Recap / Supernatural S 07 E 21 Reading Is Fundamental

Recap of Supernatural
Season 7, Episode 21

Reading is Fundamental

Written by Ben Edlund.

Directed by Ben Edlund.

Air Date: May 4, 2012.

When breaking open the clay block they stole from Dick Roman, Sam and Dean create a storm, which causes strange incidents across the country. Inside, they find a tablet engraved with mysterious writing. Meg calls to inform them that Castiel has awakened, and they head to Indiana to visit him. Upon arrival, they discover that their friend is a little...different than he was before.

Meanwhile, the storm caused by opening the tablet strikes teenager Kevin Tran with lightning. Soon after, he is driven to travel across the country to retrieve the tablet.

Body Count:

For this episode = 3 angels, 2 demons, and 5 humans.

For the series so far = At least 807 humans (of which 6 were witches), 99 demons, 58 angels, 47 ghosts, 36 Jefferson Starships, 26 vampires, 19 zombies, 15 gods, 9 hellhounds, 7 skinwalkers, 6 changelings, 5 shapeshifters, 4 ghouls, 3 djinn, 3 dogs, 3 Leviathan, 2 Amazons, 2 arachnes, 2 kitsunes, 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 shojo, 1 shtriga, 1 siren, 1 wendigo, 1 whore of Babylon, and 1 wraith.


  • Asian and Nerdy: Kevin Tran. Channing as well, though not quite to the same level.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Dean wonders if Angels can really understand guilt.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: Meg drops Crowley's "Hello, boys."
  • Broken Angel: Name-dropped in reference to Castiel, who's currently not all there in the sanity department:
    Sam: What are you gonna do with a broken angel?
  • Call Back: Hester brings up the events of "Meet the New Boss" and "Lazarus Rising".
  • The Chosen One: Kevin, and he is not happy about it. Dean sympathizes.
    Dean: You've been chosen. And it sucks.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Castiel. He's almost like his Bad Future self, only without the nihilism and sex (so far).
    "Did you know that a cat's penis is sharply barbed along its shaft? I know for a fact the females were not consulted about that."
    "I'm surrounded by large, unhappy dogs. [...] You know, those racing dogs were absolutely miserable. They can only think in ovals."
  • Curiosity Is a Crapshoot: Thunder rumbles ominously as Dean tries to break through the block of clay they stole from Dick Roman in order to see what's inside.
    Dean: That sound like somebody saying "No, wait—stop!" to you?
    Sam: Uh, yeah... yeah
    Dean: Yeah. [shrugs] Oh, well.[Strikes clay again]
  • Dramatic Thunder: Lampshaded.
    Dean: That sound like someone saying "no, wait, stop" to you?
  • Double Entendre
    Dean: Alright, so Big-Daddy chomper gets here, and lands himself some Dick...
  • Easily Forgiven: Averted
    • A member of his former garrison is glad to see Castiel, and tries to stop Hester from killing him, pointing out there's so few Angels left now. Hester however is driven to fury and tries to stab Cas with an Angelblade.
    • Even Dean gets annoyed with Cas during the game of Sorry, sweeping the board game off the table. "You're not sorry, you're playing at being sorry."
    • Dean still isn't willing to trust Meg.
  • Enemy Mine: Meg, again.
  • Flat "What."
  • Foreshadowing: Channing's line to Kevin about how "no matter what, one day, college isn't going to matter anymore."
  • Florence Nightingale Effect: When Dean refuses to cooperate with Meg, she threatens to use her relationship with Castiel to her advantage, saying he's more bonded to her now.
  • Freak Out: Kevin - what with mystic tablets, angels teleporting, Meg's Black Eyes of Evil and Dean's serial killer basement.
  • From Bad to Worse: Kevin has finally accepted the angels protection, only for a Leviathan to kill them and abduct Kevin and his mother.
  • Have You Told Anyone Else?: It helps when you know demons suffer from Chronic Backstabbing Disorder.
  • Hyperventilation Bag: Kevin is taking everything relatively well.
  • I'm Not A Nurse, But I Play One On TV: Meg name-drops the trope:
    Meg: Hey, Seacrest, guess what—not a nurse. Just playin' one on TV.
  • In the Back: How Meg takes down Hester.
    Meg: What? Someone had to.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: Meg pulls this on a pair of Crowley's demons.
  • Ironic Echo: Castiel's "pull my finger" joke.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: "Crowley isn't the problem this year."
    • Dean asks what was wrong with Cas when Meg calls...
    Meg: Hey, Seacrest! Guess what? Not a nurse! Just playin' one on TV
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: To be fair, it was of Heavenly origin.
  • Mundane Utility: Castiel uses his powers to track honey bees and instantly set up his boardgame.
  • Never Live It Down: Ruby for Sam, In-Universe. "A demon whore, and a Winchester. Again."
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Following on from the above:
    Hester: Kill the demon, and her lover.
    Meg: [dazed from getting thrown into a wall] That's not how it—we're not—
  • Ship Tease: Meg and Castiel, almost veering into Will They or Won't They? territory.
    Castiel: Will you look at her? My caretaker. All of that thorny pain. So beautiful.
    Meg: We've been over this. I don't like poetry. Put up or shut up.
  • Shout-Out:
    • A long one to the Transformers:
      Castiel: This is the handwriting of Metatron.
      Sam: Metatron? You saying a Transformer wrote that?
      Dean: No. That's Megatron.
      Sam: What?
      Dean: The Transformer—it's Megatron.
    • Meg references Ryan Seacrest and calls Sam "Bullwinkle".
  • Tsundere:
    Castiel: Meg, are you hurt?
    Meg: Shut up.
  • Suicidal Pacifism: Castiel refuses to get involved in the conflict on the side of the Angels or the Winchesters but the two sides are basically fighting to the death over problems that stemmed directly from Castiel's actions earlier in the season. While the Winchesters are merely upset at Castiel, the angels (and the demons) actively want to kill Castiel who prefers to settle their differences with rambling speeches.
  • Weirdness Magnet: Discussed: "If anyone was to recover the Word from the Vault of the would be you two."
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Hester brings up how Castiel killed a bunch of angels, gave a threatening speech, then disappeared. "What was all that about?" When Dean tries to argue that they're all on the same side, Hester rounds on Dean, accusing him of having corrupted Castiel from the moment he pulled Dean out of Hell.
  • You're Insane!: Hester's response to Castiel's rambling.