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