After a blissful weekend spent at the Salute to Supernatural convention in Pasadena, California (why yes, I did meet Jeffrey Dean Morgan, thank you very much) I am back with a two-fer recap. Let’s not waste any time and get right into it, shall we? First up? “Our Little World.”
1. Teenaged Wasteland
The newly teenaged Amara’s rebellion is at hand, and she doesn’t need to express it via a nose ring or a tentative smoking habit. Crowley wants to ground her. Sure. That’s going to go well. Crowley thinks he has all the power but he doesn’t. He first dismisses Amara’s disinterest in him as mere teen snark, but she makes it clear all too soon: she has less of an interest in cat memes and more of an interest in ruling the world.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a masterwork because of its clear parallels between real life teen angst situations and the horrors of all things occulty. Supernatural has the same finesse, here, by having Crowley behave as the weary parent to an unruly daughter. Much of the banter between Crowley and Amara could have been lifted from this show and stuck right into a script of Parenthood and it would have fit just fine. (Recapper’s note: watch Parenthood. It’s amazing.) Crowley tells Amara she may not need his tutelage but he could offer her his protection if she’ll just be patient. She agrees, but we see it in her eyes. She’s just biding her time. She’s got the upper hand and she knows it.
2. Hunters and Collectors
Crowley sends a demon to kill one of Amara’s latest “candy wrappers,” the soulless body of attempted-murdering teen Goldie, but our boys get to him first. Dean’s still on a “slash first, ask questions later” kick, but Sam wants to exorcise him and save the meatsuit. In this case it doesn’t apply, because this meatsuit has been shot through the heart, but we’re left wondering why it’s so important to Sam to save everyone and why it’s so not important to his brother any more.
Sam and Dean trail Crowley to an abandoned asylum where he is stashing Amara (where else would he, really?) Dean thinks he’s ready to kill her. Sam knows they likely aren’t. It’s interesting to see the dynamic between the boys when their minds aren’t in sync but their instincts are. They unify to head to the asylum, exploit Dean’s past “summer of love” with Crowley to get the jump on the demons, and battle their way to Amara. Sam, true to his life saving commitment, manages to defy the odds and kill only one of the four demons he nabs. Not a bad day’s work.
Dean, it turns out, doesn’t want to kill anyone either. He and Amara interact in a way that is borderline creepy in its tension (credit to actress Samantha Isler for holding her own, chemistry-wise, with Jensen Ackles) before Crowley comes to “help her to realize her fullest potential.” Crowley’s finally over their bromance—he’s going to kill Dean. Unfortunately for him, Amara’s bond with Dean won’t allow that. And Dean? He can’t kill her either. She knows it. She says it.
“Tell me, what is happening here? Between us? You save me, I save you. Why? You were the first thing I saw when I was freed and it had been so long. Maybe that’s it. My first experience of His creation. You can’t help but represent that for me. The sweet triumph and the even sweeter folly of what he’s wrought. There’s no fighting it. I’m fascinated.” A girl. Fascinated by Dean Winchester? So not a first.
3. Angel, in the (Out) Field
Cas’ TV binge continues, delightfully, with Jenny Jones (when was the last time you thought about her, huh?) because he cannot live on the caviar of The Wire and Game of Thrones alone. Dean tries to rationalize Cas away from the “siren song from the idiot box” but Cas’ flashbacks to the violence he has committed send him right back to the screen. Seeing Metatron? As a reality program videographer, staging shoots and raking in cash? That gets him off the couch.
Metatron’s pathetic new life as a paparazzo and a pickpocket keeps him in rent money, but humanity has not done him any favors. Cas saves one of Metatron’s crime scene victims/stars, knocking his camera away (and leaving it to be found?) The two of them run away when the cops arrive, destined to have a knock down drag out, arguing about Metatron’s life on the lam. I’ve made no secret of how much I love Curtis Armstrong, but his delivery of his monologues here stokes the fire of that love even more. As miserable as his life may be, I’m glad Metatron survived this episode. I’m not ready to let him go yet.
4. Sister Christian
Amara is WHO?!?!? After the very humorous reveal that Metatron stashed the demon tablet under his mattress (ha!) and the admission that he, in fact, does know what the Darkness is but he will not tell, it finally comes to down to those heavenly blows. Metatron starts off proud of his new life, defensive and challenging even, but after a beating from his former partner in crime that is more savage than Cas cares to acknowledge, Metatron tells the truth: humanity sucks, and being beaten to death would be something of a favor. Cas manages to pull back, and Metatron tells him the “truth that would make the Bible thumpers heads explode.”
God’s creation took work— sacrifice. In order to create the world God had to give up the only thing he’d ever known and sacrifice and betray his only kin. The Darkness, also known as “God’s friggin’ sister.” Soon? Amara will be strong enough to settle the oldest score, and clearly Dean isn’t going to stop her. As she happily strolls the streets to the perfect song (and a former Top Ten caption) “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon,” we see Crowley morose, Dean introspective, and Sam? Well, Sam’s feeling something else.
5. What’s in the Box?!?!?!
A reminder, as Crowley lectures Amara: he helped put Lucifer back in the cage, and he is still the King of Hell. Is that a hint as to the nature of Sam’s visions? Back at the Bunker, Sam goes to look into the lore around the big reveal and his face is paralyzed with fear as he recalls it. The box. The cage. Floating in darkness, locked in a storm. Something—someone—reaching fingers out between its grates. Sam is remembering his time in hell, and methinks we should ask, as Ruby once did so long ago, “Guess who’s coming to dinner?”
And now, let’s dish “Plush.”
1. The Rabbit Died
So okay, the premise of the episode was a very straight forward Monster of the Week. Vengeful spirit comes back to kill the dudes who wrongly accused him of child sexual abuse and then accidentally killed him when they dangled him over a creek to threaten him. But the execution (pardon the pun) was creepalicious. The ghost used cursed objects in the form of sports mascots, clown suits (more on that later) and animal costumes to gain access to his victims, the most unsettling of which was a giant, paper-mache bunny head on the head of an unfortunately doomed teenaged boy. Gah! And if I may also say, eurgh! I love it when Supernatural exploits our truest fears. Who’s not afraid of a the silent, slow approach of a masked psychopath? And when it’s dressed as a BUNNY? May I repeat? GAH!!!!
(Side note number one? As a huge Def Leppard fan I loved the monikers Agents Elliott and Savage. Side note number two? I loved the expositional way they taught Donna about ghost lore. Exposition can often feel clunky but this was smooth and organic, like really good peanut butter. And now? I want a sandwich.)
2. Prima Donna
Let’s face it—we all wanted to see the return of Sheriff Donna Hanscum, as played by the utterly delightful and charming Briana Buckmaster. Hearing her compare her job to “tater tots and lemon drops” in that irresistable twang, watching her hug the boys with gleeful abandon, seeing her serious side as she does her job well (her strength part determination, part cross-fit) reminded us all of the woman she is, and that is a woman who, despite her Ned Flanders like demeanor, is not to be easily dismissed.
When we met Donna in “The Purge” she seemed fairly one-dimensional. When we saw her again in “Hibbing 911” she showed her stripes as a brave and determined officer of the law. Here? She proved she’s an empowered female that’s true hunter material. I love that Donna is such a multi-faceted woman. She can chop off the head of a vampire with conviction and still mourn the death of a kid who had the misfortune to buy the wrong costume at a thrift shop. I sincerely hope they bring Donna back again and again. Or, as I’ve said before, how about pairing her up with Jody Mills for that spin-off, eh? I’d watch the CRAP out of that.
3. I Dig Doug
One of the things I loved about Buckmaster’s panel at the convention was the way that she talked of Donna’s complexity. She spoke of how Donna is so much more than her love life—she is her work and her courage, her positivity and her insecurities. That said, it was super adorable watching her fight off, and perhaps ultimately succumb to, a workplace romance with Doug, Part Two, the Sequel. Donna’s priority is public service—there’s little time to be “once bitten, twice Doug-ed” but I, for one, would like to see her abandon her reticence over Doug the Dick and give Doug the Decent a real chance. But not enough of one that she’s willing to call him Lonnie in the throes of passion (let the fanfic begin!)
4. “This isn’t about your clown thing, is it?”
Sam Winchester’s worst nightmare: trapped in an elevator with a killer clown. You know I love a throwback to episodes past, so this, which alludes to Sam’s coulrophobia as seen first in Season Two’s “Everybody Loves a Clown” and built upon in Season Seven’s “Plucky Pennywhistle’s Magical Menagerie”, was a real delight. For me. Not for Sam.
Jared Padalecki always plays Sam’s fear so well, making it abundantly clear but still holding back enough to let us know he’ll be able to get the job done. Knowing that there are some things that even scare Winchesters, other than the loss of each other of course, is somehow comforting. And if it’s any consolation, Sam? Most people I know have a deep seated fear of those irritating circus performers. Thanks a lot, Stephen King! (Side note number three: I’m calling it—Sam Winchester has the strongest larynx on planet earth. Week after week he is choked, and somehow he survives. If he could just get his head to be that sturdy maybe he wouldn’t get knocked out and tied to a chair so often.)
5. “Don’t count on God, count on us.”
The episode opens with Sam deep in prayer, still believing, somehow, in a God that appears to have foresaken them. Dean calls him on it, ever doubting, not truly understanding how deeply Sam needs to believe. As they leave Donna and her now solved case behind (promising to come back for Cheese Curd Fest) Sam finally makes a confession to Dean: he has been praying to God because he just doesn’t understand what God is trying to to say when He shows him the cage. Lucifer’s cage. The cage Sam willingly dove into to save the world. Sam is worried that his visions mean he has to go back. That that’s the key to stopping the Darkness.
Dean, of course, won’t let him. Not ever. At the convention, Jensen Ackles says that Dean knows the boys can’t have any sort of domestic life, and he hopes they will always find home in each other. If home is the place you make your stand and the place that you’d die to defend, Sam certainly is that for Dean. Dean promises him that another cage match is not going to happen. That he won’t let it. And while Sam agrees with his words we can see: there is painful doubt in his eyes.
Whew! We’re all caught up. We have next week off for Thanksgiving Eve and then we’re back for “Just My Imagination” in which we get to meet Sam’s imaginary friend! As long as he doesn’t have a bunny head? Any friend of Sam’s is a friend of mine. See you then! Happy Thanksgiving!