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Roundtable Discussion on Supernatural 11×18 “Hell’s Angel”

This week’s Supernatural roundtable focuses on episode 11×18, “Hell’s Angel” written by Brad Buckner and Eugenie Ross-Leming. This week’s participants are Destini Nash, Michele Villery, Jackie Bojarski and Debbi Bach. We love to hear from readers. Make sure that if you want to participate in our discussion, you leave comments below.  Here are this week’s topics!

Crowley:

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Jackie: I’m really glad that Crowley escaped his imprisonment because it was starting to border on disturbing. Sadly, we don’t get to see how Crowley escapes; instead, the story picks up while Crowley is on the run. Unsurprisingly, he wants the Winchesters’ help to put Lucifer back in the Cage, and he’s willing to offer something in return: the Horn of Joshua, used in the Battle of Jericho, which also happens to be a Hand of God.

Let’s ignore for the moment how ridiculously easy it’s getting to find these God-powered weapons (seriously, are they just sitting in antique shops?) and focus on the fact that Crowley is once again a reluctant ally to the Winchesters. It’s a role he finds himself playing too often, and it’s one that never ceases to amuse me. Don’t get me wrong: my favorite Crowley will always be Evil Crowley who takes no BS from the Winchesters. But I can’t help taking some pleasure from seeing him taken down a peg and begging the Winchesters for help.

At the back of my mind, however, I’m wondering how long the writers can keep him around. Sooner or later, he’s going to outlive his usefulness (and fans’ interest) and the Winchesters will have to take him out. Will it be this season or next season? Who knows, but I guarantee that it will happen eventually.

Debbi: I love Crowley and I actually feel sorry for the way Casifer has treated him, even while I think it’s hilariously funny.  Crowley however, is at his very best when he has the upper hand and we get to see that right off the bat as we see him come for the Horn of Joshua.  In the gaming world Crowley’s alignment would be Lawful/Chaotic and it describes him perfectly.  He follows his own rules to the letter; his rules though change to suit his needs.

Right now it’s in his best interest to work with the Winchesters and his mother to put Amara (and Lucifer) away.  Crowley makes it perfectly clear that getting Lucifer back behind bars is number one on his agenda and that as long as Lucifer is dealt with the rest is gravy.  I loved that he joined Castiel in the vessel to ‘coach’ him out of his corner.  The fight between him and Lucifer was epic.  It was nice to see that an Archangel – even a fallen one – still has the strength to put even a high-level demon down.  The message on his forehead to Sam and Dean was a nice touch.  Crowley’s a team player, as long as you’re on his team and playing by his rules.

Michele: I adore Crowley. He refuses to back down and does things in a way that only Crowley can do, he negotiates. I wish we saw how he got out of Hell. Seeing him run from his former employees did have its funny moments, and I do feel bad for how Casifer literally treated him like a dog in a kennel. However, it’s been great to see him make moves to get his kingdom back.

I love the interactions between Crowley and the Winchesters. As much as they try, the Winchesters and Crowley know that they need to work together at times to defeat a common enemy. First, it was Abaddon, then the Mark of Cain, and now Amara (in finding the Horn of Joshua). I wonder, if and when the back and forth will end. It will unfortunately have to and both will have to pick a side.

Destini: Crowley has generally presented himself as an anti-hero archetype, and it’s something I prefer. He doesn’t have the intention of befriending the Winchesters, but in the same vein knows them and what they can do. I believe Crowley sees them as probably two of the only humans/hunters he can mildly trust. That being said, I do enjoy when the three of them are set to begrudgingly work together.

Crowley was a lot of the comic relief in Hell’s Angel– with his emotional complaints of how Lucifer had treated him and his usual snide comments to Sam and Dean. However, his fight with Lucifer while in Castiel’s psyche left me feeling pity for him.

 

Horn of Joshua:

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Jackie: Ok, so since when do Hands of God need to be used by “God’s Chosen” in order for their full power to be tapped into? Since now, I guess, which leaves me with the impression that the writers are making this storyline up as they go along. I wasn’t surprised that Lucifer’s attempt to use the Horn on Amara was futile–he is Heaven’s reject, after all–but I was left wondering: who is capable of bearing these weapons, then?

My gut feeling is that it’ll either be the Winchesters or Castiel (maybe all three). It would certainly rectify Cas’s low opinion of his self-worth if he finds out he is one of God’s chosen. It would also serve to redeem Cas, whose decision to let Lucifer run amok in his vessel isn’t going to have any payoff. Frankly, this is a turn of events that gives me joy; Lucifer needed to be taken down a peg and Cas needs to realize that he made a mistake be believing Lucifer.

Debbi: I like that the writers are mining biblical lore for objects that could conceivably be ‘touched by God’ and have liked their choices so far.  The fact that the Horn proved to be ineffective against Amara is troublesome, but it must be remembered that it took God, Lucifer and who knows how many other Archangels to put Amara away the first time.  I believe nothing less than God will be able to lock her up again.  Adding the Hands of God to the plot is certainly a very believable way to enhance the ongoing story.

Michele: I had to re-watch this episode to understand the Horn. Are Hands of God only effective by an individual “touched by God?” Was that established in the previous episodes?  It’s a really good point to make within the story however, it would have been nice to know before hand.

It does explain now why the Horn of Joshua didn’t work on  Amara. Even though Lucifer was one of the originals to put her away, everyone now realizes that it’s not only up to him. They’re going to need help, and perhaps the only individual that can help is God himself.

Destini: Yet another Hand of God discovered, and this time retrieved by Crowley by trekking all the way to Arabia. I admit I was confused at the episode’s start, but things became more obvious and it was exciting to see another artifact that could be potentially used in their fight against Amara.

I did already pre-emptively think we had another dud, since the other Hands of God have yet to work against either Amara or Lucifer. I do think that there is a possibility that all these being collected is not for naught.

 

Sam and Dean:

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Jackie: Sam and Dean were so OOC in this episode that I had a hard time watching it. I feel like the writers were purposely trying to create tension between them that shouldn’t exist. Most of all, I’m pissed that the writers had to make Sam resistant to the idea of saving Cas in order to accentuate Dean’s attachment to him. Given that Sam has been adamant about saving Cas in past episodes, it was odd to see this abrupt 180 from him. It felt contrived, which is something that I think other fans picked up on.

More than that, I found it odd that the Winchesters are suddenly on board with handing Lucifer a God-powered weapon and letting him loose on the world. To me, I don’t think the Winchesters would be supportive of that idea–nor would the be supportive of Lucifer being on Earth in general.

But let’s talk about that argument between Sam and Dean that raised everyone’s hackles, shall we? Once again, I felt like this convo was designed to make Sam look bad and Dean look good. However, I thought that Sam came out of that argument looking like the smart one while Dean looked like the reckless one. Sam made a lot of valid points: in order for Lucifer to be able to fight Amara, he’s going to need a strong vessel, and Cas’s vessel is strong enough to withstand the battle (even if that fact laughs in the face of canon). Moreover, what other options do they have? Dean wants to expel Lucifer from Cas but has no plan whatsoever of where Lucifer would go. More than likely, Lucifer would have to possess an innocent person, and do the Winchesters really want to go back to sacrificing innocent people in this fight? Or, Sam would have to volunteer and I hardly think Dean would be ok with that.

I also thought that Sam appeared to have more faith in Lucifer’s (and Cas’s) ability to win whereas Dean thought that he didn’t stand a chance.
Additionally, Sam was all about respecting choices, something Dean still has a hard time doing.

Altogether, I found their “disagreement” to be absurd. Even Dean’s affronted reaction to Sam referring to Cas’s vessel, not Cas, as “It” was out of place. It was obvious he wasn’t called Cas “It”, Dean–he clearly distinguishes between the two when he says “It’s a strong vessel that’s held Cas for years”–so why are you acting like he isn’t? If push comes to shove, Cas could leave his vessel to protect himself, so they are two separate things…actually, what the Winchesters should do is pull Cas out of Jimmy Novak’s body and put him in another one as opposed to doing that with Lucifer. There! Problem solved!

Debbi: Padalecki and Ackles are the heart and soul of the show and Sam and Dean’s interactions are always a highlight for me.  I think it’s important to note that although Sam was quick to interject that they needed to defeat Amara every time Dean brought up expelling Lucifer from his vessel that Sam wasn’t saying (at least not in my opinion) that Castiel wasn’t important or should be thrown out with the bath water, he’s just making sure his brother remembers the end game.  I believe that if Sam could go in and get Cas out while keeping Lucifer on the sidelines for the final play, he would.  However, as he has almost this entire season, he is taking the role of the ‘older’ brother and guiding/helping Dean keep his eye on the prize.

I love this change in dynamics between the two brothers.  It’s much more than just Sam taking the lead, it is Dean trusting Sam to do so and ultimately following orders based on that trust.  This is a huge step toward a balanced and more mature relationship between the siblings.  It has been a long time coming and they deserve this chance to see each other as heroes.

Michele: The role reversal was nice, but I feel that they wrote things for Dean that were out of character. Dean would not be whining for Cas. In the past, we’ve seen Dean be angry at Cas for turning on them in Seasons 6 and in Season 7. I get Dean’s concern, but he wouldn’t act in this manner.

That argument they had actually worked in Sam’s favor in this episode. This time, it’s Sam that is the pragmatic one. Younger Sam would have been bending over backwards to try to get Cas out, however, I like the more mature and experienced Sam understanding why Cas did what he did. Regardless of what happens, the brothers will have to accept Cas’ wishes, good or bad.

This whole season, because of Amara’s influence on Dean, Sam has had to take the lead. What’s great about this is that Dean is letting him without conflict. This is the sign of true growth between the brothers and together, they will find a way to defeat Amara.

Destini: Sam and Dean were a bit scarce in this episode, and it was probably in the attempt to set up more mythos for the rest of the arc happening. It was obvious to me, though, and with them being main characters, that isn’t really a good thing. For the time we did spend with them, it was under a slight bit of tension. Dean wanted to help free Castiel from being possessed by Lucifer, but Sam was a bit hesitant. Sam mentioned how Castiel did allow himself to be possessed, therefore making it his choice. Dean retorted, basically saying that just because he agreed doesn’t make it a good thing.

I saw merit in both their points  – it was Castiel’s choice to make and he made it, but it wasn’t a good choice. I also think that Sam was seeing things on a broader perspective – what would happen once Lucifer was freed from Castiel? What vessel would he inhabit? Dean seemed to be on a bit more direct path – we need to help our friend and help him now. Again, both outlooks are important but different. In the end, it still led to them working together to incite the spell that summoned Casifer, and trapped him in order to try and help him. While that was seemingly in vain, they did seem to be on the same page by the end of the episode by agreeing that they were going to help Castiel with certainty.

Rowena :

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Jackie: I’m so, so glad to see Ruth Connell on this show again; she always adds a certain stylish flair to each scene she is in and has great chemistry with the boys. I am unsure, however, about what her motives are at this point. She has a grudge against Lucifer, which I understand, but why would she want to help the Winchesters beat Amara? Wouldn’t she see Amara as another opportunity to gain power? I wonder if maybe she knew that Amara was tracking her and led her straight to Lucifer; that would make more sense than “she came back from the dead and grew a conscience.”

Debbi: She’s back, she’s back, she’s back, and… she’s back!!!!  I totally knew she’d have a plan and knew she was too crafty (and still too valuable to the story) to remain dead.  While I predicted her return, I did not predict the timing or the method of her return.  In retrospect, the implantation of a resurrection spell under her skin which would trigger when she died is brilliant.  As a side note here, I have heard and seen complaints that this was a cheap trick by the writers – I respectfully disagree.  Rowena is the most powerful witch… ever.  She has the Book of the Dead, the codex and the encryption key – it stands to reason that in the Book of the Dead (which most likely contains necromantic spells) that there is at least one reversal or resurrection spell.  Rowena hasn’t been around all these long years just because she’s pretty.  She is shrewd and crafty and always looking out for number one.

On that note, it is also unsurprising that she is trying to align herself with Amara.  Rowena is after power and at this point in the game, Amara has the most power on tap.  Of course, this scheming witch is going to try to hitch her wagon to that star.  Naturally, she’s still playing both sides and that in the end, will be her downfall.

I love Rowena, I love how Ruth Connell portrays her and I love how she is written.  Rowena is one of the best female characters on this testosterone-driven show.  Welcome back Ruthie!

Michele:  All Hail the Queen! I knew you couldn’t keep a good witch down and Rowena proved that in this episode! She is always one or several steps ahead of everyone. She’s the only person that knows how to use the codex and the Book of the Damned. The brothers are going to need her from time to time.

It doesn’t surprise me that she would align with Amara because all Rowena cares about is power. Plus Ruth Connell portrays her so well and she’s so entertaining. Especially in the scenes with all four men! Welcome back, Ruthie!

Destini: Rowena’s return was hugely exciting for me, as I was pretty upset when she “died,” but I held out thinking we’d see her return in some form! Her teaming up with Amara was refreshing – even though they aren’t exactly good, having these two bad ladies working together was pretty exciting to see. It was moving to see Rowena progress from enthusiastically helping Amara by healing her to seeing and hearing the sheer fear in her after Amara’s warning attack on heaven. Also interesting was hearing her say, “I hate my son,” when prior to her death, her soliloquy implied otherwise.

Rowena’s behavior in this episode seemed to be pretty typical of her – aligning herself with whomever seemingly has the upper hand – something Dean explicitly stated when Sam asked his thoughts on Rowena’s return. Her jump to help the Winchesters and Crowley after having just helped Amara seemed to be more out of necessity because I feel as though she was much too scared to stay under Amara as an ally.

 

Amara:

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Jackie: As much as I adore Emily Swallow as Amara, I had a hard time with the character in this episode because I felt like the writers were being inconsistent canon-wise. Let me explain: Amara and Dean are supposed to have the compelling bond, right? Well, in this episode, they barely registered each other’s presence. Amara showed up not because Dean was being hurt or in danger but because she was tracking Rowena, and then all her attention is on Lucifer. Likewise, Dean’s attention is on Cas. It was like the writers forgot that they were supposed to be drawn to each other!

Also, can we talk about her “counter-attack” against Heaven? She didn’t even do any damage! All she did was fill the halls of Heaven with smoke. There were no casualties and no destruction. Kind of a weak display of power, don’t you think?

Debbi: Other than the raw power she can channel, I find Amara insipid.  Perhaps this is because we’ve not really been given the benefit of seeing anything unfold from her POV.  Maybe it’s because she looks like a fashion victim who needs a good brassiere.  Maybe it’s because she’s singularly unlikeable.  Or it could be because she’s just run around whining about her big brother locking her away and doesn’t really give us a reason to want to try to like her.  All of the above?  Yeah, maybe.  That said I do like that she’s now got her hands on Lucifer, God’s favorite child, with plans to make him suffer to draw her brother from hiding.  Lucifer has had millennia ruling hell as the ultimate evil, it is kind of poetic that his waif-like aunt is going to clean house with him.  I would really like to see this supposedly ‘god-like’ being do something other than call thunder and lightning (nice S/O to AKF by the SFX crew).  Come on writers; make me scared of this god/woman!

Michele: First off, I love Emily Swallow! She’s doing an excellent job as Amara but I wonder when are we going to finally see what’s she is after. She’s the Darkness, but in this episode, I wasn’t scared of her. Amara is still demanding her Big Brother and even her “nephew” Lucifer couldn’t stop her. Dear writers, I want to be scared of Amara! In this episode, she was running around and whining. She’s the Darkness; let her be dark!

Destini: It’s important that I preface this with the fact that until recently, I was overall underwhelmed with The Darkness/Amara as the main villain. There is a level of dread and fear that I expect with the big baddie of the season, and that was lacking for me in all of Amara’s appearances thus far. Note that this is based on the writing/the way she had been presented, and not the actress(es) performances.

With that being said, I have started to sense that formidability since The Devil’s in the Details when Amara was discovered weakened but still alive after the mass angel smiting. In Hell’s Angel, she displayed great power once healed by Rowena and still hasn’t been affected by any of the Hands of God artifacts. While I’m still not shaking in my boots, I do appreciate that we are being given a bit more reason to see Amara as a fearful being.

 

Casifer/Heaven:

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Jackie: Having Mark Pellegrino back in this episode made me really appreciate the nuances of his Lucifer, and I couldn’t help but compare his portrayal to Misha Collins’s. While I get that Collins is mimicking Pellegrino’s mannerisms, it’s always come across as a caricature of Pellegrino’s performance rather than a continuance. In this episode, it was hard not to find him comical in his scenes. As Lucifer, he doesn’t carry an air of authority or danger about him like Pellegrino does, and that really showed in this episode. Hopefully, Casifer will come to an end soon.

As for Heaven, well, Heaven’s dull. The whole “corporate headquarters” angle is overused and has done more damage than good on this show. By taking this approach, they’ve managed to zap Heaven and Hell of anything that made them intriguing. Seriously, guys, angel and demon politics and the corporate setting are getting old. Can we move on from them now?

Debbi: I do love Collins’ portrayal of Lucifer.  He has managed to capture Pellegrino’s mannerisms and facial expressions perfectly and his Lucifer scares me.  I know Castiel is beloved by many, but I’d be happy to see Collins playCasifer forever.

Heaven, though, heaven was weak.  A friend of mine made this next observation, but I agree with her.  Lucifer returning to heaven should have be a “big fucking deal” not the almost non-event it was played out to be.  Sure, Lucifer’s (Misha’s) monologue was well done with equal amounts of snark and menace, but I would have thought the other angels would have shown more of a reaction to this never-before-seen event.  It’s Lucifer for crying out loud!  Lucifer the fallen, in heaven!  I thought half the half-baked angels in the board room were going to fall asleep.  The half looked like they were ready to wet themselves (an appropriate response to the return of Lucifer, but still underwhelming).  Even when Amara’s petulant cloud of darkness blasted through the place the lame-o angels were unfazed with nary a hair out of place.

Where are God’s warriors?  The panty-waists in that conference room couldn’t figure out how to step on a spider, much less smite an evil-doer.  I miss Uriel, Gabriel, Zachariah, etc.

Michele: Seeing Mark Pellegrino back as Lucifer made me understand just how difficult that role really is. Misha Collins is trying, however, I’m not sold on him being Lucifer after seeing Mark in this episode.

Don’t you think if Lucifer is returning to Heaven that the other angels would be freaked out or make an effort to try to stop him? Man, it’s like they didn’t even try! It’s Lucifer! God cast him out of Heaven for a reason, but there were no warriors, there wasn’t really a struggle. This stuff was so bad I have no words. If they’re not going to be scared or try to fight Luci, why even go this route? I didn’t like this at all.

Destini: In Supernatural, Lucifer has been painted as being ill-willed and manipulative, but also kind of quirky and full of dry wit. Since Castiel’s possession, I find that the focus has been a bit more on being humorous which for me is a tad disconcerting. Of course, he has shown he is truly evil, often in his disregard for those who will not align with him by quickly killing them, but the overall aura is different from what I’m used to. My hope is now that he is in the situation we left him off in – being tortured by Amara, the serious turn of events will show a change of pace and give a darker portrayal of the character.

Heaven has always been kind of a flip-flop with me, because while the idea of this white-collar set-up is very symbolic, it can only go as far as the show will take it. The conference room scene was the most interesting of the scenes in Heaven but still fell a bit flat for me. I also noticed that most (if not all) of the angels wore gray, which I thought might’ve been symbolic of neither being good (wearing all white) or bad (wearing all black).
 

Predictions:

 

Jackie: I’m expecting that either Castiel will find out he’s God’s Chosen or the Winchesters will (but my money is on Cas, because there has been a lot of emphasis on Sam and Dean being witnesses this season). Also, wouldn’t that just be a kick in the stomach to find out that Cas still had to risk his life in this fight?

I’m also expecting that God will be making an appearance soon!

Debbi: Since we know Benedict’s been on set the chances of seeing where God has been and what he’s been doing are pretty good.  I believe it is going to take him, Lucifer, Rowena and the Winchesters to put Amara away for the rest of eternity.  On my personal storyboard, this happens in the last two episodes and S12 revolves around finding Casifer and using Rowena and her Book of the Damned to pry him loose from Castiel’s vessel and get Cas back to his normal self.  I haven’t forgotten that Metatron is still on the loose and could very much be a factor, but I’m pushing that plot line into S12 as well.

Michele: God will be making an appearance because I feel that he’s the only one (with help from the Winchesters) that can put his sister away for good. I’m wondering if Metratron who is walking around with that tablet is another potential solution to help God out? He is God’s scribe and since we know God is most likely making an appearance, Metatron will be summoned and I think (pun intended) that all Hell is about to break loose.

Since Rowena is back, that codex and the Book of the Damned will be used. Maybe for s12? The season finale? I see it coming into play. I also wonder who is God’s chosen one? Is it one of the Winchester’s?  Cas? I think honestly, it’s one of the Winchester’s. I think it’s Sam. Notice, Amara hasn’t gotten near him? I think she knows something.  And then there is Lucifer,  I have a feeling he’s not getting back in that cage and we’ll have him running free in S12 wreaking all kinds of havoc once Amara is put down.

Destini: At this point in time, my predictions are more “what ifs,” than anything. However, I do think that Amara will finally get her wish and summon God. Lucifer was God’s favorite before being banished from Heaven, and it’s hard to stop loving your children, so we may see that this is the way to get God to show up.

I also speculate Sam and Dean are in possession of something (possibly a Hand of God) and don’t even know it. Maybe an amulet of some kind? 😉 Who knows!

 

Overall Score:

Jackie: Despite a few memorable moments, this episode largely failed to deliver anything but aggravation. It’s flaws definitely outweighed its virtues, so I give it a C.

Debbi: In my opinion, this was the weakest episode of the season, despite the fact that it moved the main mytharc along.  Heaven was weak; I want to see more about Amara’s plans and motivations.  Rowena’s return and the scenes in Casifer’s head were great, as was the exorcism but not great enough to over shadow a somewhat plodding entry to S11.  I have to give this a C+ and the plus is for Sam’s wickedly rapid recitation of the rite of exorcism.

Michele:  I’m giving this is C-.  Despite some good moments between Rowena and Amara, and Rowena and all four leads. This was in my opinion, the weakest episode of the season. I’m so disappointed in Heaven and Dean was completely written out of character.

Destini: C, Overall, it was a very average episode for me.

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  1. I have to agree with the basic review of this episode. Next to the wrestling episode the I think it was the weakest episode in a very strong season. I’m really excited to see the season finale. Anyway I loved the performances by Jared, Mark C, Mark P and Misha even though I’m still not sold on his Lucifer but Jensen just did nothing for me cause Dean seemed to be missing from this episode. Instead we had this sensitive, new agey, whiny emo version of Dean. Granted last week we had bad ass Sam Fucking Winchester I’m still all tingly over in places my bathing suit covers as Crowley would say. But when did Dean decide to be the show’s bitch?? Fingers crossed Dean remembers he has a penis before the finale happens. Otherwise that will be super awkward. BTW everything Sam said to Dean made sense. Cas chose to say yes to Lucifer. Was a it a good idea?? Oh hell no but he picked it. They can’t keep making the same damn mistakes season after season. It seems like Sam is the only one that’s sticking with the plan. Dean is too busy making sure his jeans don’t make his ass look big. I just want Dean back. This new in touch with his female side Dean that showed up in Hell’s Angel just sucked. Oh I also loved the exorcism scene. There is something just hot about Jared in a red shirt doing rapid fire Latin holding a crucifix almost made this lifelong Jewish girl rethink a couple things.

  2. Thanks for your comments Jackie! I agree with you on Sam doing rapid fire Latin!! This was the weakest episode this season for me. I’m looking forward to the last four of the season also!

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