Episode 11.2 “Form and Void”
[photos: Carole Segal/The CW]
When we last left our intrepid heroes they were separated. Sam was infected with Darkness and in a town full of zombies, and Dean had the relatively tame task of taking Jenna and the baby to Jenna’s grandmother’s house.
We first see an infected man lurching through town with one shoe off and one shoe on, interspersed with someone picking up items in an empty hardware store, including the biggest chain available. The infected man is drawn to a phone, where someone is narrating a boxing match, that has been placed on a wheelchair. Sam appears, asks the man if he can talk, then tasers him with a homemade cattle prod.
Meanwhile Dean drops Jenna and the baby off at a house with beautiful willow trees, a white fence, and a statue of Mary in the front yard. The statue is our hint that Jenna’s grandmother is Catholic. The grandmother is played by Christine Willis. This is coincidentally the third series I know of that she’s been in that has reapers in it. They place the baby in an old crib and she psychokinetically pulls over a bin of baby toys. She seems pleased with herself.
The man wakes up chained to a hospital bed. Sam is trying to convince him to cooperate so that he can be cured. This is far too intangible a reason for the man, but he agrees to do it in exchange for a cup of pudding, which he eats with his fingers. Despite the fact that the guy is pretty far gone, there is still a sense of horror and despair that he is losing himself while aware that he is losing himself.
After dropping off Jenna and the baby, Dean tries to call Cas, who doesn’t pick up because he is being tortured by angels. They mostly want to know where Metatron is. Nice guy that he is, Cas warns them that he is dangerous while they are threatening him.
Jenna wakes up from a nap because of strange noises, which turn out to be the baby psychically slamming blocks into the wall. They spell out “Feed Me.” Somehow I don’t think a bottle of formula is what she wants. Jenna wants to go in to the baby, but grandma pulls her out of the room and quite sensibly says the baby is possessed. They call Dean, who pulls a u-ey in the middle of the rainy highway and calls Sam, who agrees with him that it sounds like something out of The Exorcist but tells him everything is fine with himself even though his subject is dead and he’s researching voodoo zombies.
Sam’s research into contagious diseases is interrupted by the sound of “O Death”, which is the song with which Death was first introduced into the series. It is being sung by a reaper who tells him he is dying and that his and Dean’s days of dying and coming back are over. The reapers are mad that they killed the boss and plan to drop them into the void instead of taking them to Heaven or Hell next time they die. I don’t think that this is too serious a threat. I think Death wanted what happened to happen — he pushed Dean too far in the series finale last season when he told him that he would kill Sam if Dean didn’t. Dean obviously made the right choice (despite the consequences now) because the mark was created by Cain killing his brother Abel, so it must be a very bad sin to kill your brother. She also tells Sam that he is unclean, in a biblical sense.
Sam prays in the hospital chapel for a sign and is felled by a vision when he leaves it. As in, falls on the floor and has a vision of himself being impaled by many sharp objects. WTF? Sam has the same reaction, as he yells to the sky, “What does that MEAN?”
Dean arrives back at the Grandmother’s house to find that the priest is none other than Crowley. He barely holds it together to pretend that Crowley is a priest. It’s obvious that they know each other. They go outside to have a little talk and Crowley tells him he does this all the time to keep track of his demons. They don’t talk about what they need to talk about. Crowley wants to know if Dean knows what his brother and Cas have been up to, and Dean says he knows enough. In fact, Dean has no idea of the details of what went on when they were trying to save him, and has no idea what’s happening to them now. Crowley has been turning more to the dark side ever since Sam tried to kill him to obtain Rowena’s help, and now he thinks Dean was okay with that.
Jenna goes in to the crying baby and tells her that she will take care of whatever she needs. The next thing we know, she is killing her grandmother in the kitchen.
Dean and Crowley return to find the dead grandmother. There’s a lovely little bit where Crowley criticizes Dean for yelling for Jenna and Dean calls him Velma and says this isn’t the Scooby Gang. Crowley mutters that he is way more of a Daphne. They check on the baby, who is happy to see Dean. Dean sees for the first time that she has the mark of Cain. His first reaction is to find Jenna. She is in the living room, gleefully shattering her grandmother’s angel figurines. She tells them that she killed her grandmother. Crowley, in the first useful thing he’s done in a while, announces that she has no soul. This is something that Dean can’t see instantly, but Crowley can. Dean tries to restrain her without hurting her, and Crowley cuts the fight short by levitating and dropping her, which kills her.
While they are fighting Amara grows into a young child and sneaks out of the house.
They argue over the baby. Dean says he must kill her; Crowley says that not only can he not kill a baby, he can’t kill that one. He has seen the way that Dean looks at her. But he, Crowley, can. It wouldn’t be his first. But later, because he is interested in a baby that can eat souls. Dean switches from ruefully planning to kill the baby to full on protective dad. (Or mom. Crowley points out earlier that he is quite maternal). They fight and Dean pins Crowley to the wall with an angel killing knife and then gets out the Bowie knife but doesn’t kill him with it. Dean runs upstairs to find the baby gone, then downstairs again to find Crowley gone. A loss all the way around and nothing more that Dean can do.
Castiel, in the meantime, is rescued by his old friend Hannah, who is now in a male body. He thinks that she set up the torture and rescue, which she may have, but she still tries to protect Cas. The other angels turn on Hannah and Castiel turns full berserker and kills them. Hannah still dies and Cas is surrounded by dead angels. He is horrified.
Using the clue that Billie the reaper gave him, Sam finds out that unclean things can be purified by the fire of holy oil, which of course they have in their supplies. He tries some on a cotton ball and the darkness fries away, out of his veins, without even burning his skin! He sets up a trap for three of the infected people and burns holy oil around them and they are also cured. They thank him (which happens so rarely in the series) and then Sam says they are going to save what’s left of the town.
The boys return to their bat cave to face the mess that the Frankenstein monsters left behind. They hear something behind the pile of books and it’s Cas, who squeaks out a request for help.
Amara walks down the street, dressed, but with bare feet. A van pulls up beside her. At first I am thinking ordinary garden variety child grabber, but it is Crowley with a nice family of four tied up in the van to entice her with. “Would you like some candy, little girl?” She smiles.
One of the coolest things about this episode is seeing Sam get a chance to work on his own. I’ve always liked castaway stories and he is struggling for survival in a hostile environment and trying to solve a riddle at the same time. He shows his competence and smarts while trying to keep both of those traits from being taken from him. And he succeeds while he can still save himself and some of the others.
What is not so great is the supernatural baby growing in an unnatural fashion. I realize that that is a common plot device because the writers are in a hurry to get the character to be an adult, and therefore more interesting, but it gets really old. You know someone is evil when they mature so quickly, except in soap operas, where the kid gets sent to boarding school at five and comes home at the end of the summer a sixteen-year-old. And then of course they stay young adults, when they should get to be octogenarians in the next day or two. If there is a reason for Darkness entering the world as a baby, it will be more forgivable. I think any advantage she may have entering the world this way (learning what a corndog is, for example) will be negated by the rapid growth.
Overall, we are continuing the theme of being taken over by our darkest impulses, of being possessed by evil, but not in a way that’s traditional for Supernatural. Sam has Darkness in his veins. Castiel has Rowena’s spell still working on him, and he can feel it slicing and dicing him inside. Crowley is returning to what is probably his true nature as his tenuous connections to others are fraying. And Dean, poor Dean, has replaced the Mark of Cain, which brought out his most violent and murderous impulses, with a connection to the Darkness that existed before God said, “Let there be light.” Sam cured himself — Cas is seeking help desperately — but if it is love, there is no help for Dean.
Supernatural airs on the CW on Wednesdays at 9Pm, 8 Central.