Okay, I know I'm even later this week, but I'm going to play the Corellian card and say, "It's not my fault!" I mean, it kind of is, but not entirely because LJ was being a brat last night and wouldn't even let me get onto the site. So, happy Friday! And thanks for coming back and reading! Let's talk Winchesters! :)
I think one of the reasons I like when an actor directs an episode is that they love the characters as much as we do. They know them as well as we do. They know that Dean would choose not to be healed, no matter how much it hurts. They know that when Cas loses himself to a curse, he is completely gone. They know that Sam would not overtly act guilty about keeping secrets because he (secretly) feels what he did was right at the time. And we get to soak up the realness of it all.
Now, I'm not saying that doesn't happen when directors direct. Obviously it does or we wouldn't still be here after 11 years. It just feels a bit...more...when it comes from someone in the trenches. Someone who has lived it. I'm also not saying that actors who direct are flawless. They make questionable choices in direction as well as the next guy -- Dean's whole Jim Kirk impression at that warehouse, for example. Bottom line, I cannot say there is one episode Jensen has directed that I haven't genuinely enjoyed.
This one reminded me a bit like how I feel when I get a massage. Hang on, just go with me on this for a sec. At first, I don't notice much of a difference and it's actually a little awkward and uncomfortable. But then the spa music starts to filter through my mental walls, and the aromatherapy starts to ease down my guard, and soon I'm so relaxed I'm practically putty--and though it hurts a bit once in a while when a particular muscle is tweaked, overall, it's the best I've felt all day.
That was this episode for me. One of the best parts about it was having the boys together the whole time, so I won't have to break this up as much, and I'll start with our boys before I shift to Crowley and Amara, the reason for the episode name.
At the start of the longer scene where it was just the boys searching google to find Rowena and chatting about Metatron being a way to combat the Darkness, I was more or less just there. Watching. By the end, though, when they left to go be fake!Feds, I was relaxed and enjoying. The biggest thing for me in that whole scene was Dean (I know, you're shocked). I liked how he was zoned at first, fixated on his memory of encountering the grown-up Darkness in the giant cloud. There was something about the glazed look in his eyes when Sam brought him back to the present -- something that tugged at my heart on his behalf in a way my heart hasn't really been tugged in a while.
I know I called him out on keeping a secret from Sam just as Sam is from him and so nobody has learned any lessons and this is why we can't have nice things, but.... Now I'm wondering if it's not so much he's purposely keeping it from Sam as he honestly doesn't know what to say, how to articulate what happened to him, what it means. If he tells Sam the part that he can recount -- that he and The Darkness are 'bonded' -- that's going to just trigger a flood of questions from Sam that Dean has no answers to and the asking of them is just going to ratchet up his already level 11 tension. While I'm not a fan of the 'S' word between them, I kinda get this...and honestly don't know that I would do anything differently.
I felt more for the boys' reaction to what was happening to Cas than I did for Cas himself. I know we were supposed to be all omg, the curse is burrowing into him?! it's behaving different because he's an angel?! they can't fix it themselves?! but I was more okay, so find Rowena already so we can get Cas back in the game. I apologize to those of you who read this and have Cas pegged as your favorite, but there are just some characters whose plights only really resonate with me when they impact other characters. I like Cas, but am really glad that he was curse-cured in this episode.
Now, Sam and the 'S' word...for all his skill in being a secret-keeper, I think he's going to be exposed a bit sooner than he ready for. His support of God, for one. Which is a really weird thing for me to write, but you know what I mean. As far as Dean and Cas are concerned, God left the building a long time ago and hasn't been bothered to step in for any of this: demons, angels, the Apocalypse, Hell, the Cage, soullessness, Purgatory, Leviathans, the Mark of Cain...why should He step in for The Darkness? But Sam obviously feels that his prayer back in zombie-fied Superior triggered something. Sent him that vision (which no one really understands, so, yeah, okay, it could be from God).
While I really don't want to see Metatron again, I understand how his character is the perfect resource for getting intel about The Darkness, so I agree with Sam there. Just...sigh. That's all. At some point, Sam is going to be backed into a corner and is going to have to fess up not only to being infected himself but also that he was visited by a Reaper who informed him that the afterlife is filled with destinations that are limited in both description and opportunity. Either that, or, like Rowena did regarding Sam's 'deal' to kill Crowley, someone else is going to tell on his behalf. If I were Sam, I'd want to be a bit more in control of that situation, especially after Dean's side-eye about the 'S' word following Rowena's reveal.
Have to admit...I loved Dean's Taxi Driver disguise. Everything from the straw hat to the black T-shirt (especially the black T-shirt). I also liked how Rowena magic-smacked him around a bit, pressing him back against that stone wall until Sam was able to jump her (which, really, did she not see Jurassic Park? the best hunters always have one who attacks from the side). I sound so blood-thirsty, I know, but c'mon, these guys are human beings (most of the time) fighting magical/powerful forces of nature. They should get roughed up a bit! It should hurt!
I think our boys might be getting a bit too familiar with the baddies, though. I mean, losing Rowena the way they did? Tsk tsk. Uncuff her to remove the curse, but maybe actually wound her first and promise aid after curse is lifted. Or something! There was no way she wasn't going to rabbit as soon as she could; frankly I'm surprised she actually lifted the curse first before flinging Sam across the room.
Zombie!Cas was fantastic -- the blood-red eyes, the lurching Mike Meyers walk, the mindless need to kill. Bravo! And I love that he turned on Dean and Dean didn't fight back. That is our Dean. Taking the punishment to save his friend, feeling every punch as retribution for the pain he inflicted on Cas when he was messed up from the Mark. I applaud the direction for not healing him, either, though it would have been so easy for Cas to do. And for Cas not insisting or just doing it; for him to understand that Dean needed this pain to feel some kind of absolution for what he'd done. It can't just be words with Dean; he's a man of action, so to feel as though he's actually atoning for something he has to physically go through pain or actively do something to change the situation. I like that both Cas and Sam accepted that.
And that Sam brought him beers. And told him to keep the ice on his bruises.
As for the 'bad seed' herself, I think the words, I'm hungry will have a brand new connotation for me after this. Crowley is going to start having to call in some of his deals pretty soon -- he's going to run out of soul-food. The thing I found interesting about their whole dynamic is that Crowley thinks he can actually control Amara. That whole 'Uncle Crowley' routine...he acts as though he has a pet, one he can train or influence to do what he thinks he wants. I know this sounds a bit bizarre, but I am actually a little worried about his fate with her living in Hell (another totally weird sentence). The only thing stopping Amara from sucking Crowley's soul is her age. When she becomes what Dean saw, I'm not sure much will stop her from taking what she wants.
The most intriguing thing, though, was their conversation about good and evil. I liked how a child whom Crowley had been schooling on the dark side of the Force (Hitler's Nuremburg speeches, Dante's Inferno) made him question living in a world entirely filled with evil. The fact that good existed was what drove him; he was forced to recognize that he needed good in the world for his existence to be at all rewarding. However, that said, I don't get the impression that even though she drew that realization out of Crowley she has any intention of creating a balance. All that talk about how God did it wrong, why would people want to live in a world like this, blah blah blah...this chick is going to grow up, get super-powerful, completely destroy God's Earth, and start all over again.
And she has no intention of creating something as flawed as humans. Or Angels. Or Demons. Either they find a way to capture/kill this gal, or everyone is seriously screwed. Hence my favorite scene (I'm not kidding, I loved it) with the Demon flashing his black eyes and the Angel showing his sword (that sounded better in my head) and then both sitting down to commiserate over a drink. I keep saying I want a line between good and evil...maybe I just need to tilt the picture a bit: the line isn't between angels and demons, Heaven and Hell anymore (or soon won't be).
The line is between all of Us and Her.
What I liked:
- Dean in blue. I know I said I liked him in Red in S9, but then I realized that he's been wearing a lot of Red and it seems that whenever he's wearing Red, he's edging toward (or actually, full-on) demonic tendencies or memories. Seeing him in blue this episode was just...like taking a nice, deep breath.
- Dean's zoning on memories and Sam bringing him back to now.
- "God kicked this thing's ass once before, right?" Love your infinite hope, Sammy.
- "Don't say it." "That's just like saying it."
- Rowena meeting with more witches over mimosa's. I mean, how completely girly is that? Loved it. But I'm pretty sure that waiter lost his tip.
- "I've always been a giver."
- Dean calling Crowley when they're looking for Rowena to help Cas. To me, that just goes to show he actually considers Crowley a friend. Not like Cas is a friend. Not even really a good friend. Maybe that friend you only invite to certain things that don't include large groups of people because you two are the only ones who really 'get' your friendship (I mean, we all have/had those people in our lives). But a friend...which is why he couldn't kill him before. I find their relationship so interesting.
- "Because he's a dick. And that's not breaking news." Sam and Crowley on the other hand....
- "You think it's crappy?" "Eye of the beholder." *pets Cas* *smiles at Dean*
- "He loves waffles..." "Okay, so...every restaurant in the entire country."
- I loved the choice to show what it looked like -- all blurry and tunneled -- from Cas' POV when he was seizing. I wish they did that more often when the boys were damaged. And I loved the automatic mantra of, "Easy, easy," they both said when trying to comfort Cas.
- Dean's expression of pride when he 'got' Cas' analogy about the tomato in the blender.
- Dean taking one step back when Cas said he could hear voices.
- The boys' collective reaction to Cas using the word 'perp'.
- "I am what you are becoming and we are mightier than God." Gah.
- The demon & angel in the bar all, "Power to the people." "Well...not actually people."
- Fedchesters interviewing the Jessica Chastain-lookalike witch. Loved how they totally cut to the chase.
- "I'm nobody's 3rd cousin who doesn't even get invited to dinner." Been there, sister.
- Dean in the cabbie disguise. Yu-MMY. Don't judge me.
- Cas left with instructions to do car searches and stumbling across Dean's favorite porn site...and not understanding what he was seeing (though, I questioned that after his big pop-culture download in S8...how does he not get Fortune Nookie?!).
- "Your eyes...so burdened...." Yeah, I agree. But...I also like, because...reasons.
- Rowena being told they were tracking Cas by GPS and replying, "I have no idea what you just said, but I'm sure I could do it faster!"
- Each time the boys replied, "NO!" in unison to something Rowena said.
- "You're joking! I'm in heels!"
- "She wants to eat everyone...don't take it personally."
- "Sam knows my point -- key word: secrets."
- Dean letting Cas beat him up. For reasons explained above.
- Dean not letting Cas heal him. For reasons explained above.
- Okay, I actually do like Rowena, to be honest. She's cheeky and there's no questioning her agenda: all about her. But I was over that whole "mega coven" thing in the first 5 mins.
- The 'S' word. Even though I got why Dean hasn't spilled the beans about what really happened with The Darkness, I still want him to. Just like I want Sam to confess why he is now a God-supporter. I'm such a girl about this sometimes. I'm all, just sit down and talk it out, boys.
- Dean's uber-casual stroll past the wide-open door to the warehouse (and honorable 'not so much' mention to said wide-open door...who in their right mind leaves access to their stuff like that) with his Jim Kirk-like, hey wassup, scope of the pretty blonde who walked by, subsequently telling him to get a life. I mean, really, Dean? Your pal is a ticking time bomb and is missing and your whole focus is not on finding him? Sigh. Boys.
- Rowena escaping. Because now they're going to have to find her again. Though, that may re-connect them with Crowley, which could be interesting.
- The idea of having to use Metatron again.
- Basic beginning of the season questions, like: what is The Darkness' agenda, what does that 'bond' between her and Dean mean, was she always a woman or was that form chosen because she's bonded with Dean, when will Sam fess up about the Reaper's news, will Cas ever get to go home to a Heaven that embraces him, what does Crowley really want out of all of this, y'know...that kind of stuff.