Why this episode title? “Back in Black” is not only fitting, but also continues several Supernatural traditions.
Ok ok, I’ll resolve this season to say at least one positive thing about each episode that is NOT “well at least it ain’t season 9”.
With Sam researching while Dean drinks and fornicates we actually see something that’s been missing for several years: the original boys. Of course I know people grow and change over the years but a core usually remains. What does it say that now that they are apart, we’re seeing the boys revert more to form? I wish I could be more certain that this is a deliberate writing choice and not just the powers that be giving in to fan complaints about the boys barely being the boys. Still it was nice to see them back to form if for no reason than to give Jared a chance to act again.
So what we had this episode were essentially three plotlines edited together in a rather haphazard fashion. Let’s examine each one for good and bad.
- Castiel – Ok, even I’m starting to get tired of the angels now, and they used to be what I preferred watching the show for! See the issue is that the writers seem to be under the impression that audience confusion is a substitute for mystery. It’s not. If it was, I could write the greatest mystery novel of all time using a random word generator. If the show hadn’t failed to answer so little last season I might have more patience and faith that answers were forthcoming but as it is… 1) Hannah says it’s “heaven’s orders” that angels return. Who’s giving the orders? With Metatron in jail and Cas not leading, where are the orders coming from? 2) “Out of chaos comes angels like Naomi and Metatron” but if angels aren’t in heaven, what does it matter? How are they going to take over if they’re not there? 3) Why not just make the angels that don’t want to return, mortal? Take their grace away or let it fade. (which it SHOULD HAVE DONE BY NOW IF ANYONE REMEMBERED JACK SHIT ABOUT THE SHOW!) 4) Cas if you really don’t want to kill angels, WHY ARE YOU KILLING THEM? Why not just remove their grace like was done to you? Yeah you’re in the middle of a fight but why don’t you have a sigil or some magic to paralyze them? Why not just master the fighting moves necessary to remove said grace? Why not at least put forth more of an effort? Remember how the Winchesters, the guys you’re so fond of spent entire seasons teaching you about looking for that “third option”? Why aren’t we seeing you even ATTEMPTING that? 5) If the stolen grace is so bad, why hasn’t Cas removed it already? — It’s like every time Castiel is on screen we hear dialog, we see actions, and the two do not mesh. Will SOMEBODY get the showing and telling on the same page already!
- Sam – Wow, too bad we didn’t get to see this Sam last season, I actually recognized him this time. Oops, he’s out again. I also can’t seem to care about the guy that’s kidnapped him to trap Dean. Another hunter they’ve run afoul. I was hoping for something we either hadn’t seen ever or at least in awhile. Like maybe an apprentice! Let’s watch Sam be a big brother or dad for awhile. Also, I totally called that it was him in the opening teaser. No surprise.
- Dean – Oh Dean… there’s an ancient thought exercise called “the Ring of Gyges”. The ring gave its wearer invisibility (and yes, it was the inspiration for Tolkien’s own magic ring). The thought exercise was: if a person could act outside the bounds of societal consequence, how would they act? Good or evil? In principle, we should start seeing this with Dean. He is immortal. He cannot be killed and no longer has much in the way of physical needs. He is now free of consequences as he cannot be punished any more. Yet despite being a bit hedonist, we haven’t seen Dean go really out of control. He’s demonic or something now but what effect that’s going to have on the essence of who-he-is might be answered, it might not. I actually wish I could have more faith in the storytellers.
So not much in the way of rating just yet. We’ll see how the season goes. I do hope the powers in charge have mastered some of the storytelling commandments they broke last year.