Episode Title: "Mommy Dearest"
Writer: Adam Glass
Director: John Showalter
Previously on "Supernatural":
"The Mother of All" aka Eve (Julia Maxwell) emerged from Purgatory and began creating new breeds of monsters across the country while Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) attempted to hunt her down and destroy her. Eve even struck at the brothers directly with a creature that possessed their mentor, Bobby Singer (Jim Beaver), who was in turn used to kill their ally, Rufus Turner (Steven Williams). Upon learning that the ashes of a Phoenix could kill Eve, the Winchester brothers enlisted the Angel Castiel (Misha Collins) to send them back in time.
While in the era of Samuel Colt, Dean did manage to kill a Phoenix. But in the present, Castiel was attacked by one of his loyal angels after learning that Castiel was hiding a dark secret. Badly wounded, Castiel sought refuge with Bobby, who even allowed the angel to touch his soul in order to heal. Once restored, Castiel brought the Winchesters back to the future, but without the Phoenix's ashes. However, Colt came through for the brothers and sent the ashes to them via a delivery service. With the ashes in hand, the brothers and their allies made plans to take the fight to Eve.
Outside of a local bar, Eve approaches two young men, Marshall Todd (Jason Cermak) and Ed Bright.(Nathan Witte) She lightly touches Ed's cheek and infects him with something before entering the bar and locking the door behind her. She proceeds to infect half the bar through touch, before the infected attack the other patrons. Back at Bobby's place, Dean makes five bullets from the Phoenix's ashes and notices that the ashes don't seem to have any effect on him. They summon Castiel and get him to find Lenore (Amber Benson), a friendly vampire that the brothers previously encountered. The startled Lenore tells the group where they can find Eve, then insists that they kill her before Eve can finish corrupting her.
To the brothers' slight alarm, Castiel has no problem killing Eve. He then teleports Bobby and the Winchesters to Grants Pass, Oregon. But once there, they find that Castiel's angelic powers won't work at all. They also learn about Ed Bright's demise and try to locate the doctor who treated him. Bobby and Sam encounter the local Sheriff (Roman Podhora) and successfully present themselves as FBI agents working on the case. Meanwhile, Dean and Castiel spot Ed again, but this time there is a full house of dead people who look just like Ed! The lone survivor says that he was Marshall before he dies, leading the group to the bar.
They find the bar littered with bodies of the patrons who were turned into monster hybrids. The Sheriff then suddenly arrives and arrests everyone but Dean, who manages to hide. As they're lead into the Sheriff's office, Sam realizes that the Sheriff and his men are hybrids too. With Dean's help, they kill them all except the Sheriff. They also find two young boys named Joe (Travis Turner) and Ryan (Griffin Parsons), who tell the brothers that they were being held for food. The Winchesters then insist upon getting the boys safely to their uncle outside of town, over Castiel's objections. Meanwhile, Castiel brutally interrogates the Sheriff and gets Eve's location.
The Winchesters drop off the boys and return to town. They find that the location is a diner, with Eve's identity unclear from the outside. Arming themselves with one Phoenix bullet per person, Sam and Dean go in first. They soon find that everyone there is a newly turned demon loyal to Eve. The Mother of All even changes her form to that of Sam and Dean's mother, Mary Winchester (Samantha Smith) to offer them a deal: help her find and destroy Crowley and she'll let them live. They explain that Crowley is already dead, but Eve is certain that he's still around. She also gloats that the brothers didn't realize that Ryan was one of her hybrids and that he is converting his brother and uncle even as they speak.
Even when Eve's forces bring Castiel and Bobby into the restaurant as captives, Dean continues to refuse to give in. Eve threatens to turn him and he practically dares her to. But when she bites his neck, she recoils in horror. As she starts to burn away, Dean gloats that he downed the fifth batch of Phoenix ashes with whiskey. After Eve burns away, Castiel dispatches the rest of her creatures and teleports his group to the home of Ryan's uncle. But to their surprise, demons have already beaten them there and killed the hybrids themselves.
The brothers then openly question whether Eve was right about Crowley's survival and Castiel says that he will look into it. Once he's gone, Bobby voices his belief that Castiel lied about burning Crowley's bones and Sam seems to believe him. Only Dean believes in Castiel. But back at the bar, Castiel encounters a very much alive Crowley (Mark Sheppard) who says that he's tired of cleaning up after the angel.
I should have known Crowley wasn't dead when I read a news story about Mark Sheppard's guest appearance on "Doctor Who" and it was mentioned that he was needed back at the "Supernatural" set shortly after he was finished there. So even with that hint (which I somehow ignored), Crowley's return caught me by surprise.
And suddenly, Castiel's storyline this season is making a lot more sense. This explains why his follower turned on him last week and it also lines up with some of the other questionable things that Castiel has done behind the Winchester brothers' backs; like ordering the Titanic to be saved in the past so that their descendants could shore up Heaven's army.
The problem is that this basically sets up Castiel as the villain, or at least one of the villains of the show. That means at some point, the Winchesters are probably going to have to find some way to kill him. I can see some of the logic in getting rid of Castiel as a heroic character. When he's around, his powers are almost always a cheat for the Winchesters. If he really turned against them, then he may be their biggest foe this side of Lucifer.
Of course, the other side of Heaven's war could be worse than what Castiel is doing, but we haven't seen much evidence of that yet.
The Eve story now feels like more of an afterthought than anything else. Dean's method of dispatching her was entertaining, but her story ultimately didn't go anywhere despite the buildup of the last several episodes. Nor did the so-called "Jefferson Starship" hybrid monsters ever live up to the idea of being the ultimate creatures. It seems like a waste to introduce that idea and then do nothing with it. I also think it was a mistake to bring back Crowley at all. Mark Sheppard is always terrific in the role, but it felt like his story was over the last time we saw him.
Unlike last week's episode — which seemed like one long "Back To The Future III" joke — there were some really amusing comedy bits in this show; especially Dean's continued comparisons of Castiel to a baby. And for the most part, this was a really solid hour of "Supernatural" that brought back my interest in the season arc. I may not be a fan of what the writers seem to be doing to Castiel, but I am really curious as to why he's doing Crowley's bidding and what he's getting out of it.
Crave Online Rating: 8 out of 10.