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Recap / Supernatural S 09 E 01 I Think Im Gonna Like It Here

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Recap of Supernatural
Season 9, Episode 01:

I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here
Okay, listen up. This one goes out to any angel with their ears on. This is Dean Winchester, and I need your help.

"You're trying to tell me that my brother's life is in God's hands? What, is that supposed to be a comfort? God has nothing to do with this equation at all."
Dean to doctor

Written by Jeremy Carver.

Directed by John Showalter.

Airdate: October 8, 2013.

Dean is sitting by Sam's bedside at Linwood Memorial Hospital in Randolph, New York, as Sam lies unconscious due to the trials. When the doctor explains that Sam is dying, a desperate Dean prays for help from any nearby angel, but most of the recently exiled angels are not disposed to help the Winchesters. Castiel finds himself in Longmont, Colorado, and struggles with his new circumstances.

The Road So Far plays to "Who do you love?" by George Thorogood and the Destroyers. Charlie reminds us that there is pretty much nothing the Winchesters can't do if they work together. Various scenes of shooting, beheading, and using a demon bomb. Kevin says "I figured out how to close the gates of Hell." Scenes of trying to complete the three trials are followed by friends and foes from season 8. Then we see the effects of the trials on Sam and the Men of Letters bunker. Metatron tells Castiel that Heaven needs his help. Naomi says hello to Castiel. Castiel is shown beating Dean and protecting the angel tablet. Crowley says, "I deserve to be loved." The events of "Sacrifice" (S08, E23) play out, including the attempt to cure Crowley, Abaddon being burnt with holy oil, Naomi's death, Metatron's theft of Castiel's Grace, Dean stopping Sam from closing the gates of Hell, and the shower of falling angels.

NOW Dean and Sam are driving down a road in the Impala. Dean explains to Sam that Sam is dying. The scene changes to show Sam in a hospital bed with Dean sitting beside him.

The Teaser ends with a burst, and the Title Sequence plays, with burning wings and a high-pitched whine.

Dr. Lewis reviews Sam's injuries with Dean. He explains that Sam is in a coma, and that he expects Sam will die. Seeing no other option, Dean enters the hospital chapel and prays to Castiel. After no answer, a desperate Dean sends out an open prayer asking for help from any angel. A man eating breakfast with his family, another man getting off a bus, and a farmer in his field all hear Dean's prayer, stop what they are doing, and leave.

Dean and Sam are back in the Impala, and Dean is explaining to Sam that they are not really in this car but instead are in Sam's mind. Sam realizes that this Dean represents the part of Sam who does not want to die, but when this Dean cannot come up with a plan for fighting death, Sam questions whether he should fight death. Bobby Singer appears in the back of the Impala and agrees that Sam has a point about accepting death.

Castiel is walking along a road in a forest in Colorado. He hears a high-pitched whine followed by many voices talking as a pickup truck drives up the road. Castiel has to leap to the side to avoid being hit by the truck. Castiel scrapes the palm of his hand when he lands on the side of the road and is surprised to feel pain. The driver gets out of the truck and asks Castiel if he is okay. Castiel answers honestly that he heard angels, and the driver believes Castiel is ill and offers him a lift.

Back in the Impala of Sam's mind, Dean and Bobby continue to argue until a frustrated Bobby teleports Sam and himself to a forest where they can talk without Dean.

The pickup truck pulls up beside Longs Peak Service Station to let Castiel out. The driver gives Castiel some cash for the phone and a sandwich, and Castiel races over to the pay phone, which is currently being used by a large biker. Castiel tells the biker to hang up because it is an emergency. When the biker refuses to do so, Castiel taps the biker on the head with 2 fingers and seems perplexed that this has no effect. The biker tells Castiel that he is going to finish his call and then stab Castiel. As Castiel walks away, a young woman call out to Castiel. She is Hael, an angel who recognizes Castiel.

A grief counselor, Kim Schortz, enters Sam's room to talk to Dean, and Dean mistakes her for an angel. The counselor tries to make Dean accept Sam's death, but only makes Dean realize that if no angels are responding to his prayer he better find a new plan. Dean goes out to the parking lot planning to make a deal with Crowley, the King of Hell, who is stashed in the trunk of the Impala after Sam's attempt to cure him. Before Dean opens the trunk, the angel who had been eating breakfast with his family appears behind Dean with his blade at Dean's throat. When Dean will not tell the angel where Castiel is, the angel starts slamming Dean's head against the trunk of the Impala. The angel who was getting off the bus appears and catches the other angel's arm before he can stab Dean with the angel blade arguing angels should show compassion. The two angels fight, but the angel who had defended Dean is getting beaten pretty soundly, as he was injured during the fall. Dean stabs and kills the angel who attacked him with the dropped angel blade. Dean asks the angel who helped him who he is, but before he can answer the bloodied angel passes out.

Castiel sits with Hael next to the gas pump, and she realizes Castiel has lost his Grace. Hael is upset about losing the order and purpose of Heaven, but Castiel tells her she should take the opportunity to explore free will and asks her what she wants to do. Hael thinks about this, and says she would like to visit a grand canyon she built when she was last on earth. Castiel agrees to go with her to the Grand Canyon.

When the injured angel wakes up, he finds Dean has encircled him in burning holy oil. He says that his name is Ezekiel and that he believes in Castiel and the Winchesters. Ezekiel offers to help Dean.

Sam and Bobby are walking through a forest in Sam's mind. Bobby argues that Sam has already done so much and should be proud of his legacy. Bobby says Sam needs to stop fighting.

Ezekiel puts his hand on Sam's chest trying to heal him, but says Sam is very weak. Dean's cell phone rings, and he steps out to talk to Castiel. Castiel tells Dean that Metatron tricked him, and Dean tells Castiel that Sam is dying. When Dean asks why Castiel did not answer his prayers, Castiel tells Dean Metatron took his Grace. Castiel also tells Dean that Ezekiel is a good soldier and should be able to look after them until Castiel can arrive in a few days. Dean tells Castiel it is too dangerous to come and tells him to go to the bunker. The hospital starts to shake as an angel without a vessel circles above. Dean hangs up and goes back to Sam's room. Ezekiel says they have to leave, but Dean says Sam will die if they move him. Instead Dean covers the walls of the hospital room with wards to protect against angels. When more angels arrive, Dean tells Ezekiel to save Sam and not let anyone in the room but himself. Dean walks into the hallway as the windows of the hospital break. Dean pulls the fire alarm ordering everyone out of the hospital.

Castiel explains to Hael that he needs to go see his friends alone. She begs Castiel to help her, but Castiel says she can do this herself. When Castiel turns away, Hael hits him on the head with a wooden plank and knocks him out. Castiel wakes up in the passenger seat of Hael's car. Hael is driving with her angel sword in her lap. She explains that she would be lost without Castiel. Her current vessel will not contain her much longer, and she wants to possess Castiel.

The grief counselor, Kim Schortz, is lying on the ground covered in glass. Dean helps her up. He sees the farmer who is possessed by an angel walking towards them with his angel sword out. Dean raises his own angel sword and tells Kim to get behind him. She punches him, turns him around, and lifts Dean off the ground by his neck.

In Sam's mind, Bobby tells him everything he needs is in the cabin that is ahead of them on the trail in the forest. Then Bobby is stabbed in the back by Dean. Bobby collapses, and his body disappears. This time when Sam asks Dean what his plan is, Dean punches Sam and says his plan is to fight. But Sam taps Dean on the cheek and says he is sorry, but he wants to die. Dean fades into nothing, and Sam walks toward the cabin. A figure is standing in front of the fireplace. The figure turns around, and it is Death who says he has been waiting for Sam.

The 2 angels drag a bloodied Dean down the hallway of the hospital. The angel possessing Kim says she will skin Sam in front of Dean unless he tells them where Castiel is. The demon possessing the farmer breaks a glass case and removes a fire axe he uses to start breaking down the door to Sam's room. Dean says he will tell them where Castiel is, if they answer a question. He asks the angels, "If Heaven is locked, then where do you go when I do this?" He then slams his palm on an angel banishing sigil drawn in his own blood on the floor, and the 2 angels disappear in a flash of light.

Dean enters Sam's room and finds the telemetry alarms sounding. Ezekiel says it too late and there are no good options for healing Sam. Dean demands to know what the bad options are. When Ezekiel suggest he may be able to heal Sam if he possesses him, Dean refuses knowing Sam would rather die. However, when Ezekiel starts to leave so that Dean can be alone with Sam before he dies, Dean reconsiders and asks Ezekiel to show him how far gone Sam is. Ezekiel places one hand on Sam's head and the other hand on Dean's head. Dean sees Sam talking to Death in Sam's mind. Sam asks Death if he can promise that Sam's death will be final with no way to revoke it, and Death says he can do that. Dean emerges realizing Sam does not have much time.

Castiel notices that Hael is not wearing her seat belt. He fastens his own seat belt, and then grabs the steering wheel causing the car to crash against a cement blockade. Hael is thrown through the windshield. She is lying beside the road covered in blood and glass with her legs bent at sickening angles, clearly broken. Castiel gets out of the car and picks up the angel sword. Castiel tells her he does want to hurt and will devote himself to helping her and the other fallen angels. Hael says the angels do not want his help, but want him dead. She proposes that together she can protect him and threatens that if Castiel does not say yes to allowing her to possess him, she will tell all the other angels where he is through angel radio. Castiel plunges the angel sword through her chest and kills Hael.

Dean is now willing to consider Ezekiel's plan, and Ezekiel explains he would heal Sam as he heals himself and then leave. However, Dean knows Sam would never say yes to Ezekiel. Ezekiel suggests Sam would say yes to Dean. Back in Sam's mind Sam is walking away with Death, when Dean appears and says he has a plan. Dean begs him to let him in and let him help. At Dean's insistence, Sam finally says yes. Dean then reaches out to Sam as he transforms into Ezekiel with glowing blue eyes, and the room is flooded in white light with a high pitched whine. Dean and Ezekiel in Sam's body take off leaving Ezekiel's former vessel in a confused state in the hospital room. Ezekiel says he can erase Sam's memories of the hospital and dying, but that Sam cannot know about his presence inside Sam. Dean objects saying this is too big, but Ezekiel explains that if Sam does not accept this he can eject Ezekiel in his weakened state and Sam would die. Dean agrees to keep this secret from Sam while Ezekiel heals Sam.

Castiel walks into a laundromat, and takes off his blood stained suit and trench coat. He puts his clothes in a washing machine and stands in his white boxers. As he starts to put his quarters in the machine, he looks over to a vending machine and a basket of clothes. We see him leaving the laundromat in clothes stolen from the laundry basket and a bottle of water. His suit and trench coat are left behind.

Sam wakes up in the Impala as Dean is driving through the night. Sam does not remember anything since the angels fell when they were at the church a day ago. Dean tells Sam he knew he would pull through and that he believes Sam is capable of anything. Sam reminds Dean they have work to do.

Non-trope items:

Body Count:

For this episode = 2 humans and 2 angels.

For the series so far = At least 1064 angels, 910 humans (of which 7 were witches), 132 demons, 50 vampires, 48 ghosts, 36 Jefferson Starships, 20 gods, 19 zombies, 10 hellhounds, 7 skinwalkers, 6 changelings, 5 djinn, 5 shapeshifters, 5 werewolves, 4 ghouls, 4 Leviathan, 3 dogs, 2 Amazons, 2 arachnes, 2 kitsunes, 2 reapers, 2 rugarus, 2 Thule, 2 vetalas, 1 crocotta, 1 dragon, 1 fairy, 1 familiar, 1 Khan worm, 1 lamia, the Mother of All, 1 okami, 1 phoenix, 1 Purgatory creature, 1 rakshasa, 1 rawhead, 1 shojo, 1 shtriga, 1 siren, 1 Titan, 1 wendigo, 1 whore of Babylon, and 1 wraith.


  • Adventures In Coma Land: Sam's struggle between fighting to live and accepting death is portrayed through an argument between versions of Dean and Bobby and eventually Death in Sam's mind.
    Dean in Sam's mind: You understand that we're not really in this car right now. We are in your head, and you're in a coma and are dying.
  • An Aesop: Wear your seat belt.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Dean has the Idiot Ball this episode.
    • Dean was once again ready to make a deal with anyone to save Sam, despite knowing how his prior deal led to breaking the first seal and the Apocalypse. Lampshaded by Bobby.
      Bobby in Sam's mind: Oh, you mean like the way one of you idjits does some bass-ackwards crazy thing to beat death, like sell your soul?
    • Dean is also fairly easily convinced to keep a major secret from Sam, despite how secrets between the brothers have backfired in the past and Dean's own anger at Sam for keeping the secret of drinking demon blood in season 4 or returning from the pit without a soul in season 6.
  • Affectionate Gesture to the Head: In Sam's mind, Sam pats Dean on the cheek when he tells Dean it is okay and he wants to die.
  • All Bikers are Hells Angels: The biker on the pay phone has a navy bandanna tied around his head, a beard, and is wearing a t-shirt showing a skeleton and a vest with embroidered patches. Instead of actual gang symbols, one patch with wings says "Biker Hardcore Baby" and another patch with wings says "Live to Bike".
  • Always Save Sam: Dean's priorities are clear. Sam is more important than everything else.
    Dean in Sam's mind: Angels aren't our problem right now, okay? Or demons, or Metatron, or whatever the hell happened to Cas.
  • Antiquated Linguistics: Ezekiel tends to use old fashioned sounding words like "entangling" and quaint phrasing like "did me no favors" which goes well with Tahmoh Penikett's soft spoken Yukon accent. Jared Padalecki copies this when he also plays Ezekiel.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: In Sam's mind, Dean is the will to fight, Bobby is acceptance, and Death is death.
  • Artistic License – Medicine:
    • When the doctor talks to Dean, Dean is looking at an MRI of a brain and an MRI of a knee hanging on the lightbox. An MRI of the brain may help determine the cause of a coma, but it is hard to understand why an MRI of the knee would be performed on a patient who is in a coma. An x-ray of an injured limb would be performed to evaluate for fracture, especially if fat embolism is suspected as a cause for coma.
    • Inhaling very hot gas or swallowing a chemical could result in internal burns without external burns, and this likely would cause damage which could be seen on an MRI. However without a history suggesting this type of injury, there would be no indication to perform an MRI of the body, and it is doubtful that a burn injury could be distinguished from other more likely conditions causing damage and inflammation, like infection.
      Dr. Lewis: The MRI shows massive internal burns affecting many of the major organs.
    • Sam has a single IV, blood pressure cuff, cardiac telemetry, and a nasal cannula for oxygen. A comatose patient is typically on a ventilator and has a nasogastric tube and a foley catheter. Cooling devices which induce hypothermia are used to treat oxygen deprivation to the brain. Many patients also have EEG and ICP monitoring and central lines.
    • We never see a nurse or nursing aid in Sam's room despite the fact that he is critically ill.
    • The grief counselor says she know how to read an EEG. In Real Life it would be highly unlikely for a counselor to read EEG recordings. Even most physicians do not know how to read EEG recordings. Usually only neurologists with training in this area read EEG recordings.
    • Whiteboards in patient rooms follow certain templates to improve communication often including the day and date, provider names, and goal for the day. It would be unusual to see "Check vital signs every hour" such as appears scrawled on the board in Sam's room.
    • When the alarms on the monitor sound, Sam's heart rate is 149, blood pressure is 191/137, oxygen saturation is 95%, respiratory rate is 25, and the temperature is 98.6. The problem with this is without a pulse oximeter, central line, foley catheter, or esophageal/rectal thermometer probe, it is unclear how the oxygen saturation, respiratory rate, and temperature were being monitored.
  • The Atoner: Castiel wants to help the fallen angels, but they don't want his help.
    Castiel: I didn't want to hurt any of them. I want to help you. I will devote my life to helping you all.
    Hael: Do you know how ridiculous you sound? Help angels? After what you did? They don't want your help, Castiel. They want your head.
  • Bad Vibrations: The rippling saline in the IV bag, when the angel looking for a vessel arrives at the hospital.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: Dean pulls the fire alarm and tells everyone to get out of the hospital when the angels arrive.
  • Beard of Evil: Subverted Trope, when the pickup driver with the goatee turns out to be a very nice guy.
  • Beard of Sorrow: Sam has heavy stubble to emphasize the toll of the trials. Dean is also sporting more stubble than normal.
  • Been There, Shaped History: Hael built the Grand Canyon.
    Hael: There's a place. I built it when I was last here—many years ago. A grand canyon.
    Castiel: The Grand Canyon, yes.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Hael, who is sometimes called the angel of kindness, turns out to have an agenda.
  • Bland-Name Product: A vending machine contains items such as BigCatnote  chocolate bars and Whizzersnote .
  • Blood from the Mouth: Ezekiel after the fight with the other angel. Sam in his mind after Dean punches him. Dean after the two angels in the hospital beat him up.
  • Body Surf: Hael's vessel will not contain her, and she wants Castiel's body for a vessel. Ezekiel moves from his original vessel to Sam.
    Hael: We're going to become more than just friends, Castiel. We're going to become one.
  • Book Ends: The teaser opens with Sam and Dean driving through the night in the Impala. The final scene is the same, but the opening scene was not real and only happened in Sam's mind.
  • Brand X: The Longs Peak Service Station has a picture of a bear surrounded by the words "Gas" and "Oil" on the pumps. The signs are decorated with pictures of bears and pine trees, and there are hubcaps and antlers on the side of the building.
  • Broken Angel: Ezekiel is weak and claims to have been injured in the fall.
  • Brought Down to Normal/Humanity Ensues: Castiel explores what it means to be human.
    Pickup truck driver: How about a lift, hmm?
    Castiel: Yes. Good. I would fly, but I—I have no wings, not anymore.
  • The Bus Came Back: It is nice to see both Bobby and Death.
  • Can't You Read the Sign?:
    • The Longs Peak Service Station has a sign up saying "Live Bait". Castiel did not realize this applies to him and the Winchesters.
    • The laundromat has a sign which says, "Please take care of your laundry. We are not responsible for damaged or lost clothes". One wonders if the owner of the clothes Castiel steals read the sign.
  • Car Fu: After seeing Hael is not wearing her seat belt, Castiel fastens his own seat belt and grabs the steering wheel causing the car to crash.
  • Cassandra Truth: Castiel answers the pickup driver honestly, making no effort to maintain the masquerade, but the driver thinks Castiel is suffering from dehydration or mental illness.
  • Casual Danger Dialog:
    Dean: Anyone ever tell you you hit like an angel?
  • Catchphrase: Dean calls Crowley a "son of a bitch". Bobby calls Sam and Dean "idjits".
  • Cell Phones Are Useless: The pickup truck driver tells Castiel there is "no signal up here".
  • Chekhov's Gag: Dean asks the grief counselor, Kim Schortz, if she is an angel when she first enters Sam's room. Later, when Dean tries to help her up, she attacks him as she has been possessed by an angel.
  • Christmas Creep: The fence next to the driveway at address 28525 across from Longs Peak Service Station is covered in Christmas lights.
  • Clothing Damage: Now that Castiel can't fix his clothes with angel mojo, he enters a Laundromat to wash his bloodied clothing. Of course, since he has only one set of clothes, this involves a stripping scene.
  • Coincidental Broadcast: The television in Sam's hospital room shows an image of streaks of light falling through the sky in different locations and has a banner reading "Global Meteor Shower" with the tag KSFZ Channel 19 News.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Dean when Ezekiel proposes possessing Sam.
    Ezekiel: I cannot promise, but there is a chance I can fix your brother from the inside.
    Dean: From the inside. So, what, you gonna open him up?
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Convenient Coma:
    • Dr. Lewis says the coma is a protection mechanism, but then goes on to say that the continued trajectory is death.
    • Coma also appears to be confounded with brain death with the doctor suggesting the machines will keep him alive, but Sam will technically be dead. The problem with that is that Sam is not attached to any machines that are keeping him alive. He is breathing on his own. So he is not brain dead, and it is unclear what generates the pessimism expressed by the hospital staff.
  • Conveniently Timed Attack from Behind: Ezekiel is being beaten by the other angel when Dean stabs the other angel in the back.
  • Converse with the Unconscious
  • Couldn't Find a Pen: Dean uses his own blood to draw the angel-banishing sigil. Justified, since the sigil has to be drawn in human blood.
  • Country Mouse: One angel took a farmer as a vessel. He gets on his tractor and drives away when he hears Dean's prayer,.
  • Dead Person Conversation: The Bobby in Sam's mind is able to speak about death from experience.
    Bobby in Sam's mind: Excuse me. Are you dead? Because I am, and maybe I'm here because I'm the part of Sam that actually knows what the hell he's talking about.
  • De-power: Castiel expects to easily be able to deal with the burly biker, but no longer has his angelic ability.
    Castiel: This is an emergency. I don't want to hurt you.
    Biker: [on phone] Hold on, hon. [to Castiel] Sure you do. Hurt me.
    Castiel: I'm sorry. [puts two fingers on the biker's forehead. When nothing happens, he looks perplexed and slaps his whole palm against the biker's forehead]
    Biker: [slaps Castiel's hand away] I'm gonna finish this call. Then I'm gonna stab you.
  • Description Cut: In the Impala of Sam's mind, Dean explains that he is in the front seat and Bobby is in the back seat because Sam agrees with Dean. Then the close up on Dean switches to a wide shot of the Impala showing Bobby crammed in between Sam and Dean in the front seat.
    Dean in Sam's mind: Well, I'm in the front seat because Sam put me here because he wants to fight. Right?
    Bobby in Sam's mind: [appears in between Sam and Dean] Well...that just got real uncomfortable.
  • Deus Ax Machina: Of course the hospital has a large fire ax behind glass.
  • Disgusting Public Toilet: There is a sign at Longs Peak Service Station that says "No Public Washroom", but there is a Porta-Potty, which is labeled "For Customers Only".
  • Do Not Go Gentle: Dean's argument both in the real world and in Sam's mind.
    Dean in Sam's mind: Just because you're dying doesn't mean you're dead, not yet, okay? We have jimmied ourselves out of worse. We're gonna fight this. I got the plan, you just need to hang on.
  • Don't Fear the Reaper: Death is quite complimentary and agreeable.
    Death: I try so hard not to pass judgment at times like this—not my bag, you see, but you...well played, my boy.
  • Double-Meaning Title: May refer to Sam's acceptance of death, the opportunity for the fallen angels to explore earth and free will, or Ezekiel's possession of Sam.
  • Dramatic Shattering: When the angels start descending on the hospital, their voice shatters all the windows.
  • Dream Sue: In Sam's mind he gets an awful lot of praise from Bobby and even Death.
    Death: I consider it to be quite the honor to be collecting the likes of Sam Winchester.
    • Although, since a reaper appeared in Bobby's coma dream as well, Death is quite likely to be real and not just part of the dream.
  • Driver Faces Passenger: Dean still gives Sam plenty of eye contact while driving, even when it is in Sam's mind. Hael also seems to spend more time looking at Castiel than the road.
  • Easily Forgiven: Dean seems to have forgiven Castiel for taking off with the angel tablet and the fallout from this. Dean has moved on from his position in "Clip Show" (S08, E22).
    Dean: [praying] Cas, you there? Sammy's hurt—he's hurt pretty bad. And I know that you think that I am pissed at you. But I don't care that the angels fell. So whatever you did, or didn't do, we'll work it out. Please man, I need you here.
  • Eating Optional: One of the angelic traits Castiel has lost.
    Pickup truck driver: How about we get you some water, hmm?
    Castiel: I, uh, I don't drink water.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: Dean tells Castiel to get to the Men of Letters' bunker.
  • Eldritch Abomination/Energy Beings: Many of the exiled angels are still in their true forms as they have not been able to find a vessel.
    Hael: Then you've heard them—our brothers and sisters, many still circling for vessels, most afraid.
  • Enemy Within: Ezekiel convinces Dean that they cannot tell Sam about the possession because Sam would eject Ezekiel and die.
  • Episode Title Card: The new title card shows a pair of wings bursting into flame.
  • Establishing Shot: The close-up on Sam's face with his eyes closed that pulls back to show Dean at his bedside and a hospital room in the teaser.
  • Face Framed in Shadow: Sam and Dean in the Impala driving through the rainy night.
  • Face-Revealing Turn: In Sam's mind, when he enters the cabin he sees a tall thin man in a black suit. The figure turns around and we see it's Death.
    Death: Hello, Sam. I've been waiting for you.
  • Fake Action Prologue: The teaser starts with Sam and Dean racing along in the Impala, only it's all in Sam's head.
  • Fake Shemp: Instead of showing or hearing Crowley, Dean just has him knock on the roof of the trunk. This allows a reminder of Crowley's story line without having to have Mark Sheppard in the episode.
  • Fallen Angel: Castiel has lost his Grace, and all the angels are cut off from Heaven.
    Castiel: You're an angel.
    Hael: Am I? What's an angel without its wings?
  • The Farmer and the Viper: Castiel wants to help the other angels, but most want to kill him. He makes the mistake of trusting Hael and she betrays him, so he's forced to kill her.
  • Fanservice: Castiel in his boxers in the laundromat.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Dean knows Sam would rather die than be possessed.
  • Feel No Pain: The loss of this characteristic is one of the first things Castiel notices about his new state, when he scrapes his palm after jumping to the side of the road to avoid a pickup.
  • First Day from Hell: On Castiel's first day as a human, he is told one of his closest friends is dying, knocked out by a girl (resulting in a bleeding scalp laceration), involved in a car accident, forced to kill an injured sister who he wanted to help, repeatedly told that thousands of angry angels are trying to kill him, and has to leave behind his trench coat.
  • Fish out of Water: Castiel does not quite fit in with the rest of humanity.
  • From Bad to Worse: Dean prays to the angels, revealing his location to them.
  • Geometric Magic: Dean covers the walls of the hospital room with wards to keep the angels out, but they weaken Ezekiel and he crosses some out. Dean also uses the angel-banishing sigil written in his own blood.
  • Glowing Eyes: When Ezekiel possesses Sam, his eyes glow blue.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Dean is willing to consider anything in order to save his brother.
    Dean: Are you kidding me? Are you saying there's no way to save my brother's life?
    Ezekiel: No good ways, I'm afraid.
  • Go into the Light: Bright sunlight shines through the trees when the Bobby in Sam's mind says, "Let's walk".
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: Dean asks for help from the angels.
    Ezekiel: You put out an open prayer like that...
    Dean: I must really be desperate.
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: In Sam's mind, Dean is the part of Sam who wants to fight for life. Bobby is the part of Sam who feels it is his time and is ready to die.
  • Good Is Not Soft: Ezekiel argues for compassion but is willing to fight his brother.
  • Good Samaritan: The pickup driver who finds Cas in Colorado, drives him into town, and gives him money for food and a phone call.
  • Guardian Angel: Ezekiel argues for this role for angels, even though that seems at odds with most of the angels we have seen in Supernatural.
    Ezekiel: Easy there, brother. This young man has prayed for our assistance. Are we creatures of wrath or compassion? I would argue the latter.
  • Healing Hands: Ezekiel puts his hand on Sam's chest but says Sam is too weak.
  • Hearing Voices: Castiel hears a high pitched whine followed by voices.
    Pickup truck driver: What the hell you doing in the middle of the road like that?
    Castiel: I heard angels.
  • Heartbeat Soundtrack: The beeping EKG monitor in the hospital room.
  • Helpful Hallucination: Sam is wise enough to recognize the roles that Dean and Bobby are playing in his dream state.
    Sam: If you’re you, but you’re really me, and you’re the part of me that wants to fight to live.
    Dean: Yes. I have no idea what you just said, but continue.
  • Hero Insurance: As soon as Dean is able, he hightails it out of the hospital. He leaves the hospital workers to deal with the Enochian wards on the walls, the broken glass, and the very confused former vessel of Ezekiel.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Dean stabs the angel who attacked him in the parking lot with the angel's own blade, and Castiel stabs Hael with her own blade.
  • Honor Before Reason: Castiel's first priority is calling Dean. When Castiel hears Sam is dying, he plans to find the Winchesters and do what he do to help, even though he knows this makes him more of a target for the other angels. He also believes he has to help his fallen brothers, even though many want to kill him.
    Dean: No, Cas, I know you want to help, okay? I do, but helping angels is what got you in trouble in the first place. Now, I'm begging you—for once, look out for yourself. Until we figure out what the hell is going on, trust nobody.
    Castiel: And do what? Just abandon them all?
    Dean: Dammit, Cas. You hearing yourself? There's a war on, and it's on you.
  • Iconic Outfit: Castiel leaves his blood-splattered wardrobe in the laundromat, including his trench coat. He emerges wearing a T-shirt, light blue button-up shirt, maroon hoodie, and khakis.
  • I'm Going to Disney World!: Sam's sarcastic response when Dean suggests that the fallen angels are not their problem right now. This line also recalls a similar line when Sam was teasing Dean in "Heart" (S02, E17).
  • Impairment Shot: When Castiel stands in the middle of the road and hears the angels, the surrounding trees are seen from his viewpoint but are out of focus and tilt back and forth.
  • Improvised Weapon: Hael picks up a plank of wood and uses this to knock Castiel out.
  • In the Back: An angel appears behind Dean, and places his blade at Dean's throat. Later, Dean stabs this angel with his own blade from behind. In Sam's mind, Dean stabs Bobby in the back.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: The angel in the parking lot holds his blade to Dean's throat and slams him down against the Impala's trunk, and when Dean does not tell him where Castiel is, the angel bangs Dean's head against the trunk.
    Angel: If you lie to me, Dean Winchester, I will rip your throat out. Where is Castiel?
    Dean: Who's asking?
    Angel: Try every angel who was ejected from their home.
    Dean: Oh. Oh, well, in that case, I have no clue.
  • Japanese Tourist:
    Sam: You've been driving around with me passed out in the passenger seat for a day?
    Dean: I mean, I stopped. Let a few Japanese tourists take some pictures, nobody got too handsy.
  • Jekyll & Hyde: Ezekiel convinces Dean that Sam cannot know about Ezekiel's presence.
    Dean: So, what he does—what, is he gonna feel you inside, triaging his spleen?
    Ezekiel: He will not feel me, no. There is no reason for Sam to know I'm in here at all.
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind: Dean and Ezekiel enter Sam's mind to observe, and Ezekiel later returns, disguised as Dean, to persuade Sam to accept their plan.
  • Keeping Secrets Sucks: Dean has chosen a path which will require him to keep an enormous secret from Sam.
    Dean: [to Ezekiel] We keep it a secret for now. Or until Sam’s well enough that he doesn't need an angelic pacemaker. Or I find a way to tell him.
  • Killed Off for Real: Discussed: Sam says that if he dies, he wants it to be for real, without any chance of him coming Back from the Dead.
    Sam: [to Death] I need to know one thing. If I go with you, can you promise that this time it will be final? I mean, if I’m dead, I stay dead. Nobody can reverse it, nobody can deal it away, and nobody else can get hurt because of me.
  • Knight Templar Big Brother: Dean, of course.
    Dean: I'm sure you're a nice person and that you mean well, but "inevitable"? That's a fighting word where I come from.
  • Kung-Foley: The punches and crashes during the fight scenes.
  • Lame Comeback: Sam's response is not exactly profound.
    Dean in Sam's head: You're dying, Sam.
    Sam: Shut up.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Ezekiel erases Sam's memories of almost dying before relinquishing control of Sam's body.
  • Literal Metaphor:
    • Dean pulls this a couple of times with the grief counselor.
      Dean: Hi. I'm just gonna break the ice. Are you an angel?
      Kim Schortz: Sometimes I wish I were.
    • And later...
      Kim Schortz: And unless you're telling me you have a direct line to those angels that you were looking for—
      Dean: Yeah, no, I, uh...guess I don't. But I might have something better. I got the King of Hell in my trunk.
      Kim Schortz: Uh, is—is that...I'm sorry. Is that a metaphor?
  • Manly Tears: Dean cries as he prays in the chapel.
  • Meaningful Name: Ezekiel means "God strengthens" and was a Hebrew prophet and priest who had a vision of God surrounded by cherubim and the destruction of the temple while living in exile in Babylon. The angel Ezekiel plans to strengthen Sam, and the angels have been exiled from Heaven.
  • Metaphorically True: When Hael asks Castiel how the angels fell from Heaven, he says he does not know.
    Hael: It was a normal day, and then just...dark. And then I was just...falling. How could that happen?
    Castiel: I don't know.
  • Mickey Mousing: The fast-paced "Who do you love?" by George Thorogood and the Destroyers punctuates the action in The Road So Far. Some of the lyrics also complement the scenes, with the lyrics "I don't mind dying" playing as Sam struggles to complete the third trial. Crowley's line "I deserve to be loved" seems like an answer to the refrain of "Who do you love?"
  • Missing Time: Ezekiel's vessel finds himself in a hospital room with no idea how he got there. Sam wakes up in the Impala, and the last thing he remembers is the angels falling when they were at the church one day ago.
  • Mission from God: Ezekiel says he and other angels still believe in Castiel and the Winchesters, presumably because God brought Castiel back to life after they opposed the Apocalypse and sent Lucifer back to the Pit.
    Ezekiel: Believe it or not, some of us still do believe in our mission. And that means we believe in Castiel...and you.
  • The Mountains of Illinois: Castiel is seen walking along a road dwarfed by the redwood trees in the surrounding forest, only he's supposed to be in Colorado.
  • My Favorite Shirt: Castiel is clearly torn between washing his clothes and buying a bottle of water. In the end,his thirst wins out. He leaves behind his bloody trench coat, suit, and tie.
  • Neck Lift: The angel who possesses the grief counselor lifts Dean by his neck.
  • No Body Left Behind: Bobby's body after Dean stabs him in Sam's mind.
  • No Doubt the Years Have Changed Me: The other angel does not recognize Ezekiel, and Ezekiel seems reluctant to give him his name.
    Angel: Forgive me, brother. I don't recognize you.
    Ezekiel: Happy to make your re-acquaintance. After you disarm.
  • Noisy Nature: When Castiel is walking up the road, there are birds chirping and cawing until the angles drown them out. The forest in Sam's mind is not any quieter.
  • Not Afraid to Die: Sam.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Ezekiel and the other angel in the parking lot and Dean and the two angels in the hospital.
  • Not-So-Small Role: When viewers spot Tahmoh Penikett getting off the bus, they realize he will have more than a bit part.
  • Nuclear Family: One of the angels took a father as a vessel, and we first see him in a suit and tie eating breakfast (cereal, fruit, and orange juice) with his beautiful wife, son, and daughter (who is doing homework as she eats). While the family at first appears ideal, we then notice that none of them are talking, his daughter is wearing headphones, and his wife doesn't see him leave because she is texting.
  • Once for Yes, Twice for No:
    Dean: [to Crowley in the trunk] One for yes, two for no. Are you alive?
  • Our Souls Are Different: Metatron took Castiel's Grace, which is the angel equivalent of a soul, and with it his angelic powers. Based on what Metatron said in "Sacrifice" (S08, E23), Castiel now has a human soul.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: Death is more complimentary than is typical for him and does not eat any junk food, which supports the argument that he is a figment of Sam's imagination rather than actual Death.
  • Pals with Jesus: Death shows up personally to reap Sam. He also comments on what an honor it is to know Sam and on the good Sam's done. Considering this is the same Death that compared humans to bacterium, it's a high compliment.
  • Party Scattering: Castiel finds himself over 1,300 miles from the Winchesters.
  • Ping Pong Naïveté: Castiel tells everyone he meets about being an angel, even though he knows how most humans will react. Although it does create some funny situations.
  • Please, Don't Leave Me: Hael does not understand why she cannot go with Castiel and says she needs his help. Castiel tries to convince her she can do it herself.
  • Plot Armor: Despite the declaration that Sam is dying in the teaser, not many viewers were really afraid Sam would die or, if he did, that he would stay dead.
  • Possession Burnout: Hael's original vessel cannot contain her, and the skin of the young woman she possessed is burning away.
  • Post-Victory Collapse: Ezekiel suffers this, although Dean was the one responsible for the victory.
    Ezekiel: I heard your prayer, and I am here to help. [eyes close and he drops to the ground]
  • Power Glows: The banishing sigil glows with reddish-white light when Dean slaps his palm on it, and the two angels disappear in the light. When Ezekiel possesses Sam, the room is flooded in white light.
  • Powers via Possession: Sam's healing.
  • Prayer Is a Last Resort: Dean is desperate when he enters the hospital chapel and prays.
    Dean: [praying with tears running down his cheek] And, uh, I wouldn't be asking if I wasn't needing, so...
  • The Promise: Dean gives his word that he will help any angel who helps Sam.
    Dean: [praying] The first one who can help me gets my help in return, and you know that ain't nothing.
  • Psychic Link: Castiel's only remaining angelic power is the ability to hear Angel Radio.
  • Psychopomp: Initially Bobby and later Death serve this role in Sam's mind.
    Bobby in Sam's mind: Everything's inside you need to help you on your way. Go on, son. I'll be waiting for you with a couple of cold ones.
  • Puff of Logic: In Sam's mind, Dean disappears once Sam decides he will not fight death.
  • Punk in the Trunk: Dean has the King of Hell locked in the trunk.
  • Questionable Consent: Sam says "yes" to Ezekiel helping him, but thinks he is talking to Dean and does not know what the "help" entails.
    Ezekiel: [as Dean] Sam, listen to me. I made you a promise in that church. You and me, come whatever. Well, hell, if this ain't whatever...but you got to let me in, man. You got to let me help. There ain't no me if there ain't no you.
  • Radiograph of Doom: The MRI films hanging on the light box in Sam's room include some sagittal T1 images of a brain, which appear normal, and an MRI of a knee. Despite that, Dr. Lewis says the MRI showed "massive internal burns affecting many of the major organs" and that Sam is dying. Interestingly, an abnormal MRI of the brain appears later hanging on the lightbox behind the angel possessing Kim Schortz when she attacks Dean. This MRI appears to show a large enhancing extracerebral right frontal mass, which is likely a meningioma.
  • Ring of Fire: Dean encircles Ezekiel in burning holy oil.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The exiled angels are coming after Castiel.
    Hael: They will hunt you. Until their last breath, they will seek revenge on the angel that did this, who destroyed Heaven. They will seek a vengeance on you that will make God striking down Lucifer seem like child's play.
  • Schrödinger's Butterfly: It is unclear whether Death and his promises to Sam are real or just a figment of Sam's imagination. Bobby seems to be a figment, but could actually be Bobby as Spirit Advisor.
  • Screen Shake: In the hospital, when the angel looking for a vessel arrives.
  • Shirtless Scene: Castiel in his boxers.
  • Shout-Out: Ezekiel-as-Dean tells Sam he would have brought Cronuts, but time was short.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: In Sam's mind, Bobby does not want to hear Dean's argument and transports Sam and himself from the Impala to a forest.
    Bobby in Sam's mind: Yip, yip, yip. Am I right?
  • Simple Score of Sadness: Plays while Dean prays.
  • Sliding Scale of Free Will vs. Fate: When Hael fears the loss of Heaven's order and purpose, Castiel argues she should not fear free will.
  • So Proud of You:
    • In Sam's mind Bobby and later Death congratulate Sam as part of the argument that it is okay to give into death.
      Bobby in Sam's mind: All the good you've done? All the people you've saved? All the sacrifices you've made? You've saved the world, son. How many people can say that? How many people can say that they have left this God-forsaken hunk of dirt that much a better place? What you call dying, I call leaving a legacy.
    • Dean gives his own version of this speech once Sam is out of danger, likely to justify his actions.
      Dean: I meant what I said at the church. You’re capable of anything, Sam. And hell if you didn't prove me right.
  • Spoiler Opening: The opening credits show Jim Beaver as a guest star.
  • Spoonerism: Bobby uses the phrase "bass-ackwards".
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Bobby just appears in the back of the Impala. Later he appears in the front seat, and disappears with Sam after grabbing Sam's shoulder.
  • Supernaturally Delicious and Nutritious: Now that all angels have been expelled from Heaven, they are searching for anyone who hails from a bloodline that can serve as a vessel, like the Winchesters.
  • Symbiotic Possession: Ezekiel possesses Sam in order to heal Sam while healing himself. He says he will leave when Sam is healed and Sam will not be aware of this.
    Ezekiel: Mutual benefit, I suppose. I heal Sam while healing myself.
  • Talk to the Fist: In Sam's mind, this is Dean's answer to Sam's demand for a plan.
    Sam: Really? Then what's your plan, Dean?
    Dean in Sam's mind: My plan? [punches Sam] My plan is to fight! [pushes Sam and hits him again] My plan is to try! My plan [punches Sam again] is to give a damn! Are you telling me there's nothing? Huh? You telling me there's nothing to fight for, that there's nothing to hope for?!
  • Technopath: Ezekiel silences the monitor alarms by waving his hand.
  • Telepathy: Ezekiel allows Dean and himself to enter Sam's mind.
  • Teleportation: In Sam's mind Bobby grabs Sam's shoulder and transports them from the Impala to a forest, in the same manner that angels can teleport people.
  • Throat Light: When Dean stabs the angel fighting with Ezekiel and when Castiel stabs Hael.
  • Title Drop: Hael comes close to saying the title when she says, "You were right, Castiel. With us together, I think I could learn to like it here."
  • Titled After the Song: This episode shares its title with a song by Elvis Presley and a song in the musical Annie.
  • Unbroken Vigil: Dean at Sam's bedside.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Subverted Trope when Sam asks the Dean in his mind what the plan is, and loses faith when Dean can't say.
    Dean: And the next time we see Naomi or Metatron or whoever is to blame for this, we will get some justice, but for right now, we got to fight this, man.
    Sam: Okay. All right, what's the plan?
    Dean: I'm working on it.
    Sam: What does that mean? I'm kind of dying here, apparently.
  • Villains Blend in Better: The fallen angels who have taken vessels already seem to have adapted to their new positions fairly well, despite it being less than 24 hours after getting locked out of Heaven.
  • Walking the Earth: Ezekiel was getting off a bus with a backpack, but when he heard Dean's prayer, he got back on the bus.
  • A Weighty Aesop: Discussed Trope. This is the first time Death appears in an episode without eating junk food. In "Two Minutes to Midnight" (S05, E21), he eats Chicago-style pizza. In "Appointment In Samarra" (S06, E11), Death eats a bacon dog. In "Meet The New Boss" (S07, E01), he eats pickle chips. Death's association with junk food is still referenced when Ezekiel-as-Dean mentions that he would have brought cronuts, but didn't have the time.
  • Weirdness Censor: All of Heaven's angels falling to earth is explained away as a meteor shower.
    Sam: This makes no sense. I mean how many angels fell—hundreds, thousands? And nobody sees anything? This is...look at this. They're calling it a meteor shower. Seriously?
  • Willing Channeler: Angels must get permission before they possess a vessel. Hael begs and then threatens Castiel for his permission. Ezekiel poses as Dean to get Sam's permission.
  • Wipe the Floor with You: Dean is dragged down the hospital hallway by the angels possessing the farmer and the grief counselor.
  • A World Half Full: Earth is in a chaotic state, full of fallen angels with the gates to Hell still open, but the Winchesters believe the can still make a difference.
    Sam: We've got a major freaking crapfest on our hands. Thousands of super-powered dicks touching down and we got no idea where to start.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: The angel possessing the grief counselor lies among the broken glass on the floor. Dean helps her up, and when he turns his back on her, she punches him and lifts him into the air by his neck.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: The argument Bobby in Sam's mind makes.
    Bobby: You gotta let go of fighting, scratching, looking for loopholes, cuz that ain't happening.