The boys are back together again! This episode had a great overall atmosphere, offering a dark, directional creepy – though not entirely hopeless – plot advancement in several aspects of a delightfully burgeoning and unified story.

We took a much deeper look at what Amara brings to the table and what lies down that twisting, dark rabbit hole. Plus, we had a few minor…not wins so much as one less major loss while travelling the winding road of eerie and unknown.

Mega, Mega, Mega Bad News

In controlled doses, I do enjoy the mother of the King of Hell. What is most enjoyable about her is that her weaknesses are readily apparent – and not just that she can be physically overcome; rather that it burns her so deeply to discover Crowley survived and her mission to overtake the Grand Coven in reputation as much as form and power. Rowena’s sharp tongue and manipulating mind hold great appeal too – no so unlike her son in many respects.

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Watching Rowena recruit two different parties from the Grand Coven was a treat. First, Regina never fails to amuse in one way or another: The Mega Coven? Really? It would be ridiculous and lame except for the entirely lackluster reception on each delivery. And of course, the staggering news of Crowley’s survival, well, that was quite the reaction (a person-to-dust spell would be useful against so many enemies!) of desperation and despair. My only wonder is what shattered her more: the news of his ongoing existence or the idea of his revenge campaign? I’m guessing it’s a tie at this point.

Regardless, Rowena proved a useful addition to the episode without being a time-suck. Only with the Rowena flare could she remove the Castiel/Attack-Dog spell, not without trying to stir drama between Sam and Dean first of course. Naturally, it’s too early to hold someone captive in the basement of the bunker, so goodbye red-headed witch for the time being, but I expect we’ll be seeing her shortly. After all, witches have tasty souls too, don’t they?

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So here is how it’s looking for Rowena going forward: her soul is on the serving platter with, well, every other being out there, she loves power and by all accounts, living and enjoys doing it in the world at large too much to stand by idly while Amara slurped her soul back along with the rest of the known universe. Plus, Rowena’s not so casual mention of reading about the Mark and its impact of removal in the Book suggests we’ll need her yet. Anyone else get that feeling of an odd team assembling?

Heaven, Hell and a Bartender

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Speaking of team-ups, let’s address our drinking buddies. How awesome was this scene? Just perfectly reinforcing the previously established notion of a corporate Heaven and Hell run by upper-management bosses completely disregarding of the “little guy.” Certainly we’ve heard this before – but nothing like watching a demon buy an angel a drink while comparing notes about the disasters of their respective organizations and the lack of action both have taken to address the looming threat. Particular highlights of the interaction? When they both acknowledge that their groups always “butt heads” but if this keeps up they’ll all be out of work; and of course mentioning the disregard for the little people – “well, not people.”

This scene was brief, but rich. The unusual meeting of minds isn’t restricted to the Winchester and friends gang these days. It’s happening across the layers of good and bad, and tells us one thing: Be Afraid.

School, Souls and Supper

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Kids are creepy enough. And then they start cannibalizing souls, in-taking the blackest of information from the most devastating, dark nooks of the history of the universe AND talking adult reflections in a fairy tale-esque manner (with less Disney and more Grimm); well lets just say the creepy scale blew past season three Lilith and her birthday cake fetish. Can we also acknowledge the effect of hair-bows on the eeriness factor? It helps.

Crowley had the opportunity to confirm something I wondered about after last week’s episode - any old soul will do; young Amara doesn't have a discerning palate. Demons, after all, are just souls that have been twisted. So then the question is how long will "Uncle Crowley" continue serving? Even our ever-cool King seemed particularly unsettled by his "poppet" as the episode wore on.

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Amara continues to be a mystery in the most wonderful way. I couldn't be more intrigued or disturbed by this character. Never mind the additional layer of creep glazed on when we're left with her icy gaze and hunger demands. If ever a villain had that insidious and psycho-disturbed genius feel (even so young) - it's Amara. She's the first to give that chill quite this way since young Lilith asked grandpa about talking to the neighbours. Speaking of Amara - what is the end game here? Will she only devour souls with such vigour until she's fully grown? So, if God screwed of the Grand Design and there is no use for this pesky good-evil thing, what is Amara's future looking like? It sounds a bit dim and empty and if she eats souls, well, without people and demons - those crops are a little slim come next harvest at the rate she goes. Especially if you plan to wipe out the world. Amara's conversation in the mirror was perhaps the most interesting thing in the episode. She isn't evil, as we know from her chat with Crowley - or not in the traditional sense. But certainly not good either. Rather, she predates all these concepts. What is she and where does she come from? Yup, my interest is peaked.

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Crowley has without a doubt bitten off more than he can chew by taking in Amara - no pun intended. We know from the demon/angel rendezvous that there is already discontent among the minions - and it won't be winning him anymore fans as he continues to serve people to this little glutton. Crowley was hoping for an ally in Amara, but it doesn't appear she concerns herself with such things. Crowley's reaction is interesting and indicative of just how powerful this girl is. I suspect it won't be long before he acknowledges her as a threat to him and his operations and turns back to the Winchesters for help in some capacity or another.

Deals and Secrets

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The darkness is looming, the Codex and the Book of the Damned are missing, Cas is under a seriously bad spell - yet somehow, the boys seemed better than they have in a long time. There are no impending discoveries to be made between them, no dark possessions, no illnesses. They are a unified front in a way we haven't seen in what seems like a long while - and it's refreshing to watch them work that way. 

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Even Rowena couldn't stir the pot the way she was hoping. Sure there was something, but it didn't exactly come to fruition. Maybe we'll see it down the line, but for now let's talk about how well we all worked in sync. This episode seemed to be more about getting the team back on track and in sync than anything else.

The brothers and Castiel together at the bunker with a goal moving forward, de-spelling Cas and taking away some of Rowena's power by reclaiming the Codex, and even acknowledgment and reparations to the relationship between Dean and Castiel since their last exchange in season ten - all reunification of the team and great to see after so long.

A few standout moments in the brothers plot:

Dean's...vision? Memory? of Amara is definitely something to be addressed in future days but nothing of real significance here. One thing I wonder - if he's in real trouble later down the line, because of their 'connection' - will she save him?

A funny moment: Castiel being hurt when Sam referred to his car as "crappy" and Dean assured him it was "eye of the beholder" - grant you it had no real bearing on the plot, but it was a good moment between them all - as was Dean backing away and Sam eyeing Cas warily at the mention of "the voices."

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Sam and Dean had two goals: finding Rowena to remove the spell from Castiel and tracking down Metatron to get his information on the Darkness. One of two was partly successful. One particularly great brother moment was Sam and Dean interrogating our witch to track Rowena. Though we've witnessed many interrogations throughout the years, this was unique in their straightforward approach. Especially when the witch insisted they couldn't keep her against her rights and Dean happily commented on his fake badge while tossing Sam her purse to search.

Final Thoughts


It was a good, efficient episode that communicated a lot of information - particularly about our new - well villain just seems inaccurate, but we'll go with that for now.

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The writing is clever and presents the unravelling mysteries in the way Supernatural is uniquely good with – while there is undoubtedly an edge in the atmosphere on whole, nothing has a forced air of tension about it. The cast doesn’t feel overpopulated with storylines, drama or villains and everything has a focus about it. The visuals are also something worth mentioning – from the sets themselves to the costuming. How much of a treat were the blonde Rowena and the Hawaiian-shirted Dean? And I’d be negligent not to mention Amara’s shadowy palace, the ideal headquarters for an up and coming evildoer but without a cartoonish quality it could have had in the wrong hands. Rather, it only served to enhance her unknown and ominous features.  

We gained insight into the growing tensions in both Heaven and Hell over the Darkness issue plus a much deeper look at just what kind of risk Amara brings to the table for everyone and how she presents it. It was refreshing to see Sam and Dean in unison and at full capacity again where neither is at risk - though those have been great opportunities for storytelling in the past - sometimes original Winchester is great too. The episode left me feeling disturbed and dark - but positive for Sam and Dean and their relationship -  just the right blend of flavours in my book. The season holds promise thus far, in particular Amara and the direction she seems to be taking our characters towards as a whole. New, interesting, refreshingly dark and deliciously disturbing.

Your thoughts?

Comments  

Mallena
# Mallena 2015-10-26 11:35
Thank you for your positive review! I enjoyed this episode and was puzzled when others didn't. It had brothers in synch, laughs, a stunt or two, and scenes in the bunker and the Impala. Love the height difference between Sam and Rowena. Does anyone else wish he would just sling her over his shoulder when she is being difficult??
novi
# novi 2015-10-26 11:52
Thank you Elle, for me too this episode was entertaining and fun to watch. Let's hope that Amara won't disappoint us. For now she's creepy like hell (and more). Can there be any connection between Darkness and the Empty, please?! By the way, that flashback where Dean is with Amara in the mist was repeated twice, and in ep3 I got more impressed, like it looked a bit different, scarier. I'd like to know if the scene was filmed by director Ackles or Robert Singer who directed the premiere? It's a pity that nobody asked this question on Chicon.
LEAH
# LEAH 2015-10-26 13:50
Thanks Elle. I didn't enjoy the episode as much as you did but I always enjoy reading your reviews. It may be that Rowena is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. Maybe because IMO it paled in comparison to the first two. I just found myself losing interest early on.
disgruntled viewer
# disgruntled viewer 2015-10-27 12:06
Thanks Elle, I really share your impressions on all the plotlines of the episode except the brothers' storyline. It was the only scenes I disliked because we were shown again a self-righteous Dean which made him very unsympathetic. That was what spoilt the impression from the episode to me, though I really liked the rest.
nightsky
# nightsky 2015-10-27 13:05
Just to chime in...I also really liked this ep! I know I didn't do a review, but count me among the happy!
sugarhi15
# sugarhi15 2015-10-27 14:08
I enjoyed this eppy too. I think Crowley is once again as misguided as he was with demondean. He is in way over his head and it wouldnt surprise me at all to see him once again ally with the boys.

I think rowena is a blast and i enjoy when shes on. I love her antagonistic relationship with the boys...and yet much like her son, i get the feeling she enjoys rather than dislikes her encounters with the winchesters..i love the wa she interacts with sam especially. I think rowena is going to be part of the anti amara team...so oddly enough she will not only likely help the boys...but might work alongside Crowley as well.

I loved the boys in this ep. Contrary to a dark storyline, the winchesters this season are a lot lighter:D....pu n intended. There are more smiles, they are on the same page, they share the same burden without playing blame game...and regardless of deans hypocritical remark...i feel like the boys are finally on the road to change. I admit to being annoyed at deans comment to sam regarding secrets and i kind of felt like dean earned at least one of those punches from cas because of his hypocrisy.....b ut after rewatching it again and hearing what rowena said, im as certain as i was when it ended that rowena spilling the beans and igniting that little flame was in fact what those boys needed. She even said that she was good at family relationships.. ..and in this case she is...even though her goal was to cause trouble, she did the opposite. Sam said they needed to change or else they would keep repeating their mistakes...part of that change is keeping things from each other, even if its something they didnt think made a difference anymore. Dean brought up secrets yes, but hes kind of keeping one too. Regardless of him not being sure what it means, what the darkness told dean is something sam should know. Dean knows hes keeping a secret...i think rowena's reveal of sams deal to kill crowley will actually have the boys start to come clean....that change doesnt only entail saving everyone..but that they also have to change themselves and their bad habits...

Thanks rowena for i believe she actually helped getting the boys to take that step....which i believe we will be seeing sooner than later.

Wasnt one of the three witches rowena killed the same lady from crossroad blues....the dr. Who got ripped apart by the hellhound?

As for amara...i dont see her as any less meglomaniacal as metatron...her goal seems to be that she wants to make the world how she believes it should be. She appears to me to be what god is....so how many will she destroy to get what she wants. Whos to say her world would be better ...in the world of spn..the natural order may seem like it sucks...but we know on supernatural theres a heaven...and weve seen glimpses of heaven being a haapy and peaceful place...good humans are ultimately in a better place...so perhaps the natural order isnt as awful as it may sometimes seem....amara messing with that could ultimately cause nothing but emptinees for all...she doesnt seem to have any regard for human life...or their soul...she sucks the part of humans that ultimately go to heaven away...she may not believe herself evil....she may deem herself better than God...in the end shes worse.....with God, most souls were saved..some go to hell...but at least in both cases they exist...seems with amara..souls are nothing but food...and if she takes power than theres nothing left.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2015-10-28 19:04
Thanks for your review. I liked the episode better on 2nd watch however it still had some inconsistencies that were hard to ignore. There was one moment with Sam that I wish had been acknowledged by Dean or Cas. His comment that he thought that God was maybe around didn't register at all. I know we know more than Dean and Cas do but that was something that should have at least gotten a look from one of them. I did like the humor in this episode.
I am relieved that Cas is back to himself finally. I hope it stays that way.
I did like the exposition of Amara in her conversation with Crowley. I seemed to set up (maybe) Amara's path this season. I kind of saw it as Amara wanting to create a better world.
Crowley continuously biting off more than he can chew was also fun if not surprising.
I'm not sure what Rowena's part is going to be this season other than she has a book that can help put the Darkness away. I'm sure at a terrible cost.
Now we just have to find Metatron and discover whatever he is up to. But not until we get to explore the Awesomeness that is Baby.
It was a serviceable episode that seemingly put some of our hero's and villians on their path.