When I was an impressionable child, I watched the 1985 made for TV movie, The Bad Seed, an adaptation of the William March novel of the same name about a murderous little girl. In one particularly memorable scene, the killer pre-teen dispatches a boy by beating him to death with her tap shoes. From that day forth, all I wanted in life was my own pair of tap shoes so I could click menacingly around the kitchen floor.
Don’t worry. I’m not about to confess to a string of footwear-related homicides. I’m just making the (rather laboured) point that while little girls are supposed to be made of sugar and spice and all things nice, they can be bloody sinister, as Crowley found out in this week’s episode of Supernatural. The King of Hell installed sweet-faced Amara in his private chambers (yes, it’s as creepy as it sounds) and set about educating her with videos of Hitler rallies and a little light reading from Dante. But The Darkness proved to be somewhat immune to the demon’s charms, questioning his philosophy and munching on the souls of his minions, the finest hors d’oeuvres Hell has to offer, and it wasn’t long before Crowley looked a little out of his depth.
Meanwhile, in the Men of Letters Bunker aka Chez Winchester, the brothers had to deal with a raging Castiel, who was still under Rowena’s ‘attack dog’ spell. The boys were trying to track down Metatron, who they thought might know the whereabouts of God – a useful ally to have against The Darkness. But when Rowena’s attempts at recruiting witches for a ‘Mega Coven’ resulted in her incinerating some of them in a restaurant, it made the news, and the boys decided she was their best hope at curing Cas.
But Rowena wasn’t particularly happy to find out that Sam had failed in his promise to kill Crowley, and she had a little fun in the back of the Impala, filling Dean in on some details about their deal that his little bro had kept from him. Dean looked pissed, and the entire Supernatural fandom sighed the biggest sigh ever recorded, because after promising change in the season premiere, it seems the Winchesters are back to keeping secrets from one another, and we all know nothing good ever comes of that.
The Winchesters strong-armed Rowena into relinquishing the codex (although not the Book of the Damned), and curing Castiel just in time to prevent him killing an innocent woman. But the flame-haired minx escaped their clutches before they could grill her as to the whereabouts of the book.
This episode (directed by Jensen Ackles) was largely about advancing the season story arc and restoring the three leads to (relative) normality so that we can have some comic and monster-of-the-week episodes. While it was necessary, it felt a little dull overall, and I’m a bit disappointed that Castiel’s predicament was solved so quickly and easily. I think it would have been a great opportunity for the character to re-establish some of the gravitas and power that angels had back when they were first introduced. Remember when they used to burn people’s eyes out and shatter windows with their awesomeness? Yeah, me too. Vaguely. Now imagine all that righteous might warped by the attack dog spell, and join me in mourning all the wasted fabulousness that could have been.
Amara is aging rapidly, and her origins are still mysterious. I liked the scene where child Amara was visited by her older self. For something which has Lucifer and Michael howling in The Cage, she seems quite considered and rational. More a force of nature than pure evil. I am still hopeful for this story arc, although I’m a little apprehensive about the suggestion that God may be making an appearance this season. I would rather see The Darkness’ backstory woven into that of the angels and Lucifer, and that mythology expanded and enriched whilst preserving the mystery of the Big Cheese him/her/itself. We’ve already had a Canadian God, and Alanis Morissette is a tough act to follow…
Final Grade: D
+ Rowena and Crowley are really starting to feel like mother and son. Both seem unable to command the respect their power should yield, and both are too pig-headed to see how alike they are. They also both bring excellent delivery of pithy lines week after week.
+ Amara/The Darkness is shaping up to be a fairly interesting and multifaceted baddy. Let’s hope this continues.
+ Castiel comparing himself to a tomato in a blender was so adorably Cas, and made me nostalgic for the days when he was new to Earth and humanity. Aww.
+ Dean Winchester dressed as a cabbie in a Hawaiian shirt. Outstanding. No wonder Rowena saw through his disguise immediately.
+ Dean: “Why isn’t he picking up?”
Sam: “Because he’s a dick!”
Sassy Sam completes me.
+ Rowena’s make-up. A+ eyeliner in a D episode.
– I think I’m in the minority, but the ‘an angel and a demon walk into a bar’ schtick didn’t do it for me. I like the concept of it, and I get that Heaven is basically a giant bureaucracy, as is Hell, but the ‘we’re just grunts’ conversation jarred. These are still powerful creatures, and extremely old, so making them Average Joes who talk in human colloquialisms just negates any sense of threat. Also I thought it was a slightly clunky method of unnecessary exposition/recapping.
– Sam and Dean keeping secrets from each other. As per. Dean is tied to The Darkness. Sam nearly died of icky black vein disease. Come on, boys! Sharing is caring.
Jensen’s directing is getting bolder each year. Dean was in this episode a lot so kudos to Action Ackles for tackling so much. Sadly, there wasn’t a huge amount to play with in this episode…
…unlike NEXT WEEK’S, which promises to be something very different indeed. I’m excited. Are YOU? Would love to see your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter!