It was the episode many fans have been dreading. I’ve been dreading it myself, but probably for different reasons than most. Personally, I wasn’t looking forward to having to write reviews for three episodes in a row that essentially say “please don’t hate this female character.” Those articles are no fun to write. But I’ve been paying attention to spoilers and I knew what was coming. All three women so far have hurt our protagonists, but in varying ways. They are all also sympathetic to some degree, but the pain they inflict upon our heroes prevents many from being able to appreciate them. In this case, the pain she inflicts upon Castiel is so severe it’s hard to find a redeeming quality.
Before we even got to the aforementioned female we had a gratuitous close-up boob shot, I guess to drive the point home that Castiel is having sexual urges. He’s hungry. He’s tired. He’s passing gas. He’s also noticing breasts, apparently. He’s becoming human and he’s struggling. This struggle is what delivers him to April, the woman fans have been hating since the first rumors of her character got out. Misha Collins sarcastically stated it best on Twitter by saying “I think taking a bleeding guy you find picking through the trash in an alley is always a good idea.” This was the same problem with his wife that was introduced oh-so-briefly in season 7. Their actions make no sense. But this time April is revealed to be intentionally duping Castiel in a bid to torture him instead of someone whose motivations were never really explained, considered, or mentioned again. I’m not sure what’s worst, honestly.
April is essentially the less-gentle, more torture-happy version of Hael, but their motivations are much the same. To them, Castiel is responsible for their very unfortunate circumstances. Hael’s approach is to attempt to play nice at first, then force Castiel to stay with her when he threatens to abandon her. April plays sweet only to get Castiel to go home with her, sleep with her, and subsequently let his guard down so that she can gain the upper hand. Once she has the upper hand she begins to torture, and that’s a hard thing to accept from a character. Dean still struggles with his stint as a torturer to this day. So April isn’t an easy person to like for her propensity to torture alone, but again, her anger is justified if you look at it from her perspective. It explains her actions, but does not excuse them.
Then, unsurprisingly, she’s killed. I predicted this long long ago, but honestly, who didn’t? Women being introduced and killed in a single episode stopped being shocking long ago. I’m thankful they didn’t use a gender slur as they killed her this time. That was the only part of her death that surprised me at all really.
For a brief point during this episode I thought things might be okay. Jensen’s acting during Castiel’s death was phenomenal. It hurt, but I knew Castiel would come back because Misha is a series regular this season so I got to appreciate Dean’s powerful emotions for what they are instead of fearing that my favorite character was dead. Then Castiel is resurrected and goes back home to the bunker with the boys. He gets to eat food and take a shower with great water pressure. Things are looking up. But then Ezekiel does one of my least favorite things ever and forces Dean to choose between Sam and Cas. Can we stop with that trope? It’s not fun. I really want to like Ezekiel. I want him to be on their side. But instead he forces Dean to boot Cas from the bunker. I suppose it’s possible that Ezekiel is truly looking out for the Winchesters, but I’m starting to doubt it.
Overall this episode was largely disappointing. Outside of Dean’s reaction to Castiel’s death, there wasn’t much that thrilled me. There were a few moments of Castiel discovering humanity that were great (the “passing gas” line made me chuckle), but they were few and far between. I found myself mostly upset, though, and offended by almost everything. A poorly written woman, gratuitous shots of female anatomy, a pointless sex scene, and an overused trope forcing Dean to choose between his brother and another loved one. This episode was just not good. But I was already expecting that going in. I suppose I just didn’t brace myself for disappointment enough.
EDIT: According to script supervisor Chad Kennedy’s Facebook account (which has now been deleted), reapers are angels. Therefore April was both a reaper and an angel.
Author: Angel Wilson
Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. She earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. She’s contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. She’s written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. She identifies as queer.
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