On the plus side, removing Bobby and Castiel from the playing board was a risky move that resulted in some fine drama. Bobby’s death and Castiel’s return were both excellent episodes, though the long term impact on the show is yet to be determined.
Despite the issues with the arcs, much of the finale was excellent. Misha Collins’ Castiel is a joy to watch, as the damaged angel forces Dean to work with his loopiness. And while Castiel is amusing, Collins also adds a serious undertone, as the angel tries to offer support while flinching from the idea of encountering more violence—mostly, we find out, because he’s afraid he will cause more destruction.
Dean doesn’t really understand what Castiel is running from and tries to use the idea of responsibility to push Castiel back in the fight. It’s only when he finally accepts he can’t that he and the angel find a way to hear each other. Standing beside the Impala (yes, Baby’s back!), Cas tells Dean he shouldn’t even want the angel on his team, as he’s cursed. Dean’s response is Castiel is the only player left on the bench at the bottom of the ninth, so yeah, he’ll take him. But then, he snorts and tells Castiel he’s no more cursed than any of them and is Dean supposed to be a symbol of good luck?
His words are a clear indication he has forgiven Castiel for his lies and hurting Sam. Supernatural’s heroes are all flawed and all have had to ask forgiveness at some point. Castiel realizes Dean still considers him part of Team Free Will and that empowers him as reproaches did not. I loved the writing here, as the definition and cost of being a hero has always been an integral part of the series.
Crowley’s story was also very successful. The King of Hell has no problem interacting with both Roman and the Winchesters, which results in scenes which crackle with wit and tension as everyone tries to figure out who is double-crossing whom. Crowley is both funny and menacing, and I loved it when the boys have to decide which side the demon is on at the moment, knowing they can never really trust him.