Episode Review: Supernatural 08×17 Goodbye Stranger
It’s been almost a month since Supernatural aired and over two months since we got a bit of Castiel on the show. Castiel fans have been through hell and back these past few years (sometimes quite literally). He’s died three times (exploding twice and then dissipating in a lake), been corrupted/possessed by the Leviathans, got trapped alone in Purgatory hunted by the leviathans, and now he’s an unwitting slave to Naomi. Fans have been hopeful that things would go better for Castiel now that Jeremy Carver is behind the wheel. Tonight’s episode was written by Robbie Thompson, an active Twitter user who seems to enjoy engaging with fans. He knows what we like. He knows what we don’t like. And so, naturally, this episode starts off with Castiel killing Dean. And not for the first time either, apparently. After Castiel stabs Dean, the camera pans back to reavel that he’s stabbed several dozen (hundreds?) of fake Dean’s in some sort of simulation by Naomi. It was definitely a heart wrenching way to start the episode. If they wanted a reaction, he certainly got it.
There was also a huge reaction across Twitter and Tumblr when Castiel and Meg began flirting with one another. Castiel’s sexuality isn’t touched on often, but when it does it’s in the context of him being a virgin angel who is bewildered by human sexuality. Dean took him to a brothel in season 5 and then he was watching porn and making out with Meg in season 6. He was clumsy and adorably naive about it all. In season 7 he had a wife and, unless they were celibate, it is implied that they must have had sex at some point. That’s the furthest we’ve gotten from “virgin angel” territory. And now here he is, getting flirty with Meg again. I personally love Meg, but even I was pretty irritated by that scene. Though if you’d go by my Twitter timelines reaction, you’d think they’d had sex right there and declared their undying love for each other (they did not. They just flirted).
But then they did something I did not see coming. They killed Meg. She was the only recurring character to be introduced in season one to survive up to this point. And, well, it looks like that streak has come to a close. No, seriously, think about it. Dean and Sam have both died repeatedly. Bobby is dead. John died oh so long ago. Everybody else who’s still around was introduced later. It’s not only an impressive streak on this show, but extremely impressive for a female character in the Supernatural universe. This show has a bad habit of fridging women (or killing them off to get a reaction from the male characters) since the very first episode. Yet Meg not only survived, but outlived all the male protagonists. I, for one, salute Meg. Good job, girl.
Fans also got an extremely emotional scene between Castiel and Dean, which did a lot to sooth the pain of not having him in so very long. Castiel had been brainwashed to kill Dean, but in a scene that’s reminiscent of the scene between Dean and Sam in Swan Song, Dean breaks through to him. Dean is surprisingly good at getting through to people while having his face bashed up. That’s a special talent, right there. Especially if your chosen profession is one where the closest to you are at risk of possession, curses, or brainwashing on nearly a daily basis. Dean tells him that he’s family and that they need him, which bring Castiel back to reality. Then Castiel suddenly flies away with the tablet, last seen traveling… somewhere… by bus. Where he’s going is anyone’s guess.
Sam also had a pretty rough time this episode (what else is new?). He appears to be suffering from something possibly related to him taking on the trials of the Demon Tablet. He’s coughing up blood, but immediately hides his condition from Dean. And really, what’s that about? They really need to get past this ‘lying to each other’ thing. They should learn by now that it only leads to bad things. Dean is very protective of Sam, yes, but lying to each other is a bad idea regardless of the circumstances. Come on, guys. Every time you lie to each other people die. Just stop. Thankfully they were more forthcoming with each other by the end of the episode. The last thing I want is for them to take any sort of step backwards. This show works best when all the principal characters are all on the same page. When Dean, Sam, and Cas are honest with each other, trust each other, and have faith in one another, worlds are saved. When the lies start, well, everything starts getting destroyed.
This episode sure did enjoy playing with our emotions. It got under our skin with the Meg and Castiel flirtation, but then killed Meg and gave us an extremely emotional scene between Dean and Castiel. They made the brothers lie to each other, but had them come clean by the end of the episode. They made us cry out in irritation, pain, frustration, and emotions that can only truly be understood by fangirls and boys (such as keysmashing kasjf;aljs). That was quite the roller coaster ride, but I feel that overall it was a net positive. I will, however, miss Meg greatly.
Photo Credit: Liane Hentscher/ CW.