It turns out, saving a friend’s life doesn’t always get you thanks and hugs.

Fresh off their black site breakout and Castiel’s backstab of the reaper Billie, our extended family from Supernatural are sitting around, still unable to track down Kelly Kline. If you’ll recall, Kline was the President’s aid and, after Lucifer took over the POTUS, his baby mamma. That’s right, Lucifer’s about to be a daddy. That can’t be good, can it?

But if it’s so bad, where’s the drama going to be when they have to do the deed—read: kill the little Damien/Anti-Christ/Nephilim/Satan’s son? Well, one thing Supernatural does like gangbusters is to foster dilemmas for characters using their past actions and this week’s story provides us with a glimpse of Castiel’s backstory.

Dean matches Ishim's (not pictured) penchant for douche-like behavior.
Dean matches Ishim’s (not pictured) penchant for douche-like behavior.

After Benjamin is taken out by a woman wearing a patch who’s brandishing angelic powers of a sort, we meet up with a pair of Castiel’s old Flight mates (Flight being the angelic lexicon for band or unit) Isham and Mirabelle. Whereas the latter doesn’t last much longer than the initial commercial break, we do get time with the dickish Ishim. Less Balthazar or Gabriel, Ishim’s opinions on humans are more in line with Uriel and Raphael: meaning, he doesn’t like the “apes”. If only that was Ishim’s biggest flaw, I could get over it but as it turns out, he and Lily Sunder (Patches on an angel killing spree) have a history. Along with Cas (who surfed Earth in a female host), Mirabel, and the and the currently dead members of their Flight, Ishim kills Akobel, former comrade for marrying Lily and having a baby, which is, of course, a Nephilim. This is the greatest no-no for angels.

But mama always told me there’s two sides to every story and that’s true, even when angels be involved (maybe even doubly so). Turns out that Lily was obsessed with angels, to the point she was able to summon one—Ishim—to Earth. I’m sure the picture’s becoming a bit clearer now. Ishim shared with Lily the secrets of his kind as he fell in love with her. She didn’t take kindly to his stalkerish behavior thus tapped Akobel to protect her. Spurned and heart-broken, Ishim decides revenge is the best way to cure his heartache, so he lies to his Flight, kills Akobel and May, Lily’s child. Her human child.

I’ll let that sink in for a minute…

So yeah, it’s pretty understandable why Lily’s spent more than a century preparing for her vengeance. I always say the best baddies are those you can empathize with and Lily Sunder is that. Sure, to start she seemed like any other angel-killing nut job but, as Supernatural often does, the episode added a vital layer to her character and, just as Sam and Dean understood her actions once they heard the full story, so did I also understand the driving force behind her actions. And once he learns the truth, so does Castiel.

With Ishim now gone, Cas is the only remaining member of his Flight who was there when Lily's world was shattered.
With Ishim now gone, Cas is the only remaining member of his Flight who was there when Lily’s world was shattered.

Speaking of our Angel of Thursday, “Lily Sunder Has Some Regrets” could have easily been titled “Castiel Has Many Regrets”. I talk about layers and while the Winchesters have been given a decade-plus of layers (despite their primary mantra still being “hunting things, saving people, keeping my brother safe even if the world ends because of it), I think the writers (and the wonderful Misha Collins) have done an even better job with less time on Castiel. Every year Castiel is presented with a more nuanced emotional spectrum with this year being more of an amalgam of his initial appearance way back in Season 4 to his more emotional portrayals in recent years. Cas still feels the guilt over his brethren being cast out of Heaven and the crapstorm that caused. We see this pain when, after learning of the truth and Ishim’s subsequent tongue-lashing of his uselessness, we see a Castiel looking more defeated than ever. Still, he comes through in the end, killing Ishim as the angel had overpowered both the Winchesters and Lily.

Afterward, he addresses Lily, apologizing for his role in her daughter’s death and promises that, if Lily cannot find it in her heart to forgive him, he will be there for her. One final angel to complete her vengeance tour.

With Lily in the rearview, Castiel, Sam, and Dean return to the Bunker to discuss the Nephilim in the room: Lucifer’s child. Despite what Castiel calls a once-easy decision is not so now, especially after learning of Ishim’s horrible actions on a human child. It begs the question of us all: were we to hold a baby Hitler, Pol Pot, or any number of terrible mass murderers in our hands as a babe, would we be able to snuff that, at the time, innocent soul from the world. In theory, it’s an easy choice but, as Cas realizes, it’s much easier said than done. 

The Good

There’s no hiding that this was my favorite Supernatural of the season to date. The initial start wasn’t super strong but, as we delved more into the history of Lily, Ishim, and Castiel, we were given a story that, while a one-shot, will affect major decisions our characters, particularly Castiel, will have to make. Providing a snapshot into Castiel’s life prior to leading his own battalion only added to the strength of the episode.

The Bad

Now, I love Dean as much as the next Supernatural fanatic, but Dean boy, can you be any more of a hypocrite. Sure, Castiel’s actions—killing Billie—may have some serious consequences but when have you truly cared about consequences when it comes to your family. Dude, you killed Death—yes, Death!— to save your brother when, for all intents and purposes, Sam’s death would have been what was best for the world. You’ve made bad decision after bad decision because you cannot bear to let the closest person in your life go, why would Cas be any different?

The Supernatural

It’s always fun to get another side of the equation with our characters. Supernatural did a similar episode with Rufus and Bobby (RIP, gents) a few years back. It’s so much fun to see “off screen” history of our characters come to life on the small screen. It’s this robust potential that has helped Supernatural continue on strong after 12 years.

It must be an angel thing but, man, could Ishim have been more of a jerk? It seems to be a Supernatural thing that those coming from On High aren’t too fond of humanity and tend to display less than stellar behavior as it pertains to us “primates”. Of course, Ishim’s prejudicial behavior and overall douchery makes it easy for us to cheer his demise as he showcases little in the way of redeeming qualities. And because of that, another angel bites the dust.

 Supernatural: “Lily Sunder Has Some Regrets: 4.5/5