'Supernatural' S11E18: Hell's Angel

★ ★ ★ ½

And now we're getting started.

Season 11 started out well enough, but it's the latter half that dragged it through the mud a couple of times. Rather than sticking to the Darkness storyline, Supernatural's hopped around the Amara conflict, tossing a couple of wrenches into the storyline to shake things up a bit while incubating her character development. The show's dance with the devil hasn't landed any consequential punches and Lucifer's comeback to the series is about as underwhelming as Amara's role as a Big Bad.

Rowena's "death" was, sadly, more exciting than her comeback. After getting killed by Lucifer, she managed to have one last spell stashed away to revive her in time. The entirety of her flashback sequence, along with her reintroduction, felt like a rushed explanation for her survival, which could have been more intriguing if it were to have happened earlier on. It's awkward timing to reintroduce her so late in the season, so it appears more as if Supernatural corrected a mistake and retconned an explanation to make up for it. The death of Death brought about the Reaper threat (if the Winchesters die, they're dead for good) and while Supernatural has found several clever ways to keep bringing back characters, Rowena's uneasy revival means that even she is safe from Lucifer's wrath. There are already several "safe" characters on the show; it appears Rowena is one of them.

Supernatural: S11E18

In fact, all of Season 11 is Supernatural playing it very, very safe. Casifer isn't all he's cooked up to be and his body count is much smaller. A lot of this has to do with the Reaper threat, which, when done right, is a tension-heavy thing to have looming overhead, but instead, it has only led to a lot of stalling on the writers' parts. Dean and Sam don't feel as if they're in danger because, for the most part, they're not. Supernatural isn't going to part from either one of their leads anytime soon so the "threat" is rendered useless by Supernatural attempts at faking danger for them to go through, only to save them at the "last second." This situation has happened before with Casifer, where Castiel managed to "take control" just in time to save Dean, but this time around Casifer stalled on killing the brothers long enough for Amara to show up. Remember, one of Lucifer's powers is the ability to blow demons, angels, and gods up with the snap of his fingers and we, instead, have him deciding to slowly kill Sam and Dean.

Casifer's not inciting as much fear as you'd think he would. Lucifer's appearance in the apocalypse was far more terrifying and dangerous because so many characters were killed off one by one in the process. In Season 11's case, there aren't enough people to go around and, despite Supernatural's reintroductions of Jodie & co. along with other recurring guest stars, only the core group has stuck around episode by episode. For a threat this large, the body count should be too. It doesn't have to be major characters (though it would help), but the death of at least one character would have mattered, which is why Rowena's return isn't as satisfactory as it should be.

Lucifer's "triumphant" return to Heaven wasn't all it was cracked up to be either, which is sad considering how devastating the mere thought of him getting into Heaven alone would have been. Instead, he simply struts in. Sure, Heaven has been in shambles for several seasons, but you'd think there'd at least be some more people attempting to put a stop to what Lucifer had planned. Entertaining him working with Heaven is an interesting combination to use to take on the Darkness, but what doesn't work is how easily he is manipulating angels who could, presumably, only be considered the "interns" of Heaven.

"Hell's Angel" is a cumulative merge of this season's problems. Off-kilter and tonally askew, Supernatural doesn't seem to have a steady plan of what it is wanting to do with the Amara storyline (I guess it isn't the Darkness anymore?) nor with Casifer. Even Castiel's cameo in an adorable inner-mind sequence couldn't act as the saving grace for this episode's mistakes.

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