Before I begin, I must admit that I wasn't sure where season 7 would be heading. I like Cas--a lot--and I was worried about what they were planning for him. (And yet, even after this premiere, I'm still not so clear on where this is heading.) For most of season 6, I felt a bit let down (the "mother of all", anyone?), and I was hoping for some redemption in the story line this season.
My first thoughts after the episode ended, unfortunately, were still ambivalent. But before I explain why, let's recap.
At the end of season 6, we were left with two major problems. In order to defeat Raphael, Castiel absorbed all the souls in purgatory after tricking Raphael and Crowley with an old 'bait and switch.' Super-charged, he pulled a snap-and-explode a la Lucifer and splattered Raphael all over the room. Unfortunately, the massive amount of souls and power warped his mind and left him thinking he was the 'new God.'
And if that wasn't bad enough, in order to stop Dean and Sam from interfering, he broke down the barrier that Death had raised in Sam's mind to stop him from remembering his time trapped in Hell with Lucifer. Thankfully, Sam managed to fight through it long enough to attempt to stop Cas...who was unfortunately impervious to the killer angel blades at that point.
And from that moment, we begin exactly where we left off. Same room. Same scene. Same demented Castiel. His order to Dean, Sam, and Bobby to praise him as the new God doesn't go over too well, but Cas at least shows more restraint than he did with with poor Raphael. No one else ends up splattered all over the walls. Of course, from the beginning of this episode, I noticed a bit of...how do I want to say this...forced emotions?
Dean is quite miffed over the lack of writing quality in this episode.
My first cringe-worthy moment was Cas' "you already stabbed me in the back" line, which, while attempting to be darkly sarcastic, left a bad taste in my mouth. The humor in this episode did not seem to flow nearly as well as it did in previous seasons (even last season's episodes), and Supernatural has mastered humor right in the midst of dark drama and action plenty of times before.
Moving on from the beginning, Castiel goes on a rampage, marching from church to church to church and taking out preachers left and right, all while spouting that he's God and chastising people for "sinning" without any foreseeable sense of forgiveness. Then he moves on to other types of people, eventually smiting anyone who is "distorting God's message," which he's apparently just bumming off the previous God.
"Hm, who shall I smite today?"
I love how they're all wearing suits.
The highlight of this episode had to be the freaky "hands trying to escape from Cas' stomach" scene. If you watched the episode, you know what I mean. If you didn't, here's some nice visuals:
I always love the exceedingly creepy visuals that Supernatural excels in.
If only the idea had been better developed. Yes, I suppose the idea makes sense in its essence. God locked away the "Leviathans," beings that were created long before humans and angels, in Purgatory, and Cas unknowingly gobbled 'em up along with all the other souls. If the reveal of this had been more drawn out, then yes, I can see this making for a great premiere. But like most of the episode, the whole thing felt rushed.
It starts with deranged Cas, then Sam starts having hallucinations (after finally succumbing to his memories of Hell), then they decide to go enlist Crowley's help so they can "catch Death" so they can kill Cas, who just frees Death when he gets to the confrontation, then there's suddenly the big Leviathan reveal....
...And then it just keep going on that way for the rest of the episode. Castiel eventually loses control of the Leviathans and goes on a rampage, killing everyone inside a politician's office (a politician he'd come to smite, of course)...and...and...wait for it...
...suddenly seems to remember he's actually Cas and not God and asks Dean and Sam for help. Oh, and did I mention the freaky (also a la Lucifer) vessel degradation? Yeah, that was pretty nasty. In case you missed it, it looked like this:
I'd make a 'too much to drink' joke, but since I'm complaining about bad writing...
Well, anyway, with all our well-intentioned main characters now back on the "same side," they set out (with Death's aid) to reseal all the souls in Purgatory. After a brightly-lit, soul-sucking scene and another portal into blackness, it looks as if Castiel has died!
Except it really doesn't. If they had ended the episode there, with Cas laying motionless on the ground, bloody and unconscious, I may have been tempted to give this episode a better review. At least a cliffhanger (even when we know Cas isn't dead) would have been a more effective ending.
Instead, Cas wakes up and is fine! Until a few moments later, when it's revealws that the Leviathans "hung on" inside Cas and are now taking him over. Cue another evil version of Cas suddenly attacking Dean and Bobby.
I'm sure many opinions will differ from mine, but that ending (and most of the entire Leviathan plot) felt incredibly contrived. For a long time, Supernatural has thrived on slowly introducing complex plot lines over the course of several episodes. The great plots from previous seasons built up to that greatness from one episode to the next. While fighting the monster of the week, Sam and Dean would gradually unravel the truth. It wasn't ever thrown in their faces all at once.
So why do that now? Why was it necessary to force all this Leviathan stuff into one episode? It left me feeling that I was rushing through the season's plot as opposed to be it carefully laid out in bits and pieces and puzzles and clues. And I really just didn't like that.
Ironically enough, I have to say what I liked best about this episode was Sam's hallucinations, especially the very last part where "Lucifer" actually manages to make Sam doubt reality. At this point, that's what I'm most interested in seeing play out. (Which is ironic because I don't generally like Sam's plot lines.)
So, in conclusion, I must say I'm mildly disappointed thus far with season 7. It might get better (I sincerely hope it does) from this point on, but I feel that the premiere was a bit of a let down. I was happy to see my favorite boys on TV again, and there were surely some great scenes and mind-blowing concepts introduced, but the writers are really going to need to step this season up if it's to rival past seasons.
The expression on his face, I love it.
Death, the highlight of every episode.
And this guy, who's the best Satan, like, ever...
Overall grade: B-