Season 11, Episode 3 - "The Bad Seed"
Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, Misha Collins, Mark A. Sheppard
Regular airtime: Wednesdays, 8pm
US: 21 Oct 2015
Because of its two-part premiere, Supernatural‘s third episode could be considered its first “normal” episode of the season. With most of the busywork of tying up last season’s loose ends behind them, this episode gave the show the chance to explore more of its characters’ personalities and the season’s arc.
The episode opens with heartless, evil, and eerily delightful witch Rowena (Ruth Connell) attempting to recruit other witches to her “Mega Coven”; her plans fall on disinterested ears. After furiously turning the other witches into dust, she moves on to two younger witches, who had to be reminded that she holds the mysterious power of “The Book of the Damned” before they showed any interest. However, just as it seems she might have new recruits, one of her son Crowley’s (Mark A. Sheppard) goons barge in and attack them, leaving her alone again. One could come to the conclusion that all the outcast witch really wants is to be included, as she seems happy to be captured by Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) later in the episode. Lest one thinks she’s gone soft, she eventually escapes from them, too.
Much has been made of the relatively short lifespans of Supernatural‘s female characters, with the most recent example being Charlie (Felicia Day), who managed to last nearly three seasons before she was killed in season 10. It was once argued by the show’s producers that fans hated most women on the show because they saw them as potential love interests for “their boys”. Fans like myself have countered that it wasn’t the prospect of romance that made characters such as season three’s Bela (Lauren Cohan), the cursed treasure hunter, or Dean’s former girlfriend turned potential wife, Lisa (Cindy Sampson), so unpopular, but rather the bad writing/characterization that came along with them. Until recently, every female character on the show was either relentlessly kind and bland (Lisa) or far too preoccupied with looking tough and acting cool (Bela). With Rowena, however, there’s real potential for a long-term, fully developed character.
It’s important to keep in mind, however, that anyone on Supernatural could leave/die at any time. From John Winchester (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) in season two to Death himself (Julian Richings) in season ten, the show prides itself on its unexpected deaths. Could Crowley (Mark Sheppard) be the next causality? He’s finding himself losing control in his partnership with teenage Amara (Emily Swallow), who can eat demon souls and is fast becoming a spoiled, gluttonous brat.
It certainly looks like Castiel (Misha Collins) will be sticking around for at least a little while longer. After escaping the Winchester bunker in a red-eyed fit, Castiel chased an unsuspecting bystander (Masae Day) into an alley and nearly choked her to death before a last-minute rescue by Sam, Dean, and a handcuffed Rowena. Rowena seemingly cured Cas of his affliction (albeit at gunpoint), before breaking free of her chains and trapping the three in an abandoned warehouse. Is he really cured? Only time will tell.
There seems to be two factions of Supernatural fans: those who love Castiel and those who hate him. Cas lovers say that he and the inclusion of the other angels have breathed new life into the series, while his detractors argue that he draws attention away from the Winchester brothers, who should be the core focus of the series. Those who hate the angel-related plots probably weren’t pleased to see the scene of a random angel and demon in a bar, declaring their dissatisfaction with the way things are in both heaven and hell. “You know who gets squeezed?” says the demon to the angel. “Grunts like us.” This is likely a big hint of things to come.
And now for something completely different: next week’s stand-alone episode (“Baby”) promises to bring back the humor, as it’s told completely from the Impala (lovingly referred to as Dean’s “Baby” or the “Metallicar” by fans)‘s point-of-view. A little humor would be a nice counterpoint to all this…Darkness.