Wait, so only dead people get to see Him? And this makes sense to billions of you?
I did love this line. That whole exchange with the priest made me laugh out loud.
Ok. So this is going to be a tough one to review because I have a range of mixed feelings about it. My initial reaction is - that was a hot mess. That doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it (well, quite a lot of it), but it was felt pretty messy and uneven to me. That said, there were some things I LOVED and some things that left me feeling frustrated and down right annoyed.
Something I will never understand is why they give an episode as important and the mid-season finale to the two weakest writers on the show. The Duo (Buckner/Ross-Leeming) are two of the clunkiest writers they have (imho) and getting them to pull off something as intricate as re-introducing the cage was a tough ask. I just don't think they are as capable as say, Robert Berens, in being able to use subtly, clever plotting and solid characterisations. If only they could give them MoTW eps and leave these ones to the others.
The major problems I had with it were the contrivances and lack of decent pay-offs. But more on that later.The good stuff!
The top of my list is seeing Mark Pelligrino as Lucifer again. He is the creepiest Big Bad to ever have badded. My heart was pounding during all those scenes and Sam's fear was palpable. Kudos to both Jared and Mark for their wonderful performances.
Cage!Sam is rather exciting to me (hurt!Sam fan here ya know). The idea of Sam being back in the cage is intriguing as well as terrifying. I don't mind that they've re-visited this story-line for sam, mainly because we get to see Mark P again (but also I'm hopeful they'll do something interesting with it (oh, shuttup)).
The direction was mostly solid and I liked the variety of camera angles. The pacing was ok and the majority of the performances were solid. Jensen's performance was probably harder to notice because he had to be so calm - but in that respect I think he did well. He almost had to play against what we know of Dean - and that would have been tough.
Some of the dialogue was good - the quote above and Rowena's "he's probably not boyfriend material" were smile inducing.The not so good stuff:
I am hesitant to be overly negative about the episode because I WAS engaged when I was watching it and it made me feel
something. I was genuinely scared for Sam. So for an episode to do that, it means something is working for me. But it's kind of like eating junk food. It tastes good at the time, but afterwards it leaves you feeling a little sick and unsatisfied. It wasn't until the very end that I kinda wished I hadn't eaten as much as I had. :/
The biggest problem for me were the frustrating contrivances. I appreciate that they needed Sam to be left alone to face Lucifer by himself (for some reason) but to a) have Dean wander off with Sam watching over the ever-trustful Rowena by himself and b) have him ignore a phone call just after telling him to contact him left me feeling extremely annoyed. On top of that, Sam was presented with some kind of "urgency" to go ahead without Dean and therefore had to go behind his promise to wait. There was no good reason given for Sam to not just kick back and wait for Dean.
I was also annoyed by them dumbing the boys down in order to tell this story. Making them trust Crowley and Rowena made them look like amateurs. I get that they need powerful supernatural beings on their side but why on earth their first option wasn't Castiel seem crazy - especially as Castiel had been to the cage before. Leaving Castiel out of this part of the story (he could have helped Sam guard Rowena at least) just has me shaking my head (was he past is quota of eps maybe?).
I mentioned in the last review that it makes little sense that Sam thinks God is sending him messages to go to the cage. I had hoped it was all going to have some credible pay-off in this episode but instead it's weakened much of the season for me. Sam had been duped again and he really shouldn't have been. The cliff-hanger reveal that it was Lucifer sending Sam vision was a major let down. Not because the idea
isn't interesting and scary as hell (I actually love the idea of that), but that Sam didn't once consider it. It would have been much for obvious (especially as he knows Lucifer is capable of doing that) than it being God. It would have all worked equally well if Sam knew it was Lucifer but went anyway (with Dean!).
Rowena double-crossing Sam also annoyed the hell out of me. Not because it's not something she'd do, but that they trusted she wouldn't do it.
Dean continuing to not tell Sam about his and Amara's "bond" is friggin' pissing me off. Over and over Sam is blamed for not coming clean and yet all season Dean has kept this from Sam. I still don't know why they are making him do that - other than to cause another contrived riff. It's ended up putting Sam's life in danger and I am seriously hoping Dean doesn't say "why didn't you wait?" to Sam when he finally knows what's happened. I was at least happy that Sam did try and call Dean.Other stuff in general
I'm not sure what the purpose of the angels were - other than showing us Amara is very powerful. The last time we saw that angel it was with a demon and they talked about joining forces. I wonder what happened to that idea? Once again angels are presented as dicks and totally useless.
Amara's naivety is a little hard to buy considering she now represents a 30+ year old (notably making her age appropriate for Dean). I assume she's been gathering information since we last saw her so would be well aware of religion and the way it works. That said, I did enjoy many of those scenes.
The jury is out on Dean and Amara. I honestly don't know what to make of it. The most curious thing was Amara starting to suck out Dean's soul and stopping. I don't think it was clear why she stopped (I initially thought she could grab his soul for some reason), but others have suggested she stopped because of their so called bond. Dean is just so ineffectual around her and I'm not sure what to do with that. I appreciate it is part of their connection but placid, mesmerised Dean is so foreign to me. I wanted him to just snap out it. Clearly he wasn't able to.
I thought it was a plot hole that Michael wasn't in the cage, but I've since been informed that this is a different cage due to Rowena's spell (or something). I'm not even going to delve into any of that because I am happy to just do a massive *HANDWAVE* on that whole thing. They needed Lucifer by himself so there it is - retconning all of S5 was always something they were going to have to do and I'm just accepting it.
I spent a lot of time trying not to stare at Amara's cleavage.
I know this all sounds very negative (sorry), but I'm not letting these writers spoil the whole season for me. I think there's been some interesting stuff going on and just the fact that they are giving Sam something to do these says is pleasing me no end. I am past making any sort of connections to anything that's gone before because the show has gone way past that. Instead, I'm going to take each ep as a stand alone. Some I'll love, some not so much. :)
(I have something else I want to discuss about Sam and the cage but I'll put it in another post as it will be triggery and I don't want to risk doing that to anyone.)
Part two is now here