Mid-season finale time. Once again, I took notes while I watched to remember sequence of events, but I've only seen the episode once while drinking, so my memory is not going to be great.
Let's get this road on the show...
The THEN reminded me about that "grunt" angel and demon pair. I had forgotten about them.
Anyway, NOW, woot!
We join Amara in a park with one of those soapbox preachers. She's asking questions about God, and the preacher makes the mistake of talking about wrath. Amara says that God isn't the only game in town and then kills everyone - so, obviously, unlike previous villains, her goal isn't to subjugate humanity... because if it was, she could have easily started a cult right there instead of killing everyone. She kinda looks around at them afterwards with a funny expression, so part of me wondered if maybe she hadn't meant to kill them and heaven killed them or something - but then she asks the sky "well?" and so, yeah, I guess she did kill them in an attempt to get God's attention...which seems to flow with what happens later in the episode.
Then we get another Sam vision. This time he's in the cage, and Lucifer touches his face all gentle like and Sam looks happy... and I'm creeped out because Lucifer is a Rapey mcRaperston in SPN. Then Sam comes out of it and asks God what it means and a bush catches fire...
...which is Sam's main argument when he talks to Dean about the vision - that a burning bush meant that it was a vision from God and suchlike. I loved Dean's counter-point of how "sometimes bushes burn". Anyway, Sam thinks the vision means that Lucifer knows how to lock away the darkness again.
I guess Sam convinces Dean enough about it for them to go talk to Crowley. Which they do. Crowley then unleashes the secret about how Dean and Amara had a moment where Dean could have killed her (or she him) but they didn't, and how Dean is really weird abou her... and Dean is all giving Crowley the "shut-up!" eyes and trying not to look at Sam, and Sam is all side-eyeing everything, because this is NEWS TO HIM... but then he NEVER BRINGS IT UP! I mean, what the cheese? Seems sort of a major point if Dean's acting all shady with the Darkness.
Anyway, Dean and Sam tell Crowley about how Amara is God's sister, and Crowley is like "damn, I really should have tried harder to leash that girl" or words to that effect, and Dean is like FOCUS!
Basically, the boys want a way to talk to Lucifer, but not to unleash him, and to keep Sam safe while they do so. Crowley admits that Sam is on his bucket list of people to kill, but I guess he doesn't feel like it right now? So he agrees that Sam has to be kept safe. He also doesn't really want to let Lucifer out of the cage and into Hell-proper.
Then Dean asks a seriously stupid question that I ROLL MY EYES AT THE WRITER'S FOR SO HARD. Because he asks whether Crowley has a key to the cage or whatever... and I'm like, DEAN! DO YOU NOT REMEMBER HOW IT TOOK HELL 66 SEALS TO OPEN THE CAGE?! Of coure they don't have a friggin' key, moron. Ugh... it's not Dean's fault though, he's just saying something shitty that the writers wrote. I'm immediately erasing that line from my headcanon.
Anyway, the upshot is that Crowley thinks it can be done using the Book of the Damned - which means they have to recruit Rowena.
Back to Amara, who is looking for God in a church this time... and the priest tells her to do it through prayer. She is super skeptical and then asks the priest if he's ever seen God, and he's like "uh, no, that's what faith is all about" and then he hands her a bible. And here is where me and my friend had to pause the episode and wonder what church they were in, because pews should only have the Book of Prayer and a Hymnal - there is no church that we know of that stocks bibles in the pews. Also, we figured that she must be in a protestant church, since the priest was saying that she could talk directly to God through prayer... but then my (former-catholic) friend said that you can pray to God, you just can't confess and be forgiven directly from him, you have to do that through a priest...and prayer through saints is for specific requests and a leftover from trying to recruit the pagans. THEN I started to wonder if Jewish people and Muslims can speak directly to God or not... and we tried to google it, but it lead us down a Christian-based propaganda google-hole that was mostly about which religions have people in them who God directly talks to... but I wanted to know the reverse.
Anyway, the upshot of this is... Do any of you know whether you can talk directly to God in Judiasm and Islam? I'm just curious.
So, Rowena is dragged into Crowley's headquaters, looking pretty put out about it. Then Crowley reveals that she's there because Sam and Dean need her. They're allies for the time being. Rowena is super skeptical and wants to know how she's supposed to trust them with her safety after she helps them out, and Crowley says she can't, and that it's a devil's bargain. I think that's a pretty cool line.
Next up, we have an angel meeting. It's just the low level angels. They're scared of the Darkness and worried that their leaders (the leaders of the remaining civil war angel fractions) are too caught up in the ongoing civil war to band together and defeat the Darkness. They've also pretty much alll lost faith in God, which is interesting. Anyway, they decide to band together. I gotta wonder if there's a similar thing going on in Hell underneath Crowley's nose. I don't even know who is running Heaven now that Hannah's dead. (I'm also still pissed that Hannah's dead.)
Back to Rowena, who is being brought up to speed on what's shaking. The deal she gets right now is that if she helps them, Crowley will call off his demon hitmen. They want to know how to open the cage and how to protect Sam. And then they tell her that Lucifer is in the cage, and Rowena looks WAY TOO HAPPY ABOUT THAT. Guys, that should have been your first "CALL OFF THE PLAN" red flag.
Also, it appears that Rowena made off with the Book of the Damned and the Codex at the end of S10, but DIDN'T make off with Charlie's code-break, which Sam and Dean apparently still have... so, yeah, that's what they bring to the table, I guess.
Back to the Protestant Church, where Amara is eating souls and then killing the vessels. She is trying to get God's attention by killing people. It's not working.
This all leads Dean and Sam to split up, which is never a good thing - Dean goes to the church to investigate the deaths, and Sam is with Rowena while she reads the Book of the Damned.
Sam and Dean actually have a decent brother talk, I thought... where Sam promises not to do anything without Dean there. Of course, that's pretty much a guarantee that Sam is about to do something without Dean there.
Rowena then gets all judgy about Sam's brother issues. Also, Sam is wearing a very nice new shirt. I like it. It looks super cozy and I want cuddles from him while he is wearing it, please. Thank you.
Oh wait, I'm watching a show...
Dean is still at the church, but then gets a SPIDEY SENSE! This leads him to a park, where he orders a hotdog and then Sam calls, because Rowena found the answers... but Dean doesn't pick up the phone! OH MY GOD DEAN! Always prioritize Sam over your weird spidey sense!
Anyway, upshot is that Amara gets her hands on Dean and transports him to a pretty meadow by a river somewhere west of town.
Sam, unable to get in touch with Dean, and being rushed by Rowena (and I guess Crowley) ends up going to Hell without his brother. Oh man, this is not going to end well.
I like the way this hell is rendered more than the S8 Hell... though, in my headcanon this is all still a construction of Sam's mind, who needs to put it into a visual frame of reference that he understands in order to not be driven insane.
There's a Sam line somewhere in here about how it's Dark and Empty, just like Crowley. I liked that line, and I think Crowley had an interesting comeback about it, but now I can't remember what it was. Ah well.
So, the deal is that they have another cage in this other part of Hell that has the best secruity for being non-Lucifer's cage. They ward this second cage, and then summon Lucifer out of his cage and into it. Personally, I'm not sure this should be possible, but apparently it is.
Back with Dean and Amara... Amara is explaining how she's misunderstood, how millenia of propaganda has made her out to be the bad guy when she's not. She's just trying to get God's attention, but she doesn't have an ill-intent towards humanity, she just has issues with her brother. Dean thinks that if her issue is just with God, maybe she should stop killing people.
Amara then says that the souls she's eating are part of her, and in that way they "live forever" - and that's interesting. I wonder if that means they're still whole, and if they kill her, those people will be resouled?
Back to Sam and the Cage... the summoning is successful, and Lucifer (in Nick's appearance) is now in the secondary cage. Crowley claims to be a follower, but Lucifer knows better and says Crowley is "too kind...to yourself", which is a line that I liked. Anyway, Crowley and Rowena amscray up a staircase to give Sam privacy, which I also think is a super bad idea.
And Sam is clearly terrified, you guys...I don't like it.
Sam tells Lucifer about the crisis topside and the fact that the Darkness has been released, and Lucifer seems surprised...which I find sketchy, because if Lucifer was the original Mark-Bearer/Lock, then he should know full well that the Darkness is released (and I'm right, of course, but we haven't gotten there yet.)
Meanwhile, up in their balcony, Rowena is drooling over Lucifer, again not a good sign... isn't the original witch lore in SPN that they are humans that pledge their souls to demons in exchange for witch-powers? That was the case in Malleus Malificarum, anyway.
Lucifer also makes a dig where he asks "however did that happen?" when Sam tells him the Darkness was released... and yeah, just rub it in that Sam holds the world-title for accidentally releasing villains into the world. Castiel only did it once. Sam's done it twice. THOUGH, Sam also holds the title for then vanquishing the evil he releases into the world, so that's a pretty good sign for the future...
Sam launches in right away to saying that God's been talking to him, and I did think that was a pretty bold statement given that he has no substantial proof that it's God...and turns out that my hunch is super correct... but we'll get there.
Back with Dean and Amara, and.. oh, HERE is where Amara complains about the propaganda. She says that God vanquished her because they had competing ideas on what creation should look like. In Amara's opinion, God has built religions that are monuments to his ego, and he offers safety only in return for adoration. (I'd argue against this, because it's quite clear that God also keeps atheists safe.) Dean makes a good counter point, in that there's some good stuff - "golden rule, brother's keeper..." - but that Amara's main failing point is that she's arguing with someone who is PART of God's creation, so, of course, he and everyone else is going to favour it.
Amara then tries to describe what she wanted to create - which is a place without rulesand with bliss for everyone... so, she's into anarchist hedonism, I guess?
Meanwhile, Sam and Lucifer continue to chat. Crowley is concerned that Sam might make a deal - and he probably should be. Rowena argues that sometimes you don't have a choice but to make deals, which brings Crowley back to the fact that Rowena tried to have him killed, and I liked Rowena's line about how parenting is hard, and you don't know when to hug your child or kill him.
Lucifer tells Sam that he's God's master strategist, but in order to help, he'll need a vessel. Yeah... like we didn't see that coming.
Dean and Amara, meanwhile, as still chatting it up. What's in it for Amara? Apparently everything, Amara is the beginning and will also be the end. Dean then gets over his weird pretection-bond thing and then knifes her, but the blade shatters...which isn't too surprising.
Then my friend and I were derailed into a conversation about how much we hate boob makeup in TV shows, where they make the part between the boobs darker in a dumb attempt to make it look like there's more cleavage or something, but instead what it does it make it look like the woman has super super saggy old flat boobs. On close-ups from the side, you can totally see that Amara's boobs are nicely shaped, but from the front angels, they look horrble. Maybe it's the cut of the dress too, but ugh, they're ruining perfectly good boobs!
Back to the show! Amara says that Dean is a warrior, and warriors always resist, but that Amara can't be resisted... and then she goes in for a soul-swallow, seems to not be able to and/or change her mind, and instead makes out with him. And yeah, consent issues everywhere here, because it's quite apparant that Amara has a mind-whammy on Dean, even if he has moments where he can exercise free will against her.
Our consent issues are just starting though - beause we then return to Sam and Lucifer. Lucifer argues that desperate times call for desperate measures, but Sam's smart enough to not fall for that logic. So, Lucifer tries the whole "it's God's will" thing....
Dean and Amara again, and Dean is wondering what the hell that kiss was about. Amara goes on about how they're bonded, because he set her free (I'd argue that SAM set her free, but whatevs), and that it's Dean's destiny to become one with Amara. Dean is like No, nope, not going to happen.
Then ANGELS show up! I had forgotten about them, but they have banded together to smite the heck out of Amara. Dean cautions then against it, this time not out of a weird protection thing for Amara (seemingly) but because he realizes that a smiting on that level will be massive and kill humans too. Amara kills the three angel messengers in, I suppose, a demonstration about why they don't intimidate her... and Dean has a great deliver of the line "what have you done?" ... because, yup, the smiting is coming. Amara save Dean though and send him back to the park. I highly doubt the angels will be successful, so, yeah, a whole bunch of people are going to die and Amara will probably be injured at best, completely unscathed at worse.
Back in Hell, Sam refuses to be a vessel. YAY! And then the wards fade and Lucifer is able to pull Sam into the cage with him. Crowley is concerned, but Rowena just leads him away, not surprised in the slightest... so yeah, DEFINITELY shouldn't have trusted Rowena's spellwork.
Of course, that's not the worst of it, because although Sam tries to stay unafraid and sure that his visions forsaw this and that God will protect him - Lucifer explains that the removal of the Mark caused fissures in the cage, and Lucifer was able to renew his connection with Sam... and that it was Lucifer that sent the visions. God's never been with Sam. Sam starts crying and breaks my cold dead heart.
And then Lucifer continues to be Rapey McRaperston, because apparently we didn't get enough of those references in S7.
So... yeah, I can't say I'm TOO surprised that the visions were Lucifer not God. Cain set-up the precident for that when he told us the real story of Abel... and although I WANTED the visions to be from God as much as Sam did, I was already assuming it was probably a manipulation.
So, is Lucifer still stuck in that cage? Does the lesser secure cage mean that he can break free completely? Can they stuff him back in the other cage? Can they get Sam out again without letting Lucifer out? So many questions.
I like the idea of Dean actually rescuing Sam from A cage with Lucifer, because there's been twice now that we've been cheated out of a good brother-rescuing-brother-from-Hell scene, so just a little one would be nice to see.
That being said, the promo for the return in January looks like it's on crack.
Anyway, tell me your thoughts in comments!! It's going to be a long break!!