, but I get the feeling it was a one-off.
Speaking of denizens of hell, where are the rest of Crowley’s minions? He’s running out of lackeys to throw at his problems and as a King of Hell, I imagine his subjects should be a bit more numerous say…in the millions, perhaps?
Since not having the bone dagger doesn’t seem to quell Dean’s thirst for death, I wonder what having it again would do to him? Return him to demon status? Since he asked Cas to take him out if that ever happened, I think it’s safe to say it’s going to happen again. Way to prep us, team!
Sam really had nothing going on in this episode. Again, he needs something else to do other then pine away at Dean’s denial that everything’s A-ok. He’s as interesting as a grilled cheese sandwich right now.
Not feeling too generous here but I give it a 6 out of 10. The beginning and the first act showed some promise. It’s a well known arc with an estranged parental unit trying to reconnect with a teenage offspring and it going horribly wrong before something grand brings them closer together. We missed the part where they got closer together so the actual arc is incomplete. Dean’s psycho moment took precedence and it shouldn’t have been piled on like that. Crowley’s scenes started off great and I loved the banter he had wit his mother. The result just felt plain and dry and didn’t seem very well thought out. But the goal was to get the two together and now they are, so fun can begin with Crowley’s next plan, whatever that may be. After the break things should pick up. I have hope. Just don’t involve the angels, leave them out for a while please.
No more words