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‘Supernatural’ Review: “Goodbye Stranger”

Supernatural Goodbye Stranger Review
The CW

Supernatural’ season 8 scares up its seventeenth episode of the season in “Goodbye Stranger,” as Sam and Dean re-team with Castiel and Meg (Rachel Miner) to find a hidden crypt that contains the angel tablet, while Castiel struggles to free himself from the control of the mysterious angel Naomi (Amanda Tapping).

Last month’s ‘Supernatural’ episode “Remember the Titans” saw Sam and Dean investigating the mystery of a man who repeatedly died and came back to life (John Rearden), finding him to be none other than the Greek Titan Prometheus, still locked in battle with the god Zeus (John Novak), so what does the latest season 8 episode bring?  Will the Winchesters finally be able to rid the world of Crowley and his fellow demons?

Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Supernatural’ season 8 episode 17, “Goodbye Stranger!”

Dean stalks through a warehouse before Castiel appears, brutally beating him down and stabbing him dead with an angel blade. Afterward, the room’s lights flip on, and Naomi appears congratulating Castiel on his readiness and lack of hesitation, while we see that the warehouse floor is littered with dead Deans.

Back on Earth, Dean pours through more Men of Letters relics while Sam looks up a string of deaths in a nearby town, doing his best to conceal from his brother a blood-spurting cough. The pair resolve to head to Indiana to investigate the bizarre deaths, but Dean covertly observes the bloody tissue left in the trash can. Once the boys reach Indiana, they question a man whose wife suddenly began acting strange, digging up different sections of the town and speaking to strange people on the phone. Before they leave however, the man shows off a model of the town his dead wife had been working on, and explains that he saw her eyes turn black for a moment.

Unsure of what to do with knowledge that someone seems to be killing demons for them, Sam and Dean investigate a woman with whom the man’s wife had been in contact with, who explains that they were working to recreate a map of the town prior to a flood that destroyed it. A knock at the door brings three demons, who instantly recognize the Winchesters and attack, but Castiel appears and intervenes at the last moment to save Sam. Before they can kill it, one of the demons flies into the captive woman.

Castiel explains that he had been the one behind the rash of dead bodies, telling the boys only as much as Naomi, for all her mind control, will allow him. Lying that the demons have been after a parchment that will help them decode Crowley’s half of the tablet, Castiel moves to interrogate the captive woman, killing her before she can say aloud that the demons have been looking for the angel tablet in one of Lucifer’s hidden crypts. On the woman’s confession, Castiel zaps to a hotel hideaway where the demons have been keeping a hostage, killing all the guards before Sam and Dean finally arrive. When they open the door, the hostage is none other than Meg!

Meg explains that she’d been leading most of her captors on a wild goose chase with regard to Lucifer’s crypt and the angel tablets, which Castiel (poorly) pretends to have no knowledge of. Naomi urges Castiel to kill her, but Castiel reasons they can still find a use for her. The foursome return to the earlier man’s house to point out the true location of Lucifer’s crypt on a model, while Sam and Dean question why Castiel would have lied to them. After Meg and Castiel catch up (and flirt!), the four prepare to visit the abandoned building apparently above the true crypt.

Back at the hotel Crowley resigns to take over the operation himself, while the four arrive at the warehouse and Dean orders Sam to stay topside with Meg given his weakened condition. Dean and Castiel make their way through the warehouse, finally finding the crypt downstairs, while upstairs Meg pries out of Sam the story of his whole year with Amelia.

Downstairs, Dean surveys the artifacts of the room, while Naomi urges Castiel to either throw Dean off the trail, or kill him if need be. Dean finds the chest containing the tablet, but hesitates to give it over when Castiel claims he’ll take it directly to heaven, unraveling the angel’s true intentions. Castiel beats Dean bloody when he refuses to hand it over, but upon hearing Dean’s pleas finally manages to wrest himself from Naomi’s control, and return to his normal self, uttering the angel’s name in the process. Meanwhile, Sam and Meg take on a barrage of demons upstairs, until Crowley himself finally appears.

While Sam runs to get Dean, Crowley informs Meg of the Winchester’s plans to rid the Earth of demons before the pair square off. Downstairs, a newly in-control Castiel apologizes for his actions, but insists he must protect the tablet even from Dean and vanishes from sight. Sam and Dean race back upstairs just in time to see a bloodied Meg get a shot in at Crowley, before he finally stabs her dead, and the Winchesters drive off

Downstairs, Crowley meets with Naomi to debate their mutual history and offer a deal, but the angel disappears before he can make his proposal. The Winchesters meanwhile continue on the open road, Sam finally admitting that the trials have affected him physically, as Dean assures him he’ll help carry the load however he can. Elsewhere, Naomi laments the loss of her agent, as we see Castiel stashing the tablet in his bag and riding a bus to parts unknown.

‘Supernatural’s previous outing “Remember the Titans” didn’t leave us with much to go on regarding the season’s over-arching story, making “Goodbye Stranger” a welcome return to form. As can often be the case however, the characters (Sam and Dean in particular) take up much of the episode’s time with their various distrusts, making the actual plot somewhat slow-going. The return of Rachel Miner’s Meg offers up a few nice one-liners and moments with Castiel, but overall the tablet race has become a somewhat hollow story with very few observable consequences. All in all, “Goodbye Stranger” offered up a few nice moments, and some much-needed advancement of the story, but could have offered up a bit more substance to its reveals.

Did you get your fill of spooky ‘Supernatural’ action?  What did you think about “Goodbye Stranger?” Join us again next week for an all-new episode recap of ‘Supernatural’ episode “Freaks and Geeks” on The CW!

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