Supernatural Mid-season Finale Review: We Need to Talk About Kevin (Again)

By MaryAnn Sleasman

Dec 04, 2013

Supernatural S09E10: "Holy Terror"

Despite the copious amounts of whining and crying about Kevin, the pointlessness of his death, and the fact that the Batcave is no longer some fun supernatural clubhouse because now it's yet another location tainted by the loss of a surrogate Winchester, "Holy Terror" was the sort of intense, balls-to-the wall mid-season finale that ruins Christmas in a good way because it needs to be January 14 NOW. 

But first: KEVIN. KEVIN, MY PRESHUS ADVANCED PLACEMENT BABY. I know, I know Osric Chau wrote this really nice goodbye note to Kevin and the show and it's not like Supernatural wouldn't go there, and Kevin was supposed to bite it like two seasons ago anyway and IDK, reasons, but maybe there's hope, right? Supernatural's own canon dictates that when one prophet dies, another one takes his or her place, so if Metatron ordered Kevin's death because of his prophet status, well... another one's just gonna pop up, dude! Are we just gonna have Gadreel-the-angel-formerly-posing-as-Ezekiel smite all of them? Forever and ever? Something tells me Dean and the recharged Castiel (and Sam, if he wasn't incommunicado) would eventually notice that, and getting the Winchesters' attention isn't exactly the best way to keep the Winchesters from squashing your aspirations of world domination. Or heaven domination. Whatever. 

That brings us to the Sammy Meatsuit conundrum: Essentially taking Dean Winchester's kid brother hostage is a surefire way to not only get his attention, but to end up with an angel sword in your face. ALL Y'ALL DID WAS PISS HIM OFF. 

All things considered, Metatron and Gadreel have a pretty crappy plan, but for now, I guess they have the upper hand, or at least the illusion of the upper hand, and "Holy Terror" was certainly a game-changer in that it made it abundantly clear that the tone of the second half of the season will be nothing at all like that the first half. Does this also mean more Abaddon and Crowley action? I hope so!

Let's talk about Gadreel for a sec, though. At first, the big confirmation that Ezekiel wasn't Ezekiel was a smidge disappointing. We saw it coming, sure, but that wasn't the problem. That we saw it coming made the reveal a sort of relief—we were right! We were all right! It's just that the the gut-punch was lessened, in a way, by Ezekiel not being Ezekiel, but also not being anyone particularly special. Gadreel? Who the eff is Gadreel? Cue the verbal vomit to give us this newbie's background, which is actually pretty interesting and could be really interesting given that it parallels Sam's own background in a way. 

In short: I'm not entirely convinced that Gadreel is "evil." I mean, he could be, and he probably is, but he also came off in "Holy Terror" as a dude who wants to atone for past sins, and who's so desperate to do "the right thing" that he's pretty easily manipulated. Remind you of anyone? Like, say, a certain Season 4 Winchester who goes by the name of Sam and totally murdered a pediatrics nurse, drank her blood, and let a freaking demon call the shots, all for what he thought was the greater good? (And also vengeance for the Dean-in-hell thing, but ALSO THE GREATER GOOD, OKAY?) 

IDK. Gadreel looked kind of apprehensive about the Post-It note of death that Metatron handed off to him and didn't seem all that thrilled about being an angelic hitman, but the idea of restoring heaven to the way God intended it to be (if we're to believe Metatron, which, of course, we're NOT), not to mention the idea of becoming a "good" angel despite that time when evil somehow got into the Garden of Eden under his watch... it just seemed like the right thing to do. "I did what I had to" was uttered several times by several different characters in the midst of doing ugly things in the name of good, and if memory serves, Sam made a similar argument at some point during his demon-blood fiasco. 

Good characters can make bad choices. Bad characters can have good motivations. This is the stuff good TV is made of, and while "Holy Terror" was by no means flawless, it was still pretty great. 

I'm really not sure about Castiel's method of recharging the angel batteries, though. 

Angels don't have souls. They have grace. With that in mind, I assumed that each angel's grace was unique and special. Metatron stealing Castiel's grace at the end of last season was so terrible and traumatizing because, supposedly, Castiel couldn't just go get some more at the angelic Kwik-E-Mart down the street... except he could. Sort of. 

The idea of grace being interchangeable between angels reduces it to a sort of commodity in Supernatural's universe. I guess that doesn't make it much different than souls, which have been confirmed to be a form of currency and cannon fodder among angels and demons, but even when being used for less-than-illustrious purposes, souls are still special and unique. When Sam was soulless, Dean couldn't just shove any old soul into that bod and call his bro fixed; it had to be Sam's soul. I assumed that the only way to fix Castiel was to find Castiel's grace, but I guess not. I guess we're all supposed to buy into the idea that Castiel would never steal another angel's grace and that his action falls squarely into the category of "good characters pushed to do bad things," but seriously, if it was that easy, why didn't he just do it in the season premiere and save everyone a lot of trouble? 

Still, yay for Cas being a multidimensional wavelength of celestial intent once again. SPEAKING OF WHICH. HEY. LOOKS LIKE CAS IS BACK TO BEING DEUS EX CASTIEL AND WE HAVE A (PROBABLY) DEAD PROPHET ON OUR HANDS. You can fix that, right, boo? 


See you 1/14/14. Same Batcave time, same Batcave channel. XOXO


– Jared Padalecki has been really great at his insta-switches between Gadreel and Sam since the beginning of this season, but now he's just getting scary-good. THAT SCENE IN THE IMPALA OMG.

– "And no more stupid angels. Maybe some funny ones." Says Boogertron.

– Single perfect man-tear sighting!

– Gadreel's "I need to get something out of the car" felt very Patrick Bateman-y, like, "I need to return some videotapes." 

– So we have Bart vs. Malachi, Metatron and Gadreel vs. Dean (and Cas?) and Abaddon vs. Crowley, and really, everyone vs. everyone. Is anyone else starting to get worried that Season Fiiiiine is starting to get a little crowded? I don't know if we're there yet, but I think it could become a problem, considering how little we've seen of Crowley and Abby so far. 

– Is Kevin dead-dead or is Kevin Supernatural-dead, which is a lot like comic-book dead? Do you have a preference?

– What do you think Gadreel meant by "There is no more Sam"? Is Sam dead? Was Gadreel just being a dick? When he said he changed Dean's spell, what did he change it to? Instead of suppressing Gadreel, did Dean accidentally banish Sam? 

– Do you think there will be any complications from Castiel stealing someone else's grace, or is grace truly interchangeable among angels?

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  • ark1317 Feb 02, 2014

    I'm just watching the episodes now, and probably everyone just said that, but about the grace, wasn't Anna's issue exactly that she needed HER grace back?

  • MisterKez Jan 02, 2014

    Jared's switches were too good. I almost believed that it was Tahmoh. I had a suspicion from the start of the season that he was not really Zeke.

    I liked the no more stupid angels line.

    Season 9b is an all out rumble with all of the different factions going at it.

    I hope Kevin is just SN dead. I am 83% sure. Only thing better is to get Prophet of the Lord Chuck back.

    Gadriel altered the spell so that he is the dominant one and Sam has to claw his way up to the top to take over. Sam is not dead. He is just resting, very deeply, but resting.

    Cas stealing Theo's grace was weird. I thought that grace was NOT interchangeable. I also thought that when Cas lost his grace that he would go back to being Jimmy Novak. It looks like some retconning has been going on.

  • crysalydeova Jan 02, 2014

    I'm sure of one thing, Metatron will use Gradriel like he had used Castiel! Angels begin to bother me, why do they don't want to understand Castiel? This is not his fault!

  • crysalydeova Jan 02, 2014

    this series's awesome! Damn! kevin's dead? seriously? Sam may be trapped forever by Gadriel? and Dean cried? Hey! too much emotions!!!!!!!! This Gadriel gonna pay for what he's done to Kevin and Sam, He has not yet understood that we do not attack a winchester.

  • joychaos Dec 19, 2013

    castiel said he wasnt back to normal. another grace doesnt replace or match his own grace. just alittle something to keep in mind

  • MatthewFriar Dec 15, 2013

    Gadreel is an angel described as being the one who introduced temptation and lust to Eve, being the true father of Cain, and introducing man to warfare. This according to The Book of Enoch, which is supposedly one of the "books" they left out when the council of Laodicea first put the common "bible" together. He was locked away by God for his deeds.

    Supernatural has apparently decided to pull out all the stops if their bringing in Gadreel. I don't buy the whole "seeking redemption" vibe he gives off though. Someone who's been imprisoned that long by their "father" always has deep issues. Supernatural doesn't have very many stories of angels being snubbed by God and still ending up being a good guy.

  • spacificly_oei9 Dec 09, 2013

    Really intense episode. Kevin is dead, Zeke is not Zeke but actually some dude named Gadreel (who has an interesting backstory (finally an angel that is actually interesting besides Cas)), Sam is gone. Jeez. This is why sometimes I prefer the monster-of-the-week episodes because there needed to be some more comedic relief!

    I don't think grace IS that interchangeable because Cas said that he is fine for now; meaning the grace is usable but not perfect; like the issue with vessels for MIchael and Lucifer waay back in S5; they could still possess people but it's not perfect.

    I really hope that one of these days, at least one of the finales has a happy ending before we dive into the next season full of drama. But still when Supernatural does drama, they go all the way.

  • MichelleHood24 Dec 09, 2013

    OMG who the hell is Gadriel, and why is he running off with sam's body, the original vessel he had was great he needs to jump back into that guy. Poor Kevin he always gets the raw end of the deal, and I don't think they can fix him. At least cas has his mojo back

  • jenniferlmelv Dec 08, 2013

    Holy Terror, what a strange episode. Zeke isn't who he says he was and has now done a runner with Sam's body saying no more Sam. Cas has his mojo back (all be it stolen from another angel). Metatron is bored with an empty heaven, should have thought of that before you booted everyone out and shut the gates. Kevin is toast and Dean is once again left balling his eyes out in self pity because he can't ever seem to bring himself to tell the truth to anyone.

    And in the middle of all this where are the hellish airing of Abadon, Crowley and all the rest of the demons?? No where apparently. Maybe they have all taken a holiday seeing as the angels are doing such a bang up job of being ahead of the Winchesters and creating hell on earth in an all out angel v angel war.

    As it is there are so many places to go now, will Cas be the one to rescue Sam? Is there still a Sam inside that body? Will Dean ever learn to tell the truth? Will the angels go into all out war and will the demons and Abadon come back from where ever it is they have disappeared to? Will Crowley ever be anything more than a blood junky locked up in the bat cave basement? Guess we will have to wait and see.

  • ChicN Dec 08, 2013

    I just watched it. It wasn't bad, but it just doesn't wash away the cumulative bad of the season thus far.
    Warning: Serious Rant Below

    So we have Bart vs. Malachi, Metatron and Gadreel vs. Dean (and Cas?) and Abaddon vs. Crowley, and really, everyone vs. everyone. Is anyone else starting to get worried that Season Fiiiiine is starting to get a little crowded? I don't know if we're there yet, but I think it could become a problem...

    This actually made me lol. Crowded? Everyone vs. everyone?Supernatural is as it always is, theoretically crowded. Oh my gosh, so much is happening, sooo much, we can't be bothered to show it on screen or write a logical narrative throughout a season to validate these big culmination episodes for sweeps!! I'm sure they'll mindbogglingly manage a lopsided amount of filler in the remainder of the season despite there being 40 some odd more interesting things they could be exploring.

    We've had what, 6 to 7 episodes out of the 9 aired that were essentially the equivalent of watching a dog lick its asshole. Yeah we watched, but it was a pointless exercise. The dog got something out of it I guess, so that's something.

    Who the fuck is Malachi? Just another out of the blue big bad that no one's ever heard about ever. OK, so we have factions now. Whoo. Where has Bart been for 8 episodes? Why hasn't Dean sent OTHER HUNTERS to quash their bodyjacking proselytizing, while Not!Ezekiel had him by the family jewels? It's the Close the Gates of Hell plan (Well, obviously WE can't do it because Sam will diiiiiie) all over again. What havoc has Abaddon been doing?? She doesn't have Crowley's decorum, so why isn't she raising hell on Earth again? Scared of angels? Isn't she a Knight of Hell, shouldn't she be made of tougher stuff? Why is Metatron on Earth? He's BORED?? He can't talk to ALL THE DEAD HUMANS? Oh, he hates humans now? Well read a goddamn book. Get a Kindle.

    The Angel Gardisil or whatever's motivations. If he wanted to lie low, why pick a Winchester? Way to be inconspicuous. Why Sam? He could have suckered Dean into admittance just by saying he could heal Sam from a healthy powerful vessel. Dean was desperate, he would have said yes to his own possession and would have still been just as fucked in the end. Now, not only is Gardisil going to be known, he's apparently strong enough on his lonesome to fight against the factions? Whatever. Between Luci, Mike, Rafe, and Gad (probably Cas) all the superpowered angels seem kind of Special Ed? Or is that just centuries of crazy at work? They are so simple. Why couldn't he have joined Team Free Will outright because he heard they were constantly lucky badasses that defeated heaven and hell and that was the side he wanted to be on when he freed? Why couldn't he have stayed in Tamoh? The sexy possibilities!

  • ChicN Dec 08, 2013

    Kevin is dead. Good for Kevin. Hopefully Dean won't do something stupid, like rip him from heaven, to assuage his own fucking guilt. Only thing that could come from a Kevin resurrection, would be an even more terrible fate. He'd be shacked up with the forgotten Winchester in hell by the season finale. Goodbye Kevin, they used you as a tool and when you became useless you were murdered for Winchester manpain and shock value.

    I'm not pissed about Kevin, they didn't do shit with him. I am; however, still mad about Rufus and Gabriel. Oh, and Bobby. Because killing the interesting secondary characters did this show and and narrative no favors.

    So long human Cas, we hardly knew you. And the little we knew was boring, sad, awkward, and of course pointless. They weren't even trying. If there was anything they were going to steal from fanfic, other than Dr. Doolittle AUs, it should have been a well rounded non-special Ed, still gravitas filled, human Cas. But nope. Back to being a tool for Dean, mostly off-screen, probably to be cast aside when Sam is returned.

    I think I'll stick to reading reviews for the remainder of the season, see if anything piques my interest towards watching any further.

  • flintslady Dec 09, 2013

    I'm pissed about Kevin, but you're right, not as pissed as I'm about Rufus and Bobby. Rufus was the fucking worst pointless death ever.

    And thank you for pointing out how asinine this version of Cas is. I can accept his ignorance (sometimes) and I loved the version of him when he lost his marbles, because there was a reason for it.

    But how come losing his grace has turned him into this wide eyed, special ed (as you say), clearly comic relief in a show that doesn't need it fool? Where is the depth, strength, and wisdom that comes from being "thousands of years" old and having watched man evolve all that time? You know like how he used to be? Misha is cute and funny, but that doesn't mean they need to fuck up the character to make use of that.

    Pizza man, empire state building, not in your ass - hilarious
    50 different ways to pray - stupidly insulting.

  • brandoncumberdale Dec 11, 2013

    observing humanity for thousands of years isn't the same thing as experiencing and living it yourself, but I do agree to some extent. he should've been capable of adapting a lot better than an immigrate who just swam over for the first time.

  • flintslady Dec 11, 2013

    I agree completely, but there is also a big difference between ignorance and "aww shucks" naivety.

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