It’s a tall order for a show to affect me in a way that, the night after viewing, my dreams turn to it in a way to come to terms with what I just saw. Though one could argue there have been better Supernatural episodes this season, none have resonated with me like this week’s “The Future”.
After being incommunicado for who knows how long, Castiel returns to the Bunker and a pair of less than excited Winchesters. Dean is especially pissed at their friend’s unexplained absence and his worry bleeds into a very lashing, even after Cas reveals his sojourn was in an attempt to find some clue as to Dagon and Kelly’s whereabouts. Crafty little angel that he is, Cas lies to the Winchesters—a fact that is obvious to the brothers though Dean at first passes it off to Cas being in need of a win. Considering his feelings of failure throughout the season, it’s understandable that he’d want to make amends, to bring something to the table. Unfortunately, said plan—to kill Dagon and Kelly—doesn’t go well as the pathetically small three-man squad who will never be mistaken as SEAL Team 6 is taken down. The one positive is that Castiel, thanks to the sacrifice of his angelic brothers, is able to exfil Kelly in order to regroup. It may not have been the original plan but we all knew that killing an innocent, especially this far off from the finale, was never in the cards.
The secondary plan, to kill Kelly and her baby by way of heavenly ascension is also a non-starter, especially when Dagon, thanks to a successful interrogation, susses out the plan and lays ways to Cas and the Winchesters. In a most shocking moment, the Prince (or is it princess?) of Hell even melts the Colt, the arcane tool of demon killing for more than a century, to a useless pile of slag. Broken, bloodied and without a single bullet in the chamber, metaphorical or otherwise, the most unexpected of things occurs…
Before we get to the crescendo of our white hats’ certain death, let’s hop back in time. From the beginning of the episode, it was clear that this was not going to be that meta/joke fest type of Supernatural. Tired and nearly broken, Kelly Kline has reached that awful point of hopelessness. Dagon has made it painfully clear (in a gleeful manner fitting of a Hellishly evil creature could) that Kelly is nothing more than a walking incubator, one that will be discarded once the Nephilim inside of her is ready to be born into the world. With no way out, Kelly takes her own life, only to be resurrected by the life within her. The baby’s actions kick starts her hope for a different outcome, though Dagon swiftly dashes those dreams. It’s not until much later, when, after being rescued by Castiel, he puts a hand to her pregnant belly that all doubt about who her child can become is erased. Kelly believes with the deep-seated faith of someone who knows.
Her journey is mirrored by Castiel’s own descent and ascension. It’s difficult to understand the hardships our Winchester family has experienced, what with Sam and Dean both spending time in Hell, and Castiel’s once orderly life of a Heavenly Host blown to hell years ago. The angel of Thursday though has become, as the years have gone by, a shell of his former self. With wings clipped and angelic powers nerfed to a dizzying degree, Castiel believes he must work that much harder to prove himself. It’s a position that many of us have experienced. Though Castiel (and Kelly) circumstances are fictional, who hasn’t, at some point in their lives, felt that anchor of despair, doubt, or fear chain its way around our necks, inexorably drawing us down into the abyss of hopelessness? It may be why “The Future” resonated so greatly with me. For months, we’ve seen a character that, while fantastic in his origins, embodies the human condition in so many ways, continually hitting roadblocks in his journey to succeed. Even at his lowest, Castiel continues to move forward and, in that moment when he knows defeat is on hand, still he rises, staring into the face of defeat. But then, for the third time, Baby Nephilim makes its presence (and power) known, recharging Castiel with what seemed to be his full mojo or, at worst, enough of an overdrive to burn Dagon to cinders.
Threat removed, the day has been won. But then comes the decision; one that may affect the Supernatural world for years to come, or however long it remains on the air. Though Sam has a possible solution to the Nephilim/anti-Christ problem (draining the baby of its Grace), Castiel and Kelly believe otherwise. Her thoughts that Castiel was the one who could teach Baby Nephilim the ways of the world, to help mold him into something that could uplift the world are mirrored in Castiel’s own experience at their darkest hour. But it becomes more than faith for Castiel as Baby Nephilim has shown him the future. And judging by Castiel’s reaction, the future is bright.
Supernatural: “The Future”