Supernatural: The Bad Seed
October 23, 2015 10:21 AM - Season 11, Episode 3 - Subscribe

While Rowena tries to consolidate her power to protect herself from the Winchesters, Sam and Dean search for a missing baby connected to the Darkness. Meanwhile, Castiel struggles to heal and Crowley tries to find a way to use the Darkness for his own personal gain.

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Sometimes the boys' incompetence perplexes me. They can come up with a great plan to capture Rowena, but you'd think Sam would be better at holding her at gunpoint even if he's mildly distracted.

Well at least now Cas is healed, I'm glad that was resolved quickly so it wouldn't be a distraction for another 3-4 episodes. The Darkness aka Amara is a much better focal point anyway. I'm waiting for that moment where the Winchesters save Crowley from her sucking his soul.

------- END SPOILERS -------
posted by numaner (8 comments total)
 
Crowley was the highlight of this episode. Loved his interaction with Amara and her ambiguous response to him. Mark Sheppard is always terrific when on screen because he's such a great actor.
posted by cfoxhi at 2:35 PM on October 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


I am pretty much just watching this show for Crowley anymore, (and because even I am vulnerable to the sunk cost fallacy from time to time), and so this episode was actually a lot of fun. Amara's creepy, Crowley's clearly in over his head, that whole side of the story was entertaining.

I wish they would just forget about Rowena though - the 'mega coven' stuff was pure cringe humor, and witches are among the worst thought out baddies in the Supernatural universe.
posted by mordax at 4:32 PM on October 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've always felt like Crowley would be around for the run of the show, but his interactions with Amara made me wonder if he'll make it through this season. The showrunners kill EVERYBODY eventually, and I can see them thinking that killing Crowley could be a way to shake things up and make the Darkness seem really scary. The leads (and Misha Collins) are probably there until the show ends, but I've had the feeling the writers are struggling with Crowley's character and I wouldn't be stunned if they'll take him out before long.

They seem to be working up a pretty good Big Bad, which is impressive when you consider how they have to keep topping themselves with these ancient threats. The angels are loose on Earth! The Leviathan are loose on Earth! The Darkness is loose on Earth! It should feel tired as hell by now, but so far the Darkness feels spooky in a way that the Leviathan didn't.

I know Rowena's not popular with the fans, but I like her fine. She hits a good balance between danger and camp. She can pivot between scary and silly in a scene, and it works.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:37 PM on October 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


I like Rowena, but I never liked her relationship with Crowley. It made them both seem weak. With them totally at odds now I'm a lot happier with her presence.

Here's hoping that last little bit of finger-wagging from Dean about keeping secrets will be the last of the Winchesters keeping secrets.
posted by brundlefly at 11:18 PM on October 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


I like Rowena, but I never liked her relationship with Crowley. It made them both seem weak. With them totally at odds now I'm a lot happier with her presence.

I don't have a problem with Rowena in theory, exactly. The actress is game, sells her cheesy lines with the best of them. She always seems like she's having some fun, and she's way less annoying without the horrible relationship with Crowley. Like you said, it was bad for both characters.

Despite that, I don't like what's going on now much. Witches are - from a narrative perspective - the worst antagonists on Supernatural because their abilities and hierarchy are the most poorly defined. Ever since the first witches we saw on the show, they seem to be able to do... whatever? And we've never really seen the Grand Coven, don't have a good idea of their resources, their membership, why we should like or dislike them.

Angels, demons, leviathan and other monsters all had more clearly defined strengths, weaknesses, motivation and so on, and considering how thin some of them have been, that's really saying something.

As a result, Rowena's current plot feels nebulous and lacking in stakes to me. Worse, it's playing opposite the whole Amara thing, where I agree with Ursula that things actually seem to be on track for a change: Amara is menacing, currently retains some mystery, and so on. I'm actually interested in what happens next there, which serves to make me even more frustrated when less well thought out stuff is hogging episode runtime.

(I would definitely like Rowena's presence more if she were a djinni, or a vampire, or pretty much anything but a witch. Or an angel, I have seen enough hopelessly stupid Supernatural angels - I'd be complaining just as much about that, just with different particular arguments.)

I've always felt like Crowley would be around for the run of the show, but his interactions with Amara made me wonder if he'll make it through this season.

I'm honestly hoping this is their last season anyway. We've now moved to an enemy that should pose a decent challenge to God himself - not only can they not top this, they really ought not try. I'll be disappointed if Crowley doesn't Crowley his way outta stuff either way though.

(I like Castiel quite well too, but my enjoyment of his stuff is definitely tainted with how much Idiot Ball angels are forced to carry. I really wish the whole 'become human' thing had stuck sometimes.)
posted by mordax at 12:38 AM on October 24, 2015


Apparently the show has already been renewed for next season, and the CW is saying they'll stick with it as long as the ratings hold. Which I'm fine with, as long as they stay at something like this level. This show doesn't thrill the way it once did, but it's nice to know the Winchesters aren't going away any time soon. My main complaint is that they need to back away from some of the really played out tropes, like the secrets between the brothers, and if they can do that I think they'll be a good solid show for a while yet.

(I do miss the Monster of the Week episodes, and if this show goes long enough I wouldn't be surprised if they do at least one season where they're like, "Screw it, no big arc this season! We're doing monsters of the week, like the old days!" That could be fun, actually.)

I'd say, give 'em a chance to define the witches a bit. The season's new, and presumably they'll dig into how witches work as we go along. I suspect Amara will be the Big Bad, with the witch stuff mainly there for spice. While Rowena can be wicked, she doesn't seem quite fearsome enough to build a whole big threat around. She's evil, but she's not Yellow Eyed Demon evil. She could have killed the boys this week, for instance, but she didn't.

I suspect we haven't seen the last of the witch who got turned into a mouse. I have a hunch she'll be the one who takes Rowena out in the end, or that she'll at least be the one who enables the Winchesters to do it. Or, maybe the writers will forget about her completely.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:42 AM on October 24, 2015


I'd say, give 'em a chance to define the witches a bit.

Mm. I doubt it very much. Spellcasters tend to be a particularly nebulous quantity in genre storytelling in general, not just here. I think it's because they don't have an easy to remember mythology to crib from. Like... everybody has a firm mental picture of how Dracula works, (even though it's typically not all that accurate). Gandalf or Dumbledore, less so. I mean, there's a reason for the whole 'a wizard did it' thing.

I'm in it for the rest of the season either way though, just to see. (Apart from the sunk cost thing, I also do partake in a lot of media I'm not necessarily into as a work related thing - like... how something fails feels as instructive to me as how something succeeds. Supernatural has always been intriguing from both angles, and I guess it'll carry me one more year.)

(I do miss the Monster of the Week episodes, and if this show goes long enough I wouldn't be surprised if they do at least one season where they're like, "Screw it, no big arc this season! We're doing monsters of the week, like the old days!" That could be fun, actually.)

Given they've already been renewed, I hope they switch back to that too. Apart from my annoyance at the thought of an even bigger bad than the bad who is bigger than God, I'd love to see them back to basics.

Like, Crowley doesn't really get a gold star from me because I'm Team Evil so much as he's the only character who seems to enjoy anything about his life anymore. I like watching him mostly because he's angst free. I miss Sam and Dean being more like that, just doing their thing and deriving any meaning from it. I could definitely go for a whole season of that.
posted by mordax at 10:04 PM on October 24, 2015


Sheppard is an awesome actor. I think I could watch him seated in a chair and reading the phone book and still find enjoyment in his delivery. He's done a lot to help some of the weaker seasons (and their weaker storylines) survive by simply being present.

In this case, the fact that he went from an attempt to become a friendly familial figure to Amara to pretty much realizing he's stuck in a cage with a lion that may or may not try to eat him, was quite enjoyable. He's a lion tamer who suddenly realized that the Lion really doesn't care about the whip at all.

Count me in as another hoping that Rowena's secrets conversation also serves the duty of destroying the secrets between brothers theme. I'd like to think, in a perfect world, the writers were sitting around and theorizing if there were any last secrets between them, and intentionally inserted this dialogue to clear the air. OF COURSE, Dean probably still doesn't know that Sam was infected with the Darkness bug - something which I'm afraid will come back to bite Sam and Dean in the rear later down the road.

I enjoy the actress and the idea of Rowena, but I'm not 100 percent on board with the execution. Rowena, I'm guessing, is on her way out. Her role was also partly carried over by the need to cure Castiel, in a similar manner to perhaps her secrets dialogue in the car. She's been flitted about to tie up loose ends.
posted by Atreides at 9:31 AM on October 27, 2015


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