‘The Future” exposes many threads that the series will try to pull together for the finale of season 12. On the menu, Mary and Ketch, The BMOL vs. American Hunters, Lucifer and Crowley, Lucifer and his spawn, Kelly Kline and her child, and then there is Castiel about whom this episode mostly revolves.
Yes, there is the delusional Daigon who manages to destroy one of Dean’s favorite toys of late, but her departure does not prolong a minor, but interesting character. Yes, Joshua the angel makes a brief appearance, but he is not the Joshua of season 5 which one can understand knowing that angels change vessels and actors are not always available. Joshua the gardener is so iconic. And so the writers close the chapter on another icon in the SPN world. Lucifer’s brief scene is just enough to remind us of the evil that lurks behind that chained collar and how far reaching his abilities and manipulations can go.
Yes, Kelly Kline attempts to find her own solution in the bloodiest scene of the episode only to be saved by her baby. Those glowing eyes. She sees the future and knows she must go with Castiel’s plan…for the moment. Deception or truth?
Yes, there are Sam and Dean moments especially when Sam comes up with a solution to the nephilim situation which does not involve killing the baby. Dean’s reference to Sam and a beautiful mind is a check in a box of memorable monikers. Dean resorting to his mechanic skills to repair Cas’ broken truck reminds us of the manly mechanic within the hunter. And how willing Dean is to hold family, Cas, to a high standard, worry and forgiveness!
But mostly, this episode is Castiel centric. He truly is welcomed back by an angry Dean as only a wayward sibling can be after his disappearing act. His excuses are lame. He has his own room in the bunker! He tries to return Dean’s gift of a mix cassette tape of music as a rouse so he can steal the Colt. Remember the last time Castiel pulled a con on the Winchesters? Dean expresses his hurt later in the episode as only Dean can do. Castiel attempts to follow Heaven’s orders as a good soldier and kill Kelly Kline but when that fails he goes to plan B. How he has absorbed so much from the Winchesters. He he is so self aware of his screw ups, desperate for a win, and wants to keep his brothers out danger in this nephilim situation. How the wallpaper in the motel where Cas and Kelly stay is just so awful and yet so in tune with SPN! How Winchesters trust Castiel with Baby only to be distracted by their own(unheard) conversation as Kelly dupes Castiel once more into an escape. How Castiel saves the Winchesters with the help of the unborn Nephilim and sees the future. The questions of nature v. nurture, good v evil and what is the greater good protrude. Cas, who appears to have had much of his angelic power restored through contact with the unborn child makes a decision. Kelly Kline chooses Castiel to be her child’s mentor. Castiel makes a choice which involves excluding the Winchesters for now even though their plan is viable but would strip the baby of its powers. Images that are seared into my brain from this episode: Cas’ golden eyes, Winchesters disabled by Cas’ touch, and Cas’ smile at one point which is so disarming. Is Cas smiling or is it the baby? Is it evil or truly a positive revelation? That is the edge the writers strive to get the viewer to reach in this episode.
Certainly there is growth in Cas but he seems to continue to err. More human in some respects- the angel never smiles. So who the “hell” is Castiel now? Nice to think his character has room to grow. No longer baby Cas in a trench coat, but teenager Cas testing his borders in a way, gaining independence, assuming a new role, perhaps? Spit balling here.
My criticism of the writing is that at times the script is attempting to expose so many threads that it feels schizophrenic and then I realize that there are 2 writers on the episode. Wondering if each got characters to write for and then combined overall script? Both Berens and Glynn have written solid episodes in the past. Just that sometimes this script awkwardly meshes to cover all the threads leading to a finale. Glad I forced myself to watch “The Future” a second time. Not an all time great episode, but a necessary one as we head on to the last few episodes.