This is a Review of Supernatural season 9 episode 6. There will be SPOILERS.
The past two weeks of Supernatural have been a bit of a break, essentially, with the seasonal story-arcs being replaced by two terrific stand-alone adventures of the (truly) fantastical. Now that it’s time to return to the path at hand, however, since the series appears to be slipping a bit as it attempts to bring its character together for a succinct tale.
This week’s episode, “Heaven Can't Wait”, written by series newcomer Robert Berens (Ringer), is more a maintenance episode than not, unfortunately, with much time required to catch up with all the characters and the current paths they are on. At the heart of this episode, there’s an impressive amount of earnest character development occurring with Castiel and Crowley, less Sam and Dean, which introduces some truly beautiful elements into the world of angelic emotions. The biggest problem, it seems, with the tale at hand is, surprisingly, location - location, location!
The heart of Supernatural still lies within the relationship of Sam and Dean, and it’s been through their ever-willing attempts at defeating evil that the series has reached season 9 – which is why it’s so surprising to see the Winchesters divided, yet again, for no other purpose than visually linking the various storylines of its many character together in the same world. At this point though, Castiel can stand alone - and perhaps would have been better off if he had.
When word first broke that Misha Collins’ Castiel was going to be given a larger role in season 9, audiences were excited to see which direction the producers would take with the character, now that fans no longer have to worry about him being unceremoniously Bobby’d out. The fall from Heaven and loss of Grace has, surprisingly, elevated the beloved character much more than anyone could have imaged; through his unfortunate attempts at becoming human, the monotone-being is able to represent the many challenges and failures of humanity, which Heaven’s warriors were only able to witness from afar. And then… in comes the Winchesters.
As an omnipotent being, Castel’s fierce power and unwavering curiosity pairs wonderfully with the hands-on approach that Sam and Dean are required to take in order to solve the problem at hand. Now, however, Castiel is a human who is attempting to find himself through all this mess, of which he’s doing a fantastic job at, so the Winchesters’ inclusion isn’t actually required, in any way.
The case of the week is just that, and the focus on the mysterious murders, as well as everything else, is proof that, in this episode, audiences need much more than a shift of the tale at hand to get everyone back on the same page. As Dean (momentarily) enters Castiel’s life, everything involving everyone’s favorite angel becomes less prominent and pure, and all of Castiel’s successes are lessened as he’s just the awe-shucks angel without wings.
Dean's presences is not required, at least not for anything contained within this episode, so as the elder-Winchester is making the journey to help out a friend, Sam is left with a trio of proverbial hell which includes himself, Kevin and Crowley. Put Sam and Dean together and the two will still likely struggle to sell Kevin and Crowley’s waning attributions; when separated, however, Sam just doesn’t stand a chance at making such polarizing characters work.
All in all, there’s no love lost in this week’s episode of Supernatural as what was shown is required in order to keep the series moving forward – especially after taking a couple weeks off, so to speak. Will the characters fit better together as the season continues? Certainly. Will there be any more episodes which many might not consider “the best”? Likely. Still, after making it through all the many obstacles that television shows have to face each year, the core characters, as well as their relationships, are still being dutifully serviced – and as any Supernatural will tell you, that’s the hardest part.
_____Supernatural returns next Tuesday with "Bad Boys" @9pm on CW. You can check out a preview of next week’s episode below: