Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Review - Supernatural Episode 11x10 "The Devil in the Details"

-by sweetondean

Firstly, I’d like to apologise for being a bit late with this week’s review. I’m finding it hard to sit down and write at the moment due to a killer work schedule basically leaving me mentally and creatively drained. So please be patient with me as I try to find a way to balance both things. These reviews take me an inordinate amount of time to write, because I’m kind of pernickety about them (writing is rewriting) and about the screencaps, and finding the energy at the moment is a tad on the tricky side. However, I love this show with a passion, and I love writing about it, and I love all of you who support me here and even followed me here from somewhere else, so I’m gunna keep grinding…as our favourite brothers would say. But please understand if some weeks I’m tardy. I’m trying.

Now on to really important stuffs! OUR AMAZEBALLS SHOW!

It looks like we’re in for a hell of a ride! For something completely different! Supernatural is back and is kicking ass and taking names! The way this show continues to be so surprising mid way through its eleventh season should be illegal! But I’m glad it’s not. Because it’s damn awesome. 

For someone who’s not a spoiler phoebe and pretty much reads everything, I was constantly going OH SHIT all the way through The Devil in the Details. I didn’t know about Colin Ford (and missed his name on the credits), I had no clue about Cas’ really dodgy decision and the shocking place that would lead us, and Rowena, what the actual frack?! What a cracker of an episode. I love this show!

After an interminably long hellatus, we finally found out what on earth with Santafer! It was Rowena’s bizarre recurring Christmas dream. Where she was stuck in the horror of being a mum to an onsie wearing Crowley getting a Sam POP under the tree. How very meta. 

Even when being completely out there, Supernatural can still do pathos, showing Rowena obviously miserable trapped in that role, with reindeer ears that won’t come off, and her son Crowley – who we know secretly (or maybe not so secretly) just wants to be loved – plaintively saying that he’d been a good boy as the Devil ran him through with a pointy candy cane! Only freakin’ Supernatural ladies and gentlemen! Only Supernatural. 

The scene later held even more poignancy as we hear about Rowena’s anger and hurt, see Crowley’s obviously need and pain and witness aghast Lucifer’s horrific act…but I’ll get to that later. 

Slow clap for Sam Winchester, or as Jared would say, Sam fuckin’ Winchester. Legend.

Returning to him, still in that damn cage with Lucifer (so beautifully lit by the magical Serge Ladouceur), his fear was palatable, etched all over his face as Lucifer tells him exactly how much pain he could cause Sam. But not for a minute did I feel like Sam would waver. He’s defiant from the get go, talking back, standing up for himself, standing up for what he believes in, standing up for his brother. And I love that he was 100% putting his trust in Dean – that made me squee all over the place. How I love these brothers being on the same side and admitting how much they care for, and trust each other. (Crowley: Don't worry about Sam. Dean: I'm sorry, have you met me?)

Sam stood toe to toe with Lucifer and called bullshit on Lucifer’s grand manipulation, as we were all taken on a tour of Sam’s past. Lucifer tried to guilt Sam into giving himself as a sacrifice again, to stop the Darkness and save the World. But this Sam is a very different Sam to the one Lucifer knew 5 years ago, and screwed with mentally a couple of years after that. This Sam is far more confident not only in himself, but in the love and support of his brother. This Sam no longer feels he has to prove his worth to Dean or to anybody, including himself, he’s done that over and over, and the two of them are now quite open with their respect and love for each other. Not just in front of each other, but also in front of others. Everyone under estimates the Winchesters (except maybe Crowley, maybe), and it bites them in the ass. Lucifer underestimated Sam. He underestimated Sam’s faith in those he loves, in himself and he underestimated Sam’s smarts. Sam is ready to sacrifice himself, he is ready to see those he loves die for the greater good, but he’s not going to do that at the risk of a bigger threat. He’s always been as smart as a whip, Sam Winchester.

Seeing the Devil so flustered when Sam said no was such a turn of events. He’s always so smooth, so sassy, so coldly terrifying, so hilarious. Mark Pellegrino’s Lucifer is one of my favourite character portrayals in any show ever. I don’t know that we’ve ever seen that much emotion from Lucifer. He was really getting pissy about it all! Trying to the last moments to talk Sam into it. And Sam just says no, “The answer is, no.” MY GOD HE’S AMAZING! And so is Jared.

And then the cage fight begins. Because Lucifer has nothing else in his playbook to win Sam over. So it’s plan B, for beat down.

Going around with Lucifer and Sam, visiting Sam’s greatest hits, at least Lucifer’s version of them, was such a treat. First up, COLIN FORD. Like I said earlier, I had no clue he was in it and then there he was and I was like, are my eyes deceiving me? It’s so wonderful that we can see him growing up as Sam Winchester! He will always be young Sam to me, and the fact that we randomly get an opportunity to see him in that roll is just wonderful. I never thought we’d see Amelia and the infamous dog, Riot again…but there they were, part of Lucifer’s guilt trip Sam was having no part of. And then there was Swan Song, one of my all time favourite episodes. Those final moments between Sam and Dean will never not kill me – but even then, when showing Sam the great sacrifice he’d made in the past, Sam did not waver, because he knows now, he’s not the only option; they will fix all of this crap, him and Dean and they will do it, together. Finally I feel like both the brothers are living Dean’s ‘we’re stronger together’ line. Finally. And it’s already made them even more powerful.

There were times when the Devil seemed to be paraphrasing Sam, questioning Sam allowing Dean to talk him out of closing the gates of Hell; talking about how the brothers always save each other at the cost of others – echoing Sam’s concerns spoken out loud in the season opener. Except now it’s not some shameful not talked about guilt, they both admit it, no matter what, they will always save each other…but they’re also going to try and save everyone else in the process. They’re focused on the whole bumper sticker. Lucifer’s been out of the loop and it showed.

While Sam was matching wits and hootspa with the Devil, Cas and Dean (currently unaware of his brother’s situation) were trying to figure out if the Darkness was dead after the angel smiting…which gave us an incredibly realistic Dean vomiting scene! Ewwww! Suffering from….smiting sickness…(I giggled), Dean’s sidelined and heads back to track down Sammy who’s not answering his phone (with the epic voicemail message – which Sam left on there!).

Meanwhile Cas goes it alone and ends up getting a very similar experience via the angel Ambriel, that Sam was getting via the angel Lucifer.

I feel shitty for Cas; he’s had a rough trot of it of late…(well for seasons really). He got the snot beat out of him by his bestie, then he was whammied by the attack dog spell, which he’s probably only just recovering from, beat the snot out of his bestie, got tortured by psoriasis angel and his buddy and got betrayed by Hannah. He’s definitely in a weakened state, physically and emotionally. Then he hears how he’s useless, not super important, expendable, the Winchesters are the real heroes not him, and to top it off, that he’s hated by his own kind. Then Amara bangs the nail in the coffin and says he reeks of self-loathing, he’s weak, he’s not even worth consuming – he’s all used up. Poor Cas, he’s getting kicked while he’s down.

This is the only conclusion I can come to for his saying yes to Lucifer. That he feels like crapola. I certainly don’t believe it was a plan of any sorts. I don’t think it was Lucifer’s plan – he had his eggs in the Sam basket, though obviously with Cas, he saw an opening and jumped on in there…so to speak. I don’t think it was Amara’s plan. I think Cas somehow saw this as a way to help…the only way he felt he could…though I’m not sure how this will ever be a good idea. But Cas has grown up on Sunday school stories of how bad the Darkness is. She’s been locked away his entire existence. You’ve got to think, that his blood would run cold at the thought of her being out. To Sam and Dean she’s just another seriously evil, world destroying thing that they have to take on, maybe she’s the worst one, but still. To Cas she’s almost like the bogeyman come to life. So I’m working on him coming at this from another angelic perspective, and from a severely demoralised state. Maybe he feels this act will not only help save the world and relieve the Winchester of the burden, but also help to set the record straight with his relatives upstairs…Ugh. I hope this time he's right. Oh Cas.

We’ve never had an angel on angel take over before, so whether it plays out differently or not, who knows. We’re in never before written territory. The Jimmy vessel was destroyed and rebuilt by God, meaning Jimmy’s soul is in Heaven and Cas is the sole owner of that vessel now. Does that mean the rebuilt Jimmy/Cas vessel is stronger and can withhold the Devil? Unlike mouldy Nick, because I don’t was Misha to start to flake! Is Cas in there with Lucifer or in the cage – I think in the cage for one reason only, which I’ll get to. 

Whatever way you look at it, this is seriously bad juju. Like Dean said, having the Darkness and the Devil out and about at one time is a nightmare. Having the Devil dressed as one of their friends, just amps that nightmare up to eleven!

And while Cas was facing off and getting branded by Amara, Dean was going to Hell...again.

It was great to see Billie the Reaper she’s a fabulous character, and I loved that we found out that Sam and Dean had discussed Billie’s plans for them. See, they do talk when we’re not listening (kinda).

Jensen played the walk into Hell so brilliantly. No need for a fanfare, no need for discussion or dialogue about Dean having to return to a place that probably still gives him nightmares. Just Dean standing at that doorway, looking in, fear and hesitation oozing out of every pore, settling across every feature. He just needed to stand there silently, and the terror rolled off him. Then as Dean descended the stairs to meet Crowley, ever so slowly, looking around him, you could almost hear his heart racing. Such a perfect performance from that Ackles fellow, his ability to say so much while saying nothing at all is eternally mind blowing.

And then, we’re back to the cage fight…the "scared?"...the "not even a little" (bloody great hero)...the beatings, the strangled Dean, the one last try at Sam, the Cas intercept, the flash of light and… KABOOM it was over….OR WAS IT!

Oh Rowena… I really grew to love Rowena. After a shaky start with me she turned into a really fun and interesting character. Her final scenes (hopefully not final final) were so powerful, as she told the story about why she is like she is, the sadness of her previous life. Why she hates Crowley, because of what he represents, and because if she didn’t hate him she’d love him and love makes you weak. All the while massaging Crowley’s head, which he’s made her do using the power of the witch catcher. 

These two. It was such a deeply moving scene, Crowley just wanting the touch of his mother, and just wanting to know why she couldn’t love him, Rowena telling him she could never love him, but showing how conflicted she was by that.

And the tragedy is she let a form of love cloud her judgement to what Lucifer really is. She was enamoured by him, by his power, by what he represents, by what he may be able to achieve…with her by his side. So she never saw it coming when, while wearing Cas, he unceremoniously snaps her neck. And neither did I. I gasped. 

Rowena says she’s the only one who can open the cage…which is why I thought Cas might be in the cage. Lucifer doesn’t want back in and doesn’t want Cas out.

And we’re left with Rowena’s crumpled, broken body, Crowley crumpled in the corner, Lucifer dressed as Cas – with a remarkable performance by Misha, and the brothers beetling off in Baby, none the wiser and thinking they dodged a bullet! Bloody hell!

One other thing…what was happening with Amara, as she fell against the tree? Was it the result of the smiting? Or was it the result of the consumption of Ambriel? Or the touching of Cas…who was rebuilt by God. Whatever is going on…she has a weakness! And you know what they say; if it bleeds we can kill it!

All around the Devil in the Details was fantastic. A fabulous script by Andrew Dabb, again…who is probably my favourite writer on the show these days, the stunning Hell set by Jerry Wanek and his team, great direction from Thomas J Wright, who got in a couple of those great close-ups of Dean in the car that he used in Baby, stunning lighting by Serge and absolutely fabulous performances by everyone. I mean…the acting in this show is something else! 

So yay! The show is back and it’s ridiculously amazing eleven years in, and the stakes are rocketing and everything’s awesome!

See you in a minute for the preview for the next ep!

You can follow sweetondean on Twitter @AmyinSydney
For advice on attending conventions check out sweetondean's spncontips tumblr


  1. I too loved this episode though I'm still not sold on Cassifer lol!! Jensen"s acting before going to hell was amazing saying so much in his facial expressions, he always blows me away. Jared also amazing in the cage,so brave and knowing Dean would come for him, sigh! This is my happy place, brothers always!! Love my Supernatural!!

  2. No worries on the timeliness of the review. We all get busy and I'm personally just happy to see your post whenever it is up. I agree 100% with everything you said. The lighting in the cage is what struck me both last episode and this one. It is just so powerful which makes Lucy look more threatening and Sam's emotions really shine through. Jared is just doing an amazing job with those scenes between him and Mark Pellegrino

    Jensen/Dean as always, gave epic performance with the smiting sickness (that's a thing?).

    I was not a big Rowena fan at first but she grew on me. I knew she would be gone eventually so it wasn't a surprise but it still was kind of brutal and even sad since she thought she found her nitch

    Poor Cas, he just cannot seem to get a break and everything he does to "help" just goes south. I also wondered what it was that made Amara weak after sending Cas away. Was it the instability of just getting the new grace and all the darkness back or sending Cas was a strain on a recovering host body. Either way, I also think it will have some value later on

    I love the actress (Emily Swallow), that plays her also, she is doing an amazing job

    I don't get how one vessel can hold multiple angels either and never thought that maybe Cas is still in the cage but I think Lucifer asked Rowena who else could open it hoping no one else could shove him back in later on. I look forward to this weeks review whenever you get it posted. Thanks Amy.

  3. My biggest fear was that they wouldn't acknowledge the trauma of Dean going back into hell. They did this better than I hoped

  4. So thankful for your reviews Amy. Whenever you do them. Just loving this season! I squee about it so much that a 54 yr old guy I work with binge watched 10 seasons in 3 mos to catch up and fan over it with me!😜

  5. I totally agree with you... this show is SUPERNATURAL ... pun intended.

    Loved the episode and loved your review.


  6. Your review was great like always! And don't worry about deadlines. I have that curse above my head too because of work. We are glad you are able to write them when you can. :)

    - Lilah

  7. No worries about the "lateness" of your reviews, I always look forward to them, and waiting is part of the fun! :) Loooooved this episode. My God, Hell looked good (that has to be an oxymoron). Jerry Wanek must of had fun creating that set, and the lighting was just breathtaking. Serge sure knows how to light our boys!

    I really like Billy and I hope we get to see her again. Just the fact that she was reading Neil Gaiman's Sandman series, on Death of course, makes me like her even more. Wow, this eleventh, ELEVENTH (can't believe it), year is kicking it in the patoosie!

    I'm going to miss Mark Pellegrino though, he is the best incarnation of Lucifer ever! Although I have faith that Misha will do a good interpretation. Rowena's end was very well done. Will I miss her? Maybe not, but she had grown on me somewhat. All in all, A+ gang.

  8. Thank you for writing reviews :)
    I have one thought about why Cas said yes to Lucifer, and it also might explain Amara's sudden weakness. I think she did something to make him say yes. Remember Oh Brother? "I cannot be resisted." Why else would she send Cas to hell branded with the words "I am coming"? Lucifer carried the mark the longest and she corrupted him. I see them as a team, not opposites. I may be far off the mark, but that's the beauty of where the show has taken us so far this season. There are so many questions, so many open roads to explore. I can't wait to find out where they go :)

    1. I am intrigued about that message she sent. Who was it for? She obviously knew where to send Cas, so she must have known what was going on, or at the very least where they were... so was the message for Dean? Lucifer?? Didn't get it at all.

  9. I liked the episode, just wish it was longer. Can't we get a supersized episode with an extra 15 minutes like they do on some shows? I liked what I saw, but wanted more drama in Dean's search for Sam and a longer cage match scene. It didn't have to be more fighting, maybe more mental torture with Sam and Luci, that didn't include Amelia. (she who should not ever again be mentioned) Loved Colin Ford, the Christmas dream,(they won't come off!), Sam Winchester's brave, defiant No!! Goodbye Rowena, have fun in Hell. Ruthie was a beautiful presence on screen, she just needed better writing. Love this show and Amy's reviews... Hope we get a confirmation on season 12 soon.

  10. Fantastic episode. Amazing performances all round. J&J go without saying, but for me, Ruth (sniffle), Mark P and Misha all stood out this week as well.

    I had the same thought about Cas' motivation in saying yes. I was really confused, because we'd just had Sam's perfectly logical explanation as to why it would be a terrible idea to let Luci out, all of which Cas would know as well, then he just said yes? But sitting in my car on my way to work (!), I remembered all the talk about how The Darkness was the ultimate scary story for the angels, that none of them could really believe she actually existed, and the terror she inspires, so maybe, just maybe Cas considers her the worst possible thing. And after all, they've beaten Lucifer before... That's the only way I can rationalise it in my head.

    Funnily enough, I also had the same idea about the vessel - that it was rebuilt after Jimmy left it and so may be stronger than a normal human vessel, and able to hold another angel (if they are both in there)

    I look forward to more of Lustiel (love that so much - well done whoever coined it!) and keep my fingers tightly crossed that Rowena's death is as temporary as a Winchester demise.

  11. I saw this theory somewhere and I can't remember where (maybe Alice). The thought was that Amara may have been weakened because Dean was. I need to watch the ep again to see the sequence of events. But I thought that was an interesting idea.

    Great review as always. And if they are a little late in coming that just makes them all the sweeter when we get them.