Digital Spy

Search Digital Spy
1

Cult Recap

'Supernatural': 'The Born-Again Identity' recap

By
Supernatural S07E17: 'The Born-Again Identity'

© The CW

Season 7, episode 17

THEN! Sam's mind has been crumbling ever since his 'wall' was removed by turncoat angel Castiel (Misha Collins). The result? Lucifer (Mark Pellegrino) has taken up residence in Sam's noggin.

NOW! Determined to save his brother, Dean (Jensen Ackles) tracks down a faith healer, but is shocked to discover that his new friend has a familiar face...

Carry On, My Wayward Son... It comes as little surprise that Sam's plan to escape Lucifer by foregoing sleep entirely isn't exactly working. The hunter's mind is on the brink of collapse and when he runs out in front of a car to escape Lucifer, he's hospitalised and locking up in a psychiatric ward.

Sam - now sporting fashionable, post-breakdown stubble - is too tired to keep fighting, but Dean's determined to find him help. While Dean's away on his mission, Lucifer's psychological torture intensifies, but Sam's lucid enough to lead this week's B plot...

Young female patient Marin (Kacey Rohl) can hear a voice - that of her later brother, which is compelling her to do terrible things, endangering herself and others. Guest actress Rohl is the daughter of prolific Supernatural director Mike Rohl, but if this was a case of nepotism, then it's paid off - Rohl Jr. delivers a solid, sensitive performance.

Meanwhile, Dean's investigation is going nowhere, until a card yanked from Bobby's old black book (by Bobby himself?) leads him to a real-deal faith healer who goes by the name Emmanuel - that's Hebrew for "God is with us"....

Supernatural S07E17: 'The Born-Again Identity'

© The CW



Yes, Emmanuel is really Castiel, but Dean's former angel ally has lost his memories and gained a wife. Having emerged naked from a river a few months back, the amnesiac Cas was taken in by the kindly Daphne (Johanna Marlowe).

As he embarks on a road trip to save Sam, 'Emmanuel' is convinced that he's living "the good life", but Dean's still harbouring resentment towards his old friend, asking the leading question, "What if you were some kind of… bad guy?"

Returning to Supernatural following a 15-episode break, Misha Collins does well in portraying a softer, more human Castiel / Emmanuel. Though thankfully, the character's retained his unintentional, deadpan humour - "He betrayed you, this dude."

'Emmanuel' being the only man who can heal Sam is a smart way to reintroduce Cas - to heal his brother, Dean must turn to the man he blames for his condition in the first place. It's also nicely ironic to see Cas counselling Dean and offering him kind words over the pain that he himself caused.

On the road, Dean's cornered by a pack of demons, but is rescued by the unlikeliest of saviours, the demon Meg (Rachel Miner). The pair soon form an uneasy alliance, but this writer couldn't help but feel that after months apart, the dynamic of a reunited Dean and Cas was interesting enough. Throwing Meg into the equation too feels like overkill.

Supernatural S07E17: 'The Born-Again Identity'

© The CW



Meg quickly informs 'Emmanuel' of his true identity ("You're an angel." "I'm sorry… is that a flirtation?"). Supernatural has undoubtedly missed Castiel, and while some may question the wisdom of writing the character out in the first place, his prolonged absence does make his emotional reunion with Dean more powerful. The sequence in which Cas smites the demons, his memories flooding back, is also really quite effective.

Once Cas recalls his past sins, his and Dean's roles are neatly reversed - while the angel lambasts himself for his actions, Dean is forced to defend him, in the hope that Cas will forgive himself and so help Sam.

Won over when Dean hands him back his trench-coat - a touching sentiment - Cas does his best to help Sam, but is unable to rebuild the wall in his mind. Instead, he shifts the pain, taking on Sam's hellish memories himself. Sam is healed, but Cas is doomed to be haunted by Lucifer forever.

So, Cas has redeemed himself, but his final fate - locked up in a cell, with Meg as his minder - is somewhat grim. What's more, it seems that Dean's feelings towards his old ally aren't fully resolved - at episode's end, he insists that he and Sam don't have any friends.

The Castiel situation is ripe for further exploration and this writer is looking forward eagerly to Misha Collin's next appearance - Supernatural can certainly survive without him, but it's nevertheless enriched by his presence.

Let us know what you thought of this week's Supernatural below!

You May Like

Comments

Loading...