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.

No Stopping Her Now


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.

Blood, Sweat and Tears


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.

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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.

Boys and Their Missions


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…..

Final Thoughts



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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.

Share your thoughts below!

Comments  

cheryl42
# cheryl42 2015-03-29 13:02
I think this episode epitomizes my issues with this season. The focus is now pretty much centered on a character we just met (Rowena) and not on the advertised Demon Dean, Sam's dark road, Castiel ?, Crowley? basically none of the characters that we have invested years into. While Rowena might have been a compelling character if we had seen her (or even knew she existed) over the seasons and felt that she could potentially become a threat maybe, but we just met her. To introduce her in a season when Dean is supposed to be struggling with the Mark and Sam is supposed to be desperate to save him seems like an odd decision. No offense to Ruth Connel but anyone would have found it difficult to come into a show 10 years in and be expected to carry the season. I am struggling with where this is all going because to me it looks like it is going to be the Rowena show from here on out. I am not invested enough (nor is Ruth a powerful enough actress) for me to care about SPN with Rowena as the central character. As far as this episode goes nothing was revealed by any of our main characters to further the story for any of them. Dean is afraid to die, we've heard that before. Sam won't stop trying to find a way out, we've heard that before too. Crowley isn't going to kill the Winchesters, if he was going to he would have already. Other than that we know there are other MOL bunkers and Olivette is now a hamster.
AlyCat22
# AlyCat22 2015-03-29 16:55
Olivette on the hamster wheel is the metaphor for the show so far this season when it comes to (insert your own here) DemonDean! I knew she was a parallel for something!!! ;)
E
# E 2015-03-29 19:51
Agreed Cheryl… agreed. The main plot seems to basically be spinning it's wheels going nowhere fast. So far this season in the 17 episodes that have been completed the first three were Demon Dean and only three others have shown any direct movement on the MoC; The Things We Left Behind, The Hunter Games, And Executioners Song. Of those three episodes only Executioners Song was a good, taught episode. The Hunter Games was fair and The Things We Left Behind was pretty bad basically shoehorning some MoC stuff into the very end of the episode. So, that's 11 episodes that have been "stand alone's" and most seem to be attempting to tell the MoC story metaphorically through guest characters in some way. 11! That's a lot. So in this episode I didn't need to see Dean's story told AGAIN through secondary and guest characters; we've seen that already, multiple times. I really didn't need to see Dean's story transformed into a terrible telanovela with the unsubtle overtones of a Harlequin Romance either. It was embarrassing.
AlyCat22
# AlyCat22 2015-03-29 23:26
The wheels fell off the bus when they interrupted the logic of DemonDeans/MOC storyline for the 200th episode. They shoehorned it in and disrupted the flow. Fan Fiction would have been fine in place of a filler episode later. Why they insisted on doing it the way they did is beyond me.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2015-03-29 23:47
Well they really had to have the 200th episode when the 200th episode was going to air. It happened to be Fan Fiction which turned out to be one of the most popular episodes in the series. So it's hard to criticize their decision. However if the intention is to turn Dean into something even worse I wish that could have happened sooner or at least the symptoms should have shown up sooner. And hopefully he won't just be a sleazy barfly this time.
novi
# novi 2015-03-29 13:17
Thank you Elle. I fully agree with you, to me this ep was probably worse than the previous, but better than for example Paper Moon, so all in all, I'd give it B. I'm worrying where things are going, mostly because of Crowley. The things look like he's doomed, and the first part of Cain's prophecy will turn out to be true. Worse of all, most fans seem to agree with this. Don't they feel sorry for Mark?;)
I don't think that Rowena is manipulative, maybe, she tries to be, but Crowley is no fool. Rowena with all her curtseys and Majesties is just being sarcastic which entertains ever-bored king, he admires her cruel sense of hu or, her powervul magic' and after all, she is his mother and his only family. She's all he deserves, and he's lonely. So if Dean has to kill Rowena in order to protect Bunker, Crowley will fell it his duty to revenge, and this will be the end of a very good and charismatic character.
E
# E 2015-03-29 20:35
Hi Elle, I agree with you about Rowena. She hasn't earned her stripes on this show enough to be driving so much of the action or dominating so much of the short 42 minutes of story time. She had more screen time and dialog than even Dean did this past episode, and that's saying something. (She also had more than Sam, but that's happened so much this season, that I am sure that hardly anyone even notices any more). And to me the actress isn't good enough, the character not interesting enough to carry so much screen time. Rowena isn't a character so much as a caricature with her overblown Scottish accent and ridiculous eye makeup.. she could easily have stepped out of Disney's Hocus Pocus. This show has had a bad track record with witches and with Rowena that record has continued in spades and even reached a new low IMO.

For me, the thing that made this episode a firm D- was the tone. The nuns were beyond unrealistic, most nuns do not wear habits like that any more, they don't wear make up, and they aren't all Zen masters and mystically connected to the otherworldly or go around dispensing life advice in that pompous "I've got it all figured out" kind of way. These were insulting levels of cliché IMO. The Renaissance nun story was idiotic and looked more like an episode of Reign than an episode of Supernatural. The actress who played Sr. Mathias was awful; her ponderous and lengthy line readings had me dozing off during her VERY long diatribes. There was a terrible inconsistency in this episode as well. Why did the ghost nun kill the priest? That was never part of her modus operandi until 5 minutes before the end of the episode and it kind of came out of the blue. It was an unnecessary move IMO. And didn't the official synopsis say "prolonged disembowelment from the inside?" How was what happened to the victims prolonged, from the inside or disembowelment? Do the writers even know what disembowelment means? Given what I saw on screen, I'm guessing no. And the set up given to us by the network was so far from what we actually got. They made it sound like the manner of death was unusual and new. It wasn't. And the nature of the victim's deaths was so largely unexplored that I had a hard time sympathizing or even understanding why the ghost was so unhappy. I get that she was basically crazy, but I didn't really care… and there was far too much of her, her lover and the two nuns going on and on and on together… all at the expense of doing something directly with the MoC using the two people who are at the heart of that plot line… Sam and Dean.
Brandy Moonwillow
# Brandy Moonwillow 2015-03-30 03:01
I liked Dean's confessional scene. I think this episode may be laying the ground work for Sam and Dean to improve their relationship. They hide things for each other a lot and at the end when Sam said if Dean needed anyone to talk to he was his brother and he was there for him, Deans expression in response looked to me like Dean doesn't feel comfortable divulging his private thoughts with Sam. Also it looks as though Rowena may be planning on pushing Crowley into a confrontation with the Winchesters and the question there is if she did would he support his cruel and mean spirited mother or would he double cross her and chose the Winchesters over her. I also wonder how much human emotion might be left inside of Crowley and how dedicated he is to his position as the king of hell.
E
# E 2015-03-30 07:33
Quote:
They hide things for each other a lot and at the end when Sam said if Dean needed anyone to talk to he was his brother and he was there for him, Deans expression in response looked to me like Dean doesn't feel comfortable divulging his private thoughts with Sam.
My problem with this is that the thing that Dean's hiding is the thing that is going to get Sam killed. Dean has been told that because of the Mark he will kill Sam. That hardly seems like something Dean should be keeping to himself. Dean kept information about Sam/Gadreel from Kevin and look how that turned out. Feeling comfortable discussing this with Sam or not, IMO Dean is obligated to fess up, and it's the worst kind of contrived plotting that he doesn't.