I’m going to be honest with you guys…I wasn’t completely sold on this one at first. It felt oddly predictable, leaving me with an of course they’d go there with this sense, and I felt somewhat…detached from the whole experience. However, that said, I had a bit of a disjointed viewing experience from my hotel room (and had to work while I watched), and I got on Twitter and saw a great deal of positive reaction. So, while I was on the plane flying home, I gave it another shot.
It didn’t totally change my reaction, but it did give me more to think about. Let’s see if writing this changes it further.
One thing that struck me is that while the whole episode was focused on The Darkness—from the Angel Unification to Rowena and Crowley agreeing to work together—it felt like we were actually watching two stories: Dean/Amara and Sam’s Vision Quest. I liked that we can have so many pillars of actual interesting storylines supporting the overarching plot. I don’t know that they’ve truly done that successfully for a while; it’s refreshing.
Amara, now the adult version Dean saw in the cloud, is complicated. I find it interesting that she had to be born into this world but could also take advice (via a mirror) from her ‘adult’ self while she was a child. She had to learn and yet she also already knew. I’m going to be interested in seeing where her story ultimately goes—she has all of this power and yet she doesn’t destroy humanity in one fell swoop. She tells Dean her issue is with her brother (and answers the parental question), not his creation.
I can’t quite figure her out yet, and I like that. I almost couldn’t blame her for throwing a temper tantrum all over the place, killing her brother’s “chosen” trying to get his attention.
She’s not exactly straight-up evil; she’s simply the opposite of light. She didn’t kill humans out of hate or malice; she has very little regard for them at all. Not having an issue with God’s creation has nothing to do with the fact that she cares about them. Not having an issue with us for her is like us not having an issue with an ant on the sidewalk. Which is terrifying, but complex. Especially for the ant. Add to that this connection she has to Dean because of the Mark and I’m completely intrigued by the direction of this storyline.
Dean couldn’t kill her—though I give him mad props for trying (and that disintegrating blade effect was cool)—and she couldn’t suck out his soul. However, I will say their sexual attraction is still all kinds creepy to me. No longer because of their age differentiation, though. Now it’s more because he seems to be physically unable to stop himself. It’s instinctual, primal. It’s not straight-forward attraction or lust; it’s more of a magnetic pull of his soul. He tries to reason with her, tries to stop the angels from attacking her, stop her from attacking the angels.
He’s emotionally compromised when it comes to her and confused as hell as to what he can do about it, should do about it. I couldn’t honestly tell if he tried to stop the angels from attacking Amara out of some kind of care for her or because he didn’t know how her death might impact him and/or the world. I’m still wondering about that, actually. Because if they are “bonded” as she claimed, what did Dean feel (if anything) when the angelic horde pooled their smiting power and zapped The Darkness with a Heavenly host of light? How truly 'physical' is this connection of theirs?
We didn’t really see anything of him or his reaction after he was magically returned to his stance by the hotdog cart, shaken (but not stirred).
I can tell you one thing…I really hope they don’t “become one” in the Biblical sense. Watching Dean kiss is incredibly satisfying by all accounts. Watching him kiss Amara turned my stomach. For me, it’s like watching someone who is drugged be coerced. I don’t want her ‘consuming’ him in any way. *shakes head emphatically*
I do have to wonder if those souls who live on in side of Amara are living in the sense of awareness. Like how Sam’s soul was aware of its extended time in the Cage until they figured out how to put the pieces of Sam’s puzzle together. I wonder—if those people are still alive—if there would be a chance to return the souls to their bodies if Amara is defeated?
When he gets Sam out of that cell (because he totally will, duh), I think Dean's going to have some explaining to do. The look on Sam’s face (which he always does when he realizes there’s something Dean’s not telling him and it’s hilarious) when Crowley referred to Amara as Dean’s girlfriend says he’s not letting that one go…plus the fact that Dean didn’t answer Sam’s, “Hey, I’m about to head on down to Hell,” phone call because he was distracted by feeling an Amara-tremor in the Force is not something he’s going to easily live down. *guilt*
So, speaking of Sam, I’m glad that Dean was still saying this whole thing was 8 kinds of crazy and calling out the fact that they don’t have proof—besides what ended up being, essentially, clever timing—that Sam’s visions were coming from God. Sam could apply logic (insane, Troll logic) to his argument: Lucifer had been there when The Darkness was defeated. But it was still an all-around horrible idea. Sam scoffed at Lucifer’s whole “desperate times/desperate measures” argument, but that was a little bit of a pot and kettle situation.
They weren’t desperate yet and Sam was gung-ho for following this thread. I honestly think that the only reason Dean went along with reaching out to Crowley was because he recognized the signs that Sam was going to do this with or without him and he didn’t want Sam going rogue. Again.
I had issues with the whole Hell/Cage scene and concept. It felt too clean, too fast, too convenient. I accepted Hell better after I re-viewed because I caught that they were basically in the “outskirts” of Hell: limbo. That made a little more sense that it didn't look likeThe Pit as it’s commonly referred to.
I was a bit irked that they never once mentioned the fact that Michael was in that Cage as well—which could be attributed to the fact that Sam’s visions focused only on Lucifer, I get it, but not one mention? That was a huge moment in their history, back in Stull. I actually thought the writing blunder was worse—that they forgot about Michael entirely—until I realized (thank you, Terry) that they didn’t open the ACTUAL Cage, they magically transported Lucifer from the Cage into a warded cell.
They were also way too trusting in the powers of a manipulative, power-hungry, centuries-old witch and her arrogant, power-hungry, Oedipal-suffering offspring to protect Sam from the Original Dark Prince. I mean, seriously. Who didn’t see that whole “oopsie, the sigils failed, Sam’s now trapped in the cell with Lucifer” conundrum coming from a mile away? Of course Rowena had that planned. The barely-contained laugh of delight when she found out who was in the Cage should have been their first clue. And that way she just collected her son and skedaddled out of limbo, yeah, she’s up to something. Because, really, who’s going to check the fine print of a spell only she can translate and cast, right?
I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but…in that whole course of events, my favorite to watch was Lucifer. The way he first appeared in the cell, shadowed with just his burning red eyes, was chilling. His initial, little-boy teasing of Sam, the manipulative way he spoke, the fact that he dared asked Sam to say ‘yes’ to being a vessel, right up to the big reveal that it was he, not God, who’d been sending Sam the visions…he was rather electric.
I don’t know why anyone would expect Sam to say ‘yes’ to being a vessel in that moment. After all they’d been through, he wasn’t going to cave that easily—like I said, they weren’t that desperate yet. He followed this thread because he legitimately believed he was being led by a greater good/higher power. That it was the right thing to do.
He didn’t go down to talk to Lucifer because he had a death wish, so no way was he going to say ‘yes’ to that. I saw some Twitter comments from viewers saying they were ‘proud’ of Sam for being strong enough to say no. That made me laugh. The guy is a thunderstorm of emotion trapped in a container made of logic. It has nothing to do with ‘strength’ (IMO) and everything to do with effectiveness. Allowing Lucifer to use his vessel gives him nothing but oblivion; it guarantees him absolutely squat when it comes to saving the world and fixing their mistake. Sam’s too smart for that.
The only way I would ever be worried about his saying ‘yes’ would be if he were trapped in that cell under torture for an extended time and broke or if Dean’s life was in the balance. So, that whole scene was just…yeah. The only thing it really did for me was show that Lucifer is still THE master manipulator and Sam is still linked to him. It may not be the ‘bond’ that Amara and Dean have, but in his own way, Sam’s soul and psyche has been “branded” by his time as and with Lucifer.
Enough so that Sam was the first person Lucifer connected to when the rise of The Darkness cracked the confines of the cage.
I did feel sympathy for Sam when he realized he’d been played. I mean, writing-wise, I think it would have been MORE of a twist if the visions actually HAD come from God, establishing that the Big Guy really was around somewhere. But he had wanted to believe so badly that God was finally paying attention to them and their struggle and that maybe he’d been forgiven for his culpability in all of this mess. Finding out that it wasn’t light but darkness once more leading him…that heartbreak was apparent in his eyes there right at the end.
With a terror chaser as Lucifer taunted him about being “bunk buddies.” Gah. Chilling.
I don’t know. It wasn’t a shocking episode—and many of our suppositions actually came true. But it was well acted and set up a lot more questions for the 2nd half of the season to answer. My less-than-enthused reaction is more me than the show. I am looking forward to January 20th and seeing where they go from here.
Because Dean’s going to realize quickly that the plan to have a chat with Lucifer went sideways and he’ll be both irked with Sam and mad at himself and angst will ensue as he works to save his brother’s hide while also trying to fight the pull of Amara. And Sam’s not going to sit idly by and let Lucifer play with him like he’s some 6’5” ball of yarn. Not sure what his options are, but he’ll come up with something. And then there’s the angel and demon unification factions, and the whole angel-smiting attempt. So, yeah. LOTS of spinning plates here, folks.
Before I get to my lists, I just want to wish each of you who read a safe, peaceful holiday season. I appreciate the gift of your time reading this and when/if you comment, you really light up my day. Sending you each a virtual hug. Unless you’re not a hugger. In which case I’m just smiling at you really big. Only not in a creepy way. *clears throat* How about some lists?
- I’m just going to start shallow and work my way up because Dean? Could have just stood there and stared at the screen with that Clint Eastwood squint and side head tilt and that perfect hair and those lips and I would have been like, “Amara who?” He looked fantastic last night.
- Sam wasn’t so bad either.
- The whole “struck by lightning” thing. Horrific, yes, but…sometimes the effects guys really get it right.
- Amara testing God to get him to show. I actually sympathized with her—not her methods, of course, but her need.
- “How many times do I have to say that this is a horrible idea?”
- Dean glaring at Crowley like he’s the human version of a headache.
- The look Sam gets when he realizes there’s something Dean isn’t saying—kind of a close-mouth-press-lips-flex-jaw-narrow-e
yes-tilt-head all at once maneuver.
- “He has relatives?!”
- “If Sam’s not safe, it’s not happening.” “Goodness, Mommy, loosen the grip.”
- Sam snapping at Rowena. HA! I actually laughed out loud. On a plane. Whoopsie.
- “They promised Lincoln a fun night at the theater. Things change.”
- The first shot of Lucifer with the glowing eyes. So cool.
- “Hug it out?”
- “Probably not relationship material….”
- The blade disintegrating when Dean stabs Amara. Again, great effects.
- Lucifer pointing out that the brothers have been working with Crowley, so they can step down from their high horse.
- The light coming down to “smite” Amara (or attempt to).
- Okay, while I liked that the angels decided to work together, their dialog was so cheesy. “Her beef is with God.” I mean, come on. What happened to the folks who wrote for the angels in Seasons 4 and 5 when they were arrogant but articulate?
- The fact that Michael wasn’t even mentioned. Even in passing. I get why we didn’t see him, but at least a, “No way are you going into the cage where Lucifer and Michael have been spending quality time together,” comment. Y’know?
- Not even one thought about Castiel. I’m not a die-hard Cas fan, but they pretty much established that Cas was living at the bunker, so why wasn’t he involved—again, even in passing—in this cockamamie idea to work with Crowley and Rowena and get access to Lucifer? OR in the whole “angels banding together” idea. These were the grunt angels ticked off that The Powers That Be weren’t doing enough. If anyone was out of favor with TPTB, it’s Cas. But, that was probably too much story to tell in the time they had.
- Okay, so…Amara ‘consumes’ the souls and says they ‘live on’ inside of her. I wonder if that means that if any of the soulless are still alive when Amara is vanquished (at some point) if they could get their souls back? I mean, they’ve already established that the soul can live and experience things separate from the body—case in point, Sam. I just…wonder.
- So, Amara got sucked up by the light…is she now in Heaven? And will she totally run amuck there?
- What is Rowena playing at? She so has something up her broomstick.
- Was anyone else totally distracted by Amara’s freakishly defined cheekbones?
- What the heck was up with those previews?!