Following in the footsteps of last week’s ‘Supernatural’ where the primary story arc got back on track, “The Born-Again Identity” focuses on one of the biggest issues hampering the Winchesters trek to take down Dick Roman as well as  re-introducing everyone’s socially awkward heavenly host.

A distraught and hallucinating Sam stumbles through the streets, unable to rid himself of Mr. Lucifer who’s firmly entrenched in Sam’s hip pocket. It’s been five days since he’s been able to sleep and even the local flavor of street drugs can’t get him any real shuteye. Not long after taking the hit Sam finds himself running through the street with Lucifer taunting him. He runs into the path of a car with obviously bad results.

Dean gets to the hospital and is surprised when the Doc tells him Sam’s under observation in the psych ward. He admits to Sam’s insomnia and visits his brother; he’s a bit  perturbed at Sam’s laissez-faire attitude and encourages Sam to get angry. He knows he won’t be able to right things and starts down a list of names from Bobby’s rolodex hoping to find someone, anyone who may be able to help. During his search, Sam continues to be tormented by the jovial Lucifer and as it is throughout the episode, Sam’s deterioration continues to mount.

When Dean’s exhausted his options, a notebook falls to the floor, spilling a business card with a number written on the back. Dean uses it and leaves a message, hoping that someone will call him back. Not too long after, Mackey returns his call. He explains to Dean about Emanuel, a healer Mackey got wind of through his own contacts. He carries a similar attitude Dean had when Castiel first introduced himself as an angel—complete skepticism. But despite all of the tests Mackey put him through, Emanuel came out of it with flying colors, even healing Mackey’s bum eye. Dean follows up on the intel and visits Daphne, Emanuel’s wife in Denver. A man claiming to be Emanuel answers the door but Dean notices a trussed up Daphne through the window when the demon attacks; he dispatches the demon with the knife and watches it fall down the steps at the feet of a very familiar face. Castiel.

But this is Emanuel and Dean does a very good job holding back his desire to ask Emanuel (Cas) where he’s been. Emanuel tells Dean and Daphne he saw the demon’s true face and though he doesn’t say, Dean knows what’s fueling Emanuel’s abilities and asks him to help Sam.

Speaking of the younger Winchester, Lucifer’s torture is both creative and humorous despite the effects it’s having on our protagonist. When he gets somewhat lucid, Sam asks the orderly about Merrin, the girl that peeked in on him during one of his earlier episodes. The orderly doesn’t offer much but Sam’s inquiry is enough to foreshadow her involvement later on.

During the drive to Sam, Dean gets a bit of Emanuel’s back story. He wandered onto Daphne’s path as she hiked in the mountains. Naked and with no recollection of his identity though she believed God put him in her path. Dean prods somewhat, asking Emanuel how bad it must be not knowing who you are, whether you’re a white hat or bad guy. Emanuel’s response of not feeling like a bad guy is said with conviction and, despite some of the bumps Cas found in the road, is no less true. That is, of course, if this is really Castiel (as if you don’t already know).

Back to Sam, Merrin brings him another candy bar and the two talk a bit. It’s a bit weird for her, on one end, to admit to wanting things to be over but going postal when Sam even hints at her starting the fire (he noticed her burns). She tells him it’s her dead brother who wants her to join him and if she doesn’t have the courage to take her life, he will.

Still on the way to Sam, Dean explains to Emanuel a bit of his anger at Sam’s condition. He shows just how much Cas’s betrayal hurt by not being able to get over it, a condition Emanuel tells him is okay; he’s only human. Making a quick pit stop, Dean is attacked by several demons in a convenience store only to have his bacon saved by long time thorn in side and more recent ally Meg. She gives him the lowdown on the hunt going on for Cas as well as her sticky predicament as Crowley’s number one target. She offers up her assistance and Dean, after a bit of cajoling from Meg’s silky smooth arguments, agrees. He introduces her to Emanuel (who sees her true face) before the three of them start up on the final lege of the journey, one which Meg pokes at Emanuel with veiled hints of their relationship and his true identity much to Dean’s annoyance.

When he runs into Merrin again, Sam apologizes for his accusations and asks Merrin to tell him a bit more about her brother. As she tells the story, Sam realizes that Merrin’s broski’s spirit is not at rest. Using a bit of salt and a lighter Merrin’s procured, they draw a barrier and step into it. Sam takes Merrin’s bracelet, the one thing remaining of her brother and burns it, sending his spirit on its way. When the orderlies get to him, Sam again starts to go in and out of lucidity in what appears to be the final hurrah before his mind fractures beyond retrieval.

Finally at the hospital, Dean, Meg, and Emanuel watch as the outside is crawling with demons. Meg suggests a way they can get rid of the monsters and Dean takes her to the side. Emanuel overhears them and Dean finally admits to Emanuel’s true identity. Though he doesn’t remember how, Emanuel makes his way down to the hospital and smites the demons, each smiting bringing forth flashbacks of his earlier appearances. After dispatching all the demonic minions, he remembers everything and is back to being Castiel. He’s disgusted with himself, unable to forgive himself for betraying Dean and doesn’t know how he can make it right. Dean points out the reason for him being back may be to make it right. Dean offers Cas his trench coat and our favorite angel dons it like a familiar armor.

Mr. Orderly guy takes Sam in a room for a bit of shock treatment after revealing himself to be a demon. He doesn’t last too long, another victim of Cas smiting. Cas tries to re-build the wall protecting Sam’s mind but there’s not enough of it left to re-build. Thinking outside the box, Cas offers to shift things from him to Sam. His sacrifice clears the younger Winchester but sticks him with Lucifer’s tormenting presence.

Though it’s not what they want to do, the brothers leave the catatonic Cas in the psych ward when Dean explains it’s probably the safest place for him to be with demons searching for him. Of course, he will be under the watchful eye of the doctor and, unbeknownst to the boys, Nurse Meg Masters.

Make that two in a row for ‘Supernatural’. Though not focused on the Leviathan, the second half of the battle participants, our favorite host of hell Crowley is at the forefront. It’s been awhile since the brothers have had to deal with demons and tonight’s episode is a welcome reminder that they’re still out there. But the crown jewel of tonight’s episode is the return of Misha Collins as Cas. His presence has been sorely missed this season and with Bobby’s death, put the brothers on an island where they’re all the other has. Though temporarily down for the count, there’s no doubt Cas will make a triumphant return and methinks he will be integral in the Winchesters taking down big Dick Roman and all his Leviathan.

If you missed the previous episode, be sure to read my ‘Supernatural: Out With The Old’ recap to catch up.

The Good:

  • Another fine job of the writers picking up a story thread once thought forgotten. I’d wondered when Crowley and his minions would show up and though we didn’t get a how-do-you-do from the King of Hell, we did get a reminder that the demons didn’t just go away.
  • The return of Cas and Meg. Though she’s not as important as Cas is, Meg’s shifting loyalties and joviality she displays in her role was a welcome treat. But Misha Collins returning was the best part of tonight’s episode. He picked up right where he left of playing Emanuel in a way that left no doubt that Cas was floating beneath the surface.
  • Mark Pellegrino just looks like he’s having so much fun as Lucifer. His calm demeanor and near childlike giddiness is a treat to watch.

The Bad:

  • Not much negative to say here. The Merrin sub-plot was filler though some thought was put into it and the dynamic between her and her brother was an interesting turn. Her story could have been expanded and used for an entire filler episode.
  • Despite his name being mentioned, there was no Crowley. How much longer before we see Mark Sheppard grace the ‘Supernatural’ screen once again?

The Supernatural:

  • Once again, when the Winchesters need a little pick me up, an invisible force ‘pushes’ an answer into their field of view. Is this Chuck/God’s doing or another force altogether?
  • Yes, Cas is a bad ass. Smiting demons without breaking a sweat. The brothers need him by their side and I cannot wait until he’s able to put the smack down on those damned dirty Leviathan.