In the first episode of the eleventh season (!!!!!) of Supernatural, the Winchesters contend with the Darkness. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Supernatural.
Well, that happened, didn’t it?
I don’t feel any closer to certainty about this season of Supernatural, and I so dearly wish this episode had made me feel anything different about what this show is doing. Well, it DID! For a second! Because of that one scene! Which I will talk about!
But by and large, I just don’t know where this season is going at all. LET’S DISCUSS.
Okay, so I imagine that there are twenty-three episodes in this season, which is standard fare for Supernatural. And if you’ve got a season that long, then you’ve also got to balance a storyline to last that long. I acknowledge that, and I have no problem admitting that the writing team have to pace this shit out so that they don’t resolve it all in the first episode. But my main issue with “Out of the Darkness, Into the Fire” is that we’re told so little that I’m left endlessly frustrated rather than piqued. In short?
I have no idea what the Darkness is.
Apparently, it’s what existed before God created the Light, and it’s so old that it doesn’t know what Death is. (HOW IS THAT PLOT TWIST EVER GOING TO BE DEALT WITH?) It also can manifest as anyone, so, unsurprisingly, Supernatural initially chooses to have the Darkness show up as a pretty white woman. MUST EVERYONE BE SO ATTRACTIVE ALL THE TIME? The Darkness can also infect people with… something? For reasons? And turn them into zombie-like beings who are interested in… something? Seriously, what does the Darkness want? Initially, I thought it wanted to infect as many people as possible, but then we find out that the blood infection kills a human just hours after they’ve been infected. That’s not very effective, and it’ll prevent any sort of longterm plague, except… who were those three people who confronted Sam? If we’re meant to assume that they ignored him because he was infected, then why even bother doing this if Sam was going to die in a few hours anyway? Is the Darkness interested in destruction and nothing else? Maybe?
I have too many questions, and that means that this simply felt incoherent. It’s the dangling carrot thing, that storytelling technique I once complained about when I was watching Doctor Who. There’s a difference between dangling a plot thread and showing us one and then promptly pitching it off of a cliff.
I don’t get it, y’all.
So, Rowena’s spell has messed up Cas, enough that he… eats a farm animal? I thought that the spell she cast on him made him an attack dog that would target her son. Maybe her son is like a goat? I DON’T KNOW. I don’t know why Castiel was on that farm, I don’t know what he’s supposed to do, and I don’t know why those two angels are hanging him from the rafters and I don’t know anything. Castiel’s storyline seems like an afterthought here. There was a moment where I thought we might get something new, namely that scene where Cas begs for help from his angel brethren. Yes! Penitence! A change! Something awesome!
Oh, more torture? Sigh. PLEASE CAN WE HAVE A NEW PLOT.
I spent way too much time being confused. I thought the scene where Crowley possessed that women and walked in on her husband discussing the wife’s “offer” was meant to be a gag to make it sound like the wife wanted to open up their relationship. And then it actually happened? And then everyone was killed? Why did Crowley kill everyone? Just to be edgy? What on earth does this tell us about his character or his story? It’s extraneous in every sense of the word! There’s no need to have it, and I don’t get it. Why?
And where’s Rowena? What’s she off doing? It’s like most of Crowley’s plot was spent getting him back in his body in the most inconsequential manner possible, only for him to deny the importance of the Darkness, despite that we already know it’s a serious threat. I think what the writers were going here was an attempt at dread. We get the sense from Castiel and Crowley that the Darkness is a horrible, terrible thing, but what does that mean? If it’s a fairy tale used to scare demons, what does that mean for the story?
Argh, I don’t know!
WE GOT SO CLOSE, Y’ALL. WE GOT SO CLOSE TO THIS GODDAMN SHOW FINALLY PUTTING A NAIL IN THE COFFIN OF A STORY THAT’S REPEATED FOR TEN YEARS IN A ROW. Y’all, that angry conversation that Sam and Dean have in the middle of the hospital (while Deputy Nickerson watched on, which was so awkward) was easily the best part of this episode. Because Sam is right! These brothers have repeated the same mistakes over and over again, and if anything, the end of the last season really was a sign that they should STOP. They need to stop falling into the same patterns! No more shoot first, ask questions later. No more refusing to consider the long-lasting ramifications of their actions. And for a moment, this actually happens on our screens, it’s working, and then both brothers lie to each other again. Sam doesn’t tell Dean that he’s infected, and Dean doesn’t tell Sam what the Darkness said to him about them being “bound.” And I don’t even understand why Amara and the Darkness have the same mark/tattoo. Are they the same person? Was the Darkness telling Dean that they were bound because he would eventually help Amara to survive?
I DON’T UNDERSTAND. But my god, please let this all lead to something. Anything! I’m not certain this isn’t a good story, but I’m not certain it’s great either. There’s potential for a wicked plague narrative, as well as chance for these two men to finally act like mature adults. I just hope that’s the story we get.
The video for “Out of the Darkness, Into the Fire” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
Mark Links Stuff
– I am now on Patreon!!! MANY SURPRISES ARE IN STORE FOR YOU IF YOU SUPPORT ME.
– I will be at Borderlands Books, Book Riot Live, and Windycon this fall! Check the full list of events on my Tour Dates / Appearances page.
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often. My next Double Features for Mark Watches will be Kings, season 1 of Sense8, season 1 of Agent Carter, seasons 1 & 2 of The 100, Death Note, and Neon Genesis Evangelion. On Mark Reads, Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series will replace the Emelan books.
– Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook! I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!