Cowboy hats, Die Hard references, and Team Free Will 2.0! Tombstone – written by Davy Perez – had it all.
First and foremost Cas is back! This was huge not only for the fans of the show but for Sam and Dean as well. For the first five episodes of this season we’ve seen how much his absence has affected the brothers – especially Dean. In the previous episode Advanced Thanatology, Dean was probably at the lowest we’d seen the elder Winchester all season and that was saying something since he’s been grieving for the loss of Cas and his mother since the season premiere. Castiel’s return has been a huge game changer for Dean and we definitely saw a the improvement in his mood and demeanor now that Castiel has returned. As Dean stated to Sam, he asked for a win and Cas came back. Sam however seems to be a bit more wary of Cas’ sudden reappearance and his brother’s change in mood.
And not only has Cas returned to Sam and Dean, but he and Jack finally met for the first time. This was something that we’ve been waiting for since Jack first told Sam that Castiel – not Lucifer – was his father in the first episode of this season. When they head back to the bunker, we learn that Jack has also clearly been practicing and getting more familiar with his powers, something that would become evident several times this episode.
Six episodes in and this season has been delivering some truly great “monster of the week” episodes along with episodes devoted to the central plot, and it was great to see not only Sam and Dean, but also Jack and Cas working this case. Jack shows once again what a truly remarkable being he is because he found and researched a case all on his own just simply by watching Sam and Dean.
Dean’s reaction to hearing the case was in Dodge City, Kansas was priceless. It reminded me so much of his excitement from “Frontierland” when the boys traveled back in time back in season 6. These moments when we see more of Dean and his interests and things that he just generally ‘nerds out’ on are so rare but are some of my favorite things about him.
The conversation that Jack and Cas had about Kelly and heaven was something that needed to happen. Jack has been – and continues – to struggle with his nature and being good and Castiel has more of a connection to him than Sam and Dean do and while Sam has been a big influence, he sees Castiel as a father so hearing that come from him probably had more of an effect on him.
As TFW 2.0 continues to investigate the case, they discover that the monster they’re hunting is not a zombie like Jack originally theorized, but rather a ghoul. A creature that they have a bit of experience with – it was a ghoul that killed Sam and Dean’s half brother Adam. This ghoul has taken on the form of a famous gunslinger and outlaw Dave Mather. They track him to a local bank which he has just robbed, and a shoot out ensues.
Moments later, we see Jack use his powers again, slinging out a blast of energy and inadvertently killing the bank’s security guard. Jack who has been struggling with his nature, struggling to be good, struggling with his powers has now killed someone who had done nothing wrong. And though Cas, Sam, and Dean try to talk to Jack to tell him that innocent people will sometimes die and that they too have innocent blood on their hands, he still sees himself as “just another monster.” At the end of the episode, we get another glimpse of a few very important things: Jack clearly cares for the Winchesters and for Castiel, another display of his power and also, that he can apparently fly.
As another monster of the week/standalone episode “Tombstone” brought so many things fans had been waiting for this season including the highly anticipated return of Castiel and Jack and Castiel finally meeting. Not to mention the premise of this episode as a whole was just fantastic. The interactions between Dean and Cas felt like they did from earlier seasons with Castiel missing cultural references and a frustrated Dean guiding him a long. The monster choice was also great because we hadn’t seen the boys fight a ghoul in a few seasons, and seeing Sam and Jack working a case together brought some funny moments to the episode as well. This episode scored points on every front with a great monster, Team Free Will 2.0, and some truly humorous and touching moments.
Its going to be interesting to see how things play out for Sam, Dean and Cas from here on out the rest of the season with Jack’s departure and it seems the battle for Jack between heaven, hell, and the Winchesters will really start to heat up.