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‘Supernatural’ Review: “I’m No Angel”

Supernatural Im No Angel Review
The CW

Supernatural’ season 9 summons its third episode of the year in “I’m No Angel,” as Castiel struggles to adapt to the challenges of humanity while on the run from the angels, and Dean is forced to make a difficult choice in the pursuit of his fallen friend..

Last week’s ‘Supernatural’ episode “Devil May Care” saw Sam and Dean team with fellow hunters to battle a reformed Abaddon (Alaina Huffman) recruiting demons to her cause, while Kevin Tran locked wits with Crowley back at the base, so what does the third season 9 episode bring?  What new challenges will the Winchesters face in the coming year?

Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Supernatural’ season 9 episode 3, “I’m No Angel!”

While two unnamed priests happen upon angels in a graveyard looking for Castiel, the former angel himself wrestles with grooming and basic human functions at a men’s shelter. A short while later, picking up trash outside the church, Castiel finds the bodies of the two priests, impaled on pikes with their eyes burned out of their heads. Meanwhile at the Men of Letters base, Dean is continually surprised by Sam’s returning vitality, as Ezekiel emerges and assures Dean Sam continues to heal, also warning that the angels have organized in looking for Castiel.

A particularly authoritative angel named Bartholomew praises TV evangelist Reverend Buddy Boyle for his work in helping to recruit vessels across the world, as one of Buddy’s underlings volunteers to become a vessel, only for the angel’s grace to burst her entire body. Sam and Dean continue to track Castiel’s movements, while Castiel himself accepts the generosity of a homeless camp, and finds a place to sleep. One of the recruited angels manages to find Castiel, exposing him as human before Castiel strikes him down.

While Sam and Dean follow his movements, Castiel manages to tattoo an angel warding to escape detection, continually struggling with his need for food. Castiel looks for solace in a church, asking a woman praying for her sick husband if she’d still believe, knowing that God wasn’t listening, to which the woman assures Cas that her faith makes it so. Meanwhile, Bartholomew tasks a reaper named Maurice to find Castiel by trailing the Winchesters, while the boys clue into to Reverend Buddy’s recruiting.

Sam and Dean arrive at the homeless camp, while Castiel finds a generous young woman named April (‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’’s Shannon Lucio) willing to spare a sandwich and a roof for the evening. That night, Castiel and April give in to their attraction to one another, while Sam and Dean manage to turn the tables on a pursuing Maurice, and learn that Bartholomew has been rallying the angels to find Castiel. The next morning, Castiel awakes to find that undercover reaper April knows his true identity after all, and confiscated his angel blade.

Having reached a dead end, Dean presses Ezekiel to look for leads from within Sam, while April tortures Castiel for information about Metatron’s spell to evict the angels from Heaven. Castiel shares that he knows little, only that his grace created the spell, which might allow him to undo it. Sam and Dean burst in as April stabs Castiel, while in the ensuing scuffle Dean manages to kill April. Dean sees that Castiel has died of his wounds, for which Ezekiel again emerges to heal the human Castiel, leaving Dean to once again cover between Cas and Sam how he miraculously saved the day.

Back at the Men of Letters base, Castiel shows his appreciation for Sam and Dean’s hospitality, especially with his new-found perspective on the difficulties of living a human life. Once the three share a laugh over Castiel’s night with April however, Ezekiel emerges to warn Dean that Castiel’s presence will bring the wrath of Bartholomew on all of them. Ezekiel threatens to leave Sam’s body prematurely if Dean allows Castiel to stay, giving Dean no choice but to evict his helpless friend.

Thought we caught a bit of the story in the premiere, it was good to have a largely Castiel-centric episode after so long, now that the character no longer represents the overpowered quick fix he so often became. And while “I’m No Angel” managed to wring quite a bit of humor from the smaller moments of Castiel’s inability to grasp basic human concepts like using toothpaste, the writing also afforded some more tender rhetoric of Castiel coming to grips with faith, and an increasing sense of estrangement from God.

New big bad on the block Bartholomew doesn’t seem to provide much menace beyond what we’ve already seen from other ill-tempered angels, but “I’m No Angel” at least gives us the impression that Ezekiel may be up to no good, forcing Dean to kick Cas out into the cold for a brief, but nonetheless affecting scene between the two bro-mantic buds. It doesn’t speak to much of an ongoing direction for the season that neither Kevin, nor Crowley, nor Abaddon appear within the hour to offer input on Castiel, but longtime fans of the series can at least look forward to having Misha Collins as a series regular once more, for all that brings with it.

Overall, it feels as if “I’m No Angel” came up a bit short in the story department, with much of the hour’s running time devoted to Sam and Dean following up leads that we’ve already been privy to, even padding Castiel’s scenes with a few arbitrary shots of Sam and Dean on the road nearby. We’re hopeful that it won’t take too long to expose whatever plot Ezekiel has against Castiel, given how strong it felt to have the main cast back together again, but for now, the journey continues passably rolling.

Well, what say you? Did you get your fill of scary ‘Supernatural’ action?  What did you think about tonight’s “I’m No Angel?” Give us your thoughts in the comments, and join us again next week for an all-new recap of ‘Supernatural’ season 9 episode 4 “Slumber Party” on The CW!

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