For the most part, when Supernatural
has killed a fan favorite, they usually find a way to bring them back, in some form. Even Bobby, who has been dead for years, is now "alive again" thanks to the Apocalypse World.
Yet since his death in season 5, there's been not even a single hint that archangel Gabriel would come back. However, with the season 13 episode "Devil's Bargain" it's been revealed that Gabriel is alive, though not quite well, and being kept in a cell by Asmodeus. Gabriel's return is a long-awaited Supernatural event, but fans should be slightly worried about the return of their favorite trickster.
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Torturing the Fun out of Someone
Supernatural did a terrific job pulling off the shock of Gabriel's return. This is half due to the fact that there was almost no tease it was happening, before it occurred, and that the Gabriel who appeared at the end of "Devil's Bargain" looked radically different than the character did in his last appearance. Wherever Gabriel has been, which is a mystery all its own, the years have not been kind to him. Gabriel's face was bloody, battered and probably most personally insulting, his mouth was stitched shut.
Gabriel's greatest asset as a character was being a wise-cracking, joke-wielding, lovable jerk. It's hard to imagine how Supernatural will believably insert Gabriel back into that role after all he's clearly been through since his absence. As much as fans might want the fun and wiseacre Gabriel back immediately, to do so would seriously trivialize the character's absence and return. Supernatural plays it fast and loose enough with bringing supposedly dead characters back to life; their resurrections should mean a little something when they do occur.
It also must be considered that Gabriel is under the thumb of Asmodeus, which is probably one of the worst places he could find himself. This isn't because Asmodeus is one of the worst villains Supernatural has ever created. In fact, Asmodeus, so far, is a bit like the poor man's version of Lucifer with a Southern accent. Gabriel, however, was always one of the most free-spirited and independent angels.
Gabriel never wanted to get involved in the larger machinations of Heaven and Hell, preferring to do his own thing. Now he's seemingly the linchpin in Asmodeus' master plans. By being forced to work for Asmodeus, Gabriel is not only in a physical prison but a mental one.
Gabriel is about as far removed from the guy who trapped Sam and Dean in their televisions as possible. At least that's the way things appear and Supernatural has been known to play with appearances.
Occam's Gabriel's Razor
As much as it seems like the Gabriel in Asmodeus' cell is the same one that Lucifer killed, that may not be entirely true. The multiverse is now open on Supernatural. Although Asmodeus hasn't found a way to travel between worlds, Lucifer is proof that people can come from the Apocalypse World to our "own."
The Gabriel who died at the hands of Lucifer may very well still be dead and the one in Asmodeus' captivity is, instead, one from the Apocalypse World or another dimension. This would explain his mouth being shut because Apocalypse Michael probably wouldn't take kindly to Gabriel's constant need to have a quip or jib. Michael, on any world, doesn't have much of a sense of humor.
This is even assuming Apocalypse Gabriel would have the same personality and mannerisms as the real Gabriel. The Apocalypse World has already remixed a few classic characters, case in point Kevin Tran.
While it might be disappointing to have Gabriel back only to reveal it's a new character entirely, that does make more sense than a sudden resurrection. Supernatural will have to do a lot of explaining to come up with an excuse for where Gabriel has been and season 13 is already juggling enough stories as is; maybe the simplest explanation will be the correct one.
But what do you make of Gabriel's return? Did it catch you by surprise? How long do you think it'll last? Is it really Gabriel?
(Image courtesy of the CW)