Supernatural: Stairway to Heaven
May 14, 2014 7:26 AM - Season 9, Episode 22 - Subscribe

More angel politics, more debate over a knife that kills everything, and bowling. Also Monopoly. All of these things are more enjoyable drunk, much like this episode.

AV Club review is a C+.
posted by viggorlijah (12 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Still always happy when Misha Collins is on screen. I'm coming to like Gadreel a lot more the more I think of him as a powerful but completely guileless angel incapable of understanding deception.

"But the serpent *said* that he had only good intentions in the garden! I would not have let him in if he had *bad* intentions. I do not understand how I did anything wrong."
posted by Made of Star Stuff at 7:45 AM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

I was initially pleased by the crazy Dean murder in the last scene - how great if Dean turned into an avenging instrument of wrath and slaughtered anything tainted so they had to keep him contained?

Then someone pointed out that Gadreel is sliced, not stabbed and with Castiel's grace in trouble, it'll turn out to be a weird transfusion thing only.

I did like Metatron's preening inside the Castiel overcoat duplicate.
posted by viggorlijah at 6:05 PM on May 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm coming to like Gadreel a lot more the more I think of him as a powerful but completely guileless angel incapable of understanding deception.

For some reason, he reminds me of Sam the Eagle.
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:23 PM on May 14, 2014 [4 favorites]

I did like Metatron's preening inside the Castiel overcoat duplicate.

Huh I thought that was Dean's jacket. I'll have to go back and look.

I liked this episode much better then the many that came before it. Dean is off his rocker but I think we knew that was going to happen.

I also think that Gadreel's slice means that Cas' stolen Grace gets recharged.
posted by royalsong at 4:41 AM on May 15, 2014

I... I honestly don't know. There's lots to like about the show, but I can't figure out how they can still be on the air with a writing staff that year after year manages to set up a great arc for a season, then fuck around with pointless dead ends, one-offs or just general bad ideas for 15 episodes, and then cram a year's worth of plot that _might_ make sense in terms of character development or just general behaviour in a frenzied panic of flopsweat into the last three episodes. Every season since Kripke left.

It's just honestly bizarre, like watching a high-school student with a decent head on their shoulders cram for the final, but never learning that maybe cracking a book earlier than 3 a.m. on test day is a strategy that could pay off.
posted by Shepherd at 6:07 PM on May 15, 2014 [7 favorites]

Shepard, absolutely. They could have, should have had Dean fighting against his urge to MURDER ALL THE THINGS from the moment he got the Mark of Cain. Instead, we only see it get out of control when it's narratively convenient.

But that has always been my gripe with the show, no continuity or consistency of motivation if it furthers the plot to throw out previous lore. Many times it's so lazy, that the husband and I end up talking about how they could have achieved the same exact story with minor, obvious changes to the rule breaking episode. I mean, is it that damn hard?

I thought this season started out strong with some neat ideas that they just let die on the vine or rushed through with little payoff. (Abadon's death, the invisible fortress, etc...) I realize it's not over, but I can't see how the finale is going to improve things.

But you're right, it's been that way for a while now. I was sure season 7 would be a take on Cthulhu lore and turned into the lamest bad guys ever. I stopped watching season 7 and only went back earlier this year finishing 7 and 8 over about 2 months before getting caught up on 9. All neat ideas that are pretty poorly executed.

(and yet, I watching and will probably be joyous about season 10).
posted by [insert clever name here] at 9:52 PM on May 15, 2014

I also have to say this because Fanfare didn't exist before.. Is Dean the most unloyal shit ever? He talks about loyalty but bails on nearly everyone when they need him except Sam. I'd love to argue it was an intentional choice, but I think it's lazy writing again. Benny is just one on the list. Even Cas when he was human (I'm certain he could have helped within the bounds of Gladriel's request to not have Cas around.) I would not for a moment trust him knowing his history.

/random gripe
posted by [insert clever name here] at 9:58 PM on May 15, 2014 [3 favorites]

Oh yes, Dean is such an asshole. He's all messed up and broken understandably, but he's also an asshole with charisma. The whole Cas-as-human subplot was such a waste of potential, and Dead with all his fake IDs and tricks couldn't have organised some help for him?
posted by viggorlijah at 10:29 PM on May 15, 2014 [4 favorites]

Yeah, Dean is like someone in a cult or a shitty relationship. No matter how much healthier his relationships are with other people he always abandons them and goes running back the second Sam calls him. And Sam has never once been "maybe I can figure this out on my own and not bother my brother" in his life, ever.

I've been re-watching some of the early season episodes on Netflix lately with a friend who just got into the show and I'd kind of forgotten how good some of the season 1 stuff is, even. We just watched the faith healer episode and it's very good and dark and weird.

This season I've turned off a bunch of episodes halfway through or not bothered to watch them. I thought this one was kind of OK, relatively, since something actually happened and it was remotely congruent with other things that have happened. I don't mind ridiculous plots (I watch Justified and love every implausible minute of it) but I can't get past a) the re-writing/ ignoring of everything that was established during the previous 400 episodes and b) how one note all the characters are now. That was kind of the fun of the show, the characters were totally normal humans in the middle of all the weird X-files stuff. Everyone was Scully, they reacted to things like normal skeptical people. Now everyone is Juno and it's all quips and it's kind of lame.

I'm kind of hoping the seasons finale kills Cas, Crowley, Metatron, all the drone angels and the bunker is destroyed in some kind of freak accident that also takes out most of the writing team and causes Sam to suffer a head injury that makes him able to make decisions on his own. I think that would vastly improve Season 10.

I might be a little cranky because they canceled Trophy Wife, which was the only other show I've been watching this year since they canceled Don't Trust the Bitch in Apartment 23. I'm going to have to go back to reading books.
posted by fshgrl at 11:20 PM on May 17, 2014 [2 favorites]


Castiel: [referring to a code written above a door to an old building] It's Enochian. I believe it's some sort of riddle. Why is six afraid of seven? Now... I assume it's because... seven is a prime number. And prime numbers can be intimidating.
Sam: It's because seven ate nine.
Castiel: It's word play. And the answer is the key like the Doors of Durin in Lord of the Rings.
Sam: Wait a second. You know about The Lord of the Rings?
Castiel: I'm very pop culture savvy now.

Metatron: Castiel! Bet you're not happy to see me.
Dean: Is anyone? Ever?
Metatron: Dean. Always with the B-grade 80's action movie wit.

Metatron: I've done what I had to do. For God, and the angels.
Dean. Yeah, sure. You're Mother Teresa with neck beard.

Hannah: Sir, this morning, Josiah wasn't at roll call.
Sam: Uh, roll call? You... hold a roll call?
Castiel: They like to hear me say their names.
Dean: I know a couple of women like that.

Metatron: I don't get this whole Cass love fest, either. I'm offering our people a way home, and still -- still, they're choosing him over me. I mean sure, he's cute. And Castiel has this simple... charm. He's like a mentally deficient puppy. But I'm lovable. And funny!
Gadreel: ...
Metatron: I made God laugh! Twice!


Keeping in line with the running rock star aliases, Castiel introduces Sam and Dean to the local police as "Agents Spears and Aguilera".

The test that Sam and Cas pass in the warehouse hallway, "Only a penitent man shall pass", is from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

In the bowling alley, Tyrus calls Metatron a "nerd". This is probably a meta reference to the actor's role in Revenge of the Nerds.

The name of the episode is also a song by Led Zeppelin from their fourth album.

When Dean refers to the First Blade as "a hockey stick that can kill anything", it is likely a reference to the movie Dogma which also has the character Metatron.

When Sam and Dean are looking for one of the mole angels, they pull up an ID for one named Sean Flynn. This is a song title in The Clash's Combat Rock album.

In the car, right before the bowling alley scene, Sam and Castiel are talking. Castiel says "I'm not trying to play God; I'm just trying to get my people home." Castiel's goal is reminiscent of Moses leading the Israelites through the wilderness "home" to the promised land in the Old Testament.

Sam suggests saving the First Blade for only the "big boss" bad guys. He's referring to the title given to the bigger, more difficult to defeat monster one has to defeat at the end of each level in most video games.

Dean and Sam go to Dixon, Missouri, which is a real town located in Pulaski County, near the U.S. Army training base Fort Leonard Wood.

The song playing in Metatron's trick room called "Castiel's Personal Heaven" is the same song that the demon Alastair sings while being tortured by Dean in the season 4 episode "On the Head of a Pin" (ep. 4.16).

The scene in the bowling alley may be a tongue-in-cheek reference to the children's myth that says thunder and lightning comes from the sounds of the angels bowling in Heaven.

Gadreel is able to just walk into the bunker even though it is supposed to be heavily warded and impenetrable to all monsters, spirits, ghosts, demons and angels. It is later revealed that not even an Archangel is capable of penetrating the warding on the bunker. Strangely, Castiel can come into the bunker, but then he is an invited and welcomed guest.
posted by orange swan at 3:45 PM on November 21, 2021

The bit with Metatron calling out "Give me a second," after Gadreel knocks on his office door, and Gadreel giving him literally one second before entering his office was funny. I said in an earlier episode thread that the other angels aren't like Castiel, but I think Gadreel has the same literal humourlessness. Metatron says to him, "You're such an angel," so that sort of thing must be characteristic of angels rather than being the exception. Perhaps the angels we see have managed to educate themselves out of that state of mind?

"Agents Spears and Aguilera", heh. You can give an angel an encyclopedic knowledge of musical, literary, and media culture, but you can't teach him nuance and context.
posted by orange swan at 3:46 PM on November 21, 2021

I didn't think reapers were angels, but it seems Tessa was an angel. How? Why? I don't think I missed that detail before, did I? If I didn't, why did they just jam that little factoid into the episode and ignore it?
posted by sardonyx at 8:03 PM on November 27, 2021

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