Wait… Did they just mention ‘The Cage?’ Whoa. It’s starting to feel like maybe SUPERNATURAL is back… and I’m not just talking about the season premiere.
In my season 10 review of SUPERNATURAL (Check it out here!), I go over some of the problems that the show has been jello-wrestling since it’s 5th season. A lot of the situations that the Winchesters were coming across started to feel a little repetitive. ‘Something bad would happen, one of the brothers would keep a big secret from the other, it would all blow up in their faces, they would have an opportunity to fix everything and they wouldn’t do it because it would mean sacrificing one of the brothers and then as soon as the problem was resolved they would move on like it never happened.’ This. Over and over. I stuck with the show because the writers still knew how to handle Sam and Dean and each week was consistently enjoyable enough. (That and it’s freaking Sam and Dean Winchester!) As fine as each season was though, it was starting to feel like the glory of the first few seasons was nothing more than a long forgotten acid trip. Then, the season 11 premiere aired and suddenly there was hope.
As you know… The road so far was pretty much the Winchesters trying to get the Mark of Cain removed from Dean’s arm. There was Crowley and his mega witch of a mother Rowena. Castiel was still up to his ‘broken wings’ with heaven problems. THEY KILLED OFF CHARLIE. I’m still grumpy about that one. That’s pretty much it. The season 10 finale saw the boys finally removing the Mark from Dean, which ended up being a lock and key that contained the original ‘Darkness’ that existed before God washed it away. Oh, and then Dean killed Death. The season ended with a tidal wave of Darkness erupting from the ground and swiftly approaching the Impala. Season 11 picks up right after that moment. The Darkness is free and running full frontal on Earth. Dean is keeping a pretty big secret from Sam. Pretty standard stuff, right? Potentially not.
As the episode crept along, something began to rumble within me. I was actually scared. This was one of the first episodes in a long while that felt like a horror movie. (Family Remains, Season 4 episode 11 may be one of the more scarier episodes of SUPERNATURAL) We had some old school SUPERNATURAL up in the apartment. Here’s the skinny: The Darkness was somehow infecting people and turning them into psychopathic and calculating zombies (Wait, was it the Darkness turning these people or is this result of Death being killed?). This premise isn’t inherently scary, what sold it for me was that you could really see how outmatched the Winchesters felt. These creatures were the result of (potentially) an omnipetent being that existed before anything existed. God level stuff. Another thing about this episode, that really solidified that this may be not the same ‘family business’ as usual, was Sam’s extremely meta rant at Dean amongst all the chaos. Sam straight out said that if ‘they are going to survive (the show) they need to start doing things differently (the writing) and can’t keep making the same mistakes (repetitive plot lines) over and over. ‘ Yes, please! It’s like that rant was more for the viewers and less for each other. I picked up what they were putting down and I believed it. I sopped it up with a biscuit. I’ve always trusted that the SUPERNATURAL gang knew what they were doing and understood what they were doing wrong. Sam felt more like the original Sam. The Sam that thinks things through and exist in parallel to the Dean that would rather shoot through the problem. Crowley, while on the run from a brainwashed Castiel, still stopped to enjoy a suburban orgy. Castiel still seems to be banished to a purgatory of continually falling ass backwards into angel shenanigans. I know these aren’t big things, but, they feel big. So big. More importantly, they feel different.
So, what did I think of this episode? I really liked it. It felt fresh and confident. I like that Crowley’s demons mentioned ‘The Cage.’ Finally a throwback from a much earlier season. I love that the Darkness was a thing that even Crowley had trouble believing existed. Also, the Darkness has never heard of the concept of ‘Death.’ Of course it hasn’t. I’m sort of bummed that there’s the potential of Dean being ‘bonded’ with the Darkness and him keeping that a secret from Sam. NOT AGAIN. I have faith, though. I’m excited to see what a world without Death is like. Will the Darkness drastically alter the landscape? Will there be a war? Is the Darkness even bad? Will God finally make an appearance? Will Adam finally break out of the cage? I haven’t been this pumped about a season of SUPERNATURAL in a very long time! Balls!
PS: I’m such a friggin nerd that I Google mapped out where the Darkness erupted in proximity to where the Men Of Letters Bunker is located… They’re about 37 minutes away from each other. So… yeah.
Final Score: 9 out of 10