A Sashurai’s Review: Supernatural – Season 11×09 (Bat out of hell, back into hell…II)

SN 11x09

 

SUMMARY

Biblical anarchy carries the weight of the world as Amara attempts to force God’s arrival while Sam and Dean hold a thin truce with Crowley and Rowena over their only play left against The Darkness…Lucifer. As Dean is brought closer to Amara’s desires to rule existence, Sam comes face to face with the devil himself, and as always, the devil has the last word.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

This is one of those episodes that ended too fast and at the most inconvenient point of the season, the dreaded winter break. This was nothing short of exquisite that includes the triumphant return of Mark Pellegrino as the captivating and deviously malevolent, Lucifer. We haven’t seen him since Sam’s breakdown which even now still yields questions regarding Lucifer’s presence and his missing brother, Michael, who seemingly has been retconned out of the cage. That outstanding issue aside, there was a surge of brilliance brought forth between Amara’s conversation with Dean and Lucifer’s conversation with Sam which we’ll dive into in a bit. Everything leading up to their fateful reunion had a few minor ups and downs, but once the ball gets rolling it doesn’t let up even at the crushing climax that promises to deliver a welcome change to the paradigm of the Supernatural. Let’s get to it.

 

RECAP

Amara encounters a small group who all listen to the ranting of a religious zealot, who attempts to sway her. Amara kills them all with lightning and continues trying to draw out God. Meanwhile, Sam and Dean argue over seeking out Lucifer but decide to try which includes help from Crowley who captures Rowena. With her help, she deciphers a spell from the book of the damned to allow them access to Lucifer without opening his cage. Amara goes to a church and murders all the attendees including the priest as she fails to contact God again. While Dean investigates the church murders, Sam reluctantly pursues Lucifer personally in Limbo with Crowley and Rowena. After the spell is set, Sam comes face to face with Lucifer who is elated to see Sam again. Dean encounters Amara who takes him away to a secluded land in an attempt to sway him to her side. Meanwhile Sam attempts to gain Lucifer’s help, but he wants to be free and once again inhabiting Sam’s body as a vessel. Sam refuses just as Dean refuses to join Amara. Angels appear to Amara and swear to smite her with their combined might. She dispatches three of them while the remaining group form a heavenly blast of light against her. She returns Dean back to the church before being struck by it. The spell surrounding Lucifer’s cage disperses as Rowena quietly leads Crowley away. Sam finds himself back inside the cell with Lucifer explaining that it was he who put the images in Sam’s head to find him. Sam is then left at Lucifer’s mercy and potential possession again.

 

THE GOOD

Starting with the highlight we’ve been waiting for since the end of season 5, the real Lucifer makes a captivating and brilliant come back. His demonic eyes and shadowed appearance gave way to the snarky, yet diabolical denizen of hell who shaped his own escape thanks in part to The Darkness who allowed Lucifer to ping Sam’s mind after she escaped. This was not only the feature of the episode, but it frankly stole the show. Never one to let up, Mark doused the scene with empty promises to help and easily sowed the seeds of confusion as Sam let a single tear loose as his gullibility for thinking he could trust Lucifer for a second. From top to bottom, it was a grand sight to behold and watch because the wait had been so long. Mark hasn’t missed a beat either. His opening shot had dread tattooed behind Sam’s eyelids as he tried his best to face the original evil of earth.

 

Once Amara took Dean to her secluded area, she helped perpetuate the episodes second best segment which included Dean trying his best to resist Amara’s temptations while explaining her view of God and how existence should be ruled by her. This combination fits so well because as much as Dean loves his brother and shares in their camaraderie as passionate hunters, he also suffers from the kind of wounded heart that comes with a rough life and seeks tenderness both subjectively and objectively. Amara has threads of that to offer, yet, his duty is resolute which is also his most endearing trait. He won’t give into his deepest desires whether they’re manufactured by Amara’s will or not. Amara still recounts her issues with God as a sibling with near omnipotent power would, speaking in some riddles but wanting Dean’s support almost as bad as just needing to God to appear to rectify his choices in imprisoning her.

 

THE BAD

It’s not much, but the initial scenes dealing with the angels ramping up to take out Amara didn’t feel as critical or worthy to note tonight. The business suit attire of these angels are a tired motif and made their speech seem more like a board meeting attempting to convince themselves they’re hitting a bottomline.

 

It’s also minor, but I would have liked to have seen some initial entry into hell rather than a hard transition to Sam, Crowley, and Rowena walking down a barren hallway with no ceiling and a figurative thunderstorm looming overhead. Sometimes I get the sense these writers don’t get to truly flourish in creating hell or limbo and are stuck with dulling it down to a grungy but capable atmosphere that barely manages to capture the visage of the underworld.

 

I’d be remiss to leave out how oddly conceivable it was that the book of the damned would have anything pertaining to a spell that could subvert Lucifer while releasing the shell of the cage. What we don’t know is why Rowena seemed to calm when taking Crowley away. It’s possible there was no spell and the act itself actually released Lucifer which means Rowena pulled one over everyone, we simply don’t know for sure, but odds are Rowena planned his escape or at the very least didn’t want to be around when he did.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

When the spell was cast and our initial sight of Lucifer in his darkened, majestic appearance. It was creepy and fantastic how it slowly dissolved to reveal the devil, who surprisingly maintained the image of the human vessel he took over during his tenure on earth before possessing Sam. I’m glad they added that murky flair to help us remember just how sinister he was and still is.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Lucifer easily snags the top spot tonight. Courteous but snide, sneaky and simple, Lucifer casts the biggest shadow while behind bars and though Sam refused his offer to help, he still held the final card that allowed him to capture Sam into the cell with him. The eccentric truth is we don’t know if Lucifer intends to truly help anyone defeat the Darkness after he presumed to admit he helped God lock her up to begin with, which seems like a boastful claim, but Lucifer’s power has always been very high, above the angels but below Death himself. He knocked one out of the park and hopefully he’s not done yet.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

In these last several seasons, was it ever explained where Michael and his vessel Adam scampered off to? Seems fleeting, but a rather noticeable continuity error unless Lucifer did something to subvert him. I guess the third half Winchester brother didn’t make the cut for some unknown reason.

 

It seems utterly futile that the angels thought they could unite and smite God’s sister. I guess I’m glad they tried, because now maybe Amara can wipe the angels completely off the face of the map and leave Castiel and Lucifer the last two. I’m not counting Metatron, not anymore.

 

Thunder in hell seems a tad bit redundant. I felt they could have gone more unique and less cliché in that department.

 

So they reference Charlie in regards to the cipher/translations for continuity but the brothers don’t mention Rowena giving that woman who killed those imaginary best friends that witch-imbued knife? And that was just last episode.

 

I liked how Amara referenced that she and God had no “daddy.” Dean glosses over it but she had the tone that there’s something going on in their origin, almost a cynical side to it. I’m wondering if this will be referenced again, because the further back you dive in creation therein lies the hardest explanation ever. How did it all begin? Maybe Supernatural will dive into that possibility.

 

OVERALL SCORE

9 out of 10. Fantastic plot, very seriously toned, and a great turnout for the rejuvenated Lucifer who is the show’s best villain to date. How he factors into this era of The Darkness is still unknown, but his possession of Sam seemed imminent. Does he intend to do what he wants or will he face The Darkness on his own terms? He’s just an angel after all, and unless Amara has need of him, has to know his days are equally as numbered. But freedom calls and it’s season 5 all over again, which is great, because that was the pinnacle of this show’s storytelling. This show has been missing some key villain flair and with Lucifer back, here’s hoping he’s a mainstay for at least the season. We’re now officially on winter break and what a time to end with the devil’s return to the franchise. Now the question remains, will God finally make an apperance, and if so, what would a showdown like that entail? Thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words

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