TV Recap: 'Supernatural' Episode 717 - 'The Born-Again Identity'


Supernatural Episode 717

"The Born-Again Identity"

Written By: Sera Gamble

Directed By: Robert Singer

Original Airdate: 23 March 2012

In This Episode...

Sam hasn't slept in five days, sending him into a psychotic break. While wandering the streets, trying to get away from Lucifer, he is hit by a car and taken to the hospital. He has minor injuries, but is locked up in the ward for the criminally insane, which is where Dean finds him. The doctors have put Sam on the maximum dosage of sedatives, but Sam still won't sleep. Lucifer is with him always, talking and singing and making maggots appear in Sam's food. Sam refuses to acknowledge Lucifer is there, so Lucifer takes on the appearance of the doctor, just to get a dialogue started. While in the asylum, Sam does make a "friend." Her name is Merrin and she has been there for about five weeks because she was diagnosed as psychotically depressed after trying to burn her house down. Sam figures out that the voice she is hearing is her brother, dead a year, haunting her and trying to bring her to the other side with him. Sam burns a bracelet Merrin's brother gave her, and his ghost is banished.

Sam has given up, but Dean has not. He calls every hunter in Bobby's book, looking for anyone who might know anyone who can help. One of these calls yields a reward, when a fellow hunter tells Dean about Emanuel and Daphne, a couple who he claims are legit faith healers. Dean seeks them out, but something is not right. When Dean sees Daphne in the house, tied up, he realizes Emanuel is a demon and shanks him (still not really what the point of this was, but who am I to complain about demon ganking?) The real Emanuel shows up behind Dean. He turns around and discovers Emanuel is the spitting image of our buddy Castiel. Dean is taken aback. Emanuel agrees to come with him to see if he can offer any assistance to Sam. Along the way, Dean discusses what happened with Castiel to see if it sparks any recognition with Emanuel. It does not.

Dean stops off at a convenience store to call Sam. He is cornered by a demon, who he takes care of easily. It is the other two demons that cause him more trouble. He kills one, but the other seems to have the upper hand. Suddenly it is killed, but not by Emanuel - by Meg. She needs Emanuel's help but he already trusts Dean, so she wants to hitch on to his trust. Dean agrees begrudgingly. Emanuel sees the demons get dusted, and starts to put the pieces together. It's slow, but he remembers: he is Castiel. And he isn't megalomaniacal - but he does remember going dark. The awkward threesome arrive at the asylum, and find the exterior crawling with demons. Dean and Meg promise that Cass can take out all those demons easily. He doesn't remember how, but Dean assures him it will come back. So he marches down the hill, lays hands on the demons - and vaporizes them handily. His memories come flooding back, and it is traumatizing. "Sam is dying because of me." He can't handle it and wants to leave. Dean still believes in him, and hands him his trench coat. This instills Cass with courage and he marches into the asylum. Sam is just about to have his brain fried by a demon orderly and an electroshock therapy machine, but Castiel intercedes. 

Sam thinks that Castiel is just another delusion. Castiel "reaches in" to Sam's head to fix the wall, but finds there is nothing that can be done. The wall has crumbled; there is no fixing it, no rebuilding it. But there may be a way to shift it. He lays hands on Sam, and literally takes the hell out of his head and puts it in his own. His guilt is assuaged momentarily - then his mind starts to crumble as Lucifer tortures him. Of course, being an Angel and all, he ought to be a tougher nut to crack. Sam and Dean leave the asylum, a crazy Castiel in Sam's place. And what about Meg? She has decided that her life's calling is to be a nurse, and the demon doc who runs the place is pleased to hire her.

Dig It or Bury It?

Outside of Castiel coming back, this was an average episode. Nothing special; no big fights; no crazy monsters; no bloody kills. Dean giving him the trench coat was pretty special. 

Spooky Humor

Castiel: "I gather we know each other."

Meg: "You're an angel."

Castiel: "Is that a flirtation?"

Meg: "No, it's a species."

Sibling Rivalry

Dean was too worried about Sam to fight; and Sam was just too tired.


Garth returns to ask the Winchesters for help battling a demon - that you can only see when drunk. There is no one better at fighting drunk than Dean!