‘Supernatural’ Review: “Holy Terror”
‘Supernatural’ season 9 summons its ninth episode of the year in “Holy Terror” as the slaughters of warring angels brings Castiel back into the field, while Dean discovers the true nature of Sam's possession by the angel Ezekiel.
Last week’s ‘Supernatural’ episode, “Rock and a Hard Place,” saw Sam and Dean investigating the disappearances of several youths within a purity group, working with Sheriff Jody Mills (Kate Rhodes) on the case. So what does the ninth 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 9, “Holy Terror”!
A bus carrying a Christian female choir rolls up to a biker bar in Wyoming, and all the women file into the establishment, putting them at odds with the bikers within. Both sides quickly draw angel blades and start a bloodbath before the choir emerges and carries on. Elsewhere on the road, Ezekiel assures Dean that his brother will soon be well, though Sam seems to have noticed all the time spent missing from his memory.
Sam and Dean are surprised to find Castiel in an FBI guise at the bar’s aftermath, who relays that the bikers and their killers belonged to different warring angel factions. Elsewhere, Bartholomew’s representatives meet with Malachi, a renegade angel in control of the choir girls, who looks to team up with Bartholomew’s side to retake heaven. When the representatives decline his offer, Malachi slaughters them.
Sam, Dean and Castiel discuss the case over drinks, though Ezekiel quickly appears to point out his discomfort with Dean. Ezekiel heads outside, while Dean once again enforces that he can’t spend too much time with Castiel. Outside, Metatron appears to Ezekiel to point out that he’s been lying about his identity and is, in fact, Gadriel, an angel notorious for allowing the serpent into the Garden of Eden, locked in a dungeon for his crimes and liberated in the fall. Metatron admits that his plan to lord over Heaven in solitude has grown tedious, and the two could rebuild paradise together with the angels of their choosing.
Back at the Men of Letters base, Sam and Dean realize that the bikers were a born-again group recruited by Buddy Boyle, making their killers an even worse faction. Meanwhile, out in Utah, one of Malachi’s angels leads a Christian youth group to accept a mass of angels swirling overhead before Bartholomew’s angels kill the leader and slaughter the youths, as well. The next day,
Ezekiel Gadriel meets with Metatron to consider his offer.
Castiel attempts prayer to make contact with angels, though only a neutral angel named Muriel answers, unsure if she should help the wanted Castiel. Cas convinces Muriel that the war between factions will do no one any good, before Malachi’s forces enter the hotel room, having tracked Muriel down. Back at the base, Dean urges Kevin Tran to keep deciphering the tablets, hoping to find something useful.
Malachi has his henchman Theo torture Castiel for information about reversing Metatron's spell, killing Muriel when he insists on his ignorance. Once Malachi departs, however, Theo asks Castiel to contact Metatron for help, given Malachi’s instability, leading Castiel to play along. Upon gaining his freedom, Castiel severs Theo’s throat, absorbing the angel’s grace to restore at least some of his heavenly powers. Afterward, Castiel calls Dean to update him on his condition, relaying that Malachi had listed “Ezekiel” as one of the angels killed in the fall.
Dean enlists Kevin Tran’s help in crafting a spell that would enable Dean to talk with an angel’s vessel without alerting the angel himself, while elsewhere Gadriel agrees to follow Metatron’s plan with a caveat that he first kill someone standing in their way. Later, after crafting the spell around a supply room with Kevin, Dean leads Sam into the trap, explaining the entirety of his possession by “Ezekiel” after the trials.
Sam punches Dean out for his betrayal, finding Kevin Tran in one of the adjacent halls and reluctantly smiting him. Gadriel explains to Dean that he’d overheard the earlier plan and simply impersonated Sam, before incapacitating Dean and absconding with the angel tablets. With his brother gone, Dean looks over the burned-out body of Kevin Tran and sulks.
If at all possible, it had seemed that 'Supernatural' had taken an even more fragmented approach to storytelling in its ninth season, most of the episodes in recent memory save for "I'm No Angel" leaning on standalone or gimmick concepts, while writers plotted an angle to take for its inevitable angel war. "Holy Terror" certainly advanced a few leagues on that front, though whether the storytelling shift has come at too high a cost remains to be seen.
It looks as if we're finally done with the vague "Ezekiel" fakeouts, now that the angel has revealed his true identity and sworn an alliance with Metatron (a welcome return for Curtis Armstrong), though given how little time we've spent with either character, the twists land with relatively little impact. We'd known something wasn't quite right about Ezekiel from the start, and try as Jared Padalecki might, his impersonation of Tahmoh Penikett's stoic authority only carried the character so far. It certainly doesn't help that 'Supernatural''s own angel-demon mythology could give you a headache to contemplate how and why the angel always interacts in human form, and what exactly prevented Castiel from returning his grace from any other fallen angel of the season.
Metatron would advise us to stick a pin in the semantics, so we'll admit that "Holy Terror" at least provides the welcome shot in the arm we needed to advance the ongoing angel fallout stories to some real degree of conflict. Neither Crowley nor Abaddon were anywhere to be found this hour, leaving it anyone's guess how this might all coalesce in the latter half of the season now that Kevin Tran has finally fallen, but we at least have a heading. The same goes for Sam and Dean's brotherly bond, so often mired in secrets ("Would I lie?" Yes! Repeatedly!), though Jared and Jensen never fail to elevate the written words behind their arguments.
It's a lot to take in for one hour, especially with the expected, though unwelcome loss of Kevin Tran, but the brief hiatus until January will bring plenty of time for renewed anticipation of the season to come.
Well, what say you? Did you get your fill of scary ‘Supernatural’ action? What did you think about “Holy Terror”? Give us your take in the comments, and join us again January 14 for an all-new recap of ‘Supernatural’ season 9 episode 10, “Road Trip,” on The CW!