Wherein I gush and maybe swear a bit.
Perhaps one of the best things about going into an episode with low expectations (I knew it was going to be angel, demon and myth arc heavy) is how wonderful it feels when it exceeds them. And not just in a small way, but in a way that reminds me that this Show can be fucking awesome when it wants to be. This essentially came down to the writer (Robert Berens) and the director (John F. Showalter).
Some of you may wonder "who are you and what have you done with Ash?", but I feel that is (perhaps) one of the best eps this season. I know I know! It doesn't beat the warm fuzzies of "Baby" (but really? that was kind of a figment of our imagination wasn't it? A wonderful trip, but much like "Fan Fiction", a moment away from the "real" show?) and maybe doesn't beat the kickass-ness of the first episode, but this ep had SO much going on that I truly don't know where to start.
But I will try. I will try and explain why that episode was so good (bear with me!).
The reason I (mostly) don't enjoy the angel and demon episodes is that they are either a) boring and/or b) don't make any sense. The thing this episode did (that I loved) was make sense of a lot of the senselessness that has gone before. It finally addressed issues that I have had FOR AGES (to the point I felt like Beren's has been spying on me). Namely - why Crowley didn't kill Dean in "The Bad Seed" (and many other moments) and why the hell (hee) Crowley isn't in Hell. It also addressed issues I have had with Castiel (namely why he's so lame lately) and even (FINALLY!) made REAL sense of why Sam and Dean keep secrets from each other.
This episode also had pay offs
. Loads of them. Something I feel the show often lacks. It has so many moments that keep you feeling eternally frustrated (like Sam being infected/dying and Dean finding out 2 episodes later with a mere "oh" etc), but hold off on those wonderful pay-offs. This ep gives you satisfying answers as well as opening up new questions.
It also used one of my all time favourite songs (Girl You'll Be A Woman Soon). \o/ I can't tell you how many times I've danced to that in my living room. I was giddy with joy when that came on. And what a perfect use of the song! Fuck, I loved that.
I have to break all this down to try and "sell" to you why this episode was so strong (*g*).The Darkness
Berens writes women really well and in his hands "The Darkness" had more depth and interest. I could SO EASILY have not been interested in this episode because "teenage" girls usually bore me to tears. But there was something
about her that really spoke to me. I'm a mother of a teenage daughter and much of the stuff between Crowley and Amara made me laugh. But mostly I loved her aura of danger and strength. Credit to the director because he shot her perfectly and managed to get the young actress to "sell" this ancient darkness.
The payoff? Crowley. The push-pull between the two of them was meaningful
because in the end Amara pushed-back at a character who's needed that since...FOREVER! Berens tapped into teenage angst (so much better than we had from Claire) and abusive father figures. There's an ambiguity to Amara that has been maintained during S11 and I am enjoying that. Also - young girls pushing back at male oppressors? I'm there for that! And Crowley getting his come-upance was PURE GOLD!
Also? I love that we had a reason why Crowley was on Earth. And the building he was in was PERFECT.Cas and Metatron
I hate Metatron. With a PASSION! So how much did I enjoy the fact that Berens knew that? Yeah - a lot! Another pay-off. Not only was Cas re-discovering his power
, he also asserted that power over the my hated slime-bag. Cas was GROWING before my eyes. He went from being trapped in his memories of his attack-spell, to re-discovering what it means to take control. He went from hiding behind television addiction (hehe - hello ;D) to being actively involved in his choices. Seriously, I have NO interest in Castiel and his story line, but in this episode I actually saw
what it might mean to be this angel trying to get a grip. Dammit. I also stopped and thought how strong the acting was by Curtis playing Metatron. For me to hate him this much means he's doing an awesome job.
And I would have hated all that beating up EXCEPT it was narratively important. It not only helped Cas regain his strength but it directly connected to Sam. And how fucking much did I love that?!Sam
One of the strongest moments in the episode was the cutting between Cas beating up Metatron and Sam beating up the demons. It wasn't the beating up, it was the juxtaposition of their choices to stop
. It was the humanity seeping into what they were doing. Sam deciding that the "meat suits" were (finally!) worth saving and Cas knowing he has "humanity" inside him and even though he hated Metratron found mercy. *guh* the editing, writing and directing in that sequence was perfection.
And Sam. Sam. Sam. My darling Sam has finally been given his "voice" back. He's considerate, but not stupid. He's remembered that there are people in those demons (thank you Berens - who have most definitely been lurking around fandom), but not so much that he can't kill in order to survive.
And HOLY FUCK!!! We got to see the ACTUAL CAGE!! I can't EVEN with that. Seriously. That was a huge reveal to me and I am BEYOND thrilled that they are re-visiting this. I just can't (but WHEEEEEEEE!).Dean
Finally! Some delicate subtly for Dean. This has been my big beef with Dean's characterisation lately. They've made him this "mean" guy without a reason. I know the "meanness" has been in contention with many of us (*g*), but after this tweet from Jared:
I'm feeling a little vindicated after my last review. ;) Though, weirdly, I felt he was much less "mean" in this ep.
What I loved about Dean in this episode is that I REALLY felt what was going on with him. He's fucking confused and after his meeting with Amara I actually appreciate why he wasn't telling Sam about it. I felt like he really doesn't know what the hell is going on. I haven't felt that until now. He wanted
to kill Amara, but there was just something holding him back. But when he saw Sam hurt he went for it - so he knew he COULD if he had to. It was a lovely play on the contradiction and I finally GOT why he might not be telling Sam.
And THAT'S THE THING! Have these contrivances, but make them believable. It was the same with Sam. He hasn't told Dean about his visions because a) Dean has been shutting them off because of reasons
and b) what the hell does he say? This episode gave us the story WITHOUT pitting the brothers against each other. Their secrets weren't about contrived "tensions". They were about proper characterisations.
I felt something for Dean and that was so damn refreshing. He's confused and scared, rather than being a dick for the sake of it (and please PLEASE future writers - write like this for our characters. And future directors - don't be scared to give the actors direction. The acting was SO MUCH better in this episode due to the director (I will ALWAYS maintain that it is the director that brings out performances, NOT the actors).
Dean is definitely afffected
and it's clouding his choices and the way he is with Sam. He (one again!) shut down Sam's visions. They've made a point about him wanting to kill (which, if I had a gripe, it would be this - since when has Dean NOT wanted to "just" kill?!), and remembering the "saving people".Other stuff:
Sassy! I don't ship Sam/Cas, but I did have a little WOOT when we saw Cas happily living in Sam's room. AND the moral connection with their "human" decision (damn that was awesome).
Dean and Amara. There's a level of creepiness about this that is unsettling. There's definitely a "connection" that's almost
sexual. Which, considering she's represented as a teenage girl at the moment, has some levels of "wrong-ness". BUT - she's ancient. She's unworldly. She's NOT a teenage girl. She's a growing GOD and Dean is connected to her. Played right (and if Berens could write ALL the eps it would be), this could be awesome.
Amara is God's sister? What the HELL?! Haha! She's Leia to Luke. *g* I LOVE SO MUCH THAT THE SUPERNATURAL UNIVERSE HAS SUBVERTED THE BIBLE. So cool. THIS is what I want from a TV show that's going to delve into biblical stuff. Go BEYOND it. Stretch what we accept. A female God that MIGHT actually be on Sam and Dean's side would be awesome.
Sam and the cage! *meep* Yep I mentioned that, but had to say it again. I can't. Just.
So yeah. Incredible episode on so many levels (I can't believe I am saying that!)
I get that this episode wouldn't have been for everyone. It worked for me because it addressed many things
If you want to skip the gushing and cut to the geeky prop stuff click here:
I haven't been excited about wall paper and props for ages (sadly). But seeing the wallpaper from Changing Channels had me excited!
And my fave clock from the show! (from Point of No Return). \o/
There's no meta with prop re-use (love it if there were), but it's fun seeing the stuff again. It's kind of comforting.
Poll will be in a separate post because this got so long!
(sorry for typos. I am HOPELESS at checking text /o\).