I feel vaguely ashamed to be slinking back to this blog after a six-month absence. Admittedly I told myself I’d detox from SPN this summer, but then I saw the new promo and got all excited again. So, hello, y’all. I’m back.
This is going to be a pretty positive post, because I liked season eleven; however, if I think a thing sucks, I’m going to say it sucked. And since I’m not tacking ‘in my opinion’ on to everything, I’ll go ahead and assume that you’re all rational, level-headed beings who are fully aware that this post isn’t me trying to lay down the law. Feel free to argue, but let’s keep it civil, okay? I’m not expecting you to agree with me on everything. I don’t even want you to agree with me on everything.
Out Of The Darkness, Into The Fire
That title is clunky as hell, but it’s a great solid episode. It’s interesting, how the brothers get separated this season; they wake up apart, the midseason finale ends with them apart, and the whole season closes on a separation too. But coming back to this episode, there’s a sense of mystery to it. The wildflowers, the post-apocalyptic desertion of the town, the shadows. The mention of the Cage is chilling.
Form And Void
I love this episode. It’s definitely making my top five of the season, assuming I ever write the thing (Bella, if you’re reading this, I’m so sorry). This and 11×01 make an awesome two-parter. I love the atmosphere here; the black-vein nastiness, the opener with the guy’s dirty socks and Sam’s hands in the hardware store, the music cues, Night of the Hunter, the creepy-ass ‘feed me’ scene.
The Bad Seed
Not so keen on this one. Some great funny moments- that shirt of Dean’s!- but there’s something about it that I don’t like. There’s a weird sort of coy cutesiness there.
I reckon there’s four perfect episodes in the show. This is one of them. Also, if someone asked me to pick the best episode of any season- not necessarily my favourite, but the one I regard the most highly- I’d go for Baby. It’s funny and comforting and gritty and all that, sure- but there’s something haunting about it that’s much harder to pin down; something that I don’t think I’ve seen anywhere else.
Nancy Won’s debut episode and a further sign that SPN is going back to its horror roots. Some lovely scary camera-work. Brothers being silly. Quirky side characters. A soulless dude called Len. A fun MoTW, basically.
Our Little World
Another one I love a whole load. This episode is gorgeous. Actually, some of the shots are positively luscious, in all seriousness. I read a bunch of reviews for this one and every single one of them consisted of the reviewers trying desperately to tell themselves that the scene with Dean and fifteen-year-old Amara staring into each other’s eyes was not supposed to be a love scene. Are you kidding me? Of course it was a love scene. An incredibly messed-up love scene. I think Sam’s Hell trauma stuff is dealt with really well in the first half of the season, too- we see just enough.
Donna. Crazy rabbit man. Sam’s rather endearing ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’ impression (I love how long it takes for him to work himself up to fighting the clown. Another nice return to the horror genre.
Just My Imagination
This has got to be the cutest episode of the entire show, and this time I mean ‘cute’ in a good way. What a funny lovely sweet episode. The scene with Sam staggering blindly around the kitchen cracks me up every time. And Dean’s ‘I’m gonna get my gun.’ Also his reactions in the dead mermaid scene.
O Brother Where Art Thou
Harrowing. I think I said in my review that there was something operatic about it. It’s also pretty rapey with regards to the Sam/Lucifer stuff. That’s something I respect SPN for, in a way- it doesn’t flinch from unpleasant subject matter- which doesn’t make the experience of watching it any less uncomfortable. Running alongside the Dean/Amara plotline the unease is doubled. I like Emily Swallow- I think she’s got a lot of charisma- but it was the Cage plotline that really got me here. It’s so well-done. I think that last moment is etched into my eyeballs. There’s a real grandeur to the whole thing, despite some awkward plot maneuvering. I love Singer’s direction here.
The Devil In The Details
For some reason I really appreciate how inappropriately silly the first scene is. It just tickles me. It’s so Supernatural. Like, we’ve got a protagonist and Satan locked in a box together? Obviously it’s time to open an episode with Mark Sheppard wearing a onesie and being slaughtered with a candy cane. Anyway, I find this episode pretty touching. It manages to walk the line between nefarious humour and violent nastiness in a way that We Happy Few… didn’t.
Into The Mystic
More loveliness. Eileen and Mildred! This is one of those episodes that manages to be a cool MoTW and an introspective look at the boys. I’m going to miss Robbie.
Don’t You Forget About Me
Absolutely glorious. The dinner scene might be the funniest thing all season. Also- no expert on this- but I thought the fight scenes here were particularly well-done.
A weird dark little episode, I thought. Love the conversation at the end. These boys have come a long way. The Dean/Amara connection is so interesting at this point.
Really admired the submarine set, the special effects, the direction here. John Badham is awesome at putting the Bunker’s long empty corridors to use. I’m not too keen on the Casifer (Lustiel?) arc this season, I’ll admit- I thought Misha did a great job at imitating Pellegrino, but he just doesn’t have the same menace- but I liked it here.
Beyond The Mat
Really enoyed the Winchester side of this. Dean cavorting in the empty ring! Like- can you see season two or three Dean doing that? Season eight Dean? Season ten Dean? And Sam blushing.
On the other hand, I found the Crowley-Lucifer narrative almost unwatchable in places. Comparing Sam’s Hell flashbacks in Form and Void to what Lucifer does to Crowley- it’s bizarre. The brutality of the flashbacks, and their almost subliminal quickness- there’s a suggestion of huge depth to how little you see- whereas this was drawn-out and trivial and there’s that coyness again. I get that they were aiming for it to look like some sort of sick joke- but I don’t know; it just didn’t work for me. Which sounds like I disliked the episode on the whole; I didn’t. But there was practically an abyss of dissonance between the two narratives. One with so much history and character behind it; the other was just weird.
Do I even need to say that I love this? I’ve been wanting to see Rufus again since I watched Death’s Door for the first time. To have he and Bobby back- not to mention that lovely callback to one of my other faves, Time After Time- was almost too much for me. Combined with a wonderful creepy haunted house case? This episode.
Oh, my God, if it weren’t for Baby this would easily make my #1 of the season. Look at how dark it is- and how raw and bloody and desperate- and how mythic. It’s even got Romeo and Juliet parallels. Beautiful.
Meh. The Zorro mask line was funny. I’m so done with angels- though it was almost worth it to see Casifer getting all up in their space, sitting on their laps, etc. Wondering if perhaps the intention was to acknowledge how boring the angels have become and then have Casifer stroll in and completely wreck all that; unfortunately if that was the intent, they didn’t go far enough. I did like the Exorcist reference- and the dream sequence was awesome.
I love the way latter-day SPN does queer representation. Like, oh, you’re gay? Congrats. Anybody care? Great. Let’s get on with the story. It’s not a big deal- and I really appreciate that. Or rather, to clarify- no-one is defined by their sexual orientation. It’s really casual. I find that infinitely more respectful than the ‘LOOK AT HOW DIVERSE WE ARE’ attitudes that some shows have. Of course television should be diverse. And it shouldn’t be a big deal. I’m not saying SPN is always perfect on the diverse casting front- but I think this is great.
This episode has a nice look to it (it was directed by Blair Witch veteran Eduardo Sanchez)- forests and roads and sunlight and shadows. Plus some lovely Winchester profiles.
Don’t Call Me Shurley
You know, earlier I read a Tumblr post. It said something along the lines of I’m so bitter that shows with good LGBTQ representation always get cancelled while Supernohomobro gets renewed for another season.
This is the show that made God bisexual.
Anyway, Robbie Thompson completely sells me on God-Chuck here (you know, just before Buckner & Leming completely un-sell me next episode). How cool are the music cues? Good Vibrations. Gimme Shelter. Fare Thee Well is beautiful. That whole last scene is so moving to me- cathartic, redemptive, whatever- and I’m not even talking about the Samulet. I think the part that really got me was when Chuck raised the woman from the dead. When guest stars die on Supernatural we don’t even blink any more; it’s a matter of course. For Chuck to walk in and turn everything upside down like that really did give it the quality of a miracle.
All In The Family
This one gets on my nerves. Jensen is spectacular in that first scene; his delivery of ‘and you did nothing‘ is so cool, y’all. And I like Donatello. Distinctly unimpressed with the way Sam’s written here, however. My God, what happened to how twisted and scary the Sam/Lucifer arc was earlier on? They carried that right through to The Vessel and then seemed to completely forget about it.
We Happy Few
This episode stinks. I hate it. Sure, we’ve had some deeply crappy episodes before- Bugs, Bloodlines, Man’s Best Friend With Benefits- but usually I find that there’s something endearing about their crappiness. This wasn’t endearing. This just made me wince.
A couple of things I really did like; Clea the witch, who was immediately killed for being the only cool character in this storm of awful, and the eerie closing scene with Rowena gazing at the sun. That was it. That was literally it. I don’t know what Berens was smoking when he wrote this thing. It was so bad it actually freaked me out.
Alpha and Omega
I like the finale. I like that Sam is recognisable again. I really, really like that, because the previous two episodes had me worried. I like that there’s an emotional stake, and I like how that emotional stake is handled, and I like the look and atmosphere of the episode. I don’t like the unaddressed cop-out that was Sam’s Hell trauma arc, and I don’t like the sentimentality of the resolution to the Amara problem, but I do like that the God siblings are out of the way, and I do like the prospect of an earth-based Season Twelve.
But, look, I’m British, and, SPN, we really don’t talk like that.
Admittedly I’ve spent longer parsing what I don’t like than what I do. However- despite derailing towards the end- I think we’ve had a good season.
I’ve had a lot of fun picking out a picture to go with each episode; rather too much fun. It’s led me to a fresh realisation of how utterly beautiful season eleven is, so expect a screencap-filled appreciation post soon.
Anyway, don’t be shy about telling me what you think! I mean, unless you’re only here to make rude comments about Stephen Hawking or something like that. But otherwise feel free. Sorry for abandoning you guys for so long- I’ve missed you all.