This review may contain spoilers
Season 7 begins immediately where Season 6 ended with power glutted Castiel (Misha Collins) declaring himself the new almighty and demanding obeisance and adoration from Bobby (Jim Beaver) and the boys.
Ever practical, Bobby gets down on his knees and urges the boys to do the same. As they begin to bend knee, Castiel puts a stop to the hypocrisy. He vanishes as angels do and Sam (Jared Padalecki) is overwhelmed by his mental hell, falling to the ground and cutting his hand on some glass.
Castiel begins setting the world to rights, beginning with destroying all the angels who sided with Rafael. Next he kills priests that say one thing but do another. Lying is Castiel's pet peeve.
It's unclear as his program continues if he restricts himself to the Judeo-Christian side of things or does pan-religious smiting of hypocrites. He checks in with Crowley (Mark A. Sheppard) to reassure him that hell is still needed as a deterrent and Crowley remains useful; although, Castiel will be the sole arbiter of who is hellbound.
Falling back to Bobby's place, with not much useful monster or angel hunting he can do, Dean (Jensen Ackles) occupies himself with fixing the recently trashed Impala. Sam has hellish visions, but keeps them to himself, not wanting to burden Dean.
Dean ignores Sam's advice to try speaking with Castiel until the body count becomes too much. They summon Crowley to give them a spell they can use to bind Death (Julian Richings). Castiel appears when he senses the shenanigans and Death seems about to reap him as commanded when Castiel takes the easy way out by breaking the binding spell.
The threat gone, Cas disappears again, but Death has seen that leviathans were pulled out of purgatory along with the souls of the monsters. Leviathans were the reason God created purgatory, to imprison them because they are so very dangerous. The whole world is in danger, so Death schedules another eclipse, needed for another portal to purgatory spell.
Castiel goes to the campaign office of an overly righteous politician, who is calling her opponents godless. He intends to kill just the senator (Elizabeth McLaughlin), but loses it. He wakes up having somehow accidentally killed the entire campaign office. This time, when Sam prays, Cas returns having come to his senses. He needs the boys to help him with opening the gate to purgatory. He also wants to make amends and apologize to the boys.
He doesn't have enough power to spare to fix Sam right now. Cas appears to return all the souls to purgatory, but the Leviathans hung on. The Leviathans take over Cas' body, dramatically contrasting the sober humorless angel with the cheerfully eeeeevil vessel usurpers. They declare Cas dead and toss Bobby and Dean around the room. A black veiny-ness grows up from his neck and over his chin.
Points Of Interest
1. With the destruction of what was probably at least half of the angel population, one begins to wonder where the little angels come from. Were they created all at once by God at one point in the beginning? Do lesser non-archangels follow demon creation with good (human) souls elevated to divinity? There has been no indication that any angels had ever been mortal or breed as mortals do. If that's the case, and the original God is not about to turn up and make more, is that a problem?
2. Other Castiel targets included a large number of New Age motivational speakers and most of the KKK leadership.
3. On the plus side, Castiel heals the existing leper colonies and one blind man (Luis Javier).
4. As the story progresses, the presence of the leviathans within cause poor Jimmy's flesh to slowly dissolve. Castiel cannot heal his vessel, nor is he aware of the problem until someone points it out to him, at which point he needs a mirror to see it. So much for omnipotence and omniscience.
5. An ingredient of the Death binding spell is "an act of God crystallized forever," a fulgurite, sand melted together after a lightning strike.
6. At this point, Castiel is a mutated angel with so much power due to the number of souls he has absorbed that an angel blade does not work.
7. God created Leviathans before Man or Angel but had to create purgatory to lock them away because they were too evil and destructive.
8. The female senator was apparently a reference to Michelle Bachmann. A presidential candidate at the time.
9. At one point Castiel wonders what Death really is. An interesting question if they should ever decide to follow up.
10. Death can be appeased with food offerings (deep fried pickles in this case). He is also vengeful and easily offended.
11. During the time sensitive purgatory portal spell casting, Sam disappears, overcome by his visions of Lucifer (Mark Pellegrino).
This episode is densely packed with plot and activity, but nothing feels rushed.
Castiel does what, no doubt, many of us wish we could do with the power to smite.
Knowledge is power, even for regular mortal people. Bobby and the boys are able to use the king of hell against Death, who they leverage into a tool against near-God Castiel. Not bad for ants in the grand scheme of things.
Sam seeing visions of Lucifer, who tells him that he never left hell, is a very nifty idea. That his last two years on the Earthly plane have been a lie to create a more exquisite pain when it is taken away ... diabolical.
The way Dean behaves around Death, like he's an unexploded nuclear bomb, is just perfect. Even archangels and the king of hell don't receive that level of respect and deference.
Castiel on being melted from inside by too many souls and leviathans: "That was unpleasant."
What Didn't Work
The red light with chains version of hell is still boring.
Castiel lying to Dean about working with Crowley seems like a small infraction on the way to successfully preventing a Rafael-induced apocalypse. If Dean had not been so quick to harshly judge Castiel, untethering him from any who know him at all and feel any affection for him, Castiel would have fixed Sam's hell wall issue and the boys would have come to almost no harm during his plan, mostly due to his protection even during trying times.
Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due
"Supernatural" stars Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Misha Collins, Jim Beaver, Mark A. Sheppard, Fred Henderson, Paul Herbert, Tanya Champoux, Luis Javier, Robert Helmbecker, Hilary Strang, Elizabeth McLaughlin, Sachin Sahel. "Meet the New Boss" was written by Sera Gamble, and it was directed by Philip Sgriccia.
"Supernatural" airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on The CW.
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