So. An arc episode…
Settle in people, this is going to be a bit.
Pretty much since the beginning of the season I’ve been complaining about the boys not looking for Death’s Scythe. Someone on WFB pointed out to me that when Death died, the scythe disintegrated. At first I was in disbelief but eventually I did find the screenshot. Then I got angrier. I mean look at that shot. LOOK AT IT! The scythe is not in center frame but low down and half off screen. One could just as easily believe the SFX boys messed up and got the scythe in the melting effects as believe it was a deliberate, story related clue. BUT YOU DON’T FRAME IMPORTANT STORY POINTS like that! You do a close up confirming the sequence or acknowledge it in DIALOG. I mean all the times we’ve seen the boys refuse to accept something, they would never once discuss whether they actually, truly saw the Scythe fade away or if it was hidden somewhere?
And the worst is that the more you think about it, the dumber it becomes. I’ll post the really complicated logic below* but just think through the logic we know from the show. Death once said he couldn’t be sure who was older, him or God. Well if the DarknessTM is God’s sister, then that means she should also know Death. So if she’s looking for God, why isn’t she looking for Death in any way? Maybe ask him if he went and did it and finally killed her brother? (possibly explaining why she was released?) Instead of just the factor of the MoC, is the DarknessTM sweet on Dean because he did go and kill Death? Did she have any opinions or feelings towards what could be the 3rd sibling? Where God, DarknessTM and Death siblings or was there a different pseudo-pantheon set up? When Lucifer was released, why didn’t he show any concern or relief about Death’s fate? Previously it was made clear that Lucifer was the weaker party and only controlling Death through trickery & technicalities (part of what made Death betray him to the Winchesters) so you would think he would have some concern that being out of the cage might make him a target for Death’s revenge.
Every. Time. There is an arc episode I keep waiting for these issues to be addressed, to be settled. But they never are! Shamus Young just this week talked about the game Mass Effect 3 and said something that I felt certainly applied to Supernatural in the previous two seasons, and I was hoping was being worked on this season:
This writer isn’t just bad at worldbuilding, they hate it. They have contempt for the very concept of creating fictional universes. Dialog is so vague and perfunctory, yet it’s still bristling with these goofy, awkward, ill-fitting ideas. Nothing works together. Nothing is ever set up beforehand. Nothing is supported by anything else. Nothing leads to a payoff. The writer just lives in the moment, lashing snippets of cliche dialog together to bridge the gap to the next shooting section. Never look back. Never plan ahead. Just pound out the requisite two minutes of exposition for the nerds and get back to making action set-pieces, which are the only thing that matters.
Any one of these ideas is a big reveal that needs to be given proper attention and weight. But this writer apparently attended the M. Night Shyamalan “anything unexpected qualifies as a plot twist” school of storytelling.
Take for example, Rowena. I character I almost want to like, but I can’t because she’s not a character, she’s a prop, a plot device the writers’ use to move the arcs in the direction they think it needs to go. This episode I was somewhat intrigued. “She’s working with the DarknessTM? What happened?” Part of me thought maybe the DarknessTM brought Rowena back to life as an ally and aid against Crowley and Lucifer. Perhaps in her revived state she could be a semi-tragic figure as she is forced to serve against her will…
Oh never mind, she had a spell that just revived her upon command. I can’t believe Lucifer overlooked that. Or that the boys don’t research and work their asses off to get one of those phoenix downs embedded in their legs.
Then there’s the whole question of how the angels all teaming up for one mega smiting wounds Amara enough to take her out of commission for a
few episodes period of time but Lucifer wielding a Hand of God doesn’t even tear her dress? I thought Lucifer was supposed to be stronger than pretty much all of the angels (hence why they don’t try ganging up and attacking him in the conference room). Did Rowena really make her that much stronger? If God shows up with like… 2 witches helping Him will that make him stronger than Amara? Should Lucifer get more witches than Hands of God? Does nobody else realize how silly all that sounds even by the SPN grading curve???
And what was the point of Amara’s attack against heaven? I mean Lucifer making the random janitor in Heaven explode was petty enough I could kind of buy it, but it would have been more effective had he used that guy to gather up the angels, and then that guy be destroyed by Amara’s attack (you know, establishing her as a threat) as well maybe one or two other angels before Lucifer “valiantly” holds it back at the conference room door allowing him to make a stronger case to the angels that they need him. Instead the way it played out, it not only ended up not mattering but it cheapened any power Lucifer should have both within the story and out of the story.
Still I LOVED the set design and cinematography in this episode. When the episode actually started out in some place not America I was thrilled! I am at least enjoying how much SPN is pushing and exploring locations this season. For a brief bit Rowena & Amara did kind of work on screen and it is kind of fun to see how much scenery Misha Collins can gorge himself on as the Devil. Heck there was even a little bit in the conference room I enjoyed as the angels demonstrate conflict between what they know they’ve heard about Lucifer (or even remember depending on how age is supposed to work for them) and yet the temptation he offers. For a brief second I almost forgot how played out the angels have been for 3 years now.
That’s why I give this episode a 3 out of 5. If they could get their continuity together (though they at least remembered the continuity of Crowley jumping a body with an angel in it) and tighten up the arc, it would be a higher score easy. Will they turn it around before the season is done? I’m hopeful, but not expectant.
*So here’s how it works. There’s the old riddle, “can God make a rock so big He can’t lift it” which is pretty much just the question: “Can omnipotence defeat itself?” It seems like a logical paradox because if omnipotence can be defeated, is it really “all powerful?” Shouldn’t all powerful mean impossible to lose? BUT if that’s true, then that means there’s something omnipotence can’t do, which means it still isn’t all-powerful. In Supernatural’s case, the riddle would be, “Can Death make a weapon so deadly, it can kill him?” Particularly with a scythe that disintegrates upon his death. For pretty much the same reason. Death’s power seems to be within him, or at least within his ring. When he had Dean take over for him for a day, Dean wasn’t given the Scythe, but the Ring. So any power the Scythe has to kill anything (including Reapers) must come from Death and/or his Ring. So if the power of Death sustains even the existence of the Scythe, then when it “kills” him, the Scythe should then lose its power, which means that then it shouldn’t be able to kill Death. It’s the same logical paradox.