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Rewatching Season 11

It’s always a different experience watching the season a second time knowing how it is going to play out. Some things make me go ‘Ah-ha! So that’s when they set that twist up’ and others make me go ‘Huh, they really just kind of dropped that thread, didn’t they…’

Thinking that perhaps a few of you might be interested in my ‘second-time-around observations,’ I decided that I will post my thoughts as I do my rewatch before the new season starts.

I watched the first 3 eps together because they are a unit in the same way that the last 3 eps were.

11.1 Out of the Darkness, Into the Fire written by Jeremy Carver

I hate to say it, but even the second time around and knowing why certain plot points happened, I still found this episode to be a mess…

I know I’m supposed to be impressed with the clever shot of Dean in the black smoke and how each time it was used it lasted a little longer to reveal more of Amara’s first interaction with Dean…but it looked so artificial I was focused on trying to figure out why it struck me as so visually weird.

What they did set up right away, though, was that there was a special connection between them, that Amara saw Dean as the one who freed her, and that Dean was disturbed by her claim of belonging together. I think show was pretty consistent with this element throughout the season. I think the ‘why’ of the link was explained as much as necessary here, even though I didn’t fully remember this later in the season.

How did Sam know which direction to walk the mile and a half to find Dean? Are the fanficcers right, that they’re just that psychically connected?

I hate being a nitpicker, but when the show makes me stop dead and go ‘What?!’ I kind of have to call them on it…

Jenna’s injury from the rebar—nicely gruesome shots of Dean sewing her up. Except the wound doesn’t make sense—wouldn’t it be a pierced-through hole? Or how did she fall to get that kind of a slice? And seriously, wouldn’t she be in a lot of pain for the rest of the episode? Dean must have slipped her some of the patented Winchester healing potion because she barely winces after that, even when carrying a 6-8 pound baby up against herself…

The part that made me the craziest was the big fight between Sam and Dean about saving the baby from the attack of the pseudo-zombies. Okay, I’m supposed to see that Sam has renounced his save-Dean-but-screw-the-world mindset…but I don’t get why they had to fight about getting the baby to safety??? Because, follow me on this, they were in a hospital building that would have had multiple exits. Why not just go out the back door??? Get the kid out and research a cure from the next town over??? There were less than half a dozen of the zombies attacking them! Seriously, this is the season premiere, there must have been a little money that could have been budgeted to make a bigger mob scene coming at the building if you wanted to give some weight to Sam’s argument of not shooting their way out again…because through the whole scene I was internally going, ‘just walk out another door…’

I know Carver was trying to show that Sam had decided to prioritize ‘saving people’ but honestly, his insistence that they had to find a cure for the infected people was really weird because I couldn’t figure out what made Sam think they could be saved. This was something brand new and pretty big and wouldn’t it make more sense to do research at the bunker? Watching the 3 eps together, it was obvious they needed Sam to get infected so he could pray, have a vision, etc. by himself. But this was such a clunky way to do it—the writers are capable of better plotting, so why didn’t someone see how weak it was?


So we get exciting dramatic scenes of Sam-as-prey and he gets infected, of course…but tells Dean everything is cool in the ending phone call, like Winchesters always do…

If you noticed I didn’t say anything about the Castiel or Crowley scenes…well, if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything…

11.2 Form and Void written by Andrew Dabb

The drama continues…

Very cool beginning showing Sam’s hands purposefully ransacking the hardware store—I love me some competent hunter Sam! Not sure why loud noises attract the infected—Sam uses same tactic at the end of the episode too. The poor doomed guy was an effectively written character.

How did newborn baby Amara know how to spell Feed Me with the blocks on the wall already? Sorry, not supposed to think of little things like that…Also not supposed to wonder, at the end, why there is a little girl’s dress for Amara in the baby things when Grandma said in the previous episode she’d pulled out her son’s baby things…Grandma didn’t strike me as the kind to let her little boy wear a dress…

Billie’s entrance was awesome. Now were her words to Sam, “you’re biblically unclean” deliberately intended to give him a clue? Does she secretly share Death’s affection for keeping the boys alive even though her words say the opposite? I can’t ignore her arc later in the season when I watch this episode now, and she’s a very mysterious character. In D&D parlance, is she lawful neutral like she appears? Or is there a little chaos hidden in her? After all, later we see she’s got a connection with Crowley…

Sam praying in the chapel—I loved how Jared played it physically, awkwardly tucking his gun away, walking toward the front but not having the nerve to sit in the first row…Then the vision when he is back in the hallway—that was brutal! And OMG, Sam’s wail, ‘What does that mean?!’ Again, one of those things we can track back after the entire season to see how Lucifer was setting Sam up, but right then it was just a shock!

Crowley as the exorcist priest—that was clever, and very in character. Dean’s reaction…LOL

That was sad, what happened to Jenna. Interesting how she was in law enforcement, seeing as how, freed of the constraints of having a soul, she said she’d always wanted to kill someone. And of course Dean takes it hard, another person he failed to save.

Sam isn’t doing so well now, and yet in typical Sam fashion, half crazed with the infection, he manages to google just the right thing to give him the holy oil idea. How many fans were freaking that he was going to set his hair on fire, though?! Sheesh, that was so unsafe! (Very nice job of setting up the holy oil being there, though, with a deliberate scene of Dean packing it in the duffle in the first episode. Show can pay attention to details and get it right, so it really bugs me when they don’t…)

He successfully uninfects? disinfects? a whopping 3 townspeople with his holy oil ring of fire and says let’s do the rest, but I wonder how far he can stretch that little bottle of holy oil and how long it’s going to take to find the rest of the people who are left. We really got no idea of whether there were just a handful or whether a significant chunk of the townsfolk were still roaming around. Also, it seemed like only people who had been outside succumbed, so will Sam encounter people who stayed inside and weren’t infected and have to explain? Where was everyone when Sam captured the solo guy at the beginning? I’m remembering the episode where we first meet Jody when Sioux Falls is overrun with zombies. Now I haven’t watched it in a long time, but my memory is telling me the attacking hordes were a lot more impressive. Jus in Bello had a big crowd of demons surrounding the police station where Henrickson had the boys. The lack of extras really affected my acceptance of the threat here as that dangerous.

Dean and Crowley—what can I say? They each had the opportunity to do away with the other permanently and couldn’t bring themselves to do it. I know Crowley is a popular character and his character is a good foil for the Winchesters, but I’ve never forgiven him for murdering Sarah Blake back in season 8 and I have never understood why Dean as human has let that slide and yet still can recite all of Sam’s transgressions at the drop of a hat…However Dean has to look conflicted and let him live because Crowley isn’t going anywhere …

And neither is Castiel, and I mean that literally…I guess I’m supposed to just handwave how he got in the bunker, since the fact of there being only one key in the initial reveal of the bunker’s existence seems to have been ignored pretty consistently for the last 2 seasons…

11.3 The Bad Seed written by Buckner and Ross-Leming

The thing that made me the saddest about this episode is that Jensen was stuck directing such a sucky one. All it is exposition to set up the rest of the season, jumping from Rowena to the boys to Crowley to Rowena, rinse, repeat.

I despised the way they presented Rowena at the start of this—the Megacoven?! Okay, I have always found Rowena annoying, but she’s a cartoon caricature here. Which makes it really hard to follow that she is smart enough to outwit the boys at the end of the episode.

Boys and Cas—exposition followed by a dramatic seizure. Yay.

Finally Crowley has some interesting scenes. He is entirely believable in his attempt to win Amara’s loyalties while Mark Sheppard does an excellent job conveying with subtle expressions that there are a few cracks in Crowley’s supreme confidence, and the little girl playing Amara is just otherworldly enough to sell that she’s the Darkness taking a crash course in humanity. The development of Amara is the only redeeming element in the episode. And that Crowley may have bitten off more than he can chew. Giving his nanny-demon the impossible job of curbing Amara’s appetite showed both what a bastard Crowley really is and how his instinct for self-preservation has kept him in the game all this time.

I think the angel-and-demon-meet-in-a-bar scene was supposed to set up a plot arc but honestly, it went nowhere in the rest of the season. Just more filler.

Best scene of the whole episode was the boys interrogating the witch in the police station, in particular Sam flinging the witch’s purse at Dean who caught it without looking. They were on point! And most amusing scene goes to Dean in a Hawaiian shirt disguise attempting to capture Rowena in a blonde wig disguise. Again, boys working as a team to get the job done.

Fail scene—Dean stopping to ogle the woman walking past him while he’s trying to find Castiel. Dean wouldn’t have done that during a crucial hunt.

Then there’s the whole ‘Rowena cures Cas and gets away’ ending and bam! Cas’ attack dog problem is solved and we can move on to another pathetic version of Cas.

Sigh. What a waste of the start of the season.



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 24th, 2016 05:45 am (UTC)
At the risk of being the ultimate wise guy ... This is why I started my mini rewatch of S11 with the fourth episode ;) Which is sublime and makes 11 a good season all by itself. Also god kinda rocked.
Sep. 24th, 2016 03:27 pm (UTC)
I can't skip around...and I can't do that complete show rewatch that I'm dying to until I can take a month off of life and just do that and nothing else...

Yes, I'm slightly compulsive in certain areas...
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )