Supernatural “Devil’s in the Details” Review (Season 11, Episode 10)

Supernatural Out of the Darkness, Into the Fire (5)

After more than a month, Supernatural returned with one of its most game-changing episodes since Demon Dean opened his black eyes for the first time. There was so much packed into this episode that I had to take a few minutes to breathe and process after the credits rolled. Even after a second viewing, I still couldn’t believe what I saw.

One of the many reasons I initially fell in love with Supernatural was the show’s ability to run me through the gamut of emotions all within the space of a single episode. It’s pretty difficult to strike the balance between humor, drama, and action but it’s something Supernatural did very well for a long time. The show has had a hard time finding that balance again in recent years, but this episode was right on point. There were enough chuckles to break up the angsting and enough drama to literally keep you on the edge of your seat. Or in my case, snuggled under your safety blanket biting your nails.

It’s also been a long time since the show surprised me. I mean, like, genuinely surprised me. The first time the show left me completely speechless was the hellhounds dragging Dean to Hell in the season three finale ‘No Rest for the Wicked.’ I was so shocked because up until the moment the hellhound grabbed Dean, I just KNEW they were going to find a way to save him at the last moment. So when the show did the very unexpected thing of actually having the hellhounds kill Dean, I was left with my mouth agape and tears streaming down my face. The show did it again with the revelation in ‘On the Head of a Pin’ that Ruby wasn’t as helpful as she appeared to be and she was getting Sam addicted to demon blood. Some people may have seen that one coming, but I can honestly say that I didn’t. Most everything that’s happened since then I’ve been able to work out before it happened, but I can honestly say that I had no idea where the powers that be were taking Cas and Lucifer.

The show has struggled since the conclusion of season five to find a place and purpose for Castiel. On the one hand, Cas is a part of Team Free Will and the Winchesters look on him as family. The fact of the matter is, he and the Winchesters have been through too much together for him to be anything other than family. On the other hand, Cas, when he’s in full possession of his angelic powers, very quickly becomes a deus ex machina for the Boys. That’s neither interesting nor believable. In trying to keep Cas in the story and strike a balance between his story and the Winchesters’ story, the powers that be tend to swing too far in one direction or another. The result being that Cas no longer feels like he organically fits into the story. This season addressed some of that with Cas’s story and has centered on the fact that he’s adrift. Cas found out at the beginning of the season that he could never go back to Heaven again because all the angels wanted to kill him. He was also manipulated and betrayed by the only angel he considered a friend. He’s felt left out of the Winchesters’ lives since they’ve been focused on repairing their relationship and figuring out what to do about Amara. Add Cas’s guilt about the pain and destruction he’s caused over the last several seasons, a dash of PTSD, and voila! You have a Cas that is primed and ready for Lucifer’s manipulations.

Once I got past the shock of Cas allowing Lucifer to posses him, I was left wondering why Cas felt so worthless. Why Cas felt like he was so expendable. Anyone who watches the show knows how important Cas is to Dean and Sam, but when is the last time either one of them told Cas that? So often we take for granted that our loved ones understand just how much we love them. We assume that we don’t have to tell them every day how much they mean to us. We assume that our actions speak louder than our words. But sometimes, a person just needs to hear it. The last time either of the Winchesters let Cas know how much he meant to them was Dean telling Cas that they need him while Cas beat him up in the crypt back in season eight. There was also a brief bonding moment and the world’s most awkward hug between Sam and Cas in ‘First Born’ in season nine. But for the most part, there’s been a lot of friction in Cas’s relationship with the Winchesters. Dean was angry at Cas for not trusting him with the tablet. Then Dean turns around and kicks a very scared, confused, and newly human Castiel out of the Bunker during that whole Gadreel business. Then Dean got the Mark of Cain and was basically a psycho rage monster for a season and a half. It’s not that the Boys don’t love Cas. It’s just they don’t really talk about that kind of thing. Especially Dean. Dean is a man of action and he’s always been more of the show instead of tell kind of guy. The problem is that Cas isn’t human and he doesn’t necessarily understand the intricate layers of human relationships.

All of that being said, Cas’s decision was ultimately a selfish one. Cas feels abandoned by both Heaven and the Winchesters. He is so anxious to prove that he is more than the Winchesters’ puppy and that he’s a hero that he’s walked himself into one of the worst possible situations. The whole argument against Sam letting Lucifer in is the same one they made way back in season five. If Lucifer gets free, everyone dies. Cas knew this. Yet and still, he chose to let Lucifer in. The argument could be made that he did it to stop Amara, but Cas’s decision just seemed less about saving the world and more about proving that he’s not expendable. Cas’s actions were in direct contrast to Sam.

Let me just start by saying I was really proud of Sam in this episode. Lucifer is correct that Sam has massive amounts of guilt about letting Amara out. Sam knows he made some really bad decisions last season, and he’s been doing his best to figure out how to fix it. Lucifer is also correct that Sam will do anything to save his brother. However, Lucifer didn’t seem to realize he is dealing with a different Sam than the one who went into the cage. Sam has been through so much since he jumped in to the Pit that there’s no way for him to still be the same guy. This is a problem for Lucifer because Lucifer was reading from the old playbook. He thought that by walking Sam down memory lane and trying to convince him that the only way for Sam to be strong is to let him in, Sam would crumble and say yes. He thought that by thrown Sam’s worst failures and fears back in his face, Sam would say yes just to prove that he’s strong enough. The old Sam may have fallen for that, but not this Sam. This Sam had absolute faith in Dean, and he knew that if he just held on long enough, Dean would come for him. This Sam, although he was scared out of his mind, realized that unleashing one big bad to handle another big bad wasn’t going to end well for the humans caught in between. This Sam, even though he was pretty certain he was about to die, was willing to make that sacrifice if it meant protecting humanity from Lucifer. Lucifer was surprised to find that even if Sam had doubts about his own abilities, he had zero doubts about Dean’s. This was so refreshing because it’s been so long since we’ve seen Sam and Dean truly on the same page. It’s been so long since we’ve seen Sam and Dean have this kind of faith in each other. I was pretty nice.

There is so much more I could say about this episode, but this review is already pretty long. We finally found out why Rowena hates Crowley so much, and it turns out she doesn’t hate him so much as she hates what he represents. He represents a time in Rowena’s life when she felt weak and victimized. Since she never wants to feel that way again, she pushed Crowley away and continues to push him away so she doesn’t have to deal with those feelings of pain and worthlessness again. Ruth Connell did a brilliant job of conveying so much of Rowena’s emotions in that scene. Kudos for great work. One thing that did bother me about Rowena’s farewell scene was the fact that she told Lucifer she’s the only one who could open the cage. Rowena is always thinking three or four steps ahead, so shy would she paint a target on her forehead like that? Perhaps that was to show how blinded she was by the thought of ruling the world. I don’t know, but it still felt very un-Rowenalike. It looks like Amara might be a little more affected by the angel smiting (smiting sickness is a thing people!) than she’s letting on. I guess we’ll have to wait and see. Also, I really dig Billie and I hope we get to see more of her. There was a lot packed in to this script, and it set the stage for what could be some very interesting stories going forward. So what did y’all think of this week’s Supernatural?