‘Supernatural’ Review: “Heaven Can’t Wait”
‘Supernatural’ season 9 summons its sixth episode of the year in “Heaven Can't Wait,” as Dean partners with a still-human Castiel to investigate a series of bizarre murders, while Sam attempts to enlist Crowley's help in translating the mysterious angel tablets.
Last week’s ‘Supernatural’ episode, “Dog Dean Afternoon,” saw Sam and Dean teaming with a dog who witnessed a murder, while Dean worried that Sam had begun to overexert his angelic passenger, so what does the sixth season 9 episode bring? What strange and unexpected challenges will the Winchesters face next?
Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Supernatural’ season 9 episode 6, “Heaven Can't Wait”!
In Idaho, a man leaves a suicide hotline on hold, but finds himself unable to pull the trigger. Unfortunately for him, a mysterious stranger appears in his home, claiming to have been sent by the man, before exploding his body in a shower of pink residue. The following day, Castiel goes about his new routine setting up shop as gas station employee “Steve,” while his employer Nora notes something special about him, before Castiel sees report of the deaths on the news.
Back at the Men of Letters base, Kevin has only succeeded in translating the tablets into another dead language, tasking Dean and Sam with extensive research to uncover their meaning. Castiel calls Dean with news of the killings, for which Dean quickly takes the opportunity to take on the case without depriving Kevin and Sam of further research. Meanwhile at the gas station, Castiel’s employer Nora appears to ask him out, in spite of it complicating their work relationship.
Dean arrives to the crime scene in Idaho, wherein the pink residue is revealed as a uniform mixture of organic matter from the body, while the only thing past victims seem to have in common is a penchant for sadness. Dean ponders visiting Castiel for assistance, while the mysterious killer from earlier next targets a high school girl dejected about her breakup, detonating her body outside a school bus. Dean finally enters the gas station to talk to Castiel, though the former angel seems resigned to a life wherein he at least has some control over his surroundings.
Sam tries manipulating Crowley into translating their findings, believing he’d do anything to thwart Abaddon, though the deposed king refutes any appeals to his humanity. Meanwhile, Dean continues persuading Castiel to return to his higher calling, for which Castiel eventually agrees to join him. Once the duo arrive to the scene of the latest crime however, Castiel quickly recognizes the pink residue as the work of a “Hands of Mercy” angel, a healer-type who painlessly smite anyone in too much pain to save, and one likely confusing the nature of human emotions with insufferable pain.
Crowley agrees to translate the dead language in exchange for a demon call to Abaddon, which Sam and Kevin reluctantly allow, believing Crowley can interpret the text’s relation to Metatron banishing angels from heaven. Meanwhile, Dean drops Castiel off for his “date” with Nora, offering some quick last-minute advice, before driving off. Once inside however, Castiel realizes that he mistook Nora’s invitation, and has instead been asked to babysit while Nora herself goes on a date.
While Castiel does his best to pacify the baby with a lullaby, worrying about her elevated temperature, Crowley finds himself placed on hold in getting through to Abaddon, having used Kevin’s blood to place the call. Meanwhile, Dean learns from the sheriff that the husband in the first pink murder case wasn’t among the residue found, while the man himself had become increasingly religious, and a fan of Buddy Boyle’s sermons. Dean recognizes the man’s truck as one parked outside Nora’s house earlier, just as Castiel answers the doorbell to find the killer standing before him.
Castiel identifies the killer as Ephraim, a younger angel who sought him out to end his suffering as a human. Subtly cutting his hand in an attempt to make a banishing sigil, Castiel quickly finds himself overpowered, while Ephraim rants about how he once admired the mighty Castiel. Meanwhile, Crowley finally gets through to Abaddon, learning that she doubled the intake of souls into Hell by collecting on all of his Crossroads contracts, and generally breaking the rules.
Dean arrives to save Castiel in the nick of time, sliding him the angel blade to finally take out Ephraim himself, while back at the Men of Letters base, Crowley angrily ends his call with Abaddon. Crowley insists on honoring his arrangements, translating Sam and Kevin’s notes to reveal that Metatron’s spell apparently can’t be reversed after all. Sam calls Dean with the news, though Dean keeps it to himself as Nora thanks Castiel for his help, noting that his extra care for the baby made him special.
Sam notices a vial of blood missing from his kit, secretly observing Crowley to inject the needle into himself in a moment alone. Meanwhile, Dean returns Castiel to the gas station and assures him that he and Sam will find a way to take care of the angels, leaving Castiel to focus on his human concerns.
Well, just about anything would have been a step up from "Dog Dean Afternoon," for starters. Even so, it was a welcome bit of relief to see Castiel once again integrated into an episode without an overabundance of mythology, or pathos for his newfound mortal status. Where "I'm No Angel" hit matters on the head a bit too bluntly in Castiel's ruminations of humanity, "Heaven Can't Wait" wisely tones down the comedy as we see the fallen angel somewhat succeeding in his Earthly integration, even if inaction seems to weigh on him.
By the same token, tonight's hour managed to pair off the fan-favorite coupling of Dean and Castiel, without short-changing Sam, Crowley or Kevin Tran back at the base. A few pertinenet questions came to mind across the different pairings, as to why Castiel and Dean never outright discuss Ezekiel, or the reason for the former's exile, or even what Crowley intended to accomplish with his call to Abaddon, but the different stories at least carried enough momentum to move through the hour with very little drag. It certainly throws a wrench into the season at large, if Crowley's revelation about the angel spell proves true, but we'll deal with that in time, likely.
Overall, "Heaven Can't Wait" might have benefit from a stronger sense of integration with the season's ongoing plot, subbing in a previously-unknown class of angel for the absent villainy of Bartholomew, though the point certainly registers with both Crowley and Castiel nonetheless: it doesn't take powers to do good works, and the sidelines are no place to be when disaster falls from the sky all around you. That, and Jensen Ackles playing paternal to a clueless Castiel will never grow old.
Well, what say you? Did you get your fill of scary ‘Supernatural’ action? What did you think about “Heaven Can't Wait”? Give us your thoughts in the comments, and join us again next week for an all-new recap of ‘Supernatural’ season 9 episode 7, “Bad Boys,” on The CW!