Recap / Supernatural S 07 E 17 The Born Again Identity

Recap of Supernatural
Season 7, Episode 17

The Born-Again Identity

Written by Sera Gamble.

Directed by Robert Singer.

Air Date: March 23, 2012.

When Sam's coping skills stop working, Lucifer drives him to the brink, forcing Sam into a mental hospital. Fearing for his brother's life, Dean takes matters into his own hands, calling upon every hunter he knows. He receives the name of a healer from one hunter, only to find a familiar face waiting for him.

Body Count:

For this episode = 8 humans, 8 demons, and 1 ghost.

For the series so far = At least 793 humans (of which 6 were witches), 97 demons, 55 angels, 37 ghosts, 36 Jefferson Starships, 26 vampires, 19 zombies, 15 gods, 9 hellhounds, 7 skinwalkers, 6 changelings, 5 shapeshifters, 4 ghouls, 3 djinn, 3 dogs, 2 Amazons, 2 arachnes, 2 kitsunes, 2 Leviathan, 2 vetalas, 2 werewolves, 1 crocotta, 1 dragon, 1 fairy, 1 Khan worm, 1 lamia, the Mother of All, 1 okami, 1 phoenix, 1 Purgatory creature, 1 rakshasa, 1 rawhead, 1 reaper, 1 rugaru, 1 shtriga, 1 siren, 1 wendigo, 1 whore of Babylon, and 1 wraith.

Tropes

  • The Atoner: Cass, after he gets his memory back. Dean suggests that may be why he's still alive, too.
  • All-Natural Snake Oil: Discussed in reference to faith healers.
  • Awesome Music: The instrumental intro of "Turn Into Earth" by The Yardbirds plays during Castiel's He's Back moment.
  • Back from the Dead: Castiel. Though he probably wasn't totally dead in the first place.
  • Bandage Babe: Marin.
  • Big "OMG!": Averted; Castiel says "Oh gracious", as befits someone who doesn't want to take the Lord's name in vain.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Cas is back and cures Sam but at the cost of Castiel's own sanity.
  • Blood Magic: Marin's brother bled on the bracelet he made for her, binding his ghost to it. Sam burns the bracelet to banish the ghost.
  • Call-Back:
    • The last faith healer the brothers saw had a Reaper on a leash.
    • Lucifer points out that Sam never had to sleep when he was soulless.
  • Chastity Couple: Given that Castiel doesn't have sex until Season 9, his marriage with Daphne is assumed to be this.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Dean reminds the demon that Crowley has issued a "hands off" order on the Winchesters. The demon isn't impressed, as Crowley would regard getting his hands on a genuine faith healer as more important.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Even while being driven to insanity and death, Sam still does his job and helps another inmate with her angry ghost.
    • Likewise, Amnesiac!Castiel is compelled to walk the Earth healing people.
  • Completely Missing the Point: Cas, as usual.
    Meg: You're an angel.
    Castiel: I'm sorry, is that a flirtation?
  • The Confidant: Dean to Cas, regarding Cas!
  • Conveniently Timed Attack from Behind: Dean is attacked by demons in a service station. One gets stabbed from behind and Dean assumes it's Emmanuel. It's Meg.
  • Death Seeker: Sam just wants his torment to end.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Rather than act For the Evulz, Meg has deliberately chosen either a master to serve (Lucifer), or an enemy to hate (Crowley). "You find a cause and you stick with it."
  • Does Not Understand Sarcasm: Cas as usual, even when he thinks he's human.
  • The Dreaded: Castiel has a look of terror when he sees Hallucifer in his head.
  • Easy Amnesia: Well, the character got it by nearly dying, but the recovery is fairly simple.
  • Easily Forgiven: Averted; Dean admits he finds it hard to put Cas hurting Sam behind him like he normally would. Cas finds it hard to forgive himself, even when Dean is willing if he just cures Sam.
  • Electric Torture: Administered by a nurse-demon using electro-shock.
  • Enemy Mine: Dean and Meg. Meg is helping the Winchesters because she hates Crowley, but with him being King of Hell, she's running out of allies. The Winchester have to leave her to take care of Castiel because everyone else is chasing them.
    Sam: Look, Dean, this whole "enemy of my enemy is my friend" thing feels kind of like a demon deal.
    Dean: It's not a deal. It's—
    Sam: It's what?
    Dean: Mutually assured destruction. Look, man, I get it. She's not our friend. We don't even have friends. All our friends are dead.
  • Fascinating Eyebrow: Meg lets her eyebrow do half the talking.
  • Feedback Rule: Loudhailer Lucifer
  • Feet-First Introduction:
    • The dead demon does a Staircase Tumble right up to the legs of...Cas?
    • Sam running in the opening sequence.
  • Foreshadowing: A personal item allows a ghost to exist even if their body was cremated. This becomes significant in the next episode.
  • Flashback: Of the mid-battle variety when Castiel takes out the demons guarding the hospital and regains his memory in the process.
  • Flash Step: A demon turns to flee from Castiel only to find he's somehow in front of him.
    Castiel: I don't think running will save you. (smites him)
  • Fourth Date Marriage: Emmanuel can't have known Daphne for more than a few months before getting married to her.
  • Ghostly Chill: What confirms Sam's suspicions that Marin isn't (totally) crazy, but instead is haunted by the ghost of her brother. She tells him that she feels cold when she hears her brother's voice.
  • Ghostly Goals: Marin's brother wants them to be Together in Death.
  • Glamour Failure: Castiel can see the Nightmare Face of a demon. Which freaks him out when he has to ride with Meg.
  • He's Back: Castiel. Temporarily.
    Meg: That's my boy.
  • Hope Spot: Castiel will fix Sam, right? Turns out there's nothing to fix.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: Sam has a hallucination of eating maggots.
  • Iconic Item: Dean returns Castiel's trenchcoat.
  • Identity Amnesia: Emmanuel/Castiel.
  • In Mysterious Ways: Not only Castiel's resurrection, but possibly him meeting his wife Daphne as well.
    "A few months back she was out hiking in the woods and I wandered into her path, drenched and confused and...unclothed. She said God wanted her to find me."
  • I Resemble That Remark!: When Hallucifer at one point is flipping through the DSM-IV(Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the guidebook used by the American Pyschiatric Association for categorizing mental illnesses).
    Lucifer: "Narcissistic personality disorder". Now this one, I could have. "Sets unrealistic goals"...check.
  • Literal-Minded: Emmanuel/Castiel.
    Emmanuel/Castiel: But I don't remember how to smite demons.
    Dean: It's in there. I'm sure it's just like riding a bike.
    Emmanuel/Castiel: I don't know how to do that, either.
  • Look Both Ways: Justified as Sam isn't watching where he's running.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Once again a convenient gust of wind exposes just the right page in Bobby's notes.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • "Emmanuel", which means "God is with us".
    • But not "Nurse Masters", the name Meg chooses when enrolling as Castiel's nurse. It's based on her name back in the first season, Meg Masters.
  • Messianic Archetype: Castiel was baptized in a rivernote , spent a year walking the Earthnote  under the name Emanuelnote , then sacrifices himself to save an innocent. Just so you don't miss it all, look at the title of the episode.
  • Must Make Amends
  • Mutually Assured Destruction: The reason Dean says the brothers can trust demon Meg to watch over angel ally, Cas. Wanted by demonic forces, she can't reveal Cas's continued existence without revealing that she's been working with the Winchesters.
  • Never Found the Body: Castiel didn't actually die.
  • Not Quite Dead
    Demon: I know you...you're dead!
    Castiel: So I've heard. (smites him)
  • One-Man Army: Cas smites his way through every demon staking out the hospital.
  • Put on a Bus: Cas, after having just gotten back.
  • Reveal Shot/Wham Shot: Emmanuel is revealed to be Cas.
  • Sealed Good in a Can: After Castiel takes Sam's hallucinations upon himself, the brothers have to leave him in the psychiatric hospital, and Meg joins the staff there.
  • Shout-Out: The episode title is a reference to The Bourne Identity.
  • The Insomniac/The Sleepless: Due to his constant hallucinations, Sam hasn't slept in days.
  • Sarcasm Mode: Dean vs. Meg.
  • Spot the Imposter: A man claiming to be Emmanuel greets Dean at the door, but Dean looks in the window and sees a woman Bound and Gagged in the living room. Cue Black Eyes of Evil from the supposed faith healer.
  • Tainted Veins / Red Eyes, Take Warning: Castiel transferring Sam's madness to himself.
  • Throwing Off the Disability: One of the demons is pretending to be a wheelchair-bound patient. He gets to his feet with a determined look when Castiel starts smiting. Cas takes him out just as easily as the others.
  • Twisted Echo Cut: Hallucifer does this In-Universe.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: What happened to Daphne, Castiel's 'wife'?
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