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Last year, Supernatural had a bit of an up-down season to say the least. Following the departure of the series’ creator and show-runner Eric Kripke, Sera Gamble had a lot to deal with. Not only was she now in charge of a fairly long running show with a strong cult following, but the Winchesters had just thrown down with Lucifer himself and trying to top that is, well, hard. As the sixth season picked up, no one was all that sure what was happening. Dead people were alive and Sam had no soul, creating a seriously interesting, but massively confusing set of circumstances. As the season progressed, we got the lay of the new land, discovering Purgatory and the characters' battle to get there first. We learnt about the power of souls and even the mother of all evil threw her hat in the ring before being unceremoniously killed off.
The back half of the season heated up the civil war in Heaven, as the resurrected Castiel and the Archangel Raphael vied for control, one wanting peace on Earth, the other wanting to carry out his brother’s legacy and begin the apocalypse. With battle lines drawn, deals were made and everything came to a head on the night of an eclipse, after the location of Purgatory and its millions of souls were discovered. The double cross of all double crosses left once heroic angel Castiel wielding the power of the in-between, which he used to smite his competitor for Heaven’s throne and declare himself to be God. With all of that out of the way, so arrives the seventh season of Supernatural.
“Meet the New Boss” picks up immediately after the events of “The Man Who Knew Too Much,” with Castiel having just declared himself to be the new ruler of the universe. Under the threat of instant expulsion from this plane of existence, Bobby, Dean and Sam all bow down as commanded, doing little to appease their new ruler. The entire first scene of the episode was really just the semi-emotional back and forth that one has come to expect from Supernatural, with Dean pleading to his former friend to give up his newfound power, as the crumbling of the wall within Sam’s head becomes more and more apparent. While Sam falls to the floor during another Lucifer-induced nap, Castiel ascends to Heaven to declare his new rule. Vowing punishment to those that stood against him, he asks obedience from the remaining Angels whilst standing in a sea of those who would defy him.
Just five minutes into the episode, the change in Castiel was firmly established, making the rest of his actions for the episode fairly awesome if you ignore what he used to be. Unable to stomach hypocrisy, Castiel set his sights on bringing a violent end to those who spoke in his name only to disobey his rules. After killing a homosexual preacher who admonished gays before his congregation as well as countless others across the country (why all of this only happens in America still makes absolutely no sense), Castiel then approached Crowley to strike yet another deal. In exchange for being allowed to remain alive, Crowley must return to his post as the King of Hell and take whatever souls his new God sees fit to send his way.
Whilst Heaven and Hell formed a union once more, Sam, Dean and Bobby cook up a plan to bring Castiel's reign of destruction to an end. Knowing only one thing in all of existence that could bring harm to God, the three summon Crowley to ask if he knows how to get it. Whilst the mutiny is no doubt punishable by absolute death, Crowley agrees to help, and provides them with a spell to bind Death himself. After a fairly heavy half hour of viewing, the comic relief for the episode then comes as the brothers go about getting the key ingredient for the spell - an eternally crystallized act of God. With solid lightning in their hands, Bobby then performs the spell and sure enough, Death is in the building.
In what is probably the best scene of the episode, mostly because Julian Richings is an amazing Death, we then learn what will likely be the crux of the season. As Dean tries to convince Death to kill God, Castiel arrives to put an end to their mischief. With a fraying Castiel unable to actually kill them as Death is under the spell, Death then explains to “God” the problem in what he did. Not only is Jimmy (Castiel’s vessel) unable to hold the souls within himself, but they aren't alone in there. Before creating angels and the Earth, God formed the first beasts - the Leviathans. Fearing that his new creations would be destroyed by them, God created Purgatory and confined them to it. In his fire-sale clearing of the place, Castiel consumed the Leviathans and is slowly losing control to them.
To avoid being reaped, Castiel frees Death from the spell. Before leaving, Death offers to create a one-off eclipse to give the brothers a chance to convince Castiel to give back his power. After momentarily losing control to the Leviathans, Castiel agrees and they all return to the lab where he made himself God. As Sam heads off to get the blood required for the spell, Lucifer stands before him in a hallucination, planting a seed of doubt in his mind about the reality of the world around him. Claiming that Sam never left Hell and that all of this is an elaborate form of torture, Sam then disappears, leaving behind the blood. After Dean gets the blood himself, the spell is cast and Castiel returns the souls to Purgatory before dying as a result. Somehow awakened, the real Castiel lives for the briefest of moments before being over taken by a Leviathan that held on inside him and the episode concludes with it heading out on a path of destruction.
After the shocking end of season six, “Meet the New Boss” was not exactly what was expected of Supernatural upon its return. Just about everybody out there has been expecting Castiel as the new God to be the big-bad for the year, but that is already over and done with. The introduction of the Leviathan came out of left field, but that doesn’t make it a bad thing. However, we’ll have to see how the story progresses before being able to say either way. As a standalone episode, “Meet the New Boss” worked well and as a set up for the new season, it also put in place a story that could work.