Alright, let’s talk about 10.16, “Paint it Black”.
(This week screencaps were hard to come by, so apologies for the lack of visual aids….)
The episode is difficult to discuss in a review sense because as a whole package it actually felt very disjointed and roughly connected. More often than not, there were simply individual little plot lines running parallel and I was left waiting for interweaving to happen or something to enmesh the three separate tales more fully together under an umbrella theme. Overall, it wasn’t a bad episode but it wasn’t my favourite either. It had some okay moments but there was a lot that missed the mark on emotion and connectivity as far as plot went, even just on a MoTW level. As a whole, the episode was stop-and-start at times and lacked a connective tissue and (setting aside the end moment between the brothers which had some value) another, much deeper, level of dramatic investment for this viewer’s taste preference.
So, let’s address these piece by piece, starting with Rowena and the Grand Coven. Rowena has been a character with a variety of possibilities open until this point. Certainly, there was a distasteful note left between she and Crowley after their last encounter but never the less one can’t help looking for Rowena to be given something meaty to dive into.
Crowley decides his mother is right, to a point, and to bring the Grand Coven to her – in a manner of speaking: Olivette, head witch. Actually it was great to finally get a face to this Coven. Olivette was played very well and snarky by Teryl Rothery, an Olivette who was unaware that Rowena’s “spawn” had made his way to the throne in Hell.
The exchange between Olivette and Rowena netted some key information about the Grand Coven and it’s destruction at the hands of the Men of Letters – with the remaining spells and like locked in bunkers which only those pesky Winchesters have access to these days. It’s funny how these things turn out, isn’t it Rowena? The final result is that Olivette is a hamster for Rowena’s amusement and Crowley will still see the Winchesters if he wants to whether his mother likes that or not – which she is much more open to now, little does he know.
Bottom line: Rowena is still as manipulative as ever and in just the same position to manipulate Crowley – she just has more information, can appreciate Crowley’s connections more fully and has less to fear from the Grand Coven now. Overall, Rowena’s position on the game board hasn’t changed; her focus has just been redirected to the Winchesters. She is still underutilized, if amusing, as far as characters go.
This week was an interesting villainess – for a while it wasn’t clear who was the ghost, if there was a ghost, if it was a demon and then finally how her story connected and tied into the killings. The supernatural being of the week was a new twist on an old favourite and offered a fresh way to allow her “remains” to be part of both tethering her to the church but also part of such a powerful, passionate story in life to create a strong equally motivated spirit.
Equally enjoyable was Sister Mathias, not so novice when it came to restless or lost spirits but a bit out of her element with killer spirits like Sister Isabelle. Sister Mathias was quick and informative when she realized what was happening and got Sam and Dean to help as soon as she knew she needed to. As MoTW go, this was pretty good for twists on classics.
There was a lot revealed this week about where Sam and Dean are at mentally. For Dean, in his confessional he showed he’s feeling a bit abandon – he said he believes there is a God but that God doesn’t believe in him anymore. Too much all consuming darkness (just at the cusp waiting to take him) for it to be possible? Or that he’s done/fated to do too much bad that a being like God wouldn’t want to believe in him anymore?
Later, he and Sister Mathias discussed having a mission to focus on and at the end Sam stated he understood that Dean empathized with Mathias’ holy mission in joining the convent and her intent/focus to hide her pain in doing so. Sam, however is convinced they’ll be able to cure the Mark of Cain somehow. Dean’s agreement was lackluster at best and we know he’s only agreeing for Sam’s sake.
So the question is: how long until Rowena offers to trade her knowledge of MoC for Men of Letters Coven juice? And how bad off will things get before somebody considers her offer? Because that’s where I sense things are heading, despite hoping against hope it’s really, really not…..
This is a very short look at the episode this week – because in all honesty, there wasn’t much to look at. It felt choppy and unconnected at times and took a bit to get going – honestly, it was a while before I knew which nun was a ghost – after I figured that it was a ghost not a demon. The Italian flashbacks were an interesting addition we haven’t been privy to before, and bringing in a religious figure that’s familiar with and comfortable with the supernatural world is always a welcome twist as it makes sense to happen in those circles.
Although some big plot movements need to happen somewhere soon- it’s good to see the boys going along, on the road, doing what they do too. Sometimes in reaction to dramatic events we spend too much time in the bunker and neglect the day to day life of the Winchesters, so it’s nice to get back to the classic trips as well and see them undercover working through cases piece by piece.
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