Episode 11×10 & 11×11 AKA “Do We Still Care?”
Well, the hellatus is over and Darkness is unleashed on the Earth in the form of a woman. Sam is in the Cage, Dean has some weird not-quite-consensual relationship with the Big Bad, and Castiel has a whole lot of angst. I’m guessing the Winchesters won’t be getting sunshine and puppies anytime soon…Warning there be spoilers ahead.
Synopsis “The Devil in the Details”
“The Devil in the Details” lights up on one of the strangest dream sequences to ever air on Supernatural (and that’s saying something). Rowena dreams of a Christmas hell in which Crowley is a man-child who gets Sam Pop Funko dolls and Satan is Santa.
Yes, this is canon.
Lucifer convinces Rowena to work for him, so Sam ending up in the Cage in 11×09? Totally orchestrated by the Devil. Rowena seems to think that she will be Lucy’s Queen, and tells Crowley that she chose the winning side.
Meanwhile, Dean is headed to Amara’s last known location to see if the Heavenly smiting took. Except, apparently with smiting comes sickness (like radiation poisoning, I assume), and Castiel rushes to Dean’s side like a concerned boyfriend. He tells Dean that the sickness doesn’t affect him, and that he will investigate Amara’s ground zero instead.
In the smiting zone, Castiel meets Ambriel, another angel who has been sent to check on Amara’s status. She insinuates that she and Castiel are both sent into the danger zone because they are “expendable.” She tells Castiel that Heaven talks of the Winchesters as the heroes, and that Castiel isn’t nearly as important.
To the surprise of no one, Ambriel doesn’t last very long once Amara shows up. To Amara, the tax accountant angel is an afternoon snack. Castiel, who is not expendable in the eyes of the Darkness, is used as a messenger from Amara to the Winchesters. Castiel is sent to Hell’s back door with an ominous message carved into his chest: I am coming.
(You may tweet all about the double entendre to @dearcollectress.)
Amara doesn’t look so good after she sends Cas away. When last we see her, she is about to collapse in the forest.
Meanwhile, in the Cage, Lucifer takes Sam through a series of memories in an endeavor to convince him that he should say “yes” to be Lucifer’s vessel. He reminds Sam of the day he beat the Devil (Swan Song anyone?) and, later, of how Sam gave up and had a dog. “You used to be a hero, Sam,” Lucifer tells him. “Hell, you beat me. Now. Now I look at you and I don’t even recognize you.”
You know your toxic codependency with your brother has reached new levels of awful if the Devil lectures you (cc: Dean Winchester, bcc: Sam Winchester).
Sam, of course, chooses to trust in his brother over the Devil (wise choice, that), and Dean concocts a scheme with Crowley to make Rowena cooperate in closing the Cage again. Unfortunately, by the time Castiel arrives in Hell to help Dean and Crowley finish the spell and save Sam, Lucifer has already decided on a more physical approach to coercing Sam’s consent. Dean rushes headfirst into the Cage to save his brother (what was that the Devil said to Sam? They’ll do anything to save each other, consequences be damned?) so of course Castiel follows. In the three-on-one scenario lifted straight from a fanfic I read last week, Team Free Will stands no chance against the might of an archangel, caged or not.
Luckily, they just need to buy a little time until Rowena casts the spell. The Winchesters are saved from the Cage, and Lucifer is trapped. They are all free to leave Hell and 1) be no closer to saving the world from the Darkness, 2) be just as codependent as ever, and 3) return to formulaic angsty white men saving helpless white women from monsters steeped in western Anglo-Saxon/Christian lore. Right?
Lucifer is, as he says it, “back, baby.” Unfortunately, that means Rowena, the only person who could put him back in the Cage, has outlived her usefulness to him. (RIP Rowena.)
Synopsis “Into the Mystic”
“Into the Mystic” should be just another Monster of the Week episode. We get an opening scene of two parents murdered by a supernatural entity while their baby is in a nearby crib. Wait, doesn’t this sound familiar?
Flash forward around thirty years, and Dean finds a nearby case to get Sam’s mind off of his recent encounter with the Devil. There’s been a mysterious death at a local retirement home, and all signs point to supernatural foul play. Salmon Dean (what do you mean that’s not how you spell it?) go undercover as FBI agents investigating the murder, and question the retirement home’s residents and staff. It’s amusing to see Robbie poke fun at the FBI agent angle in his script, as all too often the characters involved in MOTW cases don’t bat an eyelash at federal agents coming into their one stoplight town. “I knew you were too cute to be agents,” jokes resident Mildred (Dee Wallace) when Sam inevitably gives her the “we’re actually monster hunters” speech.
After discovering that the malevolent spirit is a banshee, Dean returns to the bunker for the proper weapon with which to gank it. Meanwhile, Lucifer in Castiel’s vessel (so lovingly named “Lustiel” by Misha Collins) strolls through the park, ganks an angel, and then decides to break into the bunker for research on Amara. Dean and Lucy meet in the bunker for a little tête-à-tête in which Dean reveals that he has an uncontrollable attraction to Amara.
If even the Devil is shocked that you have the hots for the biggest, baddest evil in the universe, you might want to rethink your life choices (cc: Dean Winchester).
Back at the retirement home, Sam encounters another hunter, Eileen (Shoshannah Stern), who is also a legacy of the Men of Letters. She lost her hearing after her parents were attacked by the banshee, and we realize that she was the baby in the opening sequence, and perhaps her backstory is almost as tragic as Sam’s. Like Sam, she seeks vengeance on the creature that killed her parents and, like Sam, she doesn’t know what she’ll do with herself once she’s accomplished her revenge.
As nightfall grows closer, Dean has a heart-to-heart with the feisty Mildred; it’s cute, a little sexy, and a whole lot of tender. Mildred sees straight through Dean, and she can see that his days of wanting to live a life on the road are coming to an end. It’s a hard life for the Winchesters, but it’s not the kind of life you leave without being in a body bag.
When night comes, and the banshee attacks, its target is not Mildred as expected. It’s Dean, and his rescuer is someone who cannot hear the banshee’s wails: Eileen. Mildred traps the banshee, Eileen stabs it, and the Winchesters are rescued by two of the most badass women they’ve encountered in eleven seasons.
The episode ends with an adorable back-and-forth between Sam and Eileen (can they please go on a date?) and later, another brother moment in which the two agree that something is “up” with Castiel.
The Big Picture
It’s only a matter of time before the Winchesters realize that
Danny’s not here right now Castiel is, in fact, the devil. Literally, not figuratively. When they do, what havoc will be unleashed? Will Lucifer actually face Amara or will he team up with her? As a member of the “we like our villains to be evil” club, I vote for the latter. A Lucifer/Amara team up would make the Darkness much more terrifying, and propel the Supernatural storyline into bringing back Chuck. With all the season 5 parallels we’ve seen in this season, this is one of the likelier outcomes of the reintroduction of Lucifer.
On the other hand, if Lucifer does kill Amara and reclaim heaven, then Dean is right: they would be swapping one evil for another.
Amara sucks all life and light into herself; Amara destroys the earth.
Lucifer kills Amara; Lucifer conquers heaven; Lucifer destroys the earth.
Really, it’s all bad news bears. Boys, no one will judge you for having two fingers of whiskey right about now.
The End of Bro Dependency
Say what you want about the Devil, but he was right about one thing: Dean and Sam can no longer save each other at the expense of everyone else. What will this mean for their relationship? Well, quite honestly I’m hoping that it means that they deepen their relationships with other people and create a stronger support network. They have a tendency to make the friends around them (Ellen, Jo, Bobby, Kevin, Charlie, Cas…) feel expendable because the only people they consistently save at all costs are themselves.
I don’t know about you, but I prefer my Winchesters without the extra dash of egocentrism.
I know I usually only write about thematic content, but after the
tragedyroyalcockupbiguglymess less than stellar midseason finale, I was hesitant about whether or not I’d continue watching, and writing about, a show that so often has content that I find very problematic.
The beginning episodes of the second part of season 11 have given me a reason to continue watching. Andrew Dabb proved that the writers are aware of the bro dependency in his Lucifer/Sam flashbacks and has laid the groundwork for a new path for the Winchesters.
As for Robbie Thompson’s “Into the Mystic”? Well, I can never say enough good things about Robbie’s writing, whether it be television or comics, but I must say, that I loved that his script integrally utilized two women actors from demographics often ignored by network television. Not only did Mildred and Eileen add vivacity and badassery to our screens, but they were the rescuers.
I could write another 1,000 words about Mildred, Eileen, and the importance of diversity on genre television, but for now, it is sufficient to say that for the first time since Charlie’s death, I feel something for Supernatural, and it feels a lot like hope.
Until next week, SPN Family, remember that Dean and Sam watch Golden Girls. It’s canon.
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