Supernatural Review 9×03- I’m No Angel

I'm No Angel

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.

I'm No AngelApril 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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About the author

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.

Comments

  1. I have to agree with you on this one, they’ve taken what could have been great storytelling and trashed it (but looking at the writing team of Racist Truck and Screw the Pooch I’m not surprised) it was clunky from beginning to end, Cas having a discussion of faith in a church leaving us with the empty platitude ‘someone is listening’ – and would Castiel really be so naive to think random woman would pick him up and care for him and bed him all in one night? Take away the church scene, give April and Cas some expansion, then the viewer wouldn’t have been so distracted from the implausibility of the episode. The fact that April is not an angel, but a Reaper, makes no sense, Reapers never needed human vessels before, why change this now? It makes Death a far less intimidating character. Well, I guess we should be glad the whole ‘is Castiel a virgin’ trope is done and dusted now, and with Cas stating he’s not going to be ‘hedonistic’ anymore, we won’t see him busy for awhile – sort of like Dean. Hopefully we can also get rid of the ‘Cas is too trusting’ trope. The worst crime in this episode was the clumsy plot device of kicking Cas out of the bunker, instead of giving him the ‘I must protect you’ out – which would at least be canon. The writers didn’t even try on this one.

    1. April was an angel not a reaper.
      Cas is human for the first time, he is like a child. If a child hasn’t been warned to talk to strangers then he/she would talk to strangers.
      The discussion in the church was well scripted and showed us just how confused and scared Cas was.
      Kicking Cas out was sad but reasonable.
      I expect them to explain it further in future episodes, obviously.
      The way it ended , its called a cliff hanger.
      I loved the episode
      People just didn’t seem to get it

      1. According to script Supervisor Chad Kennedy’s twitter (which is now deleted), reapers are angels.

    2. I agree. Even though reapers are apparently angels according to script supervisor Chad Kennedy, they’ve never needed vessels before. It’s strange. There was just so much about this episode that was not right.

      1. Here’s the thing though. Biblically, Death is a Horseman, but also an Angel, (argued as either Michael the archangel in Christianity or Samael, in Judaism).

        We never got the skinny on whether Reapers had vessels or not, until now.
        We know that usually people can not see them, but they have angel-esque powers: They can go into your mind. They can become invisible. They flit from place to place and can travel between Heaven, Hell and Purgatory.
        It makes you think then about cupids, who are another type of angel.

        If we really look back at the supernatural lore, then all angels in order to interact with humans, need a vessel… or we get burned out eye sockets and bleeding from the ears and who wants that?

        Princess Audrii
        Editor

  2. My God in every review you complain about the girls being killed off. We get it you are a woman and you stand up for your rights. But don’t let that conquer your judgement when you are reviewing a series. You wouldn’t complain if Sam or Dean or hell Cas had to remove their clothes. But one brief scene of a woman’s rack and you’re up in flares. Im a straight guy and albeit I don’t come for the girls I still enjoy a few monitions and scenes here and there.
    it wasn’t a pointless sex scene she gained his trust and got the upper hand.
    Also Dean didn’t ever really, really have to choose with with Sam or Cas, their might be a few episodes here and their but thats nothing compared to 9 seasons.
    Is Zeke bad or good, I don’t know, but thats what keeps the series interesting. These cliffhangers, this mystery.
    Was it sad yes but does it make sense yes.
    This episode was actually amazing if you look at the fine points, not the series’ best but certainly amazing.
    April was bad, she wasn’t a main character and even though it was predictable she had to die. She barely had one episode, could they really have a built a strong character for her????????
    No they couldn’t.

    1. The sex was needless as was the boob shot. As was the person who Cas had sex with being evil. As was the ONLY female characters introduced in this episode either dying (the girl who said yes to the angel AND April) or being threatened with death (the unnamed angel).

      April could have totally gained Cas’ trust without having sex with him! She already HAD his trust when she initiated the kiss! He was letting her tend to his wounds. THAT TAKES A LOAD OF TRUST.

      The only good part of that was her ending up having her own agency and the sex having been her decision, not part of someone else’s plan. BUT we end up demonizing her for that anyway, because you know any woman with power over her own sexuality HAS to be bad.

      The other reaper (a man) was bad from the beginning, and wasn’t sexualized in any way. Yes, he died shirtless and in chains, but NOT IN A SEXUAL MANNER. Not many women get the same respect (ie: Meg being tortured completely naked in S6).

      This is a femenist blog, buddy. If you don’t think there will be discussion of femenist issues you’re in the wrong place.

    2. Is there a reason that in most of your comments on my site you have to mention that you are a straight man? You are doing this in the TV poll as well and I don’t quite understand the relevance to mention that in almost every reply. It’s really quite baffling.

      Have you ever heard of the term “women in refrigerators?” You should look it up. Supernatural has a terrible habit of using this trope and it’s my job as a critic to point out when they are using it. I don’t think April counts as a woman in a refrigerator, but I think Hael did, as did most of the women who go killed on this show. It is also my job as a feminist and a woman to point out when women are being poorly written and treated unfairly, which Supernatural does a lot.

      If you’d like to know about my thoughts on gender inequality when it comes to nudity, perhaps you’d like to read this review of Star Trek Into Darkness: https://thegeekiary.com/2013/05/23/star-trek-into-gratuitous-nudity-cumberbatchs-shirtless-scene-cut-eves-panty-shot-stays/

      I’m pansexual. I find men, women, trans, and non binary people all attractive. The fact that you insist I would not complain about male nudity but will complain about female nudity shows that you know nothing about who I am as a person. It isn’t about sexual attraction. It’s about framing, the male gaze, and gender inequality. Men are seldom sexualized as women are and on the rare occasion that they are, it’s really interesting and worth mentioning. When it ends up on the cutting room floor like STID while the female nudity stays, it further proves my point that there is gender inequality. When you study up on these issues you are welcome to come back here and discuss them with me further.

      The sex scene was pointless. It was used to disarm Cas, yes, and that had a purpose, but there were a number of other ways that that could have been done. For many, Cas was an asexual being and by putting him in this position they essentially committed the crime of ace erasure. Sure, not everyone views Cas as that way, but a lot do and it was upsetting. This scene was purely meant to sexualize Cas. That was it. I guess that is a “purpose.” Just not a purpose I felt was necessary in this context. Perhaps a different context.

      Also, I did mention in my opening paragraph that these are not the reviews I want to write, but they are the reviews I have to write. If you’d like to know why, perhaps you should visit our about page. This is what we do here.

      No, please, I encourage you to read our about page. Maybe we aren’t the website you think we are: https://thegeekiary.com/about/

      -Admin Angel

    1. IIRC, Dean made a quip about Cas losing his virginity to a reaper, so yes she probably was. Also earlier we saw how the angel blade worked on Maurice, the reaper, so I’m guessing that they’re made of similar stuff to the angels which is why people could’ve gotten it confused. If anything, they’re like Death’s angels IMO so it makes sense to me. But yes, she was a reaper for hire.

        1. I read that. Still not buying it. Do you think maybe he just didn’t know what he was talking about? If he did, oh well. I guess they could be a different kind of angel…

          1. It’s very possible. But he was the “script supervisor.” Isn’t that their job? But I guess he could have just been not very good at his job. I don’t know.

            -Admin Angel

  3. It’s creeping me out how no one talks about the blatant dubious consent in this episode… The rapey angel girl. It was very disappointing.

    1. One of our authors is thinking about writing an article about how dubious consent is a theme of the entire season thus far. Sorry that topic didn’t make it into this particular review though.

      -Admin Angel

  4. We are definitely going to have to agree to disagree on the idea of “not hating this female character” in regards to April. In fact I think she was put into play specifically for fans to hate her. Here’s why.

    Our first view of her reminded me of the character of Penny from Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog (Penny is of course the sweetest, kindest person ever). She’s giving a sandwich to Castiel who at this point, from what the audience believes is her point of view, is a homeless hungry man picking through the trash outside the restaurant she works in. When she gets off work later its raining (a lot) and she stops and takes home Castiel (still in her viewpoint a homeless man, who could be a murderer or rapist for all she knows.) So of course she takes him home. If this were any other show than Supernatural or any other character besides Castiel… who am I kidding… I wanted to yell at the screen about implausibility… don’t take people home off the street… even if it is raining. You feel bad for them, take them to an IHOP (or other 24 hour place) and buy them a meal or rent them a room at a hotel (Motel 6 is $39 for a night). DO NOT TAKE THEM HOME WITH YOU.

    She takes care of his wound and then proceeds to sex him up. My husband said it best. “No woman wants to kiss a smelly homeless man… even if he looks like Misha Collins.” So for me, the whole sex scene was again, implausible. Unless April actually does this often… pick up homeless men for sex. And that is even creepier to me than the whole Black Widow-esque, sleep with someone to ‘gain their trust’ or ‘let their guard down’ only to turn on them and torture them, vibe she had going on.

    The writers wrote her whole “nice persona” as a red herring, specifically so we as an audience would be appalled by her behavior. She didn’t have to sleep with him and tells him this, so she’s actually torturing him both physically and mentally here (as he’s trusted the wrong person yet again, and she played on this the whole time). In my opinion she is sadistic. And was written into this episode as a foil for the audience to hate this female character. It is hardly original writing on their part, but the breakfast conversation the morning after is supposed to be the turn, the twist, that makes us gasp in shock, but it’s not really shocking if you are predisposed to dislike a character. I think had the character of April been male… and there had been a sex scene, and then the events played out exactly as they did, I would have been more shocked, and it would have been more original.

    Princess Audrii
    Editor

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