Manipulation has been the staple of so many in power and politics, whether in real life, movies, or books, it’s all the same. Pull the wool over the masses eyes, bamboozle them with smoke and mirrors and they fall for it. At least the simple do…

When an angelic bomb goes off in Dixon, Missouri, Castiel calls our favorite Winchesters to jump onto the case. Before they leave, though, Sam starts back up on nagging Dean about the First Blade and its effects on the elder Winchester. Hearing enough of Sam’s chattering, Dean acquiesces to Sam’s wishes and they head over to Mizzou. Based on the evidence, it looks like a “mass smiting” and it’s not until one of the angels at Castiel’s HQ gathers video from a cell phone, do they hear the message “I do this for Castiel” before plunging the angel blade into his carved up trunk. After talking over the logistics and Dean having doubts on whether Cas would stoop to sending a suicide angel bomber to take out a Metatron follower, he remains in Dixon with the Angel Brigade and Hannah (Cas’s second) to look more into the bombings while Sam and Cas make their way to Colorado to search for Josiah—an angel missing since Ezra was killed a few days prior.

On the other side of the fight, Gadreel talks with Metatron about the state of affairs in their heavenly battle. They are losing, with many angels siding with Castiel, a prospect Metatron cannot understand. He brings up Gadreel’s meeting with Castiel but the former states that, despite Cas’s offerings, “I serve Heaven…I serve you.” Despite their predicament, Metatron is confident that he has a plan. When Gadreel sees a very familiar trench coat lying on the couch, he addresses it. “It’s not that, is it?” They end up trying to bring another angel—Tyrus— and his followers to Metatron’s side, but this one doesn’t find going back to Heaven too appealing, and he’s especially turned off by the prospect of following Metatron. He offers the new God a chance to persuade him if Metatron can beat him in a game of bowling, but the latter fails. Before the he and Gadreel are able to make it out, a second angel comes forward and nukes himself seconds after uttering “I do this for Castiel!”

Dean brings Tessa in for questioning

Using the information Castiel gave him on suicide angel Oren, Dean speaks to one of his co-workers — Flagstaff — from the hospital whose not impressed by Dean and his belief that he’s doing good. “You play the hero but underneath the hype you’re a killer with oceans of blood on his hands.” Dean explodes in a rage, tossing Flagstaff to the ground and holding an angel blade under her chin, demanding other cohorts of Oren’s. She mentions Constantine and Tessa, the latter being the Reaper Dean is all too familiar with. He tracks Tess down before she’s able to release her own brand of angel suicide on an unsuspecting audience and brings her back to HQ for questioning.

On their way to Colorado, Cas and Sam talk about Dean and how he’s different, more intense and aggressive. The conversation eventually moves towards Cas and his followers. Sam points out the reverence in which they look to the angel of Thursday with and he tells Sam, “I’m not trying to play God; I’m just trying to get my people home.” Their trip to Colorado redirects them to Pray, Montana where they come across a warehouse thrumming with some serious mojo. They’re able to get in after Cas highlights a riddle written in Inokian script and make their way through, evading an ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’ snare before arriving at Heaven’s door…but it’s not. It’s no more than a big F-U from Metatron. They do come across the holy oil burned body of Josiah who, before he dies, admits to his culpability in Ezra’s murder and working with Metatron. He leaves Cas with a harsh message. “I look into your eyes and I don’t see an angel staring back at me.”

Dean hits a bit of resistance with the angel army when Hannah refuses to allow him from using the angel blade to assist in getting more names from Tessa. She joins him on the interrogation but Dean pushes her out after she nearly attacks Tessa when the former Reaper, who was taking orders from Castiel, speaks to the other angels about not being strong enough. When he gets Tessa to himself, Dean asks her why she’s doing it and she comes clean about hearing the screaming pain of lost souls unable to get into Heaven. Knowing their time is short, Dean brings forth the First Blade to expedite the questioning and Tessa uses it as her way out from the misery, pulling herself onto the Blade and ending her tired existence. For a moment, Dean becomes lost in the euphoric rush of the kill before Hannah and the others enter the room and the Winchester’s caught in a very precarious position.

Cas and Dean arrive to knock on Heaven’s door

Castiel and Sam return from their road trip to find the trussed up Dean and a hive of angry and uncertain angels waiting for him. Their uncertainty is further fueled when Metatron addresses Cas and his followers. He offers the angels amnesty if they return to him, expertly hitting on points that make the flock doubt Castiel. Hannah gives their commander a chance—punish Dean and they are still his to command. Cas refuses and the angel fodder walk out on him and he’s left with his true family…Sam and Dean. They return to the Bunker where Dean finally lays it down for Sam. As long as they’re on the path of ending Metatron’s reign, he’s “calling the shots. We are not a team,” he tells Sam, “This is a dictatorship. Now you don’t have to like like it but that’s how it’s going to be.”

Reveling in his resounding victory, Metatron reveals all to Gadreel who’s completely disgusted by the underhanded tactics of the self-proclaimed new God. He goes so far as to offer his support to Cas and the others. Dean listens to his pleas, stone faced and eventually offers the angel his hand as if in support but slashes him with the First Blade. Sam and Cas grab him in time before Dean’s able to finish the job. We’re left with Dean raging as the power of the Mark threatens to consume him.

The Cost of War…the Price of Victory

  • War of any kind is a harsh and distasteful thing with no true winners. Ideally things are fought on the battlefield where only the soldiers involved in the conflict are affected. Sadly, it doesn’t work this way and Metatron’s cowardice actions—ones that parallel those of cowards such as terrorist groups throughout our world—is the face of a new warfare where civilian casualties are the norm. Despite killing Kevin and other angels, Gadreel does possess an honorable spirit and, after being alerted to his leader’s tactics, wishes to dissociate himself from such barbarism.
  • And this leads to another aspect of war…interrogation. People will say that violence offers up nothing in finding answers but one has to ask, what would you do to save lives? Dean has no issues going that extra mile and, despite Flagstaff’s condescending remarks to Dean, he has saved many lives by doing the ugly things. We need heroes like Dean in this world but there is a very fine line men like him have to play. A line that, when crossed, transforms them from the hero to the villain they are so tirelessly fighting.