Stars: Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Misha Collins, Curtis Armstrong, Tahmoh Penikett, Lindsey McKeon
Writer: Andrew Dabb, series created by Eric Kripke
Director: Guy Norman Bee
Network: The CW, Tuesdays @ 9 PM
Original Airdate: May 13, 2014
We all knew it was just a matter of time until that Mark of Cain made Dean (Jensen Ackles) turn mean, and sure enough, in “Stairway to Heaven,” the penultimate episode of SUPERNATURAL’s ninth season, the older Winchester brother loses it big time. On top of that, Metatron (Curtis Armstrong), who has gone from amusingly eccentric to a slimeball utterly worthy of takedown, has come up with a very workable scheme in his drive to become God.
Angels are committing suicide by magically blowing themselves up and taking out everyone in the vicinity. Unfortunately, right before they do so, they proclaim themselves to be doing it for Castiel (Misha Collins). Castiel is mystified and horrified by this, although his disciples are sure he has nothing to do with it. When Dean and Sam (Jared Padalecki) show up at Castiel’s request, though, Dean treats Castiel with suspicion. Sam is sure Castiel is sincerely innocent.
Sure enough, this is a plan concocted by Metatron. The suicidal angels are actually his followers, who’ve joined Castiel’s group in order to give Cass a bad name amongst their kind. Gadreel (Tahmoh Penikett) seems pretty disillusioned with Metatron by now, though he professes allegiance and we can’t be sure where his loyalties really lie.
Tessa (Lindsey McKeon), a former Reaper who has saved Dean’s life in the past, now bears the runes of Metatron’s sleeper agents. When Dean sees the scars on Tessa’s upper chest, he interrogates her. As he’s brought the First Blade along (despite promising Sam he wouldn’t), Tessa is able to kill herself with it. The other angels want Castiel to prove his loyalty to them by punishing Dean, but Cass won’t do it. This leaves Castiel with no followers. Dean has a fit of homicidal rage based on what seems to be simply the influence of the Mark of Cain.
Well, Dean was warned about that at the time, but of course, if he or Sam heeded warnings, this would be a very different show (if it could remain on the air at all). Ackles is impressively threatening and ferocious, showing there’s a bad ol’ boy in there in with the customary charm.
Armstrong is aces, giving us a villain worth detesting. His Metatron is a toxic combination of insecurity and smugness, and his ambitions and grand and appalling enough to make him a real menace.
There are some nice comedic touches, like the reaction of the brothers to find their FBI aliases are all ready for them as Agents Spears and Aguilera (Castiel innocently notes that they like to name themselves after popular musicians, after all). Still, this is mostly fast-paced and urgent, just what the run up to the season finale should be.
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Article: TV Review: SUPERNATURAL – Season 9 – “Stairway to Heaven”