Er… um… wow. Thanks, Sera Gamble, you did it to us again. You turned us into quivering piles of soft matter just so you could have more fun with brotherly drama. They split up? Dean let Sam go without a fight? Dean offered Sam the Impala? Dammit, thanks for pushing buttons.
When I spoke with Sera Gamble, Eric Kripke, and Ben Edlund at Comic-Con, much of what they talked about ended up in this episode. We were told Dean would have to break his patterns of jumping in and saving Sam for the sake of others, that there would be a town under siege with people hiding in the basement, that Ellen, Jo, and Rufus would be back, that Sam would be kidnapped, and that there would be big fallout in the brotherly relationship. Kripke even mentioned the four horsemen would be driving muscle cars and I must say a 1965 cherry red Ford Mustang fastback is my dream car (yes, I giggled at Dean admiring it). I’m really envying War right now.
It’s one thing, though, to get nuggets like that but it’s another to actually see it in action. “Good God, Y’All” played out way better than I could have possibly hoped. I think it’s a no brainer as to why. Throw in some great music ("Spirit In The Sky"), an apocalyptic battle, clever directing, and Jared and Jensen at the top of their games and the results far exceed anything on paper (which is also great). Even though we’ve come to expect such excellence every week, somehow most of what’s delivered always manages to impress us.
The second episode of a season usually follows the same format. The character of focus is in distress, a story of suspense unfolds that leads to a climactic showdown, a character’s issues are raised during said plot, and then there’s a big shift in which the character comes away learning something about themselves that they may or may not like. In this show, it’s usually "may not."
This year Sam gets the main focus as he rightly should. The dude has some major problems. While Sam was healed physically in the season opener, we all knew that whatever was lingering inside wouldn’t go away. After all, he can’t be healed from himself. Sam comes away with an understanding of why he craved the demon blood but only after the hint was applied to him like a sledgehammer.
Before getting to the main focus of this review, the brotherly strife, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the excellent first seven minutes. This is the only appearance of both Bobby and Castiel. Even those boys have deep troubles. Bobby isn’t taking being paralyzed well and has gone into withdrawal mode. Castiel can’t even find Sam and Dean since they are hidden from angels, as even a curious Dean goes to radiology to find what exactly is on his ribs. It’s far more than some sigil. Every inch is now littered in apocryphal graffiti. One call to Sam’s cell phone fixes all that, but what arrives is an angel on the edge.
Castiel’s mission upon first impression seems to be as obsessively focused as Sam’s desire to kill Lilith last season. Only one other being can defeat Lucifer other than Michael. God. He’s out to find God. Dean's less than helpful suggestion that God is on a tortilla in New Mexico leads to the best line of the night, courtesy of a Cas deadpan. “No, he’s not on any flatbread.” Sure we laugh, but when Dean uses jokes, he’s not buying into the plan. Cas won’t accept Dean’s theological apprehensions this time and the intense delivery from Misha Collins gives me chills. “I killed two angels this week, my brothers. I’m hunted, I rebelled, and I did all of it for you. And you failed. You and your brother destroyed the world and I lost everything for nothing. So keep your opinions to yourself.” Dean shuts up after that.
At six minutes in, there’s a reveal on an object of our desire that’s been part of fan speculation for five seasons now. Dean’s treasured amulet, the one given to him by an eight-year-old Sam, will burn hot in the presence of God. Castiel needs it. Dean’s reluctant handover of one of his most cherished possessions is likely symbolism for what happens later. It’s Dean’s first step in letting go of Sam.