Supernatural – Season 11 Episode 3
“The Bad Seed”
Supernatural makes some significant progress on the development of the Darkness plot in very unexpected ways.
I’ll admit that I expected Supernatural to deal with this new threat in a much more obvious way but so far I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how well thought out the whole thing is. When Crowley took Amara in last week I expected them to be on the same page and for her to overpower him in some way but what is actually happening is far cleverer than that.
Having Amara’s plan coming from intentions that seem more noble than evil is an interesting idea. It is her belief that God has really made a mess of the world and she would like to do a better job of it than he did. It does seem destined for a bad end but this is a really cool idea that has a lot of potential to develop over the coming episodes.
Her motivation has the added bonus of being in direct opposition to Crowley who clearly expected an ally in the ultimate evil that was promised to him. There’s already a sense that he’s afraid of how powerful she is becoming and he will be aware that it’s only a matter of time before she realises that their objectives are incompatible and decides to do something about it.
Crowley acting fatherly was a nice touch to the episode and had a very significant creep factor about it. There’s something unsettling about Crowley trying to craft this little girl into the image he wants. I really liked the little touches such as trying to appease her with chocolate and buying her a book that any little girl her physical age would love. The look on Amara’s face as she looks at the book was priceless and the reveal that she was already into the tough stuff in the form of Dante’s Inferno -in the original Italian of course- says a lot about how quickly she is developing. It also shows that she is a little girl in appearance only. This feels very different from Lilith which is good and as threats go it already appears very different from anything that has been faced before.
Typically Supernatural tends to either stretch stories past breaking point or resolve them too quickly. In this case it feels like the right amount of time to spend on this part of Amara’s development. Going into this episode I expected her education to drag on for several episodes which would just have been chronic. Having her age quickly signifies how urgent a problem she is likely to be for Crowley if nothing else and suggests that this season is moving at a solid pace so that it can play with more interesting ideas.
One thing that I found confusing about this episode is Amara’s mirror conversation with the woman who appeared in Dean’s vision. Is her body a vessel for the Darkness or something else entirely? Is she going to age into that form or is there something deeper going on here? Her devouring of demon essence without ever becoming full was interesting as well. Does she have to consume human souls to satisfy her hunger? There’s still a lot to fascinating questions to ponder. One way this could develop is into a better version of the end of Angel season 4 when Jasmine was killing a handful of people every so often but in return the entire planet got to live in a version of world peace. The question that was never properly dealt with is whether that was worth a handful of lives every so often. This could be an interesting moral conundrum for the Winchesters who could be faced with a similar choice.
Speaking of the Winchesters their part in the episode was mostly concerned with fixing Castiel who still struggles with the spell that Rowena placed on him. This unfortunately means that Rowena is back and is more irritating than ever. She probably isn’t any more annoying but repeated exposure to her is cumulative to me.
Rowena is trying to put together a new coven of witches that she wants to call the Mega Coven and the Winchester’s are trying to track her down so that she can undo the spell she placed on Cas. There’s a lot of insufferable scenes before she removes the spell and Cas can get back to being useful again. Apparently Rowena is more powerful than ever but it’s hard to believe that when the bulk of the power on display was moving things without touching them. How many powerful entities have we seen on this show who only throw the Winchesters across the room? That’s all that is happening here and her escape regrettably means that she will be back.
There was one positive thing about her being around. She revealed her deal with Sam in earshot of Dean who was annoyed at it and a discussion was had about the notion of secrets between them. I hope that it’s out in the open and won’t be happening any more this season. Though Dean still doesn’t know about Sam’s now cured infection and his divine vision so maybe we’re not quite there yet.
I’m glad that Cas has been freed from the spell as there was really no mileage in that as a sub-plot. Cas is much better placed as a helpful resource for the Winchesters to use and now that he is able to do that again things can definitely progress.
That’s probably the best way to sum up this episode come to think of it. It was all about progress in almost every way. There’s a real sense of focus to this season so far and I actually feel like it’s really heading somewhere interesting. That’s not something I expected to be able to say about a show that is in its 11th season. Just because things run for a long time doesn’t necessarily mean they get stale. Season 12 anyone?
A really well put together episode that makes some real progress on the main arcs for the season in really inventive ways.
Amara’s motivation is a really surprising one that I wouldn’t have expected. It turns out that she doesn’t approve of the mess God has made of Earth and has made it her mission to do it right. What that means for everyone involved it is hard to say but so far this is a solid idea that has a lot of development potential.
Crowley acting fatherly was a nice touch and came across as appropriately creepy. There’s something unsettling about Crowley trying to craft a demonic little girl into the image that he wants. It’s very interesting that their objectives aren’t aligned and Crowley is definitely going to have significant problems once her power level grows far beyond his.
The Winchesters are mostly concerned with breaking the spell on Castiel so that he can become useful to them again which unfortunately means that Rowena is back.The one positive thing about her return is that she reveals her deal with Sam to Dean which prompts a conversation about secrets that might signify the end of them persistently lying to one another.
Cas being freed from his spell is a very good thing as well since it allows him to be useful to the Winchesters again. There was nothing to be mined from him under that spell so it’s better to have it gone and move on with more interesting things.
It seems that season 11 of this show has a lot to say and there’s a lot of good dramatic potential in this show even after all this time.