Supernatural “Thin Lizzie” Review (Season 11, Episode 5)

I’m sure we’ve all heard the rhyme: Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one. The rhyme refers to the very gruesome murders of Lizzie Borden’s father and step-mother in Fall River, Massachusetts back in 1892. Lizze was tried and acquitted of the murders, but that didn’t stop her from becoming one of America’s most famed (alleged) murderers. When I heard that Supernatural was going to take a stab at Lizzie Borden, I thought surely it would be a ghost situation. Perhaps even a demonic possession. However, the show didn’t take either of those routes and gave me a much better (and different) episode than I expected.

One of the reasons I fell in love with Supernatural in the beginning was the show’s ability to surprise me. Not necessarily the jump scares that most horror or sci-fi shows go for, but the ability to tell a story that I thought was going one way but would end up sending me in a completely different direction. One such example is ‘The Benders’ from way back in season one. Up until that point, Supernatural dealt primarily with actual monsters and not monsters of the human kind. Because I wasn’t expecting the thing taking people to actually be a family of twisted hillbillies, I was very much surprised when the “monsters” were revealed. It also added a sense of urgency and creepiness to the show that I hadn’t really felt up until that point. From that moment on, I looked forward to the times when Supernatural was able to send an episode in a direction I never expected. They haven’t really surprised me that way in a while, but this episode did it.

Going into this week’s episode, I expected a monster of the week. I didn’t mind that because I tend to like the MOTW episodes. Thus, I was not expecting this episode to be so myth-arc heavy, but I’m kind of glad it was. When we first discovered that Amara eats souls, I mentioned that it would be a new and difficult problem for the Boys. I said at the time that they would be wrong to just kill the soulless people because the people weren’t actually monsters, but they couldn’t exactly leave a bunch of soulless people just walking free either. Quite frankly, I expected the show to drag that discussion out for a while longer because it’s a difficult question that the Boys haven’t had to face before. So I was pleasantly surprised when this episode specifically addressed that issue. What I liked the most was the different reactions the people had to being soulless. Sydney (the Amara Groupie) reacted kind of like the soulless people did back in season nine’s ‘Mother’s Little Helper.’ She killed people that got on her nerves or who she felt did her wrong, and she just didn’t care that she was killing people. There was an element of Soulless Sam to Sydney’s reaction as well, but it was more along the lines of just not caring about anyone other than her own wants and needs more than the cold, logical machine Sam became. However, Sydney made it perfectly clear that she had every intention of continuing to kill whenever she wanted and it wasn’t going to bother her at all. If both of Amara’s victims reacted that way, it may have been a little bit easier for Sam and Dean to feel justified in killing them. However, that wasn’t the case at all.

The other person Amara stole a soul from was a seemingly harmless Lizzie Borden fanatic named Len. I felt really bad for him. Unlike Sydney who welcomed Amara taking her soul, Len was completely freaked out. He immediately realized that something was off about himself, but he didn’t know what. He no longer loved the things he loved before. He didn’t even think the way he thought before. He admitted all of this to Dean, and he just wanted Dean to help him get his soul back. Len ended up saving the Boys, but that didn’t solve the core problem. Len admitted he could feel the darkness waiting to burst out of him, and if he could’ve been horrified at that point, he would’ve been. His decision to admit to the murders so he could be locked up forever wasn’t what Dean (or I) was expecting. Dean didn’t want to kill Len, but I also don’t think he could’ve just walked away knowing that there was a soulless person wandering around. Over the last few years, Dean seems to have accepted the fact that there is going to be collateral damage in the war against evil. It’s not that he doesn’t care when people die. Of course he does, but he’s become much more numb to it than he was in the past. He’s also become much less inclined to try and find a non-lethal solution when the person is infected or possessed. That’s not an indictment against him. It just is what it is. It surprised me to realize that I honestly don’t know what Dean would’ve done if Len hadn’t suggested admitting to the murders so he’d be sent to prison for the rest of his life. Len may have just been going through the motions at that point, but it was still a very heroic and honorable choice for him to make. Len’s actions also seemed to give Dean a little bit of hope that people aren’t entirely beyond saving yet, and God knows Dean could use a little hope right now.

Amara doesn’t creep me out the way Lilith did, but she is definitely in the same ballpark. It’s still unclear to me exactly what she did to Sydney prior to taking her soul, but whatever it was seemed to feel good. I wonder if that’s how she controls people. She floods their emotions with intense happy thoughts so they will be more inclined to give her whatever she wants. Or it could be that that particular ability only works on certain kinds of people. Specifically people who are as dysfunctional as Sydney. Maybe that’s what caused Sydney and Len’s differing reactions to soullessness. Maybe it was intentional on Amara’s part. I don’t know, but I’m interested to find out. I’m also wondering how long it’s going to take Dean to actually come clean with Sam about his experience with Amara. I could be wrong, but I don’t think he’s told Sam the whole story about what Amara said to him or how he felt while he was in the midst of The Darkness. I have a feeling keeping that information to himself could be detrimental later on.

I enjoyed this episode quite a bit. Nancy Won is a new writer to the Supernatural team, and I was very pleased with her first offering. Her script had a very good balance of humor, drama, and action, and she wrote several wonderful brother moments. Dean’s reaction to the toilet water spray and Sam’s response that he only wanted to see whether the squeeze thing worked will go down on my list of favorite moments. Won had a good grasp of Sam and Dean’s voices, and she also seems to know at least some of the show’s history. Specifically Soulless Sam and Sam’s “fetish” about serial killer stats (Dean’s words, not mine). It’s always refreshing when the writers remember the show’s history. Five episodes in, I’m still cautiously optimistic about this season. This episode laid some groundwork for what could be some interesting twists and turns for the Winchesters, and I’m looking forward to that journey. So what did y’all think of this week’s Supernatural?