A Sashurai’s Review: Supernatural – Season 11×02 (Yes, I’ll have a triple plot with a side of fire, oh, and hold the darkness)

SN 11x02

Continuing from last week’s dark-filled premiere, Sam, Dean, and Castiel engage their own demons (two figurative, one literal) as the entity known as the darkness begins its first step into becoming a human-like being. A new reaper gives Sam a stern warning, and Castiel is subjected to what I can loosely be called as “angel torture”. All this and Crowley’s badly timed jokes. In a chaotic atmosphere full of foes and fiends, a practical theme is well met; sometimes you can to solve the mess on your own.

While I was expecting a more drawn out phase with Sam’s descent into madness by the darkness’s after-effect, the manner in which he solved his dilemma was smart thinking and helped lend to a great second part of a two-part premiere plot. Some segments fell a little short, but as a whole, “Form and Void” held up better than last week’s episode. Torture and introspection were among the focal points tonight with a promise to readdress the head demon taking in essentially an adopted daughter. How that plays out is anyone guess. After all, who said the darkness can’t eat a demon’s soul?

Dean drives Jenna to her grandmother’s in Iowa to hold up with Amara while Sam captures another infected man in desperation to save anyone and himself from the darkness infection. Castiel is tortured by two angels on the whereabouts of Sam and Dean and for what happened with Metatron’s escape. Hannah arrives under the subterfuge of help but Castiel calls her out leaving them to attempt a severe brain hack. The attempt is stopped by Hannah who is beaten by the angel. An enraged Castiel breaks free and dispatches two of the angels but not before Hannah is killed. Back in Iowa, the baby, Amara begins showing abilities that makes Jenna’s grandmother fearful as she calls for a priest. Jenna calls Dean who returns to find Crowley dressed as the priest in hunt for the power he’s been tracking. Amara is able to steal and eat Jenna’s soul rendering her a souless evil husk that kills her grandmother and attempts the same with Dean. Crowley kills her and is then subdued by Dean, but Amara escapes, having aged 6-9 years. Meanwhile, Sam is forced to kill the man he captured and comes across a reaper named Billie who tells Sam that Death had been toying with keeping Sam and Dean alive for the past few years. She also warns him that the next time they die, a reaper will cast their souls into the empty. Sam then goes to the hospital chapel and asks help from God. He then has visions of his time in hell or something similar and eventually discovers a clue to get rid of the infection left by Billie. He uses fire to cleanse the infection and uses the same method to cure three more people. Sam and Dean then reunite and return to their HQ where Castiel is seen bloody and beaten, asking for help.

To start with Sam, I was pleasantly surprised with his ingenuity and attention to detail when it came to his conversation with Billie. This was one of those rare scenarios where Sam not only kept the horrid news from Dean, but he found a way to solve it on his own so there won’t be a point to tell him at all. Usually when everything hits the fan, the other brother will scold without end for being kept in the dark and this time it wasn’t necessary. The arrival of another reaper does settle some questions likely looming on the net about their status since the literal death of Death, something I still think was a rotten move. The ode to the original theme played during Death’s intro was a nice touch, a soothing and haunting reminder that even though he’s gone, death remains.

Dean and Crowley’s moment was at first a little lopsided but I think served the purpose it needed to in the end. Crowley needed to be put back into the fold of the Winchester plot and his hunt for the darkness is an easy fix for him. Whether he has a real agenda or if he just wants possession of the entity, who can say? Accomplishing such an act so easily at the end has to remind us who really has the power here. It’s Amara, and she’ll be playing everyone from start to finish, that is unless humanity gives her a sense of soul herself, something we may be playing with since she eats them.

Castiel and his debacle with the angels remains the lowest of the three overlapping stories. It’s very cut and dry and the angels are as always, very dry. I’m forgetful with what happened to Hannah’s original body, but the act in subduing and manipulating Castiel was very meh in my opinion. The highlight was Castiel’s rage taking control and his head just popping the spikes out from his skull as he broke from his confinement. This witch-curse is so far pretty lasting on him. It’s similar to the mark of Cain in that he has urges to commit violence, something Dean will recognize immediately.

Now that both the demons and angels are aware of Amara’s existence on Earth, I’d like to think one will try to destroy her while the other protects selfishly. In the end, I can see both sides be played. It will help to know Amara’s agenda soon. I’d theorize that her continued existence as a human will have some humanizing effect on her, at least in terms of the right experiences and emotions.

FAVORITE MOMENT

The ‘Oh Death’ song leading to Sam’s conversation with Billie. Good nostalgia of a powerful tune considering the last time we heard it was over five years ago. It’s been a while since we’ve seen a reaper too and I think we’ll see Billie specifically again. We need more reoccurring characters and so far Jenna was the closest one, but that isn’t an option anymore, shame.

CHARACTER MVP

Sam gets it tonight. I liked his struggle and his moment of calling out to God even though he probably knew it was futile. It was a message to us that there may be a part to play involving the Almighty Chuck, something I believe the fans really want to see. Billie’s clue helped Sam discover very quickly an easy method to purge the darkness infection and it was all possible on his own. Yes Billie may have helped on purpose, but the goal was more of a taunt, like a “See if you can figure it out and prove to me why Death kept saving you all these time,” kind of taunt. Sam deserves more credit these days, he can manage on his own just as well if not even better than Dean because he can think analytically as opposed to firing a gun over and over and over, and probably empty the clip while we’re at it.

ENDING THOUGHTS

If I were writing that episode, I would have made the solution of fire involve a real painful burning moment, something that Sam would be scarred over in some way. We’re talking about a primordial force that existed before the dawn of time and Sam just holds a burning piece of gauze (whatever it was) to his neck and expels this wicked infection? And don’t get me started on the ring of fire.

The idea that you can just phone a priest to conduct an exorcisms on the same night in Iowa has me thinking they need to rethink their federal exorcism plan in that state. I drove through it once…lotta corn there. Really, a lot.

Did Crowley rip his hand through the angel blade or did he just pull it out and then stick it back in the hole? Seems like a waste of motion doing that. The same message would have been sent since he wasn’t there when Dean returned. It’s good to see Ruby’s dagger again. Sometime they really gotta explain how that thing works. Come on, it’s season 11, there are no secrets to be had on this show anymore.

Will Amara grow up to look like the same actress that played her in the first episode? If so, I wonder what the point of all this was for her? Is becoming human just a thing to connect with Dean on? And does she really have any ill will toward the planet and wishing its destruction? Maybe we have all this wrong, maybe she’s a misunderstood entity that kills because it doesn’t know what killing really is. And if she feeds on souls, what did she exist off of before time? Or does eating souls just keep her corporeal form alive? Questions, questions.

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. Solid storytelling with Sam and Dean continuing to solve their sides of the plot with the methods that they know tend to work. It’s the dynamic that makes all peanut butter and jelly overlap in a sort of sandwich of ideals. Dean’s attempt to save the infected man and Castiel’s torture at the hands of Goofus and Gallant were the only portions I thought dragged but they by no means hindered the rest of the episode. With Amara in Crowley’s “care” as it were, this leaves Sam and Dean to content with some standard monster/ghost one-shots while the angel/demon plot recharges for another go. I say bring on the bad and keep season 11 fresh, that’s the hope here. Thanks for reading.

No more words

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