In the end, the tablet and a bamboozled Kevin were awarded to his mother, who instantly and selflessly offered her soul—the most valuable thing she owned—to save her son. This sacrifice paralleled to a heartbreaking one Castiel made in Purgatory. As dictated in stark flashbacks, Dean tortured and killed an unidentified scaly, puffy-faced monster to locate his precious “Hot Wings,” and tracked him to the edge of a river. Castiel was just as beaten down as Dean, but refused to go with him. At first it seemed like the angel abandoned him out of self-preservation and maybe even cowardice, but in the end, Castiel left Dean to lead the Leviathans away from him, to protect the human he has always shared a “profound” bond with. I haven’t been shy about sharing my disdain for Castiel because he tends to manipulate Sam to suit his plans or stay in Dean’s good favor, but for the first time, Castiel’s actions were derived purely from love and the angel's hardwon free will.
I’m not sure if it was a blessing or a curse that Mrs. Tran’s soul wasn’t scooped out by Plutus' greedy, fat fingers, because she was possessed by Crowley himself and nearly murdered by the very men who swore to protect her and her family. Crowley cleverly planted the seed that the Winchesters have a habit of “using people up and watching them die bloody,” so as soon as he got the chance, Kevin snatched his mother, catatonic from the trauma, and bolted. And honestly, after losing his girlfriend, his future and nearly his mother, I can’t blame him. Godspeed little prophet!
My favorite moment of the episode wasn’t Misha Collins’ triumphant, haggard return or even Dean strangling intel out of a sleazy thief with his tie (although that is a close second), it had to be our ginormous Sammy Winchester happily wielding Thor’s hammer to dispatch a double-crossing Beau and the creepy monster in the cold open who killed a perky bank employee because he needed 5/8th of her purest parts to purchase that very weapon. With his massive height and impression mane, Jared Padalecki was destined to play a superhero. I hope Hollywood producers view this as Padalecki officially tossing his hat into the ring for "Thor" in the off chance Chris Hemsworth gains seventy pounds or pulls a Shia LaBeouf and decides to only make serious, indie films.
All of the camp off-set the gasp-worthy end of the episode—a simple tight shot of Castiel bathed the same white light that brought Dean home. He was screaming his name, reaching out before falling backwards in the violent abyss of Purgatory. Did Dean let go on purpose? Did Castiel let go to save his friend? Dean’s answer that Castiel “let go” in the season premiere certainly seems to mean something entirely different now.
Ultimately, this episode was far better than the drama-lite premiere. It did need a little more brotherly interaction or maybe some softer moments with the boys and Mama Tran, but it hit the sweet spot between drama and droll, all while illustrating just how warped and ruthless Dean's stint in Purgatory has made him. In an episode about sacrifices and the depth of family, I can only hope that Sam, who seems to have one foot in the Impala and one in suburbia, will be there to yank Dean back from the brink.
Grade: On a scale of A to F, "A Very Supernatural Christmas" to "Bugs," this episode was a solid B+.
What did you think of tonight's episode? Is it just me or does Sammy's hair look fabulous this season? Did Castiel break your heart? Hit up the comments section below!
Next week, we found who what Sammy did on his hunting vacation! Check out the promo below: