This episode represents a scattered team trying to reunite, and it represents pain. It must be Tuesday. Let's take Castiel's arc first...a lovely one it is—he learns truths about privation, about faith in the absence of evidence, and even more below the jump...
He spends time in a shelter, trying to hide himself from pursuers where he marvels at the kindness of those who have little (oh, that's never happened before. What do they teach in Heaven anyway???"). He leaves the shelter after seeing the two priests killed to get to him, and starts living under a bridge, being not-very-undercover.
One of the guys we saw caught up in the preacher's mission has clearly chosen to be a vessel. They seem to be a bit looser about who can hold who, but it looks like Hael in episode 1 was a slow burn anomaly (but faster than Lucifer). If it's not the right one at all, I guess you chunky soup explode like the preacher's assistant. Oops?
Said pharmacist tracks Cas down to the abandoned bus he's sleeping in. Any significance to him having chosen a vehicle as his home away from home? Hmm.
He pops his own angel blade and nukes the guy. Pretty!! I hope they're all getting their ash wings. ANd And extra nice to know he wasn't turned into a bumbling buffoon that didn't just get lucky with Hael. Millions of years as a soldier—yeah, you adjust to a new body, but you adjust. Theoretically, the more you understand it, the easier it is to adjust. Angels aren't battling muscle memory and visceral reactions, right?
When they get closer than he is comfortable with (torture and kebab) he drives the fanartists wild be getting a tat on his abdomen, but since he spends the rest of the episode shirtless...we'll get back to that...
He also encounters a devout woman in church, and she explains why his knowledge about where God may or may not be is irrelevant to her faith in a benevolent higher power. Whether or not he can adopt that faith, I think he's as instructed by this as he is by the generosity of his fellow homeless people.
He's warded, he's running, he's desperate, and he still hasn't learnt how to be suspicious,
because he gets lured upstairs with a PB&J, and ends up having sex...
But let's back up a second. There's a new Sheriff in town (their words, not mine), a cohort of Naomi's, Bartholomew who might as well be Brady's brother at this point.
He has a televangelist convince people to accept possession (I love seeing bad guys using modern tech and business decisions to get what they want—it's a reason I liked Dick Norman more than many of the people I posted with), and they're marshalling vessels just like Abaddon had demons do last week.
Oh. Bartie (I'm going to call him Bartie) is also leveraging Reapers as trackers to find Cas, and many angels are tasked with his retrieval.
Right. Back to naked Castiel and April.
OF COURSE SHE'S AN ANTAGONISTIC ANGEL. Good god, Cas, stop just trusting anyone who shows up who doesn't threaten Dean or Sam. Just because they're not the enemy of your friend it doesn't mean they're your friend. Also, EVERYTHING LIES.
The boys have been doing their tracking research—Eke committed possession etiquette violations by interrupting, but he did point out that Bartie's crew was organising and moving against Cas, so this is urgent. After some light lifting to convince the newly complacent Sam they follow him to where they lose him because of the warding, and then pull that "We're walking into a dark alley talking really loudly not at ALL aware of our environment..la la la..." feint, where when the Reaper on the tail took the corner, he was looking at nothing.
That gives me the flippy floppy in mah tummy of how badassed these guys are even when it doesn't involve research or violence. They do violence later, since the Reaper won't give anything up, so Dean yells for Zeke to try and find another angle.
So, eventually, the Winchester cavalry arrives, but just too late. April scores a fatal wound on Cas just before Sam gets knocked out and Dean kills his umpteenth angel (what is his total? he stares them in the face every time, no eye damage).
Since Sam is conveniently unconscious and Dean is getting a bit upset at losing Cas,
So Zeke barges in and takes the reins again and cures the former angel (sometimes you should ask for what you need, Dean, babe). I thought he was only supposed to help when he was asked?
Zeke cures Cas, and Dean has to make excuses to explain the lack of damage—passing it off as having lied to April about sparing her if she fixed him. Oops.
Back at the bunker you can tell by how happy Cas is to be there that it's not going right. And there are spit takes to be had when he cops to boning April.
I am not interpreting the differences in reaction between Dean and Sam, but I will at least theorise Dean thinking "Like, a one night stand WITH THE ENEMY was better than a night with a pro? Pfft. I never get the credit I deserve." And...yeah. Zeke thinks that he will be in too much danger with everyone coming after Cas, no matter what assurances Dean gives him about their safety there, and so it's his way or the highway. Not much of a question. Zeke's riding Sam, Sam doesn't leave Dean, Cas must go. FADE TO BLACK (as you flash back to Dean convincing Kevin to stay at this point in last night's ep).
My suspicions of Zeke get stronger. Standard move—isolate them from their loved one, and run up such a debt in an "honourable" agreement that they have no choice but to do whatever is asked of them. And this is easier without someone who knows the most about him and would be the hardest to fool. Why would Cas and Ezekiel not take some of Sam's unconscious time and catch up, shoot the breeze, or something. Have some angel on angel sex...WHATEVER??? This is the only positive angelic contact Castiel can get, and now they're throwing him out?
I so hope the conversation isn't over. They've done that before. Let this be an again. Or at the very least, explain. TELL SOMEONE THE TRUTH. Don't do the thing you have been yelling at them for years not to do. You could like when you tell the truth (black mail Cas with sex, tell Sam that Zeke can't leave without killing him—if he's happy now, maybe he'll destroy his chances, maybe he'll agree to it—how many people, upon learning their loved ones ignored their DNRs commit suicide? Okay, don't answer that. Maybe suicide for Dean-o though.
So we have the group flanked on three sides—and two of those sides are well organised and modern (more like Mr. Trick than The Judge). Crowley doesn't seem to have enough numbers to flank, or ways to reach those numbers, but now they're up to two unknowns in their bunkum bunkorum, and that's crazy crazy. I guess money prohibits it—but do you want a wheel and spoke formation of your hunters right now, and a distributed net, or everyone coming out of the same bunker? They seem more under-armed than in years past, and throwing out CAS, family aside...no! As much as I'm sure Cas digs Dean will pick Sam first, but in terms of "I'm a baby in a trench coat"...yikes. Gotta sting. I'm all about being honest here. I hope the ep opens with his explanation. Do not be so precisely what you last complained about...
Also, why did the Men Of Letters put a dungeon behind their overflow library shelving? That's not subtle or particularly safe. I think I'd start with sound proofing, and then move onto more arcane proofing.
It is an amazing set. I hope they don't pull a Roadhouse on it. I hope enough money went into it that it will be amortised for a while.
TL/DR: No monster of the week, should please mythology/arc purists, since it seemed clear we got to meet a mover, and the flaming fireballs of May are gaining organisation and everything that comes with it. And Baby Cas is growing up. Not an exceptional episode, but I would rank it well with early season arc material—very well. And, shit! How Jensen played reacting to Castiel's death made me have that flippety flop feeling in my stomach that I can't resist during intense happy or sad moments that I feel have been well earnt. I didn't think for a second he was dead, since I will be counting down the eps I know he's signed for, but I think the key is to make it hurt someone, at least for a little—give it consequences. And I think having Zeke do all that make his position more risky. The more involvement Dean has to lie to cover, the sooner it all falls apart (the centre will not hold).
If you got this far—yay or nay on the new title card? It makes me sad, but I like it quite a bit.