'Supernatural' Recap – Episode 7.21, "Reading is Fundamental."

Warning: extremely depressing episode ahead disguised as happiness. Then again, if you’re watching ‘Supernatural’, you’re probably used to that by now.

Obviously, a ton of people were excited for this episode. Castiel has only been gone since 7×17, but last week’s promo of “Reading is Fundamental” had fans in fits of joy. Sam and Dean return to Cas! Dean plays Sorry with him! How could this episode be anything but buckets of rainbows and joy?!

At that point, everyone had apparently forgotten what show they were watching.

We’re momentarily distracted from the heart-wrenching sadness eminent in any episode in season 7 featuring Cas by being introduced to an adorable Asian kid

I’m sure that’s normal.

who’s just trying to learn cello and apply into an amazing college. But of course no one can have a simple life in Supernatural for long, and Sam and Dean’s meddling in the block of clay they got from the Leviathans last episode (wasn’t that a lot softer and…redder the last time we saw it?) somehow causes our Kevin Tran (said Asian) to get struck by lightning, which obviously gives him superpowers. Or at least some sort of power…

In any case, the Winchester brothers get a lump of rock out of the lump of rock they had before, except this one is darker and has some sort of mysterious writing on it.

Meanwhile OH MY GOD CASTIEL IS AWAKE. Cue screaming. From the fans. Meg (the demon looking over him) doesn’t actually seem all that excited.

Richard Roman sends his best Leviathan lackey after Kevin Tran, who…is late for the SAT. And also is now having visions of the stone that the brothers uncovered.

Meg calls the Winchesters, interrupting their wonder over their new slab of rock alerting them to Castiel’s conscious state, so of course they rush right over to Indiana (didn’t Lisa also live in Indiana? Is this a pattern with Dean or something?) to visit their angel, Kevin unknowingly (and somewhat unwillingly) heading in the exact same direction, under the influence of whatever the lightning strike did to him.

Important pivotal point of the episode.

Enter Cas, in a scene that anyone who keeps up with the show has probably seen a few times as a preview. The infamous “pull my finger”, where Castiel is definitely up and awake, but also definitely not right in the head. Though it is comforting to know that the first thing he tries to do is make his Winchesters smile, his joke is completely out of character and starts hinting to the audience and the brothers alike that Castiel is not the angel we once knew. (Supernatural; where even the jokes have depressing contexts.)

The angel goes on to talk about honeybees and Meg, before Sam manages to turn his attention back to the slab of rock, which Cas explains is “The Word”. The Word of God, apparently, written by the Metatron.

Oh, and Castiel finally gets his hugs. Even though he had to take them.

Cas rambles, and Dean does all that he knows to do–press until he gets the information that he needs. But then Meg gets a bit too close to The Word (and a bit too close to Cas?) and Dean gets touchy, causing Castiel to suddenly evacuate the scene. And when I say suddenly, I mean he disappears, as angels are ought to do, stating simply that he doesn’t “like conflict.” Really? The warrior of God, the angel that we’ve seen take on as many as five other of his own kind, the man who set an archangel on fire with a Molotov Cocktail because there was not a drip of holy power left in his being, doesn’t like conflict? Is fleeing from a brief verbal

spar? I’d ask what happened to the guy if we didn’t already full well know.

Dean goes to find him, but Meg isn’t far behind, arguing with Sam that Castiel would be more inclined to go with her than with the Winchesters, which I have reason to

Wild moose chase.

highly doubt, unless of course Cas completely lost his marbles. Which, well…

The argument gets cut short, because Sam realizes that The Word has been taken. Cue not-so-epic chase seen consisting of a 6′ 4″ dude flailing around after a wailing high school kid, who just can’t let go of the Winchester’s slab of rock. Literally. He is physically incapable of letting Sam take it.

But, whatever, who cares about some ancient god rock. Back to Dean reconciling Castiel. Oh, did I say reconciling? I meant being about as emotionally constipated as Dean ever is, reprimanding Cas’s retreat, briefly inquiring about what’s

I think he’s sorry.

going on in the angel’s head, then trying to rile him up for some Leviathan hunting.

And you know what Cas does? He holds up a big sign that says “sorry”‘ on it, for a full five seconds, and let’s disregard the fact that it’s the board game which he then pulls Dean into playing. I can’t be the only one that believes that Cas was trying his best to apologize, without having to pull his scattered thoughts together into a coherent apology. He wants Dean to know he’s sorry, so he shows him just that. Too bad Dean’s so thick skulled.

Thus commences the most depressing game of Sorry! ever, with Dean trying to interrogate Castiel about the whole Metatron thing, while Cas just rambles on about whatever and keeps forcing Dean’s attention back to the board game. This ends about as well as you’d expect from the Winchester’s growing irritation–he tosses the board (and oh god, Castiel’s sulk), leaving Cas to apologize out of the blue.

To which responds Dean; “No. You’re playing sorry.”

That small shattering sound you’re hearing is the noise that a million hearts make when they all break at once.

Okay, back to the plot development–turns out Kevin Tran can read The Word where an angel couldn’t. Then of course, two angels show up right then, who want to take “The Prophet” far, far away, and Cas can’t have that. Or more like, he shows up and looks at the angels like a kid at a candy shop.

That’s cool. It’s not like Cas is in there or anything.

A very depressing candy shop. Looks like the angels have a history with Cas, who…talks. And talks. And slowly loses his confidence with himself in his rambling, peaking when the angel Hester calls out our angel as “insane.” Then all the sudden Dean banishes every angel in the room to, as they so eloquently referred to it (in 5×18, if my memory serves), “Oz”.

The ragtag group absconds to an old cabin to get off the angel’s radar so their prophet can decode the rock, but not without realizing that the FBI’s after their missing person (said prophet), and it looks like demons are after them too. What’s new, right?

Oh, and they get a call from Cas, who’s apparently in Australia (so never mind about the Oz thing. Or…wait…wait a second…) being terrified by dogs, but they give him their location and he manages to zap right into their car, scaring the crap out of their prophet.

So he rambles some more with a bit of information about the angels, but Dean still has to pull him on track (“Are you angry? Why are you angry?”–oh gosh Cas, you slay me), eventually getting out of him that the angels are following orders to take the “keeper of The Word” to the desert.

Being “chosen” is buckets of fun!

Castiel also mentions that he doesn’t fight anymore; he watches the bees. I’m starting to think that this is a metaphor for something.

Once they get to their hideout, Dean puts the prophet to work reading The Word and takes care of the many freak outs (‘many’ judging on Dean’s routine reactions. Then again, maybe he’s just used to that sort of thing), and Cas and Sam have a little heart-to-heart. Castiel actually seems pretty happy in his newfound…mindset.

Also, Dean sort of accidentally spews out his belief that angels caring about anything just ends up ripping them apart in the end. Did I say ‘heart breaking’ already? I may need to put that phrase to use a couple more times. Or perhaps find something else that can describe soul-wrenching sadness.

Meanwhile, Meg slays some demons, which, oops…accidentally sort of makes the angels show up at their cabin, and Castiel just stands with his feet together looking weirdly small throughout the whole scene, fidgeting and sinking slowly into self-pity, before Hester just goes all out and beats the crap out of Cas’s pretty face, and almost killing the guy before Meg shows up and saves the day, thank god.

So, after that violent scene, we get something of a wind-down. Kevin’s finished the translation, the angels agree to bring him home, Cas donates some blood to Sam

That…that just doesn’t seem fair.

and Dean’s Leviathan-killing cause, and then disappears to do…whatever, apparently.

But, meanwhile, at Kevin’s house…he returns to his mother, only for a Leviathan to kill his angel escorts, and one would only assume Kevin himself if the episode didn’t end right then. And Supernatural fans know that the crew would never pass up showing more misery on-screen.

So yet again, we get Castiel returning for the length of an episode before being Put On A Bus, and…wow, that’s depressing. I’m fairly certain Cas is never going to be “Cas” again—the Castiel we watched grow into humanity for three seasons. The one that smiled his slight smile when Dean grabbed his shoulder and told him to never change, but now slowly drifting towards the path none of us want to see realized.

He just watches the bees. The bees whose path is already laid out for them, each turn and twist planned out ahead, insects never deviating from their path. Maybe Lucifer was right. Maybe, no matter what Dean does, his neck is going to end up broken under the devil’s shoe.

Maybe they never left their path after all.

Catch an all new episode of ‘Supernatural’ on the CW at 9/8c on Friday, May 11th.

Author of this post: Amelia Merritt

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