Supernatural 11×1 Review: Out of Darkness, Into Fire

Supernatural -- "Out of the Darkness, Into the Fire" -- Image SN1102B_0169.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Jensen Ackles as Dean and Laci J. Mailey as Jenna Nickerson -- Photo: Diyah Pera/The CW -- © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Tonight on Supernatural Dean and Cas talked on the phone.  Or at least that’s the only thing on my Tumblr dash, so clearly it was all that happened for the entire hour, right?  Okay, a lot of other stuff happened in this episode too, and while I’m personally less than enthused about ‘The Darkness’ as the primary antagonist of the season, there were still quite a few interesting moments from the episode (besides the phone call, come on guys).  Between Sam dropping some truth bombs, the stunning visuals surrounding the Darkness, and some potentially interesting new characters, I’m feeling pretty upbeat about what’s to come.  And I’ve been pretty cynical, so my enjoyment of the episode is saying something.  The cynic in me is concerned that some of this potential may be squandered before it gets to be used, but I’m going to keep my head held high and hope things unfold in a satisfying way this year.

SPN5The best part of the entire episode for me was Sam just sort of laying out the problems with how the brothers have been handling things lately.  “If we don’t change, all of our crap is going to keep repeating itself.”  You speak that truth, Sam.  You speak it loud and clear.  “We have to change.”  YES Sam.  You are pretty much saying what a lot of us have been saying for several seasons.  A lot of us have felt that the hero qualities present in the first seasons have been largely absent lately.  While Sam and Dean were always flawed characters, they’ve never been so distracted from what a hunter’s real purpose is as they have been lately.  Somewhere along the way the brothers got so focused on saving each other, they forgot that hunters are supposed to save other people too.  And hey, this isn’t even me saying this.  That sentiment came directly from Sam’s mouth.  Four for you, Sam Winchester. You go, Sam Winchester.

Speaking of heroes going through troubled times, I’m perfectly fine with my favorite character facing turmoil and going through painful experiences.  This show is dramatic and I don’t want every episode to be a field of roses.  That would be a pretty boring show and experiencing trauma can lead to remarkable character growth.  But I’m getting really tired of the type of pain Cas is being subjected to.  He’s been battered quite a bit by the writers pretty much since he decided to rebel against heaven, but what hurts me most is that he’s been going through it alone for several seasons.  He’s spent so many seasons not only separated from the Winchesters, but at odds with Heaven too.  Besides brief partnerships with angels like Hannah, he’s been an antagonist to heaven and a tool for the Winchesters that only passes in and out of their lives ever so briefly when he’s needed.  If we’re going to put him through hell, can we at least give him some time with his friends afterwards as a sort of after care?  Can we get another hug at some point please?  Or maybe give him a nice cup of tea.  Or some burgers.  He seems to like burgers. God dammit give that angel something comfy because this sucks.

SPN2The episode planted seeds that I hope don’t get squandered throughout the course of the season.  Sounds coming from the Cage?  Mark of Cain on a baby?  New badass lady sheriff?  Can her and Jody meet please?  Can she head on over to our Wayward Daughters dream spin off?  Or wait, no, actually let’s keep her on this show and not kill her off.  While I understand that ‘everyone dies’ and that this show’s protagonists are men, I would like to see one woman stick around, be badass, and survive.  Let’s see how long this lasts?

And wow, that didn’t take me long before I turned cynical again.  I’m sorry.  I don’t trust this show with female characters right now and it may take me some time to get over that.

Our badass lady sheriff wasn’t the only woman introduced this week, but I’m not quite sure how I feel about the Darkness yet.  While the visuals for the smoke itself were stunning, the woman herself hasn’t really interested me yet.  And that hurts because, like I said, I enjoy awesome women joining the cast.  So far she seems like a cliche sensual antagonist. I’m hoping I get proven wrong.  I want the story to unfold in a way where she doesn’t end up just a sexually attractive ‘villainess’ who gets called misogynistic slurs until one of the Winchesters takes her down in some dramatic fashion.  Give me something different.  Please.

Oh god there’s that cynicism again.  Sorry.

So here we are launching into the 11th season of one of the most successful cult TV shows in broadcast history.  We’ve got some good things to look forward to, some troubling patterns we should keep our eyes on, and a whole lot of  mysteries to unravel.  Let’s get this show on the metaphorical road.

Author: Angel Wilson

Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. She earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. She’s contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. She’s written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. She identifies as queer.


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About the author

Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. She earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. She's contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. She's written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. She identifies as queer.

Comments

  1. “what hurts me most is that he’s been going through it alone for several seasons.”

    YES. I am so very sad for Cas and the fact that he’s so alone, tortured, and isolated without his family (the Winchesters, not the angels) there to offer comfort, support, a guinea pig to pet. I sincerely hope that once the attack dog spell is over, he gets assimilated back into Team Free Will where he belongs. The three of them working together is when the show really sparkles for me.

    And yes, 1000 times yes, to what Sam said. I want them to help other people than themselves. The constant “sacrificing the world” to save their brother has gotten old, but I feel cautiously optimistic that that may change – and take the toxic codependency away for now.

    Yeah.. not sure how I feel about Amara yet, but only time will tell. At this point I’d just love it if they didn’t try to make her attracted to one of the guys, because.. come on, she’s a primordial, alien force of chaos and destruction. I want more than eyelash-batting.

  2. “Tonight on Supernatural Dean and Cas talked on the phone. Or at least that’s the only thing on my Tumblr dash, so clearly it was all that happened for the entire hour, right?”

    Guilty as charged. But in my defense, I’d been waiting all summer for those two to talk again after the fandom-wide-heart-attack-moment last spring, and as short as the phone conversation was, they still managed to pack a lot of feelings in there.

    I am beyond sick of Cas having to suffer alone so much. A lot of fans are starting to wonder if the writers have a torture-Cas-fetish or something. Although I understand that torture is part of the show, I second everything you said about can we PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let Cas have some quality aftercare with the Winchesters? And just LOTS AND LOTS of Team Free Will in general please? They are ALL much better when they are together.

    The Darkness/major plot arch – I think this either has the potential to be awesome or cringe worthy, depending on if and how well the writers deliver all of the potential they are setting up. I try to remain optimistic.

    I really wish I could get more excited about the new female characters, but I’m still hurting way too much over how they handled Charlie’s death to have any faith whatsoever in how the show will treat them. That, and why has every new major villain lately been a sexy femme fetale? (I think Dick Roman was the last major villain who wasn’t – people like the Steins don’t count because they were dispatched of quickly and easily. But then we got Abaddon, Rowena, and The Darkness…) I really did NOT need to see the Darkness in a low cut top all up in Dean’s face like she was going to kiss him. Shows usually don’t want the fans mad at them, right?

  3. “But I’m getting really tired of the type of pain Cas is being subjected to. He’s been battered quite a bit by the writers pretty much since he decided to rebel against heaven, but what hurts me most is that he’s been going through it alone for several seasons.”

    Totally agree with this one. It is the only thing that disappointed me most in this episode. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy seeing my favorite character in pain, but the pain has to be something new; instead of using the same thing repeatedly over and over again.

    I don’t really know how I feel about the sexually attractive woman, the darkness, yet (except she is beautiful and kinda has some kind of sexual tension with Dean the same way I always see between Cas and him and I kinda jealous Dean that the woman helped him) because it is just the first episode of the season; there is always more story to tell. I hope it will be something cool.

    I also enjoy seeing the darkness spread through people and turned them insane. I was a little bit upset and surprise why those people die so easy, too easy. Since it is the first episode of the new season, I really wish those people come back “inhuman” to make the show much cooler than the previous years.

    Have you noticed that since the darkness arrived, something has happened to Crowley’s power? Hint: Crowley in red-smoke-form possessed a woman. She tried to use magic by snapping her fingers, but nothing happen. “Old school it is” was what she said while picking up a metal tube that is used to fix a car (sorry, I don’t know English word for that thing). I think it will be very interesting to see how the darkness affects the power of demons and angels.

    Back to your article.

    “The episode planted seeds that I hope don’t get squandered throughout the course of the season. Sounds coming from the Cage? Mark of Cain on a baby? New badass lady sheriff? Can her and Jody meet, please? Can she head on over to our Wayward Daughters dream spin-off? Or wait, no, actually let’s keep her on this show and not kill her off. While I understand that ‘everyone dies’ and that this show’s protagonists are men, I would like to see one woman stick around, be badass, and survive. Let’s see how long this lasts?”

    I totally agree with you about the new sheriff and really they don’t kill her off the way they did with Charlie.

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