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Supernatural Returns with a Bang! But The Devil’s In The Details

January 23, 2016

11.11 luci taunts sam

Wow. Supernatural came back from Hellatus with a vengeance, didn’t it? There’s always a special energy for the season premiere and finale episodes, of course, but the mid season premiere is also hotly anticipated by a fandom who has been starved for Show for months. This episode, by Andrew Dabb, came crashing into my living room like a bulldozer, and didn’t let up throughout the entire 42 minutes. In fact, so much happened that my head was spinning by the time we were halfway through – some of it awesome and some of it gutting.

In other words, Supernatural.

The Road So Far was definitely part of the awesome. Both the appropriate song choice and the montage, which amped my excitement up even further. Good job, Show!

The weird little Christmas clip that was part of the preview turned out to be Rowena’s dream, which didn’t make it any less delicious. Crowley – and Mark Sheppard – in a onesie gleeful about getting a Sam Pop Funko doll was something I never expected and didn’t know I wanted so badly. It takes a talented actor to pull off both the King of Hell and a grown man in a onesie.

Mark Pellgrino as Lucifer as Bad Santa was equally delicious. This is perhaps not what every actor dreams of, but I will forever see Lucifer as Mark no matter how many other films or television series cast someone else to play him. The mix of horrible and scary and endearing and amusing that he brings to the role is perfect – I was grinning even though I had no doubt that things were going to go badly for poor ‘little’ Crowley.

11.11 mark p

11.11 crowley

Typical of Supernatural, the ridiculous dream sequence doesn’t come without some poignancy, though. Crowley’s plaintive “but I was a good boy” as Lucifer runs him through seems as much about Rowena’s maternal guilt as anything to do with Christmas gifts; Rowena’s ambivalence about motherhood and her son are clear in her long suffering demeanor and her attempts to still say sort of the ‘right thing’ to Fergus.

Of course, she doesn’t spare much angst once he’s dead, immediately focused on the object of her adulation. Oh Rowena. Did you really think this would end well?

I guess we could ask the same question of Sam, who starts out the episode where we left him – trapped in the Cage with Lucifer.

Sam: So are you gonna jump my bones?

Lucifer: Literally.

Sam, while he looks terrified, is effing amazing in this episode. He starts off defiant, and while Lucifer tempts him and taunts him and is pretty damn convincing at times with his arguments designed to guilt Sam into being a ‘hero’ and making the ultimate sacrifice, Sam does not waver. Let’s think about that for a minute. Sam is being tempted by the Devil himself – and he does not waver.

Instead, he counts on what the Winchesters have always counted on – his brother. Family. Friends. The people who Sam knows care about him. That’s the point of the Show, and the reason it’s stayed relevant and powerful for eleven seasons. Sure, there have been times all of them doubted each other, but in the end that’s what it comes down to and they come through. For each other.

Sam: You’ll taunt me, and you’ll torture me, and I’ll say no. And eventually, sooner than you think, my brother’s gonna walk through that door and kick your ass.

Lucifer, incredulous: Dean? You’re betting on Dean?

Sam: I always have.

Also? This is a Sam hair appreciation cap. Mmm.

Also? This is a Sam hair appreciation cap. Mmm.

Sam’s faith in his brother made me tear up at that moment, both with love for the brave and beautiful Sam Winchester and for the love the brothers have for each other, having been to hell and back. Literally.

Lucifer tries, throughout the episode, to convince Sam otherwise. He reminds Sam that he could inflict the worst pain imaginable (and kudos to Jared here, because he lets us see Sam’s terror clearly, but also the steely resolution in his eyes as he steps up to the plate and keeps saying no). Kudos to Mark also, because he makes Lucifer both terrifying and seductive. And most confusing of all, there are times when the Devil sounds like he’s really making sense. Sam watches and listens with (beautifully) furrowed brow, taking it all in.

Lucifer shows him the Sam of the past, and unspoiled me starts screaming OMG IS IT…IS IT??? It was. Colin Ford, who personifies young Sam like no one else, is back on my television set giving me a delicious glimpse of teenage Sam being dorky and geeky and brilliant – and making out with a young woman who has excellent taste in men. Well, boys.

11.11 colin is sam

It’s creepy how Lucifer wants to play Peeping Tom, but what he actually says starts to sound like some strange bits of meta creeping into the narrative.

Lucifer: I thought I had daddy issues…

He also takes Sam back to Stull Cemetery, where one of my favorite episodes of all time went down. It’s a good ploy, reminding Sam of that time he made the ultimate sacrifice and saved the world. Reminding us of it too. As much as that episode gutted me, it showed us all just how much guts Sam Winchester has, and just how much the brothers love each other.

Where are my tissues?

At Stull Cemetery, the weird meta-ness of the episode cranks up a few more notches as Lucifer comments on the scene from the past that he and Sam are watching.

Lucifer: Assbutt…I still don’t get that.

I’m not sure what to make of the Devil as a stand in for fandom, but Lucifer starts commenting on Sam Winchester’s hero’s journey and it sounds like some of the fascinating fan-penned meta out there. Especially when we unexpectedly switch scenes and I’m once again shouting OMG IS IT… but this time with a groan at the end.

Amelia! (Nothing against the actress at all, btw) But I never thought I’d see my least favorite story line ever again, and I was immediately shaking my head.

11.11 amelia

Weirdly, Lucifer continued to be the voice of fandom in a totally disturbing way.

Lucifer: This is the worst thing you’ve ever done.

Me: Absolutely! Oh shit, I’m agreeing with the Devil.

Lucifer: You didn’t bother trying to find your brother.

Me: Yes! Oh….crap.

Even the Devil himself didn’t like that storyline. Lucifer goes on to taunt Sam about letting Dean talk him out of closing the gates of hell, accusing him of being unable to stand the thought of losing Dean because of his Amelia-and-dog-induced guilt. Here I’m relieved to realize that the Devil and I are in disagreement. Phew!

He goes down the route Zachariah also tried repeatedly with his speech about irrational erotic psychotic codependence, trying to convince Sam that the Winchesters’ penchant for saving each other at all costs is making him unable to be the ‘hero’ that Lucifer would like him to be, aka the guy who says Yes and lets Lucifer do what he wants.

Meanwhile, Castiel….and Dean…

Dean has been trying to call Sam without success.

Dean: (forcefully) Call me. NOW.

11.11 dean calling sam

Me: I get all tingly when you take control like that.

Anyway, Dean’s attempts to call his brother treat us to a little glimpse of the Winchesters’ daily lives ala ‘Baby’ that I’m always thrilled to have. It’s Dean’s voice on Sam’s voicemail message, letting everyone know Sam is waxing….”like, everything” until we hear Sam’s exasperated “Dean!”. It says a lot about both of them that Sam kept that as his voicemail message.

He also tries to call Crowley, again without success. And again with an amusing voicemail message.

Then he starts puking his guts up, and goddamn it Jensen Ackles, you did that so realistically it made me start to get queasy. Ewww.

Luckily, Cas shows up to diagnose Dean after a few awkward examination techniques, giving fans a nice dose of Cas and Dean hurt/comfort (and Cas offering to take Dean’s temperature with his index finger…) as fic and gif fodder.

11.11 cas dean ahh

11.11 cas dean temp

He then pronounces the diagnosis: smiting sickness.

I burst into laughter, which I’m going to hope was what Show was going for. Meanwhile, Dean expressed my incredulity.

Dean: That’s a thing?

Apparently. Cas bundles Dean back into the Impala and sends him on his way, while Cas goes in to see if Amara was indeed smitten. (Not with Dean, though she seems to be that too, but by the angels). Cas encounters another nerdy angel, Ambriel, whose snarkiness and taste in glasses I appreciate. She’s a bit afraid of Castiel, which clearly hurts him.

Cas: I never wanted to be hated by my own kind.

Ouch. Oh Cas. He seems so lost here, and Misha plays that well. I felt for him, for his uncertainty as to the part he’s supposed to be playing and his frustration at being helpless so often.

I was thinking about that on a character level and a larger Show canon level, when Ambriel suddenly started speaking meta-esque too.

Ambriel: We’re both expendable. You help, but Sam and Dean Winchester are the real heroes. So maybe we’re not super important, but we do the job.

Ouch. Again, I felt for Cas, but her words also echoed some of the conversation in fandom about Castiel and his role in canon. Show has struggled some with how to incorporate Cas into the story line at times, which has frustrated fans of all proclivities. Certainly there have been times when Cas fans have asked ‘Where’s the angel?’ and wondered about his role.

I didn’t get a chance to think about all this weird meta-ness too long, because poor Ambriel predictably gets consumed by Amara (who then pulls herself back together in an amazing scene where the darkness seeps back into her and brightens the rest of the world – kudos, VFX team!)

11.11 darkness

Then she turns her nefarious attention on Cas, first insulting and taunting him (interesting parallel – it’s what Lucifer is also doing to Sam).

Amara: You reek of fear and self loathing. She’s right, you are expendable. My brother always had horrible taste in men.

Not sure what she’s trying to say about God and his tastes, but Amara certainly cuts Cas right to the heart. Once again, I feel for him, can feel his struggle.

11.11 cas amara

She then pronounces him not even important enough to kill or consume and sends him on his way with a message for the Winchesters and Crowley and Lucifer. That part made no sense at all to me, except that it was a handy dandy way to get Cas into hell and back in the thick of things quickly. But really? “I Am Coming” carved into Castiel’s chest? Why?

Hey, I won’t complain too much. It got fandom a shot of Misha with his shirt ripped open. And it got us a wonderful behind the scenes shot with Misha acting out what seems to be quite another interpretation of “I am coming”. Have I mentioned that I love this cast?

11.11 cas i am coming 2

Tweet, @ruthieconnell

Tweet, @ruthieconnell

Anyway, what’s up with Amara staggering and looking ill once she sends Cas away?? Clearly that was significant, but I have no clue what it means. Was she weakened by the smiting after all? Or did taking Ambriel’s grace do something to her? Or sending Cas away?

Hmmm.

So what has Dean been doing all this time, other than puking his guts up in a disturbingly convincing way? While Cas goes to check on Amara, Dean heads back to the bunker to check on Sam. This gives us a wonderful shot of the bunker, which I always appreciate. It also gives us Dean storming into the bunker yelling “SAM! SAMMEH!!!!” which made me very happy.

11.11 bunker saaaaaaaaam

Sidenote: Ruth Connell and friends held a watch party for the West coast airing of the show, and at this point she and Alaina and Kim and Kathryn and Lisa took a little video of them all imitating Dean yelling for his brother, which is hysterical.

I love that so many of the actors who have guest starred on Supernatural have become friends, and that they’re all excited enough about the Show to get together to watch the current episode. SPN Family, you guys.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Anyway, Crowley finally calls Dean back (he comes up as 666 on Dean’s phone, which I thought was adorable).

Dean: (immediately) Where’s Sam?

Crowley: There’s been a slight hiccup. Your brother’s in hell. With Lucifer.

Holy crap, the look on Dean’s face as he realizes that Sam is back in the Cage with Lucifer? It killed me. You killed me, Ackles. Not for the first time.

11.11 dean realizes sam in hell

We then took a station break (those of us watching live) and the most weirdly meta thing happened, which is clearly the theme of this episode. The CW ran a commercial for Coke which featured – wait for it – two brothers. The big brother teasing the little brother unmercifully – until someone else teases him. And then he went all Dean Winchester on the other guys, who turned tail and ran, and then gave Sammy – err, the little brother – back the coke. Before tipping it up to spill on his now smiling and adoring face. All to the song that always reminds me of the Winchesters, “Hey Brother.”

Did the Coke marketing team get together and say “What will work perfectly to sell to the giant passionate Supernatural audience?” and then come up with this. If so? Good job, Coke!

Back to the Show.

Dean has not been back to hell since he was stuck there for all those many many years, tortured and eventually broken and forced to torture himself. There cannot be anywhere that he is more terrified to go. And yet, he doesn’t hesitate for an instant. Sam is in trouble; Dean walks back into hell.

He does so after singing the most unlikely password (are there gifs of Dean singsonging Doo dah Doo dah yet?) and then who lets him in but Billie the reaper!

11.11 billie

I was very happy to see the awesome Lisa Berry again, with her sassiness intact as she meets the other Winchester. I was also very happy to know that Sam told Dean all about his encounter with Billie.

Then we get treated to a gorgeous scene of Dean descending into hell, with some amazing set dec and cinematography. Nicely done, Show.

Crowley meets Dean in the hallway, and as always Jensen and Mark bring a lot of chemistry to their scenes.

Crowley: Don’t worry about Sam.

Dean: Oh, I’m sorry. Have you met me?

I burst into laughter despite the seriousness of the situation, because that line was just so perfect. And a bit meta too.

Crowley and Dean trap Rowena with the witch catcher – more about Crowley and Rowena later, because that was a pivotal and painful part of this episode. Cas joins them and delivers his odd message from Amara (which seems to perplex Dean and Crowley almost as much as it perplexed me), and Rowena begins the incantation that will send Lucifer back and put Sam out of danger.

Meanwhile, back in the Cage, Lucifer is pulling out all the stops to convince Sam to say yes.

This is the way my Tumblr queue saw it:

Lucifer: (spends entire episode telling Sam to stop caring more about Dean than the rest of the world and that they have to stop choosing each other and that he’s the only way to stop the Darkness)

Lucifer: So what do you say, Sam? Last chance. Make the right choice!

Sam: I choose….Dean.

Lucifer: OMFG. I hate Winchesters!

Sam, god bless him, is still saying no. Jared was amazing in this scene – in all the scenes with Mark Pellegrino – but especially in this final showdown. Sam goes toe to toe with the Devil once again, and refuses to give in.

11.11 sam strong 3

Sam: You are done. It’s over. My answer is no… This is about me. I have faith in my friends. I have faith in my family. I’m ready to die and I’m ready to watch people I love die. But I’m not ready to be your bitch.

I think the entire fandom was on their feet and cheering for Sam Winchester at that moment. I know I was. You think he’s not a hero, Lucifer? Think again.

Predictably, that pisses Lucifer off and all his “I’m not going to torture you” promises dissolve as he starts in on Sam. The second his screams are heard, Dean turns on his heel and races to his brother, Cas close behind. Then it’s all of them in the Cage against Lucifer.

Lucifer to Dean: Scared?

Dean: Not even a little.

Big damn heroes. It’s not that he isn’t scared – that they all aren’t scared – it’s that they’re going to do whatever it takes anyway. As Sam told Sully, the absence of fear is not what makes a hero.

“Welcome to the party,” grins Lucifer, and his sense of humor stays intact as he has them fight to the accompaniment of “Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel” and I swear, only Mark Pellegrino could pull that off and make it seem not silly but actually right in character.

Dean clutches a bleeding Sam protectively, cradling his head and reassuring him that they don’t have to win, just hang on for a little while. I’m in my happy place because protective big brother and requisite hair stroking.

Big brother Dean

Big brother Dean

WB/The CW

WB/The CW

Lucifer plays one last card and threatens to kill Dean unless Sam says yes, but Cas jumps in and puts a crimp in that plan. Lucifer then turns to overpowering Castiel, just as Rowena is finally successful, and poof, Lucifer is gone. Or is he???

Crowley kicks the Winchesters and Castiel out of hell, and we end with Crowley and Rowena.

Ruth Connell told us all at Jaxcon that this was a pivotal episode for her, and that the writers actually gave Rowena some backstory that was very close to what she had composed for herself, in order to inhabit the character. But I was not prepared for how emotional the scenes with her and Mark Sheppard were, not even a little.

Crowley is relishing his control over Rowena. But what does he have her do? Not something horrible or humiliating (not really). Instead, he has her massaging his temples, and I can’t help but think he’s getting what he has always craved from his mother. Affection, physical touch, the sort of soothing that he needed but didn’t get from her. Finally he can, but how heartbreaking is that? Because he’s forcing her to do it. Already I was tearful. And then he asks her the question that you just KNOW he asks himself every single day.

“Why don’t you love me?”

And oh god, Rowena tells him. Tells him how when she looks at him, she sees the woman she used to be before magic. The tanner’s daughter, pathetic and smelling of death. That she gave birth to him only to have the man who had said he loved her walk away and go back to his wealthy wife, leaving her half dead on a straw mat with an infant to take care of. She swore then she’d never be weak again.

11.11 crowley rowena tears 2

Then Ruth Connell delivers the line that breaks me – and Crowley.

“I hate you because if I didn’t, I would love you. But love, love is weakness. And I’ll never be weak again.”

Ohgod. There are tears in her eyes. And in his. And in mine.

I’m in awe of how Ruth and Mark played that scene, and how much it gutted me.

Then Cas is there, except it isn’t Cas at all. It’s Lucifer.

11.11 casifer

Castiel, demoralized and convinced that he’s expendable and impotent, feared by his fellow angels and just a tool for the Winchesters, said yes. Oh Cas. Always such good intentions and such bad outcomes.

Misha channels his inner Mark Pellegrino, and Casifer first nearly kisses a still-smitten Rowena and then unceremoniously snaps her neck. I was already so emotional over the Crowley and Rowena moments that I had to grab for the tissues while simultaneously screaming

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

11.11 rowena death

Please don’t let Rowena be gone, Show! I adore Ruth Connell and her portrayal, and there’s so much potential in that character, especially now that we know a bit of her backstory. ARGH.

(Misha played that so well, btw – that little smirk before he kills her, just chilling).

I emailed Ruth shortly after, and I think my email even was in all caps. I just – NO!

So, I guess I really liked the episode. Obviously. I hated that part of the ending, but I’m hanging onto hope that it’s not over for Rowena. The acting, across the board, was …. Seriously, I run out of adjectives to describe the level of acting that goes on in Supernatural. Every single person brought their A game and made me believe what was happening, brought an emotional impact that left me shaking.

What did you think?

Is it next Wednesday yet??????

Stay tuned for another Jaxcon post – and some amazing drool-worthy photos from our talented photographer @MamaPrior!

Big thanks to our new collaborator @Kayb625 for the beautiful caps!

–Lynn
Snowed in? Or enjoying the weekend? Read
about our fangirl adventures and go behind
the scenes of Supernatural with Jared,
Jensen, Misha and more in ‘Fangasm’!

32 Comments leave one →
  1. Grace permalink
    January 23, 2016 10:01 pm

    While you were on point with the episode, the only thing I didn’t like was Cas becoming Lucifer. When he did his Mark Pelligrino impression, it came through as forced. Like he was constipated, and needed to push…only my opinion, and the episode without what I mentioned above, was worth the wait of the HELLATUS

    • January 24, 2016 3:39 pm

      i totally agree with you

    • Kleu permalink
      January 24, 2016 7:22 pm

      I feelt the same when Misha did that face, but apart from that the interpretation and the voice were on point. That facial expression tho really wasn’t the best choice…

      • January 25, 2016 4:14 am

        I felt that way about the face, too, but really liked Misha’s overall take on it. I think he’ll only get better at making that his own if he gets to play that for a few episodes.

        I couldn’t help but compare Lucifer!Cas to Lucifer!Sam. I absolutely loved Jared’s take on Mark Pellegrino’s Lucifer (yes, I know SamGirl talking…) especially with the mannerisms. However, I then remembered that Jared started his “Lucifer” in Swan Song (which is chronologically first, albeit a later episode than The End) with a neck twist/arm stretch thing – almost like something as powerful as an archangel has to figure out how to fit into a new human vessel. Maybe I’m just trying to make that work, but after remembering that it made more sense to me.

      • Shelly Dalton permalink
        January 25, 2016 5:44 am

        I think Misha likes this change of pace.

  2. Jaime permalink
    January 23, 2016 11:03 pm

    Love your review as always! So much love for seeing young Sam! And loved seeing our boys standing strong and believing in each other! Also very intrigued about Amara’s apparent weakness. And though everyone seems to have very big opinions on why Cas said yes…I wonder if it was simply to protect both Sam & Dean. He took the burden off of Sam in the only way he could. It was pretty much a lose lose situation for all.

    And btw, I DID notice that Coke commercial and got all teary over it but didn’t tie it in to the show until now. Totally rolling my eyes at myself right now. Would really love to think they were marketing to us! In my defense..It was Winchester & Wine Wednesday…so sometimes I’m a bit slow on the uptake!

    Thanks for all you do! Off to buy all the Cokes! 😉
    ~Jaime

  3. stymie permalink
    January 23, 2016 11:39 pm

    I cannot believe I’m going to say this. I really can’t. That ep was like watching really, really skilled ice dancers do a perfect executed compulsory dance to the sound of someone rhythmically smacking their thumb with a hammer. I’m so angry I waited months for THAT. I love every single one of those characters and it’s like they made each one of them to the absolute worst thing. I can’t explain it. I’m still in shock.

  4. Dawn permalink
    January 23, 2016 11:58 pm

    I think your review was spot on, but there was one thing that really bothered me about this episode as well as the one before it. Sam and Dean once had the key to the cage. Was hasn’t this been addressed? I’m pretty sure they still have 3 of the horsemen’s rings, but Death got his back (if I’m not mistaken). I know Death is dead so the ring is probably gone with him, but I feel that should at least acknowledge that the was a key to the cage and address the issue. I especially love the Jared/Mark P scenes, loved seeing Collin Ford again because he is the perfect young Sam Winchester. Dean rushing to Sam’s side is always a win for me. I wish we could have seen Dean a little bothered by being back in Hell. I feel that was a missed opportunity for a bit more angst. I will miss Rowena. I’m so sad to see her go. Ruth was a treasure.

    • January 24, 2016 2:48 am

      Yes, this….exactly this. I wondered about the rings, too. Also, I thought they did the same thing when Sam had to go to hell for the second trial. Wouldn’t it be a little more traumatic, even for big damn heroes, to have to revisit hell?

      And I have to say, I am just DONE watching Sam being make to feel like s**t over the Amelia storyline, especially when it was out of character and made no sense in the first place. We had to watch Dean kick Sam like a dog over it for the first half of S8, or at least until Sam’s trial consumption engaged Dean’s Big Brother circuit. And now Lucifer? Can Show please just forget that ever happened?

      • Dawn permalink
        January 24, 2016 7:27 pm

        The Sam/Amelia part didn’t really bother me. The trip down memory lane seemed like the Show saying “Okay…we know we screwed up with this storyline” and addressed it. I don’t blame Sam for his actions in the beginning of Season 8. I blame the writers.

    • January 25, 2016 4:43 am

      I’m not sure that Rowena is gone. She was a witch, so wouldn’t she just end up back in Hell? Now, how she is tortured/held/or pushed into service in Hell is up for grabs. If she’s now just a soul on her journey to demon-status, does she have to serve Lucifer if that’s his wish?

      • Shelly Dalton permalink
        January 25, 2016 5:42 am

        I thought Rowena was immortal. Look how many years she’s been around. I’m not really liking this up and down thru hell business. Cas has been thru more hell than the boys. Amara is Castiels aunt, I imagine, why hurt him. Hope the boys go back to the family business a little more often.

  5. Mallena permalink
    January 24, 2016 12:41 am

    Great review. This episode wasn’t perfect. The cage scenes were too short and too literally dark for me to see what was going on, but many good things also happened. Sam Winchester, I love you. Though Show, please never mention the name Amelia again unless you mean Jimmy’ s wife. When does your next book come out, Lynn?? I want to read it.

  6. anafraserlallybroch permalink
    January 24, 2016 1:41 am

    Reblogged this on Ana Fraser Lallybroch Blog.

  7. January 24, 2016 2:00 am

    I agree with your review but have to admit being confused by Lucifer now in Castiels vessel? He’s an angel and Jimmy is in heaven so is Cas there too? Or is he in the cage instead of Lucifer. Cas, once again doing the wrong thing for the right reasons. This is going to bite him in the rear for sure.

    I also was glad that Sam told Dean about Billie, it was something I was wondering about because obviously you can’t have every conversation on the show. As for Casifer, as soon as I realized that Rowena had made a deal with the devil, I knew she was going to die.

    I was one of the people cheering Sam when he said no to Lucifer. Showing Sam his past, especially that scene in the cemetery was great! One of my favourite episodes, and I was worried that Lucifer was actually going to convince Sam after showing him some of these past scenes. He really was very good and manipulative. But Sam has more backbone then he used to I think. Good for him. People seem to underestimate him but he is stronger and seems to accept that Dean will always have his back.

    A good episode and worth the wait.

  8. Shelly Dalton permalink
    January 24, 2016 3:42 am

    Love your recap. I too was teary..These episodes are getting heart stopping.The writing and acting are beyond words. Bring on next week. I’m breathing normally now.

  9. January 24, 2016 3:46 am

    Just realized my earlier reply to Dawn may have made it seem like I was dissatisfied with this ep, when that is SO not the case. I had so many woo hoo! moments, the majority of which Lynn called attention to perfectly; including Colin’s return, Stull Cemetery, and Sam’s sheer willpower and determination against the worst Lucifer could throw at him. As Death said, “Loyal, dogged Sam.”

    Oh, and Show? Please, please, please, bring back Rowena! You really don’t want to piss off the V-Club.

  10. cheryl42 permalink
    January 24, 2016 3:47 am

    I think the message that was carved on Castiels chest was for Rowena and Lucifer. I think that Lucifer is in league with Amara. After all when the Darkness was released the impact on Hell was massive. So massive it damaged the Cage enough that Lucifer could connect with Sam and I would guess with other beings he might have a bond with. Since Lucifer was the original bearer of the Mark I would assume that Amara might have an interest in him.

    I am not so sure that Cas wasn’t the target all along. Lucifer wanted to make sure that no one else could open the cage before he snapped Rowena’s neck. I think that is because that is where Cas is at the moment. Or maybe Cas was a plan B. But there did seem to be an awful lot of manipulating Castiel’s fragile state in order to get him to say yes.

    I loved every single moment between Mark P and Jared. Their scenes were riveting. I loved that Sam threatened Lucifer with his awesome older brother. I loved that once again Sam stood up to the devil, the most terrifying creature in human existence and stared him down and did not falter. He really was willing to die and watch his loved ones die rather than release that horror on the world again. Way to go Sam!

    Jensen was just as terrific in his rescue. I am anxiously waiting for the Dean/Amara connection to become more clear. On the WFB Alice’s (I think it was Alice) speculation was that Amara was sick because Dean was. That is an interesting take. I hope so. I don’t know what that would mean for Dean but it may be a way to control the Darkness at some point.

    As for Misha’s impersonation of Mark’s Lucifer…I don’t know. I thought it was way over the top. I hope he tones it down as that story line goes forward. A little to Levi-Cas for me.

    Rowena was a character that I had really warmed up to. I did not see that coming at all until just before it happened. Death doesn’t mean anything on SPN but with Billie possibly in league with Lucifer as well, Rowena might end up in the Empty.

    Crowley sure is in a pickle isn’t he…

    • cheryl42 permalink
      January 24, 2016 3:51 am

      Oops forgot to add I loved your wonderful review.

  11. magichappening permalink
    January 24, 2016 10:31 pm

    Thank you for a stellar review as always, Lynn, Some reactions to it and this amazing episode:
    -“Supernatural came back from Hellatus with a vengeance, didn’t it?”: Agreed!
    -“The weird little Christmas clip”…for me was just weird.
    -Jared was f*&king amazing in this episode.
    -“Lucifer:You’re betting on Dean? Sam: I always have.” YES.
    -I totally didn’t recognise Colin Ford! He WAS Jared/Sam tho, as usual🙂
    -You made me laugh, Lynn, over you finding yourself agreeing with Lucifer about Amelia!
    -The puking was realistically gross😉 (‘Smiting sickness – that’s a thing?’……..?)
    -I thought the Ambriel actress was really good.
    -Loved the fact that when Amara was injured she ‘bled’ darkness.
    -I don’t get the message from Amara via Cas either …..?…..tho the BTS photo was epic🙂
    -The “SAMMEH!!” video by the Ruth Connell watch party squad was genius!
    -I agree about the awesomeness of Lisa Berry: More Billie, please!
    -I don’t have Tumblr but this (Sam: I choose….Dean. Lucifer: OMFG. I hate Winchesters!) is hysterical!
    -I love that things happened EXACTly how Sam said they would – Lucifer did his worst and then Dean turned up when his brother needed him.
    -Jensen’s acting when Dean was telling Sam they only had to last a few minutes was perfection.
    -The lighting in the cage by Serge was ridiculously beautiful. Both brothers looked otherworldly.
    -Briana’s Twitter reaction to Rowena’s fate was all of us.
    -I love your final summary Lynn: “ Oh Cas. Always such good intentions and such bad outcomes.”
    -Supernatural is the only show where I actually talk OUT LOUD to the characters on the screen!!

  12. January 24, 2016 11:57 pm

    I don’t know…I guess I’m the only one who felt like Misha’s Mark was spot on. Smarmy, creepy, evil, and yet somehow likeable. His facial expressions and his tone of voice…gave me shivers. In my mind, Cas is just under the surface, trying to express himself in spite of Lucifer.

    I loved the twists this show takes–I really didn’t see this one coming.

    • Laura in Denver permalink
      January 25, 2016 7:08 pm

      I liked Misha’s performance too. I think he was a very good Lucifer, looking forward to the next few episodes to see where this goes!

      • January 27, 2016 3:17 am

        I agree the Misha has shown Lucifer in his acting and am looking forward to how this storyline runs. By the way, does it bother anyone else that Lucifer now possesses the only person/angel who knows where the first blade is? I think that it could come back into play somehow. Amara has the mark and Cas/Lucifer knows where the blade was stashed. I could be totally out in left field though. I’m not very good at predicting where the story might go.

      • January 27, 2016 5:49 am

        Oooh – I really like this Lucifer knows where the Blade is concept! I’m still holding out hope that Cain is out there so that the three marked characters – Cain, Lucifer, and Dean – can all have a scene with Amara. Sort of an unholy trinity. (I know, slim to none on that …)

  13. Anathyma permalink
    January 25, 2016 3:30 am

    I agree wholeheartedly with your sentiments here. I felt it was a bang up job by all. As you stated, it was all A-game. Really, it took me back a bit to the soulful, emotion-packed episodes of earlier seasons. All in all, a great come-back from an agonizing hiatus. Wait eagerly for the new episode and then BAM they hit you in the face full force. I’m not sure that I exactly am convinced of Cas’ despondency being his reasons for saying yes though. I see it as a perfectly valid possibility, and probably the most likely given prior history. Nevertheless, some speculation has been made about the possibility of Cas accepting so he cold try to contact Michael. I find this an intriguing thought. What if Cas went from “oh, I’m expendable” to “fine, I’ll show you how expendable I am”.

    Mostly my hesitancy is because although I know that Cas has come to have more experience with human emotions than most angels I’m not sure how in touch with those experiences he actually is. Not that he doesn’t feel, but more like he’s a toddler at feeling whereas Sam and Dean (and all humans) are more used to emotions. At any rate, I generally suspend my ideas to speculation. The cast and crew are better at the delivery than my brain is on its own. 😊

  14. January 25, 2016 5:02 am

    Watching this episode during a freak ice storm while waiting for the Snowpocalypse/Snowzilla event to bear down on us felt a little … unsettling. Nothing pairs with sounds of emergency sirens like images of hell.

    Generally, I liked this one, although I agree with the other posters who thought the earlier Sam and Lucifer scenes were too dark – not metaphorically, but literally. Out of all the actors to make it difficult to see, they obscured Jared and Mark? Um. No. And I’m not just saying that for the obvious shallow reasons (but those shallow reasons are absolutely there, too) but both of them say so much with mannerisms and expressions, I wanted to see those better. I’m not talking about getting a spotlight, but seriously, you couldn’t give us a few more watts? I also wonder if that why one of my pet peeve Sam-isms that was in the scene really irked me: there seemed to be even more false bravado than usual in the non-lighting. There’s a certain Sam delivery that I get the point of it, and it’s used consistently, but always bothers me – when Sam has those big stand up to the bad guy moments it always feels like he’s faking his way through the speech. Like I said, I think it’s intentional, like Sam is in some sort of “fake it til you make it mode” but it always makes me want to shake him (Sam, not Jared, but either way I’d need a stepladder) and say, “You got this big guy! You made it! You’re a hero! Take down this asshole!”

    Conversely, though, it gave me a little more of a heartbreaking take on the “Dean’s coming in here” line, like Sam was trying to convince himself that was going to happen. I don’t think Sam thinks Dean would abandon him, but we are talking about literally going to Hell and back. Complications should probably be assumed.

    I already commented on Misha’s Lucifer above, but this does also offer a solution to Cas’s Superman problem: namely, at full force he’s too powerful to keep on the show, so you always have to weaken him some way otherwise Cas does some smiting and there you have it. But with this whole vessel thing, you get to keep Misha on the show and not worry so much about why Cas isn’t recovering or why he’s not using his powers to the fullest.

    I’m excited for this turn of events! Lucifer!Cas raises some interesting questions: 1. Will Sam be able to see that Cas isn’t Cas, or that Lucifer is in the room? Is there some sort of Satanic brotherhood bond that will force Cas to avoid Sam because Sam will see through the vessel? And 2. If Lucifer!Nick could play that level of mindgame with Sam and tempt him so thoroughly, what damage can Lucifer!Cas inflict?!

    Lucifer already has the vessel, he’s only going to have to manipulate Sam and Dean into doing seemingly innocuous (or at least less terrible) things to put his plan in motion. And he already knows what’s in Sam’s brain and how to exploit it. So, if Sam can’t detect the whole Cas is Lucifer thing, Sam is utterly screwed. Dean is screwed, but Sam is likely in for a total mindfuck.

    • Shelly Dalton permalink
      January 25, 2016 5:34 am

      Well written. I too have a lighting problem. However I’m 75 and blame it on age. Thanx for setting me straight. It’s going to be a strange 1/2 season…..

      • January 27, 2016 5:51 am

        Thanks!🙂 Here’s to slightly brighter lighting for the second half of the season!

  15. Karin permalink
    January 25, 2016 1:25 pm

    I didn’t really like this episode, too many plot contrivances. I hated what they did to the Archangel Michael.

    Thank god for Jensen Ackles and his brilliant acting because apparently the writers either don’t care or forgot that Dean went to Hell, but Jensen didn’t. I loved that Jensen had Dean hesitate before walking through the doors and down the stairs to Hell.

    I hope we finally get some more attention paid to Dean’s storyline with Amara, so far it’s pretty much been put on the back burner, and Dean deserves to have just as much focus as a co-lead.

    I find it interesting that the show brought up the “we agreed to not look for each other” supposed agreement, where Sam didn’t look for Dean, but in this same episode, Dean did go looking for Sam. it’s just an interesting observation.

  16. maermae permalink
    January 26, 2016 3:03 pm

    IMO, Cas becoming Lucifier is just the worst. To me, it is not good storytelling and it’s laziness (re-hashing probably SPN’s most epic storyline & Kripke’s legacy) on the writers’ part – it was like they were looking for something significant for Cas to do aside from sitting around watching Netflix.

    I think saying yes to Lucifier was the stupidest decision Cas has ever made. It was not to protect to Sam & Dean as others have suggested. It was selfish because Cas was not feeling heroic enough..or something. Like what the are writers doing to his character? How am I suppose to feel sympathetic to him? Especially when Cas decided to say yes in a span of one episode – when Sam said yes to Lucifer, we have episode after episode of Sam (& Dean) struggling with that means. We got the motivation and the importance and the need.

    It really, really bothers me how Cas saying yes and allowing Lucifer out of the cage essentially completely voids everything Sam & Dean went through to stop the apocalypse. Sam’s sacrifice to save the world & jumping in the cage was for nothing. His years of suffering & torture was for nothing. Deaths like Ellen & Jo were for nothing.

    And what happens now? Say Cas does come through and beat Amara / get Lucifer back in the cage. Another redemption arc for Cas (that he really didn’t need)?

    I just..I’m not sure how the writers can handle this storyline. It’ll be a fine line to walk.

    • Shelly Dalton permalink
      January 26, 2016 9:48 pm

      Well said. I’m not excited about the darkness arc. Arrow has the darkness, another show advertised the darkness is coming. It was even used for a basketball trailer…..Though Amara is well acted, I’m not liking it. Only my opinion. Still love watching the show.she

  17. February 20, 2016 4:50 am

    So true that the mid-season return has a special, amped-up anticipation…which is why the promo focusing on the Christmas Dream was so perplexing to start the ball rolling. Backing up a moment…another CW series, iZombie, did the very same thing. Off season ads for that show and SPN made it appear they both had Yuletide themed eps that were for some reason delayed into the New Year…at least to this viewer. Who shows Christmas in January otherwise? In the end, the two scenes in each series both served as some weird “time bridge” to weakly connect the period where there were no new eps over the Holidays. A “Christmas Dream” so many days after the fact just felt forced. Next up we had Lucifer. Mark Pelligrino was the best Lucifer in the history of Hell but that character’s expiration date passed a long, long time ago in my opinion. Lucifer’s (and Mark) are truly legendary, especially as part of the Show’s finest season, Season 5. I really didn’t expect to see him past that year. And to next see him in Cas…well let’s just say that didn’t help make my belated Christmas a merry one either. Cas just can’t be, just isn’t that stupid. Not allowable. The cherry on the sundae of this depressing ep was of course Rowena’s absurd demise. She brought sparks to every scene she appeared in from Day One and was specifically a perfect foil for Crowley. Of course the actors all did their best with what they were given -Jared and Jensen were great – but to me this was a very disappointing outing. (Writing this after commenting – and much more favorably – on more recent eps…just wanted to state my case on this particular ep “for the record!”)

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