Hello, Supernatural viewers! Before I dive deep into last week’s episode, let me apologize for how late I’m getting around to this review. In my humble defense, when the folk/hip hop band Judah & Lion shows up for a free concert at 6 in the morning at your local Alamo Drafthouse Theater, you best believe you’re up at 4 a.m. and in line by 5:15 a.m, even if you only got two and a half hours of sleep. Then, to be called into work for the entire weekend?! Ridiculous. But not as ridiculous as the Falcons blowing a 28-9 lead last night. Someone must have found themselves at a crossroads during halftime, am I right? Yes, that was my transition from the Super Bowl to Supernatural. I was never great at the five-paragraph structured essays.
Let’s talk about Castiel. “Lily Sunder Has Some Regrets” is probably the best Cas-centric story we’ve seen since at least season six’s “The Man Who Would Be King.” In that episode, Cas is struggling to come to terms with the decisions he has made in much the same way he is in LSHSR. However, where TMWWBK is more of an explanation of Cas’s thought processes (the entire episode is narrated by him), LSHSR has a more reflective Cas. He understands the road he’s taken from when he was merely Heaven’s soldier in season four to a more humanistic angel. This doesn’t sit well with Cas’s old boss Ishim (Ian Tracey). A bitter, defeated angel, Ishim spends the entirety of the episode spouting off rude and sarcastic remarks about Cas and the Winchesters, while still trying to reason with Cas to join their old team again. He’s a nice parallel for Cas, a mirror of what Cas used to be, following orders in the name of God. Ishim and Cas meet up again following the death of Benjamin, another angel that was a part of their team back in the day. Someone is hunting the angels, and they have vengeance on their mind.
Lily Sunder (Alicia Witt) is a damn cool character. She represents the consequences of blindly following orders as well as sticking wholeheartedly to a black and white set of rules. Her story also indirectly relates to the Winchester’s current problem — Kelly Kline and her nephilim baby. Back in 1901, Ishim, Cas, and the rest of their order, were called down to Earth to deal with the supposed rumor of the existence of a nephilim. An angel, Akobel, had taken up with a woman named Lily Sunder, and together they had a child. Ishim ordered Mirabel to kill Akobel while he dealt with the child, as Castiel and Benjamin looked on. After all, a nephilim couldn’t be allowed to exist. They were doing God’s work. But by blindly following the will of God, they failed to realize the child Ishim killed was human and that Ishim had been playing them all for years. Faced with the hard truth, Castiel ends up killing Ishim and asking Lily for forgiveness. Cas was unknowingly complicit in Lily’s child’s death, but he was doing what he thought was right at the time. Turns out, the world is more complicated than originally thought. It’s impossible to live in a black and white world because there’s too many gray areas. Cas understands this, and Lily is a perfect example of such an idea. Her accepting Cas’s apology and walking away proves there is a way to live in the gray areas. At episode’s end, Cas admits that when it comes to Kelly Kline and her baby, he’s not sure what to do. This episode wasn’t meant to provide answers to the Kline problem, only to point out there are decisions to be made, and none of them can be rash.
“Lily Sunder” also had some good small moments to go along side the bigger story. I loved the scene between Sam and Lily in her hotel room as she explains how she’s managed to stay alive so long. Sam is always great at relating to people and listening to them, but it also helps when he understands what she’s going through. No doubt he was remembering his own soulless days. Dean and Sam’s aside in the hallway, trying to determine if they believe Lily’s story, and let’s not forget all three of them trying to fit on one side of a diner booth. There’s a lot of history to Supernatural, and I always appreciate when the show acknowledges that history, whether it’s in the form of a major plot point from a previous season or the interactions between the brothers that doesn’t involve them talking exposition.
“Lily Sunder” sees Cas and Dean settle their differences about Cas’s decision to kill Billie at the end of “First Blood.” Though I understand why Dean is worried, I never really had a problem with Cas killing Billie even if there were cosmic stakes involved. It’s a part of living in the gray area.
Supernatural airs Thursday nights on The CW.