Supernatural: O Brother Where Art Thou?
December 10, 2015 9:30 PM - Season 11, Episode 9 - Subscribe

Sam and Dean seek out Crowley's help. Amara tries to get God'a attention. The angels decide to take matters into their own hands.
posted by cfoxhi (32 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Loved the scenes with Mark Pellegrino and Jared Padalecki. So exciting to to see Lucifer again.
posted by cfoxhi at 9:39 PM on December 10, 2015


The season has been working well as a series of stand-alone episodes with the occasional line or two about the big arc, so it was almost weird to suddenly be back in the thick of the arc with Rowena and Satan and stuff. I think they're going to have to work a little harder to make Lucifer scary. He's so smirky and jokey that he just seems kind of mischievous to me. I was chuckling at his quips, instead of being really scared for Sam. (I guess it's been long enough since he was on the show that I've forgotten if he read as really scary before.) I was glad when Sam rejected the possession thing, because that seemed like the kind of dumb deal Sam would have made a couple of seasons ago and it was nice to see he's learned something. Never let an evil entity borrow your meatsuit!

Amara is kind of interesting in that while she's out to destroy everything she doesn't seem actually evil, or at least that's how she's presenting herself to Dean. (Although when she was a kid I seem to recall her being awfully smirky about sucking out souls and so on.) I am a little curious how she connects to the adult Amara she saw in the mirror when she was a kid. Does this Amara have that kid Amara's memories? Are there two Amaras, or was her adult self buried in her kid self and now the adult self has taken over?

It kind of amazes me that this show doesn't piss of fundamentalist types and generate all sorts of furious letter writing campaigns. I mean, they directly address biblical stuff and say, "No, the bible got this part wrong, and it's really like this, and this is how God and angels really work..." I mean, they were saying that God has a sister who is as powerful as he is, and that kind of stuff is poison to fundamentalists! Amara's conversation with the priest and her subsequent slaughter of those people in a church, that all seems like stuff that would get the show pulled for being too controversial. But somehow it's been on for a decade and still going strong, and I never hear about anybody trying to get it canceled for being blasphemous.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 9:50 PM on December 10, 2015


I think they're going to have to work a little harder to make Lucifer scary. He's so smirky and jokey that he just seems kind of mischievous to me.

How did Lucifer track for everyone else? It has been a long time, but I remember him as a much more quiet and sad figure than what is going on here.
posted by humans are superior! at 10:40 PM on December 10, 2015


Are you sure you're not thinking of Jacob from Lost? Pellegrino was mostly quiet and sad as Jacob, but as Lucifer I think he's always been pretty quippy.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 11:00 PM on December 10, 2015


I can't say that I ever found Lucifer to be anything other than snarky, quippy, and sarcastic with Sam. There is always an undercurrent of threat with him, but he comes across as down right cuddly at times.

i think the show hasn't reached hardcore fundamentalist types mostly because it has stuck to Old Testament God. I was thinking about the lack of references to the New Testament/Jesus when talking about how God abandoned the angels. No one brought up sending His son to earth to atone for sins and what not - it just kind of got glossed over - which i think the show is doing on purpose to prevent the fury of fundamentalists. Could you imagine the plot line that Jesus wasn't sent here to atone for our sins, but to run away from his neglectful father and was abandoned here after that when God wiped his hands of us? New Evangelical Christian - Donald Trump - would have a field day with that!

Also loving the Sammy Rushdie Satanic Verses. It makes me happy that we aren't really bringing God into the mix, unless this was going to be the last season. Neglectful fathers and their impact on their children is pretty much the central theme of this show - so bringing God in gives the ultimate closure to that.
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 6:31 AM on December 11, 2015


I just watched the show from start to finish for the first time in the months leading to this season. So it hasn't been that long since I was first exposed to Lucifer. He was always smarmy, especially with Sam.

Much of his original arc was build up. With some of the other big bads like the Yellow Eyed Demon or Lilith, or Amara, we basically saw them on screen from the start, so their faces and personality were right in front of us. With Lucifer, much of it was left to the imagination over the course of 3(?) seasons. That's probably why there's an impression that he was more intimidating and scary while Mark Pellegrino played him as acerbic and playful.

Also, he exploded Castiel.
posted by 2ht at 7:31 AM on December 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Lucifer is a scary threat in terms of everyone knowing what he's capable of, but he's always come off as smarmy and jokey because he can. When you're that powerful and been locked away for that long I guess you can either be super angry and vengeful or you can be a huge sarcastic dick, and I guess he chose the latter.

I was surprised by the twist that it's been Lucifer in Sam's head. I gotta admit I didn't see that coming, although in hindsight it's fairly obvious. But I'm wondering if this has been planned since last season or they wrote themselves into a corner with The Darkness and needed to bring Lucifer back as an enemy-of-my-enemy sort of thing.

So Dean and Amara finally makes out, like we all know they would. I'm not entirely on board with a woman as The Darkness while God the guy is The Light, but I guess it's par for the course for this show. At least she's crazy powerful. (I'd have to go back and check, but the way that she dispatched the third angel that attacked seems similar to how Lucifer snapped his fingers and killed Castiel that one time.) It's also a lot more interesting how they're presenting her as not the epitome of evil, even though her teenage self was definitely despicable, but more of just another side of the Almighty. I guess her take on creation would be just continuous bliss, the sense that Dean got when he first met her, instead of the drama of life as we know it.

Where the hell is Castiel anyway?
posted by numaner at 8:02 AM on December 11, 2015


I absolutely feel this is one of the best seasons in a while, and perhaps its because they have allowed themselves to drift further away from major story arcs. I had the sense that Rowena's involvement here may be in part to wrap up her character.

The idea that Sam's visions were really Lucifer's was a theory of mine, but at the same time, I have this weird feeling that God might still be involved. He pointed out that God is a master strategist, after all, as truthful as one might take that statement. I also remember Lucifer as being kind of smarmy, but playing into the idea that the greatest evil is far more evil in action than in appearance. He's not supposed to be intimidating or threatening, at least, that is until he knows he has you. That's how he definitely came across here.

I'm willing to bet that the wrath of Heaven doesn't quite.....cut it. Sorry, angels!

i think the show hasn't reached hardcore fundamentalist types mostly because it has stuck to Old Testament God. I was thinking about the lack of references to the New Testament/Jesus when talking about how God abandoned the angels.

I agree with that. One thing I did pick up on, which was very much a play on Jesus, was the inverse promise from the Last Supper. At the Last Supper, Jesus tells his apostles to eat the bread, and so (avoiding theologic arguments here), they would consume him, and by doing this act, remember him, and in effect, exhibit their faith in his promise of salvation. In Christ, an eternity in heaven is promised, so to speak, and in this case, we have a reverse Eucharist in the Darkness. Salvation is found by the Darkness consuming you, and through her, you live for ever.

With the stakes as they are, I'm really conflicted if the writers are truly going to reveal what happened to God, why he's not present (or appears to be present) at the end of this season. There's just so much emphasis on his absence, it's an answer crying for an answer. Then, if they do, what next? What do you do if you establish God as an active actor in our Supernatural world?

Where the hell is Castiel anyway?

Seriously.
posted by Atreides at 11:15 AM on December 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think we have to get a God-reveal, even if it isn't in human form. The story line is too much God focused to not learn something about him.

And if we do see him in a vessel... will the fan base be satisfied with anyone short of Chuck? Maybe Bobby...
posted by 2ht at 1:22 PM on December 11, 2015


Oooor Kevin?? I really just want the show to have an Asian actor in it again.

My true fantasy though is Alanis Morisette act as God and we get a "god was in a coma this whole time" story. Best crossover ever.

Seriously, though, I don't know how they're going to pull this finale off. Locking Darkness and Lucifer back up and everything goes back to business as usual? Someone's gotta pay the piper, I feel like, and with how little they've used him this season, it might end up being Castiel, and the fandom would rage quit.
posted by numaner at 1:58 PM on December 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh, wow. All this time, I never noticed the complete absence of Jesus in the big biblical myth-arc stuff. I don't recall them mentioning him ONCE, which is really weird when you think about it. It's true, if they DID bring him into the story at all I can see this getting a lot more controversial in a hurry. But his total absence is a great big hole in the narrative. I can see why they'd avoid it, but it's downright surreal that Dean has never once turned to Castiel and said, "So, Jesus... was that really a thing?"

(Although now that I think of it, hasn't there been some time when Castiel has referred to Christ? Some passing mention of the Last Supper or something?)

They've strongly implied that Chuck the paperback writer is God. I don't know if he's supposed to be God in a human vessel or just God taking on human form. It seems like they've enjoyed keeping his status kind of vague, but maybe they've reached a point where they want to make him more involved.

It occurs to me that they've really put all the stuff about the death of Death on the back burner. That's a surprise.

While Amara is the big bad this season, so far it seems like they're trying to go for a different kind of dangerous woman. She's not somebody Dean can call a bitch, and she might not even be evil. If she really does want everybody to be happy forever, and it comes down to the boys choosing the pain of God's creation over Amara's bliss, that'll be kind of a Jasmine/Angel deal where her defeat has a tragic aspect.

Every season, it seems like they're not using Castiel enough. Seriously, EVERY season the fans wonder where he's gone.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:07 PM on December 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


Weren't Michael and Adam in the cage with Lucifer still? I didn't think we'd see them in the episode, but I was expecting at least a nod to the continuity, like maybe it was just Michael now and Adam had been obliterated in the descent.
posted by oh yeah! at 2:24 PM on December 11, 2015


Weren't Michael and Adam in the cage with Lucifer still? I didn't think we'd see them in the episode, but I was expecting at least a nod to the continuity, like maybe it was just Michael now and Adam had been obliterated in the descent.

The defeat of Lucifer back when it happened ended with those two stuck in the cage. It was also my understanding that Michael and Lucifer were nearly comparable in power, resulting in a kind of eternal conflict between the two in the cage. Since the "cage" has so far been shown as being suspended on chains over a chasm, what we saw in this episode was more of a holding pen/viewing area connected to the cage. Hence why Lucifer just appeared in it, rather than them simply finding him there. Rowena's spell gave him the ability to enter that area.

That said, did Rowena's fangirl admiration over the Prince of Darkness result in her purposefully setting up the conditions to allow him to escape? Or was her preparation actually earnest and simply not enough?

If Castiel did reference Christ, and I swear that he did, I simply can't remember. The topic of Jesus has been radioactive on the show ever since they touched on the Supernatural beyond monsters, and brought in angels, the folks who could definitively answer such questions.
posted by Atreides at 2:35 PM on December 11, 2015


I got curious and did a search for Jesus on the Supernatural wiki. (Why yes, I DO have other things I should be doing this afternoon.) A few seasons back Gabriel said to Lucifer, "Dad loved you best. More than Michael, more than me. Then he brought the new baby home and you couldn't handle it. So this is all just one big temper tantrum." That "new baby" seems to be a reference to Jesus, but I suppose you could say the "baby" was humankind. Maybe. Eve (apparently the mother of all monsters and somebody I'm surprised to say I've kind of forgotten) later told a devout trucker, "You do know that Jesus was just a man."

According to the wiki, those are the only times Jesus has been referenced by anybody who would know if his story was true, and they appear to contradict each other. (Although I'd trust the word of Gabriel speaking off the record like that more than I'd trust the Mother of All Monsters when she's probably just messing with the head of a Christian.) It's bugging me because I could swear Castiel has referenced Christ. Maybe something about Christ drinking from the Holy Grail?
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:33 PM on December 11, 2015


That "new baby" seems to be a reference to Jesus, but I suppose you could say the "baby" was humankind.

I vaguely remember that line and thinking that it was a reference to humankind. I would assume Lucifer's "tantrum" took place well before the birth of Christ, no?
posted by brundlefly at 5:47 PM on December 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


The defeat of Lucifer back when it happened ended with those two stuck in the cage. It was also my understanding that Michael and Lucifer were nearly comparable in power, resulting in a kind of eternal conflict between the two in the cage. Since the "cage" has so far been shown as being suspended on chains over a chasm, what we saw in this episode was more of a holding pen/viewing area connected to the cage. Hence why Lucifer just appeared in it, rather than them simply finding him there. Rowena's spell gave him the ability to enter that area.

Right, I just would have liked some mention of Adam & Michael's existence. I mean, we got that one guilty glance between Sam & Dean last season when Adam's name came up in the musical episode. Sam should have asked Lucifer about Adam, or Lucifer should have taunted Sam by bringing him up, even if just to say that his soul was consumed by Michael or by the centuries of hell-time in the cage.
posted by oh yeah! at 7:26 PM on December 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah I was also surprised they didn't bring up Michael.

Rowena helping Lucifer or not I think is purposely kept vague. We'll see next episode I think.

"New baby" referring to humans make sense, because that would be the tantrum that got Lucifer sent down to hell.
posted by numaner at 8:50 PM on December 11, 2015


Yeah, I guess it does make more sense for the "new baby" to be humans, if it's the thing that Lucifer has resented so much. So, the only time one of these immortals has talked about Jesus, it was to say he was just a man. Huh.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 10:29 PM on December 11, 2015


It's interesting to me how this small-s supernatural show has brought in god as something that exists but is totally MIA. I can imagine people being outraged at Supernatural's treatment of religion. We've seen gods... LOTS of gods at this point. But the show seems to recognize the Judeo-Christian concept of God as the Big Guy who created everything, and he's ditched us all. And the angels are all fallible. Fallible to the point of being total dicks.

The show has been around for over a decade. Have religious folks gotten pissed at any point? Fuck, at this point our heroes' prayers have been answered by Lucifer.
posted by brundlefly at 12:59 AM on December 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I guess it does make more sense for the "new baby" to be humans, if it's the thing that Lucifer has resented so much. So, the only time one of these immortals has talked about Jesus, it was to say he was just a man. Huh.

My own understanding of the 'new baby' was that it referred to humanity. I want to say there's been a cool anger toward humans by angels and it would make sense for God's ultimate fallen angel to have been ticked off over them. After all, demons originated from fallen angels, and what do they do? Target the souls of humans. (Is that right? THe origin? It's been a while.)
posted by Atreides at 10:05 AM on December 12, 2015


Target the souls of humans. (Is that right? THe origin? It's been a while.)

IIRC, demons are actually human in origin - long exposure to Hell converts them. (This was established during the 'Dean will become a demon' arc at some point, I'm pretty sure.) This seems to be why they are so much weaker than angels.

The show has been around for over a decade. Have religious folks gotten pissed at any point?

I hadn't really thought to wonder that before you all started talking about it, but now I'm terribly curious too.

As for the episode itself: this was a lot of fun. This season has reminded me of how I initially got interested in the show. Looking forward to seeing how Amara responds to the angels' attack, and what the cover story will be in the human world, given that that had to look like a WMD.
posted by mordax at 11:21 AM on December 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Your recollection is correct! I checked the Supernatural wiki to figure out if there was any basis to my idea, and pretty much, it starts and ends strictly with Lucifer...who arguably may not be really considered a demon, if you think about it. It's all human soul corruption from that point on, including the 'first' demon Lucifer created.

Incidentally, it pointed out that the Mark of Cain was given to Cain by Lucifer. But...based on this season, did the Darkness always have that mark, or was that mark transferred from Dean to Amara by some weird mumbojumbo type of deal? Will Amara having the Mark of Cain make her susceptible to Lucifer some way? Or the original Blade?
posted by Atreides at 3:11 PM on December 12, 2015


As the AV Club pointed out earlier in the week, it's almost breathtaking that this show went 11 seasons before using O Brother Where Art Thou for an episode title.
posted by Ian A.T. at 5:28 PM on December 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


Incidentally, it pointed out that the Mark of Cain was given to Cain by Lucifer. But...based on this season, did the Darkness always have that mark, or was that mark transferred from Dean to Amara by some weird mumbojumbo type of deal? Will Amara having the Mark of Cain make her susceptible to Lucifer some way? Or the original Blade?

It looks to me like the Mark mirrored Amara's tattoo because it was designed to contain her - during this episode, she made it sound like a part of her, rather than something imposed externally (when she was talking to Dean in the field). If it were something God arranged, she would doubtless want to get rid of it, rather than point it out as a point of connection between her and Dean.

I'd be very surprised if Lucifer has any particular sway over her - if anything, it seems like it should be the other way around, since the Mark is what corrupted him in this mythology. (From a strategic point of view, it would make sense for her to want to either remove or subvert as much of God's stuff as possible, since that was apparently what gave him the edge needed to defeat her in their original conflict. I wouldn't be surprised if she reached out to Lucifer the way Lucifer reached out to Sam.)

Oh, another thought that struck me about the current plot arc: I am somewhat amused that God represents light in some primal fashion, and operates purely via subterfuge, while the Darkness operates out in the open. Seems like a reversal of expected themes, now that I'm overthinking this particular plate of beans.
posted by mordax at 1:35 AM on December 13, 2015


Those are good plates of beans to consider. As Amara pointed out, we've been subjected to thousands of years of misinformation about The Darkness.
posted by Atreides at 9:33 AM on December 13, 2015


I strongly hope they don't do anything with God this season, unless it's to confirm my long-running headcanon that the car is God. And that's why nobody's seen God for a long time: he's cruising around as an Impala, reminding Sam and Dean of their humanity, and generally being the coolest and most beloved part of the show.
posted by lilac girl at 9:06 PM on December 13, 2015 [6 favorites]


I strongly hope they don't do anything with God this season, unless it's to confirm my long-running headcanon that the car is God.

"And where you see only a pair of treadmarks burnt into the asphalt, that was where I carried you."
posted by mordax at 9:38 PM on December 13, 2015 [9 favorites]


It's the only time I'd be pleased to see a series end with a deus ex machina.
posted by lilac girl at 10:32 PM on December 13, 2015 [6 favorites]


The final episode should take a cue from Carpenter's Christine and end with "Bad to the Bone".
posted by brundlefly at 1:11 AM on December 14, 2015


I love the car is God theory! Someone fly over to Vancouver and get this into the script please.
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 4:47 AM on December 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


As the AV Club pointed out earlier in the week, it's almost breathtaking that this show went 11 seasons before using O Brother Where Art Thou for an episode title.

And I love that they didn't wanna use it so far in relation to Sam and Dean because that would be too on the nose, but having it be about God's sister looking for him? Genius.
posted by numaner at 7:20 AM on December 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


The only story I've heard of religious folks being upset is recounted here in the Supernatural Wiki--basically a bunch of fans started using the hashtag #luciferiscoming leading up to the start of Season 5, and some Christians got all worried that actual satan worshipers were taking over twitter?

Then P Diddy got scared, and Castiel lol'd.

In real life, I know quite a few Christians who watch SPN without being angry. They're fundamentalists, but not from a faith tradition that reveres angels in any way, so that could be part of it. I do think they might be upset if Christ was maligned in any way, but his absence has not upset them.
posted by terilou at 10:06 AM on December 15, 2015


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