'Supernatural' S11E1: Out of the Darkness, Into the Fire

★ ★ ★ ½

Did Supernatural kick off the newest season with a bang? Not really. But did it bring new threats that the Winchesters will have to deal with? Of course. While the Darkness being released from the Mark brings a new dynamic to the show simply because of its great age, its true power is still relatively unknown due to its overall generalness. Being called "The Darkness" is about as generically evil as it gets. Even Dean points out that this must be something bad just due to the name.

Once making it out of the Dark Curse — sorry, Darkness — Sam and Dean wake up to a world devastated by infected human drones seeking to pass on their supernatural virus. (Essentially they’re the Vectors from Helix, veins and all. Almost expected them to throw up black fluid onto Sam. But blood works.) While a very scary threat, placing them in the aftermath of the attack downplays the amount of terror that they can induce. Sure, seeing a hospital staff and its patients after they’ve been brutally killed is a subtle touch, but for introducing a new and powerful kind of monster, seeing that happen in real time would had a bigger impact. They’re obviously the beginning of something far worse (hopefully), and the Darkness’s impact will (also hopefully) last through the end of this season and into the next one.

Supernatural S11

Speaking of the Darkness, it was smart to introduce Amara as the "human" face of the supernatural force — which automatically succeeds where the Mark of Cain failed. The Mark wasn’t a compelling "antagonist," mostly because of its inability to leave a lasting effect on Dean's life. It also didn’t help that in every episode last season there was a different interpretation of how well Dean was able to control the Mark and how it affected his mental health. Another thing that drained that plot last season was all of the secrets both Sam and Dean kept from each other, and now with Sam infected and Dean regaining his memories, you just know that that issue will once again be popping up a lot this season.

Crowley and Castiel’s scenes showed how terrified the older beings are of the Darkness’s return — even if the only times they’d heard of it was in the legends of both groups. While the Heaven plot line last season didn’t yield interesting results (besides that amazing visual of the angels falling from Heaven), the Darkness’s interactions with both Hell and Heaven might be if done correctly. Additionally, we got some nice callbacks in the opener; it was great to hear the Cage being mentioned, and, supposedly, God is going to be making a comeback this season, too.

The death of Death was going to cause some obvious problems, and the release of the Darkness may as well be called Apocalypse 2.0, as both Heaven and Hell will scramble into action once the power of the Darkness becomes apparent. Dean and Sam seem to be going through plots very similar to the ones they had last season, which may hinder the impact of this new threat later on. What will that mean for their sibling drama?

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