Supernatural In Review- The Devil In The Details

Well, I’m back. You can blame mock exams and an infected laptop for my protracted absence (I kid you not, I had to write eight essays on Wednesday). But I have a great many feelings about The Devil In The Details, and most of them are nice, so buckle in.
I’ve made no secret of my love for the new season. Season Ten started to recover the ‘atmosphere’ that the show lost when it switched to digital in Season Seven and suddenly became awash in colour; Season Eleven is the darkest and most mysterious the show’s been in years. And it’s getting into the nitty-gritty of the boys’ lives- Baby was an eccentric, poignant examination of their actual processes, of how they interact. Just My Imagination was lovely and funny and wistful. O Brother Where Art Thou was practically an epic poem, and Our Little World uneasily decadent. And I love the first two episodes- the oddly moving premiere, and the eerie-as-heck Form And Void.
So, yeah, this season is pushing all the right buttons for me. And this was no exception.
The teaser for this episode was something only this show could get away with- absurd and completely random. I love how unnecessarily nutty it was- that’s the sort of thing that sets Supernatural apart- I mean, that ridiculous first shot.

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And of course we have Mark Pellegrino back again. His performance was different to that of last episode; in O Brother he was truly chilling. Here he establishes a sort of sleazy familiarity with Sam, which is all part of the manipulation. There’s also a suggestion that his time in the Cage might have been a little wearing; he seems to get genuinely angry.

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My favourite part of the episode might actually have been the little stroll down memory lane. It was lovely to have Colin Ford back, for one thing- but even better was the fact that years of plotlines were tied together.

I’ve seen some objections about the return to the Samelia arc that seem very weird to me. I didn’t like that arc either; that’s why they went back to it. They’re making it actually mean something in the context of the whole show- trying to make some sense out of it.
And the Swan Song stuff was just lovely, if also rather sad. The look on Sam’s face, for one thing. I love JP. He looks very different from in Season Five, actually, which kinda drove home Lucifer’s point- the Winchesters have become domesticated, to a degree, with the Bunker and the ‘nesting’.

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Sam was magnificent this episode.
And Dean- Dean was just delightful. I’m very very happy about the voicemail (and the fact that Sam kept it). Then we have the already-much-giffed ‘I’m sorry, have you met me?’ Like- he spent the entire episode in raging elder brother mode. I was in a bubble of happy on first watch. Though the puking scene was nasty. I could probably count the instances of vomit in this show on my fingers, and while that was definitely not as gross as the Pestilence stuff, still: gross. Which isn’t to say it was a bad scene. I’m glad they’re, like, being gritty and all that. I’m sure the CasDean people have already giffed Cas’s impromptu medical exam to Hell and back.

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And then Cas went off to find Amara. Ambriel, our latest in a long line of boring-ass angels, is distinguished by literally nothing except her cool name. Where have the weirdo angels gone? Our Uriels and our Zachariahs and our Annas and Gadreels? Granted, Lucifer is still awesome, but still. That’s the only part of this season that’s really bugging me.
Amara was even awesomer here. Her weird cloak of Darkness thingy has to be one of my favourite effects they’ve ever done. She certainly isn’t suffering from whatever has trivialised the angels. That’s the thing about primal forces, one finds.

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I was glad to see Billie return. Actually, I lied earlier. Billie is a great angel, even if she’s technically a Reaper. (Also, she was reading a Neil Gaiman comic. I AM SO HERE FOR THIS.) I love her deep voice and her air of taking her time- she doesn’t scurry around doing things; she’s not that human. Give us more Billies, Supernatural. Give us more inhuman unknowable angels.

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That said, I loved the Cage-match scene. How Dean just shoved round Cas and Lucifer and went straight to Sam, twice. This season’s Dean is protective- which I suppose makes sense in the context of what nearly happened with the MoC.

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But, oh, Castiel. That dude needs to go on a damn leash. I love the guy, but wow. That said, his arc hasn’t done anything this interesting since Season Six; I’m really glad they’re giving Misha something good to work with (and he is working it; he even moved like Pellegrino. I found his Lucifer impression incredibly unnerving; those are Mark’s expressions on his face.)

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I’m still not sure how I feel about the fact that Lucifer has been let out. It’s not the fact that they’re repeating themselves; that probably wouldn’t work on another show, but Supernatural has long abandoned the rules of conventional plotting. I’m just quite concerned that this could devalue the sacrifice made in Swan Song. However- I’ll take the actual inclusion of Swan Song clips as an indication that they have not forgotten this risk, and that they’re going to take it seriously. My feelings about this new arc are largely going to depend upon its execution.

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Very sad about Rowena. That took me by surprise. I do hope we haven’t seen the last of her, but I guess the show will go wherever the hell it decides to go. She was rather spectacular in her big monologue-scene. I’ll miss Ruth Connell.

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One last thing: the final scene in the car was gorgeous. Those deep shadows. Of course it helps that this episode was directed by the fabulous T.J Wright, who did Hitchcock’s storyboards. Woot.

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Overall- a really solid episode, I think. This augers well for the second half of the season. Thoughts, anyone?

Readers Comments (26)

  1. myfaketvboyfriend January 28, 2016 @ 1:33 pm

    “So we’re in a place where Sam is being open with Dean and Dean is trying (as ever) to shield Sam whilst inwardly going to pieces also.”
    AS USUAL!

  2. myfaketvboyfriend January 27, 2016 @ 4:50 pm

    VERYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY The most disappointing ending. At least with LOST they tried to be interesting!

    • Have you seen the new episode? 🙂

      • myfaketvboyfriend January 28, 2016 @ 12:29 pm

        Of Supernatural? Yes 3x! I cant say how much I loved that episode! It was sweet but it was also bittersweet….loved Mildred (great job Dee Wallace Stone!) The flirting felt real, but not creepy and Deans reactions were lovely. The sunset scene….lovely. Im hating the Casifer storyline-hes going to screw with Dean big time. I hope I am understanding that Deans feelings towards Amara are attraction NOT LOVE-and that he doesn’t want to be attracted to her. If they go all romance on this I will not be happy! Theres NOTHING romantic about it.

        I wish Dean would come clean to Sam-why would he tell Cas and not Sam???

        So THRILLED that Sam apologized for not looking for Dean when he was in purgatory!!!! My family should only be as forgiving as Dean!

      • Wasn’t it fantastic?
        Mildred was sublime. Oh, my god. I love her so much. And Marlene!
        I’m really enjoying the Casifer storyline. It’s shaking things up- of course it’s going to screw with Dean! All I know is that this is the most excited I’ve been seeing Castiel onscreen since, what, Season Six? Misha is having so much fun. There was such a great tension in the scene with Casifer & Dean in the bunker- like, we know that Dean is face to face with Lucifer, but he doesn’t.
        Love love love.
        I certainly don’t think they’re trying to represent the Dean/Amara connection as love. More of a mutually masochistic fascination.
        It made total sense to me for Dean to be telling Cas and not Sam. After all, he feels like he needs to stay strong for Sam- it’s that whole protection thing- particularly given that Sam is obviously having a bout of PTSD (and I love that they showed that at last. It always seemed weird to me that we’d never seen Sam having Hell nightmares, especially given his massive sleep arc). It’s one of the many many richnesses & intricacies of their relationship.
        I love that the Purgatory arc is finally resolved. I do think it was a good idea in terms of writing- I’m not sure anything else would have worked at the time, given all they’d been through- they needed a turnover & that provided it- but I’m glad it’s resolved.
        So we’re in a place where Sam is being open with Dean and Dean is trying (as ever) to shield Sam whilst inwardly going to pieces also.
        So interesting.

  3. myfaketvboyfriend January 27, 2016 @ 11:18 am

    “Wow, what was the ending? (Don’t worry about spoilers, I know crap all about Seinfeld)”
    they all ended up in jail!

  4. I love how freaking Meta this show loves to get.. (Like the “I’ll move to LA and solve crime which was funny but even funnier when you realize that is the plot for the new tv show Lucifer, shot in a sound stage next to SPN) they really do give itty bitty shout outs of love to those who watch the show religiously..
    I may be doom and gloom but I am wondering if this is the Swan Song ending of the actual show. I did see something from show runners about Michael.. How you can’t see if he is initially in the cage but he definitely is not at the end..
    The ending for Cas can’t be a good one, ’twas one thing to be fooled by meta tron but letting lucifer ride your meat suit? Cas has done some really stupid shit with little consequence..guess it becomes which is the greater of two evils? I think Amara is.. The show definitely picked up in pace and I think will be a better half now that all the players or most of them are out there.. (Do Angels just not exist anymore if they get the blade?) there is no angel heaven? Anyway I thought this was more a profound episode (other than baby which was profound for other reasons) than we have seen in a while. It’s def gonna be J2 against the world

    • Lol, yeah. And I suspect the show will end after season 12, tbh. And I don’t think they can get rid of Cas- they’d lose a load of idiot fans.
      I really love s10 and s11 so far, gotta say. And it’s one of the great unanswered questions, right? What happens to angels and demons when they die?
      Promo pics for next ep look amazing.

      • Like they couldn’t kill Amara, she’s been locked away. God and his archangels and lucifer could not kill Amara. But at the same time Lucifer could blow up Gabriel etc.. But when Lucifer blew up Cas, God put him back together. Also, they maltov Michael with holy fire but it only gives them a few miutes before he reappears. So God chose to rebuild Cas and Not Gabriel?
        I guess that is one of the mysteries. Does Cas think that he can take ahold of Lucifer like Sam did? Even though he knows the cage cannot be reopened. Does he think like Rowena that his ticket back to heaven is no longer able to happen so he’s gonna hitch a ride on Satan’s return? It just makes my head hurt. I do think that they are just trying to make Cas interesting again. But yeah, it does remind me of the whole leviathan Cas and I’m just like PLEASE do not go there. The really nice thing about this episode was the solidfying of Sam and Dean’s relationship. I think Season 12 will be the end as well, I don’t think that they could tell the fans 3-4 months before the season finale that the show is ending and not be in a place where we can see them resolving 11 years plus this huge problem they found themselves in with fan satisfaction.

      • Oh, I know. The plot is just so… soupy. In a good way. (Though I actually loved Leviathan Cas, haha.) And the Sam & Dean stuff was, as ever, lovely.
        What is this ‘fan satisfaction’ problem of which you speak?

      • well when any show ends a series finale is very important.. you don’t want a show that’s on for 12 years to blow the ending.. Like Lost is still like a WTF ending for me… there have been some really good shows with some horrible endings like Seinfeld was the worst.. CSI was on for 15 years and I loved the way they end it… So like with Grey’s anatomy which hasn’t ended and has also been on for 11 years, when they knew that The lady that plays Dr. Yang was leaving they told everyone at the begginning of the season and they didn’t kill her off. Supernatural kinda like Pretty Little Liars is loved and adored beyond what most regular shows are as far as “Fan”Dom goes. Everything, as much as possible is going to want to be wrapped up in a favorable way because it changes the way you see a show. Dexter was the worst ending ever. Sopranos no good.. But like Sex and the City was so good! So They may start next season with letting people know it’s the final season… so it could be just total chaos with a cliff hanger this season and nice resolution in this and that next season.. who knows?

      • myfaketvboyfriend January 25, 2016 @ 4:44 pm

        “endings like Seinfeld was the worst” THEVWORST EVER

        Im hoping they go 13 seasons and then a movie!

      • Wow, what was the ending? (Don’t worry about spoilers, I know crap all about Seinfeld)

      • THANK YOU! I was thinking about Lost and I remembered that Pellagrino was in that show too… Crazy

      • myfaketvboyfriend January 25, 2016 @ 4:41 pm

        “Even though he knows the cage cannot be reopened.”

        When he said yes he didn’t know/realize/anticipate that Lucifer would kill Rowena. Poor Cas!

  5. You do know that the woman who’s face and likeness for the Death Character is a good friend of mine? Look on Wikipedia her name is Cinamon Hadley out of Salt Lake City .. I even have some of the first drawings of her and first editions that are dedicated to “precious Cinamon” before my sister passed away in 2011 she grew up with Cin in the goth Scene.. She even wrote a book about it but died (my sister Nefaria) before it was manuscript read to send out.. I was thinking about interviewing her for the blog

    • OH MY GOD THAT IS AMAZING. Like in the Sandman too? AHHHHHHH. You should absolutely interview her.
      That’s really sad about your sister, though.

      • According to Gaiman, the initial visual design of Death was based on a friend of Dringenberg’s named Cinamon Hadley.[6] From The Sandman Companion:
        Cinamon “Sin” Hadley – The inspiration for “Death”
        “ Death is the only major character whose visuals didn’t spring from me; that credit goes to Mike Dringenberg. In my original Sandman outline, I suggested Death look like rock star Nico in 1968, with the perfect cheekbones and perfect face she has on the cover of her Chelsea Girl album.

        But Mike Dringenberg had his own ideas, so he sent me a drawing based on a woman he knew named Cinamon Hadley[7] — the drawing that was later printed in Sandman 11 — and I looked at it and had the immediate reaction of, “Wow. That’s really cool.” Later that day, Dave McKean and I went to dinner in Chelsea at the My Old Dutch Pancake House and the waitress who served us was a kind of vision. She was American, had long black hair, was dressed entirely in black — black jeans, T-shirt, etc. — and wore a big silver ankh on a silver necklace. And she looked exactly like Mike Dringenberg’s drawing of Death.

        I have the Ankh she wore, I got it from my sisters property. I’m wearing right now. 🙂

      • Oh, wow. That is just- wowwwwwwwwwwwwww. I love the Sandman comics so much- I’m a total Gaiman nerd- so that is just so awesome to me.

      • What’s even weirder is that she really doesn’t know how big Death is … or how big the Sandman Comics are…. She is just this super goth girl. She’s just cool like that… haha

  6. myfaketvboyfriend January 24, 2016 @ 8:04 pm

    I also enjoyed it, and I liked that Lucifer touched on a lot of plot points that I wanted addressed. I loved that Sam was depending on Dean and that he stood up for himself and said No! But Cas, poor Cas. He thinks hes expendable. How sad is that? Rowena on the other hand thought she was indispensible-which led to her downfall. And poor sad Crowley (hmmm this was a rather sad episode wasn’t it?) asking his Mother why she hated him-great job by Ruth! I was sorry to see her go but as soon as she said she was the only one that could open the cage I knew that was it. So does that mean theres no one to open it for them to put Lucifer back in? Is Cas in the vessel with Lucifer like Sam was? So many questions!

    • Yeah, that was great. It was fantastic in tying together years of stuff.
      It seems that Sam did some incurable damage to Crowley back in Sacrifice. Poor dude 🙁 orphaned again. It’ll be interesting to see how he deals with it.
      Eh, I wonder if Amara will destroy Lucifer? But of course they need Cas alive… I assume that Cas and Lucifer are both occupying Jimmy’s empty body now. Damn, I hope they remember to do the skin-wearing-away thing.

  7. I quite liked it–even Ambriel; she reminded me of Atropos (though minus the destiny-bending powers, obviously). And I’m glad to not be the only one who thinks Misha did a decent Lucifer impression–his smile was perhaps a little too reminiscent of his Leviathan portrayal, but he had the body language down *solid*.

    And–going back to your question of a month ago, regarding the weird Christmas promo: did I not tell you Dabb would make it work? And the actors absolutely *sold* it, especially Rowena. Her little hand gesture when she says the antler headband won’t come off had me in stitches. 😀

  8. Reblogged this on Cobweb Queen and commented:

    I’m back, baby. *cringes at self*