Hear Castiel crooning the Greatest American Hero theme on Supernatural

Supernatural often features brilliant musical moments — but few as hilarious, or as clever, as this one. Castiel, the fallen angel who's lost his powers, sings the Greatest American Hero theme tune, all about miraculously gaining superpowers. Amazing stuff.

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This was a really neat episode of Supernatural in general, because it capitalized brilliantly on the two characters whose status quos changed the most irrevocably at the end of season eight — Castiel, who's now human, and Crowley, who also touched his humanity and apparently lost his mojo as King of Hell. They're both in vastly reduced circumstances — which gives us a window into how Heaven and Hell did things in their day, and how they're doing things now. Plus a chance to muse on the nature of humanity, in all its humiliating dignity.

This week, both Castiel and Crowley get foils who perfectly represent everything they no longer are — Castiel is faced with another angel, Ephram, who is the "Hand of Mercy" for Heaven. Ephram has turned serial killer because of his urge to ease people's pain (permanently.) And Ephram tells Castiel that he deserves to be put out of his misery, not just because being human is causing him such great anguish but also because he's given up on all the greatness he once strove for. (As a counterpoint, we hear from Castiel's boss at the convenience store, who asked Cas to babysit for her in a way that totally misled him into thinking it was a date, and tells him he's special because he really cares when her baby has a fever.)

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Meanwhile, Crowley has an illuminating conversation with Abaddon, the Knight of Hell who's more or less usurped him at this point — and just like Ephram and Cas, Abaddon tells Crowley he's weak and he's lost his will to greatness. Plus Abaddon is showing a similar lack of restraint to Ephram, massively increasing the yield of souls to Hell by going back on all Crowley's contracts and seizing anyone she can get her well-manicured hands on. We're left wondering if the difference between them is just that Crowley represents an older, more civilized way of doing things — or that he's gone soft. Or both. We catch one last glimpse of him sneaking a syringe of his own blood while Sam watches — as if Crowley wants to weaken himself? Or do a spell?

In any case, not only does this episode open up some fun questions about just how dickish the angels and demons can be before they overreach — it also gets into some neat stuff about what it means to be human. The thing of Castiel dealing with humanity and trying to find meaning in working at a gas station and misinterpreting his boss' attempts to use him for free babysitting as romantic interest is super poignant. So far this season, the fallen angel and the lapsed King of Hell are the most interesting things going on.

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DISCUSSION

Even though I didn't have a problem with the "take a break" episodes, and even enjoyed them, it was good to get back to having Angels wandering around and Abadon trying to take over Crowley's spot as king of hell.

I thought Crowley was injecting whatever was left of Kevin's blood into himself, as in he misses almost becoming cured from when Sam was injecting him and wants some of that feeling back.

Cas' boss at the convenience store completely misled him. How hard is it to say "I don't want to take advantage of being your boss and make you do this, but can you babysit for me tomorrow?" She deserved to have blood smeared on her glass door and have some of her stuff wrecked. And apparently he was secretly living at the store? At least he's getting better at lying, and it even makes him seem more dedicated. Dean trying to help him get ready for his "date" was a nice moment too.

And we finally get an episode where Sam doesn't get knocked out and Zeke takes over. True, it's because he stayed in MoL HQ, but at least they didn't make him slip and hit is head or anything. Good to see Kevin back in the mix too.

The mercy angel was a nice way of showing just how much Cas understands about people in comparison to the other angels, even though he seems naive to Sam and Dean, and maybe once he's made enough money at his job he'll be able to afford a place to stay. Or his boss will ask him to move in with her but really just mean as a live-in nanny because she's not clear about what she's asking him for.

And good on Mischa singing the song in his Castiel voice, must have been tough.