The past three episodes of Supernatural have had little to do with season 11’s major strategy, but the latest episode’s definitely arc-centric. There were a few surprises (guess who’s back?), appearances from most of this season’s main characters, and even a rare exorcism duet from Dean (Jensen Ackles) and Sam (Jared Padalecki) Winchester, but the show still feels like it’s spinning its wheels.
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Spoiler alert! The average Supernatural fan (or anyone who looks up their local TV listings) knew that this week’s episode dealt with a hard-to-believe premise: the death of Sam Winchester (Jared Padalecki). Despite the fact that technically, he’s died at least three times on the show—stabbed by a demon-blooded “special child” at the end of season two, thrown into a pit of Hell at the end of season five, and falling into a non-reversible coma after being weakened by the “trials” of season eight)—it was still surprising to see him fall to his supposed final death by just a simple bullet shot by a werewolf.
Bobby Singer (Jim Beaver) is perhaps the most beloved character in Supernatural history, sometimes even surpassing Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) with some fans. His interesting backstory, easy chemistry with other secondary characters, and deep familial bond with the Winchesters made him (and the actor who plays him) an integral part of the show, and many fans are still sore about the character’s controversial death back in season seven.
At least one episode in every season since, however, has managed to bring him back in one form or another, whether it be as a ghost, a figment of Dean’s imagination, or at last check, a spirit resting comfortably in Heaven with all the other Singers.
“Keep grinding. No matter how much it hurts. No matter how hard it gets. You got to keep grinding. And that’s how we’re gonna win. And we’re gonna win. We’re gonna save Cas, we’re gonna ice the devil, and we’re gonna shank the Darkness. And anyone who gets in our way? Well, God help them.”
—Dean Winchester, “Beyond The Mat”
Those are the words that pretty much summed up both tonight’s episode and season 11 of Supernatural thus far. (As we speak, they’re likely being printed onto Hot Topic shirts.) All kidding aside, the show continued its streak of successful, mostly stand-alone episodes with tonight’s above-average installment.
One of the best things about the CW’s Supernatural is that it works on two different levels: one as an extremely intricate multi-verse that contains many canonical rules and theories, and the other, as a horror-themed dramedy that rewards viewers with beloved secondary characters and inside jokes. In other words, it can be as complex or as simple as you want it to be.
The complicated plot of Amara/The Darkness (Emily Swallow) and its effect on the warring divisions of angels and demons bogged down the first half of season 11, but the series returned from the fall hiatus with several fanciful stand-alone episodes that have lightened the mood. Tonight’s episode managed to tie those two halves of Supernatural together, with a time-traveling adventure that was simple enough for a first-time viewer to enjoy, yet still managed to advance the plot.
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