I'm trying something new here. Instead of a review with nothing but text, I'll include quotes and caps from the episode. Some of my thoughts and observations will be interspersed as well.
:: All caps are clickable to their HQ versions ::
See the gallery of all the caps here: http://www.slickpic.com/s/TTNMhOMccjETTw/_901?preview
Download all the caps here: SPN_901_Highlight_Caps_-_Raloria.zip
Best. Kickass. Season. Opener. Ever.
I walked forty-seven miles of barbed wire, I got a cobra snake for a necktie
A brand new house on the road side, and it's a-made out of rattlesnake hide
Got a band new chimney put on top, and it's a-made out of human skull
Come on take a little walk with me baby, and tell me who do you love?
Who do you love?
Who do you love?
I knew something was up in this car scene when the camera angles went all tilted. Sure enough...
DEAN: "Look, there's no easy way to say this, okay? But something happened back there in the church. And I don't know what. I don't know why. You're dying, Sam."
SAM: "Shut up."
Gorgeous overhead shot of Sam in the hospital and then our first shot of the real! Dean and those amazing green eyes!
Awesome new title card is AWESOME!
DEAN: "This wasn't supposed to happen."
DOCTOR: "If your brother continues on this trajectory, the machines might keep him alive, but –"
DEAN: "He'll be dead."
DOCTOR: "Technically, yes. I'm afraid so."
DEAN: "So, there's – there's no recovery? I mean, there's no bounce-back. There's no nothing."
DOCTOR: "I'm afraid that's in God's hands now."
DEAN: "You're a doctor. You're a medical professional. You're trying to tell me that my brother's life is in God's hands? What, is that supposed to be a – a comfort?"
So Dean turns to praying for Castiel's help instead. I love how this scene goes on an emotional roller coaster ride: from sadness, anger, determination, and back to sadness and despair. Excellent work by Jensen.
DEAN: "Cas, are you there? Sammy's hurt. He's hurt, uh – he's hurt pretty bad. And, um... I know you think that I'm pissed at you, okay? But I don't care that the angels fell. So whatever you did or didn't do, it doesn't matter, okay? We'll work it out. Please, man, I need you here."
DEAN looks around - Cas doesn't appear.
DEAN: "Screw it. Okay, listen up. This one goes out to any angel with their ears on. This is Dean Winchester... And I need your help. The deal is this – Linwood Memorial Hospital...Randolph, New York. The first one who can help me gets my help in return......and you know that ain't nothin'. Hell, it's no secret that we haven't always seen eye to eye. But you know that I am good for my word. And, uh, I wouldn't be asking if I wasn't needing, so..."
Dean: “Just because you’re dying doesn’t mean you’re dead, not yet, OK? We have jimmied ourselves out of worse. We’re gonna fight this. I got the plan, you just need to hang on.”
DEAN: "You understand that we're not really in this car right now. We are in your head, and you're in a coma and are dying."
SAM: "How do you know that?"
DEAN: "Because I'm you and you're you. All of this is you. We're in your head!"
SAM: "You're serious. [exhales] The whole reason I stopped doing the trials was not to die."
Meanwhile we catch up with Castiel wandering along a road in the woods and nearly getting hit by a guy in a pickup truck. Castiel suffers his first wound as a mortal.
CASTIEL: "A phone. Do you have a phone?"
MAN: "No signal up here. How about a lift, hmm?"
CASTIEL: "Yes. Good. I would fly, but I – I have no wings, not anymore."
Love seeing Bobby again, even if it IS part of Sam's brain fighting with itself.
BOBBY: "Excuse me. Are you dead? Because I am, and maybe I'm here because I'm the part of Sam that actually knows what the hell he's talking about."
DEAN: "Well, I'm in the front seat because Sam put me here because he wants to fight. Right?"
BOBBY suddenly appears in the front seat between SAM and DEAN.
BOBBY: "Well... that just got real uncomfortable. See ya, Dean."
Pickup truck dude drops Cas off at a gas station (and we should've known something was creepy about that girl sitting in a mini-van...in the back seat). He meets mean biker dude "I'm gonna finish this call. Then I'm gonna stab you." and a fallen angel named Hael. I gotta say, biker dude's bark is worse than his bite. Cas hung out outside the station a long time and the guy never made good on his threat. Just sayin'...
Waiting for heavenly support, Dean gets a grief counselor instead...
KIM: "I'm afraid, as hard as this may be, this might be a good time to talk... about the inevitable."
DEAN: "Look, I'm sure you're a nice person and that you mean well, but "inevitable" – that's a fightin' word where I come from. There's always a way."
KIM: "And I am a prayerful woman who believes in miracles as much as the next, but I also know how to read an EEG. And unless you're telling me you have a direct line to those angels that you were looking for –"
DEAN: "Yeah, no, I, uh... Guess I don't. But I might have something better. I got the King of Hell in my trunk."
KIM: "Uh, is – is that... I'm sorry. Is that a metaphor?"
DEAN: "Crowley, listen up, you son of a bitch. One for yes, two for no. You alive?"
[There is no response.]
DEAN: "Come on, don't be a pouter."
[CROWLEY, inside the trunk, hits it once.]
DEAN: "There we go."
Not sure what kind of a deal Dean was going to make with Crowley, but he runs into two angels: one not so nice and the other...willing to help.
Castiel talks with Hael, trying to reassure her that there's nothing to be afraid of.
CASTIEL: "Well, believe it or not, there may be something even better down here."
HAEL: "I don't understand."
CASTIEL: "There's opportunity for you, the others who have fallen, to do finally do what you would like to do – not just what you've been told."
We then find out that Hael created the Grand Canyon (that much talked about Winchester place of longing & memory) and that she'd like to visit it.
Slight criticism here but...I'm disappointed in the VFX Dept's fire here. It looks fake to me and that's not the appearance you want. They did a much better job with the ring of fire in the past episodes IMO.
EZEKIEL: "Believe it or not, some of us still do believe in our mission. And that means we believe in Castiel...and you."
DEAN: "You said you were hurt during the fall."
EZEKIEL: "I was. Entangling with my brother back there did me no favors. But what strength I have left, I offer to you."
BOBBY: "You got to let go of fightin' and scratchin' and lookin' for loopholes, 'cause that ain't happenin'."
SAM: "So – so, what? I - I - I just die?"
BOBBY: "Just die? All the good you've done, all the people you've saved, all the sacrifices you've made? You've saved the world, son. How many people can say that? How many people can say that they have left this godforsaken hunk of dirt that much a better place? What you call dyin' I call leavin' a legacy."
Back at the hospital, Dean gets a call from Cas. They quickly catch up on the situation: Sam is dying and Cas was tricked by Metatron and lost his grace. Dean mentions the angel who's agreed to help them, Ezekiel and Cas says he's a "good soldier". Cas still wants to make it to the hospital to help, but Dean urges him to get to the bunker.
Dean (on the phone w/Cas): “There is a war on, and it’s on you. There’s thousands of them out there. You said you lost your Grace. That means you’re human. That means you bleed and you read and you sleep and all the things you never had to worry about before.”
Once Cas tells Hael that he has to leave, she shows her true colors. Ah, Cas...you're always too trusting.
Angels are decending on the hospital. Dean angel proofs the room and then orders Ezekiel to "Save him, you hear me?"
Dean races through the hallway amid shattering glass so he can pull the fire alarm to get the civilians out of harm's way.
Cas wakes up in the bloody mini-van with Hael driving. Her plan is to possess him. He's a strong vessel and her's is failing.
I'd like to point out a bit of a continuity error here (hey, it's what I do *g*). Note the blood splattered on the back of the seat.
Bobby & Sam come to a cabin in the woods, but Dean reappears and kills Bobby. He then proceeds to punch Sam to try and get him to fight for his life.
DEAN: "Are you telling me there's nothing? Huh? You telling me there's nothing to fight for, that there's nothing to hope for?!"
SAM: "No. I'm telling you there is. You might not like it. You might not accept it, but it's in there. It's in that house."
DEAN: "You know what's in that house! Now, I can't help you if you ain't willing to fight for yourself!"
SAM: "I know. [He puts his hands on DEAN’s arms so that DEAN lets go of his jacket.] It's okay. It's what I want."
Poor Dean's getting beat up by the angels, who want to know where Cas is or they'll kill Sam. Dean remains ever defiant.
DEAN: "Anybody ever tell you you hit like an angel?"
Sam enters the cabin and finds Death standing by the fireplace.
DEATH: "Hello, Sam. I've been waiting for you."
I think there's another continuity error here as Dean uses the angel banishing sigil. You can just see part of it in the 2nd cap. So when did Dean have time to draw it? We just saw him hit the wall & slide to the floor and then he's telling them to hold off. Error, I say. But anyway...
DEAN: "Okay, wait, wait, wait, wait. I'll tell you where Cas is. I just have one question."
DEAN: "If Heaven is locked, then where do you go when I do this?"
Dean returns to the room to find Sam crashing and Ezekiel even weaker than before. They're out of time and options. All that's left is for Zeke to possess Sam, but Dean knows his brother will never go for that. So the angel starts to leave and Dean says "Wait".
Dean wants proof that Sam's really dying so Zeke allows him to hear (or was it see as well, they were never clear) what's going on in Sam's mind.
SAM: "I bet you get off on this."
DEATH: "Perhaps. But not in the way you assume. I consider it to be quite the honor to be collecting the likes of Sam Winchester. I try so hard not to pass judgment at times like this – not my bag, you see, but you... Well played, my boy."
Sam then makes one request - that his death be final with no way for anyone to save him, no deals and nobody getting hurt because of him. If this isn't about sparing Dean, I don't know what is.
Dean's desperate at this point. The deal would be that Zeke would leave once Sam was healed (along with healing himself).
DEAN: "Even if I said yes, it doesn't mean squat. Sam will never say yes – not to you."
EZEKIEL: "But he would say yes to you."
Cas used his street smarts and put on his seatbelt (Hael wasn't wearing one) and then forced her to crash the car.
Here's the rest of the continutiy error: Look at how clean that seat back (head rest) is! Ooops.
Cas is really having a bad first day as a human.
Oh, Cas...he tries the nice route, saying he wants to help all the angels, but Hael is having non of that.
HAEL: "Do you know how ridiculous you sound? Help angels? After what you did? They don't want your help, Castiel. They want your head."
CASTIEL: "You're wrong. I'm one of you. I will never stop being one of you."
And then she just gets nasty and abusive and I'm yelling at the screen for him to kill her and he finally does.
Sam's about to go with Death when Dean shows up to make a final appeal...
Dean: "Sam listen to me. I made you a promise, in that church. You and me. Come whatever. Well, hell, if this ain't whatever. But you gotta let me in man. You gotta let me help. There ain't no me if there ain't no you!"
Sam: "What do I do?"
And then we have the cool effect of Dean morphing into Ezekiel and possessing Sam.
Zeke!Sam and Dean leave the hospital. Sam doesn't know that he's possessed and Dean hopes his brother will understand once he finds out. The angel warns that if Sam rejects him before the healing is finished that Sam will die. So Dean decides they'll keep it quiet for now and Zeke will erase all memory of the hospital.
A bloody Cas enters a laundromat and prepares to wash his clothes, but thirst trumps a clean trenchcoat apparently.
Sam wakes up in the Impala with no memory since the angels were falling at the church. Dean plays it all off like Sam simply needed to rest for a day to recover.
SAM: "You've been driving around with me passed out in the passenger's seat for a day?"
DEAN: "Oh, I mean, I stopped, you know, let a few Japanese tourists take some pictures. Nobody got too handsy. I knew you'd pull through. I meant what I said at the church. You're capable of anything, Sam, and hell if you didn't prove me right."
SAM: "Good. 'Cause we got work to do."