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Season 11 Episode reviews 11.4 to 11.6

Okay, now show is on fire!

11.4 Baby written by Robbie Thompson

I don’t have a lot to say about this episode other than why did you leave us, Robbie? (I’m going to say that repeatedly.) Everyone knows the uniqueness of this episode and how much it gives us of the scenes of Sam and Dean just being brothers  instead of the usual dramatic/action scenes. I guess my one quibble would be Sam and Piper in the back seat—I know from a storytelling view why we didn’t see them come out to the car and get in the back seat, but from the logical setup of seeing the day through Baby’s lens, why wouldn’t she have noticed? Although I could counter-argue myself and say that Baby was really only focused on Dean and therefore wouldn’t pay attention to Sam’s comings and goings…Okay, I can live with that.

But how come we couldn’t get shirtless Sam sitting up in the backseat too?! It was a real cheat to only give us Sam’s voice. (Although just trying to imagine the contortions of Sam and Piper getting it on hurts my head…)

Having young John Winchester show up was a cool trick to play on the audience. I remember even seeing it the first time I was sure that was not God talking—the ‘I never could fool you’ was a blatant hint of who the source really was.

The only other note I have is a comment from the Director’s Commentary where the director Thomas Wright talks about the scene of Sam and Dean sitting in the car talking after Sam’s vision of dad. He said that is a 6 minute dialog scene, pretty much unheard of for TV, and Jared and Jensen nailed it take after take, delivering their lines in the same way each time as they filmed all the different angles. Speaking of that scene, the discussion the boys have of their dreams of Dad—especially Dean’s of learning to drive the car as a normal kid—how sad did that make everyone else?

11.5 Thin Lizzy by Nancy Won

This whole episode is painstakingly layered, making us think it’s a routine ghost hunt and then revealing that the events were actually set in motion by Amara’s explorations of humanity.

Both the writing and the acting sold me on Amara trying to learn about this new world and while the consequences of what she does are evil, she’s not deliberately evil, she’s just experimenting. Human values don’t apply to what she is or does. This struck me particularly in the flashback to when she meets Sydney. Sydney’s initial instinct, even while drunk and miserable, is to protect a child, and Amara responds by giving her a moment of bliss with touch. It’s only when Sydney equates Amara with an angel that, petulantly, Amara sucks out her soul. If Sydney had not made that unfortunate comment, would Amara left her intact?

Len is the first of several characters this season that only show up for one episode and yet are unforgettable, leaving a mark on both the Winchesters and us, and he is used to really explore how the behavior of a soulless person is unique to that individual. I really cared about Len and his ‘fake it till you make it’ way of handling how he was feeling and his elegantly simple and self-sacrificing solution to take the fall for the murders. (I was so sad that they killed him offscreen in the next episode.)

I also loved that there was reference to Sam’s soulless time, one of those callbacks that add depth to an episode but that show doesn’t always think to do.

Sam at the end comforting the child was sadly sweet and true-to-character awkward—for all that Sam is the ‘empathy’ brother, Dean is much better relating to traumatized kids. (I’m recalling the end of the episode where they kill Zeus, and Sam asks the little boy if he wants to get ice cream in his attempt to be comforting.)

Excellent brother banter throughout (Dean’s reaction to the room, Sam and the toilet water sprayer) and there were some lovely shots of the boys stalking the bad guys throughout…Nancy Won’s first ever SPN script was definitely a winner! I’m sad she’s left, too…

11.6 Our Little World written by Robert Berens

At least Berens is still with us…

Riveting development of Amara as she’s starting to come into her power. Very effective portrayal of Crowley, the king of confidence, trying to bluff his way past Amara and, while realizing he is in over his head, still carrying on. I appreciated that they didn’t turn it into comedy, the King of Hell being flummoxed by a teenaged deity. For all that the basic premise is not real, it was played straight. That makes such a difference (and what they don’t seem to understand when writing Rowena.)

Kudos to the actress who played teen Amara, she was creepy and powerful and insecure all at once.

Again, I think the tie between Dean and Amara is clear without needing to be explicitly explained and the scene between them in her room was so menacing in Dean’s inability to break the link even though he desperately wanted to, and the self-doubt and confusion on Dean’s face said it all. (Jensen, again saying 10 different things without saying a word…)

Cas’ panic attack finally made me feel a little sympathetic toward him and it was well-filmed. When he catches Metatron I could feel Cas’ desperation as he gives in to his impulse to beat the crap out of his old nemesis—something about the deliberately blank look as Cas’ face as he was punching Metatron made me feel his internal conflict in a way I hadn’t before this season. And then his realization that Metatron wanted Cas to kill him, and Cas realizes it would be crueler to leave him alive so that is what he is going to do. Like demon!Dean did to Cole back at the start of season 10…
And there’s Sam, fighting demons like a badass and trying to keep to his new no-kill policy, and his vision escalating to seeing the actual cage and this is going to be bad…


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 26th, 2016 02:11 pm (UTC)
Yes, such strong episodes and so early in the season too!

I love that car scene with the boys talking about their dreams - such a highlight of the whole season for me!!! I loved hearing the poignant details about Dean's repeated dream about John, and how Sam admitted he had those about Mary (it makes me wonder what he dreams exactly though!)
Sep. 26th, 2016 07:41 pm (UTC)
And Sam's really only 'met' his mom as young Mary in the time travel episode--does he dream about her at that age?

Thanks for reading!
Sep. 27th, 2016 02:59 pm (UTC)
Exactly - it's fascinating!!! He did have a photo of Mary in 1.01, and we know from canon they've got more, so he knows what she looked like before she died, but yeah, he's only ever met her as a much younger woman, so it's very intriguing to me how he sees her. Also, what does he dream? I think he said something about 'normal' stuff, but like what; cooking, watching TV, doing the laundry, grocery shopping?

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )